Tibet advocates head to Canberra
Artists back in the Biennale
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march 13, 2014
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Macquarie bankers on their bikes to help kids like Shanti Woodend
Chinatown demands action on touting
BY MICHAEL KOZIOL Chinatown business owners are demanding the state government take action against touters operating on Dixon Street, by granting the City of Sydney council powers to have them removed. The touters, representing souvenir and merchandise stores, typically stand on busy Dixon Street outside souvenir shops and attempt to bring potential customers to their own nearby stores. They spruik cheaper prices, often lying about being a wholesaler, and accuse Dixon Street store owners of over-charging.
Touters have operated in Chinatown for more than 10 years, but the issue is now at boiling point, with violent incidences ending up in court, and businesses reporting a marked decrease in sales. Chris Newman, spokesperson for the Chinatown Business Community Dixon Street Precinct, wants the state government to enable the City of Sydney to crack down on touting using powers already granted in other states, including Victoria and Queensland. The activity is not allowed in Melbourne or the Gold Coast. “Common sense says you don’t
stand in front of other people’s shops,” he said. Mr Newman wants the touters to be restricted to within 10m of their own stores, which are typically in discreet upstairs locations where they pay far less rent than in the Dixon Street mall. Mr Newman described touters “attacking” pedestrians, thrusting flyers into their faces and even approaching them once they were already inside a store. A June 2013 council motion by Liberal councillor Edward Mandla noted: “some of these touters are behaving in an aggressive and intimidating fashion when approaching potential
customers, sometimes physically preventing them from entering shops on Dixon Street.” Lord Mayor Clover Moore then urged the state government to amend Section 68 of the Local Government Act to include a reference to touting and spruiking. “There is no legislation prohibiting touting in public streets or malls and as a consequence the City is powerless to act in response to this issue,” she wrote in June. Minister for Local Government, Don Page, indicated he would refer the matter to the Local Government Acts Taskforce. City News understands the issue never came before the taskforce, which
produced its final report in October without reference to the issue. A spokesperson for Mr Page said the government is aware of concerns about touting in Chinatown. “The government will consider the issue of touting within the context of a range of other changes to the Local Government Act,” the spokesperson said. Joe Trieu, director of Rose Opal Souvenirs on Dixon Street, said the impact on his business was very bad and no authority appeared willing to take action. “It’s getting worse and worse,” he said. “The council, the police - noone can do anything.”
The nearby Emperor’s Garden restaurant is not directly affected by touters: the restaurants in the mall generally hand out menus outside their own premises. But director Valentine Yee says all businesses suffer from the damage being done to Chinatown’s reputation among Chinese travellers. “It gives tourists the perception that Chinatown is an area where people are fighting amongst each other, and tourists don’t want to walk through here,” he said. City News visited one store known to send touters into Dixon Street. Staff there said they could not comment and the manager would not return for several weeks.
BY PAUL GREGOIRE More Indigenous women die in domestic situations than ony other group, says Charmaigne Weldon, due to their fear of contacting police and social services. As a specialist Aboriginal worker at Sydney Women’s Domestic Court Advocacy Service, Ms Weldon should know. She also appears in Tidda’s Marumal: A Time to Heal a new video produced by the Redfern Legal Centre aimed at raising awareness about the support services available for indigenous women. Ms Weldon said the deaths most commonly occur because
women fear losing their children. “It’s probably [due to] not reporting the violence and not having trust in government departments either,” she said.” “Their fear is the removal of their children.” “All that support is so important and if you embrace it you can have a quality of life and it’s not just about yourself, it’s about your children as well.” Originally from Western NSW, Ms Weldon has firsthand knowledge of domestic violence and the fear of contacting police. “You know, I’ve been a victim myself. I’ve experienced domestic violence at its worst. I can say I
A mural at the Block in Redfern
Published weekly and distributed in the CBD, Pyrmont, Ultimo, Surry Hills, Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst, East Sydney, Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay, Chippendale and Glebe. Distribution enquiries call 9212 5677. Published by the Alternative Media Group of Australia. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy of content, The City News takes no responsibility for inadvertent errors or omissions. ABN 48 135 222 169 Group Publisher: Lawrence Gibbons Group Manager: Chris Peken Group Editor: Michael Koziol City News Editor: Triana O’Keefe Contributing Editor: Paul Gregoire Contributors: Georgia Fullerton, John Gooding, Phoebe Moloney and Ranee Orklin Arts Editor: Leigh Livingstone Live Music Editor: Chelsea Deeley Dining Editor: Jackie McMillan Advertising Managers: David Sullivan, Toni Martelli, Robert Tuitama and George Tinnyunt Design: Joanna Grace Publisher’s Assistant: Deeksha Chopra Distribution Manager: Danish Ali Cover: Chris Peken - Shanti Woodend Email: email@example.com Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: PO Box 843 Broadway 2007 Ph: 9212 5677 Fax: 9212 5633 Web: altmedia.net.au
never reported it to police,” she said. “It wasn’t until I started working in a woman’s refuge that I went, ‘all this support that’s around, I could have accessed some of that, it could have helped me’.” Susan Smith is the coordinator of the Domestic Violence Service at the Redfern Legal Centre. The service is for women and children seeking the protection of a court order and is funded by Legal Aid. Indigenous women don’t contact police and community services, Ms Smith said, because they fear their children will be taken from them. But in fact the opposite is true. “Aboriginal women get concerned that this might mean that their children might be assumed into care but we would be reassuring women,” she told City News. “If they get an apprehended violence order to protect themselves and their children from the violence, well the Department of Community Services would see that as protective behaviour.” Ms Smith said her organisation provides services for all women at four inner city courts, and while there is a large number of women seeking help, there are many more cases that go unreported. “It is a big issue, we see about 1500 to 1800 women a year,” she said. “So they’re just the women who come to court and are seeking the domestic violence orders.”
BY TRIANA O’KEEFE Lycra-clad cyclists are cranking up their gears as they prepare for the Variety Cycle from Sydney to Uluru. Setting off from Pyrmont Bay Park on Sunday March 22, the cycle will raise money for Variety, a national not-for-profit organisation committed to empowering Australian children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs. The route is almost 4000km long and with a number of cycling participation options available it is set to get novice and proficient cyclists alike pedalling for the greater good. Seeing the group off will be an eager bunch of special-needs and disadvantaged kids who will mount their bikes and tricycles. Across the 26-day event, riders will engage with remote communities, schools and hospitals, delivering needed equipment and resources. Heather Woodend, mother of 14-year-old Shanti, said Variety had been a great support over the last eight years. Shanti suffers VACTERL association, a very rare co-occurrence of birth defects. As a child she spent much of her life in and out of Westmead Hospital. Necessary procedures have include ultrasounds, blood tests, kidney work and more than 10 operations. “The cost was getting out of hand,” Ms Woodend said. “We probably wouldn’t have been able to cope without Variety’s help.” Shanti is a keen cyclist herself. “She’s a bundle of energy and her condition doesn’t stop her doing anything,” Ms Woodend said. Millers Point resident Rod Morris and a group of bankers from Macquarie Bank’s Sydney office will also be joining the cyclists. Mr Morris said he has been honing his novice cycling skills in the lead up to the event with the view that helping e to get him through the exhaustive ride.
Stop the boats, Pyrmont says BY MICHAEL KOZIOL A group of Pyrmont residents is resisting state government plans to move the Sydney Heritage Fleet to Bank Street, Pyrmont, near the entrance of Blackwattle Bay. The fleet contains ten heritage vessels, currently installed at Wharf 7 near the Maritime Museum. About 40 residents were present for a community meeting with the independent Planning and Assessment Commission on Monday. The planning department has recommended the application for approval. Elizabeth Elenius, convenor of Pyrmont Action Inc, told the commission there were serious flaws and factual errors in the proposal, and said the PAC risked “rubber stamping very poor government planning decisions”. “The government is refusing to consolidate its activities on any number of suitable governmentowned sites across the harbour,” she said. Alan Edenborough, Relocation Project Director for the Sydney Heritage Fleet, said it was inappropriate to comment as the matter is before the PAC. “We’re happy for them to make the decision based on all of the very detailed documentation that’s been prepared for them,” he said.
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Pedalling for the greater good
altmediasydney At sail: the Sydney Heritage Fleet
Photo: Chris Peken
“Their fear is the removal of children”
On their bikes: the Macquarie Bank team
“It’s a wonderful way to to test my endurance and hopefully the motivation of my fellow cyclists will get me through the day,” he said. Mr Morris has signed up for the first day of the cycle: 100km from Sydney to Picton. Also among the Sydney locals involved is Chris Smith and his team of riders from Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Group. With a crew of seven keen and proficient riders, the team have signed up to cover a distance of 330km, from Sydney to Canberra. Mr Smith’s efforts are also a way to show his children the importance of helping others in need. “By leading an active lifestyle and fundraising for Variety, I know I am setting a worthy parenting example,” he said. “Raising as much money as possible for Variety has become really important to both me and my team mates.” More than $3500 has been raised by the group of bankers so far, and the cycle has received pledges of almost $400,000.
Transfield out, artists in
BY MICHAEL KOZIOL Artists have indicated they will return to the Biennale of Sydney now that it has dumped the Transfield Foundation as a sponsor. Conceptual artist Ahmed Ogut, who lives and works in the Netherlands, said he did not see any reason to continue boycotting the Biennale now that the contract has been severed. “I see this as a very positive development for the future of the Biennale of Sydney and the role of Bienniales in general,” he told City News. “I think now the discussion should be brought to a wider stage. It is time to join forces together as one voice; all artists, curators, art workers and cultural producers to create new constructive opportunities, develop further debates, carry our call to end [the Australian] government’s unethical policy of the mandatory detention of asylum seekers.” Ten out of 92 artists announced they would boycott the Biennale because part of its major sponsor’s money comes from Transfield Services, a company that has the contract to provide logistics on Manus Island and Nauru. After weeks of uncertainty, the Biennale’s chairman Luca Belgiorno-Nettis – who is
also the executive director of Transfield Holdings – announced his resignation from the Biennale board. In a statement, Mr Belgiorno-Nettis admitted the situation had reached “a crescendo” and that the festival now sat under “a dark cloud”. “I have tendered my resignation from the Biennale Board in the hope that some blue sky may open up over this 19th Biennale of Sydney…and its future incarnations,” he said. City of Sydney Greens councillor Irene Doutney applauded the outcome. “While I never personally called for his resignation, his decision to step aside leaves a clean slate,” she said.
