Tag Archives: The Stress of Leisure

5 Australian Albums Released in 2012 That You Need To Hear

These are in no particular order, but each of these albums grabbed my attention in 2012 and I fear they may have slipped under the critical radar (maybe you have not even heard of these artists until now). So here’s five albums that spun endlessly at Lost Shark Headquarters in 2012.

***

Charge GroupCharge Group

Soaring in its beauty and cinematic in its scope, Charge Group’s eponymous second album has been a staple for me this past 12months. And what has made the album so dear to me is the fact that I got to experience it live, not once, not twice, but three times in 2012… the highlight of these shows being the intimate instore show at Jet Black Cat Records. Here’s the band playing Gold is Gone live at Brisbane Festival (complete with me hooting at the end). Seriously a contender for album of the year!

Ian Rilen & The Love AddictsFamily from Cuba

This is a posthumous release, but let me say from the outset, it is brimming with the life, love and energy that Rilen oozed. Rilen, for those who are not familiar with his work helped to define the shape and sound of Australian music, so it is fitting that his final recordings see the light of day. He was and will remain, our greatest ever, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Man’. The album is studded with gems. Here’s the opening track, the blues-fuelled, Wishing Well.

Mia DysonThe Moment

After being tested to her limits in her quest to ‘make it’ in the USA, Dyson has returned triumphant with an album that will reach deep inside you. The songs on The Moment have a timelessness about them; a raw, heartbroken honesty combined with some mighty fine rock hooks that make the album one that you want to sing along to (and I mean sing loud!). Here’s one of the quieter moments on the album, the bittersweet, Tell Me.

The FauvesGerman Engines

Australia’s [criminally underrated] masters of sardonic rock, The Fauves have had a creative flurry this past couple of years, releasing Japanese Engines in 2011 and following it up last year with the equally brilliant, German Engines. No-one does tongue-in-cheek like The Fauves… here’s a perfect example, the brilliantly dry, Six Minute Abs (played live here by Coxy and The Doctor).

The Stress of LeisureCassowary

Brisbane-ites, The Stress of Leisure released their fourth album, Cassowary; an album that brings together songs about fitness, sex, sharks, cocktails and of course, very large tropical birds. It’s indie-rock at its irreverent best;  with hooks as sharp as a Cassowary’s talons, the album will work its way under your skin and have you stylishly nodding along to song after song. Here’s the epic, Sex Times.

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Sex Times at SpeedPoets

This Sunday, November 6, is the last chance to get along to SpeedPoets before the long days of Summer set in.

It’s been a sparkling 10th year, with features from touring artists such as Matt Hetherington, James Waller and Santo Cazzati (Melbourne); local musicians including Baron Field, Primitive Motion, Ichabod’s Crane and Mardi Lumsden and some of our favourite local poets: Fern Thompsett, Phillip Ellis, Nathan Shepherdson, Rachael Briggs, Michelle Dicinoski and Carmen Keates.

And the final line-up for the year is another 3-way feature act that is bound to POP!

SpeedPoets regulars, Andrew Phillips and Michael Cohen will perform their debut feature sets alongside Brisbane art-rock fetishists, The Stress of Leisure, who will have their spanking new single, Sex Times available for the first time in 7″vinyl. So if you want to get sexy, SpeedPoets is the place to be!

And don’t forget to pack a poem in your pocket so that you can make your voice heard in Brisbane’s hottest Open Mic.

All the action kicks off at Brew (Lower Burnett Lane, Brisbane City – click here for a map) at 2pm and runs until 5pm. Entry is a gold coin donation and the monthly SpeedPoets Zine is free as a 2yr old in a shopping centre!

To get you in the mood, here’s a couple of clips of The Stress of Leisure teamed up with two of Brisbane’s finest poets, David Stavanger & Nathan Shepherdson. Get your dancing shoes on!

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Riverbend Poetry Series: The Sonic Mistress, Pascalle Burton

Brisbane is about to be flooded with words, as the first of three events raising much needed funds for those who have experienced siginficant loss as a result of the Jaunary floods or Cyclone Yasi, fires up on the deck of the beautiful Riverbend Books.

