Residents ship out of White Bay
Shore power “not being considered” BY Michael Koziol Sydney Ports has effectively ruled out using shore power as a means of reducing noise and air pollution at the White Bay cruise terminal. The technology, which nearby residents say is their preferred solution to the current impasse, would enable ships to off their diesel engines and electricity generators while berthed at the site. But Sydney Ports Corporation, a stateowned entity, confirmed it was not being discussed as a short-term option. “Shore power is not being considered by any port in Australia, and indeed only a few countries in the world – mostly very busy ports with multiple ships – are now introducing it,” a spokesperson told the Inner West Independent. “That does not mean to say it’s not an option – but a great deal of planning is involved in delivering this solution and among the challenges for White
“Just make it a clean product”: Balmain resident Gill Hazel
Time to get tested Inner west the Published fortnightly and distributed to residents in Leichhardt, Lilyfield, Balmain, Annandale and Rozelle. Distribution enquiries call 9212 5677. Published by the Alternative Media Group of Australia. While every effort is made to ensure accuracy of content, The Independent takes no responsibility for inadvertent errors or omissions. ABN 48 135 222 169 Group Publisher: Lawrence Gibbons Group Manager: Chris Peken Group Editor: Michael Koziol Independent Editor: Michael Koziol Contributing Editors: Adam Hunt and Triana O’Keefe Contributors: Alisha Aitken-Radburn, Nicole Doughty, Georgia Fullerton, Paul Gregoire, Myles Stedman Arts Editor: Leigh Livingstone Arts Listings: Jeremy Bridie 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 Photo: Chris Peken - Gill Hazel Email: email@example.com Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact: PO Box 843 Broadway 2007 Ph: 9212 5677 Fax: 9212 5633 Web: altmedia.net.au
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Bay is the fact that most cruise ships berthing at the terminal are not equipped to take shore power.” The spokesperson said Sydney Ports agrees it could be a “medium to long term option”, but declined to nominate how many years that might be. The confirmation will be a blow for community groups hoping to reduce the sound and fumes from nearby ships, which can be blown on to the Balmain peninsula by the wind. Chair of Balmain Precinct Christina Ritchie said in an email to residents that the White Bay site should never have proceeded. “At the very least, the NSW government must now make provision for mandatory on-shore power, immediately apply strict noise and pollution controls relevant to a residential area, and ensure all port traffic uses the new dedicated port road and avoids local roads,” she said.
By MYLES STEDMAN The BreastScreen mobile van is returning to Balmain to encourage all women to fight breast cancer by getting scanned. Screenings will commence on January 21 and until February 28, providing free mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer. If you miss the van in Balmain, it will be present at other inner-western locations later in the year such as Redfern, Marrickville, Campsie, Roselands, Leichardt, Flemington and Rhodes, and has fixed locations in Camperdown and Concord. All women over 40 are welcome upon request and those aged 50-74 are encouraged to attend every two years. One in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and it is the sixth most common cause of death among females. Breastscreen NSW’s director for the Sydney Local Health District, Dr Genevieve Wallace, said the service provides a quick and easy opportunity for women to be tested. Lack of time is the main reason most eligible women do not have a mammogram. “A screening mammogram can detect the early signs of breast cancer and the best time to treat breast cancer is when it is very small,” Dr Wallace said. “Now is the perfect time for eligible women living or working in the Balmain area to take advantage of this important health check.” She said breast screening could find cancers before they can be felt or noticed. Appointments take only 15 minutes, and a GP referral is not required. All staff on the van are female. The van will be located on Darling Street near Ford Street, in front of the National Australia Bank, and will operate from 8:45am to 4pm weekdays.
home of armed robberies: stats By PAUL GREGOIRE A shooting incident at a unit above Parramatta Road on New Year’s Eve has ignited questions about gun violence in Sydney’s inner west. A 56-year-old man appeared at Petersham Police Station at 10:30am December 31 with a gunshot wound to his foot and claimed he had been robbed at a unit on Hay St in Leichhardt. Police arrested a 33-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman at the unit. A spokesperson for the NSW Police Force said a third suspect was apprehended later that day in western Sydney. “At 7:45pm on NYE a 28-year-old man was arrested at Addington Street St Mary’s and charged with robbery while armed with [a] dangerous weapon,” the spokesperson said. The licensee of the neighbouring Bald Faced Stag Hotel said reports that the shooting happened inside the hotel were false. “It was initially reported that someone was shot in the hotel so that was all incorrect,” he said. But the dramatic events have pulled focus from gun violence in Sydney’s outer suburbs to the inner west. A spokesperson for the NSW Police Force said they would not comment in relation to gun violence within the Leichhardt LAC (local area command). A spokesperson for Leichhardt Council noted their youth and community safety officer works closely with police and is a member of the Leichhardt Marrickville Domestic Violence Forum. Samantha Lee from Gun Control Australia
said inner city Sydney has the highest levels of armed robberies in the Sydney metropolitan area and there are also problems with other gun related crimes. “Figures show that the Sydney Statistical subdivision of Inner Sydney has experienced the highest level of robberies with a firearm than any other statistical area of Sydney,” Ms Lee said. “Inner Sydney has also had to contend with a considerable number of drive-by shootings and assaults with a firearm.” Ms Lee said an anomaly with the 1996 National Firearms Agreement fails to ban semiautomatic handguns, which “makes absolutely no sense”. “John Howard banned semi-automatic longarms,” she said. “Which Prime Minister is going to finish the job and ban semi-automatic handguns?” Photo: Paul Gregoire
then you’ve got the terrible stench, and that is so debilitating.” Ms Hazel works in the travel industry and understands the cruising boom is placing extra pressure on cruise liners. But she wants to see greater investment in clean fuels that minimise pollution, and for on-shore power to be used like in other world ports. “Just make it a clean product,” she said. One resident, who did not want to be named, said she will leave her home for the whole of February and early March. “February is just a disaster from my perspective,” she said of the month when ships will dock for 23 of 28 days. Several residents left during a particularly busy period in December, and the resident said she would consider moving permanently if there is no respite. “You feel under siege. It’s relentless,” she said. “The last couple of days we haven’t had a ship in and it’s been heaven. We go from heaven to hell.” Former Leichhardt councillor John Stamolis outlined the residents’ agenda, the main element of which is to require ships to use on-shore power while docked instead of their engines. They also want White Bay to be made a quiet port, greater regulation of fuel and pollution, and the publication of air quality and noise test results.
Photo: Chris Peken
BY MICHAEL KOZIOL A handful of Balmain residents intend to vacate their properties for up to six weeks to avoid the peak season at the White Bay cruise ship terminal. Since the facility’s inception in April last year, a small group of residents have lodged recurrent complaints with Sydney Ports about air and noise pollution at the site. Ships are scheduled to dock at White Bay on 52 of the 90 days in January, February and March. Gill Hazel, who lives very close to the precipice overlooking the terminal, is considering vacating her premises for a period in February. She said the noise includes not just the ships’ engines but announcements from the PA system. “It’s pretty bad when you get to know who the captains are,” she laughed. But it would appear to contravene requirements of ships calling at White Bay, according to a letter from Sydney Ports CEO Grant Gilfillan. The letter to residents declares that vessels must “silence all external announcements/loud music while at berth (excluding mandatory emergency lifeboat drill 60 minutes before departure)”. Ms Hazel works from home and keeps doors and windows open during hot summer months. She says the air and noise pollution varies depending on the direction and intensity of the breeze. “If the winds are the way they are,
A spokesperson for Sydney Ports said the organisation has met with residents on several occasions “Sydney Ports are doing nothing in recent weeks and had a long about the impacts but tell anyone record of responding seriously to who will listen that they have a ‘good community concerns. neighbour policy’,” Mr Stamolis said. “Sydney Ports is indeed taking “This policy is meaningless as they action and it is action the residents continue to demonstrate irresponsible have accepted as a step in the right behaviour.” direction,” the spokesperson said. Sydney Ports told residents it “It is critical to determine as has discussed the best way to test accurately as possible the levels of emissions with the Environment any negative impact on air quality Protection Authority and Roads & caused by cruise ships before any Maritime Services, and will do so decisions can be made on further during the peak month of February. actions.”