But the federal communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has called on the Biennale to reconsider its decision, and expressed his hope that Mr Belgiorno-Nettis might return as chairman. Speaking on ABC radio, he warned that the decision will put the future of the festival at risk. “If we lose the Biennale as a consequence of this that would be an absolute tragedy,” he said. “I think it’s extraordinary, the sheer vicious ingratitude of it all.” NSW hospitality minister George Souris noted the artists still accept grant money from the federal government. With John Gooding
‘No reason to not participate’: Conceptual artist Ahmed Ogut
The Supreme Court’s breakthrough ruling to allow New South Wales residents to record their sex as neither male nor female on legal documents was contested last week in the High Court. Norrie mAy-welby, who identifies as being neither exclusively male nor female, has been an advocate for the legal recognition of sexual categories beyond the male/female binary. In 2010, the NSW Registrar rejected Norrie’s application to change the sex recorded on their Birth Certificate from ‘male’ to ‘not-specific’. Last May, the Supreme Court overruled the Registrar’s decision, finding the construction of the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Act allowed for a nonbinary understanding of Norrie’s sex. But the Registrar appealed, maintaining that “the [Supreme] court erred in confusing issues of personal sexual identity with legal categorisation of sex”. That appeal was heard in the High Court of Australia last Tuesday. Norrie, who identifies as neuter and does not have gonads or hormonal levels typical to either males nor females, says the appeal reflects the need for “a shift in the thinking in the modern law system from having to classify people as one thing or another”.
Photo: Chris Peken
High Court to decide Norrie’s case Green Left BY PHOEBE MOLONEY
Gender activist Norrie MAy-Welby
“That everyone has to be male or female and that this is a necessary premise of our law is just an assumption. And assuming makes an ass out of you and me,” they said. With the majority of sex-specific laws being dismantled in the past half-century, Norrie believes “recognising people as they see themselves” will only act to further social progress.
“Society is moving more and more towards equality between the sexes. So why should it matter if your legal identity is male or female?” they asked. “A woman with prostate cancer needs to be operated on, a man with a uterus still needs to be treated. Our sex shouldn’t determine what treatment we get from society, what rights we have or what jobs we can do.” The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) similarly recommended that a ‘sex unspecified’ category be added to all legal documentation in its 2009 report on sex discrimination. In regard to that report, Norrie affirmed: “There has been a lot of consultation with intersex, sexually and gender diverse communities in this matter. I am not an outsider. In fact, I think I am acting in line with the establishment.” If the appeal fails, Norrie is confident that a change in the legal procedure of sex registration will be a positive one. “I think allowing people more freedom in how their sex is listed on legal documentation, if at all, is workable and can only benefit us all,” they said. The High Court’s judgment on whether it is lawful to introduce a third category of sex identification in to NSW legislation is expected to be passed down within the next three months.
Weekly rustles up 1000 issues
BY JOHN GOODING After more than 20 years in print, the Green Left Weekly has celebrated its 1000th issue, which was published on Wednesday. The newspaper, distributed across Australia, views itself as a progressive alternative to growing levels of media concentration and actively campaigns for a range of causes including feminism, anti-imperialism and the protection of civil liberties. At the beginning of the year the paper attempted to raise $100,000 before the 1000th issue hit the stands. This goal was achieved on February 20, with 21 days to spare. “We rely on subscribers and donations, rather than advertising, to survive, so the ‘new media’ landscape has helped us get a wider readership,” said Mel Barnes, a co-editor of the newspaper. “We give space for voices that are rarely heard in the mainstream media. Our writers are not professional journalists but people who are involved in community campaigns and report on these issues from a grassroots perspective.” Green Left Weekly was founded in 1991 as an initiative of the Democratic Socialist Party, which no longer exists. “But the paper continues a close relationship with the Socialist Alliance, whose members make up the bulk of volunteers who distribute the paper each week,” The Socialist Alliance, a political party also involved in grassroots activism, has a column in the paper each week entitled ‘Our Common Cause’. Writing in the International Journal of Socialist Renewal, Ms Barnes said the two arms
compliment each other to agitate for change. “Although a newspaper is a useful tool to campaign for socialist ideas, people need to be organised to see these ideas become reality,” she wrote. A number of luminaries have sent the paper praise for reaching its 1000th issue, including former Greens leader Senator Bob Brown, and veteran Australian journalist John Pilger. “Those of you who produce Green Left Weekly should never regard yourselves as on the margins. In fact, you are the true mainstream,” said Pilger. But the paper has drawn criticism from other media outlets. Former Labor adviser Troy Bramston decried it as having an “ignorant, moralistic and simplistic worldview” in his column in the Australian newspaper. A launch event will be held at the Annandale Neighbourhood Centre on Saturday, March 15.
The cover of the Green Left Weekly’s 1000th issue
A prayer for recognition
my studies at uni, I’m really looking forward to doing community work,” she said. “Hopefully I can work with refugees and asylum seekers.” Next week, Ms Tsomo will undertake a journey of a different kind, as part
of a 12-member delegation bound for Canberra who are urging support for the Tibetan cause. A series of meetings with senators and members of parliament will take place on Tibet Advocacy Day, March 17, which is organised by the Australia Photo: Chris Peken
BY PAUL GREGOIRE At the age of 14, Yeshi Tsomo made the hazardous trek across the Himalayas from Tibet into Nepal, escaping the repression of the Chinese government. Accompanied only by her cousin, Ms Tsomo left her family behind in Tibet seeking a new life in India, where she lived in the hill station of Dharamsala before studying in the southern city of Chennai. “It was quite a long journey across the Himalayas to get to Nepal. So it really took us a long time, it was windy and it was really hard for us,” Ms Tsomo said. India, she explains, is not a signatory to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. “So even though there are a large number of people in India coming from other countries, we are not refugees. We are stateless.” Now age 32, Ms Tsomo resides in Stanmore and is studying a Masters in Human Rights at the University of Sydney. Her goal is to work with refugees in Australia. “Last year I did a Diploma in Community Service and after I finish
From Tibet to Canberra: Yeshi Tsomo
Tibet Council and is in its third year. The delegation will discuss the situation in Tibet from a Tibetan perspective as well as raise awareness of the public support the issue has within politicians’ constituencies. “Not all the politicians are aware of what’s going on inside Tibet. We’re really going there with the hope that we can give them some insights about the Tibet issue,” Ms Tsomo said. “The Chinese have such strong propaganda...and the politicians hear only the one side of the story, so I hope to give them a balanced perspective from both sides.” Since 2009, 127 Tibetans have self-immolated. Ms Tsomo said the underlying reasons for this situation will be discussed at the meetings in Canberra. “If you look at why they are self-immolating it’s because of the repressions, especially the religious repressions that are taking place inside Tibet,” she said. “Also because of the economic marginalisation of the Tibetan people and then the environmental policies the Chinese
government has followed.” Another issue the delegation will be addressing is the Chinese government’s policy of resettling nomadic Tibetans in urban areas. “It is causing us great social and economic problems because a large number of Tibetans are nomads and the nomad’s way of the life is the only way of life these Tibetans have known,” Ms Tsomo said. “So once they are moved into the urban area they really lose their livelihood, their sense of identity. [It is] causing more social problems in terms of unemployment, gambling and alcoholism.” For Ms Tsomo, the solution would be to have genuine autonomy under Chinese rule, which is a view shared by the Dalai Lama and the Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, Dr Lobsang Sangay. “Under genuine autonomy what we are really asking for is our own power to make decisions regarding our culture, environment and economy,” she said. Tibet Advocacy Day will take place in Canberra on March 17.
A sad end for GAYTMs BY Ranee Orklin Two “GAYTMs” that were vandalised Oxford Street at the weekend will not be replaced, as they were being decommissioned anyway, the ANZ bank says. The bank’s machines had been covered in rainbow panels to celebrate Mardi Gras, and Sunday night’s act of vandalism has been labelled by some locals as a homophobic attack. NSW police confirmed they were called to the scene around 8pm on Sunday after reports that two men had damaged the ATMs with a metal bar. Inspector Cheryl Wharton said although there was no damage made to the ATMs, the police will continue to investigate but she “very much doubted” that it was a targeted attack. But NSW Police corporate spokesperson for LGBTI people, Superintendent Tony Crandell, said an investigation was currently underway into the motive behind “what may be a biased-related, albeit senseless attack”. In total, ten of the bank’s ATMs had been glammed up for Mardi Gras. ANZ this year became the inaugural
principal partner of the festival. This act of vandalism has sparked heated discussions on social media platforms as people voiced their disgust and disappointment. Drag diva Maxi Shield was walking along the Oxford Strip to the Midnight Shift when she came across the destroyed ATM facades. “It’s disappointing to see people out of their comfort zone react to Oxford Street like this…I’d like to see the over the top gay presence back the way it used to be,” she said. Ms Shield believes it would have been a great step forward for ANZ to keep the GAYTMs on Oxford Street to symbolise LGBTI support from a corporate business. But the remaining eight GAYTM facades were decommissioned on Monday night as originally planned. “We were disappointed two of our GAYTM’s were vandalised over the weekend, particularly considering the positive feedback the campaign received as a way to celebrate inclusion and diversity during the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival,” an ANZ spokesperson said.
WestConnex documents to be revealed By MICHAEL KOZIOL The NSW government will be forced to reveal the full WestConnex business case within two weeks at the behest of the upper house. The parliament passed Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi’s motion last week, with the support of Labor and the Shooters and Fishers, calling for the final business case and all related advice to be tabled. So far, the government has only released the executive summary but not the full document or its drafts, arguing that doing so would damage the government’s position in ongoing commercial negotiations. “There is a range of commercial imperatives that would be totally compromised if released at this stage, not the least of which being that New South Wales taxpayers could get ripped off,” the Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay, told the chamber. He accused the Greens and Labor of an ambush that would have “serious consequences” for NSW. “You are idiots walking across an area of great development for this state that will fix our traffic congestion and economic development,” he said. Liberal MLC Catherine Cusack went even further, suggesting the call for papers would “scrape the guts out of a tender process that has not even been concluded” and amounted to governance “redolent of Robert Mugabe”. She estimated the cost of the order would be greater than $400,000. But Ms Faruqi said inner west communities are upset about a lack of transparency and consultation around the WestConnex plans. She said the documents released so far were “devoid of detail and shamefully vague”, unbefitting of such an expensive major project. “The WestConnex Tollway is a 12 billion dollar lemon that will do nothing to ease Sydney’s congestion crisis,” she said. Leichhardt Greens councillor and WestConnex opponent, Rochelle Porteous, said the business case would reveal a lot of useful information that
Successful call for papers: Mehreen Faruqi
is currently unavailable, including traffic analysis, rezoning and detailed planning for the Leichhardt, Annandale and Camperdown areas. “They still haven’t come out with the preferred route, the stacks, the ramps, where they’re going to out them,” she told City News. “They’re obviously planning to trash some of the heritage zoning that currently exists – where are they planning to trash and who is really benefiting from WestConnex? Because it’s certainly not the local communities.” Cr Porteous dismissed the government’s claim that releasing the confidential information will damage its commercial position. “The fact is that WestConnex is public infrastructure. It needs public scrutiny,” she said. “It’s unprecedented, the level of secrecy that the government has invoked.”
Kolotex redevelopment to press ahead BY JOHN GOODING An eight-storey apartment complex at the former Kolotex and Labelcraft site in Leichhardt should go ahead, Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson argues, because it is a modest proposal in line with changing consumer preferences. The NSW government sidestepped Leichhardt Council to approve the rezoning of the George Street sites for medium-density residential development. Up to 330 apartments could be built on the sites, which currently contain unoccupied industrial buildings. It is now the only medium density zoning in the immediate area, with potential for building heights of up to eight stories, or 32 metres. The rezoning resulted from an amendment made to the Leichhardt Local Environment Plan by NSW Planning and Infrastructure, under the direction of the minister, Brad Hazzard. Although Leichhardt Council was bypassed in the rezoning process, its approval will still be needed for any specific development proposal. Having failed to stop the rezoning, Balmain Greens MP Jamie Parker now wants Leichhardt Council to block any forthcoming DA.
