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November 13 - 19, 2009
The Independent Weekly
When the last remaining
member of Margie Fischer s
family passed away, she
was left with the unenviable task
of packing up the Sydney home in
which they had lived for about 40
As Austrian Jewish refugees who
escaped the Holocaust just in time,
her parents fled first to Shanghai,
where they lived for 10 years before
later immigrating to Sydney. All
her mother s family died in Nazi
"Most of the stuff from their lives
was left in this house where I had
grown up in my teenage years," says
Fischer, who moved to Adelaide in
the early 1980s.
Her brother died at just 23, and
the last person to pass away was her
mother, about five years ago.
"I was fascinated by what was left
and the stories that resonated from
these ... everything on my father s
desk was just as he had left it 10
years before, and there were even
things belonging to my brother.
"My mother didn t want to throw
things away because they belonged
to people she loved."
These seemingly ordinary
objects provided the inspiration for
her Feast Festival solo show The
Dead Ones, which is described as a
museum tour with Fischer as tour
guide. It will feature storytelling and
photographs, and is a taste of a full
work in development for next year.
As a writer, performer, director
and producer, it was natural Fischer
would seek to document her family s
history. She says there is also a
strong responsibility within Jewish
culture to remember and pass on
"I spent time over a period of
months in the house, writing about
everything as I packed up and got rid
"Ordinary things become the
keeper of stories. If I don t tell these
objects stories, the stories will be
"When people s parents die,
everyone has to do this. Lots of
families fight about things ... being
left alone to do this meant I could
take my time over it."
Among the historical items she
discovered was a document issued
by the Nazis which listed things
Jewish families were allowed to take
with them when they were forced
out of their homes. Fischer gave
the paper to the Australian Jewish
Museum in Sydney.
Personal treasures include her
mother s costume jewellery, a
toolbox that had belonged to her
carpenter brother, and photos of her
father in the Austrian mountains.
"He was a mountaineer and he had
to sneak out to the mountains he
loved. Photos of him in the moun-
tains are powerful stuff."
Fischer says the fact that she has
a 10-year-old daughter, Ruth, with
partner writer Roxxy Bent makes
the stories all the more significant,
although she doesn t believe Ruth
is old enough yet to learn about her
family s Holocaust experience. "I
want to make sure she doesn t get
burdened with this at a young age
the way I did."
Fischer, who is current chair
of the Feast board, was co-artistic
director of the Feast Festival from
its inception in 1997 until 2002, and
also co-founded the Adelaide-based
Vitalstatistix in 1984 as Australia s
only women s theatre company.
The Dead Ones is the first work she
has created since her critically
acclaimed show The Gay Divorcee.
It s also the first time she s spoken
about her family history.
"It s a complete diversion from
what I ve done in the past. It was
satisfying but sad ... a rite of
Although Feast has always fea-
tured a packed program of diverse
events, Fischer says the audience
has increased over the years as the
festival s reputation has grown.
"There s so much creativity in
the queer community in Adelaide
and the arts is such fertile ground.
Adelaide has created a unique
festival which is renowned
internationally for its diversity and
■ The Dead Ones will be performed
at the Higher Ground Theatre on
November 24. The Feast Festival
opens tomorrow and will run until
Anne Hardy, born in Pt Pirie, graduated from Adelaide University
to teach Science there. Wife to a country doctor, mother of four, grand-
mother of nine, she is a previous contributor to Poet s Corner.
POET S CORNER Compiled by John Miles
LUPUS OMITTED MEETS
SELDOM EVASIVE KNUR
ALGA LOZENGE ENTERS
NEGRO ILLEGAL ARENA
Solutions from 10
Rain: Contractors Bungle
It seems that when They designed the world They forgot
about any all-over, best-practice watering plan.
The seas were in place, the fishes, the trees, a whole lot
of mountains and reptiles and mammals, and even (woe!) man.
There were gardens, most notably Eden, for leisure,
sunsets, much choreographed and well hung;
and, counterpoint to nearly monotonous pleasure,
some nasties sharks, rattlesnakes, blowflies and dung.
It must have come as rather an awful shock
when the leaves began to whither, the grass to dry.
Too late now, They muttered to Hughie, to put in
the ideal system a drip one too late to begin.
An Overhead System, will have to be up in the sky.
But very uncool man, in fact quite dreadfully ad hoc.
Reader unpublished poems to 30 lines can be emailed with postal address,
to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted with an SAE to the
Poetry Editor, Independent Weekly, GPO Box 114 Adelaide 5001. A poetry
book will be forwarded to each contributor.
inspire solo show
Imagine nibbling on canapés
and sipping wine in the heritage-
listed Saldechin Tearooms while
listening to erotic stories ranging
from the delicate to the downright
Dating back to Don Dunstan s
time, Erotic Feast is expected to be
one of the highlights of the Feast
literature program, which this
year features a packed weekend
of events on November 21-22.
Adelaide gay and lesbian
personalities such as Roxxy Bent,
Geoff Revell, Tom Cho and Fanny
Jacobson will read from their
favourite pieces of erotica, while
their audience dines.
Less saucy but just as sumptu-
ous will be A Rose is a Rose, which
promises to be reminiscent
of the literary salons in early
20th-century Paris. The event has
been dedicated to the late Dorothy
Porter, whose partner, Andrea
Goldsmith, will read excepts of
There will also be readings
from a selection of other famous
lesbian writers, including Sappho
and Radclyffe Hall, with "high
Other events in the literature
weekend include the Feast Poetry
Slam, Meet the Author events,
and a songwriters workshop.
Independent Weekly reviewer Teri
Louise Kelly will launch her first
book of poetry, while local author
Martin Burke will launch a new
verse novel titled Tumid River.
■ For details on the literary
program or to book, visit
A Feast to satisfy
all your senses
A pigtailed Margie Fischer in an old family photo, and (below) Fischer today.
Andrea Goldsmith will read excerpts
of Dorothy Porter s work.
Teri Louise Kelly will launch her first
book of poetry during Feast.
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