Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Gold Mountain and Double Happiness

Drawing out New Gold Mountain this week from the Bar Secrets pack of cards for Project 2009 drinks, Erin, Dan, MJ and I made our way down to a little alley off Bourke called Liverpool, to find this destination. Spotting a big, unmarked but oriental themed door, but having some hestitation, we were urged to enter by Springer, who had arrived just in time to lead us atray!

This little dark bar had a good selection of beverages, including our measure, Mount Gay. We snappled up a table, scoped out the crowd, and then unwound for the end of the week.

Having spotted Double Happiness just next door, at a different floor level, we had our required round of drinks at destination one, and moved to the sister bar, to check this one out too. Finding a spot at the boxes at the back, surrounded by the similar themed decor, we devoured more Mount Gay, as a way to introduce it to the uninitiated MJ and Dan. They may never think of rum the same - nor should they!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ashes To Ashes

So many sleepless nights, and grumpy, tired days over the last month and a half....only to watch the Aussies let the Poms win the Ashes on English soil again. Devastating!

The first test, back in Cardiff at the beginning of July was tough, with the time difference, and the cold nights at home. Helped enormously by the wonders of the internet, and the fact that most of the girls were online for at least the forst 2 sessions - at times it felt like we were sitting in a row in the outer, with the usual banter. Good times.

With all the anticipation, and discussion about the team make up and dream team collabrations, in the week before, the first session and day was very exciting. Ending in a disappointing draw, with the bitter feelings that the Aussie didn't quite play as agressively as they could have to fashion a win...I mean, North bowling the last over, come on! Gutted!

Feeling like I was working on night shift, although with the madness of work everyday, sleep deprivation was an overriding condition of this time. England wins the test at Lord's, then another draw in Birmingham....

Finally the Aussies win in Leeds - a massive win, in three days and with an innings up our sleeve. And so it all comes down to the 5th at the Oval again. All so very, very reminiscent of 2005!

A disappointing first innings by the Aussies, in a batting line up that rarely fired in this series, we were set an impossible target for our 2nd. All over in 4 days, and the urn belongs to England again til the return series at home.

All that lost sleep, and lost hope....but shows that cricket competition is still alive and well! Our passion has not died, meaning the Aussie cricket fans, with many a blarey eyed person in the city buildings the next day.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Robot

Driving back to Melbourne in the middle of the day, I polished off some work before a beer appeared on my desk, signalling the end to a long week. Tidying up, I soon made it to the tea room to catch up with the office after being out and about all week - we seemed to hit the beers more that we have for ages!

A big group joined me for Project 2009 drinks, walking down Queen Street to Flinders Lane, and finding Bligh Place. Down the end of this is Robot, where Mary, Dan, Jess, Tara, Steve, Erin and I all found our way to the bar, in this small downstairs room. Once ordered with drink in hand, we were hassled to move away from the bar, and thus made our way to the mezzanine level.

Adorned with Japanese pieces, and comic book bits, our group drizzled into a much needed relaxed Friday night at this little tucked away bar. A unisex toilet had many patrons confused, and amazingly there was quite a crowd filling the tables outside in the Lane. Another find, for a quiet drink with a small group, this one.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hungry Kids and Bertie

After escaping the threat of having the being 'showered in' to a worksite assessment for work, and also traveling all over the place helping out the Ballarat office at the moment, I took Jo along to meet the gang for dinner at Oscar's.

Meeting up with Katie, Gina, Patto and Sarah, Kylie and Ash, who were amongst cocktails by the time we got there, we soon ordered some pretty great meals actually, and several starting beers.

A group of us then drove over the Camp Street, while some of the lads walked through the cold streets to join us at Karova. Finding that we were not on the banned list after last time, we honored our tickets at the door, received our stamps, and grabbed a beer, just in time.

A band I have been raving about to the gang filled the stage, and the Hungry Kids of Hungary started their set. Putting out their harmonies, switching lead vocals and musical talent, they made their way through their 2 EPs, with All You Need To Know, Old Money, Scattered Diamonds, and Set It Right. They tried out a couple of new ones, and a very fresh track, plus Two Stones which stood out for me, and finished with Good Times.

Ducking to the loo between sets, I managed to wait in line with the main act of the night, before grabbing another beer, and settling in for Bertie Blackman. Opening with her booming Thump from her new album, this little songstress with her quirky hair sweeps had the room enchanted.

Working her way through most of the new album, Clocks was a highlight, as was Come To Bed. A haunting cover of Phil Collins In The Air was amazing in the encore, before closing with the Sky Is Falling.

