Friday, November 25, 2005

Peats Ridge Festival 2005

Benito will be hosting a Poets' Breakfast on Sunday Morning in the Chai Tent at Peat's Ridge Festival (December 9-11), so if you're around...

"Bardfly’s Benito Di Fonzo sloppily hosts the pick of Sydney’s spoken word performance poets, including Token Word’s Citizen Tom, Chicago’s Miles Merrill, as well the lovely Gemnastics, Alana Hicks, Sarah Mae and Ben Ezra (aka Eytan Messiah.)

More importantly there will be an open Slam with crap prizes! This is your chance to show why you are the Jack Kerouac of Glenworth Valley. It’s all in good fun so leave your ego in a small box under the stairs as you change the world with words without even changing your underpants. "

www.peatsridgefestival.com.au

more about me

Read another glowing review of Benito's verse novel "Her, Leaving, as the Acid hits, " at http://bluepepper.blogspot.com/2005/11/benito-di-fonzos-her-leaving-as-acid.html

the books still available though www.IndependenceJones.com, www.lulu.com, and certain bookshops including Gleebooks and Better Read Than Dead, Newtown.

Monday, October 24, 2005

PR - Restricted Magazine

Benito's latest bag is as Arts Editor of Restricted Magazine. Here's the blurb from www.restrictedmagazine.com


"For every street press magazine that is printed in this world a tree falls in the Amazon, a fairy flaps its wings and a very cute puppy....DIES!!"

Restricted will be a monthly DVD magazine distributed free like any street press, but with the key difference being that you won't have to read.

Just pop it on, sit back, pour yourself a cold one, light up, and watch it.

Each issue will feature live interviews with musicians, actors, filmmakers, writers and other sundry pop culture personalities, as well as the hippest short films and cutting edge music videos.

It will also contain a guide to gigs and venues in Sydney, as well as theatre and film reviews.

Issue One will hit the streets February 1 and will be accompanied by a huge launch party at "Restricted's" warehouse HQ.

It's still early days but we've done some interisting filming with our cutting edge team of Gypsy Journalists and tech crew, including a wacky weekend with the late Vicous Hairy Mary in their latest incarnation as the Circus Monoxide Big Band, as well as the furry freak show that was Madame Lash's birthday performance party at the soon to be defunct Kirk which featured such acts as The Porno Puppets From Prague.

We're lining up some big name for the first issue so keep alert, and possibly a little alarmed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

rant - in my dream 1,004

So this ex-girlfriend and I are travelling across America on this extra long bus with ironing-board like beds in them…

…the old woman in the bed below is still angry because, in an earlier part of the dream, a friend of ours attacked her with an ice cream. This attack evoked a stronger reaction from the authorities than anyone was expecting, so she went into hiding in the desert on a camel with my Aunt Marie.

So, we’re on the bus with ironing-board beds which are far more comfortable than you’d expect – it’s two to an ironing board you see, and somehow it fits my ex and me…

…anyway, there’s this other Australian on board. He’s a young guy, maybe twenty, with a Prince Charming bowl cut and a Nirvana t-shirt. He may even be that runaway whose mother threw a garbage bin through our window and was later using undergrad Black Magik (stolen locks of hair, etc.) to stalk Julia-who-lived-under-the-stairs in our place in Balmain in the early 90s, but possibly not.

Either way, in this dream he’s an aspiring MC, but the Cali locals, whilst quite encouraging at first in that surprising way that Americans often seem to be, are finally less than impressed with his talents, as are we. He continues regardless, while the driver calls a stop and all split to the loo or the local diner.

Meanwhile, I’m suddenly back in Oz.

I’m watching a documentary about music and movie stars who have said at times they’d like to move to Australia and, despite the fact that none of those caught on film, including Johnny Cash, Eartha Kit, and that actress from that show with the single-mum black nurse (Julia?), had carried out their threat (the latter two had secretly had affairs and even fallen pregnant here) I was employed by the government to encourage a more famous level of migration, like a kind of Hollywood brain drain to the Northern Beaches or something… whatever.

I was against it personally, though I was more than happy to take DIMIA’s dirty money. Nonetheless I was doing little in the way of encouragement, partly out of opposition, particularly since no one had told me how to encourage movie stars to move to Australia as yet, but mostly because I was too busy lazing around the beach myself to do anything but analyse my dreams…

…then I was body surfing on a cliché picture postcard Sydney beach, like an idealised blend of every holiday in Avoca combined with an somehow idealised and clean Coogee, Bronte and Tamarama blend.

