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Light rail discriminates against students

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A far cry from Utopia

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january 23, 2014

O’Farrell closes Sydney


off the wall Woollomooloo residents fight Council to keep mural

Sydney’s most comprehensive What’s On guide

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The NSW government’s package of liquor regulation has met with strong criticism from operators, drinkers and freedom advocates. Premier Barry O’Farrell announced on Tuesday that 1.30am lockouts and 3am “last drinks” will be imposed on most venues in Sydney’s CBD. In a statewide crackdown, bottle shops will also be forced to close at 10pm. In addition, mandatory minimum sentences of eight years will apply for anyone convicted of a one-punch assault occasioning death. The maximum penalty will be 20 years, but will be extended to 25 years where drugs or alcohol are involved. The licensing restrictions will be imposed across an expanded Sydney precinct that takes in most of the CBD, Kings Cross and Oxford Street. Barangaroo and the Star casino are not included in the zone. The conditions are similar to the so-called “Newcastle solution” which has been heralded as reducing violent incidents in the northern city. Announcing the suite of measures on Tuesday, the premier said a recent spate of alcohol-related violence required a “concerted effort by government and its agencies, by the alcohol industry and by the community”. He said the package announced this week would “make the difference and start the change”. “We’re sending a message today that misuse and abuse of alcohol and drugs are going to be less tolerated,” Mr O’Farrell said. The premier said small bars and restaurants would be exempt from lockouts and last-drinks restrictions. But only a handful of bars are classed under the government’s new “small bar” licence for venues with a capacity of less than 60 patrons. Most smaller bars, which have capacity of up to 120, come

under the regular bar licence. “This is not about penalising responsible drinkers,” Mr O’Farrell said. But the announcement sparked a barrage of resistance from patrons, musicians and operators who felt they were being penalised. “Limiting choice for everyone is an absurd reaction. We don’t do it in any other field,” said Dan Nolan, a developer and entrepreneur who patronises venues in the CBD and Surry Hills. “Internationally it makes us a joke. The only other city that does something similar is San Francisco and it is widely reviled for it.” Henry Ho, licensee at Charlie Chan’s Bar on George Street, said the changes would have a huge impact, particularly on tourism. “We close at 6am. Our peak hours are from 3 o’clock onwards. What will they do? Drink water?” he asked. “Sydney will become like a country town.” Stephan Gyory of the 2010 Business Partnership said the laws would punish the wrong people. “It’s the bozos doing it, not the venues,” he told City News. “It’s a collective punishment for everyone, not just the nutcases.” Incoming Freedom Commissioner Tim Wilson condemned the policy as disappointing. “Stopping street violence is not achieved through arbitrary restrictions on the individual liberty of law-abiding citizens in the hope that it may reduce criminal behaviour amongst a small number of individuals,” he said. Mr Wilson noted that non-domestic assaults in Kings Cross are not rising, and said the lockout policy had previously failed in Victoria. Mr O’Farrell will also increase penalties for offences such as using “offensive language” and possessing or supplying illegal steroids. >> Local response, News, p12

Push to get students on light rail

Photo: Michael Gormly

BY MICHAEL KOZIOL The state government is under pressure to enable a wider use of student concessions on the light rail network, ahead of the inner west extension opening later this year. School passes cannot be used on the light rail, and only tertiary students from UTS or Sydney TAFE are eligible for discounted rates using their concession cards. The Greens MP for Balmain, Jamie Parker, is encouraging constituents to a sign an online petition to the Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian. At the time of writing it had gathered almost 400 signatures. “The cheapest and most straight-forward way for a lot of students to get to school is to take the light rail,” Mr Parker said. The MP, whose electorate takes in Glebe, Annandale, Lilyfield and Leichhardt, said allowing free student travel would relieve pressure on the area’s crowded buses in the morning peak.

A light rail tram sees daylight at Darling Harbour

The light rail network was previously run by Metro Transport Sydney, which was purchased by the NSW government in 2012. Mr Parker said it made sense for students to use their passes now that the line is part of the public transport network. He told City News Ms Berejiklian was discussing the issue with Transport for NSW. “We want to encourage them to make the most sensible decision,” he said. The Labor mayor of Leichhardt, Darcy Byrne, said it was a test of whether the O’Farrell government took public transport seriously. “Having cancelled the Greenway altogether, if the government were to now charge adult prices for kids travelling to school on the light rail, inner west families will rightly feel short changed,” he said. “Excluding school students, the single largest group of daily commuters, would undermine the viability of the [inner west] light rail service before it even begins.” Community groups are also urging the restrictions to be relaxed. Elizabeth Elenius, convenor of Pyrmont Action Inc, said it would benefit an area already lacking in accessibility. “We are very poorly served by public transport and it’s particularly difficult for school children,” she said. Ms Elenius said the 449 bus, which previously serviced Harris Street and the Broadway shopping centre, should be reinstated. “Before the Anzac Bridge was built, all the buses came via the Glebe Island Bridge through Pyrmont,” she said. Now those services bypass the area, and the remaining 501 route is frequently full or delayed from the CBD or Victoria Road. The government said it would conduct a review of Pyrmont/Ultimo bus services in 2013, but the results or recommendations are not yet known. On the inner west light rail, a spokesperson for Transport for NSW said: “An announcement will be made about fares ahead of the opening.”

Set to rock Australia Day BY Triana O’Keefe If you don’t already have plans for Australia Day, there are many great options to chose from right in the heart of the city. The summer street festival at The Rocks will feature Aussie talent including the Bamboos, Tijuana Cartel, Ngaiire, Kira Puru and the Bruise. Most exciting of all, Blue Mountains rockers Cloud Control are headlining. In addition to some of our most-loved musical acts, organisers are set to deliver interactive installations and games taking over George Street. Catherine Gallagher, CEO of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, said she was looking forward to sharing the event with the city. “The program we’ve put together will deliver a wonderful, festive celebration of music and community; a highlight on the Australia Day calendar of events, with a great line-up of fantastic Australian musical talent,” Ms Gallagher said. Included in the stellar line-up this year will be local Sydney group Sketch the Rhyme. Joel Rapaport, founder and member, describes the group’s work as

a “live hip hop theatrical game show”. “Our show is a collaboration of artists. We have a live band, MCs and artists who do the improvised sketching,” he said. “What sets us apart from the other acts is our underlying concept; the dialogue between the artists. We are conversing through the different mediums.” Other talent booked for the day includes Melbourne soul-funk band The Bamboos and break beat, hip hop and world music outfit Tijuana Cartel. Indigenous artists include Emma Donovan and the Putbacks and folk duo Microwave Jenny taking the stage to perform tracks from

Sketch the Rhyme will perform

Resident fights City over mural removal

Group Publisher: Lawrence Gibbons Group Manager: Chris Peken Group Editor: Michael Koziol City News Editor: Triana O’Keefe Contributing Editors: Paul Gregoire and Kira SpucysTahar Contributors: John Gooding, Virat Nehru, Joshua Tassell and Greg Webster Arts Editor: Leigh Livingstone Live Music Editor: Chelsea Deeley Dining Editor: Jackie McMillan Advertising Managers: David Sullivan, Toni Martelli, and Robert Tuitama Design: Joanna Grace Publisher’s Assistant: Deeksha Chopra Distribution Manager: Danish Ali Cover: Chris Peken - James Argent, B.J and Colby Email: Advertising: Contact: PO Box 843 Broadway 2007 Ph: 9212 5677 Fax: 9212 5633 Web:

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by the City to have the mural removed and a larger financial penalty imposed. A City of Sydney spokesperson said planning laws do not allow consent to be given retrospectively. “The City follows a common sense approach when dealing with street art and graffiti,” the spokesperson said. “We recognise the potential artistic and social value of these art forms and seek to balance that

with the community’s expectation that we protect our heritage.” The Lord Mayor’s office confirmed a letter had been received from Mr Argent. The City did not confirm receipt of any other correspondence on his behalf. A spokesperson for the City said Mr Argent had been asked to remove the mural in August and again in November, and that it aims to resolve the issue without imposing further penalties. Photo: Chris Peken

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

BY MICHAEL KOZIOL Woolloomooloo resident James Argent is defying a council order to remove a mural from his McElhone Street property, and will most likely face legal action from the City of Sydney. The artwork depicts Mr Argent’s dog, Colby, and was painted by local artist Marvin Stiel. But the council says Mr Argent did not have permission to commission the mural because the property is located in a heritage area. Mr Argent, who works in the arts and events industry, said the time limit of his enforcement order expired on Monday. He is hoping a letter sent on his behalf by a senior advocate in the arts community, to the City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone, will convince the council to change its position. He told City News he was not aware of the heritage conditions when he commissioned the mural, but said there was more to protecting heritage than just paint. “There’s nothing racially offensive or inciting violence or sexually offensive about [the artwork],” he said. “The fabric of the heritage is still maintained. Who knows where to start when they can tell you what colour to paint your house.” Mr Argent now faces the prospect of being taken to court

their latest release. Entertainment options are prevalent across the city. Over at Enmore Park, the lineup will include singer-songwriter and Tempre resident Chris Rose, as well as reggae band Unusual Vibe, winners of Marrickville Council’s “The Break” competition for emerging artists. In Darling Harbour, participants in the MS Colour Dash will be showered in “rainbow dust” as they run to raise money for those living with multiple sclerosis. The dust is made of edible cornstarch and the run will track the shoreline up to Johnstons Bay before returning to Darling Harbour.

In breach of heritage conditions: the McElhone Street Mural

news in brief

Leave King Street alone Councillors from Marrickville and the City of Sydney have spoken out against the state government’s Sydney Clearways Strategy, which has listed King Street Newtown among possible future clearway sites. Marrickville Mayor Jo Haylen said it would be at the expense of local businesses, pedestrians and diners. “[King Street] is a thriving local retail and entertainment district that is used by thousands of people every day,” she said. “It actually benefits from slower traffic volumes.” City of Sydney councillor Linda Scott called on the NSW government to rule out a clearway on King St, saying it would put the strip’s identity at risk. The document says the government will “refine” its strategy in 2014, “with a plan to progressively expand the clearly network over the next 2-5 years”.


Boom towns of the inner west A far cry from utopia BY TRIANA O’KEEFE & same fundamentals.” When asked if he believed MICHAEL KOZIOL Newtown and Marrickville have been named among 50 of Australia’s “boom” suburbs for investors in 2014. The “Fast 50” report, by Smart Property Investor magazine, asked experts to consider factors such as rental yields, population growth, employment opportunities and housing demand in nominating their top performers. The magazine’s managing editor, Phillip Tarrant, said gentrification was the driving force behind these suburbs’ rise. “It’s always been an area which has been attractive to the more alternative culture, but that’s really grown and evolved to attract more professional people,” he said. Mr Tarrant said the diversity of housing available, from studio apartments to four-bedroom terraces, means young people don’t need to move to outer suburbs as they start a family. “As people go through different life stages they can stay in the area and just get a bigger place.” Also landing a place among Sydney’s hot spots was Redfern, which Mr Tarrant said was experiencing gentrification similar to that of Newtown. “It’s probably 10 years behind in terms of the energy and pizazz of [King St], but you’re seeing the


Redfern’s median house price in 2005 was $547,000 - today it’s $960,000, and the local food scene has reflected that rapid shift in property value and demographics. In 2013 ex-Aria chef Tim Bryan opened Three Williams. Described by the Intermedia Group as the “best cafe on what used to be the wrong side of the tracks”, Three Williams began as a gamble. “We found the site about two years ago when it was being used as storage,” Mr Bryan explained. Following his lead is former Claude’s head chef Ben Spears with Moon Park, and ex-Otto Ristorante head chef James Kidman, who is also considering Redfern as a possible location.

if Sydneysiders are ready to associate fine dining with Redfern, Mr Kidman responded with a firm “yes”. “I think they are, and I think it happened a while ago,” he said. “Sydney has become a city of villages and Redfern is now a part of the movement to reclaim the city.” Testament to this urban shift are council initiatives such as the increase in bicycle lanes. “You only have to look at how many people are out and about on bikes and walking through Prince Albert Park to see this,” Mr Kidman said. “There are always risks opening your own place but I am confident that Redfern is not one of them. Redfern is ready.”

