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On the Outskirts

photo: Lisa Zhu

Androgynous Rockability: Nu+Nan

Indie clothing store Nu+Nan offers whimsical styles that mix urban influences and utilitarianism in a way that makes it stand out from the rest of the successful retail stores that have been able to branch out into multiple outlets. Owner and designer Cleo Chow describes Nu+Nan as an “underground label” that makes “house designs removed from current trends”. There’s nothing slavishly obvious; you won’t get the Witchery crowd in here. If an eclectic, rockabilly-esque mix of studded boots, androgynous denim, faux leopard print waistcoats and romper suits sounds intriguing, Nu+Nan is exactly what you’re looking for.

Fellow Platform: Amelia Schmidt

We sure do love the people who have supported us here at Side Street Sydney, especially those who have been with us since our early days. One of the first interviews we were asked to do was for Throw Shapes, a local site that shares many of our philosophies - namely, supporting local creativity and offering a platform to tell our city's stories. They also happen to be a talented little pool of wordsmiths, and since we're big fans of talented wordsmiths, their editor, Amelia Schmidt, contributed a short story to our creative writing section - one she later won a John Marsden prize for. Anyway, the point is, Side Street Sydney and Throw Shapes are friends, and so we asked Amelia to do a little fill in the blank for us to get some insight into her writing world.

Hi, my name is Amelia Schmidt
And I write for Throw Shapes.
My role there is ‘Managing Editor’
which means I commission and publish articles by contributors, write a bunch of them, moderate all comments, write the newsletter, update the thumbnails and calendar, organize events and go to meetings.

The Viewer's Story: Anwen Keeling

Anwen Keeling’s realist paintings seem to intentionally play on the intrinsic voyeurism humans possess, making viewers feel as though they have interrupted a very private moment. Like a filmstill, they offer an intimate glimpse into a fragmented narrative. Blurring the boundaries between public and private, Anwen’s artworks are evocative, sensual and ambiguous, with an underlying sensitivity towards all aspects of femininity. As the cliché puts it, a picture tells a thousand words, and Anwen wants such stories to be open for interpretation.

“I guess being female, I relate to the female form,” Anwen explains in reference to the women she so realistically renders on her canvases. “I think there is much beauty in the softness and curves of the female form. This is something that has been celebrated throughout the history of art, albeit mostly by male painters in the past.” Here Anwen is talking about art critic John Berger’s theory of the gaze, and the way in which male painters have historically structured the female figure for the sexual gratification of an explicitly male audience. While Anwen’s work still has a certain and somewhat brooding sexuality to it, she paints from her own perspective, effectively subverting the dominant tradition of the female as an object and instead imbuing her wholly in the unfolding action.


Remember, you can still buy prints off the Stairwell Gallery website xx

photo: Lisa Zhu

The Great Dumpling Odyssey, Part One: Hung Cheung

Marrickville is a bit of a treasure trove. From the outside it seems all tattered and a bit unloved, but when you really poke around in there you may just find a gem or two. Hung Cheung on Marrickville Road is a bit like that; don’t expect pristine, minimalism or elegant cosy and you won’t be disappointed. This is no trendy secret or fine dining adventure – it’s a local, and if you don’t mind the odd carton of random Chinese ingredient stacked in the corner, you’ll be happy as pants.

Hung Cheung is mostly known for its cheap and cheerful weekend yum cha. As an avid dumpling fan (who isn’t) we toddled along in search of parcels of yumminess. Imagine the heartbreak when it became painfully clear that weekends are when the dumplings are in plenty? Not Wednesdays. In a pathetic attempt to sate our addiction we ordered the one and only dumpling on the weekday menu – prawn, in both its incarnations: steamed and fried. Oh yes.

Big Cast, Big Text: Measure for Measure

Vienna is an undeniably shady place littered with ambiguous dukes in disguise, nuns who are almost too righteous to be right and at least one couple in a spot of trouble – at least that’s what Company B Belvoir would have you believe. Benedict Andrews’ astounding yet characteristically controversial re-imagining of Measure for Measure, one of Shakespeare’s most troublesome plays, proves that great drama is all about sex and power (and a killer cast).

Design, With Skill: Tristan Blair

Shoes are an area of fashion design which require a certain level of craftmanship to perfect, and it is exactly this element that makes its creators the very definition of artisans. In Sydney, Tristan Blair is perhaps the only name that adequately stands out above the surplus of rip-off chain stores and unoriginal concepts, producing covetable collections season after season since his launch into the market in 2006. A background as a sheet metal fabricator has blessed Tristan with an innate dexterity as a shoe designer, and this combined with a passionate design ethos has laid the strong foundation for his self-titled label. His hands on approach to his trade has been translated into beautiful products in the world of fashion, proving yet again that vision is nothing without skill – but the synergy of the two combined is true design.


For those of you who couldn't make the exhibition last week, all of Lisa's prints are available for sale on the Stairwell Gallery website, with prices and details on how to purchase. So if you have bare walls in need of some lovin'... You now have no excuse.

photo: Lisa Zhu

Experimental Friday: Sound Series

Sound Series is a monthly evening of music, sound and installation in the coolly appealing Hardware Gallery in Enmore. Tucked away in the quieter end of the suburb, the gallery puts on a sound experience that is somehow heightened by the intriguing art that surrounds its visitors.

