Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How Do You Like It? I'll Take Mine Straight, No Chaser!

PR Event*

Not many people realise that when I started studying my Bachelor of Arts, my major was initially going to be music.
I finished my grade eight AMEB piano at the same time as I finished my highschool Grade 12, and music was a major part of my life.
But I'd always loved to write, so I chose literature and journalism as well. Later, I had to narrow that done, so my BA became a double major in journalism and music.
Whether it was because I never had enough faith in myself to make a living as a musician or a writer, or the fact that something about journalism sucked me in, journalism won me over.
But music was always there too.

Goody two-shoes choir girl, as part of the Darling Downs Singers. Don't blame me for the outfit. That was the uniform. The hair is my own doing. We even did a capella. 

I remember as a young pianist, my first, very wise teacher, explaining that there would be some pieces I would not be able to play convincingly until I had 'life experience'. She was right.
As I gained that experience (and then some), I honed my skills in piano, theory, choir, musical theatre and more. Occasional back-up singing for rock bands. (Yes, those who think I am quiet don't know me quite as well as you thought you did, do you?)  Providing background music in restaurants and on award nights.
And for fun, (and on special occasions), karoake.
I've dragged a family piano with me everywhere since I relocated to Australia, pretty much full-time, some years ago. In fact, I just had it tuned!
Though I'm rusty, my kids seem to have a natural talent for music, and in recent years, Mr 15, has shown a particular interest.
So I was thrilled when I was asked to help promote the I'll Take Another ... World Tour for the American a capella band Straight No Chaser.

This group is awesome. (Easy on the eye too. Just saying.)

If you love the Pitch Perfect flicks, you've seen nothing yet. And I say this with the greatest of respect.
This male a capella band is as far away from cliched college performances as you can get.
Although the group was originally formed by 10 guys who loved to sing at Indiana University, Straight No Chaser have grown far beyond that.
With more than 20 million YouTube views, too many public and private appearances to count, and a worldwide fanbase, they are bringing their I'll Take Another ... Tour to Australia, with the endearing subtitle The New Old-Fashioned Tour.

Who wouldn't want to see them?

Seriously the kids and I enjoy so many of the Straight No Chaser performances and, can't even choose a favourite.
I'll share a few here, but I seriously could go on and on.
And SNC, as their fans call them, are a capella, they do sometimes add in backing. And there is always humour and fun.
In the meantime we do have a double pass to giveaway to Straight No Chaser New Old Fashioned Concert in the Australian City of Your Choice.
Tour details are:

July 13 Perth, Australia, Astor Theatre
July 15 Brisbane, Australia, The Tivoli
July 16 Sydney, Australia, York Theatre
July 17 Southbank, Australia, The Palms at Crown in Melbourne

To enter, please state which city you are entering for, and your favourite Straight No Chaser song.
And in the meantime, sit back and enjoy a few of our favourite SNC music.

Straight No Chaser: Can't Feel My Face

Straight No Chaser: Creep

Straight No Chaser: Uptown Funk

And that's just a taste of what you're in for at a Straight No Chaser concert. Straight Up!

Entries are for Australian residents only or foreign residents who can make it to the concert of their choice. Entries close at 5 pm AEST on July 8, 2016, but please ensure you check back in to see if you have won and/or are easy to contact. MIA makes every effort to contact winners, but if they cannot be contacted within 24 hours in the case of timely events, reserves the right to award tickets to the runner-up. You can learn more about Straight No Chaser and their tour here

* Maid In Australia has been given a double pass to give away, as well as a pass for myself and my children to attend the Brisbane show as a thank-you for writing this post. Excuse me while I fan myself ...

The competition has now closed and the winner was Carolyn. Carolyn please get in touch so we can organise for you to receive your double pass. Thanks for entering.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Win Tickets To Oz Comic-Con

It's here again!

The most awesome event for anyone who loves cosplay, anime, gaming, sci-fi, TV, film, comics and basically all things fun: Oz Comic-Con.

Last year's event in Brisbane was my first time and it was freaking awesome. And I don't even consider myself a real fan.

