Category Archives: festivals
So my Mum…
This Mum of which I speak is my grandma, who’s raised me since I was 5…man I feel like the author of The Babysitters Club repeatedly explaining my backstory on here as I tend to do…admittedly if her series was being read by a tender but delicious few!
Anyway…I digress. Probably cos I don’t really want to write it: but here it is.
Mum’s cancer is back. It’s non-Hodgkins lymphoma again. Given the alternatives that were being investigated it is actually a positive outcome.
Still, it has rocked me. The past few weeks have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I’ve been seeing heaps of her though, which has been truly wonderful. I feel very lucky.
Lucky to have this time with her. Lucky that she has made it this far (she’s 89 in a few weeks and determined to make it past 90!), lucky that she has seen my wedding and met all three of my children, to the point where all of them will have memories of spending time with her. So, so lucky.
Back in 2007, deciding to move to Canada was a really tough call, given that I’ve spent most of my life worrying about her dying at any moment. It’s a hangover from experiencing grief early on. I still have to, on occasion, talk myself down from thoughts that loved ones will disappear suddenly. Then…three weeks before we were due to leave, she underwent tests for leukaemia. “Mum,” I said to her. “It’s okay, if it’s bad news, we’ll just cancel the trip and stay. It’s no big deal. Really. Canada will aways be there.” She called me a few days later: “It’s not cancer!” We all breathed sighs of relief, celebrated and off we trundled to the big beautiful red and white flag in the snow.
A few weeks later, a Skype call. Only in audio, as the computer was crap. “So they’re putting me on this new medicine for the thing.”
“What is it exactly?”
“Non, oh what is it? I wrote it down. Hold on a moment, oh non, non-Hodgkins lymphoma,” she says.
“Lymphoma?” I say. “But Mum, that’s cancer, isn’t it?”
“Well, no, not really.”
This is the Mum of which I speak. This woman.
I am astounded by her attitude. I feel so grateful to have been raised by such a strong, character-ful, positive, optimistic in defiance of life’s shittiness-at-times and truly magnificent woman.
She raised my sister (then 2, a toddler for crying out loud) and I (5) from the age of 60 (!), as a single parent AND while grieving the completely-out-of-the-blue death of her daughter.
She is something else.
She has made me who I am.
Of course, she wasn’t perfect, nobody is. But now that I’ve had my own kids, I FORGIVE EVERYTHING. I had no idea the extent of what she did for us – and I mean, everything, the feeding, the lunch boxes, the driving, the noise (dear God, the noise!), the money, the cooking, the cleaning (and she kept our home spick and span!) I understand this now a little bit more at least, and cannot even comprehend how she did it. She is almost beyond human in my mind. She’s my role model.
When somebody commented recently to her about my housekeeping abilities (or apparently infamous lack thereof), she simply smiled and said “Well, Jenny’s NOT a housekeeper! She never has been and she never will be. I used to walk by her bedroom and just shut the door.”
As she recounts this to me one afternoon, she stares me directly in the eye and smiles: “And you’re NOT a housekeeper!” Magically, she says this to me in a way that doesn’t feel like a passive aggressive jibe, but like a compliment. Hmm, I think. I’m not a housekeeper. Damn straight! “Thank you!” I say. “Thank you Mum! I’m NOT a housekeeper! Thank you!” We hug.
OTHER THINGS HAPPENING LATELY:
- have spent a stunning summer at the beach as often as we can get there. My kids have learned to boogie board, including my scrummy Cassidy. Boarding at age 3. I am so boasting about that!
- my new up-and-coming website (this blog is gonna be moving soon to http://www.jennywynter.com you see) has been hijacked and apparently is redirecting all mobile devices to some Russian porn site. If that’s your thing, then you’re welcome. For all others, my huge apologies, I am trying to sort it out shortly, comrades! Vodkas all round. The new site WILL be up and running pretty shortly!
- I live-tweeted my way through Labyrinth! It’s been on my to-do list for a while and was suitably fun. Some tweeps joined in who weren’t even watching the movie (other than in their head.) Hehe. Thinking of making it a regular tweetable movie club.
- got some new headshots done. Just plain actory-ones for my actory-aspirations.
- WE BOUGHT A TELEVISION. Inconceivable. We haven’t had one for nearly a decade (by choice) and already I’m rather horrified by the amount we’ve had it switched on at home. I blame the Australian Open.
