Mary Magdalene

March 23, 2018
From here to Eternity, with Jesus & Mary

Of all the figures in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene has been the most misunderstood. This is partly because early commentators found it hard to distinguish between Mary of Magdala, Mary of Bethany, and the ‘sinful’ woman in the Gospel of St. Luke, who anoints Jesus’s feet in Simon’s house and dries them with her … More

White Rabbit: Ritual Spirit

October 6, 2017
Peng Hung-Chih, 'Farfur the Martyr' (2009)

Last week I was in China meeting artists from each end of the contemporary art spectrum. In Suzhou I saw a breathtaking show of brush-and-ink painting by Li Huayi (b.1948) an artist who has divided his life between China and San Francisco. In Shanghai I visited Xu Zhen (b.1977), one of the most successful artists … More

The Innocents & Things to Come

April 29, 2017
Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 7.27.17 pm

There’s no category in contemporary cinema more demeaning than the ‘chick flick’. It suggests a sloppy romance of the Barbara Cartland variety, or a superficial, feel-good movie with a ‘girl power’ theme. Either way the term eliminates one half of the human race as a willing audience, and patronises the other. This week two very … More

Esteban Bedoya

January 11, 2014
ANCLAS & the Embassy of Paraguay present the book launch of:
“The Apocalypse According to Benedict”

A couple of weeks ago I met the Paraguayan ambassador to Australia, Esteban Bedoya, after having read his short novel, The Apocalypse Acording to Benedict. It seems to be a minor Latin America tradition to have diplomats who are also writers. Octavio Paz was Mexican ambassador to India, while Pablo Neruda was Chile’s ambassador in … More

Where Do We Go Now?

June 30, 2012
Screen shot 2012-07-01 at 5.38.47 PM

“A pretty silly film,” said my spouse, as we left the theatre. This was a damning verdict, as Where Do We Go Now? is essentially a chick flick with political pretensions, designed to appeal to educated, middle class women of a small-l liberal persuasion. When the target audience declares the movie a failure this makes … More