Posts Tagged ‘music


Caxton Street Seafood Wine and Music Festival


Caxton Street Seafood Wine and Music Festival

Caxton Street, Paddington

Sunday May 5th 2013


Jennifer Johnston

Paniyiri 2013

Did you miss the Caxton Seafood Wine and Music Festival?

Don’t worry, Australia’s largest cultural festival is coming up!

Don’t miss PANIYIRI! OPA!


In case you didn’t make it to Caxton Street on Sunday, here’s Jennifer’s write-up of the day.


Billed as one of Australia’s biggest street parties, The Caxton Seafood and Wine Festival 2013, thanks to reasonably good weather and a barrage of publicity, drew a large crowd keen to sample seafood delights and enjoy some wine whilst being entertained by an interesting array of top musical artists throughout the day and into the evening.


At 11am on Sunday, the enticing smell of freshly cooking seafood already wafted up and down the cordoned off Caxton Street. The local restaurants offered an array of delicious options, with many set up on the shop fronts, providing street-style eating experiences for diners willing to part with some cash. There were prawns on skewers, bain-maries filled with fish and rice combinations, massive pans filled with seafood paella, and for those wanting to deviate from the seafood, German Wurst hot dogs. One fridge featured pre-made seafood pizzas, ready to be to be dished out hot on cardboard slabs.


Image by Jennifer Johnston

As official sponsors of the event, local winery Sirromet held the monopoly on the vino. The Caxton Hotel were selling alternative alcoholic choices.  I am not sure why the staff there were decked out Hawaiian style (well, the females were!). It must be a pre-requisite to be as close to 18 years old as possible to work at these places. Maybe the young ones are better equipped, with greater tolerance levels, for the scenes that are bound to unravel in the evenings…or maybe their lower pay rates allows management to hire so many of them?


A wander up and down Caxton Street allowed time to really look at the surrounds – there are still a few older style buildings and some interesting architecture. It’s a shame, but the unique character of the place is not something you would necessarily observe as you drive through the area, or when frequenting the clubs, bars and restaurants in this busy inner-city pocket.


I am not sure what the local residents make of the street closures. Caxton Street was blocked off the night before and only re-opened at midnight on Sunday. Judging by the revelry when we left at 7pm the residents would have the right to demand compensation for the disruption to their inner city living. Maybe the residents have been paid to leave for the weekend! At least two houses at the Petrie Terrace end showed  no signs of life.


The weather remained friendly – there was a moment when rain looked imminent – but  the official opening by Lord Mayor Graham Quirk was (maybe) enough to scare those rain clouds away!


At the Petrie Terrace end, the first act started at 12.20pm. James Johnston and Matthew Graham opened the afternoon and set the scene with a few relaxing songs. Relative newcomers to the music scene, this duo had a number of eager listeners and local fans gather to hear their acoustic guitars and pleasant harmonies.


Mr Cassidy changed the pace with their bluesy country sound. Danni Carr (vocals/banjo) and Emile Owen (vocals/mandolin/violin) injected  a folksy feel into the festival. Joined by Emile’s husband, Scott Owen (Living End), on double bass and vocals and Fingers Malone on drums, the crowd was treated to some entertaining sounds.


When Danni’s husband, Ash Grunwald, joined them for the final song (Mountain Side) the finale turned into a family fun day, with the couple’s kids up on stage happily dancing along. We saw Ash’s laid back parenting style in action as he confidently played the banjo with their youngest slept in a baby pouch against his chest.


The area began to fill as Melbourne based band, Taxiride, hit the stage with their opening track Get Set. The mood remained mellow and relaxed until lead singer Jason Singh managed to raise the audience off the bitumen with their final iconic song Creepin’ up Slowly.


