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Inside: New kid on the Cowper St block Page 3 The politics behind Tranny Bingo Page 5 Eat & drink Page 24 What’s On guide Page 26

May 8, 2014


all revved up The Drey Rollan Band to play at Throttle Roll 2014

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International students routinely exploited at work BY Paul Gregoire Stephen Fanjaya is an international student from Indonesia, who has been living in Sydney for the past three years. In that time he has held about 15 different jobs, changing frequently due to underpayment. “I used to do different jobs, a lot of jobs. My old job was underpaid and that’s the problem. [I was paid] eight to 12 dollars an hour. Some of them didn’t pay me and some of them underpaid me,” said Mr Fanjaya. The 22-year-old business management student is happy with his current job, but in the past he has faced discrimination and dangerous working conditions. “The supervisor always gets the easy work done by the Aussies. Then us international students, we [are] working the hard way and [it’s] really

not safe,” he explained. “Goods may fall on people and sometimes they stack up everything in a very small place. It’s just not safe.” The main two employment issues for international students are exploitation and a lack of opportunities, explained Thomson Ch’ng, President of the Council of International Students Australia, the peak representative organisation for international students. Workplace exploitation takes many forms, including sham contracting, underpayment and harassment. “What sham contracting means is that international students are being required to register an ABN … so that students can maintain an independent contractor’s relationship with the employer,” he said. “An employer wants … to avoid

Members of the Council of International Students Australia

taking up the responsibility of having an employee which has additional obligations, including insurance and the employment regulations.” According to Mr Ch’ng, educating and empowering students about their workplace rights is what is needed, but this requires more funding and resources from the government and the Fair Work Ombudsman. “When I say empowering, I think it’s absolutely crucial that students are made aware of and understand that if they are being exploited, they do have rights and they should be standing up,” Mr Ch’ng said. But, international students are not alone. The International Students Service at Redfern Legal Centre is one place international students can go to for free legal advice and representation. Kate Gauld, an International Students Service solicitor, often deals with cases where employers ask students to work more than the 40 hours a fortnight they are permitted to under the provisions of their visa. “They’ve been lured into breaching their visa conditions and they are unsure of the legal processes in Australia … and employers often threaten students with deportation,” she said. However, international students are entitled to the same rights as any other worker, such as the right to minimum wage and the right to seek legal recourse. “They have the same rights, but in terms of exercising them, they can run into hurdles that domestic students don’t encounter,” Ms Gauld said.

Developments on the Cowper St vacant block

BY Paul Gregoire The Baird state government is poised to sign over the title to the social housing section of the Glebe Affordable Housing Project to community housing provider Bridge Housing. The site of the project on Cowper Street has been vacant since the previous public housing block which occupied the site was bulldozed by the former state Labor government in mid-2011, to make way for a 50/50 public/private redevelopment. Bridge Housing won the tender to own and develop 153 social housing units for the elderly in 2010 and is negotiating the Deed of Agreement with the NSW government. Denis Doherty, convenor of Hands Off Glebe, opposes the development as he believes it will place a lot of poor, elderly people in single occupant rooms, creating an environment of social isolation. “They’re going to be bedsits, so there’s no chance of Mrs Smith, who has some granddaughters or children, to have people come and stay over,” Mr Doherty argued. “[The residents will] have no parking because they said people in that area don’t need parking [when] there’s public transport.” Mr Doherty believes the redevelopment project, which will have a higher density and height than the Harold Park development, should be 100 per cent low-rise public or affordable housing. When the 16 low-rise public housing blocks on Cowper St were pulled down in 2011, the residents were told they would be

resettled in new housing blocks on the site. Now there is speculation that the newly evicted residents from Millers Point will be moved to the Glebe project, and Greens MP Jamie Parker has raised concerns over the fate of the former residents of Cowper St. “Public housing on the Glebe site was demolished under the former Labor government, which broke its promise to provide more public housing and to rehouse its former residents,” Mr Parker said. “Now the Liberal government seems to be promising that same site to Millers Point residents.” CEO of Bridge Housing John Nicolades said an additional 80 affordable housing units will be built by another provider and that the rest of the site will be sold for the private development of 250 market dwellings. “By ensuring social, affordable and market housing are integrated within the site, and by including market housing in the increase in density, a mixed community would be created,” he said.

Bridge Housing to develop Cowper St vacant block

Tranny Bingo: breaking barriers or a transphobic slur?

ABN 48 135 222 169 Group Publisher: Lawrence Gibbons Group Manager: Chris Peken Group Editor: Xiaoran Shi City Hub Editor: Paul Gregoire Contributing Editors: Triana O’Keefe and Declan Gooch Contributors: Carmen Cita, Georgia Fullerton and Nick Possum Arts Editor: Leigh Livingstone Live Music Editor: Chelsea Deeley Dining Editor: Jackie McMillan Advertising Managers: Toni Martelli, Robert Tuitama, George Tinnyunt, Jim Baghdadi & Mike Contos Design: Joanna Grace Publisher’s Assistant: Deeksha Chopra Distribution Manager: Danish Ali

‘tranny’ and rename the event. Ms Edwards, who is a board member of the international advocacy group, Wipe Out Transphobia, claims that the term ‘tranny’ is a transphobic slur, commonly used to objectify and humiliate transgender people. “The words ‘tranny’ or ‘she-male’ are often the last thing transgender people hear before we are attacked or assaulted by transphobic, cis-gender people. I have experienced this, as have many of my friends,” she said. A recent study by Transgender Europe revealed that 75 reported murders of trans* people were registered internationally between January and March this year. The circumstances of the killings were not all fully investigated and reported. Many of the documented cases included reports of extreme aggression, torture and mutilation. For a community threatened by bigotry and

Photo: Carmen Cita

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BY Carmen Cita If you thought bingo was just a game for your grandparents, think again. Since 2006, a team of local drag personalities have hosted a series of Tranny Bingo nights in Sydney. Unlike the bingo nights in RSL clubs around the country, Tranny Bingo is a camp, colourful and irreverent affair that draws a diverse and lively crowd. Event host and organiser, Penny Tration said: “Tranny Bingo has taken the art of transvestism into many straight venues in Sydney, breaking down barriers and giving access to people who would not otherwise get to see this art form in an inclusive and non-threatening way.” The events have wide appeal, but for some in the LGBTI community, the use of the word ‘tranny’ has caused concern. Penny Tration was recently petitioned by local trans* activist Indiana Edwards, with demands to cease using the term

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altmediasydney Tranny Bingo at the Balmain Town Hall Hotel, which supporters believe builds bridges

transphobic hate crime, mainstream use of the word ‘tranny’ sparks cultural cringe. “We realise that we can’t control what people say, think and do. But we can foster better understanding of trans* cultural norms, by teaching the wider community what terms we are comfortable, or in this case, not comfortable with,” explained Ms Edwards. From its origins in the ‘80s gay party culture, the term ‘tranny’ entered the drag community lexicon in the ‘90s. In its lifetime, the word has evolved into an umbrella term used to describe transgender people, transvestites, drag queens, gender-fluid and intersex people. “I understand that the word ‘tranny’ has negative connotations in other countries, but here in Australia, we have reclaimed it. It is a label that we wear with pride. As a transvestite, it’s my word to use. I use it respectfully and without negativity. In fact, by using the word, I take any negativity out of it,” Penny Tration argued. The term’s adoption by the sex industry in the ‘90s has tainted its social status, igniting protest from transgender advocacy groups. Ms Edwards said: “We don’t get to de-wig and revert back to a male-privileged persona. We face transphobia daily. We are subjected to obvious displays of hate, including direct violence and verbal harassment, with derogatory terms like ‘tranny’, and more passive forms of workplace discrimination and social exclusion.” Penny Tration argues that Tranny Bingo creates a broader understanding and acceptance of gender plurality in the wider community. “When you look at places like Russia and Uganda, there is so much gender-based hatred and violence in society. The LGBTI community must choose its battles wisely,” she said. “An attack on Tranny Bingo is counterproductive. We don’t promote transphobia, we are too busy building bridges.”


Sustaining Sydney’s culture: rhetoric or reinvigorating BY Triana O’Keefe By now, many people will be familiar with the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 initiative. At the next Council meeting on May 12, another phase will be put before the table. But, what exactly is it and what does it hope to achieve? Sustainable Sydney 2030 provides a strategic framework and vision for the City of Sydney’s actions over the next 16 years and covers a range of issues from climate change to the arts. It includes 10 strategic directions to guide the future of the City, as well as 10 targets against which to measure progress. One of the plan’s directives involves working towards a ‘cultural and creative city’, to be addressed at the coming council meeting. In 2012, Council unanimously endorsed a motion that saw it


advance work on developing a cultural policy through research and consultation with the creative sector and the broader Sydney community. As a result, the last two years have been spent working on the Creative City Cultural Policy Discussion Paper which received an abundance of positive feedback from both the public and arts communities. Over 2000 comments, submissions and ideas were received, all of which have influenced the direction of the new action plan and formed the foundations of the newly proposed Draft Creative City Cultural Policy. Six key priorities form the backbone of the proposed plan. They include precinct distinctiveness and creativity in the public domain; new avenues for creative participation; sector sustainability; improving access and creating

markets; and sharing knowledge and global engagement. The Lord Mayor Clover Moore has expressed her support for this plan, saying that: “Artists of all kinds bring our city to life, help shape its identity and spirit, and give it depth and resonance.” The work complements the City’s Live Music and Performance Action Plan which is a series of initiatives formulated to reinvigorate the live music scene in Sydney and support local artists. “I am confident that the Creative City Policy will ensure a robust future for Sydney’s cultural life, and maintain Sydney’s position as one of the world’s leading creative cities,” Cr Moore said. Bec Allen, on the Sydney Your Say forum, painted a vivid picture of the type of city she would like Sydney to become. “I want to be regularly surprised in a city that is so familiar. “Unique events in unlikely places, bands in train carriages, rooftop cinemas, nights when museums stay open until 2am, bars in underground tunnels, permanent table tennis tables in parks, a former airport turned into a city park with a community vegetable garden (runway intact) [and] Sunday afternoon karaoke sessions in front of thousands (if you dare).” Musician and teacher John Wardle of the Live Music Taskforce says the draft policy is “welcomed news” but that it would “need to look further than grants and festivals if real progress is to be made.”

