profile

television February 15, 2020

The likeable Josh Thomas

After charming both critics and viewers with Please Like Me, Josh Thomas made the move to Los Angeles. He speaks about the series he made in his new city, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay – a show that breaks ground in its portrayal of young autistic women. “I think having teenage girls in a show forces you into sweeter territory. The conceit of the show is so sweet, so I guess the story and the characters and the situation kinda made that decision for me.”

film February 8, 2020

Actress Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton has often been drawn to roles that explore transformation – a fascination that led her to become one of the world’s finest actresses. She speaks about her unconventional career, her love for Scotland and her upcoming trip to Australia, where her mother was born. “For me, the whole joy is working in collaboration, working in conversation … I love dreaming things up with my friends and I’ve always been lucky enough to work with people who are interested in this stuff and continue to find new people who are interested in this sort of shapeshifting.”

music February 1, 2020

Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig

After a six-year hiatus, Ezra Koenig’s band Vampire Weekend won a 2020 Grammy for their latest album, Father of the Bride. He reflects on the changing landscape of the music industry and how he handles his new-found fame. “We have a deep connection with a certain group of people, and we’ve grown it a little bit, but at a very sustainable rate.”

books January 25, 2020

Writer Alice Pung

More than a decade after her best-selling debut, Unpolished Gem, Alice Pung remains one of Australia’s most beloved authors for her gentle yet forthright prose. She speaks about racism, role models and motherhood. “As a writer, I don’t know if you can really see from another person’s perspective … It is important to try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but I’ve realised in the last five years you can never really do it.”

art December 21, 2019

Sydney Biennale artistic director Brook Andrew

For the 2020 Sydney Biennale, artistic director Brook Andrew is challenging the dominant narratives of this country, instead bringing together perspectives that have been unjustly relegated. “Australia is on a precipice of change in this present moment, with people renegotiating and confronting histories which shift dimensionally. It’s about who we are today, and there is a moral question that arises in this, which is: Where do you stand in the face of change?”

books December 14, 2019

Writer Lindy West

Using her brilliant wit as a tool for political activism, writer Lindy West has fought for social justice issues such as fat liberation and abortion rights. The author of Shrill – now an acclaimed TV series – and The Witches Are Coming speaks about her work. “There’s something intoxicating about being defiant, especially when you start to articulate all the ways in which your life has been made smaller and more difficult by systems of power.”

art December 7, 2019

Performance artist Tania Bruguera

A pioneer of the arte útil movement – in which art goes beyond aesthetics and is a tool for social change – Cuban performance artist Tania Bruguera aims to transform audiences through her politically charged work. “I have been fighting not only for my ideas but also to break this illusion that art to be art has to be useless, has to be apolitical.”

books November 30, 2019

Publisher and writer Hilary McPhee

Once a powerhouse of Australian publishing, Hilary McPhee traded the comfortable life she knew for a mysterious job with Middle Eastern royalty. In writing about this adventure and the collapse of her marriage to Don Watson in her new memoir, Other People’s Houses, she traces her strange journey back to herself. “I dreaded coming back to Australia because I left feeling I’d lost everything, I’d lost my marriage. We’d been together for more than 20 years, so it was quite a lot of life.”

film November 23, 2019

Actor Damon Herriman

A screen actor since he was 10 years old, Damon Herriman is all too aware of the precarities in his line of work. He speaks to Steve Dow about the ups and downs of his career and his new film, Judy and Punch. “It has a dark fairytale vibe. You can watch Judy and Punch as an allegory or a feminist revenge tale, or you could watch it as a really entertaining fairytale fable, or both.”

theatre November 16, 2019

Empires of the sons

Packer & Sons looks at the extremes of Australian masculinity through the lens of its two most successful media dynasties. “It would be impossible to stage Packer & Sons, a play about three generations of Packer power, without the Murdochs. The two competing families have brawled, collaborated and defined themselves against each other. The Murdochs are the Greeks to the Packers’ Roman gods.”

film November 9, 2019

An audience with Antonio Banderas

Drawing on his recent experience of a heart attack, as well as his decades-long friendship with director Pedro Almodóvar, Antonio Banderas has produced what may be his finest performance in Pain and Glory. “We hadn’t worked together in eight or nine years, but suddenly he calls me and says, ‘Hey, I’m gonna send you something. You’re going to find a lot of references to people that you and I know.’ And I received Pain and Glory. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it because he was there, it was such an opportunity. So, I went to him as a soldier, as a very, very plain soldier, ready to listen. Really listen.”