(PG) The complicated nature of fowls is the ground (and mind) scratching theme of Chicken People, a delightful American documentary about people who breed and raise chickens and enter them in shows. The people, the self-described hatchoholics, are complicated too. They are warm, funny, plucky and at times crestfallen. Director Nicole Lucas Haimes cleverly frames the film over a year, starting with one bird show and ending with another, to draw out the stories of the people and their families. The focus is on three chicken people: young jazz singer Brian Caraker; engineer Brian Knox; and Shari McCullough, who lives with her second husband, five children, five dogs, one cat, 40 rabbits, one llama named Comet, some ducks, some goats and 200 chickens. As Alfred Hitchcock understood, birds are from a different planet. This documentary shows them in all their glory.
First Girl I Loved (M) First Girl I Loved captures the awkwardness and insecurity that occurs when one of the lovers isn’t certain that the object of their affections feels the same way. Anne (Dylan Gelula) is a 17-year-old who attends a Los Angeles high school. While taking photos for the school yearbook, she encounters Sasha (Brianna Hildebrand). There’s an instant attraction, but how should Anne proceed and how can she be certain that Sasha feels the same way? Anne attempts to confide in her best friend, Clifton (Mateo Arias), who assumes Sasha is male. Anne and Sasha spend an evening at a club, where they kiss on the dance floor; and they wind up in Sasha’s bed. But Sasha has serious second thoughts the next day. The film’s main drawback is its rather fussy structure. Otherwise it is a small film worth seeking out.
Proxy The notion that a portrait purely depicts a particular subject and their personality is turned on its head in the series of works by artist Loribelle Spirovski. The recurring subject (Spirovski’s partner, acclaimed concert pianist Simon Tedeschi) takes on different guises, poses and expressions so as to convey different states, ideas and moods in the artist’s own life. Tedeschi is effectively her proxy. Each portrait is different — some haunted and drawn, some appropriating literary characters, some abstract — but they all pinpoint stages of her artistic career and life. Pictured above is Solipsist (2017). wealth of artistic history — ancestral traditions and links to the arts of Indian and China with modern ties to Spain and Mexico. Passion and Procession presents installations, videos, sculptures and paintings revealing personal experiences of life and faith, and their public declaration in processions. Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Road, Sydney. Daily, 10am-5pm; Wed until 10pm. Inquiries: 1800 679 278 or online. Until November 12. Making Modernism Modernist masterpieces of Margaret Preston and Grace Cossington Smith are featured in this exhibition. To accompany the Australian connection, works by American painter Georgia O’Keeffe will be displayed. United by their love of nature, O’Keeffe, Preston and Cossington Smith developed subjects from their surroundings into distinct interpretations of place. Making Modernism draws together about 30 works by each artist. Art Gallery of NSW, Art Gallery Road, Sydney. Tickets: $8-$18. Daily, 10am-5pm; Wed until 10pm. Inquiries: (02) 9225 1700 or online. Until October 2. Sydney Theatre Company play Australian Graffiti. The production investigates the migrant experience and shows a touchingly humorous insight into identity and belonging. A Thai family is the only migrant family living in a small country town where mysterious graffiti is starting to appear close by. Should they move to Sydney? Perhaps farther west? Gabrielle Chan and Monica Sayers return to STC as the powerful matriarchs of the family, with Kenneth Moraleda ( Talk) and Mason Phoumirath and Srisacd Sacdpraseuth completing it. Sydney Theatre Company, Wharf 2 Theatre, 4 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay. Opens tonight, 7.30pm. Tickets: $32-$35. Bookings: (02) 9250 1777. Until August 12. Rice aren’t the most conventional avenue. She meets Clare, who is experiencing a slew of bad luck. Clare thinks Sue may be a way out of it and they could help each other. She and Sue strike an unorthodox bargain, but is Clare a godsend or a con artist? Kit Brookman’s quirky play was the winner of the 2016 Ensemble Theatre New Writing Commission. Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall Street, Sydney. Opens tonight, 5pm and 8.15pm. Tickets: $34$67. Bookings: (02) 9929 0644 or online. Until August 5. The Rover Natasha Stuart will join the SSO onstage. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point. Today, 2pm and 8pm. Tickets: $62-$129. Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or online. Train The multi-Grammy and Billboard award-winning band Train comes to Sydney’s State Theatre as part of its national Play That Song tour. The American roots-rock band has an impressive back catalogue including the hit songs Drops of Jupiter, Meet Virginia, Drive By and Hey Soul Sister alongside its newest single, Play That Song. State Theatre, 49 Market Street, Sydney. August 1, 8pm. Tickets: $100.90-$250.90. Bookings: 13 61 00 or online.