Hidden Gems: Dumplings & Beer

Source: Timeout
Source: Timeout

There a few combinations I get excited about.

Diamond + Cartier, Christian + Louboutin, Holiday + Paris, Prince + William, Dumplings + Beer.


Yes. It is a thing, and it is as wonderful, delicious and perfect as you could possibly imagine.

Definitely a Hidden Gem (and a recent addition) to the Potts Point restaurant collection of Sydney. Dumplings & Beer is the perfect place to amp yourself up for a night out in Kings Cross, or an excellent venue to impress a date with your knowledge of the back streets of Sydney.

The venue doesn’t seat more than 25 people, so you need to be strategic. Get in Early to secure a seat. Once inside you’re greeted warmly – it’s homestyle cooking for a reasonable price. There are only 14 items you can order from the menu, so go in a group, get everyone to order a couple of things and share. Think along the lines of Spiced Pork Belly sliders with cucumber, shallots and Hoisin sauce, Slow Roasted Eggplant with pan fried tofu or classic Barbecue Pork Buns along with traditional steamed and fried dumplings.

Then there’s the beer… The beer menu is more extensive then the food menu, with 20 to choose from. It’s craft beer and normal beer and beers that you may never have heard of. Definitely a worthy place for pre drinks that offers great food, too!

Source: Broadsheet
Source: Broadsheet

Inside there’s usually a Chinese movie projected onto the upstairs wall. Subtitles are on so you can keep track of what’s actually happening, but it’s all Martial Arts, so pick a character to cheer for in the epic battles. Panels on the wall are beautifully hand painted by local artists and add colour + vibrancy to the room.

It’s double story too, so of you can get a seat upstairs, go for it and survey the unfolding Dumpling & Beer madness.

I honestly don’t think I need to write any more about this. If the concept of a restaurant called Dumplings & Beer that SERVES ONLY Dumplings & Beer and is a stones throw from the main strip of Kings Cross doesn’t sell you… Then what are you even doing here?!

Check out Dumplings & Beer on Facebook and Instagram, or find them at Shop 2 9 Ward Avenue, Potts Point.

Seriously, go there. You won’t regret it… until the beer hangover kicks in the morning after.


Le Petit Bateau – A Cultural Exhibition of Life


Art is so often considered ‘stuffy’, usually because one finds themselves unable to connect with horses and battles, except for in their dreams. Le Petit Bateau aims to change all of that. Fronted by Anne-Sophie Ridelaire (AnSo) and fiancé Gaetano Russo, an Italian boat designer, the gallery has become so much more than that. In true European artist style, the philosophy behind Le Petit Bateau is that creativity should be shared and be an integrated part of the community.

Le Petit Bateau certainly does this, with members from the Bondi community of all ages congregating together to celebrate the achievements of up and coming artists, performers and creative types. AnSo describes the venue as ‘Social + Art’ and encapsulated these ideas in an essay written for the University La Sorbonne in Paris, stating she wanted to create a place for the community to congregate and for artists, musicians and creators could all come together and share their ideas freely.

They welcome you into their fold with open arms and encourage the pursuit of dreams and beauty.

A hidden gem in Bondi, you’re warmly greeted with the scent of salt water, smiles and softly accented ‘hello’s’. A small and understated gallery on Bondi Road behind an apartment block and inside a garage, it is a far cry from traditional, sterile galleries. The English translation of ‘Le Petit Bateau’ is ‘the Little Boat’, and this is reflected in the nautical accents to the setting, with a timber boat as a focal point of the courtyard. AnSo and Gaetano share a dream to create a gallery on a boat, with the sentiment that ‘you never know which way things are going to go’ – something that is also demonstrated in the ever changing themes of the gallery’s exhibitions.


Friday night celebrated the launch of their 2015 program and the opening night of ‘Dreamland’, a series of paintings by Liya Mirzaeva. Her aim was to encapsulate the feeling of home that came with being surrounded by nature and away from the city, where she never quite felt ‘at home’. The series of small paintings are moving, clearly demonstrating the feelings of warmth and belonging felt by Liya as she travelled through rural Australia.

In stark contrast to Liya’s sentiment of city life, the artists commune that is Le Petit Bateau is anything but unwelcoming. Not only do they seek to share art in a way that is accessible and down to earth, they also aim to encompass all facets of art. Our visit recently saw musical performances, belly dancing and home made pizza from a wood fire oven – one wall away from the paintings. The ‘art’ itself, was not just limited to brush and canvas. Instead we saw dream catchers and guitars, the latter meticulously painted with vibrant colours – clearly exhibiting their love of music.


All of the contributing members live in the apartment building in front of the gallery and together they not only showcase arts, they also help Sydney discover it for themselves. Part of their ongoing program are jam sessions for the musicians and cooking classes for the aspiring gastronomers. As a sister organisation the Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club, they also offer sailing classes for those with a thirst for adventure.

