Lismore Laughs Comedy Festival is a weekend of comedy held at Lismore City Hall. Featuring Merrick Watts in his first solo show; Josh Earl, host of Spicks and Specks brings on family-friendly mayhem with songs, standup and cartoons in a show that is bound to have everyone in stitches; and finally Tommy Little with the Last King of Stupid. Tommy Little is as stupid as they come. Luckily for the rest of us, stupid makes for great comedy. He sold out shows all over the country in 2017 so why wouldn’t you forget your troubles and come have a laugh with the best of all the idiots.
The past year has seen Tommy host The Comedy Channel’s Whose Line is it Anyway? Australia, the Just for Laughs Standup Series live from the Sydney Opera House, and he continues being everyone’s favourite fill-in host and correspondent for The Project.
Lismore Laughs Comedy Festival
Merrick Watts | Friday 9 March | 7.30pm | Tickets $25–49
Josh Earl | Saturday 10 March | 2pm (Ideal for ages 4–10) | Tickets $20–30
Tommy Little | Saturday 10 March | 7.30pm | Tickets $25–36
Lismore City Hall. Book Tickets at | Bar open from 6pm.
www.lismorecityhall.com.au or phone 1300 066 722
Stories in the Club: Drawn from Life
Stories in the Club, which began in August last year, starts back again for 2018 on Sunday afternoon 11 February with an environmental theme. Welcome to Country will be given by Athol Compton. John Allan and Harry Brown will give a duo telling of the origin of the Wandjina people’s Wunnan sharing system. John and Harry both have long relationships with Aboriginal elders and communities in Arnhem Land, Central Australia, the Kimberly and locally. David Mowjarali, a law man from The Kimberly, told them of the origin of Wunnan sharing system with them at a Standing Up Alive Men’s Gathering, which John co-led 25 years ago. They will tell of this story and other camp gossip from their meetings with remarkable people in this ancient land.
Jim Tait will share Mangi bilong cuntrisid, his tale of a bush kid from Papua New Guinea who became an environmental scientist and subsequently a pantheist, and of his hopes and fears for the future.
Mayor Simon Richardson; activist and Dr of Ecopsychology Eshana Bragg; regular Echo writer Mary Gardner and Jenni Cargill-Strong will also tell stories.
Stories in the Club is supported by the Ngara Institute, Creative Mullumbimby and Magic Mullum Toastmasters. Arrive at 3.30pm for a 4pm start at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club in Dalley Street. Stories end by 5pm. Entry by donation of $10 and $5.
After signing a three-book deal with international publishers in Sydney, London and New York, Matt Towner is running writers’ retreats in Thailand at one of the best health retreats in Asia if not the world. The friendly staff offer everything from a full detox to a relaxing resort-style holiday. If you are at all interested in writing a book or short stories and being published internationally and you would like to spend two weeks in an amazing health retreat learning how to do so while getting fit and healthy, contact Matt now. The best is yet to come! [email protected]
Do you have a funny kid?
After the success of her Funny Kids workshop last year that saw 20 local children onstage performing their first 3-minute standup comedy routine, local comedian Mandy Nolan is running her kids’ comedy course again this year!
Funny Kids is an 8-week comedy course for kids where they’ll learn how to write comedy material, construct jokes, and to perform their material onstage. Through the process they’ll all gain valuable experience performing and speaking in public. Comedy helps build resilience, and Mandy believes it is an essential formative experience for all kids. The main thing Mandy wants the kids to do is find their unique comedy voice and have fun! Class ends with in a comedy performance by the kids for parents and friends – 6 February till 27 March – with hour-long classes with maximum number of 12 for 8–10-year-olds at 3.45pm on Tuesdays at Ewingsdale Hall and Wednesdays at Encounter Byron, A&I Estate, at 3.45pm for 11–12-year-olds. Course also includes a 1:1 writing session with Mandy Nolan.