As the room started to empty, the DJ started in with That Beep, by AIH, which started all the madness last time we were at Karova on a school night! Jo, Katie and I called it quits then, knowing that the working day would hurt if we didn;t!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chinas, Scout and Night Walkers

I had convinced Dan to come out with me on a Saturday night, for another China's gig. This time at the Northcote Social Club, on a dark and wintery night. We arrived to a fairly empty band room, with the China's mingling around.

When one of my favourite 8 piece bands graced the stage, The Good China did not disappoint the loyal gathers. Opening with No More Maps No More Roads, they were full of energy and fun. Favourite tracks like All Nothing and 39 Blacks were played, along with The Couch Song, and If Pain Persists from the soon to be launched EP the guys have just finished.

Little Scout were next, a four piece band who were very engaging and full of boppy tracks. The headliners of the night were Cuthbert and The Night Walkers, who really impressed! 7 people on stage, all playing different instruments - Pace Ourselves was a stand out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Pericles

Having grabbed tickets to Pericles some months ago, Mary, Jenny and I went into town yesterday, and had brunch at Time Out in Fed Square, ready for an afternoon with Marcus.

Pericles is a play that Shakespeare had a hand in, purportedly in adapting it from a poem, although supposedly leaving it incomplete, being one of his last.

The Bell Shakespeare production had promient drums on either side of the stage as a feature, and the larger than life Marcus Graham as Pericles.

The plot was actually quite complicated and fantastical, with twists and plots to kill, people coming back from the dead, and daughters led into a bordello only to be offered to the shipwreaked and broken Pericles. Such a strange aray of twists here, we were grateful for the synopsis handout!

Some good performances, great music throughout, and our fix of Marcus for the season!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Meyers Place Bar

Project drinks this week were aligned with our need to be moving from work towards the MCG for the footy. Meyers Place Bar was drawn from the pack, meeting our criteria.

We had actually inadvertedly drank here back in the first week, when patrons were spilling out into the alley from both opposite bars. This Friday night however, it was cold and there was no need to hover outside for long. I actually had my first away from work beer at Loop, where Jenny, Amy and Shane had set up camp at the bar.

I ducked across the alley and to our destination for my second beer, and met up with Rick, before being joined by Melissa, Nick and Greg, and Yusif, as we prepared for the evening of footy.

Lauded as one of the city's first hidden alley bars, the interior was a fairly nondescript space, empty one minute, packed the next.

Sadly this bar was the highlight of our night, with a disappointing defeat to Adelaide for the Hawks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Opening Campari House

After being prayed for today at work, I packed up as fast as possible, to head out for a much needed, and may I say, deserved, drink! I had received a random invite to an opening of a new bar for tonight, and given the drive of Project 2009, I RSVPed in the interest of research. And hey, anything for a mid week drink!

Campari House is in Hardware Lane, and just a stone's throw from the office. Walking the red carpet and having my named check off at the door, I went in, picked up my free champagne, and joined Melissa, Wendy, Ang and Emily to check out this new establishment. Downstairs was filling, as we scored a canape as they went past, and heard about the different levels of the bar.

Finishing our drinks, we decided to start from the top, the astro turf rooftop bar. Complete with heaters to take off the winter air, and wall of old rustic doors to add to the atmosphere, we managed to sign up as members as we downed another round of free drinks.

Down another level, we scored a private booth, adorned with old newspaper clippings and personal bar service. The bar has been re-opened for 2 weeks, apparently, and has many of the old fixtures of the old establishment. An old ball and chain from Port Arthur is at the foot of the final stairs, if that works for you!

Finding Jenny and Kata on this level, we again finished our round of drinks, and made our way to the second level, which is a classy function room. Here we were offered more canapes, and another round of drinks, and wound down to the end of a drinking school night.

Great initiative to get people out to experience the new bar, which was packed on this night on all levels. I can totally see this as a place to start off, or for rooftop drinks, for sure. Very impressed with the effort of the night, the decor and feel, and general set up. Loved it!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Inglourious Basterds and Pippa Lee

After watching the footy beemed into our lounge room, and watching the Hawks be overrun and out played by an impresive St Kilda, I eventually headed into town for my very late night MIFF session. Having missed gaining a ticket to the first 2 sessions listed for this film, it was added as an additional session, and I managed to score a seat!

Joining the line around the corner at Greater Union for the 10.45pm session, the lines were completing headline movies, but I was in to see Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino was a guest of the Festival this year, and had captured much attention for this film.

