Month: September 2019

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A brand-new Star Wars trilogy is in the works

There’s a disturbance in the force. But not, it seems, in Lucasfilm’s future earnings.
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The company that put Darth Vader and Yoda on our movie screens whipped fans into a frenzy on Friday with the announcement that it is developing a brand-new Star Wars trilogy.

The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will create the next instalment of the beloved sci-fi series along with longtime collaborator and Israeli film producer Ram Bergman.

It was also revealed the new trilogy will be entirely separate from the Skywalker family saga that has gripped audiences for four decades. The films will explore new characters as well as a brand-new corner of the galaxy far, far away.

Fans have speculated the new series could be set in the Old Republic, which means next trilogy could be set a thousand years before the events of The Phantom Menace.

In a statement, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said Johnson was entrusted with shepharding the Star Wars universe into a new era following to his work on The Last Jedi, which hits cinemas next month.

“He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career,” she said. “Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

In a joint statement, both Johnson and Bergman said Star Wars is the “greatest modern mythology” ever made and they cannot wait to get stuck into working on the new series.

The Last Jedi and its sequel are due to be released on December 14 and December 2019 respectively, while a standalone Han Solo film will come out sometime next year. New Star Wars trilogy announced.

Please be Knights of the Old Republic please be Knights of the Old Republic PLEASE BE KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC??? Johnny Crane (@pokerfreak453) November 9, 2017currently crying about new star wars trilogy don’t @ me??? eden rohatensky (@edenthecat) November 9, 2017Rian Johnson is going to be making a new, separate Star Wars trilogy once The Last Jedi is done and I’m screaming

Because this probably means Disney was super impressed with The Last Jedi, and also because MORE STAR WARS??? Joe C. (@DatJoeFrank) November 9, 2017


18/09/2019 0

Check out Perth’s best and most interesting buildings this weekend

Everybody loves a good sticky beak – especially Open House Perth founder and creative director, Carly Barrett – whose event will be held this weekend.
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Sandgropers can become tourists in their own town by exploring some of Perth’s most interesting examples of architecture, design and interiors.

The original Open House, which began in London 25 years ago and has since gone global, allows architecture and design enthusiasts to see their city in a different light.

“When you get to experience places that you don’t get to normally experience, it’s like being on holiday,” Ms Barrett said. “You get a sense of discovery and inspiration that you normally wouldn’t normally feel.”

For Open House Perth’s sixth year, there are more than 100 buildings and homes on show – 40 of which are new inclusions. She said the event gives the city a chance to show off its architectural diversity.

The Project 857 architect said although Perth lacks a distinct architectural style, the event challenges the myth that all Perth residents want are huge McMansions.

“While there is a market for them, because of the huge scale of Perth geographically, there is a fantastic finer grain of architecture that often gets missed,” she said.

“You get the message across by showing people good design of various types, and allowing people to experience it for themselves.” Related: Perth ranks among world’s smartest citiesRelated: Rental vacancy rate could bolster Perth marketRelated: Unit prices expected to fall in most capital cities

This year, part of the event’s focus is on homes on small blocks that maximise the potential of the space.

“One of the important things that we do is show people that it’s not about the amount of space you have, but about the quality of the space,” she said.

We asked Ms Barrett to pick five locations really worth checking out:

1. City of Perth Library, CBD Photo: Frances Andrijich 2. State Buildings, CBD

Photo: Angus Martin

3. Nature Inspired Eco-House, Perth

Photo: Dion Robeson

4. Madaschi by Iwan Iwanoff, Dianella

Photo: supplied

5. Elliot Road, Karrinyup

Photo: Jack Lovel


18/09/2019 0

Meet the new Muriel, Maggie McKenna

Altuzarra dress from Belinda. Photo: Hugh StewartGrowing up in Melbourne, Maggie McKenna suffered more than her fair share of schoolyard taunts. Singled out because her mum Gina Riley is a famous comedian and singer, Maggie was an easy target, not least because she liked to get up and perform herself.
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“I struggled through school. I was very shy and self-conscious about everything I did,” Maggie, 21, recalls. “I got bullied very early on in school, because I was known, because of my mum.”

But the experience is helping Maggie put her own singing and acting chops to the test with the character of Muriel Heslop in the Sydney Theatre Company’s musical version of the hit 1994 movie, Muriel’s Wedding. First portrayed by Toni Collette, Muriel tries desperately to win the peer approval of the mean girls who laugh at her unfashionable clothes and love of Abba.

In rehearsal for the musical, written by the film’s creator, P. J. Hogan, Maggie laughs at a memory: “You know, this is sad. I spent a lot of lunchtimes alone. But it’s made me understand a character like Muriel so much better than other people might.”

