Friday, February 27, 2015

Over and out

Tomorrow is officially the last day of what has been a somewhat patchy summer.  Speaking of the sun and all things solar - Murundaka Cohousing Community in Heidelberg Heights is holding its Solar Saturday Lounge Party tomorrow from 10 am - 9 pm at 42 Bamfield Road.  This boutique festival featured a three-course lunch, workshops and live music as well as a special performance by comedian Rob Quantock.  Proceeds from the day will fund the installation of solar panels on a community building.  Cost: adult $30 - $65.
Image via Murundaka Facebook page
If you are contemplating getting solar panels installed, it's interesting to note that Banyule Council supports Positive Charge - an initiative of the Moreland Energy Foundation - where households and businesses can solar bulk buy to get a better deal.  Apparently installation costs start at around $3140 and households can expect to save around $1000 per year off their electricity bill once panels are installed.
Image via Bell St Mall
There are lots of events on this weekend including a Lunar New Year Twilight Market tonight from 5 - 9 pm in the Bell St Mall in Heidelberg West.  St Anthony's Primary School at 52 Austin Street in Alphington is also holding a twilight fair from 3.30 - 8.30 pm tonight featuring stalls by chefs from Coda and Estelle.
Image via
Farmers markets on tomorrow include the Monty Farmers Market, Coburg Farmers Market and Slow Food Melbourne at Abbotsford Convent while on Sunday, the Brunswick Music Festival and Sydney Road Street Party starts.  I hope you have a great weekend farewelling summer and ushering in a new season.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dada Lives!

There are a couple of upcoming art events to talk about today, including the opening tonight of Octoroon - a LUMA exhibition which challenges expectations around representations of identity in contemporary aboriginal art.  It features the work of Peta Clancy & Helen Pynor, Bindi Cole and Steven Rhall and has been curated by Michael Brennan and Bindi Cole.  The exhibition is on until 3 April at La Trobe University Museum of Art (LUMA) which is open Monday to Friday 10 am - 5 pm.  Entry is free.
Image via LUMA: Peta Clancy & Helen Pynor, The Body is a Big Place, (detail), 2011, video production still.
Photo: Chris Hamilton
Closer to home, Dada Lives! will run from 3 March to 4 April at Hatch Contemporary Arts Space.  It will be officially opened next Wednesday night from 6 - 8 pm by Councillor Craig Langdon Mayor of Banyule Council and Exhibition Curator Joe Pascoe.  Dada (or Dadaism) was an art movement of the European avant-guarde in the early 20th century.  Dada Lives! features the work of 11 different artists including artist-in-residence and book sculptor Nicholas Jones.  There'll also be a Dada Circle coffee and cake event held on Sunday 8 March from 2.30 - 4 pm with Stephen Benwell, Mark Cain, Grace McQuilten and Joe Pascoe.  Hatch is located at 14 Ivanhoe Parade in Ivanhoe.  Open Tuesday to Saturday 10 am - 5 pm with free entry.  For more information:
Image via Banyule City Council

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hot in the city

Well we had a big day and night in the city on Saturday.  We'd bought tickets a while ago to see The Lion King and boy, was it spectacular!  While Mr Rosanna and I had previously considered taking the kids to see Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I'm glad we waited to see The Lion King as their first musical - it was amazing.  If you go, make sure you get there and seated before opening time as the Regent Theatre has a strict lock out period.  Some unlucky theatre goers missed the opening scene which was probably the most breathtaking.  Other standouts for me were the solo performances by the adult Nala and Simba, as well as the monkey witch doctor Rafiki who were all fantastic.  From the singing and dancing, to the visual effects, African choir, puppetry and live orchestra including African drums - it was probably the best, and most culturally diverse, musical I have seen and that includes having gone to the West End in London.  We loved it!
I'd booked a bay with Wilson Parking a few weeks ago (Secure Parking also has a similar cheaper Secure-a-Spot online booking system) so we decided to stay in the city for the start of White Night and headed to Chinatown.  Chinese New Year weekend actually coincided with White Night this year.  We grabbed a bit to eat at my uncle George's restaurant Golden Orchids before heading to Cohen Place near the Chinese Museum.

My kids had an absolute ball sitting on the bean bags in front of the big screen watching a number of martial arts demonstrations including Tai Chi (which you can do locally in Bundoora, Camberwell, Doncaster, Doncaster East and Eltham) and an incredible trio of Taiwanese performers.  The boys also loved the interactive dance troupe who got them all up pretending to be dragons, lions and monkeys.  There was also a lantern lighting ceremony for charity lanterns hanging on the only tree in Chinatown followed by a series of Chinese Kung Fu movies starting with Kung Fu Panda for the kids.

