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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.”

television August 25, 2018

The many sides of Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard burst onto the comedy scene in make-up and heels, later proving his chops as a dramatic actor. On the eve of the release of The Flip Side, set in South Australia, he talks about taking risks, being gender queer and his newest passion – running for British parliament. “I want people, moderate people like me, to get politicised, because it’s going to get rough and we’d better work out how we’re going to make it work. It’s up to us.”

art August 18, 2018

Artist Sun Xun on truth and meaning

The work of Chinese artist Sun Xun explores concepts of time and space, truth and lies – always searching for answers. As the first solo exhibition of his work in Australia opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, he talks about the role of the artist. “We live in a lie, in a big lie system. People should jump out from the lie circle and touch the world. It is the modern world’s problem. Where is the truth? I don’t know. In my art, I want to make people think: ‘Don’t believe our world – it is a big lie.’ I am trying to open the door for people.”

film August 11, 2018

Danny Glover on acting and activism

Actor Danny Glover is probably best known for his on-screen roles spanning nearly 40 years, but his appearance in Australia to address a trade union conference comes after a lifelong commitment to civil rights and labour activism. “I was invited here again, by First Nations people, 22 years ago. I went to visit men who were incarcerated and, like in my own country, they were disproportionately people of colour. Then I knew a little bit more about Australia.”

theatre August 4, 2018

Christie Whelan Browne’s theatrical life

Actress-singer Christie Whelan Browne catapulted to the attention of theatregoers at a young age, untrained but bursting with talent. Here, she talks about fate, timing and discovering a love of musical theatre. “I was the clown, I really made people laugh. Boys told me I was ugly … I used comedy to fit in.”

film July 28, 2018

Director Thomas M. Wright and ‘Acute Misfortune’

On the eve of the release of his directorial debut, Acute Misfortune, adapted from Erik Jensen’s book about artist Adam Cullen, Thomas M. Wright talks about how his reaction to Cullen turned from revulsion to deciding he was the perfect subject. “Adam seemed to stand for so many things that I just can’t. And I think, particularly, cloaking that behaviour and those attitudes behind a veil of art is just fucked.”

film July 21, 2018

Why Spike Lee’s laughing at the Ku Klux Klan

Spike Lee’s new film BlacKkKlansman tells a true story of an African–American policeman infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan. Its themes of blaxploitation, racism and oppression, says the filmmaker, perfectly reflect the political climate we live in now. “When Kevin [Willmott, the film’s co-writer] and I came on board, our No. 1 concern, as storytellers, was to connect this period piece to present day. We had to con-nect. So, we did our research.”

film July 7, 2018

Gary Oldman on fame and his most famous roles

He trained for a career in British theatre, but Gary Oldman has since appeared in some of Hollywood’s top-grossing film franchises and played some of history’s most famous men. Here, the Oscar winner opens up about learning his craft and the value of insecurity. “It would be a sad day to really be able to sit there and watch yourself and go, ‘Wow, I’m fantastic in this.’ You should always be questioning and pushing yourself, and having doubt and insecurity is a good thing, but it can’t immobilise you.”

art June 30, 2018

Artist Yvette Coppersmith on the meaning of self-portraiture

Archibald Prize-winning artist Yvette Coppersmith’s principal subject is herself, in works created with little concession to how they might be perceived by others. “To make a work without an awareness of an audience is virtually impossible, even though I began doing portraits or drawings of faces to hang in my childhood room, and that’s probably what I still want to do. It’s a very private process. It’s really private, actually. It’s only the fact that you’re an artist and part of your role is to share your work.”

books June 23, 2018

‘From the Wreck’ author Jane Rawson

Combining a real-life shipwreck and an alien octopus doesn’t seem an obvious way to explore the impact of mankind on the environment, but, for author Jane Rawson, the message in From the Wreck couldn’t be more imperative. “We’re very keen to look elsewhere and say, ‘Oh, this is terrible in developing countries’ … We seem to be blissfully unaware that some of the worst deforestation in the world is happening in Australia … We have one of the worst extinction records in the world.”