Archive for the ‘ melbourne ’ Category

Burqa? Oui oui.

// Not often do I get outraged by politics. I am the first to admit that I’d rather read about Lindsay Lohan and her SCRAM bracelet than hear about mind-numbing political brap-brap. Watching the news makes me depressed and angry. Give me Perez Hilton over the 7.30 report any day. Bare this in mind before continuing. 

I was reading News.com a few months ago (yeah, not the most reliable news source but it works for me so nuuuh) when I stumbled upon an article about Muslim women being banned in France for wearing burqa’s. Excuse me, but whaaaaat? I know that a lot of people believe that this somehow masquerades as progress for women’s rights, but before placing this ban, did the French government ever stop and remember that these women choose to wear burqa’s and that it’s actually a huge part of their religion? I understand that in some instances Muslim women are forced to wear the garment out of fear of abandoning their religious upbringing (yeah, that gets up my goat), but is it really necessary to completely forbid women to wear it? Why not opt to give women the option instead of threatening them with a monetary fine? What happened to democracy and freedom, maaan.

Burqa’s have been banned in French public schools since 2004. Nicolas Sarkozy (President of France) defended the law by saying it was because ‘France cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity’. Yeah, yeah Sarkozy. The feminist side of me agrees. But depriving people of their religious freedom is just as wrong and I hope to GaGa that other governments don’t follow.

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And Australia’s stance on the issue? Douche-bag Tony Abbott (sorry, slip of the tongue) stated; ‘I think a lot of Australians find the wearing of the burqa quite confronting and I wish it was not widely worn. But the point is we don’t have a policy to ban it and we have always respected people’s rights in this area’. At least he got something right. However inarticulate he chooses to voice it. 

If they are going to ban something, please at least make it the Bieber-religion that some 12 year old twat made up (No I kid, I kid. Love you Biebs.)

// Bear-Z

Another week, another festival.

// As a tricky industry to break in to, the The 2010 Emerging Writers’ Festival will do its best to lend a hand at making sure Australian writers are down with the process. 

Running from May 21 – 30, the festival will hold a number of events that promote the interests of emerging writers, from a spotlight into non-fiction in Write What You Know, to a Triple J presented expose’ on how the disco movement has affected literature, there is something for every niche writer. Of particular note is the world’s first mobile magazine fair, which travels via bus to visit zine markets and chat with various artists (guerilla style, of course). 

I gotta say, I love creative forums. We all know putting pen to paper can be difficult (or putting finger to keyboard for that matter) – but thanks to a few passionately charged individuals who cared enough to share their knowledge and arrange for others to do the same, writers of all shapes and sizes can learn how to design plotlines, write dialogue, find a voice, find an agent and get published. All for around $10 a session. 

The festival includes a wonderful selection of events at the Melbourne Town Hall; grab a weekend pass for $30 and experience the lot. Check out the program of events here.

// Dan Z

A night in Berlin

// Cocktails in Berlin anyone? It’ll only cost you a walk up Little Bourke and a damn cute outfit.

Walk up two flights of darkened stairs and ring the bell to Berlin. Upon arrival you’ll be greeted by one of the many ridiculously good looking foreign bar staff, who are surprisingly unpretentious and happy to give you advice on their delightful menu choices. Although the bar itself is quite small, the space has been utilised exceptionally well. Set amongst a back drop of classy European furnishings, its divided into two sub-sections. East Berlin is furnished with low slung couches or booths and proves a cosy spot; the perfect place to take a date – intimacy is guaranteed. The West side is more of a draw card as it offers a slightly more unique and stylised decor. Boasting the same concept as the famous “Bed” night club from Sex and the City, Berlin has set up several double bunks (be mindful and watch your alcohol consumption – drunkenly climbing down a thin ladder or jumping off in heels could leave you feeling like an idiot).

If the bunk beds are perhaps a little too out there for you, grab a table at one of the many bath tub turned cocktail benches or book the king bed in the corner, allowing a full 270 degree view of the room from a risen stage set. You may feel like a bit of twat sitting up there with everybody secretly peering (you’re literally staged for everyone to see) but hey, you’re out in Berlin, you may as well go all out.

Berlin is located on top of the not-so-hot Eurotrash and next to Fad Bar in Corrs Lane, Melbourne CBD. Menu choices here

// glitterali

Ain’t Life Swell.

// I first learnt about Glen Hansard in the middle of 2007. One of his bands, The Frames, were supporting Bob Dylan on his Modern Times tour. I listened to some of their music and fell in love with it almost immediately. Falling Slowly was, simply put, one of the greatest songs I had ever heard.

This song would later be stripped back by Glen and used in his next musical endeavor, The Swell Season. Teaming up with Markéta Irglová, a Czech songwriter and musician, they wrote a self-titled EP in 2006. They later went on to star in the independent movie Once together. Although not technically a musical, Once was a vehicle for a number of performances for the duo. The film went from being a small independent Irish film to the little movie that could. It took home an Academy Award for Achievement in Music Written for a Motion Picture (Original Song), a Critics Choice Award and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award.

They recently released their third album together, Strict Joy. Receiving rave reviews, it reached 15 on the Billboard Charts.

