Dream theatre

INSPIRED: Rob Mills hopes his latest role in the UK production of Puttin On The Ritz leads to work on London’s West End.HAVING fought for, and successfully achieved, musical credibility, Rob Mills has his sights set on conquering London’s acclaimed West End theatre scene.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s a declaration a decadeago that would have had readers choking on their morning cornflakes in disbelief at its audacity.

This is man who was oncefamous for being the “cheeky bad boy”ofthe inaugural Australian Idol and for having a flingwith Paris Hilton.

In recent years Mills, who turned 35 on Thursday, has matured and channelled his singing, dancing and acting talent into becominga star of Australian musical theatre.

He’s appeared in Grease, Hair, Wicked, Ghost The Musical and in July he will play the lead role in Jesus Christ Superstar. Mills has also began preparing for perhapshis most important role yet,the UK production of Puttin On The Ritz.

Mills will be the only Australian performerin the song and dance production that features predominately stars of the West End and is produced by Englishman David King.

Puttin On The Ritz features the music ofIrving Berlin, Cole Porter and George Gershwin and takes the audience to the golden era of Hollywood where swing music and Fred Astaire loomed large.

Securing a role in Puttin On The Ritz, as well as a series of meetings with West End theatre companies, has convinced Mills to follow his dreams and potentially move to London in the near future.

“With touring with this company there might be some work for me in the UK at the end of the year or early next year,” Mills says.“I’m thinking about making the move. It’s all thoughts in my brain at the moment, but maybe. I don’t see why not.

Rob MillsRob Mills Is Surprisingly Good, full self-deprecating humour.

“I’ve tried to be a sponge and maybe it was trying to shakeoff the Idol tag and being a rapscallionboy from the burbs has made me want to work harder and prove people wrong and prove it to myself,” he says.

WILD DAYS: Rob Mills during his brief dalliance with Paris Hilton in 2003.

Mills’ acting career is also flourishing. Earlier this year he debuted on TV soap opera Neighbours as school teacher Finn Kelly. It’s a role Mills has been able to relate to as he regularly conducts workshops in schools, talking to studentsabout theatre.

“I did drama all through high school, but I didn’t do year 12 drama because I was too scared of what other people would think of me,” he says.

“If I could go back and tell that kid, little Rob, ‘everyone is going to have an opinion about you, so just do what you want to do’ and I would have definitely pursued drama through year 12, knowing what I know now.”

Luckily, says Mills, Australia has progressedsince his teenage years and it’s more socially acceptable forboys to study the dramatic arts.

“You learn so many great lessons through acting games and you learn emotional techniques and empathy and things that will make you a better person,” he says.“I know I’ve become a more well-rounded person after doing a lot more acting.”

Puttin On The Ritz comes to Wests New Lambton on September 24.

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery is state of the artPHOTOS

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery is state of the art | PHOTOS Fine Art: Erika Sorby with her portrait of Sonia Hornery and Ollie the greyhound.
Nanjing Night Net

Sonia Hornery with Ollie the greyhound, also known as Knight Sprite.

Erika’s portrait of Sonia Hornery in the making.

Erika’s portrait of Sonia Hornery in the making.

Erika and her injured shoulder.

Erika’s art studio.

Erika Sorby with an art award she won.

TweetFacebookRockthe HouseThey said you’d never get anywhere, Well they don’t care and it’s just not fair, That you know, and I know better.

Craig “Rosie” Rosevear was The Screaming Jets’ drummer.

You’re thinking what I’m thinking, aren’t you?That those are classic lyrics from thatclassic Newcastle band,The Screaming Jets.

Craig “Rosie”Rosevear was the band’s drummer from1993 to 2000.

As Craig knows, there’s a bit of pressure when performing at a live gig.

So crossing over from the world of rock to the world of property auctions isn’t an entirelyforeign experience.

There are some differences. For example, girls don’t throw their bras at him during an auction. And the after-parties aren’t as hardcore.

Craig has dubbed his auction style “rocktioneering”.

“The auctioneer is like the orchestrator, extracting bids, drawing the most out of buyers, creating enthusiasm and keeping the energy up around the property,”he said.

“I‘ve always had a love of people and property and was fortunate enough to have invested my Screaming Jets royalties into property.”

Craigwill participate in the Real Estate of NSW’s Novice Auctioneer Competition at Charlestown Bowling Club on July 5.

The auctioneers pick an item of their choice to auction.

Craig will draw on his rockheritage by auctioning a“rock-star experience” with The Screaming Jets and a personal drum lessonwith himself.

Proceeds go tothe McGrath Foundation.

Opportunity grows from city’s ‘starfish’ projects

The Starfish and the Spider is a great book by Ori Bafram. It’s a bit old now but presents a solid argument about the strength of decentralised systems or organisations, led by people we might call catalysts, where the network has strength, small businesses have power, knowledge is shared and everyone wants to contribute.
Nanjing Night Net

SHIFTING SAND: The Hunter is seeing the power of projects where there are many thinking parts, shared roles and regular renewal.

