Friday, 29 April 2016

POW WOW - Girls and film

POW WOW - Panels and workshops at the WOW film festival this year are wonderful for your teen who is interested in film.  29 April - 1 May.

My daughter (14) and I will be at the 25 Anniversary screening of Thelma and Louise on Saturday evening.

21st World of Women Film Festival

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

reading, watching, doing #1

S (12) The Door that Led to Where by Sally Gardner
M (14) Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
O (almost 18) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

Midnight Special at Dendy Opera Quays

Art Express 2016 at Art Gallery of NSW
Adventures in the city

Coming up
Friends Forever (Blutsbruder teilen alles)

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A creative school holidays

The Peasant Prince, image:  Heidrun Lohr
School holidays are upon us. We have selected some fun creative activies that will have you covered.

The Peasant Prince at Monkey Baa Theatre (until 20 April) brings the beautiful story of Li Cunxin’s iconic autobiography, Mao’s Last Dancer to the stage. If you have a child who just can not sit still throughout performances, the theatre has a special relaxed performance and is described as “the opposite of the quiet carriage on the train” on the 14th April. 

Sherman Contemporary Art Gallery Introductory workshop to mobile photography with photographer Markus Andersen. Participants will be introduced to picture-taking and processing apps, as well as basic photographic techniques before applying this expertise “in the field” in the local Paddington area.
Saturday 23 April, 10–12pm.
$20 | Recommended for ages 12+

Pull out the paints and paper and inspire them to start working on their entry to the Little Things Art Exhibition to be exhibited at Saint Cloche Gallery in Paddington.
Get your musical on at the Art Gallery of NSW screening of An American in Paris (rated PG). 20 and 24th April 2016. Free.
While you are at the gallery pop in to see Art Express - Featuring a selection of outstanding student artworks developed for the artmaking component of the HSC examination in Visual Arts 2015. Free.

Got creative teens? Smart ARTS workshops and talks will be right up their alley running from the 8 – 17th April 2016.

The Sydney Comedy Festival brings on the laughs for kids with Comedy for Kids over the 2016 festival. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Easter weekend 2016

Rozelle markets - shopping for secondhand albums, my daughter chose John Lennon Rock n Roll.
Books for Easter gifts:
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (12 year old)
The Haters by Jesse Andrews (14 year old)
I am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (17 year old)

Family dinners and discovering secret notes in found books.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Paper planes and collecting stuff

My youngest son (12 years) has been my child who has held the strongest love of paper planes in our family.  Whenever he is bored you will find him with a piece of A4 paper carefully transforming it into a sleek flying machine.

Just recently we discovered the beautiful paper plane collection by Harry Everett Smith (painter, filmmaker, collector).  Most of the paper planes were collected over 1961 to 1983 on the streets of New York and started their lives as junk mail, grocery lists or a scrap of found paper.

I still love to collect stones and rocks - the smaller ones I keep in a printers drawer in our hallway. My children add to the collection now and again.  They have all had tins of collections over the years. My sister-in-law told me recently of her sons stick collection.

'Children collect to discover who they are, and what the world should be.' Kimberely Stevens (NY Times).

The latest copy of BIG magazine is all about Collections.
Lisa Congdon collects collections with her Collection a Day project.
Book collections over at Hello Bookcase.
Candy Jernigan -  artist and collector of thrown away evidence of lives lived.

Do you and/or your children collect anything? Do you encourage them to start collections?

Monday, 14 March 2016

Waverley Council Art Prize 2016

Budding artists aged 9-18 are encouraged to enter the Waverley Council Art Prize, entries are welcome across a broad range of mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture, video and animation. The Youth Art Prize offers over $3000 in prizes.  Opening night for the announcement of winners and performances by stunning Circus folk.
Opening: 6pm, Thursday 2 June 2016
Exhibition dates: 2─28 June
Artworks and applications are due to be delivered to the Waverley Library from Monday 9 – 20 May.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

WIN tickets to see new documentary films at IMAX Darling Harbour

Our friends at IMAX would like you and your family to experience the adventure of building the Canadian Pacific Railway in ROCKY MOUNTAINS EXPRESS and explore otherworldly realms within more than 30 of America’s national parks in AMERICA WILD 3D at IMAX Darling Harbour, the world's biggest cinema screen.

