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2007 Media Release - Circus Oz

 Issued Thursday, 3 May 2007


The hottest show in town…simultaneously laid back, satirical, funny, naughty, chaotic and richly musical.
New York Times 2006

…dazzling feats of derring-do, outrageous stunts and comedy and a (literally) fiery finale.
New York Post 2006

Since crashing into existence three decades ago and turning everyone’s notions of circus upside down, Australia’s very own Circus Oz has spent the last two years wowing audiences across the globe. As a fitting salute to one of Australia’s greatest entertainment exports, this rambunctious troupe is finally being let loose on the stage of another great Australian entertainment icon: the Opera Theatre at Sydney Opera House.

From 26 May, Circus Oz will present a limited season of its spectacular new “Laughing at Gravity” show which recently played a critically acclaimed, sold-out season at the New Victory Theatre in Times Square, New York.

Taking over a magnificent venue normally reserved for opera and ballet, Circus Oz is going to turn the Opera Theatre on its head with its unique brand of death-defying stunts and electrifying live music.

In announcing the premiere season, Rachel Healy, Director of Performing Arts, said today, “I’m thrilled that we’re able to present Australia’s best known circus under the best known big top in the world. The season of Circus Oz in the Opera Theatre will open up this glorious venue to a wider community that may have grown up with the building, but never had the chance to connect with the performances that happen inside.”

As well as daredevil trapeze and aerial acts, Circus Oz entertains family members of all ages with its irreverent social satire and slapstick comedy. The show promises to present the Opera Theatre as it has never been seen before with acts including a singing stuntman who falls from the ceiling, edge-of-the-seat flying trapeze artists, feats of strength that have to be seen to be believed and a breath-taking blistering finale that engulfs the entire Opera Theatre stage in fire.

Circus Oz Artistic Director, Mike Finch, said, "We’ve got electric guitar duos playing up a storm, mad school kids hijacking the flying trapeze (think Angus Young and Chrissie Amphlett), our BMX bike has been stolen by Skull the Roadie, and Christa Hughes (aka KK Juggy from Machine Gun Fellatio) belts out some show-stopping songs including the massive pyro-finale".

For almost 30 years, Circus Oz has been setting the benchmark for circus arts around the world with its larrikin Aussie approach. The “Laughing at Gravity” show is an opportunity to experience Circus Oz at its very best with its most physically skilful, exuberant and explosive show to date.

"Woodring is fantastic… his stuff will outlast all but one in a thousand of his peers… a revelation."Understanding Comics

"Frank is such a strange creation… wordless, timeless, placeless and existing on its own bizarre terms. It offers tableaus of tenderness and bloodshed, cruelty and sacrifice, love and betrayal, terror and bliss… wrapped like candies from another planet."
Francis Ford Coppola

Meet one of the most revolutionary artists to change the face of comic books as we know them. For the first time in Australia the creator of the comic books Frank and Jim, Jim Woodring, will appear in a specially crafted show at The Studio, Sydney Opera House

Featuring select cuts from Visions of Frank a collection of Frank animations by Japan’s most audacious film makers, the show also includes some of Australia’s most unique musicians - Jeff Lang, Michael Lira and Peter Hollow - performing live musical reflections of other Frank comic strips and original paintings by Woodring. An exclusive question and answer session with the artist himself will close the show.

Jim Woodring’s mind re-programming comic work has received critical acclaim across the globe. He has been labelled as the most important cartoonist of our generation and his work has been exhibited across America, Japan and Europe.

Born in Los Angeles in 1952 he tuned his craft in various 'underground' publications before becoming a full-time freelance cartoonist primarily for advertising agencies and public relations companies but also working on whatever projects came his way, such as student films and other collaborative art.

In 1980 he self-published the first issue of his ‘illustrated autojournal’, JIM, containing comics, drawings and stories drawn from his childhood experiences. JIM was subsequently published as a 32-page magazine by Fantagraphics Books at which stage he left animation and embarked on a career as a full-time cartoon artist.

Woodring’s work has been featured in many publications that deal with comics and culture, from the high-brow Kenyon Review and World Art Magazine to Francis Coppola's Zoetrope, as well as the Frank comics.

In 2006 he and guitarist Bill Frisell were awarded a United States Artists Fellowship for their collaborative stage shows. In 2007 a large solo show of work from all phases of his career was the centrepiece of the International Comics Festival in Angouléme, France, and he has been invited to participate in the Toys and Comiix exhibition, due to open in November at the Louvre.

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