Image by Jennifer Johnston

A diverse crowd gathered for 80’s band Mental As Anything. Greedy Smith (keyboard and vocals) literally assaulted the senses with a screaming introduction to the afternoon. The sound quality of his mic was questionable. Opening with Too Many Times, I began to wonder if Greedy had passed his use-by-date. But you can’t deny the man’s energy, antics and his banter (the same satirical take on the world as he introduced each song…if you could understand it!). As he sipped on his mug of tea throughout the show (declaring that it was indeed, only herbal tea), he gave the Caxton Street crowd a clown-like performance. Literally, dressed in the typical attire of a circus clown; a striped red and white t-shirt, round John Lennon glasses perched and sporting grey, flowing locks pinned un-expertly off his face with a young girl’s clip. Despite his dishevelled appearance,  his unpredictable and slightly warped antics managed to rev up the crowd! Finally they were all up and dancing.


Martin Plaza. Image by Jennifer Johnston

Martin Plaza was unfailingly stoic on vocals and guitar (If you leave me, can I come too?). The crowd forgave Greedy and his increasingly tea-stained shirt as they enjoyed an entertaining version of (Just like) Romeo and Juliet. When attending a LIVE performance of this much loved Aussie band from the 80s, maybe it’s better to close your eyes to the visible signs of ageing and simply listen to their sound, which still manages to pump the crowd.


The years seem to have been kinder to the Choirboys. Their lead singer, Mark Gable, has certainly aged more gracefully. After the Mental’s Greedy Smith’s screaming (unintelligible) comments between each song, their appearance on stage was a welcome relief. Another iconic Aussie band from the 80’s, the Choirboys got the crowd dancing and singing along to Run to Paradise and Never Gonna Die.



The Choirboys were the highlight of my night and we figured it was timely to leave on a good note. We made the slow departure north up Caxton Street, past the partying crowd and the more animated festival goers. The seafood stalls had slowed in trade, but the empty bottles and drink vessels were multiplying. As the revellers kicked on, you couldn’t help but think there would be a few sick days called in on Monday morning.


So why not run the Festival on a Saturday next year? It makes no difference to the residents in the area; it’s yet another night to listen to the sweet festival sounds. But regardless of the dedicated day, fun comes at a price. Think of the logistics. As well as a few sore heads around the place, it’s a big clean-up the next day! Spare a thought for the locals with wheelie bins filled to overflowing with seafood remnants sitting outside their place and rotting in the sun. At least the seagulls will have been happy.



Catharsis – premieres in Noosa tonight!


U.S. based team brings international artists, three artistic mediums and a local cause together for one night only

Catharsis Synopsis

Los Angeles based production team Jeremy Culver (writer/director) and Charleene Closshey (composer/actress), along with acclaimed portrait artist, Jeffry Feeger will bring the world premiere of a new stage play, Catharsis, to The J Theatre Noosa tonight, Friday 10 August, 2012.

Listen HERE

The Catharsis concept combines drama, music and live painting on stage with each show featuring a unique, local subject angle. After the Noosa show, Catharsis will tour the world with shows planned for New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles and London in 2013. Whilst scripted, due to the unique subject matter in each location no two shows will ever be the same.

“Catharsis fuses the storytelling mediums of film and music with the romance of live portrait painting and drama, and then combines this with a philanthropic aspect to form a traditional theatre experience, said Jeremy.

“Our goal with each show is obviously for the audience to be entertained, but also to have some sort of cathartic experience, which is really the aim of all drama.”

Catharsis Moy Sweetman

Moy Sweetman, Founder of Frangipani Dreams

The inspiration for Noosa’s Catharsis will be the story of local charity founder, Moy Sweetman of Frangipani Dreams. The actors and audience will first ‘meet’ Moy on stage and hear her story via pre-recorded video interviews and audio clips. The narrative will then be integrated into the drama informing the nature of the acting and music. Simultaneously, Sweetman’s image will be painted live on stage by artist, Jeffry Feeger. The painting will be made available for sale at a future date.

Charleene, Jeremy and Jeffry first workshopped the concept of the show last year in California. They decided to premiere the show in Noosa due to the region’s well established reputation as a town both familiar and appreciative of the arts and because of the team’s personal connection with Moy – whom they met through local producer, Rae Smart.