Just as Muriel fled Porpoise Spit to reinvent herself in Sydney, so too did Maggie fly to another city, Los Angeles, to make it on her own, in a place where her mum, who played spoilt daughter Kim in the sitcom Kath & Kim, is not so well known.

Two years studying in LA toughened Maggie up, but her quirky essence remains unchanged. “I’m very much an introvert,” she says. “I feel finally like I’m coming into my own as a person.”

I meet Maggie at the bar at the end of the wharf at the Walsh Bay home of the Sydney Theatre Company. Dressed in a dark green skirt and a blue denim jacket, her brunette hair long, she comes across as a confident young woman. When she gives her toothy smile, you can see traces of her mother.

Maggie grew up an only child in the inner-city Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick. A cassette of the Abba Gold greatest hits compilation, constantly played in the family car, underpinned her lifelong love of ’70s music, matching Muriel’s taste.

Maggie cannot recall her dad, TV producer Rick McKenna, ever singing, but she would sing along to the super Swedes with Gina, whose Shirley Bassey-sized pipes were famously put to use in the Kath & Kim theme, The Joker.

At age 11, Maggie won a national songwriting competition through Mushroom records. The song was called People Say. “I listen back to it now and think, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe I wrote that.’ But it was a really great experience because I’ve been writing music my whole life.” (She has just released her first single, Psychopath, on Triple J Unearthed.)

The year after she won the songwriting contest, Gina took Maggie on a holiday to Los Angeles, where they saw the musical Wicked. It was then that Maggie, who related more to the misunderstood witch Elphaba than to the goody-two-shoes Glinda, fell in love with musical theatre and decided she wanted to sing and act. But her parents dissuaded her from attending casting auditions back home. “They said, ‘Go and be a child first,’ ” says Maggie.

At 13, she wrote a song called Maggie for her then bestie, Maggie Rowsthorn, daughter of actor Peter Rowsthorn (who played Gina’s husband Brett in Kath & Kim). Being friends with the daughter of another comedian created a sanctuary of mutual understanding. One of the lyrics is: “It sounds like I’m singing to myself and that’s creepy.”

While she struggled academically with subjects like maths, and socially with mean girl peers who seemed to be suffering a dose of envy, Maggie found her tribe in year 9, when she joined the performing group Stage Masters.

“I would recommend it to any young person,” she beams, “because I found my best friends of all time, who are still my friends today. We did musicals, and it was the first time I felt I was accepted somewhere. That’s when I started finding my feet and going, ‘Hey, I can do this as a career.’ ” One look at the comments on Maggie’s Instagram feed confirms how loyal those friends have remained.

In 2012, Gina and Rick relented and gave Maggie a tiny role in the feature film Kath & Kimderella. She played Spitting Girl, who had to spit on a king. She also worked as a production assistant and dabbled in writing for the short-lived sketch comedy, Open Slather, starring her mum and Magda Szubanski, which aired in 2015. That same year she decided to study her craft on foreign soil, making good on an ambition she had held for six years.

Macgraw “Cathedral” dress. Photo: Hugh Stewart

Aged 18, Maggie flew alone to LA, auditioned for, and was accepted into, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. “I got on a plane and stuck out the two years by myself out there. It’s the best thing I could have done,” she says.

Why the US and not ?

“I wanted to grow up and have a big experience, to see America, because I do want to end up working there and here. And just to be out of my comfort zone.”

It was a steep learning curve. She was confronted by the sight of Hollywood’s homeless and felt unsafe out alone at night. She lived in dormitories with fellow wannabe actors. “To be nice, I bloody hated it,” she says, laughing.

“Dorm experience is awful and I wouldn’t recommend it, because there are people in your room constantly. People just take your stuff. For an only child, it was very confronting. But I made lots of great friends through it.”

There were many teary phone calls home to Melbourne. Gina and Rick would tell her it was her decision whether to stay or come home. “I definitely toughened up and got a thicker skin.”

Unsuccessful auditions were enlightening, revealing the sexism in the industry. “You feel like you have to walk a certain way and act a certain way as a young female,” she says. “A lot of the roles I was up for in LA were ‘pretty girl number two’. There would be a casting list saying, ‘She is incredibly stunning and skinny but doesn’t know it.’

“I’d walk into these auditions and, of course, everyone would be thinner than me, or everyone would be prettier, or blonder, and you couldn’t compete. You started to feel not human, like, ‘Oh, I am an object.’ “

Throughout it all, Maggie continued to write songs. “A lot of poetry comes from you and your own experiences,” she says. One recent poem she posted on Instagram hints at heartbreak. It reads:

“I conformed to the idea / Of how a girl should act / Soft and gentle / Quiet and beautiful / Though inside / My thoughts echoed like a football stadium / I thought that was what you wanted / Who I should be / But you didn’t want me when I did all of this / And I no longer recognised my soul.”