The unit above a shop on Parramatta Road
Barriers to night economy diversity by MICHAEL KOZIOL
Photo: MD111 via Flickr
Efforts to transform Sydney’s late-night economy face structural barriers in the form of transport options, critical mass and penalty rates, the City of Sydney’s business and safety manager Suzie Matthews says. The City’s “OPEN Sydney” action plan is the result of extensive consultation beginning in 2011 and aims to diversify Sydney’s night-time entertainment options beyond the consumption of alcohol. The long-term strategy goes out to 2030. But asked about progress in 2014, Ms Matthews said there were several issues that could impede action in the short term. The first structural issue is about “building a level of trust and confidence in our late-night
public transport system that might not be there at the moment”. City businesses need to know their staff can commute home safely and efficiently, but Sydney’s train and bus network is notably patchy late at night. Nor are the solutions necessarily easy. The City’s strategy calls for more public transport, better taxi availability and improved bicycle access. But Ms Matthews noted that when the state government provided extra buses in Kings Cross, it did little to attract patrons. “They did it, and no-one got the buses,” she said. Secondly, there is uncertainty about whether foot traffic has reached critical mass for business owners to keep trading after hours. Ms Matthews says the City has
The City wants to expand late-night entertainment options beyond consumption of alcohol
almost finished crunching data collected from pedestrian counts, intercepts and observational studies conducted in 2012. The research looked at the numbers, demographics and purposes of people in the city and precincts between 6pm and 6am. “That’s data that I believe is gold,” she said. Thirdly, Ms Matthews raised the issue of penalty rates acting as a disincentive to businesses operating late at night. In October, the Restaurant and Caterers Association asked the Fair Work Commission to reduce or remove penalty rates for weekday hospitality work performed after 10pm. Fair Work rejected the application. “[It’s] beyond ours to address, but it was certainly something that was raised with us during the Open Sydney consultation process,” Ms Matthews said. “[It’s] a massive barrier for businesses to do business late at night.” One area of regulation that does fall within the City of Sydney’s remit is around opening hours, which are prescribed by an operator’s development application. According to Ms Matthews, there is now a proactive focus on giving shops the flexibility to stay open longer, which didn’t exist before. “Let’s give you the maximum that you might want. You may not want to do it now, but it gives you the flexibility down the track to do it,” she said. Ms Matthews said a recent trip to Korea had given her a better insight into a diverse and accessible late-night economy. “There was a lot of public drunkenness in Seoul, but I didn’t see the bad behaviour that I see in Sydney. You had the range of options that brings families, kids [and] older people into the city. It’s not dominated by one use.”
news in brief Youth service to return Glebe Youth Service says Housing NSW and the Land and Housing Corporation have approached it with a proposal that would see the youth centre reopen in midFebruary. The building at 84 Glebe Point Road was shut down in November because of concerns it did not comply with fire safety standards. GYS was given only a few hours notice and workers arrived that morning to find they were locked out. The closure sparked community outrage and efforts have been underway to have the youth service restored. Members of its management committee said they were “delighted” that an agreement had been reached so quickly. “We are all extremely grateful to the many members and representatives of the local community who rallied to the aid of GYS and made it clear how much you all value the work done by GYS,” the group posted on Facebook. But Darcy Byrne, mayor of Leichhardt and former GYS manager, warned that without intervention from the state government, this amounted
to “lip service from some bureaucrat”. “Minister [Pru] Goward is still refusing to give any written guarantee that the Youth Service will be allowed to return to its home,” he said.
Stand clear, doors closing Testing will soon begin on the inner west light rail extension, Transport for NSW has informed residents. The tests are scheduled to take place between 9pm and 4am on weeknights over five weeks from January to March. The overhead wiring on the track between Lilyfield and Dulwich Hill went live on Saturday. Passenger services are expected to commence in the first half of this year. Meanwhile, Greens MP for Balmain Jamie Parker is backing a campaign to allow school children to use their travel passes on the light rail network. Only UTS students can obtain concessions on the current light rail network even though it passes close to Sydney University and TAFE colleges.
Asylum outrage sparks community campaigns
“The practice of offshore processing must end and the Australian Government must increase the focus on building regional cooperation on refugee protection.” In response to many of the concerns voiced by the Refugee Council, grassroots organisations have focused on lobbying the government through large rallies, social media campaigns and non-traditional means including sending tampons and pads to Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, who announced the end of weekly briefings on boats. Clo Schoﬁeld, organiser for the Refugee Action Coalition, told the Inner West Independent current government policy is racist and criminal under international law.
Photo: Newtown Graffiti
BY ALISHA AITKEN-RADBURN Community groups advocating a more compassionate approach to asylum seeker policy have reported large increases in membership and engagement. The renewed interest is thought to be in response to recent media coverage highlighting the living conditions of asylum seekers at offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Reported controversies include the conﬁscation of glasses, hearing aids and prosthetics from asylum seekers and the rationing of sanitary items to female refugees. Inner Sydney refugee support services share the view that community-based processing is preferable to the current policy of the Australian Government. Andrew Williams, spokesperson for the Refugee Council of Australia, said the government’s current asylum seeker policy is not addressing the desperate need to provide refugee protection for those who have no other option but to seek asylum by boat. “Tragically, family members of refugees in Australia have been seriously harmed or killed in refugee situations overseas, or have died while travelling by boat, because they lacked access to safer pathways.” Mr Williams said.
“Offshore detention centres have shocking conditions. Nauru is a tent city with insufﬁcient medical capacities, while Manus Island in 2013 had to be evacuated of women and children due to malaria risk,” she said. The Refugee Action Coalition also advocates community processing, which would settle asylum seekers into communities until their refugee status has been assessed and conﬁrmed. Fahad Ali, member of Students Thinking Outside Borders, agreed this was the most compassionate means of welcoming refugees into our community. “Australia is faced with a crisis; not one of border security, but one of compassion,” he said. “There has been one apology in Australia’s history. Let us hope we can steer clear of a having to give a second.”
Let them in: Sydney rally for refugees
Putting on a smile
Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg
BY Georgia Fullerton Child and adolescent psychologist Dr Michael CarrGregg says more programs and services are needed to address the plight of kids whose parent or sibling suffers from mental illness. Up to a quarter of children in such a situation experience teasing or bullying, he said, because a parent with a mental illness is often a noticeable point of difference in the school environment. “Many of these kids have a negative view of themselves, their environment and the future,” Dr Carr-Gregg said. Carers NSW are offering a free three-day program to help young Australians in the Randwick and Botany areas
who have a familial relationship with someone suffering mental illness. The SMILES program targets those who have a mother, father, brother or sister experiencing a mental health problem, including bipolar, schizophrenia, depression or borderline personality disorder. SMILES, which will run from January 22-24, will engage young people between the ages of eight and twelve in art, music and games. Carers NSW CEO Elena Katrakis said: “Through the SMILES program, young carers will experience the sharing, learning and building of existing coping skills and gain the opportunity to form new friendships and networks
of support, knowledge and experience.” The Australian Government Department of Social Services are funding the program, as part of the Carers NSW Mental Health Respite. Carers NSW hope that the program will decrease feelings of isolation in those with family members who have a mental illness. They aim to boost self esteem and encourage self expression in those who attend. A previous SMILES participant said they had “a brilliant time taking part in the program” and learned a lot. Dr Carr-Gregg said this type of program is important in relieving kids from their carer responsibilities, giving them the opportunity to be active and make friends. “When a parent has a mental illness, there is a pressure on the young person to spend a lot of time at home, and they rarely get the chance to spend time with peers because of their caring responsibilities,” he said. “So having a mother or father with a mental illness is actually a major challenge in terms of them completing the developmental tasks of adolescence.” The SMILES program will take place at Eastlakes shopping centre from January 22 to 24. Bookings essential: contact Carers NSW.
Light rail win for council Foley Street folly
Light rail: the agreement will give council extra input
advocacy role to fight for those people in Surry Hills as well.” Part of that advocacy is pushing for an extra tram stop on Devonshire Street near Bourke Street. At the council meeting, Cr Scott unsuccessfully sought to have up to $400,000 spent on researching alternative routes through Surry Hills. Some residential groups have vocally opposed the state government’s nominated above-ground route through Devonshire Street. Cr Scott also unsuccessfully tried to reduce the council’s investment to $180 million. Lord Mayor Clover Moore noted the government had already decided Devonshire Street to be the only viable option, and said the new Development Agreement would ensure application of the City’s design codes including paving, furniture and trees. Convenor of People Unite Surry Hills, Venietta Slama-Powell, said the state government had exaggerated the cost of the alternate Foveaux St subsurface route. “They say the cost for the Foveaux Street subsurface is significantly more expensive than the Devonshire Street route,” Ms Slama-Powell said. “However they’ve included their own inclusions that weren’t part of the proposal,” she said. Ms Slama-Powell said council’s contract contains no stipulations for its investment. “The City will invest the $220 million irrespective of what Transport for NSW (TfNSW) do,” she said. A spokesperson for the City of Sydney said council will work in conjunction with Transport for NSW to achieve the best possible outcome for Devonshire Street residents and businesses David McGuiness, co-owner of Bourke Street Bakery, said the construction of the light rail along his street would mean the end of his business. “We will be very, very lucky to survive the building of it,” he said. “I can’t see that we will survive there whilst it’s being built.” Michael Koziol contributed reporting
BY Triana O’Keefe After a decade-long saga of empty shops and cancelled plans, the City of Sydney has again announced its intention to refurbish the Darlinghurst laneway that stretches from Crown to Langley streets. Foley Street runs behind a council-owned building on Oxford Street and has been an issue of contention between the City and local residents for some years. “The management from council on this issue has not been professional at all,” said Stephan Gyory, a long-term business owner, activist and member of the 2010 Business Partnership. Problems arose in 2006 when council evicted the tenants in the Oxford Street building with the intention of redeveloping it is a major chain grocery store. When no interest was shown, Mr Gyory and the 2010 Business Partnership argued council had detrimented the area’s daytime economy. “With the space unused the economy suffered for a variety of reasons,” Mr Gyory said. In 2010 plans were again made to transform Foley Street into a Melbourne-style laneway. Residents were unhappy with this proposal
and were concerned that the small residential space would become a bustling commercial strip. At the time, Jo Holder, President of the Darlinghurst Residents Action Group, told City News she was worried it would become full of bars and clubs like Oxford Street. “I think it is another illconceived folly because it might end up being another alcohol zone as every man and his dog is wanting to set up a wine bar,” Ms Holder said. The same concerns are shared, three years later, by Jane Anderson, the President of the East Sydney Neighbourhood Association. “We need diversification, but it needs to be away from the
Photo: Newtown Graffiti
BY Paul Gregoire The City of Sydney’s $220 million investment in the CBD and South East Light Rail Project will secure its interests in both the George Street and Surry Hills sections of the route, council documents show. A council background paper states that the Development Agreement, negotiated by the council and Transport for NSW, contains provisions “that protect the City’s interests in respect of the financial contribution and the desired urban design outcome for the City Centre and Surry Hills”. Labor councillor Linda Scott said the final contract departed from earlier rhetoric which suggested council would only be able to protect its interests on George Street. She described the change as a “massive victory” for which she had fought. “Once we learned that the CBD light rail was not going to be stopping at Central, it was always going to be important to ensure that our financial commitment and our advocacy covered the whole route,” she said. “The City has acknowledged that we do have this
24-hour drinking culture,” Ms Anderson said. Mr Gyory concurred but said any space is better used than unused. “We cannot look a gift horse in the mouth but council needs to communicate better with their creative spaces department,” he told the Inner West Independent. Mr Gyory said his part of the city had been left behind. “No-one ever talks about East Sydney. From Woolloomoolloo to Waterloo to Darlinghurst there is a massive untapped quarter,” he said. “It will be very unfortunate for council not to look at the bigger picture which is trying to improve our daytime economy to draw traffic from across the city. This refurbishment is a small step, but we need help.”