I dizzily stop body-surfing after being mildly dumped a few times as the waves this day are really quite enormous. Then I’m at the shop attempting to purchase something I know only as ‘Breakfast Bubble Gum,’ to which they keep offering me cans of Coca Cola, whilst I convince someone whose brother’s life I apparently saved as some point to pay for. Then End… of What I Can Remember.


Suggestions?

Friday, October 07, 2005

Rant - In My Dream 1,003.

So in my dream I’m dreaming I’m an old woman. The old woman is dreaming that she’s an even older woman. Who herself is dreaming she’s an Irish Italian failed writer in Sydney. I’m not sure who’s most disappointed; me, the old woman, or the older woman, but whatever.

In this dream I’m a terrorist, or at least I help terrorists, or at least somebody thinks I do or am, or something like that. I get caught anyway, though I’m not sure what for, possibly helping someone escape. Someone who's a terrorist, or at least somebody who helps terrorists, or at least who somebody thinks helps terrorists, etc.

Anyway, my colleagues and I, who at this point are all female, and in their late twenties, and wearing khaki camouflage jumpsuits like me, are chased through some sandy ruins. Myself and one other escape, and find a portal into some kind of suburbia, where we think we’ll be safe. But we’re wrong. Suburbia, or at least this manifestation of it, has SWAT team cops on every corner, as well as be-suited ASIO agents. There’s no escape, so we just wander through them and happily accept our fate.

Now we’re in a Balinese courtroom, awaiting trial, except there doesn’t seem to be any security guards around. We just politely wait, never considering escape. It all really hits me when I go to the bathroom. It unisexual, and the uneven floor is filled with many undoored loopy layers of long, rivering urinals, like it was designed by M.C. Escher and Gaudi. There’s a woman casually sitting on one toilet bowl/loopy blue ceramic trough thingy, and an elderly Indonesian rice farmer straining against a corner, in need of a little fibre obviously. My biggest concern is if this is what the courtroom loos are like then how weird are the urinals in the actual prison going to be?

Did I mention that, in my dream, I’m eating the pines from a pine tree? No? It’s a week before Xmas, and all is quite loud. They’ve just set up the pine tree in the mental hospital on a Greek island where I’m incarcerated, and I’m explaining that it’s an old Greek custom to eat the pine leaves, though secretly we’re cheating and eating store-bought pines which we gathered before the shops all closed, us canny bastards us.

So, in this dream, in short, I’ve been committed because I’m madder even than Greeks, and perhaps for my involvement in sexy terrorist fantasies, or perhaps for eating pine leaves in Gaudi’s Balinese urinal, or perhaps because, like all reality, I’m just a character in an old woman’s bad dream… whatever.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

misc. rant at the begining of swimming weather

My new laptop wallpaper is a picture of the Coogee end of Gordon’s Bay; tiny aluminium boats belonging to weekend fisherman rest against planking like tin toys against a skeleton, as a few souls bake on the hot sand below, and the blue ocean laps at their toes, as the high rocks filled with summer’s drunken snorkelers rise up about them. Summer in the shallow city is upon us, and you remember why someone might still live in Sydney.

As the sun bursts through on a Spring Tuesday 9:36am (there are advantages to be an under-employed freelancer) I wonder if it’s warm enough to crack the clear aqua-marine tinge of Whylie’s Baths.

To get there, from my little office on the rim of Sydney Technology Park, Alexandria, or rather ‘the leafy end of Erskineville’ as the real estate agents prefer to say – those same scammers who refer to Redfern as either ‘East Newtown’ or ‘Western Surry Hills,’ and would happily sell you a holiday house in Baghdad by calling it ‘Middle Eastern Tuscany,’ but I digress…

… to get to Gordon’s for me, assuming I can’t convince a pretty driver to come along, it’s a dull half hour or so on the 370, brimming with wrinklie’s on their way to the hospital, UNSW undergrads worried about exams for subjects that will make them unemployable, NIDA kids combing their hair, and bums and artists like me; that Abruzzian peasant blood pushing me to the beach mid week. Why? Because I can, paisan capisce?

