Stephen draws on life experiences for comic relief 
By Kate Sears

This comic designer dons his superhero cape, grabs his SurfacePro tablet and gets creative on his daily commute on the train. By day he’s an animation director at communication agency 21-19 in Melbourne — but out of hours he’s creating humorous and heart-warming comics.

At 29, Stephen Elliget takes inspiration from his life experiences, video games, comical jokes and pop culture references to create comics that not only get the chuckles flowing but also encourage his readers to spread the joy by sharing his comics with their friends on social media. His preferred source of inspiration is to encapsulate a moment that happened to himself or a friend, and share the humour or joy that he got out of it. Often, a lot of conversations with friends that have included endless laughter and in-jokes have inevitably become a comic — no brainstorming required. 

While growing up in Baxter, Stephen went through the phase of drawing the typical suspects like dragons, wolves, and Dragon Ball Z characters. His father was a teacher, so Stephen would stay back after high school playing in the computer lab while his dad wrapped up his work day. He’s self-taught and has progressed his digital skills from drawing with a mouse in Microsoft Paint and making stick figure animations in PowerPoint to using Photoshop and a tablet to paint digitally. 

Having been an avid drawer since he was a kid, Stephen moved on to study an advanced Diploma of Multimedia at Chisholm, then went on to complete a Bachelor of Multimedia Design at Swinburne. It was in 2010 in his first year at university that Total BS Comics was born from a desire to create short narratives that he could share with others. Bryce, his friend and co-owner of their brand, not only brought the ‘B’ to the name and subbed the comic dialogue (with high sarcasm levels) but also introduced Stephen to the world of web comics. They’d spend hours engaging in back and forth banter over coffee with Stephen manning the sketch book, where they’d find themselves saying, “Hey, that’d make a good comic!” 

“I realised that the ideas I get the most excited about tend to be the ones that come from the heart and from my own experiences,” said Stephen. “So I've been trying to embrace my own ideas a bit more.”

After a six-year hiatus due to full-time work and general life stuff getting the way, Stephen decided it was time to revive the comic with a fresh illustration style and new character designs, with Bryce taking a step back while remaining Stephen’s sounding board. Ultimately, Stephen’s dream is that one day the comic takes off to truly become something that he could dedicate more time to. 

“I follow a lot of artists on Instagram — some super-talented, some who just post the occasional scribble. I honestly just love seeing an illustration that portrays a bit of heart from the person who drew it. That’s what I admire the most, capturing an honest or emotive moment.”

To get your giggle on, check out Stephen’s work on Facebook at TotalBSComics or follow the comics on Instagram at totalbscomics


FAC’s fabulous smorgasbord of shows

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Whether you’re mad about music, devoted to drama, addicted to dance or crazy about comedy, Frankston Arts Centre has something for everyone in 2019. Each year FAC selects a variety of shows to ensure Peninsula audiences have access to world-class performances at affordable prices close to home.  There are 36 new shows now on sale, and a ticket to one or more of them would make a brilliant Christmas gift for a family member, friend or workmate — or just to treat yourself.

All the big names are heading to Frankston in 2019 — Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Circus Oz, Sydney Dance Company, Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow, Opera Australia and more — which means Peninsula audiences will be absolutely spoilt for choice.

A new element in FAC’s 2019 program is a series of contemporary theatre works held in the Black Box Theatre at Cube 37, next to the main theatre. The series will feature comedy, music, drama, story-telling and dance, including the premiere of No.33, an interactive theatre performance created in Frankston as part of the arts incubator program HATCH, in a more intimate setting. 

Music features strongly in 2019, with tributes to David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Sam Cooke and a reimagined Beatles soundtrack by the talented Naomi Price.  The drama The Sapphires will give audiences the chance to revisit the hit production, which tells the story of four Aboriginal women and their rise to fame.

So spoil your loved ones and give the gift of a theatre experience this Christmas. Tickets or gift cards can be purchased in person at the FAC box office, over the phone on 9784 1060 or online at thefac.com.au

FRANKSTON ARTS CENTRE

A: 27-37 Davey St, Frankston

T: 9784 1060

W: thefac.com.au

FB: FrankstonArtsCentre

INSTA: the_fac


Film stars align again for Stellar

The Stellar Short Film Festival is gathering another dream team from the Australian film industry for its second big year on Saturday, March 2. Well-known film, television and stage actor Matt Day (pictured) will be in attendance as one of the guest judges. Matt has starred in films including Muriel’s Wedding, Kiss or Kill, Sweet Country and current release Reaching Distance, as well as roles in such TV shows as Rake, Tangle and Wolf Creek.