Starring Brad Pitt, the film opens in Nazi Germany, with a Jew Hunter seeking out a hidden family. One escapes just in time, and is later found set up in France, running her own cinema. She soon finds herself in the affections of a war hero, who's heroics are to be premiered in a film - which he decides should be shown at her little establishment. The film premier grows as a German national pride moment, and she finds that the Fuher himself is to attend.

Meanwhile, Brad's character has bound together a team of US soldiers to spread fear amoung the Nazi regime. Scalping and crazy accents ensue this rabble team's work, along with the humour and layers of a Tarantino.

Such a great film! Very impressive, as only Tarantino can be!

My final MIFF movie was another one that Jenny and I had in common, and we met at seats in the cinema at Greater Union tonight. The Private Lives Of Pippa Lee stars Robyn Wright-Penn, and tracks the life of Pippa Lee as she reflects on her relationships, decisions, and how it is she has ended up with a frail husband and living in a retirement village, as a middle aged woman.

Unfortunately, the sound dropped out of our screening on a couple of occasions, showing up the wrath of perhaps over-movied Festival patrons! This drop did occur for the second time right at the point where Keanu Reeves character started his monolouge telling us about his life thus far...and was not recovered for us.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Brack, Lye and Dali

For Katrina's birthday this year, I purchased tickets for her and I to go along to two of the major art exhibitions showing in Melbourne this winter. She made her way down this morning, and we walked along Rathdowne Street to find a spot for brunch. Jumping on a tram into town and Fed Square, we used our first set of tickets at the Ian Potter Centre.

John Brack is one of Katie's favourite artists, and his collection has been on show in town for many weeks, but this weekend was the last. Iconic Australia pieces, like Man In Pub, and the mesmerising Collins St, 5pm were here, in this display of Brack's everyday life works.

Walking through the rooms taking in his suburb depiction, his dancers with Latin American Grand Final. His colours and lines, and subject matter, capture the essence of Australia. The Car and Men's Wear are taking in such everyday scenes, and yet seem filled with such character.

Moving through the rooms, and consequently Brack's life and sequence of works, we walked past groups of pieces centering around the use of pencils, later the use of a marble table was his commonality. The Battle, depicting the Battle of Waterloo, and the others from this group with pencils and cards, were quite amusing.

We had a snack and drink break at the ACMI Lounge, before following the signs to a bonus free exhibit for the day, which was recommended to me by Juzzie.

Downstairs was the Len Lye exhibit, which started with warnng signed about the need to allow your eyes to adjust to the lighting as we walked down the stairs.

Walking through and watching short film creations throughout the exhibit, these were the most impressive of Lye's works. Some made for advertisements, others are collections of ideas and images. You can totally lose yourself among these. I definately want to pop back sometime and catch the moving installations that are all timed for different display intervals. They look intriging!

Next we walked over the Yarra to the National Gallery of Victoria, to use our tickets for Dali. Having visited the Dali Museum in Spain when I was in Europe, I have been looking forward to walking through this collection since it's opening here in Melbourne.

Moving through the crowds, we took in most of the over 200 pieces of 'Salvador DalĂ­: Liquid Desire'. The disintegration of The persistence of memory was here, from his most famous images, along with his Lobster Telephone and striking self portraits.

Such an unusual collection, with the influence of his study of Freud and psychoanalysis creeping in and staying as a central theme. One of the highlights of this exhibit was the showing of Destino, the film put together from the work of Dali and Walt Disney, who briefly worked together on this recently finished piece.

Dali's move into Hollywood, and his uses in Hitchcock's work is quite mind-blowing. What a talent, with such a range shown in this exhibit, including jewelery pieces. The collection is also sporting the Memory of the Child - Woman, which returns to Melbourne after creating all matter of controvery when it was first here back in 1939.

A great, and very full, day of art, with 3 pretty amazing collections. Happy birthday, Katie!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Eternal Nightcap

Planning to go to Emerald Peacock for Project drinks this week, and for Jule's birthday, we were turned away at the door, being told we were not on the list, and didn't have a reservation. Rich, considering our group called during the week to do exactly that, and were told that it wasn't needed, nor done.

DC, Dan, Nikki and I walked around the corner instead, back to a favourite of the Project thus far, Section 8. Winter version this visit, the little caged corner of the back alley is sporting a roof from the elements, meaning little lanterns and lights around creating a great atmosphere. We were soon joined by Melissa, Springer, Melissa, and Rick for more drinks.

