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Byron Shire
March 22, 2023

Culture in the Byron Shire for the week beginning January 24, 2019

Latest News

We all live in a magic submarine…

Several commentators have remarked that, while the mainstream media is locked in furious agreement with the government over AUKUS and the trillion dollar submarines (a guess at the final price tag), social and independent media are telling quite a different tale.

Other News

Dredging rivers: what are the Ballina candidates’ positions?

A recent Meet the Candidates evening in Ocean Shores saw discussion around how to manage local river systems, which have silted up over generations, and likely contributed to the high flood levels experienced in 2022.

Legislating short-term holiday letting the way forward say Greens

Ballina MP, Tamara Smith, has committed to introducing legislation on short-term holiday letting within the first 100 days of the next NSW parliament if she is re-elected.

Cleaning up the Richmond River

Like many who have suffered in the floods the Richmond River estuary is still feeling the weight of last year's floods.

Free Julian Assange rally in Lismore

Supporters of Julian Assange gathered outside Lismore Baths on Saturday, the 20th Anniversary of the Iraq war, to add their voice to those who would see the journalist free.

Interview with Southern Avenue’s Tierinii Jackson

Abounding with musical creativity, confident songcraft, and deeply felt emotion, Southern Avenue marries soul power and jam band liberation with gospel, blues and righteous R&B to craft their own timeless brand of American music. Seven spoke to Southern Avenue’s Tierinii Jackson last week, in late winter Memphis, Tennessee…

Lismore incumbent – Janelle Saffin MP

With just a few days until we head to the polls, The Echo asked the candidates for the seat of Lismore one last bunch of questions.

The Roar Festival of Women’s Music will showcase the diverse and talented female performers from across the Northern Rivers

Call for women musicians

Lismore multiple venues | 2-9 March

 Female musicians of the northern rivers get ready to ROAR

This coming March the northern rivers will be treated to a night of amazing music from some of the region’s most talented female performers as the Roar Festival of  Women’s Music at the Lismore Women’s Festival.

This event follows on from the highly successful Women’s Micro Music Festival hosted by the ArtHouse at the Gollan Hotel in 2018. Last year’s organiser Janelle Buckley has teamed up with with ArtWomb, and through renowned community arts organisation Slippry Sirkus Inc they have been successful in gaining support from the Women NSW Womens Week Grant program to grow and diversify this year’s event – now known as ROAR. Organisers are now seeking applications from performers wishing to be part of the Roar program. There are opportunities to perform both upstairs and to feature on the ArtWomb stage and performers are invited to apply at roarwomensmusic.com before 28 January.

Roar Festival of Women’s Music at Lismore Women’s Festival
Applications for women musicians by 28 Jan – roarwomensmusic.com.

Jonathan Atherton headlines at the Big Gig at the Ballina RSL on Thursday 31 Jan

The Big Gig for Atherton!

Ballina RSL | Thursday 31 Jan | 8pm | FREE

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 spent a decade as a full-time resident of Kuala Lumpur where he ran The Crackhouse Comedy Club, the first-ever dedicated comedy club on the Malaysian comedy scene, where he provided 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.

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 Atherton headlines at the Big Gig at the Ballina RSL on Thursday 31 January at 8pm supported by Matt Ford with Mandy Nolan as MC.

Mullumbimby Magic: The Culture of 70s–80s Part 2 Activism & Politics is playing at Mullumbimby Drill Hall Friday Feb 1

Activism, politics, and the magic of Mullum

Drill Hall, Mullumbimby | Friday 1 Feb | 5pm & 7.30pm | $12/15

Mullumbimby’s Magic – the Culture of 70s–80s Part 2 – Activism & Politics is screening at the Drill Hall on Friday 1 February for two sessions. Part two – Activism and Politics features those seminal battles: the spraying of poisons, the Federal dam proposal, the lobbying for the right to share land, the Terania blockade, the birth of alternative publications, the marijuana raids that became a civil rights issue, and how the alternative ethos slowly took over Council are all amazing stories told by those who were there, and delivered in Sharon Shostak’s usual informative and entertaining style, rich with rare archival photos and film. This second documentary in the culture series, and third film commissioned by the Brunswick Valley Historical Society Inc, documents the birth and development of environmental and social awareness that pushed those early new settlers to achieve world-first successes in important environment protections that are now taken for granted. 

First screening is at 5pm and the second at 7.30pm on Friday 1 February. Don’t miss this important film about our subversive culture. Not many small towns in Australia have a story like this to tell!

Tix at the Museum or The Bookshop in Mullumbimby.

MC Mandy Nolan MCs The Olympics for comedians

Raw Comedy Talent

Byron Services Club | Monday 4 Feb | 7pm | $15

 We have a full host of local wannabe comedians who have signed up to compete for Total-Comedy-Glory and their right to claim the title of Winner of Byron Raw Comedy Heat 2019!

