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A Comedic Assortment: Verge Festival

For those pondering what Sydney has to offer in terms of comedy, theatre, music and arts, they need not look any further than Verge Festival, which begins tomorrow night (Wednesday, September 1) at Sydney Uni. In an artistic nutshell, it’s a dash fringe festival crossed with a hint of student showcase, and even contains a few big name Aussie acts who continue to do us proud. Directed this year by Ben Jenkins and Shannon Connellan, who suspect that they may well be mischievously adventurous eight-year-old boys trapped in adult bodies, Verge Festival really can boast a lust-worthy, ten-day line up.

The Time is Now: Yuri Shimmyo

Turning one’s life upside down to become a painter isn’t the easiest path, but newcomer Yuri Shimmyo from Sydney’s northern suburbs decided to take that scary plunge into the unknown when she realised there would never be a convenient time to follow her dreams. Whilst working for sometime in the usual round of office jobs – ranging from paralegal to clerical and everything in between – Yuri never stopped dreaming about pursuing her true passion: painting. Following a personal crisis (the end of her marriage), she found herself asking if this was her opportunity, but as the mother of a curious and energetic 8-year-old boy, the luxury of chucking it all in on a whim was unthinkable, so Yuri decided to make sure she was financially secure. “But when you say ‘financially secure’, you know, that never comes”, she says. “So with my parents’ financial help, I thought … if I don’t do it now, I won’t ever do it.” And so she dived in, head first.

The Botanic Gardens

photo: Lisa Zhu

Beauty to Survive

Life is stressful. Every so often, we need to stop and just take some time out to look at beautiful things.
And breathe.
Another gorgeous video by the very lovely Angus & Julia Stone.

The Photographic Institution: Blender Gallery

Every city has its legends, be it in the form of people, images or spaces, and in Sydney, Blender Gallery is arguably one of them. Nestled in one of Paddington's very charming side streets, Blender has become something of a photographic institution since it opened nearly a decade ago. Naturally, the gallery has been taking part in this week's Paddington Alive festival to celebrate the suburb's innate creative energy, and as part of the festivities it will be hosting an exhibition featuring Ethan Russel's revealing photographs of the Rolling Stones from tonight through to October 5th. We spoke to the vision behind the space, Tali Udovich, about the gallery, how it's evolved and just why it suits Sydney so well.

High School: Revisted

CarriageWorks is giving us one last chance to show off our passion for embarrassing living room dance routines and anything quintessentially Broadway with Wrong Prom: Chicago. The mass dance class on tonight (Wednesday, August 25) unites the musical show tunes of Bob Fosse and Fred Ebb’s Chicago with tragically fantastic dance steps and all that jazz.

The night is hosted by the appealing Veronica Beattie (one of the rather impressive cancan dancers in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge), with DJ Sveta providing the tunes. Tickets come in at only $18, suggesting it may be time to don the dancing shoes, fishnets, and murderous curls.

Unfortunately, following two successful years of spotlight grabbing antics, this will be the last Wrong Prom ever. Now we really can’t afford to miss it.

Tickets are available here.

words: Liz Schaffer

Romancing The Tune

We all have a special corner in our music collection that gets dusted off for a very special purpose once every week – or, if you’re a bit lazy, once every month (not that I’m judging. Okay, yes I am. Loser.). There may be no outward sign that these albums or songs have an important role in our life, but subconsciously, they are tagged with one clear intention. And that intention, ladies and gents, is romancin’. By which I mean, sexy time with your lady and/or man friend.

Have Mercy! A Giveaway!

Here at Side Street, we’re always on the hunt for amazing local singer-songwriters, so naturally, we fell right into the very pleasantly sounding hands of Oh Mercy last year. Since we spoke to them, they have been to the States to do a bit of recording, performed with The Temper Trap and just recently returned from Splendour in the Grass. Now they’re starting up their headline tour to promote the first glimpse of their new album, the limited edition ‘Keith Street’ 7’’ single. The tour hits Sydney this Friday night at the Oxford Art Factory, so you can either buy tickets here or be lucky enough to win one of the five double passes we have to give away. We ALSO have a 7’’ to give away. You can hereby refer to us as “Santa”. To enter, email declaring your mutual love for singer-songwriters and we’ll get back to you by this Wednesday to let you know if you’re on the list. Happy giveaway entering!

At the Observatory

photo: Lisa Zhu

The weekend's set.

