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Prep School Twist

photo: Margaret Sevenjhazi

Hiles Lane

photo: Lisa Zhu

Gallery, Light-Hearted: NG Gallery

As owner of NG Gallery, Nicky Ginsberg is passionate – about exciting art, about championing local artists both here and beyond, about running a gallery that is serious but approachable, and about the art and emerging food precinct, Chippendale, in Sydney’s city fringe.

Nicky recalls that, “the past 15 years I’ve been working in the art world and prior to that I was in the food world”, the result of which has given her a unique grounding for starting her own gallery, something she’d always dreamed of doing. Ginsberg found a business partner in long time friend and chef Piera Potter, who manages Mission Bar and Restaurant (which we reviewed back in January) downstairs, while Nicky manages the gallery upstairs. Their vision is to ensure the two businesses maintain a separate identity while taking advantage of what each has to offer and for Ginsberg that means she gets to “merge [her] two great pleasures”.

Needless to say, working so closely with a friend can be challenging, but having been friends for more than 24 years, Ginsberg and Potter have learnt the skills to meet those challenges head on, find solutions and move past them. “She’s like a sister really, so it feels like a sisterly relationship – one where you have your moment and then it’s over. There’s too much going on to hang onto it, so it’s good to keep moving forward,” says Ginsberg.

Porcelain Boy

Masculinity has not always been a word that merely implies physical strength, endurance and brawn. At various stages through time, it has been equated with sophistication, intelligence, poise and even dare I say, elegance (shock horror). Unfortunately in recent times, the term has become increasingly one-dimensional. For the last few hundred years we have rejected the peacock-like attributes once embraced by kings, princes and gents of the courts across Europe in favour of a more rugged, disheveled appearance. Hey, it’s all about whatever suits your fancy, but it’s about time that men had more than one look to aspire (and conform) to.

The new trends towards dandyism in the fashion world has, over the years, presented a shift in male attitudes towards self-preservation and beautification, and although most men are a long way from comfortably applying a touch of concealer, they are buying into the skin care industry in ever increasing numbers. Most major beauty companies are starting to release ranges marketed towards men, including the ever-dominating L’Oreal, who have even introduced an entirely new range of exfoliates and moisturisers, specifically engineered to treat the characteristics unique to men’s skin. What with their “manly” grey and orange tubes, bottles and tubs, men don’t feel their machismo being challenged when buying these products. It truly is marketing at its finest, and has clearly taken years of research on the behalf of beauty companies to find a way to tap into male vanity without feminising the oh-so-vulnerable male ego. It seems that our increasing obsession with youth seems to finally be taking a hold over the men in our society in a way that has been prevalent amongst women for the past “oh let’s say” few hundred years.

More Than Noise: HEALTH

Among the burgeoning music scene bubbling just under the surface in Los Angeles, HEALTH have found their niche in the mass market with artfully crafted noise rock, raw synth and haunting monotone vocals. Their live show can only be described as explosive, energetic, and sometimes chaotic.

Centered upon the notoriety of the famous alternative noise rock scene, the quartet solidified their place as one of LA’s most seminal bands over three years ago, playing free all-ages shows to fans and newcomers alike – anyone and everyone eager to lose themselves within the band’s volatile sounds.
Members Benjamin Jared Miller, Jake Duzsik, John Famiglietti and Jupiter Keyes have a strong connection and a seeming attachment to DIY roots. Although they were criticised following their 2007 self-titled debut as being too pre-occupied with developing their distinct image and style rather than creating music, the album saw the quartet excel at dramatic percussion and often hauntingly ghost-like vocals, with an evident focus on emulating their noise rock predecessors.