If there was ever a place in this crazy city that anyone could feel not like they’re with strangers – or even with friends – but instead, with family, Le Petit Bateau is that. There is something for everyone, no matter what age, race, postcode or interest – they welcome you into their fold with open arms and encourage the pursuit of dreams and beauty.

Hidden Gems: Papa Gede’s Bar

Source: toau-media.com
Source: au.timeout.com

These days you can’t swing a dead possum around without hitting a café that professes to be a shining beacon of the culinary arts of “paleo” or “organic” food.

Likewise, the great city of Sydney is replete with microbreweries of all sorts, fine dining establishments and swanky coffee shops.

I do not wish to discuss any of them with you for I have well and truly discovered a gem worthy of my adoration and praise. A gem, hidden, literally and metaphorically.

Imagine my mirth when I was challenged by a colleague one Friday night to venture into the labyrinthine alleyways of the lower Sydney CBD in an attempt to locate him at the watering hole in which he presently found himself.

If you’re brave or in the market for some chest hair, try the Nuclear Daiquiri but don’t let its name fool you – this bad boy has approximately three standard drinks in a glass the size of your average martini.

With zest in my trousers and several bourbons in my belly, I set off on my merry way.

Half an hour later, after many wrong turns into dark alleys, I stumbled onto at the threshold of Papa Gede’s Bar. The bar is named after, and pays homage to, Papa Gede: the corpse of the first man to die in Voodoo mythology.

I was informed of this by the immensely friendly Josh, who introduced himself most cordially to me on this first intrepid venture of mine into the world of voodoo beverages, and who remembered my face and name the next time I went some six months later – how’s that for service?

Source: Papa Gede's Bar
Source: Papa Gede’s Bar

Dark and cosy, the bar is punctured with tiki dolls, voodoo incantations and furniture that’s seemingly been crafted from whatever flotsam it’s proprietors have managed to scrounge.

Josh explained that they were a fairly new, low-key establishment catering mostly to locals and the occasional legitimate voodoo practitioners.

I was introduced to their marvellous and inspired cocktail list which consists, for the most part, of bespoke creations by the bar crew.  I was invited to sample the many wonders on the cocktail list and found myself, apart from moderately intoxicated, supremely delighted with what was on offer.

If you’re brave or in the market for some chest hair, try the Nuclear Daiquiri but don’t let its name fool you – this bad boy has approximately three standard drinks in a glass the size of your average martini.

Do yourself a favour and take a stroll down Kent St.  Find a non-descript alley at the back of 348 Kent St (next to Since I Left You bar) and let Papa Gede’s do the rest.

Kindle vs Paperback; The Book Debate

Source: Techn0treats
Source: Techn0treats

Society is modernising at a rapid rate and sometimes it freaks me out as a young adult of the millennial generation. Us ‘Millennials’ are meant to be the most tech savvy generation – always across the latest apps, consoles and android devices, escaping the great outdoors for the comfort of our couches.

American writer Marc Prensky dubbed our generation the digital natives where we speak the digital language of CMS, HTML and other fancy IT related terms. I’ve laughed at job descriptions that say you must be internationally fluent in the digital language – I expected a European language to be more likely. It certainly seems like the world of media is requiring more from its graduates, to be across the latest social media apps and analytics.

There are some things, however, that I want to hold on to from the past including reading a good old book – a proper paperback. I love the experience of smelling the pages, especially if I’ve bought a book from an op shop and thinking about the previous owners past.

It’s like a never ending legacy – turns out op shopping isn’t for clothes only! I feel like staring at a screen all day to be so unappealing and reading a book is naturally printed so your eyes can adjust to it.

Since the Kindle was first launched onto the global stage on November 19th, 2007 for a costly US $399, there has since been several new additions to the line including the Kindle 6’E which weighs an impressive six ounces. You can carry over 1000 books on the simple tablet with up to one month of battery life from the one charger.

If you carried over 1000 potential books you wanted to read, it would be ludicrous and also a lot more expensive and weighty. The latest additions Kindle Voyage and Kindle Fire HDX touch screen sensitive and available in 32 and 64 GB versions.

They’re portable, able to store heaps of e-books, and you can multitask – send emails and do what you have to do. So why are they so appealing and why is the appeal of a good old-fashioned book being lost?

Seeing someone read a book on a train is like seeing a hens tooth, its abysmal and frankly a rare species. The whole way of how we relate to everything around us seems to be wired to a charger, or we read books using a Kindle or namesake. I frankly don’t see the appeal. I much prefer the tactile and sensory engagement of reading a book and cant imagine looking at a screen if I was hooked on a novel for hours on end.

I don’t think its necessarily very healthy, sure it’s very practical and saves space – especially if you’re travelling and don’t have much room. But what is it about Kindles and e-readers that still has people intrigued? One positive is that you can multitask till your heart’s content whereas reading and switching to your mobile is such a first world problem!

