Thursday, May 31, 2012

'Heavenly Sounds' at earthly prices...

So I was gonna head to St Stephens in Sydney next week because I want to check out how they set up and do the 'Heavenly Sounds' Concerts where this series is with Lisa Mitchell.
Then I discover it's coming to Newie at Christchurch Cathedral which is only 12 mins away BUT it's also $55 first in...
So answer one to the 'how to' is they plenty of cash to pay for the set up... hmmmnnn... will I won't I?


‎30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY ELEVEN A song from your favourite band? I'm giving up my battle with the notion of 'favourite' today to choose one from the shortlist but simply to mark the overseas trip of Aung San Suu Kyi. Even when her husband was dying she was unable to leave and visit him, such has been the cost of the battle for democracy in Burma... many others remain opressed, monks have been cut down in protests and the struggle goes on

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY NINE A song you can dance to? "Stayin' Alive" The Bee Gees

We're talking 1979 at the Largs School of Arts Hall Disco and my then girlfriend and I take out the "Saturday Night Fever" Dance Contest. Not long after I narrowly avoided a fist fight with a drunk idiot trying to hassle my girlfriend. I think I was very lucky he was too inebriated to throw one and he instead stumbled off into the night!! Vale Robin Gibb! The Black Keys will get a look in elsewhere I suspect...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Creative Spaces: TEDx, Wickham Motorcycles and Newcastle Art Gallery

While still in recovery from the popular flu virus that seems to be doing the rounds [2 weeks and counting] I've had a busy time 'escaping' to feed my introversion and need for 'creative space' to actually come to grips with challenges and tasks ahead!! I will write more about TEDxSydney soon BUT it was just a brilliant day of tiring 'listening' to about 15 'nearly 18min' TALKS and half a dozen musicians/percussionists over the one day at Carriageworks in Eveleigh on Saturday. I may even have an ideas sheet for the next NCYC planners of great group stuff I saw!!
This morning I start what is going to be a busy week trying to finish my CERT IV Training & Assessment material. I knew I needed to be fuelled and to catch some temporary inspiration which would soon not be available so I headed for [1] a coffee at the 'Wickham Motorcycle Co' Cafe and [2] Art Express at Newcastle Regional Art Gallery, which are a travelling selection of HSC artworks from 2011 Year 12 students.
The Wickham Cafe has little or no weekday parking close by but I found a spot and ventured to the great shed space they have with vintage bikes, great coffee and lots of newspapers. A few families and groups came and went and the in house sound gear gave away the stated intention of having music and weekend gatherings for various enthusiasts. I'd love to partner in using a space like this 'out of hours' for a 'faith conversations; Salt Factory-esque gathering... and will keep this bubbling along. I drove past the 'Sourdough Cafe' on the way and will coffee there next week!!
Art Express offers insight into contemporary art forms and fuels my status as 'pretend' creative by inspiring me to think about similar ways the appraoches could work with my own ideas... I loved the video screen, pencil box and tryptych's in the collection. It confirmed for me that I want to use sticker alphabet to add a wall quote to my current project of livening up an informal gathering space in our offices here... Einstein v Brueggemann so far...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY SEVEN A song that reminds you of a certain event

It's taken me all day to narrow down that 'certain event' but it has to be U2's 'Lovetown' concert at Sydney Entertainment Centre on the second leg of that tour as they returned to Sydney coming back through.
This is an album I waited for while living in Hornsby in Sydney where I used to visit the little local independent CD shop in the old Westfield every day and was sliding under the roller door the day he finally yelled out that he had it and he'd unpacked it especially so I could stop hassling him!!I'm talking "Rattle and Hum" but of course U2 gave up before the southern tour and came back 12-18 months later as the 'When Love Comes to Town Tour.'
I had seen 'Rattle & Hum' the doco film in a marathon allnighter at Hornsby Pictures and had listened to then listened to this CD until I wore it out. This was a band at the peak of it's powers and a concert with a palpable sense of God walking through the room as they held the audience in the palm of their hands!! BB King what a legend...

Friday, May 25, 2012

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: Day SIX: A song that reminds you of somewhere?

