Federation Square Apple store labelled ‘Pizza Hut pagoda’ as council vows to fight design

Updated February 06, 2018 21:35:48

A new Apple Store proposed for Federation Square has been labelled a “Pizza Hut pagoda” as the Melbourne City Council voted to step up pressure for a redesign.

The Victorian Government approved demolition of the Yarra building closest to the river in December last year to make way for the two storey concept store.

Tuesday night’s city council meeting heard the proposal has overwhelmingly been rejected by the community, with the council receiving about 800 submissions rejecting the design.

Councillors unanimously backed a motion by Greens Councillor Rohan Leppert to lobby the Government for a new design for the store and public consultation.

If the Government rejects the council’s proposal, then the administration will encourage Upper House MPs to disallow the planning scheme amendment enabling the project.

Councillor Leppert said the council lacked the power to block the development from going ahead.

“This is one of the strongest positions we have taken,” he said.

“It is very rare for councils to encourage non-Government MPs to overturn decisions of the Government.

“I’m quite sure that if the Government doesn’t deal with this that there will be a motion in the Upper House.”

While all councillors have rejected the proposed design, they are divided on whether further commercial development should be allowed in the square.

Councillor Nicholas Reece believes with the right design, an Apple Store could actually improve the square.

“Provided it’s done in the right way it could be a good thing for Federation Square,” Cr Reece said.

But he said he had not found anyone who liked the design.

“It reminds me of a Pizza Hut pagoda and I just think it’s like something that’s rolled off an Apple Store production line,” Cr Reece said.

The State Government has yet to comment.

Topics: architecture, state-parliament, government-and-politics, computers-and-technology, tourism, local-government, melbourne-3000, vic

First posted February 06, 2018 21:32:23

Technicolor dream: Adelaide to get $26m visual effects studio

Updated February 06, 2018 12:54:57

International entertainment company Technicolor will open an Adelaide visual effects studio, promising to create hundreds of jobs over the next few years.

The studio — which will cost $26 million — is due to open by the second half of the year.

Technicolor’s credits include The Shape of Water — which has been nominated for 13 Oscars — along with films including The Jungle Book, The Martian and Wonder Woman.

Chief executive Fred Rose listed favourable tax arrangements in the state and a strong pool of young talent being behind their decision to locate in Adelaide.

“You don’t have to travel around the world to get a job ,you can actually just get a job here — that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said.

The studio, which will be called Mill Film, is expected to be more than 3,000 square metres in size.

It will initially concentrate on visual effects for major film studios and screening services and will expand into virtual and augmented reality.

Premier Jay Weatherill said he was “thrilled” by the company’s decision to set up a studio in Adelaide and described the company as “one of the world’s greatest”.

“This is a very significant investment and represents a massive entry into the Australian visual effects market, and they’ve chosen Adelaide, out of all the places in Australia, to adopt as their home,” Mr Weatherill said.

“This company wants to come here and not only create these jobs and opportunities, but also train young South Australians so they can participate in the sector.

“We’ve partnered with Technicolor to bring this about.”

He said some 500 jobs were likely to be created and the overall economic benefit is estimated at almost $253 million over 10 years.

“It’s been a discussion that’s been ongoing for over two years, and more intensely over the last year,” he said.

“I’m very proud to say that it will be these sorts of jobs created in this sector which will create the sort of excitement that will keep young South Australians here.”

Adelaide is also home to visual effects firm Rising Sun Pictures, which shared the glory of a 2014 Academy Award for best visual effects in the film Gravity.

Topics: arts-and-entertainment, animation, film-movies, states-and-territories, government-and-politics, adelaide-5000, sa

First posted February 06, 2018 12:34:20

Why Black Panther is the superhero America’s been waiting for

Posted February 06, 2018 09:00:00

If you’re a black superhero with space-age technology, wealth and power at your back … why aren’t you doing more to help?

This question is flung at the hero of Black Panther, the 18th superhero film in the Marvel cinematic universe, inspired by Marvel’s comic of the same name.

Black Panther is a strong, adamant and proudly black film, mainly set in Wakanda, a fictional African nation.

The film’s predominantly black cast overdeliver. Boseman is a brilliant lead, but the shining stars of Black Panther are the women: Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett are unbelievably good. Their characters are brimming with depth, and they love, support and fight for Wakanda with such fervour that they all feel like leads.

The soundtrack is co-produced and curated by Kendrick Lamar. And the film is directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote and directed Creed.

All in all, it’s a joyous, complex exploration of what it means to be African.

What will your legacy be?

