Tag: sydney festival

Hot in the City

As I listened to the radio this morning, Liz Ellis played the classic summer song, “Hot In The City” by Billy Idol. Twelve hours later, and as I walked home, the song was back in my head. It was appropriate for the weather. Also as I walked home tonight I found myself stuck behind a series of tall women, all of whom walked side-to-side across the footpath. I’d been out with Graeme for several hours and I was kinda in a mood to get home quickly. They’d also been out with friends for several hours, I assumed, and had a bit to drink, I also assumed by the way they walked. “Get out of my way”, I found myself wanting to say. Graeme and I had met at four this afternoon outside St James Station.

As I waited for my bus from Surry Hills prior to meeting to Graeme, I noticed an ANZ bank advertisement was being filmed nearby. As I waited at the bus stop, I didn’t know I was part of the assembled cast of extras until a woman came up to me offering me chicken, and until the woman next to me was called for her scene. It was, to the best of my knowledge, the only time a proper film – not a student film – has been made in my area, so keep an eye out for it, and you might just see me in the background.

As it was, we probably met too early. Even though there were bits and pieces happening in Hyde Park, most of the action didn’t get underway until six. And so Graeme and I wandered around for a couple of hours, looking at the sights, marvelling at how the city was about to be transformed, and then finally having a beer at The Windsor which, apparently, no longer has air conditioning.

Along the way, Graeme tweeted parts of what we did…

sitting in hyde park at sydney festival opening day, fucking hot, sweating! about 7 hours ago from mobile web

james is getting sausage at sauerkraut sisters stand in the domain about 6 hours ago from mobile web

at the shift having a refreshing bevvie about 4 hours ago from mobile web

busting to central is not fun! A gazillion festival goers trying to go home, 36 minutes ago from mobile web

Highlights of the First Night of Sydney Festival for us included the Bollywood Dance Routine, some of the acrobatic works, and the weather itself. On a slightly political note, it was great to see so much Indian culture celebrated tonight. We left when we found the crowds became all a bit too much. That said, it was a fine, fine night in Sydney. Close to midnight and it’s still pretty warm right now. We ended the night with a drink or two at the Midnight Shift, which both of us noted was far busier than New Years Eve. Worse still, they showed endless hours of Fashion TV. And when that also became to busy, we decided it was time to head home. Happy Sydney Festival.

Here’s Grace

Grace Jones was just a tiny spot on the stage last night, but she still managed to fill The Domain. She was, of course, the star attraction for the Sydney Festival First Night. And for me, the main attraction.

In common with a lot of similarly aged poofs, I’ve been a Grace Jones fan for a long, long, time. At about the age of eighteen I remember seeing, “Walking In The Rain” being played on Countdown, and being totally blown away. Along the way I’ve followed her musical career, though I’ve never been a fan of her acting. Unfortunately I never saw her the last time she played in Australia twenty years ago, as I was living in a different state. A different time and place. And so for me, getting to The Domain and finding a good spot was a high priority last night.

As Damo and I headed towards The Domain for the Sydney Festival First Night, we were blown away with how many people there were. We both quickly noticed, though, how seemingly few police and security guards there were. Somehow, the crowd managed to look after itself. A function, I guess, of being a drug and alcohol-free event. Well, for the public anyway. I’m not sure if I could say the same about Grace Jones!

I was blown away by the show. It’s as if her voice had never changed (and she was most definitely singing live). The most popular numbers were, not surprisingly, “Love Is The Drug”, “La vie en rose” and “Pull Up To The Bumper”. The audience was less-familiar with some of her other songs. I’d estimate only about a third of those attending The Domain would have known much about her musical career, as they were in the twenties and early thirties. But for me and a large number of similarly-aged people it was a great trip down memory lane, as we sang along, and danced with her like it was the mid 80s all over again.

Another great part of the show was her between-song-patter which was always very amusing. “You know I came to Australia twenty years ago and carved my initials in a tree. I’m still trying to find that tree. I must have been pretty fucked up at the time”, she said at one point to howls of laughter from the audience. Later at the after-show party at Hyde Park Barracks, a mate I work with quipped, “She’s looking in the wrong place. The tree’s ten feet taller now!”.

The other memorable “Grace Jones Moment” was when she suddenly invited people up on stage to “party”. It was pretty clear this was a spontaneous moment which the security guards had not been briefed on. While at first there was just two or three people dancing with her, by the end of the song there must have been fifty. Memorably, she told someone to “stop pushing, or I’ll get down there and PUSH YOU”. On another occasion, she noted a young bloke was having trouble climbing up on the stage, and observed, “He must have had too much to drink”. And then there was the moment where she bent and over and simulated sex with a young bloke she was dancing with, to howls of audience cheers. Oh, and the great moment where a bloke pulled out a camera seeking a photograph with her on stage, which she just dismissed with her hand. I could go on… All of these comments were delivered with the characteristic Grace Jones deadpan delivery.

In some ways, she was a slight parody of herself. But what a great parody! And, my how that small spot on the stage managed to command a lot of attention. Thank goodness for the big screens. Clearly the show was designed with them in mind. With each song there was a new costume or hat. Most memorable was the “disco bowler”, a bowler hat covered in sparklers, reflecting laser light. If there’s gonna be a DVD of the show, I’ll be lining up to buy it!