Into Jaws, Willingly: Shark Swim Challenge

Forget dolphins, whales, fish and all those other cutesy animals with their pin-up-girl looks – it’s sharks that Cath Leach has a real soft spot for. She may not be giving them a little hug any time soon, but the level of compassion she feels for them is certainly beyond that of a petting zoo. After listening to a speech by ocean researcher Sylvia Earle (who Time magazine has referred to as “Hero for the Planet”) Cath became flabbergasted by the statistics that more than 90 percent of the world’s sharks have already been wiped out and that vast areas of the Pacific Ocean have been completely depleted of oxygen. Rather than learning about the figures and moving on, she became motivated to do something to change them.

Chaos at Home: Pony Rider

The words ‘boutique homewares’ usually conjures up images of trendy Paddington parents browsing expensive stores on a lazy Sunday afternoon while sipping on some derivative of a soy chai latte. Pony Rider, however, with its humble teakins and unexpectedly lavish cotton cushion covers, wholeheartedly challenges this stereotype and could turn even the most outgoing social extrovert into the house-proud homebody. After seeing a gap in the market for homewares that appealed to a Gen Y target audience, Kelly Searl – along with now ex-business partner but still-friend Jacqui Lewis – started the refreshingly unpretentious homewares label Pony Rider. In the words of Kelly, “Pony Rider is about those raw moments in life that make you smile. It’s about finding the beauty in the everyday, with somewhat bowerbird tendencies.”

Even though the Pony Rider label only launched in October last year, to Kelly, Pony Rider has been present in her life for much longer. “It’s my baby that’s been brewing for such a long time… It’s taken four years of procrastination, one year of thinking about and one year of designing. Some might say it’s been a rather slow process, but life has a way of putting a stop to things that shouldn’t happen,” she reflects. “So why did it launch three months after my second child was born? Who knows? My friends say I like the chaos. I’m starting to think they’re right,” she says, and we can’t even begin to fathom the prospect of two infants and an equally young and demanding business venture.

Ankle Lace Ups

photo: Margaret Sevenjhazi

Palm Trees, This City's Parks

photo: Lisa Zhu

Highlights and highjinks: Mardi Gras

If you’re anything like us, your daily routine consists of working your butt off, catching the tear-jerking monologue at the end of a hospital drama and then heading to bed after a microwave dinner. We think it’s time you stepped out of your comfort zone.

There’s a time and a place to unbutton your buttoned-down world, let your hair out and spew on the sidewalk at 3am, and it’s called the Parade Night at Sydney’s Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras. From the cacophonous colours of the costumes to the presence of good-time seekers from around the globe, this is one of those things you’ve got to see and do at least once. It’s your chance to flash-dance in public, sweat stupidity with hoards of steamy sailors, and publically flaunt your bad-ass in that S&M costume sitting lonely at the back of your wardrobe. Since we had run out of Lean Cuisines and Rue Paul episodes to stream off of the internet, we dragged ourselves off the couch and caught up with some friends from around the city to talk about their favorite moments from Parade Night, as well as other Mardi Gras’ memories and misdemeanors, in homage to one of Sydney’s proudest traditions.

Fashion, Grounded: Jolyon Mason

Stylists tend to get a bad wrap, and the more successful they get, the more difficult they are rumoured to be to deal with. Hence, we were more than a little apprehensive to meet the man who’s making Sydney seem so fashion forward. Jolyon Mason is responsible for stunning editorial in magazines including Russh, Oyster, i-D, Vogue Australia, and GQ. He’s styled campaigns for Levis and MYER, and counts The Pussycat Dolls, The Veronicas, and Jennifer Hawkins amongst his celebrity clientele. He’s worked on spectacular runway shows for labels such as Romance Was Born, Nicola Finetti, and Ginger & Smart, not to mention large scale events like the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.
Yep. Apprehensive indeed.

We sit down, nervously shuffle papers, and accidently blurt out the last question we would have wanted to ask him first. What would your advice be to young stylists that are starting out? “Just. Be. Nice,” he says, smiling. That’s it? That’s all? No take-a-good-hard-look-at-yourself-and-decide-whether-you’re-cut-out-for-this? “Nope. Just be nice. That’s all.” We breathe a sigh of relief, order a coffee, and chat with the man who’s truly one of the nicest stylists in Sydney.

