Please support my production company!

Earlier this year, I quit my full time job to pursue freelance writing, performing, producing and directing full time. It’s going well! But being able to support myself (which I do) and being able to pay my collaborators, take creative risks, go on tour and record an album? Different things!

With this in mind, I’ve launched a Patreon account for my, my production company, blackcat productions (which I run with Phoebe Meredith) and our cabaret act, Lady Sings it Better (as well as all the other projects we’re developing).

Patreon is like the crowdfunding platforms you might be familiar with, but instead of one-off donations for a single project, it’s more like traditional patronage. Ongoing donations that give artists, writers and creatives a regular income. It means we can plan ahead, safe in the knowledge that we’ll have money in the bank for tour expenses, insurance, web hosting, artist fees and so on.

We’re asking those who love our work to pledge just $1 per month so we can make more work, take more risks and pay the artists we employ a fare fee for their work. If we reach our milestone of $1000 per month in donations, we can make an album and ALL our donors will get free downloads of the songs we record. All the donation levels have different perks and offers like discount show tickets, cabaret-grams (personalised video messages), private concerts and more.

Working in the arts is a privilege and we love it. We’ve received immense support from our friends, family and fans, and we’ve responded by working hard to create wonderful shows (we also try to keep our ticket prices low!). If you can spare $1 per month (or more!), please head over to our Patreon page or watch the video below to learn more:

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms & Sourdough Croutons

This is one of those dishes that happened because it was the day before shopping day. We had a motley collection of things in the fridge and somehow they came together to make this delicious wintry vegetable dish. It’s a great one if you have leftover bread ends. As always I am a little loose with amounts. The below would feed 4-6 people as a side or 2-3 as a main dish.

Honey, chilli, parmesan and garlic go so well together, the thyme adds much needed herby complexity and brussel sprouts just love sweetness. You could get fancy with this and spend more time on technique and presentation but this was a quick and easy Thursday night meal and it was great!

Without further ado…

Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Mushrooms & Sourdough Croutons with Lemon, Parmesan, Chilli, Thyme, Honey and Garlic

Ingredients:

  • roasted brussel sproutsBrussel sprouts (4-5 per person)
  • Button mushrooms (1-3 per person)
  • Sourdough croutons (I just used two big ends that had gone stale)
  • Half a spanish onion, very finely sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 large tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • Lots of freshly grated parmesan
  • Sea salt + pepper
  • Olive oil

A note about the garlic: I got impatient slow roasting my garlic. This would be delicious with slow roasted garlic. I’ve written what I actually did below because it turned out fine, but you could do it properly by roasting it or frying it to soften.

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 celsius.
  2. Wash and dry your brussel sprouts, chop off the stems, remove any yucky outer leaves and cut them in half lengthways
  3. Rip your bread into bite size pieces, scatter them into a casserole dish, drizzle on some olive oil, scatter halved garlic gloves around the dish and pop the dish in the oven.
  4. Finely slice your onion (really nice and thin) and pop them in a bowl with the juice of the lemon, honey, chilli and thyme, and a generous pinch of sea salt. Set aside.
  5. Quarter your mushrooms and chuck them in the baking dish. At this point I took the garlic cloves out because they weren’t roasting fast enough. I chopped them up and chucked them in the lemon onion honey bowl!
  6. Heat olive oil in a large fry pan til it’s nice and hot. Spread the brussel sprouts out to fry – make sure they’re only one layer thick and have some space. You want them to get nice and browned, you do NOT want them to stew and go soft. Check out Ottolenghi’s instructions for frying brussel sprouts. The man knows brussels.
  7. When your croutons are crispy and your brussels are fried, toss them all in the dish with the lemon / onion / honey mixture. Stir it up so they all get coated in the herby mixture. You want a dish big enough that they’re all snugly in there but not so that they are in layers and go soft.
  8. Grate a load of parmesan onto the top. Use a bit more than you think you need as it really ties the flavours together.
  9. Bake it til the parmesan is melting and starting to brown.
  10. Eat!

Cate Blanchett isn’t bisexual… *weeps*

To be honest, I started writing an article last week about Cate Blanchett. Remember last week? That glorious time when we thought she’d had ladylovers “many times.” Yeah, those were some good times.

I abandoned that article because reason and argument kept giving way to ridiculous lesbian fan fiction. Don’t get me wrong, Andrew Upton is a megababe. I’d just rather picture Our Cate getting jigging with a female co-star or three.

This week it all came crashing down and lesbians around the world wept in unison. Turns out Cate was misquoted so she went back to being just a regular heterosexual megastar.