“A development application will now be lodged with Leichhardt Council and we’re calling on the council to listen to residents and refuse it,” he said. Leichardt Mayor Darcy Byrne also criticised the move, saying that NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell ran on a mandate to “return planning controls to local communities” and that this amendment was a “clear broken promise”. But Mr Johnson, whose organisation represents developers, said reasonable construction must go ahead to accommodate increasing demand for apartments, and that eight-storeys is a good fit for the area. “The urban renewal of redundant industrial sites
like the Kolotex and the Labelcraft sites in Leichhardt must occur at reasonable densities if Sydney is going to accommodate its inevitable growth,” Mr Johnson argued. “Consumers are now preferring to live in inner city areas rather than on the fringe and this means we must get the most out of the renewal of industrial sites. “Eight storeys can easily be accommodated in inner urban areas. Trees can grow to an eight storey height, softening the building design.” If the 330 apartments are built, 1700 direct and indirect jobs would be sustained during construction, according to NSW Planning and Infrastructure, with 125 jobs ongoing after completion.
The abandoned Kolotex industrial site in Leichhardt
BY MICHAEL KOZIOL Six weeks after first announcing it had been “saved”, Leichhardt Council has signed off on a plan to sell the Italian Forum Cultural Centre to Co. As. It., an Italian community organisation, in a move that appears to defy the recommendation of the administrators, SV Partners. Under the $2.2 million deal, all creditors would be paid out immediately except the council, which will take a deferred payment. The sale, if accepted by the administrators, will place the current tenant - the Actors Centre Australia into uncertainty, because they have been unable to reach an agreement with Co. As. It. regarding a long-term lease. In an interview, Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne said it was the right decision because it will put the facility in not-for-profit hands. “It’s important to note that we [council] do not own or control this site, but as a substantial creditor, we tried to act responsibly to recoup our debt and to prevent the cultural centre being
privatised,” he said. “Council is willing to delay repayment of the debts we are owed in order to ensure that this remains a cultural centre for the benefit of the public, not a nightclub for a privately-owned business.” Novati Constructions, which helped build the centre, made a higher offer which was preferred by the administrator. But Mr Byrne said SV Partners had “made it clear to us in writing that they would not object to a sale that involved all creditors being paid out”. Stephen Hathway, executive director of SV Partners, described the saga to date as “an Italian stand-off”. He legally retains the right to sell the IFL’s assets to the highest bidder, but said he won’t exercise that right at this stage. “I haven’t got one contract in front of me that I can sign at the moment,” Mr Hathway said on Tuesday, before council’s resolution. “I can’t force something until I’ve got something to force.” Mr Byrne said he hoped Co. As. It. and the
Stage set for a stand-off the Italian Forum Cultural Centre Photo Novati Constructions
Actors Centre can reach an agreement but that ultimately it was a matter for them. Rent and use of the facility’s limited space are understood to be the two stumbling blocks in their negotiations. Meanwhile the ACA’s president, Dean Carey, has accused Leichhardt Council of spreading misinformation, using intimidation and coercion, and lacking transparency in its handling of the cultural centre’s sale. In a strongly-worded email to councillors sent a day before Tuesday’s resolution, Mr Carey said he and the ACA have suffered ongoing reputational damage as a result of the negotiations. “It is now approaching two months of a process marred by a distinct lack of transparency, misinformation, intimidation, coercion and force,” he wrote. “Due to a lack of decisive action by council and poor press management the damage to ACA’s brand, Hugh Jackman’s brand and my reputation has become palpable.” Mr Carey also accused councillors of being uninterested in solving the problem. “I’ve had one person from council visit me on site, I’ve had one phone call from councillors, and one email returned,” he told City News. On Friday last week, Co. As. It. representatives were on-site with a photographer, preparing to advertise the building for a new tenant. The advertisement on a real estate agency’s website was pulled down after administrator SV Partners warned Co. As. It. they could not legally advertise a building they do not yet own, and reported the matter to the Department of Fair Trading. “The general rule in NSW is you cannot advertise for sale or lease anything that you do not have approval from the proprietor of that property,” Mr Hathway explained. “They had no right to do it.” Co. As. It. did not respond to calls before deadline.
Cartoon: Peter Berner
Italian stand-off ends
Growth is the word for seniors
York, where lower-cost housing for seniors also incorporates a lot of amazingly creative activities like theatre, film, art,” she said. “Creative activity helps us with our general cognitive abilities as we age, and it makes us a lot happier and healthier.” The epicenter of that activity is the Hannaford Centre on Darling Street, Rozelle, which was established as a venue focusing on seniors in 1976. When City News visits on a Monday afternoon, there is a round of table tennis in session and an unfinished game
of Scrabble. The centre will host exercise classes and other events as part of NSW Seniors Week. But a key challenge for the Seniors Council is managing the future of aged care. John Williams, 68, who also sits on the council, explains that many facilities in the Leichhardt area are fast approaching their use-by date. Uniting Church homes established in the 1960s are showing signs of wear and tear, as is the Sister Dorothea Village in Annandale, which he says will have difficulty attaining reaccreditation. Photo: Chris Peken
By MICHAEL KOZIOL Sara Graham keeps coming back to one word: growth. The 78-year-old widow, who lives alone in Annandale, is keen to impress upon the community the importance of the “growing” bit in “growing old”. “That’s the word I really think you should use,” she tells me. If growth is the goal, engagement is the means. Ms Graham is concerned about older people’s level of activity and community participation, encouraging seniors to “get out and mix with people”. She practices what she preaches – in between her many lunch clubs, discussion groups and meetings of Leichhardt Seniors’ Council, there doesn’t appear to be much time left over for anything else. “Healthy ageing is very much associated with an active life and being involved in the life of the community,” she says. A ‘healthy ageing strategy’ is the current preoccupation of Leichhardt Seniors’ Council, which meets once a month and feeds recommendations to the main council. Erica Aronsten, 68 and on the council, said the strategy will help integrate housing and aged care with the activities necessary to stimulate older minds. “There’s a lot of research being done around the world, including the US in Los Angeles and New
Members of Leichhardt Seniors Council, Robert Webb and Erica Aronsten
“We are aware that Leichhardt Council is giving priority to securing accommodation and care for those seniors with age-related disorders who are most in need,” Mr Williams said. “There is a Memorandum of Understanding under negotiation with Uniting Church’s care arm that will enable a new facility in Norton Street to include accommodation for aged persons with disabilities.” Mr Williams said the council is also reassessing all zoning for aged care with a view to reconfiguring and expanding capacity. He said a push toward better childcare services is also vital - census data shows that 22 per cent of Leichhardt residents aged 65 and over provide unpaid childcare, some close to full time. Other challenges involve transportation - the group notes that while the area is well-served by buses, not everyone can get to a bus stop. Ms Graham knows people who would like to attend events such as the monthly HOPE luncheon (Healthy Older People Eating) or the Not So Young Club, but can’t because they are unable to access transport. For others, it’s simply a matter of putting themselves out there. “Sometimes you have to take the initiative,” Ms Graham said. “We’re trying to shake things up,” Ms Aronsten added. “We’re all going to live so much longer now – and that’s a long time to fill in!”
Three strikes and you’re out BY triana o’keefe No strikes have been recorded against city venues since the introduction of Barry O’Farrell’s lockout laws, the government says. The ‘three strikes” disciplinary scheme, which came into effect in 2012, imposes strikes when a licensee or approved manager is convicted of one of a range of the most serious offences as set out by the Liquor Amendment Act. These acts include permitting intoxication on premises, supplying a minor with alcohol, non-compliance with a closure order and breaching key liquor licence conditions applying to violent venues. Hospitality minister George Souris said it is an indication that the new laws are “working”. Since January 1, 2012 there have been 83 strikes recorded against 79 venues, including one third strike and three second strikes. That amounts to just one strike every ten days across the whole of the state. “The NSW government’s three strikes disciplinary scheme has provided unprecedented motivation for all licensed venues to lift their game or risk the ultimate
sanction,” he said. But the scheme has come under fire from alcohol policy campaigners as being ineffective. Kings Cross nightclub Bada Bing has hosted intoxicated customers, breached its liquor licence conditions and even had staff violently attack patrons, according to a brief given to authorities by Kings Cross police last year. But the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing said no strikes have been issued against the club because none of the incidents meet the criteria of the scheme. Mr O’Farrell has highlighted the laws as one of the government’s “key responses to combating alcohol-related violence”. But alcohol campaigner Tony Brown said the revelation exposed the scheme’s ‘’complete impotency and makes a lie of the government’s mantra that we have the toughest liquor laws in Australia’’. Local venues that have incurred a first strike include the Shady Pines Saloon and the Grounds of Alexandria for selling liquor outside licensed hours and keeping the premises open outside of licensed hours respectively.
Jump for diverse theatre By georgia fullerton Following the success of the 2012 Playwriting Festival, director Vanessa Bates and the NSW Writers’ Centre will present the 2014 Playwriting Festival on Saturday, March 29. The festival will feature a range of theatre makers, producers and playwrights expressing their voices on issues affecting modern theatre. Writer Lally Katz will provide the festival’s keynote address, with Ned Manning, Jane Bodie and Polly Rowe among others sharing their insights. Artistic director of Playwriting Australia, Tim Roseman, will also speak on the day. “The conversation this year will be about how playwrights can articulate the big questions that we have within our society, exploring the role of the playwright as a cultural beacon,” says Roseman. “Our playwrights in Australia are not given enough of a platform to speak their minds, as playwrights in America and the UK are.” Roseman, who is also a dramaturge and producer, has directed an extensive list of plays in the UK and Australia. “We are also discussing what the role of the artist is in society and how we would go about making both as interesting as possible. One of the key functions of the playwriting festival is to let audiences see the range of things that can happen in a playwrights’ minds, the possibilities of new writing are often limited by the practicalities,” he says. A discussion panel featuring Tim Roseman, with playwrights Donna Abela,
Nakkiah Lui, Jane Harrison, and Ned Manning, will also address the question of whether or not there is enough diversity in Australian theatre. “I think we’ve known about the lack of diversity in theatre for over thirty years and it’s something we should always be questioning. It became clear to me personally when I was looking through all the plays I have admired and adored for many years and I realised they were all by white people.” Here are the facts. Out of 270 Australian Playwrights surveyed by NSWWC, 93 per cent identified themselves as Anglo-Saxon. Each year, Screenwriting Australia receives 300 new script submissions; they develop and promote 30 new plays. “If you’re running a theatre you view the best plays to show to audiences and the best plays most of the time are written by Anglo-Saxons, we have to start thinking more generously and long term about what to do as an entire culture. We also have to think about what to do now in terms of developing artists and audiences,” says Roseman. “We have to make sure that our cultural panorama is engaging with working in drama schools from all different areas and diverse backgrounds.” Those from a culturally diverse background currently account for 7.3 million of Australia’s population; Roseman added that only 13 per cent of plays produced last year were by writers reflecting this number. “The long term vision is easy to articulate, it’s the immediate challenge which poses the dilemma, which is that
there is not enough multicultural work that is good enough to be viewed as equal quality to long-established white playwriting traditions,” he says. Playwriting Australia has developed the Lotus Asian-Australian Playwriting project, the aim of which is to mentor and train Asian-Australians who are interested in pursuing writing for theatre. “The Lotus Asian-Australian Playwriting Project has been a significant adventure for us, for many years we have been working in play programs and training programs for people from Indigenous backgrounds, we haven’t really had much time to focus on AsianAustralian talent. Free playwriting workshops will be hosted in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney as part of this project. “We looked for some published AsianAustralians and could find almost nothing, this means we are not telling the actual range of stories that exist in Australia, our goal is to train a new generation of AsianAustralian playwrights,” says Roseman. He lists playwright and panellist Donna Abela as a thrilling voice and a beacon for modern theatre. Abela’s recent production for the Griffin Theatre, Jump for Jordan, won the 2013 Playwriting Prize. The play centres on an aspiring archaeologist who leaves home, much to the dismay of her highly traditional Jordanian mother. Jump for Jordan explores the dilemma faced by many young Australians, of being caught between two dominant cultures, while trying to maintain their own identities in modern society.
