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ABC on the move

ABC managing director Mark Scott has announced that the broadcaster will move its Brisbane operations to a purpose-built complex at Newstead. The ABC was forced to scatter its various operations after a breast cancer cluster was identified at its Toowong site. The new site is on the corner of Durong St and Breakfast Creek Rd. Bad news for the Regatta Hotel at Toowong; good news for Brekkie Creek pub and the Booroodabin Bowls Club, I suppose.

Improvised torture

I'm not sure if this is approved by the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Actors) ... but the latest series of Iron Improviser, at the Metro Arts Theatre in Edward St from Thursday night, November 22, includes such delights as performers having chillies put in their mouths when they get a laugh. There's also a game where they are blindfolded and have to walk barefooted across a mousetrap-strewn floor. Details: here.

Farewell to George

A report this morning notes that George McEncroe is leaving Brisbane's Triple M breakfast radio show, basically to spend more time with her family. It also speculates about behind-the-scenes changes at Triple M. Well, they've already begun with one producer already spending more time with his family. Of course, Triple M nationally is still trying to shake-off the bad publicity from its axing of one of its most successful shows, Tony Martin's Get This.

Suddenly successful

Congratulations to Brisbane writers and composers Paul Dellit and Peter Pinne. Their musical, Suddenly Single, about the modern dating minefield, will be presented as part of the Ozmade Musicals showcase in Melbourne on December 10. Dellit says one song from the new musical, Making a Difference has been recorded and will be released as a single by Sony in Europe. The musical, about three men and the 10 women they date, features 16 original songs. Details of the Ozmade Musicals event are here.

Idle moment

He calls himself the "sixth nicest" member of the Monty Python team, and Eric Idle certainly didn't hold back when I interviewed him for the story in the Event section of today's Sunday Mail. Idle - who is coming to Melbourne for the opening of Spamalot and to Brisbane to perform in the oratorio Not the Messiah - fired up when I said I'd read that one of his former co-stars had said he hadn't expected the Python phenomenon to last far beyond the original TV series. "Was that Michael (Palin)?" Idle demanded. "He doesn't complain about the very large royalty cheques he gets for Spamalot!" Idle also noted that Palin had recently published his diaries from the Python years, and that he (Idle) didn't receive a share of those profits.

Season of favourites

The QUT Gardens Theatre in Brisbane has announced its 2008 subscription season, featuring the following plays:
+ The Gospel According to Elvis (April 28-29);
+ A return season of The Club by David Williamson, starring John Wood (May 24 and 26);
+ Shirley Valentine by Willy Russell, starring Glenda Linscott (July 3-5);
+ The Carpenters from Kempsey, (September 18-19); and
+ Bombshells by Joanna Murray-Smith (September 26-27).
Details here.

Greg Cary replaces John Laws

As rumoured, here and elsewhere, Greg Cary will replace John Laws in the 9am-noon shift on Brisbane’s 4BC next year. But who will replace Cary as program director on 4BC? The answer is Chris Adams.

Change in the weather

Is Channel 9 Brisbane having regrets about boning longtime weatherman John Schluter? That’s one theory behind the move to put Extra reporter and former ABC-TV weatherman Doug Murray into the weather presenter’s spot on the Nine News over summer. With Schulter now on the revitalised Seven News, could it be that Nine has discovered that viewers prefer their presenters to look like they’ve weathered a few storms? Of course, the news that Murray, who would normally be on holidays, has a new (albeit temporary) gig will inevitably reignite speculation about the future of Extra. I’d ask Channel 9 again, but I’ve been told so many times that it’s definitely returning in 2008 with Jillian Whiting in the chair, that I dare not. Besides, it’s a good, information-packed show - and one of the very few local programs left on the box - so I hope it’s going nowhere.
PS: I wonder whether Murray will revive his practise of giving racing tips at the end of bulletins.
Disclaimer: Brett Debritz occasionally appears as a guest on Extra.

Arts funds not a right

I don’t know the individual circumstances of the contemporary arts companies worried that they will lose their Arts Queensland funding. I will say, however, that government funding shouldn’t be taken for granted (sorry). The people at some companies genuinely believe the work they do is so good and/or “important” (I hate that word in this context) that it ought to be funded whether anybody wants to see it or not. I think any performing arts company that expects money from the public purse has to prove that it has a growing, paying audience base and, as a consequence, it is capable of generating a good deal of its income through ticket sales. Surely, the ultimate goal for many of the smaller companies - particularly those without huge overheads - should be self-sufficiency. Now that would be great for jobs in the arts sector, and it would free up government funding to help give a leg-up to others. A win-win - except for those who simply want to do their own thing and expect us to pay for it.
PS: Just to head-off one potential argument: Yes, it does take time for public taste to catch up with contemporary art forms. But some companies have been around for decades. Without pointing a finger in any particular direction, if they are not performing well financially after many years of operation, maybe they haven’t got what it takes, and it’s somebody else’s turn for a slice of the taxpayers’ pie.

Chuck Brooks leaves 4BC

Night-time announcer Chuck Brooks has parted ways with 4BC. There's more and on the blog here.

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