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THE GALILEO PROJECT

Sights, Sounds & Stars Canadian ensemble Tafelmusik perform The Galileo Project: Music Of The Spheres as part of the Perth Festival on March 1. Tickets are available by visiting perthfestival.com.au, or BOCS.

Lanie Lane Stephen K Amos

LAUGH IT UP

Get ready to give your funny bone a workout because the full lineup for the inaugural Perth International Comedy Festival in May has been announced, and it’s a doozy. Set to take over the Astor Theatre for 19 days from May 2-20, the upcoming Perth International Comedy Festival will boast sets from the likes of Henry Rollins, Des Bishop, Steph K Amos, The Pajama Men, Neil Hamburger, Peter Powers, Glenn Wool, DeAnne Smith, Mike G, Tripod, Steve Hughes, Sammy J & Randy, Fiona O’Loughlin, Charlie Pickering, Tom Gleeson, Greg Fleet, Dave Callan, Brendon Burns, Felicity Ward, Lawrence Mooney, Hannah Gadsby, and so many more! Whether you like your comedy dry, wet, or slightly damp, the Perth International Comedy Festival has something for everyone! Find out who’s on and when at perthcomedyfest.com.au. Bookings can be made via BOCS.

LOMO IN FREO

Lovers of light leaks and other low-fi photography techniques will gather at the Fremantle Arts Centre in April for FotoFreo’s fun and fabulous Lomography workshop with local Lomo expert Yolanda Stapleton. Covering Lomography basics with plenty of tips and tricks thrown in for good measure, the workshop will run from 1-4pm on Saturday, April 7, and is a must for anyone with a penchant for toy cameras. It’s only $50 to take part; secure your spot by hitting up fotofreo.com.

GIDDYUP TO NANNUP

The countdown is on to the much loved Nannup Music Festival, which is set to return to the quiet town of Nannup from March 2-5 for a celebration of music, art and family fun. With a lineup boasting the likes of Lanie Lane, Adalita, Lou Bennett, Neil Murray, Freya Hanley, Tinpan Orange, Gossling and many many more, the Nannup Music Festival has something for just about everyone with market stalls, poetry, theatre and plenty of activites for young and old. Tickets are on sale now from nannupmusicfestival.org.

DRAWN TOGETHER

Local and international animators will get their time to shine at the Northbridge Piazza on Thursday nights for the next few weeks thanks to Animators Hour, a new initiative that aims to showcase work from this often overlooked genre. Curated by local animator Aska with support from City Of Perth, the eight week program kicks off this Thursday, February 23, and runs ’til Thursday, April 12. Every Thursday night from 8.30-9.30pm a series of animations will be projected onto the big screen for all to see, and audience members can get in on the fun thanks to the Bunny Cakes competition. Got an idea for a crazy or quirky animation but can’t draw to save your life? Fear not because you can submit an idea in written, drawn or animated clip format which professional animators will then combine with other people’s ideas, creating an original three minute film. Find out more at animatorshour.com.

The Galileo Project: Music Of The Spheres is a breathtaking and exhilarating musical odyssey through space, exploring the music that surrounded Galileo as he first glanced on the stars. Canadian ensemble Tafelmusik combine the beautiful and fervent sounds of Renaissance and Baroque masters with an ever changing backdrop of epic and celestial imagery from the Hubble deep space telescope, along with astral photography of both the Southern and Northern night skies. Cellist and creator of The Galileo Project Alison McKay describes this work as one that has allowed the Tafelmusik ensemble to dive deep into a very different world from their own. “The actual idea of doing a project around Galileo was suggested to us by one of our long term audience members, who is a very eminent astronomer from Canada. And he was on the organising committee for the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, in celebration of Galileo’s 400th anniversary of the first use of the telescope,” she says. “I had created a number of projects for the orchestra that combined words and music, but we’d never done a project with a theatrical sense, and images, or anything like that. So I was thinking about putting together something with that, and when he suggested the Galileo idea I thought it would be a marvellous fit, and you know it’s taken us into such wonderful new territory, meeting scientists and entering into that world a little bit.” Throughout the performance musicians will leave their seats and move within the audience, breaking down traditional barriers in this atmospheric and celestial journey. “Because the music is memorised it allows us to experiment in each concert hall with our

relationship to the audience – and we go out into the audience quite a bit to play – to the balcony, or in the isle, and because we’re not tied to music stands we’re able to do that, so it’s really fun to explore each new hall and see what the potential is in that way,” says McKay. “It really has struck a chord with audiences, not just necessarily a regular baroque music/classical audiences, but it’s brought us into contact with a lot of other lovers of science and the arts so it really has been a wonderful adventure for us.” The Galileo Project is more than music; it’s more than images. It is a haunting and ethereal exploration of the sounds that surrounded the very beginnings of true star gazing – an exploration of all that was beautiful on earth while Galileo searched for that which was beautiful beyond us. “The combination of some of these very very beautifully coloured and very striking images with music, I think it’s more than the some of its parts – it lends a kind of emotional extra layer to both the music and the images.” _LEAH BLANKENDAAL