Mayor Clover Moore launching Art Month in Foley Street, March 2013
opportunity.” Ms Mills told the Inner West Independent the story behind Zoe.Misplaced is quite personal and no matter whether you are gay, straight, bisexual or transgender, she hopes the film conveys that we are all different in our own unique ways - but in the end we are all equal. This is a shared theme throughout majority of the films and the festival itself. “It is my hope, no matter what your sexual orientation is, there is at least one film, (but hopefully all of them) that interests you,” Mr Struthers said. For those keen on the classics, the festival program also includes special 20th anniversary screenings of Muriel’s Wedding and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Photo: Chris Peken
BY Triana O’Keefe This year, the Mardi Gras Film Festival celebrates 21 years of keeping Sydney screens queer, and festival director Paul Struthers promises the biggest and “best program yet”, with 41 features and documentaries. The festival will include five world premieres and 19 world premiers. “Over the past 12 months there has been a huge amount of incredible queer cinema from around the globe,” Mr Struthers said. “Stories of love, loss, politics and pride will all take centre stage in February and I’m excited to be a part of bringing these films to Australian audiences.” After his stint volunteering with Queer Screen in September last year, Mr Struthers applied for the director role of the MGFF2014. “It means a great deal to me to be hosting the festival as I have been a huge film fan since I was twelve. To be putting on a festival, alongside many other passionate people makes me very happy indeed,” he said. “I often think, if my twenty-two year-old self knew what I would end up doing, he would be ecstatic.” One of the films to be previewed during the festival includes the locally-shot Zoe.Misplaced by Mekelle Mills. Shot in and around Newtown, Ms Mills explains the story follows Zoe, a woman in her twenties whose regimented life is thrown into upheaval when she unexpectedly falls in love. “In doing so, she is faced with making a series of choices whose outcomes not only impact her independence but the relationships with those that are most important to her,” Ms Mills said. “The film means the absolute world to me. I have poured my heart and soul into creating it and have loved the
Festival director Paul Struthers
booze tap: City
BY MICHAEL KOZIOL “Can [people] do things other than drink, at midnight in this city?” The important question was posed not by angry residents, grieving parents or exasperated observers, but by the City of Sydney’s own business and safety manager, Suzie Matthews. And if the answer is ‘not really’, that’s something Ms Matthews is trying to change. The challenge of Sydney’s late-night economy is that it is “dominated by one use”, she said. “That’s where you need to have controls where you turn off the tap in some areas.” A freeze on new liquor licences is already incumbent in the Kings Cross and Oxford Street precincts, the result of council lobbying in 2009. But Ms Matthews said that further restrictions would be necessary to transform and diversify Sydney’s late-night economy. “Managed growth is crucial, and you can’t have managed growth without the ability to say no,” Ms Matthews told the Inner West Independent. Asked whether further regulations on venues such as the so-called “Newcastle solution” - could damage Sydney’s standing as a global city, she said the two priorities were not conflicting. “The successful global cities that have gotten this right are the ones that have the proportionality and the better balance of offers late at night.” Brian Adams, chair of the Surry Hills Business Alliance, said the strategy of expanding late-night options is wrong at this point in time. He called for tougher rules and for all hotels to close at 10pm in order to combat alcohol-fuelled violence. “Blind Freddie knows the solution,” he said. “The more liquor outlets you have, the more people are going to frequent them and the more people you’re going to have out on the streets.”
Cartoon: Peter Berner
Film festival branches out Turn off the
>> Forgotten violence victims, Opinion, p10
BY NICOLE DOUGHTY On Saturday, a young woman in Melbourne’s suburbs died after an argument with her partner turned violent. This news may not have caught your attention, because on Saturday all eyes were focused on the tragic death of another young person from a violent assault: Daniel Christie, the latest victim of alcohol-fuelled violence in Sydney’s Kings Cross. Alcohol-related, single-punch assaults – putting aside the tiresome discussion of ‘king hits’ and coward punches’ – are not increasing in NSW. This may come as a surprise, given that our major newspapers are covered in colour photographs of smiling victims, grieving families, and of course, gratuitous shots of broken bottles and young people acting like idiots on the streets. It is worth noting that offpremises, non-domestic assaults in the Kings Cross Local Area Command have remained stable over the past ten years. Assaults in Kings Cross on licensed premises have declined by 19.6 per cent over the past two years. But at least one woman is killed every week in Australia by a current or former partner, with more than a third of all homicides taking place in a domestic setting. These are horrendous, shameful statistics, but these deaths prompt little media outcry or public hand-wringing.
Pointing out these anomalies does not indicate a lack of sympathy for the Christies. We should all feel sadness and despair at what Daniel and his family have gone through. But this article is not about Daniel Christie, or Thomas Kelly, or - for that matter - the unnamed victim of domestic violence in Melbourne’s suburbs. It is about where the media chooses to focus its attention, where we choose to focus our own attention, and why. Why does the death of one young person make the front page, or the first story on the 6pm news, while the death of another barely rates a mention? Is it because images and footage of young people getting drunk and fighting are so titillating? Is it because young men out in the city at night are more compelling victims than young women who find themselves stuck in violent relationships? Or is it because it’s easier to talk about the mindless distinction between ‘king hits’ and ‘coward punches’ than it is to consider what it says about us a society, when so many women become victims of violent cycles of manipulation and abuse? The latter two questions raise an issue that has been written about extensively in recent years: the phenomenon of victim-blaming. It seems that part of the reason we sympathise with the young (almost
always male) victims of a king-hit is because they were blameless. Much of the commentary that has followed these high-profile deaths has centered on the fact that often, these young men were just walking down the street minding their own business, and thus did not incur or in any way ‘deserve’ the assault that followed. By contrast, the (almost always female) victims of domestic violence are, it seems, in some way to blame. After all, they weren’t hit unexpectedly while walking down the street – they ‘chose’ to stay in a relationship knowing full well their partner’s violent tendencies.
No matter how fervently academics have tried to highlight the fallacies in thinking that result from victimblaming, it seems we can’t shake the notion that the victims of an unexpected alcohol-fuelled assault are blameless, while victims of domestic violence should have seen what was coming and are less deserving of attention or sympathy. This state of affairs doesn’t appear set to change, despite the best efforts of advocates. And that imparts a fairly salient message to victims of domestic violence - don’t expect much sympathy or attention unless your abusive partner bashes you in public, while drunk. Nicole Doughty is a Sydney University psychology graduate. Photo: CMY Kane via Flickr
The forgotten violence victims
Art attack: mural faces removal BY Michael Koziol A Woolloomooloo resident has launched a petition to save his mural from removal by the City of Sydney. James Argent commissioned the artwork, which took three days to complete, in August last year. But council has ordered it gone by January 24, unless the Lord Mayor steps in. “Clover Moore is all about a colourful and vibrant city.... but council are forcing me to remove it,” Mr Argent said. In a letter to Cr Moore, he said the artwork aligns with the City’s 2030 vision for a vibrant and artistic community. “I understand that council organisations must adhere to rules and regulations however I hope that this matter can be resolved through a commitment to the 2030 vision,” he wrote. “Let this mural be a beacon for what the City of Sydney Council can achieve within the greater community.” Mr Argent has not received a formal response to his letter, but on Twitter Cr Moore said the house is in a heritage conservation area that requires council approval to alter. “I encourage creativity but it’s important to protect the city’s heritage buildings,” she tweeted.