We love that our family (which is now almost full of teens!) still enjoy heading out to the IMAX films that they learn from and experience more of the world.

For your chance to win a family pass to one of the films:
Tell us about your most memorable family rail journey - Please also include your postal address.
Entries CLOSED. Only winners will be notified.

* Family pass - 2 adults + 2 Children

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Greasy Chicken Orchestra - 15th Feb 2016

photo by Rachel Knepfer

We love discovering interesting evenings we can enjoy as a family especially when it involves music. So when our friend Phillip Johnston told us about his upcoming event - we were all over it.

Hope to see you there!

Here are the details:

"15th Feb -- The Greasy Chicken Orchestra at Foundry616, the great jazz club in Ultimo. The group is devoted to early jazz - the music of the 1920s and 1930s, New Orleans jazz, early Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton. It's not a trad band, and it's not a historical re-enactment, it's a living love letter to the music of one of the best eras of jazz, played by some of Sydney's greatest jazz musicians.

And it is starting early (7.30PM), so that kids can come too - yes, it's a school night, but it starts at 7.30PM, they could be home in bed by 9PM! (as if).

Note: musicians in the picture will not all be the same as those playing on the night, and no white chocolate chip cookies will be sold. But they do make great fried calamari at Foundry616!

Here's the great band we'll have:

Phillip Johnston: soprano saxophone
Peter Farrar: alto saxophone
Jeremy Rose: tenor saxophone
James Loughnan: baritone saxophone
Peter Dasent: piano
Jonathan Zwartz: bass

Nic Cecire: drums"
The Greasy Chicken Orchestra
Monday 15 February 2016
616 Harris St 
Tickets $5 online (+ booking fee) or at the door

Monday, 28 September 2015

The Secret Life of Suitcases | Monkey Baa Theatre

My children are no longer little (17, 14 and 12). When they were younger we went to see a LOT of children's theatre. We still do but they also see a lot of adult theatre with me.  I  now keep my eye out for children's productions that I feel will carry across all ages. When my eldest son (17) was in the foyer of Griffin recently for The Witches he was not impressed to be surrounded by children running under his feet.  But after he saw Guy Edmonds on stage he quickly changed his tune. He loved it.

We were invited to the production of The Secret Life of Suitcases and I took along my youngest son(12) and his best friend. I was concerned they may be too old, but I was wrong.  The Secret Life of Suitcases had everyone in the audience drawn in from the beginning.   It was wonderful to sit in the audience to hear parents and children (of all ages) laugh, gasp and 'get' what was going on -  every element of the production worked.

The story follows Larry (in an almost George Orwell 1984 setting) - Larry is busy working, VERY busy. He has no time for anything outside work.  One day out of the blue a suitcase arrives that changes the course of his life. That is all I will reveal in this adventure as you will need to experience it for yourself.

Created by Lewis Hetherington and puppeteer Ailie Cohen (with a collaboration with Unicorn TheatreThe Secret Life of Suitcases is delightful  - please go see it with your kids - young or old.

The Secret Life of Suitcases
28 Sept - 2 October 2015
Monkey Baa
Darling Harbour Lend Lease Theatre

suitable for  4 years of age (and older!).

Learn more about this production here.
There's an app you can interact with after the performance!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Spot on Children's Festival | Riverside Theatre

The Spot On Children's Festival returns this year at Riverside Theatre - the festival offers performances and activities for all ages.  We love the Be Kind Rewind Film Festival that will feature classics that every family should experience together - The Goonies, The Karate Kid, The Princess Bride, Labyrinth, The Never Ending Story and E.T.

