Arts, Culture & Entertainment - 31st May 2012

Julia Stone has announced her new album By The Horns alongside her national tour dates. This latest album, described by Triple J Magazine as "emotionally fraught, simply chilling and evocative" and hailed as a "triumph" by Harper's Bazaar, was composed in California, though the songs were "sculpted in Australia and India, and refined in France". How wonderful; I wish I had been on the creation-journey. The album also boasts an outstanding cast of guest musicians, including Oren Bloedow (Elysian Fields, Lounge Lizards), Rob Moose (Bon Iver, My Brightest Diamond, Antony & The Johnsons) and Thomas Bartlett & Bryan Devendorf (The National). Julia's shows sold-out in London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and New York, so you'll want to snatch up your tickets for her Australian Tour in September ASAP. You can also go here to listen to her whole album - treat!

Meanwhile, fans of Aussie band Something For Kate can get their anticipation shoes on and do a little dance of joy. The band has spent the past six months writing and rehearsing new material, and are now headed to Texas to begin recording their sixth studio album, to be released later this year.

The Out of the Box Children's Festival is due to begin in Brisbane on the 12th of June, celebrating its 20th birthday (I remember going to this festival in its early days when I was just a youngin'). The festival encourages the development of young minds through engaging and entertaining arts programs – because children don't pay attention to boring things! If you're not sure where to start, I suggest seeing The Flying Orchestra visual theatre performance - a) because it looks wonderfully beautiful, and b) because if you buy an adult ticket to performances between the 15th and 17th June, you get a free child ticket (we love free things!). "Directed by world renowned puppetry artist Peter Wilson (The Red Tree, How to Train Your Dragon, King Kong), The Flying Orchestra uses innovative puppetry and design to create an enchanting new work celebrating the sublime power of music in all aspects of life." Based on the book by Queensland writer and illustrator Clare McFadden, children will be "swept away into a whimsical world of lingering rhythms and delightful possibilities." Well, I'm sold.

Melbourne and jazz, it just fits. I guess that's why the Melbourne International Jazz Festival kicks off today - musical warmth for the cold winter days. With more than 300 musicians playing and 100 events, the 2012 program includes late-night art parties (uhm, fun!), intimate club gigs, film screenings, masterclasses, daily free concerts, evening Soundwalks, and events for families and children.

Well, it's a short but sweet one today.
Sophie @ Girl With a Satchel.

Creativity: Behind 'The Life of a Muppet' by Beci Culley

"When did we begin to rely on other people rather than our own discernment to figure out the truths in circumstances?" asks Brisbane artist Beci Culley. "To be misguided by other people’s voices becomes a life of many wandering roads, continually trying to get back on the right one. This illustration demonstrates this behaviour. I have called it The Life Of A Muppet, as people who live their lives like this are continually tied to other people's misconceptions (hence the string) with their feet clearly off the ground. Let’s start to believe in ourselves and begin to trust that still small voice in the belly of our souls."

Beci Culley, "creating life through art",

Fashademic: Falling in love (with the thesis) again

I do not usually feel stale about my work, nerds. More for me is the hushed triumphant hissing of 'yessss!' in the ARC as I discover that some theorist I've been avoiding (too hard basket) actually nails the exact thing I'm seeing online (hey Bourdieu, hey Husserl, what's happening?). 

More for me the awkward and supremely unattractive victory dancing in the kitchen when I've written a paragraph which is particularly good (if I do say so myself). Less for me the dull-eyed gaze at books I don't want to open or the lacklustre contemplation of chapters that really need to be worked on but... But I have dabbled in this malaise before and here's what I've got: you just have to get on with it.

This does not mean dragging your feet reluctantly through your work, hating every moment; not at all. It means picking up your pen, rereading and retracing your way back to, if not inspiration, motivation. I must remember that I chose this topic (style blogs, obvz) for a reason – I need to remember what that reason was. And I need to re-engage with style blogs.

Book Shelf: This Way to Spaceship by Rhys Darby

Made famous by his role as Murray in the cult hit Flight of the Conchords, and also by his role as Norman alongside Jim Carrey in the Hollywood blockbuster Yes Man, Rhys Darby has fast become a household name. However, the journey hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for the New Zealand born comic, as he reveals in his new book This Way to Spaceship. 

Self-described as ‘a handy autobiographical end-of-the-world companion’, This Way to Spaceship seems ultimately a good excuse for the telling of Darby’s favourite childhood anecdotes - not that we’re complaining. The main theme of his latest work being how to make it onto the VIP spaceship the ‘government’ (which government we are not informed of…it’s THAT secret) is most obviously working on in case of the predicted Armageddon of 2012. Though this thread is quite haphazardly intertwined throughout the book, Darby kindly guides us on how to ‘make it’ and subsequently be invited aboard one of these lifesaving arks. 

Thinkings: Advertising's appeal to pride and fear

Thinkings: Advertising's appeal to pride and fear 
"Todd Sampson never fails to deliver on one particular thing with every episode of Gruen - that of 'fear' - the all consuming, underpinning emotion that drives a truckload of consumer purchase decisions. In fact, he reckons 99 per cent of advertising utilises fear in this way and he unfailingly refers to it in each episode. The fear of not being cool enough, pretty enough, strong enough, wealthy enough... or in the case of last night's installment, the fear of being embarrassed, as only women can be... is the thing that tugs at the insecurities of viewers and is of great psychological interest to us, not to mention advertisers." 
- Sonia Caeiro, editor, Australian Creative magazine.