Changing times: Redfern is one of the Fast 50 suburbs

John Pilger at a remote indigenous community

BY PAUL GREGOIRE John Pilger, veteran journalist and documentary maker, is in Australia for the release of his new film Utopia, which explores the social and political history of indigenous Australia. In Utopia, Mr Pilger revisits the indigenous communities and issues that he delved into in 1985’s A Secret Country. Mr Pilger said the production of the documentary was prompted by the Howard government’s Northern Territory intervention. “Utopia is actually long overdue. I had wanted to make a documentary film immediately after the so-called Intervention was announced in 2007,” Mr Pilger said. “This was the latest assault

on Aboriginal people, taking away their basic rights, threatening their land tenure and smearing them with false charges of child abuse,” he said. Utopia takes its name from an indigenous community north of Alice Springs. The town is one of the most disadvantaged places in Australia. “In the remote communities, the main issues are the degradation or lack of basic services - sanitation that doesn’t work, taps that trickle, tin shacks that bake in the heat, a lack of transport,” Mr Pilger said. “In other words, poverty in the heart of rich Australia.” Utopia also examines the issues surrounding the stolen generation and Aboriginal deaths in custody.

Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, indigenous activist and film actress, is from the Utopia community. She said her hometown had once been a viable community and the documentary had the potential to influence a response from government. “Utopia used to be sustainable but in the last three decades, it has gone downhill because responsibility of that land was taken away from us,” Ms Kunoth-Monks said. “[The film] is a factual expose of what has been our sad story. It might even make the government think about what policies are effective.” The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is holding a preview screening and panel discussion at the Veolia Theatre on Australia Day, January 26. Ms Kunoth-Monks will join Mr Pilger on the panel, as well as Tracker magazine editor Amy McQuire. Mr Pilger said the MCA’s Australia Day preview of the film is in recognition of the struggles of Australia’s Indigenous people. “The reason for showing it on Australia Day is because 26 January is, for the first people of our country, Survival Day and Invasion Day. It should be commemorated, above all,” Mr Pilger said. Utopia goes to general release on January 30.

Steroid use “widespread” BY PAUL GREGOIRE The frequency and brutality of violent, drunken brawls on Sydney streets has led some to speculate that steroid usage might be fuelling this aggression. The state government announced on Tuesday that it will increase the maximum penalty for supply and possession of illegal steroids to 25 years. John Terilli, owner of Broadway Gym and former Mr Universe, is a body builder who used steroids supplied by doctors as part of his training regime, when they were legal in Australia. Mr Terilli said the recent violence on the city streets should be attributed to individuals and not the drugs or alcohol they may have taken. “The people who get aggressive, that’s like the footballer who goes home, has two or three drinks and beats up his wife.” Mr Terilli said. “That person clearly doesn’t have the constitution. It’s the person not the drug.” Mr Terilli said the dangers surrounding steroid use are caused by their illegality, and when doctors were able to prescribe them conditions were much safer. “The government stopped doctors from prescribing them. The criminals are selling this stuff and they’re probably making it and it’s probably not even what it’s supposed to be.


“When they were legal, I’d go to a doctor and she’d prescribe it. The doctor would advise you and say, these medicines have side effects.” Mr Terilli said steroids are no longer an issue solely for gyms, as a pattern of recreational use has developed on the streets. “I don’t think it’s part of the gym culture anymore. They’re so widespread. The person on the street [has] more or less has turned them into a recreational drug,” Mr Terilli said. Dr Jonathan Brett from Drug Health Services at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital said studies found the average steroid user to be a man aged between 30 to 40 years of age, with a good income. Dr Brett said that steroids can lead to aggressive behaviour, particularly when mixed with alcohol. “Studies have shown that up to about 50 per cent of those who use anabolic steroids suffer from some sort of psychological consequence and about a quarter experience what they call roid rage,” Dr Brett said. Roid rage is a term given to acts of aggression or hostility, often violent, thought to result from high steroid use partly as a result of greater testosterone levels in the body. “Alcohol relieves your inhibitions essentially and so when you add that to alcohol you probably

are going to see more violent behaviour,” Dr Brett said. He told The Bondi View that Canterbury was a particularly hot spot for steroid usage in the inner west. “Marrickville and Redfern were not that high. Canterbury, it seemed that almost half the people who came in to pick up fresh needles, the last drug they injected was a steroid,” he said. Jenny Iversen, project contact for the Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey at UNSW, said steroid use has increased and it has become the most popular drug to inject among new injectors.

“They are the most popular among people who first injected less than three years ago,” she said. “Certainly there is an upward trend in use.” Gerard Byrne, Clinical Director for Recovery at the Salvation Army, said they had seen an increase in people using steroids in conjunction with other drugs. “It’s certainly something that’s on the rise,” he said. “The people who come in, who report steroid use, are also coming to us for a range of other drug use.” A spokesperson from the Marrickville Local Area Command of NSW Police said that in recent years there has been no detection of steroids and no reports of steroidrelated violence in the local area.

Anabolic steroids are blamed for what has been called “roid rage”

Twilight parade patronage stalls BY JOHN GOODING Turnout at the Chinese New Year Twilight parade in Sydney’s inner city has stalled over the past few years, with no growth in festival attendance since 2010. The Twilight parade, which runs from Sydney Town Hall to the Chinese Gardens, was first incorporated into Chinese New Year festivities in 2009, where it attracted 70,000 attendees according to police estimates. The year after saw numbers jump to 100,000. However, since then there has been no growth at all, despite the Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s claim in 2012 that the festivities continue to “gain stature, growing patronage and support, stimulating the economy and embossing Sydney’s global city status as an exciting and original city”. A spokesperson from the City of Sydney stated that this number of attendees is “…a figure which is close to the maximum capacity along the parade route”. “In 2010 the festival helped generate more than $7 million in tourism revenue – and we expect economic benefits this year to be on par with that,” the

spokesperson said. Despite attendance being close to the maximum capacity of the current parade route, the budget of the Twilight parade has increased from $1 million last year to $1.2 million this year, which accounts for more than half the festival’s entire budget. In contrast, the amount of the festival’s budget allocated to spending on events other than the parade has fallen from $1.2 million last year to $1.1 million this year. The council’s 2013/2014 Operational Plan has 100,000 attendees at this year’s parade as a key performance indicator (KPI) for festival organisers. The council estimates that around 600,000 people in total will attend the festival, but there are no KPIs within the plan that refer to wider festival turnout. The festival starts on January 24 and runs until February 9, and will celebrate the incoming Year of the Horse. The Twilight parade will be held on February 2. In addition to the parade, about 80 other events across the inner city will ring in the Chinese new year.

Improved policy for green thumbs New pick-up lines BY VIRAT NEHRU “You need a minimal permissions place to make things easier, as the Waverley Council’s revitalised Public and Street Gardens policy will see the council play a deciding role in which street or public gardens can go ahead. The revised policy builds on council guidelines released more than a decade ago. There is now a step by step checklist in place intended to guide those looking to work on their own street or public garden. All paperwork must be submitted to the council which will have the final say regarding the approval of a proposed street or public garden. Russ Grayson, from the Australian City Farms and Gardens Network, said a permissions process should not be seen as a burden on communities looking to build their own street gardens.


process,” he said. “People have been building these things without permission for a long time.” Mr Grayson stressed a more streamlined application process would provide the opportunity to properly plan a street garden’s design. “What you don’t want is people rushing up and making it without giving it some good thought first,” he said. “There are questions of public access, access to vehicles, access to get your wheelie bins out that come into the design of street gardens. You’ve got an ageing population so convenient access is getting more important.” A spokesperson for Waverley Council said a more considered application process has been put in

revised guidelines take gardening communities through important design criteria in a thorough manner. “The policy and guidelines were a response to community feedback and the growing desire to plant vegetables and garden together in small neighbourhood groups in a range of new locations and structures,” the spokesperson said. “It ensures gardens are planted in appropriate places, where surrounding neighbours are supportive of the project. The policy and guidelines also ensure public gardens are maintained to allow access to footpaths and other public lands.” The spokesperson said the revised policy now gives the community more flexibility and options in designing their ideal street or public garden. The guidelines now include tools such as templates and diagrams with dimensions, and allowances for growing vegetables or installing wooden planter boxes, where practical. Mr Grayson welcomed the fact that councils around Sydney are getting more involved in community experiences. “It creates a new type of public interaction in public space. It empowers people, even if it is in a small way,” he said. “If you build a garden with other people in the neighbourhood, it becomes a community building exercise.”

BY KIRA SPUCYS-TAHAR Waverley and Randwick councils have officially launched their joint ‘Eastern Beaches Litter’ campaign with the roll out of cheeky advertisements and art works designed to encourage the community to keep the beaches clean over the busy summer period. The mayors of both councils launched the innovative ‘Junk Jukebox’ component of the campaign on Thursday January 23 at Coogee Beach’s Goldstein Reserve. Mayor of Waverley Sally Betts said the two councils were committed to the environment. “The litter campaign is about changing the community’s behaviour to pick up their rubbish,” she said. “When rubbish is left on the street or the sand it ends up in the ocean, and this of course, has terrible consequences for our environment.” The focus of the campaign is to prevent the littering of cigarette butts, plastic takeaway containers and general rubbish in public areas. The Bondi sea wall has been painted with a fresh mural reminding people of the effect their rubbish can have on the local wildlife, and the importance of disposing of their litter appropriately. A series of tongue-in-cheek advertisements encouraging people to ‘pick up’ will be unveiled across Waverley and Randwick to educate the community about picking up their rubbish. While patrolling the beaches over December and the first few weeks of January, when Bondi can attract up to 50,000 visitors in a day, council rangers have been enforcing the smoking ban and alcohol free zones, speaking with more than 200 beachgoers. Cr Betts said over the busy summer period additional operations have been collecting 15 cubic

metres of waste each week. Randwick Mayor Scott Nash said the council was proud to partner with Waverley to promote the message of environmental sustainability and waste reduction. “The eastern suburbs of Sydney has some of the most beautiful beaches and foreshores in the world, let’s make sure we keep it that way,” he said. Both councils are undertaking audits to measure the effectiveness of the campaign in influencing people’s behaviour.