For younger kids (4 - 9 years) Curious Jac from Lilli Pang, a bilingual storyteller (performed in English with some Spanish, Hindi and Twi language)  brings her show to the festival about being curious.  Other performances for little ones include Ali McGregor's Jazzamatazz! and Lah- Lah Live in concert.

Our friends at the festival have given us a family pass  (four tickets)  to give away  to Curious Jac for Friday 2 October at 10am.  Just email before Friday 25 September with why you want your family to go Curious Jac.  (only the winner will be notified)  Terms.

Spot On Childrens Festival 
Riverside Theatre
29 September - 4 October 2015

Full program 

Be Kind: Re-wind Film Festival – 29 September, 10am to 6pm
Mr Snot Bottom’s Stinky, Silly Show! - 30 September to 1 October, 10:30am & 1pm daily (Relaxed Performance on 1 October at 1pm)
But Wait… There’s More! – 1 October, 7pm; 2 October, 1pm; 3 October, 1pm & 7pm
Ali McGregor’s Jazzamatazz! – 1 to 2 October, 10am & 12:30pm daily
Curious Jac – 2 to 3 October, 10:30am & 1pm daily (Relaxed Performance on 3 October at 1pm)
Lah-Lah Live in Concert – 3 October, 10am & 12:30pm

Sorcerers and Wizards: A Family Concert with the SSO Fellows – 4 October, 3pm

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Seymour Centre | Page to Stage over the school holidays

This school holidays the Seymour are bringing the pages of two popular children's books to the stage alongside free activities within their courtyard and foyers.

The Very Cranky Bear (Crank Bear) is being brought to life by South Australian theatre company Patch Theatre who are known for their delightful productions (Mr Mcgee and the Biting Flea, Emily likes to Bounce!, Who Sank the Boat?). We loved their production of  Me and my Shadow way back in 2011.

For older children,  Brisbane's Shake & Stir Theatre Co. will take on Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes & Dirty Beasts.  My 11-year-old son is keen to catch this production and it is on our list for over the holidays.

What we love: Affordable family theatre.  Live music (The Vegetable Plot) and Parkour in the courtyard from Team 9Lives.

Seymour School Holiday Program
22 - 26 September
Tickets from $20.

Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize

Photographer: Jane Earle

The 2015 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize is the first national acquisitive prize for an original, freestanding sculpture of up to 80cm in any dimension. Over the exhibition, families can view the finalists artworks and also participate in family workshops and activities. 

We chatted with Fiona Hueston, a finalist in this years competition about her intriguing sculpture, Circle.

How did you create your sculpture Circle?

'Circle' consists of over 400 individually cut and handmade origami Fortune Teller forms made from white paper glued together with ethylene vinyl acetate and manipulated into a circle to create the final structure. The piece took over 50 hours to create.

What inspired you to create this piece?

Circle' evolved from my memory of a decision making game that I liked as a child called Fortune Teller, where the players must first choose a colour, then a number, which in turn would determine their fate and the hidden task in the middle. I created 100s of Fortune Tellers, played around and manipulate them until I discovered ‘Circle.’

I began this process by photographing interesting and repetitive geometrical patterns found in the built urban environment. The lines and angles of a roof, the patterns embedded into a cobbled street and the layers and forms created by a stack of newspapers. 

I realised that all these elements exist because someone had made a decision to create them, that life is built around hundreds of seemingly small, insignificant decisions to create a greater whole and that it is ongoing in nature.

The process of making hundreds of small decisions everyday determine the shape and form of our lives, ‘Circle’ is a metaphor for this process where the small individual forms of the Fortune Tellers brought together create the shape and form of the finished sculpture.

Why is paper your choice of medium?

I use paper because you take a flat piece of paper, which is very 2D, and create something 3D, and you can use to create many different shapes and forms and it can be layered. 
Also, I like to work with paper because it is very transportable, I can work anywhere, on a plane, on a train, in a cafe here in Sydney or in Paris. My studio is not limited to a set geographical location.