Dirty Sweaty Hot: Cameras

With two lead vocalists and songwriters, Sydney band Cameras’ sound can lift you into a whorl of air and breathy mystery and then drag you back to earth (in a good way) into stomping guitar chords. The ethereal Eleanor Dunlop and the earthy, rooted-in-dirty-rock Fraser Harvey make up the vocals, while Ben Kingshott take charge of the bass. Eleanor is obviously intrigued by dreamy and delicious escapist sounds and pictures – the music she writes, the bands she listens to and the films she loves all have a certain elemental feel. In person, she is warm, friendly and practical. She knows what she wants to achieve and she works hard. Damn hard.

Noise and Feelings: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Evoking the delirious melodrama of teenage emotions, New York indie-pop darlings The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart write songs reminiscent of the dreamy guitar fuzz bands of the late eighties and nineties. While these influences are as evident as they are diverse, the quartet appeal far beyond the sub-cultural confines of their predecessors in their ability to epitomise everything that’s great about indie-pop. Following the release of their debut self titled album and their Higher Than The Stars EP, Side Street, Sydney had the pleasure of speaking with lead singer and guitarist Kip Berman in anticipation for the bands upcoming Australian tour.

What were the circumstances behind meeting and deciding to play together as The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart?
Alex, Peggy and I were all friends and spent time hanging out obsessing over music and going to shows. Peggy and I would nerd out over early Slumberland Records stuff (Rocketship, Black Tambourine), Scottish indiepop (Teenage Fanclub, Vaselines) and The Manhattan Love Suicides (a now defunct Leeds fuzzpop band). Alex was into more garage/punk stuff, though there was a lot of overlap - we were all into Sunny Sundae Smile-era My Bloody Valentine. I think we'd listen to "Paint a Rainbow" several times a day, to be honest.
Kurt came to our early shows and was really into the songs we were playing. In retrospect, it’s pretty surprising as we were about as inept musically as a band could possibly be. Still, he was into it, and we soon all became friends.

Summer Break

The schoolyard was nearly empty apart from the children who had to wait around for their parents’ late arrival.
Another school year had passed, and Eva flipped through her yearbook to see who had signed it. It wasn’t like last year, when nearly everyone in her class wrote her well wishes and gave her their number, telling her to make sure she called them over summer.
She fast became aware that they never actually meant it. They merely wrote it because they had nothing else to say, but the whole prospect of meeting and socializing had never actually crossed their minds.

Eva felt the heat beat down upon her. The last school day of the year was always the same; class parties, yearbook signings, and when the last bell rung, everyone gathered their stuff and cheered to greet the arrival of three months of revelry, the beach, and the absence of responsibility.

Tokyo-Cross-Sydney: Nanami Cowdroy

To find the beauty in chaos, one need not look any further than within the artwork of Nanami Cowdroy. Juxtaposing her Japanese heritage with her Sydney surroundings, Nanami mish-mashes such contradicting elements as urban landscapes with underwater creatures and technology with nature in a way that brings a sense of co-existent harmony – the kind that can only exist in the fantastical world of art. With a seemingly swift brush of black and white, Nanami eclipses the world of colour for one that was instead made for shades of grey. Rather than defeating the complexity of settings in the process, she is able to apply the mediums she uses – which range from ink to pen and everything in between – to create things exactly as they would appear if they were two-dimensional drawings. From origami to human features, Nanami injects texture into her work and adds detail in miniscule proportions, achieving an unlikely level of depth that is as admirable as it is hypnotic. Her smooth-as-liquid style is inimitable, with playful splotches of ink spread throughout that serve to defy the boundaries of mistakes and mark her signature in yet another way.

