Some pointers to interesting stuff I've missed here recently. Firstly, and most importantly, La Mama put out a call for help last week. Having heroically raised $100,000 over a single weekend in order to place a deposit on the purchase of the theatre, Artistic Director Liz Jones and her team now faces the Herculean task of finding the rest of the $1.7 million required to buy this piece of prime Carlton real estate. Every bit helps, so get out there to help save this unique Melbourne institution.
Which leads me to point belatedly to Louis Nowra's very interesting review of a new history of the Australian Performing Group, Currency Press's Make It Australian by Gabrielle Wolf, in which he remembers his encounters with the APG as a young playwright:
My trouble was that I was estranged from the world the APG presented to me. Sometimes I didn't know if the APG was satirising the ocker or celebrating him. The contemporary male characters seemed from another era.... My reservations put me in the small minority, as did my queasy doubts about APG's macho heterosexuality, which seemed as gross as a pub bar five minutes before six o'clock closing. I also found its questioning of the cultural cringe, its gaudy Australian nationalism and anti-British, anti-American attitudes very old-fashioned, its lack of interest in sex and love mystifying. Yet, at the same time, the physical energy, the Aussie humour and the vigorous criticism of conservative suburban values were wonderfully refreshing.
Meanwhile, in a reminder that art is ever an axis of argument, UK playwright Mark Ravenhill robustly defends Bertolt Brecht against his detractors, most recently Nick Cohen, and asks why Richard Strauss, who supported the Nazi regime, is so much easier to forgive than BB.
And now I must, must, must turn to my poor neglected novel, which patiently awaits my authorial copy-edits, before my US publishers begin to scream.