In this edition:
- Festive Glamour: When the festive season throws you an occasion, you need to glam it up.
- Andrew McUtchen looks for fun in cricket with former Australian cricketer Damien Fleming.
- Take a look at our Christmas Gift Guide.
Its a startling example of what can be achieved with a little elbow grease and a lot of self-belief.
I didnt know anyone, Parrelli says. I was 21, I was determined, so I hopped on a plane and that was it. I had such a passion for what I wanted to do.
Half an hour in Parrellis company leaves you in no doubt of the power of her passions. When I speak to her, shes about to fly out to New York to see her play Mirror Image performed. But no matter if shes talking about her new career as a playwright or sharing her enduring love of 80s pop, Parrelli seems to squeeze more words and enthusiasm into each second than should be humanly possible.
Anyone who tuned into Chartbusting 80s during its long run on Channel 31 wont find this surprising. Her presenting persona, Queen Josie, was a larger-than-life bogan wog goddess (as Catherine Deveny once called her) with a blinding smile, terrifying hair and the relentless energy and often the leotard of an aerobics instructor.
The show, which has gone down in history as one of the community broadcasters greatest successes, was entirely Parrellis brainchild. A letter-writing campaign on her arrival in Melbourne had seen her win a hosting slot on PBS radio. From there, it was a short hop, skip and jump to Channel 31, where she found a demand for new material.
(Production group) RMITV were looking for new TV shows, she says. Because of my love of the 80s, I thought, how cool would it be to have a TV show, where every weekend its just 80s music.
When pitching the show, she had no plans on taking up a role as presenter, imagining herself in a behind-the-scenes role.
I thought Id be happy just to produce it, just to see the music videos. When it got accepted, I had to make a pilot and I realised I needed a talking head. I didnt really know anyone, so I put myself in it.
As it turned out, performing before a camera didnt present much of a challenge.
Im such a talker anyway and being Italian and a hairdresser, it just came naturally. I love to make an audience feel that theyre involved in something. People love people.
If others were surprised by this sudden swerve into writing, Parrelli wasnt.
Thats what youve got to do as an artist: reinvent and re-educate yourself, she says.
Most new playwrights would be happy to see their work performed on local stages. As usual, Parrelli had bigger ideas.
The Weekend was the first play Id written. I could really hear it with American voices so I thought you know what, Im just going to send this everywhere.
The play was snapped up by the Strawberry One-Act Play Festival in Manhattan. While Parrelli couldnt make it over to see it performed, she did fly out to see her second play when it was performed there in June. The reception she has received Stateside has left her in no doubt that skipping the local theatre scene in favour of pursuing success overseas was the right decision.
I think if you just isolate yourself and say Im only going to stay in one place, then youre only going to get known in one area. Over there, I feel incredibly respected as a playwright. Playwrights are revered. Here, its a bit different, its more of a prove it approach. Over there, theyre a bit more open.
Parrellis third production, Mirror Image, ws performed at this years festival, to much acclaim. But she isnt satisfied with that.
Id love to see it developed into a Broadway production, she says. Or a film.
Big thinking. It pays off.