Residents rail against tower Page 3 Kings X bouncers speak out Page 7 Eat & drink Page 15 Whatâ€™s On guide Page 17
November 7, 2014 2013 january 30,
MAKING DOUGH Refugee Chantelle Oo working in the Bread and Butter kitchen
Residents rail against station tower Dog owners say fines are barking mad BY PAUL GREGOIRE “In exchange for this public accommodate part of this building.
The proposed development site at Station Street, Marrickville
1 Leofrene Ave is low residential, it’s a house and the developers bought this,” Ms Eden said. “It’s going to affect a lot of residents’ solar access. It takes away our only access to Marrickville Station Platform 2.” Council previously sent the proposal to the state government to be considered under the Gateway Process, which is designed to reduce approval times. Labor councillor Chris Woods said the proposal has been approved by the state government and its height was excessive. “The state Gateway Process has approved the concept in principle,” Mr Woods said. “The major concern is that the level, the height of the building, would be far too high for the area.” Marrickville Mayor Jo Haylen said no decisions have been made as no development application has been lodged and the community would be consulted. “Our community don’t need to feel anxious. Council is yet to consider any formal development application,” Ms Haylen said. “This means no decisions have been made on the height or any other aspect of this proposed development. A final decision will not be made without community consultation.” Council will consider the proposal at the next meeting on February 4.
BY Madelaine Wong Residents gathered at Bronte Promenade at the weekend to protest what they regard as excessive fines for walking their dogs in an area of Bronte Park. A new policy issued by Waverley Council allows offleash dog walking in certain areas of the park and gully between 3pm and 10am. Another area is reserved for on-leash dog walking, while dogs are prohibited in all other areas of the park except paths. The changes were approved at an October 15 council meeting. Previously, dogs were banned from the park, except on the promenade. Waverley Mayor Sally Betts said she was surprised that dog owners would react in this manner. “We thought we were doing a good thing by allowing dogs for the first time ever, because we were asked by the community to do that, and we discussed with the community where the on leash area should be, where the off-leash area should be,” she said. “It’s quite strange that dog owners were unaware that this was going on.” According to a council fact
sheet, dog owners should “take the time to review signage and maps and understand where and when they can take their dogs both on and off leash across Bronte Park”. But some residents complained that the only signage acknowledging the new policy is located in the gully area of the park. Dog
Photo: Madelaine Wong
benefit, the developer wants a massive exceedance from planning regulations to go from a maximum height of eight storeys to 16 storeys.” Mr Phillips said the square would fail to provide much amenity to the general public. “The public square actually involves the privatisation of a public street and in reality will serve as a private building forecourt,” he said. Laura Eden convenor of Save Station Street from Developers said the development would encroach on a low-rise residential zone, affect residents’ sunlight and cut off current pedestrian access to Marrickville Station. “They’re proposing to rezone a low residential area to
Photo: Paul Gregoire
A planned 16-storey apartment block on Station Street in Marrickville has community groups and councillors up in arms. The proposal, which has been approved by the NSW Department of Planning’s Gateway Process, exceeds current planning restrictions. Greens councillor Max Phillips said the developer of the apartment block will create a public square in exchange for being allowed to exceed zoning limits. “The proposal includes a Voluntary Planning Agreement where council gives the developer Station Street, the developer then raises the level up to Illawarra Road and creates a new public square,” Mr Phillips said.
Signage in the Bronte Gully
Refugees making a crust
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BY PAUL GREGOIRE Chantelle Oo is a trainee baker and refugee from Burma, whose life is being changed by a Marrickvillebased social enterprise, the Bread and Butter Project. Created by the Bourke Street Bakery, the project is a wholesale artisan bakery suppling food outlets throughout the inner city, while training refugees for future employment. Ms Oo is in her fifth month of training and works within a small team of trainee bakers from Burma, Sierra Leone and Thailand. She enjoys training to be a baker and appreciates what the Bread and Butter Project is doing for refugees. “Working as a baker is interesting to me. I have never done this before and so there has been a lot to learn,” Ms Oo said. “I like the idea of how the project tries to help people.” Ms Oo first came to Australia as a teenager in 2007 and initially lived in Queensland with her family before moving to Sydney. “When we first arrived in Queensland from Burma, we were provided with a house, furniture and food,” she said. “I enjoy coming to work, but I also enjoy my weekends and going to the beach, playing soccer, going out for lunch - Sydney is a good place for that.” Paul Allam founder of the Bread and Butter Project said the
business, which has been running since April 2013, is a self-sustaining social enterprise. “The Bread and Butter Project is a social enterprise. 100 per cent of the profits… are reinvested back into supporting refugees further their employment,” Mr Allam said. “We did get seed funding but the whole idea of a social enterprise is that the bread we sell sustains the mission.” The Bread and Butter Project provides a traineeship that includes two work placements in other businesses. “The whole idea of the project is to put people in sustainable employment. It’s a year traineeship which they get paid for and it’s accredited by TAFE,” Mr Allam said. “At the end of the year if no job is available they stay at the project but if there is, we place them into the job and then support them for the next six months,” he said. Mr Allam, a chef and baker himself, said he first came to the idea for the project after having trained Karen refugee women to bake bread at an orphanage in Mae Sot on the Thai-Burmese border. “I was asked to go to an orphanage in Mae Sot… by some nuns there that my uncle knew. They had an oven that they didn’t know how to use,” Mr Allam said. “The nuns’ idea was to create a little business within their own
orphanage so they could sell the bread, thereby employing some of the mothers whose children they had at the orphanage.” Marrickville councillor Sylvie Ellsmore said the Bread and Butter Project has a lot of local support, a reflection of the area’s forwardthinking business environment. “It’s been picked up by a lot of businesses in the inner west who’ve supported it. If you go into the shops and cafes you see signs,
‘We support the Bread and Butter Project’,” Ms Ellsmore said. “It’s a very progressively-minded business community in the inner west and Newtown.” Ms Oo said after five months of training, she has hopes to bake pastry in the future. “I have a feeling I might enjoy working with pastry, but as I haven’t had a chance to do that yet we’ll need to wait and see.” The project will place its first trainees in full-time jobs in April. For more information visit: thebreadandbutterproject.com Photo: Chris Peken
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owner Alyssa Stevenson was fined $320 for walking her dog in the wrong area. She said it isn’t just the policy that offends her and the community but the manner in which rangers are operating. “I was looking away when they swiped my dog,” Ms Stevenson said. “I explained to them I was unaware of the new policy after just coming home from being overseas, and that there were no signs around to tell me otherwise, but they did it without a warning.” Deputy Mayor Tony Kay was present on Saturday to hear the complaints. Protesters demanded that existing fines be reduced to $80.00 and that dogs being walked on-leash should be allowed to roam in the community area. Ms Stevenson argued the gully is not a safe area for people, especially children, to be walking their dogs after school. “The gully is quiet, enclosed, and it will get dark. Something could easily happen to someone because the public may not be able to hear or see it,” she said. “Later on when it’s not daylight savings, it will start getting dark at 5pm.”
Trainee bakers at work at the Bread and Butter Project
BY MICHAEL KOZIOL The developer lobby group Urban Taskforce has urged opposition parties to back the state government’s original planning bill, which is currently stalled in the Legislative Council while the government considers amendments made late last year. In a letter to upper house leaders of Labor, the Greens and the Shooters and Fishers Party, chief executive Chris Johnson says the amendments would defeat the purpose of the legislation. “We were...dismayed to see the attacks levelled at the Planning Bill at the end of last year which will at best result in a compromised, watered down version of the Bill that bears little relationship to the White Paper reforms,” he wrote.
The Taskforce said current planning instruments are frustrating construction and leaving Sydney with a critical housing shortfall. New South Wales will need to accommodate an estimated two million new residents over the next 20 years, with the majority choosing to live in Sydney. The developers argue that housing affordability can only worsen because supply is running at about half of total demand. The letter urged parliamentarians to retain key controversial elements of the bill, including: code assessable • development that enables proposals to be automatically approved or rejected • the permanent use of strategic compatibility certificates to override local plans • measures to ensure community participation in planning is truly representative Mr Johnson did not mince words in his submissions. “A Planning Act needs to be a clear rational document not a hotchpotch of clauses thrown together by numerous political parties bent on destroying the logic of the document prepared by the state’s top planners,” he wrote. “It is not acceptable for
today’s politicians to hold future generations to ransom by not having a modern planning system that manages significant growth. It appears that some opposition political groups are more interested in opposing than leading when it comes to planning.” Mr Johnson said it was apparent that small, vocal action groups were exercising undue influence over politicians. He accused them of running “fear campaigns about the evil of change” and resisting housing types which challenge the status quo. In response to the letter, Greens MLC David Shoebridge challenged Mr Johnson to a public debate on planning law reform. He said the Greens’ objections to the bill remain steadfast. “The government has been listening closely to representations from developers, including your organisation the Urban Taskforce, and as such has proposed a top heavy planning system where the community and the environment are essentially sidelined,” Mr Shoebridge wrote. He said the proposed planning law fails to provide affordable and sustainable housing and will not protect the urban and rural environment of the state. A spokesperson for the planning minister, Brad Hazzard, said no date had been set for a ministerial response to the proposed amendments. Brandon Nelson contributed reporting
Playing fair at Mardi Gras BY PAUL GREGOIRE Community outcry over the conduct of NSW Police at the 2013 Mardi Gras has led to the launch of Fair Play, an initiative which informs partygoers of their legal rights. Produced by the Inner City Legal Centre in association with ACON and Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, Fair Play provides online legal information and on-the-ground support. Dan Stubbs, Director of the Inner City Legal Centre, said Fair Play replaces 2009’s Project Blue and is in response to community calls for better understanding of the law. “It’s really for anyone at Mardi Gras events. What they can and should do to follow the law. What might happen if they have any contact with police,” Mr Stubbs said. “It provides a follow-up opportunity if people are charged. If there are issues or concerns about any contact with the police then we make legal advice available.” Michael Rolik, CEO of Mardi Gras, said drugs are a reality in NSW and Fair Play provides important information that people are often unaware of. “This website…gives quite frank and detailed information
about safe partying, using alcohol or other drugs [and] the risks that are associated with that,” Mr Rolick said. “What people’s rights are in relation to sniffer dogs. A lot of people aren’t doing the wrong thing but they’re going through a process with these dogs and it’s really quite confronting.” Nicolas Parkhill, CEO of ACON said volunteer Fair Players will provide legal and emotional support to party goers as well as monitor police at key Mardi Gras events. “Fair Players will share information with party goers, offer support to those who have interacted with police and safely monitor and document police activities,” Mr Parkhill said. Independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich said the Fair
Play initiative complements changes being made to Mardi Gras events as a result of the NSW Police Force and LGBTI organisations working together. “Everyone coming needs to know the NSW laws, their rights and the police powers. I hope that the message will get out widely,” Mr Greenwich said. Mr Stubbs praised Surry Hills LAC Police Superintendent Tony Crandell for changes being made to the policing approach for this year’s Mardi Gras. “The police have certainly responded [and] have made a lot of changes,” he said. “I think Tony Crandell’s doing a great job to change the approach.” Photo: Paul Gregoire
