Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Today I would like to bring to your attention photos of another Hobart museum, taken in October. Its name is the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG). I visited it many times and every time I enjoyed it. It has both permanent and temporary exhibition sections. The museum is dynamic – new exhibitions are organised, and some sections of the museum are updated on an annual basis. The impressive art gallery, which forms part of the museum, includes old and new art works. I really like the Antarctic section of the museum, where you could even see short films about the conquest of the sixth continent.

This year the museum organised a special exhibition about Tasmanian Aborigines. This is reflected in my photo selection.

1 December

Congratulations to all of us on the advent of the new season – the beginning of winter in the northern hemisphere, and the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere, including Australia. This is a special month, leading to the New Year. I hope lots of good things will happen for us in December.

MONA – The Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart

As promised, here´s a selection of photos of a Hobart museum. It is a very popular one.

Today I want to introduce you to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). This is the largest private museum in the southern hemisphere, where works of art from the David Walsh collection are represented – more than 1900. They are arranged in a non-chronological order, without museum labels or inscriptions. Visitors are given the opportunity to use free headphones and a device like an iPod, which has a built-in GPS: a person’s location is established and information about paintings and other works nearby is given. This museum is always full of people: from Tasmania, other states and territories of Australia and from overseas.

Some exhibits are provocative and even shocking. I hope my photos will give you an idea. Not all of the exhibits are static, there are also videos, films and other moving things there. A visit to the museum can hardly leave anyone indifferent or unimpressed.

I, like many other people, went there from the city by ferry along the picturesque River Derwent – about 30 minutes one way.

A few words about my city – Cairns. The heat has finally subsided after a few incredibly hot and muggy days. This morning, I walked for an hour in the park nearby – I had a feeling that the mellow season had returned.

Trip to Hobart

In October-November, I spent two weeks in Hobart, the capital of the Australian island state of Tasmania. The population of the state is about half a million people, and the area is about 68,400 sq. km. The population of Hobart is about 240 thousand people.

Tasmania is the coldest state of Australia. In Hobart, the average temperature in July is + 8 ° C, and in February, +17 ° C. Not very cold by the standards of Russia, Ukraine, USA or UK, but cold by the standards of Australia. It is especially chilly when the wind blows from Antarctica, then the temperature seems to have fallen below zero.

I went there to work at a conference related to Antarctic issues. By the way, Hobart is a kind of the Antarctic capital of this country. The Australian Antarctic Division is located here. It conducts research related to the sixth continent and the Southern (Antarctic) Ocean and organises expeditions to Antarctica. Hobart is also the headquarters of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), an international organization with 25 member-states, including Australia, NZ, Russia, Ukraine, USA and UK. This is a kind of mini-United Nations. The official languages of CCAMLR are English, French, Russian and Spanish. Meetings of the Commission and its Scientific Committee are held annually. One of the achievements of CCAMLR was the creation of a marine protected area in the Ross Sea region in 2016.

In October and November, Hobart is especially attractive: this is the middle of the Australian spring when lots of trees and flowers are in blossom. The city has many well-kept gardens and houses, and very good restaurants. It has world-class museums. Different tourist agencies organise a variety of tours around the city and the state. The city has beautiful botanical gardens, an impressive covered aquatic centre, parks, squares, beaches and esplanades.

Unlike Sydney, I had no contact with local gays during that trip. But in the past, I attended some local LGBT events. I’d like to do it again. If I happen to be in Hobart again, I am sure to do it. I will find time among work, receptions, excursions and walks. Honestly, it is not an easy task: I get tired at work, and often come back to my hotel at 9 and 10 in the evening. When I come home, I want to rest, and get ready for the next working day … In the morning and during the weekend, I want to relax: take walks, visit a museum or go on a tour. However, I will try to re-connect with the LGBT community in the future, this is important.

Here’s a selection of Hobart photos. In the coming days, I am intending to prepare two more photo albums – about two Hobart museums.