Hat Fitz and Cara: Fighting Fit By Chelsea Deeley Sounds of clinking cutlery, crockery, children’s voices and ultimately minor chaos can mean only one thing. Dinnertime. A sound that is music to the ears of Irish blues musician Cara Robinson after a nearfatal car accident left her struggling with the everyday activities most take for granted. “I couldn’t do a lot of things you know?” she recollects sombrely over the din, as she audibly jostles around the Queensland home she shares with Aussie partner ‘Fitzy’. “I couldn’t make dinner, I couldn’t play the drums, I couldn’t write, I couldn’t think rationally. It really does take over your life. But I couldn’t believe just how much people cared and how willing they were to take time out of their day to help me or take me to the doctors.” Only the rugged Fitz, whose extensive career in the Australian blues scene encourages his admiration for its challenges, matches Robinson’s desire and devotion. “You’re always trying to get that one step up the ladder,” he says. “But it does get a bit frustrating at times you know, doors open and doors close on you.” “I would say that there’s nothing quite like the big Australian festivals, like Byron Bay Bluesfest is just a corker,” Fitz adds. “So is Woodford Folk Festival. You’ve just got a pack load of people that are just there for one thing.” While the trials and tribulations of their travelling lifestyle can be hard to contend with at times, over the last two years the couple have been dealt a hand that a lot of families would struggle to overcome. It was only six months after the release of their highly acclaimed album Wiley Ways, that Robinson was involved in the accident. “I think it was something that came along and just said ‘Right, you have to slow down now’,” says
Robinson. “Fitzy had to work to keep money coming in. I honestly don’t know how people do it on their own, you know?” With physio and much-needed rest executed, the pair is raring to get back on the road and pick up where they left off. “Glastonbury Festival was the biggest festival that we were asked to play but we didn’t end up doing it due to the crash,” says Robinson. “We wanted to keep it simple. It made me enjoy life more than constantly chasing this goal. In saying that though, that isn’t going to stop us.” Back on home soil, the duo is settling back into their Aussie home of Queensland. Dividing their time between Robinson’s homeland of Ireland, Europe and Fitzy’s native Australia, they have a view of the world that most would envy. “Seeing new countries and meeting new people are some of the beautiful benefits,” enthuses Robinson. “Making friends and making contacts is good and when you run into a few familiar faces it’s always nice too.” “But oh my God it’s hard work!” Fitzy exclaims. “Being away from home and the kids is full on but we’re out there doing our job and trying to get to the next level you know? We’re not out there on a holiday. We go off like banshees at each other at times.” Coming from the scene in Ireland, Robinson admits that it is on a “much smaller scale” compared to Australia. However, that wasn’t the only thing that she found larger than life in our beloved outback. “When I first moved here, Fitzy was at work and I was home alone. It was me and this huge spider,” she chuckles. “I thought, is it going to kill me if it bites me? Is it a lady-killer? When he got back there’s me standing on the sofa, feather duster in one hand and the
spider on the floor with a brick and a shoe on top of the Tupperware container because the bloody thing moved the container!” Injuries and spiders well and truly conquered, this lady and her tougher-than-nails Australian beau are set to tour their socks off. With Fitzy on riff duties and Robinson’s drumming and singing multi-tasking, their Fighting Fit tour will see some songs of old and new. “To be honest I was on some heavy medication
Mr Argent said council retains discretion over such decisions and keeping this artwork would not automatically “green light” any future art that could be considered offensive. He told the Inner West Independent he had received a phone call from someone he believed to be in the enforcement team, informing him that because the decision had been reviewed by committee, the council would not back down. Mr Argent said he is considering appealing the decision in the Land and Environment Court, which would cost upward of $800.
James Argent outside his home
through some of the gigs we were doing so I could play without too much pain,” Robinson explains. “So I ended up having the songs going on in my head, but I never had the chance to put them down on the drums with ease. Over the last couple of months we have established them so they are literally brand new.” “I’ve found they take their own transformation the more we play them so we’re looking forward to that,” concludes Robinson. (CD) Jan 16, The Camelot Lounge, 19 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville, $27.70; Jan 25, The Basement, 7 Macquarie Pl, Sydney, $20-95 + bf, hatfitzcara.net Photo: Rob Roy
Hat Fitz & Cara
EAT & DRINK
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, $ - mains less than $15
$$ - mains between $15-$22
INNER WEST The Cottage Bar & Kitchen Sitting in the front yard of this picturesque cottage with a punch bowl of Strawberry Sangria ($32) I see the makings of a girls’ night out. “I’ll have what she’s having!” Soon after I had my own glass, resplendent with fragrant red berries. Inside the kitsch, homely-vibe is broken up by a domed wood fire pizza oven. The De Jamon Pizza ($26) bearing Jamón Serrano, pear, walnuts, Parmesan and vincotto will make you thankful they didn’t rip it out. Supplement pizzas with share plates, like quirky Pumpkin Mousse ($12); roast Chook ($24) with excellent wild rice pilaf, apricot yoghurt and pistachio crumb; and a Fairground Plate ($16)
By Jackie McMillan which include The Abercrombie, Santa Barbara and most recently House of Crabs. If you do park in the beer garden with little people, you might want to think up an age-appropriate explanation of their only dessert – The Jelly Wrestle ($20) – that comes with gloves not cutlery. Being kid-free, I availed myself of a Swinging Tit ($9) instead. With Kraken Spiced Rum juxtaposed with pink jellied foam that’s sprayed onto your arm, it’s another nice nod to the building’s former occupants. Buffalo Cauliflower Balls ($14) with hot sauce and blue cheese sauce stick to your ribs if you’re settling in for a dive bar drinking session with a Crystal Street Hurricane ($25/jug). Less alcohol-fuelled eating might include their accessible Ceviche ($16) on sweet cassava crackers, followed by a full-size smokey Hickory Burger ($18). Drinking a schooner of Kosciuszko ($6.50) might suffice, though beer made me hanker for their upcoming American BBQ… 1 New Canterbury Road, Petersham (02) 8019 9351 theoxfordtavern.com.au American, Pub Bistro, Cocktails $$ $$$ - mains between $22-$30
with candied apples and pillowy marshmallows. 342 Darling Street, Balmain (02) 8084 8185 thecottagebalmain.com.au Bar, Bar Food, Pizza $$-$$$ The Royal Leichhardt Hipster pub pastiche has come to Leichhardt, with the W. Short Hotel Group doing one of those pub transformations that takes your local from an old men’s boozer and gambling den, to somewhere you can get a decent cocktail, craft beer and something culinarily more exciting than a ‘schnitty’ or ‘parmi’. While these items remain on the menu, you’ll also find American comfort food, from Hot Wings ($17.50) to Grilled Watermelon Salad ($15.90), plus an upstairs cocktail bar that
$$$$ - mains over $30
doesn’t ignore the area’s Italianate influence. The Ginger Cat ($14) boasting Aperol and Appleton Rum, and the Garden Party ($13) combining Tanqueray Gin,Vermouth and Campari were my cocktail favourites. 156 Norton Street, Leichhardt (02) 9569 2638 theroyalleichhardt.com.au Bar Food, Cocktails, Pub Bistro $$ The Counter What’s this - “tables” constructed from repurposed materials; potted succulents; drop-shadowed retro font work; a blackboard promising cold-drip coffee; and sensible aprons? Yes, a small piece of hipster Surry Hills has sprung up in downtown Petersham! The Cold Drip ($4) made on Coffee Alchemy is fruity,
Café Nice 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 Delany has had some fun in this unique Circular Quay and perfect with their signature Beetroot Brownie ($4.50). The menu peppers the usual all-day breakfast options with some excitement: Smashed Avocado ($15) and Tasmanian Smoked Salmon ($17) are both dressed up with 63 degree poached eggs. On the sweeter side there are fluffy Hotcakes ($12), served in triplicate with rhubarb compote, mascarpone and crunchy pistachio praline; plus a counter of interesting baked goods. 96 Audley Street, Petersham (02) 9569 2949 Café $ ROCKS & CBD Ananas Bar & Brasserie Champagne tastes on a beer budget needn’t preclude you from checking out the bar menus of
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 fratellifresh.com.au Bar,Wine, French $$
Sydney’s big hitters. For under ten bucks a heaving board of Roast Bone Marrow ($8) lets you relish in smearing rich, gelatinous goo onto crusty bread. Foie Gras and Fennel Tartine ($19) arrives balanced by cherry compote, the earthy creaminess suits a 2012 Pierre de la Grange Muscadet ‘Vieilles Vignes’ ($13). While the fat-dissolving properties of pink grapefruit, pineapple and saffron gin in Le French Boudier ($18) were appreciated; it was eclipsed by a Coffee Martini ($21) that drinks like a salted caramel latte. Chef Paul McGrath’s interesting take on Charcuterie ($32/5 items) is a fine way to finish. 18 Argyle Street, The Rocks (02) 9259 5668 ananas.com.au Modern French/Cocktails/Bar Food $$ Ester The austere minimalism of the room
makes you concentrate on the subtlety of what’s in the glass and on the plate; like leaning in to capture a whisker of smoke from the exquisite Roasted Oysters ($4/each). Woodfire links Mat Lindsay’s cooking to 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 ester-restaurant.com.au Modern Australian $$$-$$$$
EAT &&DRINK By Jackie McMillan EAT DRINK
Ryu By Alex Harmon I’m not a huge fan of shopping malls or sushi trains for that matter. Chaos and carnage always reigns, especially at this time of year. But up on Level 6 of Bondi Junction’s Westfield you can find some respite. And while Ryu does have a train, you’ll find an oasis
EASTERN SUBURBS A Tavola Bondi’s newest precinct, ‘The Hub’ is like the graduation program for successful inner-city businesses. Messina, Melbourne’s Sensory Lab, and now A Tavola.You’ll still find the ten metre marble table, and a purely Italian wine list. Stracciatella Con Fave ($18) ‘egg drop soup’ containing broad beans, zucchini flower and pickled shallot is great with a 2012 Poderi del Paradiso ($14/$59). The Raviolo with Cuttlefish Ink ($32) dressed with salmon roe is visually stunning; I couldn’t fault it! However the knockout dish - just look at the ribbons of fresh pasta drying in the kitchen - is the Pappardelle with Wagyu Beef Shin ($34) that dances with a red wine and horseradish