The Occasional Shopper: A little European treasure

On a recent trip to Europe, I was fortunate enough to experience the Christmas markets that Germany is ever so famous for. Aimlessly wandering through these markets – with an array of sights, sounds and smells enveloping your senses – is an instant highlight and a 'must-do' for that time of year.  

It was on one of these adventures, at the markets in Frankfurt (whilst browsing endless stalls lined with winter woolies, Christmas decorations and every kind of German sausage) that I stumbled upon a stall full of trinkets and rings. Among them was this delightful little find. 

This simple, silver plated band, with its dainty floral design, has surely captured my heart. Costing only €6.50 (AUD $8.32), the newest addition to my jewelry collection was an amazing snatch! 

Brooke @ Girl With a Satchel.

Snapshot: Graph Cafe, Thailand

The tiny Graph Cafe with its unusually green patch of lawn tucked away on the back streets of Sangkhlaburi stands out remarkably from its surrounds, so much so that you can't pass it by without having a look inside. 

The interior is filled with the artwork and photography of its owner who sits below his postcards, each one hand-crafted and painted. I sat by an open window, enjoying the light breeze and a deliciously sweet banana smoothie, all the while listening to jazz music in the background and perusing the gorgeous cards and notebooks. The beautiful photography, framed around the cafe, can also be seen in a mini-gallery space out the back. It's clear that he has a very thoughtful and considered viewpoint as an artist, as if the cafe itself isn't testament to that.

Sophie @ Girl With a Satchel

Music School: Florence and the Machine

Image courtesy of my trusty iPhone
If you haven’t heard of the band Florence & the Machine, it may be apparent that you have been living under a rock, or in some other form of pop-culture hibernation. Becoming a worldwide hit in 2009 after the release of their first album Lungs (for those hipsters out there, the love affair may have begun even earlier) the British band, with front-man-girl Florence Welsh, ended their Australian Ceremonials tour at the Riverstage in Brisbane.

With much eager anticipation, a friend and I landed ourselves a pretty good position and waited for the songstress to grace us with her presence. A little over the top? I think not, for it is Welsh's overly theatrical and flamboyant demeanor that is most captivating about the fiery red-head.

Occupation | Bec Andersen: Textile Artist

Bunting lines the leafy driveway that leads past a beautifully worn weatherboard house. At the end of this driveway, just beyond the papier-mâché kookaburras perched on the gate, sits Brisbane-born Bec Andersen on the balcony of her artist’s studio. 

It’s a wonderful space. Bundles of wool hang from rafters above shelves of spooled wool in an assortment of colours. Beautiful little windows allow soft beams of light to gently rest on woven baskets overflowing with even more wool. At the centre of all of this stands a huge frame stretched with material, a design inked on its fibres and small sections of wool woven between its threads  – this is where the magic happens. 

Bec Andersen is a textile artist specialising in hand-tufted rugs. Bec says she’s into functional art, as English textile designer William Morris said, “Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful”. Her rugs are beautiful, but they’re to be walked on as well.

Bec’s first encounter with rug making came fresh out of university after studying a degree in Industrial Design at QUT. She had moved into a cold little garage floored with tiles (not so great in winter) and set about cutting, arranging and patching squares of carpet to help keep her little home warm. Though this is a far cry from the beautiful creations she makes today, it was during this time of renovation that she learnt about tufting, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Satchel Review - 26th May 2012

By Liz Burke

It was a big week for entertainment, launching show-biz calendar highlights the Cannes film festival, billboard music awards, and a few film premieres. But the first popcorn-worthy moment for those with a penchant for politics came early in the week with cross-bench MP Craig Thomson delivering his defence speech to Parliament at midday on Monday.

Eyes were glued to the screen, but as the speech billed at 15 to 30 minutes carried on for almost an hour, some of those would have had to be kept open with match sticks.

"Thommo" used the time allocated to him to defend accusations of misusing health services union funds mostly to lash out at the media, the Opposition, and his former colleagues, while also giving an oration of his CV to let his audience know what a great bloke he is.

He skimmed over details in defending allegations against him. But for all his efforts to quell the controversy, the plot would only thicken.

The Middle Brow - Divorce Culture

By Emma Plant

Have you noticed the bevy of television shows lately that cater for a divorced culture? I don’t mean a culture divisive in itself, rather popular culture that reflects the high divorce rates of our society.

Prime time is the ultimate time to showcase what the ‘modern family’ looks like (ahem…Modern Family…perfect example). This portrait, if you will, depicts the family unit as an amalgamation of broken hearts, second chances, independent relationships and cohabitation for better (but not for the worse). 

This has effectively reduced stigma around non-traditional family models, but the bright lights of the media also over-power the shadows; darkness and the really ‘icky’ side of divorce and family break down. 

Arts, Culture & Entertainment - 24th May 2012

Excitement! Anthology magazine's latest issue is out, and the theme? "Whit & Whimsy".
Anthology magazine is the independent product of two creatives who were unable to accept that readers no longer wanted to hold something tangible in their hands. Each issue is conceived as a collection of stories all centred around a theme, printed on more than 120 pages of eco-friendly matte stock - it really is a treat! In this latest issue you can expect to find a round-up of products that will hopefully bring a smile to your face, a road trip through California, and a spread titled "Anatomy of Ice Cream". To top it all off with an extra sprinkle of joy, you can watch the latest issue's very own trailer here, oh wah! 

