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With a Grandmother's Touch: Song for the Mute

Song For The Mute have just won the Designer Award at the L’oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, which provides an opportunity for labels in their first five years of business to become established in the industry. Past recipients include Romance Was Born, Josh Goot, Dion Lee and many more so we won’t be surprised if designers Melvin Tanaya and Lyna Ty see the same successes. With their directional and conceptual take on menswear, they make a fine addition to Australia’s small but important menswear landscape.

“We were not expecting it at all. We’re still pinching ourselves over it!” says the designers of their recent award. Their win was an anomaly in that it was their first ever runway presentation, and also that Song For The Mute is the first menswear label to take out the title. With the $10,000 prize money, half has been set aside for a new studio in the city and the other half for fabric. “We're in the beginning process of designing our SS12 range and this prize money gives us the opportunity to experiment with fabrics that require a certain minimum to produce. We’re so excited!”



The Final Episode Zine

Back in September when I was launching Final Episode, I was also slowly losing my mind, and the little zine Cristina Mackay-Sim of Canvas Group and I created to go with the store's packaging both reflected this madness and allowed me to cling softly on to whatever sanity I had remaining. There was not much. Anyway, the incredibly talented Cristina did an exceptional job with the zine's design, and the poetry I wrote for it was pretty dark and twisted, so I'd like to share it with all of you. The front and back covers of the zine consist of some mighty fine illustrative work and a manifesto of the Final Episode woman, who, as it turns out, is beautiful and evil and kind of terrifying. It opens into a series of "last lines" from the final episodes of television shows past, and then flips to a scene from a dark and moody Los Angeles, where another poem is weaved through an old movie-time marquee. When you open THAT fold the zine turns into a pretty crazy Jonathan Zawada print that you can hang on your wall and stare at when you're on LSD.

You can ALWAYS purchase something from the store and get a hard copy for yo'self. Just thought I should point that out - especially seeing as this week you can get 15% off your entire order by simply entering promo code "autumn09X7". It's case sensitive and it's super special.
Okay, self-promotion done. I hope you enjoy! xx

At the Zoo




photos: Lisa Zhu

Candles & Horses: Earth Hour


Remember the good ole days, when people used candles instead of light bulbs and rode horses and wore Victorian gowns and said things like, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"?
Yah, we didn't live through those days either, and we suppose anyone under the age of 150 hasn't. It's sad.
Well aside from being totally awesomely good for the environment (clearly our vernacular more resembles Wayne's World than Gone with the Wind), tomorrow is Earth Hour - a time when we can all pretend that we live in an age that may not have adequate plumbing but DOES require us to RIDE AN ADORABLE ANIMAL to get from point A to point B. We think we would all agree where the scales tip on this one.
Earth hour starts at 8.30pm but instead of amping the voltage at 9.30, we say make a thing of it and go all night. Grab some candles (gorgeous Surry Hills store I Ran the Wrong Way has a lovely selection especially for the occasion) and cook some dinner and turn on the radio and TALK to one another, rather than watch TV. You can even rent a Victorian gown and, if you have some spare change, a horse. If you do the latter please invite us along too. WE GAVE YOU THE IDEA, AFTER ALL.
No one would argue against the fact that the technological advances over the past century have made life a hell of a lot easier, but in our eyes, the best things in life are always in the basics - and Earth Hour gives us the perfect opportunity to spend an evening among them.

Pop Plus Funny: Phebe Starr


Phebe Starr is the new kid on the pretty pop block with a sound that is, as she describes it, “Björk meets The Cure meets Supertramp”. Influenced by the craziness of Japan’s J-Pop scene, the charming and effervescent Phebe takes mainlines some pop fizz into that oh so self-aware singer-songwriter genre. Her first EP, Pink Lemonade will be released on Friday. We spoke to Phebe to get the skinny on the release and life as a musician.

Day Dreaming: Marlaina Read

Every Easter my family would pack our stinky Kombi full of Care Bears and Cabbage Patch dolls and make the yearly pilgrimage down south to camp beneath a canopy of trees. While the ubiquitous family photos contain ample comedic relief - bathing in garbage bins was de rigueur, apparently - what strikes me is the internal jolt I experience upon viewing the surrounding landscape. There’s something about them trees that sets my synapses aflutter.

Marlaina Read hopes to elicit exactly this response from her upcoming exhibition Do you have a recurring dreamspace? Can you describe it to me? Encompassing the breadth of work undertaken for her Masters of Fine Art, Read explores the sensations of pause and delay in viewing still images and the mnemonic possibilities created by examining landscapes. We sat down with Marlaina on the eve of her solo exhibition to find out what makes this Sydney based photographer tick.