But my teens are, and I'd hoped to take them (unfortunately a clash of interstate school holidays meant that didn't work out), so I went with a loved one as part of a birthday treat for him instead.

I had no idea how huge the whole cosplay, anime and gaming scene was until we approached the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and saw the scores of impeccably dressed people making their way to the event.

But I had an inkling the day before at Comics Etc, where a couple of Cosplayers, still in costume, dropped by after a very busy day.

"You'll have the best time," said one. "Get there early and take plenty of water," advised another.

When we walked in, I was both devastated and kind of relieved my kids weren't able to come. Devastated, because they would have loved it. But in a way I was grateful because I don't think we ever would have made it out of there, and I think I would have spent a small fortune on all the cool merchandise for sale. There was so many cool things to buy, much of it limited edition or rare, that I was overwhelmed and didn't know what to choose for them.

Yay for us that this year we all can go!

Oz Comic-Con has already attracted huge crowds and rave reviews in Perth and Adelaide and is on this weekend (June 11-12) at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Guests in Melbourne include Robert Patrick, Callum Blue, Ivy Doomkitty, Lucy Lawless, Jake Abel and Samuel Anderson. Also attending is Rose McIver, whose career highlights include iZombie. Unfortunately she's only appearing in Melbourne, much to my teens' disappointment. (It is one of our favourite shows).

Oz Comic-Con will also run in Sydney (September 10-11 at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, Glebe Island), and Brisbane (September 17-18, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre). 

Kermit will be mixing it up Oz Comic-Con this year.

Read on for more details (including how to win a family pass to an Oz Comic-Con weekend).

And to give you an idea of what Oz Comic-Con is like, here are some photos I took from last year's event in Brisbane. This year's theme is 'Unleash Your Inner Geek' but I thought everyone who attended last year was pretty cool. 

Avenue Q - a very naughty puppet show for adults (and kids who had their parents' permission to attend)

Avenue Q was just one of the many shows included in the ticket price, on one of several stages. Performances are held throughout the weekend, so it's important to plan which shows and discussions you want to watch

They walk among us - some of the many colourful attendees

Some cute costumes. There are Cosplay championships and parades

Oz Comic-Con includes gaming areas, anime stations, family rooms, and chill-out areas

Last year there were free samples of energy drinks to help keep you going

They were kept pretty busy

More gaming, plus colouring in, and Dragonball Z

The youngest Wonder Woman I've ever met - and her Super Dad

Chilling out

I was pretty sure my son would have liked this shirt but wasn't sure if it was appropriate ... 

A posy of princesses take time for lunch

One of the many discussions. This one on a different stage

Furries and friends put their feet up

My only regret about last year's Oz Comic-Con is that we couldn't stay longer and see more shows and discussions. But, living in the country, we had a long drive home and work the next day. This year, I'll probably try to see it over two days rather than a few rushed hours.

'That Lola Bunny', also known as Variable is attending all shows, as is Jason Palmer, while Amanda Tapping is attending Brisbane and Sydney. Australian comic book artist Nicola Scott, who is huge in America, will be in Brisbane. More guests will be announced soon. 

Thanks to Oz Comic-Con, Maid In Australia has a family pass to giveaway to either Melbourne, Sydney or the Brisbane event. 

To enter, simply leave a comment on who your favourite character is, whether they be in a book, comic, on TV, film or in a game. Please also let me know which Oz Comic-Con event you would like to attend - Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.

The winner will be chosen at 5 pm AEST on Friday June 10, 2016. Please do check in, especially if you are intending to attend the Melbourne event. I always make every effort to contact winners,and announce them here and on Facebook and Twitter, but sometimes it isn't easy tracking winners down!

Good luck.

Disclaimer: Maid In Australia has received two family passes to Oz Comic-Con as a thank you from the organisers for writing this post. One is for my family and one is to giveaway to my followers. I have received no financial compensation for writing this post, and my opinion of last year's post is entirely my own. 

The competition has closed and the winner is Dee Potter, whose offer to show off her Warrior cry pushed her over the edge. Please contact me so I can organise for you to receive your pass.