The Collar Shirt

photo: Margaret Sevenjhazi

McElhone Place

photo: Lisa Zhu

Sydney's Retail Royalty: Belinda & The Corner Shop

In terms of retail power in Sydney, Belinda Seper truly is royalty. With her innately skilled eye for fashion and brand mix, she has long set the benchmark within the national buying landscape. Her stores – particularly Sydney’s Belinda and The Corner Shop – stock some of the most coveted items for any fashion-lover’s wardrobe, with many pieces unable to be sourced anywhere else in Australia. The stores’ reputations have, at times, succeeded even the brands that are stocked within, making them the aspirational yearning for every mid to high level designer. After all, with Belinda’s Midas touch, the term “up and coming” is hastily removed as the suffix and designers become royalty alongside the queen herself.
We chatted to Belinda about how a simple idea became a retail empire.


1) I know you were a model and Army Reserve captain once upon a time. When and why did you eventually decided to open up retail stores?

I had an idea and I just knew I must pursue it. It sounds very simple but it’s true!

2) What was the beginning like?

The beginning was very scary, it was such hard work and I had reoccurring nightmares of failure!
I also had a six month old baby and the juggling was incredibly taxing.

Oyster's Words: Alyx Gorman

Since we started to expand on the fashion section, we have decided to approach everyone who we respect within the industry – the people who young fashionistas far and wide say they want to be when they grow up. Since the new edition of Oyster came out yesterday and since I (and a few of the other lovely writers on this site) have a vested interest in it, we’re starting this one with a Miss Alyx Gorman. Rising up through the ranks to her recent appointment of Associate Editor at the ripe little age of 21, Alyx has become the urban myth for fashion writers everywhere. It would be easy to hate her if she wasn’t so damn adorable (and talented, might I add). With the plethora of blogs lately, fashion writers are certainly not a minority, but ones who can actually write definitely are. Alyx is smart, mature and more than anything else, she knows her shit. So read our fill in the blank with one of our favourite style mavens and then go out and buy the magazine (at a newsagency near you).

Hi, my name is Alyx Gorman
And I work at Oyster Magazine.
My job entails pulling together and writing certain sections of the magazine and supervising our online activities
Which really means I spend all day sending emails and bossing about interns and then have to wake up at 6am to get the writing sides of my job done, because it’s too hard to do at work.

A Movie With A Capital O: Hurt Locker

Hurt Locker opens with Guy Pearce as he attempts to disable a disguised bomb hidden in a suburban, war-ravaged street in Iraq. It’s teeth-achingly tense, and this sets the tone for the film from beginning to end. I’m pretty sure I held my breath for the entire 2 hours.

The movie centres on the three men who form the Explosive Ordinance Disposal team – those who defuse bombs for a living. Based on a screenplay by Mark Boal, a reporter in Iraq during the war, the story follows the reckless cowboy, the by-the-book wannabe and the scared but eager kid who just wants to belong. They try to get on with the job at hand but struggle to reconcile what they do with who they are and how they can operate as a unit, as a team, in the most intimate of circumstances: where death is challenged up close 12 times a day, 7 days a week for 365 days.

Epic Volume: My Disco

Melbourne math rockers My Disco have spent over six years making their mark on the minimalist music scene, touring internationally and solidifying their well earned status as one of Australia’s most promising music exports.
Clocking in at just under eleven minutes, their latest single,
Young has been described as “a volatile, mind boggling excursion into the outer realms of My Disco’s dalliance with German minimalism”, while its B-side, a remix by electronic pioneer Qua, "warps the transmissions of Young into sublime rhythmic frequencies.” We spoke with Guitarist Ben Andrews in the lead up to the band’s upcoming shows across Australia and America as well as the release of their limited edition 12" vinyl.

Hello Ben! Can you give us a brief history of the band?
My Disco started in the summer of 2003 as a short-lived project because I was living overseas at the time, but the jams were so good that I relocated back to Australia to continue the band full time. Since then, we have been touring and putting out records in regular fashion.

