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Archive for May, 2009

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Artistic Rivalries

Watching The King of Kong recently, I was struck by how, in the independent mini-universes that people inhabit all over the world (in this case, the world of vintage video gaming with Donkey Kong the battleground of preference) there exists epic battles and monumental failures being slogged out with very healthy competitive spirit.

Particularly in the creative world, there is a compelling argument for the positive force of rivalry. Force  can seem more vigorous when placed alongside counterforce. Kind of like how ying needs yang to realise its… yinginess. It may sound like the stuff of Star Wars but it has cut and carved history since Noah was a boy… or at least since David and Goliath were.

Similar to the John Lennon/Paul McCartney dual (though probably less hostile at the end) that could be summed up by Lennon’s remark when asked in 1971 what McCartney would think of his new album “I think it’ll probably scare him, into doing something decent. And then he’ll scare me into doing something decent and I’ll scare him … like that” Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso both partook in a synergetic expression of one-upmanship across canvasses for decades.  From its beginning in Paris in 1906 to the period after Matisse’s death in 1954 where Picasso continued to pay tribute and reference Matisse in his work.

These two art giants were very different in nature, Matisse was reserved and respectable to Picasso’s bullish egomania but their influence on each other marked a huge contribution to 21st Century art. “No one has ever looked at Matisse’s painting more carefully than I; and no one has looked at mine more carefully than he.”

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Random Collective 2009

Random Collective 2009 – Melbourne based artists taking their artwork to regional Victoria.

Featuring works by: Alice McKellar, Kate Brownlee, Kate Lightfoot, Laura McKellar, Leeana Edwards, Megan Dell, Nicole Tattersall, Rhen and Snookie

Exhibition: Saturday 30 May – Saturday 27 June 2009
Exhibition Opening: 2pm – 4pm Saturday 30 May 2009

Mushroom Crafts
40 Bair Street, Leongatha (South Gippsland), Victoria

Random Collective is a collection of varied styles and mediums from illustration to textiles and stencil works to abstract. Taking quality works by up and coming artists to regional Victoria.

My Year Without Sex – Sarah Watt interview

Our friends at 3CR interviewed writer and director Sarah Watt in her new Australian film ‘My Year Without Sex’. Starring Matt Day and Sacha Horler, if you are looking for a laugh, the humour is wry and infectious.

‘My Year Without Sex’ comes out in Australian cinemas on the 28th of May. How are preparations going in the lead up to release? Is anticipation building?

Yeah, I think so. We had some preview screenings this weekend. So, people are starting to see it, which is very exciting – and nerve wracking!

I happened to catch one of those preview screenings and I’m happy to report that there was a lot of laughter in the cinema – at all the right parts.

That’s good! That’s very good.

The title of the film came from the fact that you didn’t want to direct another sex scene – why is that the case?

It came out of a joke about directing sex scenes. I think they’re very hard to do well. Often, they’re done really badly. It’s hard not to be clichéd so; I didn’t want to try, because I don’t think I’m a good enough director. But then, how do you make a film without a sex scene in it? You just call it, ‘My Year Without Sex’! So, it was kind of a joke at the start but in the end it worked really well with the content and the themes that I wanted to explore about consumerism and anxiety and all those things. Sex kind of belongs in there.

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Philadelphia Grand Jury touring near you!

It’s been a little while between drinks for Philadelphia Grand Jury (The Philly Jays for short). Their first two tracks ‘Going To The Casino (Tomorrow Night)‘ and ‘Ready To Roll’ stormed across the radio waves and internet after landing on high rotation on Triple J as well as being downloaded and passed between peeps an absolute sh*tload. Off the back of these tracks The Philly Jays have toured nationally 3 times and played the Big Day Out and Laneway Festivals.

Dan W Sweat plays the drums, MC Bad Genius makes the necessary noises and a guy called Berkfinger sings the songs. The band are now readying themselves for a load more touring through the end of May and early June with party boys, Bluejuice and also slamming themselves onstage at the Come Together Festival at Luna Park Sydney.

