Celebrate Hogwarts Day by Harry Potter Fans

For Harry Potter fans, September 1st marks a very special occasion: the first day of school at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, alsoknown as “Hogwarts Day.” The first step in getting to the elite academy of magic, however, is boarding the crimson steam train, the Hogwarts Express, which departs from London’s King’s Cross Station at Platform 9 3/4, taking students directly to Hogsmeade Station. You can only board if you’re a witch or wizard, and you can melt through a solid brick wall that’s been “magicked” as a portal. That means Muggles can’t make the trip, but they still posed as if they were going to on Thursday morning in London.

To celebrate this year’s Hogwarts Day, the train station also got in on the action, posting an unusual departure on the schedule.

Author J.K. Rowling herself also gave a shout-out to the day, although there was a bit of confusion over whether or not this year would be the first year of school for Harry Potter’s son Albus Severus Potter… or not. “If you’re at King’s Cross, the Potter, Granger-Weasley and Malfoy families are there too. Albus Severus starts school today. #19YearsLater,” she wrote in anow-deleted tweet; in the Harry Potter universe, the epic Battle of Hogwarts occurred in 1998.

Acoustic Cover Performed by Justin

In a 2015 interview with France’s Clique TV, Justin Bieber revealed that his top five rappers are Tupac, Mase, Nas, Biggie and Eminem. And during his Thursday appearance on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, he turned to one of those favorites for inspiration, breaking out an acoustic cover of Pac’s “Thugz Mansion.”

Biebs performed the stripped-down version of the hip-hop classic with the help of a single guitar player, much to the surprise of the show’s host. “Something I thought I’d never say on national radio — Justin Bieber covering Tupac’s ‘Thugz Mansion’ in the Live Lounge,” she said.

The session’s only hiccup occurred when the Purpose artist sang “Cold Water” — his recent collaboration with Major Lazer — and seemed to forget a few of the song’s lyrics. “I don’t usually get nervous but tonight I was thrown off and I was. Sorry about that. Really wanted to be my best. Hope u all had fun,” he tweeted afterward.

WA farm skills competition at Royal Show

A group of young women in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt are determined to show that girls can hold their own at competitive shearing, tractor driving and fencing.

The Farm Skills competition has been a highlight of the Perth Royal Show for regional schools for 32 years and for the first time, an all-female team is hoping to win the title.

The team members, all from Cunderdin Agricultural College, are hoping to pursue careers in agriculture and change perceptions that women are not as capable in the field.

Year 11 student Chloe King is no stranger to shearing.

Every holiday she works on her family farm running 6,500 acres of livestock near Mukinbudin.

“As a kid I’ve always loved being in the shearing shed so it’s continued from then,” Ms King said.

“You’ve got to have the strength that’s for sure, it’s hard to hold them, but I guess with practice and a bit of help you get there.”

The Farm Skills Competition involves 18 different tasks including shearing, fencing, wool handling, tractor driving and first aid.

Team captain Inaya Stone’s family manages 15,000 acres of cropping in Scadden near Esperance.

She is achieving excellent grades in year 12 and plans to study agribusiness at university.

She said agriculture is still a male-dominated industry.

PHOTO: Chloe King is a standout shearing student at the College of Agriculture in Cunderdin. (ABC News: Laura Gartry)

“Although women are slowly pushing through … it’s still not seen as equal for women and men to be working on a farm,” she said.

“I think that women should push to be more seen in agriculture, I think that there is nothing wrong with women running a farm or owning a farm,” she said.

The girls have a simple message for the boys, “bring it on”.

“Hopefully they are feeling a bit of pressure to beat us girls,” Ms Stone said.

“I think they are scared. Watch out us girls, are coming,” Ms King laughed.

Many of the students hope they can use the skills to help take on the family farm.

“I’d love to be able to run my own farm, that’s my ultimate goal to have my own farm or station to myself,” Ms Stone said.

Ms King is planning to study agronomy and become a stock agent to build her experience first.

“I’d love to definitely take on the family farm, I’ve always dreamed of doing that since I was a kid, so hopefully that dream can come true,” she said.

