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FELINES JUMP FROM PAGE TO STAGE ACROSS AUSTRALIA

Written by: diana082323

 

     BARELY out of her teens, Kelly Jones has created a new wave magazine that is providing a page  and a stage  for Canberra's young writers.
    Her monthly publication, Dreams of a Limegreen latex corsets, has sparked fresh interest in writers performing their own work and evoked the attention of writers around Australia.
    Jones, along with her "right hand man", Christian Szabo, have taken Catsuit beyond print and established monthly performance nights for young poets to perform.
    Young poets such as Jerome Kugan have responded to Catsuit's call to aspiring writers and landed on the stages of prominent venues in Canberra to perform their written art.
    Picture the candle-lit '20s showroom of Heaven nightclub in Civic, decorated by Jones and her crew. Here Kugan sings, shouts and improvises his poem The Cola Song to an audience of new and established artists.
    "How do they make it? Do they squeeze oysters, do they grow cola cows? Do they dream of cola plants and then squeeze their lives out?" This "surrealist treatment of the origin of consumer products", which questions 20th century consumerism, is just one regular gig to be seen at the monthly nights at Heaven.
    Kelly says the Catsuit-inspired trend is a step away from Generation X grunge and also one in the eye for the thirtysomething writers. Her innovation is drawing young and promising artists out of their backyard studios and into the public eye.
    "No one had seen anything like it. This group of young people performing for the first time with so much energy and raw talent. It really started blowing the Spoken Word scene apart." Dreams of a Limegreen Catsuit publishes poems, short stories, plays and visual art contributed by young people from around Australia.
    With limited knowledge of the business side and only funds from their student pockets the initial creators of Catsuit, in answer to their hand-distributed pamphlets, were deluged with contributions from young writ ers just waiting to be published, when Jones launched Catsuit in March last year.
    The Suspect Mushrooms, a four-piece band comprising a virtuoso opera singer, buxom and theatrical in her performance, a pop guitarist, bass player and drums, are also regular entertainers with song titles such as Ode to the Groovers.
    Audiences of more than 150 people, entertained by these young "spoken poets" , are not only regular but also increasing.
    "I don't want us to be the dark, brooding, grungy Generation X. I want us to be in their faces. Catsuit is the crucial foundation of my evolving empire. It's all centred around creating funds to create young artists," Jones says.
    Jones, an aspirant writer who stopped studying Professional Writing at the University of Canberra to create and expand Catsuit, is dedicated to giving young artists exposure.
    As the magazine and its branches have evolved the talents of writers, musicians, artists and performers have been embraced by Jones and unearthed in her popular performance nights.
    "Australia's young people have so much energy and talent. I receive calls and contributions everyday from young artists everywhere. There is just so much out there yet to be heard." Using the stage of The Canberra Performance Poets to launch its first edition, Dreams of a Limegreen Catsuit brought new energy and perspective to the existing "niche" in Canberra's literary and art world.
    "Before Catsuit the literary stage was occupied by 30- to 34-year-olds. That's supposed to be young. Thirty-five is when you are not young any more. I'm talking about 19- to 24-year-olds here who deserve to be heard." As politicians Cheryl Kernot and Kerrie Tucker watched the launch, young artists such as Jerome Kugan and Sue Cun ningham offered their creations to their newfound audience.
    "Cheryl Kernot arrived in her bright blue outfit and said, "I am supposed to be at a meeting right now but I had to be here. I was inspired by the dream.'" Jerome Kugan is just one young artist whose work is gaining recognition through the efforts of Catsuit. Branching out from poetry, Kugan is now writing song lyrics and music, focusing mainly on performing.
    Versatile vocals have become the mark of this eccentric and multi-talented performer. At 23, Kugan has had poems and stories published and his book, Tester, is set to be published again in the next six months.
    Also nurturing an artistic career is Sue Cunningham, singer and songwriter. She is using Catsuit as a stepping stone.
    Catsuit's performance nights have provided a stage for Cunningham's "Tracy Chapman and more" style vocals and lyrics. As Canberra's only representative, Cunningham has recently entered the Love your Work competition being held by Pacific Circle Music in Sydney in October. The competition winners will be invited to perform in front of top music executives from around the world.
    Now preparing to move to Melbourne where the magazine is receiving increasing recognition, Jones plans to set up a Melbourne-based Dreams of a Limegreen Catsuit before again moving on and repeating the process across Australia.
    "We are helping the next generation of Australian writers here. I realise that if I don't do it myself it is not going to get done. Without a grant young people can't get published and without being published you can't get a grant. It's crazy."

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