At Coogee I must decide – turn right for the crystal of Whylie’s Baths, or left for Gordon’s Bay, or perhaps a little further and I could go greet the Blue Gropers of Clovelly; those fat little Labradors of the sea glowing past and under me serenely, clumping sea anemones as I dive down and turn over rocks for there, flying through the jelly sky of an alien environment, tempted, like Darwin, to devolve back into the sea.

Last summer there was a girl and some friends in Bronte and it was all decided for me… strange nights with drunken musos and poets, skinny dipping and Wild Turkey (surely the world’s most aptly name beverage), till the joggers came by and broke dawn for us.

This year, with an Inner Western amorossa, all bets, and beaches, are on.

It’s coming onto 10am now; is it warm enough weather to be…?

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Article - The Sydney Idiots Guide to Overload Poetry Festival.

For the last six hours or so you were talking shit, and you’re not sure why. This is what comes to you as you wake on a dirty worn patch of Collingwood carpet. Your tongue is as stale as a hostel mattress, your head as heavy as German bread, your liver a sewer. Somewhere in the night you remember there were poets, poets, more booze and poets.

“There are too many poets in Melbourne” you say to midday, and a body rumbles a fart on the couch.

Welcome to Overload.

Only Melbourne could host a fifteen day spoken word and poetry festival on a budget of next to nothing and with pretty much no promotion. Perth wouldn’t see why, Adelaide would assume, correctly, that it would screw it up, and Brisbane and Tasmania would probably just push it into a corner and pick on it.

As for Sydney, she’d do the sums, add the cost of a new outfit, do a few lines of cheap coke, and ask “so, where exactly is the money in all of this?”

Melbourne didn’t care, Melbourne just did it.

Ok, so it wasn’t the slickest show in the world. The festival had been going for a week when the website (www.overloadpoetry.com) finally got it up. There were no sponsored fly outs, hotel rooms, and Bacardi Festival Clubs or Spiegletents. Just lots of poetry, camaraderie and people living and drinking in the present tense. (You see, it’s a play on words; what I did there… I’ll just get on with it will I?)

It was in this atmosphere that four plucky Sydney poets went up against the Victorians for the Word Wrestling Federation belt. God bless that Melbourne team; they did manage to organise a festival after all, but lets face it – those Sydney kids were slicker, tighter, and had more rhythm than James Brown at a Crystal Meth dealers’ convention, and, in a very Sydney/Melbourne comparison, there was not a piece of paper, or ‘cheat-sheet’ as they’ve been called in the shallow city, to be seen.

As for me, I need my cheat-sheets. Sometimes they don’t even save me, such as when Gemnastics and I attempted the blend of Lewis Carroll and Raymond Chandler we’d write one muggy Chardonnay afternoon in Surry Hillism: “Jabbernoir e Lychee Whine.” The backing track CD, kindly sampled and looped with the permission of those charming “Good Buddha” boys, was the wrong version, and ended prematurely, throwing the brown little bicycle of Gemma’s brain off track.

“Just keep fucking going,” I said away from the one microphone that was briefly working, and she giggled like a schoolgirl on cheap vino.

It was a slick gig kids.

Ah yes, and we all talked about moving to Melbourne, where the weather was milder, the rents cheaper, the people nicer, and better read and the public transport actually existed. Pity that the beaches are more like flat swamps and the beer was so expensive. ($3 for a middy!) Whatever.

You may, at some point find yourself refused entry to Melbourne Writers’ Festival, despite the fact that one of you is on a panel, just because you haven’t slept for a day or so…

“and, Sir, you’re carrying a bottle of whisky.”

“Do you know who I am!”

“No Sir, now if you don’t have a ticket please move back.”

Retched itch.

Yes, you’ll think to yourself, there are too many poets in Melbourne, particularly during Overload, but you’ll like it that way, especially in the early hours on the ground floor of a bar in Chinatown, when they all, for some reason, start break dancing.

I would have joined in but I would have spilt my whisky.

Besides, I was having too much fun watching the domestics, but that’s another story, to be told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Cheers.

http://www.benitodifonzo.bravehost.com/

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The "Everyday I Write The Book" Dream.