Perhaps the only thing better than viewing art is seeing it created in the flesh, so tonight, we wouldn’t want to be anywhere other than Cockle Bay Wharf for the Project 5 live art event – especially considering this one is going to feature pop legend Anthony Lister along with Meggs, Ears and Webuyyourkids. From 6pm to 9pm and running through the weekend from 12pm to 3pm, the phenomenal group of artists will be attacking the canvas with spray paint, stencils and brushes to create their exclusive works, which will then be auctioned off for the benefit of creative charity ICE on Sunday night. Our good friends (and visionaries) over at aMBUSH Gallery started the event last year and in our opinion, it’s pretty revolutionary. What’s more, the whole time the live art is going on, Future Classic will be cranking the decks, and apparently the sun is going to stay out the ENTIRE WEEKEND. Seriously, if you have any other plans, now would be the time to cancel them.

(A Mutual) Creative Destiny: Moffitt Moffitt

If two minds are greater than one, two that share fundamental features of existence can combine to become a force that is presumably limitless in its capacity. Andrew and Mark Moffitt inadvertently stumbled upon this fact 31 years ago, and now, under the banner of Moffitt Moffitt, they are about to see it fully realised. That’s not to say their joint energy hasn’t been cultivated, finessed and, of course, made the most of since their youth, when the twin brothers gradually became aware that they shared more than an identical date of birth and outer appearance. It was as though the very same passion for art and design had struck them both – but rather than being divided in two, it manifested itself in each of them equally and seemed to grow exponentially when merged together. They initially brought it to their childhood projects and then took it to their degree, and although they were both creative directors at competing studios afterwards, they made sure to utilise it in personal projects in their spare time. They are finally putting the official stamp on it with their own creative agency, and tonight, they are celebrating the years leading up to Moffitt Moffitt and all that the future will bring in an exhibition that is a perfect revelation of what their alliance can achieve.

The correct way to blow up sheep.

Four Lions is a pretty strange film. It exposes the humour in the unfathomable world of modern extremism in a way even Team America never could, while offering up some rather out-of-this-world acting and useless anti-surveillance techniques.

The film, the first feature to come from infamously funny Brass Eye creator Chris Morris, follows the plight of the disillusioned Omar (played to elegant and endearing perfection by Oxford graduate Riz Ahmed) and his motley crew of dangerously slow jihadis. By the time Islamic convert Barry (Nigel Lindsay), who joined the cell to channel his nihilism, instructs his clueless comrades to eat their SIM cards, you know comedy is the driving force behind this unconventional gem. Omar’s disastrous inability to handle a bazooka, kamikaze crows and horrific rap battles further prove this point.

However, it’s impossible to forget that these boys aim to blow up Boots, or the Internet, or the London marathon. In the hands of any other director this could be a highly dangerous piece of work, but Morris’s honest humour simply forces us to question the modern view of terrorism (and all that goes with it) in a ridiculously entertaining way. So, you can almost forgive him for blowing up a sheep. Almost.

Four Lions opens in cinemas this Thursday.

words: Liz Schaffer

Written from Experience: Winter's Discontent

William Zappa has been making the theatrical rounds for well over four decades, but still has enough spring in his step to write and perform a heartrending yet cheekily endearing one-man show. Winter’s Discontent, now on at the Darlinghurst Theatre, is the story of Robert Winter, a veteran performer preparing for yet another night beneath the always-judgmental spotlight. The character he is about to assume is an overbearing, postmodern, eighteenth century Frenchman born from the pages of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables. However, while such preparation should be somewhat de rigueur, Winter finds himself evaluating his relationships, profession, choices and sanity.

Basic Space, Creative Movement

For 35 years, The Basement has been one of Sydney’s most charming live music venues. As it’s namesake suggests, the space began as a single level basement that provided an alternative to the pub rock and cover band scene taking place in the late 70s and early 80s. Tucked away in Circular Quay with humble beginnings as a jazz hub, The Basement gradually expanded and now hosts a variety of local and international music acts, playing host to artists such as Prince, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, The Whitlams and Tim Finn, to name only a few. Now, The Basement is expanding its creative doors to the visual arts by teaming up with Basic Space Galleries in a collaborative endeavour to liven up the city. Last month, it opened its doors, and its arms, to Sydney’s wider artistic community.

A Dramatic Housewarming: Griffin Theatre Company

Since 1978, Griffin Theatre Company has remained an innovative artistic hub dedicated to the development and production of visionary Australian works. To keep its history of creative encouragement and unique aesthetic alive, its home at the unassumingly iconic SBW Stables Theatre is being refurbished, and from August 16-21, we can catch a glimpse of the renovations (while they’re still in process). This Housewarming Week will include a myriad of events for artists, supporters, and admiring members of the public.