“Jump for Jordan brings together characters who do not normally feature front and centre. Five of the six characters are Arabic or of Arabic descent, five are women, and two are lesbian. This is not because I wanted to tick any boxes, but because such people are just an everyday part of where I live and work,” says Abela. “As a playwright, I am very conscious of the characters and voices omitted from our stages and screens, and where I can, I leap at the chance to redress this. Also, the clash of cultures, the negotiation of
our differences, the forging of reconciled ways forward, is fantastic material for a dramatist.” She continues, “The festival date coincides with the closing night of Jump For Jordan, and so is well timed for me to offer my reflections about the making of the play and the amazing reception is it receiving.” (GF) Mar 29, NSW Writers’ Centre, Callan Park, Balmain Rd, Rozelle, $50-90, (02) 9555 9757, nswwc.org.au
EAT & DRINK
Heritage Belgian Beer Café What a difference 90 years and 40 storeys makes! This beautiful beer cafe is housed in a restored 1914 St Patrick’s Girls’ School hall, sympathetically integrated with the neighbouring Cove Apartments designed by Harry Seidler and finished in 2004. Start your Belgian beer adventure with Stella Artois ($9/330ml). Its silky mouth feel and creamy mousse come courtesy of staff being ”trained in the ritual $ - mains less than $15
$$ - mains between $15-$22
ROCKS & CBD Gowings Bar & Grill Despite the glamour, I found this restaurant surprisingly approachable, and frequented by a diverse range of people. A casually dressed woman, relaxing with a novel and classic Prawn Cocktail ($18) for companionship, proves my point. Entertained by the lively sounds of the upstairs function space, you’re unlikely to feel lonely if you pop in for flavoursome Hot Spanner Crab Cakes ($19) or perfectly handled Darling Downs Black Angus Rib Eye ($48/350g) with condiments on the side.Tartare of Yellowfin Tuna ($18) is marvellously simple, whilst a pair of Whole Roasted Quails ($38) prove indulgent. Sides
By Jackie McMillan – the nine steps of pouring Stella Artois,” explains Manager Gonzalo Burgos. He’s a Gallagher Hotels stalwart who’s been brought over to settle in their latest acquisition. As he takes me through a matched food and beer journey he explains: “Belgian beers are all about cleanliness.” My favourite was Leffe Blonde ($9/250ml) with a distinctive clove note that made it the perfect companion to Abbey Cheese Croquettes ($15) with pear jam. The sweet jam made a nice counterpoint to Homemade Duck Rillettes ($18) with sharp pickles (including pickled green olives) and fluffy rye bread, accompanied by Duval ($13.50/330ml). The house speciality is Moule Kilo Pots ($30) of Kinkawooka (SA) mussels; I take mine ‘Roquefort’ with Chardonnay, cream and spinach. They’re not bad with Peche Lambic ($13/330ml) probably the nicest fruit beer I’ve tried – which also suits a salad of Brussels Sprouts, Roast Duck, William Pear, Hazelnuts and Honey Vinaigrette ($26). 135 Harrington Street, The Rocks (02) 9241 1775 heritagebarandrestaurant.com.au Pub Bistro, Belgian $$$$ $$$ - mains between $22-$30
are necessary, and so is dessert – the perfectly pink pleasure of a layered verrine of Berry Mousse ($15). Level 1, 49 Market Street, Sydney (02) 8262 0062 qtsydney.com.au Modern Australian $$$$ Star Bar Some people have pubs in their blood; fourth generation hotelier Kim Maloney is a prime example, operating Sydney’s St. James, Maloney’s, Sanctuary and Shark hotels, plus The Clock Hotel in Queensland. Unsurprisingly his newly renovated Star Bar is a slick operation.The $2 million facelift references to the building’s previous inhabitants: Planet Hollywood, and 1930s predecessor Plaza Cinema. His kitchen coup is Danny Russo who supplements
$$$$ - mains over $30
good steaks – a 400g Rib Eye ($33) - modern Italianate dishes. Expect heaving Antipasto Platters ($17) to Verdura Pizza ($16), to a Russolini Parma Burger ($17) boasting crumbed Angus patty, melted mozzarella and Napoli sauce that eats well with Birra Moretti ($7.50) and Italian Slaw ($6). 600 George Street, Sydney (02) 9267 7827 starbar.com.au Pub Bistro, Modern Italian, Pizza $$ Two Sticks Lying close to Thailand, China’s Yunnan region is famous for mushrooms, flowers, salads, cold noodles and individual hotpots, and it’s set to become Sydney’s next big thing. Housed under a bright yellow ribcage, this small, fast-paced eatery bustles with diners and black-clad staff. Dai
Vic on the Park In my ever-widening search for a pub with something different, I’m forced to admit I might have misjudged the humble slider. This fast-paced yellow kitchen – clearly delineated with a suitably hipster font – produces four winning Sliders ($20/4) from a repertoire of six. “Beef” ($6) with pickles, onion, cheese and French’s yellow mustard mayo is hard to beat; but by doubling up “Vego” ($6) with grilled Style Enoki Salad ($3.80) is spicy (as most dishes are). Order it alongside a hotpot - Yunnan Signature Rice Noodle Soup ($11.80) delivers pork and chicken stock accentuated by quail eggs, silky rice noodles, slivered beef and chicken. Hot and Numbing Beef ($4.80) cold garlic poached beef slices with spicy chilli dressing - and Yunnan Signature Fries ($3.80) that take ordinary crinkle-cut fries somewhere extraordinary - are musteats. 694 George Street, Sydney facebook.com/Twosticksaustralia Chinese $ NEWTOWN & ENVIRONS The Henson Your hipster pub life needn’t stop when you have kids! Bring your beard,
haloumi and a zucchini fritter, plus mixed leaves and dill yogurt, it’s a vegetarian game-changer. I even liked their brown-paper serving method that keeps ‘em separated; cuts down on mess, and allows you to two-hand them with crafty brews, like Pikes Oakbank Pilsner Lager ($8.50). Additionally, the mainstays of this old-boozer turned local community hub have been updated rather than forgotten. The Pie of the Week ($17), bearing duck, chicken and mushrooms wrapped with credible pastry and topped by intense gravy and mushy peas, makes a mighty meal. However if you’re really starving, The Vic Roast ($26) with crisp-skinned pork belly, roast vegetables, greens and gentler apple’n’cider gravy, should curb even the fiercest of appetites. A generous Sailor Jerry Jug ($22) made on fancy, organic StrangeLove ginger beer provides enough drinking fuel to check out The Projects – their outdoor space offering seating, parking, graffiti and basketball! 2 Addison Road, Marrickville (02) 9557 1448 vichotel.com.au Pub Bistro, Cocktails, Burgers $$-$$$
your tatts, your children, yes, even your dog (true story) and save on funky Mac & Cheese ($14) rippled with silver beet, cauliflower and leek. The rest of the menu is eclectic but inviting, from Duck Shepherd’s Pie ($23) baked in an enamel-coated tin plate, to Brown Rice Kim Chee Goreng, Pork Belly, Fried Egg and Sambal ($24) – a curious Indonesian/ Korean collision that works. If you’re into craft brews, the on-tap Stone & Wood Summer Ale ($5.80) is a beauty; if not, a bottle of 2011 Belgravia ‘Apex’ Chardonnay ($40) will get you into the friendly backyard vibe. 91 Illawarra Road, Marrickville (02) 9569 5858 thehenson.com.au Pub Bistro $$-$$$ Mojo By Luke Mangan Enter a virtual temple of Luke Mangan,
starting at the door with name-brand products, and ending in the rear with his name in lights. He built it, and they have come, in their BMWs and Audis, to slum it warehouse-style under cage fight lights, eating from enamelcoated tin plates. Sure the Lobster & Vietnamese Salad Bao Bun ($15.50) is a slider by another Mother, but it’s a goody; ditto the Tempura Prawn Steamed Bun ($9.50) with chipotle and pineapple salsa. Raw Beef Fillet ($14) takes tartare to Mexico, whilst Morocco produces my dish of the night – Cauliflower with Harissa Yoghurt ($14).The 2011 Kooyong Beurrot Pinot Gris ($12/glass) suits it. 8-10 Danks Street, Waterloo (02) 9002 5346 lukemangan.com/ restaurants/mojo-by-luke-mangan Tapas $$
EAT & DRINK
Verde Restaurant & Bar Despite Verde being a Stanley Street stalwart for the last six years, it had escaped my notice until a “stupendous” review in Gault & Millau’s debut entry into Sydney’s reviewing scene. Expecting something of a fine-diner, I was surprised to find a modern space serving home-style Southern Italian. Chef Antonio Ruggerino explains his menu as “basically what you’d find on my Mother’s table.” He suggests an array INNER WEST The Merton Hotel With “no pokies, and no gambling of any kind,” The Merton Hotel is “very family-oriented,” explains Bar Manager Jake Dylan. After a Peroni ($7.00/schooner) in the cosy front bar, we head to the bistro armed with the 2011 Botanica Chardonnay ($30/bottle). The menu combines the talents of a Thai Head Chef and a Mexican Sous Chef. We settle for Curry Goat ($23) - tender Booma Boers goat meat in a rich, flavoursome Caribbean curry. Tableside Pickapeppa Spicy Mango Sauce adds an element of sweetness to the robust flavours, enhancing Jamaican Jerk Chicken ($22) and Pulled Pork Tacos ($14/3) too. The Betel Leaves ($8/3) convince me to
By Alex Harmon With fear and loathing spreading through the Cross, it is nice to see The Carlisle restore our faith in Sydney drinkers’ humanity. This bar wins my most clever and sexy cocktail title: the Rye An’ Gosling $$ - mains between $15-$22
GREATER SYDNEY Sedap Malaysian Kopitiam Part café, part street-side hawker, this addition to Westfield Eastgardens new Banks Avenue dining precinct offers al fresco dining and paved paths. It feels like an artificial land, even on a busy Thursday evening. We relax into an Ice Coffee ($4) laced with heavenly condensed milk. Crisp Pork Rolls ($4/each) are wrapped in bean curd and come with a delicious garlic chilli sauce, while Szechuan Ribs ($15.80) are finger licking good. Everyone’s favourite Malaysian dish,
of antipasti; my favourite being his Mum’s recipe – hockey puck-shaped Potato and Parsley Fritters ($10). Alongside meaty Warmed Sicilian Olives ($10) in chilli and garlic confit, and tender Chilli Dusted Calamari ($12), they make great drinking snacks against a fruitdriven 2012 Woodlands Margaret River Chardonnay ($52/bottle). Simplistic pastas, like Linguine Vongole ($36) keep crowds of mostly regulars, and lunchtime corporates blessed with hefty expense accounts, coming back. I find it’s outclassed by Pan Fried Snapper with Saffron Pappardelle, Peas, Capers and Butter Sauce ($36). For something more substantial, there’s the Confit of Duck Leg with Herbed Gnocchi and Caramelised Balsamic Pear ($36). While you relax and wait for Anthonio’s Yellow Gum honeydrizzled Buffalo Milk Gelato ($14) (made by his mate at Gelatissimo) to wind things up, check out his black and white family photos, and his wall of owned racehorses, which happily “pay for themselves.” 115 Riley Street, East Sydney (02) 9380 8877 verde.net.au Italian $$$$
return to try the Thai dishes soon. 38 Victoria Road, Rozelle (02) 8065 9577 themertonhotel.com.au Pub Bistro,Wine,Thai, Jamaican $$ Nithik’s Kitchen Hankering for good Indian? This Rozelle gem by Chef Vikram Arumugam (ex-Aki’s) has an innovative and flavoursome menu. 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) gives an oral and artistic demonstration of Vikram’s flavour palate. Great coconut chutney and homemade ghee notches Masala Dosa ($13) above most I’ve tried.Vikram’s curries are all great: from Meen Manga Charu ($25)
The Carlisle Bar
$ - mains less than $15
By Jackie McMillan