Seth Lakeman played at Greenbelt 2008 when I finally made it to Cheltenham!! I had been aware of Greenbelt since the 1980s and it took me a long time to make it, after a false start for 2001. On this night I didn't quite get into Seth's musicianship and edgy folk BUT I perservered and bought his CD and enjoy listening to his songs [especially with headphones] and escaping to 'some other place.'
It was a brilliant study trip with fellow journeyers including St Laurence, Reading, Safespace at Telford and my side trip home via New York's 'Transmission' and others... Seth Lakeman is back at GB2012... I'm not :(

TEDxSydney Saturday 26th May 2012

Despite the flu for over a week I hope to be OK to trek to Sydney tommorrow for TEDx!!
Not sure my name belongs on the 'in theatre' Bay 17 list but I'm there!!
Check it out here


30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY FIVE A song that reminds you of someone? “Khe San” Cold Chisel
This song reminds me of “Peter This n That” who used to visit my one bedroom fibro flat when I lived at Bar Beach in the early 1990s. He first came offering to wash cars or windows for money and I shouted him a burger in Pacific St instead. ‘Peter’ because I think that was his name… I was too embarrassed to ask after the first few visits when I forgot and ‘This n That’ was his answer to most questions I asked.
Peter only had to open the fridge to see my claims of no fresh food were not about trying to get rid of him. He used to come and listen to music [Chisel, Oils etc] or watch a DVD while I worked at the breakfast bar on the computer.
I knew he really did sleep in the local clothing bin at the Darbt St, Anglican HQ when he turned up one day wearing my chambray shirt, jeans, LA Raiders t-shirt and old adidas joggers after a spring clean. I didn’t see Peter for a while when I moved, until one day in Elder St, Lambton. He was clear eyed and looked well. He was living with a girlfriend and had taken drastic action to resolve his warrants and other issues by joining the army!!
“Peter this n that” would have enjoyed this 2003 version of Chisel!!

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY 4 A song that makes me sad?
It took me a while to think about this one but the choice is "Better Be Home Soon" sung acoustically by Neil Finn at Australia's ARIA Music Awards in tribute to the late Paul Hester. It was a sad moving moment after the story collage... We saw Crowded House at the Opera House a little before where Neil played not just acoustically but unplugged from amps and the mic as a 'remembering' of Paul H who was a troubled funny man who died too young and in pain. There is a power in all music to move us, to effect change and to speak...

Check it out here

30 DAY SONG CHALLENGE: DAY 3 A song that makes me happy?
Shane is a clever songwriter and guitarist stepping out again from behind Kasey Chambers for this solo effort from the album 2006 'Faith & Science.' I just like it and I play it up loud in the car often!! He had success in early bands and Triple J Unearthed and met Nash, Bill and Kasey Chambers recording an earlier album. I'm writing my next communal song using this tune!!

30 Day Song Challenge DAY TWO: A song I hate... dislike, don't like listening to, hate is a pretty strong word. This one comes readily to mind given the girls TV viewing of Hanna Montana!!

30 Day Song Challenge [I finally decided to take the challenge] Day One Your Favourite Song:
I almost can't split two songs but today this one wins. Great listening when you're into your sixth day of feeling unwell!! It was always an unoff...icial competition to pick the opening riff early and start the chant to let the Oils know you knew what song was coming. This was a great show at Newtown Theatre for Real Thing in front of only about 300 punters!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pentecost Wordle

I know it should probably be red, orange and yellow...
but here's an early play around with a Pentecost Wordle!!

EDS HP Airplane Advertisement and Change Management

   I think this is still an appropriate metaphor to invite people to think about change BUT I really want to land the damn thing for a while... how do we do that? There's also something about 'new wine and old wineskins' and not sewing a new patch onjto an old pair of denim jeans!!

"Need Your Love" Temper Trap

"Never Let Me Go" Florence and the Machine

Monday, May 14, 2012

Uniting Church Triennial Assembly Meeting July 2012 in Adelaide

   I decided I couldn't be away for another extra week this year and so I didn't nominate anywhere to participate in the UCA national Assembly meeting this year in Adelaide!! At the last two my highlights have certainly included:
- connecting with young adult participants
- facilitating a working group
- discussion of issues and perspectives with some of our most gifted leaders [beyond the superficial]

I have been frustrated by:
- Some participants unpreparedness
- Participating in spirited and transformational discussions where the scholarship, time and openness to the issues haven't always been evident 'on the ground' in congregations at large
- my own inadequate grounding in some issues