For practical reasons I can definitely see the perks of owning a Kindle, and having an encyclopedia of books at your exposure, all at the click of a finger. Nothing worse than carrying a book everywhere and it being a bit of a dud – one click and you’re onto the next. What if you wanted to read 50 Shades of Grey without anyone else on the bus knowing? Don’t lie, we know you’re out there.

With a Kindle, no one will ever know! I’m always intrigued if someone is reading a book on public transport, you take a sneaky glance and imagine what a person is like based on the book they’re reading. With a Kindle the fun is gone.

Mocking Booze: Bar Brings Mocktail Craze to Sydney

Source: WordPress
Source: WordPress

Famed pay-as-you-feel Newtown restaurant Lentil as Anything is growing a floor. Now that they have moved into their permanent home, LAA has added a buckle to its belt. Alongside delicious vegan eats it will now be showcasing an entirely liquor-free mocktail range served in a bar right above the existing restaurant.

While ‘Virgin Mojito’ and ‘Safe Sex on the Beach’ are decidedly not the most glamorous of names, the concept of alcohol-free cocktails is definitely making a comeback.

No longer recalling memories of the teenage jealousy felt when sipping a rum-free pina colada while surrounded by adults swigging the real deal, mocktails are becoming appealing in their own right.
Going alcohol-free is the sweeping new craze, marching hand in hand with the increasingly popular tendency to prioritise nutritious wholefoods over fatty snacks and Burger King wraps. Health considerations have definitely entered the mix, and it is now acceptable to say no to alcohol on a night out. Increased knowledge and interest in nutrition has revealed the health risks of consuming alcohol, not to mention the added inches to your waistline.

Alongside a confidently growing trend of serving mock meats—illustrated most strikingly by thriving new café ‘Suzy Spoons’, Newtown’s own ‘Vegetarian Butcher’— mock booze is also making a name for itself. Alcohol, just like meat, is being made redundant. While vegetarian and vegan dishes are now elevated to a new sought-after standard and feature increasingly on classy restaurant’s menus and popular cooking shows, mocktails are also making the shift from the second-hand drink of envious adolescents and Mormons to a progressively fashionable beverage pick.

The mocktail bar will be run by volunteers and operate on the same pay-as-you-feel concept as its sister restaurant.

Home to all things new and weird, it is also in Newtown that Sydney’s first alcohol-free bar will take root. The King St branch of Melbourne-based Lentil As Anything, the vegetarian restaurant chain famous for its pay-as-you-feel concept, is giving the mocktail craze a Sydney home.

Lentil As Anything Founder Shanaka Fernando writes ecstatically about the launch: ‘THE FUTURE IS HERE!’ He sees alcohol-related violence as a ‘symptom of a greater problem’, that is ‘our inability to harness the vitality of youth in a manner that validates the passion and uniqueness of every young person’.

‘We envisage that young people will be shown that it is possible to go out and give wings to the wild person within all of us without an alcoholic drink in hand,” he says.

Lentil’s mocktail bar will set up shop on the first floor of the Newtown restaurant and surely become a popular hang out spot for Sydney youngsters, community members and potentially for recovering alcoholics.

With recent liquor-fuelled attacks forcing Australian laws to tighten around alcohol consumption earlier this year, there has never been a better time for an alternative to the Sydney drinking scene to open its doors. The bar is the first of its kind in Sydney, other options have till now been limited to mobile mocktail bars for hire at private events.

Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

While Lentil’s food menu proves how sumptuous meat-free eats can be, its mocktail selection will reveal the satisfactory pleasures of sipping fruity alcohol-free drinks. Especially since new and stylish soft selections are a far cry from sickly-sweet juice mixes the term ‘non-alcoholic cocktail’ customarily brings to mind. With bartenders becoming ‘mixologists’ and far more choices of flavours than apple and orange juice, there is now a wealth of options when both creating and savouring liquor-free creations.

Everything from freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices to herb-infused syrups and spices now serve to jazz up the common mocktail, going far further than simply providing non-alcoholic alternatives to popular cocktails. Armed with much more than a soda gun and a couple lime wedges, bartenders are likely to create an entire menu of mocktails expected to surpass till now popular favourites.

One of these is Daniel Hollen, chief mixologist and the man responsible for designing Lentil’s mocktail menu. The range of drinks will be based on Hollen’s own specially-crafted syrups, with flavours so far including lime and rosemary, kumquat, plum and pepper, and agave-soaked pear with ginger.

Conceived by NSW Manager Matthew Pettit, the mocktail bar idea suits his future vision of Lentil as ‘not just a place to eat’ but a space where ‘the community can be as creative as they want, be that through music, through art’ or through the truly novel concept of sober Friday-night drinks.

Community response to Lentil As Anything opening its doors in Newtown has been overwhelmingly positive, and Pettit has found Sydney customers far more generous than those down in Melbourne. A fact which has enabled the organisation to move from a temporary rented space to their permanent home at 391 King St and to pursue its subsequent projects including the mocktail bar incentive.