The Riverbend Poetry Series has been a highlight on the Brisbane poetry calendar for the last 6-years, and the opening event this year features the stellar line up of Alan Wearne, the launch of Brisbane New Voices II, which brings together Chris Lynch & John Koenig’s debut collections and mistress of all things sonic, Pascalle Burton.

Described as an avant-garde performance-poet musician-lady, her experimental manoeuvres with words and sound are an elegant dragnet. She gallivants across the theatrical tightrope between poetry, sonic art and music, and will be tied to none. Pascalle has performed in a ridiculous amount of venues and festivals over the years, both in Australia and overseas. Recent projects include The Stress of Leisure, Flight and ouTsideRs (with David Stavanger), and The Lavender Room’s Zine-in-a-Matchbox and Tortured Poet series. Her debut poetry collection, A Vast Laugh, was released through Small Change Press. She is currently messing with the idea of ‘reversible poetry’.

Here’s something new to give you a sample of what Pascalle has been up to:

Staghorn
 
hold on, host
sucking water from clouds
getting your fill, you don’t see me
watching you flirting
I’m lurking
 
winding my way like a
shark assassin or
tentacle terrorist
ready to take the next few years of this
hoping if it won’t kill me, it’ll take care of this
 
we’re all thieves
they’re all hosts
 
birds under threat will peck your accessories
real estate law will provide measures for these
prime property squatting
sharpening beaks and images
blink when they’re lying and frown when you’re serious
 
this intolerable heat
cinnamon ice cream hits the incinerated
like snow in the tropics
or sin in a tight spot:
regenerated
 
they’re all thieves
we’re all hosts
 
metho cocktails sipped inconspicuously
insidiously
McLennan’s lyrics score the way for intineraries
tattooed men drag their feet on the pavement
and women hold children on hips well rotated
 
hosts:
the trick’s not to get roasted
live ‘til tomorrow and
you’ll get promoted,
you just know it
just need a contract to show it
 
we’re all thieves
they’re all hosts
 
and the past keeps stealing into my sleep

You can read and listen to more of Pascalle’s work at:

www.myspace.com/pascallemaiden  www.thestressofleisure.com  www.myspace.com/flighthq   www.lavenderroom.etsy.com

Details for the event are:

Date: Tuesday 22 February
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at http://www.riverbendbooks.com.au/Events/EventDetails.aspx?ID=2481
 
These events are always hugely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment!

And don’t forget to get yourself a ticket in the Hold Back the Water: Disaster Relief Raffle. The prizes are well worth the entry and the cause is more than worthy.

Hope to see you there,

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Hold Back the Water: A Disaster Relief Fundraiser

The Brisbane poetry scene is about to explode back into action with a number of gigs in late February / early March. Dates for your diary include:

Tuesday February 22:

Riverbend Poetry Series, featuring Pascalle Burton, Alan Wearne & the launch of Brisbane New Voices II, which brings together the debut collections of John Koenig & Chris Lynch. Tickets are $10. Full details here.

Wednesday Feb 23:

Confit Bistro (4/9 Doggett St. Fortitude Valley) presents The Back Room, featuring performances by this Lost Shark and poetic guitar-slinger Sheish Money + local indie-rock luminaries, The Stress of Leisure. Entry is free and doors open from 6pm.

Sunday March 6:

SpeedPoets rolls back in to InSpire Gallery Bar (71 Vulture St. West End) to celebrate its 10th birthday. As always, doors will open at 2pm and entry is a gold coin donation. Stay tuned for announcements of features artists…

And one of the things that will bind these events together will be the running of the ‘Hold Back the Water: Disaster Relief Raffle’. I have again been overwhelmed by the generosity people have shown in donating prizes for this fundraiser. So drum roll please… the two major prizes are:

Draw 1 includes:

A 60 x 95cm framed print by renowned photographer, Sally Cripps which captures the sky, just west of Blackall (Western QLD) before the rains hit (see image below)

A dining voucher for Confit Bistro
A ticket to Opening Night of QLD Poetry Festival 2011 (Friday August 26)
A $30 gift voucher for Riverbend Books; and
A double pass to the Riverbend Poetry Series Event II, featuring Max Ryan, Vanessa Page, David ‘Ghostboy’ Stavanger & Julie Beveridge (Tuesday April 19)

Draw 2 includes:

Another 60x95cm framed print by renowned photographer, Sally Cripps (see image below)

and a Book Pack, valued at over $100.