Work for The Goods Line underway BY Xiaoran shi The northern section of The Goods Line, a cross-city pedestrian and bicycle corridor connecting the inner city to Sydney’s foreshore, is now under construction. Work on the Line has been split into two stages. The northern half will be 250 metres long, running from the Ultimo Rail underbridge to the Powerhouse Museum. Its projected completion by November is set to coincide with the opening of the Frank Gehry-designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at UTS, which will house teaching, learning and research facilities for the University’s Business School. UTS Deputy Vice-Chancellor Patrick Woods believes the corridor will cement UTS’ position as the epicentre of Sydney’s digital and creative precinct, a project proposed under the federal Innovation Precinct Program. “It will allow the community to experience our exciting facilities, provide [thousands of] students and staff with a place to enjoy and connect with our buildings as well as Darling Harbour and Central Station,” said Mr Woods. However, the future of the Innovation Precinct Program remains unclear. Sophia Mirabella, then shadow spokeswoman for research and science, called the program “a cruel hoax ... being played on tertiary institutions” in the leadup to last year’s federal election. The Coalition has not updated its position on the matter, with no plans announced to scrap the Program yet. Nonetheless, The Goods Line is an initiative led by the state government’s Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA). SHFA spokesperson Debra Dawson stated that The Goods Line will be much more than just a thoroughfare for pedestrians and cyclists. “Its unique design features a series of elevated spaces ... which can be used for an endless variety of entertainment, recreation,

study and other pursuits,” she explained. Sacha Cole, director of ASPECT Studios, which led the design of The Goods Line alongside CHROFI Architects, echoed the SHFA’s vision for an elevated network, much like New York City’s High Line, connecting people with the arts, cultural and educational institutions situated on Sydney’s Cultural Ribbon (a project planned as part of the City of Sydney’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 initiative). “SHFA and the design team are working towards creating a digitally connected place which enables outdoor study, 3D-augmented reality, interactive way finding and storytelling apps,” said Mr Coles. He also disclosed plans to install a Wi-Fi hotspot for public use at every second lightpole. Work on The Goods Line South is expected to commence early next year.

The Goods Line is set to be a creative and technological hub, much like New York’s High Line

BY Georgia Fullerton When explaining her zest for life and continuous quest for knowledge, Dr Elisabeth Kirkby quotes Mark Twain. “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning is young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young.” Dr Kirkby’s extraordinary life is an example of this. At age 93, she is the oldest person to earn a PhD in Australian history. Born in Bolton, Greater Manchester, in 1921, Dr Kirkby joined the women’s branch of the British Army, known as the Auxiliary Territorial Service, in the Second World War. “It was an unnerving experience. I was a Lance Corporal in charge of recruits. I found it hard to cope when recruits came from the slums of Liverpool and Manchester and had little education. Many had been employed in munitions factories and had been injured in accidents. Their life experience was so different from my own,” she says. “I had to assess the correspondence from women who were requesting a discharge from the Service on compassionate grounds. I was usually in trouble because I was approving their requests when the sergeant in charge of the unit was convinced they were malingering.” In 1943, she moved to the entertainment unit, where she toured around the army and air force bases in southern England with Terence Rattigan’s play Flare Path. “It was a great experience working with other army actors, some who became big stars later: Kenneth Connor (‘Allo ‘Allo!), Griffith Jones, Faith Brook, and Wilfred Hyde-White.”

This was the start of a successful acting career for Dr Kirkby, who spent 15 years writing, directing and producing for radio and the arts in Malaysia, before moving to Australia. She produced documentaries for the ABC and had starring roles in Number 96, Homicide and Hunter. “When I was working for the Talks and Features Unit at the ABC, the head of department was Colin Mason. He became Senator Colin Mason after the formation of

Dr Lis Kirkby is Australia’s oldest graduate

the Australian Democrats, and invited me to join the party in 1977. As I had been appalled at the dismissal of Gough Whitlam, I agreed.” Dr Kirkby was the Australian Democrats NSW state leader, becoming the longestserving Australian Democrat MP. Despite her own long-running political career, she believes the current political climate is in many ways disturbing. “The global financial crisis has shown us that too much emphasis is placed on the ability to make money. Cyber finance allows bankers and financiers to manipulate markets and control the elected representatives, even in democracies. “The fact that the personal wealth of some billionaires is greater than the GDP of some small countries is unsustainable. We must work towards a more just and equitable society; particularly in Australia, the land of a ‘fair go’.” Last week, Dr Kirkby graduated from a PhD at the University of Sydney Business School. Her thesis concerned the impact of economic orthodoxy on unemployment during the Great Depression in Australia. “Whilst completing a PhD can be frustrating and time-consuming, the exciting part is doing the research and learning about the lives of the unemployed, those who really carried the burden of the Great Depression.” The topic is close to Dr Kirkby’s heart, who spent her childhood experiencing the Great Depression first-hand. “In comparison to many thousands of others, my family was lucky. It is only through the research I have done that I realise now just how lucky we were.”

Cartoon: Peter Berner

From politics to a PhD: Australia’s oldest university graduate


No strings attached for versatile cellists New developer in talks by Declan Gooch Five centuries of musical history will be explored in Leichhardt Town Hall next month, with an ensemble of cellists hoping to prove their instrument of choice is more versatile than you might think. “The cello is the only instrument that has the full range of the human voice,” said John Benz, principal cellist for Sydney’s Metropolitan Orchestra. “From the very lowest note that any male can sing, to the very highest note that any female can sing.” The Metropolitan Orchestra’s cellists will be covering repertoire from Bach to the Beatles. The midsized orchestra was formed in 2009, and has gained prominence by mixing classical music with the sort of

John Benz, principal cellist of the Metropolitan Orchestra

tunes not usually associated with a symphony orchestra. It played at the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular at the Sydney Opera House last year. It’s the cello’s sheer range that makes it such a good fit for modern, up-tempo pop hits as well as centuriesold melodies. The instrument’s ability to cover so much ground means Mr Benz and his ensemble are following in the footsteps of some pretty unique musicians. “There have been some pop groups for cello, like these Finnish guys [called] Apocalyptica that pretty much look like a heavy metal band but on cello,” Mr Benz said. But while the cellists of the Metropolitan Orchestra may resemble black-clad musicians rather than blackhaired goths, the group does have an inner heavy metal streak themselves, which will be on show when they perform in Leichhardt later this month. “When you get to the Metallica, you’re really playing pretty grungy, hard rock stuff, and then the cello sounds a bit like an electric guitar.” Music from every century of the last 500 years will be covered during the hour-long show, as well as music from every continent. “[We’re] imitating the sounds of the instruments that they used 400, 300 years ago.” The group is performing as part of Leichhardt Council’s Site and Sound initiative, which gives artists the opportunity to use the Town Hall at no cost to stage a show or an event. This year’s event comes as the council prepares to respond to last year’s Live Music and Performance Action Plan, released by the City of Sydney, which investigates ways to balance encouragement of late-night live music venues with residents’ noise concerns. The Parramatta Road Live Music Zone Reference Group will report back in June or July on how the recommendations can support Parramatta Road’s development as a live music precinct. The cellists of the Metropolitan Orchestra will perform at Leichhardt Town Hall at 3pm on May 11. Adult tickets are $25 and concession tickets $20. To book, visit or phone 8007 7131.

Firth to focus on “moral core” after pre-selection victory By Declan Gooch Verity Firth says she will work to restore the Labor Party’s “moral core” after she was pre-selected on Saturday, May 3 as the party’s candidate in the seat of Balmain for the 2015 state election. The pre-selection was also contested by current Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne. This was the second trial of the community pre-selection model, where any member of the electorate who is not a member of another party can vote alongside Labor members. It is a preliminary step for the party in attempting to stave off potential corruption by taking some influence away from factional powerbrokers. “It was a really fantastic process and a real sign the Labor Party is reforming [and] opening up our doors to the community,” Ms Firth said. Cr Byrne congratulated Ms Firth on her victory. “I’ll be doing everything in my power to make sure she is the next member for Balmain,” Cr Byrne told the Inner West Independent. About 5000 non-ALP members in the electorate cast a vote, making it a larger turnout than the Newtown community preselection in March. The community vote is


weighted 50 per cent against a ballot of ALP members, in which about 360 people voted. Ms Firth won the community vote 3104 votes to Cr Byrne’s 2006. However, she lost the members’ ballot by nine votes on raw numbers, not taking into account Labor’s 20 per cent loading policy for female candidates. After adjustment for the loading, she achieved 53 per cent of the branch vote to win the preselection battle with a 59 per cent majority overall. “It’s about the party actually opening up its selection processes so that we can restore faith for Labor,” she said. “We ... have to restore our moral core on issues like asylum seeker policy, on issues like gay marriage, but also on bread and butter issues like making sure we’re actually funding public education properly, making sure everybody has a genuine capacity to fulfil their potential,” she told the Inner West Independent. “Most of all, bringing back the environment and climate change to the central tenets of Labor’s policy.” Her opponent Darcy Byrne has long called for major reforms to the way senior leadership and upper house positions are filled, arguing for a system where

the entire party membership is involved in candidate selection. Cr Byrne doesn’t see the preselection loss as a setback to his campaign for this cause. “We need comprehensive, not cosmetic, reforms. The annual ALP conference in July will be a great opportunity for Labor to open itself up to real democracy,” said Cr Byrne. At the conference, Senator John Faulkner is expected to propose future NSW senate and legislative council members be determined by the party’s entire membership base. The motion only has an outside chance of success, but Cr

with Rozelle Village over Balmain Leagues Club

BY Declan Gooch A mystery developer is said to be in talks with key players about buying out developer Rozelle Village and proceeding with a new plan for the Balmain Leagues Club site on Victoria Road in Rozelle. The potential development comes more than a month after Rozelle Village’s most recent proposal to build two towers on the site, at 24 and 20 stories high. However, the state government’s Planning Assessment Commission, rejected the proposal. The new developer is believed to be interested in buying out Rozelle Village, which has been trying since 2009 to develop the now empty club site to no avail. Rozelle Village was formed after taking ownership of the leagues club’s mounting debt in return for the property. The parties were in discussions last week, and an offer is believed to be currently on the table. “The best outcome for the community now would be for the developer to cut their losses [and] on-sell the site to someone with a more realistic