The analogy is that if you cut off a spider’s head, it dies. But a starfish has a ‘distributed neural system’. Ifyou cut off one part, it grows a new one. More importantly, each point of the starfish can take the lead depending on what it needs to do at that time.

OK,it’s a kitsch analogy but in the Hunter we can see the power of ‘starfish’ projects where there are many thinking parts, shared roles and regular change and renewal.

We see it most clearly through the work of the Hunter Innovation Project (HIP), which has been led by committed people in Newcastle University, Newcastle City Council, Newcastle Now and Hunter DiGiT and supported by a funding impetus from the State Government. HIP itself is focused on the Newcastle city centre with smart city infrastructure, a planned digital precinct and an innovation hub.

However, HIP has now grown some new ‘legs’, starfish style, with enthusiastic collaboration through the Hunter Innovation Ecosystem Project, the University’s I2N network of innovation hubs and new inner-city campus space. These projects have attracted involvement from over 30 regional organisations and from representatives of national and global corporations.

Another opportunity for collaboration has been announced with the state providing funding to Newcastle Now for a project that aims to install interactive creative features in night-time trouble spots. This project is a collaboration between Newcastle Now, council and Hamilton Chamber with considerable support in its planning by the NSW Police.

Newcastle Now invests in research, attempting to adapt the lessons learned elsewhere to the Newcastle context. We made a three-year investment in a university research project mapping the region’s creative industries. We then began to learn about the global ‘smart cities’ movement and the potential of new technologies to make cities more liveable and sustainable. This led to a pilot project in Darby Street. It provided a network of street sensors that has allowed us to learn about the potential of smart city technologies to help business be more efficient and profitable. It is now being absorbed into the broader smart cities strategy that council is developing.

Through these two projects we came to understand more about how modern cities are changing, and more about how we, as a Business Improvement Association, need to constantly review our priorities to leverage the big projects and their energies for the benefit of our members – as one player within a bigger team.

Like all periods of change there can be conflicting goals, but if we can work together and redirect our long-standing programs to take advantage of opportunities, the city and region can go a long way.

It’s not just that ‘many hands make light work’, it’s also that enthusiasm is greatest when people feel they are making a difference. And that happens best when by helping to meet the goals of the many, they can also achieve their own purpose.

The starfish has more going for it than you see at first glance.

Edward Duc is executive chairperson for Newcastle Now Business Improvement Association

Former Ipswich mayor charged with extortion

Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale is facing three charges, including one count of extortion, after he was arrested by the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Nanjing Night Net

Mr Pisasale, 65, was arrested by Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission and taken to the Brisbane watchhouse on Tuesday where he was formally charged.

He willfront the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning after being remanded in custody overnight.

It follows an eventful fortnight for MrPisasale,who resigned as mayor after 13 years ata June 6 press conference held ata local hospital while he was clad in a dressing gown and red-and-white pyjamas.

He willfront the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning after being remanded in custody overnight.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale, wearing a hospital gown and pyjamas, announces his resignation. Photo: 7 News

It follows an eventful fortnight for MrPisasale,who resigned as mayor after 13 years ata June 6 press conference held ata local hospital while he was clad in a dressing gown and red-and-white pyjamas.

MrPisasaletold reporters he had succumbed to multiple sclerosis, a disease from which he had suffered since 1998.

The next day it was revealed Mr Pisasalehad been stopped by Australian Federal Police after he was found carrying a suitcase with $50,000 in cash through Melbourne Airport in May.

Mr Pisasale has told associates that he was merely acting as a courier as a favour for his good friend Brisbane barrister Sam Di Carlo.

He told friends he was in Melbourne visiting a developer when the colourful barrister, a former police officer, asked him to collect a cash payment from a Victorian client as it was needed urgently to settle a law case being run by Mr Di Carlo in Brisbane.

Just why the federal police had Mr Pisasale under surveillance that day is not clear, but they later executed search warrants on his home and office.

The popular mayor, who has run Ipswich council since 2004, denied that the police raid had anything to do with his resignation.

“I would be astonished if it is not legit,” Mr Di Carlo previously told Fairfax Media about the $50,000 in cash.

“I regard him as a very good mayor, a true friend, and honest … the idea that he would take a bribe is ridiculous and I am so sad that he has resigned.”

“Mr Ipswich” Paul Pisasale. Photo: Chris Hyde

Following his arrest, a CCC spokesman said the charges had “nothing to do with the fifty grand” found on MrPisasaleat Melbourne Airport nor OperationBelcarra, the organisation’s investigation into the 2016 local elections.

“The 65-year-old Ipswich man charged today by the CCC has been remanded in custody and is expected to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow [June 21],” a statement from the CCC read.

Asked whether anyone else could become the subject of CCC action, the spokesman said: “I can’t say at this stage. The investigation remains ongoing.”

Ipswich City Council learnt about the arrest on Tuesday afternoon.

Council chief executive Jim Lindsay said the charges related solely to the allegedpersonalmisconduct of Mr Pisasale.