Black Panther was first portrayed by Chadwick Boseman in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. Here, Black Panther’s at a political summit when tragedy strikes and he lands the onerous task of ruling his homeland, Wakanda.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wakanda is perceived to be a poor nation. As the film’s opening crawl tells us, however, it’s home to a thriving civilisation with a rich history, and King T’Challa is one in a long line of Black Panthers, who use wisdom to rule their nation.

But the country is thrown into nightmarish political upheaval when Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) arrives and lays claim the throne. The young king must rally his allies to secure the safety of his country and people.

Coogler’s Black Panther is oddly wholesome. It’s colourful and visually clean, with a real sense of place. It’s also filled with the kinds of performances you don’t normally see in superhero films.

But the film’s underlying question is what makes it sing.

If you have power, strength and the ability to inspire, what are you going to do with it?

What is your legacy going to be? Are you going to smash into people, or are you going to do something more?

Generations of controversy

The Black Panther made his comic-book debut in early 1966, and later that year, the Black Panther political movement was founded. This caused some internal controversy at Marvel Studios — suddenly they were in bed with a radical movement, apparently by sheer coincidence.

In-universe, T’Challa underwent a few name changes. In 1972, he was renamed The Black Leopard, stating to his fellow Avengers that the name Black Panther had political connotations, and that “I neither condemn nor condone those who have taken up the name, but T’Challa is a law unto himself.”

By the mid-’70s, however, writer Don McGregor took over the Panther’s run of comics, and took a swing at getting political, flinging our hero against the Klu Klux Klan.

Before this (frankly, fantastic) story could be resolved, Marvel caved to internal pressure over the controversial storyline and low sales, giving the character back to one of its co-creators, Jack Kirby.

But Black Panther had already made waves. A generation of kids had grown up reading about a ballsy, principled black superhero who fought for the lifeblood of his birthplace and his adoptive home of New York. And one of those kids was writer-director Ryan Coogler.

A real-life example?

In 2016, Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the 49ers, launched a dedicated and stoic on-field protest against racial injustice and police violence in America. At first he began sitting during the anthem, but then, he began kneeling. Dozens of NFL players followed his lead. Why did he do this?

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way”, Kaepernick told the press in 2016.

As his protest spread nationwide, President Trump told NFL owners they should react to any player who knelt with the command to “get that son of a bitch off the field”.

This week, outside the Super Bowl, some 80 protesters, many the mothers of young men gunned down by police — knelt in support of the now blackballed Kaepernick.

Since leaving the NFL, Kaepernick has started the Million Dollar Pledge, donating proceeds from jersey sales to organisations working in oppressed communities. He’s started and funded the Know Your Rights Camp, a youth campaign to “raise awareness of higher education, self-empowerment, and instruction to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios.”

Black heroes meet resistance

T’Challa, too, is a man with physical power and prowess, with celebrity, and the eyes of the world on him. And throughout the film, people challenge him to do more with that power. The women who surround him challenge him to do more. Even his adversary, Killmonger, an angry and disillusioned man who experienced tragedy in a poor backstreet as a kid, asks T’Challa to step up.

Kaepernick has met head-on the backlash from internet trolls and politicians during his crusade. This week, Facebook took down an alt-right page protesting the film, while others attempted to sabotage it on Rotten Tomatoes, leaving torrents of negative reviews before it even hit screens.

We live in an age where black heroes, both fictional and real, are met with fierce resistance.

But they’re making a difference. And if you don’t believe a black superhero film can inspire kids, watch this classroom — in a non-profit school dedicated to developing kids from all backgrounds — react to the news they’re attending a screening.

Black Panther opens in Australian cinemas on February 15.

Topics: film-movies, government-and-politics, united-states

Oprah says she’s not running for president

Updated January 26, 2018 10:51:51

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has apparently ended her brief flirtation with a run for the US presidency in 2020, saying she is not interested in the job.

Key points:

  • Oprah says presidency is “not for me”
  • Her speech at Golden Globes gave rise to speculation of run
  • Donald Trump says he would beat Oprah

Winfrey, 63, stole the show at the Golden Globes awards ceremony earlier this month with a rousing speech against sexual harassment and assault.

It sparked a feverish online campaign to lure her into running against Republican President Donald Trump in the next election cycle.

But Winfrey, who has long associated with Democratic Party causes and fundraising, has told InStyle magazine she won’t be making a presidential tilt.

“It’s not something that interests me,” she said.

“I met with someone the other day who said that they would help me with a campaign. That’s not for me.”

Her friends had backed the idea, with her longtime partner Stedman Graham telling the Los Angeles Times “she would absolutely do it” if there was sufficient public support.

Confidante Gayle King had told CBS that Winfrey was “intrigued” by the idea.

Backers work to ‘convince Oprah to reconsider’

The leader of a political action committee supporting Winfrey said it would still to try to persuade her to run and continue seeking to recruit 1 million backers.

