Teeny Tiny TINA Teaser

15/09/2009 at 12:43 am Leave a comment

The countdown is well and truly underway for the nation’s youngest writer’s festival, a sprawling, five-day affair that’s brought many an artist to their knees in the throes of spasmodic-cross-media-confusion in the wee hours. Students, poets, illustrators, sound designers, jugglers, circus-freaks and MC’s converge on Newcastle for the October long weekend in what has been known for ten years as TINA… or This Is Not Art. Tina loves me. And I love Tina back. But I can’t help feeling there are some growing pains for our relationship since I first fell into a puddle of swoon-juice back in 1999, and woke up one fateful Monday morning with her in my arms and about a thousand others sharing the love.

Fact is, I feel rejected. For the first time I’ve submitted to present a theatre workshop and I’m told there isn’t room for me. Tina’s moved on to new flesh. We had it good for a while, I did some forum theatre one year, invisible theatre the next, image theatre another time and last year delved into some hard-core legislative theatre. I was hoping this time I might be one of the cool kids who gets to sit on a panel and sound important talking indulgently about my past glories. But not to be – alas, my Tina – this year you’re sleeping with some other six hundred artists and leaving me in the cold.

Can’t blame her really. Applications tripled this year and with the abundance of talent nation-wide, I shouldn’t be surprised she’s hooking up with someone younger, better looking and more savvy with the youth vibe than me. That’s what the Generation Y Kids say these days isn’t it? “Hooking Up”?

What can I say Tina? I’m inconsolably jealous. My heart skips a beat when I get one of your automated emails and I live for the moment you’ll take me back. With just over two-weeks to go I’m busily stalking you. I check your facebook page for updates and pop over to your website to see what filthy sluts you’re parading yourself around with instead of me.

But deep down, I know it’s not to be. Tease that you are there’s a short-version PDF available with some advance tid-bits of what’s on the Festival menu for the 10th anniversary. Here’s my completely biased take on it:

Thursday: after checking in at my single tent-commode I intend to wander aimlessly and take in the Newcastle vibe. The Hunter on Hunter may feature in the early afternoon but it’s always a good opportunity to first meet in sober light the rag-tag bunch of hard-core TINA fans you may find yourself grinding up against in the sweaty dancefloors three nights hence.

Unmissable is the Welcome to Country event, this year scheduled at the Newcastle Baths – a spectacular location for an important talk from the traditional landowners of the Newcastle region. Afterwards it’s to the Festival Club to get to know your home for the weekend and relish some ginger beer. New digs this year at somewhere mysterious known only as ‘Masons’.

Friday: Featuring a range of panels, presentations and performance throughout the day it’s good to get your drift on and play it by ear. You never know who you might meet, run into or have to avoid at this thing, and letting things go as they may there invariably finds new connections and conversations on Day Two that last the rest of the long-weekend. I for one may take the opportunity to get nude at the Temporal Vivants workshop, as this sort of thing can save a lot of time later. [See, Tina? I have already started to move on.]

Saturday: When things start to really kick-off and a fresh batch of city-slickers roll into town. I like knowing I took the chance to settle in nice and early, so when they see me I’m already down with the new venues and how to get to things. One place you won’t will find me is at the light & fluffy Give Me Cleo Over Kerouac pop-culture panel that afternoon, although you will probably want to catch Marieke Hardy there too, lending the festival some mainstream celebrity cred.

You want to pace yourself on Saturday as the main events are on that night and will often take you into the oblivion that is the legendary TINA Showcase at The Cambridge . Although to be sure, there’s plenty going on in the lead-up including an intriguing Great Gatsby Ball [not sure if this is an oblique tip of the hat to the Gatsby fetishism going on at this year’s Sydney Writer’s Fest or not- but who cares? Gats is always in style.]

Sunday: after peeling myself off the sand of Newcastle Beach I expect to cruise over to the famous Zine Fair and catch up with what’s been crackin o’ernight. A ginger beer and Gozleme later and should be feeling right as rain. Perfect for catching the NRL Grand Final or if that’s not your thing, an afternoon panel on Constellations: weather, UFOs, telepathy and the cosmos. or The Decline of Western Civilisation… Something for everyone!

For the truly adventurous, be sure to pack a grain of salt, leave your inhibitions at the door and swing by Playground over the course of the evening. If I am not mistaken this will be a continuation of the truly bizarre evening of improvisational dinner-theatre I was fortunate enough to attend last season. Part party, part performance, part monster. Costumes and heckling are encouraged.

Monday: If you’re still alive after the Zombie Rights March and far too much ginger beer – join me for a final toast to Tina in the Festival Club. Life’s too short to plan that far ahead.

So, Tina – I know there’s still room for me in your heart, even if your program says no – your wide sprawling octopod arms say yes. I’ll still love you anyway, and when you love someone – you have to set them free, right?

STOP PRESS
Such is the power of social media, I have now been invited to join the panel Give Me Cleo Over Kerouac on the Saturday afternoon! I take it all back – should be a fascinating insight into the power of mainstream culture and it’s impact on our behaviour. Or at least a bit of a laugh…

looks like Tina still loves me after all!

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VICTOR SANCZ vassanc [AT] gmail.com

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