Arts in the city: ‘Rent’ gets off to a rocking start

• I’M still humming the tunes from the late Jonathan Larson’s “Rent”, the modern rock-and-AIDS-age answer to Puccini’s “La Boheme”, after Everyman Theatre’s rocking media launch at the Front Café and Gallery last week. Vanessa De Jager, as Mimi, will be confronting that age-old problem of singing with vigour when you’re supposed to be dying. Jarrad West’s coming production looks like a beauty. At the Courtyard Studio, December 6-22, bookings 6275 2700 or

• THE Cuban embassy and the Australia Cuba Friendship Society know how to party. They’re staging “The biggest party of the year” from 7pm-midnight on Saturday, December 8, at St John’s Church in Reid. The idea is to support the Cuban cultural gift to Canberra for the Centenary. You can buy Cuban beer, Cuban rum, Cuban mojitos, Australian wine and Cuban empanadas with “Revolution sauce”. Just turn up, it’s $20 at the door.

• JON English will be here soon with his latest show, “Rock Revolution”. With a younger cast than usual, he’ll be throwing us a bit of Rolling Stones, The Who and Deep Purple et al. At the Canberra Theatre, 8pm, December 7. Bookings to 6275 2700 or

• PRIZE-winning photographer, Basia Meder, left town years ago to spend time in Africa and her native Poland. She’ll be launching her book of amazing African faces and scenes, “Granny Backpacker in Africa”, at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre, 6pm, on December 6. All welcome.

• A CONCERT celebrating Croatian folklore and song and presented by The Living Instrument, will feature a work by Croatia’s president Ivo Josipović and performances by Croatian music specialists and western classical soloists. “Domovina” at Llewellyn Hall, 7.30pm, Wednesday, December 5, pre-concert talk 7pm, tickets at the door.

• CANBERRA New Music Ensemble, in a welcome return to the stage of the NGA’s Fairfax Theatre, will present pianist Margaret Legge-Wilkinson performing a selection of Shostakovich’s beautiful preludes and fugues. 3pm, Sunday, December 2, Tickets at the door.

• GOOD news that the Canberra U3A Recorder Orchestra has reached the finals of national awards presented each year by the Music in Communities Network that recognises creative ageing through music, one of only 15 groups from a field of nearly 100 Australia-wide.

• A DISTURBING psychological drama featuring a woman locked in a room full of exotic birds will be Lexx Productions’ premiere of Rachel Hogan’s “The Bird Man’s Wife”. At Belconnen Theatre, Swanson Court, December 4-8, bookings to

• SCUNA, the ANU Choral Society, conducted by Andrew Koll, will perform “Celestial Harmonies: Music for Contemplation and Celebration” in St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Forrest at 8pm on December 8. Bookings to or tickets at the door.

 Caption: Nick Valois and Vanessa De Jager, tragic characters in “Rent”. Photo by Family Fotographics.

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