Devouring red wine by the glassful, Melissa, Nikki and I soon needed to jump in a cab and head to Richmond, for the gig at The Corner. Making our way to the middle of the bandroom, drinks in hand, we prepared for The Whitlams to grace the stage.

Unbeknown to me, these shows were the Eternal Nightcap shows, which gave us the treat of seeing and hearing the album played lived, from start to finish! Amazing! Opening with No Aphrodisiac, Tim and the band worked their way through this much favoured and much loved list, from Buy Now, Pay Later, and rarely heard live Love Is Everywhere.

Tim was lead vocal for all the tracks, including Where's The Enemy and the Dylan cover Tangled Up In Blue. With the ringing of the raging Band On Every Corner still hanging over the crowded Corner, the band then played a vast selection of tracks from all over albums.

I think I heard near all of my favourite tracks, with Fall For You, Duffy's Song, and ending with Royal In The Afternoon. The night found the setlist sung in unison across the packed house, in a celebration of this perennial Aussie band.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Blessed and Home Movie

After taking Mum out to breakfast for her birthday, to Piper's by the still very dry Lake Wendouree, I returned to Melbourne and to work, before taking up my next MIFF movies.

I made my way to Greater Union in time to hear the introduction to another premier Aussie film of the festival, Blessed, by the Director Ana Kokkinos. Adapted from the play Who's Afraid Of The Working Class? this film is played out in two parts, the first being the plight of the children. Kids on the streets, runaways, kids looking for trouble and finding it, kids just experiencing the hurt that life can deliver.

The next half is told of these children's mothers, and their experiences. From gambling addiction, abusive or inappropriate relationships, no good, thieving husbands, to the battles of Social Services and being totally down on all luck. Boasting performances from Deborra-Lee Furness, Miranda Otto, and Tasma Walton - and the Footscray area in all it's glory!

Another film that shows the Aussie film making talent and all it's potential, and funded by the MIFF Premiere Fund. The blows at the end of this film are full on, and leave you reeling. To the point that I called my Mum as I was leaving the cinema to tell her that I love her!

After popping home briefly, I made my way back into town and to Greater Union for my late night viewing of Home Movie. Under the Horror genre, this movie is a film debut by the Director, and an unsettling picture of home life!

Shot on handheld cameras, this little film shows that not all is right with the 10 year twins of the couple shotting their home movies. The denial and hope shown by the Pastor and the Child Psychologist, as they deal with the escalating unfolding behaviour by their two offspring is well played - the stunning blow of the crusified cat on Christmas morning is priceless!

An awesome premise, this film doesn't quite get to the peek of it's potential, but is amusing and emotion-stirring nonetheless. The ending had been built up in the synopsis, and didn't have the impact it promised.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Girlie Goldie Weekend

The girls at work had come up with a plan to go away for a weekend some time ago, and that weekend happened to be this one. Having found reasonable flights to the Gold Coast, this was our destination, on Tiger Air!

Rushing to the airport is crazy end of the week traffic, we amazingly managed to all get there, be checked in, and under our hand luggage allowances, ready for our two days in the sun, away from winter.

Piling into a limo from airport to Gold Coast strip, Nikki, Bree, Alissa, Bec and I took in the glamorous idea of being away and anonymous for a few days, stretching out on the leather seats and being stared at from outside the tainted windows.

Checking into our hotel at Surfers, being the Mantra Legends, just under the Q1 building, we soon made our way for dinner just across the road for a mixture of Italian and Turkish meals. Back to our interlocking rooms for get-ready-drinks, we then walked down to Cavill Avenue to sample what the night life had to offer a group of girls...a dodgy night out, as it turned out! Bar hopping, many drinks, witness to a punch up on the street, someone being tended to by paramedics, and much dancing! A crazy carry on, indeed!

The next day after a sleep in, we all wondered down to Cavill Avenue in the light of day for brunch, before parking ourselves poolside in the sunshine. A swim, and a few cocktails later, we were ready to get ready for another night out, and found dinner at Melbas.

After some great meals, and a free birthday cake for Bec's non-birthday (hey, the bar staff went along with it!), we made our way to the bar end of the establishment, and danced the rest of the night. The 5 of us had such a ball, just mucking about together!

Yum Cha for brunch the next morning, there was more sunning by the pool, with Alissa, Nikki and I walking along the beach and taking in the Sunday market. All too soon, our weekend away was over, and we taxied out to the airport, promising to do it again soon.
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