- my head has been turned to a pile of melting mush by the umpteen logistics involved in taking the new show PLUS Betties PLUS a set (still haven’t quite worked out how the heck I’m getting my giant gum ball machine down to South Australia!) down to Adelaide Fringe. It’s coming soon. And even better…tickets are actually already selling. So yes. I’m full of anxiety and excitement. Anxietment!
What a week. I don’t believe I’m out of line speaking on behalf of the entire clan when I say that we’re sore, tired, high, low, socialised up, gigged out, rocked in the spaces between and now facing a house that looks like a shaken snow-globe. Such is the roller coaster marathon of wonder that is a season spent at Woodford Folk Festival!
My Top 5 Personal Highlights in No Particular Order:
1. Debuting WONDERLAND!
With the first EVER performance of this new show (yep, the one that’s coming to Adelaide Fringe and Brisbane Comedy Festival shortly!) I was understandably nauseous about this one. BUT…I’ve gotta tell you, the moment the curtains opened, the band kicked in (they ROCKED IT SO BAD I NEARLY SWEATED PRIDE BEADS!), I looked over and saw the Betties being all Betty-ish, I took in the ridiculously awesome set (designed by extraordinardo incarnate Dan Endicott, who took my instructions of “Well, I know it’s crazy but I’d love a giant gum ball machine that actually WORKS!” and turned them into even more amazeballsness than I could have ever hoped for)…I honestly had goosebumps.
It was way too much fun. I’ve got plenty of tweaking (and more writing!) to do between now and it’s resurrection in Adelaide (opening night is Friday February 15th) but I am just so relieved and elated that WE HAVE GOT A SHOW, PEOPLE!
2. Hanging with Betty and the Betties!
3. Having Utterly Fabulous Hair All Week Long!
After 13 years of coming to Woodford (as a performer for nearly half of that), this one marked a turning point in that for the first time ever, I had a wondrous man of Edward Scissorhands-like-hair genius stroking my tender locks each and every morn. Even to be able to type that sentence is a dream come true. Derek from the fabulous Pink Salon (if you’re in Brissie you really MUST check these guys out) was on Betty and Jenny hair patrol and my oh my. I don’t know how I will ever go back.
That the top of my crown looked so well spruced came in particularly handy during a surprise photo op with Australia’s very own PM. Whoda thunk?
PLUS…Derek’s daughter and my own (who became little partners in crime around the festival all week) succumbed to the allure of the Betty hairstyle and by the end of the week, became our very own honorary Betty Juniors!
The Great Debate!
Doing the debate is always one of my favourite gigs of the entire festival, however it is also the one that causes the most turmoil to my digestive tract. Fortunately, being able to meet Rod Quantock (a long-time hero who, it turns out, is not just hilarious but the sweetest man) AND Kate Miller-Heidke (whose Mum I met at a gig last year, after which she came to see “An Unexpected Variety Show” in Melbourne, love her and Kate is as gorgeous in person as she is onstage) within 10 minutes of going onstage to debate my buttocks off, was soothing balm for the affirmative team’s soul.
I should also point out that I have such strong memories of being a punter in the crowd and watching these debates – they were my only “I cannot miss that!” events each year, and thinking how much ridiculous fun it would be to be up there doing it. Dreams can come true. They really can.
Camping With Friends!
Between the half a gazillion gigs, my favourite thing to do in between was as little as possible back at our campsite. Hanging with friends and family that we otherwise don’t have nearly as much of a chance to catch up with properly throughout everybody’s highly busy years, this was just the bomb. And that almost all our fellow campers had kids as well was organic icing on the gluten-free cake.
PLUS…Just Soaking Up General Woodfordia Goodness!
Last year we got home from Woodford and my littlest was all fired up about doing somersaults. This year? We can hardly pry the ukelele away from him. This morning he woke me up by singing “I love you Mummy, I love Ella, I love Caleb, I love Daddy, I love myself!”
Thank you Woodford. Til next time. xx
Did you actually read that?
WE HAVE A BAND FOR WONDERLAND AT WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL!
I cannot believe it is happening – especially in light of the fact that the show itself is indeed about wonderful things happening – but in the past week, I have somehow managed to join forces with a drummer/guitarist, bass guitarist, saxophonist and keyboardist to do some musical comedy numbers AND improvised songs as part of the Wonderland show!
Excuse me while I geek out for a moment.
That these people are blisteringly talented individuals is a godsend. That they are all hilarious and awesome and nice and bloody great to work with PLUS I get to share the show with them AND Betty and the Betties, some of my favourite ladies on earth, well seriously…whatever happens, for me selfishly, THIS SHOW IS A DREAM COME TRUE.