Byrne believe it is a critical move. “The future of the party depends on us making these changes right now,” he said. With more than 10 per cent of all voters in the electorate turning out to vote, the community preselection trial has capitalised on a mood for change. Balmain resident Cliff Simcox agrees with Cr Byrne’s assessment that more openness is essential. “But, yeah, I’m happy with the result,” added Mr Simcox, who is an ALP voter. Ms Firth refused to speculate on her chances at the next state election scheduled for March of next year. The seat of Balmain is currently held by Greens MP Jamie Parker on a margin of 5 per cent.

expectation of what can be achieved there,” Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne told City Hub. Enter the anonymous developer, who, according to reporting in the Sydney Morning Herald last week, lives in the local area and holds a personal enthusiasm for the project. But Mark Wallis, head of the Rozelle Residents Action Group, which has long been opposed to the successive development plans, is sceptical. “I cannot see any developer coming in and saying out of the goodness of their heart, ‘Listen guys, we’ll just wipe that debt, and guess what else? We’ll just spend another

The mystery new developer is said to be a local resident

news in brief Neville Wran farewelled Former NSW Labor premier Neville Wran was remembered at a state funeral at Sydney Town Hall on May 1. “His brain was forever crackling with ideas,” said former prime minister Paul Keating at the service. Mr Wran’s legacy included the introduction of random breath testing, creating the Land and Environment Court and redeveloping Darling Harbour. “His political judgment ... was unfailingly smart,” said his wife Jill at the funeral. Mr Wran grew up in workingclass Balmain. He died aged 87 on April 20.

White Bay foreshore opening Half a kilometre of foreshore at the White Bay Passenger Terminal has been opened to the public after an agreement between Leichhardt Council and Sydney Ports. Former independent councillor John Stamolis, who is leading a community campaign against the impacts of cruise ships on the surrounding residential area, celebrates the Verity Firth won the ALP pre-selection for Balmain by 59 per cent overall

$2 million to build your new club as well.’” However, Mr Wallis would like to see the project in somebody else’s hands. “I think if Rozelle Village is out of the equation, then I think we can have a much better chance of seeing something reasonable on the site.” Cr Byrne is also hoping for a “much smaller, more sensible development.” Rozelle Village’s sole director Ian Wright could not be reached for comment on the negotiations said to be underway, but he told City Hub in March that a low-rise development would not be viable. “There is no point in a consent authority giving approval for a project that can’t be built,” he said.

opening up of the foreshore to community use. “We want people to use and enjoy this area,” he said. The foreshore can now be accessed via wharves 4 and 5 when ships are not in port. “Council will continue to work with Sydney Ports to further enhance the access and amenity of this area,” Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne said.

Expensive requests Leichhart Council spent $170,000 last year responding to nearly 800 requests for information under the Government Information (Public Access) Act. Approximately 200 of those were lodged by a single ratepayer. The Act allows residents to request records, such as development applications, held by state and local governments. Council voted to establish a $30 fee for application submission and moved to set limits on the number of files that could be reasonably requested. More than half of applicants do not come to view the documents they request.

ICAC - The Musical By NICK POSSUM Saturday, May 3 was an average sort of Saturday on the Central Coast. About 6:20am, police and emergency services were called to a house fire in Wyoming. The building was unoccupied and well alight by the time they arrived. Inside, the cops discovered a hydroponic cannabis plantation and seized 175 plants with an estimated street value of $350,000. About 1:30pm, police attended an incident at a licensed club at Budgewoi, which they believe began with a conversation between a 44-yearold man and 31-year-old man. According to police, when the older man attempted to walk away, the younger man followed and, they allege, the younger man struck him on left side of his face whilst holding a schooner glass. The older man was treated at the scene and conveyed to Gosford Hospital with a severed left ear. The younger man was later arrested and charged with reckless wounding. About 8pm at The Entrance, a 60 year-old woman was abducted from her home after a man in his mid-twenties, of Caucasian appearance, wearing gloves and a black hoodie pulled tightly around his face, forced entry through a window and demanded money. He forced the woman to drive him to an ATM at Bateau Bay. When they arrived, the woman made a run for it and alerted members of the public who rang police. The man fled, leaving the woman’s car behind. A police dog tracked the suspect’s scent to a nearby street where they recovered items of the woman’s property. It had been a long day, and, privately, police expressed relief that, thanks to the ongoing ICAC inquiry, there had been no incidents

involving local politicians, lobbyists, developers, or members of the Young Liberals. “They’re all lying low at the moment,” a local detective I knew told me, when I rang him at home to pick his brains about a very cold missing persons case I was working on. “What is it about the Central Coast, Nick? It’s worse than fucking south-west Sydney. More dumb rustics than A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing put together”, he said. I hadn’t realised Dave was a Shakespeare fan. “No script writer could make up a cast of characters as louche as the mob they’ve dragged before ICAC,” Dave said. “It’s a veritable catalogue of the political demimonde: dodgy politicians and their seedy flacks, sly lobbyists, privatisers, developers, rent-seekers, adventurers, con-men, lawyers.” “They joke about ‘the great Australian novel’, but we’ve never had the great Australian

Chris Hartcher and Tim Koelma: Workin’ Eightbyfive

musical,” I replied. “How about ICAC – The Musical.” “Love it! It’s gotta be a musical. Amnesia Blues. Black Ops Boogie.” “Major characters: Eddie and Moses Obeid, Arthur Sinodinos, Joe Tripodi, Eric Roozendal, Chris Hartcher, Nick de Girolamo, Mick Costa, Nathan Tinkler, Harry Triguboff.” “And featuring Barry O’Farrell as the tragic character who falls on his sword – exculpating himself so he can rise again like Lazarus.” “Hmmm … interesting angle there. But how about a hint of this: the most dangerous man is the honest man who fronts for a corrupt system?” “I like it. The Bard would have gone with that. Gives it some political depth and timeless universality.” “Barry’s replaced by the Murdoch-backed plotter in the background: callow young Mike Baird, a right-wing ‘muscular Christian’ market fundamentalist and scion of powerful establishment father.” “Hey, and there’s the dark filly – Gladys Berejiklian, the ‘Magic Armenian’. Although she’s Barry O’Farrell’s heir apparent, she doesn’t challenge for the premiership against Mike Baird because she wants to leave the position open for her old boss if he does indeed rise from the grave.” “And look at the thieves’ kitchen chorus line: Tim Koelma, Aaron Henry, Chris Spencer, Darren Webber, Marie Ficarra, Ray Carter, John Caputo, Paul Nicolaou, Mike Gallacher. For comic relief there’s the Irish backpackers they used to launder the donation money. “And hey, check out the ‘entities’ looming darkly over the landscape: EightbyFive, Micky Tech, Patinack Farm, Buildev, The Free Enterprise Foundation, The Millennium Forum, the IKEA Faction. You couldn’t make up names like that.”

“Mate, you’re too talented to spend your life chasing dickhead losers on the Central Coast,” I said. “You don’t happen to be musical do you? Me, I only play the radio.” “Come up on the weekend and we’ll get started. I’ll get my old guitar out of the garage. We can use GarageBand on the Mac and I’ll get in a few cases of cider. ” “One thing bothers me though. What if next week the cast starts to expand too much? I mean, what if, say, Joe Hockey or Tony Abbott gets implicated, or Mike Baird resigns?” “No problem, we’ll just move some of the major characters to the chorus. And if the plot looks like getting too complex and unbelievable, we’ll make it into a full-blown opera.” And that’s how Dave and I got into writing The Great Australian Musical.


Throttle Roll motors into The Vic By Georgia fullerton Sydney’s Cafe Racers will ride to the tunes of rockabilly, as the annual Full Throttle Festival gets set to showcase the best of Sydney’s classic motorcycles. The two-day event, beginning on May 10 at Enmore’s The Vic, will see some of Sydney’s best blues and swing acts perform, 70 classic motorcycles on display and a three-hour organised ride to kick the festival off. Throttle Roll promotor, Mark Hawwa, says the partnership between rock ‘n’ roll and motorbikes is an important one: “The reason I brought in rock ‘n’ roll to the actual event is that back in the ‘60s that was the music that these guys were listening to. The roots of the Cafe Racer comes back to rock ‘n’ roll music. Young guys on motorbikes, the pin-up girls and the guys with their slicked back hair-dos. It’s all just a whole lot of fun.” Among the 70 bikes on display at the festival will be ‘Dirty Smoker’, ‘Thor’s Hammer’, ‘The Angry Wasp’ and ‘The Nut Buster’. Hawwa founded The Cafe Racers in 2010. The club, which celebrates classic bike culture, now has more than two-thousand followers nationwide: “Cafe Racers is an enthusiast group, it caters towards guys and girls who ride classic style motorbikes. It’s a very niche enthusiast group. From there I wanted to continue showcasing the scene. Full Throttle is this synergy between rockabilly culture and classic motorcycles,” he says. “The style of bikes we ride are all a


typically older style, they can be quite modern but they do look old. Cafe Racer is a specific segment of the motorcycle industry.” The group stemmed from a 1960s culture in London known as Record Racing: “Back in the 1960s, when all the young guys were getting into motorbikes in London, they used to meet up in a cafe called Ace Cafe. Back then a musical track went for roughly two and a half minutes and they would be allocated a song. By the time that came on the jukebox, they’d have to jump on their bike and hit this junction, which was a couple of kilometres away, and come back before the song finished. In order to do that they would have to make their bikes lighter.” Hawwa believes classic bikes have a uniquely timeless beauty, even if they aren’t fast: “They’re not necessarily fast anymore because realistically 1970s bikes aren’t nearly anywhere as quick as modern sports bikes but they’re still just as much fun and far more beautiful to look at. It’s the creative aspect where you take something different and customise it and make it look your own and know that when you go out there’s not going to be a bike that looks like it.” He also notes the disappearance of class systems in his club: “Everyone’s pretty straight forward, everyone is an individual. You do get a lot of creative guys and artists that join us,” he says. “There’s definitely a whole range of people and the most beautiful thing is you can get guys who collect garbage all

the way to guys who are CEOs of major corporations. When we’re all together everyone is equal no matter how much money you spend or make, it’s a pretty cool feeling.” The Club’s Vimeo page now has 120-thousand hits, and a worldwide following: “Within the stuff that I do we have a lot of international followers. The majority of hits on our website come from America and Europe, they look up what we do and what Throttle Roll is doing. We’re happy to see that people are looking into our Sydney bike culture.”