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Michael Caton — the star of one of Australia’s most loved feature films The Castle — declared this year’s inaugural event “The best selection of short films I’ve ever seen in one festival!” and has confirmed he’ll be returning in the role of Stellar Ambassador.

Actor/director/writer Scott Major will be back as the MC for the evening, to inform and entertain the film-loving crowd on the lawns of the beautiful McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery in Langwarrin.

Stellar will showcase 12 of the best award-winning Australian short films from 2018, with Best Film and Runner-Up winners selected by the panel of industry judges and a Best Performance award sponsored by the Frankston Arts Centre.

General admission ticket-holders can relax with music from a DJ or wander around the park before enjoying the films and their gourmet picnic pack (all included in the ticket price). There’ll also be local wines, beers, cider, Roseade, snacks and coffee available for purchase. VIP ticket-holders will indulge in a cocktail-style dinner party in the indoor gallery, with drinks at the VIP bar before the screenings, plus receive a gourmet showbag of treats, dedicated live entertainment, reserved seating, and an invitation to the Stellar after-party.

Stellar is proudly supported by Frankston City Council and major sponsor Illumin8, the Mount Eliza accounting firm with a whole lot of personality. Follow Stellar on Facebook and Instagram for more announcements. Tickets are on sale now from stellarshortfilmfestival.com.au


Skate into summer at Sk8house By Kate Sears

Get your skates on these summer school holidays at Sk8house in Carrum Downs. Every day from 9am to 4pm kids can skate for $14 with a $3 skate hire fee — for the whole day! And on Tuesdays and Wednesdays you can skate until 6pm for the same price. 

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While other classes go on hiatus over summer, Sk8house flourishes with its classes continuing over the summer break to keep the kids entertained in airconditioned comfort. Stay fit and busy over summer with outdoor speed skating, adult classes, and learn-to-skate classes where you’re invited to arrive at 4pm to practise before the class starts at 6pm for the same price of $12 a session. 

The team is offering our readers the perfect stocking filler too. It’s a Summer Pass Special which gives the owner five general sessions — including skate hire — for $50, which can be used from Tuesday, January 1, until Thursday, February 28. 

The team put their skates away on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, but are up for summer fun every other day. Sunday, January 6, is one to mark in your diaries with the family-friendly Hot Summer Night on from 6-9pm, and the always-popular Australia Day Weekend event from Saturday, January 26, to Monday, January 28.

SK8HOUSE
A: Unit 3/2 Amayla Cres, Carrum Downs
T: 9773 6799
W: sk8house.com.au
FB: sk8houseau


McClelland award makes a splash

McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery is celebrated as the home of Australian sculpture. With a wide-ranging collection of more than 100 sculptures, the park comprises 8ha of designed landscape and vast areas of indigenous bushland. McClelland’s light-filled café overlooks the sculpture park and serves innovative dishes with delicious produce from the Mornington Peninsula. The exhibition program focuses on the development of modern sculpture and various forms of spatial practice, and encourages contemporary artists to develop and address challenging issues current in Australia and a global context.

Lee Bethel,  Komon  2018, watercolour on handcut paper, 76 x 54cm. Image courtesy and © the artist.

Lee Bethel, Komon 2018, watercolour on handcut paper, 76 x 54cm. Image courtesy and © the artist.

To be held every three years, the Splash McClelland Contemporary Watercolour Award has been established to showcase contemporary Australian watercolour practice. It is an acquisitive award enabled by the Fornari Bequest through the will of the late Lena May Fornari and is a legacy of her support of the arts in Victoria. Lena May was an ardent collector of watercolours and the first acquisitions through this bequest were significant watercolour paintings. Continuing this tradition, Splash presents the work of contemporary Australian artists who use this medium in highly accomplished and innovative ways. The award will be judged by Linda Michael, independent curator and editor, with one highly commended work judged by Samantha Comte, curator at The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne. The Splash McClelland Contemporary Watercolour Award 2018 will be on until Sunday, March 17. 

