Arts, Culture & Entertainment News - March 7

 “The more that you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn the more places you’ll go.” - Dr. Suess
Image: "Ellen and friends", Sophie Baker Photography
Today is World Read Aloud Day, which means you must read this blog ALOUD. Starting now. Did you know there are 793 million illiterate people in the world, if not more? This is so sad, as reading can be such a joy – transporting you to the most wonderful places inside authors' imaginations, widening your understanding of the world around you and keeping you company on the couch, in hospital or, indeed, on the streets. What's more, learning to speak the words you write can have a powerful effect (just think of Martin Luther King Junior's "I have a dream..."). As Kofi Annan said:

"Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right.... Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential."

World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by LitWorld, is about taking action to show the whole world that the right to read and write belongs to all people, big and small. If reading is not your forte, or you have ever mispronounced a word, in the most embarrassing fashion, here's some inspiration for how to say things eloquently from Nanny Fine ("How now, brown cow?")...

A collection of previously unseen fairytales have been discovered in Germany, reports The Guardian. The 500 new fairytales were gathered together by historian Franz Xaver von Schonwerth at the same time as the Grimm brothers were penning their stories. "Von Schönwerth [who dies in 1886] spent decades asking country folk, labourers and servants about local habits, traditions, customs and history, and putting down on paper what had only been passed on by word of mouth," reports The Guardian. One of the tales is titled The Turnip Princess.

"In a Flood Tide of Digital Data, an Ark Full of Books," reads an artful New York Times headline this week. "You can never tell what is going to paint the portrait of a culture," says Brewster Kahle, the "latter-day Noah" and curator of the San Francisco based Internet Archive (a nonprofit organisation devoted to preserving web pages and making texts more widely available) who made his mark selling a data-mining company to "We must keep the past even as we’re inventing a new future."

At the end of March internationally renowned composer, conductor, trombonist and tubist Ed Partyka will be in Perth performing with the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO) as part of the Hale School Visiting Artist's Program. Chicago born, Partyka moved to Germany where he completed a Masters in Jazz Trombone Performance and the Conservatory of Music in Cologne. He was bass trombonist in the Vienna Art Orchestra from 2000 to 2008. He is currently the Jazz Department Chairman and Professor for Jazz Composition & Theory at the "Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst" (KUG) in Graz, Austria, and teaches jazz composition and arranging at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU), Switzerland.
Second-hand book seller, blogger and author Amy Choi launches her memoir, Playing House, on March 24 at Melbourne's MAD Gallery. Booktopia calls it "a rare pleasure a warm and humorous memoir in three parts that subtly reveals what it means to create a family." We look forward to reading Amy's story of travelling Europe, making a home in Melbourne and taking in a troubled teen who needed a family.   

"Jotting, endlessly jotting, conversation scraps, title ideas, the taste of a sky, the sadness of a smile, the whisper of a story..." this is the writer's life, according to author and Weekend Australian Magazine columnist Nikki Gemmel who penned, 'Why be a writer?' recently. "That secret formula? Tenacity. Discipline. Self-belief. The ability to keep at it no matter how many heart-sinkers there are around you; all those people telling you to give up, all those swamping rejection slips and believe me, I've had a few."

Stella Miles Franklin played by Judy Davis in My Brilliant Career
While many women rail against the idea of having to separate "women's literature" from the wider literature landscape, the team behind The Stella Prize are determined to help female writers shine. The prize will bestow $50,000 on one female writer and help to lift the profile of women's writing in Australia. In honour of International Women's Day, a panel of women writers will be appearing at Shearer's Bookshop in Leichardt, Sydney, to discuss the role of gender in the literary world. Nikki Gemmell also says, "Women who write feel too much. Honesty is the most potent thing of all - it's amazing how much support you get when you tell the truth. And it's the hardest thing I'll ever do but nothing else gives me such a quietness of the soul; I'll not be talked out of it."

Sketchbook by Jo Roszkowski c/o The Brooklyn Art Library
The Sketchbook Project kicks off on April 17 at the Brooklyn Art Library and lands in Melbourne on its last stop on November 10 (showing through to November 21). Brisbane artist and BFF of the Satchel Beci Culley is a part of the roving show of 5,000-odd sketchbooks from 100+ countries with her sweet kids' storybook about hope (it may have made me shed a tear). In fact, there are a whole bunch of Aussies contributing (aren't we clever!). In the meantime, there is a digital library where you can view some of the sketchbooks online. Yay!

Many of us were introduced to reading by the wonderfully rhyming Dr. Seuss, the creation of Theodore Geisel. The latest film adaptation of his works, The Lorax, a "post enviro-pocalyptic fable about the fragility of human nature and the consequences of reckless human industry", is coming to Australian screens soonish. "Seuss’ greater point: When you are entrusted with something, don’t squander it; take care of it, and speak up for what’s right even if you get shouted down," writes Allen Cates of RELEVANT magazine. Fern Tree Gully for the Millennials? Here's the preview clip...

Girl With a Satchel