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Friday On My Mind

This week’s round-up of Emmy winners and picks for streaming shows, film, TV, books, exhibitions and more.

On the small screen 

This week’s dress fest The Emmy’s celebrated more than just thigh-high splits, fake tans and frozen smiles (or maybe I’m getting confused with the Bronlow Medal in Australia); anyway there were some trophies given out on the night. The Broad was pleased to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Fleabag pick up a swag of awards — lead comedy actress, comedy writing, comedy directing and, to top it all off, best comedy series.

Ouch, sorry, Veep and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Still, the Broad couldn’t resist giving you a pic of the luminous Veep funny woman in her sparkly frock and cool-as-you-like co-star Clea Du Vall looking smokin in her suit from the big night.

In Fleabag Waller-Bridge plays a likeable yet slightly fractured woman, living with the consequences of her decisions, wise and unwise, and working it out as she goes along. The Broad watched a few eps when it was still on iView in Australia and enjoyed it. The more multi-faceted women with all their failings and strengths in their contradictions we see on screen the better. Fleabag is on the paid YouTube streaming service along with Prime; and expect to see more of Waller-Bridge’s creative output on Prime soon, thanks to the new deal she just inked with Amazon. 

A quick mention of Killing Eve, the show Waller-Bridge also had a hand in as creator and writer, which got a gong at the Emmy’s for Jodie Comer as lead actress in a drama. It’s a dark, slightly comedic spy thriller with two women at the centre, the bored, office-bound MI6 spy who turns to pursuing a hired assassin with a penchant for life’s luxuries funded by her murderous day job. The third season is on it’s way.

Fleabag first came to life at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and it’s encouraging to see shows like this, with women telling their own stories, going on to find success and acclaim.

Where to find them

Fleabag: YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime

Killing Eve: YouTube, ABC iView (S2), Google Play, Stan

At the cinema 

Ride Like A Girl, the story of Melbourne Cup winning female jockey Michelle Payne, directed by Aussie actor Rachel Griffiths is out with mixed reviews. If you don’t think too hard about the questions of animal cruelty in racing and want a feel-good story of triumph, it might be worth a look. 

The Broad is looking forward to the local release of Judy, the biopic starring Renee Zellweger as the talented but troubled iconic Hollywood star Judy Garland. By early accounts of the film, Zellweger is magnificent as she re-imagines the iconic star – channelling her charm and wit, sadly compromised by her personal and professional battles. Look out for the Broad Note when it’s showing locally.

Streaming

If you’re looking for a cinema experience from the couch, there’s no shortage of choices, just a shortage of time to trawl through the streaming catalogue ad infinitum. The take-away will be cold and the moment passed, unless you can find something to watch that suits the mood. This is the Broad’s life on many Saturday nights. So here are a couple of suggestions you can watch this weekend or go and save them into your list for when the time is right. 

The Second is an Australian thriller starring a trio of well-known Australian actors directed by Mairi Cameron. A writer (Rachel Blake) retreats to a remote property with her publisher/lover (Vince Colosimo) to write when the intimate set-up is disturbed by another woman (Susie Porter) and things start to unravel.

The Second: Stan

If you’ve ever had a frenemie, (you know the one), you’ll get the dark, comedic target Catfight is aiming for in this film. It’s about two ex-college friends who bump into each other at a fancy party, starring Killing Eve’s Sandra Oh and Anne Heche (gone from our screens for too long). The one-time friends check in on how each other’s lives are turning out and old wounds re-open, with somewhat violent consequences.

Catfight: YouTube, Netflix, Google Play

Between the pages

The Weekend is Australian author Charlotte Wood’s new novel, out in a couple of weeks, is about four women, who have been lifelong friends, and what happens when one of their group dies. The Broad had a colleague in her magazine days who was a friend of Wood’s and has read all her novels and followed her career with interest for many years. 

