Love vs Gravity (falling and flying)

Love vs Gravity (falling and flying)


    Darwin Entertainment Centre, Darwin

    November 30, 2000

    A multimedia performance negotiating images of love in a time of HIV. Flying high on the wings of an angel, the weight of love keeps us with both feet firmly on the ground.

    All you need is love. Is it?

    Funded by Arts NT, Love Vs Gravity (Falling and Flying) was a multi-artform performance by many of Darwin’s best performers. David McMicken conceived and directed Love Vs Gravity with over 50 performers from Juniper Tree Dance Company, the Grey Panthers, the Arafura Ensemble, and independent performers and dancers. Together we tackled the problematic question of what role love plays in our modern lives, especially in a time of HIV/AIDS where for many people love might lead to death.

    What is this thing called love?

    Incorporated into this performance is a multi-media component Blood Vs Wine by Belgian-born local visual artist and filmmaker Elka Kerkhofs. Funded by the Australia Council of the Arts New Media Fund, Elka combines video, photography, medicine, science, live performance and sound to create this spectacular representation of how widespread the idea of “Virus” is in our lives.

    Local musician Merrilee Mills shares the stage with the Arafura Ensemble, pianist Doug Loft and, amongst others, other local singers Kay Brown and Yoris Wilson. The Grey Panthers, (our “safe Sex Nannas”) let the young of today know that it is possible to live a long and fulfilling life, even if they do not have all the answers.

    Director’s Notes

    Love Vs Gravity looks at links between wisdom and action, and the consequences of "unsafe" love. Virus and Infection as a concept exists in many areas of our life; medical, physiological, technological, social, media, religious and now - the arts.

    Many members of Darwin's community perform tonight. The musicians and dancers are from amongst Darwin's finest. The well-known and loved Grey Panthers perform as elders and holders of our "Love Laws”. Our "Men" look at a different view of relationships and their understanding of complex emotions. One of Darwin's truly remarkable "Gender Illusionists" guests appears, while our younger performers look forward to 'their' time.

    The music comes from a past era; songs that have led, instructed, and given release for fellow travellers on the "rocky road to (and from) love". We question the sentiments often given to us as "lessons" by others.

    The dances are responses to 'Modern Love', something so common and yet so complicated, and something we have very little training in; usually ricocheting from emotion to emotion.

    More than ever, we must learn to negotiate relationships, and learn how to love honestly, and openly. Every era has its own ideas about love: What is it? Is it "all we need", How do we find it, and keep it? Where does love go? How can love die? How do we mend a broken heart? History is full of love songs and stories, messages of circumstances reaching through time to teach us and warn us.

    For many people, due to HIV/AIDS, love has a strong and frightening relationship to death. So frightening that most hide from the reality of the current worldwide situation. Reassessment is often left to those who are already deep inside the crisis. But in this case, we are all in crisis. How we deal with this will stay for many years as a sign of our compassion, understanding and ability to look a crisis in the eye and deal with it through love.

    I sincerely thank everyone with the courage to stand out as different, who showed me alternative ways to perceive, who suggest there may be other rules. Science takes us so far, but the soul can take us to new frontiers. Young people today have to think far more widely than whether sex = family. Many have learned the hard way that Silence = Death. How many need to die before we say "Enough"? Break the silence.

    David McMicken

    Creative Personnel

    Conceived and Direction: David McMicken
    Design and Assistant to the Director: Tim Newth
    Musical Direction: Merrilee Mills
    Additional Choreography: Julia Quinn, Joanna Noonan, Michelle Dott and Tania Lieman
    Multimedia Artist: Elka Kerkhofs

    Production Personel

    Production and Stage Management: Eunice De Ramos
    Darwin Entertainment Centre Technicians: Andrew Dudley, Neil Macknight, Leah Handley
    Volunteer Stage Assistant: Toni Leemen


    Core Dancers: Julia Quinn, Joanna Noonan, David McMicken, Tania Lieman

    Musicians: Merrilee Mills, Claire Kilgariff, Anna Faehsey, Bronwyn Meyers, Duncan, Yoris Wilson, Annette Britton, Jenny Devlin

    The Grey Panthers: Lucy Aylett, Kath Baldwin, Kay Brown, Adie Bruce, Bette Chapman, Jean Dempsey, Audrey Gorring, Crena Hemmings, Glad Morris, Shirley Somers, Hanna Stamm, Audrey Svara, Mavis Waddell

    Men's Group: David Taylor, Mark Halton, Darren Smith, Paul Turner, Glenn Bernardin, Luis Rodrigues, Peter Sparkman, Neil Ludvigson, Joshua Higgins, Bradley Alderson, Bart Robertson

    Jugglers (From Corrugated Iron Youth Arts): Levi Sarrand, Luke Whitworth, Ryan McManus, Daniel McLean

    Guest appearance by Miss Katherine Gorge (Joshua Higgins)


