Onwards and upwards: RealTime is 10!

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Gail Priest, Dan Edwards, Virginia Baxter and Keith Gallasch

To celebrate our 10th birthday we’ve created a colour supplement in the centre pages of this edition. It includes a brief history of the magazine and an informal scan across a decade of artists and works and issues.

Congratulations Sarah Miller

Sarah Miller is a long-time ally and nurturer of the hybrid arts and contemporary dance, and a fine writer (much of it for RealTime, some for The Australian). She was formerly Director at Performance Space and is currently Director at PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts). Sarah received a Facilitator Award at the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards ceremony, March 29. Presenter Geoffrey Rush read the citation, which included the following: “In a career spanning some 20 years, from artist to producer and administrator, [Sarah] has been described as a ‘passionate instigator and vigorous collaborator, helping transform vision into sustainable practice; she has supported, encouraged and defended artists unstintingly’.” While thanking the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Committee for the award, Sarah hoped that it would “focus attention on the importance of and enormous contribution made by those independent artists and small to medium companies that are the bedrock of the Australian arts community but who nonetheless work in typically parlous conditions.”

Welcome babies

Congratulations to composer and writer Gretchen Miller and her partner Nick on the recent birth of Keir, and to Rebecca Youdell and Russell Milledge of Bonemap on the birth of Rose earlier this year. More babies, more emerging artists?

Farewell Spalding Gray

The recent death by suicide of Spalding Gray came as a profound shock. The story that subsequently emerged of his life over recent years explained the death but was even more saddening. Gray was an inspiration to many of us in the 1980s looking for new ways to work with language in performance. Gray was an experienced stage actor and a performer with The Wooster Group. As a monologuist he was in an American tradition reaching back through Will Rogers to Mark Twain, but he was also part of the postmodern remaking of narrativity. As a contemporary artist he showed us how to take a life, distil and shape it into a compelling performance, often about everyday anxieties. He once said he couldn’t make things up. The informality of the presentation (casual dress, a chair, a desk, a notebook occasionally referred to) and Gray’s direct address to the audience were an important part of his appeal as well as a departure from conventional theatrical norms. Just as important were the cadences of the Gray delivery, a beautiful sing-song musicality building through long sentences with the rising sonority of the American preacher. A similar music was to be heard in the very different micronarratives and images of his peer Laurie Anderson. Spalding Gray is greatly missed, but we do have films of his performances (including one by Steven Soderbergh), CDs and biographical novels: never enough, but they’ll have to do. RT

RealTime issue #61 June-July 2004 pg. 3

© Keith Gallasch; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

1 June 2004
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