Development lobby chides opposition over planning
The Surry Hills police station
One-punch laws hit political resistance
Photo: Gary Friedland
BY MICHAEL KOZIOL The political fate of Barry O’Farrell’s legislation to curb alcohol-fuelled violence is still unknown, with opposition to certain aspects of the package surfacing. There is tension within both the major parties about mandatory minimum sentencing, a key part of the reforms announced by Mr O’Farrell last week. Under the proposed legislation, mandatory jail terms would be introduced for a range of violent offences where drugs and alcohol are a factor. The minimum term for one-punch assaults occasioning death would be eight years, assault occasioning actual bodily harm would be two years, and those convicted of sexual assault would
be incarcerated for at least five years. Mark Speakman, a senior counsel and now Liberal MP for Cronulla, spoke against mandatory sentencing in parliament as recently as November. “There is no evidence that mandatory sentencing reduces the incidence of crimes,” he said in a speech honouring Burmese opposition leader Dr Aung San Suu Kyi. “In fact, it reduces the incentive to plead guilty and leads to arbitrary and capricious results.” There is frustration within the Liberal Party that the legislation, announced last Tuesday and due to be introduced today, is not yet finished and is being rushed
through parliament. Dissidents within the government are expected to fall in line behind the premier. But there is also disagreement within the Labor caucus. At the time of writing, shadow cabinet was unable to see the draft legislation in order to reach a decision. Several members who privately disagree with mandatory sentencing may be forced to support it in parliament. If Labor opposes parts the bill it would represent a dramatic change of position from that articulated by its Deputy Leader Linda Burney on January 14. “Labor’s view about minimum sentences will be a response to the government,” she said. “If the government wants to introduce minimum sentences, then Labor will support what the government proposes.” The Greens support 10pm closure of bottle shops and riskbased licensing, where venues will pay more for their licence depending on the level of risk they pose. But they will oppose 1.30am lockouts and 3am “last drinks” measures, which are to take affect within an expanded CBD precinct including Kings Cross and Oxford Street. That policy is expected to pass both chambers with the support of Labor and the Coalition. The Greens have long opposed
mandatory sentencing. Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said it had failed in the Northern Territory, where crime rates rose and the most disadvantaged members of society were most affected. “In every jurisdiction where it has been tried mandatory sentencing has failed to deter crime,” he said. “These laws will not reduce the number of people being assaulted by drunks, but they will inevitably see thousands more disadvantaged people going to jail.” Mr Shoebridge blasted the government for failing to allow close scrutiny of a major reform package. He said his party had been informed they would only see the legislation at 9am Thursday, which he described as “extraordinary contempt” for due process. Christian Democrat MLC Fred Nile and Shooters and Fishers MLC Robert Borsak were both unavailable for comment, but both parties are widely expected to support the package. Mr Nile earlier released a media statement in which he commended the one-punch laws and urged mandatory sentences to apply to all “coward punches” occasioning death, not just those involving drugs and alcohol. >> Bouncers speak out, News, page 7
news in brief xxxx Glebe Youth Service says Housing NSW and the Land and Housing Corporation have approached it with a proposal that would see the youth centre reopen in midFebruary. The building at 84 Glebe Point Road was shut down in November because of concerns it did not comply with fire safety standards. GYS was given only a few hours notice and workers arrived that morning to find they were locked out. The closure sparked community outrage and efforts have been underway to have the youth service restored. Members of its management committee said they were “delighted” that an agreement had been reached so quickly. “We are all extremely grateful to the many members and representatives of the local community who rallied to the aid of GYS and made it clear how much you all value the work done by GYS,” the group posted on Facebook. But Darcy Byrne, mayor of Leichhardt and former GYS manager, warned that without intervention from the state government, this amounted
to “lip service from some bureaucrat”. “Minister [Pru] Goward is still refusing to give any written guarantee that the Youth Service will be allowed to return to its home,” he said.
xxxx Testing will soon begin on the inner west light rail extension, Transport for NSW has informed residents. The tests are scheduled to take place between 9pm and 4am on weeknights over five weeks from January to March. The overhead wiring on the track between Lilyfield and Dulwich Hill went live on Saturday. Passenger services are expected to commence in the first half of this year. Meanwhile, Greens MP for Balmain Jamie Parker is backing a campaign to allow school children to use their travel passes on the light rail network. Only UTS students can obtain concessions on the current light rail network even though it passes close to Sydney University and TAFE colleges.
BY TRIANA O’KEEFE NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell’s announcement of lockouts and a freeze on new liquor licences has prompted both applause and condemnation from the wide variety of stakeholders involved in this heated debate. City Hub spoke with a number industry staff who work within the restricted zone and asked whether these laws would make a difference. “It won’t change a thing,” said security guard Chris Zlomanczuk, who has been working as a guard for many years, including two within the heart of Kings Cross. “I have seen it all and the problem comes from the outsiders. Kings Cross is a great place. The locals are great and everyone looks after each other. It is the people who come from out of the area who are causing the issues”. In 2011, Mr Zlomanczuk was himself a victim of a “king hit” outside the club where he was working. “I was hit from the side so didn’t see it coming. I was out for 20 seconds after hitting the concrete and this was at 3:32am.” Mr Zlomanczuk argues the 3am curfew will only put the punters out on the streets all at the same time. A fellow Kings Cross security guard, who did not wish to be identified for fear of jeopardising his employment, agreed.
“What we will see is a spike in incidents occurring from 3:01am onwards,” the guard said. Daniel Smith, who manages a number of venues in the Cross, encouraged policy-makers to show up at these so-called ‘trouble times’. “My issues are that the politicians aren’t in these areas at the designated times and don’t
know what happens,” he said. “No club is staying open to serve soft drink so no matter what the license, everyone will be pushed out onto the streets at 3am. “What we will see are venue promotions such as happy hours at 1am to encourage the patrons to stay in their establishments. We inadvertently encourage the
“It won’t change a thing,” says Kings Cross bouner Chris Zlomanczuk
Cartoon: Peter Berner
It’s hard yakka working in the Cross drinking to draw the business.” Mr Smith told City Hub that venues around the city have always followed the rules and are still being punished. “It’s hard yakka working in the Cross,” he said. Bar manager Michael Kellaway said he is more concerned about local communities than the venues. “Kicking people out of licensed venues who have security in place...will only shift the problem to the streets where there are fewer people to control the situation,” he said. Mr Smith, Mr Kellaway, and the security guards all expressed discomfort about the shortening of club hours. “This means myself and hospitality staff are being punished by losing out on our work hours. And we haven’t done anything wrong. We are just trying to earn a living,” Mr Zlomanczuk said. Local DJ Sasha Skalrud says his business will also suffer as a result of the few “cowards” who perpetrate alcohol-related violence. “Why do the nightclub owners, licensees, security guards, bar staff, promoters, 7/11s and local eateries of the 2011 postcode have to suffer because of the actions of a very few?” he asked. “Why should we be sent broke because policy makers and police are unable to do their job and contain the Kings Cross area?”
Push to import Victorian music laws Pollution data may be worthless BY Edmund Kirkwood Live music advocates have called upon the O’Farrell government to follow Victoria’s in reducing regulation of live performance venues. The Napthine state government in Victoria used the last sitting day of parliament in 2013 to declare a series of red tape reforms aimed at making it easier for small pubs and bars to establish themselves as live music venues. Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy vowed to implement an “agent-of-change” planning principle that would provide assurance to venues that clash with new residents over noise complaints. Under the new laws, the party that changes the pre-existing conditions of the building – a pub or residential property – must pay for soundproofing to improve the amenity. The 36 total reforms also include the removal of unnecessary regulation of liquor license applications and other requirements for venues wishing to host live music. Darcy Byrne, Mayor of Leichhardt and advocate of the inner west’s live music scene, lamented noise complaints from new residents and demanded the O’Farrell government respond immediately. “For too long, Sydney’s live music venues have been under threat from vexatious noise complaints made by newly arrived neighbours,” he said. “The Victorian Liberal Government is taking the threat to live music seriously and the O’Farrell Liberal Government must act too.”
Clint O’Hanlon, Marketing and Promotions Manager at the World Bar, a prominent night club in Kings Cross, said the legislation is “necessary” to improve the prosperity of live music in Sydney. But he suggested a lot more needs to happen before reforms like this are adopted at a state-wide level. “At the rate and intensity that the NSW government is criminalising and ostracising Sydney venues, it would take a complete attitude shift from Police, the media and subsequently the voting public before these kinds of reforms could truly be on the table.” Many of the Victorian government’s changes form some of the key recommendations made by Sydney’s Live Music Taskforce last year.
But Dr Ianto Ware, member of the Taskforce and co-director of the National Live Music Office, said while these reforms are suited to Victoria, they are not necessarily what is needed in Sydney. “Sydney needs to approach things differently from Melbourne, largely because Melbourne retained its music venues through the eighties and nineties, whereas Sydney – and most other Australian states – actively repressed them,” he told City Hub. “[These reforms] would help protect existing venues but Sydney needs more venues hosting cultural activity so we need to go beyond simply protecting what we’ve got and start helping new initiatives to start up.”
BY Shami Sivasubramanian & Michael Koziol Sydney Ports has warned that data collected by additional air quality monitors at the White Bay Cruise Terminal may be compromised. The government body promised extra monitoring at or near residential properties close to the terminal, in response to complaints from residents about air and noise pollution. But in an email to a resident seen by City Hub, Sydney Ports community relations manager Judith Peters said consultants had advised that interference from dwellings, trees and cars could call into question the measurements’ accuracy. “These constraints may impact on the monitoring results,” she wrote. “Despite these constraints, Sydney Ports still considers that there is value in monitoring in the proposed residential locations.” Residents have demanded to see data from existing air quality monitors, but Ms Peters said Sydney Ports is “unable to provide this information at present”. In response to questions from the Independent, Ports also clarified its position on the use of shore power at the terminal, saying it is investigating the viability of the technology. Shore power would allow ships to turn off their engines while docked at the terminal. The adjustment in position follows a January 16 City Hub article in which a spokesperson said shore power was “not being considered”. “Sydney Ports is looking into the viability of shore power, as many responsible
White Bay Cruise Terminal
Australian ports are doing, but given its complexity, it is by no means an easy quick solution and we are not committing to this option in the short term,” a spokesperson said on Tuesday. “There is also the fact that many cruise ships visiting White Bay are not equipped for shore power and no other port in Australia, or the southern hemisphere for that matter, is considering it.” City Hub originally sought comment from the Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, on whether the issue was being considered at a ministerial level. But Mr Gay’s office passed the request back to a Sydney Ports spokesperson. The spokesperson said Ports takes community concerns seriously and has ordered targeted air-monitoring in streets close to the cruise terminal. “The results of this additional testing should be available after February which is the peak month for the cruise season. It will then determine what, if any, action should be taken.”
