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The Walls are Alive with the Vision of Subversion

 

Splashed Paint Never Looked Better

Banksy is here in Sydney.  His artwork has made it to Cockatoo Island all the way from England.

The most exciting thing about this graffiti artist is that his identity is not known and he’s been operating for years!  Does that remind you of V from ‘V for Vendetta‘?  And he’s just as rebellious!  Here’s a sampling of what was on display on Cockatoo Island.

There are other artists’ works on display behind every corner on Cockatoo Island until December!

Eyes Without a Face

Destroy Capitalism! $30 at a time

Underwear ModelSplashed Paint Never Looked BetterDestroy Capitalism! $30 at a time

Roller DerbyEyes Without a FaceUnderwear Model

Swimming In RainEyes Without a FaceRoller DerbyDestroy Capitalism! $30 at a time

Refreshing Riot!Underwear Model

Bye Bye Love

Taming the Backyard Jungle with Beer and Good Tunes

Before

After

Considering our backyard was untouched for a year and a half, when my boyfriend and Tony first moved in to the house in Newtown, it was not in terrible condition. Sure, the branches had overgrown and claimed any open space to form a canopy and the spider webs thick enough to have been weaved by Spiderman, but it was not unmanageable.  All of these little annoyances are a small price to pay for the fact that in the Inner West, houses actually have decent sized backyards.  Only 15 minutes from the heart of the city and with a complete garden, best of both worlds actually.

Coming back to the taming process of our suburban jungle, it took 3 grown men a couple of hours to get the backyard to its present form. The motivating effects of beer and music cannot be ignored in this process. Beer, the great catalyst for accomplishing unpleasant tasks shone like gold once again.

This post is dedicated to the efforts of the men involved.  Marty, thank you for organising it and putting in a hard day’s work.  Ollie and Big Al, you guys did an awesome job pruning, cutting and cleaning.  Thanks heaps!

Newtown Festival

Last weekend was the celebration of Newtown at Camperdown Park.  Because Newtown is always a festival the festival day was anti-climatic.  Don’t get me wrong, the outdoor festival was a success.  The vendors, food, security, volies were all very well organised and everyone was having a good time.  The nature of Newtown with all the live music and arts out and about has me spoiled to the point that an outdoor festival just doesn’t seem to fit the bohemian feel of the community.  The bands on stage were not reflective of the raw talent on the streets of Newtown on any old regular day.  Good fun for the kids?  Absolutely!

Money Back Gurantee!

Get Your Wands Here all you Harry Potter types!

Statues on Bondi

With the coming of Summer days, the lovely suburbs of Sydney are on center stage and the spotlight of the bright Australia sun is on them.

There are many things going around Sydney, one of which happens to be the statues on Bondi.  The statues by the beach actually are featured in several popular beaches around Australia so thankfully everyone on the continent gets a chance to see this unique juxtaposition of art and nature.

The photos below were sent to me by Ray Baker, a photographer friend of mine.  I still haven’t seen the statues in person.

El Cuervo Cantina in Newtown

Day of the Dead

Shop door decorations for Day of the Dead

Window Decor in Newtown

Day of the Dead was a great opportunity for the Mexican community in Newtown to shine with colorful decorations on the shop doors and windows.

There are several Mexican restaurants in Newtown of varying repute from ones that are frequent ambulence stops to white cloth table ones with swanky ambiance.

El Cuervo on Enmore Road is somewhere in the middle of the range of Mexican cuisine in Newtown. The small cantina promises the authentic Mexican experience. The dining space is simple with a small stage. For Day of the Dead, live music and special banquet menu was advertised however, there was neither live music nor a special menu. The menu was traditional Mexican fare with enchiladas, black bean sides and cheese and guacomole dips.

We tried the house specialty chocolate sauce on the enchiladas and that was a mistake. If you can imagine salty chocolate flavoured sauce with runny consistency in brown colour, and this does not seem appealing to you, best to avoid.

Service was forgetful. The restaurant was full house and the waiters refused to write down the orders so we ended up with wrong appetisers but they also forgot to charge us so in the end we were happy.

Over all, it was a disappointing experience. I have yet to find Mexican cuisine that’s good in Sydney.

