Red Koi Reviews

See what I've seen, hear what I've heard

Archive for the ‘5 Stars’ Category

Sydney Festival – Paul Kelly A – Z night 2

Posted by redkoireviews on 24/01/2011

I’ve come to like Paul Kelly fairly recently, but after seeing him once live at a free gig in the Sydney Rocks area bluekoi and I kept him on our mental list of performers to come back to. Since then I’ve become very fond of ‘How to make Gravy’ and ‘Careless’ to name a couple. So last year bluekoi got me tickets to see him perform on of his series in the ‘A to Z ‘ series. The concept is simple; Paul performs 100 of his songs from A to Z over four nights. This means every night you get a sample from across his career and styles, some hits and hidden treasure. So while I thrilled to hear some of my favorites I also got to hear some wonderful tunes for the first time.

The series is something more than just a song list. He’s re-arranged many of the songs that where originally performed and recorded with a full band into pieces that me solo, performed with his nephew Dan Kelly and occasionally with a clarinet. That makes the set more intimate, tending to make the quiet ballads even more personal and emotionally engaging, and morphing some of the energetic numbers into something more reflective. Very occasionally I was missing the punch of drums or the power in a bass, but mostly I was captivated by the man and his voice.

I hope I get old like Paul has; with dignity and a life pickled with people and poetry.

I didn’t even get through intermission before buying the CD set and book. I’m now enjoying both.


Posted in 5 Stars, Festivals, Music, Reviews | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Rock climbing Mt York in the Blue Mountains

Posted by redkoireviews on 27/12/2010

Rockclimbing Mt YorkAbout a week before Christmas I went rock climbing with a couple of friends of mine. I’ve done a little rock climbing before indoors at a gym, but not on real rock. It was a blast! so much better with than hanging onto bits of plastic! My friend Amy led the climbs (she’s done this a lot so I was happy to trust her with my life!) while Simon and I took turns to belay. For climbers out there who know the area, we did mezzaluna, noodle and another un-named climb in sector 7 of Mt York. I have to admit – I only made it to the top on the un-named grade 14 first climb that we did. But that didn’t really matter – it was great just making it past every difficult patch. All where ‘sport’ climbs which means some committed bunch of climbers have glued steel bolts into the rock face every 5 metres or so. It is hard work for the beginner – I was sore for a few days after – but soooo worth it.

As an aside, I also recommend the brown rice and vegie pastry turnovers at the bakery at Blackheath – almost as good as the climb! Hopefully I’ll get back out into it with some more climbing with Amy soon.

Posted in 5 Stars, Other, Reviews | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »


Posted by redkoireviews on 24/06/2007

ControlOk, I’ve gotten a bit behind in my reviews, but there’s been a lot on. My partner and I went to see ‘Control‘ which is playing as part of the Sydney Film Festival. The film is a biopic – a film where actors play real people to a script based on real events. This one covers the short life of Ian Curtis, lead singer with cult band Joy Division.

I’m not a Joy Division devotee, but we do have the one compilation album floating around our house which gets an occasional listen. However the film adds new depth to the songs, and is a very compelling if sad story of a creative young man wrestling with life and schizophrenia. Director Anton Corbijn has brought out the very best in black and white cinematography. There are dozens of scenes that you could freeze and frame as photographs.

You don’t have to be a Joy Division fan to love this film. It’s beautiful in it’s own right. You’ve missed it as part of the film festival – it sold out. However I’d be totally surprised if this film doesn’t get a decent run in the cinemas later in the year. Keep an eye out for it.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Posted in 5 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Dirt Music

Posted by redkoireviews on 24/08/2006

Dirt Music BookcoverThe night before last stayed up late into the night re-reading “Dirt Music” by Tim Winton. It was even better than the first read. Set in a rough fishing town on the West Australian coast, it tells the story of Georgie, her husband Jim, and the mystery that is Lu Fox. Georgie is a passionate woman stuck in an apathetic relationship with Jim Buckridge, a widower trying to escape his violent past. Lu Fox has lost his whole family to deaths. Now he hides out on a disheveled property, scratching out a living smuggling fish and abalone.

When Georgie and Lu they find things in each other they didn’t know they needed so badly – they fit together. But their tryst is discovered in the small town, and retribution comes quickly and violently. Lu heads north – a very, very long way north. Up past Broome and into truly wild territory, and lives by his own hand, wrestling and dancing with the wild country of the far north.

Jim and Georgie head north to find Lu, and the three meet in a vortex that may make or break the personal trials of each person. Read the rest of this entry »

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Varekai by Cirque du Soleil

Posted by redkoireviews on 13/08/2006

VarekaiA couple of years ago, my partner and I went to see Quidam by Cirque du Soleil, and loved it. So when we heard that they were back out here in the land of Oz with Varekai, we booked early.

