It's been 8 months since we moved away, away, and oh, so far. I miss my community, my home so much. I miss you all, and I wonder how people do this, how they leave a whole adult life for somewhere else.
In the last couple weeks, I feel like I haven't been up to very much...or maybe I just don't feel like it's worth writing about. But I managed to dig up a few interesting bits for ya--
A few weeks ago, the Sydney Theatre Company put together a tribute to Harold Pinter; Cate Blanchett and a few other brilliant actors conducted live readings from his oeuvre. It was a wonderful afternoon; we got to see Cate Blanchett in all her vibrant glory on a small stage, with an audience of about 800 people. We were inspired to read more Harold Pinter, we decided we should give theatre another chance, and we felt so damn cultured. Well, as cultured as you can feel after you waited about 2 hours in a very long line to get into a free event.
Last weekend, Craig and I went to Tropfest with a bunch of international students from UNSW. Craig managed to get a gig as an International Student Services mentor, and I just found out today he's been offered two other part-time jobs at school, too! Watch out for news of his first refereed conference coming up soon–Academia Australiana is about to be shaken up by a punk rockin' ginger.
Tropfest is the world's largest short film festival; it started at the Tropicana cafe, which is somewhere in Brisbane (pronounced "briz´bun"), and ended up taking place in Sydney, getting broadcast to all of Australia, and has just begun a spin-off festival in New York. It's outdoors, it's free, and it's very corporate. Since it was our first year in Sydney, we figured it was worth a shot. All my previous experiences with outdoor film in Atlanta were awful; people drunk and loud, not watching the movie and making it impossible for me to watch the movie. Tropfest, on the other hand, was lovely. You could hear every word, every sigh, every intake of breath. You could hear people listening. It was a nice night, and some of the movies were even pretty good. You can watch the 16 finalists for Tropfest 09 here.
An interesting thing about Sydney is how much illegal underground stuff goes on here; on the same night as Tropfest, a collective known as SquatSpace held their own film festival; they set up a projection system illegally, in some abandoned warehouse or forgotten space, and they show DIY films made by directors who aren't looking to be accepted by the mainstream. It's seriously illegal, too; they couldn't release the location until the day of the event, and even then only through SMS, to keep the cops from shutting it down before it got started. The amazing thing is that even though it's an illegal festival, put together by a bunch of anti-establishment artists and rent-defaulters, the Sydney Morning Herald ran a positive review about it right next to the article about Tropfest! The founder of Tropfest even takes the competition well, saying if he hadn't put Tropfest together, he would've loved to do something like Squatfest. I think we'll try Squatfest next year; that sounds pretty lovely, too.
My arm has been hurting a lot in the past few months; I hurt it years ago working at the JavaMonkey, but it's been getting worse. It feels like everything I do exacerbates it. I've had days where I couldn't even type without serious pain. I've talked to several Western doctors about it, and have been told that other than painkillers, there's no real way to heal a repetitive stress injury. But I don't believe them anymore, because as far as I can tell, Western medicine seems built on some wild principles.
And I feel so lucky, because my life in Sydney is so bountiful. In Sydney, I have access to the most amazing food from a beautiful co-op, I have been getting very cheap acupuncture for my long-suffering arm, free counselling from the university for feeling so lost, so far away, I have gotten involved with a printmaking collective and am learning how to print on a RISO machine. Stencil presses are my new love.
And I guess maybe this is how it happens; people leave a whole adult life somewhere, and find something beautiful whereever they end up. And that is really something to wonder about. I'll be posting more of my radio segments and recent prints/artwork soon.
ps-- on Saturday night, we went to a midnight beach party at La Perouse. The bay was beautiful, the waves were soothing, and the warm felt warm on my feet. We listened to Fela Kuti and watched Aaron build a bonfire. A pretty magical night.