Confession time: I find butchers, butchers’ aprons, Berkel meat slicers and sharp knives rather exciting. However it was still disconcerting to find out my dining companion had a Hungarian butcher
$ - mains less than $15
$$ - mains between $15-$22
GREATER SYDNEY Oregano Bakery Vivacious owner Sonia Jabbour told me that she sells the best cinnamon scrolls in Sydney! Her husband, Tony Jabbour is the baker. He reinvigorated his Lebanese pizza shop by developing these amazingly moist Cinnamon Scrolls ($15/6) blanketed in icing sugar. Scolls also come in a battalion of flavours from Salted Caramel ($5.90), to a jam-filled Aussie fav. Lamington ($5.90), to my preferred option: Tahini, Sesame and Pistachio ($5.90). Filled with halva mousse, the latter
at the back where you can sit away from it all; the heaving mall partitioned by wooden latticework. Plus, they serve sake. In fact they’ve just launched their very own Sparkling Sake ($13.80/250ml). It’s sweet and berry-flavoured - think of it as like a Moscato for sake novices. Food-wise, you’ll find all the favourites in the picture book menu: Chicken Katsu Curry ($18.80) with a gravy boat of delicious curry sauce, and a gorgeously sweet, smoky and sticky Yaki Noodle with Beef ($15.80). Make sure you start off with the Chicken Kara-age ($8.80), these hot little fried chicken pieces are heavenly with a dollop of wasabi mayo. And of course, don’t go grabbing at the slow-moving carousel; order your sushi to be made fresh off the menu. There are some rather interesting choices like egg salad or the dessert ‘fruit sushi’ (I dare say: avoid) but you can’t go wrong with Chicken Teriyaki Rolls ($11.80) and a steaming cup of miso. Shop 6006, Westfield Bondi Junction (02) 9387 7040 westfield.com.au/bondijunction Japanese $-$$
sauce. 69-71 Hall Street, Bondi (02) 9130 1246 atavola.com.au Italian $$-$$$ Robin Hood Hotel N\This hotel’s distinctive wedgeshaped Art Deco silhouette has long fascinated me. Inside the architecture is shown off to good advantage with a light, open plan front bar that lends itself to daytime thirty-something drinkers without ruling out pleasing twenty-somethings piling in for Saturday night DJs. The short menu offers well-handled pub classics like a generous Chicken Parmigiana ($17) with basil leaves and leg ham tucked between tomato and gooey cheese. Rested a moment longer, the 250g Grain Fed Rump Steak ($12) with creamy mash and well-executed vegies would win my vote for the
Ribs & Burgers
firstname.lastname@example.org By Jackie McMillan
best-value pub steak in the East, especially with Buffalo Wings ($12) and Stone and Wood Pacific Ale ($7.70/bottle). 203 Bronte Road, Waverley (02) 9389 3477 robinhoodhotel.com.au Pub Bistro $-$$ Queens Park Shed New is out, converted is in - a disused sports shed in Centennial Park is the latest ‘found café’ to emerge. The modern, airy space maintains the integrity of its past through rustic finishes, quirky light fittings, and a gorgeous water station employing the original pipes. The breakfast/lunch menu focuses on healthy, affordable choices that reflect the sporting past and present soccer mums. There’s a Pulled Pork Baguette ($12) not in plastic
doppelganger - a brother-from-another-mother 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 ribsandburgers.com.au Modern Australian, Burgers $$-$$$ $$$ - mains between $22-$30
unites the two seemingly disparate themes of this bakery together. Try it at the comfortable communal table in this gleaming white store after a preliminary (four) Cheese Pizza ($6.50) or an even-better Sonia Special Wrap ($9). 1/56 Connells Point Road, Hurstville South (02) 9546 3666 oreganobakery.com.au Breakfast, Pizza, Lebanese, Bakery $ Woolwich Pier Hotel Perched on a comfortable verandah at the end of a peninsula, I survey the view. The theming feels postColonial, with wide bamboo ceiling fans, wall-mounted stag horns and uber-comfortable safari chairs.
$$$$ - mains over $30
They’ve eschewed most of the obvious renovated pub fare in favour of a more chic than shabby collection of British comfort food: from pot pies to Ploughman’s lunches; Cornish pasties to scones with clotted cream; excellent housemade Pickled Vegetables ($10) to Potted Crab ($14). Tea-soaked raisins and a hint of Keen’s Curry Powder raise the Poached Chicken and Mango Salad ($18) beyond usual pub salads; or there’s Crisp Skinned Confit Duck Leg ($26) on Savoy cabbage with chestnuts and figs. 2 Gale Street, Woolwich 9817 2204 woolwichpierhotel.com.au Pub Bistro, Cocktails $$-$$$
The Royal Paddington
“He was smoking, I was eating and racking…” Okay, overheard Eastern Suburbs conversations up on the “hidden” rooftop terrace with the epic view have a certain ruling class blasé about them… but you should hike up all those stairs and check it out anyway. Break your journey with a drink in the eye-
basket with fries, rather with a tangy piccalilli and paprika aioli. Chicken, Roast Pumpkin and Avocado Salad ($12) is incredibly fresh, and generous for its size; but if you want a dish with weight The Wagyu Burger ($14) is tasty and towering. Darley Road, Queens Park (02) 9380 9350 trippaswhitegroup.com.au Café $-$$
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 for a minimal Sake ($7.50) spend – so
catching red and black Elephant Bar – well unless you find the Ascham School parents monopolising it too… Afterwards park in the white, salon style bistro. It’s the work of BKH Architects who kitted out China Doll and Manly’s China Beach. While craft beer choices are limited – best I could find being James Squire One Fifty Lashes ($8.00/schooner) – this is the only pub where I’ve enjoyed Grant Burge ‘Holy Trinity’ ($15) by the glass. The chairs are comfortable – sinking into one inclined me to skip burgers, steaks and schnitzel for a grazing meal. After downing a dozen Natural Oysters ($30) I tackled the sharing plates, available in multiples of 1($10), 3 ($25) and 5 ($40). Duck Pancakes ($10) and Sizzling Garlic Prawns ($10) were favourites. Grilled Haloumi ($10) isn’t bad either, in fact visiting vegetarians will find smart salads and Grilled Field Mushrooms ($10) and Zucchini Fritters ($10). Slight hiccup: the last two were under-cooked on the night I dined. 237 Glenmore Road, Paddington (02) 9331 2604 royalhotel.com.au Pub Bistro $$-$$$
cheer when other people get sake, too. Food’s in a best supporting role – which isn’t to say their namesake Duck Gyoza ($8/5 piece) aren’t tasty – but izakayas are about drinking. Unctuous and fatty Pork Belly Kakuni ($13) goes well with White Sesame Salad ($6), lightly battered ‘Tenpura’ Eggplant ($6) and Koshihikari Rice Beer ($12). Explosive Salted Caramel Gyoza ($9/3 pieces) should put to rest any rumours that Japanese don’t make good desserts. 9-15 Bayswater Road, Potts Point (02) 9356 3834 harajukugyoza.com Japanese $ Devon Café Continuing the exodus from fine dining to approachable eateries, two of Guillaume Brahimi’s chefs have landed in this little café on
Devonshire Street. While there are the usual hipster affectations - a hanging herb garden, and everything from Refresher Juice ($7) to Iced Coffee ($6.50) served in jam jars – the coffee’s great and the food’s even better! The confidently short seasonal menu offers up beautifully presented breakfasts like Citrus Cured Salmon ($18.50) with apple, celery, fennel and split dill cream; and creative lunches like Green With Envy ($23) - nettle semolina gnocchi presented as a spring garden with pumpkin puree, zucchini, yellow squash and peas. Even the muffins are amazing… 76 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills (02) 9211 8777 devoncafe.com.au Café $$
FOOD NEWS Chef’s Armoury has been making waves in Rosebery for some time now with their elegant, handcrafted Japanese knives. They’ve recently branched out into sake, and if you’re wondering what the particular connection between selling these gleaming Japanese blades and sake is, it’s a regional one.Their specially selected range of accessible and affordable sakes have been drawn from the very same regions of Japan where their beautiful knives are handcrafted.While I absolutely advocate a visit to their intriguing store - which also carries an enviable range of Japanese cookbooks and products – for now you’ll have to buy their sakes only from their online store.After a comprehensive tasting, my favourite was Hanamikura Kuro ($66.45/720ml) “The Black”; but you can also expect to find a range affordable sakes like the fruity, honey-flavoured Nagaragawa Tenkawa ($15.45/300ml) all described in easy to understand terms – making this a perfect place to begin your sake education. 747 Botany Road, Rosebery (02) 9699 2353 www.sakeshop.chefsarmoury.com
By Rebecca Varidel
The vibrant Mexican Day of the Dead decorations beckon from outside on Darling Street by day, but it’s by night when the colourful Cantina Bar really comes alive.You know our modus operandi: we usually like to pull up a stool at the bar, but at this gig, the rest of the room rocks with intimate high timber tables and stools, so take your premium place anywhere. Booze like Cantina Sangria ($35/500ml, $50/litre) - not your traditional Sangria (built with Cointreau, Espolón Blanco Tequila, Tanqueray Gin, fresh fruit, elderflower syrup, fruit juice and ginger beer) will transport you. Or go elsewhere in the Americas, with the refreshing cinnamon twist of house-infused vodka and Crème de Cacao in an Apple Pie Martini ($18). George Dickel Tennessee Whisky is infused in-house with banana peel for the Cantina version of the classic Old Fashioned ($18). 350 Darling Street, Balmain (02) 9810 0886 facebook.com/cantinabarbalmain
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT The three female performers in Forklift are Amy Macpherson, Nicci Wilks and Henna Kaikula. “Amy is a dancer, Nicci is a circus performer and Henna, who’s from Finland, is a contortionist and a hand balancer,” says Denborough. “The three performers have such different skills. They’ve all had circus training and dance training and then very special contortionist training as well,” she continues. Forklift will be on at Bay 17, Carriageworks. “It’s a beautiful space. I love it. We have never performed there before, so it’s fantastic,” says Denborough. (PG) Jan 16, 18-19, Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Redfern, $35, sydneyfestival.org.au/2014/
Photo: Justin Bernhaut
Dance theatre company KAGE are back with Forklift, a dance-circus performance that couples a two-and-a-half ton forklift with three dance performers. Part of the Sydney Festival’s About an Hour series, Forklift is a high-risk performance with a difference, as three women perform on and drive around in a forklift. “It’s obviously an incredibly powerful, heavy machine that gets transformed into something quite beautiful and astonishing with this very unusual, dynamic and physical performance,” says Kate Denborough, director of Forklift. “It’s quite funny too. It’s not an earnest performance. There’s quite a lot of laughs and it’s quite irreverent and provocative,” she continues.
