Food Books Music: Stefano Manfredi

One of Australia’s finest chefs and one known as a master of Italian cuisine, Stefano Manfredi, will talk about the musical, literary and artistic influences that have helped him create world-renowned dishes and menus. He is in conversation with ABC 702’s Simon Marnie at The Star’s Osteria Balla where a three-course meal will be accompanied by some wonderful music.

More information HERE

Irvine Welsh: The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins

Irvine Welsh is known the world over as the author of the cult classic, Trainspotting. He returns to the Sydney Writers’ Festival to discuss his new novel, The Sex Lives Of Siamese Twins. True to form, the book sees two memorable female protagonists, a bizarre sado-masochistic incident and a frenzied mix of comedy, drama and hard-hitting issues.

More information HERE

Anatomy Of The Song

Three of Australia’s best songwriters, Sarah Blasko, Josh Pyke and Urthboy appear in conversation with 2SER’s music director, Andrew Khedoori where they will discuss where inspiration strikes, how a song is created and most importantly, what is found in a “good” song?

More information HERE

True Crimes: John Safran and Michaela McGuire

Last year agent provocateur, John Safran made his true-crime debut with Murder In Mississippi, a non-fiction book set in America’s deep south that examined the murder of a white supremacist by a young black man. He appears in conversation with fellow true crime author, Michaela McGuire and journalist and broadcaster, Sian Prior. The former who will also discuss her new book, Last Bets: A True Story of Gambling Morality and the Law, which looks at the death of a patron at Melbourne’s Crown Casino following a violent altercation with a bouncer.

More information HERE

Honourable mention: The Chaser’s Empty Vessel (nightly from May 22 to 24): Chris Taylor and Julian Morrow from The Chaser host over an hour of entertainment, including interviews with some of the biggest guests appearing at Sydney Writers’ Festival as well as music and their own sketches and monologues. These variety nights prove to be great fun and are very popular.

Originally published on 14 May 2014 at the following website:

Visit The Au Review’s homepage at:




It was 50 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. Not quite. This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Beatles only visit to Australia and the year that Beatlemania hit. In 1964 the band performed to 73 million viewers on The Ed Sullivan Show, played multiple overseas concerts, met Bob Dylan, recorded Beatles For Sale,released A Hard Day’s Night and made chart history when they held the top five spots on the US singles chart. Foxtel’ s Studio 132 will be celebrating the Fab Four this Saturday with a series of documentaries and concert films as The Iris explores in more detail.

John Lennon: One To One
This is John Lennon’s last full-length concert performance filmed on 30 August 1972 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Here, Lennon is joined by his wife, Yoko Ono along with guests like Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Roberta Flack and Sha-Na-Na for a concert that features his solo hits: “Imagine”, “Mother”, “Power To The People”, “Instant Karma!” and more.

Yeah Yeah Yeah
This documentary looks at the legacy of The Beatles, which started with the release of their first hit single, “Love Me Do”. This film is set against the backdrop of the annual International Beatles Week Festival in Liverpool. Each year, tribute acts from over 20 countries meet to celebrate a group which really began when John Lennon met the then 15-year old, Sir Paul McCartney at St Peter’s Church, Woolton in 1957. From here the group would play at various local venues, with the most well-known being the iconic Cavern Club where a statue of Lennon can now be found. This documentary looks at their meteoric rise and the reasons behind their influence and continued longevity.

Paul McCartney: Live Kisses
This is an intimate, 13-song film directed by Jonas Åkerlund and captures a magical evening where Sir Paul McCartney entered Capitol Studios in Los Angeles to record his 15th studio album. The process would prove similar to how he used to record with The Beatles and would include performances by the London Symphony Orchestra, jazz musician, John Clayton plus Diana Krall and Stevie Wonder. The record would ultimately become a collection of pop standards and two original McCartney compositions with highlights including: “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive”, “Bye Bye Blackbird” and “I’m Gonna Sit Right Down & Write Myself A Letter”.

Good Ol’ Freda
This feel-good documentary tells the story of Freda Kelly, a shy, Liverpudlian 17-year old who was asked to become a secretary to The Beatles. This film looks at the naive girl who was forced to grow up as she worked with a group who wanted to hit it big and subsequently conquered the world. Here, she reflects on her career, is self-deprecating, charming and funny and remembers what it was like to be caught in the eye of a musical storm.