We didn't stay for the whole thing but with the overall vibe and the crowds in the city - it felt like Melbourne was truly alive.  Apparently numbers for White Night were down compared with the previous two years but for us, having our children with us, we were glad to be able to walk down the streets without being crushed.  While we missed a lot of the light projections and other installations, it was fun to take the boys for a slushy and final toilet pit stop on the 35th floor of the Sofitel no less, which has some of the most amazing views of Melbourne at night.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Gambolling in

Happy Chinese New Year to you!  I have found 2015 to be more than a little bit overwhelming, despite my best intentions of keeping things simple, so I for one am happy to start the year all over again.  I wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and prosperous year in this Green Wood Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram - may it be kinder to you than the Year of the Horse.
Image via Downloadable Calendar Templates
So what does it all mean?  Hopefully a more calm and gentle year than last year, perhaps more inwardly focused as well.  The Sheep belongs to the same family as Pig and Rabbit so you if you are born in those years, 2015 is meant to be lucky for you as lovers of beauty, creativity and the arts.  I'm no astrologer so if you want to find out more about your own sign this year, you can do so here.  I also think this Australian Chinese Zodiac is a bit of fun as well.
Image via Melbourne Chinese New Year 2015
This weekend is looking big in Melbourne not only with celebrating Chinese New Year but also White Night on Saturday 21 February (along with a whole heap of other events - take care if you are in the city).  It's meant to be hot so I'm tipping that there'll be a lot of people hitting the streets of Melbourne to celebrate this annual Arts event, which is also celebrated in other global cities.
Image via White Night Melbourne
Closer to home, the Eltham Jazz Food & Wine Festival is being held this weekend while the Ivanhoe Makers Market is on this Saturday.  There'll also be a Chinese New Year Celebration held at Manningham City Square in Doncaster where you'll actually see my Dad performing in his band, The Silver Echoes, on Saturday afternoon.  Also a tip if you are contemplating yum cha in the area, besides Golden Dragon Palace and Taipan, the Age Good Food guide has given Secret Kitchen at Doncaster Shoppingtown a big tick for both its yum cha and its duck...maybe it's not so secret anymore!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Stars and stripes

I am born on the fourth of July so it was probably just a matter of time before I visited American style restaurant Bobo's Diner in Ivanhoe, which has been open for over a year now.  Mr Rosanna and I had an impromptu dinner there with the boys last night and it was fun!  Serving wood fired pizzas, ribs, burgers, slaw and salads, it's quite a cool concept for conservative Ivanhoe and a refreshing change from some of the more beige cafes and shops to be found in the strip.

Despite the lure of the ribs and wings, Mr R and I both went for burgers - he tried the Hottie (yes, that chipotle mayo is hot) and I had The Vaughan which consisted of pulled pork, Bobo's slaw and pineapple relish.  It was delicious but messy!  We sat in one of the booths but a number of people came in and sat outside in the beer garden, which looked pretty inviting on a warm evening.  The service was excellent although it was a quieter night being a Monday.
While I was there I picked up a brochure for yoganauts - a fun and imaginative series of kids yoga classes being held on three Saturday mornings - the next two are being held on Saturday 21 February and Saturday 14 March from 9.30 - 10.30am - in the Rosina Auditorium at the Abbotsford Convent.  Tickets are $14 per child per class and less for 2 or more siblings.  You can book on 0476 15 77 15 or simply come along on the day.
Yoganauts image via Abbotsford Convent
And while I'm on the topic of ribs, Mr R and I have previously had ribs from Sinners Macleod (which is takeaway only) and can also vouch for them.  Sinners also do pizza and pasta but I think their ribs are pretty special.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Local Profile - Danielle Zanetti

It's no secret that I absolutely love all things Art Deco so you can imagine my delight when I discovered Danielle Zanetti's handmade jewellery courtesy of the Skirt and Shirt Market at The Abbotsford Convent.  It is exquisitely made and captures all the things I love best about Art Deco - simple yet bold and stylish as well.  Read on for more about Danielle....
Name: Danielle Zanetti
Occupation: Jewellery Designer
Lives/works: Thornbury
How long have you lived/worked here? Roughly 20 years
Describe what you do:
I love making things and started making jewellery when I was pregnant with my first child 13 years ago (I now have 3 girls).  My studio is home based which is fantastic when you have the urge to make something in the middle of the night.  Collecting vintage chain, semi-precious beads and anything else that can inspire my creativity for jewellery design is my passion.  Every design is made by me in my studio.  In 2009 I won an award at the Fashion Exposed Trade Fair for best accessories.  That was fantastic and got the ball rolling for a lot of exposure in magazines.

