The comedy genius of Jonathan Atherton
There is nothing quite like the Jonathan Atherton experience. Wild, passionate, lateral thinking – like the bastard love-child of Bill Hicks and Robin Williams. All darkness and light, Atherton is now a full-time resident of Kuala Lumpur, where he runs The Crackhouse Comedy Club, the first-ever dedicated comedy club on the Malaysian comedy scene, where he provides what he calls ‘stress relief and legal highs!’ Originally Brisbane based, Atherton has always had a love affair with the northern rivers, with his legendary Corndale Hall shows – and his numerous warm friendships forged over decades of performing here. Sadly, since SE Asia has claimed the multilingual Atherton as their own, we see him rarely. But he’s back, telling the tales and spinning his web of wit, insight and insanity. So for those who don’t know Ahterton, let me tell you a little about him: A love of culture and adventure drew him away from the staid corridors of academia and into the heart of the Third World. He spent most of the 80s travelling through Asia and Africa, where he worked as tour guide, salvage diver, teacher, set builder, photographer, restaurateur and actor. In Thailand in 1991 he was run over by a truck and evacuated to Australia where he spent over a year in traction, fighting gangrene, antibiotic-resistant infection and the devastating effects of 17 compound fractures to his legs, arms and spine. He underwent a dozen major operations. But he never lost his sense of humour. In fact the stories he brought back from his prolific travels formed the nucleus of his initial comedy performances. While still in plaster he was coaxed onstage by a cabaret singer who maintained that his poignantly hilarious anecdotes were funnier than the diatribe of the professional comedians who worked at the club where she performed. After just one appearance in 1993 at the Sit Down Comedy Club in Brisbane, he was hooked on the art of standup comedy… despite a temporary inability to actually stand up without the aid of crutches! With a bag of stories and a keen insight into the human condition, he honed his comedy skills touring the vast continent, dispensing laughter wherever he went. He speaks a multitude of languages – Indonesian, Malay, Thai, Japanese, Swahili, Luganda, and German… and has a passing knowledge of Burmese Tagalog, Lao, Hindi, Batak, Urdu, Arabic, Hokkien and Mandarin. More important than language, says Atherton, is an ability to comprehend discourse strategies and social boundaries. In this sense he is at home anywhere on the planet. Jonathan is back in the northern rivers for two very special shows: Monday 21 December at the Byron Services Club with Mandy Nolan as MC and Anne Howe as support, at 8pm; and Saturday 16 January 2016 at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services with Mandy Nolan as MC and Greg Sullivan as support, 8pm. Both shows $25, can be booked on 6619 0529, tix at the club beforehand or on the door on the night!
Separations and Reunions
From birth to death, life is a journey full of separations and reunions. Whether planned or by chance, temporary or permanent, they shape our identity, relationships and major decisions we make in our lives. As we approach the end of another year, we invite you to reflect upon significant separations and reunions and how they have enriched and influenced your life. Join Playback Theatre in sharing stories of separations and reunions – heart-warming, painful or funny. Watch as the Playback actors bring them to life onstage in drama, movement and music. Saturday at the Drill Hall at 7.30pm.
The Final Switch
Local author, Andrew Crockett, launches his 3rd and final SwitchFoot surfing book at Mary Ryan’s Byron Bay Friday 11 December at 6pm.
Over ten years, the SwitchFoot books have garnered fans all over the surfing world for their unique look at the the fringe dwellers of the 1960s surfing culture and the stunning film photography of the era.
An intimate night for surfing enthusiasts with the author discussing early surfboard design with the iconic Wayne Lynch. Several legends of surfing will be in attendance, signing the 3rd book in the SwitchFoot trilogy and the author encourages avid collectors to bring any of the SwitchFoot books for signing. From 6pm- 7:30pm.
Women Like Us sell out Ocean Shores
Well it looks as though people really like Women Like Us. The show that brings together the comedy talents of Mandy Nolan and Ellen Briggs as they present an hour each of their riotous standup, has already sold out the first 5 December date at the Ocean Shores Country Club. That being so, Nolan and Briggs put out a message on Facebook asking their loyal followers if they were keen for another show and the response was overwhelming: most of the people who were intending to come still hadn’t bought their tickets! It’s been full steam ahead for the girls, who have their gaze on the Festival Market for 2016. ‘We’re performing the show at the Adelaide Fringe Festival and at the Melbourne Comedy Festival,’ says Ellen Briggs, who believes that getting two middle-aged mamas out of Mullumbimby is something of a triumph in itself. ‘It’s not as easy for us to tour as it is for male comedians,’ says Briggs. ‘Men on the circuit can up and leave for weeks at a time, but as busy hands-on mothers Mandy and I really have a lot of juggling to do to manage our careers.’ With sellout shows in Hervey Bay and Gympie recently the girls are inspired by the response of audiences. So why do audiences love Women Like Us? ‘We’re not rarefied trophy wives,’ says Nolan. ‘We are the kind of women who know how to put up our own shelves! We just don’t dust them.’ New show by popular demand – Saturday 19 December at the Ocean Shores Country Club. Tickets: $25 at the club. Call 6680 1008 for more info. General admission seating. Doors open from 7pm with show at 8pm.