of barramundi, coconut and green mango, to labour-intensive lycheestuffed 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 $$-$$$ EASTERN SUBURBS Elmo’s Restaurant Yes, it’s in a club, but this deceptively exciting restaurant is in a glass box overlooking Coogee Beach. Manager Vinni Dias is an excellent guide (and enthusiast) for the traditional end of this Brazilian-influenced Australian menu that includes Pão de Queijo ($8) cheese bread and Sydney Rock Oysters ($18/6) with flavoursome ‘kiss peppers’, lime, Spanish onion,
($18) made with Rye whiskey and Goslings rum, ginger beer and freshly squeezed apple juice. If Sydney’s women weren’t drinking whiskey before, they are now. Once you’ve had your fling, retire to the workman’s bar – a ‘steerage class’ lounge suited to post-work drinking and tapas snacking. The Homemade Haloumi ($14) is out of this world, and sadly out of our reach – made by an 86 year old Greek woman who only dishes it out to three Sydney chefs. Made with real milk (as opposed to powder), it’s the best haloumi I’ve ever had. Tortilla Chips ($16) with a fresh guacamole go hand-inmouth with a Skinny Bitch ($18) cocktail: because excess in denial is the Kings Cross way. Handsome and toothsome is the Spicy Chicken ($16), however the chef isn’t giving any secrets about the sauce away. Luckily he’ll talk you through the Prawn and Calamari ($18) with its three delectable dipping sauces. Don’t be alarmed, the Cross is a beguiling destination – and if you’re really concerned – just call it Potts Point. 2 Kellett St, Kings Cross (02) 9331 0058 thecarlislebar.com.au Bar, Bar Food, Cocktails $$ $$$ - mains between $22-$30
Char Kuey Teow ($12) stacks up well with pork sausage. The Beef Rendang ($14.40) is spot on, but Ice Cendol ($6) ‘green worm’ and mung bean noodles on shaved ice might be just for true Malay enthusiasts. Westfield Eastgardens, Banks Avenue, Eastgardens (02) 9344 7095 sedap.com.au Malaysian $ Minskys Hotel This newly renovated hotel - subtly masculine without being alienating to women – has kept the 1am kitchen. Publican Anthony Brady says: “We want people to like this place.” He’s clearly proud of the new menu by Robert Oey, who
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doesn’t forget it’s a pub, but notches up the standards. He delivers a well-rendered Caramelised Pork Belly ($25) with Asian ‘slaw; Crisp School Prawns ($10) that won’t damage your mouth; and great Chicken Liver Pate ($11) with house-made chutney. There’s also a smart, underpriced cocktail list with a Salted Coconut Espresso Martini ($14), plus an Enomatic wine pouring system – great when you need a big glass of Pichot Vouvray Sec ($13/150ml glass, $21/225ml glass). 287 Military Road, Cremorne 9909 8888 minskyshotel.com.au Pub Bistro, Cocktails,Wine $$-$$$
Mille Vini New management and Chef John Lanzafame rattling the pans finally gave me cause to visit this Italian wine bar, which - I’m almost ashamed to admit - has been in operation for over a decade. Better late than never I think, over a warmed skillet of Sambuca Fritti Olives ($6.50) that defied my intense aniseed expectations with compelling, syrupy sweetness. The coriander and palmito. The latter ingredient is a revelation in Baked Palm Heart, Tomato, Chutney, Pimento & Gorgonzola ($16), too. Escondidinho de Cogumelos ($15) delivers four types of mushrooms sautéed in garlic and butter, buried under cassava and cheese; but their biggest hit is Moqueca ($34) a red, coconut-enriched fish and prawn stew – oh and eight-buck Mojitos! Coogee Legion Ex-Service Club, 200 Arden Street, Coogee (02) 9665 8230 coogeelegionclub. com.au/elmos-restaurant/ Brazilian/Modern Australian $$-$$$ DARLO, KINGS X & SURRY HILLS Macleay Street Bistro In an age when restaurants are constantly rebadging, new owners
beautiful heritage-listed space lined with wines does tend to inspire a powerful thirst. I dabbled with a dry yet strawberry-scented 2012 Italian Collefrisio Cerasuolo Rosè ($12/glass), an affable companion to Torta di Melanzane ($16), baked eggplant with tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. To further illustrate what a friend we have in cheeses, Lanzafame’s Ricotta Infornata ($16) - a slow-baked wheel of ricotta drizzled with green olive salsa - proved another hit. However even it is eclipsed by a decadent Radicchio Salad ($17); dotted with orange segments, walnuts and yes, more cheese (this time goat). It’s easy to see why pairs of women occupy most tables, including my own. We pull back with a shared main of Rigatoni ($24), its chilli bite eased with muscatels, toasted pine nuts and basil, to guarantee room for dessert. Clinking spoons in Meringata ($12) taken in tandem with the 2012 Pizzini Brachetto ($12/glass) ensures we leave smiling. 397 Crown Street, Sydney (02) 9357 3366 millevini.com.au Bar,Wine, Italian $$$-$$$$
Mark Campbell and Phillip Fikkers are swimming against the tide. Patrons for over eighteen years, they bought the restaurant they loved; preserving the spot’s thirty-year history all the way down to the Classic Steak Tartare ($22) – lovingly beaten out tableside by a waiter who’s been there for five years. It sings against the 2011 Framingham Riesling ‘Classic’ ($13/ glass), that’ll also work with new Head Chef Tom Williams’ accessible Chicken Liver Pate ($16). Sous Chef Sophie Heath provides kitchen continuity – and excellent pan-fried Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi with Sage Beurre Noisette ($24).The serving size leaves space for her simple,White Chocolate Cheesecake ($16) too. 73a Macleay Street, Potts Point (02) 9358 4891 macleaystbistro.com.au Modern French,WIne $$$-$$$$
Old Growler In a basement on the cusp of Kings Cross, this bar has the ambience of a Nick Cave murder ballad with exposed bulbs, flaking walls and an abundance of bearded men. However the menu’s seasonal, the produce is free-range and ethically sourced. The Grass-Fed Beef Burger ($16) is whizzing around the room along with five-buck craft beers by Young Henry’s from 5-7pm.We snack on Haloumi Mozzarella Croquettes ($14), they’re more like balls but let’s not be pedantic - they taste bloody good. So does an elegant Pickled Green Mango ($9) with crushed pumpkin seeds, but be warned - her scotch bonnets are smoking hot! 216-218 William Street, Woolloomooloo oldgrowler.com.au Bar, Bar Food $$
FOOD NEWS Last week I popped down to the new Salt Meats Cheese pop-up store taking up temporary digs in the Sydney MLC Centre.Accompanied by a host of media personalities, including The Daily Telegraph’s new Sydney Taste Editor, Grant Jones, and NSW food producers’ best advocate, Lyndey Milan, I downed Aperol Spritzes and flirted with handsome young lads wrapping grissini with truffle honey and Serano Spanish prosciutto sliced on a fancy Berkel meat slicer.While Inner Westies like me are probably already familiar with the Alexandria warehouse’s large range, if you work in the CBD, this small store version offers up a selection of cured meats, flavoured salts, cheeses and freshly made pasta sauces - all perfect for the time-poor! If you decide to support it, the three-month trial might work out into a permanent store. Just sayin’. www.saltmeatscheese.com.au www.mlccentre.com.au
By Rebecca Varidel
After work, the CBD suits are standing around upright tables, watching the big screens of the sports bar, spilling onto the street. I’m still waiting for the less corporate Bar Bloke. When he arrives we try our test drink – a Whisky Sour and it hits the spot, even more so as bar manager Luke Reimann checked which whisky we wanted. Is it Happy Hour for $12 cocktails? I’m ready to try more and taken by the way Reimann has divided the regular list: Aperitif like Chilli Martini ($19); Femin such as Malibu Reggae ($17); Masculin with a classic Rusty Nail ($17); Dessert could be The Real White Russian ($18). My recommendation, a smoking Two Step of burnt orange gin and fresh fig paste, takes a little time, but (like waiting for the Bar Bloke) it was elegantly worth the wait. 2A Bligh Street, Sydney (02) 9223 0037 theflynn.com.au
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Life can be utterly unpredictable, and starting and raising a family can be both a rewarding and terrifying experience. Insomniac Theatre explores the joys and difficulties of parenting in their poignant comedic production of Motherhood Out Loud. The production is a series of skits that portray all the beautiful, hilarious and downright crazy moments of raising a family, says director and producer Maggie Scott. “It’s not a cutesy look at motherhood, all rosy with rosecoloured glasses on, it shows you the downsides too,” she says. Premiering in Australia after a hugely successful run in the United States, Motherhood Out Loud is a fiercely real and honest portrayal of the changing families in society. “It has a bit of everything, samesex family, adopted family, blended family. There are not just nuclear families anymore, there are many different mixes,” she says. The production uses simple monologues and staging to express the evolving experience of life, from
birth all the way to becoming a great-grandparent. “It goes from childbirth to the first day at school, to grandparents and everything in between, and let’s not forget the obnoxious teenagers!” she says. This unique and relatable show promises to make audiences laugh and tug at the heartstrings. (SO) Mar 19-Apr 6, The Exchange Hotel Balmain, 94 Beattie St, Balmain $18-25, trybooking.com/70560
DARK SIDE OF THE CROWN Dark Side of the Crown is an international dance and arts sensation, coming to Australia for its last hurrah. The production is choreographed and directed by world-renowned Jillina Carlano, and locally produced and performed by Jrisi Jusakos. “It’s a complete montage of various styles, yet it’s all complementary, it doesn’t look busy, and it fits the storyline perfectly,” says Jusakos. Coming from L.A. with some very talented local artists, this MiddleEastern dance extravaganza combines many different styles. It takes countries such as Chile, Greece, Brazil, Italy and Japan and fuses their culture and expression into this dark fictional fable which was written specifically for
the show by Brad MacDonald. It also features original composition by Paul Dinletir, Carlano’s husband. “This show appeals to everyone, it’s got a great dynamic. Dance, theatre, arts, and music - it has such vibrancy and it’s not just for adults, kids love it. You don’t have to know anything about belly dancing to enjoy the show.” says
HIGH WINDOWS LOW DOORWAYS Director Paul Gilchrist’s new production High Windows Low Doorways explores the idea of spirituality through the personal experiences of seven actors. These actors were each paired with their own writer to “retell a story from the actor’s own experience they would call spiritual, in the broadest possible sense of the word,” Gilchrist says. Seven personal tales are intertwined into one cohesive piece of theatre in this multi-playwright project, often with surprising views on spirituality. “People immediately assume you are going to talk about traditional religion, but we found that doesn’t
TIDY TOWN OF THE YEAR intensity of the dark subject matter with comedic relief. The comedy is rather relevant and deeply Australian, but would not be everyone’s cup of tea. There is a sense that the writers are trying too hard, perhaps, to make the subject matter serious, when they should have let the absurdity of the situation rein. (ATS) Until Mar 22, Old Fitzroy Theatre, 129 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo, $21-32, 1300 307 264, sitco.net.au
