Outland: An Easy Stalking Guide

January 25, 2012

The earth cooled, we wrote the sitcom Outland, the dinosaurs died, we made Outland, Melissa Tkautz had a hit with “Read My Lips” and finally Outland is ready to premiere! It starts on Wednesday 8th of February at 9.30pm on ABC1 (you’ll come for the gay science fiction fans, you’ll stay for David and Margaret).

You may have seen there’s a lovely promo going around – it looks like this:

In preparation and promotion I’ve been shouting at anyone who’ll listen – here’s a list of places you can find me in the next few weeks:

LIVE!

Melbourne Science Fiction Club
Friday January 27th
St. David‘s Uniting Church Hall
74 Melville Road, West Brunswick
Hall opens at 8pm

I’ll be talking Outland, its development and probably showing a clip or two.

Queer Nerd
Thursday February 2nd
Bar Nancy
61 High St, Northcote
7.30pm

This is a spoken word event for the Midsumma Festival and I’ll be one of several people doing some speaking – sort of like stand-up comedy but not necessarily funny. But maybe it will! Find out!

NOT LIVE!

I talk forever on the Shooting The Poo podcast (terrible name, good podcast);

I’m a guest on TV Revolution;

I’m interviewed for Crikey by Matt Smith (no, not that one);

Back on Boxcutters – the tippest toppest Australian TV podcast – we talk to Toby Truslove about acting, Outland and AACTA Awards.

And I’ll be coming up on Guy-Fi, Sci-Fi & Squeam, Diffrent Strokes, The Age Green Guide, I’ll probably be going door-to-door at some point (“Hello. Have you considered letting a gay-and-lesbian-science-fiction-fan-club-comedy into your lives?”).

You can keep up with Outland news and events at the official facebook page, and check out the brilliant insanity of the Where’s Outland? tumblr (and why not join in? I know I have. But I’m not saying which one is mine).

And watch Outland on February 8th on ABC1, or else on iView. Or both. Whatever. I’m not your mother.


The Naked Truth: A Night Out With Porn Stars

December 6, 2009

This piece originally went to air in episode 22 of The Outland Institute. You can hear it with added interview material and sound effects by downloading it from here, or why not go crazy and subscribe through iTunes?

Over the years, AIDS educators have tried many ways to get their message across. They’ve used fear, erotic photography, celebrity spokesmodels, real people’s stories, and even bowling. For the last year or so the Victorian AIDS Council has been using porn stars to inform and educate. Marco Blaze and Francesco D’Macho have already visited – probably not their real names – and last week Bruno Bond and Steve Cruz came to Melbourne. They were here to promote the VAC’s 2010 Protection calendar.

In the past, visiting pornistas have been used mostly for media promotion, and for live interview appearances. This time round there was something new. In what was possibly a world first, Cruz and Bond were to perform a live commentary on their porn in a gay sex club in Collingwood. It was an intriguing blend of private and public, combining the old world of the public gathering with the new world of the DVD extra. By extending the on-screen action into the audience it was oddly reminiscent of William Castle’s 1959 classic The Tingler, in which some of the seats in the cinema were hooked up to an electric current.

Incidentally, are all porn performers automatically “stars”? Is there such a thing as a porn “character actor”? Is anyone the William H Macy of porn?

So at 1am on Saturday the 28th of November I made my way to Club 80, for what promised to be a very special night. And let’s be upfront about this – partly I was genuinely interested in the idea of exploring the different ways in which audiences enjoy visual works, and partly I was hoping it would be hilarious so I could mock it on The Outland Institute radio show, like the angsty sarcastic self-loathing Gen X type that I am…

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Narrelle M Harris: Happy Kwanzaa, Everybody!

November 28, 2009

On this week’s show Narrelle recommended some book-buying for Christmas (unlike the book-burning she recommended last year. Lordy, did that get out of hand).

Here’s your cut-out-and-keep guide of what she said.

Classics:
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.

Vampire Fiction:
Dracula by Bram Stoker, Let the Right One In by John Lindqvist (or – I humbly submit – The Opposite of Life by Narrelle M Harris).

Fantasy:
Snake Agent by Liz Williams. Or anything at all by Neil Gaiman (perhaps American Gods).

Crime/Thriller:
Redback or Blood Guilt by Lindy Cameron (Blood Guilt has lesbian protagonists too, so bonus).

Graphic Novels:
The Umbrella Academy by Gerard Way. Or find a collection of The Sandman stories by Neil Gaiman. Or something cool by Alan Moore (Promethea, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell).

Young Adult:
Mary Borsellino’s The Wolf House e-books! Vampires! Teenagers! Queer sensibilities! Did I mention vampires?
Justine Larbalestier is also cool, with sharp ideas, great writing and excellent characters.

Melburnalia:
Madame Brussels: This Moral Pandemonium (by LB Robinson) or one of the other Arcade Publications books on Melbourne’s history.

General suggestions:

Visit Twelfth Planet Press and try them out; visit an independent bookseller and support them – places like Readers’ Feast, Readings, Hares and Hyenas and Of Science and Swords – and you can’t go wrong with the Outland Institute’s favourite Look Who’s Morphing by Tom Cho, though I don’t know what category to put that under.

And if you know any writers, perhaps the first season of Castle! But probably not Misery unless you really hate the writer in question.

And To Serve Man is a cookbook! Oh, whoops – spoiler.