Grace Davy wants to pursue a career in the wool and sheep industry before returning to the family property in Konnongorring.

“Hopefully when I’m older and more experienced in the agriculture industry, I’ll go back to the family farm and be the fifth generation farmer and continue it on,” she said.

With the competition just four weeks away, women from all over regional WA will increase their training to four nights a week.

The team’s attention to detail with the fencing section is proving hard to beat.

Street art program thrives tips

Hobart’s laneways are getting a makeover with a series of new murals being revealed to brighten the city and deter graffiti.

In Kemp Street in the heart of the city, a couple of quirky characters sitting on antique chairs are now keeping watch.

The mural is the latest is a series of urban art walls commissioned by the Hobart City Council and West Australian artist Jae Criddle has spent the past week transforming the blank wall.

The street used to be home to antique shop Purdy’s Mart, which provided the inspiration for Criddle’s design.

“I sort of tied that in. I’m doing a series of characters sitting on chairs. They’re about 3.5 metres high,” she said.

“For some reason, I’m usually drawn to character-based stuff, usually people.”

Bringing the work to life was a painstaking and time-consuming task.

All of the painting was done by hand and was not without its risks.

“I’ve worked on render before and it cuts up your hand a bit,” Ms Criddle said.

This is the second year of Hobart City Council’s Urban Art Walls project.

Lord Mayor Sue Hickey said it costs the council more than $300,000 each year to remove graffiti but commissioned street art was proving a hit.

“This is a really good way to deter it, but not only that, to cheer up the whole city,” she said.

“It’s such a successful program, I can’t see it coming off the council’s books for a long time.”

The council’s community participation coordinator Rebecca Taylor said the program required artists to mentor a young Tasmanian.

“They learn about the application process, about the design process,” she said.

“The young person gets to come on site and put paint on the wall with the artist.

“Life is really hard, and it’s especially hard for young people, and so these projects give them a sense of achievement and a sense of being part of the community.”

How to show women some about respect

I have been a comedian for 30 years. Any woman who has taken the stage knows that “Show us your tits!” is a standard heckle.

While culture has changed, the heckle hasn’t; the telephone might have evolved from the tin can and string to a smartphone, but sexism remains crudely the same.

During one of my gigs as an 18-year-old, some dude yelled those famous four words at me. Three decades later, 35-year-old comedian Amy Schumer threw a heckler out of her Stockholm show last week for yelling out the exact same thing.

Not only was the man not shown Ms Schumer’s tits, he found himself evicted from the venue and publicly humiliated.

And yet Schumer was the one attacked on social media, with many tweeting remarks such as: “It’s heckling. It’s part and parcel of stand-up. Stop the victimhood.”

Or: “Handled it? She didn’t handle it. She had him thrown out. She’s a comedian allegedly. Why not destroy him with wit?” and “He’s just a troll. No-one wants to see your tits.”

(In fact, Twitter is a perfect example of what happens when heckling meets cyberspace — the only difference is you can be much meaner and no-one throws you out.)

Yes, heckling is part of stand up.

But heckling never makes a show better. Audiences don’t enjoy hecklers. Comedians don’t enjoy hecklers. If they’re drunk and persistent enough, they can wreck a show.

Watch Amy Schumer Destroy A Heckler Who Asked Her To ‘Show Her Tits

“If you yell out again, you’re going to be yelling ‘show your tits’ in the parking lot.”

The idea that a comedian should be able to “handle” a heckler is part of the mythology that, as a stand-up, you must constantly prove your worth.

Amy Schumer is an international superstar with her own TV show on a world tour: her credibility is a given.

And yet one of the most common social media responses to the heckler being evicted from Schumer’s gig was that no one wanted to see her tits anyway.

What better way to insult a woman than to objectify and humiliate her in her workplace and top it off by saying she’s unattractive.

But if Schumer’s response was deemed by many as “over the top”, how should we respond to hecklers? Is it even possible to deflate them with wit alone?

How should we respond to sexist hecklers?