Best thing about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
There is a strong creative community in the north.  The arts of all kinds are supported in so many fabulous ways.  The north has so much talent hidden away in studios, markets and pop-up shops etc.  Oh and did I mention the cultural diversity?  It's wonderful - especially the food.

For more information:
Facebook: Danielle Zanetti Jewels
Market: Skirt and Shirt Market at The Abbotsford Convent - 3rd Sunday of the month
Mobile: 0433 995 155

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Love is all around us

The second annual Supergraph show starts at the Exhibition Buildings tomorrow and I had friends who went last year who bought a number of fashion illustrator Angie Rehe's prints (they look particularly lovely on display in bedrooms) who is actually taking a workshop at this year's event. Local artist Rona Green will also be showing her hand coloured linocuts in this year's show as well as renowned artist Pamela Irving who will be showing selected prints.  Given it's Valentine's Day weekend, I love the heart shaped vases by Lovestar who will be at Supergraph this year.  Tickets are $8 entry.
Queen of Hearts seafoam vase via Lovestar
Speaking of artists, local printmaker Georgia Thorpe is currently showing her work 'Dream Homes' in the window of Port Jackson Press Print Room in Collingwood.  The first Take 2 Market for this year is also being held on Sunday at the Queen Victoria Market - the place where I ate my first ever Spanish donut.
Georgia Thorpe woodcut, Dream Homes 2015 via Port Jackson Press Facebook page
I'll be back tomorrow with a fitting local profile for the season of love.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A heart full of love

Yes, it's Valentine's Day this coming Saturday and while, like many couples, Mr Rosanna and I don't celebrate it, I have an enduring love for all things heart-shaped and it remains a continuing motif in my life.  I'm not the only one - one of my favourite stylists, Pia Jane Bijkerk also has a similar one which is documented in one of her books I have called My heart wanders and whose daughter was born on Valentine's Day!  Janine Burke has also written a biography called The Heart Garden, which is also in my library, on Sunday Reed who actually created a heart-shaped garden at Heide Museum of Modern Art.
Image via Pia Jane Bijkerk blog
Image via fishpond
I have a number of pieces of Tiffany jewellery by 1970s style icon Elsa Peretti whose designs include both the more common open heart series - I actually prefer the more organic shape of her full heart range.  Locally, Cinnamon Lee has her secret heart range of jewellery and Misuzi also do a range featuring hearts, as do By Charlotte and Nicole Fendel.
Image via Tiffany website
I also love the Blank Goods range of Valentine's Day craft ideas - so many to choose from in their Valentine's Day online shop including the DIY Cookie Love Notes and Draw Your Dreams kit.
Image via Blank Goods website
I am a bit of a bower bird and many of the things I've collected on my travels or been given by friends and family over the years carry the most sentiment for me - some Indian brass bells, a vintage typewriter, miniature elephants, Buddha heads, teapots, feathers and shells.  The most precious thing I think you can give someone in life is your attention and time.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Merri souls

I took Mr Rosanna to see the sold out Paul Kelly & The Merri Soul Sessions gig at Zoo Twilights on Saturday night as his belated birthday present from last year and it was fabulous!  While he is an Australian music legend, I'd not actually ever seen Paul Kelly live - it was a seamless performance as you would expect from such a seasoned professional.
Image via Paul Kelly website
Mr R and I actually got there late (doors open at 5.30pm if you want to stake out a good position).  This would be before the tree that is slap bang in the middle of the lawn and slightly left of the stage so you can also see the accompanying big screen (it's also closer to the food vans if you don't bring in picnic food, which are located behind the first aid area/reptile enclosure to the far left).
We didn't mind being up the back as we were out of the sun which was still stinging hot at 6.30pm (take hat, sunscreen and sunglasses if you do go earlier) and it also meant we could make a quick getaway after the gig was over.  We were right near the lion enclosure and music over the course of the night was interspersed with their occasional roaring and rumbling, which makes the zoo experience all the more unique.