Photo: Waverley Council

BY KIRA SPUCYS-TAHAR Waverley Council has commenced work to upgrade the Queen Elizabeth Drive car park at Bondi Beach to bring the facilities in line with the new parking systems being rolled out across the local government area. But some residents are angry at what they call a lack of community consultation and the prospect of a council employee losing their job. The upgrade was due for completion by December 2, 2013 but installation of the new parking infrastructure was deferred until after the holiday period. “Some delays were experienced in the configuration of the software for the smart meters,” a council spokesperson said. “Timing for the installation was designed to have a minimal impact on motorists during the busy summer holiday period.” But works taking place over the next few weeks will clash with Flickerfest and

Time expired: the Bondi Beach car park


the Openair cinema. Waverley Council dismissed the prospect of major disruption. The spokesperson said the Bondi Beach event calendar had been taken into consideration when scheduling the works. Convenor of the Bondi Beach Precinct Committee Lenore Kulakauskas said residents were upset because council had failed to sufficiently consult. “We were very disappointed there was no consultation with the community about putting in the meters like there was with the Bronte Cutting upgrades,” she said. “It’s a complete waste of money, installing parking sensors and meters – it’s not Westfield. There’s other infrastructure at the beach in need of more urgent upgrades.” As part of the upgrades, council will install ‘smart meters’ which operate using new technology, which meets global standards for banking security, as well as parking sensors and

directional signage. The 18 meters will replace the manned booth and boom gates at the car park. Ms Kulakauskas expressed concern about the removal of the manned booth. “Upgrading the attendant’s booth would be much easier than to install these expensive meters,” she said. “And we don’t know if this poor chap is going to lose his job.” A council spokesperson said an additional 20 car spaces would be established at the southern end of the Queen Elizabeth Drive car park as well as two new areas for motorbike parking while costs for parking will decrease. “Bondi Beach parking will cost motorists $6.60 per hour, which is a decrease in cost,” he said. “The existing price for the first and second hours at Bondi Beach is $8 per hour.” With the Bronte Cutting upgrades, council began consultation in 2011 with major discussions taking place throughout March and April 2013. Bronte Beach Precinct co-convenor Virginia Milson confirmed there had been community consultation but said many locals have felt the upgrade has been unsatisfactory. “The consultation was extensive but we were not happy with the outcome,” she said. “We made a number of recommendations, many of which were not adhered to.” The upgrade will provide an additional 10 motorcycle spaces along with the implementation of a 10km/h shared speed zone to improve safety for pedestrians but the manned booth and boom gates will be removed. “We felt the booth should have been left there as it served as an important representative of council and as an information point for tourists,” Ms Milson said.

Cartoon: Peter Berner

Parking upgrade receives cool response

Photo: Chris Peken

BY KIRA SPUCYS-TAHAR Thousands of brightly coloured, giant inflatables will make a splash at Bondi Beach on Sunday January 26 as part of the ninth annual Havaianas Australia Day Thong Challenge. Sydneysiders will hit the water at North Bondi from midday in an attempt to break the world record of the longest line of giant inflatable Havaianas joined in the water. In 2014, Bondi is aiming to float into the record books and reclaim the title after being beaten last year by a record number of 2093 participants from Western Australia’s Cottesloe Beach. The event is held at beaches across five states including New South Wales, Western Australia, Torquay in Victoria, Glenelg in South Australia, and Mooloolaba in Queensland. When asked

about the chances of Bondi beating the record, a spokesperson for Havaianas said: “We are definitely up on last year. The numbers are up across the board.” For the first time participants will wear the Havaianas ShareBand - a wristband designed to allow users to instantly connect with social media. The ShareBand will let users automatically check-in on Facebook and share their photos and updates with friends by using branded ShareStations and photobooths on the beach. Since the popular Challenge event first started in 2006, it has raised over $270,000 for Surf Living Saving Australia and Nippers nationally. North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club receives valuable funds from the event with $10 from each registration going to the local surf club. This year the Australia Day Thong Challenge event will host a variety of beach activities including an iconic Aussie barbeque and a ‘Make Your Own Havaianas’ stall where anyone can customise a pair of thongs by choosing their own colours and designs.

The thong record will be attempted on Australia Day, January 26

Spate of holiday Local pollies cautious break-ins in East on liquor reform

BY JOSHUA TASSELL Eastern Suburbs police have appealed for information from the community following a spate of break and enters in recent weeks. Several streets in the Bronte, Tamarama and North Bondi areas have been targeted, culminating in multiple stolen vehicles, personal items and electronic equipment. A break and enter occurred on Bronte’s Read Street on Thursday January 2 when an unknown offender gained entry to a house through a rear window. The premises were ransacked. Two days later another house on Read Street was broken into when thieves gained entry through the ground floor and stole electronic equipment and a grey BMW M3 Sedan. The following evening on January 5, a house in Kenneth Street, Tamarama was broken into through a balcony door. The offenders stole electronic equipment, personal items and a silver Audi A3. Over the weekend of January 19, a floor safe containing cash was stolen from a restaurant on O’Brien Street after thieves forced

Yabun Festival 2014 By Greg Webster In the beginning it was almost too small to notice. Back in 1988 and amid the froth and exuberance – some would say the excess - of the Bicentennial celebrations, a much smaller group of Aboriginal musicians played a concert in La Perouse. The original Survival Day concert was to be a humble countermovement to the wider bicentenary. This Australia Day, the Yabun Festival should attract over 25 thousand people and the festival theme, ‘Survive’, clearly draws its inspiration from that very first concert. “Yabun is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture in Australia and specifically Sydney,” says festival organiser, Kieran Satour. “It reflects the continuation of that culture. It’s whatever ‘survive’ means for Indigenous people in this city, whether it be physical, emotional, cultural or spiritual.” Singer/songwriter Leah Flanagan, a “born musician” who moved to Sydney from Darwin over a year ago, says she is happy and honoured to partake in Survival Day because it means she is a part of something that is trying to educate people about something they might not truly understand. “People focus so much on Australia Day and they don’t actually really understand the true history and for Aboriginal people it means more than ‘let’s have a couple of beers and celebrate the flag’,” says Flanagan. “Yabun is trying to tell the real stories of Australia. That’s why they call it the


Survival Day Concert because Aboriginal people have survived through a lot. We are celebrating completely different things.” Flanagan will perform some tracks from her album-in-progress, which she is currently working on with Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil). Also onstage at Yabun is Australian rock pioneer Bart Willoughby (No Fixed Address, Yothu Yindi) and his band, as well as performances by Emma Donovan and the PutBacks and Melbourne-based Kutcha Edwards. The Speak-out Tent hosts the annual Kevin Cook lecture as well as a variety of panel discussions throughout the day. Kids activities range from face-painting in the Jarjums (children) tent to rock climbing as well as coaching clinics from Cricket NSW and the NRL to name a few. There are over 80 stalls with arts, craft, food and drink. The celebrations are bookended with the family friendly Yabun Film Festival in Memorial Park, Leichhardt on Friday January 24 and the after party at the Factory Theatre, Marrickville on January 26. Featured hip hop acts include Sky’High, Native Ryme and DJ Black President. There is literally something for everyone. Some might see a Survival Concert on Australia Day as contentious. It’s a part of a debate that goes to the heart of our national identity. Some have argued that the idea of the ‘claiming’ of the continent on that day pushes Aboriginal people out of the picture, because it doesn’t recognise their continuity of living and existence on this land. It’s a debate that

open the lock on the rear door. On the same evening police allege a 27-year-old male smashed the window of a red Mini Cooper on Roscoe Street, Bondi before attempting to gain entry to a white Lexus parked further up the street. He has been charged with Destroy/ Damage Property and Enter Vehicle or Boat without Consent and will appear before Waverley Local Court. Police have urged the community to ensure the security of their homes and vehicles over the holidays. “Installing alarms and security systems greatly reduces the chances of becoming a victim of crime,” said Constable Ella Dundler, local crime prevention officer. Police have also advised residents in the area ‘to use heightened vigilance’ and report anything suspicious to local police. Should anyone have information in relation to any of the above incidents, they are urged to contact Waverley Police on 9369 9899 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333000.

BY MICHAEL KOZIOL Independent MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich has expressed concern about the state government’s liquor reforms. Premier Barry O’Farrell announced on Tuesday that venues in the CBD will be subject to a 1.30am lockout and 3am “last drinks” policy. “While there are some valuable reforms in the Premier’s announcement...I am concerned some changes are reactive and could create new problems,” Mr Greenwich said. “Inner city lockouts and earlier closing may shift problems to the suburbs, the streets and illegal parties.” Mr Greenwich also criticised the introduction of mandatory minimum penalties for one-punch assaults where alcohol is a factor, saying they will do nothing to stop drunk thugs from attacking. “There is no evidence that they think of consequences at the time of their actions.” Lord Mayor Clover Moore welcomed the government’s package but advocated better train services to Kings Cross and a targeted strategy to combat “pre-fuelling”, where

punters drink heavily at home before travelling to the city. “What we don’t want to see is tens of thousands of people making their way to other areas just outside of the new precinct,” Cr Moore said. “There needs to be active monitoring of neighbourhoods outside the Government’s CBD precinct to ensure the problem isn’t being shifted somewhere else.” The Lord Mayor was cautious on the question of 1.30am lockouts and 3am last drinks, reminding constituents of the city’s existing “OPEN Sydney” strategy to diversify the late night economy. “I don’t think taking tough action on drug and alcohol fuelled violence needs to undermine our status as a global city,” Cr Moore said. Labor councillor Linda Scott said the package was an encouraging first step. “Sydney needs to be a city that is both fun and safe, and at the moment it’s clearly neither,” she said. Cr Scott said liquor licences should not be granted in perpetuity and that the City needs more rangers to enforce existing conditions.

stretches all the way up to the highest levels of politics – ‘Redfern Speech’ & ‘Sorry’ – and down to the grassroots of the way one Australian gets on with another. In the midst of it all people can’t help but feel the warmth, the inclusiveness and generosity of spirit that is Yabun. Almost half the volunteers are non-aboriginal and people of all racial backgrounds are drawn to the festival. “That original concert in 1988 was a real political statement but the conversation has definitely moved on,” says Satour. “It’s more of a celebration,” says Flanagan. “In Darwin it’s a different world, still exposed to a lot of people who are still living on their cultural land but here in Sydney there is so much history that no one seems to hear about and there is so many people here that can tell it. This festival is a celebration so people can come down and learn a little bit more.” Satour adds: “Aboriginal and nonaboriginal people alike come to Yabun because they want a celebration that isn’t so polarising. We welcome people of all racial backgrounds with open arms to celebrate with us on the day.” For Satour himself, a descendant of the Gurindji, Arrernte and Worimi people, his work is clearly a labour of love. “Artists from all over the country are eager to play here because of its great community feel and national profile,” he Leah Flanagan explains. Yabun Film Festival, Jan 24, Sunset Memorial Park Leichhardt, free; Yabun “It’s a really important day and Festival, Jan 26, Victoria Park, City Rd & Parramatta Rd, Camperdown, free; celebration of Aboriginal culture and that’s what drives me. It’s such a pleasure Yabun After Party, Jan 26, Factory Theatre, 104 Victoria Rd, Marrickville, $30, to be there and experience.”