I’ve honestly always wanted a band to do improv and comedy and jamming stuff with onstage but it seemed so “pie in the sky” ish that I never took it seriously enough to make it happen. But now it’s just fallen into place and I’m completely losing my mind about it with excitement.
After brainstorming last night with a couple of the gang after our Betties rehearsal, I was so inspired I stayed up way into the wee hours and wrote and wrote and wrote. It was honestly like I was possessed by some force telling me to not dare stop in case I woke up in the morning and the well was dry. This has NEVER happened to me before. I lost all track of time. I think it must have been three that I finally caved in and slept. I sure feel it now. BUT…I have a show!
Now to tweak, polish, rehearse AND finish writing that one pesky closing number.
I cannot wait to perform it though, and whenever I’ve felt like that about a new song/bit or whatever, like I am literally ITCHING to get up onstage and share it with the world, it’s been a good thing.
Not many sleeps now!
P.S. We have only 6 days left on our pozible campaign and I have the stomach ulcer to show for it. A few folks have told me they’re a bit confused by what this pozible business actually is! Honestly, the easiest way to wrap your head around it is to go to our page on the site, but the Reader’s Digest version is this:
- it’s not a donation site, you don’t “donate” anything (because we aren’t a charity!), rather it’s about pre-buying goods and services (like tickets to our early 2013 shows both in Brissie and Adelaide, DVDs, merch, etc.) so that we can afford to do the project (which in this case, involves us touring Wonderland to Adelaide Fringe!)
- if you go onto the site, you’ll see the different prices of everything you can get. For instance, pledging $30 will get you a DVD, $50 a DVD plus show ticket, right up to a $2000 business package!
- we don’t get ONE CENT of the money pledged unless our campaign is successful. Your pledge is not processed (i.e. your card isn’t charged) until we are successful, which, touch wood, will be in six days time!) We are currently at $3320 of our $5000 goal. If we don’t make it, we get nothing.
Hope that makes sense!
Writing a new show is scary.
I remember tearing my hair out when I was starting what finally became “An Unexpected Variety Show”, namely cos the whole process was just so damn messy that it left me wondering (more often than not) whether it was EVER going to actually look like anything other than a bunch of disconnected index cards covering the floor.
My sister came over yesterday and between dissuading toddlers from swallowing Christmas ornaments, we talked through the new show (which, if you’ve been following along, you’ll know the Betties are in!) and had a creative breakthrough.
It was just what I needed. Not that all problems are solved, but I think when you’re working on a major project and are plagued with self doubt, sometimes that’s all you need. Not to solve the whole Rubik’s cube, but rather, to have just the odd leap of progress to give you hope that you are indeed, gonna get there.
If You Want To See This Show of Which I Speak:
You can pledge for tix and/or a DVD of the show (you don’t need to have dates, etc. worked out, either, we sort out details later) right here on our Pozible campaign page!
So as you may have heard, I’m putting together my new show about all things awesomely ridiculous and ridiculously awesome and I would love, love, love YOUR story to be a part of it!
During each and every show I will be reading out a letter from somebody – YOU?! – sharing a story about something fabulous, wonderful and/or awe-inspiring that has happened in your lifetime.
It can be about a place, a person, an act of random kindness, it can be hilarious, it can be heartbreaking.
Whatever your story is to share, it just has to be:
- true; and
- about something that made you feel – even for a split second – that the world was a wonderland.
I first got this idea of sharing audience-generated stories when I lived in Canada and was introduced to the work of Stuart Maclean of The Vinyl Cafe, who does this often at his shows and I immediately fell in love. Another massive inspiration to me on the power of storytelling is the fantastic work of The Moth. I highly recommend checking out both these links if you’re in need of some inspiration!
The plan is to record these stories at each show, upload them online and then send you the link (hopefully we will have you there in the audience on the night to enjoy it for yourself too, but worst case, you will get a copy of the performance!) plus we’ll send you a little pack of goodies as thanks!
Keen to be part of Wonderland? Email your story here! And please let me know when you write if you’re planning to be at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival, or next year’s Adelaide Fringe or Brisbane Comedy Festival. (Note: you do not HAVE to be at any of the above to contribute, but if you are planning to be at any, let me know so that if your story is shared, we can tee it up so you’re in the audience that night!)
Wanna be part of it but just wanna share something short and sweet?
Share a short moment of awesome on my Facebook page or tweet me @jennywynter with hashtag #wonderland
Your post or tweet might be featured during the show too!
Woohoo! Yours in wonderlandish-storysharing,
Found this last night in my daughter’s school-book as she did her homework.