Photo: Katy Green Loughrey
In the lead up to Tidy Town of the Year being judged, the remote town of Gandiddiyup seems to be ready for a big win. None more so then the staff of the local motel. However, when they discover a headless, limbless body, blood proves to be just the beginning of their clean-up. Tidy Town of the Year certainly has its moments. Though the trio of actor/ writers means it has inconsistencies in pacing and style. Never-theless there are good laughs to be had which are able to balance the
Jusakos. “After this performance they’re selling all their costumes and props, this is the finale of Dark Side of the Crown. After all the well-received international performances, Australia is the perfect place to have the last show,” she says. (RM) Mar 16, Riverside Theatre, Church St & Market St, Parramatta, $27-72, riversideparramatta.com.au Photo: Bruno O’Hara
MOTHERHOOD OUT LOUD
really happen,” Gilchrist says. “The actors talk about things that are very real to them on an emotional level. The focus being on experiences as opposed to beliefs.” High Windows Low Doorways is at times both funny and sad, dealing with an otherwise sombre topic. “It’s really poetic and it really makes you think about the people you love, the people you’ve lost, and it makes you question the things you believe, about what’s important to you,” says Melita Rowston, one of the seven writers involved. (SM) March 19-30, TAP Gallery, 278 Palmer St, Darlinghurst, $15-25, subtlenuance.com
A NIGHT OF TANGO Sydney’s talented Omega Ensemble is joining creative forces with classical accordion virtuoso James Crabb for the first time at City Recital Hall Angel Place. As the first of their resident Virtuoso Series, Omega Ensemble will collaborate with Crabb in their performance, A Night of Tango. The performance aims to stir and tantalise the senses through the evocative and romantic nature of Spanish music. Omega Ensemble’s artistic director, David Rowden, is both excited and thrilled to be collaborating with Crabb, “He is one of the world’s most talented exponents of the classical accordion. He completely draws you
18 STAGE 19 SCENE 20 SOUNDS 21 SCREEN
into his world and it’s such an honour to be working with him.” He continues, “The classical accordion is such an incredible instrument – it’s like an entire orchestra in a box basically.” Rowden, who established the ensemble in 2005 alongside ten other young musicians, is passionate about the ensemble and the collaboration. He explains that Omega Ensemble brings a youthful energy to classical chamber music and encourages even the most musically inept to attend. “I hope that the energy we bring onstage convinces people to attend more classical music concerts.” With over nine years of experience
Arts Editor: Leigh Livingstone Music Editor: Chelsea Deeley
For more A&E stories go to www.altmedia.net.au
together, an upcoming album set to launch in March, and a sold-out first performance, Omega Ensemble should not to be missed. (EC) Mar 17, City Recital Hall Angel Place, 2 Angel Pl, Sydney, $55-65, cityrecitalhall.com
Contributors: Alexandra English, Alexis Talbot-Smith, Angela Stretch, Anita Senaratna, Cheryl Northey, Ciaran Tobin, Craig Coventry, Elise Cullen, Georgia Fullerton, Greg Webster, Hannah Chapman, Jamie Apps, Jemma Nott, Leann Richards, Lena Zak, Lisa Ginnane, Lyndsay Kenwright, Marilyn Hetreles, Mark Morellini, Mel Somerville, Melody Teh, Michael Muir, Michelle Porter, Nerida Lindsay, Olga Azar, Paul Gregoire, Rhys Gard, Rocio Belinda Mendez, Ruth Fogarty, Sean May, Sharon Ye, Shauna O’Carroll, Siri Williams, Tom Wilson,Vanessa Powell
Emcee Vorpal Suicide of the Suicide Girls playfully warns, “This is not your typical burlesque show.” With the Suicide Girls running the show, how could it possibly be anything generic? The hugely successful pinup site brought the masses a refreshing alternative to the rigid depictions of sexiness in mainstream pinup magazines. Now they are serving up a burlesque show unlike any other on their Blackheart Burlesque Australian Tour.
The show has been an international success for the Suicide Girls over the past five years, and is now bringing its unique brand of sex appeal back down under. For Vorpal, who became a Suicide Girl just last June and jetted off to America on less than 24-hoursnotice five months later to participate in Blackheart Burlesque, the show is, “...the coolest and most outrageous thing I’ve ever been a part of.” She notes that audiences can expect to get very much involved. “You will be covered in alcohol, food,
Lost Ragas is a band made up of Matt Walker, Shane Reilly, Simon Burke & Roger Bergodaz who were originally formed to perform live shows of Walker’s solo album, In Echoes of Dawn. Since those early days they have evolved into a much more collaborative effort. “We all have songwriting backgrounds from different projects in the past, so this felt great to be part of a band and exploring a new songwriting process,” says Walker. When asked what drives the band he says passionately, “We love creating new songs, and do it because it’s just part of us, it’s our voice, it’s as natural as talking. We all feel this is the strongest thing that any of us have been a part of.” The four-piece’s musical style features rustic vocals accompanied by instruments devoid of electronic elements. On their Phantom Ride Tour, Lost Ragas will be accompanied by Raised By Eagles and Jep & Dep to round out the country/blues/ Americana bill. (JA) Mar 14, Coogee Diggers, Carr St & Byron St, Coogee, $12.25, coogeediggers.oztix.com.au; Mar 15, The Factory Floor, 105 Victoria Rd, Marrickville, $15, factorytheatre.com.au
PERFORMANCE THE DROWSY CHAPERONE Set in a New York apartment, this “small quirky ensemble show” reveals the tale of a die-hard musical theatre fan that plays his favourite Broadway cast album on his turntable. The musical literally bursts to life in his living room and is transformed into an impressive Broadway set. An energetic production like
and bodily fluids,” she says. “That pretty much sums up what to expect. The girls stage-dive topless. It’s ridiculous.” Even those that are old hand at burlesque shows can expect the Suicide Girls to give them an experience unlike anything they’ve ever seen. (SW) Mar 15, The Metro Theatre, 624 George St, Sydney, $64.90-167.90 (VIP Meet and Greet), (02) 9550 3666, ticketek.com.au
Photo: Gez Xavier Mansfield
SUICIDE GIRLS BLACKHEART BURLESQUE TOUR
this being performed at the new Hayes Theatre Co Potts Point location, provides a much more intimate theatrical experience for the audience. Director Jay James-Moody promises an amazing show with a star-studded cast of Sydney’s finest musical talent. (CT) Mar 14-Apr 6, Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point, $30-48, hayestheatre.com.au JUMP FOR JORDAN goes some of the way to explain what it is like to be part of the
Stop Kiss jumps back and forth in time – is this a worthy technique? Or is it just an unnecessary complication to telling a story? Here, the technique certainly justifies itself right at the end where there’s a very poignant juxtaposition of the present broken young woman with her faithful partner, contrasting with the earlier friends in the euphoria of their burgeoning relationship. The whole cast does well but most impressive are the sustained and totally convincing performances of the two leads: Olivia Stambouliah (Callie) and Gabrielle Scawthorn
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 Abela). Much of the cast are of Arab descent and Sinclair says 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. (ATS) Until Mar 29, SBW Stables Theatre, 10 Nimrod St, Kings Cross, $49, 9361 3817, griffintheatre.com.au TRAVELLING NORTH An ageing couple flee Melbourne’s cold for the warmer far north
(Sara). The drum-kit that punctuates the scenes could perhaps use more cymbals, less skins? American accents are used and thankfully we do theirs better than they do ours. Ultimately Stop Kiss leaves the audience wondering how there can be hate crime toward anyone; least of all because of their sexuality. (Mmu) Until March 22, ATYP, Studio 1, The Wharf, Walsh Bay, $30, (02) 9270 2400, atyp.com.au
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 experiences of his mother-inlaw, 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 NAKED CITY
THE OLDEST STORY EVER GOLD!
By Coffin Ed, Miss Death & Jay Katz We are all supposed to become ecstatic when the Premier or one of his ministers announces the latest Hollywood blockbuster to be filmed in Sydney, lured here with a swag of generous government concessions.The moviemakers supposedly inject millions into the local economy and employ hundreds from the Australian film industry. But is there a piece of the Tinseltown action that we are missing out on? We are talking biblical epics - not the kind of low budget sword and sandal sagas that used to fill TV screens every Good Friday, but multi-million dollar productions like the forthcoming Noah starring Russell Crowe or Ridley Scott’s extravaganza Exodus. It’s no secret that Mel Gibson’s Passion Of The Christ, one of the bloodiest and most violent movies ever made, grossed a staggering $600 million plus and proved once and for all there is box office gold in the oldest story ever told. Australia needs to take the initiative and become more than just a film set and production house for all the predictable Hollywood claptrap. There’s no reason why we couldn’t corner the market in modern day biblical blockbusters whilst adding our own antipodean spin. The possibilities are endless. We might have missed the boat (so to speak) with the soon to be released Noah but what about a homegrown spinoff restricted to all Australian fauna? We could put somebody like John Jarratt in the crusty lead role refloating one of the old Manly ferries to rescue the critters against a global warming-induced
tsunami-like apocalypse. Throw in a touch of Dr. Doolittle and you could have an all-singing, all-dancing version with a chorus line of wombats and bilbies. Baz, where are you? Of course it doesn’t all need to be frivolous and there are some great biblical stories just crying out for the big screen. The 1962 Franco-ItalianAmerican production Sodom and Gomorrah was a salacious romp through the Old Testament’s version of Number 96 with its sordid tale of the notorious twin cities. We are immediately thinking Albury-Wodonga and a brilliant piece of contemporary product placement as Lot’s wife is transformed into a giant package of low sodium Saxa salt as she dares to look back across the border at naughty old Sodom. We could even cater for the evergrowing number of creationists; both here and in the US, with a kind of Adam and Eve meet the Flintstones hybrid. It’s common knowledge that many creationists believe dinosaurs roamed the earth during the book of Genesis and what better place to film the above than Clive Palmer’s neo-jurassic park at Coolum? Clive himself would make a superb Barney Rubble - a portly messenger from God whose mission it is to tell Adam and his girlfriend to go forth and multiply.Yabba dabba doo! Come on Australia, there are more good stories in the Bible than in the entire literary output of Shakespeare and Barbara Cartland put together. The best thing of all, nobody owns the copyright, unless you truly believe that it is all the word of God. That could be a problem of course for any budding biblical fillmmaker. Upset the creator with your adaptation of your favourite bible story and you can well end up as a pillar of low sodium salt!