Photo: Chris Peken

Bondi floats new record attempt


Mr. Moustache By Alex Harmon “Are you going to search me,” the giggling girl at the table next to us asks. Wearing rubber gloves, we’re about to dive into a Tortita Ahogada ($12), the messiest dish in the cantina. Co-owner Bildo Saravia (a.k.a. Mr. Moustache himself) tells us to “drown” this $ - mains less than $15

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EASTERN SUBURBS The Royal Paddington “He was smoking, I was eating and racking…” Okay, overheard Eastern Suburbs conversations up on the “hidden” rooftop terrace have a certain ruling class blasé about them but you should hike up all those stairs and check it out anyway, breaking your journey with a drink in the eye-catching red and black Elephant Bar. Afterwards head to the white, salon-style bistro, for Grant Burge ‘Holy Trinity’ ($15/glass) and a grazing meal. There’s Natural Oysters ($30/12) and sharing plates available in multiples of 1($10), 3 ($25) and 5 ($40). Duck Pancakes ($10) and Sizzling Garlic Prawns ($10) were my

By Jackie McMillan delicious pork sandwich with spicy salsa. It’s exactly the kind of cheekiness you should expect at this Bondi hotspot. On one side you’ve got an opulent bar, inspired by ex-dictator Porfirio Diaz’s obsession with France, and on the other, a colourful kitchen reflecting Mexican street food culture. Soon we’re presented with an array of share plates: Seasonal Ceviche ($10); Tostaditas Pato ($12/3), mini tacos with spicy duck, and Huitlacoche ($12/3), black corn truffle, roasted corn and fresco cheese; and soft shell Fish Tacos ($6) - possibly the most ‘Western’ of all the dishes. A lot of the cocktails are Mezcal-based, like the El Original del Diablo ($18) a Mezcal version of the El Diablo with homemade ginger beer; but you can also “go French” with D’vine ($16) - a popular cocktail with apricot-infused gin. Their star dessert is Plantos Machos ($11) - plantain sautéed with coffee liquor and burnt goat’s milk – it’s hard to believe this stunning dish is considered ‘street food’. 75-79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach (02) 9300 8892 Mexican, Cocktails $-$$ $$$ - mains between $22-$30

favourites, but the Grilled Haloumi ($10) isn’t bad either. 237 Glenmore Road, Paddington (02) 9331 2604 Pub Bistro $$-$$$ Ryu Not being a huge fan of shopping malls or sushi trains, up on Level 6 of Bondi Junction’s Westfield you’ll find Ryu. While it does have a train, it also has an oasis at the back where the heaving mall is partitioned by wooden latticework. Plus, they serve sake, including their own sweet and berry-flavoured Sparkling Sake ($13.80/250ml). Food-wise, you’ll find a picture book menu of all the favourites from Chicken Katsu Curry ($18.80) with a gravy boat of delicious curry sauce to sweet,

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smoky and sticky Yaki Noodle with Beef ($15.80). Start off with the Chicken Kara-age ($8.80) – hot, little fried chicken pieces with a dollop of wasabi mayo. Shop 6006, Westfield Bondi Junction (02) 9387 7040 Japanese $-$$ A Tavola Bondi’s newest precinct, ‘The Hub’ is like the graduation program for successful inner-city businesses. Messina, Melbourne’s Sensory Lab, and now A Tavola.You’ll still find the ten metre marble table, and a purely Italian wine list. Stracciatella Con Fave ($18) ‘egg drop soup’ containing broad beans, zucchini flower and pickled shallot is great with a 2012

The Oxford Tavern With any luck, the super cute five-buck Cheeseburger ($5) here – sandwiching beef, mustard, crunchy pickles, ketchup and gooey cheese between soft, sweet brioche buns – will be the death knell for Stanmore McDonalds. Just ‘round the corner, this Michael Delany remodelling of Petersham’s infamous pole dancing and jelly wrestling venue is now the most family-friendly of the Drink’n’Dine venues, Poderi del Paradiso ($14/$59). The Raviolo with Cuttlefish Ink ($32) dressed with salmon roe is visually stunning; I couldn’t fault it! However the knockout dish - just look at the ribbons of fresh pasta drying in the kitchen - is the Pappardelle with Wagyu Beef Shin ($34) that dances with a red wine and horseradish sauce. 69-71 Hall Street, Bondi (02) 9130 1246 Italian $$-$$$

INNER WEST The Cottage Bar & Kitchen Sitting in the front yard of this picturesque cottage with a punch bowl of Strawberry Sangria ($32) I see the makings of a girls’ night out. “I’ll have what she’s having!” Soon

which include The Abercrombie, Santa Barbara and most recently House of Crabs. If you do park in the beer garden with little people, you might want to think up an age-appropriate explanation of their only dessert – The Jelly Wrestle ($20) – that comes with gloves not cutlery. Being kid-free, I availed myself of a Swinging Tit ($9) instead. With Kraken Spiced Rum juxtaposed with pink jellied foam that’s sprayed onto your arm, it’s another nice nod to the building’s former occupants. Buffalo Cauliflower Balls ($14) with hot sauce and blue cheese sauce stick to your ribs if you’re settling in for a dive bar drinking session with a Crystal Street Hurricane ($25/jug). Less alcohol-fuelled eating might include their accessible Ceviche ($16) on sweet cassava crackers, followed by a full-size smokey Hickory Burger ($18). Drinking a schooner of Kosciuszko ($6.50) might suffice, though beer made me hanker for their upcoming American BBQ… 1 New Canterbury Road, Petersham (02) 8019 9351 American, Pub Bistro, Cocktails $$

after I had my own glass, resplendent with fragrant red berries. Inside the kitsch, homely-vibe is broken up by a domed wood fire pizza oven. The De Jamon Pizza ($26) bearing Jamón Serrano, pear, walnuts, Parmesan and vincotto will make you thankful they didn’t rip it out. Supplement pizzas with share plates, like quirky Pumpkin Mousse ($12); roast Chook ($24) with excellent wild rice pilaf, apricot yoghurt and pistachio crumb; and a Fairground Plate ($16) with candied apples and pillowy marshmallows. 342 Darling Street, Balmain (02) 8084 8185 Bar, Bar Food, Pizza $$-$$$ The Royal Leichhardt Hipster pub pastiche has come to Leichhardt, with the W. Short Hotel Group doing one of those pub

transformations that takes your local from an old men’s boozer and gambling den, to somewhere you can get a decent cocktail, craft beer and something culinarily more exciting than a ‘schnitty’ or ‘parmi’. While these items remain on the menu, you’ll also find American comfort food, from Hot Wings ($17.50) to Grilled Watermelon Salad ($15.90), plus an upstairs cocktail bar that doesn’t ignore the area’s Italianate influence. The Ginger Cat ($14) boasting Aperol and Appleton Rum, and the Garden Party ($13) combining Tanqueray Gin,Vermouth and Campari were my cocktail favourites. 156 Norton Street, Leichhardt (02) 9569 2638 Bar Food, Cocktails, Pub Bistro $$


Minskys Hotel With a reputation for being one of the North Shore’s only late night venues where you can get a decent feed after a flick at the Hayden Orpheum, you’ll be pleased to note the newly renovated hotel - subtly masculine without being alienating to women – kept the 1am kitchen. Publican Anthony Brady tells me value for money is very important: GREATER SYDNEY Oregano Bakery Vivacious owner Sonia Jabbour told me that she sells the best cinnamon scrolls in Sydney! Her husband, Tony Jabbour is the baker. He reinvigorated his Lebanese pizza shop by developing these amazingly moist Cinnamon Scrolls ($15/6) blanketed in icing sugar. Scolls also come in a battalion of flavours from Salted Caramel ($5.90), to a jam-filled Aussie fav. Lamington ($5.90), to my preferred option: Tahini, Sesame and Pistachio ($5.90). Filled with halva mousse, the latter unites the two seemingly disparate themes of this bakery together. Try it at the comfortable communal table in this gleaming white store after a preliminary (four) Cheese Pizza

Nice, lying close to the Italian border on the Mediterranean coast of France has historically had more in common with Italy than France. Which is arguably the raison d’être behind Fratelli Fresh going “Fratelli French” as bartender Sebastian Vicente likes to describe it. Drink’n’Dine wunderkind Michael $$ - mains between $15-$22

ROCKS & CBD Ananas Bar & Brasserie Champagne tastes on a beer budget needn’t preclude you from checking out the bar menus of Sydney’s big hitters. For under ten bucks a heaving board of Roast Bone Marrow ($8) lets you relish in smearing rich, gelatinous goo onto crusty bread. Foie Gras and Fennel Tartine ($19) arrives balanced by cherry compote, the earthy creaminess suits a 2012 Pierre de la Grange Muscadet ‘Vieilles Vignes’ ($13). While the fat-dissolving properties of pink grapefruit, pineapple and saffron gin

“We want people to like this place.” He’s clearly proud of the menu by new chef, Robert Oey (who spent time at Est.). Oey doesn’t forget it’s a pub, but notches up the standards, delivering a well-rendered Caramelised Pork Belly ($25) with Asian ‘slaw; Crisp School Prawns ($10) that won’t damage your mouth; and a great rendition of Chicken Liver Pate ($11) with house-made chutney. Even the ham on his juicy Minskys Burger ($18) is house-smoked. Bar industry heavyweight Jason Crawley has put together a smart, underpriced cocktail list. The Salted Coconut Espresso Martini ($14) won me, while the Spiced Honey Apple Whisky Sour ($14) wooed my dining companion. Wine’s actually where it’s at - what with an Enomatic wine pouring system and charismatic bartender Liv, who’ll happily tell ladies who walk in after work and slump at the bar: “You need a big glass!” Try the Pichot Vouvray Sec ($13/150ml glass, $21/225ml glass)… 287 Military Road, Cremorne (02) 9909 8888 Pub Bistro, Cocktails,Wine $$-$$$

($6.50) or an even-better Sonia Special Wrap ($9). 1/56 Connells Point Road, Hurstville South (02) 9546 3666 Breakfast, Pizza, Lebanese, Bakery $ Woolwich Pier Hotel Perched on a comfortable verandah at the end of a peninsula, I survey the view. The theming feels postColonial, with wide bamboo ceiling fans, wall-mounted stag horns and uber-comfortable safari chairs. They’ve eschewed most of the obvious renovated pub fare in favour of a more chic than shabby collection of British comfort food: from pot pies to Ploughman’s lunches; Cornish pasties to scones with clotted cream; excellent housemade Pickled Vegetables ($10) to Potted Crab ($14). Tea-soaked

Café Nice

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By Jackie McMillan

raisins and a hint of Keen’s Curry Powder raise the Poached Chicken and Mango Salad ($18) beyond usual pub salads; or there’s Crisp Skinned Confit Duck Leg ($26) on Savoy cabbage with chestnuts and figs. 2 Gale Street, Woolwich 9817 2204 Pub Bistro, Cocktails $$-$$$ The Oaks Hotel If there’s a better pub steak in Sydney than this Rib-Eye on the Bone ($42) I haven’t found it. Arriving in a mountain of marrowbone, golden spuds and spinach, with anchovy and parsley butter, it’s worth the spend. Danny Russo’s also done wonders for the humble Sausage Roll ($13); and perked up pub mussels Au Congo ($29) with lemongrass, chilli and coconut cream. Explore beyond

