Voices of the past sing tales of a medieval court, religion and acceptance, the listener hears them through exotic instruments of the middle east and is transported there with the first few tones.
An hour in this land, both far in distance and in time is not enough, but the listener may visit whenever they like, I certainly will. (SP)
Star Rating: 3
Written by Sarah Pritchard]]>
Gabriel’s Message… Read more]]>
Gabriel’s Message brings to life, poignant moments of early religious history, expounding the saga of its founding story as sweetly and as awe-filling as possible.
The choir and Evans are dedicated to the recreation of this old world music, staying as true to the instruments used and therefore the true sound as a they can.
These lengthy pieces signify the magic of musical storytelling, delving deeply into the hearts of its listeners and speaking simply and irresistibly to them alone. (SP)
Star Rating: 3
Written by Sarah Pritchard]]>
It’s driven by the guitar and steadied by the drums. The album sounds like it’s been stuffed into a CD, just fitting together, threatening to burst out. Each element pushes as far as it can go without overpowering the others.
Fueled by simple lyrics falling clumsily over the music, the album is easy to understand. Unambiguously combining what it’s saying and where it’s coming from. (SP)
Written by Sarah Pritchard
The entire cast of characters delivers their lines with truth and executes them with zesty comedic timing, even if the film does walk the path to a sappy, happy ending that some may find to be poignant. There is still so much to enjoy, and it’s an entertaining 102 minutes.
There is some roll reversal present in this semi-independent feature. Vincent is a man-child who needs the nurturing warmth of child-man Oliver. They complement each other brilliantly on screen, and manage to drain the cliché from its banality. (RBM)
By Rocio Belinda Mendez]]>
Thu, Jan 8, Camelot Lounge
Hudson Mohawke & Mr Carmack: In a giant double billing one of hip-hops most influential beat makers in Hudson Mohawke joins forces with Hawaii-based producer Mr Carmack. Having gained early underground success Hudson went on to sign with Kanye West’s label Warp Records to release his debut LP Butter and has been steering the direction of hip-hop/dance music ever since. Mr Carmack has also been part of this new direction blurring the lines between hip-hop and dance so this show is a unique opportunity to catch them in the same place at the same time.
Thu, Jan 8, Oxford Art Factory
The Growlers: Californian beach goth rockers return to Australia following a highly regarded sold out tour in early 2014. After their tour of Australia last year The Growlers returned home to produce a new record that includes some of their most diverse work to date. Last time they were here the shows were very rowdy with lots of stage diving, crowd surfing, endless dancing and sweat.
Fri, Jan 9, The Roller Den
Magic Bones & Harts: Melbourne rockers Magic Bones will join forces with one-man-band Harts for a co-headline tour showcasing their distinct styles. Harts will be performing songs from his debut LP Daydreamer, including Australia’s number one played alternative radio track of the year When A Man’s A Fool. While Magic Bones will be debuting their new single Anytime Anywhere a follow up to the successful Round The Block.
Fri, Jan 9, Brighton Up Bar
Hardcore vs SKA Weekend ft. Totally Unicorn: This weekend Newtown will play host to a battle between Hardcore and SKA music for undisputed supremacy. Bands included on the card are Sydney’s own Totally Unicorn, Serious Break,Sorcery and Newcastle’s Deadtown Nothings.
Sat-Sun, Jan 10-11, Newtown Social Club
Ben Frost & Tim Hecker: Now based out of Reykjavik Australian composure/producer Ben Frost return home to show off his beautiful pieces that blur between sound art and more traditional electronic music. His album AURORA was named by Rolling Stone as one of the best albums of the year in 2014. Joining him will be good friend and collaborator Canada’s Tim Hecker with his distinct ambient, eerie soundscapes.
Sun, Jan 11, Sydney Opera House
Take the redevelopment of Taylor Square, which saw the deforestation of that iconic patch of greenery known as “Gilligan’s Island” and the installation of those sneaky enema-inducing water features. While the “Island” was home to an eccentric collection of characters, basking in its tropical ambience and enjoying the 24-hour wine tasting, it was an iconic part of Darlinghurst and a landmark in its own right. Today the treeless slab of the Island remains guarded by a row of centurion like geysers, but the soul has clearly departed.