Open mic comedy in Mullum
It’s the last Open Mic Comedy Night at Mullumbimby’s Court House Hotel this Thursday. Catch the wild and wondrous night of comedic thrills and spills with featuring local and visiting comics – from the emerging to the professional!
A good reason to leave the house! It’s free! 8pm. MC Mandy Nolan.
Need a Hend when you travel through the wormhole
It’s impossible not to notice the artwork of Daniel Hend – his murals are everywhere. Perhaps his most impressive work, his Sistine Chapel, is the Mullum Rural Co-op – the transformation of a giant shed into an idyllic rural landscape. Hend is having his first solo exhibition at the Lone Goat Gallery in Byron.
A street artist known for his murals, Daniel will be exhibiting a three-year progression from his human-nature-style paintings, which laid the path for his journey into surrealism.
‘My artworks are inspired through only the most intense personal experiences and stages in my life. The imagery I bring to the canvas should speak for itself alone, but should not be defined; hence, at this stage, I do not wish to define my art with more than a title,’ says Daniel Hend.
Wormholes – opening Friday in Byron at the Lone Goat Gallery at 6pm.
Delayed Day of the Dead back on
The Natural Death Care Centre is delighted to be holding their rescheduled annual Day of the Dead event again at the Crystal Castle. With the event rained out a few weeks back, Crystal Castle are opening their gates this Sunday. There will be free entry from 3.30pm; between 4 and 5pm there is time to write a message, create a memento, or add to the community shrine for loved family members or friends. Time to be with others, and find a place for your blanket on the lawn, or have something from the cafe before the ceremony begins. As always, local community artist Sam Collyer will be on hand to inspire, guide and help with her organically themed and sustainable creativity. Attendees are invited and encouraged to bring photographs or a special something for the shrine. From 5 till 6pm there will be an inclusive Ceremony of Remembrance with Zenith Virago, and the Grail Choir. At the close of the ceremony, an additional opportunity, for those who can, to walk the rainforest path in a silent procession to the Sacred Grove to leave any crafted mementos, so they can slowly return to the earth. Children are welcome, but please keep them with you during the ceremony. The NDCC charity has an inspirational dream, that every individual, community and service provider has the knowledge and capacity to do death well. We believe in an holistic, empowered approach to death, dying and loss.
Death can come suddenly or unexpectedly, it is the natural and sacred end to our lives, it will touch us all and those we love.
We are encouraging people to be informed of their options and to make good choices, and to participate as fully as they choose, which we believe makes for an easier bereavement.
The annual DOTD ceremony is an opportunity for everyone to come together to honour and remember our loved ones that have died, are dying, or who are lost to us in some way.
Although it is the same name as the South American day, it is a uniquely Australian cultural experience, open to any religion, spirituality, belief or culture. A chance to focus on life and death, and to create positive social and cultural change, the DOTD is particularly wonderful for teaching children something real and gentle about death and bereavement without the rawness of a recent death or funeral. All are welcome.
A Raw Uprising
On Thursday 10 December, UPRISING will bring together 30 local emerging artists spanning fashion, music, visual and performing arts, music and more for a one-night extravaganza at the Byron Bay Brewery. UPRISING is the fourth and final emerging arts showcase to be run by RAW Byron Bay in 2015 and this showcase is packed wall to wall with Byron Bay’s best emerging creatives.
Showcase director Kristen Wehlow says: ‘The 2015 RAW season has already delivered us so many incredible works and performances by this city’s best emerging artists. Now in the lead-up to the last show of the year, we are incredibly excited to see what this final chapter has in store for us. I think we are in for something special. These artists are on the cutting edge. They are forming and shaping the future with every work and performance and we are blessed to be a part of that.’
La Scala Gala
Captured live at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on 30 October this year, the Gala Des Etoiles celebrates the closing of the 2015 Milan World Expo, a highly prestigious evening made accessible to aficionados around the world through cinema. For this program, La Scala Etoiles, Svetlana Zakharova, Massimo Murru and Roberto Bolle dance alongside the world’s brightest stars: Natalia Osipova, Polina Semionova, Marianela Nuñez, Federico Bonelli, Evgenia Obraztsova, Sergei Polunin, Claudio Coviello, Leonid Sarafanov, Lucia Lacarra, Ivan Vasiliev, Maria Eichwald and Maria Vinogradova to name just some. The program features much-loved works from the classical repertory including Carmen, Manon, Swan Lake, Don Quixote and many more. This unmissable feast screens at Palace Byron Bay Cinema at 1pm on Sunday and 11am on Wednesday 9 December. Tickets $15–24.