Celebrating the 70th anniversary of an important year in our history

It was the year that war came to our doorstep, the year our alliance switched to the USA, the year that American military bands visited our shores. Inside these
bands were hot jazz players who influenced our local musicians and changed the nature of jazz in Australia. In 1942, Shortis and Simpson take you through the stories, the songs, the characters of that year, with their usual mix of humour and poignancy, and with their own hot band made up of Ian Blake, Dave O’Neill, Jon Jones and Peter J Casey. As jazz meets hillbilly and vaudeville, be transported to the days of the Tivoli, smoky nightclubs, dance halls, radio studios and much more.

Canberra Southern Cross Club, Woden, Friday, 12 October, 2012,
8.30pm, show only $28. Dinner and show $62.
Bookings 6283 7288

Woody- the Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie

WOODY- the life and songs of Woody Guthrie

To celebrate the centenary of American folk legend Woody Guthrie, Shortis
and Simpson, in association with Music For Everyone, present Woody.
In his imitable fashion, John Shortis has researched Woody’s life story, found
the quotes, the quirky anecdotes, the surprising tidbits, and the grand moments
that define his life and work. And Moya Simpson’s extraordinary voice will
breathe new life into the amazing Guthrie catalogue- dust bowl ballads, work
songs, union songs, hobo songs, children’s songs, love songs, songs that mark
milestones in the story of America in the early and mid twentieth century,
songs that have influenced generations of singer/songwriters. Accompanying
Shortis & Simpson is the virtuosic Dave O’Neill on fiddle/guitar/mandolin.

The well-known Woody songs will be there- This Land Is Your Land, So Long It’s Been Good To Know You, Deportee,
Do-Re-Mi, Pretty Boy Floyd, Union Maid, Pastures of Plenty, Riding in My Car

etc. So will lesser known gems from his prolific typewriter, the songs that
influenced him, and songs by the artists inspired by the man- Bob Dylan, Billy
Bragg, and of course his son, Arlo Guthrie. For a moving, musical, informative,
and quite often humorous tribute to the great Woody Guthrie, don’t miss Woody.

Friday August 10,
8.30pm, Ainslie Arts Centre, Elouera Street, Braddon, $30/$25 concession.
Bookings 6230 7190, 12-6pm Mon-Fri.

Smart Arses, Bums and Short Arses

Up-to-date political
satire comes to the National Press Club when
Shortis &
Simpson join forces with the House Howlers and the Shiny Bum Singers



Friday June 29, 8.30pm, $32


The surplus has been ignored, the carbon tax ads that don’t mention the carbon tax
have hit our screens, leadership rumblings abound, cabcharges and union credit
cards are dirty words, a Green Milne walks in Brown footsteps, the opposition
is in campaign mode even though there’s no election.
It must be time for the annual gathering of satirical minds in Smart
Arses, Bums and Short Arses
, up-to-date political satire from three

The House Howlers (parliamentary journalists, the Smart Arses) fresh from their annual spot at the Mid-Winter Ball), combine with The Shiny Bum Singers (public servants, the Bums), and Shortis & Simpson(cabaret artists, the Short Arses), in this feast of wit, irreverence, insight and hilarity.

Politics and bureaucracy have never been this funny.

Book now http://www.npc.org.au or 6121 2199

National Press Club, 16 National Circuit, Barton, live jazz from 5.30pm, tapas from 6pm, restaurant from 7pm




Satire at Vivaldi’s

Shortis and Simpson’s first satire show of the year was Satire at Vivaldi’s on Sat May 12 2012. The political highlights and lowlights of the year so far were sung about- from the Lobby shoe incident (Julia’s Shoe), to the Rudd challenge (Battle Hymn of the Repoublic), the Thomson affair (Craig), the Slipper Affair (Magic Cabcharge Ride), the permanent leadership talk (Leaders’ Round Number 3 by Franz Short-Liszt), Kevin Rudd’s silence (Too Quiet There, Mr Rudd), the budget (The Surplus is Coming to Town), Tony Abbott’s policies (A Thought Bubble Waiting for Ideas), and Christine Milne (Bob’s Job). ,And the show was booked out.