Full Throttle will also feature two of Sydney’s most respected roots and rockabilly artists. Hawwa says: “We’ve got Pat Capocci and The Drey Rollan band headlining.” The Drey Rollan Band, based in Sydney, are made up of Drey Rollan, Bobbie Green and Little B. They combine blues, doo-wop, country and rock ’n’ roll. Drey Rollan says: “We’ve been revving up for this gig. We always love playing with other artists and an event like Throttle Roll keeps up a music community - which is something that

Sydney needs to bring back.” Rollan contributes their sound to early inspirations: “We all grew up listening to a variety of music. There was always Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly playing in the house. Then as you grow up you want to discover new sounds so the blues has a big influence with artists such as Robert Johnson, Elmore James and Memphis Minnie.” He adds: “Audiences at Throttle Roll can expect spontaneity and energy, we’ll be putting our own twist on rock ’n’ roll.” (GF) May 10-11, The Vic Enmore, 2 Addison Rd, Enmore, free,


By Jackie McMillan FILM REVIEW - Chef

“Why don’t I just cook you something?” It’s the kind of line women like me dream about, especially conveyed by a chef with a knife tattoo running the length of their forearm. Unsurprisingly, when Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) delivers it - alongside an artfully twirled dish of late-night pasta - beautiful brunette Scarlett Johansson (Molly) gets bedroom eyes. Sure, this feel-good foodie flick is a bit paint-by-numbers in the sewn-up story department, but who cares when it delivers everything from full-screen restaurant plating, to lovingly grilled four-cheese sandwiches at home, to killer Cuban sandwiches from a food truck! Throw in a father-son road trip through key foodie destinations - like Austin’s Franklin’s BBQ (which many Aussies have already salivated over, courtesy of Anthony Bourdain) - and there’s a lot to make you hungry. It’s saved from being too saccharine by kick-arse Cuban tunes,Twitter flame wars ‘flying’ across the screen, and saucy chef banter, from “amuse douche” to “cornstarch on my werewolves”. Real L.A. food-truck consultant Roy Choi (Kogi) pops up in the credits, so stay seated for his technical rundown on making perfect cheese toasties; because if you “fuck this up, everything sucks in the world.” Chef hits cinemas May 8th.


HUSTLE & FLOW Chillax in hip hop culture sporting one of the most diverse beer collections to be found – with Yeastie Boys, Cinnamon Girl Spiced Ale and Brooklyn Lager, just for starters. Hustle & Flow live by the four R’s: rap, RnB, Redfern and respect. Man – even if you are not into hip hop, Hustle & Flow is worth a shot! Drink the whole A-Z of them and get your stencil on the wall. When I offer to get started, boasting I could cut them in a night, Tim reminded me: “drink responsibly”. Okay, so no A-Z in one session – but there are loyalty cards to record your alphabetic drinking endeavours over a few. With some of the shots holding more than a nip, this really isn’t a one-night effort. A is the logical place to start – so pick your colour of Alizé. 105 Regent Street, Redfern (02) 9310 5593

Shuk By Alex Harmon Bagels may have started the ‘Jewish food’ craze but Shuk (meaning marketplace in Hebrew) is where you’ll find a genuine melting pot of traditional and modern Israeli flavours, with some Mediterranean touches thrown in for good measure. Open all day, this bakery-restaurant-pickled food shop is found

By Rebecca Varidel

$ - mains less than $15

on a quiet street in North Bondi – surprisingly away from the beach. Of an evening, you can be tempted by Haloumi ($12) served with walnut, honey and coriander seed – a winning combination of flavours. They’re still unlicensed, but helpful staff will point you in the direction of the nearest bottle-o. Share the Cured Beef with Kale and Provolone ($16) or delve into a delicious House-Made Gnocchi ($24) with mint pesto (from their garden), tomato and baked ricotta. It’s hard to beat the Roast Chicken ($28) – terribly juicy, marinated in Mediterranean spices with burghul pilaf and a creamy labne. Dine al fresco on the curb (plenty of room for prams, it seems) or elbow your way inside (it’s rather busy on weekends). The kitchen will be very disappointed if you leave without dessert – their Crème Caramel ($10) is spiced with ginger and topped with pistachios – and ends the evening swimmingly. Go and break some bread at Shuk – you won’t be disappointed. 2 Mitchell Street, North Bondi (0423) 199 859 Middle Eastern, Mediterranean $$

$$ - mains between $15-$22

$$$ - mains between $22-$30

good stead (if you can finish it)! Love Eggs ($16.50) gets it right with field mushrooms, fanned The Hill Eatery avocado, ricotta and poached Breakfast here is a stimulating eggs on sourdough. It’s also a experience, with plant life draping the walls, brown leather bar of an evening, with a strong local following. sofas, and repurposed wood 39-53 Campbell Parade Bondi benches.When it comes to (02) 9130 2200 the food, it’s all about honesty, with a farm-to-table philosophy. Café, Breakfast, Bar $-$$ Although tempted by breakfast cocktails, some joggers guilt me The Unicorn Sprinkling some intrigue into the into Green Juice ($6.50) with apple, mint, cucumber and citrus. Paddo pub scene, find yourself You feel healthier just looking at a nook this could almost be it. Muffins, like Date, Banana and a small bar. Head downstairs to Easy Tiger, a nightclub that Chocolate ($4.50), are baked brings ‘70’s American Hustle to fresh daily. Mexican Baked Eggs the Eastern Suburbs. Cocktails – ($18.50) start the day off in EASTERN SUBURBS

$$$$ - mains over $30

Negroni ($16) or a Fancy Pants ($16) with amaretto, citrus and apricot - pay homage to this time.You know it’s not ordinary pub food when you can get Activated Almonds ($5) with your beer.Yes, the menu’s on the healthy side, from Grilled Haloumi ($12), olives and capers to Quinoa Salad ($13) with pumpkin, beetroot, Binnorie Dairy feta and optional Chicken ($17).They’re heartier than they sound, but you can still manage some Spicy Pork Tacos ($12). 106 Oxford Street, Paddington (02) 9360 7994 Pub Bistro, Cocktails $-$$



By Jackie McMillan

How The West Was… WIN!

At first the idea of a weekend away in Blacktown might sound somewhat counterintuitive, but bear with me. As you come off the barren M4 Western Motorway just before the Light Horse Interchange – incidentally the largest collection of flyovers in the Southern Hemisphere – you’ll drive along the scrubby edges of Prospect Reservoir… but ready yourself for a shock! Nestled behind the Royal Cricketers Arms – a glorious 1880s pub – you will transcend into a piece of super-modernity. Atura Blacktown cuts an impressive, angular visage against a backdrop of clear blue sky. The gleaming white box celebrates beams and sharp angles, with glowing yellow signage that looks even better by night. This retro-futuristic vision is the work of architect Peter Israel, with a nod to Jørn Utzon – the man who made smooth concrete and

exposed fittings so chic at Sydney Opera House. Interior designer Nic Graham, who made a name for himself on the cool interiors of QT Sydney and QT Gold Coast, adds some hipster credibility to the hardedged, uncompromising space, creating a high-quality playground for the common people. The architecture echoes the beams and screens from the neighbouring Skyline Drive-In, enticing you to consider what film you’ll choose as your nightly entertainment, as you sip on a poolside Atura Sour ($16). The Timewarp Package (from $179/couple) combines a funky room-for-two with a drivein movie and morning-after breakfast, with about 250-metres of driving in-between. This will allow you plenty of time to wander the halls taking in Martin Mischkulnig’s beautiful images of suburban folk and their collections,

Skyline Drive-In Diner Collect a carload for a retro-style dinner and movie ($10/head) at the recently remodelled Blacktown Skyline Drive-In.You’ll feel like you’ve stepped onto the set of Happy Days with smiling staff in redand-white candy striped uniforms, Creaming Soda Spiders ($6) and buttered popcorn wafting through the air. It’s enough to create nostalgia even in those

that echo the pieces of retro-kitsch you’ll find dotted across the rooms and large communal space. Housed in Danish-style plywood cabinetry, the selection of handpicked Grab and Go items include splashes of sheer brilliance – like underwater cameras for use at the neighbouring Wet’nWild. If you’re on a budget you’ll find heat-and-eat meals you can prepare in your fully equipped kitchenette, or let them do the work for you at the Roadhouse Bar and Grill. Breakfast shows off Atura’s attention to detail, with enameled cast-iron Le Chasseur pots resting on subtly incorporated cook-tops, dispensing with the need for an ugly bain-marie. They make buttery mushrooms finally work on a hotel buffet. High quality produce, from Lurpak butter to T2 teas, help the small range outperform buffets of bigger size. This eyefor-detail also extends to the rooms, where fancy Malin+Goetz products ensure you can forget your (salon) shampoo. Atura Blacktown really ups the ante on four-star, delivering what is basically a five-star experience without any fluff or pretension. You won’t find white tablecloths, but you will find an eager, young crew – handpicked from surrounding suburbs – who seem rather chuffed to watch you marvel over finding this hotel in their ‘hood. They’ll fill you in on where to find local restaurants and attractions; and even if the caged bar mimics the slick QT Sydney look, they won’t bat an eyelid if you forgo upmarket spirits for a Bundy’n’Coke. Finally, if staying jacked-in is critical, complimentary hotel-wide wifi, cloud printing, and large-screen Apple iMacs should help you Instagram your friends into a frenzy of envy. Yes, this is totes how the West was… win! Atura Blacktown
 32 Cricketers Arms Road, Prospect
 Ph: (02) 9421 0000

who’ve never set foot in an American drive-in’s diner! Comfortably ensconced in a padded-vinyl booth, I take in quirky wall memorabilia before losing my head in a Peanut Butter Milkshake ($7) – it’s so good you won’t want to share. The Classic Beef and Cheese Burger’s ($8) plump, char-grilled Angus beef patty leaves surrounding fast-food joints for dead. You can also indulge in your own Jessica “I don’t eat buffalo” Simpson moment with Original Buffalo Wings ($9) served with ranch dressing. As for me, I was all about gently squeezing the fat, smoked Frankfurt between my Chilli Dog’s ($8) soft white buns, while I bent the ear of Skyline Drive-In’s General Manager, Trudi Manning. With eighteen years of experience Trudi has seen “everything from PGrated to XXX” as she patrols her turf, adding with a cheeky grin: “I still say we’re the cheapest motel in town.” Trudi’s also into cars, so dust off your classic car and roll on in! Cricketers Arms Road, Blacktown (02) 9622 0202 American $


