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The Show of the Year 2019
Content note: This podcast episode contains some strong language, and mentions violence and child sexual abuse.
As the decade turns, The Show of the Year marks 2019 in style – with host Casey Bennetto and a glittering line-up of writers, comedians and musicians. Paul Kelly, Nath Valvo, Alice Bishop, Sista Zai Zanda, Margot Morales Tanjutco, Laura Jean, Alice Gorman, Evelyn Araluen, The Merindas, Brodie Lancaster, Louise Milligan and Bill Shorten share their thoughts on subjects as various as the decommissioning of the Opportunity Rover on Mars, the Tigers' premiership run, the death of Toni Morrison, The Masked Singer and the closure of Uluru to tourists.
What a year. Protests shook Hong Kong, the Amazon caught fire and children led a worldwide climate strike. Boris Johnson picked up the prime ministerial ball as it came loose from the back of the scrum, Scott Morrison baseball-capped his way back into government, and Trump impeachment talk turned to (some) action.
We said goodbye to towering figures in literature and politics, including Toni Morrison, Bob Hawke, Les Murray, Clive James and Mary Oliver. And we farewelled meowing figures of the internet. (R.I.P. Grumpy Cat.)
There were the mandatory Big Cultural Moments, too: someone (no spoilers) finally won the Game of Thrones, Fleabag stormed the Emmys, and a Sydney real estate video went viral. Beyoncé came home, Fyre Festival blew up (again) and Lil Nas X shot to stardom via TikTok. Ah yes, how could we forget: TikTok.
Goodbye 2019 … we hardly knew ye!
Casey Bennetto is an award-winning writer, musician and radio broadcaster. He wrote the musical KEATING!, hosts the program Superfluity on Melbourne’s 3RRR, and has appeared in places as diverse as ABCTV’s Spicks and Specks, the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at Sydney Opera House.
Sista Zai Zanda is a storyteller, educator and curator of the Pan Afrikan Poets Cafe – an Afro-Literary matinée of beats, performance and poetry. Since 2015, Zai has spoiled audiences in Melbourne and Sydney with over 100 performances by African and First Nations storytellers including feature performances by renowned international artists Mahogany L Browne (NYC, Nuyorican Poets Cafe), Inua Ellams (Nigeria/UK), Kat François (Trinidad/UK) and Jive Poetic (NYC).
Louise Milligan is an investigative reporter for ABC TV Four Corners and author of Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of George Pell, which won the Walkley Award and broke massive international news about Cardinal George Pell’s crimes against children, for which he was later convicted and imprisoned. Louise was a witness in his court case.
Alice Bishop grew up in Christmas Hills, a town ravaged by the Black Saturday bushfires. A Constant Hum, her much-anticipated debut, was commended by the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and shortlisted for the Penguin Random House Literary Prize. Stories in the collection won the 2017 Lord Mayor’s Prize and the Rachel Funari Prize.
Paul Kelly was born in Adelaide, one of nine children, in 1955. He wrote his first song in 1976 and has been making records since 1978, over thirty to date. He has collaborated with many other songwriters and written music for film and theatre. His prose has appeared in Meanjin, The Monthly, Rolling Stone and The Age, and in 2010 he published a ‘mongrel memoir’, How to Make Gravy. His most recent album is 2019’s Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds.
The Merindas are a Contemporary R&B/Electropop duo that present a much anticipated show never seen before on the Australian music scene. They're the synthesis of warrior queen, bringing an on-trend style of rhythmic, expressive and beautiful music dedicated to the preservation of Indigenous language and culture in a modern form.
The Merindas are Candice Lorrae of Jawoyn and Thursday Islander heritage (born Darwin NT) and Nyoongar Ballardong Whadjuk woman Kristel Kickett (from Tammin WA). They discovered their mutual passion for music in Perth more than 7 years ago. Now based in Melbourne, these soul sisters are set to trail-blaze their innovative style of Indigenous music.
Dr Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology. Her research on space junk and lunar heritage has been featured in National Geographic, the New Yorker and Wired. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University and a faculty member of the International Space University's Southern Hemisphere Space Program in Adelaide.
Her book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future was published in 2019, and won the Mark and Evette Moran NIB Literary Award People’s Choice. She blogs at Space Age Archaeology.
Margot Morales Tanjutco is a writer, performer, and creative director. Her solo show Vanity Fair Enough played at The Coopers Malthouse for Melbourne International Comedy Festival and was nominated for the Golden Gibbo.
She is an Associate Director for Benjamin Law’s upcoming Torch The Place (MTC) and is also shortlisted for Midsumma's Queer Playwriting Award. Her work has been featured by ABC’s The Mix and Stop Everything!, SBS Voices, and Emerging Writers’ Festival. As a performer, she appeared in critically-acclaimed Romeo is Not the Only Fruit at Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Brisbane Festival, and HotHouse Theatre. She is excited to tour with comedy showcase Spice Night for Mardi Gras 2020.
Bill Shorten is the Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Shadow Minister for Government Services, and was leader of the Australian Labor Party from 2013 to 2019.
Nath Valvo’s hilariously physical, high-energy comedy is impressing critics and winning crowds across the globe. Not many comedians can boast that their fan base includes TV royalty, but Nath has the tweet from Graham Norton to prove it.
Sydney songwriter Laura Jean is revered for the striking beauty of her music and the strength of her piercing, intimate lyrics. She has twice been shortlisted for the Aus- tralian Music Prize, and has recorded with Paul Kelly, The Drones, Rolling Blackouts and Grand Salvo. She has toured UK/Europe with Courtney Barnett, Aldous Harding and Jenny Hval, Aus/NZ with Aldous Harding and Marlon Williams, and played Meredith, Dark Mofo, Falls Festival, the National Gallery Of Victoria and Sydney Town Hall.
Evelyn Araluen is a poet, educator and researcher working with Indigenous literatures at the University of Sydney. Her work has won the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize and a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship. Born, raised, and writing in Dharug country, she is a Bundjalung descendant.
Brodie Lancaster is a Melbourne writer and critic whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Guardian, Pitchfork, the Saturday Paper and New York magazine. Her first book, a pop culture memoir called No Way! Okay, Fine was published by Hachette in 2017. She co-hosts Fan Grrrls, a podcast about footy and feelings.