John Shortis marked his achievement of having survived 40 years as a full-time musician with a concert of his songs, performed by Shortis & Simpson, Peter J Casey, Ian Blake, Jon Jones, Dave O’Neill, with guests Jeannie Lewis, Kerry-Ella McAullay, Yanto and Peter Shortis, Mark Shortis, and Andrew Purdam. Canberra Southern Cross Club, March 4 2011

‘John Shortis’ celebration of 40 years full time in the music business rightly attracted a happy full house and a standing ovation at the end…. in the company of partner Moya Simpson and a stage full of musical friends and relatives, Shortis made the most of it……The result was a thoroughly enjoyable wander through his considerable range of song writing…. Long may the revels continue for Shortis the songwriter and performer….’ Alanna Maclean, Canberra Times March 9 2011

‘…a happy autobiographical concert……..not all songs brought tears of laughter; there were tears of poignancy too….stunning versatility through every gamut from satire to blues and even opera. …Aren’t we lucky we can call Shortis & Simpson our own?’ Clinton White, City News March 9 2011



a witty look at the world of wordsmiths

The final show in the Q’s season in 2011 saw John Shortis’s quirky take on some of the world’s great songs and songwriters, but from the point of view of the lyrics- performed by Shortis & Simpson, with Peter J Casey, Ian Blake, Jon Jones and Dave O’Neill- directed by Carissa Campbell.

‘….a lively and funny celebration of wordsmiths from Johnny Mercer
to Paul Kelly, tracing musical lineages from W.S. Gilbert, via Ira Gershwin to
Tom Lehrer, all explained with John Shortis’ trademark wit. Anyone with a love
of the written word will get a real kick out of the way John teases apart the
triple rhymes of Lorenz Hart, explains the device of throwing in a foreign word
as a rhyme and demonstrates how Rolf Harris originally taught him how to scan. ……Backed by the versatile Ian Blake on saxophones and bass, Jon Jones on drums and Dave O’Neil on guitars and a mean bluegrass electric fiddle, and with segments by talented cabaret artist Peter J. Casey on baby grand, Moya Simpson’s voice bends to every genre you can name, from jazz standards to country, rock and folk. Most notably, Moya performed a spine-tingling, faithful and beautiful cover of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights which was worth the entry price alone….’

Cathy Bannister- Stage Whispers Dec 3 2011         

Q Theatre Queanbeyan,
Fri/Sat Dec 2/3, 8pm, Sun Dec 4, 5pm.


Worldly Goods Choir turns 13 – spotty faces, blossoming body parts, sulky attitudes, slamming doores, and not a teenager in sight.

In October 1998, Moya Simpson formed a community choir, called Worldly Goods, for a one-offproject planned to last 3 months. Thirteen years later, that choir is still
going strong. We’ve turned teenage!

With world music as the repertoire, Worldly Goods is open to anyone, is audition free, and songs are learned by ear. With numbers always around 70 at any one time, the sound is joyous. Over the years there have been births, deaths, marriages and
enduring friendships.

The choir has participated in an enormous range of projects, such as representing the ACT at the Bendigo Gospel Festival, being part of a major Centenary of Federation event called Candid Canberra, mixing Beatles songs with Georgian folk song in John, Paul, Ringo and Georgia at the Hobart Voices Festival, and workshopping with choirs in an unforgettable trip to South Africa.

To celebrate the choir’s adolescence, the Belconnen Arts Centre will ring with Belco Belto, the big sound of Worldly Goods belting out 13 years of songs in 90 minutes, along with guest spots from choir leaders, Shortis and Simpson. Songs of Macedonian
Gypsies, Georgian toasts, Croatian love songs, South African chants, Pygmy
yodels, French Christmas carols,Beatles, Queen, Shortis originals, Canberran
ditties, and much, much more.

And all this as the sun sets over Lake Ginninderra.

All money raised from this concert will go towards the cost of Worldly Goods first CD, out next year.

Joyful, surprising, humorous, touching, uplifting – don’t miss it.

Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen. Sun Nov 13, 5.30pm.
$28/$20 conc. Plus booking fee. Bookings 6173 3300 or www.belconnenartscentre.com.au


American Pie

To mark the 40th anniversary of this landmark song by Don McLean, Shortis gave his take on what he reckons those cryptic lyrics mean, as Simpson switched between the songs of Janis Joplin, Buddy Holly, the Stones, Beatles, Dylan, Don himself, and more- with plenty of laughs, and the odd serious moment. Teatro Vivaldi. Fri/Sat Aug 26/27, 7pm. Sun Aug 28, 5.30pm.

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