TALKING THROUGH YOUR ARTS Getty-ing Images We no longer take any notice of most photographs. They are concealed in habit in the same way we ignore everything familiar in our environment and only notice what has changed. Last week the world’s first company to license imagery online announced that it is making more than 35 million stock photographs available for non-commercial use. Getty Images has dropped the watermark copyright for a bulk of its collection to combat the increasing illegal use of images being copied through the Internet. Established in 1995, Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein forged break-through licensing models for image management in the digital age and in March 2014 they make the world a more visual place. Change is informative, the familiar redundant. This is despite the fact that every day new illustrated newspapers are delivered in print and on screens, new posters framed to city walls and new advertising photographs appear in shop displays. In this permanently changing situation that we have become accustomed to, a simple right click of the mouse will get you an image free of watermark. But how free are we to get it from Getty? While tweeters, bloggers and
news outlets can use images for no cost, images cannot be used for any form of advertising. The Getty exchange will incorporate an embed tool that includes photographer attribution and a link to Getty’s homepage. In this competitive ether-environment you’d have to admire their world domination branding strategy. The company accounts for 150 million images overall. While we become more sidelined by the increasingly rich imagery, the ‘free’ option of use is low resolution and poor print quality. The embedding is an agreement between Getty, who calls the shots, and the online user, but what
about those taking the shots? What about the photographers? In October last year a US federal jury ordered Getty and Agence France-Presse to pay $1.2 million to photojournalist Daniel Morel for the use of photographs from his personal Twitter account. For Getty, business has profited from the digital shift, which has been hard on photographers. The photographers whose work is on offer through Getty have no say in this significant new business policy. It is beyond the ability for us to see what they are up to by controlling photographs in this way, but it is likely that the photographers will not gain anything. (AS) gettyimages.com.au
LITTLE SECRETS - PATRICIA CASEY
‘The Reclusive Impulse’ by Patricia Casey
According to artist Patricia Casey, everybody has an unknowable aspect. Casey’s works are showcased in the exhibition Little Secrets at NG Gallery in Chippendale. Her images are an intricate twining of the human and the natural. Tendrils of branches enfold the soft skin of young men and women, suggesting mysterious emotional fragments and eerily disturbing shadows. This is typified in A Half Truth, which features the haunting face of a girl peering from foliage of yuletide colours. The piece is a paradox of innocence and promise, invitation and rejection.
These pictures are a unique blend of photography, Photoshop and ancient embroidery produced on fabric. The artist is interested in sense memory and expresses this with bright threads of hand-sewn stitching. The personal touch adds an element of shimmering beauty and unusual texture to the obscured visages. Visually enticing and artistically innovative, Little Secrets is a hidden treasure. (LR) Until Mar 22, NG Art Gallery, 3 Queen St, Chippendale, free, ngart.com.au
DESIRE - PETER BAKA Dolls evoke childhood and innocence, but for Peter Baka, they embody carnality and dissonance. Desire is the name of the artist’s new exhibition at Robin Gibson Gallery. It is a show of quirky, emotive intelligence. Take for example, the ceramic figures nailed to the wall with their innards surgically removed to display movies and oddments. White Dress, a female form with a teacup hat and ballerina inserted in her abdomen is a telling portrayal of femininity, whilst her neighbour, I Like to Photograph Girls Naked, is the
male counterpart, complete with phallic camera. Together the couple illustrate the ying and yang qualities of gender. The statues are complemented by a series of green silhouettes made of copper and wood. Each piece is a story of love, urgency, jealousy and betrayal. An exposition that is confronting yet comforting, Desire is an adventure in playful and provocative artistic discourse. (LR) Until Mar 19, Robin Gibson Gallery , 278 Liverpool St, Darlinghurst, robingibson.net
‘White Dress’ by Peter Baka
SHAMELESS GUILTY Fast-paced, rocking and full of the punk underdog spirit; Shameless’ voice resonates with a mixture of sounds bouncing off one another, like a landslide of gravel. Just as fast, the tracks on Guilty come at the listener with a sense of pushing into their ears and irritating the brain, grating against it and producing restless energy. Listeners might want to move, yell and dance to this rough and ready explosion of sound. Push into this auditory blender and give in to the responsive scrambling rush that follows. (SP)
THE BROKEN HANDS DARKSIDE The Broken Hands are a four-piece NSW-based band who sound more like they were transported straight out of the British punk rock invasion of the late ‘70s. So Far Away, the first track from their EP Darkside, is a perfect example.Their style is solidfied by second track Elvira - an ode to a bewitching and unattainable vixen. Darkside and Sickman are pretty standard rock songs full of rough guitar riffs and wailing vocals. This small collection of songs is a brief dip into the world of The Broken Hands, a band that does very well live. Unfortunately Darkside needs more to leave a lasting impression. (LL)
JON CLEARY AND THE ABSOLUTE MONSTER GENTLEMEN It was once stated by French writer and musician Boris Vian that, “there are only two things: love, all sorts of love, with pretty girls, and the music of New Orleans... Everything else ought to go, because everything else is ugly.” A sentiment that, though it was made over sixty years ago, echoes true through revered bluesman Jon Cleary. He is ever nostalgic for his American home since his teenage years. From describing the melting pot of musical elements within this small Louisiana city, to a brief account of its history, Cleary is undoubtedly where he wants to be. “I always feel it’s a privilege to be associated with this city and its music because I have such respect for it,” he enthuses, his stark English accent the only giveaway to his British roots. “I enjoy the privilege of living in the United States but being from somewhere else, I feel like I can take the best of both worlds.” With a population of just over 350,000, Cleary says he was not at a loss to find some talented musicians of that high New Orleans calibre to collaborate with. “When I came to New Orleans I used to get hired to play old rhythm and blues for a band,” he explains. “But I was writing new stuff so I
Yo La Tango: With 30 years of balladry to choose from, these indie-pop pioneers will no doubt be spoilt for choice when it comes to their set list. Providing a wealth of hits, their latest effort released in January this year was a definite foot-forward. Fade shows no signs of the New Jersey band slowing down. This show could potentially be the live introduction to these brand new tracks.
hooked up with some friends of mine that were in one of my favourite gospel bands and I wanted them to work on my tunes so we could present them at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. That went well.” Thus became what is now known as his accompanying band ‘The Absolute Monster Gentlemen’. However, despite the announcement of guitarist Big D’s hospitalisation and thus inability to commit to their upcoming Australian tour, there’s no doubt that Cleary and the remaining members will be stirring up their Aussie fans with soulful flourishes and legendary improvisation. “I get quite proud that we’re showing off just how good musicians from New Orleans are,” Cleary says. “Sometimes you feel like you always have to explain why you’re doing something but the Australian audiences seem to be on the same page straight away.” He continues, “So that’s a thrill for me. Knowing that when I walk out on stage, what we’re going to do is going to be well-received and appreciated.” (CD) March 14 & 15,The Basement, 7 Macquarie Pl, Circular Quay, $44.50+bf, moshtix.com.au
Sydney Live Music Guide
You’d be a fool to miss it. Thu, Mar 13th, Sydney Opera House. Iced Earth: Performing since 1985 and with nine studio albums, it’s fair to say that these guys know a thing or two about metal. With long locks and a great deal of facial hair, their music has been described as some of the great masterpieces of metal. Songwriter and guitarist Jon Schaffer’s heady riffs
with punchy lyrical content creates some of the finest and menacing music. Their latest full-length album Dystopia is set to get the blood pumping. Sat, Mar 15th, Manning Bar, Camperdown. Damien Dempsey: Longevity seems to be the theme this week, with this Irish musician celebrating over fifteen years in the musical spotlight. Six TopTen studio albums have
provided a wealth of hits for this crooner, including songs such as Almighty Love and Sing All Our Cares Away. Supporting Bruce Springsteen and selling out our beloved Opera House, Dempsey is in hot demand and winning over new spectators. This will be a chance to see the legend in a more intimate setting. Sun, Mar 16th, Metro Theatre, Town Hall. Martha Davies & The Motels: Not since 2007
has this American rocker graced our shores, but these powerful vocals will return bigger and better than ever. Bringing out the arsenal of hits, including Whose Problem, Danger and the Australian chart-topper Total Control; the show will be nothing short of a singa-long for the ages. Mon, Mar 17th,The Basement, Circular Quay. Jurassic 5: Reforming for the infamous Coachella Festival last year, this L.A.
collective had carved out a prestigious place in hip hop and rap way before they split back in 2007. This will be a show brimming with some of their juiciest tunes, including W.O.E Is Me (World of Entertainment) and Quality Control. They will no doubt rattle the bones of every single audience member and have them reciting every song word for word.(CD) Wed, Mar 19th, Enmore Theatre.
RISE OF THE ECO WARRIORS
A ragtag group of young people from all over the globe, converge at Borneo to save its rainforests and endangered orangutans. The film charts their journey from wide-eyed idealists, sprouting clichéd lines like “You have to stand up for what you believe in” to organised activists, engaging with communities to inspire individual responsibility and collective action. There are many inspirational moments in Rise of the Eco Warriors thanks to the lush cinematography of the Borneo rainforests and tender interactions with the orangutans.
It creates a sense of hope, which is not always present in environmental documentaries. Unfortunately, the show-don’t-tell approach to filming undermines this sense of hope, producing lots of slow moments in-between. As a result, the film never fully realises its potential. (MP) WWW Mar 26, Event Cinema Liverpool, Westfield Centre, Liverpool, $12-18, thebigpicture.org.au
300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE
300: Rise Of An Empire is an action/drama blockbuster described as a “follow-up” to 2007’s 300 and explores other notable land and naval battles fought under the second Persian invasion of Greece. The story strangely traverses backwards and forwards from where the original film left off. Sullivan Stapleton is impressive as Themistocles, strongly supported by fellow Australian actors David Wenham and Callan Mulvey. Eva Green is refreshing as Artemisia, the ferocious
NEED FOR SPEED Need For Speed is a fast-paced and visually stunning action drama loosely based on the popular series of video games. The story surrounds Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul), a street racer who is released from jail for a crime he didn’t commit and races interstate intent on retribution. The low-calibre cast and cheesiness of this unoriginal and outlandish script don’t detract from the enjoyment, as moviegoers are constantly on the edge of their seats.