   I believe really strongly in the empowerment of gifted people to make space for Godly discernment and the way in which 'I guess you had to be there' works. It reminds me that this stuff goes off the rails often due to a lack of trust that people can make these decisions [but that goes right through to local task groups or regional teams so what's new]!!
   I think 'consensus' is an important goal but that our processes often don't fully utilise the power of that goal and we have pseudo voting instead. Other times it's as though we assume an idea is of value and then the conversation spends almost the whole time dwelling on what people think is wrong with it and we end up moving in favour but feeling conflicted that an idea that seemed so good suddenly felt tenuous.
   Every Assembly has contentious and groundbreaking issues [because it's a space for big questions and the future]. My final thought in this post is that given all the above I think we let ourselves down by not doing broad educational processes around the big questions. It's about putting theological and contextual tools in peoples hands so our scholarship, thinking, prayer, discernment and decisionmaking doesn't stop at the doors of power. Just my thoughts!!
   Decisions get made but only news of those moves people forward... not the work to understand or to grapple with opposing views... national media, extreme views and caricatures will take up the gap...

BUT hang on, there's something you and I can do...
- The mailings for participants are downloadable in pdf here
- There will be a dedicated website soon
- check the info about the theme
- pick up worship shaping info from the background, theme and topics
- spend corporate time discerning and informing local views about the global issues
- pray
- reflect
- ask

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Photo Scavenger Hunt

    Last night at Charlestown JYs I was able to help out by planning and facilitating a teams photo scavenger hunt. Teams head out with a Leader to shoot a [10] compulsory images and a choice of [5] from a long list of creative options. Last night's list had some tailored requests considering the proximity to a McDonald's outlet and the possibility of making it to Charlestown Square Shopping Centre if your team stayed focused [and ran fast]
You need:
- a digital camera for each team
- Team Leaders
- TV or data projection to view results
- prizes
- well thought out instructions
- sheet of instructions, photo options etc with clipart etc
- Teams stay together and with Leader

[10] Compulsory Photos
Team in mid air celebrating in a creative location
Entire Team posing as Ronald McDonald
Team as a human pyramid
Team making funny faces in an interesting setting
Team making the shape of a Christian symbol on the ground using your own bodies
As many shoelaces as you can tie together stretched out
Entire Team playing air guitar in a public space
Team holding [2] team members off the ground
A picture of something starting with the letter ‘k’
A packet of lollies

[5] only from this List
Team saying ‘hello’ to a Police Officer
Team wearing hats
Team member in front of a funny sign
Team mimic a statue or fountain
Team group photo with a friendly stranger
Someone having a ‘Bad Hair Day’
A picture of Pizza
Team re-enact a famous scene from history
Team re-enact a famous sporting victory
Team ‘head to toe’ on the footpath
Picture of somebody with a trophy
A couple holding hands with at least one of the people not in your team
Picture of a sign showing the current temperature [not a phone app]
Team member in front of a sign with their name on it
Team in front of an Australian flag
Scavenger Hunt’ definition in the dictionary
Team member with exactly 75c in coins
Other team members holding up one team member off the ground in a chair
Team member under a light fitting as though having a brilliant idea
Team Toyota advertisement ‘Oh What a Feeling!!!’
Team member with their head under a running cold water tap
Team member kissing a McDonald’s employee on the face cheek
Team member wearing outer clothes inside out
Team on the other side looking through a glass window
Team checking out a Takeaway menu
A Logo or a sign with a star on it
A member of another team taking a photo of something
Team in a photo featuring all the main colours of the rainbow
e.g. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple
Team re-enact a famous movie scene
Team doing exactly what a sign in the photo says to do
Team in a playground and/or on swings
Photo of something that shouldn’t be there
Photo of something nobody in the Team knows how to use

Under time pressure both teams did a great job with some very creative images...

We also looked at half a dozen images and reflected on and asked what people saw in the image, including a modern take on JC and one of his key visual theme stories... to wrap the evening!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Brilliant Kev Carmody

  I was driving in the Upper Hunter today and listening to 'Conversations' on ABC Radio with Richard Fidler. It was a few years old repeat of a brilliant conversation with Aussie indigenous singer/songwriter Kev Carmody and it was a stunning walk through his early life, influences and his collaboration with Paul Kelly on 'From Little Things Big Things Grow'.
   It's the interview where he talked about the folk tradition of taking old messages/stories and changing them to reflect the current context. To this extent he raves about 'The Waifs' version of his song and John Butler and Archie Roach.
   There's great stuff about oral tradition and history and the changing Australian society. Kev has a brilliant approach to culture and human farialties and conflict.
   If this works you can hear it here