In Memory of Alan Turing

September 17, 2009

Since I still haven’t finished setting up the Almost Fabulous site, I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at this week’s tribute to Alan Turing. You can find the audio version (complete with bonus jokes!) in episode 11 of the radio show, downloadable from iTunes or direct from here.

alan turing

When we started the Almost Fabulous project, all those years ago, our goal was to bring attention and love to those potential queer icons who had been left out in the cold. At that time I considered including mathematician and cryptologist Alan Turing, but decided he was already a well-known and celebrated figure. After all, he has been the subject of award-winning plays and documentaries, and in 1999 Time Magazine named him as one of the 100 most important people of the 20th century.

But since the comments of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown put Turing back in the media this month, I thought it was time to re-acquaint ourselves with this extraordinary gay man.

In the 1930s Turing was a mathematician working at Cambridge and later Princeton University, working on algorithms, theories of computation and – like any uni student – building simple electro-mechanical binary multipliers. Little did he know that years later his work would lead to the personal computer and the most efficient porn delivery system the world has ever known.

But as important as his work on computers is – and seriously, without him we wouldn’t be able to watch footage of cats on treadmills on YouTube, so for that alone, Mr Turing, we salute you – it’s his work during World War II that makes him a bona-fide hero.

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Interview: Robb Reiner from Anvil

September 14, 2009

anvil

Australian cinema-goers have their chance this month to enjoy the glory of Anvil: The Story Of Anvil. This documentary follows veteran heavy metal band Anvil as they attempt to bring their sound to the masses. Glibly described as “a real life Spinal Tap”, Anvil: The Story Of Anvil is an exploration of the glory of music, and is full of heart. And hair. John talked to Robb Reiner (not that Rob Reiner), the drummer of Anvil, about fame, ambition and music.

You’re travelling the world, you’re supporting AC/DC, your albums are being re-released, all effectively on the back of a documentary about how you’re not successful. Is that ironic?

Well, it’s ironic that we have been successful in my point of view, the fact that we’ve recorded 13 albums and we’ve been touring for 30 years. But mainstream success is what’s now coming about. It’s a great thing, the movie shows the truth, it tells the story, people are engaging and it’s a great thing.

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List-mania: Observer Film Quarterly

September 11, 2009

On the radio show today, Glenn and I discussed the Observer Film Quarterly’s recent list of the top 25 British films from the last 25 years. Here is the list:

  • 1. Trainspotting (1996)
  • 2. Withnail and I (1987)
  • 3. Secrets & Lies (1996)
  • 4. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)
  • 5. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
  • 6. Nil By Mouth (1997)
  • 7. Sexy Beast (2000)
  • 8. Ratcatcher (1999)
  • 9. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  • 10. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
  • 11. Touching the Void (2003)
  • 12. Hope and Glory (1987)
  • 13. Control (2007)
  • 14. Naked (1993)
  • 15. Under the Skin (1997)
  • 16. Hunger (2008)
  • 17. This Is England (2006)
  • 18. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
  • 19. Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)
  • 20. Red Road (2006)
  • 21. Riff-Raff (1991)
  • 22. Man On Wire (2008)
  • 23. My Summer of Love (2004)
  • 24. 24 Hour Party People (2002)
  • 25. The English Patient (1996)

Having done no actual research, we said the list felt a bit like it was thrown together by some people in the office, effectively “here are 25 films we can think of”.

Turns out that’s about right – according to The Observer “we asked more than 60 experts – directors, screenwriters, actors, critics – and a few smart “outsiders” (novelist Jonathan Coe, for instance; musician Nitin Sawhney) to name their top 10 British films since 1984″.

So there you go.


Interview: Alan Brough

August 27, 2009

alan 2

For the seventh episode of the Outland Institute Radio Show we were joined by comedian, actor, musician and New Zealander Alan Brough. It was a pleasure to have him in the studio, as we chatted about Spicks & Specks, growing up, acting, terrible stories, and Alan’s pearls of wisdom such as “What day isn’t made better by Haysi Fantayzee?”. You can hear the full interview by downloading it from here, but here are some highlights:

Every time I mentioned you were coming in, people would say “That Alan Brough, I’d like to hug him”. Are you Australia’s most huggable comedian?

I never really thought about it before, but I’m willing to test that out. I do – after I’ve had a couple of glasses of red wine – and anyone who knows me will know that’s very seldom – I do like to hug people. Particularly small people. Just lifting them up, picking them up and holding on to them. Rove McManus is good for that. Not for name-dropping, but he was the first tiny person who sprung to mind. But that area of person. I love to pick them up. Cos they’re helpless. They can struggle all they like, but they’re like a salmon caught in the claw of a bear.

You and Myf Warhurst seem incredibly nice on Spicks & Specks, are you like that in real life?

If this is possible, Myf is even nicer in real life than she is on the telly. It’s quite difficult to understand. I thought it was physically impossible to be nicer than she comes across on the TV, but she is. I, on the other hand, am just sad. And when I’m not sad I’m fuelled with a rage that comes from an incalculable depth.

But that’s comedy, isn’t it? Many comedians seem to be bitter, nasty individuals who hide behind a thin veneer of humour…

My veneer is being redone at the moment, so it’s just pure rage for me.

Everyone on the show – bar me – is genuinely nice, and we do get on extremely well. And to be perfectly honest I don’t see the point in people being awful to each other on the television. You get enough of that in life, from your family, from people on the tram, in bars… I was reading about Masterchef, and someone said what they loved about it was that you wanted these people to be your friends. As opposed to a lot of reality shows where you want to find these people and kill them.

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