Highlights of the night included duets by all the singers including Dan Sultan, Clairy Browne (who Mr R and I have previously seen live), Vika & Linda Bull and Kira Puru as well as an encore performance which ended with them all singing acapella.  It was also great to hear some of Paul Kelly's other hit songs including How to make gravy, Sweet guy, Song from the 16th Floor, Give in to my love, Dumb things as well as Beggar on the street of love (which has also been covered by Jenny Morris).
Image via Pledge Music
For Christmas this year, I actually gave Mr Rosanna the limited edition vinyl box set of The Merri Soul Sessions along with some Whisky Stones - a good idea if you have any whisky drinkers in your household.
Image via Peter's of Kensington

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sustaining life

The 16th Annual Sustainable Living Festival starts this Saturday and there are lots of activities on around the place.  I love that their banner this year is an ice cream (what a nice segue way from yesterday's post)!  Son number one is very concerned about global warming (as am I) and asked me the other day if we were getting solar panels installed at our house...
Banner image via Sustainable Living Festival website
I also wanted to mention the True Earth market (in addition to the Treasure Exchange market held on Saturdays at CERES), which supports ethical independent business and community awareness, is being held at CERES in Brunswick on the weekend of the 21/22 February as part of the festival.  I think it would be a good one to go to.
Image via True Earth market
Closer to home, you can do a number of different Sustainable Living and Gardening classes at Bulleen Art and Garden.  My pick would be the upcoming Tomato Passata Day - The Italian Way being held in Maria and Ciro's Italian backyard in Donvale - tickets for which are selling fast.
Image via Manningham City Council
Banyule and Manningham Councils have also teamed up to introduce the Smart Living seminar series - a six week program of free events being held on consecutive Wednesday evenings starting 25 February.  It features some of Melbourne's best known thrifty living experts, landscape designers, gardeners and foodies including Tanya Ha, Jane Edmanson and Tobie Puttock.

The sun has finally come out in Melbourne and it's going to be a hot weekend.  I'll be back next week with lots more including a new local profile.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

I scream, you scream

While it's not been the hottest summer in Melbourne, The Age Good Food guide has done a round up of the 10 best gelati bars around and, not surprisingly, the majority are in or near Carlton - our own version of Little Italy.  They include Pidapipo, Helados Jauja and Casa Del Gelato all on Lygon Street in Carlton as well as my old local Gelobar, further up Lygon Street in Brunswick East.  Il Melograno on High Street Northcote also made the cut as well as N2 Extreme Gelato on Brunswick Street and Gelato Messina on Smith Street, in Fitzroy.  Travelling ice cream truck Billy Van Creamy can also be found at Ruckers Hill in Northcote or the Edinburgh Gardens in Fitzroy North.
Image via Pidapipo Facebook page
Image via Billy van Creamy Twitter page
And while I'm on the topic of all things Italian, there is also going to be a Melbourne Tomato Festival held on Sunday 1 March at the Grossi family Farm Vigano in South Morang - tickets for which are currently on sale.  My friend Celestina is Italian and I love that her family had an annual saucing and bottling tradition, as well as making Christmas sweet pancello every year for many years.  Along with the Melbourne Tomato Festival, there will be a related gala dinner held at Merchant in Collins Street with special guest Teresa Oates from Mangia! Mangia! book fame and local restaurant All'antica in Burgundy Street, Heidelberg.
Image via Melbourne Tomato Festival

Monday, February 2, 2015

Jump and climb

There were a few things on this past weekend which I didn't get a chance to post about including the opening of Latitude Melbourne - a new trampoline and climbing centre which has opened in West Heidelberg, which will give Bounce Blackburn and Clip n Climb in Richmond a run for their money if you have kids.  I've already been to a number of birthday parties at Bounce and I am also still old enough to remember when there was a roller skating rink in Heidelberg when I was growing up.  I think the closest one now is Skaterz in Eltham.
Fairfield Summer Concert Series image via Multicultural Arts Victoria
The Fairfield Summer Concert Series held by Multicultural Arts Victoria also started yesterday in the Fairfield Amphitheatre where I've previously seen African Drumming and Dancing - and will be held every Sunday throughout February from 5 - 7.30 pm - entry is free.
Image via Bell St Mall
While Chinese New Year doesn't officially start until 19 February - there are celebrations which have already started if you check out the Mel: Hot or Not blog and locally, there will be a twilight market celebrating the Lunar New Year on Friday 25 February from 5 - 7 pm in the Bell St Mall in Heidelberg West.  I've also heard the celebration in Box Hill is good if you don't feel like going to the city.

Interesting to see that vegetarian restaurant Smith & Daughters in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy was the winning restaurant for Dimmi's 2015 People's Choice Awards.  I've long liked Shakahari in Faraday Street, Carlton which is a Melbourne institution.  If you are a vegetarian there is a very entertaining, and very popular blog called The Veggie Mama which you should check out.