Meanwhile, in the mean streets of Woolloomooloo the somewhat notorious Walla Mulla Park, a popular sleeping spot under the Eastern Suburbs railway bridge, has again become deserted. The last time this happened was in August of 2011 just prior to the official opening by the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore. The park had been given a much-needed makeover, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, but already the itinerants had moved back in with their sleeping bags and blankets. Just prior to Clover’s appearance the City Rangers swooped, ejecting the rough sleepers and “disinfecting” the surrounds. An hour or so after the official opening, the park regulars had moved back in.
And so they have stayed right up until recent weeks when a campaign of “high visibility policing”, saw the homeless and itinerants once more evicted and the now grubby and graffiti’d park given a quick makeover. Today it’s virtually deserted, out of bounds to the homeless and of no attraction whatsoever to regular residents of the Loo, in particular the large public housing estate.
Sadly it’s one of those social experiments that was doomed to failure from the very beginning despite some very genuine efforts by the architects and civic planners to eradicate many of the problems of the old park. Walla Mulla was developed in conjunction with a neighbouring park in Bourke Street and it’s fair to say a great deal of research and practical application was put into the landscaping and design of these facilities. Imperative was the need to strike a balance between the needs of the omnipresent homeless and the Loo’s regulars. As the architects stated in a design award nomination, “No longer do the parks carry such a foreboding stigma, but rather they have a sense of dignity and comfort, enhancing the mixing of people of various socio-economic and cultural groups. This was a difficult project with a clear social agenda. This area has always attracted Sydney’s outcasts, those on the margins or beyond the boundaries of polite society. We are very pleased that we’ve helped to give them a little more safety – and dignity.”
This near utopian vision now seems little more than wishful thinking. In the last three years Walla Mulla has been monopolised by small groups of both the homeless and itinerant travellers, many of them fiercely defending their turf. Drugs, booze and regular squabbles including a stabbing have characterised the park eventually culminating in the police initiative of a few weeks ago.
While it’s easy to say now the thousands, probably millions, spent on upgrading these parks would have been much better allocated on building a new hostel for the homeless to complement the current Matthew Talbot Centre. Perhaps if the architects, the civic planners and the Lord Mayor herself had grabbed a sleeping bag and spent a few nights sleeping rough in the ‘Loo they would have gained a better idea of what was really needed. Sadly it’s back to the drawing board of good intentions.]]>
The story continues as Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his company of Dwarves battle to save the kingdom from the fearsome dragon Smaug which is intent on destroying Middle-Earth.
Fans of this incredibly profitable franchise will be mesmerised, unbothered by the many flaws within the film, but the remainder of movie-goers will breathe a sigh of relief that Peter Jackson’s saga of Middle-Earth has finally come to an end.
At a shorter duration of 2hrs 24mins, much time is devoted in tying up loose endings from the previous chapters and the urgency to conclude the film is apparent.
The CGI is artificial video-game quality and the live-action footage has a detracting soap-opera appearance. The long action-packed battle sequences are overkill and attempt to revitalise a franchise which has clearly lost the magic. (MMo)
The City of Sydney has a lot of things to do and see before Santa comes along. There is a … Read more]]>
The City of Sydney has a lot of things to do and see before Santa comes along. There is a Christmas tree that will excite the whole family, the LEGO Tree at outside Westfield Pitt St Mall, the eye-catching Swarovski Crystal tree at the Queen Victoria Building and the classic, interactive Martin Place Christmas Tree where a choir will perform every night from 6pm-8pm.
St Mary’s Cathedral once again will project images on the building – a mesmerising experience that the whole family will enjoy. There are also a range of opportunities to hear carols there.
Taylor Square will light up with food, arts and music on the 18th of December. This event is a part of the Sydney Sustainable Market and will take place between 4pm-9pm.
If you absolutely adore snow globes, Market City will host the largest snow globe that Sydneysiders and Australians has ever seen! Market City is running a selfie competition, tag @marketcity #mcsnowglobe to win $1000.