Electric Proms- Paul McCartney
This concert film was recorded in 2007 and sees Sir Paul McCartney joined by a full band and special string section and performing cuts from an amazing career in music. Among the highlights are the Beatle favourites: “Eleanor Rigby”, “Hey Jude”, “Let It Be” and “The Long & Winding Road” plus Wings hits: “Band On The Run” and “Live & Let Die”.


Studio Loves: The Beatles premieres on Foxtel’s Studio 132 on April 5 from 6:30PM.


Originally published on 3 April 2014 at the following website:

Visit The Iris’ homepage at:

Visit The Au Review’s homepage at:

NEWS: Sydney Film Festival 2012: The Ten Films You Should See (Part 1)

The Sydney Film Festival begins on Wednesday (June 6) and boasts an impressive line-up with over 150 films from over 50 countries. With a little something for everyone and so much to choose from, Natalie Salvo brings her ten picks from the first part of the festival.

1. Not Suitable For Children

Synopsis: A lady’s man living in Sydney’s inner west finds his world turned upside down when he is diagnosed with testicular cancer. Facing infertility, this lothario becomes obsessed with having a child before it’s too late with mixed results.
Runtime: 97 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Health, Romance.
Why you should see it: Stars True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten, was filmed in Sydney, it’s the world premiere, Ryan Kwanten, great soundtrack, Ryan Kwanten, tackles a heavy topic in a kind and lighthearted way. And did we mention Ryan Kwanten?
Screens: 6 & 9 June

2. Faust

Synopsis: A reinterpretation of the myth of Faust, a doctor, professor and pioneering individual that treats patients that cannot afford to pay him. It’s a visually stunning film inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s play and is a fitting end to director, Alexander Sokurov’s “Men Of Power” tetraology.
Runtime: 134 minutes
Genre: Literary, Religion/Spirituality/Myth, Russian Story.
Why you should see it: Winner of the Golden Lion at Venice Film Festival, it’s all about twos: life and death, good and evil, God and the Devil, ruin and redemption.
Screens: 6 & 9 June

3. Searching For Sugar Man

Synopsis: The stranger than fiction story about American soul artist, Rodriguez. In the early 70s he was touted as the next big thing but his success was only to be found abroad- in Australia and Apartheid-era South Africa. Two dedicated fans decide to track him down in a Where Are They Now?-style look at the elusive singer.
Runtime: 85 minutes
Genre: Music, Biography, Politics/Globalisation
Why you should see it: It won the audience award at Sundance. It’s also one for lovers of Elvis-style conspiracy theories and fans of soul music.
Screens: 6 & 14 June

4. Mabo

Synopsis: A biopic about the life of Eddie and Bonita Mabo. It traces his early life when he is exiled from his Torres Strait Island home and his subsequent grapples with being a blackfella in a whitefella’s world. There’s the enduring love for his partner and most importantly, his historic High Court challenge, which recognised his people and overthrew the former perspective of Terra Nullius.
Runtime: 104 minutes
Genre: Biography, Aboriginal, Spirituality, Australian Story
Why you should see it: The world premiere of a film that tracks such a significant piece of Australian history that it should be mandatory viewing in all our schools.
Screens: 7 June

5. Play It Like Godard

Synopsis: A mockumentary about Jean-Cristophe Kern, AKA J.C., the winner of both the Palme d’Or and the César and all before the age of 17. This is a delightful look at the celebrated French filmmaker who is said to be a mix of Jean-Luc Godard and Justin Bieber, negotiating fame and fortune during a rather difficult adolescence.
Runtime: 75 minutes
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Filmmaking.
Why you should see it: It’s funny, French and about filmmaking.
Screens: 7 & 8 June

6. High Tech, No Life

Synopsis: Two Chinese bloggers- ‘Zola’ and ‘Tiger Temple’ join forces to battle against the “Great Firewall of China”. The duo travel the country documenting things that go largely unreported. From rapes to pollution and homelessness, the pair defies the Chinese government’s censorship and disputes the propaganda coming from the country’s state-run media outlets.
Runtime: 87 minutes
Genre: Politics/Globalisation, Science & Technology
Why you should see it: It’s a fascinating look at the search for the truth by a humble army of two.
Screens: 7 & 9 June

