ARTS AND CULTURE


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Changed by faith in a miraculous child

05 May 2016 | Tim Kroenert

Despite its epic scope it is also deeply intimate and, dare I say, spiritual. Roy regards his son with a mixture of stern, protective love, and helpless wonder. They are joined in their quest by Roy's childhood friend Lucas, a state trooper converted to Alton's cause after literally seeing the light in his eyes. Also by Alton's mother, Sarah, who of all the cohort has the most direct experience of the 'sense of awe' that ultimately unfolds from the 'mystery' of Alton's story.


No life without if

6 Comments
02 May 2016 | Yuan Changming

Stylised letter YNo belief without a lie. No business without sin. No character without an act. No coffee without a fee. No courage without rage. No culture without a cult. No entrance without a trance. No epicenter without an epic. No Europe without a rope. No freedom without a reed. No friendship without an end. No fundamentalism without mental fun.


Domestic violence is more than an attitude problem

4 Comments
26 April 2016 | Kristin Natalier

Still from anti DV adThe federal government's new ad aims to 'stop violence from the start'. It sends a strong message that violence is never acceptable. But it firmly positions domestic violence as a problem of individual attitudes of perpetrators, not the social and economic vulnerability of victims. Envisaging an end of domestic violence achieved through 'starting conversations about respect with boys and girls' sidesteps the need for the material resources necessary to stop violence when it happens.


No wonder the warrior-dead still weep

1 Comment
26 April 2016 | Peter Gebhardt

Military hat and poppiesThe children are in the park today, running, skipping and laughing. They slide down the cannon, polishing the past with freshly-pressed pants, a mother's delight. 'Always tell the truth,' the mother says, 'If you lie, you'll burn.' ... The day is closing, patient and gentle in its suffering, but the great lies will not lie down. Lies breed lies like flies on dead sheep and the masquerade of maggots makes its creep.


When parents play favourites

5 Comments
21 April 2016 | Jen Vuk

Jen and childrenAs a parent you learn to shore yourself against those uncomfortable questions from your offspring, but not all uncomfortable questions are created equally, and right up there with 'Mummy, where did I come from?' is the question: 'Am I your favourite?' Last week, US research published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that 70 per cent of mothers admitted to favouring one child over another. Whatever my usual protestations, do I do this too? Unfortunately, sometimes, I think I do.


Sad story of a tragic opera wannabe

3 Comments
20 April 2016 | Tim Kroenert

Socialite and amateur operatic soprano Marguerite cuts an intriguing and tragic figure, devoted to her craft but oblivious to her lack of talent. Yet the joy she gains from believing she is a great singer doesn't depend on the reality or otherwise of that belief. Is it right or wrong for those who care for her to allow her to continue in her delusion? The question echoes the concept of a life-lie, invoked by Henrik Ibsen to argue that human beings are sometimes better off living in at least partial ignorance of reality.


Making a meal of the body politic

1 Comment
19 April 2016 | Barry Gittins

Man in suit salts soupWhen you make a meal of body politic you've got to crack the whole thing open, season to taste with bestrewn flakes of policy offal and prejudged bakes ... serve offshore detention? Just add water, salt to taste and erase border. Grind those grubby unions, peel any sign of party donations and extractions from sorbeted cosseted carapaces. Stop the gloats, straighten up and get flyers Right ... Serve pre-heated post May's entree of budget salad.


Singing and subverting White American history

1 Comment
13 April 2016 | Tim Kroenert

Lin-Manuel Miranda in HamiltonThe show's implicit subversiveness runs deep. It is embodied in the fact that its cast consists of mostly Black and Latino performers portraying White characters, using a vernacular and musical styles popularly associated with these cultural groups. It thus stands as a riposte to the history of black/brownface and whitewashing in popular entertainment. Crucially, in a show about 'founding fathers', it is the story's women who not only provide its emotional core but are also the most fundamentally heroic.


The tyranny of the clock

3 Comments
12 April 2016 | Darby Hudson

Spiral clockThinking my jadedness of the nine-to-five was vindicated, I crossed the road at lunchtime where this tow-truck was waiting its turn at the lights. The trucker had 'Born on the Bayou' by Credence blasting through open windows. Thought he had an amazing sound system. Then realised he had a drum-kit set up on his dash and was going for it with his sticks in time to the tune. He made his day job look easy — and all of a sudden I felt like a small little angry man. He made my week.


Icelandic farmers like rams to the slaughter

06 April 2016 | Tim Kroenert

When a remote valley in the north of Iceland is struck by an outbreak of scrapie - a fatal, degenerative disease that affects sheep - Gummi, Kiddi and their farmer neighbours must face the prospect of conducting a mass slaughter. This is very much a communal crisis, and a consideration of the socioeconomic hardships of traditional Icelandic sheep farmers in modern times. But it's also a teasing-out on the personal level of Gummi and Kiddi's emotional and practical responses to this turn of events.


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