Espousing the Lentil concept, the mocktail bar will be run by volunteers and operate on the same pay-as-you-feel concept as its sister restaurant. The bar aims to fit Lentil’s community ethos by serving as a neighbourhood hub, a wholesome spot for young people to mingle and enjoy a night out free of the next-day hangover, and a platform for musicians, comedians and artists to showcase their talents.

Eager to make sure that ‘Lentil in Sydney has a unique Sydney identity’, Pettit states that Lentil’s future projects will be driven by what the community needs and wants. And indeed with one-punch violence in the city, locals have surely been eagerly searching for an alternative to boozy and blurry weekend nights out.

The opening of Lentil’s mocktail bar will assuredly provoke the same buzz as that of any hip new bar, but one that will leave you clearheaded and fit to drive home.

Mr Clean breaks the hip-hop music scene

Source: Youtube
Source: Youtube


Ok, so maybe my music playlists on Spotify don’t agree that I’m the right person to be reviewing a hip-hop album. I mean, Jay-Z and Drake are as ‘ghetto’ as I get, so the fact that I thought I’d be the right person to a) be invited to a hip-hop album launch, and b) offer to check out the album and write a review on it, is a mystery to me still.

Last month, I was invited to the launch of rap artist, Mr Clean’s new album ‘With a Vengeance’ and let’s just say I had no idea what to expect. Being more Rihanna than Rick Ross, I don’t really have a great appreciation of the rap scene but I thought an open-mind was the best accessory to bring along with me on the night.

To say I was amazed is an understatement. Mr Clean has a presence about him, as all in the room felt the energy he exuded on stage. A couple of tracks in, he informed us that he had been sick all week and was losing his voice, but this did not stop him from giving it all he had, and more. “Getting a great response from the crowd is really uplifting, it lets you know you’re doing it right, and makes you feel like you want to give even more back.”

I was fortunate to chat with Mr Clean a couple days after the launch and discovered just how tough he’s had it to get to this stage in his career. Husband, father and white-collar by day, lyrical genius and rap God by night. He’s had a keen interest in rapping for most of his life, and it’s only been the last four years that he has dedicated a lot of time (and money) to his passion. “It’s a slog if you don’t have a lot of money to throw into it and being indie means you have no publicist or advertising.”

Describing the album as a whole rather than by each individual track proved to be extremely difficult, for this album isn’t a basic YouTube downloaded beat with lyrics recorded on an iPhone. Production-wise, it has all the elements of a million-dollar production team. ‘With a Vengeance’ is easy-listening yet motivating, perfect for cruising around yet has a beat which will see you running your heart out on a treadmill; it really is a well-rounded album.

My favourite tracks on the album are ‘Diamond Thrust’ and ‘She took the money,’ the second and sixth tracks on the album. It is obvious by these two tracks alone that Mr Clean has an appreciation for making music by incorporating different elements of sound to create a track.

“Don’t get caught up in stereotypes or gimmicks, being relevant is not always the key to getting new fans.” It’s in insights like this that sets apart indie artists like Mr Clean from those just looking to be the next puppet of the entertainment world.

You can access all of Mr Clean’s music at his website at http://www.darealmrclean.com/, and via Bandcamp, iTunes and all other digital formats.

10 Sydney Comedy Festival Acts You Need to See

The Sydney Comedy Festival wagon rolled into town over the past week. But with a gluttony of acts performing across the state, Dunstan has picked out ten acts you need to go and see.

1. Alex Wasiel – Status Update

Why she is one to see:  Alex is full of charm and wackiness. She is your typical class clown just 20 years older. Her presence is immediately felt when she graces the stage, she invites you in to her world which just seems full of joy. There is no better word to describe Alex then ‘FUN’.

Why you haven’t heard of her: Alex has been gigging for years but this is her first solo show. She deserves a large audience for this larger than life character. A 2013 Triple J RAW Comedy State Finalist and rising star in the comedy firmament,  Alex hopes to make you weird-explosion-laugh with her unique blend of effervescence, incisive wit and “yo mama” jokes.

“Bubbly and charming … Alex is pretty much the definition of fun
– yeahnah.tv

The Enmore Theatre

Thu 15th May 2014 – 7:30 pm
Fri 16th May 2014 – 7:30 pm
Sat 17th May 2014 – 8:00 pm

Buy your Alex Wasiel tickets here.

2. Ben Ellwood – All My Zingers

Why he is one to watch: Ben is that voice in the back of your head that says what the fuck is wrong with my life. His irreverent style to problems facing him and the world is an absolute joy to watch. His style of Stand up in All my Zinger’s is mostly improv, which will be a real treat, not knowing what is going to come out of his mouth next is the best way to see Ben Ellwood.