A few words about my city – Cairns. It is incredibly hot and stuffy here. The temperature at midday over the last few days has been around 40°C. Only the air conditioner is saving me (and many other residents). Yesterday late afternoon we had a thunderstorm with peals of thunder and lightnings. Not boring at all 😊

Bohemian Rhapsody

On my return to Cairns, I have watched a number of gay films, including the new one – Bohemian Rhapsody. This film is about the famous rock band Queen and especially their lead vocalist Freddie Mercury. The film is shown with great success in Australia, Russia, and in many other countries. However, I am of two minds: positive and negative. If you have not seen the movie, do not read my review any further for now, as I do not want to influence your experience. Come back to this review after you have seen the movie.

To those who watched this movie, I will explain what I mean.

Positive, because this is a story about great musicians, especially about the super-talented Freddie, who put the public on fire for many years and continues to do so, long after his death in 1991. Also positive, because the movie mentions his homosexuality and shows a couple of kisses with men. This is very important for Russia and other homophobic countries, where for many, including young people, gays are freaks, scumbags and subhumans. And in the film they see a cool, modern, attractive man who was gay, when, even in the West, it was taboo. I hope that this helps destroy the stereotype and make people think: something Putin and Trump are distorting. They, I hope, will understand that Putin and Trump are not superheroes, but older men who are trying to look and feel younger by injecting Botox, playing with hairstyles, doing plastic surgery, exhibiting themselves as macho men and pairing with much younger women, and who are lying and creating serious political, economic and social problems for many countries including their own. They are dull people, unlike Freddie, who inspired people with his sparkling talent, sincerity and charisma. Who is normal then: straight homophobic Putin and Trump or gay Freddie Mercury? I hope the film made people think this way. I wish to remind the positive: the movie mentions that Freddie was gay, and not a freak, but a normal person, moreover, a pop star.

Negative, because the film pays little attention to Freddie’s homosexuality, barely touches upon his 7-year-old relationship with Jim Hutton, while at the same time disproportionately emphasizes his relationship with Mary Austin over many years even after they broke up because of Freddie’s homosexuality. His many casual or short-lived encounters with men are not shown at all, and yet he was a polyamorous man and his intimacy with men was one of his main sources of inspiration. Moreover, one gets the impression that he picked AIDS, which in those years was practically incurable, from the air, and not during sex. However, it was a disease that interrupted his work and killed him at the age of 45! Homosexuality, including gay sex, was one of the defining features of his personality and if somebody ignores this fact, they humiliate both Freddie and all gays. And finally, in my opinion, Rami Malek is absolutely not suitable for the role of Freddie Mercury. He portrays him as a flaccid, melancholic guy, and not an incendiary musician and a man with a stormy temperament. When Rami Malek tries to portray him as a man of passion, it looks fake. I learned that initially Sacha Baron Cohen was approached for this role. But he refused to play, because his idea of Freddie and his life was very different from the proposed scenario. I agree. Pity. Sacha Baron Cohen fits not only in looks but also in temperament. I am sure that he would have shown Freddie’s explosive nature well, true to life, with all the fine points and flaws. Sacha Baron Cohen is a brilliant actor without complexes, and he would have superbly played Freddie as a gay man, without apologies or omissions. He would have shown him as a charismatic and proud gay.

I hope that a new film about Freddie Mercury will be made, but I am afraid that by that time Sacha Baron Cohen will not be able to play in it because of his age (he is 47 years now). I hope, however, that there will be another, truthful scenario, and another, truthful actor. Queen and Freddie Mercury deserve it. All gays deserve it too.

Queen 1

Queen 2

Freddie Mercury 1

Freddie Mercury 2

Rami Malek and Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury and Sacha Baron Cohen

Putin 1

Putin 2

Trump 1

Trump 2

Putin and Trump

Trips to Sydney

Recently, in October-November, I visited two Australian cities: Sydney and Hobart.

Today I am placing a selection of my Sydney photos. My stay (two trips – almost a week in total) in this largest Australian city (population – over 5 million) included many things. Meeting with gays was the main one, but other parts of the trips were also important and good: walks around the city, the Jersey Boys musical (about The Four Seasons rock band which was very popular in the 1960s), opera arias of a Russian-Korean street musician, Sasha Pak, an art exhibition in the open air …