Author, comedian and broadcaster Wendy Harmer has my all-time favourite response to the “Show us your tits” line. She takes a breath, shakes her head and smiles: “You can always tell the bottle-fed boys.”

Heckler ego instantly smashed.

I’ve used a range of retorts, including: “You first” to “No” to “Meet me at the car” and “Won’t your girlfriend show you hers?” and “Ask your Mum.”

In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you come back with. Why would someone even yell that in the first place? “Get off!” or “You’re not funny!” make sense, because that’s critical feedback.

But why would anyone suddenly want to see boobs at a stand-up comedy gig? Women have other jobs — like bank tellers and doctors. You wouldn’t walk into Westpac and scream “Show us your tits!” there.

The fact that women have breasts doesn’t give you license to ask to see them whenever you like.

In 30 years of attending comedy clubs I have never witnessed a male comedian being shot down with a similar inappropriate, gender-specific request.

I have never heard a drunk woman yell out, “Show us your cock!” They may have thought it, but they’ve certainly never said it.

“Show us your tits” is code for; “Hey bitch, you think you have a lot of power up there — well don’t forget you’re just a stupid woman. And I’m still deciding whether or not I’d f*** you. In the meantime, why don’t you help me out and show us your tits so I can decide.”

Schumer was not ‘asking for it’

Sure, Amy Schumer talks about sex. She talks dirty. She talks about her body. Some may argue that when it comes to sexualized comments from the audience, it’s game on, and open slather.

But that line of reasoning has parallels with victim blaming — when a woman is raped we say, “She wore a short skirt, she was out late, she was in a bad neighbourhood — she was asking for it.”

A man is always responsible for how he treats a woman.

Indeed, women comedians who talk about sexuality are generally sharing untold experiences about stepping out of the murky shadows of objectification into the blazing spotlight of truth. Our truth.

Perhaps seeing women in their power is still threatening to the sexist status quo, and what better way to pull potty-mouthed girls back into line than by reminding them that, even though they’re centre stage, they can still be objectified?

It would be nice to be able to just shrug off comments like “Show us your tits” as many have suggested Schumer should do. But I can’t – no woman should.

It’s not funny. It’s rapey. And it’s humiliating. It makes us feel angry and powerless. But then that is the intention, right?

Once, as I walked past a building site, one of the workers shouted, “Bend over and I’ll drive you home!”

I don’t even know what he meant, or what kind of response he was hoping to elicit from me. Did he seriously think I was going to drop to my knees on the pavement and wait for him to put me in gear?

That 100-metre stretch was one of the longest walks of my life — all his mates were laughing, while I fantasised about yelling back, “You wouldn’t even be able to start me, dickhead”, but instead I cried quietly as I hurried away.

In the end, besides being offensive and demeaning, yelling “Show us your tits” makes you look like an idiot.

So here’s my next heckle comeback. How about I don’t show you my tits, and you start showing women some respect.

Finalists in prestigious piano award

images-22When most of his competitors were studying full time at conservatoriums, Timothy Chiang was tinkling ivories of a different kind.

The 28-year-old from Doncaster East works four days a week at two Melbourne dental surgeries, and saves one day a week for piano practise.

He is the oldest competitor this year, after a CD of his material was chosen by a panel of adjudicators in what was effectively a blind audition.

The award is the musical equivalent of an Olympic marathon.

Contestants must perform four 45-minute recitals in front of live audiences, demonstrating an extensive and demanding technical and artistic repertoire.

The competition takes place across the week in Shepparton, as the Victorian town embraces the country’s very best pianists for the biennial event.

Prize money of $65,000 is up for grabs. The grand final will be broadcast on ABC Classic FM Radio.

ANPA president Darryl Coote said the aim was to propel the careers of Australian pianists on the world stage.

He said recent winners Alex Raineri (2014), Daniel de Borah (2012), Jocelyn Ho (2010) and Jayson Gilham (2008) continued to enjoy sold-out concerts at home and overseas and released their own recordings.

Chiang said he was daunted by the level of competition, but excited about the opportunity.