Skyline Drive-In Cuddle up in your car for a movie, in one of two refitted retro fields situated right next door to the Atura Hotel. You can also pull up a deck chair on the ‘gold grass’ out the front of the Skyline Drive-In Diner – a must-visit for a milkshake. Blacktown Markets The neighbouring drive-in converts to a market with bric-a-brac and food stalls every Sunday from 7.30am1pm. Keep your eyes peeled for our Kiwi cousins including The Hangi Waka, and a lovely lady selling cakes and freshly caught kina (sea urchin roe). Memphis BBQ Pit Take a drive over to Jamisontown for a plate of Southern American-style pit BBQ. In a fast-casual setting you’ll find smoked American ribs, pulled pork, sliced brisket and the best smoky pit beans I’ve found in Sydney. Zokoko With a bean-to-bar, small batch artisan philosophy, this Emu Heights chocolatier belies the industrial park setting.

Royal Cricketers Arms Thirty minutes and thirty years from Sydney is a pub where strangers talk to one another, and Bar Manager John Mundy uses common sense and conversation to enforce the rule of law. Over a malty pint of Old Speckled Hen ($11.50) you might enquire after his glass jar of Pickled Eggs ($1.10/ each).You can eat “the manager’s hangover cure”

Their Bolivian-grown Alto Beni (68%) has picked up a swag of awards, with their products popping up on local menus too. Royal Cricketers Arms Atura’s neighbouring 1880s pub looks like the hands of time have barely left a mark. Boasting a wonderful outdoor backyard with BBQ and plentiful live acts, it’s a great spot to settle in for the afternoon. Penrith Regional Gallery Situated riverside, this rather astounding regional gallery also boasts a café, gardens and classes on everything from recreating Shanghai style to playing the ukulele. Alongside more wide-ranging art, there’s a charming local focus, down to mapping Penrith’s fading shopping arcades. For The Kids The kids can cuddle a koala at Featherdale Wildlife Park, or scream themselves silly on the waterslides at the new Wet’n’Wild (right down the road).

doused in Worcestershire and Tabasco at the bar, or experiment with John’s “English breakfast in a bag” by dipping them into pork crackling pounded into dust. It’s the kind of pub you’ll feel right at home in, whether you’re a regular propping up the bar, or a city slicker on the back verandah, cooing over sunset reflected on a neighbouring house across a field of swaying paspalum, while live act Imogen Clark warms up. Staying next door at Atura, I also wandered up during daylight hours for lunch. While I tucked into traditional Toad in the Hole ($21), baking three good-quality English pork sausages into a Yorkshire pudding, with mash and onion gravy; my dining companion flexed his cooking prowess on their new, high-tech grill. Balancing James Squire The Chancer ($9/pint) in one hand, he perfected grill marks on his Grass-fed Sirloin ($27/250g) with a wide grin. Grainfed beef and Snags ($20/3) are also available. Cricketers Arms Road, Prospect (02) 9622 6498 Pub Bistro, British $$-$$$



This is the starting point of the new play Amanda by multi-award-winning writer and director Mark Langham. It focuses on one of the oldest debates in psychology, that of nature versus nurture, in a new way with Langham’s customary wit and directness. Do we learn to become who we are today through a lifetime of experience or do we simple live out our lives based on inherited traits? Actor Paul Armstrong, who plays a Senior Sergeant with a mediocre career in the police force, says his character’s path also reflects the theme because of “the choices and compromises he has made and people make in general”. “He’s conservative and hates change but feels like he has missed out on a lot because of his own sense of fear of the world,” Armstrong says. The contrast between a frustrating sense of helplessness and displays of interpersonal power are explored as the audience discovers more about the characters during the central investigation. (CN) May 13-18, Downstairs Theatre, TAP Gallery, 278 Palmer St, Darlinghurst, $15-25,

Bob Saget - The Dirty Daddy Tour

old telling stories that you weren’t supposed to tell when you were a kid.” Audiences can expect a lot of music in a show from the comedian who was also recently nominated for Best Comedy Album at the Grammys. “I’m so happy to be performing and I love doing it,” says Saget. “I talk about subjects that a lot of comedians would, talk about my parents or my relationships, then of course things below my belt because it’s safer to talk about that,” he laughs. (LL) May 15, Enmore Theatre, 118-132 Enmore Road, Newtown, $69.90,

Photo: Mark Banks

Amanda (Amylea Griffi) is under arrest for something she’s really not sure of with only the unwitting help of her two arresting officers (Paul Armstrong and Elizabeth MacGregor) to help her figure it all out while she’s locked up.

Admission: One Shilling


Photo: Courtney Williams

Three couples travel on the Queen Mary II seeking luxury escape. Instead, they find themselves confronted by a series of tensions – marital, sexual and cultural - which erupt when they all sit down for dinner. As the cruise progresses, these begin to unravel the foundation of each marriage. Written and directed by Australia’s most celebrated playwright, David Williamson, the script is sharp and peppered with ironic one-liners and puns. In addition, there is a synergy between story and performance, creating a rhythm that makes the play absorbing and hilarious.This is helped


Photo: Clare Hawley

Cruise Control

by convincing performances from a superb cast, such as Peter Phelps as Darren, the brutish Australian, and Kate Fitzpatrick as Silky, the nononsense New Yorker.They deliver their lines with impeccable timing and tone. Perhaps one fault is the staging of the dinner table.When seated some actors are turned away from the audience, but in a nutshell, Cruise Control is one of the best plays onstage in years. (MP) Until Jun 30, Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall St, Kirribilli. $30-69, (02) 9929 0644,


One of the most shocking and controversial stories makes its Sydney stage debut in a powerful new production. Trainspotting is the story of a group of teenagers in the Edinburgh heroin scene of the 1980s. “It’s about youths trying to get away from the unpleasant lifestyle, trying to find a group to be a part of and cult to feel strong about,” says Damien Carr, who portrays protagonist Mark Renton in the production. Derived from both the very successful novel by Irvine Welsh and the award-winning film adaptation starring Ewan McGregor, Trainspotting depicts an intense and raw portrayal of the dark side of life that is still very much just a backstreet away from us all. “You’re going to see a lot of scenes that are in the film and that are very iconic and that everyone remembers from the movie,” says Carr.“It also takes a lot out of the book as well.” The cast is made up of all inner west Sydney residents and is still relatable to youths in society today. “It definitely speaks to people now, for sure.” (CT) May 8-24, King Street Theatre, King St & Bray St, Newtown, $27-32,



Arts Editor: Leigh Livingstone Music Editor: Chelsea Deeley

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Bob Saget is best known as the wise father, Danny Tanner, from popular ‘80s television show Full House. It ran for eight seasons and the reruns are still widely played all over the world. However, Bob Saget is actually a man of many faces and talents. He has also starred as a womanising chauvinistic caricature of himself in the television series Entourage and he is currently the narrator’s voice in How I Met Your Mother. Saget is touring down under with his comedy show The Dirty Daddy Tour, which he says is a chance for him to let loose from his most typecast character. “I hope it’s not offensive to people, I don’t want people coming and thinking they’re going to see the dad on Full House,” he says. So, who is the real Bob Saget? “I guess sometimes I am thoughtful and considerate onstage and the real person that I am comes out and other times I am just a nasty 10-year-

Photo: Natalie Brasington

Hess’s legacy via the soundtrack of her life. Directed by Christopher Luscombe this sophisticated and graceful production promises the perfect afternoon delight for lovers of classical music. (CK) May 13-16, Glen St Theatre, Glen St & Blackbutt Rd, Belrose; May 17-18, City Recital Hall, Angel Pl, $89-99, Photo: Gussie Welch

In collaboration with star of stage and screen Patricia Routledge and internationally renowned pianist Piers Lane, Nigel Hess brings to life the world of his great-aunt, famed wartime performer Dame Myra Hess. A story of female heroism through art, the production uses press and radio interviews as a springboard for evoking this rich and charming character. Using archive photographs projected above the stage Routledge is able to transport the audience.Through her in-character recount of Hess’s lunchtime concerts, Routledge mirrors the sparkling magnetism that brought a molecule of hope to civilians during World War 2. Like sitting with an elderly relative as they flip through a photo album of their youth, Admission One Shilling promises to be an intimate reflection on collective history and the personal stories that are nestled within it.The piece plays with the modes of storytelling and music as a vessel for memory itself. Piers Lane’s masterful playing speaks to the magical escapism that is achieved through performance. Lane’s playing of Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Schumann and Chopin animates

Contributors: Alexandra English, Alexis Talbot-Smith, Anita Senaratna, Anthony Bell, Catherine Knight, Cheryl Northey, Ciaran Tobin, Craig Coventry, Elise Cullen, Georgia Fullerton, Greg Webster, Hannah Chapman, Jamie Apps, Leann Richards, Lena Zak, Luke Daykin, Lyndsay Kenwright, Marilyn Hetreles, Mark Morellini, Mel Somerville, Melody Teh, Michael Muir, Michelle Porter, Rhys Gard, Rocio Belinda Mendez, Ruth Fogarty, Sean May, Sharon Ye, Shauna O’Carroll, Siri Williams

back when it came to recreating the props and costumes. “This time around we’ve spent extra time and money on making it at least the same quality as the movies,” Beattie says. From veterans to virgins, and everyone between, Beattie promises that the show caters for diverse tastes. “It is two hours of pure adult enjoyment and fun,” he explains. “It’s all satirical but some acts are sexy, others are beautiful – it’s not exploitative or gratuitous.” (EC) May 9 & 10, Enmore Theatre, 118132 Enmore Rd, Newtown, $59,

