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Simone Weil was a “performative philosopher”, the theatre director Imara Savage believes. “Here is a woman who was living her life through a lens of empathy,” she says, seated beside her colleague, Sydney Chamber Opera artistic director Jack Symonds, as the pair prepare La Passion de Simone for its Australian premiere at Carriageworks for the Sydney Festival. “She just kept putting on other people’s shoes and putting herself in extreme positions.”

Born into a freethinking secular Jewish family in Paris in 1909, Weil ranked at the top of her class at the Sorbonne; Simone de Beauvoir ranked second.

Mexican artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera amassed thousands of photographs: some were by fellow artists, which they used as studies for painting, but others were personal photographs taken of themselves and family members, such as Frida’s beloved father, the photographer Guillermo Kahlo.

The archive of more than 6000 images, compact in the formats of the day, was stored at the Casa Azul – the Blue House – where Frida spent her childhood and adult life. The images remained hidden from public view for half a century after Kahlo and Rivera’s deaths.

Fifty essays and dispatches on
what it means to be gay today.

On sale at Amazon and iTunes.

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