Both prizes are valued at over $400 and should be enough to get any poetry lover salivating!

Raffle tickets are priced $5 each or 3 for $10 and will be sold at all three events, with all money raised donated to the QLD Premiers Disaster Relief Appeal. The raffle will be drawn on Sunday March 6 at the close of SpeedPoets and the winner notified.

So come on people, if you are anywhere near this fine city of ours on those dates, come along and help hold back the water. With the recent floods and Yasi circling off our coast, your support is needed now, more than ever. And please… don’t be afraid to spread the word!

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Softly, Softly…

                                                           or The New Folk XVI

I am anticipating some unique live music moments in the week ahead… First up, I dive into the deep sonic waters of Rafael Anton Irisarri (aka The Sight Below).

Irisarri’s work has been described as, meditations on suspended momentum and the opacity of perception (Big Shot). His evocative soundscapes and ambient pop epics, encompass the big emotions… longing, sorrow, bliss, while drawing the listener below the surface to look up at the storm of sounds shimmering above. Composers like Irisarri don’t visit these parts too often, so I too, am shimmering with excitement at the prospect of seeing him cast his sonic spell this Thursday night (August 19) at The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts. This haunting composition - Watching As She Reels – is from the Limited Edition 7″ EP, Hopes and Past Desires.

 

Then I lay my head down on the soft downy sounds of The Stress of Leisure as they take over The Zoo this Friday evening (August 20). Their third album, Soft Approach, has been on high rotation this past month, so I am looking forward to hearing the band rip through some of my favourites – The Boy’s Got Issues, Somewhere in the Afternoon and In the Movie Where He Dies of a Mystery Illness at the End. While the gig is being touted as ‘Soft’, including free hand massages on the night, The Stress of Leisure can rock pretty hard. For proof, check out the clip for Death on the Magic Mile.

 

Ah yes, softly, softly, the week unfurls…

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SpeedPoets: Billy Jones + The Stress of Leisure

This Sunday June 6, SpeedPoets roll back into InSpire Gallery Bar (71 Vulture St West End) from 2pm boasting a double feature to make the sparks fly in your frontal lobe!

The poetry feature will be none other than one-time hermit-derelict-wildman, Billy Jones. Billy is an artist, poet and emotional expatriate born in Camden, New Jersey in 1935. In addition to his seven previously published poetry collections and numerous exhibitions, he has kept a journal of drawings, paintings and poetry every day since 28 June 1975. When asked about Jones’ work, fellow QLD legend Thomas Shapcott said, the mystical awareness of larger forces within the quotidian is what makes his work special … a remarkable record of a life spent simply, and deeply.

Here is a poem taken from his 2006 collection, Wren Lines (papertiger media – soi 3 modern poets) and one of his incredible images:

Paw Paw - Billy Jones, Wren Lines (soi 3 modern poets)

                                                                PURE LAND

                                                                frog in bathroom
                                                                sink as I brush teeth
                                                                in oval silky oak mirror
                                                                moves out of way
                                                                of gurgling tap
                                                                chrome green
                                                                with white belly
                                                                spatula suction cup
                                                                fingers & toes
                                                                cascade of fleeting streaks
                                                                in back of the eyes
                                                                skids into shaving bag
                                                                backs in slow peering out
                                                                must live in there
                                                                there goes my overnight bag
                                                                pure land of enchantment

                                                                what is a man
                                                                what is a treefrog
                                                                but this sudden curving
                                                                radiance behind the eyes

And approaching the mic softly will be Brisbane band, The Stress of Leisure. This will be an acoustic gig for the band, featuring Head-of-Leisure, Ian Powne and delightfully flamboyant keyboardist/singer, Pascalle Burton. And as a special treat they will be showcasing songs from their eagerly anticipated third album, The Soft Approach.