A Hunger Suite Hypnotic and strange, A Hunger Suite, by Clockfire Theatre Company, is off the beaten track when it comes to traditional theatre. Inspired by the works of Kafka, artistic director Emily Ayoub says the piece is about two characters that exist in a circus universe - focusing on the 19th century world of ‘circus freaks’. “We tried to use Kafka as an inspiration behind this work. His works inspire what the characters are doing in the space,” she says. “Our style is a Kafka-esque universe. You find that in our movement, aesthetic and atmosphere.” The piece is not traditionally narrativedriven; it uses a unique style to

challenge the audience’s perception of theatre. “We want to push the audience, invite them into something more different,” says Ayoub. “You have to sometimes take a risk, present something different.” First performed in 2012, the production underwent a second development in Istanbul earlier this year, which Ayoub says has given it political resonance. “It resonates what is going on here politically for artists, it looks how far an artist will go to reach limits in artistry,” she says. (SOC) May 7-25,The Old 505 Theatre, Suite 505, 342 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills, $18-28,

Photo: Russell Cheek

The Empire Strips Back

Burlesque may be a far cry from Boba Fett but Russall S. Beattie’s Star Wars burlesque parody, The Empire Strips Back, has returned due to popular demand - only this time with a bigger and better production. Since the show initially opened back in 2011, the sci-fi fantasy has skyrocketed with sexy stormtroopers and sellout shows. However, what was once designed for a smaller, more intimate stage, has now developed into a grand burlesque show. It is now filling up larger venues like the Enmore Theatre. Beattie, who therapeutically destroyed all the props and costumes from the show’s last season, is starting afresh, and assures that there was no holding

Veronica Milsom - Do Not Irony When a stranger is asked to come onstage and interact with one of 15 personalities, the chance that it won’t be awkward is somewhere between state lotto win and shark attack. This is something Veronica Milsom is no stranger to; her one-woman sketch show involves a whole heap of audience interaction, but one particular guest had her floored. “I had this guy onstage and I was talking to him about quite disgusting things,” she says, “and then after the show he came up and said, ‘Thanks for having me onstage,’ and I said, ‘Thanks for participating,’ and then he said, ‘I used to date your mum.’”

Milsom, of Triple J and television’s Mad As Hell comedic fame, will perform her debut show Do Not Irony at the Sydney Comedy Festival. She will play 15 different characters in 23 different scenes. “I can’t answer what it’s about, it’s too difficult,” she laughs. “It’s an absurd, bizarre reflection of what I think is funny. Some of my best friends have come along to see me perform and said, ‘That is exactly your sense of humour, but I haven’t seen you perform like that before.’” (AE) May 8 & 10,The Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Rd, Marrickville, (02) 9550 3666,

His Mother’s Voice Enduring piano lessons as a child is pretty standard in western society, but in Shanghai of ’66 when the Communist Party reigned, one defiant mother had to teach her son to play in secret. Justin Fleming’s play, His Mother’s Voice, details the true story of a mother-son relationship from the birth of China’s cultural revolution, to the eve of the Tiananmen Square protest. The story demonstrates the love of two people from different worlds: a mother’s love that drives her to sacrifice; and a young man’s love for his country. Director and co-founder of bAKEHOUSE Theatre, Suzanne Millar, was drawn to this story that is at times poetic, humorous and dramatic and


PERFORMANCE EIGHT GIGABYTES OF HARDCORE PORNOGRAPHY Greene’s play skews the stark contrast between our public and private selves. It examines two, average, middle-aged individuals who find themselves a long way off from the fantasy figures they see online. With each of these individuals looking to the online realm for a little something more out of life, Greene aims to examine the “conflict between a digital pornographic fantasy and reality and how that vagueness bleeds into online dating.” Acknowledging that there could be a

fair amount of bleakness construed by audiences from the subject matter, Greene sees it differently. “It is a comedy,” he says, “and it is important to me that the play is funny. It’s important that we can laugh at how bleak the world is sometimes.” (SW) Until Jun 14, SBW Stables, 10 Nimrod St, Kings Cross, $32-49, (02) 9361 3817, STRICTLY BALLROOM:THE MUSICAL Baz Luhrmann’s latest creation is bursting at the sequined seams of the Lyric Theatre in an explosion of colour and feathers. Luhrmann’s holistic creative approach and boundless imagination means his hand is involved in every aspect of

the production, from the design, to the direction and the music. The notes feel like they were written for the stunning co-lead Phoebe Panaretos (Fran) who outshines all except the hilarious Heather Mitchell (Shirley Hastings).The talented Thomas Lacey (Scott Hastings) gives a solid performance as the male lead but is sometimes underwhelming on a very busy stage. Catherine Martin’s costumes are yet another ‘win’ for the designer, referencing familiar elements from the film and successfully amplifying them for the stage. Strictly Ballroom:The Musical is an entertaining, lively night at the theatre that will delightfully overload

believes it is more relevant today than ever before. “With Australia building its relationship with China, it’s important to be aware of miscommunication, of things unsaid,” she explains. “Justin has taken a big idea – the relationship between China and Australia – and gently examined it through the prism of a family. “At its heart, it tells the story of someone who has come from a difficult life in a brutal place, who asks Australia to give him refuge; to give him a future.” (AE) Until May 17, atyp Studio 1, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, $20-30 (02) 9270 2400, bakehousetheatrecompany.

the senses. (LL) Until Jul 6, Lyric Theatre, Pirrama Rd, Sydney, $55-145, SOMETHING TO BE DONE is “one man searching for inspiration in a world that’s deteriorating of its artistic roots,” explains creator and performer Gabriel McCarthy – and it’s all done with no words. It was a risk to stage a performance with no words but McCarthy believes physical theatre is “untapped” in Australia. He felt compelled to break away from the “everyday stuff you see in theatre,” he says. McCarthy hopes that audiences will be open to this new type of theatre.

For him, a performance without words is perhaps the greatest form of communication. (MT) May 13-Jun 1, Upstairs Theatre,TAP Gallery, 278 Palmer St, Darlinghurst, $15-20, (02) 9361 0440, THE SILENCE CAME Described as an immersive theatre piece set in “a distorted modern society, divided by class and polluted by the seven deadly sins,” it takes place throughout several rooms in a 165-year-old Darlinghurst terrace house.The audience dictates the direction the onstage action will take for every performance. As creator, writer and director Duncan Maurice assures, with

roughly eight hours worth of script for any given direction, the story may depend on the mood of each unique audience, “you couldn’t possibly see it all [and] it will be quite unique every night.” Maurice sees the idea of immersive theatre as “more in tune with the way that contemporary audiences consume culture, art, entertainment and information”, and believes that “those traditional boundaries of sitting, watching and waiting are being tested and pushed”. (SW) Until May 26,The Commons, 32 Burton St, Darlinghurst, $20, 26

Welcome to Slumlord Millionaires

By Coffin Ed, Miss Death & Jay Katz It’s a story that’s been written many times over the past few months – the chronic shortage of rental accommodation in Sydney and the stampede of hopefuls whenever a property ‘to let’ comes on the market. Anybody who has queued up for a recent inspection will be aware of the lottery involved in applying to rent a house, apartment, or anything that vaguely resembles a reasonable living space. Ask somebody who lived in Sydney before the 2000 Olympics and they will tell you how easy it was to find rental accommodation in the inner city. There was an abundance of cheap apartments, houses and even ‘creative’ spaces like warehouses and shopfronts. Today with a residential vacancy rate in the inner city hovering around 1.3 per cent, it’s a daunting prospect for anybody looking for a pad to call home. If that figure is not bad enough, demand has pushed up rental costs and opened the market to all manner of unscrupulous exploitation. Hey, you wouldn’t expect anything less in good old Sydney, which historically has always been the ‘home of the lightning quick buck’ - whether it’s stuffing eight or more overseas students into a two-bedroom, CBD apartment or running a fleabag Marrickville boarding house. One thing’s for certain, the cost per square metre of rental space is going through the roof and we are fast approaching the New York/London scenario, where broom cupboard sized studios rent for outrageous rates. Commercial real estate (like shops and warehouses) is generally marketed at a cost per square metre per annum and maybe that’s the way the residential market will follow. Instead of wide-angle pics of


tiny Kings Cross studios, marketed as quirky art deco apartments on, we would love to see some blatant, albeit horrifying honesty on the part of those landlords and agents focusing on the bottom of the market. If the apartment is a claustrophobic dump, about the size of a shipping container and as dark as one inside, why not say so? That would certainly cut down on the queues at the inspection and the gazumpers ready to bypass the application process with a cash incentive (although that has been outlawed these days). Honest Joe, the Slumlord Millionaire might not be welcome in the real estate institute but at least you’d know what to expect with the bastard. Walk into his office at 10 Rillington Place and survey the range of godforsaken ratholes to rent. “This one even comes with a free TV,” Joe enthusiastically exclaims, “although you’ll need a set-top box to make the sucker work. “There’s even a harbour view,” he jokingly adds, “but you might break your neck climbing on the roof to see it.” There’s no need to sign a silly lease with Honest Joe but fall behind with the rent and expect a visit from a couple of his heavies. And if the hot water system explodes or the toilet clogs up, then don’t go complaining to Joe. “Look mate, if you don’t like the place, I’ve got twenty more people ready to move in tomorrow.” Of course we all know this dystopian view of Sydney rental accommodation is but a nightmarish fantasy and that the legislation is there to protect hapless tenants from shonky landlords and agents. Also, the State Government has promised to encourage the building of thousands of new apartments as well as public housing. However, as that vacancy rate slips well below 1 per cent, Tasmania looks more than just a popular tourist destination.