Why you haven’t heard of him: Simply because he hasn’t wanted you to. Ben has been around the comedy scene for many years, opening for acts like Doug Stanhope and Marc Maron, he is well experienced, he’s just burnt a few bridges along the way, but he’s mending them. Ben takes to the stage with his board of Zingers; a roulette wheel with 40 segments, each representing a piece of material, a story or a hot topic. Over the course of the hour the wheel is spun several times by audience members to determine the course of the show. The result is an organic and authentic conversation through a unique blend of rehearsed stand up and in the moment improv.

The Factory Theatre

Wed 7th May 2014 – 8:15 pm
Fri 9th May 2014 – 8:15 pm

Get your Ben Ellwood tickets here.

3. Cameron James and Jared Jekyll in Paradise

Why they are one to watch: Paradise is an hour of hilarity and obscurity that has allowed these to clowns to receive rave reviews from the Adelaide Fringe and Melbourne Comedy Festival. Their mix of storytelling, improv and childlike wonder will leave laughing after the show has finished. These are two of the funniest solo comedians around, put them together and you get a paradise that is truly wonderful.

Why you haven’t heard of them: I don’t know you should’ve they are great. Also this is only a few months old but you will know these two very soon.

The Factory Theatre

Tue 6th May 2014 – 8:15 pm
Thu 8th May 2014 – 8:15 pm
Sat 10th May 2014 – 8:15 pm

Get your Cameron James and Jared Jekyll tickets here.

4. Chris Leben – Accidental Pornographer

Why he is one to watch: Chris’ life is one tragedy and success, his many failures as child, teenager and adult have led to this amazing hour of comedy. Go on a journey with Chris who will take through how he was raised as a naive Christian country boy and wound up a pornographer in the big city. I got the chance to see this show at last year’s Sydney fringe festival and it blew me away., he is most definitely a future comedic star.

Why you haven’t heard of him: Chris has been working on TV for 5 years, for shows like Hungry Beast and The Feed on SBS 2, but is relatively new to the comedy scene only having been a Stand Up of a couple of years, which it just makes this show more impressive.

The Factory Theatre

Wed 30th Apr 2014 – 7:00 pm
Fri 2nd May 2014 – 7:00 pm
Sun 4th May 2014 – 6:00 pm

Get your Chris Leben tickets here.

5. Damien Power – Keit

Why he is one to watch: Damien has a fantastic ability to find the joke in any situation; his raw energy and incredible timing make one of the best comedians in Australia at the moment. This Queenslander, he just been rising and rising in the comedic world, even getting the chance to open for Tenacious D and smashing the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Why you haven’t heard of him: The only reason Damien’s name isn’t more well-known is because comedy and comedians aren’t a big deal in Australia.

an engaging speaker, his fearless confidence winning over the room” –Chortle (UK)

The Factory Theatre

Tue 6th May 2014 – 9:30 pm
Wed 7th May 2014 – 9:30 pm
Thu 8th May 2014 – 9:30 pm
Fri 9th May 2014 – 9:30 pm
Sat 10th May 2014 – 9:30 pm
Sun 11th May 2014 – 8:30 pm

Get your Damien Power tickets here.

6. Daniel Townes – The Other Side

Why he is one to watch: Maybe the most chilled and easy going person on stage, Daniel Townes guides you through his world of jokes and life failings and a fantastic hour. He is a seasoned comedian with a wealth of material and has the ability to throw in a joke or story which you would never expect to come out of his mouth. He is a comedian who every person should see at least once.

Why you haven’t heard of him: It remains a mystery why Daniel Townes isn’t bigger; I truly believe he suffers the same fate as Damien Power, though he is well on his way to being known.

The Enmore Theatre

Tue 6th May 2014 – 7:45 pm
Thu 8th May 2014 – 7:45 pm
Sat 10th May 2014 – 7:45 pm

Get your Daniel Townes tickets here.

7. The Yo Mama Battles Semi and Grand Final

Why they are one to watch: Everyone has heard a yo mama joke, now listen to comedians tell them. Even better the audience decides the topics. This is a raucous hour of insults, pure improv genius and hilarity that cannot be missed.  The top yo mama joksters slugged it out to make it to the finals, you will only be witnessing to cream of the crop.

Why you haven’t heard of it: This is simply do with you never really hear about events at the festival. You get to hear about the odd act or two but events like this one not so much. But you have heard of it so go see it.

The Factory Theatre

Fri 9th May 2014 – 10:00 pm
Fri 16th May 2014 – 10:00 pm

Get your Yo Mama Battles Semi and Grand Final tickets here.

8. Nick Sun – Just Have Fun or I Will Kill You

Why he is one to watch: Nick finds punchlines in places where most comedians fear to tread, come see why Nick is the number one choice for people tired of the usual boring TV-friendly fake shit. Refreshingly honest, Nick takes his audience on a no-holds barred journey through the world as he sees it, equal parts dark and equal parts light.