Visionary Art Frequency
Earth Frequency is aligned with the emerging visionary art movement. Over the past few years, visionary art has risen to the forefront of the transformational festival experience worldwide. This movement is particularly focused on exploring themes of spirituality, consciousness, connectivity and personal and planetary transformation. Visionary art merges many vital and current ideas in to a medium of technical brilliance and exists at the cutting edge of human creative expression.
Earth Frequency presents a pop-up gallery – The Luminarium – to view artworks from their artist lineup. Original and reprinted (giclée) art works will be for sale, as well as paper prints and other art merch, for anyone wishing to take something super special home with them. Throughout the festival there will also be many artists doing live painting both onstage and near the Luminarium.
Artists include: Chris Dyer / Rhadwood & Caro Caro / Adam Scott Miller / Dela / Bryan Itch / Stiff Ives / Izzy Ivy / Tobius Raphael Millar / Slum_one / Galactic Seed / Jessie Ray / Rady J / Zoe Rayne / Julia Fulop / Kiro Kiredor / Stephanie Amaterstein / Yao / Stephanie Rose Freeman / Xenodimensional / Jasmin Jefferys / Chelsea Lomandra / Rosie. Ivory Rock, 16–19 Nov. For program, ticket and location details go to: www.earthfrequency.com.au/visionary_art
Alternative Prime Minister is a new Slightly-Drunk-Ted-Talk, from Mark Swivel, Accredited Near Dead White Male.TM
As our indifference turns to anger, Mark hits the hustings to kiss babies and sizzle sausages. Expect banter, singing, fiscal rectitude – fully costed silly-buggers that strays dangerously close to common sense!
Everyone knows we need an Alternative PM, but what idiot would want to do it? Well things are so crook, even those among us totally unfit for public office have to step up. For the sake of the nation. Does Swiv have what it takes? Probably not… Join Mark’s cabinet and help him create a Ten Point Plan for a Country Worth Living In, using nothing but a Hula Hoop, Venn Diagram and barbecue tongs. What could go wrong?
Mark performs in a tasteful Hugo Boss suit and a hi-vis jacket – the standard PM uniform. Includes sausage sizzle, chook raffle, alternative national anthem and an acknowledgment of country you won’t forget!
Murwullimbah | Fri 9 Feb | The Citadel | 7.30pm
Lismore | Fri 16 Feb | Fountain Room, City Hall | 7.30pm
Mullum | Fri 23 Feb | Ex-Services Club | 7.30pm. |
This year, with the ME TOO campaign, and women individually and collectively exposing the magnitude of sexually abusive behaviour by many men, Vagina Conversations is particularly relevant. Woman are standing up for themselves, for others, and against the patriarchy and its control of women and their bodies.
After the sellout performances of last two years, this informal and diverse collective of some of the Byron Shire’s many powerful and creative women, aged from 22 to 81, have gathered to share their own personal stories about the most intimate area of a woman’s body: our vaginas. This show is a part of the global revolution of V-Day, to end violence against women and children around the world.
Fresh from the early morning Main Beach flashmob dance, the women will be using spoken word, movement, song and comedy to share their experiences, and inspire communication and connection.
Vagina Conversations is funny, informative, exciting, challenging, and celebratory, and is a more contemporary evolution of the well-known Vagina Monologues (20 years old this year), bringing a fresh local flavour and a courageous empowering evening to our own community.
All proceeds will go to support Byron Escape Fund for the Women’s Resource Service, which supports women from Byron Shire escaping from intimate partner and family violence.
Byron Theatre Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 February. Women telling their stories about their lives and their vaginas. MC Zenith Virago, and featuring stories by Ilona Harker, Feather, Lynda Dean, Moana Pearl, Jennifer Lalor, Gopi Lev Dupain, Jan Terkelson, Ti Harrison, No Frills Twins Arna and Vanessa, Sarah Temporal and Mandy Nolan. Tickets are $25 through byroncentre.com.au
The Power of Laugh
Three-time Barry nominee Damien Power is considered one of the most exciting voices on the Australian comedy scene.
With just a few years of festivals under his
comedy belt he’s racked up a number of awards, nominations and rave reviews, as well as dozens of sell- out rooms across the country.