So is there anyone special in her life? “There is not,” she says. “I’m loving being single at the moment because I’m so busy. I don’t have time to see my friends, or breathe. It’s great to take this time and enjoy the moment, and not have to worry about someone else.”

Had the Muriel role not come along, Maggie might now be working as a princess at Disneyland in California. She reveals that while she was in training for the gig, her jaw would hurt from all the smiling she had to practise.

Fortunately, on her audition tape for Muriel’s Wedding, Maggie nailed Dancing Queen, a difficult song with a two-octave range, its pitch alternating between deep lows and great heights.

While the role establishes Maggie as a performer in her own right, comparisons with her famous mother are inevitable. Having proved she can sing, Maggie is reluctant to say whether her sense of humour is the same as Gina’s, though they do often laugh at the same things: “She and I will make each other cry with laughter in the street at something stupid one of us has said.”

Gucci dress; Zara shoes. Photo: Hugh Stewart

If Muriel’s Wedding the Musical is a hit here, with a national tour a possibility, Maggie might be playing the 22-year-old tearaway who steals her parents’ money to reinvent herself in the emerald city for some time. Of course, Muriel craves the moment she can get married. But as a millennial who wasn’t even born when the movie came out, marriage is not on Maggie’s agenda. “I have never been the type of person to think about marriage,” she says.

“Maybe one day. But my parents aren’t married – it’s a marriage in people’s minds, but they never did the official ceremony.”

Both Maggie and Gina are, to borrow a Kath & Kim catchphrase, conscious of the “look at moi” factor. “We don’t like much attention on us, when it’s us,” she says. “We love dressing up and being other people but, as ourselves, the idea of putting on a big, white, goofy gown and walking down the aisle with everyone looking at you? That’s terrifying.”

Muriel’s Wedding the Musical is on at Roslyn Packer Theatre, Sydney, until January 27.

Fashion editor, Penny McCarthy. Photography, Hugh Stewart. Hair, Anthony Nader using David Mallett. Make-up Aimie Fiebig using Tom Ford. Fashion assistant, Archie Pham.


18/09/2019 0

Women’s Ashes Test delicately poised after opening day at North Sydney Oval

Women’s Ashes Test delicately poised after day one ‘s Ellyse Perry (centre) celebrates with her team mates after taking the wicket of England’s Sarah Taylor. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
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‘s Megan Schutt celebrates her catch of England’s Georgia Elwiss, bowled by Ellyse Perry. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

‘s Megan Schutt catches England’s Georgia Elwiss. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

‘s Ellyse Perry (right) reacts during the Womens Ashes Test between and England at North Sydney Oval in Sydney.

celebrates Amanda-Jade Wellington’s wicket, England’s Tammy Beaumont caught by Alex Blackwell off McGrath for 71. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Sunset during the Women’s Ashes day/night Test between and England at North Sydney Oval in Sydney. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

Shadows cast across the field during the Women’s Ashes day/night Test between and England at North Sydney Oval in Sydney. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

‘s Jess Jonassen celebrates her LBW wicket of England’s Heather Knight for 62. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

England’s Heather Knight in action. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

England’s Tammy Beaumont runs in safe to bring up her half century. Photo: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

TweetFacebookEngland blew a golden opportunity to assert themselves on day one of the Ashes Test as produced a flurry of late wickets to leavethe visitors 7-235 at stumps.

Star all-rounder Ellyse Perry claimed a pair of final-session wickets while debutant TahliaMcGrath chipped in with her secondscalp of the day to put the brakes on what had been apromising English start, which earlier on sat comfortably at 1-129.

Most of the damage came once with the second new ball under lights in front of 2805 fans at North Sydney Oval, most of whom hope to witness a win for the home side which would mean retainingthe Ashes.

As expected, the pink ball started swinging around in the evening session after had toiled earlier in the day on a dry wicket all but devoid of grass.

“I’ve found this using the pink ball a little bit in training, some swing more than others and I don’t think the first one really swung all that much and the wicket probably wasn’t hugely responsive either,” Perry said.

“The second one definitely swung a bit more, obviously we were under lights as well but I think the seam was a little bit more raised on that one so it tended to swing a bit more.

“It’s pretty even conditions out there for the bat and ball. England batted well at different times, there’s definitely enough there to take 20 wickets.”

English opener Tammy Beaumont and captain Heather Knight took charge before tea having won the toss and batted, and the pair put on 104 runs for the second wicket, patiently but confidently stroking the ball around the picturesque suburban ground.

It was another debutant in Amanda-Jade Wellington who broke that stand when a sharply turning leg break shaded Beaumont’s outside edge before landing snugly in Alex Blackwell’s grasp at slip.

