Super Heroes Party

Party Themes can Make or Break It! Wow 

I always seem to enjoy a party more if it has a theme but do you?

Some people thrive on this enforced identity theft while others cringe at the very notion of losing that well maintained facade that they’ve toiled over for years and they’d rather spend the night at home carefully setting their hair on fire.

“I’m not normally a praying man, but if you’re up there, please save me, Superman!” Homer Simpson

The family that plays together
The family that plays together

I just don’t understand that! Setting ones hair on fire might be a great headline act and better still, a non fossil fuelled heating method during winter… but I’m one of those people who would prefer to change identities daily if there weren’t queuing and ongoing legal issues involved.

“Tarnished reputations are unfortunate, Robin. We can live with those. However, a threat to all of Gotham City is something else.” – Batman

WhamSo…  I see a party theme as a challenge!

It is a task to be manipulated and enjoyed so that it will be an event to be remembered!  I am given permission to ‘go where no man has gone before’, to be an original thinker, to throw caution to the wind and to recreate a whole new self for one whole night. I’m not sure if it’s that focused lead up to the actual event or the anticipation of seeing what other twisted minds have invented for my pleasure… but from the moment the invitation arrives then my life has been gifted a purpose.

Super Duper
Super Duper

There’s something else I seem to enjoy as part of the ‘costume effect’. I like to maximise the stirring effect of one costume by spreading the pleasure and bringing joy or conversation to incidental participants on route to the party. Therefore, there is always a petrol stop or a last minute alcohol purchase to be made on the way!

Spiderman & Cat Woman
Spiderman & Cat Woman

Doesn’t it give you kind of a, a, a… shudder… of electricity through you to be in the same room with me?– Lex Luthor 

 Over the years I have created characters for myself and my family that have been original, funny or head scratching but mostly they’ve contributed to the enjoyment of others… and I feel that is ones prime duty as a party participator.

One of my favourites was to go to my red headed friend Lisa’s ‘RED’ themed birthday party as a Strawberry Tart. No, I did not apply shortcrust pastry to my sides and wear a sign that said Bite Me! Instead, I tarted myself up in the best red hooker outfit I could find at the time and capped it all off with a halo of green leaves on my head.

What has been your favourite costume that you have worn or seen worn well?

What has been the best themed party you have attended?

Super Gorgeous
Super Gorgeous

I believe that the main duty of a host of a themed party if they would like to be on my ‘best host list’… is to get the theme correct! This needs considerable pondering! A great theme needs to be fun or witty, something not done to death by every other 21st that year… and something that will allow everyone to participate either simply or contrived.

Robin: “How about rushing the place, Batman?”
Batman: “Shh. I think not, Robin. All they’ve done so far is stolen a few items, attempted to kill you, me, and Batgirl. No, I think they plan something really big.”
 

A good night out
A good night out

I would also like to say that my children have accepted the baton with the same feverish fundamentalism that has fuelled my fervour for fake identities at frivolous festivities. 

 

Prue & Max’s usual weekend partying borders on Halloween while Max’s latest Fall Out Boy was a recent hit and his George of the Jungle outfit in the middle of winter when he was 18 still creates conversation. That’s the main duty of a good costume… to create conversation at the themed party and in years down the track! While party antics will always be talked about … it is the antic combined with the visual impact of a costumed character whose identity you thieved for one night of cryptic clandestine contentment that will have IMPACT!  

Super Gals
Super Gals
Bat Woman & Zorro
Bat Woman & Zorro
Super Heroes & Villains
Super Heroes & Villains

17th Biennale – a Gift

I like to live in the present… especially on my birthday!

So today I took myself to Cockatoo Island to see the more outstanding part of the 17 Biennale of Sydney/2010 

 

Soaked Sydney Harbour
Soaked Sydney Harbour

So I wrapped myself up and stepped out into a soggy, soaked Sydney. I love being on the harbour at anytime and today was no exception. The Biennale’s free ferry leaves from in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art and so I jumped onboard alongside students on excursions and those little National Trust ladies that turn up at these events. It took me past a rain veiled Opera House, under the old coat hanger and slowly up to Cockatoo Island.

