I came across Sydney creators Ben Chandler and Caitlin Dubler at the most recent Brand X event, The Colab Official Launch  July 23rd on Campbell Street in Darlinghurst. Six steps downstairs led me to the bottom floor of a warehouse building which had been re-purposed to fit artist collections ranging from jewellery and ceramics to androgynous spiritual wear.

Ben Chandler is the designer of the aforementioned spiritual wear and displayed his collection BLACK | KṚṢṆA which consists of cloaks, skirts, shirts, and sarongs made of fine black Japanese linens. The garments were an interesting juxtaposition against the wooden plates and cutlery that sat upon hand crafted shelves on the opposite wall. In the centre of the space, lay some ornate sterling silver jewlery designed by Caitlin Dubler. Dubler designs her rings with CAD software and a 3D printer giving her pieces an extremely unique shape and texture.



So how is it I came across this random space and hodgepodge of local artists on a Thursday night? Brand X invited me.

According to their website:

“Brand X (formerly Queen Street Studio) is a not for profit arts organisation run by Artists for Artists and is governed by a Board of Management made up of industry peers. Brand X re-purpose under-utilised space for Sydney’s performing, recording and visual art communities to practice their craft.”

The collective has up to 10-spaces available at any given time for artists to rent for studio use or in some instances apply for a full blown residency. The spaces are divided into three artist categories: Performance Artists, Visual Artists, and Musicians. Brand X exists thanks to NSW Government support via Trade and Investment Arts NSW. James Winter, Director of Brand X, estimates that approximately 20% of its resources are funded by the NSW Government with the balance coming from private donors and fundraising. Funding aside, the collective is clearly making a difference providing platforms and venues for Sydney artists to display their avant-garde creations.


Brand X brought all these artists together in one space and afforded my friends and I the opportunity to see their work. The event demonstrated one way that government funding can directly assist under resourced artists, amidst a perceived decrease in available artist grants in NSW. Brand X fulfils a public need of congregation for creators and consumers alike, hungry for culture, innovation and open wine bars.


Can you imagine a life without music ?

Life without music - Quiet Color 2


Today I was confronted with a scary question.

After reading the above passage in Kurt Vonnegut’s book on the bus into work, this morning I had my usual clumsy charades/signing convo with our office mail guy Craig about whether he had music in his life – half on paper and half dyslexic charades style signing.

Much of my day is spent trying to filter out noise – whiney colleagues, gossipy neighbours, ringing telephones – but now just the thought that not all of us are blessed with ears that work makes me gladly endure all this for the simple pleasure of being able to hear the sound of my favourite Antony & the Johnsons tune, infectious laughter, the offbeat tinkle on my piano, the words I love you…

Growing up with a poet father whose ideas and witty observations warm my heart, I’ve always known that he pours his heart and soul into his work. But I’m ashamed to admit that I only stopped illegally downloading tunes and films when I started dating a muso. I can only begin to imagine what goes into his music and lyrics, into making the world so much better for everyone. Like the rest of us, artists are not exempt from having to eat or pay the bills. We would freak if we didn’t get paid for our work. So remember this next time you illegally download.

Ask yourself – what would life be like without music/art/film. Etc










Art After Hours – Wednesday lates at the Art Gallery of NSW

Photo by Ryan Santamaria

Photo by Ryan Santamaria

If you’re anything like me and always on the hunt for fun things to do on weeknights that don’t involve drinking in noisy pubs alongside sweaty suits – you’ll love “Art After Hours” at the Art Gallery of NSW on Wednesday nights.

Art After Hours is one of my favourite things about working in the city. It’s a nice stroll through Hyde Park after work and a lovely chilled way to spend an evening. The gallery is open until 10pm every Wednesday and you can wander around the collections free of charge, which include a bunch of Aussie and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, photography and contemporary art, as well as current exhibitions “Loud!”, Brett Whiteley sculptures & ceramics, “Go East” and “Colourwheel”. PLUS you can now check out the Art Gallery’s stunning new acquisition “Jazz” by Matisse (until 25 October 2015), and loads more.

Then grab a drink and catch live music from the resident musicians which change each month. In past months we’ve seen the multi-talented musician Miriam Lieberman’s beautiful tunes from her new album – she accompanies her powerful vocals with the kora (21-stringed African harp) and acoustic guitar. Also the band Jazz Nouveau consisting of Sandro Bueno from Brazil on percussion, Joseph Calderazzo on guitar and jazz soul singer Evelyn Duprai on vocals.