Somewhat on the topic of reading, Anna Funder's book All That I Am has been announced as the winner of the Barbara Jefferis Award for 2012. The award is offered each year for the "the best novel written by an Australian author that depicts women and girls in a positive way or otherwise empowers the status of women and girls in society". All That I Am describes the dark days that build towards the second world war in the lives of German political exiles at home and in London. In narrator Ruth Blatt and her cousin Dora Fabian, Funder creates two complex and fascinating heroines who pursue the possibilities, and suffer the consequences of, both action and inaction in times of great peril. Steeped in a little-known area of modern history, this novel explores the nuances of the committed political life, friendship and love, and the broader human qualities of passion and idealism.

The Temper Trap have released their second self-titled album, telling their Australian fans "We are really excited that you guys finally get to hear the record. It feels like we've been away from you all for so long now. We've put our hearts and souls into these new tracks and we are really proud of the way the album has turned out - we hope you all dig it too." The album peaked at #1 on the Australian iTunes chart just moments after its release and the feedback from around the world has been immensely positive. Kudos, boys! 

The Fifth Human Rights Arts & Film Festival is currently underway in Melbourne until the 27th May, when it will start moving around the rest of the country. The festival provides a shared site where artists, human rights organisations and the Australian public are united in their desire to contribute to social change. It celebrates artists who explore the complex issue of human rights and are motivated by a desire to contribute a new, creative voice to the debate.
    "HRAFF recognises that human rights issues can be overwhelming, and aims not only to raise awareness, but also to redirect the debate towards a more positive and productive outcome. The message we hope to transmit is one focused on change, inspiration, passion, creativity, inclusion, and most of all, possibility." 

Sydney's Vivid Ideas Festival kicks off after dark tomorrow, lighting up the Opera House sails with a colourful projected artwork by the German design collective URBANSCREEN. Ranked among the top ten global ideas festivals by UK newspaper The Guardian, Vivid Sydney is a major celebration of the creative industries and the biggest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere - attracting over 400,000 attendees last year. With a plethora of happenings until the 11th June, Vivid Sydney is set to be an amazing event.

Dumbo Feather magazine has announced its debut of Dumbo Feather Conversations. Described by the team as "conversations with extraordinary people", the event is essentially a live interview with a very laid-back feel, inclusive of audience interaction and casual networking over nibbles and drinks. The first extraordinary person to take a seat on the 'conversation sofa' is Chad Dickerson - the CEO of handmade e-commerce phenomenon, Etsy. The event will run on the 5th June, from 6pm 'til 8pm at 11 Princes Street, St. Kilda, Melbourne (Dumbo Feather HQ). Click here to book your tickets!

Brisbanites have until the 19th August to step several thousands years back in time at 'the mummy exhibiton'. Starting with a thoroughly interesting 3D movie, Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb is an exhibition from the British Museum which showcases, among other things, four Egyptian mummies. Though not an overly huge exhibition, some of the artefacts that you are able to see and read about are truly amazing - and hey, you get to see four mummies (notably inside their bindings and coffins - no real mummy flesh to be seen).

That's all for now,
Sophie @ Girl With a Satchel.

Genealogy: Saint Mary MacKillop

By Brooke Lehmann

"We must teach more by example than by word"
- Mary MacKillop

A colour portrait of Mother Mary MacKillop
at the Mary MacKillop Chapel in Sydney
Reading Saint Mary MacKillop (or Saint Mary of the Cross) and her story, it is difficult to see past the hardship and injustice that life seemed to throw at her. However, by the same token, her strength and courage is just as remarkable. With a heart and a passion solidified in her faith and love for people, Saint Mary's story is truly inspiring.

Born on the 15th January 1842 in Fitzroy, Victoria, Mary MacKillop was the oldest of eight children – with one brother not making it past eleven months old, she became the oldest of seven. She was raised a Roman Catholic and at the age of eight she received her first communion.

Completely oblivious to the difference she would make in the lives of so many across Australia, MacKillop initially started out as a clerk at 14 years of age. She then continued on to become a teacher, and finally a governess in 1860 for her aunt and uncle in Penola to provide extra income for her struggling family. This is said to be where her passion ignited. Working in rural Australia, she opened her arms and welcomed the other farm children onto the Cameron estate and into her classes to teach.

It wasn’t until 1867, after having already taught in Penola and Portland, when she became the co-founder of a school in Penola alongside her well-known acquaintance Father Julian Edmund Tenison Woods. Not long after the establishment of the school, MacKillop became the first sister, and consequently Mother Superior, of their newly co-founded Order of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart.

In her later years she would reflect on this and share the pivotal juncture with her fellow sisters by letter. She wrote, “Twenty-five years ago we kept up St Joseph’s day as the special feast of our proposed institute and little did either of us then dream of what was to spring from so small a beginning…Our poor Father Woods was happy that day, and so was I, but we said little beyond wondering whom God would call to assist us - and how he would make his way clear.”

Snapshot: Hamish & Dawn Alcorn, Archives Fine Books

By Sophie Baker 

Walking up Charlotte street I spotted the red sandwich board from a distance, "BOOKS, OPEN" – sweet relief! Very few times do I successfully navigate my way through the heart of Brisbane's CBD. But the store's gorgeous brick facade won me, and my attention, over immediately.

For the past three and a half years, Hamish Alcorn and his wife, Dawn, have been the proud and grateful owners of Archives Fine Books. Gentle and kind in demeanor, Hamish quietly drifts around his beautiful store, barefoot and ready to help, whatever your need.

