Franco Franco, Surry Hills

Franco Franco

Not far from where I live there’s a really large restaurant space on Crown Street. In the almost twenty years I’ve lived in Sydney it’s had at least four or possibly five incarnations. I remember when it was called “Thai Orchid” (or something like that) back in the nineties. I think it was when it became “Yai” that the space was expanded. A few years ago, the cuisine changed from Asian to Italian, as it became “Cafe Sicilia” and more recently, “Franco Franco”. Throughout all of these incarnations, it’s a place I’ve enjoyed going to.

As with “Cafe Sicilia”, “Franco Franco” is “very Italian” with waiters who speak Italian to each other in conversation, and the other week, as I passed I noticed there was a large family party on the balcony celebrating a child’s confirmation. The two blokes sitting to our right tonight also spoke in Italian.

“We should pay with your credit card and we might get a discount”, I joked to my friend tonight (her surname is Italian, with an immigrant family history on her father’s side). For two mains (pasta and veal), an entree (a shared meats/cheese plate), and a fair amount of wine, we spent about $70 each. Although the service was a little slow tonight, and a little bit sloppy in parts, the staff were apologetic and threw in an extra couple of glasses of wine for free. Although we had planned enjoying a tasty desert, there wasn’t anywhere near enough room by the end.

It's beyond my control by Zhu Jia

Gallery Crawl

There are a couple of really stunning video works in the exhibition, LandSeaSky currently showing at the National Art School in Sydney. The one that really caught my attention, appealed to both my head and my heart, was a work called Littoral (2014) by Derek Kreckler. As you walk into the space on the second floor, images of large waves at sea are projected onto vertical blinds. Behind the blind, an electric fan slowly oscilates, moving the vertical blinds, giving an actual sense of movement beyond that which is shown through the projection. It’s a physically beautiful work and Kate and I sat and watched it for quite some time, as part of our all-day Saturday “Gallery Crawl”.

Well, not so much “all day” as we started off with some late morning yum cha. From there we wandered to White Rabbit, one of our favourite galleries. I really loved the last exhibition there, though was not as excited about this one, “Commune” which runs until February next year. There are some really good works in the exhibition. In particular, we both really loved The Remnants of Images (2013), by Hu Jieming, where some wonderful older photographs have been animated slightly with modern images. If you love photography, you’ll really enjoy the way the images have been modified, modernised, and presented.

You Don't Know What You Don't Know by Zhou Xiaohu

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know by Zhou Xiaohu

But aside from that, there wasn’t too much I couldn’t really get too excited about. Though something happened which took me back to the last exhibition and the really really amazing work by Zhou Xiaohu featuring incredibly life like sculptures. They were so lifelike even one of the gallery attendnants mentioned he sometimes became confused. As I entered the second floor today I saw a similarly life-like sculpture sitting on a bench, looking intently at his mobile phone. As I moved closer to have a look I noticed his thumb was slowly sending a text message. I was so intrigued I went up for a really close look. Really close. “Amazing”, I thought to myself. A few seconds later, the “sculpture” got up from the bench and walked away. I can laugh about it now, though I felt mortified at the time.

Throughout the afternoon we visited a few other galleries in the area. We both really liked “The War On Perspective” by Timothy Harland at X88 Gallery. I really loved his image of the now de-commissioned Sydney Monorail, and I suspect I’ll go back and purchase a copy. We also popped in to William Wright Gallery on Stanley Street where the artist, Ann Graham had an exhibition opening. Upstairs there was a really intriguing body of work, where the artist had made clothing from dog hair. Accompanying the clothing were photographs of people wearing the clothing and the dogs which, presumably, it came from.

We ended the day at the Sydney Opera House for “Now I’ll Have To Kill You”, a comedic story telling night hosted by Glenn Robbins and featuring Davd O’Neill, Peter Berner and Kitty Flanning. It was a rally fun way to end a really enjoyable day. Kate’s on her way back to Newcastle, and I’m home for a quiet night after a reasonably busy week both at work and socially. Time for a bit of catch up TV, I suspect.

Lowes Gets Funky

Lowes Gets Funky

Spotted these on the way home, so thought I’d share. It’s worth noting, Lowes is normally a reasonably conservative discount clothing store for men. A great place for jocks, sox, and other “men’s stuff”. At around $200, this range of suits is tempting (for a bit of fun), and great to see them doing something a little different.