Philadelphia Grand Jury are currently putting finishing touches to a long player which you can expect to hit stores this September!

Tour Dates:
FRI 29 MAY – EAST BRUNSWICK CLUB, Melbourne W/Bluejuice
SAT 30 MAY – JIVE, Adelaide W/Bluejuice
SUN 7 JUNE – COME TOGETHER FESTIVAL, Sydney
FRI 12 JUNE – THE ZOO, Brisbane W/Bluejuice
SAT 13 JUNE – ANNANDALE HOTEL, Sydney W/Bluejuice

Check out Two Flat Whites interview with Bluejuice here.

Vogue Entertaining & Travel Produce Awards 2009

The winners of the 2009 Vogue Entertaining & Travel Produce Awards were recently announced at a star-studded event held at Justin North’s renowned restaurant, Etch. The Vogue Entertaining & Travel Produce Awards celebrate and uncover the best of Australia’s producers and suppliers, in categories including ‘from the paddock’, ‘from the dairy’, ‘from the earth’ and ‘from the sea’.

“The Awards are dedicated to discovering and celebrating the finest food growers and suppliers in the country. Whether you’re a three-hat chef or someone who enjoys cooking at home, these are the producers and products you need to know about. This year, the produce was of such a high standard that rather than presenting just one runner-up to each winner, we decided to add a new ‘gold medal’ category,” says Trudi Jenkins, editor-in-chief of Vogue Entertaining + Travel.

“The Awards are not just a celebration of Australia’s fantastic produce; they acknowledge the people who are committed to quality and consistency in what they grow and make, and those who promote small producers through restaurants, providers and markets,” she says. Some of the winners are listed below, for a full list of winners and Medalists just click here.

WINNER: FROM THE DAIRY – HOLY GOAT LA LUNA, VIC

WINNER: FROM THE EARTH – DAYLESFORD ORGANICS HEIRLOOM VEGETABLES, VIC

JOINT WINNERS: FROM THE SEA – PRISTINE OYSTER FARM, SA AND SPANNER CRABS NOOSA, QLD

WINNER: FROM THE PADDOCK – WHITE ROCKS VEAL, WA

JOINT WINNERS: THE REGIONAL AWARD – DAYLESFORD MACEDON, VIC, AND ORANGE, NSW

Dungog Film Festival – Allanah Zitserman

The Dungog Film Festival is an annual 4-day festival held in the cosy northern NSW town of Dungog – in the Hunter Valley region.  It screens only Australian movies (both unreleased and classics), and puts an emphasis on bringing the film-maker and the film-goer together.  As the festival is about to launch into its 3rd year (28th May to 31st May 2009), Two Flat Whites had a chat to festival director and co-founder, Allanah Zitserman.



First of all, the whole concept of the Dungog Film Festival (DFF) is just so un-pretentious and refreshing. The relaxed and welcoming vibe you guys have created feels very Australian, was this exactly how you and Stavros Kazantzidis (co-founder of the DFF) envisioned it to be? How did this idea come about?

Yes, this was the basis of our original vision for the event. Stavros and I came at it from two key perspectives; the filmmaker and the Aussie filmgoer. We thought about what would we want from an Australian film festival and four key things sprung to mind. One was that we wanted an event that was non-competitive, stripped of any rivalry. We felt that just having the opportunity to be a part of the local film industry was a prize in itself. We also felt that in order to move into the future of cinema we needed a context of our past and that was the reason for showcasing films from the past and including established filmmakers in the program. We wanted an event outside of the hustle and bustle in a friendly relaxed environment. Finally we wanted to put the focus on the dynamic and diverse and extremely valuable Australian film industry. With these four ingredients we hoped that we would create a completely original event that helped bridge the gap between filmmakers and filmgoers and at the same time bring the film community closer together.

