I first visited Lebanon in 2005. In spite of the fact that I had a brilliant time it took me 14 years to get back to Beirut for another Lebanese experience. It did not disappoint.
Whether it’s the delicious Middle Eastern food, the beautiful and changing landscapes, the ancient monuments or the most hospitable and warm inhabitants, a good time is assured. Here a few frames from my latest trip to the Jewel of the Levant.
South Border Gallery – Exhibition at the Abroyan Factoy, Beirut
The Abroyan Factory was transformed into a huge art installation to coincide with the opening of the Beirut Art Fair. It was a great event and an amazing experience to wander through the rooms and corridors of the old factory, lined with art from different corners of the world.
Beirut Art Fair
I had the good fortune to be in Beirut during the Beirut Art Fair. I checked it out.
Baalbek, Beka Valley
Baalbek is an ancient Phoenician city located in what is now modern day Lebanon, north of Beirut, in the Beqaa Valley. Inhabited as early as 9000 BCE, Baalbek grew into an important pilgrimage site in the ancient world for the worship of the Phoenician sky-god Baal and his consort Astarte, the Queen of Heaven (the name `Baalbek’ means Lord Baal of the Beqaa Valley). The center of the city was a grand temple dedicated to Astarte and Baal and the ruins of this early temple remain today beneath the later Temple of Jupiter Baal. Baalbek is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
These structures are magnificent and mysterious. They are still the subject of much debate in the academic community, particularly questions concerning the origins and nature of many of the enormous foundation stones in the structures, some of which are the largest in the known world.
A megalith is a large stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. The word megalithic describes structures made of such large stones without the use of mortar or concrete, representing periods of prehistory characterised by such constructions. For later periods, the word monolith, with an overlapping meaning, is more likely to be used.
The Beach in Beirut
Bullet holes ect, remnants of and eery reminders of the civil war
Beit El Baraka
Beit El Baraka – Our Mission is to ensure a sense of dignity to hard-working citizens once they retire, by assisting them in their struggle with the increasing cost of living. In a spirit of respect and support, we aim to provide a tailor-made accurate and beneficial response to Lebanon’s economic and multi-dimensional challenges that are depriving many retired citizens of their most basic needs and rights.
It’s always fun and colourful to shoot in the entertainment space. Here are a few examples of some shows that I worked on recently.
The Lyin’ Queen
The lyin’ Queen – by Phil Scott and Trevor Ashley, an ecological disatser movie remake hits the stage.
Shauna Jensen performs at the Sydney Opera House
Club Posters of Sydney Drag Shows
Hair The Musical
A new production of Hair the Musical was produced by David Hawkins. It toured the country, including performances at the Sydney Opera House.
Just for Laughs at the Sydney Opera House
Each year I shoot stills for the live recording of “Just For Laughs”, recorded in the studio at the Sydney Opera House. It is always a pleasure to shoot this totally entertaining event….at times the camera is shaking as I hold back laughter.
The construction sector is still buoyant and active. Here are a few examples of the latest projects I was commissioned to work on…..
Before and After
Prime Constructions is about to work on this “artistic” office space. Left vacant and unfinished for many years, this graffiti canvas will now become a re-furbished and modern office complex. This is the “before” shot. Stay tuned for the “after” shot….sorry that one will take another 6 months to complete.
Men at Work
Office Refurbishment – MSCI
Short term rentals is a vibrant market as more and more people make their homes and properties available. I’ve been working with a company that manages these properties for owners, Maisonnets. Here are a few examples:
I have been on assignment at Screen Australia recently, shooting some vibrant, young creatives for various promotional initiatives.
Ryan O’Connell, writer and story editor (Will & Grace) has teamed up with Anna Dokoza, Australian director, the star of The Big Bang Theory and Netflix to create a new comedy, Special. Click here for more info
Pitcher Perfect – Screen Australia announced the finalists of the first ever “Pitcher Perfect” competition which was held at VidCon in Melbourne.