He grew up in a musical household, where his mother Nancy began teaching him at the age of five.

At the age of 12, he won a musical and academic scholarship to Scotch College and continues to study under Mikhail Solovei.

Chiang also plays the violin and regularly plays in a contemporary gospel band.

He chose not to pursue formal tertiary music studies, opting to become a dentist instead.

“Every person has their unique personality with something different to add,” he said.

What’s wrong with Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog, the director known for his exploration of people whose dreams destroy them (Little Dieter Needs to Fly, Grizzly Man,Fitzcarraldo) as well as for his darkly hypnoticvoiceovers, has a new documentary in theaters. It’s about the Internet. And true to form, it’s not exactly a joyride. (One of his subjects asks: will our children’s children’s children need the companionship of humans, or will they have evolved in a world where that’s not important?) Herzog talked to TIME about the film’s origins, his opinion of the web and why politics is bad footage.

TIME: Your new film, Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, is about the Internet and was paid for by the Internet security firmNetScout. Why would someone who admits that he doesn’t use a cellphone be interested in such a project?

Herzog: This was a similar set up to my AT&T project on texting and driving that was on YouTube. That was such a phenomenal success that I thought I should contemplate doing this when I was approached. Then the format changed to a feature length documentary. All the rest is my curiosity.

One woman whose family suffered some unspeakable online harassment says in all seriousness that the Internet is the Antichrist. Do you have any sympathy for that view?

In her case it’s probably the only answer. But it’s not the Internet that is evil. The Internet doesn’t have any human qualities. It’s the humans who are evil. Is electricity good or evil? You don’t ask that, so we’ll drop this question quickly.

Do you agree with computer science professor Leonard Kleinrock that computers are the worst enemies of deep critical thinking?

In a way yes. But he doesn’t speak about computers. He speaks about communicating via tweets and examining the real world via applications. In that case, I would agree.

Read More: Werner Herzog Ponders the Poetry of the Internet

Elon Musk says he only remembers his nightmares. How did you feel when you heard him say that?

When you are doing your work, you are not allowed much feeling. You just have to be alert and wait, wait, wait, wait until he says it. I’m waiting 20 seconds, an eternity, until all of a sudden, he looks up and says a sentence. I found it very astonishing, but of course, there was a way to get him to this statement. That’s real conversation.

You ask him to take you to Mars?

No, I don’t. I don’t ask him. In order to make him smile and make him lively, I said, well, I would be a candidate and I would go on a one-way ticket.

So you don’t really want to go to Mars?

Of course, if the possibility arises, I’d be on board. It would be fantastic. But only if I had a camera with me.

Read More: Werner Herzog Dives Into the Abyss of the American Death Penalty System

Your film Grizzly Man is about a figure who tragically misunderstands the nature of nature. Have we misunderstood the nature of the Internet?

No, we just should see the glories of it and the potential of it and the dark side of it, and we should create a good, well-thought filter. That’s why I cannot sign up for Twitter or Facebook. Although—you’ll find [my name] on Facebook and on Twitter, but it’s all imposters.

This film was paid for by Netscouts. What’s in it for them?

When I was approached [about doing the project] I immediately said, no, I do not do advertisements. I’m not comfortable with the world of consumerism, and I do not want to be an accomplice. I was told: no, it’s not a commercial. I think what they are doing is they are connecting themselves like a sponsor for an art project. When Pavarotti sings a part in a Verdi opera, he doesn’t make advertising for the company that sponsors it.

You often focus on people with a dream that will probably destroy them; yet you’ve never made a political documentary. Why?

Film is not the right medium. Politics is something where you need the microphone. You can see it when you look at the conventions of the Republicans and the Democrats in the United States. It’s the microphones. Speaking to a crowd. Microphones, that’s the tool. Not movies. Film’s much more a fertile ground for, let’s say, Kung-Fu, or pornos even. Or—you just name it! Fred Astaire.

Because things move?

Let’s not dig too deep into the very essence of what constitutes cinema. We would lose ourselves for the next 48 hours.

Do you worry that by filming, you change what you’re trying to document?