It sounds like the entire population of Dungog embraces the festival with open arms. In fact, with only 50 actual tourist beds in the town, the people of Dungog offer cheap accommodation for visitors, in their own homes.  Shop-keepers adorn their window-fronts with Australian film-themed displays.  Cinema has always had the potential to create a feeling of unity amongst a community.  Do you feel the giant multiplex cinemas so prevalent today have taken away some of that purity, or magic?

We are very lucky to have such a great community to work with in Dungog and their commitment and involvement in the festival has been part of what makes it so unique.  There is something magical about going to a community cinema, whereas multiplexes provide a very different experience for cinemagoers. I think that each has a place in today’s society but there’s no doubt that with community cinemas there is an intimate feeling like you’re going to a friends place to watch a film which is refreshing.

Whilst the DFF seems to be all about relaxing and watching movies in a picturesque country town, it is also a great opportunity for film-makers to build some hype on their unreleased films. The buzz surrounding the screening of ‘The Jammed’ at last year’s festival went a long way to securing national distribution for the film. What has this meant for the level of interest you now receive from film-makers, as well as distributors?

The festival is set up for helping build a healthier local industry. It aims to connect screen industry practitioners and give films looking for distribution a platform to be discovered.  Dungog achieves significant national coverage and can be very useful in assisting distributors with their release strategies. Last year Unfinished Sky was included in 85% of national coverage achieved for the event. This contributed to the film becoming the second highest Australian-produced box office earner of 2008. The level of interest from filmmakers that don’t have distribution has increased but the distributors are still playing it safe choosing city based festivals over Dungog. I believe this will change as the festival matures.

Speaking of distribution, I read that you and Stavros started your own film distribution company, the Australian Film Syndicate (AFS), as a result of the growing success of the DFF. The AFS handled the distribution for the recent Australian film ‘The Combination’. The film was only screened in specific suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne – areas in which you felt people would be interested to see the film. This is quite an original strategy. Do you feel that it worked well for ‘The Combination’, and will this be a strategy the AFS will use into the future?

The strategy for The Combination was very effective. The film was the Number 1 earner against US product at the NSW sites it was playing in its first few weeks.  We believe that each film requires a very unique strategy that makes sense to reaching its desired audience. AFS is not interested in formula distribution it carefully constructs its release strategies specifically to the target audiences.

It’s no secret that the relationship between the Australian film industry and the general Australian population isn’t very healthy. Over the last 10 years, just 4% of Australia’s box office revenue has come from Australian films.  Do you see a positive future for our film industry?

There’s no denying it has been a pretty bad few years for the Aussie film industry. I do believe that things are changing and we are already seeing that with the strength of the work being released in 2009. I also am encouraged about the marketing focus being made by Screen Australia. I’ve always felt part of the issue is the fragmentation within the local community.  Part of the reason Stavros and I decided to start the festival was to help build bonds within the film community. Encouraging dialogue, making real connections and being honest with each other will help us inspire each other creatively and together we will find ways to help build a healthier industry.

Final question – what were some your personal highlights of last year’s festival, and what are you most excited about for this year?

The opening night with Unfinished Sky was a real winner as was the NSW Mining’s party on Saturday Night — people are still talking about it.  The whole program this year is super exciting. I can’t wait for audiences to sink their teeth into it.

Dungog is located 228 km north of Sydney – 3 hours by car or train.  You can find all ticketing, accommodation and festival program information on the official Dungog Film Festival website.  We hope to see you there!

Interview by Ryan Nance.

Sydney calls on artists to explore their City of Villages

City of Sydney is giving artists a chance to see their work exhibited on the city streets with the fourth annual Sydney City of Villages Poster Art Competition now open for entries. Ten finalists will be selected to have their artworks displayed throughout the City of Sydney on JCDecaux street furniture sites for four weeks in July and August.

The work judged most outstanding will also receive prize money of $3,000. The finalists will also be exhibited at Pine Street Creative Arts Centre, a unique arts centre in the heart of Sydney, from 14 July – 3 August 2009.