Why you haven’t heard of him: Nick is cut from the same cloth as Ben Ellwood, both are huge names in the comedy scene not known in the outside world. Nick is a Raw Comedy Winner, not only that but So You Think You’re Funny winner which is the Edinburgh festival equivalent of Raw Comedy, which is a huge fucking achievement. But I guess just look at his pic.

The Factory Theatre

Tue 13th May 2014 – 9:30 pm
Thu 15th May 2014 – 9:30 pm
Sat 17th May 2014 – 9:30 pm

Get your Nick Sun tickets here.

9. Ray Badran – This Is My Third Show

Why he is one to watch: Ray is a clever comedian; there is no better way to put it. His show is about the stupidest things he’s ever done. This is an amazing hour of storytelling and jokes, he is just at ease on stage and it shows. He takes into his world and you are much happier for going there, with this charming prince.

Why haven’t you heard of him: Soon you will, Ray is slowly building a fan base, he is a hard working comedian who was this year apart of the breakout comedy tour. It is only a matter of time before he is household name.

The Factory Theatre

Tue 13th May 2014 – 7:00 pm
Thu 15th May 2014 – 7:00 pm
Sat 17th May 2014 – 7:00 pm

Get your Ray Badran tickets here.

10. Three Blokes Telling Jokes

Why they are one to watch: This trio of comedians are some of the hardest working acts on the scene. Andrew Barnett, Scott Dettrick and Matty B are three funny blokes. Their show is one truly not to be missed all three have some of the best jokes you will ever hear, covering a wide range of topics from boat people to Banana’s in Pyjamas.

Why haven’t you heard of them: That again is down to Australia not being hungry for more comedy. If we ever get hungrier believe me these three will be gobbled up quickly.

The Factory Theatre

Wed 14th May 2014 – 9:30 pm
Fri 16th May 2014 – 9:30 pm

Get your Three Blokes Telling Jokes tickets here.

Highly Recommended:

Reece Piper and Andrew Hasting – Mortal Kombat
Susie Youssef – Sketchual Chocolate
Tien Tran – If You Don’t Know, Now You Know
The Little Dum Dum Club – Live Podcast
Umit Bali – Flight Plan

Images: Sydney Comedy Festival 2014

6 Reasons Why You Should Take a Squiz at the Biennale this Year

Hey, hi, hello. So recently I felt my artistic juices were at ‘Empty.’ I needed to really see things, and get some of my artistic mojo back. So, I threw on my favourite shirt (vintage Wrangler, channelling “get happy, Jess, for Christ’s sake”) and headed out to the Biennale at Cockatoo Island, MCA and NSW Art Gallery.

Thus, thanks to my proverbial ‘tank’ being restored to a comfortable level, feeling that bizarre peace only invoked by a gallery and generally being thrilled that my mind can, in fact, think again after the boring drone everyday life can (sometimes) supply- I’ve compiled a list of 6 reasons why you should get off your ass and see the Biennale this year’ (HUZZAH). But it’s true, I think I might actually make some valid points so stay with me.

1. Art isn’t only for the few.

I’m a firm believer in this. I think it’s plain silly to forfeit your interests because the thought may arise, “Well, so-and-so does art… he/she owns that territory, I’ve told everyone my interests are this. I don’t have the time, it doesn’t do anything for me etc.” The good thing about the Biennale (at all of it’s respective venues) is that everyone is welcomed, with his or her respective opinions and perspectives. The intriguing part is often watching people respond to the pieces you’re looking at. As Oscar Wilde has said, “Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has (ever) known.” Plus, nothing celebrates togetherness like a Google Ghost Train.

2. Despite the political friction & Belgiorno-Nettis vs Transfield debate – supporting Australian work (coupled with huge international talent) is the name of the game.

Yes, the scrutiny provoked a myriad of questions and you are more than allowed, my friend, to lean towards the ideas you do. But in the same vein, clarified by Cate Blanchett and Catherine Martin at this year’s Oscars, Australia’s creative and artistic talent is sought after and quality.

3. In true Biennale style, expect a lot of quirky, wacky fun and Off-the-Wall belly laughs.

Many of the pieces this year are perceptive, yes. Clever and innovative, yes. Bloody funny, YES. Take Marko Lulić’s Space Girl Dance (2009), an odd dance movement piece based on a 70’s video starring Raquel Welch. A lot of the pieces make you crack up- the funny part is watching people stifle the laughter, or just go with it. FOR PETE’S SAKE, GO WITH IT.

4. An unusual amount of video art this year; film lovers/makers rejoice!

Yup, there was a lot to sift through this year; all very, very different. So if film is your thing, you’re up for some interesting stuff. Particularly Pipilotti Rist’s Mercy Garden Retour Skin at the MCA. You can even cuddle up to a ‘person cushion’ and bask in 3 huge walls of footage. (NB. There’s a touch of nudity, but you love it).