Delany has had some fun in this unique Circular Quay space with black and white striped awnings and pink neon. Smart diners stay bar-side for the bargain twocourse Menu du Bar ($29.50) with a glass of Fratelli wine. I did, and just like the mirrored slogan: je ne regrette rien. The bar stools provide a commanding view of Sydney Harbour - albeit with a little railway action. If you bring someone, you can start by sharing their classic Salade Niçoise as a table-tossed entrée that impresses with freshly seared tuna making it a cut above Sydney’s usual renditions. Move on to individual mains – perhaps a densely filling Fettuccine with Walnut Pistou, Mushrooms, Ricotta and Goat’s Cheese, or the delicious Fish of the Day (Hapuka) on exemplary gratin with sneaky caramelised onions thrown in. As a shared dessert, the Lemon Doughnut with Passionfruit Caramel is a definite smile-maker. If you need some extra filling, crisp Zucchini Flowers ($2.95/each) go down well with keenly priced French or Australian wines. 2 Phillip Street, Circular Quay (02) 8248 9600 Bar,Wine, French $$ $$$ - mains between $22-$30

in Le French Boudier ($18) were appreciated; it was eclipsed by a Coffee Martini ($21) that drinks like a salted caramel latte. Chef Paul McGrath’s interesting take on Charcuterie ($32/5 items) is a fine way to finish. 18 Argyle Street, The Rocks (02) 9259 5668 Modern French/Cocktails/Bar Food $$ Ester The austere minimalism of the room makes you concentrate on the subtlety of what’s in the glass and on the plate; like leaning in to capture a whisker of smoke from the exquisite Roasted Oysters ($4/each). Woodfire links Mat Lindsay’s cooking to

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the new style emerging from highend favourites like Bridge Room pared back, unfussy, fundamental. Eat sharing style and let someone play Father, adorning sticky Pork Hock ($32) with the juice of blackened orange. Include a head of charred Cauliflower ($16) and the amazing Blood Sausage Sangas ($6/each). Take on any dessert the small menu cares to offer – my favourite, Three Milks ($11), pays homage to goat, cow and sheep. 46-52 Meagher Street, Chippendale (02) 8068 8279 Modern Australian $$$-$$$$

Ribs & Burgers Confession time: I find butchers, butchers’ aprons, Berkel meat slicers and sharp knives rather exciting. However it was still disconcerting to find out my dining companion had a Hungarian butcher doppelganger - a brother-from-another-mother the richly red, mid-1930s American steakhouse setting and you’ll find Art Deco private poolrooms sporting classic beer posters; and a leafy courtyard where you can get “triple parked at one o’clock in the afternoon” with craft brews and the Shaw & Smith M3 Vineyard Chardonnay ($15/glass). 118 Military Road, Neutral Bay (02) 9953 5515 Pub Bistro, Steak $$$$

DARLO, KINGS X & SURRY HILLS Harajuku Gyoza Leave surly service behind and travel to happy J-pop world. Shiny red bar stools offer the best vantage points to eyeball their streamlined operation. Anyone can be a winner

whose image loomed over our table. Just in case the photos, wall of meat grinders, and jar-enclosed lights didn’t give it away, this is a light-hearted space that’s meant to summon butchers’ shops of old. While you won’t find sawdust on the floor (or get handed a stick of cabanossi), their open-style kitchen does dish up a mean burger and a great rack of ribs. Their signature Wagyu Burger ($18) comes piled high with onion rings, salad, dill pickles and both pink and BBQ sauces. With a James Squire The Chancer Golden Ale ($7) and some of their ‘famous’ Chips ($4/small) it’s all you really need for a fast casual bite. Pork Ribs ($29) are marinated then slow cooked for eight hours, coming with chips and coleslaw. They’re messy but compelling (the serve is slightly small) and a Kirin ($7) will cut against them nicely. Think of it not as fast food, but as good food served quickly, in a setting you won’t feel out of place - even wearing thongs on the way back from Balmoral Beach. Shop 3, 19-25 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay (02) 9904 5774 Modern Australian, Burgers $$-$$$

for a minimal Sake ($7.50) spend – so cheer when other people get sake, too. Food’s in a best supporting role – which isn’t to say their namesake Duck Gyoza ($8/5 piece) aren’t tasty – but izakayas are about drinking. Unctuous and fatty Pork Belly Kakuni ($13) goes well with White Sesame Salad ($6), lightly battered ‘Tenpura’ Eggplant ($6) and Koshihikari Rice Beer ($12). Explosive Salted Caramel Gyoza ($9/3 pieces) should put to rest any rumours that Japanese don’t make good desserts. 9-15 Bayswater Road, Potts Point (02) 9356 3834 Japanese $ Devon Café Continuing the exodus from fine dining to approachable eateries, two of Guillaume Brahimi’s chefs

have landed in this little café on Devonshire Street. While there are the usual hipster affectations - a hanging herb garden, and everything from Refresher Juice ($7) to Iced Coffee ($6.50) served in jam jars – the coffee’s great and the food’s even better! The confidently short seasonal menu offers up beautifully presented breakfasts like Citrus Cured Salmon ($18.50) with apple, celery, fennel and split dill cream; and creative lunches like Green With Envy ($23) - nettle semolina gnocchi presented as a spring garden with pumpkin puree, zucchini, yellow squash and peas. Even the muffins are amazing… 76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills (02) 9211 8777 Café $$

FOOD NEWS Sydney’s 2014 Chinese New Year Festival, running from the 24th January to the 9th February, is set to be the biggest in our 18-year history, with over 80 events scheduled. Fashion designer Claudia Chan Shaw, one of the City of Sydney’s festival ambassadors, says:“For us, Chinese New Year has always been about getting together and sharing wonderful food with family and friends.” She urges you to get “involved with the Lunar Feast where Sydney restaurants serve up set-priced meals during the Festival.” There are 29 of Sydney’s hottest Asian restaurants dishing up cheap and delicious set-price meals in celebration of the Lunar New Year. One of my favourite spots, Chefs Gallery, will be celebrating the Year of the Horse with a 6-course ‘chapas’ banquet for $38/head. Owner Kaisern Ching says his special menu is designed to bring diners good luck, good wealth and good health ahead of what he thinks will be “an energetic year – a year to act fast and follow your instincts.”


By Rebecca Varidel

GARDEN BAR by THE CORNER HOUSE Ashtrays. Astroturf. Paper straws. Plastic cups. This fabulous, outdoor pop-up bar, cradled in the arms of the Sydney Opera House, is just the place to settle in for the Australia Day Long Weekend, with magnificent Sydney Harbour views for the Ferrython. My top picks are the four-serve jugs - Tanqueray & Tonic ($36); Pimm’s Cup ($42) or the ginger beer enhanced Garden Mule ($42). They’re fast serve on tap, and all also available by the glass. To get you in that kicked back holiday mood Rum Nuts ($14) is served in a coconut. Or celebrate with the real deal - Veuve Clicquot ($19.50/glass, $95/bottle) or my ‘real men drink pink’ favourite:Veuve Rosé Champagne ($130/ bottle). Hungry? Shared picnic plates ($28), cheeseburgers and Sydney rock oysters are the constants on a counter menu that changes daily, all the way up until January 27th. Western Boardwalk, Sydney Opera House


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT COURTYARD SESSIONS 2014 With initiatives like the City of Sydney’s Live Music Task Force and the easing of licensing regulations, Sydney is regaining its reputation as a live music hub. Courtyard Sessions is part of that reawakening. A program of summer gigs held on Friday evenings in the courtyard of the Seymour Centre organised by The Festivalists. “It’s a series of free outdoor gigs showcasing Sydney’s best up-andcoming talent and it’s every Friday night so it’s a great way to usher in the weekend,” says Mathieu Ravier, director of The Festivalists. “It’s a chance to discover new music outdoors in the dappled sunshine under the trees in a courtyard – it’s a beautiful kind of setting,” he continues. In its third year, Courtyard Sessions has a reputation for introducing bands that have gone on to gain mainstream success. “Panama played there the first year. They’ve just been selected to play at South by Southwest in March – the biggest music industry conference in the world,” says Ravier. Christo Jones, a symphonic pop artist, is taking to the stage for the second Courtyard Sessions performance on January 24. Jones is a one-man band appearing with a self-built rig that has all sorts of instruments, including guitars, samplers and keyboards. “Courtyard Sessions is a really exciting program and it’s the perfect

time of year, where Sydney is coming alive,” says Jones. “I always like playing unique spaces. An outdoor concert provides a really unique experience for punters and it’s going to be a great environment for artists,” he says. The Festivalists have selected 11 of Sydney’s most exciting emerging artists with a diverse mix of genres from dance music to bluegrass for Courtyard Sessions. The program kicks off with the enchanting Twin Lakes from Newcastle on January 17 and closes with Little May on March 28. “Little May are a kind of indie-folk band from Sydney who are getting a lot of traction at the moment. We were really excited to lock them in,” says Ravier. “I’m really looking forward to the Green Mohair Suits… this kind of country, folk, bluegrass band. They’re incredible live,” he continues. There are also vintage games, roaming performers, a gourmet barbeque and the Daylight Savings bar. “There’s a barbeque and a pop-up bar,” says Ravier. “It’s just kind of a good way to say goodbye to the working week and start enjoying the weekend.” (PG) Until Mar 28, Seymour Centre, City Rd & Cleveland St, Chippendale, free,

Photo: Hayley Sullivan


Pessimism runs through the Holmes family’s veins. While most families share traits like blue eyes, or brown hair, or a love of playing charades on camping trips, the Holmes family members were all born with the ability to see the dark side of any, and every, situation. Hope thrives briefly when 18-year-old Alex Holmes (Graeme McRae) falls in love for the first time, but during the nine-month period that follows, the entire family has to come to terms with love, loss and reconciliation. Director Anthony Skuse and pantsguys Productions have come together to explore the universality of family drama through Simon Stephens’ play On the Shore of the Wide World. This production of Stephens’ award-winning play

presents a cast of ten experienced and emerging actors including Lily Newbury-Freeman as Alex’s love interest. “Simon Stephens’ play is instantly recognisable,” says Skuse. “It shows three generations experiencing grief, love, and imagining a better life for themselves – all those things that make up our everyday. What is most beautiful is the way he presents these mundane incidents in an epic structure that celebrates ordinary lives as extraordinary.” (AE) Until Feb 1, Griffin Theatre, 13 Craigend St, Kings Cross, $35, 9361 3817,



Christo Jones

Hamlet is an iconic Shakespeare character, perhaps his most famous. However, in their first production of 2014 Brevity Theatre Co aim to serve Hamlet to their audience in a completely unexpected setting with Wittenberg. “We meet a young man who is the star tennis pupil at a foreign university who is trying to escape the expectations of being King one day. It just so happens that his two lecturers are Martin Luther and Faustus,” explains Hamlet actor and producer Alexander Butt. Not an easy thing to be juggling the main role and production of an iconic play, though Butt has found a way through. “This has been a wonderful and challenging learning experience. I have found the trick to juggling producing and acting is to trust that everyone is capable of performing their roles and leaving them alone to do their best,” Butt adds. The result that he is really trying to achieve from this production is not to have everyone in agreement, quite the contrary; Butt would like it to be an open discussion of different opinions. “The play is very funny, but it’s also thought-provoking. I hope that it will divide the audience for some heated discussions at The Old Fitzroy bar after the show,” Butt says. (AH) Until Jan 25, Old Fitz, 129 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo, $21-39,

