The Palais

scaffold
scaffold

Much loved local icon, the Palais Theatre is under threat! Local rocker and frontman of the Dark Horses, Tex Perkins has stepped up to its defence. Mysterious scaffolding has encased the mighty structure for some time now. Apparently this is not a renovation precaution, but is in place to prevent bits falling off and striking the general public, and theatre goers.

 

Luna Park
Luna Par

 

 

She is a much loved piece of the St Kilda landscape, and integral part of the Melbourne theatre, and performance scene. Concerts are regularly held there, and she continues to host local and international acts. Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones singer, referred to the Palais in his recent Melbourne Show saying they performed at the Palais in 1966 and urged fans to save the venue.

I have attended many memorable performances there. Annually the Sacred Heart mission’s, Heart of St Kilda Concert, to raise funds for the local homeless, Missy Higgins, Rockwiz tribute night to Vanda and Young, Birdy, and Boz Scaggs.

 

palais
palais

 

In 2010, I was privileged to win a ballot to tickets to a guided tour of the Palais, as part of the StKilda Festival. We got to go backstage, stand on the rolling stage, check out the dressing rooms, view the juliet window, site the projectionist room, and even climb up into the roof to inspect the domes, and building structure. A memorable tour, firmly etched in my memory, and probably not possible now, due to Health and Safety regulations. The craftsmanship, attention to detail and sheer beauty of the grand old dame, a fine example of art deco architecture, was breathtaking. It was also sad to see how much she had fallen into disrepair through neglect and lack of maintenance. Impossible to believe she was still exisitng at all, but she has a tenacious hold on StKilda, our hearts and minds, and is the venue of our dreams. She’s not going down without a fight, and the locals are just passionate enough to save her. Prepared to take on both the local and state governments they will fight for her survival. The infamous triangle site fiasco is brought to mind, where they repelled the attempts to build a Chadstone style complex, on the vacant land around the Palais Theatre, abutting Luna Park, and the St Kilda Foreshore

 

 

palais side
palais side

. A virulent battle between protestors, and developers, and local and state government ensued, which saw the protestors victorious, and the site remains vacant until a suitable compromise can be reached.The StKilda Pier Kiosk was burnt down, the StKilda Sea Vaults closed, St Moritz demolished, and it would appear the Astor Theatre is beyond redemption, but the Palais is hanging in there and we will save her, wrangling a truculent Local and State Government to assist.

As a visual artist, I have always found the old girl, aesthetically inspiring and have photographed, painted, and drawn her for many years. She is a big part of my local history, and I too will do whatever it takes to keep her standing. Too young to have seen the memorable 66′ Stones Concert within her hallowed walls, I remember a Dame Edna aka Barry Humphries, concert there of 30 years ago, where the grand old dame played host to the magenta haired, grand old Dame, and gladiolus, flew through the air in a floral frenzy.

The Palais will not go down without a fight, it will emerge from its encasing cocoon like a chrysalis,  and I expect to be along for its bumpy ride, to re-emergence.

Rolling Stones

They finally made it. Mick, Keith, Ron, and Charlie . I last saw them live in Melbourne at Kooyong Tennis Stadium in 1973, when I was a groovy  15 year old. The impression they made on me that fateful day was indelible, and confirmed my allegiance as a lifelong Stones fan . There was something magical about their raunchy rock and roll way back then . Tonight, 41 years later, the spindly legged Lizard King aka Mick Jagger, was at his best, Keef ( Keith Richards ) was clearly enjoying himself belting out the song ” Happy”, Charlie kept them all ticking over with his hypnotic drum beat, and Ronnie strutted the stage like a demented marionette . It was loud , it was funky , it was visually stimulating, with back-screen graphics flashing throughout all of their songs .

stones
stones

Rod Laver Arena, hosted an intimate crowd of 5,000. Not for us the big stadium affairs like the Adelaide Cricket Ground where they paid host to 40,000 fans. It was the spectacle of the greatest rock and roll band in the world, and I wanted to be able to see them, not gaze at some big screen where they appeared as a far off speck on the horizon .

It was worth the wait . The show was dynamic with  Mick gyrating his way around the podium with his accomplices also playing their part. I loved it and danced my way through ” tumbling dice ” like I was that 15 year old teenager again .

Thanks Mick and the boys for giving me a great night out, rekindling old memories and reminding

me you’ve still got it !

Ocelot Commandos

Ocelot a lot
Ocelot a lot
Swaggering down the airport forecourt came the three denizens of animal print couture .
Three mighty examples of large , round , forceful , Hungarian womanhood , strode strode toward me adorned in top to toe animal print , fake gold , black or tight denim .
They were a force to be reckoned with , this majestic trio , trailing gargantuan suitcases
in their wake .
They literally didn’t shut up , and their assault on the Wizz Air drinks trolley , only served to rejuvenate their well developed vocal cords.
I loosely termed them the ocelot triplets .
Life giver , saver , wrangler and tamer that I am , I could hardly be termed squeamish , but they scared the hell outta me .
I voyeuristically gazed on , totally enthralled , & trapped in their spell as they gabbled , burped , farted , and transported themselves from the Hungarian to Ottoman Empires.
Silence was banished from Budapest departure gate 3 , until Istanbul passport control , where they presented a tri edged assault on the quaking Turkish customs official.
Number one was dressed in gloriously distressed stretch denims , black and gold emblazoned skintight tshirt , gold lame jacket Liberace would,ve been proud to own , and the piece de resistance , a pair of black fake leather storm trooper boots , strapped with three trapdoor size fake gold buckles across each.

Number two had the black version of the jeans , black top with indecipherable Hungarian quip ,all in gold of course , and fake leather black biker jacket sporting gold and ocelot embellishments ,looking like a latter day Michael Jackson impersonator.

Number three , a woman mountain , clearly the leader of the pack , was bedecked in head to toe black , and 100 variations of animal print .
This lady was not to be messed with , and clasped an animal toned handbag big enough to house all of Central Europe , to her vast bosom .
Muffin topped, peroxided , blinged up , 50 plus ,
foundation encrusted , they sported enough black eyeliner to ring the entire Australian coast line .
Fluoro orange talons gripped the headrests of our seat upon arrival in Turkey , and jointly they uttered the only words of English I ever heard them say ” who dares wins ”

Case of found objects
Case of found objects

Johnny Cash

Tex wore black . I wore black , in sync with the Melbourne nightscape . Ruth, shimmered towards me in a sea of red . Her alabastar skin encased in an opulent red velvet cape , arms neck and fingers festooned  with oversized  rubies ,  luxuriant brown locks garlanded

June's Dress
June’s Dress

with red ribbons. Tex crooned and titilated . He sang , danced and played guitar and seamlessly reeled out the Johnny Cash song catalogue chanelling the man and his music effotlessly . The back up band could have been Johnny’ s own and the pretend June Carter Cash , adorned in glorious gowns , lifted her voice to the heavens , to match June’s own . The ancient Athenaeum theatre was packed , and gave a rousing reception . Old classics were revived with singalong and hand clapping . Gems buried from youth were unearthed . ” Ring of Fire ” , bought the house down . Stumbling out into the freezing Melbourne night , I knew I had witnessed something unique . An aussie impersonating Johhny so well it could have been the original , in the surrounds of the gracious old girl theatre , the Athenaeum , letting her hair down .