Features/What to SEE/Multi-arts

Brighten July with the arts

20 June 2023

Waiting for the days to get longer again? Our July gig guide is packed with shows and exhibitions to lighten up those dark Makuru nights.

It feels like years since we’ve had such a cold and wet start to Makuru. If you’ve got a dose of the winter blues then you’ve come to the right place – our handpicked selection of shows is the perfect antidote. And if (like me) you revel in the much-needed rain, then this will be the icing on the cake!

Lighting up the night

Lightscape Kings Park (Kaarta Kooma)
16 June – 30 July

With names like the Winter Cathedral and the Neon Night Gardens, the illuminations that make up Lightscape Kings Park (Kaarta Kooma) sound enticing.

Although the 1.8km winter light-and-sound trail is an international creation – the brainchild of Sony Music and UK-based Culture Creative – the Perth iteration features installations by Malgana, Nyul Nyul, Yawuru woman Tiahna Oxenham (Jurida Designs) and Fitzroy Crossing-based arts centre Mangkaja Arts.

NB this event is ticketed and you’ll need to book in advance.

Food for thought

A work from Bread of Bone which depicts a heart connected to a cooked prawn, insect and chicken by its arteries.
‘Heart Foods’ by Erin Coates.  Photo: Bo Wong, courtesy and copyright of the artist and Moore Contemporary 

Bread of Bone
25 June – 17 September @ Holmes à Court Gallery @ Vasse Felix

If you’re in the South-West over the next few months head to Holmes à Court Gallery to check out an exhibition that will give you something to chew on.

West Australian artists Erin Coates, Anna Louise Richardson, Ross Potter, Andy Quilty and Ric Spencer explore a range of issues relating to food and its production and consumption. Writing about the exhibition’s Perth iteration, Seesaw Mag critic Craig McKeough was thrilled by the highly refined drawing skills demonstrated by the artists, as well as thought-provoking nature of the works, describing it as a “gem of a show”.

Breaking barriers in jazz

2 July @ Lyric’s Underground

Led by Gemma Farrell, young female-identifying and non-binary instrumentalists will be taking to the stage at Lyric’s Underground, Sunday 2 July, after eight weeks of workshops taught by some of Perth’s most accomplished jazz professionals.

Formerly known as Young Women in Jazz, Progressions has been re-named to reflect WAYJO’s desire to embrace and encourage all genders traditionally marginalised by jazz as a movement. The workshops focus on improvisation, communication and leadership skills.

Witness live dance photography

Photo: Yebo

Yebo Exhibition Launch & Immersive Music, Dance & Photography Experience
6 July @ Kidogo Arthouse
Exhibition continues until 21 September @ Kidogo Arthouse

Juan Carlos Osma is a familiar face West Australian Ballet audiences – the soloist has impressed in numerous leading roles. But did you know that the multi-talented Osma is also an award-winning photographer?

Under the name Yebo, he’ll be launching a solo exhibition at Kidogo Arthouse, with an event that weaves together music and dance, including a live dance photography session.

A ticketed event, the evening includes wine and refreshments, and takes place as part of Kidogo’s winter series, Joanna’s Candlelit Soirees.

New plays hot off the presses

Yirra Yaakin Playwriting Festival
6-8 July @ Subiaco Arts Centre

Woola! Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company is presenting its first ever Playwriting Festival during NAIDOC Week, with public readings of new plays from six First Nations playwrights at Subiaco Arts Centre (also livestreamed). The season includes readings of Iso Madness by Narelle Thorne, Culture Slap by Alexis West, Lost by Bruce Denny, Downstream by Jannali Jones, Thistopoa by Bobbi Henry and Tegan Mulvany, and Thirst by Barbara Hostalek.

You can also attend an array of free workshops presented by Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle Theatre Company and The Blue Room Theatre – check out Yirra Yaakin’s website for details and make sure you register as there are limited spaces available.


A night of rock ‘n’ roll

All Shook Up
From 8 July @ Crown Theatre

Attention Elvis fans!

Set in 1950s Midwestern America, All Shook Up is a tale of young love and forbidden romance, with a score made up of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits.

And while the story may be set in the US, the cast includes plenty of local names, including WAAPA alumni Mia Simonette, who recently performed in West Australian Opera’s Into The Woods and Perth’s Brendan Hanson, who has starred in Les Miserables, Grease (for Gordon Frost) and Singin’ in the Rain (for David Atkins).

With three weddings and no funerals, this night of rock ‘n’ roll sounds like a good time.

Revel in local cinema

Revelation Perth International Film Festival
12-16 July @ Luna Cinemas Leederville, Luna on SX, The Backlot

If you’re a film buff then you’ll know that July means it’s Rev time! The Revelation Perth International Film Festival is packed with feature films and documentaries from all over the world, but if you’re looking for something local, we suggest trying the delightful sounding Frank & Frank from Albany writer and director Adam Morris (Edward and Isabella).

Filmed on location in Albany and Mt Barker the film follows the platonic friendship/bromance of two middle-aged men (Myles Pollard and Trevor Jamieson), one a faith and finance guru whose wife says she’s about to leave him, the other a caravan-dwelling artist who knows how to enjoy life. Check out the trailer below.

Want more local content? Check out Westralia Day, a selection of West Australian short films, WAnimate, a showcase of animation from WA filmmakers, or Get Your Shorts On!, which celebrates WA’s emerging filmmakers.

The power and the passion of flamenco

Paco Peña
26 July @ the Astor Theatre

Paco Peña needs no introduction to Perth’s extensive community of flamenco fans, but if you’ve never experienced the art form live before this is a perfect place to start.

Born out of oppression, the music and dance of flamenco has many moods, from the soulfulness of the soleá to the joy of the alegría and the irreverence of the bulerías. What unites these forms is passion; flamenco, is above all else, a celebration of what it means to be human. With its roots in the culture of the Romani, as well as Indian, Jewish, Middle Eastern and Northern African influences, flamenco is a fascinating art form, but you don’t have to know its history to recognise the emotions it portrays.

Earthly and otherworldly sights and sounds

A work by Alex Last

Goolugatup Sounds: Soda Lite
28 July @ Goolugatup Heathcote Gallery

Opening Outside Inn, an exhibition by Alex Last, and translucent question mark an exhibition by Audrey Tan, Jess Tan, Sebastian Temple
29 July – 10 September @ Goolugatup Heathcote Gallery

Describing Iutruwita/Tasmania-based musician Soda Lite’s work as “ambient” doesn’t do justice to the layers of synthesized sounds and field recordings that make for an experience that is both Earthly and otherworldly. You can hear them playing at Goolugatup Sounds this month, with a new collaboration between local WA artists Josiah Padmanabham (keys), Naoko Uemoto (saxophone) and Jeremy Segal (electronics).

Goolugatup Sounds is a program of live music alongside exhibition openings at Goolugatup Heathcote Gallery, overlooking the Derbal Yerrigan (Swan River). Soda Lite is also known as interdisciplinary artist Alex Last, and they’ll be opening their own exhibition, Outside Inn, which invites “local critters” inside the gallery space and explores animal sound-making.

Pictured top: Lightscape Kings Park promises to light up Makuru. Photo supplied

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Author —
Nina Levy

Nina Levy has worked as an arts writer and critic since 2007. She co-founded Seesaw and has been co-editing the platform since it went live in August 2017. As a freelancer she has written extensively for The West Australian and Dance Australia magazine, co-editing the latter from 2016 to 2019. Nina loves the swings because they take her closer to the sky.

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