I saw these guys at the start of 2009 in Melbourne at The Palais Theatre. Starting the show with an unplugged guitar and no microphone, Hansard strolled past the speakers and right to the very edge of the stage. He performed to the entire theatre without the use of any audio equipment and still managed to fill the entire space with his vocals and guitar. It was one of the best shows I had ever seen.

Last week, The Swell Season toured again in support of Strict Joy. Their tour reached Adelaide this time and they played to a sold out Thebarton Theatre. I was obsessed enough to have purchased front row seats and as a result given a sensational view for the evening. Starting the same way he did in Melbourne, he blew the entire Adelaide audience away from the very start. Both performers would take charge of different songs for the night, and they even tried their hand at an Empire Of The Sun cover. (It worked.)

When poking around for some clips after the concert, I stumbled across this video for one of their recent singles. Low Rising is the second single off Strict Joy, and the video is absolutely stunning. Like, can’t-look-away type brilliance. Check it. 

// Simon

Mag Nation made me strip for goods.

// Desperate for the new Frankie but just don’t have the funds? Simple solution, really. Walk into any Mag Nation (air-freight and niche magazine specialty store) in your undies and receive a free item up the value of $50. 

But seriously, easier said than done, right? I mean, how many people were really gonna be interested in stripping down in public, especially considering that the MN stores are situated in busy city and city-fringe thoroughfares.

Well, the Undies Monday promotion (which ran every Monday in March, 2010) almost sent them bankrupt. As the realistion grew that there were unquestionably more exhibitionists in Australia and NZ than previously predicted, thousands and thousands of dollars worth of free vouchers later, MN were forced to refine the rules. It’s all very psychological too. They discovered that the buzz of taking one’s clothes off paired with remuneration directly linked to the risk factor really gets people’s adrenalin rushin’. They set about raising the bar. 

In a truly nutz way of maintaining momentum and charming customers, MN claimed they were back with Booby Tuesday. Yep. Anyone willing to flash their titties (if you will) would be rewarded. The latter rather daring marketing ploy was unfortunately nothing more than an April Fools joke, but MN had undoubtedly caught many magazine-thirsty people’s attention. It’s clear these guys not only have a passion for the glossy appeal of ye ‘ol ‘magazine’ (including the offering of magazine subscriptions online) but also quite a knack for ensuring they’re leading the pack. And so they damn well should — walk into MN and see for yourself, this place is pretty special. 

Feast your eyes on their website – it’s a beauty! 

// Dan Z

Lentil’s Vs. The Man

// Melbourne’s pioneering ‘pay as you feel’ restaurant, Lentil As Anything, is closing it’s doors in Abbottsford if the Convent Foundation have their way. 

Lentil As Anything has layed a benchmark for not only training refugees or disadvantaged and long-term unemployed in vital workplace skills, but also introducing the notion of generosity in the service industry. However recently Maggie Maguire, the Abbottsford Convent Foundation chairperson, has thrown the entire idea down the drain with the instruction that the board will not be renewing tender on the iconic spot, based on the fact that the convent is likely to draw a much higher paying tenant if they re-lease. Of course, it’s all about making a buck.

Despite the fact that Lentil As Anything has held tender for over five years, and was the first establishment to be apart of the convent’s refurbishment, Maguire‘s kicking them to the curb in order to make way for what will inevitably be some sort of profit-focused scheme. Is the fact that Lentil As Anything has become a cultural landmark in Melbourne and the possibility that three sponsorships for people on Immigration Department-approved visas could be in jeopardy mean much at all? How important is it that the convent make money, when the service Lentil’s provides to the wider community at large is beyond that of profit building? A slap in the face of Lentil’s generous outlook, greed has unfortuanely won. Unless the community can stop them. 

A group of regular diners at the restaurant have paid good money to start an online petition to appeal to the convent board and with any luck have them reverse the decision, and consign a mutually agreeable tender. Please show your support by signing the online petition here.

// Dan Z

Tim Burton: Exhibition Status

// Straight from The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tim Burton’s creative process comes to life at ACMI, Melbourne

The Johnny Depp-obsessed director, behind such Johnny Depp films as Edward Scissorhands and Alice in Wonderland, showcases over 700 pieces, including an assortment of paintings, drawings, puppets, costumes, storyboards and film in the new crowd-drawing Tim Burton: An Exhibition

I don’t really care for the dude, to be honest. Like many, I got sucked into the Alice In Wonderland fanatical hype by Burton’s sheer reputation alone, which annoys the shit out me. I don’t appreciate how a director of his supposed standing could blatantly disregard the arguably most important part of filmmaking – narrative. Especially when adapting (or continuing) one of the classic children’s stories of our time. He clearly put focus on making the film as visually appealing as possible, and given the 3D hype I don’t really blame him. In this sense, the exhibition will probably be quite fascinating and no doubt I’ll be among first in line anyway. I just wish this wasn’t grounds for ‘exhibition status’. 

Curated by Mr. Let Down himself, the gig runs from Thursday 24 June  through to Sunday 10 October 2010. In addition, kids under 18 also get the opportunity to win a tour guide position at the exhibition (details here). 


// Dan Z