Live music at the Annandale Hotel in Sydney’s inner west
Light the blue touch paper and stand well clear By gavin gatenby Australia Day – or Bogan Day, as its political boosters have made it – is on an inevitable collision course with history. Annual celebrations and holidays begin for reasons of religious, ethnic, national or international solidarity but drift relentlessly toward being just another opportunity to party, or into fatal irrelevance. Very often they have unintended and socially toxic consequences. In the early years of my life in Sydney – I’m talking about the 1950s and early ‘60s – the most important, officially-recognised annual celebrations were Christmas, Easter, Anzac Day
Empire Day became just a wonderful excuse for kids to let off fireworks.
and Cracker Night. Christmas was just Christmas: an ancient pagan winter festival eagerly anticipated by children because they got a windfall of presents. Devout Christians still think it’s something to do with the birth of Christ (an interpretation grafted on later), but as a kid, I saw that as a boring a sideshow. Easter was something to do with Christianity too, but mostly it was an all-too-brief holiday before winter set in. Tragically, it almost always rained. Anzac Day was exciting because of all the marching, banners, and bands. It also penetrated very deeply into the national psyche because most kids had a father, mother, uncle or grandparent who had fought in one (or even both) of the world wars. But for kids – apart from those co-opted to the unfortunate custom of marching with the medals of dead parents – it was something you just watched. You couldn’t really participate because you hadn’t been there. Then as the decades passed; as the smell of cordite could no longer even be imagined; as old diggers died off and our wars became fewer, smaller and more controversial, it was clear that the sands were running out for Anzac Day. But as a kid, the most exciting celebration of all was Cracker Night, or, as it was officially known, Empire Day. The May 24 holiday had been established to honour Queen Victoria after her death in 1901. Throughout the British Empire, it was an occasion for flag-flying, official receptions, speeches, parades, bonfires, and fireworks. I suspect that, in Australia, the fireworks part was an official opportunity to displace Guy Fawkes Day, whose origins in British protestant triumphalism were a sectarian embarrassment in a new nation with a big Irish Catholic component. After WWII, with old style colonial imperialism in disgrace and the Empire winding down,
Empire Day became just a wonderful excuse for kids to let off fireworks. Commerce is conscienceless, and year by year, fireworks went on sale earlier. I remember every week badgering my parents for a few more shilling to buy more firecrackers, skyrockets, ‘mortars’, ‘Catherine wheels’, ‘volcanoes’, and sparklers for the family arsenal. Firecrackers came in various sizes, ranging from strings of little ones called tom thumbs, whose wicks were woven together in chains so that they exploded in quick succession, to ‘bungers’ - red paper cylinders about a centimeter in diameter. Then there were the fearsome ‘double bungers’ which were about two centimetres wide. Double bungers could be used by mischievous boys to demolish letter boxes, particularly the very small ones built into brick fences. If the residents had secured the rear flap with a bolt or padlock the effect was most gratifying. For weeks before the big night we collected old timber and tyres for the neighbourhood bonfire and stacked them into a tall pile on the wide verge, opposite our house in Edgar Street, Strathfield, adjoined one of St Patrick’s College ovals. Skyrockets were launched by putting the stick into a beer bottle whose base was sunk in sand in a shallow cardboard box. A notice on each of these pyrotechnics enjoined the user to “light the blue touch paper and stand well clear”. Typically, the whole arsenal would be expended and the bonfire would have burned down by about ten o’clock. In the morning the atmosphere was hazy with smoke and stunk of gunpowder. In 1958, the foundation of the British Commonwealth led to the event being renamed Commonwealth Day but the Commonwealth itself was an illusion. The inevitable downside of
Empire Day was that lots of kids were maimed or blinded fooling around with fireworks. As the fireworks sales season stretched out, the crop of injuries and the public nuisance created by kids increased. The whole event fell into disfavour and there was little protest when the NSW government closed it down in 1986. Australia Day is a recent and very artificial event, invented in the mid-1980s as Commonwealth Day became irrelevant and Anzac Day began to fade out. For cheap electoral gain, the Howard Government steered the whole thing heavily towards binge drinking, flag waving, and the bogan xenophobia and anti-multiculturalism of Pauline Hanson. It’s been stuck there ever since. As a “unifying” celebration overriding social divisions it’s an illusion. Surveys show only a quarter of the population claim to have attended an official Australia Day event. An awful lot of that is fun runs, ute rallies and free events with face-painting for little kids. The same folk would attend if these events were staged on the birthday of Genghis Khan. Another quarter say they celebrated with family and friends, but that’s a meaningless statistic. After all, most people “celebrate” Christmas and Easter, but very few with any respect for their origins.
By Elise cullen As 2014 marks the centenary year of the start of World War I, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has formed a unique partnership with the Sydney Theatre Company to present an experimental dramatisation - The Long Way Home. The theatre performance, by multi award-winning writer Daniel Keene and British director Stephen Rayne, is an amalgamation of personal first-hand accounts from ADF servicemen and women who have returned home from military and humanitarian operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor. Out of the 19 cast members, only four are actors, with the remainder being real soldiers who have returned home with physical and psychological scars after experiencing traumatic events while on deployment. The play aims to give the servicemen and women a chance to share their stories as a form of rehabilitation and therapy to help them on their path to recovery. Workshops spanning five weeks were conducted late last year, where servicemen and women could share their stories with Keene and Rayne as well as play improvisational games and be
“You have to have a lot of patience, compassion and understanding. Things don’t really happen in a normal linear which is what I need.” taught the basics of acting. What Bailey initially “It was emotional,” Private way, it takes a while. They’re William Bailey confesses. “But it considered “scary” became a learning new skills and none of good avenue for him to help was also a lot of fun.” these people have ever been on returning soldiers ease back into stage before,” Payne explains. Baily, 26, was rehabilitated in Townsville after being shot in the society and overcome some of “You’re dealing with the psychological issues that they people who have quite severe ankle during his deployment to were left with. Afghanistan in November 2011. psychological problems and Bailey explained that the He is acting alongside his friend, who are taking quite a lot of workshop and rehearsal phases Private Kyle Harris, a fellow medication to cope so that were made a lot easier as serviceman he met while in becomes a daily struggle for director Stephen Payne was both rehabilitation, and explains that them as well as me. You have to empathetic and understanding trust played an important role tread very carefully.” of just how difficult some of the during the workshops. Payne emphasises that the soldiers’ situations were. “We first gave Daniel the rehearsal and workshop process “If you said to Stephen ‘Yeah stories but as we began to trust is equally as important as the him we opened up a bit more on mate, I didn’t get much sleep final performance. last night’, instead of saying ‘Oh certain things.” “We’re trying to do this project well, why didn’t you go to bed However, despite the trusting earlier?’ he understands and nature of the workshops Bailey to help people get back into says ‘I won’t push you too much society, give them confidence and affirms: “There’s some stuff today’ because he knows what you’ll never talk about”. give them skills to enable them to goes on at night time for some of take more personal responsibility With “zero” stage and acting experience, it took approximately us guys.” while fitting back into society.” Payne, who was a part of a six months for Bailey to agree to Both Bailey and Payne hope similar project funded by the be a part of the production. that the audience will get a much “It’s a new challenge – let’s put Royal British Legion in the better idea of what it’s like to UK, was encouraged to come it that way,” Bailey laughs. be a soldier facing the constant on board and collaborate with “There are 900 seats and I’m struggle of every day life and the ADF and Sydney Theatre standing there thinking, ‘Holy coping with the physical and Company here in Australia. He shit!’ But if you gave an actor a gun and told him to walk around learnt a lot while he was directing psychological scars that remain and cooperating with the British from deployment. Afghanistan he would be like The Long Way Home season ‘Nup, fuck off’. What we’ve been soldiers, so when it came to will include a national tour. (EC) directing The Long Way Home trained to do is different, so it’s Feb 7-15, Sydney Theatre, hard, but it’s a new challenge and he understood how to approach Pier 4, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay a new experience. It definitely and work with the Australian pushes the boundaries for me, servicemen and women. $27-45, sydneytheatre.com.au
Photo: courtesy of Australian Defence Force
The Long Way Home
Members of Mentoring Team One, part of Mentoring Task Force - Four, move across the ‘Dasht’ (desert) during a mentored patrol with members of the Afghanistan National Army in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan
It’s that time of year when the excesses of the festive season are visible and New Year’s resolutions are about to break. It’s time to get active - so let’s take a look at what’s trending in Health and Fitness in 2014. Apps Gazing into the screens of our smartphones is never healthy but that’s set to change as a deluge of fitness-related apps flood the market. Aromatherapy It’s played an essential role in mental wellbeing for years but aromatherapy is becoming more personalised, being used in the treatment of pain and depression. High-Intensity Interval Training It’s not for the light-hearted but
everyone’s pursuing the short bursts of maximum activity that are highintensity interval training. Yoga What’s new this year with this ancient practice is that while Pilates and Zumba take a backseat, yoga’s taking centre stage. Dry Nights Out It’s happening overseas and experts say it’s about to happen here: boozefree bars for that sensible night out. Floating Flotation tanks, the craze of the 90s, are set to take off as a desire to disconnect with gravity and hover above the daily stress of life takes hold. So what’s left now is to put it into action.
Aphrodite and Apollo Cosmetic Medicine, 4a 79-85 Oxford St, Bondi Junction 1300 666 244 aacosmetic.com.au If you’re considering having a treatment then Aphrodite and Apollo Cosmetic Medicine is the only place to go. Now open in Bondi, at Aphrodite and Apollo they say if you notice a person has had filler or work done then it’s a bad job. They offer realistic treatments that enhance and rejuvenate your looks at prices that won’t break the budget. With a no pressure philosophy, the highly trained staff have an understanding ear and offer personalised treatment plans that ensure you receive your desired outcome. You’ll find you leave Aphrodite and Apollo looking like the perfect you.
Camperdown Fitness, 166 Parramatta Rd, Camperdown (02) 8594 2900 camperdown-fitness.com.au One of the largest privately-owned gyms in Sydney, Camperdown Fitness is where Inner West locals go to sweat it out. It’s home to the city’s largest CrossFit facility, boasts a huge range of free weights, strength and cardio equipment and has a spin room with 35 bikes. With 90 classes a week to choose from, Camperdown Fitness has one to suit you. They offer a huge boxing room, a private ladies-only area with full work out available, and outdoor boot camps commencing in February. Drop in now - there’s no joining fee until the end of January.
Sydney Healthcare at Broadway and Bondi Junction, Level 1, Broadway Shopping Centre, Level 6 Westfield Bondi Junction sydneyhealthcare.com.au Sydney Healthcare brings together a range of independently-owned healthcare practises in the one central area within shopping centres. With two convenient locations in Broadway Shopping Centre and Westfield Bondi Junction, the Sydney Healthcare precincts are where inner city locals go to have all their healthcare needs catered for. The medical and healthcare practices you can locate range from general practices to dental care to optometrists and pharmacies, to name a few. Sydney Healthcare offers the ease of being able to access all of these services in the one place, they’re open seven days a week and have free parking.
Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre, Mary St, Lilyfield (02) 9555 8344 lpac.nsw.gov.au For all-round fitness you can’t go any further than Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre. With six pools ranging from an Olympic, two children and a dive pool, Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre offers learn-toswim programs, squad training and a warm water therapy pool for rehabilitation. The Centre has a huge Health Club that includes three spacious studios for group exercises, a weights area and the latest cardio equipment. With more than a hundred classes a week you can choose from yoga, cardio boxing to seniors and fit kids classes. Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre is your one stop fitness venue.