Many Australian bands relocate to Europe in order to gain more exposure. Have you ever considered the move or do you feel you have more to achieve or prove here?
We have talked about a Berlin-style relocation, as we do pretty well in Europe. Aside from a few tour van and gear hiccups, Europe is an amazing place to visit and play. There is a different culture over there towards live music and touring bands. They have an attitude based on respect with high regard for the artists, making it an entirely pleasurable experience. Australia is so far away and quite limiting in its scope when you are an "outsider" band as we are, but we love it nonetheless.

One Computer At A Time: One Laptop Per Child

Rangan Srikhanta may be in his mid-twenties, but as the executive director of One Laptop Per Child Australia (OLPC), he’s certainly not twiddling his thumbs with drinking games or watching entire seasons of Entourage in one sitting. Instead, Rangan is figuring out ways to ensure his organisation achieves its mission statement of distributing laptops to children in disadvantaged circumstances or remote areas; children who, as yet, do not have access to a computer at all. In Australia, that counts for 400,000 children between the ages of four and fifteen. In a world where computers manage everything, such lack of skill immediately translates into limited opportunities everywhere from the workforce to their social life. OLPC aims to get a laptop to every single one of those 400,000 children. Not most, not some, not a select few who have been chosen for their ‘potential’; ALL of them.

Rangan came to Australia from Sri Lanka as a child, so he was inadvertently bestowed with a unique insight into how stifling a prospect a lack of opportunity can be. Acknowledging that his parents uprooted their lives for his, he now feels the same hope and aspiration for the children of his adopted country, too many of whom face the same lack of choice he himself would have experienced in his birthplace. The common interest within his organisation, he maintains, is the belief in “the potential of all children.”

Rangan (right) with some beneficiaries of the OLPC program

Little, Only By Name: Little Gonzales

Dan Gray

Little Gonzales is a fitting moniker for Sydney artist Dan Gray. He’s quiet, charming, and refreshingly, he doesn’t seem to take himself the least bit seriously. As a designer, illustrator, painter and animator, Little Gonzales is all about honing in on his creativity and making it look damn good in the process. We spent a cosy Sunday morning getting to know this curious creative with a fondness for retro, music, and ever-so-geeky fun.

The name Little Gonzales comes from Dan’s childhood nickname, Speedy Gonzales, and reflects the very strong familial ties that Dan has, particularly with his triplet siblings. One an IT geek and the other a banker, Dan may be the only artist in the family, but all of them have a strong creative bent – after all, appearances can be deceiving. Dan himself started out in medical research, but soon discovered that medicine was not feeding his creative calling. He found himself face-to-face with the conversation most born-again creatives dread with their parents: the one concerning art school and the terror of trying to do anything else with their life. Although initially shocked, his parents were on board soon enough – and now take full advantage of the artist in the family. “Dad has been asking me to put designs that he likes on t-shirts so he can wear them,” Dan tells us.

The Jump-Skirt

photo: Margaret Sevenjhazi

Stairway to Darlinghurst

photo: Lisa Zhu

Nuts Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before: Almond Bar

Away from the mayhem of Darlinghurst’s Victoria Street, Almond Bar is a buzzing little oasis with attentive staff, fabulous fare and stylish surroundings. Whether you want to dive into the desserts head first or unwind with a stiff cocktail, this tiny Syrian restaurant is the perfect tonic to a long day. And with hundreds of drinking holes within a ten-minute radius, it’s a great spot to kick start a night you won’t remember in the morning.

That was the plan when a friend and I wandered in early last Saturday night. Before most restaurants have their first diners, Almond Bar is already heating up, largely due to its stylish looks and affordable dining. The restaurant’s deep chocolate interiors mix the old and the new with a distinctive Middle-Eastern flavour, creating an elegant aesthetic that feels intimate and relaxed rather than self-conscious. It’s a low-key environment that forces any posers to keep their pouts to themselves.