ON THE SHORE OF THE WIDE WORLD 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, griffintheatre.com.au
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
NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH This Lower-North Shore adaptation of a classically British script doesn’t offer too many surprises. It is delivered by a veteran cast of Australian actors with an Aussie roughness around the edges. The script is an excellent choice and full of political satire, as well as touching portrayals of everyday people. Although it is set in a rather stuck-up British neighbourhood, there is something of Sydney suburbia to it. The political aspect shows how similar the governments of all Anglo countries are.
16 STAGE 17 SCENE 18 SCREEN 19 SOUNDS
Set and sound are both formed with great care and creativity. The cast are excellent. They produce true emotion and energy that can be felt from the back row. Brian Meegan in the lead is a pillar of elegance and strength, a genuine politician for the age. This austere piece of theatre isn’t one for more contemporary audiences, but anyone wanting to witness quality stage-craft will be heading over the bridge. (LC) Until Jan 24, Ensemble Theatre, 78 Mcdougall St, Kirribilli, 9929 0644, ensemble.com.au
Arts Editor: Leigh Livingstone Music Editor: Chelsea Deeley
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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, $2139, sitco.net.au
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
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. In the 1987 film of David Williamson’s play the principals were Leo McKern and Julia Blake - hard acts to follow - but Sydney Theatre Company’s production has Bryan Brown and Greta Scacchi, so sparks should fly. Written in 1979, it’s sometimes assumed to be about Williamson’s move to Sydney; in fact it’s about the experiences of his mother-inlaw, a gentle and perceptive woman who’d remarried to an older man – an opinionated, intelligent, ex-Communist. The busybody neighbour who was a pest to her husband, and
PERFORMANCE 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
the doctor whose patience was tried by being questioned about the quality of his treatment, are based on her recollections. 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. Williamson also says that as he’s aged, the play has taken on a more personal relevance for him - as it may for everyone. (MMu) Until Mar 22, Sydney Theatre Company, Pier 4/5, Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay, $50-85, 9250 1777, sydneytheatre.com.au NB: Alison Whyte will take on the role of Frances, replacing an injured Greta Scacchi.
mere inches away, audiences can watch routines that move from roller-skating to balancing upon a spinning top in a tent made of 3000 individual pieces. This adult-only fusion of vaudeville, burlesque, cabaret and circus promises to be a night out with a difference. (RG) Until Feb 16, Showring, Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park, $59-149, empireaustralia.com DAMES OF THRONE For the first time in Sydney, Russall S. Beattie presents his very own take on the hit television series
SO FRENCHY, SO CHIC IN THE PARK Summer in the park with great tunes, champagne and French fare, that’s So Frenchy, So Chic in the Park. As part of the Sydney Festival, So Frenchy, So Chic in the Park is coming to Sydney with a line-up of France’s most renowned musicians. “It’s a picnic in the park. People come, lay on the grass, get a picnic hamper, buy a bottle of champagne or wine and listen to music all afternoon,” says Jean-Francois Ponthieux, director of the event and Cartell Music. “There’s four bands coming from France. They’re all at the top of their game. They’ve all got platinum sales, so when they get up onstage they know what they’re doing,” he continues.
The So Frenchy, So Chic in the Park lineup is Féfé, Lilly Wood & the Prick and Babylon Circus. “Babylon Circus is like the Cat Empire on speed. They played at WOMAD in 2010 and they really rocked the stage,” Ponthieux says. There’s a range of French cuisine and wine available and other activities. “We’ve got imported wine from France, we have activities for kids, we partner with a caterer in Sydney and have French-inspired picnic hampers,” says Ponthieux. (PG) Jan 18, St John’s College, Camperdown, Sydney University, $86, cartellmusic.com.au/sfsc
CRANKED UP LA BOHÈME Circus Oz is returning to the big top with Cranked Up, their latest show comprised of fourteen circus performers accompanied by a live band. “There’s a flying trapeze act, there’s aerial acts. There’s people-throwingeach-other-around acrobatics,” says Mike Finch, artistic director of Circus Oz. “All the acrobats play a bit of music with the band as well. It’s basically like a 14-person band that does a whole lot of circus,” he says. Cranked Up is an irreverent performance inspired by construction and suits audiences of all ages. “It’s a funny show with a construction theme. We built a giant steel beam and everyone’s in work wear,” Finch continues. Cranked Up has toured across the United States and Australia this year and is the latest in a long line of Circus Oz shows. “Circus Oz has been pretty much touring non-stop for 35 years. This last year we basically opened with four weeks on 42nd Street,” says Finch. The Sydney leg of the tour is the last chance for Australian audiences to catch the Cranked Up season. “We love Sydney, it’s basically been a regular for Circus Oz for our whole existence,” says Finch. (PG) Until Jan 27, The Big Top, Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour, $25-95, ticketmaster.com.au
Game of Thrones. “I’ve been working in burlesque for about ten years and I’ve always liked doing acts which were based on something, where people already had a sense of nostalgia or were really passionate about,” explains Beattie. Indeed, making a burlesque version of Game of Thrones may be easier said than done. As well as taking the sexual energy up another notch there is another element that needs addressing. “Another thing we’ve put in is the gore factor; there is so
much violence and death in the show we’ve had to take that up a notch,” concludes Beattie. How you get Game of Thrones more graphic than it already is remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, Dames of Throne promises to light a fire hotter than a wildfire in Westeros. (AH) Until Jan 19,The Vanguard, 42 King St, Newtown, $43-134, thevanguard.com.au PARADISO AT TOWN HALL sees Sydney Town Hall take inspiration in the name
Opera Australia opens its summer season masterfully with this successful production of La Bohème. Gale Edwards adapts Puccini’s nineteenth century Parisian work to early twentieth century pre-war Berlin brilliantly, where we follow starving artists as they fall in and out of love in the carefree, decadent period of cabarets and music halls. The production feels more polished this time. Ji-Min Park offers an emotionally captivating performance as Rodolfo; his onstage chemistry with Nicole Car (as Mimi) is delectable. Park’s enthusiastic performance proved popular with the audience.