EAT & DRINK
Phoenix Diner In January this year, a fire struck The Lansdowne Hotel, closing it for six months. The good news – for students, indie bands, backpackers and budget eaters alike – is that from those ashes, the Phoenix Diner has risen. Supported by all-new staff and management, this American diner-style eatery has taken over the first floor of this loosely New York loft-themed hotel. $ - mains less than $15
$$ - mains between $15-$22
ROCKS & CBD
Café Nice Nice has historically had more in common with Italy than France, arguably the raison d’être behind Fratelli Fresh going “Fratelli French” as bartender Sebastian Vicente describes it. Smart diners stay barside enjoying a commanding view of Sydney Harbour - albeit with a little railway action - eating the bargain two-course Menu du Bar ($29.50) with a glass of Fratelli wine. Bring someone and start by sharing their classic table-tossed Salade Niçoise entrée with freshly seared tuna. Move on to mains – filling Fettuccine with Walnut Pistou, Mushrooms, Ricotta and Goat’s Cheese, or the delicious Fish of the Day (Hapuka) on exemplary gratin.
By Jackie McMillan Most visitors wrap their lips ‘round a burger, and - loaded up with bacon, Pecorino cheese, avocado, coleslaw and chipotle mayo - the Buttermilk Chicken Burger ($14) gives a pretty good indication as to why. Clever toppings and easy sharing possibilities make their short list of ‘Brooklyn Pizzas’ appealing. I got down and dirty with Sticky Fingers ($16) combining 12-hour slow-cooked pulled pork, pear, walnuts, watercress and blue cheese on a crisp, thin base. Fat Jalapeño Poppers ($6) are hot - despite being stuffed with bacon and cream cheese - so best accompany them with a schooner of Kosciuszko Pale Ale ($5.80) or James Squire The Chancer Golden Ale ($5.80). The already inexpensive food and drinks further reduce for multiple happy hour(s) and nine-buck Monday to Thursday long lunches (12pm-4pm); while for latenight munchies I’m told their Mauritian chef makes his own Biltong Jerky ($3) (sadly sold out on the day I visited). The Lansdowne Hotel, 2-6 City Road, Chippendale (02) 8218 2333 thelansdownehotel.com.au Pub Bistro $ $$$ - mains between $22-$30
Sharing the Lemon Doughnut with Passionfruit Caramel is a definite smile-maker. 2 Phillip Street, Circular Quay (02) 8248 9600 fratellifresh.com.au Bar,Wine, French $$ Ananas Bar & Brasserie Champagne tastes on a beer budget needn’t preclude you from checking out the bar menus of Sydney’s big hitters. For under ten bucks a heaving board of Roast Bone Marrow ($8) lets you relish in smearing rich, gelatinous goo onto crusty bread. Foie Gras and Fennel Tartine ($19) arrives balanced by cherry compote, the earthy creaminess suits a 2012 Pierre de la Grange Muscadet ‘Vieilles Vignes’ ($13). While the fat-dissolving properties of pink grapefruit, pineapple and saffron gin
$$$$ - mains over $30
in Le French Boudier ($18) were appreciated; it was eclipsed by a Coffee Martini ($21) that drinks like a salted caramel latte. Chef Paul McGrath’s interesting take on Charcuterie ($32/5 items) is a fine way to finish. 18 Argyle Street, The Rocks (02) 9259 5668 ananas.com.au Modern French/Cocktails/Bar Food $$ Ester The austere minimalism of the room makes you concentrate on the subtlety of what’s in the glass and on the plate; like leaning in to capture a whisker of smoke from the exquisite Roasted Oysters ($4/ each). Wood-fire links Mat Lindsay’s cooking to the new style emerging from high-end favourites like Bridge Room - pared back, unfussy, fundamental. Eat sharing style and
Star Bar Some people have pubs in their blood; fourth generation hotelier Kim Maloney is a prime example. The first pub he bought was the Student Prince, which has morphed into Sydney’s most glamorous bordello: Stiletto. He now operates Sydney’s St. James, Maloney’s, Sanctuary and Shark hotels, plus The Clock Hotel in sunny Queensland. It follows then that his newly renovated Star Bar is a slick let someone play Father, adorning sticky Pork Hock ($32) with the juice of blackened orange. Include a head of charred Cauliflower ($16) and the amazing Blood Sausage Sangas ($6/each). Take on any dessert the small menu cares to offer – my favourite, Three Milks ($11), pays homage to goat, cow and sheep. 46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale (02) 8068 8279 ester-restaurant.com.au Modern Australian $$$-$$$$ DARLO, KINGS X & SURRY HILLS Harajuku Gyoza Leave surly service behind and travel to happy J-pop world. Shiny red bar stools offer the best vantage points to eyeball their streamlined
operation, drawing influence from hotspots like Melbourne’s Silk Road. The $2 million facelift contains references to the building’s previous inhabitants Planet Hollywood, and 1930s predecessor Plaza Cinema, with a 62-seat cinema in the original style. “I’m a great meat eater, I love my steaks, the 400g Rib Eye ($33) here is beautiful,” says Kim. It should be – his kitchen coup is 2014 Best Steak winner Danny Russo. Russo supplements the meat with modern Italianate dishes from heaving Antipasto Platters ($17) to Verdura Pizza ($16), to a fun Russolini Parma Burger ($17) boasting crumbed Angus patty, melted mozzarella and Napoli sauce. Bring friends to go the whole hog with his Italian Family Feast ($38/ person). Russo sagely advises: “drawstring pants are a prerequisite” if you intend to add on a Slow Roasted Suckling Pig ($420/whole). Groaning, I concur. It eats well with Birra Moretti ($7.50) and lovely Italian Slaw ($6). 600 George Street, Sydney (02) 9267 7827 starbar.com.au Pub Bistro, Modern Italian, Pizza $$
operation. Anyone can be a winner for a minimal Sake ($7.50) spend – so cheer when other people get sake, too. Food’s in a best supporting role – which isn’t to say their namesake Duck Gyoza ($8/5 piece) aren’t tasty – but izakayas are about drinking. Unctuous and fatty Pork Belly Kakuni ($13) goes well with White Sesame Salad ($6), lightly battered ‘Tenpura’ Eggplant ($6) and Koshihikari Rice Beer ($12). Explosive Salted Caramel Gyoza ($9/3 pieces) should put to rest any rumours that Japanese don’t make good desserts. 9-15 Bayswater Road, Potts Point (02) 9356 3834 harajukugyoza.com Japanese $ Devon Café Continuing the exodus from fine dining to approachable eateries,
two of Guillaume Brahimi’s chefs have landed in this little café on Devonshire Street. While there are the usual hipster affectations - a hanging herb garden, and everything from Refresher Juice ($7) to Iced Coffee ($6.50) served in jam jars – the coffee’s great and the food’s even better! The confidently short seasonal menu offers up beautifully presented breakfasts like Citrus Cured Salmon ($18.50) with apple, celery, fennel and split dill cream; and creative lunches like Green With Envy ($23) - nettle semolina gnocchi presented as a spring garden with pumpkin puree, zucchini, yellow squash and peas. Even the muffins are amazing… 76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills (02) 9211 8777 devoncafe.com.au Café $$
EAT & DRINK
Nithik’s Kitchen After dining consecutively on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday night last week at this new Rozelle gem, to say I’ve been hankering for good Indian is an underestimation. Vikram Arumugam has taken ten years cooking experience from the (hatted) Aki’s and three years of catering/menu development at home, and come up with an innovative and flavoursome menu. After eating at least half of INNER WEST The Oxford Tavern Hopefully the super cute fivebuck Cheeseburger ($5) here – sandwiching beef, mustard, crunchy pickles, ketchup and gooey cheese between soft brioche buns – will be the death knell for Stanmore McDonalds. Michael Delany’s remodelling of Petersham’s infamous pole dancing and jelly wrestling venue is now the most family-friendly of the Drink’n’Dine venues… if you think up an ageappropriate explanation of The Jelly Wrestle ($20) dessert that comes with gloves not cutlery. Kid-free, I availed myself of a Swinging Tit ($9) with Kraken Spiced Rum and pink jellied foam sprayed onto your arm.