What are you working on next?

I have just finished a black circle called ‘Noir’ and I would like to make a stripy or multi-coloured circle next.

What advice would you give young artists who wanted to create their own paper sculpture?

With paper you have to be patient, and make sure your cutting and folding is accurate. Just play with it until you find something that looks and feels right.

Family Workshops include:

Weaving and Surface Design
with Artist in Residence, Edwina Straub
11 October | 1.00pm - 3.00pm

Crochet with waste
with Angela Van Boxtel
17 October | 1.00pm - 3.00pm

Three Dimensional Painting
with Artist in Residence, Julia Kennedy Bell
18 and 25 October | 1.00pm - 3.00pm

Fish Sculptures
with Angela Van Boxtel
24 October | 1.00 - 3.00pm

Artist Talks with
Ruby Aitchison, Veronica Andrus-Blaskievics, Mark Booth, Fleur Brett, Michelle Cawthorn, Adrian Clement, Melissa Coote, Tracey Deep, Lisa Giles, Fiona Hueston, Anita Larkin, Kendal Murray, John Nicholson, Belinda Winkler and Yioryios.
10 October | 2.00pm - 4.00pm

Venue: Woollahra Council 536 New South Head Road

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

KOFFIA 2015 | Family films

How to Steal a Dog - an adventure/action film for families will open the 6th Korean Film Festival on Wednesday 12 August in Sydney (screens nationally).

The festival are running a competition online to win tickets to the opening night screening - Take a photo of your pet and hashtag it with #KOFFIA2015 on facebook for your chance to win.

The beautiful animation from director Han Jin-wan Clearer Than You Think will also screen.

Both films will screen with English subtitles.
Korean Film Festival KOFFIA
from 12 August

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Monkey Baa | The Witches

Monkey Baa's The Witches is theatre at its most theatre like.  Theatre stripped bare.  Based on Roald Dahl's book of the same name, one actor (Guy Edmonds) takes on the entire story, playing over ten characters with limited costumes and props. 

My almost six-year-old sat on my lap and from the moment the actor started performing he was enthralled. My ten and twelve-year-olds enjoyed it too.  I enjoyed that they had to work for understanding.  That there were no fancy props, nothing literal.  It was as far from television you could get and while the little one got a bit lost sometimes at the end he understood enough and he experienced a version of what might be becoming the lost art of storytelling.

In our after-show discussions the children liked the effects, which are pretty limited, but my ten-year-old also pointed out the skill of a one-person show being able to tell an entire book of characters and this, I think, is why it's worth taking your kids to see it.

After a  sell-out season at the Griffin Theatre - The Witches makes a return to Monkey Baa in Darling Harbour over the school holidays.

Sarah and family.

DATES & TIMES: 30th June - 4th July (10:30am, 1:00pm)
VENUE: Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre
(across from the Children’s Playground in Darling Harbour)
TICKETS: $25pp / $90 Family 4 / $110 Family 5 / $23pp Groups 10+

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The return of the family program at Sydney Film Festival

With the disappearance of the family program from the Sydney Film Festival in previous years, I was delighted to see its reappearance in 2015. Families had the opportunity to experience a selection of international films, Australian documentaries and animation screenings.

There was a gap for young adults (14- 17 years) but younger audiences were definitely catered for this year.

Wide Open Sky

'This isn’t X-factor, this is Moorambilla' – Michelle Leonard

Lisa Nicol first heard about Michelle Leonard’s story from another mother at her child’s school.  Perusing the story led to the documentary Wide Open Sky that follows the  Moorambilla Voices regional choir concert from the audition process, and everything else in between led by the charismatic Artistic Director Michelle Leonard. The choir consists of kids from rural NSW that don’t normally have access to music education opportunities.

Lisa allows enough screen time for the audience to get to know the kids and the team behind the choir.

The screening we attended was a full house of a young and young at heart audience.