Anyway, so I was somewhere with Sam, she wasn't saying much but she sure did look purty. I was thinking of all the things that I was supposedly doing with my life; finishing plays, finding fables for Czech puppet shows, features as yet unwritten, Bardflys, Post-Grad (UTS vs RMIT?)Melbourne (including subcategories - if/ how to move, how to open Bar di Fonzi's on Brunswick St., etc.)

Suddenly, I found this book. Can't remember the title, but I know it was a hardback with a dusty cover (Dusty Cover; good character name?)

This book, somehow, this book ('this book' should be pronounced as by Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction saying 'this watch' with all the image evoking grasp of Stanislavski Method,) this book had the answer to all my problems. The solution to everything. The big gig in one big hit. Somehow this imaginary book solved all my problems. It was quite a relief. At last.

Upon waking, and realising that I couldn't remember the title, or any of the contents, I was quite annoyed. My first word of the day rhymed with "You luckety lucky duck," but meant nothing like it.

I realise now that the whole point is that the book doesn't actually exist. That I have to write it. Like those films I dreamt of. In a sense we all have to write the book that solves all our problems. Every day we do it.

As Elvis Costello said, "everyday I write the book...." (blah, blah, lah, self help bollocks.)

Ironically, he said using an often misused term, by the time we got it written it's time to shuffle off this mortal coil as it were. Death is a kind of publication... (Blah, blah, blah, arty poetic nihilistic crap.)

Anyway, Sam's dandy pancakes are ready... I can smell them... Salute.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The McGonagall Award for The World's Worst Poet

I have been informed that the world's worst poet ever is The Great McGonagall. I have read his work at www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk and it is truly appalling. I particularly like how he rhymes New Year with... New Year in his classic "'The Tay Bridge Disaster"" which you can go straight too at www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/poems/pgdisaster.htm

He would travel the UK reciting his woeful work and, due to his reputation as the worst poet in the English language, is still in print today. Now do you see the brilliant of my idea - fame through bad poetry, not good! In our time it's the only way.

Incidentally, McGonagall was also renowned for his truly awful productions of Shakespeare's play, which he would direct as well as play the lead... what a piece of work is this man! Famously, in his production of Hamlet, in which he played the Great Dane, the entire audience had left the theatre before the end of the play.

In acknowledgement of this great man and his achievements, I have decided the Earth's Worst Poet will be awarded with the McGonagall Award.

Discuss.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

""Benito Di Fonzo's Travelling Search for Australia's Worst Poet""

from an idea that would only emerge one velvet morning on a festival organiser's lounge room floor in melb comes - (drum roll and barking penguins please)

""Benito Di Fonzo's Travelling Search for Australia's Worst Poet"" ,

as part of the larger

""Search for The Earth's Worst Poet.""

with heats around Australia, and eventually the world, with a winner at each crowned that current Master of the ancient art of Malpoesia (trans: bad/sick/evil poetry.)

open sections with invited features of past masters Benito has encountered in his travels.

hosted by guess who...

Who will be crowned the ""Il Duce e Malpoesia"", of the World's Worst Poet?

Who's on board this great hangover idea?

Stay tuned for more deatils.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Poetry - The Lonely Planet Guide to Samantha F.

I tried to find The Lonely Planet Guide to Samantha F.
I tried a bookshop on Brunswick St
The State library, and Woolworth’s

They all sent me packing

I searched the Lonely Planet website
But it was almost as if
They’d never heard of you

So I hit a bar
praying to Allah to just make my brain shut up
but it didn’t work
and I just kept imagining
all the detailed maps of your Newtownian torso
that I was missing out on

the full colour guide to your
panda eyes and Mediterranean thighs

a dozen things to do in a single day
Maneuvering your subway

And countless other lists of great spots to see
on the under-explored parts of your pretty person

Not to mention where to sleep,
eat and play on a limited budget

and when I asked the barman
if he knew any facts for the canny traveler
of Irish Sicilian violinists from Inner Western Sydney
he took offence
and attacked me with it

short of breath
I hid in the public library
and asked if they had perhaps
The Complete Idiots Guide To Seducing Samantha F.