But while this is a terrible disappointment, the part about this whole adventure that bothered me the most were the ubiquitous “who cares” brigade. You know the ones? They spend their days commenting on opinion pieces with “who cares?” and “is this news?” (to which I say “you obviously, you clicked on it” and “no, it’s an opinion piece.”)

So, instead of fan fiction pairing up Our Cate with Frances McDormand / Mery Streep / Kerry Washington / Lily Tomlin / Julianna Margulies / Gillian Anderson / Sara Ramirez / Archie Panjabi / Sidse Babett Knudsen, I wrote this article for Daily Life about coming out, lesbian health and needing a hero.

How to be an Ally: Waleed Aly says #ShowMeTheMoney

I don’t watch The Project. But I am an obsessive user of the internet so when something happens on The Project like Waleed Aly’s pre-budget #ShowMeTheMoney tirade about funding for the prevention of domestic violence, I hear about it.

I am constantly frustrated by people’s unwillingness to show empathy and use their privilege to act in support of minorities groups or those who suffer discrimination. I get especially annoyed when members of my own LGBTQI community either show apathy or do things that are outright racist / ableist / classist. But instead of shaming negative acts (I’ll leave public spats to TayTay and Katy Perry), I decided to highlight a few people who are doing “ally” right, namely Waleed Aly, Jenny Leong and my pal, Richard.

I wrote about it for Gay News Network. Full article here.

Lady Sings it Better’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival reviews

I had a wonderful time in Melbourne performing for a week at The Butterfly Club with Lady Sings it Better (and performing twice in the Spiegeltent! once at Ali McGregor’s Late Nite Variety Nite Night and once at Two Leggy Redheads).

We also got some killer reviews, including possibly the best compliment I’ve ever received (except for the time a guy named Tommy said “there’s nothing a man likes to see more than a beautiful, intelligent women, wearing his leather jacket, in her pyjamas, off her face” and shortly after my friend Yvette said “Oh Maeve, you corrupter of good Christian women.” 2006, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.)

Where were we? That’s right, me getting complimented. Here it is:

“Marsden has a boisterous attitude that demands attention at all times. She epitomises the cabaret style with her loud personality, powerful voice and devilishly playful manner.” – Sofia Monkiewicz, ArtsHub

Awwww yeah. Here are the rest:

ArtsHub review by Sofia Monkiewicz, 17 April 2015
“Sassy, passionate, and downright hilarious, Lady Sings It Better is comedic cabaret at its best.”

Theatre People review by Suzanne Tate, 18 April 2015
“I have seen a lot of Cabaret in the last couple of years, and I have to say, Lady Sings it Better was one of the best.”

Lip Mag review by Eliza Graves-Browne, 17 April 2015
“The show ended with thunderous foot stamping and clapping from the audience, begging for an encore. Lady Sings It Better is more than just a musical performance; it is a political statement that is cleverly and enjoyably expressed through comical renditions. The power of misogynistic lyrics are taken away and transformed into enlightening and thoughtful compositions. This show is not one to miss.”

The Plus Ones review by Jasmin Ashton, 18 April 2015
“Lady definitely sings it better: if you’ve ever felt the need to hear every sexual song relating to animals sung in perfect feminine four part harmony, your wish will be fulfilled.”

Melbourne. Arts. Fashion. review by Meagan Welsh, 18 April 2015
“voices fit for Broadway and sass for days…”

Don’t push for ‘Married at First Sight’ to be axed. Get Nine to put gays in it instead.

I like disagreeing with people because it means I have something to write about for my monthly Gay News Network column. This time, after I’d seen the millionth petition signature / facebook status / op ed about Marriage at First Sight I decided to write an article in its defence. Because if there’s one thing mainstream reality TV shows with massive budgets need it’s a small time lesbian opinion writer championing their cause.

Reasons to read: jokes about my girlfriend, sensible arguments about marriage equality, use of the phrase ‘sanitary pads’, admissions about my terrible taste in TV.

Read the full article: ‘Don’t push for ‘Married at First Sight’ to be axed. Get Nine to put gays in it instead’.

Celebrating female artists: Introducing Maeve Marsden (ie me)

For International Women’s Day, the wonderful Rose Wintergreen of Launch Bubble ran a series celebrating female artists. Much as I loathe answering questions about myself (as if), I  managed to jot a few things down. Here’s the interview: Maeve Marsden on Launch Bubble.

And here’s a meme they made, which is actually me quoting Phoebe Meredith, not my own thoughts at all:

Maeve-Marsden-Launch-Bubble-Celebrating-Female-Artists-Series-1024x1024