With a reputation for being one of the North Shore’s only late night venues where you can get a decent feed after a flick at the Hayden Orpheum, you’ll be pleased to note the newly renovated hotel - subtly masculine without being alienating to women – kept the 1am kitchen. Publican Anthony $$ - mains between $15-$22
GREATER SYDNEY Oregano Bakery Vivacious owner Sonia Jabbour told me that she sells the best cinnamon scrolls in Sydney! Her husband, Tony Jabbour is the baker. He reinvigorated his Lebanese pizza shop by developing these amazingly moist Cinnamon Scrolls ($15/6) blanketed in icing sugar. Scolls also come in a battalion of flavours from Salted Caramel ($5.90), to a jam-filled Aussie fav. Lamington ($5.90), to my preferred option: Tahini, Sesame and Pistachio ($5.90). Filled with halva mousse, the latter
it, the Southern Indian Samuthiram ($18.90) is a definite favourite, layering school prawns, crab and rice pancakes with a creamy coconut sauce and a side of Bengalese shrimp, chilli and tomato paste. Tree of Taste ($12.90) introduces you to Vikram’s flavour palate of sweetness (banana), bitterness (bitter gourd), sourness (tamarind and pomegranate seeds) and piquant (chilli). Combine them all for an oral sensation with an artistic layout. Great coconut chutney and homemade ghee notches the Masala Dosa ($13) above most I’ve tried; and Vikram’s curries are all great: from Meen Manga Charu ($25) of barramundi, coconut and green mango, to the rich tomato-based Pondicherry Mix Seafood ($25) which includes murunkai, a fibrous green vegetable ‘drumstick’ you suck the pulp from. Crisp Veechu Parota ($3) bread is a must-have with the labourintensive lychee-stuffed cottage cheese balls Lagaan Ke Kofti ($18), liberally dunked in cashew gravy and scattered with dried fruit. 679 Darling Street, Rozelle (02) 8084 8921 Indian $$-$$$
Buffalo Cauliflower Balls ($14) with blue cheese and hot sauces will stick to your ribs during a dive bar drinking session. 1 New Canterbury Road, Petersham (02) 8019 9351 theoxfordtavern.com.au American, Pub Bistro, Cocktails $$ The Cottage Bar & Kitchen Sitting in the front yard of this picturesque cottage with a punch bowl of Strawberry Sangria ($32) I see the makings of a girls’ night out. “I’ll have what she’s having!” Soon after I had my own glass, resplendent with fragrant red berries. Inside the kitsch, homely-vibe is broken up by a domed wood fire pizza oven. The De Jamon Pizza ($26) bearing Jamón Serrano, pear, walnuts, Parmesan and vincotto will make you thankful they didn’t rip it out. Supplement
$ - mains less than $15
By Jackie McMillan
pizzas with share plates, like quirky Pumpkin Mousse ($12); roast Chook ($24) with excellent wild rice pilaf, apricot yoghurt and pistachio crumb; and a Fairground Plate ($16) with candied apples and pillowy marshmallows. 342 Darling Street, Balmain (02) 8084 8185 thecottagebalmain.com.au Bar, Bar Food, Pizza $$-$$$
EASTERN SUBURBS The Royal Paddington “He was smoking, I was eating and racking…” Okay, overheard Eastern Suburbs conversations up on the “hidden” rooftop terrace have a certain ruling class blasé about them but you should hike up all those stairs and check it out
Brady tells me value for money is very important: “We want people to like this place.” He’s clearly proud of the menu by new chef, Robert Oey (who spent time at Est.). Oey doesn’t forget it’s a pub, but notches up the standards, delivering a well-rendered Caramelised Pork Belly ($25) with Asian ‘slaw; Crisp School Prawns ($10) that won’t damage your mouth; and a great rendition of Chicken Liver Pate ($11) with house-made chutney. Even the ham on his juicy Minskys Burger ($18) is house-smoked. Bar industry heavyweight Jason Crawley has put together a smart, underpriced cocktail list. The Salted Coconut Espresso Martini ($14) won me, while the Spiced Honey Apple Whisky Sour ($14) wooed my dining companion. Wine’s actually where it’s at - what with an Enomatic wine pouring system and charismatic bartender Liv, who’ll happily tell ladies who walk in after work and slump at the bar: “You need a big glass!” Try the Pichot Vouvray Sec ($13/150ml glass, $21/225ml glass)… 287 Military Road, Cremorne (02) 9909 8888 minskyshotel.com.au Pub Bistro, Cocktails,Wine $$-$$$ $$$ - mains between $22-$30
unites the two seemingly disparate themes of this bakery together. Try it at the comfortable communal table in this gleaming white store after a preliminary (four) Cheese Pizza ($6.50) or an even-better Sonia Special Wrap ($9). 1/56 Connells Point Road, Hurstville South (02) 9546 3666 oreganobakery.com.au Breakfast, Pizza, Lebanese, Bakery $ Ribs & Burgers Confession time: I find butchers, butchers’ aprons, Berkel meat slicers and knives rather exciting. In case the wall of meat grinders didn’t give it away, this light-hearted space is meant to summon butchers’ shops
$$$$ - mains over $30
of old. Their open-style kitchen dishes up a mean signature Wagyu Burger ($18) piled high with onion rings, salad, dill pickles and pink and BBQ sauces. With a James Squire The Chancer Golden Ale ($7) and some of their ‘famous’ Chips ($4/ small), it’s all you really need for a fast casual bite. Messy but compelling Pork Ribs ($29) are marinated then slow cooked for eight hours, coming with chips and coleslaw (the serve is slightly small). Shop 3, 19-25 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay (02) 9904 5774 ribsandburgers.com.au Modern Australian, Burgers $$-$$$
Mr. Moustache By Alex Harmon “Are you going to search me,” the giggling girl at the table next to us asks. Wearing rubber gloves, we’re about to dive into a Tortita Ahogada ($12), the messiest dish in the cantina. Co-owner Bildo Saravia (a.k.a. Mr. Moustache himself) tells us to “drown” this anyway, breaking your journey with a drink in the eye-catching red and black Elephant Bar. Afterwards head to the white, salon-style bistro, for Grant Burge ‘Holy Trinity’ ($15/ glass) and a grazing meal. There’s Natural Oysters ($30/12) and sharing plates available in multiples of 1($10), 3 ($25) and 5 ($40). Duck Pancakes ($10) and Sizzling Garlic Prawns ($10) were my favourites, but the Grilled Haloumi ($10) isn’t bad either. 237 Glenmore Road, Paddington (02) 9331 2604 royalhotel.com.au Pub Bistro $$-$$$ Ryu Not being a huge fan of shopping malls or sushi trains, up on Level 6 of Bondi Junction’s Westfield you’ll find Ryu. While it does have a train, it also has an oasis at the
delicious pork sandwich with spicy salsa. It’s exactly the kind of cheekiness you should expect at this Bondi hotspot. On one side you’ve got an opulent bar, inspired by ex-dictator Porfirio Diaz’s obsession with France, and on the other, a colourful kitchen reflecting Mexican street food culture. Soon we’re presented with an array of share plates: Seasonal Ceviche ($10); Tostaditas Pato ($12/3), mini tacos with spicy duck, and Huitlacoche ($12/3), black corn truffle, roasted corn and fresco cheese; and soft shell Fish Tacos ($6) - possibly the most ‘Western’ of all the dishes. A lot of the cocktails are Mezcal-based, like the El Original del Diablo ($18) a Mezcal version of the El Diablo with homemade ginger beer; but you can also “go French” with D’vine ($16) - a popular cocktail with apricot-infused gin. Their star dessert is Plantos Machos ($11) - plantain sautéed with coffee liquor and burnt goat’s milk – it’s hard to believe this stunning dish is considered ‘street food’. 75-79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach (02) 9300 8892 mr-moustache.com.au Mexican, Cocktails $-$$
back where the heaving mall is partitioned by wooden latticework. Plus, they serve sake, including their own sweet and berry-flavoured Sparkling Sake ($13.80/250ml). Food-wise, you’ll find a picture book menu of all the favourites from Chicken Katsu Curry ($18.80) with a gravy boat of delicious curry sauce to sweet, smoky and sticky Yaki Noodle with Beef ($15.80). Start off with the Chicken Kara-age ($8.80) – hot, little fried chicken pieces with a dollop of wasabi mayo. Shop 6006, Westfield Bondi Junction (02) 9387 7040 westfield.com.au/bondijunction/ Japanese $-$$ A Tavola Bondi’s newest precinct, ‘The Hub’ is like the graduation program for successful inner-city businesses.
Messina, Melbourne’s Sensory Lab, and now A Tavola.You’ll still find the ten metre marble table, and a purely Italian wine list. Stracciatella Con Fave ($18) ‘egg drop soup’ containing broad beans, zucchini flower and pickled shallot is great with a 2012 Poderi del Paradiso ($14/$59). The Raviolo with Cuttlefish Ink ($32) dressed with salmon roe is visually stunning; I couldn’t fault it! However the knockout dish - just look at the ribbons of fresh pasta drying in the kitchen - is the Pappardelle with Wagyu Beef Shin ($34) that dances with a red wine and horseradish sauce. 69-71 Hall Street, Bondi (02) 9130 1246 atavola.com.au Italian $$-$$$
FOOD NEWS Across the road from the wonderful Nithik’s Kitchen (which I also review this week), Rozelle’s renaissance continues under a gleaming chromed Art Deco style sign. Bellingen Gelato is co-owned by Robert Sebes and his son Danny. Robert established the infamous Badde Manors Cafe in Glebe back in 1982 and began making gelato there in the late 1980s. In 2004 he sold the business, before opening up a gelato store in Bellingen, northern NSW.The catalyst for opening their first Sydney store was picking up the Grand Champion prize for their sorbet of stewed plum, cinnamon and cloves at the Royal Queensland Food and Wine Show. Danny tells me that all “gelato is made on the premises using recipes developed by Robert over the past 25 years with the focus on strong flavours, high quality natural ingredients and keeping sugar to a minimum.” After trying Watermelon & Mint – “85% watermelon and a bunch of mint”; Burnt Caramel (which would also make a fabulous milkshake); and Macadamia & Honey that impressed with a really natural feel, I’m thinking that Gelato Messina’s finally got some real competition… 688 Darling Street, Rozelle. www.bellingengelato.com.au
PAPA GEDE’S BAR
On my home desk, the tarot cards are spread for guidance. The mystic Papa Gede takes the tarot a step further. From the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, THE BARON leads the family of Gedes spirits: the card represents an unexpected turn of events, the drink to go with it – The Gambling Priest ($16); while brandy, Cointreau and FIRE are the alchemy of the signature The Zombie ($19). Papa Gede, by the way, is a psychopomp, a soulful spirit guide who protects the living and brings lust and laughter to all. His drink is a Cognac Sour. It’s on the cards that you might have a short wait to get in, yet persevere. With a 60-person capacity, this is a shining incarnation of a real Sydney small bar (low budget setup with the cash of three working owners), and it deserves our patronage. Laneway, Rear 346 Kent Street, Sydney (02) 9299 5671 papagedes.com
By Rebecca Varidel
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Some people believe there are an infinite number of things that can be put between two pieces of bread and deemed a sandwich, while others can never seem to find anything they like. However, no matter what our connection with food is, there is no denying that we can’t live without it. This idea inspired Bite Me; a collection of monologues written by young playwrights, performed by young actors and directed by Anthony Skuse. The showcase is the latest instalment of The Voices Project season at ATYP Studio. The playwrights developed their stories at the National School in 2013 where Tasnim Hossain,
admitted she struggled when trying to define her relationship with food beyond “liking it and eating it.” “I thought I had nothing to say about it, but then realised that everyone has a connection to food,” she says. “Food is life and learning to cook is learning to live. Food is something we take for granted because it’s there every day.” The showcase is comprised of ten monologues including a pseudovegetarian and a boy fighting to not become the dish of the day. Funny, challenging, and cheeky, Bite Me is a celebration of food and life. (AE) Feb 5-22, ATYP Studio Theatre, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, $20-30, atyp.com.au
Photo: Bob Seary
PRIVATES ON PARADE New Theatre is bringing back the pomp and irreverence of the classic Privates on Parade, as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. This new production of the play combines song, dance and a lot of laughs, as audiences are taken back to wartime Singapore and Malaya with a group of young English servicemen. “They’ve been brought together in an entertainment troop to take concerts out to the soldiers and their leader is the rather flamboyant drag queen, Terri,” says Alice Livingstone, director of Privates on Parade. Privates on Parade was written in 1977 and beneath its humour lurks darker themes of
homophobia, racism and colonialism. “It’s a way of looking back and going, ‘Gee we have moved on a long way, look at what we used to be like and look at what we are now’,” Livingstone says. Of her cast Livingstone says, “They’re fabulous. They’re a lovely blend of experienced actors and newer performers.” New Theatre put on a production for Mardi Gras every year and have done so for over a decade. “A lot of people come and see our shows as one of the main things they do during the Mardi Gras Festival,” says Livingstone. (PG) Feb 11–Mar 8, New Theatre, 542 King St, Newtown, $25-32, newtheatre.org.au
Griffin Theatre’s new play Jump for Jordan goes some of the way to explain what it is like to be part of the mosaic of cultures that make up Australia. It centres on Sophie (played by Alice Ansara), an independent Arab-Australian woman who must lie about her life, career and Aussie boyfriend for fear of shaming her traditional Jordanian family. Director Iain Sinclair was attracted to the relatability of the script (written by Donna Arebla). Much of the cast are of Arab descent and he says, “There are lots of immigrant stories bubbling up, it’s quite extraordinary how much is reflected in the script.” Sinclair adds, “Anything new that’s brought up will appear two days later.”