Of course. It’s the nature of filmmaking. If you’re not aware of that, and if you are not prepared to do your job, you shouldn’t make films. Some people postulate we should be like a fly on the wall. That means we should be like one of these surveillance cameras in the bank, and you will wait for 15 years until the bank robber still hasn’t arrived. We are filmmakers. What I do is I direct, I stage, I articulate. I mold, I generate. That’s what filmmaking is all about. And everybody in front of my camera knows that, and if they don’t know I will tell them.

You’ve talked about how a very key part of documentaries is the casting. What do you look for?

When you are doing a feature film, one of the key elements is casting. Finding not only the actors, but the chemistry between them. So that’s something I’m looking out for. And the same thing happens in documentaries. I read some of their works and I have preliminary contact, and I do have a fairly quick idea where this person should be placed in which context. Who is going to be shoulder to shoulder, left and right to that person. And what’s the flow of things.

Did you have a must-get list for who you should talk to about the Internet? Why no Tim Berners Lee?

I met Tim actually later, and he would have been good because I like the man; he’s so shy and doesn’t really open up— I would have had a wonderful conversation with him. We withdrew in the corridor, and we immediately have a rapport. And strangely enough we spoke about poetry most of the time.

Speaking of which, why do you ask students of your Rogue Film School to read J.A. Baker’s The Peregrine?

No 1. It has prose of a caliber that we haven’t seen since Joseph Conrad in his short stories. And no. 2, there’s this incredible passion for what he is observing, the author. He’s so deep into his subject that he almost morphs into a Peregrine falcon himself. The way he looks at the real world, with this deep love and passion for it, is something anyone who writes or makes a film should be familiar with.

In a way, the migration into your home country, Germany, globalization and the rise of the Internet are similar phenomena; humans have to be around other humans in a way they’re not used to. Are you an optimist about the future of our interconnections?

I can’t answer that. But I recently spoke with paleontologists in Ethiopia who are looking very deep into history, 100,000 years back in time, and it seems to be obvious to many of them that our civilization will enter a very critical phase in about 1,000 years from now. And of course, certain things are accelerating and exacerbating because of the Internet. So, it’s a very, very interesting moment in time.

Wooden replica of city

images-19The 1666 inferno destroyed most of the walled inner city dating back to Roman times a bustling, congested maze of tightly-packed wooden houses  and forced London to rebuild anew from the ashes.

Now the city is looking back to when it lay in ruins with a few shuddering sights to remind Londoners of the peril faced by their predecessors.

The Great Fire of London broke out in Thomas Farrinor’s bakery on Pudding Lane shortly after midnight on September 2, 1666, and gradually spread through the city before finally being extinguished on September 5.

How the Great Fire devastated 1600s London:

  • The blaze left 80 per cent of the walled city in ruins
  • Fire consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches and Saint Paul’s Cathedral
  • Only six deaths were officially attributed to the fire
  • An estimated 70,000 of the city’s 80,000 residents were forced to flee, most to squalid camps outside the city walls
  • Blaze broke out in bakery near London Bridge
  • French watchmaker Robert Hubert confessed to starting the blaze and was swiftly hanged but it was later revealed he was at sea when the fire started

The London’s Burning program of events commemorating the disaster culminates in the torching of a 120-metre-long wooden replica of old London — built by US “burn artist” David Best — moored in the River Thames to prevent the fire from spreading again.

“It will look spectacular,” said Helen Marriage, director of creative events company Artichoke, which is staging the London’s Burning events.

During London’s Burning festival flames are being projected onto the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral and 23,000 breeze blocks arranged as a domino run will be felled to show how the fire spread through the city.

PHOTO: A 120-metre-long wooden replica of old London by US “burn artist” David Best will be set alight on the Thames(Reuters: Peter Nicholls)

Watch the wooden replica of 17th century London burn live from 5:25am AEST on Monday morning

In London’s Inner Temple hall, the scale of events is being visually represented by piles of rice — one grain for each person.

Visitors can compare the numbers of those living in London now and then, and those evacuated from the city with the global number of refugees today.