 

 How good is Cockatoo Island as venue?

The simple answer is BRILLIANT!! Why didn’t they think of this 17 years ago when it first started? Really, what else can you do with an old prison and a shipyard? Still better late than never! There are 56 artists’ installations and works… and I need to go back. One day is never enough to be filled by innovaters that make me think! 

Ok…  just a couple of pics to give you a taste… get yourself up and out there!

Cai Guo-Qiang
Born 1957 in Quanzhou City, China Lives and works in New York, USA

Cai Guo-Qiang 1
Cai Guo-Qiang 1
Exploding Cars 2
Exploding Cars 2
Exploding Car
Exploding Car

I quite like Teddy Bears with embellishment… don’t you?

 Rohan Wealleans – Born 1977 in Invercargill, New Zealand.  Lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand 

Rohan Wealleans2
Rohan Wealleans2
Rohan Wealleans
Rohan Wealleans

 

 

I was over video installations about 10years ago… and I still am because when will there be further development. It should have moved on more by now, don’t you think?

 

  And maybe you can finish off at the MCA… although… in my opinion, while always fascinating it is by far the more conservative part of the Biennale this year.

MCA
MCA

 

I will return with more! 
Enlightenment sometimes!
Enlightenment sometimes!
17th Biennale / Cockatoo Island
17th Biennale / Cockatoo Island

Thanks for the Bluurrry Memories!

Why does anyone go to a reunion?  

Recently, the Goulburn College of Advanced Education (Sturt University), previously  Goulburn Teachers’ College and now Goulburn Police Academy had a reunion.

I need to ask…

 

Everyone had a story
Everyone had a story

Why do we put ourselves through this strange custom?   

 In my twilight years…am I prepared to remember all those feelings from such an insecure time?

 Is it to prove something to others… or just to myself? 

I needed to find out so I packed my bag and headed away for a weekend with some people I hadn’t seen for over 30 years. I know I’m a very different person to the young girl that first met them all a thousand years ago and as one should expect, I have a confidence now that was nowhere in sight when I was 18 years old… but still I wondered….

I was booked into The Astor Hotel for the weekend… an establishment I remembered well. This was the last hotel I was drinking in before my boyfriend and I rolled his car after drinking for 9 hours. Yes! I had been a lucky one… a survivor of pre drink/driving laws. Ironically, a sobering thought!

Quality establishment where I was booked in to discover all repressed memories.
Quality establishment where I was booked in to discover all repressed memories.

 

  ♪♫•*•.♥.•*•♫♪  

We’ve come a long way together… Through the hard times and the good

I have to celebrate you baby…. I have to praise you, like I should

(♪♫•*•.Thanks Fat Boy Slim.•*•♫♪)  

 Hmmm… do we celebrate the bad or only the good times?

We sat in the gutter outside the Gordon Hotel...nick names were never very original!
We sat in the gutter outside the Gordon Hotel...nick names were never very original!

What made this time of my life so extraordinary and memorable were the sad and bad times that balanced those funny, partying, good times. The lows taught me so much more (don’t drink and drive) than the highs…. but at a reunion it seems to be only the smile times that are really invited to accompany us down memory lane. 

 

Recently, my friend Lynne told someone that she was going to a reunion and their response was, “well, you’re lucky you still look good enough to be able to go to your reunion!”

Is that really how it is?

If I was bald and fat, would my confidence be enough to accompany me to my reunion?

No! As it was I needed to take a friend to hand me a stiff drink often. I’m pretty sure I’d be washing my hair or contemplating my navel…. but why is it so??

