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Hobart morphs into Gotham City.

AUSTRALIA | Friday, 21 June 2013 | Views [1708]

Thanks to a gambler with more money than most African countries, Hobart is artier than an over-graffitied public toilet right now. And what the city offers is far more interesting than your Mum's phone number and the services she's highly skilled at. A guy named David Walsh did an Ocean's Eleven on a few casinos, (or went full Rain Man on them, I'm not sure of the exact details), then turned the fortune he amassed into MONA, Morilla winery and Moo Brew brewery. While most of us would have used the billions to try our hands at being Batman, ole Walshy thought he'd give something back to the community. Not the money obviously, but culture. A phenomena that no thing can have too much of, unless it's Greek yoghurt.

The MONA gallery itself is a big enough tourist draw card, and I have talked about its dick jokes and poo cam in a previous journal. It seems that the art is too much for such a place and it regularly takes over the town. Walshy wanted to paint the town red, doing so in a way only a filthy rich person could, and that is quite literally. As part of the DARK MOFO festival, and to celebrate the opening of The Red Queen exhibition, many of the towns’ establishments are shining red lights in complete disregard of power consumption, cost or local erythrophobiacs.

No act of reckless energy use can compare with the light array currently stealing the show from the cenotaph at the Queens Domain. Four rows of five massive lights shine their beams 14 kilometres into the night sky giving an electrical middle finger to the man in the moon and completely disorientating any pilot flying past. The first thing that occurred to absolutely everybody except for the curator, is that a light beam so powerful is not that impressive when there's low flying clouds around. Sure it still doesn't look like someone is just using their phone light to find a set of lost keys, but the full pilot blinding majesty has not yet been fulfilled.

A light beam higher than the whole city is wide may not have been the total vision the designer had though. Did he think what a light source could do once it started raining? I laughed long and hard as the impotent light heated up storm clouds for no reason, well I chuckled a bit at least, but the joke was soon on me when everyone started talking about how amazing the lights are in the rain.

Thinking that all interesting phenomena is more interesting in direct correlation to intoxication, I made sure a visit to the lights was pencilled in for the last thing to do after a night celebrating um, the ability to celebrate. There is some big music gigs on as part of DARK MOFO, and some musicians put on secret shows to fill in the time between freezing and getting pissed on. Apparently they are contracted to do only the gigs they were brought down for, but by their very nature most musicians are only one rebellious act away from starting a revolution.

Frankie's Empire is across the street from my house and acts as a cafe by day, cranking music venue by night. Not really, and not anything at all I thought until whispers passed around about someone playing there. This someone said at the start of their gig it was all hush-hush due to contractual reasons but I can't get across how awesome it was unless I make playing 'Hangman' really easy. So T_m R_g_rs, front man of a seminal 90's Australian rock band, belted out some melodies incongruously surrounded by plastic wrapped supplies for various cafe meals while being stared at by 50 mesmerized attendees. My gf had resisted going at first, after said performer had gotten too shit-faced to perform at a festival. It only took him a song or two to win her, and everyone else in the room, over completely.

I passed Tim on the way to work the next morning and slipped into full groupie mode without even realising it. First came the stupid grin, followed by a prolonged stare that would have women scurrying off in the opposite direction.

“Good morning Mr. Rogers” I chimed as we passed.

“And to you. You're looking quite handsome this morning”, he replied.

“As are you good sir!” I yelled over my shoulder as our interaction continued without hindering the long, quick strides one must take outdoors lest testicles fossilise in the cold. Now, I have been known to embellish the odd story to make myself out to be more popular, more presidential or less caffeine dependant. There is no reason for me to cast aspersions on Mr. Rogers sexuality, or inflate his sense of obvious good taste, so if there is any lies woven into my story, it was that Mr. Rogers was here at all seeing what he said he was contractually allowed to, and not to do.

So groupie digression aside, after the awesome little gig that may or may not have happened, we headed over to the atmosphere scorching lights. It wasn't raining as we arrived, but clouds skulked by low enough to light up the whole area like a full moon. As the only time I could ever conceive of wishing for rain out on a cold winters night, we all did a rain jig that proved to be successful. That was extremely surprising as we were all just dancing on the spot to keep warm and if that is what petitions rain gods these days, they need to stop watching shows like 'Australia’s got talent' and go to the ballet more often.

Lubricated enough to feel like we were literally sliding through the night, and the ensuing sleet, we all snuck into the array like a SWAT team in a hostage situation. What greeted us from within rivals the bioluminescence in Broomes night seas. The 20 lights shone up from around us and culminated in a bright point of singularity way above us. Half way up the rain created a circular rainbow that would have made leprechauns dizzy with delight. All the rain droplets flew through the light beams and appeared like a massive school of little fish swimming through the air. The fish had chameleon camouflage as they passed through the rainbow creating a shimmering spectacle of light that soon left me dizzy. If I had found the leprechauns pot of gold then, I probably would have thrown up in it, so I marked the occasion down as one of the more significant ones of late and staggered home with as much decorum as I cared to muster at the time, ie. none.

Those two events in themselves were epic enough to justify this journal, “but wait there's more”, like Demtel scripted the weekend for me. The tots amazeballs nature of it all began on Saturday night when the gf and I went to see the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra play the soundtrack to Disney's fantasia. We thought we were really lucky to procure any seats when the gig seemed to be selling out fast. That sense of good fortune quickly faded in cries of our seats being “utterly crap” once we discovered we were pretty much sitting on the roof. Walshy was there, enjoying a similar perspective, but with the added luxury of a VIP box and a bevy of glamorous hookers to snort fat rails off. At least that's what I imagined him doing when he should be just putting on a bat cape. Hell, he's lit up the night sky like his own private Bat call. Why won't he answer?

Anyway, once the music started, our less than favourable seating become largely redundant as the music and the whole spectacle of it overcame any grievances we still harboured. There were some classic older pieces, like the Sorcerers Apprentice, and some newer ones like Fantasia 2000's reworking of Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. The alarming introduction of that pieces antagonist caused most people to jump in their seats, and one small child to start crying. That was really far more adorable than if the same thing had happened on an airplane, and for a family event, all of the kids were extremely well behaved. Their silent appreciation is the biggest testament to the totally immersive experience the show became for everyone.

One last little piece of news now that I'm not moving around enough to justify more regular entries, and that is that I've been made a supervisor at work. And I get paid more, but what is far more exciting, I've finally found a moustache style that the boss is happy to let me keep. It may have come across to him like a child pleading to keep the stray dog that had followed him home, but my homage to local lad Errol Flynn has gotten the seal of approval. All I have to do now is convince my gf that she doesn't have to feel nervous whenever we pass a playground or primary school.


Tags: art, music, winter

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