The store has sat in this very location for over 30 years and Alcorn – who once ran a political blog and is a sometime Webdiarist – is the fifth owner to steward its second-hand books from owner to owner; early editions, elegant hardbacks, thumbed and adored. 

The Occasional Shopper - A Floral Affair

Earthy, muted tones are in this autumn, as well as (by stark contrast) the bright colour-blocking of the 60s - or so the Westfield online 'style guide' tells me. My favourite autumn bargain however, has been this little pair of floral ballet flats, picked up for $15 at my beloved bargain provider – Kmart.  

I'm inherently abusive to my shoes: being a photographer I always think about my shoes last; my feet end up on all kinds of terrain in all kinds of weather conditions, and mud doesn't mix too well with pretty shoes. I therefore never spend more than $20 on shoes, nor do I buy many "oh they're so pretty!" pairs of shoes. 

But when I saw this pair (on a regular shoe-replacement shop), I couldn't help but try them on. "They'll probably give me toe-clevage," I thought, in a subconscious bid to curb my spending. Alas, they did not, and they were so cute, and they did fit into my Budget Shoe Policy...

I told myself I wouldn't wear them for any photography shoots – I lied. They've managed to survive through several shoots so far, of which I am very proud. I'm hoping they'll last me longer than most!

Snapshot: Chocolate eclairs, coffee and chai

By Rosie Findlay

Just some of the loveliness on offer at Maison Bertaux (28 Greek St). It's London's oldest patisserie, and was revealed to me by my good friend Liv who knows all the best places to go eat cake and stalk designers (The George and Dragon in Shoreditch, sorry, what?). The chocolate eclair was sublime.

Short & Sweet - week beginning May 21st

The week is greeted with sadness for many with the news that Bee Gees singer Robin Gibb has passed away following a long battle with cancer. Queensland & New South Wales NRL fans (and once-a-year football fans) are gearing up for game one of the 2012 Origin series on Wednesday, and The Australian is reporting that our New Zealand neighbours are packing their bags for Australia in record amounts with the number of annual departures sitting at 53,462.

A little agapanthus flower (now flowerless in the colder climate)
peeking above the sill of my bay window this morning.
Let's catch up: After a whirlwind week inclusive of Mrs. Satchel's last-minute departure for Cambodia, Brooke & I spent this morning resting up; yesterday was spent photographing a lovely home-style garden wedding (the weather was perfect and I'm so excited to get into the editing), while Saturday involved exploring an artist's studio to share with you later this week.
This week's agenda: Plenty of photo processing, editing and compiling to be done, as well as a trip to Brisbane for The Mummy Exhibition (stay tuned), and ending with the best-friend's Hen's Night for myself, and Florence & The Machine's Brisbane show at the Riverstage for Brooke!
The Word for the Week: "I am the vine; you are the branches..." John 15:5
Quote for the Week: "Failures are fingerposts on the road to achievement." C.S. Lewis word of the week: Gambit \ GAM-bit \ noun;
1. A remark made to open or redirect conversation
2. Chess. An opening in which a player seeks to obtain some advantage by sacrificing a pawn or piece.
3. Any manoeuvre by which one seeks to gain an advantage.
"Despite having the opposition hot on his heels, he took a last-minute dive and placed the ball over the line, scoring a try. The gambit secured a win for the team."

Sophie @ Girl With a Satchel

The Satchel Review - 18th May

By Liz Burke

At approximately 2:25pm yesterday a silent but collective plea from breaking news desks, entertainment reporters, and anyone with an active Twitter handle echoed around the nation. “Would everyone please be quiet, I’m trying to think of Wiggles puns!”

Minutes later, as the shocking announcement of the Wiggles imminent shake-up (a nicely spun rebranding of “break-up”) was confirmed, headlines emerged and skivvies were being thrown in and big red car keys handed over.

The kids' entertainment phenomenon’s fruit salad days were over. Three new recruits would join the last man standing, blue-skivvied Anthony Page, as it was announced Gregg, Jeff, and Murray, the yellow, purple, and red Wiggles respectively were to depart from the group. 

Arts, Culture & Entertainment - May 17th

The Cannes Film Festival is here! Without question a highlight of the year for filmmakers and enthusiasts around the globe, the 65th Festival de Cannes was opened on Wednesday night by American director Wes Anderson who gave thanks to France for being “a country that always reserves a special place in society for cinema”. Heading the festival’s jury for feature films this year is Italian director and Palme d’Or winner Nanni Moretti, with the rest of the jury including the likes of Diane Kruger and Ewan McGregor. The feature films jury will be watching twenty-two films over the duration of the festival (now that’s a movie marathon). Moretti says the key to effective judging is “to watch all of the films with the same level of interest and respect” – all twenty-two of them!

Australian film The Sapphires directed by Wayne Blair is being screened, while Australian short film Yardbird directed by Michael Spiccia has been selected among ten other short films to compete for the 2012 Short Film Palme d’Or. Australian directors Andrew Dominik and John Hillcoat also have films in the running, while Nicole Kidman stars in the US film The Paperboy, and Kylie Minogue acts alongside Eva Mendes in the French film Holy Motors.
The festival this year has, however, received some backlash for having no female directors selected amongst the 22 feature films competing for the coveted Palme d’Or award. French feminist group La Barbe (The Beard) published a derisive article against the festival in the Le Monde and The Guardian newspapers for their apparent exclusion of women, stating “All 22 films in the official selection were written, happy coincidence, by 22 men.”