“I’m disappointed to hear through the media of today’s developments,” he said.

“Many council staff have worked closely with Mr Pisasale over a number of years, and I can assure everyone that there are deep feelings of disappointment that their formermayor has been arrested.

“Council business, however, must operate as normal.

“I’m confident the resilience of our dedicated workforce will continue to offer quality service to the people of Ipswich.

“This has always been the case, and has continued to be the case since the resignation of theformermayor on June 6.

“This won’t change tomorrow, nor into the future.”

Mr Pisasale was known as “Mr Ipswich” after becoming one of the city’s most readily identifiable figures.

He was first elected as an Ipswich councillor in 1991 and became Ipswich’s independent mayor in 2004.

Under parliamentary privilege last week, independent state MPRob Pyne levelled serious allegations of corruption and misconductagainst Mr Pisasale and other senior Ipswich council members.

He tabled a four-page unattributed document in Queensland Parliament.

Which 10 consumer brands influence Australians the most?

If you had to list the brands with which you interacted in the past 24 hours, what would appear?
Nanjing Night Net

Google? Probably.

Facebook? Almost definitely.

And you probably used an Apple or Microsoft device to access both of the above, all while hooked up to Telstra broadband.

Sound about right?

It should, considering these brands are five of the 10 most influential in Australia.

And while it might not be sexy, it’s not surprising that Bunnings also makes it into the top 10.

The ranking comes from the Ipsos-led study into the nation’s most influential consumer brands, now in its sixth year.

Polling 2000 Australians, the study measures a brand’s influence according to five factors: leading edge, engagement, trustworthiness, citizenship and presence.

The top 10 were selected from a list of market-leading overseas and local brands.

“In the digital world of today brands have a power to perform a role above and beyond providing just one service or product,” said Gillian O’Sullivan, managing director of Ipsos marketing, Australia & New Zealand.

“Technology-focused companies are rising further and further up the rankings, with eight out of the top 10 brands in Australia being technology-focused companies … of course with a couple of exceptions.”

10: BunningsAmid the tech giants on the list, Bunnings Warehouse sticks out with its bricks and mortar presence and a business model which continues to shun the online marketplace.

“The strength of Bunnings as a brand surprises me every year,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

“It’s not a very sexy brand, but it has consistently done the same thing very well year in, year out. One of the questions we ask is, ‘Is there an attribute of this brand I would be willing to defend?’ Bunnings has always done well on that dimension. That’s a great measure of the strength of a brand.”

9: TelstraTelstra has appeared in the top 10 every year for the past four years –and for one reason.

“You can’t escape Telstra. And a brand that has strong presence like Telstra is seen to lead competitors.”

Telstra’s influence has been further cemented with the roll-out of the NBN, for which it is delivering services to around half of all connected homes.

While the telco ranked at No.7 for Gen X and Baby Boomers, it failed to rate for millennials in their own top 10.

8: YouTubeYouTube’s influence is linked to its ability to foster “emotional engagement” among Australians.

Ms O’Sullivan saidthe platform succeeds with its strong branding and dominance as the “go-to place” for everything from hard-hitting news, to entertainment and music.

7: AppleWhile brands have always been influential in their own right, globalisation has blurred the boundaries of who brands influence and how.

“From a consumer perspective we used to only see brands operating in one or two categories. Now we see brands able to extend beyond the category in which they originated,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

Ipsos defined Apple as such a brand, deeming it “the trendsetter brand”.

6: eBayeBay stood out among Australian consumers for “changing behaviour”. As the original one-to-one global trader it was through eBay that many Australians first began shopping online.

MsO’Sullivansaid it was evidence that brands creating new ways of doing things have great influence.

5: ColesOne of the three local brands to make it into the rankings, Coles leads all other Australian supermarkets in understanding consumer needs. Its success comes despite the constant threat from German discount giant Aldi.

However Coles will be keeping a close eye on the US high-end grocer Whole Foods, bought this week by Amazon, which is set to start trading in Australia from next year.

4: PayPalThis year was the first Ipsosincluded PayPal in the survey. So it came as a surprise when it landed at No.4.

“Our hunch was that PayPal was a strong brand. But to land at No.4 was a surprise.”

According to the study, PayPal is the most trusted brand in Australia.

3: MicrosoftMicrosoft has more or less maintained its position in the Ipsosstudy over the past four years.

According to the surveyed Australians, it’s considered to have “unwavering importance” in the lives of consumers.

2: FacebookOne of the biggest changes from 2016 was that Microsoft and Facebook swapped places, which Ms O’Sullivan may reflect “where things are headed”.

“Facebook has definitely moved up the ranks the last few years, that’s no surprise. We see Facebook being a really strong brand among every generation … it’s just as relevant to grandmothers as it is to millennials.”

1: GoogleA brand is surely doing something right when its very name becomes a verb.

And so for the fourth year in a row Google has been declared the most influential brand –in Australia, across the globe and among all generational groups.

According to the survey results, among Australian consumers it leads in innovation, originality and reliability.