This month of June/July is all about art, protest and change. The Wednesday evening sessions have included a guided tour by the assistant curator of the current “See you at the barricades” exhibition and an interesting interview of renowned artist Ben Quilty on the role of politics in his art. Upcoming sessions include a talk by Professor Shane Houston on “How has historical protest informed the present?” (1 July 2015) and by the former Justice of the High Court Michael Kirby on “How do the great speeches resonate in art today?” (8 July 2015).




Written and directed by Rick Famuyiwa, Dope premièred at the Sydney Film Festival on Monday June 8th at the State Theatre. Laced with an epic hip hop soundtrack executively produced by Pharrell, combined with fantastic acting from rising talents Shameik Moore (Malcolm) and Kiersey Clemons (Diggy) and you’ve got yourself one of the top films to be released so far this year.

A$ap Rocky gives a surprisingly strong performance as street drug dealer Dom, while Blake Anderson (Workaholics) stars as a parallel character who ‘deals’ primarily in cyberspace.  It’s an authentic capture of the digital realities of our generation, and the opportunities (both legal and illegal) that this new landscape affords. It’s Ferris Bueller meets Friday in 2015 and despite some brief and fleeting moments of cheese, it’s a fantastic film. Dope will launch across the U.S. on June 19. 


The public library – a festival of knowledge and ideas, every day of the year

If you’re lucky enough to visit Sydney when our many festivals are on, such as Sydney Festival, Art and About, Vivid, Sydney Writers’ Festival, Biennale of Sydney and Sydney Film Festival and so on, you will be immersed in ideas, ideas and more ideas!

We’re all loving Vivid at the moment, it’s an 18 day celebration of ideas, music and light. When a friend wondered the other day, “why isn’t Vivid on all the time?” I thought yes that would be awesome, but to be fair Sydney is a city of ideas all the time, and one of our key sources of ideas is our large network of public libraries.

When was the last time you visited a library? One of my favourite memories as a child is my mate and I being dropped off at the local library after school so we could raid the racks of trashy teen Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club novels. During my undergraduate years group cramming sessions at the State Library of NSW were rewarded with happy hour shots at the seedy Criterion pub up the road. These days I frequent the library for a number of different reasons, a few of which are outlined below.

The State Library of NSW’s famous Mitchell Library Reading Room. Image by A Certain Slant of Light

The State Library of NSW’s famous Mitchell Library Reading Room. Image by A Certain Slant of Light



One of my favourite writers and visionaries Ray Bradbury was self-educated, and a huge promoter of the library, having begun going to the library three nights a week for almost ten years after graduating from high school in 1938. He went on to write the brilliant collection of short stories set on Mars, The Martian Chronicles, which was published only three years after “graduating” from the library. The award-winning novel for which he’s best known, Fahrenheit 451, was published six years after his library “graduation” and is set in a future world where books are banned and firemen drive around burning books.

Bradbury is quoted as saying “I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college…I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library…” He believed that colleges were “a very bad place for writers” because teachers have prejudices and think they know more than students, whereas libraries allow for independent thought and interpretation: “The information is all there for you to interpret You discover it for yourself[1]“.

Continue reading…

Boondocks Theme Song Still Classic

One of my favorite opening themes to any show is this epic rap track by Asheru. The theme song and his other musical contributions to ‘The Boondocks’ actually won Asheru a Peabody Award in 2006. Check out the stoic lyrics under the vid to rap along..

I am the stone that builder refused
I am the visual
The inspiration
That made lady sing the blues

I’m the spark that makes your idea bright
The same spark
that lights the dark
So that you can know your left from your right

I am the ballot in your box
The bullet in your gun
The inner glow that lets you know
To call your brother son
The story that just begun
The promise of what’s to come
And I’m ‘a remain a soldier till the war is won


We’re out of chicken soup!
it doesn’t matter anymore
the loss is lost and nevermore
new beginnings always grow
like spring chickens in the snow


New Heartless Bastards Track

Erika Wennerstrom’s powerful vocals have driven Cincinnati rock band The Heartless Bastards for the past decade. Billboard recently premièred a track from the four-piece band’s soon to be fifth album entitled Restless Ones. The track is called “Black Cloud” and you can check it out below.