7. Under African Skies

Synopsis: 25 years on from the release of Paul Simon’s Graceland and the artist returns to where it all began in South Africa. At the time he caused controversy for breaking the UN’s cultural boycott of the apartheid regime. In 2012 Simon confronts his critics and finds support in fellow musicians Philip Glass, Quincy Jones and Harry Belafonte.
Runtime: 101 minutes
Genre: Music, Politics/Globalisation
Why you should see it: Paul Simon, Philip Glass, Quincy Jones and Harry Belafonte- need we say any more?
Screens: 8 & 10 June

8. Maori Boy Genius

Synopsis: A charismatic, six-foot-five teen is a university graduate by 13; attends Yale at 16; and is an excellent dancer and traditional storyteller to boot. Ngaa Rauuira Pumanawawhiti has a big future ahead of him with people imaging that he will become Prime Minister some day and yet this documentary also shows a down-to-earth boy who – like all teenagers – just wants to hang out with his mates.
Runtime: 84 minutes
Genre: Biography, Coming of Age, Aboriginal/First Nations, Religion/Spirituality, Education.
Why you should see it: It’s a sweet coming-of-age story and you can boast that you supported him first.
Screens: 9 & 10 June

9. A Royal Affair

Synopsis: This is the true story of an ordinary man who wins the Queen’s heart and starts a revolution. It is a stunning period drama based around a bizarre love triangle where the Danish Queen discovers she is married to an imbecile and falls instead for a progressive German doctor who becomes an ideological ally and lover.
Runtime: 137 minutes
Genre: Romance, Biography
Why you should see it: It was the winner of the Best Screenplay and Best Actor prizes at the Berlinale. It’s also a lavish period piece and one interesting chapter in history.
Screens: 9 & 15 June

10. Last Call At The Oasis

Synopsis: The team behind An Inconvenient Truth and Food, Inc. bring us an examination of the world’s most valuable resource, water. Director Jessica Yu takes us from the heady lights of Las Vegas (where green lawns and sprinklers are surrounded by desert) to parched outback Victoria where our farmers have been subjected to floods, fire and other natural disasters. There is a look at the contentious practice of “fracking” and this documentary combines interviews with campaigners such as Erin Brokovich, environmental experts and first-hand accounts from people at the coalface.
Runtime: 95 minutes
Genre: Politics/Globalisation, Earth/Environment
Why you should see it: It’s a subject that hits very close to home and is about our lifeblood- water.
Screens: 10 & 11 June

The 59th Sydney Film Festival includes feature films, documentaries, short films and animations and will take place from 6 – 17 June 2012 at various venues in the city. For more information on the Sydney Film Festival visit:

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series plus more in-depth film reviews and Sydney Film Festival content over the coming weeks.

Originally published on 3 June 2012 at the following website:

Visit The Au Review’s homepage at:


With the Global Blogger Search competition closing tomorrow I thought it would be a nice idea to reprise the theme from one post (in my shoes) and recount the multiple tales about how I’ve inflicted injuries on myself. Learn how I tripped over an electric blanket chord and on a bus carrying a tray of cold meats, among others. Read more about it here:

Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici


It’s unlucky post number 13 in the Global Blogger Search where we learn about things that aren’t art. Is a shark in formaldehyde art? Do people look at the statue of David’s toenails? Find out more at the following post: This Is Not Art


Will this be my last blog in the global blogger search? Perhaps…


But if you want to read up about missing plants, enthusiastic telephone book readers and hold music musicians you can read about it at:



Last week was about the tourists, this time we look at strange encounters with the locals: 99-cent stores in Florence, Mardi Gras in Madrid and ordering Italian food in one of Germany’s most prominent red light districts. You can read more about it at: Dining With The Locals (AKA It’s Cold, Wet & Grey- Like Our Tea!)

Photo credit: nuttakit


It’s that time again, folks. Another new blog post on Tales Of Absurdiah. Today you can read about some of the best travel gaffes I’ve heard- a woman who looked for Starbucks in Italy, another who liked the Vegas Venice better than the actual one and a Colonel Sanders lookalike who got the tour company to pay 5 Euros so he could drink Coke at breakfast. Read more about it here.

NEWS: In My Shoes (AKA More Random Musings Including Don’t Forget Your Underpants)

So we’re coming up to the home stretch for the Global Blogger Search Competition. ‘Tis a fine ride and now high time for my post about life in my shoes.

You can read it here: In My Shoes (AKA More Random Musings Including Don’t Forget Your Underpants)

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