The Sydney, City of Villages competition began in 2006 and attracts a diverse range of paintings, drawings and prints from artists all around Australia. Artists may portray any aspect of “village” life in the City of Sydney. Last year, finalist entries were as diverse as a Balmain streetscape at sunset, a Redfern fruit stall on a rainy day and a panorama of the Anzac and Harbour Bridges from Annandale’s Federal Park.

Entries close at 5pm on Wednesday 10 June 2009.

For more details about the competition, including the curatorial brief and submission form, please visit www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/grants or call 02 9265 9296.

Creative Sydney part of Vivid Sydney 2009

Creative Sydney will present an array of the city’s most interesting and inspiring talent, from the world-renowned to the underground, in a string of free talks and events at the Foundation Hall of the Museum of Contemporary Art and The Roxy in Parramatta during the Vivid Sydney festival of music, light and ideas. With a Salon Bar open late, a provocative program and Sydney’s creative pioneers, visionaries, renegades and future stars all mingling under the one roof, Creative Sydney is set to be the bold little gem in the Vivid Sydney crown.

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tiacarrigan – emerging fashion label

Tia Carrigan is a 25 year old emerging fashion designer building her exclusive clothing business in a rural church hall in the Queensland farming district of Goondiwindi.

Tia, a fifth generation woolgrower, has incorporated rural life with her creative passion and business initiative to develop the cutting edge clothing label tiacarrigan.

Tia graduated from Moreton Institute of TAFE (Metropolitan South Institute of TAFE) in 2004 with an Advanced Diploma of Textiles Clothing and Footwear. During her final year of study, Tia’s skill and creativity impressed judges at the Australian Cotton Week Festival in Dalby, QLD, with her beaded evening gown constructed from cream calico. The gown won her the national Australian Young Designer in Cotton Awards and secured her a month-long internship with Italian fashion designer, Trussardi, in Milan Italy. Tia’s achievements during her study also include being a finalist in both the 2004 and 2003 Moda Italia competition held in Brisbane, a finalist in three categories at the 2004 Flair Fashion Awards of Taree NSW, National Finalist in the Student Category of the 2003 Australian Fashion Design Awards in Brisbane, and also completing work experience with Design Philosophy from 2002 to 2004.

More recently, Tia won the Semi-Professional category at The Australian Wool Fashion Awards in Armidale in March 2008, along with a highly commended medallion in the Collection category. Tia also took out The Australian Wool Fashion Awards prestigious Supreme Excellence Award in 2007. Tia won the award with a collection of black and cream maternity wear, which was made with a combination of both wool and stretch fabrics. Tia also showed your wears at Fashion Palette in Sydney early May 2009.

You can also check out Two Flat Whites interview with one of the guest speakers at Fashion Palette; Cathryn Wills from Mimco.

The Bumblebeez

The Bumblebeez are an eccentric brother/sister sucker punch unlike any other. No messin’. The band was formed by Chris Colonna and his sister, Pia of Braidwood, New South Wales. Chris uses a cut-and-paste technique to combine hip-hop and rock tracks to which either he or his sister (who goes by the stage name ‘Queen ViLa’) provides vocals. Though they’ve been fittingly described as “musical coleslaw”, this delicious description is somewhat of an understatement once their back catalogue and erratic brilliance live has been experienced.

While Chris Colonna has recently donned his producer hat and helmed the controls on the highly imaginative new Wolf & Cub record, he’s managed to find some time to drop an exclusive track for the V Raw project, entitled “Misfit”. Made on his Nintendo DSi using the Korg DS software with vox and drums (via the system’s inbuilt audio player), the crunchy little 8-bit banger is now out in the ether for all and sundry to absorb.

In addition to the track itself, an exclusive film made by the Glue Society inspired by “Misfit” has been created, showcasing the process that goes into a music video, highlighting the many roles and individual skills that equate to the “onscreen magic” that is generally taken for granted. Stay tuned.

Grab the track here.

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