Damien’s raw, assured I Can’t Believe I Cared show blew audiences away around Australia and the world in 2015, and 2016 was even bigger as he brought the noise to the festival circuit with Sell Mum into Slavery, and was selected to be part of ABC-TV’s Next Gen series.
Damien is part of the True Australian Patriots team, who won the Director’s Choice award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2016.
His fast and furious, matter-of-fact comedy style is relentless, hitting his audiences from the blind side throwing up punch line after punch line of unexpected gags from left field, above and below.
Don’t miss one helluva ride Damien Power, a true rising star of Australian comedy with his own style and his own voice. Damien will make you see the world differently and have you crying with laughter all the way.
Supported by local comedy sensation Ellen Briggs, a 10-year veteran of the national comedy circuit and national finalist of The Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s RAW Comedy competition. Ellen was also winner of the Foxtel’s Comedy Channel’s Be a Comedian. Ellen’s hilarious and unique take on the everyday will have you in stitches.
MC is the big girl of controversy and local comedy star Mandy Nolan, 25-year standup veteran, columnist, comedy writer, profession MC and local personality. Mandy’s comedy performances leave her crowds crying with laughter.
Tuesday 6 February | 7pm | FREE | Ocean Shores Country Club
Riding the Eco Wave with Byron Bay Surf Festival
With the sixth Byron Surf Festival slated for 22–25 Feb, the organisers have reflected on the success of their 2017 event with it designated as a Deep Blue EventTM. A Deep Blue Event is a more ‘ocean-friendly’ event that sets a clear path for reducing environmental and community impacts of a professional surfing contest.
This sustainability report is a transparent description of the sustainability performance of the event, and includes measured data, photos and videos, and suggestions for improvement. It is based on the international standard for sustainable event reporting – the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
Sustainability was integrated into the planning and management of the event. Not only did the event have sound waste, energy and transport activations in place; environmental education also played a key component of the event schedule.
‘We had a custom built woodshed showcasing sustainable wooden boards, a buzzing conservation hub filled with NGOs from Byron alongside huge success stories from the other side of the world; our yurts and tipis were filled with eco-friendly fashions and homewares; we had a recycling and waste-management strategy going on the entire time that we all took very seriously, and our film selections really got people thinking and talking. It all looked and felt so good. Better than I could ever have imagined,’ said festival co-director Max Tischler.
To receive a Deep Blue Event designation, an event is required to reduce environmental and social impacts of the event. It must also develop a data-collection plan to measure performance on impact reduction, and these data must show that it has met minimum goals for at least two of the five major categories of environmental and social impacts. The Festival management has made a public commitment make the festival a zero-waste event within three years. ‘I am really excited that the Festival is working towards becoming a 100 per cent waste-free event over the next three years,’ says Festival founder James McMilan of the festival’s choice to ban the five big plastics at the Surf Art Markets: bags, bottles, straws, cutlery and cups and containers. ‘We have brought on Plastic Free Byron to help with our waste initiatives, implement Byron Shire Council’s new recycling rules, and make sure we restrict the waste items ending up in landfill.’ The Byron Bay Surf Festival showcases core and creative surf culture by presenting initiative and experiential ideas through unique and engaging events. The four-day festival activates approximately 10 different evens including surfing, art, music, film, surfboards, yoga and environment.
For program details and ticketing go to www.byronbaysurffestival.com.au
Loving it Latin
Latin Live is set to ignite the Byron Theatre on Saturday 10 Feb. Join the Latin crew for an explosion of music and dance as the Byron Shire dance community and guests come together to dance the night away. The night features Bachata workshop with Sky Blue, live band Chuckle from Brisbane, Byron’s DJ Dani and Gold Coast’s DJ Tare. Delicious Latin food available from A Chef’s Pocket. 7pm workshop and party is $35 online and $40 at the door. 8.30pm Party only online $25 or $30 at the door. Tickets on byroncentre.com.au
Find Your Dance Jam
That’s My Jam Dance is back for another fabulous year of hip-hop-inspired dance classes. New courses are about start in the Byron industrial estate for adults and teens and in Lismore for adults. Kyla Blacksmith (aka K-Dizz) says: ‘Dance is my passion and teaching makes me feel at home with myself. Watching my students develop a deeper love for themselves and each other brings me great joy. Loads of people are scared of dance, find shame in it and are afraid to watch themselves in the mirror. My desire is to combat those insecurities and make dance accessible to everyone. We show up, take a strong stance in front of the mirror and commit to fearing less. New students often hide up the back and within four weeks are fighting for the front. Haha!’