 

Lynne & Fiona catching up
Lynne & Fiona catching up

I asked the big red question often as I caught up with faces that were hard to recognise and some names that I just didn’t remember at all. Most often the reply was:

‘to catch up with old friends’

Sitting Pretty
Sitting Pretty

Translation: Whose hair line has receded or whose waistline has expanded the most?

General Female Concensus: Considering the 70’s was all about hair, hair and  more hair and the guys had most of it way back then… the total opposite is true now!
Age and hairdressers have been much kinder to the girls.
Good times
Good times

 

 ‘to see what everyone has done since we last got together’

Translation: Let’s compare life stories and see who has lost the plot
General Female Concensus: Darn! Nobody!

 Interestingly, while my insecurities still bubbled just below the surface when chatting to some of those bigger personalities from yesteryear, at other times I was really

The Real Deal
The Real Deal

entertained and enchanted by some people I’d never known. I also caught up with some friends whose paths just don’t cross mine anymore and it was wonderful to hear stories about their families and work. There are some really interesting people just getting on with life and contributing to our world in so many positive and exciting ways. They’ll never be recognised by mass audiences because Paris and Brittany have that covered already… but I can just tell that there are families out there doing really well because of the contributions made by these genuine people. 

After all the partying and the stories and the streamers were cleaned away, Lynne said, “maybe next time, if our friends that we lived with during those character developing years came along, then we’d reminisce and they’d help us remember more.”  Would we?

I have my doubts…because it was the 70’s and I don’t think I originally kept the memories. I’m quite sure that I enjoyed it far too much the first time around… and I didn’t remember then… so why would I remember it now?

But, I bet the stories they’d tell me would be great! I’m now looking forward to my next reunion… confidently!

Above the Butcher with Laurie & Martin where we'd sit on the awning and watch the world go by.
Above the Butcher with Laurie & Martin where we'd sit on the awning and watch the world.

 

I took myself on a tour of all the places I had lived while a student in this freezing windy city.

The old school with Alites, BT, Pap & Jane... great parties!
The old school with Alites, BT, Pap & Jane... great parties!Final year at Eastgrove with Webbo, Pap, Alites, BT, Jane and a lotta Anna
Alas, those A listed decorators had discarded all character along with that flea bitten cow's hind that hung on the wall forever.
Alas, those A listed decorators had discarded all character along with that flea bitten cow's hind that hung on the wall forever.
 
As the sun goes down...Goulburn from the Lookout
As the sun goes down...Goulburn from the Lookout

We need to look at the bigger picture

WAKE UP AUSTRALIA!!!

Sometimes a journalist write gold!

The following article was published in the Sydney Morning Herald – 7 June 2010 and is probably the most enlightened and well researched article I’ve ever seen written about how visual arts education is being left behind in Australia… even though the rest of the world has recognised its value!

Read it… enjoy… and then read My Final Report

‘Visual Arts are often left behind, to the detriment of education’, says Ainslie MacGibbon.

Australia seems to be ignoring a global move towards understanding the significance of art in education, the president of Art Education Australia, Marian Strong, says.

Strong, a member of the reference group developing the arts component of the new national curriculum, has just returned from the second UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in Seoul where she was ”embarrassed” by Australia’s failure to even respond to an invitation to make a submission on a road map for arts education.

“Every country was asked to respond and there was no response from Australia,” she said.

”It was rather embarrassing … they started at the As, going through Angola and other countries, and just nothing from Australia. There seems to be a global movement in understanding the significance arts has in education and Australia seems to be missing that.”

The UNESCO road map states that it aims to: ”explore the role of arts education in meeting the need for creativity and cultural awareness in the 21st century and places emphasis on the strategies required to introduce or promote arts education”.

Strong says Australia hasn’t appreciated the importance of art in providing students with a broad education, particularly in today’s very ”visual” world.

”Creating art is action research – reflecting, thinking, reflecting again, creating. It is a very demanding cognitive process, one that would benefit our 21st century students,” she says.

