RedKoi Reviews

This is a review blog. In it I publish my 2 cents worth on books, music, performances and places.

Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I've moved this blog to wordpress

I wanted categories , so I've moved RedKoi Reviews to wordpress. Check it out at

See yout there!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Art: Pissaro

This exhibition is showing at the Art Gallery of NSW. Pissaro is an amazing artist - his paintings really do capture the subtle sensations of light and movement in the French countryside and cities. I particularly liked the city and industrial scenes. They seems very alive, bright and full of the energy that came with the start of the industrial revolution.
The exhibition istelf was well laid out, themed with different styles and subects. Pay the money for one of the portable audio guides - they reveal so much more about the artist and the paintings.
Impressionist art like this is a lot more accesible than something like the Erwin Wurm exhibition and the MCA. I suppose that's why there where so many people. It was PACKED. Go during business hours if you can.
My Rating: 4 Stars

Performance: Gilbert & Sullivan

This "Best of Gilbert & Sullivan" was part of the "Music by Moonlight" series at Sydney Olympic Park. A cut down version of the Sydney Opera and Ballet Orchestra performed with singers from Opera Australia. The songs where picked to tell something of a story about the renound composers, and where introduced with a little but not too much information.
The performers where obviously having a great time, and that lifted the already excellent renditions. I went to "Symphony in the Domain" this year and while I like Gershwin more than Gilbert and Sullivan, this was a better performance.
The atmosphere was also better. It was less crowded and with fewer consversations during performances. Smokers were relegated off into an area right at the back, and the organisers had the sense to have a no-chair section at the front and a high chair bit at the back.
My main complaint (and it's a biggy) was the food. I'm vegetarian and there was not one savoury, vegetarian food item. And because it's Olympic Park, the food stalls are pretty much it. Food aside, a pleasant night out.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Performance: Tan Dun - The Map

This performance brought together the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Composer / Conductor Tan Dun. The first piece, Paper Concerto, used paper instruments to excellent effect. The piece is haunting, atmospheric and gives your imagination plenty to work with. Placing some violinists in the audience boxes made the music appear to come from everywhere. This is innovative, elegant new classical music, and I loved it.
The second piece was The Map. It's worthwhile reading a bit about this piece, which was inspired after Dun met a 'Stone Man' musician in China whose stone music was dying out. The piece uses video recordings of indigenous chinese musicians as part of the musical and visual compostion. The eastern musical techniques combined with western instruments create a stunning kind of fusion classical. I think I liked this piece even better than the Paper Concerto. The Map is also a good example of why live classical can be better than at home with your CD. The use of multi-media simply wouldn't carry into your lounge room.
My only complaint about the performance was the audience. I hate coughing and other bodily noises, especially in delicate productions like this one.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Walk: Berowra Valley Regional Park

My partner and her parents went on this bushwalk today. We started by leaving the car at Francis Greenway Dr. After a few boring streets we came to 'The Lakes' which is a local park with loads of ducks. From there we walked down into the bush, surrounded on both sides by housing and weeds for a while :-( until we made it into the park proper. For an urban bushwalk, the variety of flora was pretty wide, with angophora, coachwood, blackbutt and other gums in abundance.
Down near Berowra creek we saw two wallaby as they thumped away from our intrusion :-). After following the (quite dry) creek for a while the track returns up to Francis Greenway Dr.
The easy access to this walk (although not by public transport) makes it atractive. On the downside the beginning and end are quite polluted and weedy.
My Rating: 3.5 stars

Movie: Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

I'm a fan of the Harry Potter books, and the previous movies have been pretty good, but this movie was a let down. It's a good example of what happens when you create an abridged version of a book as a movie. The downsizing of the plot creates loose ends, and makes Voldemorts return seem a bit out of the blue.
As for the new Dumbledore: he's a cardboard cutout compared to the previous actors. The kids are ok but not as able to rely on cuteness to replace acting ability. Someone decided playing up the romance would be a good idea, even inventing a more romantic roll for Longbottom. Oh, and I expected the Voldemort scenes to be much scarier. One for the DVD player on a rainy day. If you want more detail, see the wikipedia entry.
My Rating: 2 Stars

Art: Erwin Wurm, Glue your brain

'Glue your brain' is being shown at the MCA as yet another feature of the Sydney Festival. Generally, modern art tends to amuse me but not enthral me. It often seems all a bit serious and overladen with meaning most people can't access. However, this one is different. Much of it makes you smile or laugh. The use of clothing to create sculpture, or everyday object to create '10min art' actually does take the ordinary and make it something special.
People wandering through are encourgaed to 'realise' the artworks by becoming part of them, if only for a few seconds.
I'm sure there's lots of meaning and symbolism for those who want that, but for the rest of us it's a quirky detour from the humdrum of daily life.
My Rating: 3 Stars

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