Walk the Line

photo: Lisa Zhu

Have Meat, Will Drink Red Wine: Boca

It seems in recent times, South American food has been the cuisine du jour in Sydney, with restaurants popping up all over the place. Knowing that this cuisine focuses on meat, meat and more meat, it wasn’t a hard sell to get my man Junior to agree to dinner at Boca, an Argentinean restaurant in Darlinghurst.

As you walk into the restaurant, you are immediately hit with the sights and smells of different cuts of meat being cooked on the parrilla, which is enough to make any grown man’s eyes water. The decor is a celebration of all things Argentinean, namely Diego Maradona, sport, wine and beautiful women. There are some great shots of Maradona channelling his inner pimp, complete with white fur coat, blingtastic rings whilst smoking a fat cigar with a knowing smile. Even though the dining room is full of chatter from neighbouring tables, it adds to the vibrant atmosphere. The floor staff are cheerful and ever-so-helpful with discussing anything on the menu, and nothing is ever too much trouble – even when the whole room is heaving with demanding diners.

Five things to avoid when typing.

1) Acronyms. LOL.
What does that even mean? Lol? Are you trying to throw up? Do you need me to choke you? I don’t understand, and quite frankly, I don’t want to, because I know for a fact that LOL is not a word. Just like BRB is not a word, or LMFAO. The first sounds like a baby’s burp, and the latter like an acronym for a UFO tracking device. If the English language were really that ugly, this post would sound like GERB. DER! PMU? It doesn’t, and that’s a good thing. Please don’t change it.

Spring in the Eye

If you can’t exactly feel the spring in the air just yet, head down to Object Gallery in Surry Hills – it won’t warm you up, but it will provide some pretty things to stare at whilst sheltering you from the cold. The design-devoted centre has recently begun its Spring Series 2010, which includes a pretty wide range of exhibitions, talks and events centred around all things awesome and good looking. We’ll keep you posted as they arise (we’re especially looking forward to “The Engine Room” on October 8, when the public is invited to visit some of Sydney’s coolest design studios, including Side Street Sydney favourite Canvas Group), but for now, there are a couple exhibitions definitely worth checking out. We’re keen on “Big: Sydney’s Small Studios”, which has captured the daily worskspaces of this city’s best little creative spaces, and “Blue”, an exhibition in which nine artmakers were invited to create a piece in response to familiar ‘blue’ phrases, such as “this crappy weather is making me feel blue”. Maybe not exactly, but similar. This weekend, “ride-on-dinner” will lead a bunch of foodie bike-riders on an “urban meal adventure”. Mmm, sounds interesting. Check out the website for full event details.

Style Legend: Tamila Purvis

If Sydney has fashion legends, Tamila Purvis will most certainly go down in the history books. Exhibiting a personal style that is directly in line with the consistent quality of work she produces, Tamila is the kind of style icon that Australia can rarely claim its own. The once fashion director of Russh and highly sought after stylist is seldom seen swooning over her status in fashion’s front row – rather, Tamila is one of the talented few whose presence is much more coveted behind the scenes, styling shows and accessorising the lines for designers such as Zimmerman and Ginger & Smart. Although her career within the realm of creative direction would have been enough to cement her status as one of the local industry’s most gifted minds, she has also successfully made the transition into design along with best friend and art director Melanie Kamsler under the banner of MANIAMANIA. It is a line of jewellery that is extravagant, distinctive and immediately influential – only in its first year, the label has already gained worldwide recognition among names that are known far beyond the Australian borders. The collection – along with the rest of Tamila’s work – cuts out fashion’s noise and takes it back to what it is supposed to be: exceptionality.

Sometimes, print is better.

Don’t you miss snail mail? Postcards, invitations, love letters from soldiers afar? Hell, even engagements are discovered via Facebook these days (with the help of our ever so exciting news feed).
It’s lame.
And so when we here at Side Street, Sydney opened up our mailbox and found a PRINT magazine that’s seriously pretty, we were pretty stoked. It’s called Sometimes and it’s from the guys behind Somedays, that awesome store slash gallery in Surry Hills. Creatively directed by James Kape and edited by Michael Walker, the cleanly designed pages feature interviews with Tin & Ed and other very fabulous people, market shots and even a short city guide to this city so fine. And the best part?
It smells like paper.

