Aha. New organisational system for 2014… Rather than continue to add to the same big posts of shows and concerts I’ve EVER seen, I’ve organised the old lists into separate archival posts either by the year, or before that…
And this year, I’ll just keep updating this post until it’s time to start a new post for 2015.
Concerts and Shows
- Sarah Blasko and Appleonia, Heavenly Sounds series, January. Those women, they can sing. Hot and stuffy church venue though, a little unbearable.
- The National, Sydney Opera House Forecourt, January. I saw them at the Enmore three years ago, a great show, and perhaps with more energy being in a smaller venue with louder volume (I understand they weren’t able to play very loudly at the Opera House what with sound restrictions). But with the crescent moon, a perfect Sydney night, the Opera House, lit in a glorious blue and then mysterious yellow behind us, a fantastic set of video projects behind them and a new album to add to their oeuvre, and I liked it even better. We were standing in a great position and there was room around to move. I was rapt.
- Falsettos, Darlinghurst/Eternity Theatre, February. Review up on this website.
- Sweet Charity, Hayes Theatre, February. Amazing lead actress, imaginative staging, some hit songs and some dated material.
- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Theatre Royal. I think it was around February or March. Fun enough. It reminded me I’d seen this in Vancouver a few years before.
- The Drowsy Chaperone, Hayes Theatre, March. What a fun, silly show. And how do these small shows manage to get so much talent? The young actors graduating from WAAPA, NIDA and the likes. Is this the Glee effect or something? Ten years ago, I went to amateur productions that usually had a few better actors and some terrible ones and ho hum direction. Now, there are semi-professional shows bursting at the seams with talent, it seems every month! The two young leads here, Hilary Cole and Brett O’Neill, have such sweet voices and great acting chops.
- Baths, Oxford Art Factory, March.
- Bernadette Peters, Theatre Royal, April. See review here on my website.
- Iron & Wine, Sydney Opera House, April.
- Strictly Ballroom, Star City, May. Wow, was this a train wreck. Not unenjoyable but has so much work to do to be a good show.
- Midlake, Sydney Opera House, May.
- Nils Frahm, Sydney Opera House, May. I stumbled upon this guy through Spotify and predicted it would be a good concert. But what a concert it was. A mad piano genius, using techniques I’d never seen before, the music was engaging, beautiful, dynamic and sad, and he himself was a fun performer, in one sock (for his electronic pedals) and one shoe (for the piano pedal). Check him out if you haven’t heard of him.
- James Vincent McMorrow, Sydney Opera House, May. I really like McMorrow’s amazing falsetto and he put on a great show. His opening act, Gossling, an Australian woman was a great discovery too.
- Pet Shop Boys, Carriageworks, June. Superb show, great music and an intimate venue. Woohoo.
- Lloyd Cole, the Basement, June. There were moments in the show that brought me back to the teenager that, for whatever reason, thought that ‘Lost Weekend’ and ‘Perfect Skin’ were the coolest songs ever. This juxtaposed now with the thought that poor Lloyd has been performing the same songs for 25 years and is now making jokes about his aging jowls and how audience members no longer have to check on their babysitters, because their older kids are old enough to babysit the younger ones…
- Wicked, Vancouver. We took our niece to see Wicked. She thought it was just OK…
- The Mugler Follies, Paris, November. French follies by the fashion designer Thierry Mugler. It was pretty fun. Nonsensical narrative and some snippets much stronger than others, but fun.
- Hasse, Siroe, Opera, Versailles. S. suggested seeing an opera in Versailles and what a setting for opera it was. Some amazing singing, and the sets were fabulous. 18th century opera doesn’t necessarily capture my heart, but I appreciated it.
- Here Lies Love, London, December. Loved it. An all or nearly all east Asian cast, super talented, wonderful happy pop music by David Byrne, inventive staging, and some politics. They purposely decided not to do any songs about Imelda’s shoe collection… and I applaud their avoiding of the obvious.
- Matilda, London, December. Pretty good. Very talented kid actors, but feisty rather than cute and precocious. Great set.
- Urinetown, London, December. Silly, and now a little old. The theme of environmental destruction and running out of water has become more relevant in the years since this musical was first produced on Broadway (in 2001) but some of the comedy and songs (breaking out into gospel) felt a little dated. Still, I loved the harmonies of the group numbers, the general silliness of it, and the making-fun-of-musicals parts.
- Le Bal de Vampires, December, Paris.
- Le Sacre du Printemps by Romeo Castellucci, December, La Vilette, Paris
- Political Mother, Hofesh Schecter, December, La Vilette, Paris
- Decadance, the Batsheva Dance Company, Paris.
- An American in Paris, December, Paris
Just a few memorable museums to mention from my time this year in Paris:
- Jeff Koons and Marcel Duchamp retrospects at the Pompidou
- The redesigned Picasso Museum
- A little wander around the Louvre
- Hedi Slimane at the YSL Foundation (but would have liked to have a full tour of the house instead)
- The impressionist floor of the Musée d’Orsay
- Olafur Eliasson at the Fondation Louis Vuitton
- Luke Fischer’s Paths of Flight (poetry): Quiet and painterly, I’m not sure I’ve come across this voice in my forays into Australian poetry, the first-person philosopher with references to artists, philosophers and writers of old, poems mostly set in nature, travel or deep in reverie.
- Margaret Atwood’s Postitron (episodic e-book fiction): Ah Peg. Canada’s gift to world literature doesn’t show any sign of slowing down, either in output or chutzpah. While the themes of these three short novellas cover similar territory as her other dystopic futures, they are still fun and imaginative to read, and not repetitive. It felt to me like she was having fun writing to this genre, doing mini-recaps in each one in case someone has not read all three, and then leaving us waiting… for more.
- Camilla Gibb’s Mouthing the Words (Fiction)
- Tabish Khair’s How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position. See review here on my website.
- Alice Munro’s Dear Life (Short Fiction)
- Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners (Short Fiction)
- Spencer and Schenker’s The Fast Diet Recipe Book (recipes/food/health)
- Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast (Memoir)
- Sarah Turnbull’s Almost French: A New Life in Paris (Memoir): Written in a breezy journalist’s style and with the brief to write about culture shock in Paris, this was interesting and insightful, providing me with some good background on living in Paris and about Parisians, who in four months I may or may not really meet! Having been through an experience of a New Worlder trying to fit into the Old World when I first lived in Europe, it made me feel a bit melancholy, remembering some of that shock and loneliness and that expectation that somehow life should be easier than it was.
Hmm, have never kept a list of movies but… why not see how it goes?
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- American Hustle
- Dallas Buyer’s Club
- Two days, one night. What a depressing Belgian film.
- Paris (2008 film)
- Midnight in Paris (again)
- The last Hobbit (terrible)
- Obviously, I’m not much of a movie watcher. Even on planes this year when I travelled, I’d end up reading instead, or watching TV shows instead of movies. And I forget what I’ve watched… so probably not worth keeping the list for next year.