I never really thought about support in those terms before. It was timely. It’s been on my mind. Support. Namely cos I’ve never really felt so supported – nor indeed, have I had to ask so much for it – as I have this year. Truly. I am sick of the sound of my own cyber-voice. Honestly. I want to scream at myself “ENOUGH ALREADY! People can only take so much of your incessant call to arms!”
Stopping me from stabbing myself in the tongue with a pitchfork, however, is:
a) the reality that I don’t even know whether pitchforks actually exist anymore; and
b) the awesomeness of peeps actually getting behind this crazy campaign. Despite the fact I just spent the past two months screaming at them to support the charity fundraiser.
No kidding. Over the weekend, thanks to a bunch of you guys pledging in one hit, we managed to make the “Popular” list on pozible, and as I type this we are sitting at the 44% mark of our goal. I’m madly thinking up some extra surprise goodies to give to you guys, just to say thank you.
By the way, if you haven’t yet checked out Pozible, you really should. Not just cos of me. There are SO many amazing projects on there, it really is something else. I’ve already pledged some $ myself to some highly worthy projects, including:
2) a friend’s doco about gay marriage; and
I also just found out about this ROCKING project to record a new CD called Choristry, directed by a new cabaret friend I made this year, the scrumptious Trevor Jones.
Do I sound cool now? COS DAMN I FEEL IT!
Truly. Try it. Instant self-esteem boost: support somebody.
Doesn’t matter who. Hopefully not a wench or a war-lord. But my point in writing this post is not to say “me, me, me!” (I’ve done enough of that to last me a lifetime in the past week alone thank you very much), but to just point out that in general, it is a rocking thing indeed to get behind folks who are attempting grand acts of creativity. We need cheerleaders. Champions. Financial and otherwise. And it feels good to BE a cheerleader and a champion.
It’s like being in a moshpit (full disclosure: haven’t been in one since my heady teen Pearl Jam days) and you’re part of the living mass of hands holding up a crowd-surfer. Even though somebody else is up there riding the wave, feeling the adrenalin rush, you are still part of that trip. Your hands combine with those of masses of strangers for those few short seconds, to create a ride that otherwise would just be some random smashing their spine on the floor while you look on with shrugged shoulders. But they’re not. And you’re not. For those few moments, you are all part of something.
Or you are just holding your arms up desperately hoping to avoid a boot in your eye.
Either way, you’re still keeping somebody from falling. And holding them up.
Cutting to the chase: If you don’t have time to read this post in full, the bottom line is that if you are thinking of supporting our Pozible campaign, PLEASE do so either today or tomorrow! It would help us HUGELY! Thank you! And slow down or you’ll tear a ligament.
So by now you’ve heard about my Pozible campaign to get my new show up and running and down to the Adelaide Fringe – or not. Goodness knows my head has been spinning so hard lately to keep up with all the plates round here, I wouldn’t blame you for missing that crucial nugget of news. Here’s the video of me explaining the whole deal (deliriously exhausted shooting it at 2 in the morning no less) if you wanna play catch-up.
Anyhoo, point is, if you are at all thinking about getting your hands on any of the rewards (see our neat little poster below outlining some of these goodies up for grabs & YES I can ship internationally, just check out the campaign page for details) PUHLEASE don’t hold off in taking action: because you can help seriously rock this campaign’s casbah if you PLEDGE TODAY OR TOMORROW!
So…why today and tomorrow? What’s the big rush?
Well, here’s the deal. We are on a mission to get as many pledges as we can over the next 2 days in the hope that this crazy influx of support may get us to the Pozible homepage as a featured project. (They calculate it based on which projects have scored the most support over the past coupla days, you see.) If this works, this means our campaign will be in front of the eyeballs of a GUTLOAD more people than we could ever be scanned by otherwise. So if you’re already thinking of supporting, but haven’t gotten around to it yet, please pretty please could you click over and pledge today to help us try to make the homepage?!
The cool part is that WHENEVER you pledge…you don’t pay a cent. Not one. Not until the campaign is successful (it’s due to end in December) so you pledging tomorrow or Saturday makes ZERO difference to your wallet, but a HUGE difference to helping us make this thing happen.
Alrighty. Here endeth the plea.
This is Jen “self-promo slorry” Wynter signing off, hoping to report back with some rocking “we made the pozible homepage!” news early next week.
Thank you and salada!