If you have not yet had the pleasure, check out the video to House and Garden from their second album Hour to Hour.

As always there will be two rounds of Open Mic, live sounds from Sheish Money, Raffles, Free Zines and for the second time, the SpeedPoets ‘Poetry Rummage Sale’. So make sure you come with some coins in your pocket to take home a bargain or three… all books will be $2 or under!

See you at InSpire this Sunday… Entry is a gold coin donation.

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The New Folk XI – Sounds Like Local

Australia has always produced some of the world’s most original music… Johnny O’Keefe, The Easybeats, The Saints, The Go-Betweens, The Triffids, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Dirty Three, The Church… the list goes on. So I thought I would post some music from a new crop of Australian artists, making ripples in our waters. Hope these sounds paint your Sunday all the right colours.

Sunday Afternoon – The Stress of Leisure

Fine purveyors of Brispop ‘The Stress of Leisure’ are gearing up to drop their third album and these ears are hungry for it. Their first two albums blend that ‘striped sunlight sound’ with classic indie-rock riffing and pop hooks. Lead singer, Ian Powne’s keen observation, peeling back the veneer of inner-city Brisbane life. So this Sunday afternoon, take the time to step into The Stress of Leisure’s world… the clip has all the colour of Brisbane this time of year. Oh, and keep an eye on their website for details of the album launch.

Electric Mourning Blues – The Scrapes

The Scrapes are a relatively new Brisbane band, who have recently released their debut album Electric Mourning Blues. The duo blend feedback drenched guitar with searing violing lines. Of course there are going to be Dirty Three references, but there sounds also channel the western feel of Ennio Morricone. This is a clip of them jamming live in Alchemix studios in Brisbane, so if it takes you somwehere and you are near enough to Brisbane this Wednesday night (April 21), you can catch the band at The Troubadour launching their album and tickets are just a $10′er.

We’re Mostly Made of Water – Kid Sam

Kid Sam are another local duo who have been impressing people all over the country recently supporting the legendary Daniel Johnson. Cousins Kishore and Kieran Ryan blend poetic lyrics with exquisitely crafted layers of guitar, drums, field recordings, glockenspiel, and various other sounds. Kid Sam trancends what we expect from a guitar and drums partnership and have delivered a debut album that is strangely evocative, complex and thoughtful.

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Brisbane Writers Festival: Small Change & other poetic happenings

The mighty Small Change Press roll out the red tongues of three of their finest tomorrow at Brisbane Writers Festival. If you are in town, come along and make some (poetic) noise and get behind the poetry programmed as part of BWF 2009. If we all get behind it, they may just program more of it in 2010.

So here’s what’s happening:

BWF & Small Change Press presents:

Julie Beveridge, Nathan Shepherdson + Graham Nunn & Sheish Money with MC extraordinairre & co-founder of Small Change Press, David Stavanger.

Come and experience the wild and whirling words of these poets as they transform their poems into columns of air ready to be devoured by your hungry ears.
 
Date: Friday 11 September
Time: 5:15pm – 6:15pm
Venue: The Studio, State Library of QLD (SLQ)
Cost: Free

 

Earlier in the day, you can also catch FLIGHT.

FLIGHT = something is not quite right. QLD performance poets (and Charles Ulm disciples) Ghostboy & Pascalle Burton + guest pilot The Stress of Leisure present FLIGHT: their well feared Q150 experimental spoken word theatre in-flight entertainment for the first time in 2009 ,as part of the Brisbane Writers Festival. Proudly co-funded by Brisbane City Council’s Creative Sparks. 130pm-230pm @ BWF: Aud 2, The State Library of QLD. Remember – no two flights can ever be the same.

And later on you have the choice of Poetry in the Red Chamber featuring Hinemoana Baker, Bronwyn Lea, William Barton, John Bennett & Rosanna Licari. 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Old Parliament House, Red Chamber.

or

Heat 2 of the Australian Poetry Slam @ Brisbane Writers Festival (The Studio, State Library of QLD). Sign up 730pm / slam 8pm. MC Ghostboy with Tessa Leon + feature band The Stress of Leisure.