MCCLELLAND SCULPTURE PARK+GALLERY
A: 390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin
T: 9789 1671
W: mcclellandgallery.com.au
FB: mcclellandsculptureparkandgallery


Robin Hood Showing at Hoyts, Wells St, Frankston

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After an opening scene showing an intense battle, you’re put at ease by the charismatic charm of Taron Egerton, who many may recognise as the loveable goofball turned secret agent Eggsy from Kingsman: Secret Service and Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The Robin Hood narrative that we remember from our childhood this time is portrayed as a darker and more sinister tale. It’s the legend you know and the story you don’t (yet).  We learn that Robin has become a war-hardened crusader, and alongside his Moorish commander, Little John, played by Jamie Foxx, the pair mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English Crown, led by the Sheriff of Nottingham, superbly performed by Aussie-born Ben Mendelsohn (Bloodlines and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). Ben’s depiction of the dictator is on point with his ability to summon a feeling of hatred from the audience towards his character as he places a bounty on Robin and destroys the city.

Even without his signature black eyeliner, you’ll recognise Australian comedian and actor Tim Minchin, who plays Friar Tuck, by his comedic quips and relaxed tone as he breaks up the slightly macabre scenes by adding comedic value. Rounding out the ensemble is Jamie Dornan, who plays Will Scarlet, who, even with his charming Irish accent, struggles to keep Marion by his side compared to his romance in the Fifty Shades of Grey films.

Robin’s the same courageous, strong-willed and passionate Robin of Loxley we’ve come to love — cheekiness included. He’s filled with a desire to right the wrongs, and with Little John by his side he becomes the warrior we know as Robin Hood. Together they form a brotherly bond as they scheme, tirelessly train, and hide their intentions from his past lover, Marion (Eve Hewson), who has moved on with Will Scarlet thanks to the Sheriff’s conspiring ways. As the pair set out to inspire the commoners to revolt, we see the transition from the Lord of Loxley to the iconic Robin Hood. Action is around every corner as we watch Robin steal money from the rich and eventually steal the girl too, sandwiched between action scenes, vicious fights, explosions, and even a horse chase up a flight of stairs. The ending leaves an opening for a second instalment, which means we’ll be first in line to catch this skilled archer reignite his chemistry with Marion. 

KATE SEARS Four stars (4) stars


Awards role in for theatre group

For more than 75 years, Frankston Theatre Group has continuously provided opportunities for involvement in community theatre. This year, its youth arm, under its new name of ACT II, produced a much-loved classic — Charley’s Aunt — in a semi-immersive style.

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At the recent Victorian Drama League Awards, ACT II’s enthusiasm and creativity were rewarded when it won the award for Best Costume Design and picked up no fewer than two special Adjudicator’s Awards, had cast member Edward Church nominated for Best Support Actor in a Comedy Role for his role as Brassett, and the production itself was nominated for Best Comedy Production overall.  All members of ACT II are aged between 16 and 26, and for some Charley’s Aunt was their first stage experience.

Frankston Theatre Group — both the parent group and ACT II — always publishes auditions and other relevant details on Facebook and welcomes newcomers to both groups.  If you think you’d like to take an audience on a shared voyage through comedy or drama, contact FTG or check out its website.  And remember, there are lots of great community theatre groups. Some specialise in music theatre, some in ancient or classical theatre, but all need creative, enthusiastic people to keep them powering along.

FRANKSTON THEATRE GROUP

W: frankstontheatregroup.org.au

FB: frankstontheatreinc


It’s time to get curious By Kate Sears

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Summer days are made to be spent reading at the beach or to the kids under a tree at a picnic. Frankston City Libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge invites children to discover a new world through this year’s theme of Curious Creatures.

It’s time to explore little critters and inspire a curiosity for creatures. Readers will be rewarded with prizes as they reach each milestone, and an invitation-only event will be held for those children who have completed the challenge at the end of the summer school holidays. The Summer Reading Challenge Finale will even have a special surprise guest to join the celebrations.

The challenge is open to children of all ages, and parents are invited to discover more information and register their littles ones for the national competition at summerreadingclub.org.au

Registrations are open at all branches of Frankston City Libraries from December, Saturday 1 and the event runs until Wednesday, January 16. 