And the classic story of the Nutcracker will be brought to life at the Sydney Opera House this December with the Australian Ballet Company.
Each event is diverse and family friendly for each and everyone to enjoy the essence of Christmas.
An Island Christmas with Anu
Everyone knows the iconic Christmas songs: Jingle Bells, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer and Winter Wonderland. However, in Australia, these songs don’t make much sense when our holidays are spent lazing about in pools of our own sweat. No one knows this more than ARIA-award winning musician, Christine Anu, who has released her first Christmas album aptly titled Island Christmas.
Being in the music industry for more than 20 years, Anu has five studio albums under her belt, but this year she wanted to tackle something she’s never done before. “[Island Christmas] is not a traditional album,” Anu explains. “It celebrates what Christmas is like in Australia, in particular the song Island Christmas.” The album is comprised of a twelve-song track list that feature traditional and contemporary Christmas songs. Earlier this month, the music video for Island Christmas was released on December 2nd on YouTube.
“My two children, Kuiam and Zipporah, feature on this album in the songs Island Christmas and Ooh, Child! and my mother translated a verse from the song Silent Night into the Torres Strait Islander language.”
The album, Island Christmas, includes not only her family members but also the beloved TV presenter Jay Laga’aia and The Voice’s Steve Clisby. “Working with Jay and Steve was such a pleasure and I’m thankful that they are featured on this album,” Anu continues. “I worked with Jay on Playschool and this was a nice change of scenery.”
The song that Laga’aia and Anu sing together is Carol of the Drum/ Peace on Earth. This song is reprised with the melodic background of a guitar heightened by their vocals. It is an absolutely beautiful and soothing Christmas tune. “This is a very special album as it encapsulates the essence of Christmas in Australia and I’m very proud of it.”
Anu will also be playing at this year’s Woolworths’ Carols in the Domain. Some of the musicians on the lineup are Samantha Jade, Judith Durham (The Seekers), Mark Vincent, Lee Kernaghan and even the cast of Wicked.
“If I told you what songs I’m going to play at Carols in the Domain I would probably have to kill you,” Anu says jokingly. “But it is definitely a surprise worthwhile!”
This is the 32rd year of the Woolworths Carols in the Domain and it will take place on the 20th of December. If you cannot make it to the event, never fear, Woolworths Carols in the Domain will be broadcasted live on the Seven Network from 8:30pm.
Written by Erika Vass]]>
Students from the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) have united over the past year in a … Read more]]>
Students from the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) have united over the past year in a series of protests against the Federal Government’s push towards fee deregulation, which would allow universities to set their own fees.
A combined effort of the Palmer United Party, the ALP and federal Independents Jackie Lambe and Nick Xenophon blocked the bill after the students nationwide made it clear they opposed it.
The Senate rejected Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s controversial higher education reforms bill, 33 to 31.
In May student activists began to vocally rally against the proposal, starting with the National Union of Students’ National Day of Action (NUS NDA) where thousands of university students marched across the Sydney CBD in light of the Federal Budget’s cuts to university funding and fee deregulation.
During the largest of the Sydney rallies on May 21 students from Sydney, UTS and UNSW were joined by other protestors to force partial closures of George Street as they blocked traffic and participated in sit-ins.
This and following NDAs included speeches made by Greens senator Lee Rhiannon, political economy professor Frank Stilwell, NTEU representative Nick Riemer and various student groups.
The ABC Q&A protest and the burning of a Christopher Pyne effigy were among the most controversial demonstrations to date.
Former President of the UTS Students’ Association, Andy Zephyr, said that tertiary students from across NSW universities and TAFEs have lead the national charge on the biggest protests this year, from interrupting Q&A, chasing Liberals off campus and gathering in thousands against the corporatisation of universities.
“This won’t be the last we see of deregulation, and Pyne’s backwards bills that are gutting social mobility from students and young people,” he said.
Brigitte Garozzo, one of the Q&A protestors from the NSW Education Action Network said they were motivated to get the education crisis back in the spotlight with a two-minute disruption of a national television broadcast.
A convocation held in late August at Sydney University saw twenty-six speakers address an audience of more than 500, only one of whom voiced full support for Pyne’s reforms.