Autumn Time is for Remembrance of Souls

Beginning of November also marks the beginning of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere.  Autumn is a time when nature prepares to go to winter sleep before it’s revived again in Spring.  The cycle of life and death with the Winter and Spring has impacted the cultures in all parts of the world.  Totally isolated and dissimilar cultures have celebrations and observations that relate to the passage of seasons.

In Autumn, when the earth prepares to hibernate under the white blankets and sheets of snow, humans are reminiscent of their dead ancestors.  Thoughts turn to death as the light of day becomes scarce.  On October 31st, the Pagan holiday All-Hallow’s Eve is celebrated.  It’s said that on the eve of October 31st, the spirits of the dead can walk the earth for a brief time between dusk until dawn.

Catholic Religion has chosen to honour the Pagan celebration by adapting holidays around All-Hallow’s Eve.  November 1st is All Saints Day and November 2nd is All Souls Day.  Spirits of Saints and dead ancestors are remembered on these dates respectively.

In the Latin Americas, predominantly in Mexico, November 1st and 2nd are Day of the Dead.  Colorful skeleton and dead paintings adorn every shop window, wall and mural to remind the living of the dead.

Similar celebrations are observed in Spring to celebrate coming back to life.  Jesus is said to have arisen from the dead on Easter.  Easter always falls in Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and is a time of revival for all species.  Birds’ eggs hatch, animals give birth and life has again reclaimed dominance.

In the Balkans Hidrellez is a celebration of Spring and in the Middle East Newrooz is very similarly celebrated.  However, they are celebrated a few weeks apart as the season of Spring hits during different times due to geographical location and Earth’s tilt.

Nature and seasons have been an integral part of life and to this day they play an important role in our motivations, moods and behaviours.  No matter what language, religion or cultural background, we are all influenced by seasonal variations.

Man Oh Man! Eggs

Today I have a simple egg recipe that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Menemen is a town in Izmir and the egg recipe may have originated from there but everywhere in Turkey Menemen style of eggs are much loved.

To make eggs for two you will need:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 large Capsicum
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 3 tomatoes

Chop the onions finely is small cubes and stir fry them in a pan with a little vegetable oil.  Add the finely chooped capsicum.  Scramble the eggs and mix with the chopped tomatoes in a bowl and then add this to the pan to stir fry.  The eggs are ready when they have cooked to your liking.

Voila!  Simple, nutritious, and filling!

Hit Me Baby One More Time: Get More Visitors to Your Blog

1) It’s not all about writing. You have to read too. You are part of a Blog Community on WordPress and as such, no blog is an island. You have to venture outside of your blog to find others with similar interests, build rapport, engage in conversation by leaving a comment. This is also helpful for getting you inspiration on what to write about.  You should find your circle in WordPress and build your clique.  You love fashion?  Find others who love fashion and subscribe.  Love food?  Plenty of foodie blogs to subscribe to and befriend.  Combine your powers.

2) If a tree falls in the woods and there’s noone around to… Yeah, you know this one. You have to publicise. Make sure you have your publicise feature turned on so whenever you blog this comes up on your Twitter, Facebook, LinkIn, Digg accounts. If you’re not subscribed to social media, this might be a good time to do it. It’s a great outlet for getting people to read your writing.

3) OK, so you hooked people and got them to click on your blog. Make your content worthwhile with catchy titles to grab interest so they actually spend some time while they’re visiting you. You have to provide something of interest to keep them coming back for more. Visuals help. So make sure you have atttractive photos and pictures to illustrate your thoughts.

4) Tag your writing. You should tag with as many relevant keywords so as to make your articles search-able.

I hope these pointers help and I wish everyone happy blogging!

Midnight in Paris

The Dendy Cinemas in Newtown is a good outlet for artsy and independent films as well as a healthy mix of blockbuster hits and guy movies thrown  in to suit the tastes of Newtownies.

The theatre space is small but comfortable and the popcorn and drinks not overpriced.  Though I must admit that the popcorn is of inferior quality with plenty un-popped ones in the bucket.

As for the feature presentation, I must thank Woody Allen or whoever the casting director is for choosing Owen Wilson for the role of the lead.  Owen Wilson as the lead definitely helped make the chick-flickishly titled ‘Midnight in Paris’ an easy sell to my boyfriend.  What’s more, Rachel McAdams, who was with Owen Wilson in the Wedding Crashers, is in the role of the fiancee of Owen Wilson’s character Gil.  In the beginning of the film I told my boyfriend to assume this was the sequel to “Wedding Crashers”.  This worked well until we got to the point with the artist/thinker/painter/director name-dropping.