ALL IS LOST stars Robert Redford in his most demanding role to date, as a man lost at sea. Without navigational or communication systems he manages to skilfully survive the elements but as food and water diminish, so does the prospect of survival. Redford delivers a tremendous performance in this riveting and incredible story of one man’s endurance when all hope is lost. He plays the sole character and speaks few lines, but conveys the desperation and hopelessness effectively. The escalating tension will have audiences at the edge of their seats. (MM) WWWW
The explosive, action-packed, octane-charged car racing sequences and death defying stunts deliver an exhilarating and satisfying film. Need For Speed is quintessentially a re-working of the phenomenally successful Fast & Furious franchise. The incredible popularity of these video games and car culture films should transform this into an enormous hit ensuing a sequel. (MM) WWW
GLORIA is a movie about a lady who’s determined to defy old age and re-establish happiness and romance in her empty life. Gloria (Paulina Garcìa) is a 58-year-old divorcee, has two grown children and attends singles’ parties hoping to find love. She meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernàndez) but problems arise, as the bond he shares with his ex-wife and daughters is suffocating. Gloria is initially engaging, but stagnates in the second half owing to a sudden change in direction and a story which lacks substance. (MM) WW½
commander of the Persian navy. Realistically depicting the savagery of the era, the graphic blood-splattering battle sequences are nauseating and the nudity/erotic sex scenes may also be confronting. Captivating naval battle sequences are cleverly enhanced by CGI and the 3D visuals, while sharp editing, mesmerising cinematography and the expected stop/start action sequences deliver a satisfying movie which will leave audiences anticipating another. (MM) WWW½
THE ARMSTRONG LIE
HANNAH ARENDT This biographical drama set between 1961-1964 revolves around German philosopher Hannah Arendt, who covered the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem for The New Yorker publication. Arendt was Jewish and her misconstrued and “scandalous” ideologies created worldwide controversy, labelling her a Nazi sympathiser and traitor to her own race. Actress Barbara Sukowa brilliantly portrays the complex and compelling Hannah Arendt, recreating her icy arrogance and hidden NEBRASKA is a look at life close to death in the backwaters of America’s Midwest. Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) plays an aged alcoholic who keeps trying to walk from Montana to Nebraska. Eventually his son David (Will Forte) agrees to drive him. The characters often teeter on the edge of senility, as well as between humour and sadness. At times the plot meanders and stagnates like the thread of an octogenarian’s well-told story, but has some wonderful moments. (HC) WWW WINTER’S TALE is a fantasy drama set in New York spanning
vulnerabilities. Original black and white footage of the trial containing disturbing testimonies from survivors is skillfully edited into the film, increasing the intensity, and it chillingly restores Eichmann to life. Spoken in English and German, Hannah Arendt effectively revisits the darkest legal case in history as Eichmann incredibly takes no responsibility for orchestrating the mass murder of Jews, claiming he was “simply doing his job”. (MM) Limited release. Dendy Opera Quays. WWW½ over two different time periods. The story revolves around master thief Peter Lake’s (Colin Farrell) strong love for dying heiress Beverly Penn (Jessica Brown Findlay). Even an enchanting musical score, beautiful cinematography and respectable performances from Farrell and Findlay fails to ignite this bizarre tale of destiny, miracles, magic and the battle between good and evil. A stellar cast in supporting roles also fails to compensate, as questionable storytelling techniques and complexities in the screenplay deliver a film that is drawn out and perplexing. (MM) WW½
The Armstrong Lie provides an insider’s view into the downfall of Lance Armstrong. The legendary cyclist was stripped of his titles in 2012 after admitting he took performance enhancing drugs. “There have been two opposing narratives,” confesses Armstrong at the beginning of the documentary - and he claims he will deliver the true one. In a montage of news footage and interviews, the present-day Armstrong is juxtaposed with the man of the past. This allows for
LONE SURVIVOR In 2005 a four-man team of US Navy Seals are tasked with hunting a Taliban leader deep in Afghanistan hostile territory but when their cover is blown they find themselves vastly outnumbered and in a vicious firefight. Based on Marcus Luttrell’s true account of the same name, the filmmakers (surprise, surprise) have been criticised for taking liberties with the story. What’s left is a very visceral and confronting account of a fight for survival. (MMu) WWW
a fascinating exploration into his motivations for cheating and how this was undertaken. While this creates a strong narrative pull, it loses momentum as the film progresses to the events around his 2009 comeback. The interviews with Armstrong decline and the audience never really hears his “true narrative”. However, the ingenuity of this film is the dismantling of the Armstrong myth and the masks that helped create it. (MP) Limited release. WWWW
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB Based on a true story, Matthew McConaughey stars as a damaged rodeo cowboy (Ron Woodroof) in 1985, who has contracted HIV. In his downright refusal to die, he researches alternative medicine and opens a clinic in Mexico with the help of unlikely ally and transvestite Rayon (Jared Leto). This is a brutally honest portrayal of the severity of the disease and its reception by the public in the 1980s, along with Ron’s personal journey and growth. There are amazing performances by both of these actors in a sad but inspiring tale. (LK) WWWW½ 21
FREEWILLASTROLOGY by Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): “There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” So says a character in Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel *The Unconsoled.* At this juncture in your life story, Aries, it might be healing for you to make a similar declaration. Now is an excellent moment to say a final goodbye to plot twists that you wished would have happened but never did. To do so will free up stuck energy that will then become available for future projects. You may even awaken to exciting possibilities you haven’t imagined yet.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): In May 2011, two Nepali men reached the top of Mt. Everest after a six-week climb. Lakpa Tsheri Sherpa and Sano Babu Sunuwar had prepared an unprecedented way to get back down off the mountain. Strapping themselves to a single parachute, they leaped off and paraglided for 45 minutes, landing near a Sherpa village thousands of feet below the summit. I suggest you look around for a metaphorical version of a shortcut like that, Taurus. Don’t do the next part of the journey the same way you did the previous phase. Take a more direct route. Enjoy an alternate adventure. Give yourself a fresh challenge.
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Seeking wisdom and chasing after pleasure are polar opposites, right? You must devote yourself to either one or the other, correct? You can be an enlightened servant of the greater good or else an exuberant hedonist in quest of joy, but not both. True? No. No. No. False. Wrong. Here’s the bigger truth: Now and then, grace periods come along when you can become smarter and kinder by exploring the mysteries of feeling really good. Can you guess when the next of these grace periods will arrive for you, Gemini? Here’s the answer: It’s here now!
CANCER (June 21-July 22): Humans walked on the moon before anyone ever had the simple idea to put wheels on suitcases. Unbelievable, right? Until 1972, three years after astronauts first walked on the lunar surface, travelers in airports and train stations had to carry and drag wheelless containers full of their belongings. I suspect that a comparable out-of-sequence thing may be going on in your own life, Cancerian. In some ways you are totally up-todate, and in other ways you are lagging behind. Now would be a good time to identify any discrepancies and start correcting them. Metaphorically speaking, I’d love you to have rolling luggage by the next time you take a journey.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Have you ever heard of the sasquatch, also known as bigfoot? You know, one of those big, hairy, humanoid beasts that walks upright and lives in dense forests? Scientists assure us that there is no such thing. But then they used to say the same thing about the platypus. It was a myth, they declared; a figment of explorers’ vivid imaginations. A duck-billed, egg-laying mammal simply could not exist. When the respected British zoologist George Shaw claimed there was indeed such a creature, he was mocked by his contemporaries. Eventually, though, the truth emerged and Shaw was vindicated. I suspect that you Leos will soon experience an event akin to the discovery and confirmation that the platypus is real.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): *Kyoka* is a Japanese word that means a flower reflected in a mirror. I suggest you use it as a metaphor to help you understand what’s happening in your life right now. Here are some clues to jumpstart your ruminations. Are you more focused on the *image* of what you love than on what you love? If so, is there anything wrong with that, or is it perfectly fine? Are you more interested in ephemeral beauty that you can admire from afar than in tangible beauty you can actually touch? If so, is there anything wrong with that, or is it perfectly fine? Should you turn away from a dreamy surrogate and turn toward the real thing? If so, why?
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): A British researcher poured 300 million facts into a computer program designed to determine the most boring day in history. The winner was April 11, 1954. It was selected because almost nothing important happened except an election in Belgium. I’m wondering if you Libras might reach that level of blah sometime soon. The astrological omens suggest it’s a possibility. And frankly, I hope that’s exactly what happens. You need a break from high adventure and agitated activity. You would benefit from indulging in some downtime that allowed you to luxuriate in silence and stasis. The time has come to recharge your psychic batteries.
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You won’t be the recipient of good luck in the coming days. Nor will you experience bad luck or dumb luck or weird luck. No, Scorpio. The serendipitous slew of synchronicities that will slip and slide into your sphere requires a new word, which I have coined for this occasion. That word is “shluck.” Shluck is a cracked yet plucky sort of backwards luck that provides you with an abundance of curious slack. Shluck slings your way a series of happy accidents and curious coincidences that give you experiences you didn’t even realize you needed. To take maximum advantage of shluck’s benefits, you have to dispense with your agendas and drop your expectations.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): In the old fairy tale “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” the poor woodcutter Ali Baba is collecting firewood in the forest when he spies a gang of thieves bragging about their exploits. Observing them from a hiding place, he hears them chant a phrase, “open sesame.” This magically unseals the opening to a cave that happens to be full of their stolen treasure. Later, when the thieves have departed, Ali Baba goes to the cave and says “open sesame” himself. The hocus-pocus works. He slips into the cave and steals a bag of gold from the robbers’ plunder. This story has resemblances to an adventure you could enjoy sometime soon, Sagittarius. I suspect you may discover your own version of “open sesame.” It will give you access to a less literal and more legitimate bounty.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Your ability to heal rifts and bridge gaps is unusually high. You could connect seemingly irreconcilable elements and forge apparently impossible links. Former allies who have become estranged might be moved to bond again through your compassionate intervention. I’m not promising amazingly miraculous feats of unification, but I’m not ruling them out, either. You have a sixth sense about how to create interesting mixtures by applying just the right amount of pressure and offering just the right kind of tenderness.
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): My friend Harry said he wanted to teach me to play golf. “Are you kidding?” I asked him incredulously. “The dullest game on the planet?” He tried to convince me that it would provide lots of interesting metaphors I could use in writing horoscopes. “Name one,” I challenged him. He told me that “Volkswagen” is a slang term that describes what happens when a golfer makes an awkward shot that nevertheless turns out to be quite good. “Hmmm,” I replied. “That is exactly the theme I have decided on for the Aquarius horoscope.”
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Do you remember being in your mother’s womb? Probably not. But here’s what I know about that time: In the first few weeks after you were conceived, your body grew at a very rapid rate. Once you were born, if you had continued to expand and develop with that much vigor, you would literally have grown to be as big as a mountain by now. So let’s be thankful you slowed down. But I do want to sound an alert and let you know that you are currently in a growth spurt with some metaphorical resemblances to that original eruption. It’s basically a good thing. Just be aware that you may experience growing pains.