I shot some of the creatives who’s job it was to pitch their concepts to a panel of judges, for a duration of 5mins. It was their job to convince the panel to choose their concept as the recipient of the $30,000 on offer to the winners.
The winning pitch was “Return to Sender”, pitched by Amy and Pearl, two of the finalists that I photographed.
Sydney was the original home of cabaret in Australia; it is an artform that is truly loved by all Australians. This year organisers decided to bring back the Sydney Cabaret Festival.
Trevor Ashley is the Festival’s Artistic Director. He assembled both International and Australian cabaret stars into a 9 day extravaganza of top class entertainment. Trevor states, “I have loved Cabaret as long as I can remember. As a confused child growing up I discovered this incredible artform that celebrated unique personalities, and more than that, an irreplaceable bond between artist and audience. Seeing artists like Lorrae Desmond, Julie Anthony and Geraldine Turner live, made me believe I could be anyone I wanted to be. It changed my life.”
The 2019 Sydney Cabaret Festival features Tony Award-winner Jennifer Holliday (pictured above), appearing for the first time on Australian soil, alongside local legends like Phil Scott and Jonathan Biggins, to New York downtown darling Natalie Joy Johnson. UK’s Frisky and Mannish return after a ten year hiatus, as does diva Alison Jiear. Tim Draxl will appear in a world premiere of his new show, along with Kim David Smith, Reuben Kaye and Brian Nash, plus circus and variety show Cheeky Cabaret, direct from their home in Brunswick Heads. Tim Benzie returns to Sydney with Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote. The Festival also includes a cabaret for children, Petit Cabaret, and masterclasses with Jennifer Holliday and Alison Jiear, as well as the Grand Final of the restored Sydney Cabaret Competition.
I was the Festival’s Photographer and had the pleasure of photographing and documenting most of the action. The following is a brief visual overview of how I spent my time.
Jennifer Holliday – Headlines the Festival
Opening Night at the City Recital Hall
The solo Performances
The Seymour Centre was transformed into the Cabaret Hub with solo performances simultaneously running in 5 separate performance spaces. There was a great buzz of excitement and anticipation as the audiences crowded to attend each show. I ran from theatre to theatre capturing the action. Here’s a visual overview…..
Cabaret Competition Grand Final
Australia’s next generation of cabaret superstars launched their careers at The Sydney Cabaret Competition: Grand Final hosted by ‘International Queen of Cabaret’ Trevor Ashley.
9 entertainers were selected as finalists (Nyssa Milligan, Irene Nicaola, Katelin Koprivec, Sarah Murr, Naomi Livingston, Rachael Gillfeather, Ali Calder, Billie Palin and Clare Ellen O’Connor), each performed their own short cabaret shows. The judges then selected the 2019 winner.
Congratulations to the runner up – Clare Ellen O’Conner with her show Plucked! and the Audience Choice and Winner – Billie Palin, for her incredible performance in ‘From Dubbo to Death’.
Born out of the sleepy, picturesque village of Brunswick Heads on the north coast of NSW, birthed at the Brunswick Picture House, comes “Cheeky Cabaret”. Full of many flavours…..other than vanilla and very entertaining, Cheeky Cabaret ran for the entire length of the Festival in the Valhalla Room at the Seymour Centre.
Frisky and Hammish
Master Class with Jennifer Holliday
Kim David Smith
Nathalie Joy Johnson
Phil Scott & Jonathan Biggins
Toni Lamond and the Finale
The Piano Bar
The Piano Bar was a popular venue, nestled in the Seymour Centre’s Festival hub. Each night heralded a plethora of pop-up performances from various artists.
The Sydney International Cabaret Festival was a big success and will be now on the Sydney cultural horizon….so watch out for it next year and don’t miss seeing a few of the performers in next years line-up.