“The unique format of Catharsis means that the audience’s money is retained by the local community and will be used for a greater purpose long after our show leaves town, Charleene said.

“We’ve heard so many wonderful things about Noosa including the community’s love of the arts and its generosity toward local causes.”


* Drama, music and live painting on stage

* Friday, 10 August 2012

* Play: 8:00PM – 10:PM (with intermission)

* After show soiree. Meet the actors and artist and viewing of Jeffry’s painting. Entertainment by Aussie-Swedish independent duo ‘Nick and Liesl’. Drinks available for purchase.

* The J Theatre * Tickets: $30. Net proceeds of ticket sales and the sale of the painting will be donated directly back to Frangipani Dreams.

* For more information visit

Charlene Closshey

Charleene Closshey

Charleene Closshey (SAG/AEA/BMI) is a performing artist in the truest sense of the word – a classically trained composer, violinist and vocalist, a stage and screen actor, and music and stage producer with training from Juilliard, NYU, and Circle in the Square. Recent screen credits include feature film “A Thousand Cuts”, television pilot “Terminal Kill”, and art film “Walking with Francis”. Stage credits include the original Los Angeles productions of “A War Cycle: Wounded” and “Sherwood Forrest” (world premiere), with lead roles in U.S. productions of “The Wild Party”, “Nine”, “Hair” and “Jekyll & Hyde”. A classically trained violinist, Charleene fuses jazz, rock, pop, blues, and swinging fiddle, sharing the stage with artists including Josh Groban, Charlie Daniels, Frank Sinatra, Jr., and the TransSiberian Orchestra. As a vocalist, Charleene has performed with Operafestival di Roma in Rome, Italy. Various albums available on and Amazon.

AJ Meijer

AJ Meijer

AJ Meijer (SAG/AEA) co-founded the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble and was seen most recently in their productions of “The War Cycle: Wounded”, “The War Cycle: Nation of Two”, and “The War Cycle: Gospel According to First Squad”, for which he was nominated for an Ovation Award. Regionally, he last appeared as Lennie in “Of Mice and Men” at TheatreWorks, Silicon Valley. He has performed at the Ahmanson Theatre (LA) and spent four seasons performing at the Getty (LA), where he worked with the National Theatre of Greece in “Swallow Song” and created the role of Bigbuxo in the hilarious original musical “Tug of War”. AJ earned his theatre degree from the UCLA School of Theatre, Film, and Television. He also co-hosts a weekly, industry-focused podcast called Inside Acting

Jeffry Feeger

Jeffry Feeger

JEFFRY FEEGER – The Painter About Jeffry Feeger: Jeffry is one of the most exciting young contemporary visual artists to emerge from the Pacific region. From Papua New Guinea and largely self-taught, his work in realism has been met with high critical acclaim and has been seen all over the world, including galleries in China, UK, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. As a skilled live performance painter, he is the reigning champion of the Shanghai Artist Battle 2010, a live performance competition including artists from all over the globe. He’s recently taken his exciting brand of live painting into various public spaces, performing in front of Sydney’s iconic Opera House and at the UN Women’s Exhibit during the Pacific Art Festival in Honiara, July 2012. An inspirational young figure for people in his country, Jeffry routinely collaborates with performers from a variety of unique backgrounds to share the stories he finds passionate. Jeffry’s art is sold worldwide.

Jeremy Culver


Jeremy Culver is a Los Angeles-based writer and director known for delving into topics surrounding Truth and Love in environments of change, blending multimedia mediums to explore life’s mythical stories. His most recently completed art film, Walking with Francis, supposes the last days of St. Francis of Assisi, and has already received critical acclaim with Italian audiences. Currently in production is the documentary, Radical Kindness (featuring Martin Sheen), chronicling the life of Monsignor John Sheridan. Concurrently in pre-production is the feature film Evergreen, a romantic comedy about a musician who returns home to life on the Christmas tree farm and finds her true voice (from the Producers of Hit and Run in theatres August 2012), shooting January 2013.