Arts Editor: Leigh Livingstone Music Editor: Chelsea Deeley

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Contributors: Alexandra English, Alexis Talbot-Smith, Andrew Hodgson, Angela Stretch, Anita Senaratna, Cheryl Northey, Craig Coventry, Greg Webster, Hannah Chapman, Katie Davern, Leann Richards, Lena Zak, Lisa Ginnane, Luke Cox, Luke Daykin, Lyndsay Kenwright, Marilyn Hetreles, Mark Morellini, Mel Somerville, Michael Muir, Michelle Porter, Nerida Lindsay, Nick Hadland, Olga Azar, Paul Gregoire, Rhys Gard, Ruth Fogarty, Tom Wilson,Vanessa Powell


SWEET CHARITY Sweet Charity is a musical centred around the character of Charity Hope Valentine, who is an eternal optimist and dancer. Charity, played in this production by musical theatre star Verity Hunt-Ballard, makes her money dancing with man after man to pay the rent, hoping one will whisk her off her feet. Themes include the pursuit of security via romance - an interesting notion and somewhat oldfashioned. Director Dean Bryant says the story involves, “The resilience of human beings, the disempowerment of the poor, and women especially, the pursuit of romance and security, the discovery of joy and kindness in unexpected places and the randomness of life.” On Broadway, Sweet Charity was a huge success and

has built its own identity in musical theatre. Previously played by Shirley MacLaine in the 1969 movie and now at the independent Hayes Theatre Company in Potts Point. “Doing the first production for the Hayes Theatre is incredibly exciting. Also, intimate, imaginative, storybased musicals are my passion, so to get to take a classic like Sweet Charity and iris in on the world of Charity and her friends is a delightful challenge,” says Bryant. The show is said to be very sexy and physical, capturing Charity’s experience of life and how she tries to desperately transform it. (LK) Feb 7-Mar 9, Hayes Theatre Co, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point, $49,

THE ROCKS AUSTRALIA DAY The Rocks has always been the party capital on Australia Day. This year is all about fun in the sun and an all-inclusive atmosphere, says festival organiser Sophia Gibson from the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. Australia Day is traditionally a celebration of Australian culture and identity, which marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet, and the proclamation of British sovereignty. This year’s program of “All Australian acts” headlined by Cloud Control, who have achieved international success, also features an increasing number of world music/ multicultural acts. This includes Papua New Guinean-born singer Ngaiire, the Middle Eastern inspired sound of

Tijuana Cartel, and Indigenous artists Emma Donovan and The PutBacks. The Rocks will also host an interchange of artists from Victoria Park’s Yabun Festival, the largest Indigenous music festival, which is held on the same day. Indigenous acts are gradually becoming households names. Acknowledgment of Aboriginal prior ownership of Australia is now widely acknowledged through ‘Welcome to Country’ greetings at all major events. “I hope to see it [Australia Day] as a festive celebration of community… and I hope the day is an all inclusive celebration,” says Sophia Gibson. (VP) Jan 26, various locations, The Rocks, Sydney, free,

ARON OTTIGNON BAND Pianist and composer Aron Ottignon is heading to Sydney’s iconic jazz club Venue 505 to play music from his new album Dark Tunnels and his debut album Culture Tunnels. Ottignon’s latest album has been described as “an explosive combination of live dance, jazz and South Pacificinfluenced grooves”. “South Pacific rhythms have always been close to my heart, something from my upbringing in Auckland, NZ,” says Ottignon. Ottignon’s Dark Tunnels was recorded at London’s Livingston Studios with British, Caribbean & Pacific Island musicians. It blends electronic sound to jazz piano grooves with the introduction of French producer TEPR. “I guess when I compose & improvise these tribal sounds are present, somewhere inside of me. I love quick changes of tempo; tribal dance beats played fast and live. Using simple chord progressions to improvise original piano riffs over.” The Aron Ottignon Band features two stalwarts of THEATRE &

PERFORMANCE TRAVELLING NORTH An ageing couple flee Melbourne’s cold for the warmer far North Queensland and a change of lifestyle, but Frank is soon beset by heart-problems and Frances has to deal with possessive, needy daughters. Written in 1979, it’s sometimes assumed to be about writer David Williamson’s move to Sydney; in fact it’s about the experiences of his mother-in-


law, a gentle and perceptive woman who’d remarried to an older man – an opinionated, intelligent, ex-Communist. The concept of the ‘grey nomad’ is now an established one but “. . .living in paradise isn’t quite enough without having a social context of friends, families and meaningful activities to fill in the time,” says Williamson. (MM) Until Mar 22, Sydney Theatre Company, Pier 4/5, Hickson Rd,Walsh Bay, $50-85, 9250 1777,

EMPIRE There may be quirky costume routines, balancing acts and an MC, but is Speigelworld’s returning show just another trip to the circus? “No way,” says Memet Bilgin aka 3D Graffiti Guy. “We’re part of a new wave of circus groups. It’s unique and intimate, with far more interaction between the audience and the performers.” With a rising and rotating stage that often places the performers mere inches away, audiences can

the contemporary Australian jazz scene. Bassist Cameron Undy, whose diverse musical experience includes Afro-beat and world music will take to the stage with Ottignon along with respected trans-cultural jazz drummer Simon Barker. (CN) Jan 24, Venue 505, 280 Cleveland St, Surry Hills, $16-20,

watch routines that move from roller-skating to balancing upon a spinning top in a tent made of 3000 individual pieces. This adult-only fusion of vaudeville, burlesque, cabaret and circus promises to be a night out with a difference. (RG) Until Feb 16, Showring, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, $59-149, PARADISO AT TOWN HALL sees Sydney Town Hall take inspiration in the name

Cloud Control


The Duck Duck Goose Theatre Company presents Pinball; a play set in the ‘70s about a lesbian couple trying to gain custody of a son. Part of Mardi Gras Sydney 2014, Pinball is an antinaturalistic comedy that centres around Theenie as she struggles with her family’s bigotry. “It’s a story about what we have been through in the past in Australia, in terms of laws and same-sex parenting,” says Sarah Vickery, director of Pinball. “We really wanted to put it on to show how far we’ve come,” she continues. Pinball was written in the late

and reputation of Amsterdam’s legendary rock venue Paradiso and returns with eight nights of diverse music for 2014’s Sydney Festival. On one night audiences can experience introspective folkrock hero Kurt Vile & The Violators (USA) as they take to the stage with their songs that range from languid charm to sky-scraping anthems. While the Japanese pioneers of ‘death jazz’ Soil & Pimp Sessions take to the stage another night with their aggressively funky and frenetic

‘70s and the new production reflects on how, although life was fashionable, not all was cool at the time. Producer Gavin Roach approached Vickery with the idea of a production with a more female take on themes surrounding Mardi Gras. “Mardi Gras were very excited to actually have a focus on women’s rights and lesbianism and all that,” says Vickery. On the cast of six, she says, “The cast are fantastic. They’re all very experienced. They’re extremely talented and I’m very proud of them.” (PG) Feb 11-28, TAP Gallery, 278 Palmer St, Darlinghurst, $20, pinball-theatre

ensemble horn-play. Punters can also catch an evening of flamboyant tango with Orquesta Tìpica Fernàndez Fierro from Argentina, Detroit techno pioneer Juan Atkins, through to American troubadours John Grant and John Murry. There’s also the Paradiso Lates series where audiences can catch performances and DJs late into the night for free. (CN) Until Jan 25, Sydney Town Hall, 483 George St, Sydney, $36-56,




By Coffin Ed, Miss Death & Jay Katz Drop into your local Coles or Woolies and you’ll see the usual load of flag-adorned garb on sale for Australia Day this coming weekend – tank tops, sun hats, t-shirts and of course, good old Aussie flags themselves. For those who remember the iconography of old school Australia, it’s all a bit nationalistic.There are still those who would rather suck on a chocolate paddle pop than drape themselves in the southern cross like Pauline Hanson or a bogan at the Big Day Out. Whilst some might think that the celebration of Australia Day has been with us forever, it wasn’t until 1994 that all States and territories adhered to the same public holiday and flag-flapping became a national pastime. Unlike America where the stars and stripes are omnipresent, the Australian flag gets a low-key airing for most of the year despite occasionally surfacing at selected sporting events and historic commemorations. On Australia Day however, thanks largely to Coles and Woolies, it’s everywhere and as inescapable as an ibis in Hyde Park. Whether you’re as Aussie as “Oi Oi Oi” or view patriotism as the last refuge of the scoundrel, a public holiday is a public holiday. Australia Day is certainly a time for reflection and a nostalgia for the past (given the horrible uncertainty of the future). In Sydney this reminiscence of old school Australiana is well catered for, as the old double deck buses trundle down George Street and the classic vintage style ferries race across the harbour. But does it go far enough? There are many amongst us who see Australia Day as our last chance to assert a national identity, before we are swamped by not only rampant Americanisation but a festering globalisation that turns us all into pawns of Facebook, Apple and Samsung. “Come on Aussie, come on” – let’s show the world the real Australia, warts and all, and reassert a national

pride on Australia Day that transcends the usual flim flam of nationalism, like Sam Kekovich flogging lamb cutlets and those endless lists of Australia Day gongs. We could begin by recognising ‘Invasion Day’ as a legitimate rememberance by Indigenous Australians and by changing the name to Australia/Invasion Day or ‘AI’ day for short. On a lighter note we could bring back, if only for that one day of the year, some of the cultural artefacts that have long since been obliterated. To give just one example - well before Australia Day we celebrated our sense of nationhood with ‘British Empire’ and later ‘Commonwealth Day’, acknowledging our almost sacred ties to the motherland England. Whilst the sentiments might have been suspect, it did mean you could walk into your local Coles and Woolies (here we go again), and buy a big plastic bag of fireworks full of magical flowerpots, catherine wheels and dynamite-like double bungers. There was no need whatsoever for a NYE pyrotechnic spectacular when the average suburban backyard was transformed into a wonderland of skyrockets, sparklers and homemade pipe guns. Sure there was the odd kiddies’ finger that went missing and a thousand or more letterboxes that were blown to hell and back, but it was that sense of adventure. That almost visceral thrill of living on the edge (albeit for one glorious cracker night) that inspired and strengthened who we now label as Australia’s older generation. There will be many for whom this Sunday’s Australia Day will mean applying a set of Aussie flag tattoos, snapping a selfie and tweeting a message of unbridled patriotism to all and sundry. We might be a minority but how wonderful would it be to send a cane toad, emblazoned with the union jack attached to a skyrocket, hurtling towards the heavens like Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. Not hard to work out the symbolism there - but you’ll need to move to Darwin if you want to do it.

