September Episode I: From Improv to Spanglish to Chainmail

Improv ComedySeptember was kicked off by Kate Iselin with her class A Fresh Look at Everyday Feminism. We talked about women’s rights in Australia, what it means to be a feminist today, and some misconceptions. The class coincided with the Miley Cyrus debacle on the MTV video awards so we had a very lively debate about the performance and its repercussions in the worldwide media. Was it a step back or step forward for women everywhere? We had different opinions but we all agreed a major issue was how all the focus was on her and not the Thicke guy! Kate followed up feminism with Improv Comedy for Beginners where we learnt the basics of comedy. We started with some games to loosen our bodies, such as mimicking different actions from taking a shower to out-swimming a shark. Then we played “comedy tag” where two of us would act an improv scene and then others would jump in and replace one of the people in the scene with hilarious consequences!

KnittingEver heard of the Knitting Nannas of Toolangi? No? Well we learned all about them at Beginner Knitting: With a Forest Twist. The group came together to protest peacefully against the destruction of native forests, and have been knitting a 150m scarf to gain publicity. Karena Goldfinch, one of the Nannas, led a team of knowledgeable knitters on the night, showing everyone the basics and spreading the word about how anyone can be involved in community activism.

Spanish + English = Spanglish! From Ricky Martin, to Modern Family, Carlos showed us how Spanglish is creeping further into popular culture, and then taught us the basics of Spanish so we could try it ourselves. A highlight: finding out that the gender of makeup and high heels is male, but the gender of beer is female! Sterotypes out the window, impresionante!

ChainmailKyle Bush was back to show us how to transform waste into construction materials in Trash to Treasure: Up-cycling. The total waste produced by an average person per year weighs about as much as a hummer car! Using old bike wheels as an example, he showed us how to check if a piece of “trash” is good to reuse: it needs to be intrinsically strong, flexible, and uniform. Then we oohhh-ed and ahhh-ed at examples of amazing houses built entirely out of waste. Following that we got medieval with Karolina Lukasik as we made Chainmail: Byzantine Bedighting. After a quick lesson in the history and geography of chainmail we got hands on and soon little rings were being opened, closed and linked together to create awesome chains and cages.

Pom PomsEveryone knows Pom Poms, but do you know how to make them? Sue Southern showed us how to wrap the wool round and round and round. And finally comes the magic moment when you cut the wool and voila: a pom pom! Then we tied them on a string and created pretty, colourful garlands. Finally, in the Science of Baking we welcomed back Maia Sauren to tell us all the geeky stuff she has been working out about baking. She has always been interested in how it works from a young age; “why does it rise?”, “what does adding salt do?”, “how do you keep the yeast happy?”. We answered all that and more and even baked our own bread to keep our appetites at bay. Well, at least until we could find the closest open pastry shop – thinking about baking for too long can really get you licking your lips!