The Galileo Project

Firass Dirani Killer Elite

KILLER ELITE

The Feather Men Get Heavy Directed by Gary McKendry Starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro and Firass Dirani Killer Elite opens with the disclaimer that the story you are about to see is real. It’s 1980 and the war in the Middle-East threatens oil reserves and the world economic crisis worsens. Based on the 1991 book The Feather Men, which claims to be a true story, Killer Elite is a tale about revenge for actions made by British soldiers in a time of war. Jason Statham plays Danny Bryce, an exmilitary man in a team of mercenaries doing hits for cash, employed through a suave, and very fake, travel agent (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). After too many close calls he throws in the towel, retreating back to South Australia to his childhood property. But it doesn’t take long before his past catches up with him, as his mentor and friend Hunter (played by Robert De Niro) gets himself imprisoned by Sheikh Amr, a deposed king from the small region of Oman. On threat of his friend’s death, Danny must finish the $6 million job Hunter accepted then tried to escape from; kill three former British SAS soldiers who killed the Sheikh’s three eldest sons during the Dhofar Rebellion. Danny must record a confession from each man before killing them and deliver it to the Sheikh before he dies from a terminal illness. If revenge for 24

the deaths of the princes is complete, it will allow the Sheikh’s only remaining son Bakhait (played by Australian Firass Dirani) to regain control of the region his father once ruled. As Danny and his team kill the first target a secret group of former SAS soldiers who call themselves The Feather Men dispatch their lead man Spike Logan (Clive Owen) to investigate and protect any endangered men of their own ilk. From the poster it looks like it will be an American flick, but in fact De Niro is the only actor featured born in the US. About 24 actors featured in the flick are Australian, and the two other men in Danny’s posse are played by Australians Dominic Purcell and Aden Young, who both produce some likeable yet nasty characters. This makes for a refreshing change, as the film darts from Paris to London, to the Yarra Valley, but never to the usual USA. The scenes with an older De Niro talking on the job with a younger Statham feels like moments in Tony Scott’s Spy Game and De Niro shooting an automatic rifle will always be reminiscent of Heat. All round this film has hall marks of classic action movies, with solid and thrilling shooting scenes and classic car work. Though authored by an ex-British SAS soldier Ranulph Fiennes, the years have not been kind on The Feather Men, with it mostly now known to be fictional. Nonetheless it’s a gripping tale and is sure to spark the curiosity of some in the audience who will go home and read the book for themselves. _TOM VARIAN

FIRASS DIRANI Among The Elite

Best known for his portrayal of John Ibrahim on Underbelly and currently starring in new ABC drama The Straits, Australian actor Firass Dirani is a familiar, home-grown face. Sharing scenes with Robert De Niro in new action flick Killer Elite is a milestone the young actor is proud to have hit. Australians will most likely know him from the third season of Underbelly, but Firass Dirani’s latest role as the son of a Sheikh of Oman in action thriller Killer Elite is a world away from the Golden Mile in Australia’s east. Besides sharing scenes with action favourite Jason Statham, Firass also appears alongside film legend Robert De Niro. Taking a deep breath, Firass recalls his time with such an icon, “Man, it was... It’s just during acting school, growing up and as a kid watching all his films, you dream that maybe one day you might work with De Niro and then it happens. You’re pinching yourself saying, ‘are you fucking serious?’. “In one scene I’m walking in to this dungeon and there’s De Niro at the window. There’s me trying to intimidate him and he turns around. I told myself to savour that moment, it was incredible.” Even before De Niro was cast, Dirani knew this was a role worth fighting for. “When I first was cast De Niro wasn’t in the film, he was cast 10 days before we started shooting. So when I read the latest draft of the film,

I couldn’t believe there was two or three scenes with just our two characters. “For me it was about observing a master at work; if you really want to learn, just observe. You’ve got a front row seat to a master, all you have to do is be a sponge and observe. It was humbling, but I was engaged and there were times when I forgot it was him.” Though his scenes were principally set in the Middle-East, Firass actually spent most of time his shooting in Melbourne. “We shot in Melbourne for three months, then they flew me to Wales to finish up,” explains Dirani. “There’s one scene between Jason (Statham) and I, that was a pretty full on experience. They put me on a 21 hour flight to London, then a three hour drive to Wales, checked in to the hotel and basically went straight on set. Got in to costume and boom, straight in.” Now that he’s crossed off working with De Niro from his bucket list, Firass has another goal of working with director Martin Scorsese. “Anything is possible now, from Robert De Niro to Martin Scorsese to Al Pacino. I grew up watching De Niro films and when I was about 16 my mum put a photo of me next to a photo of Robert De Niro and a photo of Al Pacino down the bottom, in the computer room. This was about 13 years ago and it always stayed there. I went back home recently and looked at these portraits still there, and thought damn that’s weird mum! Anything is possible, I want to reach for the stars.” _TOM VARIAN X-Press – First on the street, Wednesdays

X-Press Magazine #1306  

Wednesday 22nd February, 2012