It looks as though I'll be adding to The Deletions on weekends. It might become a kind of record of events around Sydney as well as news on books and some actual live poetry.

Tomorrow morning, Sunday 2nd April, I'll be attending a film premiere at the Palace cinema in Leichhardt.

Film Australia announces the release of a new animation The Safe House, which tells the story of a small girl's mysterious association with the Petrov Affair of the 1950s.

Writer/director of The Safe House is award-winning animator Lee Whitmore, Denise Haslem is producer, and Anna Grieve is executive producer.

The Safe House continues Lee Whitmore's autobiographical and hand-drawn approach developed in her earlier films Ned Wethered and On a Full Moon. It is based on a true story from Lee's childhood when the lead characters from a real-life spy drama moved in next door. The lead characters were the Petrovs. It is the summer of 1954 and seven-year-old Lee and her friends are drifting through the holidays, exploring their quiet suburban neighbourhood where nothing ever seems to happen... until the day mysterious strangers move in with the old lady next door. No one explains the odd comings and goings, the big black cars, the men in suits and hats, the overheard snippets of conversation, but that does not stop the children from imagining. The Safe House is a half-hour animation giving a young girls innocent perspective of one of the most talked about moments in Australian history - the spy drama known as the Petrov Affair.

Film Australia is a Federal Government-owned company which supports production and distribution of documentaries in the national interest. They say - "Animation is notoriously difficult to finance in Australia and Film Australia thanks our partners in The Safe House, SBS Independent, for supporting such an interesting project." (SBS - Special Broadcasting Services - is Australia's national multicultural TV and Radio broadcaster).

You can find some information on the Petrov Affair and the Cold War era in Australia from an exhibition at Old Parliament House in Canberra.

Last Wednesday evening I went along to Gleebooks to hear Carolyn Burke talking about her new biography of the photographer Lee Miller, famous for her photographs of the Nazi concentration camps, the London Blitz and other places during the second World War. Carolyn is the author of an earlier biography of the modernist poet Mina Loy. I first met Carolyn when I introduced myself to her at yet another event at Gleebooks in November 1995. I had been interested in Mina Loy for a long time and, surprised though I was to notice that her biographer was actually in Sydney, I thought I could interview her about the book and about Mina Loy. A few days later, we met in a tiny flat in King's Cross and made an interview - with no prospect of actually publishing it (I tried several Australian literary journals to no avail). It has subsequently been published in two web magazines and here on my own site.

Carolyn Burke and eclectic gardener Denis Gallagher at 'Dumbi Dumbi', Denis's home in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains (115 kilometres west of Sydney) in January 2005.

The Lee Miller biography (which I am yet to read) has two very different covers. The U.S. version is melodramatic. The U.K./Australian cover is a soft-focus Man Ray portrait that, although revealing Lee Miller's extraordinary beauty, lends a gentility that seems to want to tone down a woman more known as a kind of tomboy-femme-fatale, brilliant photographer and genuine enthusiast for living.

US cover image

UK-Australia cover image

For further information and a short interview with Carolyn Burke on Lee Miller visit the publishers Random House and Bloomsbury

The Minneapolis-based poet Lyle Daggett has sent me a comment on his interest in Mina Loy and Lee Miller. He has kindly sent the url for the Lee Miller archive. Thanks Lyle.


Lyle Daggett said...

Pam -- I love the work of Mina Loy and of Lee Miller. Loy's poetry was virtually out of print in the U.S. for a number of years, but a substantial selection was published sometime back in the '90's. She's a poet I go back to and read often.

I saw an excellent exhibit of Lee Miller's photographs at the Minneapolis Institute of Art many years ago, broad selection from the whole range of her work. All of it stunning; the photos from the concentration camps absolutely riveting and devastating, still beyond my capacity for words. (According to the exhibit materials, Miller was the first "Western" photojournalist to photograph the concentration camps.)

I went and sat on a bench in the museum, and wrote down some quick notes for something to write about the photos. I went back (may have been the same day, though I went back to the exhibit a couple of times later too) and checked my notes against several of the photos to make sure of some details.

That was in 1989. I still carry the notes I took from the exhibit in one of my "active" poem notebooks that I carry everywhere. I hope one day to be able to write the poem that still confronts me from looking at the photos that day.

The Lee Miller Archive website is here.

pb said...

Dear Lyle,
Thanks for your comment.
I've added the link to the Lee Miller archive at the foot of the section on Lee Miller.