FRANKSTON CITY LIBRARIES
T: 9784 1020
W: library.frankston.vic.gov.au


It’s time for the songs of Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke, the King of Soul, will be revealed when Australian soul singer and performer Gary Pinto and band perform the unforgettable tell-all story of Cooke’s rise to fame and shockingly early death through his unforgettable music.

Credited by many as the inventor of soul music, Cooke began his career in gospel bands, later moving to ‘secular music’ and creating a sound that broke the colour divide. More than sharp suits, luxury cars, generous women and earthy language, Cooke’s crystal-clear, velvet-smooth voice had the melodies to match and created a new genre of music.

Cooke broke race and religious barriers in the 1950s and 1960s and became one of the best-known African Americans in the world. With 30 US Top 40 hits to his name, plus an extra three posthumously, Songs & Times of Sam Cooke features some of these enduring classics, including You Send Me, A Change Is Gonna Come, Cupid, Chain Gang, Wonderful World, Another Saturday Night and Twistin' the Night Away.

The performance is on Saturday, February 23, at 7.30pm. Book in for pre-show dining to make a night of it. Tickets to the show are $69-$79 and the two-course dinner is an additional $48.

FRANKSTON ARTS CENTRE

A: 27-37 Davey St, Frankston

T: 9784 1060

W: thefac.com.au

FB: FrankstonArtsCentre

INSTA: the_fac

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Halloween Showing at Hoyts, Wells St, Frankston

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Forty years on from John Carpenter’s seminal 1978 slasher film, Halloween is a welcome return to form for a franchise that has often been plagued by its own silliness. Playing as a direct sequel to the original film and ignoring everything in between works a treat. Fans will enjoy the nostalgia and appreciate homages to the source material all the while remaining completely accessible to newcomers.

Scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode. No longer a terrified teenager ill-prepared to confront unimaginable evil, this Laurie is the result of the numerous emotional and physical scars from that Halloween night long ago.

The trauma she has experienced, coupled with an unwavering certainty that Michael Myers would someday return to finish her off has seen Laurie devote her life to not becoming a victim again. “He’s waited for this night . . . he’s waited for me . . . I’ve waited for him.” 

Thankfully for her family, who have long written her off as a kook, when The Shape begins to maximise his kill count by cutting a bloody path back to Haddonfield, Laurie’s survival instincts are going to benefit them greatly.

The portrayal of Michael Myers here effectively reminds audiences why he’s considered one of the all-time great screen monsters — an unstoppable killing machine completely lacking in humanity.

Glossy production values and some tacked-on plotlines see the film lacking the same level of heart as Carpenter’s $300,000 indie original. However, overall the film succeeds in cleansing the palate of some questionable sequels and making Michael Myers terrifying again.

SCOTT JACKSON Three and a half stars (3.5) stars


Bring in Christmas with Denis Walter  

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Denis Walter is one of Australia’s finest and most popular bass baritones. With his commanding stage presence and rich voice, Denis will be the perfect ticket to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Denis is a radio star on 3AW with his high-rating afternoon show. Due to his radio commitments, he doesn’t get to perform on stage as much as he would like. In an all-too-rare appearance on stage, Denis will sing in Christmas 2018 with all the wonderful Christmas classics.

The performance is on Friday, December 14, at 10.30am and 1.30pm. Book in for FAC’s famous Christmas lunch to catch up with friends and make a day of it. Tickets to the show are $21 and lunch at noon is an additional $26.

FRANKSTON ARTS CENTRE

A: 27-37 Davey St, Frankston

T: 9784 1060

W: thefac.com.au

FB: FrankstonArtsCentre

INSTA: the_fac


New award makes a Splash at gallery

Lee Bethel, Komon 2018, watercolour on hand-cut paper, 76 x 54cm. Image courtesy the artist

Lee Bethel, Komon 2018, watercolour on hand-cut paper, 76 x 54cm. Image courtesy the artist

McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery is celebrated as the home of Australian sculpture. With a wide-ranging collection of more than 100 sculptures, the park comprises 8ha of designed landscape and vast areas of indigenous bushland. McClelland’s light-filled café overlooks the sculpture park and serves innovative dishes with delicious produce from the Mornington Peninsula. The exhibition program focuses on the development of modern sculpture and various forms of spatial practice, and encourages contemporary artists to develop and address challenging issues current in Australia and a global context.