Jeffry Catharsis

Charleene Jeffry Catharsis

Frangipani Dreams


The Flying Orchestra

Out of the Box

The Flying Orchestra

QPAC Lyric Theatre

13th – 17th June 2012

Reviewed by Meredith McLean

I had no idea what to expect when seeing The Flying Orchestra as part of the Out of the Box Festival For Children at QPAC. Was it puppetry with an orchestra aside in the pit? Was it going to be some sort of multimedia performance? I found my seat and admittedly felt a little lost in the sea of small, excited children. But by the time The Flying Orchestra had finished I was genuinely sad for the show to be ending.

The orchestra makes us sing, they make us clap. They take us on journeys in the dark or holidays to the beach. No matter what your age there is no accounting for how fun it is to punch a giant beach ball bouncing along the crowd.

Everyone, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this, literally everyone has asked me, “Do they actually fly?” or my favourite, “How do you dangle a double bass on a wire?” Alas, no aerodynamics are involved. However, the stage is so intuitively set that you feel they really are highflying it around the ceilings of the Lyric Theatre.

Unfortunately in these sorts of situations you have to prepare yourself for the crying child sitting in the row behind and the poor, embarrassed mother trying to calm it down. Nonetheless the music composed by Musical Director, Chong Lim, is played so beautifully and amplified so wonderfully in the Lyric Theatre that the nondescript infant’s wails are all but drowned out.

Chong Lim is one of Australia’s most respected Music Directors. He has written compositions for famous shows we all love like Dancing with the Stars as well as prestigious endeavours like the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Lim’s vision was to “present our young audience (and accompanying adults!), the magic of music and its ability to paint many emotional pictures”. After seeing the production this ideal is superbly achieved. Music has always had an effect on people and when you see the show you’ll grow attached to the musicians too. You begin to feel like were all friends being brushed along the breeze with them. The kids especially will burst out in a fit of giggles as they bumble about trying to help anyone they encounter.

All of this would never have happened if not for the inspiration of Clare McFadden’s book. The story is so enchanting it’s a no brainer that the story so easily lifted from page to stage. The puppets in the show are all remodelled after her own illustrations. The love in her story isn’t a flash in the pan either. She has been involved in helping the community and inspiring art in young children. Her drive to inspire our kids to love, laugh and create is pulsing through this production.

This show made me feel like there is a Flying Orchestra out there in the sky. Very soon making their way to Brisbane. Then maybe Dane Alexander’s percussion and antics could make me laugh or Liz Young’s beautiful violin could make me feel safe. Leo McFadden’s guitar and encouragements did in fact make me sing along. I only wish the Flying Orchestra could swing by Brisbane on a winter breeze and perhaps play an upbeat, orchestral take of Eye of the Tiger so I could find some scrap of motivation to study.

Regardless of whether or not there is a Flying Orchestra out there the musicians were certainly as real as you or me. You and your children are being treated to some incredibly talented people. These are no buskers that QPAC has picked up off the corner of Edward Street. Luke Carbon on clarinet and saxophone and Wayne Jennings on cello dazzle us all the while looking like they’re having the time of their lives. It is one thing to play as beautifully as the five musicians on stage have. But it is another thing entirely to play while dancing on stage, running to and fro and even engaging the audience to sing along.

Commanding this wonderful show is director, Peter Wilson. His contributions to puppetry have spanned over the last four decades. His dedication to each detail, each movement and every child’s laugh beats through those on stage. Especially puppeteer Tak Hoyoung’s acrobatics of which will have your child gasping and clapping.

Not one person I could see in the rows of seats around me was silent. Everyone was singing or clapping, mothers were sighing at the tender moments and children were bouncing in their seats laughing at the silly moments. I would see The Flying Orchestra again in a heartbeat. There is no question that this is a must see with your family.

Final 4 shows today and tomorrow at 10am and 12:30pm. Book online.