The gallery has a strong tradition of music appreciation. When owner Lew Palaitis’ vinyl collection topped the ten thousand mark, he knew it was time to share the love. He gladly waved goodbye to his office tucked away in one corner of the gallery (who needs to do paperwork anyway?) and turned it into a gloriously cosy listening room and vinyl store, simply called The Record Room.

Music, Honestly: The Preachers

Following a number of unexpected encounters from 2008 until February this year, local Sydneysiders The Preachers have left quite a mark on the local scene as of late. Since releasing their first EP earlier this year, the five piece have covered considerable ground for their young band status. Already having played a slew of shows, including World Bar’s ‘MUM’ and The Revenant Club at Oxford Art Factory, their stage presence can be described as nothing less than an awe-inspiring mix of everything that’s great about live music.

New Directions: The Waiting City

Unfolding against the colour, passion and uncensored emotion of Calcutta, The Waiting City is set to ignite Sydney screens this Thursday. As the latest film from writer and director Claire McCarthy, The Waiting City explores the journey of Fiona and Ben, an Australian couple who travel to India to collect their adopted daughter. Faced with unfamiliar bureaucratic hitches, a city defined by contradictions and an understated sense of desperation, the couple begin to question their lives, choices and relationship. As overzealous as it may sound, one can’t escape the sneaking suspicion that The Waiting City will lead Australian film in a bold new direction.

The City's Guardian

photo: Lisa Zhu

Well. That kicked ass.

Oh, the morning after. Some of us may not have realised that free drinks add up exactly the same as those you have to pay for, and so ended up getting a wee carried away. Woops. While today may not be so enjoyable, last night certainly was! Thank you so much to everyone who came and showed support for our project - we wouldn't be anything without you! The night was a massive success with both the turnout and sales for the lovely Lisa, which made us feel that all the love, sweat and tears we have put into this website has been completely worth it. Big love xx

Special shout-outs definitely go to Justin & Nathan at Dialogue PR, who offered us the space and were our lovely partners for the night. Also thank you to our friends at frankie, Pages Online, Kluster & Oyster for mentioning our little event - we appreciate it so much! And of course, thank you Lisa... our super talented photographer who we are so lucky to call our own.

For those of you who couldn't make it last night, we'll still let you buy prints! We believe in giving. Head to the Stairwell Gallery blog for prices and info on how to buy. We'll definitely be doing this again, but until next time... here are some snaps to remember. The first one is of Seema, Justin from Dialogue & Lisa, because we're aware that maybe telling you to look for the brown and Asian girls wasn't all that descriptive. Now you know who to hurl obscenities at.

Lots of love,
The Team @ Side Street, Sydney xx

Lisa Zhu presents Side Street Sydney

When Lisa Zhu contacted us with her photos way back in October, just a month after we had launched, we immediately thought, YES. It was one of those love at first sight moments, where we seemed to find exactly who we didn’t even know we were looking for. Now, nearly 10 months after Side Street began, we couldn’t really imagine it existing without her. Her images capture everything that Sydney is through our incredibly rose-tinted frames, but unlike such a cliché would leave you to believe, the way we see it is exactly as it is… drenched in light that bathes us in its infectious warmth, spreading through the city with a midas touch that seems to come from a dream than a passing view.

When we started this site, the whole point was to encourage people to look at Sydney with a second glance – past the commercialised watering holes, the harbour bridge and the picture-perfect postcard images that it so flawlessly persuades us to recall. Sure, we want you to remember how lucky you are whenever you’re looking through the bus window at a city surrounded with water, but there are also the other, more subtle moments – walking to the nearest coffee shop and snagging a hit-the-spot, nearly-as-delicious-as-Italy espresso, grabbing the most perfect vintage jacket at one of Sydney’s many fine second-hand stores, and discovering a new suburb just when you thought you knew this city so well. At our very doorstep, we have some of the world’s best creatives, the finest restaurants and, of course, beauty – everywhere. All you have to do is look up – which is exactly what Lisa has been doing with her ever so generous contributions to this site.

Although we’ve been working together for the past few months, we decided to quiz her on exactly how she came to be so bloody talented at what she does – and got a few sneak peeks of her new work for you to view before TOMORROW NIGHT’S EXHIBITION, which we really hope you’ll join us for. All event details can be found here, so please RSVP for yourself and encourage your friends to do the same. And be sure to introduce yourselves to us – I’m brown and Lisa’s Asian. Surely that’ll suffice.

Collaborative Innovation: Underbelly Arts

Starting this Thursday, 100 of Sydney’s brightest musicians, installation artists, theatre and film-makers, puppeteers, publishers and aerialists will unite under one roof to create something truly and mutually inspired. The artistic experiment better known as Underbelly Arts will throw the creative process of emerging artists under the public viewfinder – and undoubtedly encourage them to develop work that will set the bar for colloborative innovation.

photo by Fabian Foo

After the Storm

Please remember to join us on Thursday night from 6 to 9pm at Absolut Stairwell Gallery in Kings Cross for a bit of imagery love by Lisa Zhu. xx

photo: Lisa Zhu

Champagne Tastes: Velluto

When I was younger, my Dad used to always say I was “living a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget”. Back when I was 16 that didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I can now attest that he was pretty spot on. If I had a Kryptonite-like weakness (other than an excessive shoe habit), it would definitely be Champagne. So you can imagine I was delirious to be visiting Velluto, a champagne bar in Potts Point.

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