The film is about Gil, Hollywood screenwriter who’s ready to give it all up to produce literary genius.  Gil is a Francophil, who’s on the left-wing of the American political spectrum whereas, his fiancée, Inez’s people are comfortably situated on the right side.  There’s already tension with Inez’s parents and Gil and what’s more Inez wants Gil to continue on doing what he’s comfortable with so they can live in that house in Malibu.  Gil is having an existential crises and he wants to leave a more substantial legacy than sure-fire Hollywood hits.

One night when Inez offers to go dancing with her friends Paul, a pseudo-intellectual, and his wife Carol, Gil declines saying he’s too drunk.  As he tries to walk back to the hotel, he gets lost.  At the strike of midnight an old Model T car picks him up and takes him to a party where he meets Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald.

The Fitzgeralds take him to meet Ernest Hemingway, who agrees to show his book to Gertrude Stein.

In his journeys to the past during the next few nights Gil has Gertrude Stein critiquing his novel and he works on making the changes she suggests.  He also meets Picasso and Picasso’s alluring mistress, Adriana, a student of couture from Bordeaux.

There are glistening and plentiful sprinkles of colourful pop culture references and cameo roles by Carla Bruni, French president Sarkozy’s wife topping this cupcake of a movie.

The major theme running throughout is that our present is never satisfying because it is all too real.  No matter when we lived, we are all a little disenchanted with our present.  Even if we did live in the Gilded age, the roaring 20’s, if that’s our reality and present we may want to take a leap back in time to say the 1890s.   At one point Adriana is taken back to the Maxim of 1890s with Gil and she states how much more exciting the 1890s are and that that’s the era she wants to live in.  Gil has a hard time understanding this, after all in the 1920s there are such pivotal figures as Bunuel, Salvador Dali, Gertrude Stein, Hemingway and the Fitzgeralds.  But to Adriana, that’s everyday life.

Owen Wilson in the lead is a good touch.  Instantly we have someone likable to identify with.  Sure he’s smart but he’s not a jerk about it.  As with Woody Allen’s later films, the visual ogling of the European city is plentiful and I for one felt the magic of a night in Paris right in Newtown, a spot that couldn’t be geographically and culturally further from our reference point.  Visually and intellectually the film works well.  What’s more, my boyfriend liked it and that’s success.

That Old African Feeling

There’s a fairly large African community in Newtown, though I hardly see Africans out and about, I know this because there are 3 African restaurants and 2 hair dressers and grocer’s that service the African community within a 4 km radius.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the restaurants in Newtown spring to life with belly dancing in the Lebanese, Turkish and otherwise Arabic restaurants, African drumming in African restaurants, and presumably other attractions in restaurants of more demure cultures.

When we went to African Feeling (one of the three, with Cafe Lat Dior and Kilimanjaro being the other two African cuisine locales) it was 9 pm on Saturday and we had missed the African drumming.  This may have been fortunate and I’m seeing reviews online saying that the drumming gets so loud that the enjoyment of food is noticeably diminished.

For entrees, we went on a food safari and ordered the appetiser plate with kpoff kpoff, which was like plain fried donuts, African cigars, which was spicy minced beef wrapped in flaky dough and the vegetarian triangles, which had spiced lentils with herbs wrapped in pastry.  The entrees were delicious as anything encased in dough would be.  They were nothing special or unique.  Every culture has its version of the quintessential ‘curry puff’.

For the main we had the chicken breast in coconut sauce “kuku na nazi” and the ‘lamb tangine’, which was the Moroccan spiced lamb stew with raisins. These dishes were served in wooden bowls and the portions were generous.  The spices took away from the flavour of the meat and the way they were prepared we couldn’t even tell the lamb apart from the chicken.

The service was friendly and attentive.  It was disappointing that we couldn’t sample the karkadeh, the traditional hibiscus drink of the African continent as they’d run out.  Also missing on the menu was injerah, the flat bread of Ethiopia.  Injerah is a yeast-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally made out of teff (a species of lovegrass indigenous to Northern Africa) flour.

African Feeling gets 4 stars out of a possible 5 for the whole experience.