Wednesday, April 27, 2022

THE BIG KITTY comes to Ballarat


On Monday April 24, artists/filmmakers Tom Alberts and Lisa Barmby visited Ballarat for a very special event: a one-off showing at Cinema Eureka of their prize-winning film, THE BIG KITTY. The indie film has previously screened at numerous international festivals, including the Paris, Saint-Tropez, Rochefort and Cannes Film Festivals. The Ballarat screening followed hot on the heels of THE BIG KITTY’s Australian Premiere at Melbourne’s Classic Cinema, a sold out session that necessitated a second screening. 

Before setting off for Cinema Eureka, Lisa and Tom joined Shane Jones and I for afternoon tea in the upstairs cinema room of our house.

On the wall behind Lisa and I is a photo of some of the BIG KITTY CAST and crew, taken during the filming of one of its penultimate scenes:

Upon arrival at Eureka Cinema, we were delighted to find this welcoming sign by the front gate:

Cinema Eureka is a private cinema owned by Bryan Putt and Megan Finlayson. They’ve been keen to screen the film for a couple of years, and it was marvellous that the event coincided with Tom and Lisa’s all too brief visit to Australia. They return to Paris in a few days.

Ballarat Times journalist Fiona Watson photographs the filmmakers: 

Above and below: Bryan, Tom and Lisa:

Lisa interviewed by Fiona Watson: 

Pictured below: Cinema Eureka co-owner, Megan Finlayson:

Cinema Eureka is a sixteen seater, purpose-built to the side of Bryan and Megan’s house. Prior to the screening, Bryan welcomed the specially invited audience. Pictured below, L-R: Spencer Harrison, Tim Jones, Bryan Putt, Shane Jones, Tom, Lisa, Tim Gresham and Erin M. McCuskey.

Below, L-R: Tom, Lisa, Gaye Britt and Tim Gresham, who has a small, but memorable role in the film:

Below: Lily Mae Martin, Christine Hickson and Erin M. McCuskey:

Spencer Harrison, Tim Jones and Shane Jones:

Carole Wilson, Peter Cooper, Lily Mae Martin and Christine Hickson:

Spencer, Tim, Loris Button, Carole and Peter:

Tom and Lisa introduced the film and held a Q&A immediately after the screening:

Among the audience members was Annie Drum (foreground):

Megan thanks Tom and Lisa and announces post-screening beverages:

Gaye and Tim, Shane and I joined Tom and Lisa for a celebratory meal in the dining room of their hotel, Craig’s Royal:

Afterwards Lisa and Tom invited us all for drinks in their hotel room:

It was a night to remember. Warmest thanks to Bryan and Megan for organising the event to perfection and to Lisa and Tom for taking time out from their hectic schedule to make the trip to Ballarat. We wish them further success with THE BIG KITTY and a Bon Voyage to Paris!

For further reading on THE BIG KITTY, read the article by artist/writer Steve Cox for FILMINK HERE.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

One Hundred Faces Opening Event

Today’s highlight: the official opening of ONE HUNDRED FACES at Playing in the Attic.

The exhibition is part of the Tiny Towns Arts Trail running this Anzac Day long weekend, Friday 22 April - Monday 26 April (see previous post).

The show seems to get better every year. Huge thanks to Trudy Mclaughlan (pictured to my right, top, in photo #5 and with Loris Button in photo #8) for her support of local artists and for all the work involved in mounting this delightful annual event. It was lovely to see Loris and her husband, Peter, (pictured to the right of exhibiting artist Shane Jones, second photo from top). 

Loris has an exquisite self-portrait in the show, in fact, it’s hanging to the left of mine. A detail is below. Also in the following view: Pierrot #1 by Shane Jones. (Bottom row, left). 

ONE HUNDRED FACES continues for a further six weeks. Do get along and see it if you can.

Playing in the Attic

13 Ballaarat Street

Talbot VIC 3371

Opening hours: Friday - Monday, 10 am - 4 pm

📸 Top photo: Shane Jones.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Home Thoughts

Home Thoughts, 2022, diptych, acrylic on MDF, 10 x 10 cm (each panel).

Further to Blog Post Wednesday, March 2, here is my completed painting for the upcoming One Hundred Faces exhibition at Playing in the Attic

The work has since acquired a name: Home Thoughts, extracted from the title of Robert Browning’s poem, Home Thoughts, from Abroad (1845), the one that begins:

O, to be in England 

Now that April’s there…

You can read the poem HERE.

Home Thoughts, 2022 (detail, panel 1 of 2)

In recent years, swans have become emblematic of home. I grew up in Melbourne in the 1950s and 60s and well remember visits with my parents to its lush Royal Botanic Gardens. Feeding the black swans that inhabit the ornamental lakes (an activity now frowned upon) became something of a ritual. 

Home Thoughts, 2022 (detail, panel 2 of 2)

In the 1970s I lived for several years in the UK. The swans in London‘s public parks, including elegant Regent’s Park, were a glorious, gleaming white, the stuff of my childhood fairy tales. But the black swans of Australia were never far from my thoughts, and in 1980 I returned to Melbourne.

From 2011, I began dividing my time between Melbourne and Ballarat. Since moving full time to the latter in 2019, I’ve become increasingly drawn to the black swans on Lake Wendouree and visit them frequently. I now call Ballarat home, yet the white swans of England remain fixed in my memories. Home, they say, is where the heart is and mine, it seems, will always be divided in two. 

Playing in the Attic

13 Ballaarat Street

Talbot VIC 3371

Opening hours: Friday - Monday, 10 am - 4 pm

One Hundred Faces is held in conjunction with the Tiny Towns Arts Trail on Anzac Day long weekend, Friday 22 April - Monday 26 April, and continues for a further six weeks. 

Photography by Tim Gresham.