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Friday, January 23, 2009

The "Me" In Melbourne

I'm writing this entry from an internet place on Elizabeth Street in Melbourne, where two seats away from me, some weird overweight guy is watching porn. Decorum, dude. Seriously. There are dozens of peep shows and private booths on this street you could be at - I think I even saw a sign for a place for internet porn viewing called "The RAM Lounge".
Nice porn pun.
A pornpun.
A porun.
Stop James.

Hehehe... RAM...

Anyways.

I'm in Melbourne for a few days. And just thought I'd share a bit of my trip.

Wednesday - woke up at 2:15AM for Barack Obama's inauguration. Loved the Dr. Strangelove references about Cheney in his wheelchair. Aretha Franklin was great but not the powerhouse performer she usually is. Maybe it was the cold. The stumble was akin to the Olympic torch stuffup at the Sydney Olympics. The world held its breath, but in the end was okay. I thought it was a beautiful moment. Obama knew something was wrong. He's smart. It felt like a beautiful metaphor for the overall picture - after years of president who's terrible at speaking in public and made some pretty bad calls, this is a guy who's smart and on the ball. It was a relieving moment.

So I didn't go back to bed after that - I stayed up and watched the sun rise. We left the house at 5 to get on a 7AM flight, landed in Melbourne about 10AM. Our apartment was in South Yarra - excellent location for public transport because it was very close to Toorak Road and the South Yarra train station (which has a tram stop right in front of it).

We all split up for the next few days because I'd done the tourist thing of Melbourne already - I just did my own thing.

During the day, I checked out the Australian Centre for Moving Images' exhibition called "Setting The Scene" - a German-originated exhibition that was added to by the Centre about art direction in movies. Some cool exhibits that give a bit of insight into the choices made by the production designers of loads of movies including Metropolis, The Shining, The Matrix, Dogville, Dark City, The Terminal... the centrepiece of which was Baz Luhrmann's Australia. They had the living room of Faraway Downs recreated, a whole load of diaramas, schematics, blueprints, productino photographs, and a theatre where the movie itself was playing.

Wednesday night, we went to the Regent to see Wicked. Great production values - you could see why it costs $110 a ticket. We got a performance with understudies for Elphaba, Fiyero and Boq (no Millsy or Anthony Callea! :( ) and Lucy Durack (who plays Galinda/Glinda) had to pull out at interval. So we ended up with FOUR understudies. Oh well. It was still very good. Patrice (who played Elphaba) was excellent.

There was some promotion where you could get some Wicked stuff sent to your phone but I couldn't get the goshdamn bluetooth on my phone to work. So I missed out.

Thursday morning - we all slept in till 10:30. We were all awoken by a guy with a chainsaw next door hacking down a tree. Thanks man.

Spent the day looking around the shops again. Met Daniel (Pizzato) for dinner - a Chinese restaurant which serves its food in quite sizeable portions but for very cheaply. Very good.

On a whim, I took my brother to see Shane Warne The Musical at the Athenium (directly opposite The Regent where Wicked was playing). It was pretty damn good - a lot of the same crew as Keating! The Musical, and some very good songs and performances. It's not as controversial or defamatory as it could have been - there's nothing in it that isn't already public knowledge about Shane Warne. If anything, it still paints him as a loveable hero. A flawed loveable hero. Eddie Perfect is fantastic - he wrote and composed the whole show, and there's some very good songs - and Rosemarie Harris is excellent as Simone Warne.

In the interval, I walked over to the Regent to try and get that Wicked stuff on my phone again. I failed again.

Today we did the Australian Open. Mum and Harry (my brother) already went on Wednesday to Rod Laver to see my mum's celebrity crush Roger Federer. Since he did not come with us to dinner on Wednesday, I will assume he was just too far away from her to hear the invite.

I spent about two sets in Rod Laver Arena watching Delic v Djokovich. We had pretty good seats considering the seats across the aisle were corporate seats paid for by Australia Post. Since nobody was there at the start of the match, Dad pinched one of the thick tournament programs worth $15 sitting there.

The feisty Serbian contingent in the crowd had a chant for Novak (Djokovich) that sounded eerily like 'Nicorette! Nicorette! You can beat the cigarette!" Lazy. I just saw an episode of Malcolm In The Middle where Malcolm spends two days writing a beautiful love song only to realize he's ripped off the Meow Mix jingle (I love chicken, I love liver, Meow Mix, Meow Mix please deliver.) This is what I thought of immediately.

I noticed there were five ball boys - well, ball people, I suppose.
Including one ball lady.
I'm sure I saw a thong poking out the top of the back of her pants as she leaned forward in anticipation of chasing a stray fuzzy yellow tennis sphere.

Five ball people at one end seemed excessive. Three is a good number. Not five.

I casually asked Mum who ended up winning the Brisbane International. She mumbled something with food in her mouth.
"furdutchshto..."
"The Dutch Star?" I asked.
"furdatchko..."
"The Death Star?" "Wha?" she garbled, swallowing her last bite.
"The Death Star won the Brisbane International? That's what you said."
"No."
"I didn't think so."
"Fernando Verdasco won."
"Right... don't know him anyway."

When I gave my seat over to Emily (my sister), I went over to Show Court 3 where the Williams sisters were playing, but the crowd of people, the heat and the hostility that is the result of the combination of these two elements made want to seek shadier places. I went back to the city to have another look around the shops and write all this in a blog before I forgot.

And that's pretty much my life up to this moment.

Flying home tomorrow evening into a storm and backed up videos to make.

The saga continues.

Love from South Yarra,

James

P.S. With the Oscar nominations announced last night, the Houston Press linked to my Crash/Avenue Q mashup in a blog post about undeserving Best Picture winners. Cheers. :D

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