Rural and Isolated Teacher Jobs

   "The Hunter's most remote schools say it is getting harder to encourage young people to teach in the country.
High schools in particular are struggling to attract maths, science and technology teachers.
Schools at Merriwa, Muswellbrook and Sandy Hollow are taking part in a new scheme to highlight the benefits of teaching in rural and remote areas, called Beyond the Line.
Merriwa Central School principal Darren Noonan said a combination of factors made it difficult to attract staff.
"The changing nature of the demographics of the teaching service mean were are starting to experience a shortage," he said.
"Most of our universities are along the coast and many students have not been to the country or a rural or remote area."
Mr Noonan said unlike metropolitan areas, teachers still held a respected position in country communities and also received more professional development opportunities earlier in their career.
"There's great ownership of teachers," he said.
"They coach the local footy side and things like that. Teachers become an integrated part of the local community." Newcastle Herald 11.5.12

   Looks like a great opportunity to spend time in the idyllic Upper Hunter towns of Scone, Merriwa or Muswellbrook and beyond.... the full story here

Newcastle's 'Bathers Way' Plans

   Large sections of this concrete walkway are already built or underway but the Council has released plans of the whole project [I smell an election in the air] which will make one of my favourite walks even more spectactular.
   It has to be said I haven't done all this walk regularly for ten years but some bits are just amazing and represent my favourite way to visit the beach... on a 4m wide walkway above the sand, taking in some exercise, the view and reflecting on the world, my work practice and dreaming up crazy ideas!!
Check out the plans here

Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Mabo" ABC TV 1 8.30pm 10th June


   This is an adaptation of the love story between Eddie Mabo [Murray Islander] and his wife Bonita. It celebrates and explores the man who took up the fight to overturn the principle of "terra nullius" or that Australia was not inhabited by it's indigenous population prior to Eurpoean 'settlement.'
    Both Jimi Bani and Debra Mailman have spoken of the 'palpable sense of responsibility' in bringing this story and these people to the screen. Eddie Mabo's civil disobedience and strength of character took this issue to the High Court and like so many stories of struggle for a higher purpose he died before the historic ruling was handed down.
    While this story will focus on the cost paid and the passion shared by the Mabo's, this [likely M rated]film which will also show at the Sydney Film Festival, is a long awaited project and story. We should all leave aside unreality TV for the night and be reminded of the journey needed to heal the soul of this country and the inspiration Mabo is to his people.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Row K Seat 19 "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

"A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001."
" If it's easy to find, it's not worth finding, says Thomas Schell (Tom Hanks), father to nine year old Oskar (Thomas Horn) with whom he has a special rapport. Curiosity is the gift that Thomas gives Oskar, through the games they play together. They have lively oxymoron wars and reconnaissance expeditions requiring analytical thought and tenacious investigations. It's a bit like amateur detective work. But then comes what Oskar calls 'The Worst Day', the shocking events of 9/11, when their relationship is abruptly and cruelly ended. A mysterious key is the trigger that sets the troubled boy on a journey - to come to terms with the unfathomable." Louise Keller Urbancinefile

   I was attracted to this film because of my affinity with New York. It sounded like such a different way to explore 9/11. There have been some great reviews about this Stephen Daldry [Billy Elliot] adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel.
   Pain is a surreal thing and grief is a palpable disorientation for many people. To me these are the kinds of themes explored in 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.' Oskar Schell searches for answers and deals with his sense of loss and the particular story he has lived out. The many people Oskar meets all have their own stories. Oskar avoids bridges and the subway and walks a lot. He carries a tambourine to shake when feeling stressed. I wonder what others do at these times? Oskar is in some ways very alone amongst all these people. How does anyone find God in these times?
   We can get a picture of the bigger themes as many others would have experienced them. There are disturbing images and any such film is open to criticisms about 'exploitation' of the 9/11 events. The very opening vignette depicts the renowned image of the so called 'falling man' picture that went around the world.
   Some parts of the film are a bit clunky. The most moving scene between Oskar and his mother Linda [Sandra Bullock] talk about Oskar's search seems a sudden change... Despite what I liked about it I do agree that it didn't really quite 'get there'. Maybe the fairytale like premise didn't quite allow the full exploration. I appreciated it enough to watch it again!!
Check the film website here



Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

ArtExpress 2012 Newcastle Regional Art Gallery

   Art Express is one of my 'must do's' each year and this year it'll be at Newcastle Regional Art Gallery from May 5 featuring Hunter area HSC Year 12 artists... It's always a great insight into contemporary mediums and young peoples way of seeing things... or is that just me!! Again you could do worse than taking interested young people for a viewing and guided tour to foster their sense of adventure and creative expression or to foster a worship team!! Details for Newcastle are here
See you there...