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Category Archives: Sound & Vision

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.


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.

Old Wares in Newtown

On my side of the King Street on Newtown, towards St. Peter’s train stations, there are second-hand and retro furniture and old wares shops one after another. These shops along with an old-fashioned milk shop take you back in time. You are taken back in time until confronted by old bottles priced $5 and $6. The ‘treasures’ in these shops may be old but the prices are straight out of today’s inflated rates.

My search for a coffee table resulted in some interesting sights. There was this bench made of old bicycle tyres in front of a bicycle shop for example.

And these views from the old wares shops.

Mainly Manly

When I first arrived in Sydney in December of 2010, I was told to make use of the ferries as much as I could. The views of sailboats, the blues of the waters, greens of land they make some amazing contributions to one’s view of Sydney. Some of the scenes are straight out of Ralph Lauren commercials and couldn’t possibly be more generic preppy wholesome goodness of outdoors.

Approaching Manly Beach on the ferry I was trying to visualise what it may have been like when the first settlers gazed at the beach. The beach takes its name from the fact that Aboriginal men were seen by the first colonists on this beach and they looked ever so manly with muscly bodies and glistening skin in the sun (I may be over-visualising this).

From December 2010 – January 2011 there was an exhibition by a local artist in the Manly Art Gallery. The artist, James Guppy is renowned for his surrealist forms and has a masterful way of portraying textures.  His paintings also reflected the intense love and passion for his partner, who was the inspiration and subject of many of his works.   James Guppy is not a young man, and neither his partner.  Even in advance age, to have this sort of passionate love, it really moved me.

Some examples of James Guppy’s works are below.

Textures and Detail

Nailing down the Surf

James Guppy's Ubiquitous Orchids

Paddington Living

One of my recent weekend strolls took me to the small neighbourhood of Paddington, which lies right outside of the city and away from train stations.  This was a walk from the Museum train station but I eventually got to Paddington walking straight  Oxford Street and past Darlinghurst.

Paddington Reservoir and the houses (or should I say the complex) built around this watering hole is architectural art.   The pool or atrium in the middle and the classical column structures all reminded me of ancient Roman homes.  On a sunny afternoon there are no dogs to be found in this reservoir but lovely sunbathing beauties.

Other visions that stick out in my mind are the lavish window displays of the boutiques.  Unless I’m missing something, there is not much else to report from Paddington.

Dead Wait

The Photo Studio in Glebe

The Photo Studio, found by one of Australia’s better known commercial and advertising artists, North Sullivan, is a red door on the wall in Glebe.  For one who’s not looking for it, it is virtually impossible spot.  One would not think there would be a full capacity studio behind the Broadway parking lot.  But there it is.  And once you walk through the red door, it’s a walk into studio magic.

The minute you walk in, your coat is taken and your wardrobe is set up by the very capable studio hands.  The experience is almost like visiting one of your friends who may live in the bohemian part of town with a penchant for shabby chic items and textures.  There are nice little touches around every corner like the lighting used in old movie sets or a collection of children’s chairs from yesteryears.

The make up room is the laboratory where you try your different looks.  The expert make up artist is always willing to accommodate to give you the look you’re after.  The MUA who helped me was like a girlfriend and I felt like I was at a pajama party as we went through different looks for the different photo sessions. 

Casual look with minimal make up was uplifted by a fancier hair style with more curls for a long dress and then full on smoky glamour was put on for the LBD (Little Black Dress).  The make up and photography for all the looks worked perfectly to portray the mood and I was very happy at the end of the photo shoot knowing that I looked my absolute best.


OK, fast forward a month later to last Saturday, when I finally had my photo viewing day due to busy schedules on my part and the studio’s.

I felt the atmosphere, the viewing room, Cat, the hostess’s, hospitality were excellent. The room was comfortable with nice ambience (the whole studio is very nicely done, reflecting impeccable taste). The photos were laid out very nicely and we went through the picking and choosing of portfolio photographs smoothly. Cat was very proficient in helping me make the selections of photos to choose for my portfolio. She was very knowledgeable of the packages and deals.

Everything was going very well until I heard the total price for the 10 photo portfolio that I was opting. I have to tell you that there are other well- respected photographers who work in commercials who offer to shoot portfolios for quarter of the price.

I also take advantage of an internet portal called Model Mayhem to produce my own portfolio. On Model Mayhem, I model in exchange for portfolio photographs (TFP- Trade for Pictures). The make up artist, the photo shoot and the photos are provided to me for free in exchange for my modeling. Though I have never done professional modeling, I’m in high demand on Model Mayhem.

I realise the pricing reflects what people are willing to pay for their portfolios at the Photo Studio and that maybe lowering the prices maybe detrimental to the luxury experience and the exclusivity they offer.

I would suggest perhaps offering lower ticket items so as not to lose potential buyers like myself (introduced by a significant discount campaign) who are turned off by the steep prices. I would have loved to keep a souvenir of my experience with the Photo Studio, perhaps a low-resolution FB image. 

Oh well, I guess the fabulous memories of the day will do.

Art of Photography or the Photography or Art?

There are several great shots of Sydney that David was kind enough to allow me to use.  The night scenes are truly spectacular but the city has much to offer in the daytime if you know where to look and how to look.

Sailing the Night

Lights on Sydney


Dawn in Sydney


Pier One Walsh Bay