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
Sharon Prero (as Musetta) and Giogio Caoduro (as Marcello) are also an excellent pairing. Prero performed Musetta’s Waltz memorably and throughout Caoduro challenged Park for vocal superiority. Sets are visually stunning; capturing the essence of the period perfectly, while wellexecuted lighting combined with a flawless orchestra translate the emotional turmoil of characters, providing a wonderful staging of one of the world’s most popular and enduring operas. (LD) Until Jan 21, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, $44-315, (02) 9250 7777, sydneyoperahouse.com
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) Jan 16-25, Sydney Town Hall, 483 George St, Sydney, $36-56, sydneyfestival.org.au
TALKING THROUGH YOUR ARTS
THE NAKED CITY
THE BEARE PARK ‘BINGEATHON’
By Coffin Ed, Miss Death & Jay Katz Beare Park is a sleepy harbourside reserve, right on the water at Elizabeth Bay and normally a haven for those seeking some solitude from the hustle and bustle of nearby Potts Point and Kings Cross. During the mid eighties it had a somewhat mixed reputation and was a favourite with junkies looking to shoot up late at night. All that changed in the noughties when the park underwent a considerable upgrade and the safe injecting room contained the drug scene to Darlighurst Road. In recent years it’s become a favourite with family groups, toddlers and their mums, the occasional picnickers and local residents just looking to chill out for an hour or two. A few weeks ago on New Year’s Eve however, all that serenity was routed when the grassy expanse became the location for Sydney’s biggest ever drunken ‘bingeathon’. The park was advertised on the Council’s NYE site as an official fireworks viewing spot, with BYO alcohol, “toilets available including accessible toilets”, “no managed access” and “no glass”. It was an invitation that between two and three thousand predominantly foreign backpackers could not resist. The word was definitely out on Facebook and other social media that this was the gathering spot for all UK and other European travellers. From sunset onwards there was a steady stream of partygoers down Ithaca Road towards the park, loaded with slabs of beer and all manner of alcoholic beverages. By midnight the park was overflowing and so was the urine with punters regularly relieving themselves on nearby residents’ gardens. doorways and garages. Locals described the experience as akin to being under
siege – drunken, ugly and with none of the good-natured revelry normally associated with NYE. When the final slab was exhausted and the balmy army departed to chants of “boring, boring, boring” (obviously not impressed with the million-dollar pyrotechnics), the park resembled the aftermath of a bloody pitched battle and a quote from Grandmaster Flash’s The Message: “Broken glass everywhere, People pissing on the stairs, you know they just don’t care.” According to locals it took Council workers well over a week to clean up the mess, removing tonnes of garbage, hosing down urine soaked trees and repairing trampled shrubbery. Why the site was ever advertised as a BYO zone beggars belief, although the Council will probably argue that in recent years it has not been a problem. It also makes a mockery of the Lord Mayor’s campaign against binge drinking as along with the “world’s best fireworks display” Sydney can now claim to have hosted the world’s biggest ‘drunken piss-up’. Apparently the Council have promised a fully supervised Beare Park site for the next NYE celebration, with strictly no BYO and limited access in terms of numbers allowed into the park. That’s all a bit late for local residents who are stlll discovering piles of excrement in their communal backyards and garden beds flattened. Maybe the Lord Mayor should throw open the gates of her exclusive Opera House soiree next NYE to any young folk with a European passport, a bulging bladder and a slab of beer on the shoulder with the normally restrained A-list party serving as a de facto detention camp for the highly inebriated. At least it would keep the urinators off the street and well away from the recovering turf of sleepy Beare Park.
BEIJING SILVERMINE There was an interesting phenomenon during the decade of the 1980s through to the early 1990s in China. At that time, when everyone was applauding China’s opening-up, the nation’s artists were also being revealed and art from the past, shown. With the global economy booming and international relations improving, the 1980s was a period when global consumerism rose in China. People’s aesthetic taste expanded with more financial freedom and their appetite for art grew along with it. This sensation created an undeniably powerful force in the marketplace. Thirty years of modern history has added to the complexity of the Chinese ethos and from the spectre of memories we are transported back to this living world through the uncovering of an amassed photographic history. French photography collector Thomas Sauvin encountered a man in Beijing, a stockpiler of negatives for the processing of silver nitrate content and immediately recognised the potential. The relationship has culminated into an accumulation of over 650,000 rescued images of everyday moments. Beijing Silvermine covers a 20-year period from 1985, through to 2005 when digital photography became popularised and the use of film out-dated. Since 2009,
Sauvin has archived discarded anonymous glimpses of a significant era of cultural change. In this presentation Sauvin has selected images that explore universal themes of love, leisure, birth, youth and happiness. There are candid portrayals of domesticity, the introduction of white goods, fast food chains such as Mcdonalds, and posters of Hollywood stars on home walls that were brought into mainstream society. While all the photographs were taken in Beijing, the settings could have been placed in any city. Three successful exhibitions in China have resulted from this extensive collection. In
a recent interview Sauvin relayed, “I find that when foreigners look at China they have a rather extreme perspective and these images are not that incredible and not catastrophic, they’re of just everyday life.” Modern art exhibits are known to have a way of impacting and relating to other events of life. Chinese artists saw the modern art exhibits in the 1980s as a way to use culture to save the art of China. The social climate was such that modernism was good and the past was bad. In this exhibition the impersonal collective history of the ordinary is extraordinary. (AS) Beijing Silvermine, Until Feb 22, 4A Centre of Contemporary Asian Art, 181-187 Hay St, free, 4a.com.au
Courtesy: Thomas Sauvin
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), powerhousemuseum.com
CHANCE - CHRISTIAN BOLTANSKI Carriageworks is currently hosting an astounding trio of installations by Christian Boltanski titled Chance. These deceptively simple creations hide a tangle of complexity. The first, Wheel of Fortune, is an immense scaffolding surrounding a press printing black and white images of babies. The imposing piece overwhelms with its size and startles with its comment on the factory line similarity of humanity. The uniformity is disrupted when a bell sounds and the machinery stops to reveal the intricate uniqueness of a selected face. Wheel of Fortune is book-ended
by Last News From Humans, two towers surmounted by digital tallies of births and deaths around the globe. The unending flow of numbers highlights the inscrutability of existence. The final piece, Be New, is a roller coaster blender of sliced visages which can be recombined to produce a new whole. Emotional and intellectual, Chance is a profound reflection on the fragility, individuality and commonality of the human condition. (LR) Until Mar 23, Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh, free, carriageworks.com.au
‘Wheel of Fortune’ by Christian Boltanski
GREAT WHITE SHARK 3D Narrated by Bill Nighy, Great White Shark 3D contains amazing footage of these misunderstood and misrepresented creatures. Challenging viewers’ pre-conceptions of the fictional force first created in Spielberg’s 1975 film Jaws, Great White Shark 3D, shows the sharks as a natural part of the eco-system, not the menacing monsters they are often portrayed to be. Shot over three years in Mexico, New Zealand,
South Africa and California, the cinematography is simply stunning, using high-speed cameras to capture the sharks’ previously unseen behaviour such as breaching or ‘flying’ out of the water. This is a ground-breaking documentary compulsive viewing, giving a well-rounded reflection of these beautiful creatures. Evidence of their some-what playful and inquisitive nature is apparent during a dive documented with William Winram. (LK) WWWW
The director of Being John Malkovich, Adaption and Where the Wild Things Are has another hit on his hands with this unique little film. 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 for people who can’t find
SAVING MR BANKS
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 washedup 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) WWWW½
AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
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
the words. After a long relationship has ended he finds solace in an operating system that is intuitive and has a developing personality; an OS that talks and ‘feels’ and goes by the name of ‘Samantha’. The film explores our neediness and vulnerabilities and asks what is ‘human’ after all? Not to be missed. (MM) 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 who is heavily dependent on drugs. 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. August: Osage County is performance-driven with Julia Roberts, Juliette Lewis and Julianne Nicholson outstanding as the daughters. Streep is incredibly real as Violet Weston, a role which should secure her an Oscar nomination. (MM) WWW½
and grand visuals, The Desolation of Smaug is still the feast that fans of both Jackson and Tolkien have come to expect. (LL) WWW½
sequel stupendously funny, but the majority of viewers will be repelled, questioning why such a ridiculous sequel was ever produced. (MM) WW
ANCHORMAN 2 Will Ferrell reprises his role as ace anchorman Ron Burgundy in this sequel. This style of comedy that thrives on zero-intellect and repetitive idiotic antics is an acquired taste. Cheesy and bawdy throughout, some laughs are delivered, but Hollywood heavyweights including Jim Carrey and Harrison Ford are wasted in the preposterous battle sequence. A core fan base will find this
ENDER’S GAME is a sciencefiction action film set in the future, where gifted children with brilliant video gaming skills go to military school in outer space. Effects are dazzling and performances strong from a predominantly younger cast. Harrison Ford looking tired and bored as a Colonel and Ben Kingsley in his silliest role to date, are cast to attract a more mature audience in
Inspired by true events, Saving Mr Banks is the extraordinary behind-the-scenes 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. Travers’ childhood in Australia is effectively explored in flashback scenes, highlighting the close bond she shared with her father and the tragic events endured as a child that were the catalyst to her incredible imagination and her
what is quintessentially a ‘kid’s flick’. (MM) WW½ THE GILDED CAGE French film buffs will not be disappointed with this latest offering. The Gilded Cage is a comedy about a working class, immigrant couple who unexpectedly receive an inheritance and decide to return to their native Portugal to live on a vineyard. Things start to go a little haywire when they have to inform their friends, neighbours and employers of their sudden wealth. With a huge line-up, and an array of colourful characters this is a highly enjoyable film. (VP) WWW
ultimate refusal to co-operate with Disney. 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. Mesmerising and insightful, Saving Mr Banks is a remarkable cinematic achievement. (MM) WWWW
AMERICAN HUSTLE is a retro not-quite-true con story directed by David O. Russell and set in the 70s. The spot-on casting features an array of Hollywood names, including but not limited to, the busy Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. Although the characters are bordering cartoonish, these powerhouses of the Hollywood scene nail the human condition that drives each of them. All the players have come together to pull off one thoroughly entertaining flick. (LL) WWWW
OLD MAN LUEDECKE - TENDER IS THE NIGHT Tender is the Night is the fifth studio album from Canadian banjo player Old Man Luedecke. It’s a twinging, twanging trip through fables, full of rollicking lyrics and melodies. Besides his obvious talent for the banjo, song-writing is a strength of Chris ‘Old Man’ Luedecke and Tender is the Night shows off his love of language with the simple instrumentals that give his vocals room to shine. The 13-track album bounces along cheerily and arrives at the mournful middle with Little Stream of Whiskey before meandering back to the uptempo Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms. (LL)
AARON MICHAEL – AARON MICHAEL Aaron Michael is one of the most in-demand session musicians in Australian music today and a master of the
tenor saxophone. As well as being co-founder of the Sonic Mayhem Orchestra, Michael’s solid wealth of experience means that expectations from his debut album are high. The self-titled release features a range of Sydney’s finest musicians in support, Matt McMahon, Paul Derricott, Duncan Brown and Dieter Kleemann are as much stars on this album as Michael. This eight-track jazz offering fits all the musical pieces together to form an enjoyable listen that elevates Michael’s obvious skill. (LL)
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-and-coming 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, January 24.