5. You don’t have to like everything.

Yes! Sometimes you just don’t dig something, and that’s okay. Actually, that’s good. Because then you can think about why you don’t like it, about why it doesn’t tickle your fancy and then you get talking with a stranger about those ideas (no fisticuffs don’t fret). Then you do some weights adorned with foliage connecting to strings that make skeletons dance (Gerda Steiner). And then you tune out to the sound of a Waterfall in the middle of an Industrial Turbine space (Eva Koch) and things just seem to come together nicely.

6. Some of the most recent, powerful International artworks have come here.

Hop on the ferry, take a bus, train or what have you. It beats taking a plane to Berlin, Glasgow, London or Greece when you can see stuff today. It’s on every two years, and this year it’s here until the 9th of June. Enough said, artsy party people. Go see it, take a friend or go by yourself like I did. Yes, I did/do that. Whatever, you get me.

Latest Gow Play is a Knockout, we Just Don’t Know it


Source: Belvoir.com.au

I want to talk about Michael Gow’s new play at the Belvoir, but has the average Gen-Y person given up on theatre? Are we interested? Is the talk of us becoming chained to the Internet as our source of ‘taste’ and ‘culture’ true? Premise: No, I’m not a 40-something year-old man with a post at the Australian, I’m a 22 year old woman who likes the theatre.

A couple of nights ago I went to the theatre. And now I’m finding it very difficult to write down what I thought about it. It strikes me as I do try to write something down without erasing it that maybe I’ve been led to believe that my opinions simply aren’t valid. Perhaps I’ve learnt and picked up the notion from someone somewhere that I’m not qualified enough, I’m not smart enough, I haven’t seen enough and I’m not old enough to know the difference. This is a worrying thought, to say the least. And it makes writing about topics I’m actually really passionate about as fun as sticking your hand in the oven.

I like the theatre. I like it a lot. However, for the most part, there’s a certain apathy for theatre-going among fellow 22 year-olds, give or take a few years. Yeah, the other actors and industry crew dig it. Of course they do- we’ve got to keep up with what’s going on. But there seems to be a slice of the Gen-Y pie that’s missing out almost completely.

The audience lining up for tickets, grabbing a quick sip of something and having a chat is a mix of retirees — groovin’ cool cats with glasses that yell “I’ve read this already” and those that follow the theatre scene closely, having subscribed over Christmas. A few nearly-thirties stop by me and recite the year’s season like a shopping list. I notice a 21 year-old slink outside to roll a cigarette. I counted less than a dozen people around the 18-25 mark.

‘Once in Royal David’s City’ is Michael Gow’s (The Kid, Away, On Top of the World, Sweet Phoebe, Toy Symphony) new baby. It’s innovative and structurally brave; as in its form is new and energetic. It’s riddled with rage and tenderness.

It deals with the difficult questions – of death, of shame, of the validity of memory, and of how to make sense out of the nonsensical. It grapples over how to intellectualise the theatre. It’s about the ridiculous and far-fetched notion that your parents are mortal. It’s about a man caught debating with ideas of class and corporatisation. It wonders how language can only get us so far.

By himself, he sits next to a hospital bed, at Christmas.

You know you’re in for something when Brendan Cowell’s involved. He plays Will Drummond- a staunch Marxist, a creative man dealing with the fear of contradiction. His speeches are rousing; the exposure of fallacies that make you want to launch to your feet and cheer and yell and urge for change. It’s the mobilization to live. And his comic timing is a real treat.

Flack’s cinematic, whirlwind direction brings forth an astonishing familiarity (as in, “I know that boy,”She really reminds me of…” and “I remember when…” ). The humour is candid and quirky, and plenty of hilarity ensues. The cast is strong. The audience laughs, cries and leans that little bit closer to one another.

And then, once it’s finished, the crowd bottlenecks out of the small door, down the stairs, into the foyer, back up the stairs again, along the hall and out into the cool, rainy night air and breathes it out.

Now, I know it all sounds a bit lofty and sentimental. But the clever part is, it’s really not. The lesson is that life moves on whether we like it or not. And yes, I know that for some people theatre simply isn’t your thang (as in, shake your groove thang, it’s a living thang), but to that I say: try it.

This is real-life stuff. Because that’s what we’re really looking for, isn’t it? No wonder we’re endlessly trawling through reality television programs, TED talks, documentaries– searching for an ounce of spontaneity and authenticity. In Elissa Blake’s interview with Gow for The Sydney Morning Herald, Gow states:

“’What’s interesting to me is that the younger generation in theatre are trying to find modes other than naturalistic drama,” Gow says. ”The things that interest me now are lectures and interviews, non-theatre formats. They are a great way to communicate – certainly better than having people sitting around a table being nominally realistic.

”It’s why people like documentaries now. You get hard facts, not cliches wrapped up in words that don’t say anything. I don’t want to write some sentimental death bed play. It’s about hacking through all that stuff.”