Cirque du Soleil always perform in their own tent, with the stage and seating arranged ‘in the round’. This makes it a lovely, festival feel, where the performers never feel too far away.

Varekai means ‘wherever’ in the Romany language, capturing the sense of being taken away, perhaps somewhere magical and unknown. The plot is (very) loosely based on the Greek myth of the fall of Icarus, but the format is largely a series of acts.

In any other book, play, theatre or performance, a series of acts with a thin plot would spell a disaster – but it’s the performers and their acts that make Varekai truly magical. Many of the acts make your jaw drop through the sheer physical feats and risky stunts, but the performers and costumes take it to another level. I think the two men on the aerial straps best captured just how beautiful and mystical Cirque du Soleil can be. At times their combined shapes and movement reminded me of the multi-armed Hindu god Ganesha, at other times their lives were entrusted completely in each other and their symmetry – the ultimate ying yang. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 5 Stars, Festivals, Reviews, Theatre | 1 Comment »

“An Inconvenient Truth” with Al Gore

Posted by redkoireviews on 02/07/2006

An inconvenient truthI saw this great documentary a few weeks ago, at a pre-screening. I work for the Total Environment Centre, a little environment group in Sydney, Australia. As a consequence I’ve come across a lot of different information about climate change. It’s all truly scary, but very little is aimed at people who don’t already get it. This doco is one of those rare things that communicates climate change in layman’s terms.

The documentary is basically a film version of Al Gore’s climate change presentation. Since having left politics (a shame) he’s been doing this presentation. A lot. Al Gore is a great orator – someone for whom eloquent speeches seem natural. He makes sense of a barrage of information.

Oddly, this film made me angry. Angry that the Howard government of Oz has actually worked to water down the Kyoto protocol and has done precious little to avert the biggest environmental threat our society faces. Angry that my partner and I have decided not to have kids, largely because the future looks that bleak.

On the upside, this film is making massive inroads into raising public awareness of climate change. Lot’s of people will see it, and hopefully the changes they make to their own lives and to their vote, will help to kerb climate change.

I really do urge everyone to see this film, and to bring along 2 friends or family who are not converted. I’ll be bringing my parents. Check out for what you can do. Truth gets an very high 92% on rotten tomatoes. Better than any other film reviewed by me.

My Rating: 5 Stars

Posted in 5 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Adams Apples

Posted by redkoireviews on 12/06/2006

Adam's ApplesWritten & directed by Dane Anders Thomas Jensen, ‘Adams Apples’ sets the standard for black comedy.

Take a mixture of pulp fiction gore humour, mix with characters from Fargo and your on the way to baking Adam’s apple pie. The black humour is not funny because it put’s violence out of context, it’s witty, sharp, and sometimes just bizarre. However what elevates the film above the rest of the pack is it’s exploration of good and evil. It has a lot to say about life.

It all starts innocently enough when neo-nazi Adam arrives at the local country church for community service. Local Minister Ivan finds Adams description of being ‘Evil’ in his CV as ‘just rude’ and simply not possible. Adam’s task is to bake an apple pie using the apples from the Church apple tree. It sounds simple, but quickly gets complicated, and at times bloody. For more, check out the Synopsis or the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

I loved this film. I laughed so loud I’m sure I would have annoyed those around me, except they too, where laughing.
My Rating: 5 Stars

Posted in 5 Stars, Movies, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Yachting on Sydney Harbour

Posted by redkoireviews on 08/05/2006

Yachting on Syndey HarbourOn the 8th May, I had ‘the big one’ – my 30th Birthday. When I thought about what I wanted to do to mark the occasion, I lost interest in big parties and lot’s of drinking, or restaurants and picnics. So I thought I’d take a few of my best friends out on a yacht on Sydney Harbour.

After some calls I hired a ‘Jarken 35‘ yacht from Sail Australia. It was skippered by a nice guy called Eddie and although deemed to be a lowly ‘budget’ yacht by the hire company, was perfectly fine for my purposes.

We had a lovely picnic lunch at Balmoral beach beforehand, then got onto the ‘Balmoral Star’ and slowly puffed past ferries and the truly beautiful Sydney Harbour. The weather was great and everyone got along really well.

It really was a great way to spend my 30th. Of course, there are a few other things I’m doing as well, like taking my actual birthday off and going to Brooklyn, and having dinner with my family.

So if your sick of the usual birthday celebration guff, I’d recommend spending the day out on one of the best harbours in the world.

My Rating: 5 Stars

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