So get your poetry boots on and I’ll see you there!

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The Stress of Leisure vs Dark Night of the Soul

This morning I set out into the beautiful drizzle to catch The Stress of Leisure at Tognini’s Cafe (State Library) as part of fete de la musique. And I have to say (despite the venue not being prepared for wet weather) it was great to see The Stress in relaxed troubadour style, bantering with the early morning coffee crowd; dusting off tracks from both albums as well as throwing in a new track and a cover of The Modern Lovers classic, Pablo Picasso. For all those in Brisbane (and beyond) who have not yet become a Leisure Seeker, you can catch the band playing at The Treasury Casino on Thursday, July 23 or alternatively, check out their clip to House and Garden. Great stuff!

 

dnots

 

And now as the morning slips into afternoon and the rain starts to play its wild timpani on my roof, I totally recommend you check out Dark Night of the Soul. It is a collaboration between Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse and David Lynch… now that is an interesting mix of minds. Throw into the mix guest appearances by Iggy Pop, Frank Black, Vic Chestnutt, Suzanne Vega & The Flaming Lips and you have a mesmerising, hypnotic soundscape that slips dreamlike through your body.

Sadly, the album may never officially be released due to complications between Danger Mouse and EMI, but never fear, you can listen to the whole album at the moment on NPR, so do yourself a favour on this Sunday afternoon; get comfortable and let yourself enter the Dark Night of the Soul.

Press play here.

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Where do the Words Come From – The Stress of Leisure

For as long as I can remember, I have pawed over album covers/liner notes and put my ears to the speakers to decipher song lyrics. A good lyric is something that never fails to captivate me. So, I thought I would ask Brisbane singer/songwriter The Stress of Leisure where he finds the words.

 

the-stress-of-leisure

 

Influences

Obviously, I’m influenced greatly by other musicians, mainly interesting lyricists. My list of influence is vast; from the Arcade Fire to Warren Zevon. I think that’s where the longevity is in the music game, being able to write a good lyric. Writing a catchy guitar riff or instinctive melody is one thing, for the long term you need to keep marrying it with a suitable lyric, or keep up the interesting lyrical ideas. It’s not often discussed, in fact I’ve read several artists I like dismissing the lyric as being unimportant to them. I don’t buy it however, because I do believe they pay particular attention to how the words sound first and foremost. And sooner or later they’ve usually contradicted their dismissive statement anyhow. So for myself, I’m constantly noting an artist’s skill in marrying great lyrics and at the same time I guess, deciding how I’d adapt it to myself.

Brisbane is a big influence on what I write too, in particular New Farm. It’s a place I know well. If you think filmic you can make any place look great, it’s all about what you capture in the frame. And there’s always that artistic license to change a few details. So everything I come across is as relevant as it would be if it were set in the East Village, New York. Why shouldn’t it be? This may not be revelatory for poets or filmmakers I guess, but I think it’s important to have an establishing shot for people to drift into. I really dig using the words; park, apartment, river, street.

 

The Writing Process

My musical output far outstrips my lyrical output. I wish there wasn’t such an imbalance. But I have a lot of songs sitting around that may have one verse or one chorus in terms of the lyric but are fully formed songs in all other respects. So really, I have this big block of musical spare parts, a lot of incomplete ideas. In rare cases I have fully formed ideas with melodies and they just happen to form as songs. I don’t like to attack things too hard, one out of laziness and two; I don’t want to scare off the idea. But mainly it’s laziness. Usually I don’t like to pursue a song because I feel contented that I have a great idea and that feels good in itself and spurs me on. If a song feels like a winner however, it appears in a kind of phonetic form within the melody and keeps pulling me back. I may then chance on a few key lyrics or phrases and try and form some direction from them. To this end, I’ve found the biggest help for me is deriving titles. Lately, I’ve been getting into the habit of thinking of a title a day and it has really helped me.  So if I have this chord progression and melody I like and then have a look at what titles I’ve generated it just may be all the process needs. In the last week I’ve generated two titles driving to band rehearsal which have subsequently become songs – ‘People in Plastic’ and ‘Death on the Magic Mile’. This doesn’t normally happen, so for the moment I believe in the process. I think people should give me titles as a form of a gift actually. I’d appreciate that.  

