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culture November 17, 2018

Gillian Flynn’s dark inquiries

Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn developed a taste for the macabre at an early age, but she’s keen to dispel the myth that she is who she writes. She talks about her depictions of deeply disturbed and disturbing women and the release of her latest film project, Widows. “There’s a reason we’re fascinated with domestic-based murders. It allows us to talk about marriage and family and what goes on behind closed doors. It gives us a strange vocabulary and permission to talk about those things we wouldn’t otherwise.”

culture November 10, 2018

Hoda Afshar’s lens on Manus

Building on her earlier works essaying colonialism and her experience as an Iranian migrant to Australia, photographer Hoda Afshar turned to presenting the humanity of the men detained on Manus Island. “Photography has turned into this whole trend of empty landscapes – no sign of human presence whatsoever, just traces of human beings. Traces of a tyre on asphalt, rubbish, leftover food, signs that say there were people here, but no human presence. It shocks me. I think, yes, it’s important to acknowledge the history of photography, how image-making has abused and manipulated narratives. We have to acknowledge the relationship between image-making and power. But to dismantle it is not to completely avoid that dialogue.”

culture November 3, 2018

Nils Frahm’s melody makers

Nils Frahm brings a playfulness to his serious compositions for piano and electronics, which leaves audiences delighted as well as enraptured. He vividly remembers crying when listening to English jazz saxophonist John Surman’s 1987 album, Private City, which mixes synthesisers with improvised saxophone.“It’s overwhelmingly powerful, emotional music that made me feel things that I didn’t know were in me. And that’s a great discovery – when you realise that music is not just invoking emotions, but creating emotions.”

television October 27, 2018

‘Triple threat’ Maya Rudolph

Known for her masterful Saturday Night Live impersonations and starring role in the comedy hit film Bridesmaids, Maya Rudolph is now tackling the subject of married mundanity in the new series Forever. But while her own life is far from dull, her priorities for work and family remain very simple. “For me, when I became a mum, I changed, and my needs changed. I didn’t want to be away from my kids … If something I’m loathing is taking me away from my kids, then I shouldn’t be there.”

culture October 20, 2018

Caroline O’Connor’s high notes

She’s played everyone from Velma Kelly in Chicago to Judy Garland in The Boy from Oz, flawlessly channelling the great Piaf and Merman along the way. Now Caroline O’Connor takes the stage in her one-woman show, From Broadway with Love. For one night only, she’s looking forward to airing a repertoire of songs she knows as intimately as old friends. “I’m in love with this material; that’s why I’m doing it,” she says. “I’m just going to relax and enjoy the occasion.”

culture October 13, 2018

The key concepts of Ryuichi Sakamoto

Ryuichi Sakamoto is perhaps best known for his many film scores, including The Revenant, but the composer and keyboardist’s long career spans the synth pop of Yellow Magic Orchestra, pioneering electro-funk and subtly complex ambient music. “Making music for me is a chain reaction, always going towards something. Some ideas, a glimpse of something, a fragment of a memory that triggers more images. Your mother’s smell, a person from TV news. That kind of imaginative fantasy, that journey, is already very musical. So, I hope my music can trigger some kind of image series for the listener.”

culture October 6, 2018

The stocking truth of Polly Borland

Living in different places around the world has left artist Polly Borland feeling like an outsider with unwanted opinions, but she’s happy to let the subversion of her work speak for itself. “She grew up alone in this apartment with this doll,” Borland said of Dare Wright, creator of the Lonely Doll books. “Her mother would go out, leave her alone. Eventually she became a model and started taking photos. It’s no wonder I’m into dress-up. I get a lot from childhood. What might look childlike is not. There’s a sinister undertow to a lot of my imagery.”

dance September 29, 2018

Choreographer Liam Scarlett

Choreographer Liam Scarlett, a former dancer with the Royal Ballet whose Midsummer Night’s Dream will soon tour China, seems destined to join the ranks of the all-time greats. “With every premiere you sit back and watch it for what it is. You think I could tweak this or I could tweak that. But I was happy with it, it was such a relief when it was over but it’s probably the thing I’ve done which I felt most proud of.”

film September 22, 2018

‘Dark Tourist’ documentary-maker David Farrier

Where once he was Tickled, New Zealand documentary-maker David Farrier has most recently devoted himself to visiting ghoulish sites of so-called ‘dark tourism’. Here, he talks about murky ethics, Kiwi sensibilities and the pressure to react the ‘right’ way. “There’s one point where I’ve got a gun to my head and I laugh, because I’m sort of nervous. “Some people will say to me that it was really inappropriate to laugh at that point … [But] that’s what happened. It’s uncomfortable laughter. We wanted to leave all that in.”

culture September 15, 2018

Zoë Coombs Marr and her stand-in stand-up Dave

Comedian Zoë Coombs Marr created her male alter-ego Dave in order to critique the sexist culture of the stand-up scene, and it has taken years for her to feel ready to take the stage as herself again. “I never made Dave with the intention of being cruel or laughing at people, or going, ‘That guy sucks.’ ”

dance September 1, 2018

Bangarra’s Stephen Page on the language of dance

Stephen Page has known acclaim and accolades as head of Bangarra Dance Theatre. Off stage he’s had more than his fair share of personal tragedy. Here, he talks to about family, his latest show, Dark Emu, and the power of language to change Australia. “Through this symbolism of visual art and story, under that came this kinship idea of connection to land, people and story. That’s why lore and customs exist.”