Grab a copy at Somedays some day soon.
(we couldn't help ourselves)

On the Rooftop

photo: Lisa Zhu

An Advanced World: Jeans for Genes

It’s not everyday that you can throw on a pair of your favourite old blues and make a difference, but that’s the beauty of Jeans for Genes; there may not be much to it, but the benefits are paramount. Although the premise of today is simple – wear a pair of jeans and donate some spare change – the work that the fundraiser goes towards at The Children’s Medical Institute (CMRI) is far from it. An independent organisation committed to uncovering the many mysteries of disease, the CMRI works on everything from birth defects to cancer to epilepsy, conducting research that involves investigation into the biology of medical conditions in the hope of discovering new and advanced treatment options. And so today – the CMRI’s major fundraiser – is absolutely crucial in enabling the scientists to continue their work.


Don’t you hate it when your favourite pair of shoes go out of stock, never to be seen again – and you didn’t get a chance to buy them? It’s long been a devastating incidence for fashion-lovers everywhere, who, upon entering a new season, often run out of money long before their hearts run out of longing. When they do manage to recoup their funds, they’ll spend hours trawling eBay looking for the long-lost style, willing to buy it even if it comes tattered, worn and smelly, but such a search is rarely marked with success.

Sadness ensues.

But.. not in the case of Tristan Blair! The designer we profiled just a short while ago has opened up an online store that is packed to the brim with past season favourites, including the hot leopard booties shown above. Now that we’ve unleashed the secret, we’re sure they won’t last too long, but even if we save just one shoe-lover a bit of heartache.... we’ll consider ourselves effective.

Sex on Fire

So you think you can dance? Catch the Tango Inferno performance at the State Theatre tonight or tomorrow and you may not be so sure anymore. Straight from the sexy city of Buenos Aires, the cast perform a graceful set of acrobatics in which the dancers’ bodies seem to be playing against one another in a game of seduction that neither party wins. Like a kaleidoscope of movement, it’s a positively mesmerising spectacle – with the cast themselves a feast for the eyes on their own. Complete with a musical ensemble and a solo singer, Tango Inferno is a true Latin experience – and sometimes, it’s awfully nice to catch a bit of culture that is so distinct from the one you’re living in.

Tango Inferno is only here for a tiny stint, so cancel your plans and book your tickets through Ticketmaster. You won’t regret it. Unless of course you think you can Tango. Then maybe this show will make you feel a little bad.

New Kids on the Block: super FLORENCE jam

Sydney locals super FLORENCE jam are musical proof that 60s and 70s rock, or at least a revamped, rewired and innovative version of it, is still alive and kicking in our streets. Made up of Adam Krawczyk, with his guitar and impressive falsetto, percussionist Mike Solo (aka He of the Perfect Stage Name), Alex Tulett on a ridiculously awesome double-necked axe, and Laurence Rosier Staines’ guitar, vocals and Casio, these young guns are as down to earth as future rock stars can possibly be. The launch of their latest single, ‘Anastasia Won’t You Sleep With Me’ at Spectrum this Saturday will be a splendid way to get acquainted with this electric four piece and their wily, Zeppelinesque ways.


So we pretty much all agree that Sydney has some damn fine talented young people, but sadly, most of the time being young and talented also comes with being poor. For those who enjoy a bit of breakfast with their morning creativity, SOYA is back again this year to shine a little light (and a few thousand dollar bills) on Australia’s finest creative minds. We all know a person or twenty, so it’s worth your while (and theirs) to refer them to the entry page. Then when they win, you’ll be totally entitled to make them take you out for dinner.
The entry deadline is this week, so be quick!

above: one of many beautiful images taken by last year's winner for photography, Nirrimi

Snap Happy!

Nobody likes to be judged, unless of course it’s by your idol and their judging will make or break your will to survive. It may be somewhat masochistic, but we creatives aren’t exactly what you would define as “normal”. Enter local journal Ampersand’s photography competition with the intimidatingly brilliant Bill Henson, who is going to be the guest judge in determining the merit of the entries and, ultimately, choosing the winner. Entitled “Capture the Fade”, the competition is open to the professional and the amateur, the digital and the analogue, the annoying and the civilised. Hell, all you have to do is be able to (decently) point a camera and shoot. All submissions will appear on the competition blog, and the winning submissions will appear in an exhibition. The Chosen One will be profiled in the next issue, due out this coming Spring. Entries are due at the end of this month, so now would be a good time to get snapping (ahem. Lisa.). Full submission guidelines here.

above: Bill Henson's #29. Because we all need something to aspire to.
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