IEveryone in Brisbane seemed to be on the banks of the Mayoir on a Saturday afternoon, settling in with beach chairs and squash for the best vantage point. The river was the river: A much loved explosive show that includes fireworks, fighter jets and helicopter acrobatics Which several locals separately described to me as “the most Brisbane thing ever”.
But when backing out of the water, a smaller, quieter, and newer spectacle was also set off along the Maywar: Brisbane Art Boat (Northshore, through September 24)Interactive artwork returns for the second time as part of the Brisbane Festival.
Where last year art The boat housed a cartoon-shaped inflatable neon castle, and this year’s artwork is almost the exact opposite: the Spheres is a sleek, ethereal stainless-steel hull designed by Lindy Lee, a famous sculptor and Brisbanite. It’s incredibly stunning – and as engaging as last year’s colorful action, it seems, with Instagrammers vying with young children to gather around it.
The globes consist of three large perforated spheres surrounded by high, curved, perforated steel walls, through which light passes floods, simulating stars, sunrises and sunsets. It is inspired by the “music of the balls” – a theory developed by Pythagoras, who believed that when the planets moved, they generated a celestial hum.
“I owe everything to Pythagoras in this case, and I don’t mind admitting it,” she tells me – but the balls are personal too. I was born in Brisbane in 1954, but now lives in the Byron Bay hinterland. You see work as a kind of homecoming.
“When I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s, there was a little bit of shyness about the river, a little bit of cultural annoyance about Queensland Pretty much everyone who wanted a creative life had to leave,” she says. “It’s great that our attitude to the river and to Brisbane itself has changed. with Southbank and [art gallery] QAGOMA on the river, for me, the Mewar is a symbol of that bend.
“I want this to be a wonderful celebration of Brisbane, how it has progressed in such a wondrous and wonderful way as a city of its own.”
The Li family, who escaped communism in China, She endured discrimination in Queensland; When I came of age during Joe Belke Petersen’s 20-year tenure as Prime Minister, Lee felt “compelled to leave Brisbane because I felt vulnerable because of my cultural background, my ancestors – I had to find myself”.
“In a way, going back to Brisbane and giving her my heart and soul in this business means I’ve come back full circle,” she says. “It’s really touching for me – I was so ashamed that I was Chinese when I was growing up, so to celebrate and hug is a great feeling. I have a very deep reconciliation with my past.”
Lee isn’t the only artist to explore her relationship with Queensland at this year’s festival. anna yen show slow boat 緩 舟 (Brisbane Powerhouse, through September 10) It has a great true story at its core.
Yen’s father, a playwright who fled his home after the invasion of Japan, was one of 580 Chinese contract workers who were evacuated from Nauru to Australia during World War II, and ended up in Brisbane. Elaine discovers that workers put on shows for each other on their nights, so Slow Boat is a play within a play: Five workers put on an amateur show as part of the festivities marking the end of the war.
Assigning actors to play bad actors is a risky move, Slow Boat is too long and doesn’t always work.. But the story itself is great, and the live music, performed by a small band in character, is great. rich.
There is also fourteen (QPAC, through September 17), a theatrical adaptation of Shannon Molloy’s bestselling memoir about surviving anti-gay bullying in the small Queensland town of Yeppoon. Connor Leach is adorable as 14-year-old Molloy, who seeks refuge in his mother’s hair salon and his small group of girlfriends as a way to escape from his classmates at his all-boys Catholic school, who have registered as gay before he even has him.
References to Fruity Lexia and Impulse elicited groans of knowledge from the audience; The series is about the life of teenagers in the nineties of the last century in Australia. Perhaps even less so is her balance between light and dark. The color shifts are sometimes too big, making everyone feel awkward and unsure whether to smile or whimper.
In general, the Brisbane Festival Feels noticeably weird this year – it’s worth noting that Queensland is still giving up its reputation among the states for falling behind on that front. Homosexuality was not criminalized in the country until 1990; Bilke Petersen famously believed that “Southern gays” were plotting to overthrow him, and as just one example of his many homophobic and racist policies, he attempted to ban gay men from bars and clubs.
But on Friday, all gays in the North gathered in Tivoli to celebrate BowerytopiaA vibrant dance party and fashion show honoring late artist Lee Bowery.
LGBTQ title shows fourteen and Achilles contract (QPAC, through September 10) In progress, but there’s still more: Big Sex License (Brisbane Powerhouse, September 15-17), a history of Australian sexual mores in dance and nightclubs; Alexander Pol (Tivoli, September 24), a scene took place in the ballroom to celebrate people of color from the LGBTQ community in Brisbane; and the associated event the home (BOQ Festival Garden, September 13-15), Which will explain the links between Aboriginal peoples, Torres Strait Islander States, Southeast Asia and Pacifica LGBTQ people, with queer liberation in New York’s underground dance hall scene.
It says something, even as shows revealing Queensland’s history of racism and homophobia competed with helicopters and fireworks, the audience was packed. “It couldn’t have happened 20 years ago,” Lee says of the festival’s candid celebration of diversity. “We have matured and grown up, getting into something that has always been there. Brisbane has come of age.”