Various scapegoats, chiefly Catholics and foreigners, were blamed for the blaze that killed six people and caused the relocation of thousands of people.

The London of today, with its characteristic English Baroque architecture in grey Portland stone, was built from the ashes of the wooden city, though the old street layout was retained to respect property rights.

The Monument column commemorates the fire near where it started but Pudding Lane itself is now an unremarkable concrete-lined back road.

The new St Paul’s Cathedral, still the centrepiece of the city, was completed 44 years after the Great Fire.

Nick Bodger, head of cultural and visitor development for the City of London, said the capital’s resilience — witnessed again during the 1940s Blitz — helped it rebuild and survive.

“350 years ago, when embers from a baker’s oven sparked one of the most catastrophic events the capital has ever witnessed, London’s economic prowess almost came to a fiery end,” he said.

“A renewed sense of purpose saw the great city we enjoy today rise from those ashes, develop and thrive.”

‘Hugely devastating’ fire destroyed homes, businesses

The Museum of London’s Fire! Fire! exhibition contains scorched possessions only just saved from the fire, leather buckets used to fight it and letters telling of the inferno written by people who fled.

It also has burnt items excavated from a Pudding Lane shop, including charred bricks, melted tile fragments and scorched wooden barrels, still black from the blaze.

“It was hugely devastating. It’s the heart of London where most of the major cultural and commercial buildings were,” curator Meriel Jeater said.

“People lost their homes, belongings and businesses.”

As part of the anniversary French street art group Compagnie Carabosse are a have created a Fire Garden display burning metal structures, cascading candles and flickering flowerpots at Tate Modern.

Find the best film like a horror reboot and several raucous family

images-21Betting on which pilots will actually yieldgood shows is a fools’ errand: On network, quality shows might just disappear in two weeks, while on cable or streaming, they might devolve into something far more average over the length of their respective runs. But it’s hard to shake the back-to-school-season hope that a whole slate of new shows brings, and easy to forget that pilots are not always indicative of a show’s long-term quality. (Comedies in particular tend to grow into themselves in their first year.) Based solely on promise, then, these are the shows you ought to check out this fall—ranging from a horror reboot to several raucous family comedies, and from 1960s New York to small-town Mississippi to heaven, or something like it.

Pitch, Fox,

Made in cooperation with Major League Baseball, this series is premised on something that the league has yet to see happen in our world: The debut of a female star. The magnetic Kylie Bunbury sells both star pitcher Ginny Baker’s athleticism on the field and her struggles off it: Rather than wilting at teammates’ mockery and media scrutiny, she does what an athlete does and pushes through it. Time will tell if a show about a sport whose popularity has dwindled in recent years, and one whose win-loss count over the course of a season tends to provide all the drama a fan might need, can support a showweek-in and -out. But keep your eye on Bunbury’s gritty, internal performance. From her first moment onscreen, she’s got that intangible toughness team scouts, and TV fans, look for.

Apologises for sounding sexist, Amy Schumer’s Stockholm

A heckler who was thrown out of Amy Schumer’s stand-up comedy show in Sweden after yelling “show us your tits” has apologised for the comment, saying he did not mean to “sound so sexist”.

The heckler, who wished to remain anonymous, told Swedish radio station PP3 that alcohol was to blame for the outburst.

“It was a hectic day at the job. I didn’t manage to have lunch and it ended a bit later than I thought … I was really drunk on an empty stomach,” he said.

How about show some respect?

Any woman who has taken the stage knows that “Show us your tits!” is a standard heckle, writes comedian Mandy Nolan.

“Due to the intoxication I thought ‘say this’, which was wrong. She speaks a lot about herself in that way and it felt fitting to me in my intoxicated state.

“I certainly didn’t intent to sound sexist or offensive.

“I really don’t feel very good.”

The outburst happened just two minutes into Ms Schumer’s Stockholm show on Friday, with a video of the exchange going viral on social media.

The comedian had the rest of the crowd point the heckler out and told them: “Don’t throw him out, just look him in the eye”.