A new quarterly essay by Annabel Crabb is always something to get excited about and her new one Men at Work is like the companion piece to her book The Wife Drought. This one looks at the situation for men juggling parenthood and work in Australia and around the world. In order to support women’s participation in the workforce, we need to look at the policies and cultural norms around men as fathers, not just at women, and this will help get that conversation going.

Pine Gap: The Inside Story of the NSA in Australia has been out since 2011, but the Broad enjoy a discussion with the author David Rosenberg with Philip Adams on Late Night Live this week. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on under the cover in the spy centre, here’s one to read. Or if you haven’t got the time and want to see how it’s imagined for TV, check out the Pine Gap series (YouTube, Google Play, Netflix).

Outings

Sydneysiders or visitors to the Harbour City planning a foray to the Art Gallery might be interested in stopping in at the free Here We Are exhibition, a showcase of new acquisitions by some of the most compelling women artists at work today, including Tracey Moffat, Judith Wright, Miwa Yanagi and Louise Bourgeois. The artworks focus on figuration and portraiture and express the way each artist uses their chosen medium to stake out a place for herself in the world – and in art history. Until 13 October

Tracey Moffat’s Spanish Window (2017)

The Broadside Festival (no relation) is a female-oriented talk fest at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne on 9/10 Novembers with an inspiring line-up of women including Helen Garner, Zadie Smith, Mona Eltahawy and Monica Lewinsky. The Broad and two of her broadfriends is heading to Unthinkable at Carriageworks in Sydney in November and will report back on the talks.

First there was the Vagina Monologues, now there’s its middle-age version, Menopause The Musical coming to Australia in 2020 with Rhonda Birchmore and other performers. The Broad found an email alert in the inbox this week and thought it worth a share. I guess it’s safe to say, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll sweat. 

From The Interwebs

Why do so many women meet an untimely end in books and film, especially when they are in full possession of their own agency? Thelma and Louise: I’m looking at you here (although I do still love the film). That’s the question devoted book reader and reviewer Jessie Tu asked in an article on Women’s Agenda recently.

You’d need a feminist art scholar to properly answer the question, but as someone with a Master’s degree in the humanities I can offer an informed guess: it’s got something to do with reducing their power and that old chestnut, patriarchy.

Sometimes women take charge. Here are some classic depictions of feminine rage in art in this article on Artsy. Okay, there aren’t that many.

Jean Léon Gérôme, Truth Coming Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind, 1896. Via Wikimedia Commons.

The ‘Best of’ book lists are always a source of controversy – sure, some books can be declared a stinker or others a masterpiece, but there are many where the arguments will never cease. And your top 50 maybe someone’s else top 10. Case in point is Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, where the arguments about the tome being either a tour de force or a tour de flop have been re-ignited by the newly released film, which by some accounts is a tour de fizzle. The Broad challenges you to post The Guardian’s 100 Best Books of the 21st Century to your Facebook or Twitter feed and see what happens. You’ve been warned.

Classic book

Toni Morrison’s Beloved is the classic book pick for this week. The celebrated author died in August and it feels timely to revisit her works. Beloved is the fictionalised story of African American slave Margaret Garner who escaped to a free state after the Civil War. Oprah Winfrey has been a huge fan of Morrison of many years and was behind the film version of Beloved.

Classic album

Neneh Cherry’s 1989 debut album Raw Like Sushi delivered hits like Manchild and Buffalo Stance and rightly brought the singer success and acclaim with her lyrical, political, grooveable music. Well worth re-listening.

Listening

New tunes on the Broad’s playlist this week are Yadu by Australian singer Lady Lash, Seven Day Weekend by the Underground Lovers and Natural Skin Deep from the amazing Neneh Cherry. Find them on the Broad’s Spotify playlist.

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Rosalyn Page
Journalist, blogger and writer covering arts, culture, travel and digital lifestyle at www.rosalynpage.com and www.somenotesfromabroad.com.

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