 

The importance of voice

Over time I’ve grown to appreciate my voice and what its capabilities are, and I realize that for people hearing me for the first time it’s the make or break factor. I’m really big on defining a character when I do vocals, and that it has a particular consistency. I know it sounds absurd, but I became fascinated a while back with the various characters Peter Cook could take on and how he would vary his tone and pitch to suit each one, and all the time stay in character (apart from some mirth). I was already fully aware of my own rock n roll stylings and phrasings, and the approaches of various singers, but this was something different. So I guess I started listening to my own voice by doing some spoken word stuff (In Derek and Clive mode) on my recording equipment at home, listening to the way I’d phrase different words. It’s completely barmy, but I gained a lot of confidence from this. In songwriting this is really important, listening to how it comes out. I’m pretty down on a few songs I did on my latest album phrasing wise, mainly because I’m so particular. I guess when you record you have the luxury of picking your best performances, but also the torment of wanting to get it right. And again, I guess you can over think these things. Anybody now wanting to listen to my music and pick out the Derek and Clive influence will be sorely disappointed though, I can assure you of that.

Lots of singers just do this instinctively though, the way they inhabit character. I’m not saying anything new. And they actually do it naturally, because you know, you’ve got your naturals and then you’ve got your peoples like myself who have to plant it cognitively. Nick Cave for instance, and I’m not sure what category he fits into, successfully portrays his characters. From reading about his recording process, it’s usually all captured in the first or second take and I’m sure most would testify he gets it right; it’s definitely not over thought.

 

Recurring Themes

An English friend of mine remarked on my first album – “one word that comes to mind is ennui”. Another friend noted “I think you need a girlfriend”. So I guess that’s a good starting point for my recordings thus far. I think however, a lot of my music has presented characters that believe “the grass is always greener”. There’s always something better. We’re surrounded by this stimuli – surely that shampoo you’re using isn’t as good for your hair?, look at this drink it’ll cure your loneliness, try this cereal you’ll be friendlier to your work colleagues, are you sure you don’t want to know what’s happening in the world?, naked people look this good but here’s some chocolate, I think you should shave like this, you’re pretty fat compared to me on this poster……..etc. Obviously, it’s not just advertising, it’s TV, Film and whole gamut of pop culture. I’m affected by it and I notice a lot of others are as well.

I’ve always been caught up in the idea of the weekend too. The time to cram in all your leisure pursuits, whatever’s your bag. So I love taking snapshots of people on the weekend, doing whatever. The days themselves have a different energy, especially in the area where I live. I’m not being judgmental when I say this, but some characters almost seem pious with their newspapers spread out in front of them at the local café. And well, you also have the flight of tropical birds in their dazzling array of lycra whizzing around the streets and cafés. It’s like a migration of the species! So yes, I love capturing the weekend and how it brings its various fruits to different peoples.

And as I stated before, I really dig using the words; park, apartment, river, street.

 

How have my feelings about lyrics changed since I started writing?

Listening to more and more musical artists and taking in more influences, be it a movie or a piece of art continues to broaden my approach and ideas to lyric writing. It has been interesting going to a lot of poetry readings as well in the past three years to note the different approaches to poetry. Somewhere along the line I assume all this information will appear somewhere in my work. I’ve always been conscious of a good lyric though, it’s just I started off really bad and now I feel I’m on the verge of being alright at it. Words have come a bit easier with practice and allowing myself a bit of time. Right now I have the luxury of time and I think it’s starting to reap its benefits in terms of I’m writing the sort of fruity stuff I like. You need time, but what a drag. I wish it all happened quickly for me lyrically and I could just move on to the next song. This is pretty much the way I felt when I first started too.

The Stress of Leisure plays Livespark at the Brisbane Powerhouse on Sunday, March 22 start time around 3pm. It’s a free event and all ages.

hour-to-hour

Find out more:

The Official Site: http://www.thestressofleisure.com/

Jennifer Sharp Film Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd184CMF4xc

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