THANKS GIVING DAY, JANUARY 26 The Granddaddy of the Beat Generation questioned American society in the late ‘80s with a sneering Thanksgiving prayer. William S. Burroughs sought to balance out all the saving grace blessings of past and present, using wry and gravel prose. The Australia Day Council (ADC) of NSW has formed a national identity and culture campaign to carve out Australians by sharing perceptions of “who we are”. Aussievault was launched in 2008, and is the centre for all campaign activities. Thank you Australia is a joint venture of ADC Committees of NSW, Queensland and Victoria and is supported by Australian Unity. Actress Kate Ritchie is a spokesperson of the initiative, “taking the time to remind ourselves how blessed we are to live here in Australia is something we should do.” She is joined by 2013 Australian of the Year, journalist and businesswoman Ita Buttrose; and former Olympic swimming champion, Geoff Huegill. This year’s campaign has attracted 295 notes of nationalistic gratitude thus far. Submissions can be made online with up to 96 characters and a photograph can be selected to provide a backdrop to your message. Ritchie is featured in a farm setting with the comment, “Thank you Australia for rural road trips!” In another entry she states, “Thank you Australia for letting ME choose who I WANT TO BE”. Further exploration past the first pages

failed to load more entries. Fortunately, visitors will be able to mount a photo-booth pin-up as part of the Thank You Australia Pop-Up Street Art event at the Hyde Park Barracks Forecourt. Visitors are encouraged to be creative and craft reflections on the Thank You Australia Mural Wall. There is more reason for further thankfulness, as visitors may have the good fortune of winning a

trip to Sydney for a family of four! The competition will be judged on the ability to include the Thank You Australia theme. (AS) Thank You Australia Pop-Up Street Art, Hyde Park Barracks Forecourt, free, Submissions to the Thank you Australia campaign close on Feb 28 and prizewinners announced on March 10.

Kate Ritchie

GAME MASTERS It’s exciting walking into the Powerhouse Museum’s newest exhibit, Game Masters. As visitors step through, they are confronted with a hall lined with buzzing, blinking, whirring and colourful arcade games, all vying for attention. In that moment visitors are transported back in time, to the dawn of video gaming. To enter is to become totally immersed in this fun and interactive world. Exploring not just the act of playing, but also the development of the industry and the creative minds behind the games’ design. Child of Eden

Director of the museum, Rose Hiscock says that the exhibition shows what happens when science and design combine to create amazing opportunities for creativity. With fascinating sections devoted to exploring the motivations of designers, as well as multiplayer and largescale 3D displays, the exhibition is sure to have everyone enthralled. (ATS) Until May 25, Powerhouse Museum, 500 Harris St, Ultimo, $15-59 (includes general admission),

PINEAPPLES IN THE PACIFIC - DANIEL BOYD/ MY SISTER’S CEREMONY - NYAPANYAPA YUNUPINGU Currently, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Paddington is showcasing Indigenous perspectives with exhibitions by Daniel Boyd and Nyapanyapa Yunupingu. Pineapples in the Pacific by Boyd, reinterprets the history of the South Pacific. The pictures emerge from a kaleidoscope of dots to become complete scenes which evoke nineteenth century stories of the region. This year Boyd has included striking colourful stills which dazzle like fireworks from the walls. My Sister’s Ceremony by Yunupingu, is a distinct tonal contrast to Boyd’s intense hues.

Her bark paintings are pale representations of the outback with shades that mirror the faded beiges of desert Australia. The creases and folds of the medium speak of the migration of people and animals through windswept landscapes. Seemingly simple, the pieces conceal a complex story of tradition and ancient art. Combined, these two shows are intriguing displays of artistic talents with strength, purpose and originality. (LR) Until Feb 8, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, 8 Soudan Lane, Paddington, free,

‘Untitled’ by Nyapanyapa Yunupingu


THE JEZABELS THE BRINK The Jezabels’ new album, The Brink, is a good mix of that distinctive Hayley Mary voice and some new musical undertones. Fans will enjoy the familiar strains of indie rock and the nuances of the melody. Track Angels of Fire ramps up the intensity in true Jezabels style, proving that when you’re onto a good thing, why would you change the formula? The Jezabels show fans once again that they know what they are doing and the result is beautiful. Listen to it and let the band’s musical magic take over. (SP)

JIMBLAH PHOENIX Hailing from the Larrakia Nation in the Northern Territory, Jimblah is making noise as an Australian hip

hop force of nature. The beats on his second album Phoenix are simple with Indigenous instrumental accents and push Jimblah’s vocal ability to the forefront. Rising from the ashes is a common lyrical theme, as well as local issues like refugees and national pride. An interesting and touching recording titled Lovebirds doesn’t feature Jimblah at all but is powerful to listen to and marks a musical change in the rest of the album. Phoenix sees Jimblah fly high while firmly attached to his roots. An original and innovative album. (LL)

LOOKING THROUGH A GLASS ONION - JOHN WATERS Taking a gander into the world of an immortalised icon generally takes the form of tribute acts, art galleries or documentaries. Scandals and typical interviews with the daughter of the personal assistant and other tenuously linked personnel water down the achievements and ignore the positives of the life in question. However, the fantastical talent that is John Lennon couldn’t be luckier to have such a passionate and creative fan in Australian actor and musician John Waters, most recently known for his role as Darcy Proudman in television’s hit Offspring. “He’s dynamic and [there is an] amazing bare-bones truthfulness of his work,” Waters explains of Lennon. “I think he is to be admired because he worked on himself so that he could be true to his own beliefs. He studied and read a lot; he was on a journey of self-improvement rather than just preaching to others.” Admiration for this world-famous Liverpudlian prompted Waters and his co-creator Stewart D’Arrietta to create an original take on the life of Lennon. Combining his most famous songs and original spoken monologues, the show is less of a clichéd tribute and more of an inventive vision. “I was intent on not being taken as a kind of John Lennon

LIVE WIRE Georgia Anne Muldrow & Dudley Perkins: Partners in both music and love, G&D’s performance as part of the 2014 Sydney Festival will inject the funk and soul into the week. After being introduced to Muldrow while working on his own solo project, Perkins’ attraction to this smooth singing sensation was not only personal but musical. They mix funk, soul and hip hop as well as an array of sounds to create their own individual art that oozes originality, realism and optimism. Thu, Jan 23, Sydney Town Hall, George St

version of an Elvis Presley impersonator,” Waters states. “I made this a - for want of a less ‘wanky’ word - stylised theatrical presentation, an art show if you like. It’s not really true to John Lennon; it’s very much my own impression. That’s why I wrote a monologue and didn’t use actual quotes; I just imagined things that he might have said. People often say, ‘Oh he never said that’ and I say, ‘Well… he might have?’” As a show that debuted in a small pub in Woolloomooloo back in 1992, this premise and homage to the great Lennon has been working its way into the hearts of fans all over the world. With a stint in America coming up this year, Waters is very much adamant about being true to the optimism and ingenuity of the Beatle, ignoring the minor parts that made up his fascinating life. “Some of my favourite songs of his are about heroin like Cold Turkey and Happiness is a Warm Gun,” Waters explains. “But I didn’t want to deal with any of that because I don’t think it was a major part of John Lennon.” “If I was doing a show about Keith Richards then it would be different!” he laughs. (CD) Jan 28-Feb 2, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, $6999, (02) 9250 7777,

Sydney Live Music Guide

Sinkane: His sound is spacey and multidimensional, something which Brooklynbased musician and front man Ahmed Gallab prizes in his creative outlet. The latest album Mars was met with high appreciation. What sets Gallab’s work apart from his contemporaries is his life experience. Born and raised in Sudan, Gallab garnered influence from both traditional and western genres of music that ultimately led him to pursue his interests playing in bands such as Yeasayer, Caribou and Montreal. Fri, Jan 24,The Spiegeltent, Hyde Park

Hat Fitz & Cara: Another husband and wife duo, Cara Robinson and her beloved ‘Fitzy’ were united across the pond in Robinson’s Irish home. Since then it’s a musical partnership that could not be severed, even though a near-fatal car accident left Robinson struggling to recuperate. Their music is a combination of the traditional bluesy guitar and Robinson’s soul-filled vocals, skilled drumming and flute playing. Their set promises laughs and dance-worthy collaborations. Sat, Jan 25,The Basement, Circular Quay

Young Lions: A Brisbane five-piece with a penchant for torrid rock and roll, vocalist Zachary Britt and his men will be taking Oxford St by storm. Fresh off the release of their debut record Burn, their rock has been gracing the playlists of radio station trendsetters Triple J, as well as affording them supporting slots with hardcore anomalies Sienna Skies and Senses Fail. The boys are no strangers to the music scene, with some members playing for defunct bands The Dream The Chase, Amberain and Dream on Dreamer. Sun, Jan 26,The Spectrum, Darlinghurst

The Lumineers: Ho Hey! Get ready to toe tap! AllAmerican and delightfully optimistic, these darlings will be filling Enmore with infectious sing-alongs and glorious smiles. The lead single Ho Hey from their self-titled debut did the rounds on social media, garnering a spot in a number of television shows including Hart of Dixie and ultimately became a charttopping hit throughout the world. Tue, Jan 28, Enmore Theatre, Newtown Toro Y Moi: He’s been dubbed as one of the forerunners for the ever

growing ‘chillwave’ scene and has a plentiful list of side projects to maintain, yet somehow Toro Y Moi has enough time to bring the house down in Sydney. Rising out of South Carolina, Chazwick Bradley Bundick as he was deemed at birth, mashes together elements of electro, indie-pop and funk in the process of creating this original sound he is steadily gaining notoriety for. Tonight he will be supported by danceinducers Portugal. The Man. (CD) Wed, Jan 29, The Hi-Fi Sydney, Moore Park

BEN AND JERRY’S OPENAIR CINEMA If you took all of the ingredients for a perfect summer and mixed them up into one big event, you’d end up with Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema. This summer, Ben and Jerry’s will bring Sydneysiders movies, ice cream, live music and a bar, all from the ultimate beach destination, Bondi Beach. The film line-up is a mix of new releases like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and classics like Dirty Dancing and Grease. Every Sunday, up-and-coming local musicians will play


Evil Lord Kira (Tadanobu Asano) wants to take over the provinces of feudal Japan, and he’ll do it dressed like a Power Rangers villain, while a shapeshifting witch (Rinko Kikuchi) does his bidding. Kai (Keanu Reeves) is an orphaned half-demon man in love with his ruler’s daughter Mika (Ko Shibasaki). A series of events triggers his ruler’s suicide and the local Samurai being banished as the everdisgraced Ronin.

before screenings as part of the Sundae Sessions. There’ll also be free scoops of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, Putt Putt and Giant Cow Jenga on the lawn. The Sundae Sessions Charity Night on February 2 will feature indie forest-rockers Jinja Safari playing before a screening of Anchorman 2. Another event sure to go down well in Bondi is The Big Blue, a surf film double bill on February 19. Featuring Missing, starring champion surfer Mick Fanning, and Uncharted Waters, a documentary about 1960s surfing icon Wayne Lynch. “We can’t wait to bring the event back to its home in Bondi,” says Sarah Steel, marketing manager for Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema. “Openair Cinemas started in Bondi as a small local event and is now in its tenth year, it’s grown to tour six cities across Australia. This summer’s Sydney Season is a bigger and better event than ever before.” Steel suggests getting tickets early, as many of the nights are either selling fast or already sold out. (AS) Jan 23-Mar 2, Dolphin Lawn, Bondi Beach, $13-55,