LIVE WIRE Monique Di Mattina: Dynamic and utterly divine, Miss Monique is back to showcase her extraordinary musical gift. With influence from the likes of Bjork and Lou Reed, the singer has astounded the likes of former American President Bill Clinton. Five albums down and this marvellous Melbournite has her feet well and truly stuck in Aussie soil, with a Sydney appearance that will showcase hits from her stellar career. Thu, Jan 16, Blue Beat, Double Bay
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, 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) Jan 17-Mar 28, Seymour Centre, City Rd & Cleveland St, Chippendale, free, seymourcentre.com
Sydney Live Music Guide
Ja Rule: Everyone was confused when rumours circulated that this New York wordsmith and actor was writing a book dedicated to microwave cooking and it was clear that a stint behind bars overshadowed the true talent of this larger-thanlife rapper. Sydney fans can reacquaint themselves with his insatiable beats and that signature gravelly voice on Friday. Fri, Jan 17,Trademark Hotel, Kings Cross
Jazzgroove Festival: A day to lay a blanket, scoff some food and be enveloped in the vast musical terrain that is jazz. Whip out the red or white and prepare for a fantastic display from two outstanding feature bands. With the Crusty Suitcase Band bringing their signature horns and drums to create their genre-bending sound and Newtown regulars The Brassholes to bring the New Orleans party vibe; this free event will make for a jazzhead’s perfect Saturday. Sat, Jan 18, Redfern Park, Redfern
Edwyn Collins: Not even a stroke could perturb this legendary entertainer. The Guardian hailed him as “One of the pillars of British indie rock” a statement that, given this man’s extensive back catalogue, is spot on. This show will see Collins deliver some northern soul with a pop twist that should entice the palate of any true indie lover. His influence is phenomenal. Sun, Jan 19, The Spiegeltent, Hyde Park Emily Barker: Based in the UK, Barker’s birthplace of Western Australia is what
allows us to claim her raw talent and captivating lyrics as one of our own. Her own excellent solo works aside, this fantastic female has not only solidified her place as a performer but also a composer, writing BAFTA and Ivor Novello winning themes to BBC dramas Wallander and The Shadow Line. This performance will see her blend classical, rock, country and folk style tunes for a memorable night. Tue, Jan 21, Sky Terrace Bar, Star Casino Joe Chindamo: Reinvention is something
that Chindamo thrives upon and has become the main attraction for his audience. Travelling far and wide and placing his performance stamp as he goes, this prestigious pianist can take works from the likes of Paul Simon and Dave Brubeck to Mozart and breathe a new and unexpected life into each. His 20-album back catalogue means that this gig will be the biggest lucky dip. With accompaniment from bassist Brendan Clarke and Andrew Gander on drums. Wed, Jan 22, Foundry616, Ultimo
FREEWILLASTROLOGY by Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Whose enemy are you? Are you anyone’s adversary or obstructionist or least favorite person? Answer honestly, please. Don’t be in denial. Next question: Do you derive anything useful from playing this oppositional role? If your answer is yes, that’s fine. I won’t try to talk you out of it. Continue to reap the benefits of being someone’s obstacle. But if, on the other hand, you get little value out of this negative relationship, now would be a good time to change it. You have more power than usual to free yourself from being an antagonist.
TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You Tauruses are customarily more grounded than the rest of us. But this week, I’m wondering if you will be tempted to escape the laws of gravity and rebel against the call of duty. I suspect that your dreams, at least, will feature uninhibited forays into the wild blue yonder. While you’re sleeping you may float weightlessly in an interplanetary spaceship, become an eagle and soar over forests, wear a futuristic jet pack on your back and zip through the sky, sail across the Serengeti Plains in a hot-air balloon, or have a picnic on a cloud with a feast of cotton candy and sponge cake and mint tea. Would you consider bringing this kind of fun into your waking life?
GEMINI (May 21-June 20): What part of your life
is too small, and you want to make it bigger? Is there a situation that’s overly intense and dramatic, and you wish you could feel more light-hearted about it, less oppressed? Are you on a quest that has become claustrophobic, and you’d love to find a way to make it more spacious and relaxed? If you answered yes to any of those questions, Gemini, there’s good news. Very soon now, you will have a close encounter with the magic you need to open what has been closed and expand what has been narrow. Be alert for it. Be crafty as you gather it in and harness it for your use.
CANCER (June 21-July 22): In her poem “Catch a Body,” Ilse Bendorf says she dislikes the advice “Don’t ever tell anybody anything.” On the other hand, “Tell everyone everything” isn’t the right approach, either, she says. Judging from your astrological omens, Cancerian, I surmise that you’re wavering between those two extremes. You’re tempted to think you’ve got to do one or the other. Should you cultivate the power that comes from being silent, and keep people guessing about your true feelings? Or should you seek greater intimacy but risk giving away your power by confessing all your inner thoughts? I suggest you take a middle path. Tell the vivid truth, but carefully and incrementally. LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): If a substance has been burned, it can’t be burned again. There’s no flammable stuff left to feed a fire. That’s simple physics. Now as for the question
of whether a person can be burned more than once -- we’re speaking metaphorically here -the answer is, unfortunately, yes. Some folks don’t learn from their mistakes and don’t have enough emotional intelligence to avoid the bullies and manipulators who burn them again in the future. But I’m confident that you aren’t one of these types, Leo, or that at least you won’t be in the coming days. You may have been burned before, but you won’t be burned this time.
VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year,” said author Peter Drucker. “People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.” In general I agree with that assessment. But I think it needs to be altered for your situation in the coming months. Here’s the adjusted version of the formula: Virgos who don’t take risks in 2014 will make an average of 3.1 big mistakes. Virgos who do take risks in 2014 will make, at most, a half a big mistake.
LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): “You know what the greatest tragedy is in the whole world?” asks novelist Terry Pratchett. “It’s all the people who never find out what it is they really want to do or what it is they’re really good at. It’s all the people who never get to know what it is that they can really be.” If that description applies to you even a little, Libra -- if you’re still not completely sure what you’re good at it and what you want to do -- the coming months will be prime time to fix that problem. Start
now! How? Open your mind to the possibility that you don’t know yourself as well as you someday will. Take vocational tests. Ask smart people you trust to tell you what they think about your special aptitudes and unique qualities. And one more thing: Be wildly honest with yourself about what excites you.
results. I foresee a similar drama unfolding in your own life, Sagittarius. How you assemble the ingredients you currently have at your disposal could produce either a rough and ragged high, a volatile risk, a pleasant stimulation, or a useful resource. Which will it be?
SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In his book Schottenfreude: German Words for the Human Condition, Ben Schott dreams up new compound German words for use in English. Here’s one that would serve you well in the coming week: Fingerspitzentanz, meaning “fingertips-dance.” Schott says it refers to “tiny triumphs of nimblefingered dexterity.” His examples: fastening a bracelet, tightening a miniscule screw, unknotting, removing a recalcitrant sticker in one unbroken peel, rolling a joint, identifying an object by touch alone, slipping something off a high shelf. Both literally and metaphorically speaking, Scorpio, you now have an abundance of this capacity. Everything about you is more agile and deft and limber than usual. You’ll be a master of Fingerspitzentanz.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): The four elements that compose cocaine are the same as those that make up TNT, caffeine, and nylon: hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen. The combinations and proportions of elements are different in each substance, of course. But the point, for our purposes, is that the same raw materials lead to different
CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Metaphorically speaking, you have recently come into possession of some new seeds. They are robust. They are hardy. They have the potential to grow into big, strong blooms. So when should you plant them, metaphorically speaking? I’m going to suggest that you wait a while longer. It wouldn’t be bad for them if you sowed them right now, but I think their long-term vitality will be even greater if you postpone the planting for at least a week. Two weeks might be better. Trust your intuition. AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): The Flemish artist Jan van Eyck (1385-1441) was renowned for his innovative mastery of oil painting. He signed many of his works not just with his name but also with his motto: Als ick kan. Its idiomatic translation is “The best I can do.” What he meant was that he had pushed his talent and craft to the limit, and then stopped and relaxed, content that he had given all he could. I invite you to have a similar attitude as you wrap up the projects you’re currently involved in, Aquarius. Summon all your passion and intelligence as you create the most excellent outcome possible, but also know when to quit. Don’t try *too* hard; just try hard.
PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): It’s an excellent time to rise up and revolt against conventional wisdom. I urge you to immunize yourself against trendy groupthink as you outwit and outmaneuver the status quo. Have fun and activate your playful spirit to the max as you create workarounds to the way things have always been done. At the same time, Pisces, stay acutely attuned to your compassion and common sense. Don’t be a quarrelsome intransigent. Don’t be rebellious just to please your ego. If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to pull off a graceful insurrection that both soothes and stimulates your soul.