After the Golden Globes, Democratic political consultant Cormac Flynn began receiving calls from associates who immediately persuaded him to support a Winfrey run.

He formed the National Committee to Draft Oprah Winfrey for President of the United States 2020.

Mr Flynn said the committee would continue, and noted that other politicians have decided to run after initially declining.

“The purpose of our committee is to convince Oprah to reconsider,” said Mr Flynn, whose independent expenditure committee, or Super PAC, consists of two unpaid staff and two consulting firms that are donating their time.

“She’s an exceptional leader and would be a tremendous president.”

Known by millions on first-name basis, Winfrey first rose to fame as the host of a television talk show, using it to build a media empire that spans magazine publishing, movie and television production, cable TV and satellite radio.

Born into poverty, she is now one of the world’s wealthiest women and been nominated for two Academy Awards.

Mr Trump relished the idea of a celebrity-versus-celebrity campaign, telling reporters earlier this month he did not think Winfrey would run but believed he would win that matchup.

“I’ll beat Oprah,” Mr Trump said.

“Oprah would be a lot of fun.”


Topics: world-politics, government-and-politics, us-elections, human-interest, arts-and-entertainment, united-states

First posted January 26, 2018 10:27:34

Chinese authorities crack down on burgeoning rap scene

Updated January 23, 2018 18:35:14

China’s broadcast regulator has issued new standards specifically warning entertainment programs not to feature guests who promote hip hop culture, in its latest effort to purify the country’s cultural output.

Key points:

  • State media campaign initiated against Chinese rapper PG One
  • Entertainment programs “resolutely don’t need” guests promoting hip hop culture, states guidelines
  • Until recently hip hop was a niche subculture

The standards were not released publicly, but were published online by Chinese entertainment outlets and correspond with a state media campaign against one of the country’s most famous rappers.

In recent weeks, breakthrough rapper PG One has come under fire for the content of some of his lyrics, which state media say promote misogyny and drug use.

Outlets like the jingoistic Communist Party-owned Global Times have cited lyrics such as “pure white powder in a line” and “shameless bitch with restless hands” as examples.

The campaign gained steam after the 23-year-old became the centre of a celebrity scandal that linked him with a famous married actress Li Xiaolu.

The scandal prompted fans to trawl PG One’s lyrics, and the offending lines triggered a government campaign that has now seen the rapper’s songs removed from many online music platforms.

But the campaign didn’t stop there.

The new guidelines from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television stipulate four types of guests that entertainment programs “resolutely don’t need”.

Among the list, guests who promote “vulgarity”, “values different from the Party” and “sub cultures”.

Specifically, guests who promote hip hop culture and tattoos are listed in the guidelines.

The leak of the new rules coincided with the sudden removal of another star rapper from a popular television singing program.

Twenty-nine-year-old GAI, the joint winner with PG One of a massively popular hip hop contest last year, has suddenly disappeared from a Hunan television program that he featured on alongside international stars such as Jessie J.

GAI’s removal came despite a recent media appearance in which he appeared to ingratiate himself with authorities by praising “the motherland” in song.

Chinese hip hop goes mainstream

While US hip hop has long been popular among some young people in China, the homegrown variant has until recently remained a niche subculture.

But the popularity of the online program China Has Hip Hop in which PG One and GAI emerged last year thrust the genre into mainstream popularity.

State media opinion writers have stressed that the traditional anti-authoritarian themes that emerged from American MCs rapping about racial discrimination, drug use and gang violence are not suitable for China.

The official pushback comes as China’s government stresses increasing confidence not just in its system of governance, but in the promotion of traditional Chinese culture and “socialist” values.

Hip hop’s future uncertain

President Xi Jinping stressed the need to “perfect the systemic management of culture” during a major speech in Beijing late last year.

Since the country’s opening up in the late 1970s, Chinese leaders have sought to retain a protective membrane on overseas influence — embracing ideas they regard as constructive while using repressive measures to block “harmful” influences.

For young hip hop fans like Beijing resident Cai Malong, the campaign against rap does not bode well.

“Hip hop is in such a rudimentary stage in China, my friends all listen to pop and don’t have any real feeling for rap,” he said.

“If the Government doesn’t support hip hop, it’ll be very difficult for it to grow.

“Its future prospects don’t look bright.”

Topics: music-industry, censorship, popular-culture, arts-and-entertainment, government-and-politics, china, asia

First posted January 23, 2018 18:33:05

Men At Work singer slams Bernardi’s alternative music countdown

Posted January 18, 2018 19:19:10

Men At Work frontman Colin Hay has slammed South Australian senator Cory Bernardi’s attempt to start his own Hottest 100 playlist.

