Wednesday, October 3, 2012

This Is Not Art is over. for 2012.

Another Labour Day long weekend has come and gone and with it Australia's leading emerging and experimental arts festival, This Is Not Art (TINA). and were TINA a person, they'd be intellectual, irreverent, inspiring, bright, sunny, humid, intoxicating and alarming thinner than before.

2010 was my favourite of the TINAs i have attended, even though the year before the Tragic Troubadours were in the program. Since 2010, the program has grabbed less of my attention, and less of my heart. The change has come due to funding changes, no doubt, and two of the five constituent festivals have splintered off (the People's Popular Front of Judea - SPLITTERS!).  you can measure the decline in the number of aisles of tables at the traditional Sunday Zine Fair, dropping from four in 2010 to two in 2012.  The budget cuts, or the loss of Sound Summit, robbed the Zine Fair of live music and forced the music-thirsty zinesters to overlook the blues guitarist thrashing away outside the Odditorium from the King Street Carpark's Fence.

The cuts in 2011 had forced the TINA Festival Clubhouse to move from its location on church street and into the Great Northern Hotel,  which previously had formed a venue in its own right. This de-centralised the festival, making a lazy person like me less likely to attend events on the western side of the city.

TINA's not the only thing to have changed in those four years, I'm older, less employed, more emergent. I'm no longer single, a little more sane and not so focused on being entertained as being educated, and here TINA shines.

TINA may have lost me from its twirling majorette of experimental theater, new musical sounds or cutting edge digital arts but it has caught me in it's cerebral net woven from panels, talks and reviews. I'm speaking about two of the remaining festivals, Critical Animals and National Young Writers Festival.

From the Critical Animals i listened to great talks such as Eva Bujalka's talk on George Bataille and how his references sublimates his writing from pornography to literature or the panels at the NYWF which featured successful writers like the panel on biography when young (Ben law, Marieke Hardy, Micheala Maguire) or translating cultures through poetry with Stuart Cooke and Eileen Chong.

These events (and not limited to just those mentioned, mind you) were gold.  Even better, the events were often podcasted, and are available here. if you are an artsy person, or on the periphery, and are thinking about funding, listen to the podcast "Who's getting Grants (and how)?".  Thats the sort of bread-and-butter knowledge writers, musicians, visual artists, artistic collectives need. AND ITS FREE!.
superfluous full stop for emphasis.

TINA 2012 had a lacing of JC in it too. Each year I have gone I have found a way to get some of my poems heard. 2009 was with the troubadours, 2010 i wrote and performed Human Caviar at the "Non-erotic Erotica", 2011 i wrote and performed My Breakfast Had A Face for "Oh Nigella, We Love Thee".

"I was a sol-ja, a revolutionary..."

My Breakfast Had A Face was served up again on thursday night's World Hurl Anti Slam, a slam without scores, with 2 awesome feature acts, and where i was selected by the feature judge to have performed the best on a night where the competition was so strong!

That crowd darkly in my mind.

The two feature acts were Vincent Gates and Amelia Walker, the latter donating her latest book Sound and Bundy* as first (and only) prize.

* Sound and Bundy has been a corker so far, inspired by the Ern Malley affair, 3 made up poets invent another poet. A surreal blurring of verse novel and a (or several) poetic anthology. Fabulous!

Following World Hurl, I had a weekend of booze related brain damage, and mental stimulation. I began to realise that TINA wasnt a remnant of past glories, but vibrant, and interesting. That maybe it was me that had grown stolid, phlegmatic and interacted with the festival in a way that made it seem like Critical Animals and NYWF had subsumed all other avenues of interest, and then limped on like cephalopagic twin.

Perhaps what was missing from this TINA was more JC? I attended the World Hurl on the thursday night and felt like I had achieved everything I came to do. Next year, i'd want to be more involved.
I left Newcastle feeling creatively recharged, inspired.

TINA 2013, Sharpen your pitchforks, I'm coming.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Success with Poetry In Motion

National Poetry Week 2012 featured what regular readers would know as the Poetry Train,  An event coordinated by Fiona McIlroy, a Cafe Poet, between CountryLink Rail and Australian Poetry Limited.

20 Canberran poets boarded and frenetically scribbled poetry as the train chugged towards Sydney. these poems were read on the hour to the poets and passengers who shared the journey. This were then read at Sydney's Central Station, and Australian Poetry had organised another reading at the NSW State Library and we formed the heart of a special slam at the Friend In Hand pub in Glebe.

The poems were collected to be published within a chapbook, and each was entered into the Countrylink Poetry Prize.

My poem, 'Upon Looking Back' was chosen by noted poet Charlotte Clutterbuck to be the recipient of the Countrylink Poetry Prize.

You can read the AP Poetry In Motion article here.

Upon Looking Back

I sat backwards as the train took off
it felt like
coming home/not leaving

the trees moved backward
the clouds rolled backward
rushing towards Canberra
not Sydney

The passengers looked forward to what was ahead
I mulled the past

The sign:

What else moved in reverse?

I thought perhaps/that just maybe/possibly/seems weird

But I was travelling backwards
through time?

things seemed less

strange and older.

I had no watch to test the theory

No. No I was not.

just the next stop was