photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
there is so much that goes into a THRIVING and VIABLE MUSIC and ARTS COMMUNITY. its not just the VISIBLE ARTISTS and audience INVOLVED, but arguably more importantly an entire LOCAL MUNICIPAL AGENDA that encapsulates SYMPATHETIC ECONOMIC, LEGAL and even ZONING POLICIES. the pre-pandemic documentary NOW SOUND: MELBOURNE'S LISTENING (KEWL, 2018) is an extended argument for the maintaining of said POLICIES in MELBOURNE and beyond so that the EXTENDED COMMUNITY of INDEPENDENT RECORD STORES, RADIO STATIONS, RECORDING STUDIOS, REHEARSAL SPACES, RECORD LABELS, PERFORMANCE VENUES and VINYL PRESSING PLANTS may continue unabated by new political regimes.
at the heart of this argument is the CULTURAL VALUE of said ARTS COMMUNITY from which all the economic benefits are generated. SYDNEY is portrayed as a DOOMED, CAUTIONARY alternative example having previously imposed LAWS and RESTRICTIONS that limited business hours that basically curtailed LOCAL VENUES and cratered the scene overnight. or at least made it go UNDERGROUND with DUBIOUS LEGALITY and higher risk environments for potential patrons.
watching NOW SOUND i couldnt help but be reminded of a similar situation in BROOKLYN neighborhoods like WILLIAMSBURG and GREENPOINT whereby the success of the LOCAL ARTS SCENE, which initially took advantage of SUPPORTIVE ZONING POLICIES and cheap rent, cannibalized itself as it attracted the attention of real estate developers eager to take advantage of the scene's NOTORIETY and now a decade or two later the whole place is a series of FACELESS, IMPOSING residential buildings. one even stands where my cousin's former RECORDING STUDIO was once located. as much as participants in MELBOURNE's EXPANSIVE MUSIC and ARTS SCENE pre-pandemic were pushing for more INCLUSIVITY and much-needed safe spaces for WOMEN and the LGBTQIA community, the sad truth is that ultimately GENTRIFICATION will seemingly level everyone. it happened in BROOKLYN and AUSTIN and various other thriving STATESIDE SCENES. this film seems to be an educational effort aimed at getting the word out about the potential future danger of MELBOURNE devouring itself in the name of short-term PROFITS and ultimately losing its HARD-FOUGHT REPUTATION as a MULTI-CULTURAL HAVEN in the process.
sadly, i think that transformation is INEVITABLE. GREED and CAPITALISM consumes everything in its path, especially ART.
photo by nacrowe
simply put, HERCULES RETURNS (1993) is one of the great comedies of all-time.
i only heard of it because i lived overseas. its pretty crazy, i was living in nigeria in the mid-90s and the cable tv we had basically included CNN International, VOX (German), RTL and RTL2 (German), CANAL+ (French) and this south african entertainment channel called M-NET. i know this now from being overseas that US firms are known to be quite expensive when it comes to syndication rights to their content, both film and television, which is why you often see grossly outdated material overseas or content from other countries entirely.
case in point: in albania they would show tons of mexican telenovelas because their syndication rights were so low. same with italian matinees and croatian children's shows. oh yeah, and they had I LOVE LUCY. go figure?
anyway, M-NET would should lots of indie films from australia and new zealand for exactly this reason and usually they were pretty mediocre. i remember the weekend they showed HERCULES RETURNS, an australian comedy. it was a sunday and literally the next day half my school bus was quoting this film and it never really let down. a legend was born.
i've been told by people that the movie is based on a play, but the basic ploy of the film is that people are dubbing over an old muscle movie from the 1960s. basically BAD LIP READING but actually funny and clever.
i don't want to give anything of it away. just want to get the word out their that this is a gem of a film that is sadly under-appreciated in the united states and i am here to help reinvigorate it back to prominence and glory. must-seem classic.