Welcome to The Culture Wrap! Our regular feature edited by Jessie Tu, that shares her pick of things to read, hear and watch.
I AM WOMAN
The first time I saw Tilda Cobham-Hervey was in ABC’s adaptation of Christos Tsiolkas’ novel Barracuda. Cobham-Hervey played a cooly seductive young woman who our protagonist loses his virginity. She was poised, polished and exquisitely self-confident. I was infatuated immediately. I watched Cobham-Hervey in her 2013 break-out role in Sophie Hyde’s indie-gem“52 Tuesdays”, and relished with fear seeing her fighting to survive in “Hotel Mumbai.” Her face alone compels attention, study and reverence. (Also, Tilda? Can you think of another 25-year old with a name like Tilda?)
Hence my total and utter excitement when I saw her name carved onto a poster of a woman standing on a stage, stage-lights glimmering on her perfectly postured frame, leaning back, microphone in hand; starring in Australian director Unjoo Moon’s biopic of Helen Reddy; “I am Woman” which went live on Stan on Friday.
The film opens in 1966 as Reddy lands in New York City with her three-year-old daughter, a suitcase and under $250 in cash. For the next two hours, we watch her life unfold as she tops the charts with her smash hits throughout the 70s, becoming the feminist trailblazer she’s known today. The Hollywood Reporter said Cobham-Hervey “captures Reddy’s easy, striding swagger on stage, and she ages convincingly from her mid-20s to her late-40s, with just a subtle assist from makeup and hair.”
The film is the first feature from Moon, who, along with writer Emma Jensen, took cues from Reddy’s memoir, “The Woman I Am” to write the screenplay.
“This movie empowered me as a young woman to find my own voice,” Tilda recently told SMH. “If it can do that for other women, that’s important.”
Music: Tkay Maidza
The best cocktail I have ever had was a blend of ten different kinds of whiskey, three flavours of fruit punch, lime cordial, soda water, caramel syrup, and a splash of Poorman’s Orange gin. Or so I think. Perhaps there were other flavours in there too. Maybe a can of beer. Maybe a travel-size bottle of Herradura. The important thing was that this exquisite blend, this cocktail, this punch, call it what you want — was mind-blowing. You could taste the musty oak-i-ness of the white oak barrels from which the tequila had been stewing for almost 50 months.
Imagine a barrel where instead of liquor, you poured in the sounds of Nicki Minaj, Santigold, Major Lazer and Lorde. Stir it around and you’ll get the blaring, sonic thrill of Zimbabwean-born Australian singer-songwriter and rapper Tkay Maidza.
Her latest album, “Last Year Was Weird (Vol. 2)” — (erm, perhaps she meant, this year?) was released earlier this month, and the eight tracks on this record will get your heart pumping. It’s Maidza’s second installment of a planned trilogy which blends styles, moods and flavours.
“Awake,” featuring New Yorker rapper JPEGMAFIA, is a darkly-fierce anthem with cutting lyrics, brute bass, and hip-hop-esque vibes. Beware – the video can send your eyes into a minor narcoleptic-fit. “So Sad” lingers with an air of reggae, Bosa-Nova inspired beats, accompanied by a choir of Katy-Perry-ish vocals.
Podcast: If you Don’t Mind
Is talking about mental illness still a taboo? Not as much as it used to be, right? But wouldn’t it be great if conversations about the depths upon which many of us really struggle, like, really, really struggle, were not so rare in the public landscape?
Wouldn’t it be great to sit down with an honest and candid individual and ask them about their mental illness, really get into the essence of their lives? Wouldn’t it be great to hear their stories and walk inside their shoes?
Maddie Cherrington’s podcast “If you Don’t Mind” is what to listen to if you’re asking these questions. Each week, she speaks to an ordinary Aussie, living with extraordinary experiences; people with bi-polar, depression, PTSD, anxiety, anorexia nervosa, eating disorders and mania. The conversations are always empathetic, insightful, sometimes devastating, always uplifting.
As Maddie says, “When you get to hear about other people’s experiences, it sets you up in a way to look at the world a bit differently, which is important, otherwise you don’t grow.”
I was especially hooked on the episode titled “Taylor” (each episode is titled after the interviewee — Taylor opens up about the mental trauma of anorexia nervosa; the isolation, the disgust, the emotional tsunami of the disease.