Benny Zable was hard to miss in the early 70’s Carlton arts/protest (did we call it agit-prop?). His current Nimbin website has a full bio, but there’s no updated information since 2001. He was a couple of years older than me, and guess I was one of the people he talks about, when he “came together with like minded friends … to create the Melbourne Arts co-op, a multimedia events network… ran dance workshops and performed happenings around Melbourne, improvising with filmmakers, poets, musicians etc., fully immersing myself in that process.”
His younger brother Arnold is a celebrated Melbourne writer/story teller but they don’t seem to mention each other much. Benny’s Facebook page has a lot of current Nimbin region and political activist events.
The movie below was taken, I think, in March 1976 at a paddock we used to visit a lot somewhere in the Dandenongs. Yellow and red – Sue and Rikki both looked bored and Rikki in the tree at the end, swings her calipered leg with the red laces. She was in pain a lot. The others are Carlton house mates Jim and ? a friend of June and Geoff who were all polite, but I was having the most fun as the film-maker. I thank them for their patience and the movie shows clearly what they thought of arty modern dance.
This silent clip of Benny from the GTV9 TV replay of the Sunbury Pop Festival 1972, was filmed from the screen (as we had to do. No video recorders). There’s some colour footage of Sunbury I made on Super 8 I’ll add here sometime.
And in 1971 I went to see Benny’s exhibition “Weaving the golden thread of life” showing at Galley 99 in Cardigan Street, in Carlton. He was ‘minding the store’ with an attentive fan. The body language says it all. I’ve tried to place the inspiration for Benny’s artwork, a bit Yellow Submarine art director Heinz Edelmann?
I thought this was Benny in Peter Weir’s 1972 Australian Colour Diary Number 43, which covered the TF Much Ballroom, but he said like this report it was Morris Spinetti of Teardrop miming for Wendy Saddington. Benny said he “did some decorating for John Pinder and happenings at the ballroom”. Have a look, it’s a nice document of what we did at the time.