Crime queens Tilly Devine and Kate Leigh, who were bitter rivals during the 1920s when their gangs fought it out on the streets of East Sydney in the “razor gang wars”, are a fascinating pair of protagonists for a musical currently showing at the Hayes Theatre in Potts Point.
From the 1920s until the 1930s, two vice queens, Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine, ruled the Darlinghurst underworld. Their rivalry was infamous, leading to a litany of violent crimes enacted by their razor gangs as each struggled to gain dominance in a world of sly grog, narcotics and prostitution.
In 2019, Kate Leigh’s former sly grog shop is about to reopen as a trendy coffee spot. The shop is being gutted for renovation, but there are still ghosts in the walls who aren’t done settling old scores.
Razorhurst explores what it means to be a woman in a man’s world, forced into a life of crime by circumstance. At turns crass and hilarious, Razorhurst is a “compelling meditation on the explosive cocktail of gender, class, and power underlying an infamous period in the history of crime” (Newark Star-Ledger).
Book & Lyrics by Kate Mulley, Music by Andy Peterson
Presented by Hayes Theatre Co
Director Benita de Wit Musical Director Lucy Bermingham
Starring Amelia Cormack & Debora Krizak
RAZORHURST Was Commissioned by and received its World Premiere at Luna Stage, West Orange, New Jersey Cheryl Katz, Artistic Director
TICKETS* Previews: Full $60 | Concession $55 Mon – Thurs: Full $65 | Concession $60 Sat Matinee: Full $65 | Concession $60 Fri & Sat Evening: Full $70 | Concession $65 Wed Matinee: Full $60 | Concession $55 | Fab Four Offer $45
Razorhurst is part of the 2011 Postcode offer. Residents of 2011 can obtain half price tickets 30 minutes prior to performances Mon-Thurs with proof of address. Subject to availability.
A brand new Australian production of the much-loved rock musical HAIR will come alive in the Concert Hall – Sydney Opera House from 3 – 6 October as part of a national tour to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the show’s Australian premiere.
Leading the cast in this new production of HAIR is award-winning TV and theatre star Hugh Sheridan (Packed to the Rafters) in the role of Berger and powerhouse vocalist Paulini as Dionne. Sheridan’s one man show, Newly Discovered, sold out Adelaide Cabaret Festival in 2009 and, in 2012, he starred alongside Geoffrey Rush and Magda Szubanski in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
I recently captured some promotional images of both Paulini and Hugh at the Sydney Opera House.
Paulini is one of 10 Australian female solo artists to have a #1 album in the ARIA Charts and her critically acclaimed performance as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard (2017) has cemented her as one of Australia’s most exciting rising stars.
With book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragini, and music by Galt McDermott, HAIR will be produced by David M. Hawkins and directed by Declan Greene. The show brings together a talented local creative team with Set Design by Michael-Scott Mitchell, Choreography by Amy Campbell, Musical Direction by Glenn Moorhouse and Costume Design by James Browne.
HAIR also plays His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth (22 August – 1 September); Geelong Performing Arts Centre (4 – 8 September); The Art House, Wyong (19 – 21 September); Illawarra Performing Arts Centre, Wollongong (25 – 29 September); and Home of the Arts, Gold Coast (11 & 12 October). For more information, visit: www.hairthemusical.com.au for details.
Construction has begun on a world-class performing arts centre and multi-use entertainment space in Rooty Hill. It is deemed the biggest cultural development to hit Western Sydney. The centre is set to become an icon for the West, with construction due for completion in late 2019.
The two leading ladies of Australian theatre and cabaret are at it again. Firstly, it was ABBA-SOLUTELY FABULOUS. You may remember……
It is always a pleasure to work with these talented woman of the entertainment world. There’s no stopping Rhonda and Lara’s comic wit and sense of good fun which they freely share with all. They have a new show called “Partners in Crime” and they will be touring nationally.
Doing the photography has given me a glimpse of what’s in store and I can tell you it will be hysterical. Thanks to talents of James Carroll for the design work on the poster.