There is growing evidence that continued participation in visual arts complements core areas such as maths and literacy and contributes to students’ emotional well-being.

Strong is not convinced this has been acknowledged in the proposed national curriculum.

She was part of an initial advice group which had two meetings with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, which is responsible for a national curriculum from kindergarten to year 12 in specified learning areas. She has particular concerns about the initial advice paper for the Australian curriculum that was circulated.

”The initial advice paper was very disappointing,” Strong says. The way it was written didn’t reflect current theory, practice or research for visual arts in any depth. There was no clear, cognitive rationale. It indicates that all five art forms – music, visual arts, dance, drama and media art – are to be taught equally.

”This is ludicrous and will diminish the high quality practices that are in place for visual arts in many schools. I am concerned the terminology ‘visual and performing arts’ has been dropped.”

She says it is implausible and impractical that the five art forms be taught equally. ”The suggestion that there should be two hours a week for arts until year 8, which then needs to be divided between the five art forms, leaves less time for visual arts [and music] than what is happening now,” she says.

”This could have disastrous ramifications for visual arts … UNESCO is recognising the value of the arts as an integral part of any student’s education. We cannot allow anything to be written that cuts back on visual arts and redirects emphasis and resources to NAPLAN [tests] and the like.”

Strong says the ubiquity of images in young people’s lives has transformed the way they learn and perceive the world and new skills are needed to enable all young people to make sense of the visual world.

Today’s predominance of visual images means aesthetics and creativity are just as important as literacy skills or technical knowledge. ”The visual arts provide career paths for a few, but for many more they provide basic key competencies and general skills,” she says.

Strong says students in art classes learn ”a remarkable array of mental habits not emphasised elsewhere in the curriculum. These habits include observing, envisioning, innovating and reflecting”.

Dr Kerry Thomas, of the school of art history and art education at the University of NSW, says NSW has an approach to teaching visual arts that sets it apart from other states. During the 1990s, NSW rejected a proposed national curriculum, favouring its own established syllabus for visual arts, informed by research on child cognition and creativity.

“In NSW we don’t reduce what the students make to the creativity process alone,” Thomas says. ”Visual arts is a practice in itself, with a body of knowledge and practical reasoning – an arena for learning how to overcome obstacles. If there are too many criteria in place, students will adapt their work to the criteria.”

Thomas expresses concern about the ”generic competencies” of the visual arts component proposed under the new national curriculum: “as it stands there needs to be serious revision – what is proposed is a diminution of what is currently available in NSW.”

Thomas identifies Artexpress as a “powerful driver in setting expectations and standards in visual arts in this state. Since the late 1960s we have had generations of students looking at what other students can do – providing something to aspire to”.

Artexpress is a joint venture of the NSW Board of Studies and the Department of Education, presented in association with metropolitan and regional galleries. Artworks are selected from work submitted for the HSC.

Last year 9850 students submitted works as part of the visual arts examination (making it the 10th most popular subject) and 300 were selected for Artexpress exhibitions across NSW. The Art Gallery of NSW has first selection from the 300 works to build its exhibit.

Susanne Jones, Artexpress co-ordinator at the NSW Department of Education and Training, says that about half the students featured “end up doing something art-related, others pursue disciplines such medicine, architecture and engineering – but they still use their experience in visual arts, where they developed a sophisticated conceptual understanding of the world in which they live. To get through HSC visual arts you really need to be on top of things – and highly capable.”

Natalie Fong completed her HSC at Strathfield Girls High School last year. Visual arts was her favourite subject. ”It was time-consuming, but not at all stressful – to me it wasn’t work at all. It’s what kept me calm during the HSC: if I wanted a break I would turn to my artwork,” she says.

Fong’s intricate sculpture of shoes was selected for Artexpress.

Rebecca Soon, a former Hornsby Girls High School student and another artist from the Artexpress exhibition, says “Art was my outlet, the way I relaxed and got through the HSC.”

[ SMH | Text-only index]