    • The show is a series of vignettes, pieces of a larger puzzle. We do not follow a particular storyline but look at many different stories:
    • Looking For Love
    • The Man I Love (Gershwin)
    • You Go to My Head (Coates/Gillespie)
    • Unrequited Love
    • This Time the Dream's On Me: (Arlen)
    • The One I love Belongs to Somebody Else: (Jones/Kahn)
    • Being In Love
    • What is this Thing Called Love: (Porter)
    • I Only Have Eyes for You: (Warren)
    • Game Show
    • Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine, (Hammerstein/Kern)
    • Jalousie
    • Reflection - Remembrance
    • It Can't Be Wrong (Gannon/Steiner)
    • Yours is my Heart Alone (Herzer, Lohner, Smith &Lehar)
    • Heaven Can Wait (De Lange & Van Heusen)
    • Come Rain or Come Shine (Arlen)
    • Love Leaving
    • Every Time We Say Goodbye: (Porter),
    • But Not For Me: (Gershwin)
    • Love Lost
    • Somewhere Over the Rainbow: (Arlen)
    • Careless Love: (Folk)
    • Blood Vs Wine*
    • A multi-media performance created by Elka Kerkhofs, (See notes)
    • Sad Bitter Love
    • Stormy Weather (Arlen)
    • The Man That Got Away: (Arlen)
    • Cry Me a River: (Hamilton)
    • Buddy: (Donaldson & Kahn)
    • Over Love
    • Love for Sale: (Porter)
    • That's Why the Lady's a Tramp: (Rogers & Hart)

    *About section Blood Vs Wine

    This section was created due to the assistance of an emerging New Media Artist grant from the Australia Council for the arts via Qantm for which Elka was a recipient.
    Actors: Karen Maxwell, David McMicken, Bradley Alderson, Cameron Purvis, Julia Quinn, Joanna Noonan
    All people In the film footage are from the Sleaze Night at Throb Nightclub
    Interviews: Karen Maxwell, David McMicken, Daniel Alderman, Elle Parsonson, Neil Ludvigsen, Dani Stewart, Merrilee Mills, Kay Brown, Cath McKay, Crena Hemmings
    Behind the scenes: Georgia Glenn, Darwin Entertainment Centre, Tracks Inc
    Film Locations: RSPCA, THROB Nightclub, Darwin High School, Nerida Noble
    Music: Blood Bath (film) Agnelli & Nelson, Hudson Street (New York Remix)
    Blood Vs Wine (Film) Sasha and Digweed, Northern Exposure, Expedition 2
    Straw People: 100 Street Transistors, Dream Child
    Blood Vs Wine (Live performance) Bruce Springsteen: Streets of Philadelphia
    Peter Miller – Love Vs Gravity
    Blood Vs Wine Thanks: NTU Digital Media Centre, Qantm, Australia Council for the Arts, Arts NT

    Tracks 2000

    Artistic Directors: David McMicken and Tim Newth
    Office Administration: Heather Richards
    Bookkeeper: Lynn Bramham
    Production Manager: Eunice De Ramos

    Committee Members:  David Taylor (Chair), Jackie Wurm (Vice-Chair), Glenn Bernardin (Treasurer), Rukshana Ramachandran (Secretary/Public Officer), Ken Conway, Kay Brown, Tania Lieman (Ordinary Committee Members), David McMicken and Tim Newth (Ex-Officio Members)

    Photo: Therese Ritchie. (l-r) Tania Lieman , David McMicken
    Photo: Therese Ritchie. Julia Quinn
    Photo: Therese Ritchie. (l-r) Joanna Noonan, Julia Quinn. Grey Panthers in background
    Photo: Therese Ritchie. Film: Elka Kerkhofs. David McMicken and Bradley Alderson (Ben Tyler)
    Photo: Therese Ritchie. from back l-r Mavis Waddell, Glad Morris, Kay Brown, Audrey Gorring.
    Photo: Therese Ritchie. Bradley Alderson (Ben Tyler)
    Photo: Therese Ritchie. (l-r) Bradley Alderson (Ben Tyler), Bart Robertson, David Taylor, Glenn Bernardin, Neil Ludvigson
    Photo: Therese Ritchie. Film Elka Kerkhofs. David McMicken

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     “…as understood by the medical community, viruses are unlike bacteria or germs because they are not living permanently alters the way a cell functions and reproduces... A particularly virulent strain will transform the host cell into a factory that replicates the virus...The only intention of a virus is to spread its own code as far and wide as possible, from cell to cell, from organism to organism."  Douglas Rushkoff.

    "..the Dominator Culture is a mind virus which arises and spreads by emotional and physiological, as well as cognitive, means."  Mark S. Bilk.

    "... the HIV Virus stands at the cross-roads of many different discourse communities."  Dr Mary Harriss Veeder.

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