Canberra Confidential: No Alternative for Gardner

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CC hears of unhappiness at partner level of the emerging Smith’s Alternative bar and venue in Civic.

Jorian Gardner
Jorian Gardner

After only months together, its principal, veteran theatre producer Domenic Mico, is reported to be parting company with his minority shareholder and Fringe Festival producer Jorian Gardner.

The spin is that Gardner is off to concentrate on his festival, but based on a $20,000 grant how much love can he really afford to lavish on it?

While viewed in arts circles as something of an odd commercial coupling, the duo has in only a few months commendably given the venue a dynamic presence with many sell-out nights of performance and art. CC hopes the prevailing Mico can keep up the pace.

Remembering Malcolm

CANBERRA Theatre Centre director Bruce Carmichael was at the celebration at the Angel Place Recital Centre in Sydney to mark the passing of Malcolm Leech, the former Canberra Theatre GM.

Bruce reports that the celebration evening, held where Malcolm went after leaving the Canberra Theatre, was packed to overflowing. Apparently Malcolm, in anticipating such an event, told friends: “If it’s going to be morbid, don’t do it.” It wasn’t.

Pricey ‘Times’

WHAT goes down, must go up, it seems in “The Canberra Times” view of the world. As its newspaper sales plummet, what better disincentive to getting punters to keep taking the paper can there be than a good, solid  price rise? That’s the plan, CC hears, with the weekday edition rising 30 cents to $2 from October 28.

Faceless men with a special future

IT may look like a caucus meeting of Labor’s “faceless men”, but the 65 faceless and featureless calico dolls on the couch are the skillful work of president Joan Crook and members of the CWA’s Canberra Evening Branch.

Faceless men
‘Faceless men’

They make “trauma dolls” for paediatric patients at Calvary John James Hospital, who are kept busy drawing features on their dolls.

For more than 20 years, the Canberra Evening Branch has got together every 2-3 months to make 60 to 90 dolls trauma dolls for the hospital from materials donated by members.

Frances Brown, of John James, says they currently have around 60 paediatric patients a month and the number is growing. “The kids enjoy decorating the dolls and take them to surgery with them.” she says.


House number

CC was casting a laser-like eye over the list of Centenary numberplate charities (who get to raise funds from the limited release of plates) and noticed two C85s listed (Master Builders Australia and the Olivia Lambert Foundation). The doubling up was a cock-up, but CC was curious about the MBA being a beneficiary. Turns out it runs a young builders’ program that’s also working on the construction of a charity house, and that’s why it gets to sell the numberplate.


Own goal

“AND do most people – even if they write for a living – need to know how to parse a sentence? Isn’t enough to just be able to write a coherent, decently spelt one?” Doh. That’s “Canberra Times” journalist Natasha Rudra arguing against ACT high school students being forced to study English and maths in Years 11 and 12.

Hearing Chimes

CHANNEL Ten’s “Bondi Vet”, Lisa Chimes, pictured, is appearing at the Crace “Pets Party in the Park”, 11am-3pm, on Sunday, November 3. Beyond Dr Chimes, there will be a range of experts at the Crace Recreation Park offering advice and tips. The event is free.

Vet Lisa Chimes with Lucas
Vet Lisa Chimes with Lucas

Earthly pleasures

ARE weeds considered “produce source from the backyard”? pondered one wag in response to “Down to Earth”, a whacky idea for a dinner in which diners provide produce sourced from their backyards, planned for A.Baker at New Acton.

“We write a seasonal menu, you provide the produce as part of your ticket price – and we all drink local wine. If you don’t have a veggie patch, bring some flowers or candles for the tables,” is the plan.

It’s on 6.30pm-10.30pm, October 21, tickets are $80. Bookings and promises to


Lu Kewen who?

COLUMNIST and author Robert Macklin, just back from a speaking tour to China reports: “Kevin Rudd (Lu Kewen) was said to be a person of continuing fascination to the Chinese people with his fluency in Mandarin.

“Alas, in lectures to more than 600 university students in three Shanghai and Xi’an universities last month, there was not one question about him… nor the slightest interest in his successor.” Which is doubly odd because Macklin is also Rudd’s authorised biographer.


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