“”Piss off pervert,”” said the kindly old spinster at the desk

so I went to a kebab palace and requested
The Beginners Guide to Sam’s Multifaceted Psyche

“”Lamb yeeros or asto thealo re vlaka”’

the search was getting hopeless,
so I bought the burnt baby sheep meat
ripped it apart, and attempted to read it

but once again the old Greco got angry
and I split, my dour hands dripping in tatziki

I was angry now as I stormed across to Footscray
And kicked down the doors to Lonely Planet Head Quarters

Quickly cornering the elderly founder
And demanding an explanation as to why he hadn’t commissioned a guide to you
As I casually threatened him with the remains of my gyros

Eventually he stuttered that
“”Perhaps YOU should write it then?””
before collapsing in a pool of lamb fat and tears

Hence this letter
requesting a visa
to explore the backwaters of your bella figura
you can pick me up from the airport on Monday
don’t forget to bring a couple of beers.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Article - Fear & Loathing In London

“Fear & Loathing In London” by Benito Di Fonzo

I was woken by an SMS from Vanessa formerly of The Gong, now living near Victoria Station and trying scrape up dosh for her Edinburgh show. It took me a while to read as I was sleeping off a hangover on the Dalston couch of Fuller, a former Newtown flatmate and paint dripper. The TXT read -

"this is terrible, is everyone alright?"

I assumed she'd sent it to the wrong person. Somebody she knew must have had a car crash.

I replied"What?" and she told me to turn on the TV.

London was under attack. A bomb had gone off at Kings Cross station as well as on some buses - there were pictures of tops blown off double deckers.

I felt guilty about it later, but at first it seemed exciting - like an episode of Dr Who. It even looked like the same people reading the TV news. The same streets. The same stations.

Do Al Qeuda watch Dr Who I wondered? Is this how they plan their missions?

It at least explained the number of police cars and ambulances sailing under my Kingsland High Street window.

I wondered what my duty was as a freelance Arts journalist and playwright. Review it?

“While the climax was visually spectacular it was unclear how this related to the motivation of the protagonist in a scene earlier…” etc.

Probably not. I knew they wouldn't let me too close, and I didn't have a Press Card. How would I get in, catch a bus? I looked at the bus stop downstairs. People were still lining up, but not many. What should I do?

Well, this was London, so I made a cup of tea. It was bitter and strong and it woke me.

Soon they started showing pictures from the hospital. Bodies; bloodied and burnt, being dragged in. Suddenly, it stopped being so exciting.

Fuller came home. He couldn't get into work. We decided to hit a cafe.

Nobody could get to work, what with the city under bomb attack and all, so the modestly titled Best Cafe In London was full of people cluttering their arteries with the £2.50 bacon, beans, eggs, and bubble & squeak, which is apparently English for burnt left-overs.


Almost fifty people had been blown up in five trains and buses. Nonetheless Londoners seemed surprisingly calm. They'd been through this before - The Blitz in WWII, the IRA campaigns of the 70s and 80s, Bloody Monday. They knew there was nothing they could do about it so they may as well just have an extra cup of tea.

Fuller went back to bed. The poor guy had been keeping up with a few oddly employed ex-pats and I and then going to work in the morning. I decided to go for a walk, the buses still not running, and ended up at a pub called The Green Man in Islington.

It was a bit rough. Of course BBC 1 was on everywhere, and people watched and, realising there was still nothing they could do, and that it was getting too late for tea, drank beer.

Fuller joined me as I hit The Kings Head which he explained was a reference to the decapitation of Charles I, something which happened a lot in the old days.

To cut it short we got pissed, then lost in the housing estates between Islington shops and a former bank now club, gallery and radio studio reputedly purchased by the group The KLF and rechristened The Foundry.

We accidently walked into a house at one stage where, for £8, you could sit in the basement watching porn on a big screen as long as you liked. The host was watching porn on two TVs as well as the English ripoff of Neighbours on another. I declined their invitation.

When we finally found The Foundry Fuller positioned himself under one of his paintings while I staggered downstairs to check out a friends exhibition in the former vaults. The opeining was a little muted, what with the fifty people being blown up and all, but we drank on regardless… it’s a bit of a blank here, but apparently it ended up at a 24hr Turkish café, where they do a lovely stew, enough for two, for £5.

"And as for dénouement..."

The next day, catching the Tube to Shakesoeare’s Globe to see a brilliant rendition of ‘Pericles,’ the vibe was a little different. People looked at each other warily, wondering -

“Is he a bomber? No, probably not, I need a cup of tea, then a beer."

# Benito Di Fonzo. London. July, 05.