To Japan, with Love from Sydney


This week has been a pretty insane one for us at SSS, but throughout the race of meetings and appointments and interviews and toilet trips, one thing has remained consistently on our minds - Japan. We may be word people, but this tragedy has rendered us speechless; there is absolutely nothing we can say that will even remotely convey the huge sense of remorse we are feeling for the country. And so instead of writing an essay about how f'd up the state of the world is (making our audience suicidal is not in our mission statement), we thought we'd do something a little more productive: provide a few links to charities who are doing amazing work in Japan right now. It is so easy to feel like this situation is completely above us and out of our power to change, but we honestly believe that our thoughts and love and donations will transcend the pacific from Sydney to Japan and make a bit of a difference. So please, give to one of the initiatives below and hold Japan in your hearts through the coming weeks and months.

Médecins Sans Frontières
Doctors Without Borders has sent medical teams to Japan in the wake of the 9.0 magnitude earthquake, and they are currently helping out in the areas in Japan which have been up until now very difficult to access by road, mainly due to debris piled up from the Tsunami. They are continuing to search for small communities that are still in need of medical assistance.

Mercy Corps Japan
Mercy Corps has teamed up with Japanese organisation Peace Winds to delivery emergency supplies to some of the thousands of families who are currently homeless and in need of food, blankets (given the sub-zero temperatures, these are crucial) and temporary shelter in the tsunami-devastated city of Kesennuma.

Animal Refuge Kansai
Those of you who have seen the photos and video footage of the animals who have been victims of this disaster can grasp just how epic this tragedy has been for all creatures. Animal Refuge Kansai is a Japan-based animal welfare organisation that is currently working hard to rescue the furry friends who are now homeless and in danger.

Red Cross
Red Cross is like the celebrity charity for the Japan relief, and with good reason, too. Because it is one of the world's largest charities, it has a lot of resources and is therefore able to help in a significant way. The Red Cross is currently using donations to provide emergency equipment and aid workers to the devastated regions.

If you know of any other amazing organisations working on the ground in Japan, any auctions for relief or any other fundraisers please link us to them in the comments below.

Art and Friends: Jodee Knowles' Independent of Time


I have a god awful confession to make - I was going to write a story on Friends of Leon Gallery today but I lost the interview notes. WRITER'S FAIL. I will do my utmost to find these notes and thereby salvage myself, but I didn't want to miss the chance to highlight a beautiful exhibition on tonight - Perth artist Jodee Knowles is back at the space after her debut sell-out show last year. This exhibition, entitled Independent of Time, examines the confines of time and its relation to the human experience. It is one of those philosophical subjects that has the ability to both thrill and torment us, and Jodee's work examines what happens when we revolve our entire existence around it. Her style is reminiscent of Tim Burton but with a feminist twist, and she uses just the right amount of colour to punctuate the psyche through grey scenes of despair, loneliness and confusion.

Jodee is one of a select few artists that curator Leon Krasenstein has taken under his wing. A set and costume designer by trade, Leon's foray into the gallery world has been brought on by a passion for collaboration and hand picked aesthetic arrangements. He works with the artists who exhibit at Friends of Leon from inception of their idea to the execution of its placement in his space, often developing close relationships with them along the way. But owning a gallery doesn't end with the artists; Leon is determined to turn the venue into a neighbourhood gathering point of sorts, and he encourages everyone in the area to come, spark up conversations and enjoy beautiful art together - and hopefully get to know one another's names in the process. Indeed, Friends of Leon has been a catalyst for doing just that, which will hopefully soon extend past the Surry Hills street it is situated in.

Independent of Time opens tonight at 82 Marlborough Street in Surry Hills from 6pm to 8pm, and the exhibition is on through March 31st.


words: Seema Duggal

Movie Giveaway!: Griff the Invisible



It’s impossible to discuss new Aussie film Griff the Invisible without mentioning Hollywood’s Kick-Ass from last year. Okay yes, it’s a film about an ordinary dude being a superhero much like Kick-Ass, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Where Kick-Ass was fierce and comicky, Griff is charming, quirky and romantic. It’s a gentle story that touches on mental illness and the belief that love is possible for everyone, not just the “normal”. OH THANK GOD.

The titular character, Griff, is deftly played by Ryan Kwanten of the buff-chested True Blood fame (and Home & Away, apparently). Unlike the deliciously over-the-top extremes of True Blood, here Kwanten is serious, subtle and honest. Kwanten’s Griff falls head over heels for the equally maladjusted Melody (Maeve Dermody) and they become partners in crime. Literally, I suppose.

