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Culture February 23, 2019

Kristen Roupenian on short stories and viral success

Amid the spectacularly divisive response to Kristen Roupenian’s short story about a relationship gone wrong, the author’s conception of “Cat Person” as horror fiction was often overlooked. Here, she talks about reasserting her genre credentials with the release of her debut collection. “The temptation would be to turn the book into 11 stories about dating from the perspective of young women. So I was grateful that editors recognised it was a weird, dark collection of essentially horror stories. They let it be what it was.”

Culture February 16, 2019

The reinvention of Christine and the Queens

Like her idol Madonna, French pop musician Héloïse Letissier is interested in transformation and reinvention. Her latest album finds her performing in a new persona as Chris, a celebration of her “macho-femininity”. She is, however, aware of the “danger of mainstreaming ‘queerness’… [that] it could invalidate the thing that ‘queer’ is important for. Queer is questioning a norm, questioning the system, subverting it, so if it’s digested and branded and [covered in] glossy plastic to appeal, then the essence of queer is lost.”

Culture February 9, 2019

Metal singer Karina Utomo’s roar history

Whether singing about the bloody past of the country of her birth in metal band High Tension, or in the wordless growls and screams of Speechless, a new opera about the Forgotten Children, Karina Utomo finds catharsis in unleashing her powerful voice. Etched into her memory is the burning down of a music store, which sold cassettes because CDs remained a luxury item. The shop, she says, was targeted because it was owned by Chinese Indonesians, the long-time targets of racist scapegoating. “Buying music with my father was a treat. That was somewhere we had gone every week and it symbolised access to music, to engage in a culture with which I connected.”

Culture February 2, 2019

Where’s home for theatre and opera director Barrie Kosky?

Barrie Kosky’s peripatetic career has led him to work throughout Australia and Europe, before finally establishing a true connection with Berlin. Still, for the Melbourne-born theatre and opera director, nothing says “home” like a rehearsal room. “It just happened that theatre discovered me, and performance and music discovered me, because the very same time that I started to think, ‘Who am I? How does this relate to me?’ and felt that disconnectedness, was the very same time I was experiencing music: Mahler symphonies or puppet shows or musicals or opera. And it was very linked.”

Culture January 26, 2019

Wiradjuri dancer Joel Bray’s platypus identity

As a gay Aboriginal Australian who grew up in a largely white world, Joel Bray found purpose and identity through dance. His latest work – the intimate solo performance Biladurang – blends choreography and theatre in a raw exploration of his own very personal journey. “I’ve had people hug me, I’ve had people crying, I’ve had people share their stories of discovering their Aboriginality late in life.”

review

Culture February 23, 2019

Just Not Australian

Curated with an eye for slogans and messaging, the new Artspace exhibition Just Not Australian interrogates the mythic language of nationalism that continues to permeate the art world.

Culture February 23, 2019

Julia Jacklin’s Crushing

Julia Jacklin’s new album Crushing has moments when her lyrical directness perfectly complements its dark folk-rock sound, which excuse some of the experimental missteps elsewhere.

Culture February 16, 2019

Methyl Ethel’s Triage

On the latest Methyl Ethel album, Triage, Jake Webb’s extraordinary songwriting is on full display in pop music of unusual complexity.

portrait

Culture November 3, 2018

António Serzedelo, revolutionary

A visit to the Lisbon apartment of polymath activist António Serzedelo.

Culture October 13, 2018

Author Deb Kandelaars

The writer of Memoirs of a Suburban Girl on her long road out of a violent relationship. “There I am, right in the middle of my teenage years and suddenly in a serious relationship. A relationship that pushes away my other life. Being hit was beyond my world experience. I didn’t want it to happen again. I started treading a little bit more carefully, and that set up a power dynamic.”

Culture October 6, 2018

Theatre designer Tracy Grant Lord

A chat with theatre designer Tracy Grant Lord, side stage at a rehearsal for Twelfth Night.

books

Culture February 23, 2019

Kristen Roupenian on short stories and viral success

Amid the spectacularly divisive response to Kristen Roupenian’s short story about a relationship gone wrong, the author’s conception of “Cat Person” as horror fiction was often overlooked. Here, she talks about reasserting her genre credentials with the release of her debut collection. “The temptation would be to turn the book into 11 stories about dating from the perspective of young women. So I was grateful that editors recognised it was a weird, dark collection of essentially horror stories. They let it be what it was.”

Culture February 23, 2019

The Year of the Beast

The sixth and final novel of Steven Carroll’s Glenroy series takes us back to where this intergenerational saga begins, to Melbourne in 1917, and to Maryanne, a 40-year-old woman who is pregnant with an illegitimate child; a child who is “the …

Culture February 23, 2019

Beside Myself

Sasha Marianna Salzmann’s debut novel starts by advising, “I don’t know where we’re going.” From there, Beside Myself takes you from Moscow to Berlin to Istanbul on a dizzying trip through time. Alissa – …