Senator Bernardi, who leads the Australian Conservatives Party, is asking people to vote in what he has termed an “alternate Hottest 100”, following triple j’s decision to change the date of its annual music poll from Australia Day.

But Hay, whose song Down Under is first on Senator Bernardi’s Spotify list, said the meaning of his song had been hijacked by the politician’s poll.

“It would appear that the true meaning behind Down Under is lost on Mr Bernardi,” he said.

“When the lyrics were written some 40 years ago, I was worried about people like him, and movements he represents. Turns out I had good reason to be.”

Hay’s hit track Down Under reached number one on the Australian, US and UK Charts. He urged Senator Bernardi to reconsider his party’s poll.

“May I suggest Mr Bernardi, if you haven’t already, dabbling in some light hallucinogens. Wander into a field, and sit in front of a tree, and look at it, really study it, at a molecular level,” he said.

“It may not change your conservative views, but it may make you realise you’re not quite as important as you think you are.”

A number of musicians included in the list have protested against the playlist, including Savage Garden’s Darren Hayes, Jimmy Barnes, Powderfinger and the Hilltop Hoods.

But Senator Bernardi is unapologetic and claimed the outrage would only lead more people to participate in his poll.

“I suspect a great many more people have voted in the poll, and will listen to it, because of the outrage the industry that have attached themselves to it,” he told 7.30.

The AC100 Top 10

  1. Down Under – Men At Work
  2. Khe Sanh – Cold Chisel
  3. You’re The Voice – John Farnham
  4. Great Southern Land – Icehouse
  5. I Still Call Australia Home – Peter Allen
  6. I Am Australian – Judith Durham, Russell Hitchcock & M Yunupingu
  7. Solid Rock – Goanna
  8. A Pub With No Beer – Slim Dusty
  9. The Boys Light Up – Australian Crawl
  10. C’mon Aussie C’mon – Let The Music Play

“It’s preposterous they [musicians] draw attention to something they pretend they don’t want to endorse.

“This is the modern take on politics, that you have to be tolerant of everyone else’s ideas unless you disagree with them.”

The senator said he did not mind the criticism from those in the industry.

“They may not like my politics, I don’t like their politics. That’s OK,” he said.

“I can still recognise their artistic talent and artistic craft and most Australians have no place, or don’t have any time for moral lectures or virtue-signalling from people in an industry that has a very chequered history.”

Topics: music, government-and-politics, australia

‘Intolerant censorship’: Bernardi lashes musicians’ criticism of alternative Hottest 100 list

Updated January 18, 2018 10:47:39

Cory Bernardi has told Australian artists asking to be removed from his party’s “alternative to the Hottest 100” playlist that they should be thankful for the royalties, after one band included in the list told him to “f*** off”.

The senator’s Australian Conservatives party announced the #AC100 yesterday, saying the move was prompted by triple j’s decision to move its annual Hottest 100 countdown away from Australia Day this year.

The party released a Spotify playlist of tracks from Australian artists and invited people to vote for their favourites.

But some artists, including Savage Garden frontman Darren Hayes and hip-hop group Hilltop Hoods, are demanding to be taken off the list.

Senator Bernardi said the reaction amounted to “intolerant censorship” and said all Australians should be entitled to enjoy music regardless of whether their political views aligned with the artists’.

“Suddenly artists are saying, ‘You’re not allowed to add my songs to your playlist … because I don’t agree with your political views’,” he told RN Breakfast.

“This is absurd, it’s outrageous.”

The senator denied claims he was politicising the playlist by sharing it on his party website and Twitter account.

“I want people to listen to great Australian music and I’ve made it easy for them to do so,” he said.

“[Artists] can beat it up and complain, they can threaten me with legal action … the simple answer is: take your songs off the streaming service if you don’t want people to play them and support them.”

Responding to the request from Hayes to remove Savage Garden’s To The Moon And Back, which is at number 61 on the alternative list, Senator Bernardi suggested the artist should be grateful for the royalties.

“[Darren Hayes] gets a royalty for every time it’s played, he should be thanking us.”

The complaint from Hilltop Hoods employed more colourful language, with the band simply tweeting at Senator Bernardi to “f*** off”.

“I actually do enjoy their [Hilltop Hoods’] music, but I don’t have to like their politics,” Senator Bernardi said.

“I don’t have to enjoy their political or social activism to say, ‘Hey, they’re talented, they’re Australian, and they’ve got some boppy little songs that I kind of enjoy’.”

Men At Work’s Down Under tops Senator Bernardi’s list, with Cold Chisel’s Khe Sanh and John Farnham’s You’re the Voice rounding out the top three.

Topics: human-interest, minor-parties, government-and-politics, music, australia

First posted January 18, 2018 10:18:58