Last year’s festival saw an unprecedented number of women in the running for the top prize. In reference to this, La Barbe’s article went on to say “Sirs, you have returned to your senses and we thank you for that…Whatever we do, we must not let young girls believe they could one day have the nerve to direct films and climb the steps of the festival palace other than on the arm of a prince charming…Women make perfect hostesses, let’s spare them the worry of managing a film crew, the tough technical challenges of a film shoot.”

But festival director Thierry Fremaux said he only chooses films because he thinks they deserve to be in the selection, and that it is not his fault that filmmaking is still predominantly “a male sport”. New Zealand director Jane Campion remains the only female director in the history of the festival to have won the Palme d’Or for her film The Piano in 1993. Criticism aside, the festival is sure to showcase amazing talent the world over, and here’s to hoping Down Under comes out on top!

While we’re talking about film, if you happen to be in Melbourne on Thursday the 29th of May you can head on over to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image Cinemas (ACMI) in Federation Square to see the Australian screening of Linotype: The FilmThe feature-length documentary is centered around the Linotype (line-o-type) casting machine, a machine that revolutionized printing and society in the same way that the internet is changing communication today. The film is set to tell the charming and emotional story of the people connected to the Linotype and how it impacted the world, as well as seeking to answer questions in relation to the Linotype’s place in society today.

Brisbane’s Galley of Modern Art is showcasing Australian contemporary female artists in its current exhibition Contemporary Australia: Women. This exhibition celebrates the diversity, energy and innovation of contemporary women artists working in Australia today. It features more than 70 new and recent works including paintings, sculptures, photography, textiles and video. The exhibition runs until the 22nd July.
Edgar Degas – Dancer sitting, leaning forward, she massages her left foot – 1881-83

Sticking to the subject of women in art, the Queensland Art Gallery is running an exclusive exhibition titled Modern Woman: Daughters & Lovers 1850 – 1918 | Drawings from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. This extensively titled exhibition features drawings from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, by artists working in France in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It celebrates the changing roles of women during the Belle Époque (the “Beautiful Era”, a golden-age of sorts in French history) as depicted by leading artists of the time such as Degas, Renoir, Manet and Rodin. These artists increasingly abandoned idealized representations of the female figure, and turned to women from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds, depicting them in real-life situations. This turn from tradition allows us to see French society undergoing radical transformations through their works. Running until the 24th of June, South-East Queenslanders are being treated a rare opportunity to see these infamous works first-hand. Having seen some of these works in overseas travels, I highly recommend seeing this exhibition if it piques your interest.

Love music festivals and snow? Guess what, such a combination exists!  The Perisher Snowy Mountains of Music is the only music festival in the snow, and claims the title of Australia’s “Coolest” Festival – clever. It kicks off on the 8th of June and you get to enjoy your iced-up tunes until the 11th June, with 8 on-snow venues and headliners like The Black Seeds and Brendan Gallagher.

Rough Red – picture by Graeme Morrison

Prince is making his third trip ‘down-under’ this month, with his last Australian tour occurring in 2003. His concerts have a reputation for being “flamboyant and thrilling”, focusing as much on presentation as on the music. This latest tour is a full-scale arena production using “ground breaking” technology in a complete 360-degree stage, where you can expect to hear all of his greatest hits – sounds like its living up to the flamboyant reputation!
On the fresh-music front, Florence and The Machine is also hitting our shores this month in what is sure to be one of the touring highlights of 2012. If you haven’t heard this enchanting songstress before, you should look her up – she is refreshingly unique. Girl With A Satchel's Brooke is checking out her Brisbane line-up later next week, we'll check in with her to hear all about it!

(I'm personally rather excited about this one!)
If you have a fetish for all things vintage, the Love Vintage Clothing Show & Sale is hitting Melbourne this Friday (May 18th – 20th). You can expect to find original couture fashion for women, stylish yet quirky men’s vintage fashion, fine jewellery from the 1900s onwards, hats, shoes, sunglasses, linen, lace, textiles, magazines, original art prints, sewing patterns, small collectibles like perfume bottles… the list just goes on! There will also be a line-up of demonstrations, discussions and entertainment options, plus prizes to won! (Oh, I want to be there now!). The Love Vintage show will be in Brisbane from July 13th-15th and in Sydney from September 14th – 16th.

Home-grown global children's entertainment group The Wiggles have announced that three of their four members will be retiring at the end of the year, to be replaced by three fresh faces – one who is a girl.
Twenty-one-year-old Emma Watkins has worked with the Wiggles for several years as a back-up dancer among other things, but at the end of the year she'll be pulling on the yellow skivvy and stepping forward into a new era of Wiggle history.
Emma said she was thrilled to become the Yellow Wiggle, and the first female Wiggle in the group's 21-year history (with the exception of Kylie Minogue, who was made an honorary Pink Wiggle in 2009).

The two other fresh faces belong to Lachlan Gillespie and Simon Pryce, who have also worked in background roles for the band for several years. The retiring Wiggles are Jeff Fatt (the Purple Wiggle), Murray Cook (the Red Wiggle) and Greg Page (the newly-returned Yellow Wiggle), leaving Anthony Field (the Blue Wiggle) as the only original band member continuing on.

Greg Page said that when The Wiggles asked him to return to the group last year, he was thrilled at the thought of performing with the three guys he started with 21 years ago. So when Jeff and Murray announced their decision to stop performing at the end of the year, he said he felt it was a "nice sense of closure to end my time on stage during the final tour with all the original members of the group." 