It is not so much a work in progress but rather a live reflection on the experiences of second-generation women. Women who not only cope with the typical work-lifefamily-balance, but whom also negotiate clashing cultures. “I can’t think of the last time I saw Arabic women on stage just being themselves,” says Sinclair. The director is excited as it is the premiere of Jump for Jordan, “The risks are higher but the payoffs are greater and there’s nothing more rewarding then bringing new work to the stage.” (ATS) Feb 14-Mar 29, SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod St, Kings Cross, $49, 9361 3817, griffintheatre.com.au
16 STAGE 17 SCENE 18 SCREEN 19 SOUNDS
Sweet Charity is a musical centred around the character of Charity Hope Valentine, who is an eternal optimist and dancer. Charity, played in this production by musical theatre star Verity Hunt-Ballard, makes her money dancing with man after man to pay the rent, hoping one will whisk her off her feet. Themes include the pursuit of security via romance - an interesting notion and somewhat oldfashioned. Director Dean Bryant says the story involves, “The resilience of human beings, the disempowerment of the poor, and women especially, the pursuit of romance and security, the discovery of joy and kindness in unexpected places and the randomness of life.” On Broadway, Sweet Charity was a huge success and
has built its own identity in musical theatre. Previously played by Shirley MacLaine in the 1969 movie and now at the independent Hayes Theatre Company in Potts Point. “Doing the first production for the Hayes Theatre is incredibly exciting. Also, intimate, imaginative, storybased musicals are my passion, so to get to take a classic like Sweet Charity and iris in on the world of Charity and her friends is a delightful challenge,” says Bryant. The show is said to be very sexy and physical, capturing Charity’s experience of life and how she tries to desperately transform it. (LK) Feb 7-Mar 9, Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point, $49, hayestheatre.com.au
Photo: Brett Boardman
JUMP FOR JORDAN
Arts Editor: Leigh Livingstone Music Editor: Chelsea Deeley
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Contributors: Alexandra English, Alexis Talbot-Smith, Andrew Hodgson, Angela Stretch, Anita Senaratna, Cheryl Northey, Craig Coventry, Elise Cullen, Greg Webster, Hannah Chapman, Jemma Nott, Katie Davern, Leann Richards, Lena Zak, Lisa Ginnane, Luke Cox, Luke Daykin, Lyndsay Kenwright, Marilyn Hetreles, Mark Morellini, Mel Somerville, Michael Muir, Michelle Porter, Nerida Lindsay, Nick Hadland, Olga Azar, Paul Gregoire, Rhys Gard, Ruth Fogarty, Shauna O’Carroll, Tom Wilson, Vanessa Powell
A husband leaves his wife and son for another man. The logline for Falsettos, playing at Darlinghurst Theatre this Mardis Gras season may sound like other dramas, but this piece of musical theatre is certainly no conventional affair. “I’m not sure if you already know,” lead actor Tamlyn Henderson says, “but everything’s performed in song.” The quirky tale about family and moving forward won a litany of Tony Awards when it was first performed on Broadway in 1992 and twentytwo years later finds itself onstage in Australia. “Rehearsals have been fun, but definitely a challenge,” Henderson says. “Stephen’s a wonderful visual director – so as well as singing, there’s a heap of complex choreography and THEATRE &
PERFORMANCE ON THE SHORE OF THE WIDE WORLD Pessimism runs through the Holmes family’s veins. While most families share traits like blue eyes, or brown hair, or a love of playing charades on camping trips, the Holmes family members were all born with the ability to see the dark side of any, and every, situation. Hope thrives briefly when 18-year-old Alex Holmes (Graeme McRae) falls in love for
the first time, but during the nine-month period that follows, the entire family has to come to terms with love, loss and reconciliation. Director Anthony Skuse and pantsguys Productions have come together to explore the universality of family drama through Simon Stephens’ award-winning play. This production presents a cast of ten experienced and emerging actors including Lily NewburyFreeman as Alex’s love interest.
just be his undoing. McConville’s a genuine lover of a good farce and Frayn’s British humour, “It’s my favourite play, I love comedy, I love Michael Frayn... the characters are flawed but they put forward a brave face,” he says. Although the characters are essentially lousy actors McConville remarks, “You can’t think of these guys as bad, you’ve got to try to create two characters that are multi-layered.” He also adds, “Juxtaposing the two characters, switching from one to the other; that is very funny, it’s where the comedy lies.” (ATS) Feb 17-Apr 5, Sydney Theatre Company, The Wharf, Pier 4 Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, $50109, 9250 1777, sydneytheatre.com.au
(AE) Until Feb 1, Griffin Theatre, 13 Craigend St, Kings Cross, $35, 9361 3817, griffintheatre.com.au TRAVELLING NORTH An ageing couple flee Melbourne’s cold for the warmer far North Queensland and a change of lifestyle, but Frank is soon beset by heart-problems and Frances has to deal with possessive, needy daughters. Written in 1979, it’s sometimes assumed to be about writer David Williamson’s move to Sydney; in fact it’s about the
interaction going on.” Falsettos will be the first show for Darlinghurst Theatre Company this season. Renowned theatre director Stephen Colyer leads a talented cast, including Henderson (We Will Rock You, Les Misérables), Katrina Retallick (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Addams Family) and Stephen Anderson (Swan Lake, Dead Man Walking). The poised mix of comedy and drama is performed over a live piano score created by William Finn and based on the book written by Finn and James Lapine. Falsettos promises to be toptier musical theatre at its best. (RG) Feb 12-Mar 16, Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton St, Darlinghurst, $3043, (02) 8356 9987, darlinghursttheatre.com experiences of his mother-in-law, a gentle and perceptive woman who’d remarried to an older man – an opinionated, intelligent, ex-Communist. The concept of the ‘grey nomad’ is now an established one but “. . .living in paradise isn’t quite enough without having a social context of friends, families and meaningful activities to fill in the time,” says Williamson. (MM) Until Mar 22, Sydney Theatre Company, Pier 4/5, Hickson Rd,Walsh Bay, $50-85, 9250 1777, sydneytheatre.com.au
The Duck Duck Goose Theatre Company presents Pinball; a play set in the ‘70s about a lesbian couple trying to gain custody of a son. Part of Mardi Gras Sydney 2014, Pinball is an antinaturalistic comedy that centres around Theenie as she struggles with her family’s bigotry. “It’s a story about what we have been through in the past in Australia, in terms of laws and same-sex parenting,” says Sarah Vickery, director of Pinball. “We really wanted to put it on to show how far we’ve come,” she continues.
EMPIRE There may be quirky costume routines, balancing acts and an MC, but is Speigelworld’s returning show just another trip to the circus? “No way,” says Memet Bilgin aka 3D Graffiti Guy. “We’re part of a new wave of circus groups. It’s unique and intimate, with far more interaction between the audience and the performers.” With a rising and rotating stage that often places the performers mere inches away,
Photo: Ingvar Kenne
“We picked the most interesting parts, and tailored the show around them.” “It’s not all doom and gloom, either,” he says. “The important messages are there, but it’s as balanced as possible. We wouldn’t do it if it wasn’t going to be fun.” Directed by Nigel TurnerCaroll, written by Rhys Morgan and with musical direction by Jeremy Brennan, Twists and Turns is sure to be a major splash as part of this year’s Mardi Gras 2014 season. (RG) Feb 19-20, Slide Lounge, 41 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, $45-90 +bf; Slide’s Kings & Queens of Cabaret Season, Feb 7-Mar 1, (02) 8915 1899, slide.com.au Photo: John McRae
Matthew Mitcham is one of Australia’s most versatile names. When he’s not diving and winning Olympic gold, he’s singing and playing ukulele at this year’s Kings and Queens of Cabaret at Slide Lounge as part of the Mardi Gras 2014 season. “The show’s an adaptation of the book,” Mitcham says, referring to another of his fortes: writing. “Twists and Turns [the book] is candid, but in some ways it’s a more conservative medium than the cabaret. The show’s PG but you can do things in a way you can’t on the page.” And what can fans expect from the show? “There’s nine songs spliced through an autobiographical story,” Mitcham says.
Watching one of his own farces from side of stage, playwright Michael Frayn is said to have thought it funnier from behind than in front. Inspired by this he wrote Noises Off, about an incompetent cast of failed actors who each try to overcome their flaws in order to stage a British sex farce called Nothing On. Director Jonathan Biggins and STC tackle Frayn’s comedic masterpiece in February and Sydney audiences are sure to be gasping for air as this raucous storm unfolds from behind the scenes and with hilarious consequences. Josh McConville plays Garry, the fairly well-known, stuttering male lead, whose romantic attachment to fellow actress Dotty (Genevieve Lemon) may
Photo: Helen White
MATTHEW MITCHAM: TWISTS AND TURNS
Pinball was written in the late ‘70s and the new production reflects on how, although life was fashionable, not all was cool at the time. Producer Gavin Roach approached Vickery with the idea of a production with a more female take on themes surrounding Mardi Gras. “Mardi Gras were very excited to actually have a focus on women’s rights and lesbianism and all that,” says Vickery. On the cast of six, she says, “The cast are fantastic. They’re all very experienced. They’re extremely talented and I’m very proud of them.” (PG) Feb 11-28, TAP Gallery, 278 Palmer St, Darlinghurst, $20, mardigras.org.au/events/ pinball-theatre
audiences can watch routines that move from roller-skating to balancing upon a spinning top in a tent made of 3000 individual pieces. This adult-only fusion of vaudeville, burlesque, cabaret and circus promises to be a night out with a difference. (RG) Until Feb 16, Showring, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, $59-149, empireaustralia.com
THE NAKED CITY
LIGHTS OUT AT BLUE BEAT
By Coffin Ed, Miss Death & Jay Katz The sudden closure of the Blue Beat club in Double Bay on the weekend has widened the gap in the ever increasing void that is the Sydney live music scene, particularly when it comes to venues that can accommodate between two and three hundred people. It is these medium-sized live music venues that cities like London, New York, Berlin and Melbourne (yes ‘Bleak City’ itself) abound in. Not only are they financially viable when it comes to accommodating both local and international acts, they provide an intimate setting not found in the bigger large-capacity beer barns. Sydney once boasted a whole host of such clubs in and around the CBD and they were home to a vibrant music scene, often running live bands seven nights a week. Nobody would argue that the entertainment climate has changed radically over the last ten to fifteen years with the explosion of small bars, DJ only dance clubs, and large boozy venues that offer little in the way of either live music or any entertainment at all (bar a regular scuffle on the pavement outside). However, despite the numerous diversions we are constantly told this is an international city – so where are all the music clubs? The sad demise of Blue Beat also illustrates a number of other contentious issues that plague the live music scene, particularly when it comes to the treatment of working musicians. Ask almost any musician who played at Blue Beat over the last couple of years and invariably they will tell you how well they were treated, Unlike a number of other medium-sized venues Blue Beat did not charge bands for
the use of their house PA, was always generous when it came to providing meals and drinks, offered excellent dressing room facilities and perhaps most importantly, paid their acts within a reasonable period of time. Sadly that’s not the case with a number of other clubs around town, particularly when it comes to ‘settling up’ after a gig. As very few venues now offer guarantees most musicians work on a door deal with the club’s cut and PA costs deducted. As contractors to the club they are expected to put in a tax invoice and here lies the rub. It’s now not uncommon for artists and bands to wait for well over a month before the money ‘they’ earned at the door is paid into their bank account. Unlike the amateur band that might gig at their local pub a few times a year, many of the musicians who work the live music scene, and these mediumsized clubs, are professionals with the same kind of financial commitments as any working person. Having to wait four or five weeks to get paid for an engagement seems ridiculous and morally indefensible particularly when the onus of promoting the actual gig (the printing of posters, handbills, ads in the street press) is also a cost incurred by the musos. Many of these working musicians are old enough to remember the good old days when clubs not only offered a guarantee (often versus the door), but also willingly plonked the cash in their hands at the end of the night. With presale tickets through various agencies and the need to submit a tax invoice, you would expect a slight delay but five to six weeks? Come on now! Blue Beat will be remembered as not only a great cub to see a live band but a great club for a live band to play in. It’s a shame many other venues don’t follow its example.