One Year Performance 1980-1981 - Tehching Hsieh One Year Performance 1980-1981, documents 12 months in the life of artist Tehching Hsieh. During that period he committed to punching a clock each hour of every day and photographing the process. The result is a series of snapshots which display a man in various states of distress, sleep deprivation and boredom. The pictures also demonstrate a disturbing uniformity. In each image, Hsieh wears an anonymous grey shirt embroidered with his name. There is nothing to prove the passage of time in these stills except the slow growth of the artist’s hair. It is this comment on the bland sameness of working life, complemented with the blankness of his gaze which conveys the power of the exhibition. This piece is a confronting look at a society which insists on conformity and slow destruction of individuality. In this performance, Hsieh reflects on the futility of ordinary existence, and ironically its value and opportunity. (LR) Until July 6, Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh, free, (02) 8571 9089,

Photo: Zan Wembeley


Agency of Inanimate Objects - Izabela Pluta

‘Museum’, 2014 by Izabela Pluta. Image courtesy of the artist and Galerie pompom

Izabela Pluta’s photographs are black and white but they invoke a multilayered world of kaleidoscopic colours. Agency of Inanimate Objects, her new exhibition at Galerie pompom is an intriguing display of versatility and innovation. Pluta takes the discarded objects of materialist society and transforms them into monuments of aesthetic beauty. The artist focuses on society’s relics. In Four Sides of a Piece of Coal #1-4, a lump of black fossil fuel becomes a multifaceted story of the eroding effects of time. The life-sized image, Museum, occupies a wall of the show. It is a piece which incorporates mammoths, trees, mountains and glass cages. The mural is a monochromatic montage of mirror surfaces and reflections that uses natural history motifs to comment on temporal transience. This exhibition is a thought-provoking journey into the potential of the photographic medium and an exploration of hidden aspects of modern detritus. (LR) Until May 25, Galerie pompom 2/39 Abercrombie St, Chippendale, free,

Une Australienne - Hilda Rix Nicholas Hilda Rix Nicholas is one of the most important Australian female artists from the early twentieth century. The Mosman Art Gallery Exhibition, Une Australienne, explores the beauty and richness of the works she created when she moved back to Mosman from Europe after World War I. Gallery curator Julie Petersen, says the exhibition focuses on how Nicholas moving back to Australia shaped her artistic career. “We look at what it meant to her, how it reset her course,” she says. After losing her family and husband in the war, Petersen says Nicholas used her time in Mosman as exploring new artistic techniques to create original pieces. “The artworks were made during her recovery period, Mosman became her place of recovery,” she says. “She made these large pictures painted in a fresh and confident manner, and they look as fresh today as they did 100 years ago.” The exhibition features important paintings and drawings that have not been together in a gallery since the 1920s. “Her paintings have been all around the world, they are now out of the lounge rooms and on our walls,” she says. The exhibition also features artist workshops and talks, and a Symposium on June 1st about women artists in the twentieth century. (SOC) Until Jul 13, Mosman Art Gallery, Art Gallery Way & Myahgah Rd, Mosman, free, (02) 9978 4178,

‘The Bathers’, by Hilda Rix Nicholas

Andy Gordon Black Sea Andy Gordon’s album, Black Sea, feels like friendly company. His moody voice fills space and leaks into the ears of the listener like the sweet words of a trusted friend. One who understands and repeats thoughts back in his eloquent style. Listener’s will hold onto Black Sea once they hear it, wishing that the too-short six songs would somehow become twelve. Comforting and stylistically vast, misery will like Black Sea for company and so will several other emotions (SP)

Boy Darkest Visions Czech punk band Boy come out of the gates strong with their album Darkest Visions. The album opens with the title track and quickly makes it clear that the band has been heavily influenced by the English punk bands of the 1970s. By combining samples from 9/11 news reports with a very catchy guitar riff and drum line, Boy create a haunting intro which sets the tone for the remainder of the album. The album is a great combination of aggressive instrumentals with catchy wellwritten lyrics, particularly final track Just A Number. Indicative of producer Tommy Akerholt’s (of Turbonegro fame) influence. (JA)


For any individual with a true passion for music, they will remember that initial one-in-a-million moment when they first heard their favourite artist or album. It’s a moment that creates doors in the mind and instils an unprecedented passion. It’s a moment that Stjepan Hauser, one half of Croatian duo 2Cellos, relays with a smile. “I had on the radio when I was about 2 years old and I just remember hearing this beautiful sound,” he recalls. “It was just so warm and tender and gentle, it was just the right sound. I think sometimes violin can sound like it’s screaming because it is so high, and piano is too percussive, but cello was just right for my ear and I knew that it was what I wanted to play.” It was a moment that fuelled him


Cut Copy: A legendary Australian band in the electronic scene, this Melbourne foursome finally has the chance to shower the home crowd in their signature grooves. Infectious and euphoric are just two of the words that come to mind when pondering their back catalogue, including their ARIA award-winning sophomore release In Ghost Colours and their album from November 2013, Free Your Mind. This will be their homecoming from an extensive international tour and who better to support

through a further education at both London’s Academy of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. However, despite the classical training that he and his partner-in-cello Luca Šulić had received since childhood, it never quashed their love for variety. “We had passions for rock, pop, film music and classical,” Hauser explains. “Cello is capable of playing many different things, so it would be a shame to just use it for one type of music. We also wanted to attract a wider audience, especially younger people, and get them interested and show them all of the possibilities that the cello has.” It’s a mission that led them to their extraordinary cover of the Michael Jackson classic, Smooth Criminal. Hauser admits that the song “rocks really hard on cello” and as soon as he heard it he knew it would sound so cool.

However, both he and Šulić could never have anticipated how their lives would change when uploading their reimagination to YouTube on one fateful night. Three years later these cello connoisseurs have worked with the likes of Steve Vai, Lang Lang, Naya Rivera (Glee) and Zucherro for their sophomore album In2ition and have toured the world with Sir Elton John. “It was an amazing experience because it taught us how to entertain big masses like 20,000 [people] every night,” Hauser says. “It’s very exhausting playing live because it’s just the two of us and we have to make the sound of a whole band and play so many voices, but we kind of see it as a sport, you know?” (CD) May 19, York Theatre, Seymour Centre, City Rd & Cleveland St, Chippendale, $63.60+bf,

Sydney Live Music Guide

them than Touch Sensitive and Nile Delta. Thu, May 8th, Metro Theatre, George St. Children of Bodom: Mosh-pits? Check. Devils horns? Check. An erratic shaking of outlandish male hair? Check, times five! It’s hard to believe that these Finnish death metal makers have been scene stalwarts for over 21 years, yet their sound is as relevant and gruelling as ever. Fronted by Alexi Laiho since the dawn of time, prepare to revel in the heaviness of their latest offering Halo Of Blood, as

well as highlights from their extensive career. Tonight Melbourne metal merchants Eye of Enemy will join them. Fri, May 9th, Hi-Fi Sydney, Entertainment Quarter. Plastic Nightclub: Cue collective cry of joy from those who heart the local arts scene. The media legends that make up Yon Plume are bringing back this legendary showcase of all things Sydney and all things musical. Feast your ears on the vocal delights of Burn Antares, distorted mellowheads Cull, garage-rockers Los Tones, as well as Miners

and Dead Brian. There will also be live painting by local artist Jack Irvin. Sat, May 10th, Oxford Art Factory, Darlinghurst. James Valentine Quartet: For those who prefer a jaunt in the day, look no further than this fantastic show. As a regular writer and radio broadcaster,Valentine will be able to show off his musical side with his talented band and a plethora of unannounced guest singers. Audiences can enjoy a satisfying lunch to the sound of beautifully crafted tunes, with the launch of their newest album As I Live and

Breath. A Mother’s Day to remember. Sun, May 11th, Petersham Bowling Club. Oily Boys: No doubt those good folks at Noisey will present an audio assault like no other. Brash Sydney band Oily Boys will be bringing some abrasive tastes to the night, with their dicey riff work and grating vocals. They will be joined by Melbourne slugger’s Reptiles and The Friendsters. Get down early to claim groove space in the legendary Danceteria. Tues, May 13th, GoodGod Small Club, Chinatown. Mingus Among Us: As

a highly regarded double bassist, composer and all-round musical legend, Charles Mingus Jr. was a pivotal part of the international jazz scene up until his untimely death at the age of 56 in 1979. This night will keep the memory of the legendary muso alive. Featuring the skills of some of Sydney’s best musicians, this nine-piece band will be taking their monthly delve into Mingus Jr.’s bluesy catalogue to provide some awesome renditions of his classic hits. (CD) Wed, May 14th, Foundry616, Ultimo.

Fading Gigolo stars Woody Allen as Murray, an ex-bookshop owner who embarks on a new career as a 70-year-old pimp, ‘managing’ his cash-strapped friend Fioravante (John Turturro) as a gigolo. The partnership is mutually beneficial, until Fioravante discovers true love. Woody Allen is a standout, aptly playing the insecure intellectual who’s involved in many funny scenarios and delivers plenty of gags. The sexually explicit storylines are tastefully scripted and scenes in which Sharon Stone’s character (Dr. Parker) lives out her fantasy of a ménage à trios with Fioravante, are comical and inoffensive. Credibility is somewhat strained however, as Fioravante, who lacks sex appeal and openly admits “I’m not a beautiful man”, appears to be sexually desirable to all members of the opposite sex. (MM) WWW

Fading Gigolo


Despite the obvious title, Healing is an Australian film that is worth watching beautiful cinematography and an evocative story with great characters. Based on true events and set in a low-security prison farm 200 kilometres outside of Melbourne, this film stars Don Hany (Underbelly, Offspring) as Viktor Khadem at the end of his 16-year stint in prison. Hugo Weaving (Lord of

delivering what can only be described as wondrous escapism at its best. (MM) WWWW CANOPY is an incredible war/survival drama set during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in1942. When an Australian fighter pilot (Kahn Chittenden) is shot down in the jungle, he joins forces with a Singaporean/Chinese resistance fighter (Tzu-yi Mo). Battling the odds they desperately fight for survival, aimlessly running through the mangroves evading Japanese soldiers. Language is a barrier, but they

her parents intervene, hoping her addiction to prostitution can be overcome. Young & Beautiful is divided into four seasonal chapters and is exquisitely filmed, gracefully capturing the youthful sensuality and eroticism. Marine Vacth is perfectly cast as the beautiful Parisian student whose loss of innocence and sexual prowess is the catalyst to life-changing events. (MM) WWWW

The Double

Based on the novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Double stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) as Simon, a timid office drone in the midst of an existential crisis. Unappreciated at work, scorned by his ailing mother and invisible to the woman he loves (Mia Wasikowska), Simon is — in the words of a tactless co-worker — “a bit of a non-person”. The unexpected arrival of Simon’s roguish

