Austen Tayshus takes Byron
Every year the big man of comedy makes his way to Byron Bay for his annual comedic download on the year that was.
There are few comics with the tenacity and killer instinct of Austen Tayshus. The comedy superstar, who first came into being in 1981, has the ability to take a room hostage just with his tongue. He’s the closest thing the Australian comedy scene has to its very own Bill Hicks.
He’s the high priest of satire, the most unflappable, relentless comic on the block. Every Austen show is unique. He has the ability to weave current politics, what’s happening in the room, philosophy, anthropology, religion and of course sport – and let’s not forget the Pope – into one gag.
Austen, a committed vegetarian in the eating department, is not averse to hacking up the odd sacred cow. There is no subject he won’t dissect. Uncomfortable, confronting, but always illuminating, an Austen Tayshus show is both comic and cleansing.
Austen remarked once that he sees his role as being a social agitator, as the prickle in the paw that makes the public think. He doesn’t need you to like him. In fact he’d probably prefer that you didn’t.
‘My comedy is not to everyone’s taste,’ says Tayshus, aka Sandy Goodman. ‘Some people find it too scary and many others take offence. I often have to remind the audience that it’s just a show. The provocation is just a device to unsettle and disorient a crowd, to take them a great distance from their comfort zone.
‘We live far too predictable lives, and expect predictable comedy. I like to fuck with everyone and everything.’
He has performed all over Australia, the United Kingdom, Los Angeles, New York and Asia, but believes that deep down he is ‘an Aussie comedian’. That being said, there is probably not a comedian in the country that has got the Aussie road miles that Austen has – and the colourful stories that go with it!
‘I have been vomited on, glassed, punched and kicked, and confronted with a variety of weapons. I call those the good nights. Often I have to flee a venue via the back door and sneak out of town in the dark of night. People yell and scream, drop their pants or spit on stage. “Austen, I think you pushed them too hard tonight,” the hotel manager will say. “You drove them fucking crazy.” But so it goes… ’
He appears at the Byron Services Club with Mandy Nolan on Monday at 8pm.
Tix are $20/25 at the venue or can be booked on 6619 0529.
From Turkey to Mullum
The Spirit Festival returns to Mullumbimby for 2015 with organisers announcing their first major headline: world music great, Turkey’s Mercan Dede. Creative director Kate Little explains the vision for this year’s event.
‘We are inspired to celebrate the autumn equinox that coincides with our dates, and seek balance between the polarities we all experience – light and dark, masculine and feminine, physical and spiritual. Our ceremonies, classes and concerts will reflect this intention and bring greater focus to our collective festival experience.
‘To ensure our deepest explorations we’ve secured Mercan Dede, one of the five greatest world music acts, to perform at the festival.
Renowned for his pioneering links between Turkish Sufism and western electronic music, Dede, born Akin Alical, actually exists as two musicians.
As Mercan Dede he’s acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost Turkish Sufi musicians, each year travelling globally to work with dervish, and other, world musicians. And as Akin Allen he can be found as a DJ at rave events or in the world of visual arts where he’s exhibited for decades.
Rounding out the musical mix will be heart-opening kirtan-wallahs including Kevin James and Mel Dobra, plus the groovin’ beats of Vesica Pisces, Murray Kyle and Tahir & The Qawwali Ensemble. The inspirational conscious-dance leader Jo Cobbett hails from LA.
Unlimited movement opportunities will unfold with Kundalini dancestor Leyolah Antara, body/breath yoga pioneer Kathryn Riding, the exotic exploratory Madhu Henry, plus River Jade Satya, Hamilton Barnett et al.
Yoga for all levels by an international array of instructors including Rose Baudin, Simon Park, Mark Whitwell (USA/NZ), Julie Smerdon, Dena Kingsberg, Eva Clay, Clive Sheridan, Delamay Devi, Harjiwan, Sarah-Jane Perman and more.For the full range of workshops, concerts, kids’ activities, market stalls, etc please visit the website and join the Facebook group.
Tickets are on sale now: www.spiritfestival.com.au runs from the 20–23 March 2015.
The Boy in the Bubble
Shep Huntly has earned his stripes in the world sideshow arena. Best mates with Space Cowboy, they started The Happy Sideshow together and toured the world performing squirm-worthy stunts for thousands.
Shep went on to form The Dirty Brothers, enjoying great success touring as performer and emcee. He has performed with rock bands in stadiums to 20,000 people, done four separate shows at the Sydney Opera House, wowed audiences at the National Theatre in London and headlined huge festivals throughout Spain, Portugal and France.
His last 25 years has been spent performing at the biggest festivals around the world!
So how does a performer whose props consisted of chainsaws, motorbikes, nails, forks and animal traps exchange all of that for a bubble wand? He became a dad! Shep is now living in Suffolk Park and is devoted to his 4-year-old daughter Goldie.
Her love of bubbles was infectious, causing him to spend the last four years practising the art of bubble manipulation. He can put bubbles inside bubbles, make square bubbles and smoke bubbles and even put a child inside a bubble!
You can see all this and more in Shep’s Big Bubble Show playing at Circus Arts Byron Bay 17 Centennial Circuit, Arts and Industry Park from the 5–9 Jan at 12pm. 30-minute show. General admission $10. Tickets on the door on online or for more information, contact Kate Priddle at [email protected] or visit www.circusarts.com.au.
Flamenco lovers are being offered a very special workshop with Manolo Jaen – Australia’s premier Flamenco singer and member of Arte Kanela Flamenco. To participate in workshops from beginners to advanced, please contact Manolo 0425 716 775 or Paul 0407 220 440.
Kids’ Theatre Workshops
Got the kids sitting there going brain dead on their i-technology? Then enrol them in a theatre workshop and get them to do something they will never forget. Kids’ holiday theatre workshops for 9–14-year-olds will be running in Brunswick Heads over 19–23 January, 9.30am till 1pm. Call Philippa on 0422 882 319
for bookings or visit www.theatre-of-life.org.
Treasure of the Amazon
Recently returned from the Ecuadorian Amazon, Brigid Mary Prain’s film
Our Amazon Treasure transports the audience on a journey and immersion in a world of wonder and sound, as she takes you into a close-up look at the planet’s ‘lung’ and the wildlife that live there.
This is not a documentary, more an experience. A pulsating soundtrack of nature sounds complement the atmosphere showing how precious and vital, and at risk, this part of the world is. Prepare to be amazed. The area is currently under threat from a Chinese oil-drilling proposal.
Showing at Lone Goat Gallery in Byron until 14 January.