TALKING THROUGH YOUR ARTS CROSSING BOUNDARIES Our histories reveal a continuous development of new concepts in the unending struggle to arrive at new goals. A dynamic and restless attitude provides the climate in which our arts are nourished. This is an evolutionary manner of development that arises out of our communities. Crossing Boundaries is an exhibition survey of the present situation in Australia for Asian Australian artists being honest, acknowledging the traditions, identities and the by-products of nostalgia that bring us closer to the real nature of things. How is it that the frontiers have been drawn at a particular place? This is a question that curator Catherine Croll points us towards achieving a new insight. On one side of the frontier we are at home; the other side is foreign territory. Croll, who is the founding director of Cultural Partnerships Australia and an award-winning artist, said that giving the public a rare glimpse into significant artworks that represent the relationship between our continents and countries is not only important but also essential. All art is united in the sense that it is an expression of the human spirit and our humanity. However, we are not all the same. Art is always in a state of movement in the constant search for new forms. In the Orient the artistic achievements of the past are venerated and emulated while the living artist was praised for
successfully duplicating the excellence of a master. The program is part of the city’s Chinese New Year Festival, a two-week celebration welcoming in the year of the horse. The horse is featured in many of the presented works, including two participatory craftings by seminal photographer William Yang and contemporary Chinese papercutter Pamela See, in Horsing Around. Yang’s interactive installation, Australia Now, seeks a combined meaning from the drawing of a self-portrait, Chinese zodiac and a statement of where you come from.
See’s is an activity that targets the young to place one of her horse paper cuts, photograph and upload the image online. Sydney-based artist Karina Wikamto’s sculpture of her father is made up of peanut shells that have been carefully sewn together to embellish the stories and memories shared. To be an Asian-Australian artist making a kind of visual sounding board, capturing sensations that most of us are not really conscious of receiving and echoing them back to us in forms of art, is a pertinent exchange. (AS) Crossing Boundaries, Feb 9, Sydney Town Hall (Lower), 483 George St, free, sydneychinesenewyear.com
‘The Asian Century - Coveting thy neighbour’s cash’, by Greg Leong, 2013
THE VERY NEAR FUTURE - ALEX DAVIES
The Very Near Future, 2013, by Alex Davies
Alex Davies’ The Very Near Future begins with the simple opening of a door. Within is an interactive space that plays with time and the imagination. The installation is designed as a film studio. The recreated security office has a sign-in book which immediately immerses the visitor in the experience. Thunder claps sound overhead, a movie is captured on small monitors and a stage set and giant clock scramble the senses and twist temporal cognisance. The Very Near Future is an innovative and fun multimedia presentation. It comments
on the role of cinema in the construction of reality and involves the viewer in its illusionary world. Its mischievous tone blurs the line between spectator and participant and its projections challenge onlookers to cast their own shadows that merge with the exhibition’s ethos. In this show, Davies has created a challenging piece which delights and surprises with its originality. (LR) Until Feb 16, Artspace, 43-51 Cowper Wharf Rd, Woolloomooloo, free, artspace.org.au
THE HEALING ARTS PROGRAM St Vincent’s Hospital is launching its Healing Arts Program this year and will be displaying a variety of artists over the coming months. The philosophy behind the Healing Arts Program is to take holistic care to the next level by introducing art into all areas of the hospital including corridors, waiting areas, interview rooms, and lounges. The hospital will feature a rotating exhibition of 20 artists and also holds a developed collection, much of which is accessible to the general public. One of the featured artists Andrew Hogarth says that the program helps to make the hospital a less daunting place to visit. “Hospitals can be scary and stressful places. What I hope patients, carers,
visitors and staff get from viewing [my images] is some time out – the opportunity to be transported to another place,” he says. Hogarth himself was a patient at St Vincent’s hospital where he was diagnosed with a renal tumour and had to have a kidney removed. After treatment Hogarth found himself on a trip to the American southwest in 2013, where he captured the people and the landscape. His current exhibition, Native America – Dinetah to the Greasy Grass 2008 – 2013 features the stunning photos he took on that trip. (JN) Until Feb 11, Xavier Art Space, St Vincent’s Hospital, 390 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, free, stvincents.com.au
‘Calvert Dixon, Navajo, Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial Powwow, New Mexico, 2013’, by Andrew Hogarth
12 YEARS A SLAVE Steve McQueen’s powerful account of Solomon Northup, based on the book by Northup, follows his disgraceful forced induction into the Louisiana slave trade. 12 Years A Slave is both humanising and unabashedly confronting. McQueen’s stunningly framed shots make this depiction a reality, showing a time when people were forced into submission in order to survive.
AMAYSIM AUSTRALIAN SURF MOVIE FESTIVAL
It’s a movie that thrusts raw degradation, violence and racism upon viewers from the very first shot and is constant throughout. By the end it leaves them in a state of pure distress over the plight of Northup, played by the spectacular Chiwetel Ejiofors. It’s one of the worst stories brought to film, yet this is one of the most outstanding movies of recent years. (CD) WWWWW
It is once again time to celebrate the surf, sand, sun and sea with the 11th Annual Amaysim Australian Surf Movie Festival. The festival is touring around Australia presenting independent surf movies and incorporating local businesses, surfers and music. Tim Bonython, director of the initiative, says that the movies on display this year showcase the thrill of surfing, particularly in Australia. “When it comes to surfers verses nature and the pure exhilaration of what the ocean can deliver, the Southern Hemisphere has the greatest playground of options on the planet,” he says. The two documentaries, The Journey and Encoded, feature surfing legend Kelly Slater and reveal amazing footage of some of the best surfing locales in the world. Accompanying the screenings will also be entertainment for guests with live music and lucky door prizes, including cameras, surfboards, wax and headphones. (SOC) Feb 4, North Bondi RSL, 118-120 Ramsgate Ave, North Bondi; Feb 9, Randwick Ritz, 45 St Pauls St, Randwick, $15-30, 99733842, asmf.net.au
GRUDGE MATCH Henry ‘Razor’ Sharp’s (Sylvestor Stallone) sudden retirement after his epic lightheavyweight victory over Billy ‘The Kid’ McDonnen (Robert De Niro) leaves the tally forever at 1-1 and McDonnen in a world of frustration. Thirty years on and in need of money, Sharp reluctantly agrees to a decider, for which both will need to shape up in more ways than one. Many will be licking their lips
If you thought four films flogging the same concept was too much, think again. Cue Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, the franchise’s fifth and latest ‘found-footage’ film that is so bad it’s almost good. Writer/director Christopher Lander portrays two friends who have just graduated from high school and have to contend with a strange curse. The boys are avid filmmakers and so enthusiastic that they manage to film everything on their GoPro in
at the prospect of Rocky vs. Raging Bull. Razor is an honest workingclass toiler, and bar-owner McDonnen has a healthy appetite for all things, plus there are a few scenes that pay cheeky homage to their earlier films. However, this cute albeit plodding comedy lies slightly closer in quality to Rocky V than any Scorsese flick. (CC) WWW
BACKYARD ASHES Backyard Ashes is a new Australian film by Coogee film director Mark Grentell and shot in Wagga Wagga. Barbeques and cricket galore, this movie has Australian culture down to an art form. The story follows Dougie Waters (Andrew S. Gilbert) who’s simple pleasures of cricket and barbeques are stumped by the exit of his best friend and neighbour Norm (Stephen Holt) plus the arrival THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, who made millions selling fraudulent, inflated stocks; it follows Belfort’s rise and fall as he ‘conquers’ Wall Street. Viewers are rushed through this whirlwind tale as Belfort and his band of brothers spend their money on prostitutes, drugs, fast cars and more drugs. This is an unbelievably funny film, particularly scenes with DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. Australia’s own Margot Robbie proves that you can completely move on from a Neighbours career. (ATS) WWWW
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT Directed by Kenneth Branagh this film is based on the famous character created by author Tom Clancy. Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) attempts to halt a plot to collapse the U.S. economy by a Russian terrorist (Kenneth Branagh). Performances by Kevin Costner and Branagh are ‘okay’ and carry a film with an unoriginal and predictable plot. Keira Knightley as the token girlfriend has a laughable American accent. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit fits neatly into the action/spy thriller genre, but is lacking in
imagination. Not one of the best Clancy adaptations. (LK) WWW 47 RONIN Evil Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) wants to take over the provinces of feudal Japan, and he’ll do it dressed like a Power Rangers villain, while a shape-shifting witch (Rinko Kikuchi) does his bidding. Kai (Keanu Reeves) is an orphaned half-demon man in love with his ruler’s daughter Mika (Ko Shibasaki). A series of events triggers his ruler’s suicide and the local Samurai being banished as
amazingly professional detail. This includes kids with jinxes to people running through dungeons in the dark. While the scary scenes are textbook to a tee, there are some genuinely comical moments spliced throughout the story. Sometimes chilling, often funny and entirely inauthentic, only for audiences who can forgive themselves for laughing instead of screaming in the film’s climactic scene. (RG) W½
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES
of his new boss, corporate Englishman Edward Lords (Felix Williamson). Pretentious Edward moves in next door to Dougie and an incident involving an incinerated cat, sparks a big backyard cricket match to settle the score! Perfect viewing for summer, this offers many laughs and references the fond Aussie/ Pom rivalry. (LK) WWW½ the ever-disgraced Ronin. This film boasts beautifully realised landscapes, incredible set pieces and inspired art direction with surprisingly strong performances from most of the cast. (TW) WWW THE RAILWAY MAN Depicting the life of the famous Thai ‘Death Railway’ survivor Eric Lomax, his tale is woven with stunning Edinburgh scenery and a musical score to match. Colin Firth, who plays Lomax, does an incredible job of convincing the audience of the
turmoil the prisoners of war faced upon returning from their living hell. Nicole Kidman delivers the necessary support and strength needed from a wife of a returning soldier. Together, the cast and crew have produced an incredibly raw film about the code of silence culture and what it means to live with those demons. (TO) WWWW AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is a dark comedy/ drama boasting a stellar cast. Meryl Streep plays dysfunctional Violet Weston, a lady diagnosed
with mouth cancer. When her alcoholic husband Beverly (Sam Shephard) suicides, the family reunites, becoming the catalyst to a family meltdown after years of unresolved issues resurface. Family conflicts are infinite with entangling sub-plots and temperaments igniting, providing laughter as the screaming, swearing and fighting escalate. The story moves slowly, obviously written for the stage and resounding themes are the importance of family values and honour. (MM) WWW½
FUR TRADE - DON’T GET HEAVY Light, intelligent and backed by a rhythm so constant that it must have always been there, even before the album was written.There is something flirtatious and forewarning about this album’s title that extends through the music and is extrapolated to the lyrics. Don’t Get Heavy, the debut from Fur Trade, gives value back to what we might take for granted.The duo’s sound is effortless, comfortably nestled in the realm of several genres. Those who focus on technical difficulty amidst straining instruments might miss out on the simple beauty Fur Trade has to offer listeners. (SP) TOM E. LEWIS BENEATH THE SUN Tom E. Lewis is a veteran of the Australian entertainment industry, performing on both stage and screen for decades. Originally one half of the successful Lewis & Young, he pioneered the use of the didjeridu in contemporary music before focusing on the guitar and songwriting in the late nineties. Lewis’ latest album, Beneath the Sun, is full of poetic lyrics sung with Bob Dylanesque vocals.The drum brush softly pushes the tempo along giving leeway to brass and ukulele, with plenty of room for Lewis and his guitar. Beneath the Sun is full of simple arrangements that reflect a well-earned musical ease and confidence. (LL)
CASH SAVAGE AND THE LAST DRINKS
“I once heard a band say ‘What’s the point of playing but then going out and giving it your all afterwards?’” quotes Melbourne minstrel Cash Savage on the topic of post-show celebrations. “For me, the shows are the most important part of the tour. We want to make sure that we are all capable of putting on the best show possible, I mean, we drove all that way why wouldn’t we?” With their unbridled passion for musical creativity, Savage and her band The Last Drinks have had a stellar year of acknowledgements and accolades. Their latest album The Hypnotiser gained attention in their home city and beyond, an album that is fuelled by raw unabashed honesty and evocative lyrics that flow naturally from the mind of their leader. “I find it pretty easy to write if I personally have something to write about,” explains Savage. “The biggest block I ever have is not having something that I care enough to write about. Songs like 95km to Sandy Point, for example, was written in under half an hour, but other songs took a bit longer because if I’m writing about something close to home, I want to get it perfect.” Uncurbed honesty at its best; Savage maintains that despite this open approach to her song writing she “[does] actually keep a lot of cards close to [her] chest”. However, despite strong self-control, she says she wouldn’t completely restrain her instincts. “The thing is that I have to sing those songs over and over again,” she explains. “People do ask me if it’s difficult to sing them if they mean so much, but I find it really boring if they don’t mean anything. After a while I just get sick of playing them because they are nothing.”