That’s My Jam started early 2017 with a mission to empower women through movement. 2018 is proving to be a year of expansion with a new course for teens in Byron, and a first-ever course for adults in Lismore. ‘Dance is a great way to connect, get fit, step out of your head and jam to great music. It’s an exciting adrenaline rush of energy. My classes inspire women to grow their self-confidence together, express themselves freely and love themselves more openly. There’s a powerful vibe in the class and it carries itself outside of the studio doors.’ The classes are inclusive and Kyla encourages individual expression. ‘I want everyone to put their own personality into the movement. I run courses because it helps solidify a community feeling and helps to deepen personal transformation. It’s something that can’t be experienced in a single one-hour class. We also run occasional one-off workshops for those who want a taste of the courses.’ Beginners and intermediate courses are offered and are choreographed by Kyla and inspired by music videos.
That’s My Jam has planted its feet in the Byron Bay industrial estate and have found a permanent studio space to call home. ‘I wanted to find a home for my students and create a supportive and vibrant dance hub. Opening the studio has allowed me to have a space where women can feel strong, sexy and empowered, said Kyla, on why she decided to take on a lease of a studio. ‘It’s allowed me to offer a greater variety of classes and open the doors to other amazing dance teachers in the area.’ That’s My Jam is now offering classes to women of all ages, including teens. ‘I want young women to have the opportunity to feel empowered too. Dance is a great way for teens to develop a healthy relationship with themselves while having fun. Now that I have a studio to work in, I can expand classes and reach more women. I’m offering a Beyonce adults’ class in Lismore too. I want nothing more than to share the joys of dance with like-minded ladies.’
There are a variety of courses available and they are filling up fast! Go to www.thatsmyjamdance.com.au to find out how to book into to a course or enquire about studio hire in the Byron industrial estate.
RAW is Here to find our Comedy Stars!
Australia’s largest and most prestigious open-mic competition is about to get the show on the road.
Presented nationally by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the annual RAW Comedy competition sees the nation’s bravest and boldest new performers take to the stage to test their skill and stamina with five minutes of new, original comedy material. It’s comedy with no fear and no safety net, just exhilaration and adulation ahead!
Statewide heats will kick off in January before the best of the best battle it out at the National Grand Final during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April 2018. The winner will be laughing all the way to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where they’ll have a chance to compete in So You Think You’re Funny? in August 2018.
So who will make it through this year? Previous national finalist Ellen Briggs is one of the judges, and for her the whole thing took her by surprise. ‘I never expected to get to the national finals,’ laughs Briggs, ‘I just entered for fun. That’s the best thing about the competition – comedy newbies who have no idea if they are any good or not can get picked out and fast tracked into a career that would otherwise take years of hard slog.’ Ellen’s star quickly rose after her near win, and for Hannah Gadsby, a one-time Mandy Nolan comedy student, when she became the national RAW champion the doors to her career just opened, and she’s since been awarded Best Show at Edinburgh Fringe.
With a healthy local comedy industry in the Byron Shire the overwhelming number of entries meant it was necessary to put on two heats. This is a wild night of spills and thrills, with comics putting out their best to win the opportunity to perform in the Brisbane final.
With Mandy Nolan as MC, the first heat is Monday 19 February at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services and the second heat is at the Byron Services Club on Monday 12 March.
Both shows start at 8pm and tix are $15 at the door or online at mandynolan.com.au