The Splash McClelland Contemporary Watercolour Award 2018 has been established to showcase contemporary Australian watercolour practice and is on from December 1-March 17. To be held every three years, it is an acquisitive award enabled by the Fornari Bequest, by the will of the late Lena May Fornari, and is a legacy of her support of the arts in Victoria. Lena May was an ardent collector of watercolours and the first acquisitions through this bequest were significant watercolour paintings. Continuing this tradition, Splash presents the work of contemporary Australian artists who use this medium in highly accomplished and innovative ways. The award will be judged by Linda Michael, independent curator and editor, with one highly commended work judged by Samantha Comte, curator at The Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne.

MCCLELLAND SCULPTURE PARK+GALLERY

A: 390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin


Frankston Arts Centre dares you!

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Next year is all about being adventurous. Do you dare? Find out what’s in store when Frankston Arts Centre launches its 2019 season on Thursday, November 29. Attend the season launch to know what’s coming to FAC in 2019 before anyone else. You will be treated to not only a preview of all the shows but also a night of entertainment with some surprise performances planned just for this event. And if that isn’t enough, did we mention a glass of wine too?

FAC’s 2019 season has been carefully curated for audiences of today and tomorrow. It provides a platform for compelling stories that span topics that are current, historical, relatable, entertaining, reflective, joyous and sometimes gritty. We dare you to step into another world — choose a show that will challenge your perspective, deepen conversations and diversify your theatre experience.

Tickets are $15 and include a glass of wine.

FRANKSTON ARTS CENTRE

A: 27-37 Davey St, Frankston

T: 9784 1060

W: thefac.com.au

FB: FrankstonArtsCentre

INSTA: the_fac


The B# Big Band will take you on A Sentimental Journey

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The B# Big Band presents an unforgettable show of swinging classics led by the sassy and sultry vocals of acclaimed Melbourne jazz songstress, Tamara Kuldin. This sentimental musical spectacular of song features melodies from the ‘30s and ‘40s made famous by the likes of Benny Goodman, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Doris Day.

Immerse yourself in the golden era of jazz as Tamara and Melbourne’s own B# Big Band present this toe-tapping affair of song right here in the heart of Frankston!

The performance is on Friday, November 9, at 10.30am and 1.30pm. Book in for lunch to catch up with friends and make a day of it. Tickets to the show are $21 and lunch at noon is an additional $22.

FRANKSTON ARTS CENTRE

A: 27-37 Davey St, Frankston

T: 9784 1060

W: thefac.com.au

FB: FrankstonArtsCentre

INSTA: the_fac

Rosebud RockFest readies to rock the bay

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Rosebud’s long history as a great place to enjoy summer-lovin’ holidays makes it the perfect place to revive the fun-filled ‘50s and ‘60s lifestyle with Rosebud Foreshore RockFest, from November 16-18.

It starts on Friday evening at Rosebud Primary School with the first of many dances featuring Who Was That Cat. On Saturday morning the Rosebud town centre comes alive with ‘50s bands and street jiving, hot rods, muscle cars cruising along Point Nepean Rd and vintage caravans on display on the Village Green. At the school there’s a ‘50s and ‘60s market with retro clothing, DJs, live bands and dance demonstrations with Rockhouse.

During the afternoon the Rosebud Hotel presents Diddy Reyes ‘59 Rockers and on Saturday evening there’s more rock ‘n’ roll with Shane Magro Combo, Fender Benders, Honey B and the Stingers and The Jackson Four.

Sunday sees the pre-1970s Hot Rod and Classic Car Show on the Village Green, with hundreds of cars and vintage caravans on show. For fashionistas there’s vintage clothing and the Pin Up contest in the Memorial Hall. The market continues at Rosebud Primary School from 10am with great music from Who Was That Cat and Fender Benders. All events will conclude by 5pm.

Tickets are essential for many events and will sell out quickly, so go to foreshorerockfest.com.au, where you can also get all the details, and like the Facebook page ForeshoreRockFest for all the latest news.