There was no talk of asking stand-in yellow wiggle Sam Moran back into the group, with a spokesman saying he had moved on to pursue a career in musical theatre. Moran took the place of Greg Page for five years after Page stood down due to a health condition. Purple Wiggle Jeff Fatt sent out a big thank you to all of their 'wiggly' fans saying, "It's been a great ride in our big red car. We are really looking forward to saying farewell and having one last dance with everyone during the tour." 

The band's farewell tour will commence in Australia in November and December and will see them visit New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the USA.

That's all for now, folks!

Autumnal notes - Hello from Sophie & Brooke

Autumnal notes: Hello from Sophie & Brooke

Autumn. A time of change – the transition from summer into winter. Long, sunny days give way to shorter, cooler ones; lush, green foliage becomes all shades of amber in the now brisk, dry air. The light becomes softer, the jackets and scarves make their debut, and the smell of smoke sits in the afternoon air as houses are warmed inside.

It is a beautiful time, an air of calm seems to blanket each day and though the summer-lovers may long for their days by the beach and evening barbecues, the cooler-climate souls are in their element rugged up by the fire, or skipping pink-cheeked through the crisp air under cloudless blue skies.

Stemming from the Latin word autumnus, the word “autumn” entered into common speech around 16th Century and is thought to refer to “the season of plenty”. Before this time, “harvest was the term usually used to refer to the season. However, as more people moved from working the land to living in towns, the word “harvest” lost its reference to the season and came to represent to the actual act of reaping, while “autumn” (as well as “fall”) began to replace it.

As it happens this autumn, The Girl With A Satchel herself has made a dash to Cambodia to work with Destiny Rescue (see ‘a blogging sabbatical’), leaving the blog in the excited hands of myself (Sophie) and Brooke to help it on its way. How fitting that we say hello with an autumnal post – celebrating this beautiful season of change, and our 'harvesting' of interesting little things to show you all over the next few weeks.

Reprieve: Taking leave (a blogging sabbatical)

Reprieve: Taking leave (a blogging sabbatical)

This Thursday Wednesday (yikes!), Mr and Mrs Satchel (aka Mr and Mrs Bartle) are heading to Cambodia, via Thailand, to work with the crew behind Destiny Rescue. I am most excited about this overseas assignment, and the idea of working alongside my husband on his projects, so to gain the full measure of the experience, which I imagine in many respects will be life changing, and to devote time to learning about the girls themselves, I have decided to refrain from blogging for the time that I am overseas (and perhaps a little while after to make sense of all the bits and pieces that will inevitably be swirling around in my brain).

In the meantime, Sophie and Brooke will be dropping by GWAS intermittently to keep things bubbling along (they're truly marvelous company... the kind of girls who you can play with in the autumn leaves or laugh with about your carefree hairy nether regions – aka "the mangroves" – and yet also enter into a deep and thoughtful theological or literary discussion with; and they would loathe it that I am building them up in such a fashion). Oh, and another friend will be dropping in to wrap up the news at the end of the week. Emma might stop by for a bit of banter, too. I will be missing out on all the fun.

So long, farewell, until I return to this space, friends, satchelings, countrymen.

Girl With a Satchel

Snapshot: Bec and Trent from Moorigin

Bec Edmonds and Trent Kirkwood of Moorigin, Ugess coffee shop, West End, Brisbane
Two years ago, Trent Kirkwood flew off to Taiwan to follow the dream he had to start a mountain bike business (ergo "Bosky Bikes"), but while he was doing some shopping for his girlfriend, Bec, he stumbled across some jewellery in a market that caught his attention crafted by a local designer named "Greatman". A short while later, Bosky Bikes was out and Moorigin jewellery was in. 

The endeavour has proved a happy pursuit for both Bec, 24, and Trent, 30, with her business and community development background and his winning sales technique.

"Our first ever market was the Chandler markets, a twilight market and it was $20 for a store," recalls Bec. "We loved it, but it's an older market. We were worried we wouldn't sell anything, but there were people all around the stall. Then we did the West End Markets every Saturday for ages. We like interacting with people, though I'm not nice to people until about 9 or 10 o'clock, after a coffee; it takes me a little while after waking up at 4am. Trent's always nice to people."

Thinkings: Nikki Gemmell on a mother's love

Thinkings: Nikki Gemmell on a mother's love

"What I've learnt: the greatest chasm between two people is love withheld by a parent. If you want to do the most damage, try messing with that most primal of human bonds. If you want a miraculous healing, try the opposite. Love withheld, as a weapon, can lock up a life; leach confidence, esteem, strength. And wounds can freshen in middle age."
- 'Body Blows of Love', Nikki Gemmell, The Weekend Australian Magazine, May 12-13, 2012

Bulletin Board: Good Sams curbing violence against women

Bulletin Board: Good Sams Foundation

Sarah Fraser-O'Brien (left) of the Good Sams Foundation
Sarah Fraser O'Brien, foundation manager for the Sisters of the Good Samaritan Foundation (Good Sams), which supports the projects of the Sisters of the Good Samaritans, including safe houses and programs for women and children escaping domestic violence, says that changing a family's culture around domestic violence is hard work.

"Breaking that cycle of domestic violence is often that's a real challenge because it's a long-term lifestyle that a woman might have endured, even from her own childhood, so you have to deal with self-esteem and all those sorts of concerns," she says.

"The aim is to try to get her back on her feet and to try to build her networks, her support network, and build her confidence, and get her in a position where she doesn't want to go back to the perpetrator and hopefully we won't have that cycle continuing in her children. Our big aim is to try to break that whole cycle, and to have that wonderful change in their lifestyle."

