Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Santa Claus is coming to town

You'd better watch out
You'd better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

I'm not sure he's going to make it after seeing his car broken down in the nearby suburb of Northcote - in the appropriately named Victoria Road! The Age reported that he has bought fun and laughter to those passing by.
Broken down in Northcote (The Age)
With electricity prices rising faster than Santa and his reindeer (or broken down ute) can travel it's amazing how many houses are now lit up like Christmas Crackers! Once upon a time it used to be just the homes in the Boulevard, Ivanhoe but I guess the traffic jams to see them persuaded others to start their own look-at-me celebration. We even have them in Richmond!
Richmond reindeer flying across the sky, Santa waving over a snow fence - and more
I recently received an email explaining another carol we all know so well. So in my final post for the year I've thrown in a history lesson. Religious history has never been to the forefront for me. But I found this rather interesting. From 1558 - 1829 Roman Catholics in England weren't permitted to practice their faith openly. As with all supressions a way was found to share by code:
Twelve drummers drumming 
(the twelve points of belief of the Apostles' Creed)
Eleven pipers piping 
(the eleven faithful disciples)
Ten lords a-leaping
(the ten commandments)
Nine ladies dancing
(Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self control)
Eight maids a-milking
(the eight beatitudes)
Seven swans a-swimming
(Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy)
Six geese a-laying
(six days of creation)
Five golden rings
(the five books of the Old Testament)
Four calling birds
(the four apostles - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
Three french hens
(Faith, Hope and Love)
Two turtle doves
(Old and New Testament)
A Partridge in a pear tree
(Jesus Christ)
I must say singing this in the future will have a slightly different resonance!
My favourite nativity set - created by my grandmother in her 90th year
So whether you believe in Santa, Partridges, French hens or JOY may this world find PEACE in 2013

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

A Magical Christmas Projection

Walking along Swanston Street the other night we came upon a most magical sight. The Melbourne Town Hall was illuminated as I had never seen it before. No warning. No fanfare. (No advertising - as usual!!) But there it was in all its glory (and it is a glorious building) with a moving projection of lighting covering its facade. We rushed to cross the road (watching for trams, bikes, cars and pedestrians) to join the small crowd gazing up in awe while using their smartphones to record and photograph this rotating 5+ minute projection of divine lighting celebrating Christmas. 
Dark and hard to see but I hope you get my drift
I snapped away but I think it is time for 'photography lessons'. Suffice to say I was very unhappy with the results. No problems I thought. I will just visit the Melbourne Town Hall sight. They are sure to have some great photos. Silly me! This was it!
Where is the magic 'sell' in this image?!
Thank goodness for utube - please please click on the 2 links, this one (long) and this one (short) - probably taken on a smartphone by the fellow standing next to me! It's one of the best displays I have ever seen in Melbourne. It was fun, it was colourful, it was clever, it was charming and it brought out the child in all of us looking up. 
Here he is again - telling a story I hope!
So if you are in the city after dark then make sure you stop and take a look (9-11 each night). Make sure you take your children and grandchildren. And if you can't find a child then take the child in you! This is what Christmas is about. It made me all warm and fuzzy! And to think we could have missed it. It certainly pays to look up in this city. I don't even care how much it cost. And the Town Hall either forgot or didn't think it was important enough to advertise it on their website. Pathetic.What is the world coming to.
The Richmond Town Hall projection

And finally, I read in the local Richmond paper that our dear old Richmond Town Hall - in Bridge Road between Church and Coppin Streets is having a 12 Nights of Christmas Projections beginning on 13 December. Local artist Nick Azidis (from Projection Teknik - love the name) has created a different image for the 12 nights and they will light up the Town Hall facade. It seems that projections onto Town Halls are HOT!

Bowen Cottage client comment: We have no suggestions - everything is perfect

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Public Art in Public Places!

Last night I was invited to the beautiful State Library of Victoria (see earlier post 20 November 2012) to hear John Kaldor speak about the current public art project 'offered' to we lucky Melburnians. For the past 40+ years Kaldor Public Art Projects have been involved in presenting unique public art - from the Christo & Jean-Claude wrapping of Little Bay in Sydney 1968-69 to the Jeff Koons puppy outside Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 1995 to the Gregor Schneider instillation transforming Bondi Beach in 2007 with a giant cage named 21 beach cells - well the list goes on and on. The current project #26 at the Library's Cowen Gallery is Allora & Calzadilla Stop, Repair, Prepare... It combines sound, performance and sculpture and features a man playing Ode to Joy inside a grand piano - and playing it 'backwards' while moving the piano around the space. As you can imagine it is hard to describe and hard to imagine. But it works!
Have I explained it well?!
How lucky we are to have had this project in Melbourne - after all it was presented to great acclaim at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. So imagine my surprise to discover that the project (which I have never seen advertised - and I'm an avid pursuer of all art related events) has been playing for 3 weeks and ends THIS THURSDAY 6 DECEMBER! Go to it if you have a moment in the city between now and Thursday night! It 'plays' on the hour from 11am - 8pm. 
The view from behind!
Kaldor talked about the philosophy behind the Kaldor Public Art Projects being found in unexpected places. In other words if you go to an Art Gallery you expect to see art. But if you come across art outside the gallery environment (Bondi Beach, State Library etc) it introduces art to those who would not normally go to see it.
En route around the gallery - included for the hole in the piano lid!
Which brings me to my second Public Art comment! Last weekend (sorry - only found out about it by default - yet again!) I 'heard' about Art at Burnley Harbour 2012 - an initiative of the Contemporary Art Society of Victoria Inc. Burnley is part of the greater suburb of Richmond. And there tucked under the City Link/Monash Freeway and right on the Yarra River with the famed bike path passing by were displayed over 100 pieces of art (paintings and sculpture) for purchase. 
En route along the Yarra River bike path under the freeway
What a great idea. What a unique setting. What an unexpected venue. But how many people knew about it - well I would say very few. I went on the final morning and the viewing numbers were lean pickings. Many were Sunday bike riders who just 'happened to be passing'. This was a great idea - that in my opinion was a wasted one.
Bikers passing by
Public Art wherever it is shown needs to be advertised. And not just once or twice. Finding out about unique events which enrich our lives in this day an age seems to get harder and harder, not easier and easier as you would expect with social media (not for me!). I don't know the answer - do you? All I know is that it would have been wonderful to have known about both these Public Art events in time for you to have the opportunity to plan a visit!
The sculpture garden

Bowen Cottage client comment: There is everything you could need. A true home rather than a holiday rental. It's the provision of these little, thoughtful things that really made the stay.