THE GREAT BEAUTY In a style comparable to Aussie director Baz Luhrmann, this new Italian film by director Paolo Sorrentino is aesthetically pleasing. Ageing socialite and washed-up writer Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo) throws extravagant parties for Rome’s high society, on his rooftop terrace overlooking the Colosseum. Flashbacks to his youth and his first love follow, as a

somewhat cynical Jep, searches for meaning in his life. This film is almost like a meditation on beauty, playing more as a series of vignettes. Each scene is a sensory overload with rich visual imagery and colourful costumes. Upbeat dance music juxtaposed against classical music helps to carry the story along. (VP) WWWW

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio pair up again for The Wolf of Wall Street. Based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, who made millions selling fraudulent, inflated stocks; it follows Belfort’s rise and fall as he ‘conquers’ Wall Street. Viewers are rushed through this whirlwind tale as Belfort and his band of brothers spend their money on prostitutes, drugs, fast cars and more

Eventually the Ronin reunite to avenge their master’s death and rescue his daughter from Kira’s clutches. Keanu Reeves helps. This film boasts beautifully realised landscapes, incredible set pieces and inspired art direction with surprisingly strong performances from most of the cast. Arguably this film would benefit from its Japanese cast speaking in their native tongue, but Hollywood tells us we can’t handle listening to another culture. (TW) WWW

drugs. As he earns more money and continues to become more extravagant, you start to wonder if this guy is ever going to learn anything. This is an unbelievably funny film, particularly scenes with DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. Australia’s own Margot Robbie proves that you can completely move on from a Neighbours career. (ATS) WWWW

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT Directed by Kenneth Branagh, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is based on the famous character created by author Tom Clancy. Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) attempts to halt a plot to collapse the U.S. economy by a Russian terrorist (Kenneth Branagh). Performances by Kevin Costner as William Harper, the ally and father figure, and Branagh as the Russian villain are ‘okay’ and carry a film with an unoriginal and predictable THE RAILWAY MAN Depicting the life of the famous Thai ‘Death Railway’ survivor Eric Lomax, his tale is woven with stunning Edinburgh scenery and a musical score to match. Colin Firth, who plays Lomax, does an incredible job of convincing the audience of the turmoil the prisoners of war faced upon returning from their living hell. Nicole Kidman delivers the necessary support and strength needed from a wife of a returning soldier. Together, the cast and crew have produced an incredibly raw film about the code of silence culture and what it means to live with those demons. (TO) WWWW

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY is a dark comedy/drama boasting a stellar cast. Meryl Streep plays dysfunctional Violet Weston, a lady diagnosed with mouth cancer. When her alcoholic husband Beverly (Sam Shephard) suicides, the family reunites, becoming the catalyst to a family meltdown after years of unresolved issues resurface. Family conflicts are infinite with entangling sub-plots and temperaments igniting, providing laughter as the screaming, swearing and fighting escalate. The story moves slowly, obviously written for the stage and resounding themes are the importance of family values and honour. (MM) WWW½

SAVING MR BANKS Inspired by true events, Saving Mr Banks is the extraordinary behind-thescenes story of the tribulations Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and his staff endured whilst attempting to convince relentless authoress P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to sign over the rights to her novel Mary Poppins. All facets of this majestic production are outstanding, especially the editing, as audiences are skillfully transported into Travers’ childhood. Performances are faultless and Thompson’s poignant scenes will reduce the more sensitive viewers to tears.

plot. Keira Knightley as the token girlfriend has a laughable American accent, which is distracting. The 106-minute film looks sleek with beautiful views of Moscow and New York but still has some very predictable cinematography. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit fits neatly into the action/spy thriller genre, but is lacking in imagination. Not one of the best Clancy adaptations. (LK) WWW Mesmerising and insightful, Saving Mr Banks is a remarkable cinematic achievement. (MM) WWWW HER Those who despair American cinema has forgotten how to write and tell stories about real human beings will be heartened. Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), in-touch with his feminine side, makes a living writing letters of a personal nature. After a long relationship ends he finds solace in an operating system that is intuitive and has a developing personality. The film explores our neediness and vulnerabilities and asks what is ‘human’ after all? (MMu)

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET PHILOMENA Judi Dench is incredibly moving as Philomena, a lady in her 70s who travels to America with journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) in search of a son she hasn’t seen in 50 years. Inspired by true events, the story unfolds through effective flashbacks to the 1950s, an era when Irish-Catholic communities had zero tolerance for ‘shamed’ young girls who fell pregnant out of wedlock. The perfect balance of light humour and sensitivity delivers an inspiring and triumphant film. (MM) WWWW½

THE HOBBIT:THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG follows Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) as he accompanies the dwarves on an adventurous journey to reclaim their home from the terrifying dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). CGI effects and camera work often make the action sequences feel like being part of a large-scale video game and filming with a faster frame rate diminishes the seamless integration of the special effects. As always Howard Shore’s score is spot on and the sets are magnificent. Packed with outstanding casting and grand visuals, The Desolation of Smaug is still the feast that fans of both Jackson and Tolkien have come to expect. (LL) WWW½ 21



ARIES (March 21-April 19): Actor Casey Affleck appreciates the nurturing power of his loved ones. “My family would be supportive,” he says, “if I said I wanted to be a Martian, wear only banana skins, make love to ashtrays, and eat tree bark.” I’d like to see you cultivate allies like that in the coming months, Aries. Even if you have never had them before, there’s a good chance they will be available. For best results, tinker with your understanding of who your family might be. Redefine what “community” means to you.


TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Author John Koenig says we often regard emotions as positive or negative. Feeling respect is good, for example, while being wracked with jealousy is bad. But he favors a different standard for evaluating emotions: how intense they are. At one end of the spectrum, everything feels blank and blah, even the big things. “At the other end is wonder,” he says, “in which everything feels alive, even the little things.” Your right and proper goal right now, Taurus, is to strive for the latter kind: full-on intensity and maximum vitality. Luckily, the universe will be conspiring to help you achieve that goal.


GEMINI (May 21-June 20): At her blog other-wordly., Yee-Lum Mak

defines the Swedish word resfeber this way: “the restless race of the traveler’s heart before the journey begins, when anxiety and anticipation are tangled together.” You might be experiencing *resfeber* right now, Gemini. Even if you’re not about to depart on a literal trip, I’m guessing you will soon start wandering out on a quest or adventure that will bring your heart and mind closer together. Paradoxically, your explorations will teach you a lot about being better grounded. Bon voyage!


CANCER (June 21-July 22): How does a monarch butterfly escape its chrysalis when it has finished gestating? Through tiny holes in the skin of the chrysalis, it takes big gulps of air and sends them directly into its digestive system, which expands forcefully. Voila! Its body gets so big it breaks free. When a chick is ready to emerge from inside its egg, it has to work harder than the butterfly. With its beak, it must peck thousands of times at the shell, stopping to rest along the way because the process is so demanding. According to my analysis, Cancerian, you’re nearing the final stage before your metaphorical emergence from gestation. Are you more like the butterfly or chick?


LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): “I’m not sure where to go from here. I need help.” I encourage you to say those words out loud, Leo. Even if

you’re not sure you believe they’re true, act as if they are. Why? Because I think it would be healthy for you to express uncertainty and ask for assistance. It would relieve you of the oppressive pressure to be a masterful problem-solver. It could free you from the unrealistic notion that you’ve got to figure everything out by yourself. And this would bring you, as if by magic, interesting offers and inquiries. In other words, if you confess your neediness, you will attract help. Some of it will be useless, but most of it will be useful.


VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Dogs have a superb sense of smell, much better than we humans. But ours isn’t bad. We can detect certain odors that have been diluted to one part in five billion. For example, if you were standing next to two Olympic-sized swimming pools, and only one contained a few drops of the chemical ethyl mercaptan, you would know which one it was. I’m now calling on you to exercise that level of sensitivity, Virgo. There’s a situation in the early stages of unfolding that would ultimately emanate a big stink if you allowed it to keep developing. There is a second unripe situation, on the other hand, that would eventually yield fragrant blooms. I advise you to either quash or escape from the first, even as you cultivate and treasure the second.


LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Whatever adventures may flow your way in the coming weeks, Libra, I hope you will appreciate them for what they are: unruly but basically benevolent; disruptive in ways that catalyze welcome transformations; a bit more exciting than you might like, but ultimately pretty fun. Can you thrive on the paradoxes? Can you delight in the unpredictability? I think so. When you look back at these plot twists two months from now, I bet you’ll see them as entertaining storylines that enhance the myth of your hero’s journey. You’ll understand them as tricky gifts that have taught you valuable secrets about your soul’s code.

perverse form of celebration that frees speakers from their inhibitions. But I’m here today to announce that its rebel cachet and vulgar power are extinct. It has decayed into a barren cliche. Its official death-from-oversaturation occurred with the release of the mainstream Hollywood blockbuster “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Actors in the film spat out the rhymes-with-cluck word more than 500 times. I hereby nominate you Sagittarians to begin the quest for new ways to invoke rebellious irreverence. What interesting mischief and naughty wordplay might you perpetrate to escape your inhibitions, break taboos that need to be broken, and call other people on their BS and hypocrisy?



SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Manufacturing a jelly bean is not a quick, slambam process. It’s a five-step procedure that takes a week. Each seemingly uncomplicated piece of candy has to be built up layer by layer, with every layer needing time to fully mature. I’m wondering if maybe there’s a metaphorically similar kind of work ahead for you, Scorpio. May I speculate? You will have to take your time, proceed carefully, and maintain a close attention to detail as you prepare a simple pleasure.


SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22Dec. 21): I understand the appeal of the f-word. It’s guttural and expulsive. It’s a

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) has had a major impact on the development of ideas in the Western world. We can reasonably divide the history of philosophy into two eras: pre-Kantian and post-Kantian. And yet for his whole life, which lasted 79 years, this big thinker never traveled more than ten miles away from Konigsberg, the city where he was born. He followed a precise and methodical routine, attending to his work with meticulous detail. According to my analysis, you Capricorns could have a similar experience in the coming weeks. By sticking close to the tried-and-true rhythms

that keep you grounded and healthy, you can generate influential wonders.


AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The Aquarian author Georges Simenon (1903-1989) wrote more than 200 novels under his own name and 300 more under pseudonyms. On average, he finished a new book every 11 days. Half a billion copies of his books are in print. I’m sorry to report that I don’t think you will ever be as prolific in your own chosen field as he was in his. However, your productivity could soar to a hefty fraction of Simenonlike levels in 2014 -- if you’re willing to work your ass off. Your luxuriant fruitfulness won’t come as easily as his seemed to. But you should be overjoyed that you at least have the potential to be luxuriantly fruitful.


PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): When I’m older and wiser, maybe I’ll understand the meaning of my life. When I’m older and wiser, maybe I’ll gain some insight about why I’m so excited to be alive despite the fact that my destiny is so utterly mysterious. What about you, Pisces? What will be different for you when you’re older and wiser? Now is an excellent time to ponder this riddle. Why? Because it’s likely you will get a glimpse of the person you will have become when you are older and wiser -- which will in turn intensify your motivation to become that person.

City News 23 January 2014  
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