The Satchel Review - Saturday 12 April, 2012

Things got very awkward this week when Victorian Liberal power broker Michael Kroger told a Melbourne radio station that Peter Costello was not his lunch buddy anymore, in what might be best described as a wobbly. We were gobsmacked. 

But anything is possible in this pigs-can-fly political environment, given Jessica Rudd authored a work of fiction prophetically predicting her father's backstabbing by an underling way back when he was running the show, only to see the plot line unfold just as the story was told before our very eyes. 

As 7:30's Chris Ulhman put it, "Budget week in Canberra is usually a dry affair, but no week is typical in this parliament." Put on your ruby shoes and click three times: maybe you'll be taken to a place where the government rules over all the little people with integrity and keep their personal grievances between themselves... especially if you are playing for the same side. 

Genealogy: Joan of Arc (January 6, 1412 - May 30, 1431)

Genealogy: Joan of Arc (1412-1431)

"One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying." – Joan of Arc

Patriotism matched by faith, youthful vigour with valour, courage with charisma, divine inspiration with judicial vindication were Joan of Arc's calling cards. And she rode her convictions all the way to Orléans' where she helped France claim back its national dignity, and then onto the stake at Rouen, where she was burned to death, aged 19, the victim of a political vendetta.

The daughter of peasants, Jacques d'Arc and Isabelle Romee, Jeanne d'Arc received a limited education but was said to be of robust character, dutiful conduct, rational intelligence and deep religious conviction, which showed itself in her kindness to the sick and poor and devotion to her church. "She was so good," her neighbours said after her death, "that all the village loved her."

She was trained in "sewing and spinning", but brandished a sword, once declaring, "I fear no woman", though several female aristocrats helped her cause. She never had the opportunity to learn to read or write, but would go on to prove her grasp on theology under ecclesiastical cross-examination; her divine inspiration receiving final, post-humous validation by way of sainthood.

Aged 14, while on her father's farm, she is said to have heard the voices of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret who told her to stay a virgin and live a Godly life. The voices were ever-present and, in time, commissioned her with a divine task: to deliver Charles VII, the 'Dauphin', to the French throne, thereby turning the tide on the long and arduous 100 Years' War.

No small task for a woman of just 17.

The Middle Brow - Budget in the Land of Hope and Dreams

By Kylie McCaig

As Wayne Swan blasted Bruce Springsteen's "Land of Hope and Dreams" before delivering his fifth budget, was this how he hoped the nation's population (or, rather, the finance journalists who were going to put the spin on it) would perceive Australia after hearing the results? Perhaps the first indication of the direction of the budget came when the journalists in the budget lockup discovered there was no coffee - spending cuts began early!

There has been much rhetoric about Swan's budget being a "Robin Hood budget", but was it really?  Indeed, the May 2012 Budget has seen a major redistribution of money. The Treasurer only needed to find $2.5 billion to create a surplus, but he redistributed  spending levels significantly more than he needed to in an apparent effort to buy votes.

Thinkings: Tina Arena on reality TV

Thinkings: Tina Arena on reality TV

 "I've thought about it and whilst I think there's a beauty in seeing people get up and sing and discovering some incredible voices, which we have been privileged to discover through reality TV... the Susan Boyles... I mean, Susan Boyle was extraordinary. Regardless of what people think of her – and the way that she has been portrayed in the media is incredibly tragic, and you're dealing with a woman who is mentally unstable. 

However, putting that aside, having seen her on TV and having heard the wonderful dulcet tones that came out, you sort of went, 'Wow, how amazing is that?!', and it was raw. So what we got to see through the reality TV, and I guess the one beautiful thing about it, is the rawness that we've been able to see. That element I've loved about it. What I haven't loved about it, and what I have found a bit perverse and a bit sick, is the exploitation of those people, and the fact that those people think, very genuinely, that once they've been in the business for 10 minutes that they can continue to have a career in it."  

- Tina Arena, singer/judge and mentor for Young Talent Time, who is touring with the Queensland Symphony, on 96.5 radio.

Video: Two souls, one life. Meet Ian and Larissa.

Video: Two souls, one life = husband and wife

How incredibly humbling and inspiring is this beautiful couple?

Girl With a Satchel

Snapshot: Gary and Natasha Pinto, R&B soulmates

Snapshot: Gary and Natasha Pinto, R&B soulmates
Natasha and Gary Pinto pictured at Easterfest music festival, April 2012. Natasha releases her EP, Sending Out a Message this week.
At World Youth Day in 2008, singer/songwriters Gary and Natasha Pinto were both in Perth. Only they didn't really know each other, save for some family friend connections. Natasha was sleepy and cold, so resolved to go to bed and shut out the festivities from under her sleeping bag. And then she heard Gary singing. 

"I told the kids I was with that I wasn't getting up for anything in the world, it was so cold, but when I heard him I sat up in my sleeping bag," she says.

The rest, as they say, is history. After friending each other on Facebook and gigging together in Perth, they dated long-distance (she in Perth, he in Melbourne) but not for long. "A job came up doing backing vocals on Australian Idol in 2009," says Natasha. "I ended up getting the job, so we only dated long distance for two weeks."

Now married, the Melbourne-based couple's music styles are the perfect complement. She looks like Aishwarya Rai and sounds like Sade (well, one part Sade, one part Amel Larriwux of Groove Theory fame), but has no airs, only grace. He is a man with a tender heart who's been beating around the music business since the days of his Aussie boy band CBD (Natasha tells me her sister was a fan and had a CBD poster on her wall when she was 10).