LIVE WIRE Youth Lagoon: Trevor Powers’ combination of hazy vocals and sympathetic guitars has gained him notoriety over the last few years. What started out as an experimental project, where he handed out downloads of his creations for zilch profit, has developed into a two-album triumph with much more in store from this psychedelic Idaho native. His latest album Wondrous Bughouse spans the vast expanse of the metaphysical universe, so prepare to go out of the mind and into the unknown. Thu, Jan 30, Oxford Art Factory
Sydney Live Music Guide
Kenan Dogulu: Following a famous father can often be hard, yet this Turkish popster has carved out a career that is entirely his own. Multi-instrumental through his abundance of musical training in both Istanbul and Los Angeles, he may be better known as being the fourth runner-up at 2007’s Eurovision Song Contest. Cheesiness aside, the 16 albums and many awards that have followed only allude to the raw talent and showmanship, an incredible spectacle. Fri, Jan 31, Enmore Theatre
Homeboy Sandman: Skilled wordplay and a blatant disobedience for the generic hip hop module, Angel Del Villar II has released five EPs and four full albums of original content that have gained appreciation from the New York Press as the Best Hip Hop Act in NYC. After working with MTV for an episode of MADE, he’s back on the war path and ready to speak some lyrical truths. Sat, Feb 1, The Spectrum At Last - The Etta James Story: A night filled
With a hyped tour almost within reach, labels and classic ‘pigeonholing’ will be rife, Savage isn’t too worried though. “Labels are funny, there is so much stigma attached to them you know?” she remarks. “Like, if you say you’re a country band then people automatically think Johnny Cash or Garth Brooks, or if you say you’re a blues artist then they’re going to think John Mayer or Muddy Waters. “So when people ask me what I am I say ‘Well, we’re definitely country blues, a little bit psychedelic and definitely rock at times’, even I have trouble labelling myself. So to anybody that tries to pigeonhole us, I say good luck to them.” (CD) Feb 1,The Red Rattler, Faversham St, Marrickville, $tba, redrattler.org The Hypnotiser out now via MGM
with drama and beautiful songs from the mind of one of soul music’s most famous. Starring Vika Bull as the ever-fantastic Etta James with the Essential R&B Band, this night will attempt to shine a light on the life of a star that made her way into the minds and hearts of a generation. Her countless accolades and adoration were met with a background of addiction and troubles that are conveyed beautifully through this unique combination of hit songs and original narrative. Mon, Feb 3, Sydney Opera House
Drenge: Hailing from Britain’s Peak District, Rory and Eoin Loveless are two brothers that delve into the sludgy world of grunge effortlessly. Rising into the conscience of the music world via a recommendation from a resigning politician’s blog post, the boys have made promising appearances at the likes of the Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds Festivals. They bring a certain giveno-f*cks attitude that festers through their latest selftitled release, so prepare for a night of visceral head-
banging and jostling. Tue, Feb 4, Goodgod Small Club Savages: Their Mercury Prize-winning album Silence Yourself has been hammed up more than a Christmas feast and for all of the right reasons. Their all-girl power and untameable rock ‘n’ roll earned them a nomination in the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll, as well as a stellar set at the hallowed Coachella Music and Arts Festival last year. Their intense sound will make the very foundations of this venue tremble in fear. (CD) Wed, Feb 5,The Metro Theatre
FREEWILLASTROLOGY by Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): On my fifteenth birthday, I finally figured out that eating dairy products was the cause of my chronic respiratory problems. From that day forward, I avoided foods made from cow’s milk. My health improved. I kept up this regimen for years. But a month ago, I decided to see if my long-standing taboo still made sense. Just for the fun of it, I gave myself permission to gorge on a tub of organic vanilla yogurt. To my shock, there was no hell to pay. I was free of snot. In the last few weeks, I have feasted regularly on all the creamy goodies I’ve been missing. I bring this up, Aries, because I suspect an equally momentous shift is possible for you. Some taboo you have honored for a long time, some rule you have obeyed as if it were an axiom, is ripe to be broken.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Psychologist Daniel Kahneman, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics, says that consulting experts may be useless. In his study of Wall Street traders, he found their advice was no better than information obtained by a chimpanzee flipping a coin. Meanwhile, psychologist Philip Tetlock did a 20-year study with similar results. He found that predictions made by political and financial professionals are inferior to wild guesses. So
does this mean you should never trust any experts? No. But it’s important to approach them with extra skepticism right now. The time has come for you to upgrade your trust in your own intuition.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): I’m a big fan of logic and reason, and I urge you to be, too. Using your rational mind to understand your experience is a very good thing. The less stock you put in superstitious head trips and fear-based beliefs, the smarter you will be. Having said that, I recommend that you also make playful use of your creative imagination. Relish the comically magical elements of your mysterious fate. Pay attention to your dreams, and indulge in the pleasure of wild fantasies, and see yourself as a mythic hero in life’s divine drama. Moral of the story: Both the rational and the fantastical approaches are essential to your health. (P.S. But the fantastical needs extra exercise in the coming weeks.)
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Sorry, Cancerian, you won’t be able to transform lead into gold anytime soon. You won’t suddenly acquire the wizardly power to heal the sick minds of racists and homophobes and misogynists. Nor will you be able to cast an effective love spell on a sexy someone who has always resisted your charms. That’s the bad news. The good news is this: If you focus on performing
less spectacular magic, you could accomplish minor miracles. For example, you might diminish an adversary’s ability to disturb you. You could welcome into your life a source of love you have ignored or underestimated. And you may be able to discover a secret you hid from yourself a long time ago.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Cosmopolitan magazine is famous for offering tips on how to spice up one’s sex life. Here’s an example: “Take a few of your favorite erotically appealing flavor combinations, like peanut butter and honey or whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and mix up yummy treats all over your lover’s body.” That sounds crazy to me, and not in a good way. In any case, I recommend that you don’t follow advice like that, especially in the coming days. It’s true that on some occasions, silliness and messiness have a role to play in building intimacy. But they aren’t advisable right now. For best results, be smooth and polished and dashing and deft. Togetherness will thrive on elegant experiments and graceful risks.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You are not as broken as you may think you are. Your wounds aren’t as debilitating as you have imagined. And life will prove it to you this week. Or rather, let me put it this way: Life will *attempt* to prove it
to you -- and not just in some mild, half-hearted way, either. The evidence it offers will be robust and unimpeachable. But here’s my question, Virgo: Will you be so attached to your pain that you refuse to even see, let alone explore, the dramatic proof you are offered? I hope not!
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Kenneth Rexroth wrote a poem called “A Sword in a Cloud of Light.” I want to borrow that image. According to my astrological analysis and poetic intuition, you will generate the exact power you need in the coming weeks by imprinting your imagination with a vision of a sword in a cloud of light. I don’t want to get too intellectual about the reasons why, but I will say this: The cloud of light represents your noble purpose or your sacred aspiration. The sword is a metaphor to symbolize the new ferocity you will invoke as you implement the next step of your noble purpose or sacred aspiration.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Every autumn, the bird species known as the Clark’s Nutcracker prepares for its winter food needs by burying 30,000 pine nuts in 5,000 places over a 15-square-mile area. The amazing thing is that it remembers where almost all of them are. Your memory isn’t as prodigious as that, but it’s far better than you realize. And I hope you will use it to
the hilt in the coming days. Your upcoming decisions will be highly effective if you draw on the wisdom gained from past events -- especially those events that foreshadowed the transition you will soon be going through.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): ICan you imagine what it would be like to live without any hiding and pretending? How would you feel if you could relax into total honesty? What if you were free to say exactly what you mean, unburdened by the fear that telling the truth might lead to awkward complications? Such a pure and exalted condition is impossible for anyone to accomplish, of course. But you have a shot at accomplishing the next best thing in the coming week. For best results, don’t try to be perfectly candid and utterly uninhibited. Aim for 75 percent.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): It’s a favorable time to gather up resources and amass bounty and solicit help and collect lots of inside information. I won’t call you greedy if you focus on getting exactly what you need in order to feel comfortable and strong. In fact, I think it’s fine if you store up far more than what you can immediately use -- because right now is also a favorable time to prepare for future adventures when you will want to call on extraordinary levels of resources, bounty, help, and inside information.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Extravagant wigs became fashionable for a while in 18thcentury England. They could soar as high as four feet above a woman’s head. Collections of fruit might be arrayed in the mass of hair, along with small replicas of gardens, taxidermically stuffed birds, and model ships. I would love to see you wear something like that in the coming week. But if this seems too extreme, here’s a second-best option: Make your face and head and hair as sexy as possible. Use your alluring gaze and confident bearing to attract more of the attention and resources you need. You have a poetic license to be shinier and more charismatic than usual.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): One of your anti-role models in the coming weeks is the character that Piscean diva Rihanna portrays when she sings in Eminem’s tune “Love the Way You Lie.” Study the following lyrics, mouthed by Rihanna, and make sure that in every way you can imagine, on psychological, spiritual, and interpersonal levels, you embody the exact opposite of the attitude they express: “You’re just gonna stand there and watch me burn / But that’s all right because I like the way it hurts / You’re just gonna stand there and hear me cry / But that’s all right, because I love the way you lie.” To reiterate, Pisces, avoid all situations that would tempt you to feel and act like that.