One more thing…

And there endeth the “review” portion of FF2006. There are, however, a few other snippets of information it would be remiss of me not to mention:

  • I wound up seeing 52 Pick Up four times within a month; 17 & 18 February (the latter yielded a brilliant set of cards, for all the wrong reasons), and 11 & 15 March. Trust me, it never gets old.
  • I also managed to sneak into another theater simple show that they put on for the YEP (Youth and Education Program), Myth Understandings. It highlighted (once again) their minimalist approach, and it was fantastic to watch a class of year 4 kiddies light up during the production.
  • The Par visual arts exhibit in the Tea House Gallery was fabulous. If it weren’t for the practicalities of keeping some of the exhibits clean, I’d have considered a couple of purchases.
  • I think I single-handedly kept Illy on Rundle Street afloat during the three weeks of FF2006; not only do they have the best coffee on Rundle Street, but there’s a grand total of three seats where you can park your arse with a coffee and leech off Internode’s CitiLan wireless network.

The Festival’s Visual Arts program also provided an intriguing selection of goodies:

  • The Biennial was a bit hit-and-miss. Given the title of “21st Century Modern”, you’d probably expect equal parts insightful, creative, and wtf. And you’d be right.
  • The Francis Bacon Triptych was pretty much essential viewing for those who went to see Three Furies.
  • Walk-In Drive-In is one of those exhibits where you think that maybe the artist had a little too much money to spend. A great idea in theory, it’s a big installation that initially delights, then manages to underwhelm. Poking your head up into the drive-in’s projection room was a great experience, but the later examination of the wider model made me feel hollow.
  • The People’s Portrait: always worth a look as you wandered past.
  • The various Video Venice exhibits were great. Mother‘s hacked up movie snippets were comforting one minute, disturbing the next, with a wonderful presentation. The Trailer for a remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula was completely over-the-top with cameos a-plenty. Lavish, lush, and camp, as promised. The Treehouse Kit video and installation was a delight for anyone who ever tinkered with Lego. But the best of the lot was Coexistencia, in which Donna Conlon paints the flags of the world on leaves, then films ants carrying these flags across a forest floor – miniature flag members of the UN, indeed.
  • [Media State] : Mobile Journeys encouraged artists to use the tiny screen on mobile phones as a canvas. The result was a bunch of low-res attempts at micro-multimedia productions. It’s a tough medium, and it showed.

There’s one more event worth mentioning, but there’s a little bit of a back-story. Some of you (and who am I kidding, there’s only about three people who will ever read this) will know that I was a Festival Angel for 2006. This basically involved tossing a lot of money at the Festival Corporation, for which they proffered cheap and early tickets, a dress rehearsal invite, and recognition of the fact that you tossed money their way (yes, that’s my name on the “Staff and Supporters” page in the Festival Guide).

Kind of like a little sponsor. Of a big event.

Anyhoo, it gave me warm fuzzies to do so, there’s a tax deduction involved, and – despite my thoughts of the quality of the shows – I’m happy to support the Festival.

To cut a rapidly digressing story short – by virtue of the whole Angel thing, I got an invite to a Civic Reception put on by the Lord Mayor to celebrate the success of the Festival. So, at the insistence of the invite, the SO and I dolled ourselves up (well, she dolled herself up… I just applied a foreign object – a necktie, I believe it’s called – to my throat) and toddled off to the Town Hall for a little bit of hobnobbing.

Arriving a little early, we hang out in the foyer with a few other peeps. “Hang out” is a completely inappropriate description, though; it conjures images of people congregating in casual communication. Not here – stiff upper lip, speak when spoken to, treat the youngsters(!) like they are freaks. Luckily, the photographers that had been hired were personable enough, and helped thaw the noticeable chill in the room.

At the allotted time, we enter the Queen Adelaide Room to be greeted by Harbo himself – it’s all very official. The catering looked special – enough said there – and the drinkies were plentiful and very South Australian… but the congregation in the room were awfully cliquey. It was nigh-on impossible to strike up a conversation with anyone; the SO managed to engage in a lively chat with one invited Councilman, who left hurriedly when I returned to her from my tour of the room.

Harbo’s speech was amusing, but suprisingly critical of earlier Festival directors. Festival Artistic Director Brett Sheehy delivered an excellent short speech, praising his troops and injecting some genuine enthusiasm into the room. Thereafter, though, we couldn’t leave fast enough – we collected our photos and turned our back on a room of insular, back-slapping art-politics. It was nice to be invited, but… it was awful, and left me wondering what kind of people I had effectively paid to be with. I know you can’t buy your friends, but I at least expect civility from strangers.

And thus ended FF2006.

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