Zephyr said the main objective is to restore Gough Whitlam’s legacy of free education whether it be on the ground campaigning, or working in established student unions and groups such as NUS.
“The more doctors, nurses, scientists and degree-holders we have in society, the smarter and more innovative Australia will become. Education is a key part of democracy, and in attacking every Australian’s right to receive further education the Liberals have shown how out of touch they are with us,” he said.
Sydney University SRC Education Officers Ridah Hassan and Eleanor Morley hold themselves responsible for the Senate rejecting Pyne’s bill.
“Our 2014 student campaign has led to the defeat of the bill in the Senate in the last sitting week of Parliament. Keeping up the pressure on the opposition to hold their line, and to continue to rally in numbers on the streets will be crucial for defeating the bill for good next year,” Ridah Hassan said.
The 87th SRC’s agenda will focus on opposing fee deregulation and continuing to fight against discriminatory reforms to higher education.
“I want an SRC that will continue to challenge the government and the university management for the benefit of students,” President Kyol Blakeney said.
Pyne has proposed a new reform package, which will be presented to the Senate early next year.]]>
Ending the year with the release of the Social Housing in NSW discussion paper Minister for Family and Community Services,Gabrielle Upton looks … Read more]]>
Ending the year with the release of the Social Housing in NSW discussion paper Minister for Family and Community Services,Gabrielle Upton looks like she’ll be heading into an equally contentious 2015. It follows the controversial sell-off of Millers Point public housing and has already come under criticism from those that fear it encourages further privatisation of the state’s social housing.
The paper suggested the private sector may play a greater role in the future provision of social housing, and considers options for moving residents into the private rental market.The Government has argued these measures are necessary to address the growing gap between the demand and availability of public housing, with waiting lists expanding by an additional 3,500 families since they won office in 2011.
“The simple truth is that the system has failed to keep pace with increased demand and changing demographics,” Minister Upton said.
“We must accept that, despite the best of intentions, the current system fails tenants… One of the main objectives of this government is protecting the vulnerable in our community, which is why we are determined to make improvements to the social housing system.”
However, the paper has drawn the ire of critics who point to the Government’s social housing budget cuts, and recent sell-offs of public housing as proof they are not sincere in addressing the growing housing crisis.
Sophie Cotsis the Shadow Minister for Housing, told reporters that these measures have resulted in 6,000 fewer homes throughout the state.
“The Liberals have cut the budget to build new social housing in half since they came to office, and they have sold more social housing than they have built,” she said.
The paper has been judged by others not so much for what it includes, but for what it omits. Chris Martin, Senior Policy Officer of the Tenants Union of NSW, wrote on the organisation’s blog that the system and its models should be reassessed.
“Much gets said about the failings of the social housing system; not nearly enough about the failings of the private housing system, and private rental in particular… If the NSW State Government really wants to help those on the waiting list, and make ‘transitioning’ out of social housing a realistic prospect, it must discuss reforming the private rental market too.”
With rent in Sydney amongst the highest in the world, it is feared that moves to transition social housing tenants into the private sector could place them at risk of severe financial stress. According to the 2011 Census 78 per cent of low income households reported paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent. Further research has shown that three out of four of these households face a ‘constant struggle to pay regular bills’.
Greens Councillor for the City of Sydney and public housing advocate, Irene Doutney said getting people in and out of the system quickly was taking the focus away from solving underlying issues and ignoring problems faced by low income, vulnerable people.
“Every new statement or document that comes out of the Liberal State Government is another nail in the coffin of public housing and government for the well-being of all members of society. The very idea that the private sector which is all about making a profit could manage a complex human services system beggars belief but is the mantra of the Upton ministry.”
“[The paper] makes no comment on how people who can’t afford to live in this unaffordable city now are suddenly going to be able to move from subsidised housing to unaffordable market rent.”
With the waiting list for public housing expected to blow out to 86,000 by 2016 though controversial paper it seeks to address an urgent problem.The discussion paper is the first step toward the Liberal party forming a comprehensive social housing policy, though it is unlikely it will be ready before the March election.]]>