This week Natasha launches her EP, Sending Out a Message, positing her as a rising star within Australia's neo-soul movement. She cites Erykah Badu, Sade, Brandy and Jill Scott as influences of the pop/soul/R&B groove variety, but likes all styles of music. She studied jazz and contemporary music at university before teaching music at a high school in Perth.

Arts, Culture & Entertainment News - May 10

Image: Letters of Note
Writer, illustrator, stage and costume designer and children's author Maurice Sendak has passed away, aged 83. Most famed for one of his earliest books, Where The Wild Things Are (1963), about a boy named Max, a disobedient boy who creates his own world where he is king, his works encouraged children to escape into fantasy lands of their own making. He once said, "Children do live in fantasy and reality; they move back and forth very easily in a way we no longer remember how to do." His formative experiences were to play a vital part in his work. 

Born in Brooklyn to Jewish parents who had emigrated from Poland prior to World War I, he was a sickly child, and often home from school. Tragically, at age six, a friend of his was killed by a car when he tried to catch a ball Sendak had thrown. His father's family were killed by the Nazis. In 2003, after working on Brundibar, a book by Hans Krasa turned into an opera staged by children in a Jewish orphanage who were all killed by the Nazis, he felt he had become a "good son of the Holocaust" by paying the people he illustrated tribute. 

His first jobs included drawing for All-American Comics and working for toy store FAO Schwarz. His first book commission was illustrating The Wonderful Farm by Marcel Ayme, and he went on to create his own. He had no qualms with exposing children to the cruel realities of the world through his work. He said: "I don't believe in children. I don't believe in childhood. I don't believe that there's a demarcation. 'Oh you mustn't tell them that. You mustn't tell them that.' You tell them anything you want. Just tell them if it's true. If it's true you tell them." Where The Wild Things Are was adapted for the screen by Spike Jonze.

Fellow author, JRR Tolkien explained the fantasy genre in a similar light, writing in his essay 'On Fairy Stories'

"I have claimed that Escape is one of the main functions of fairy-stories, and since I do not disapprove of them, it is plain that I do not accept the tone of scorn or pity with which 'Escape' is now so often used: a tone for which the uses of the word outside literary criticism give no warrant at all... Why should a man be scorned, if, finding himself in prison, he tries to get out and go home? Or if, when he cannot do so, he thinks and talks about other topics than jailers and prison walls? The world outside has not become less real because the prisoner cannot see it."

Australian Actress Kerry Armstrong wishes there were more reality in the female characters she's asked to portray on screen. "I have not met a woman in my lifetime who looks like any of the creatures that people are asking me to create.'' And those creatures are "downtrodden fools, miserable half-hearted wives and dullards," she tells The Age

Part of the HEAD ON Photographic Festival 2012, See Jane Run examines issues of gender roles and body image through the photographers' eyes and aesthetic. Established by four female photographers – Emma Phillips, Julie Sundberg, Anna Warr and Fiona Wolf – the aim for this project is to evoke dialogue about how we see and perceive ourselves, and how society and the media influences that perception, especially towards women. Held in support of the White Ribbon Foundation, the event runs from May 14 to 27 at Depot II Gallery, Danks Street, Sydney (opening night is May 15). Friend the ladies at the Facebook page.

William Kentridge: Five Themes celebrates the work of one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. Kentridge studied at the Johannesburg Art Foundation and the Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris and was a founding member of the Free Filmmakers Co-operative in 1988. "I have never tried to make illustrations of apartheid, but the drawings and films are certainly spawned by and feed off the brutalized society left in its wake," he has said of his work. "I am interested in a political art, that is to say an art of ambiguity, contradiction, uncompleted gestures and uncertain endings. An art (and a politics) in which optimism is kept in check and nihilism at bay." After premiering at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and travelling to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, then on to Paris, Vienna, Jerusalem and Moscow, the exhibition comes to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image for an exclusive Australian season until 27 May.

Cultural commentator Mark Sayers writes on Adam Curtis' The Century of Self documentary, "One of the most intriguing thinkers that I have discovered in the last year is BBC documentary maker Adam Curtis. Curtis makes documentaries that attempts to explore the way that ideas and theories influence our culture at a macro level. Exploring how concepts in our culture which we think are neutral actually carry worldviews. It is hard to pin down Curtis politically with both conservative and liberal thinking questioned in his documentaries... His series The Century of Self is a fascinating exploration of how Sigmund Freud and his relatives influenced our concept of self."

In his appraisal of the Federal Government's Arts funding commitments, Matthew Westwood writes for The Australian: "The arts initiatives in Tuesday's federal budget will be a disappointment to those who have been awaiting the National Cultural Policy. While the budget contains $64.1 million of arts initiatives, including a boost to national collecting institutions, it disguises an overall reduction in government cultural spending." 

While arts and cultural spending has been cut, money has been allocated to help the sector make the most of the digital economy and the education sector. Rota Dimasi details the Budget's Arts spend for, while the Council for the Arts, which is awaiting the results of an independent review, has welcomed the Budget. While Arts Minister Simon Crean has flagged a delay of the delivery of the National Cultural Policy, media baron Harold Mitchell's report on private sector arts philanthropy was published in March.

With cuts to foreign aid spending, the average Aussie's goodwill dollars are being hotly contested... art or aid? Or art for aid? In a perfect world, there would be no need for escapism... but then we mightn't be delighted by the Maurice Sendaks and JRR Tolkeins. Food for thought.

Girl With a Satchel