Wellington was one of three Test debutants for , alongside McGrath and Beth Mooney who will open the batting with Nicole Bolton.

That meant Sydney juniors Lauren Cheatle and Ashleigh Gardner both missed out on selection.

No Cheatle meant the Aussies had just the three seam options. Megan Schutt was economical and produced her trademark in swing under the lights, but bowled without luck.

Perry and McGrath were complemented by the attacking Wellington, and the metronomic orthodox tweaker Jess Jonassen who grabbed a couple of wickets herself.

She trapped Heather Knight LBW to remove the dangerous stroke maker, before the English middle order failed to take advantage of their solid start.

Georgia Elwiss faced 95 balls for her 27 before skying a ball to square leg, unravelling all of her hard graft.

The classy Natalie Sciver (18) never quite found her rhythm while Sarah Taylor’s 29 was effortless but over far too quickly.when she belted one back to Perry who managed to snaffle a catch in her follow through having seemingly not sighted the ball until it struck her on the arm.

“I just slipped a little bit in some footholds on that delivery and my head went down and I lost all sight of it,” Perry said.

“I kind of looked up and the lights were a little bit in my eyes. The first time I spotted the ball was just before it hit my arm,rather embarrassingly I managed to catch it.

“It provided a lot of entertainment for everyone and I lost all composure and I’m really glad [captain] Rachael [Haynes] took me off after that.

“Every now and then you bowl some bad ones or you have a bit of luck or something obscure happens and that’s what makes the game so fun and entertaining.

“You’d happily get her [Taylor] out any way possible. I don’t think it had anything to do with my skill or ability.”


18/09/2019 0

Chinan pelvic mesh victims want to sue state health departments and regulators

Inquiry: Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who is chairing a Senate inquiry into pelvic mesh devices in .WOMEN victims of pelvic mesh surgery are investigating legal action against not only device manufacturers and surgeons, but statehealth departments and n regulators they hold responsible forfailingto protect them.
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The Western n Health Department isalready a focus, said solicitor Adrian Barakat of AJB Stevens Lawyers in Sydney, afterwomenalleged a cover-up of mesh device surgical trials in WA public and private hospitals.

This followedNewcastle Heraldarticles revealingtwo senior Western n doctors releasedresearch papers from 2005 about surgical trials in Western n public and private hospitalsusing apelvic mesh device invented by one of the doctors, and a secret settlement in 2013 paid by WA Health to a woman implanted with the device in a public hospital in 2003.

Although the research papers stated the trials had ethics committee approvals,WA Health said it could not locate records of ethicsapprovals for trials of the device.

“The majority of the cases we have at the moment are in Western so that’s our focus, but we have a large number of clients and they’re from all over the country. We’re definitely looking at health departments in each state,” Mr Barakat said.

TheHeraldhas also revealed research papers citing ethicsapproval of a surgical trialusing the device at a Victorian public hospital. Victoria’s new health care watchdoglaunched an investigation in June after Health Minister Jill Hennessy was told there wasno record of the trial,ethics approval or hospital credentialing of the device inventor who assisted with surgery on some of the women.

Lawyer Adrian Barakat on pelvic mesh device legal action

Mr Barakat said hisfirm had engaged a senior barrister to advise how ’sdrug and device watchdog, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, could be sued after multiple pelvic mesh devices were registered for use more than a decade ago with little or no evidence of safety and efficacy.

“Somebody needs to find a way to make the TGA accountable. We really think that’s one of the most important ways forward,” Mr Barakat said.

The TGA’s role in the pelvic mesh scandal led University of Canberra academics Dr Wendy Bonython and associate professor Bruce Arnold to call for a complete overhaul of the regulator, in a submission to a Senate inquiry on pelvic mesh devices.

They argued there were legislated indemnity provisions that protected the TGA from being sued for negligent performance of its regulatory functions, which was “problematic because it removes any incentive towards carefulness”.

More than 1350 n women are now registered in legal class actions against major mesh manufacturers Johnson & Johnson and American Medical Systems, with an unknown number ofindividual settlements after legal suitsby women against doctors who implanted the devices.

Mr Barakat said his firm, which has successfully litigated child sexual abuse cases against institutions, would run individual cases against device manufacturers, doctors and regulators, rather than class actions.

“We’re looking at the women individually because they’ve all suffered immensely, in different ways. I’ve got women who have had to give up their businesses and jobs. Most of them have suffered in terms of their marriages. Some have lost their marriages because of this. Most of them can’t have intercourse.”

Women implanted with Intra Vaginal Sling (IVS) and Tissue Fixation System (TFS) devices have engaged the firm, along with others considering action against American Medical Systems, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson.

WA Health did not respond to questions about the 2013 secret settlement or how public hospitals responded to complications experienced by women during an early pelvic mesh trial.


18/09/2019 0