Griff the Invisible is entirely wonderful and well worth your 17 bucks (or whatever a movie costs these days). Or, if you’re quick, we have 10 in-season double passes to give away. Simply email us at giveaways@sidestreetsydney.com.au explaining your most obtrusive neurosis by this Friday, March 18.

Griff the Invisible is in cinemas from Thursday.


words: Kristen Hodges

Hi Tech Sky



photo: Lisa Zhu

The Blank Slate: Colab

Rumour has it that two minds are better than one, and Sydney eyewear label Colab has based their entire ethos around this very simple but true principle. Colab’s creative directors Carl, Pete and Jono have essentially used their label as a “blank slate” so that creative contributors from all fields and locations can realise their visions through the medium of sunglasses design.

Art with a Message: Suburban Refuge

The term "refugee" has had contentious undertones ever since it was introduced into society, and it represents an issue that has the power to divide or unite the opinionated everywhere. Needless to say, it is also an issue that is shrouded in misunderstanding and blatant ignorance, particularly among those who use the phrase "boat people" to describe refugees (and often go on to insist that they are the ruin of Australia and multiculturalism is a bad thing before sitting back and ordering Thai takeout). We could make an argument for why such reasoning must equate to a brain defect, but instead, we'll point you in the direction of an article that does so rather eloquently and turn our focus to an art project that is aiming to shine a light on the reality of what it is like to be a refugee in a different (non-argumentative) way.

Suburban Refuge is a UTS student design project by Dinalie Dabarera and Liz Broekhuyse that encourages support for refugees by highlighting them as human beings rather than political entities. The ladies scattered nearly a hundred small wooden boats around Sydney suburbs and placed an individual story of a refugee who settled here inside each of them. Armed with a note that urged "take me home" along with an explanation of the project, passerbys were encouraged to pick the boat up and make a place for it within their own home, "an act which mirrors our capacity as Australians to invite asylum seekers into our country, and take joy instead of insult in their peaceful settlement into our communities." We asked the ladies about the origin behind their clever concept and what they hope it achieves.


Change the Future: Spark* in Action

You may remember our story on Spark* in October of last year, and if you don't then now would be a good time to revisit it, as the dynamic new charity has just come back from the first round of its leadership program in PNG. If you're too lazy to read the full article again (we forgive you ONLY because it's Friday), Spark* partners with local universities to identify youth leaders in impoverished regions of the world who have the power to influence change in their community, and they mentor them to bring that change about in a systematic, productive and culturally relevant way. Their first leadership summit was a few weeks ago, and to prove how awesome this whole idea is, we're posting the video on it below.
Sydney, meet the future of the Third World.



Help spread the word and be part of this future by sharing the concept with your friends, liking Spark* on Facebook and if you have some spare change that you'd REALLY like to get mileage with, by becoming a monthly supporter.

Childhood Fantasies: Jurrasic Lounge


Put ‘after work drinks’ and ‘school excursion gone awry’ in the same daydream and the image that springs to mind is likely to be a fuzzy vodka-infused scene from an episode of The Magic School Bus. If that sounds amazing to you, too, then you’ll agree that the Australian Museum’s Jurassic Lounge is the place where adult versions of childhood fantasies come true.

Festival Time is the Best Time


Sometimes, we just want to run around the streets dripping with glitter and rainbows (and boas and blue lipstick) and dance to the music in our heads and act like overall lunatics in the pursuit of pure, hedonistic idiocy. DON'T EVEN TELL US YOU HAVEN'T HAD SIMILAR DREAMS. It isn't often when we can do the above without being committed, which is why this time of year tends to be one of our favourites - a final, neon-streaked hurrah to mark the end of summer and the silly season that was during Sydney's most famous festival of them all: Mardi Gras. There have been many events going on during the past few weeks in the lead up to this Saturday's parade on Oxford Street, and while we could list them out for you, we don't have the time or the will. After all, we have to go score ourselves a few milk crates and some red wigs. We will, however, point out the Imperial Panda Festival, which begins this Friday and lasts until March 20.

The festival's home base will be GOODGOD, which will play host to seven new performance works, two visual arts shows, workshops, swap meets, collected works nights, free talks, bands and our favourite: DANCING. There will be more than 100 creatives taking part, and all profits from the tickets go straight to the hands of the visionaries. More info can be seen here.

From our gay pride to yours, we wish you a fantastically hilarious Mardi Gras.


photo by New Mardi Gras
 
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