Wide Open Sky is a beautiful and inspiring Australian story.

Gayby Baby

The documentary shares the lives of four same-sex families through the eyes of the children (aged 10 – 12).

Gus is obsessed about wrestling, Ebony prepares for her audition for a performing arts school, Matt questions religion and Graham struggles with learning how to read.

Gayby Baby is an important and timely documentary for your kids to see to show that families are built on love rather than convention.

‘I don’t think it actually makes me that unique; it’s just different for every person growing up.   The people who raise you and make you who you are today are your family.' - Ebony

Songs of the Sea

Animated family films are getting churned out one after another – every school holidays another batch of kids films are released leading to them all starting to look like the same film.

The enchanting Songs of the Sea offers more depth and beauty to children’s animation avoiding the cookie cutter formulation.   A follow-up to The Secret of the Kells (screened within 2009 Sydney Film Festival family program) director Tom Moore has returned with an enchanting story based on the ancient Celtic myth of the Selkies told through hand-drawn imagery.

The story centers around Saoirse and Ben, two siblings who live with their father, a lighthouse keeper. Magical secrets about their mother are discovered as Saoirse and Ben find their way back home.

The Crow’s Egg also screened at the festival. It will be rescreening with the Travelling Film Festival – Newcastle 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Sydney Film Festival 2015 | Children and Family

This morning the 2015 Sydney Film Festival announced a preview of  27 films and 10 documentaries featuring in their 62nd film festival (the full program will be announced on the 6 May at 11am). We are very excited that also revealed is the addition of an enhanced family/kids program. The family films announced in the preview include The Crow's Egg from India and Songs of the Sea from Ireland.

The festival is a wonderful opportunity to introduce your children to films that wouldn't normally make it the cinema in Australia and to also open the door to how other children live around the world.

We are looking forward to the full program announcement in May!

The Crow's Egg
  • Director M. Manikandan
  • Original title Kaakkaa Muttai
  • Country India
Dubbed the next 'Slumdog Millionaire', this funny and charming film from South India is for both adults and older kids. Two mischievous and resourceful brothers living in poverty in a Chennai slum see an ad for pizza and become determined to taste this magical food for the very first time, setting off an adventure full of both triumphs and setbacks.

Songs of the Sea

  • Director Tomm Moore
  • Country Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, France, Denmark

    This enchanting treat for families is inspired by Ireland's rich Celtic folklore. Ben and his fairy-like sister, Saoirse, live on a rocky island, where seals bob up to inspect their every activity. Nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year's Oscars, this legend-inspired tale is chock-full of glorious imagery, captivating critters and lilting Gaelic music.

Sydney Film Festival
June 3 - 14 June 2015

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015 | Youth and Families

Vivid Light is always a major event on every family calendar. My stand out this year is Light Origami which invites viewers to explore the nature of reality by entering a giant 3D kaleidoscope.

This year we will also be including our children in our Vivid Sydney Ideas and Music adventures.

My daughter  (13 years) is a young creator - and I'm curious to learn more about her world. We will be heading to #NOFILTER  -  a 'conversation inspired by and showcasing the work of young creators and explore the distinct point of view youth can provide in the creative process. Young producers, animators, photographers and social media personalities will share insights into their own creative process, discuss what connects with their audiences, and offer key takeaways for anyone looking to learn from the future stars of content creation.'

She will also be attending An evening with Morrissey with her dad within Vivid Music.

My eldest son (16 years) will be into Feedback - A Music Conference for Young People - he is yet to explore the Vivid Music program.

And for younger kids - Archikids Play[ground] will be right up their alley in the Hyde Park Barracks as it transformed into an interactive playground. Not sure yet if it will be too young for my 11 year old son.

Dress Up Attack! = indie rock performances + interactive activities --- for young kids and their parents/carers.

The MCA Zine Fair covers all my kids.... the fair is a great introduction and inspiration into what they can create on their own and distribute.

So much to explore over May and June!