One more sleep! Tickets are selling, rehearsals are all but dunzo, the camera guys are getting the set-up sorted for the DVD filming, plus I have set myself a rather insane task of writing a NEW SONG for “An Unexpected Variety Show” today. Yes, I know. Ridiculous. I am. Absolutely ridiculous. I kinda disgust myself. Ugh. But as some of you know, there is one cover song in the show and I have been meaning for ages to replace it with an original, so of course, it is only once the finish line is in sight that I am prompted to get off my butt and write it. I’m not the only one like this am I? Am I? Hmmm….
We had our last Betties rehearsal last night and by golly gosh, what a bunch of fine ladies I have the privilege of working with. Seriously. Love these girls. I can completely screw up the choreography, lose my kazoo, lose myself in my kazoo choreography and they love me still. And I them.
Bottom line, tomorrow night, whatever happens, it is gonna be so much fun. And we will smell like hairspray for weeks.
The Big Announcement! Or “How to get a cupcake soiree in your kitchen and/or a cabaret/comedy party in your lounge!”
This is it! The project I was banging on about yesterday! It’s all about taking my newest show, called ‘Jenny Wynter’s Wonderland! Featuring Betty and the Betties!’ to the Adelaide Fringe in 2013 and it has officially launched today right here!
I won’t harp on about the details here, as if you click over to the page itself, all will be revealed! It tells you what the show is all about (clue: JAWESOMENESS), how you can be involved (including IN THE SHOW ITSELF), ridiculously cool stuff you can get for supporting it and the rest.
Note: if you do want to help in some way, please, pretty please, the HUGEST thing you can do with this is to share this link: www.pozible.com/wonderland with your peeps. The sooner we get this ball rolling, the better. That is gold, I tells ya!
I think it’s worth even just checking out the video (posted above for your convenience: I stayed up insanely late making it, PUHLEASE watch it so my crankiness towards my family is at least justifiable in some context: “but look guys, at least 3 people watched Mummy devolving into a banshee!”) even if you can’t be bothered reading on.
I will say that jumping onboard this project as a supporter may be of interest if:
- you have ever commented that you’d love to see me perform if I ever come to your town/country/loungeroom. There are DVDs to be had – and yes, we can ship em internationally! I’ll even seal each package with a kiss if you so desire.
- you have ever harboured a desire to host a musical cupcake soiree in your kitchen;
- you would like to see me looking STONED. Not that I was, only that as I said, I began shooting this video (BEGAN!) at 1.30 in the morning – the only way I seem to be getting work done these days – and well, you can see it in my eyes. These are not the eyes of a well-rested lady. On the bright side, the house is uncharacteristically quiet on-screen.
I also want to tell you guys that this campaign to get the new show up and running has been planned for a LONG TIME. As in, long before the charity fundraiser fell into my lap. And as such, I felt so terribly awkward with the timing of that, knowing that this meant months in a row of putting stuff out there of the “support me! support me!” variety.
So, my choice was whether or not to just turn down the charity fundraiser idea – and indeed, that was my kneejerk reaction. It seemed like just bad timing, what with so much other stuff coming up (like this very project about which I speak now!) but…it really was such an incredible once-in-a-lifetime thing to be a part of, I just couldn’t say no.
And I’m glad I didn’t. Despite it being a damn hard slog to raise that $10k (and continuing to be!), I know that if I died tomorrow, I’d be really proud that I sucked up my doubts and worries and just went for it anyway.
Point is, I was worried it would be too much, to do a massive fundraising campaign for charity, followed almost immediately by a campaign for the new show.
But, as somebody very wise pointed out to me, this (i.e. the show campaign) is a totally different project and the people who support it may be totally different from those (no doubt with some overlap) who got on board the charity fundraiser. Namely cos they are two separate motivations for supporting. One is about donating to a charitable cause, the other is about jumping onboard a creative mission and getting cool stuff for your cash: be they show tickets, DVDs, cupcake serenades, or cabaret/comedy parties in your loungeroom.
Again, I want to stress that:
a) I still love ya cottonsocks whether you support or not; and
b) I will do my best not to annoy the living daylights out of you by pushing it on you over and over. I really appreciate the love and support I’ve gotten this far on the journey and I want to respect that without banging you over the head, but of course will be sharing my excitement and updates as we go. Please bear with me!
I still have doubts. I still have worries. But trumping all that is THE EPIC EXCITEMENT ABOUT THIS NEW SHOW. The kind of excitement that again, makes me know that if I died tomorrow, I’d be really proud that I sucked up my doubts and worries and just went for it anyway.
Let’s bring on The Wonderland!
Again, this is the link to share: www.pozible.com/wonderland