Belle, a naval officer’s illegitimate daughter from an African mother, is taken to live with her great-uncle, the benign - if crusty - Lord Mansfield, also the Lord Chief Justice (played by the wonderful Tom Wilkinson). When Belle is a young woman he’s required to rule on a claim by slave traders that insurers must cover them for the loss of their ‘goods’ (human beings)


Young & Beautiful is a dark and provocative coming-of-age film from France, which effectively explores a 17-year-old girl’s sexual awakening and her transition into prostitution. Isabelle (Marine Vacth) is a withdrawn and emotionless adolescent who enjoys the excitement of leading a double life, partaking in an activity which is deemed wrongful and forbidden. When tragedy occurs, her secret life is revealed and a powerful and moving story develops as

the Rings,The Matrix) stars as his case-worker, Matt Perry. Together they set up a bird sanctuary to help heal, not only the majestic creatures, but also the broken inmates and give them a sense of purpose. The mise-en-scène and the elegant movements offer thoughtful symbolism. Also notable is the performance by Mark Leonard Winter (Winners and Losers) who plays disturbed inmate Shane. Xavier Samuel (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) also stars as Paul. (LK) WWWW


THE AMAZING SPIDERMAN 2 is the much-anticipated sequel to the 2012 blockbuster. It delivers twice the thrills and mayhem, as supervillains Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Green Goblin (Dane DeHaan) attack Spider-Man. Andrew Garfield reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, who continues to be torn between his mortal and superhero status, whilst his crime fighting is being publicly scrutinised. The CGI which is becoming more exhilarating and ambitious as the comic book franchise continues, fuels the pumping adrenalin,


doppelganger is a catalyst but also a mixed omen: will he seize control of his life or disappear completely? Marrying melancholy and black wit with an oppressive, dystopian setting, The Double is a haunting satire in the vein of Terry Gilliam’s magnum opus, Brazil. It’s also further proof that director Richard Ayoade (Submarine) is one of Britain’s most distinctive filmmakers. (JH) WWWW

– resulting in the first steps toward abolition of slavery in England. Wilkinson, Emily Watson and Miranda Richardson ensure quality acting and comely newcomer Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle) will undoubtedly be seen again. Will Belle’s love for young abolitionist lawyer (Sam Reid) triumph? Though never reaching great dramatic heights, Belle engagingly tells an important story. (MMu) WWW

communicate non-verbally and an unexpected friendship flourishes. This low budget Australia/ Singapore co-production is suspenseful and engaging. Canopy is a fast-moving, edge of your seat drama in which few words are spoken. This effectively enhances the expressive performances of the small cast of two. (MM) WWW½

the story revolves around reclusive rock star Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and the love of his life Eve (Oscar-winner Tilda Swinton). Their performances alone justify the ticket price, but strong supporting roles by John Hurt and Mia Wasikowska add enormous appeal. Highly original and memorable, Only Lovers Left Alive is surely a future cult classic. (PH) WWWW

ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE This is an amazing-looking film – all sexy gloom and cinematic as hell – but the narrative here is stronger and more compelling. Essentially a drama/romance,

ANY DAY NOW reclaims a not-so-distant past with lush cinematography and lovable charismatic characters. Directed by Travis Fine, the

film explores a trial in which a gay couple fight to legally save a child with a disability from his abusive biological mother. Stars Garret Dillahunt, Alan Cumming and Isaac Leyva deliver tender performances that bring charm and dignity to these characters battling with the strains of marginalisation. (CK) WWW THE MUPPETS MOST WANTED The Muppets return to the big screen in their latest musical comedy.

Whilst on a global tour, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of the gang inadvertently become involved in an evil mastermind’s crown jewel heist. Ricky Gervais is hilarious as the dastardly manager who leads The Muppets into mayhem and celebrity cameos include Tony Bennett, Celine Dion and Lady Gaga. Delightfully cheesy, this sequel remains faithful to the brand, with an abundance of vibrant and colourful cabaret sequences, catchy songs, endless gags and silly storylines. (MM) WWW

F R E E W I L L A S TROLO G Y by Rob Brezsny


ARIES (March 21-April 19): Fireworks displays excite the eyes and lift the spirit. But the smoke and dust they produce can harm the lungs with residues of heavy metals. The toxic chemicals they release may pollute streams and lakes and even groundwater. So is there any alternative? Not yet. No one has come up with a more benign variety of fireworks. But if it happens soon, I bet it will be due to the efforts of an enterprising Aries researcher. Your tribe is entering a phase when you will have good ideas about how to make risky fun safer, how to ensure vigorous adventures are healthy, and how to maintain constructive relationships with exciting influences..


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): YFree jazz is a type of music that emerged in the 1950s as a rebellion against jazz conventions. Its meter is fluid and its harmonies unfamiliar, sometimes atonal. Song structures may be experimental and unpredictable. A key element in free jazz is collective improvisation -- riffing done not just by a featured soloist, but by the entire group of musicians playing together. To prepare for your adventures in the coming days, Taurus -- which I suspect will have resemblances to free jazz -- you might want to listen to music by its pioneers, like Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, and Sun Ra. Whatever

you do, don’t fall prey to scapa bobi diddily widdily doo bapa phobia, which is the fear of freestyle jazz.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Apple and Exxon are the most valuable companies in America. In third place, worth more than $350 billion, is Google. Back in 1999, when the future Internet giant was less than a year old, Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page tried to sell their baby for a mere million dollars. The potential buyer was Excite, an online service that was thriving at the time. But Excite’s CEO turned down the offer, leaving Brin and Page to soldier onward by themselves. Lucky for them, right? Today they’re rich and powerful. I foresee the possibility of a comparable development in your life, Gemini. An apparent “failure” may, in hindsight, turn out to be the seed of a future success.


CANCER (June 21-July 22): “You can’t have your cake and eat it, too” is an English-language proverb. It means that you will no longer have your cake if you eat it all up. The Albanian version of the adage is “You can’t go for a swim without getting wet. “ Hungarians say, “It’s impossible to ride two horses with one butt.” According to my analysis, Cancerian, you will soon disprove this folk wisdom. You will, in effect, be able to eat you cake and still have it. You will somehow stay dry as you take

a dip. You will figure out a way to ride two horses with your one butt.


LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): I know this might come as a shock, Leo, but . . . are you ready? . . . you are God! Or at least godlike. An influx of crazy yet useful magic from the Divine Wow is boosting your personal power way beyond normal levels. There’s so much primal mojo flowing through you that it will be hard if not impossible for you to make mistakes. Don’t fret, though. Your stint as the Wild Sublime Golden Master of Reality probably won’t last for more than two weeks, three tops. I’m sure that won’t be long enough for you to turn into a raving megalomaniac with 10,000 cult followers.


VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In your imagination, take a trip many years into the future. See yourself as you are now, sitting next to the wise elder you will be then. The two of you are lounging on a beach and gazing at a lake. It’s twilight. A warm breeze feels good. You turn to your older self and say, “Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you wish you had done but did not do?” Your older self tells you what that thing is. (Hear it now.) And you reply, “Tomorrow I will begin working to change all that.”


LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “Over a hundred years ago, the cattle industry pressured the U.S. government

to kill off wolves in Yellowstone National Park. By 1926 the wolves had all but vanished. In the following decades, elk herds grew unnaturally big, no longer hunted by their natural predator. The elk decimated the berry bushes of Yellowstone, eating the wild fruit with such voracity that grizzly bears and many other species went hungry. In 1995, environmentalists and conservationists got clearance to re-introduce wolves to the area. Now the berry bushes are flourishing again. Grizzlies are thriving, as are other mammals that had been deprived. I regard this vignette as an allegory for your life in the coming months, Libra. It’s time to do the equivalent of replenishing the wolf population. Correct the imbalance.


SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): I have no problem with you listening closely to the voices in your head. Although there might be some weird counsel flowing from some of them, it’s also possible that one of those voices might have sparkling insights to offer. As for the voices that are delivering messages from your lower regions, in the vicinity of your reproductive organs: I’m not opposed to you hearing them out, either. But I hope you will be most attentive and receptive to the voices in your heart. While they are not infallible, they are likely to contain a higher percentage of useful truth than those other two sources.


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Kangaroo rats live in the desert. They’re at home there, having evolved over millennia to thrive in the arid conditions. So well-adapted are they that they can go a very long time without drinking water. While it’s admirable to have achieved such a high level of accommodation to their environment, I don’t recommend that you do something comparable. In fact, its probably better if you don’t adjust to some of the harsher aspects of your environment. Now might be a good time to acknowledge this fact and start planning an alternate solution.


CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “Those who control their passions do so because their passions are weak enough to be controlled,” said writer William Blake. I think you will challenge this theory in the coming weeks, Capricorn. Your passions will definitely not be weak. They may even verge on being volcanic. And yet I bet you will manage them fairy well. By that I mean you will express them with grace and power rather than allowing them to overwhelm you and cause a messy ruckus. You won’t need to tamp them down and bottle them up because you will find a way to be both uninhibited and disciplined as you give them their chance to play.


AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Would you please go spend some quality time

having non-goal-oriented fun? Can I convince you to lounge around in fantasyland as you empty your beautiful head of all compulsions to prove yourself and meet people’s expectations? Will you listen to me if I suggest that you take off the mask that’s stuck to your face and make funny faces in the mirror? You need a nice long nap, gorgeous. Two or three nice long naps. Bake some damn cookies, even if you’ve never done so. Soak your feet in epsom salts as you bingewatch a TV show that stimulates a thousand emotions. Lie in the grass and stare lovingly at the sky for as long as it takes to recharge your spiritual batteries.


PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Dear Pisceans: Your evil twins have asked me to speak to you on their behalf. They say they want to apologize for the misunderstandings that may have arisen from their innocent desire to show you what you had been missing. Their intent was not at all hostile or subversive. They simply wanted to fill in some gaps in your education. OK? Next your evil twins want to humbly request that you no longer refer to them as “Evil Twin,” but instead pick a more affectionate name, like, say “Sweet Mess” or “Tough Lover.” If you promise to treat them with more geniality, they will guarantee not to be so tricky and enigmatic.

City Hub 8 May 2014  
City Hub 8 May 2014