Earlier this month, prince of parties Andrew WK announced a coupla Australian live shows – August 25, Corner Hotel, Melbourne; and August 26, Manning Bar, Sydney – but it turns out WK will be doing something even more spesh while he’s Down Under. He’s the Opening Night keynote for this year’s Melbourne Writers’ Festival, spreading his message of positivity and partying hard to the literary-minded on August 24.
It’s a bold move from the Festival – last year the opening night address was delivered for the first time by an Indigenous writer, Miles Franklin winner Kim Scott. The choice to get WK, self-help guru, to “kick off the festivities with a toast to survival, joy, resilience and pure existence“, in his only Aussie speaking engagement, is significantly less serious, but should set the tone for a joyful first festival from MWF’s new Artistic Director, Marieke Hardy.
If you are not already familiar with WK’s rich party-metal oeuvre, the guy writes songs like this and this; is the Guinness World Record holder for ‘Longest Drum Session’ after playing non-stop for 24 hours in New York City; was a co-owner of the now-closed Zagat-dubbed Top Dance Club in NYC; and has toured across the US as a motivational speaker. Oh and he might just be a ‘concept’ and have been replaced with an actor in 2004. WHO CAN SAY?
No, but really, he’s a real guy, a party guy – only last week at the E3 gaming convention in LA, WK introduced Rage 2 at video game company Bethesda‘s presentation, and it sure was something.
If you want a taste of what you’re in for if you decide to pick up a ticket to the MWF Opening Night Gala, let’s turn to spoken word track ‘The Feeling of Being Alive‘ from his latest record You’re Not Alone, which came out in March this year.
If you ever feel like something is very, very wrong – wrong with life, wrong with yourself – I understand, I have that feeling too. But in actuality that feeling isn’t wrong, that feeling is just being human. That intense feeling inside is the feeling of existing, of being alive, of being a person. It’s a mountain to climb, it’s a test to pass, it’s a challenge we are ultimately worthy of. And rather than dread or resent this challenge, we can embrace it, we can learn from it and we can celebrate it. Life is very intense, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Understanding this is what partying’s all about.
If you want more condensed motivation from WK, there’s always more PARTY TIPS on Twitter.
PARTY TIP: Staying positive doesn't mean you don't feel sad or scared sometimes, it just means you keep on going anyway.— ANDREW W.K. (@AndrewWK) June 19, 2018
PARTY TIP: Don't be too hard on yourself.— ANDREW W.K. (@AndrewWK) June 14, 2018
PARTY TIP: You're here. You're alive. Take a deep breath and keep things in perspective. You're doing great. Stay focused and kick ass.— ANDREW W.K. (@AndrewWK) June 6, 2018
Ta-Nehisi Coates, writer of a series of Marvel‘s Black Panther comics – and also an author and journo – will also be presenting at MWF. He, WK and writers, David Neiwart, Ed Husain, Marwa al-Sabouni and Juno Dawson, join previously announced program guests, Ronan Farrow, who won the Pulitzer for his reporting on Harvey Weinstein, and The New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum.
Still shook by Andrew WK atm. Have some more self-help album-track spoken word, while we wait for the full MWF program to drop on July 17.
The Fest will run from August 24 to September 2.
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Image: Getty Images / Christian Petersen