A Short Review on Something Sweet. And Short.: Short and Sweet Festival

Grace Adler (of Will & Grace fame) once described going to the theatre as ‘an expensive nap’. I won’t deny that after a long day at work, a cosy seat in a darkened room in which to rest my tired little head can be a little tempting. Brilliantly, the folks at Sydney’s Short & Sweet Festival have found a way to appease those of us with the attention span of a stoned goldfish. Make the play short. Like, really short. I’m talking under ten minutes short.

Playwright Kaz Getts has written one of the 167 works showing in this year’s festival. Her play, Hormonophrenia, is running each night this week at Short & Sweet for a mere nine-ish minutes. It is, as the name suggests, a comedy about the nature of women, or more accurately, the insanity of a species. And hormones. Her inspiration, as always, is her own backyard. . There’s something to be said for the absolute comedy of real life: “[The play] has been inspired by all of us. By my life, my friends lives and the people around me. It’s little snapshots of the things that happen to us along the way… By the end of the journey, you’ve just gotta laugh.”


Sydney’s Accessories Queen: Elke Kramer

Elke Kramer is queen to accessory lovers all over. Her quirky art nouveau, deco and op-art aesthetic combined with the eclectic narratives that underlie her collections has secured her as one of Sydney’s most precious design talents. Side Street, Sydney caught up with the woman herself to talk travelling, the best places in Sydney to find vintage jewellery and her summer collection, Shake of Ophelia.

While Elke’s foray into jewellery design was not planned, she explains that she “always had intentions of working creatively.” Her mother an artist who still paints today, Elke had a strong artistic influence when she was growing up. She took this with her when she started studying design at Sydney’s College of Fine Arts, where Elke was trained in multiple disciplines, including textiles, jewellery, ceramics and graphics, all of which she continues to draws from in her work. After graduating, Elke did a bit of freelance, as well as in-house work for Sass & Bide and Oyster magazine. However, it wasn’t until she was asked by friend and fashion designer Michelle Robinson to make necklaces for one of her shows in 2004 that Elke made her mark in the accessories world. Channelling her graphic design experience into jewellery design, Elke soon became one of the most exciting up-and-coming designers on the market, culminating in seasonal collections ever since. “It was a welcome change when I started the jewellery label,” she reflects. It obviously worked out for her too, considering the successes of her individual collections as well as a commended collaboration with Jessie Hill and a sell-out capsule collection for Sportsgirl.

Ready to Join the Circus

I have always been surrounded by creative, interesting people. Everywhere I look, there are painters, writers, filmmakers, musicians, designers, architects… it’s like god (or whoever) grabbed his toy bucket of all the blue soldiers and tipped it out next to me, the red soldier. The lone red soldier, that’s me. Being gobbled up by a big blue talented monster.

The Accidental Magician: Daniel Boud

If freezing time is a skill left to sorcerers, Daniel Boud may well be one of Sydney’s finest magicians. As the chief photographer for Time Out Sydney and the name behind some of this city’s most iconic images, Daniel captures those split seconds when visions are unspoiled by disregarded movements of will – the moments when life and all its players appear as though they are standing still with meticulous intent. With an eye that can span across various genres of imagery, he graces each shoot with equal spontaneity and passion, creating work that is defined by its quality rather than its classification. From music to portraiture to cityscapes, Daniel sneaks up on pictures long before they make it into photo frames.

For homemade photographers looking for something to aspire to, here’s an urban-myth-come-true: shooting pictures was merely Daniel’s escape from monotony when he was working his day job as a web producer, and it took him seven years before he broke free and pursued it full time. Never imagining that he could make a career out of photography when he was younger, he completed a communications degree with a specialisation in web, and it was only when he needed a creative outlet that he developed his long-subdued passion for imagery. “I did it as often as I could outside work hours for several years before being offered a job as a full-time photographer at Time Out Sydney. That was when I took the plunge to pursue photography and abandon the web.”

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