The notion that we (yes, the all-consuming we, Gen-Y) are desecrating cultural elitism, extinguishing artistic integrity and preferring the same-same over the different is also brought up and debated (but don’t worry, there’s hope for us yet). It’s humorous, yes. But it’s gotta make you think: How influential is this pervading idea of “us and them”? How influential is their opinion of us, and how does it affect our opinion of ourselves and our contribution to the arts? Has our perception of the theatre turned into a case of “let’s not (go), and say we did,” and not have our opinions quashed by those who know better?

I say, decide for yourself. Get yourself over there and prepare to be moved.

‘Once in Royal David’s City’ is playing at the Belvoir Street Theatre until March 23, 2014.

For more information and to book, click here.

Making it in the Modern Music Scene

Source: SoundonSound

YouTube. MySpace. SoundCloud. Triple J Unearthed. What do these words mean to you? If you’re an independent artist or musician trying to get noticed then they could mean absolutely everything.

In the current digital age where we are increasingly dependent on the Internet (we’ve all said the words “will there be free wi-fi?” At some time or another, right?) It’s not surprising that much of the music we listen to is heard online first.

The Internet has been the launching platform for many careers in the age of alternative media – think Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen or Rebecca Black sound familiar? They each experienced an exponential growth in their careers and fan base rises through YouTube. The power of the Internet is so strong that it catapulted these youngsters from singing in front of a camera in their bedrooms to singing in front of millions of people worldwide. Well, except for maybe the latter of that trio.

With the rise of these alternative media platforms, more and more artists are getting the chance to get their music out there. Triple J’s Unearthed is a pivotal program for sharing local music and giving Aussie artists the chance to be seen and heard. Sydney band Tiffany Britchford and the Reckless Abandon have Triple J to thank for one of their most recent gigs – a spot on a little ol’ festival known as Big Day Out in Sydney.

After entering a competition through Triple J Unearthed, the group found themselves as the leaders in voting in NSW and were picked by a team of professionals who gave them the green light for a spot on the coveted festival. Not bad for a group who have only been playing together for a few months!

The band’s drummer, Jake Tucker, said the experience was amazing and a dream come true.

“It’s a lot of fun making music, playing for people and meeting lots of other people who love music”, says Jake.

Their dreams have become reality with a lot of help from the digital music market, including exposure through Facebook and YouTube as well as having their very own 3-track EP available, enabling their music to reach as many people as possible.

Alternative media platforms are not only beneficial to the artists, but also to us as fans. We are experiencing more musical variety than ever before, as musicians are able to branch out from the traditional mainstream sound and offer their unique approaches. Without having to rely on a mainstream radio station to pick up and play their music, musicians can experiment with their creative side and deliver us with new sounds and genres, which has got to be a good thing!

Gone are the days where everyone listened to the same thing, all the time.

In today’s world we all have vastly different tastes and the alternative stations allow us to celebrate our diversity. Just a few years ago “Dubstep” and “Electronica” were foreign words, and “Trap” was a device used to catch wild creatures – not a music genre.

Now a new musical sub-culture seems to be coming out almost every week and us music fans simply adjust – adding new artists to our iTunes libraries and expanding our preferred genres to include things like “Galacticore”, “Crunk” and “Tricera-pop” (alright so I made that last one up, but you get the idea!)

With alternative media and the user-friendly creative outlets the Internet offers, the future of music is in good shape. A few months can see artists go from being just a kid with a keyboard or a microphone to one of the biggest stars on the planet. We are spoilt for choice as listeners and fans and expanding our variety constantly – the future is exciting for music lovers!

For any aspiring musos out there looking for your big break, here are a few tips on how to get yourself noticed:

  1. Have a strong social media presence – The truth is these days if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, you don’t exist. People use social mediaevery day and it’s a great way to get exposure and get your name out there. Share your music, information about gigs and make yourself accessible – the more people you know, the better,      plus you never know who might be paying attention!
  2. Create a YouTube account – Chances are if you’re an aspiring musician you already have a YouTube channel set up showing off your talented self. But if not, set one up and let people see what you’re all about!
  3. Sign up with Triple J’s Unearthed – As mentioned earlier, Triple J’s Unearthed program is a huge launching pad for local artists. You can post a few tracks and a bio on their page and let music lovers hear what you’re made of! Entering their competitions is also a great idea and excellent way of getting noticed.
  4. Get onto SoundCloud – As well as having videos of yourself, SoundCloud allows you to post Audio clips online – another way to share yourself and your music which means more exposure which means more fans! Yay!
  5. Gig as much as humanly possible – opportunity you get because you never know who might turn up, and the more practice you get the better you’ll be! Sooner or later  you could find yourself playing for a few dozen, or hundred, or thousand people – awesome!

Are you a band or artist looking for exposure? Why not send us an email at and get your music featured on our 5Why Podcast!