The stakes are as high as they get; it’s a cut-throat, dog-eat-dog, comedy competition, Winner Takes All. There can be only one to take home the title and everyone knows the kind of special attention winners get in the bedroom after they put that trophy straight into the pool room.

But it’s not only the special treatment behind closed doors that’s up for grabs; it’s also the automatic passage into the Queensland, RAW comedy Finals.  

RAW is like The Olympics for comedians; all over the Byron Shire and the rest of Australia amateur comedians are in training, working hard, doing hundreds of joke-reps, gag-curls and crunches, hardening up their comedy bodies in the hope of taking home the comedy bacon with the very best 5-minute comedy routine they can possibly deliver… 

Hosted by Mandy Nolan at the Byron Services Club on Monday 4 Feb. Doors 7pm, show at 8pm. Tix at mandynolan.com.au or at the door on the night.

Ellen Briggs takes is up to the challenge at Green Comedy

Green Comedy

Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club | Saturday 9 Feb | 7pm | $25

Politics is a joke. Barnaby Joyce talks about his commitment to families but then has an affair; the president of the USA is rumoured to be working for the Russians; Bronnie used the chopper to go to a wedding, and of course Australia has been changing its prime minister more than most people change their sheets. The Greens don’t take $ from corporations, so it’s about being properly grassroots. So grassroots that they’re up for a comedy night to raise money for the election campaign for Tamara Smith. Tamara was clear it’s time for an all-in comedic download and was up for non-partisan political jokes. Every political party, independent member, whacko, weirdo, sexy shooting party crackpot will be up for a serve!

There’s only one rule for the comedians at Green Comedy: At least one of their jokes MUST be political! Taking the challenge is Mandy Nolan’s colleague in comedy Ellen Briggs. Having just appeared on Hughesie We Have a Problem and touring with Taryn Brumfit on her recent book tour, Ellen’s star is on the rise. Multilingual Jonathan Atherton’s razor-sharp rants specialise in dissecting our flawed and culturally challenge Aussie identity. Greg Sullivan – one of the most insightful comics on the Australian scene – has also thrown his hat into the ring; Greg’s comedic perspective on everyday events is always spot on. S Sorrensen brings his mature Nimbin sensibility, a world-weary cynicism, to the stage, alongside the hopeful healing mantras of polyamorous pin-up Robert Grayson. Featuring an appearance by the guru stylings of Sergio Ben Bullshit, the sharp wit of Vanessa Mitchell, and the the wild energy of Matt Price.

Hosted by the local Queen of Social Comment, Mandy Nolan. ‘Comedy is a powerful tool for dissent,’ laughs Nolan. ‘You wouldn’t believe how many people contact me to talk to me about their political issues or to ask if I would hear them out on something. I say, I don’t know how to tell you this. I am a comedian. If you want people stirred up – talk to me. If you want something actually done, then you might need to talk to Tamara.’

Green Comedy at the Mullumbimby Ex-Services Club on Saturday 9 Feb at 7pm. Tix online at tamarasmith.com.au/greencomedy.

Mountain is showing for one night only at The Byron Theatre on Feb 9

One night only Mountain

Byron Theatre | Saturday 9 Feb | 7.30pm | $10-25

On Saturday 9 February at The Byron Theatre, catch the only local screening by Zero Emissions Byron of the internationally acclaimed and award-winning film Mountain. The inspiration of the director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra (and keen skier) Richard Tognetti, Mountain is unique: a mix of adventure film, uplifting music and awe-inspiring scenery, filmed in 22 countries around the globe.

Australians Jen Peedom, director of Sherpa, and Richard Tognetti drove this very international collaboration that also involved US-based cinematographer Renan Ozturk, British writer Robert Macfarlane, and American actor Willem Dafoe. There is extraordinary artistry in the finished work, filmed by the world’s leading high-altitude cinematographers, with works by Chopin, Grieg, Vivaldi, and Beethoven, and new works by Richard Tognetti.

Millions are now enchanted by the magic of mountains. And where once their remoteness protected their purity, mountains have today become playgrounds.

Since Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered Everest in 1953, 4,000 more people have scaled the mountain, at a rate of about 800 each year.

‘But – so much more than an escape or an enemy to overcome – the greatest value of mountains lies in their power to inspire wonder and awe: to remind us of the limits of our schemes and ambition,’ said John Taberner, a director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, also a director of Zero Emissions Byron.

A film of great visual beauty, Mountain is a story of humanity’s fickle reverence for mountains and nature. One moment it takes you on a wild ride during death-defying depictions of extreme sports; in the next it’s a meditation, when the stunning imagery leaves you breathless, letting the spirit soar. It’s also a work of art and an essay on the human condition. 

Mountain is screening one night only at The Byron Theatre, Saturday 9 February at 7.30 pm, as a fundraiser for Zero Emissions Byron. Tickets: adults $25, concessions $20, children $10. Book at byroncentre.com.au.

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