18 October 2012

Shhhh....It's a Silent Dinner Party!

Wowsers! I can't believe it's been seven months since I've last updated this blog - representin' the 'justout' part of this blog's name!

It's been an unbelievably busy year for me, which has included trips to Vietnam, NYC, Peru and Bolivia.  Additionally, it's been hard to avoid getting soaked up in Melbourne's fun and games.

Just a quick one while it's fresh on my mind.  Last weekend I experienced one of the most awkward nights of my life.  More awkward than that time I went to Mario Testino's exclusive launch party and asked him who he was.

As part of the Melbourne Fringe Festival, I attended a Silent Dinner Party, hosted in a cosy house in Carlton.  The concept is easy, but complying with the rules is another story.  A typical dinner party at a house, bring your own wine, amongst strangers.  Rules below:
  • Please do not use words or your voice
  • Please don't read or write
  • Try to make as little noise as possible
  • Don't interact with your personal technology
  • Stay with it for at least 2 hours
When I first arrived, the host, Honi, welcomed me with a large grin, hand in air waving ecstatically.  As we waited for all the guests to arrive, one of the waitresses accidentally smashed a glass on our table.  We chuckled, as quietly as possible.

As I had attended the dinner by my lonesome, initially it was difficult for me to communicate with the other guests, who mostly appeared to be joined by company.  However, soon enough, everyone's wine had done its job by the time we finished the entree of grilled mushroom.  With an abundance of masking tape lying around (primarily used to cover any labels and text on our bottles), things got a bit out of hand.

One guest, who's name I will never know, became our masking tape victim for the evening.  First, someone had taped a bottle cap to his eye.  Next up was a hat made of a napkin taped together.  I joined in on the fun by creating a hook for his hand.  Following this, another guest moulded a bird for his shoulder.  We were giggling quietly yet uncontrollably at this stage, which distracted us from our tasty main course, comprising of seasoned beans, a vegetable curry and a dahl-like soup.

By the end of the evening, we were all playing (not so) musical chairs and even had a silent dance party.  Having easily surpassed the two hour mark (we lasted over three hours), we were eventually asked to leave.  I rode onwards, acknowledging I would probably never see or speak to the other guests again, despite having experienced a very memorable night together. 

06 April 2012

Souvenirs & Accruals

It's been longer than an anaconda since I made a film.  I finally had some time this loooong weekend to finish this baby off!

10 February 2012

Saaaa Paaaa

It seems like a distant memory now, but over the Christmas break I visited Vietnam for a jam packed holiday.  In two weeks, I managed to visit the cool north (Sapa, Hanoi, Ha Long Bay), the relaxing central coast (Hoi An), and also experienced the heat of the South (Ho Chi Minh / Saigon and the Mekong Delta).  I'd be lying if I said the trip wasn't rushed, but I'm glad I still got to see so much of Vietnam.

I met my friend Will (from Brisbane) in Hanoi the day before we headed to Sapa.  From Hanoi, we caught the overnight, rickety train to Lao Cai, then hopped onto a bus to Sapa.  After very little sleep, we had arrived in Sapa, ready for two days of trekking.  I was surprised how cold it was...10 degrees celcius, but this should have been expected considering how close we were to the Chinese border.

Along the main street of Sapa are countless massage parlours and traveller's goods stores - a paradise for trekkers.  I immediately bought a cheap, fake North Face backpack that lasted two days before all the zips broke.  However, two days was all I needed it for so I considered it money well spent!  Within hours of arriving in Sapa, we headed off on a trekking tour towards Tavan, a sleepy little village where we were to spend the night.  Along the way, we crossed a number of suspension bridges and saw some amazing sights including vast hillsides of rice paddies (that looked like steps created for giants) and some of the most picturesque mountain ranges in Vietnam.

A number of local, ethnic minorities, dressed in their traditional clothing and sporting their tribe's tartan headscarves, joined us along the way.  Initially they were friendly and helpful, conversing with us in their broken English and guiding us through some difficult terrains.  However, their hospitality seemed a little artificial when they asked us to purchase items from them when we reached their local villages along our route.  When we stopped in their villages for lunch, their kids and grandkids would swarm around us, begging us to buy bracelets from them.  It was difficult not to; they were adorable, but strangely, at the same time, very aggressive.

By the afternoon we had arrived at our destination in Tavan.  We decided to explore the river nearby, the local school (all the schools are painted yellow and decorated with bunting), and sip beers on a bridge.  It was a pretty perfect afternoon until I saw a restaurant advertising dog on its menu. 

Afterwards we decided to hang around our homestay.  In my opinion, the homestay resembled more of a basic guesthouse as our group of five were housed in a separate building next to the main residence.  For dinner that night, the lovely lady who hosted us cooked us a delicious meal from locally sourced ingredients.  We also got to enjoy the delights of their local 'happy water', a fancy term for rice wine.  We stayed up late shooting down happy water and playing drinking games using chopsticks and cards.  

I felt sorry for Will the next morning, who had to nurse a nasty hangover for the rest of our trek.  I felt more sorry though, for a pig that was squealing outside our homestay all morning as it was inhumanely tied onto the back of a motorbike, on its way, presumably, to the markets in Sapa.  We were rewarded with even more beautiful scenery on our second day.  The sun had come out and the mist had cleared, as we walked along some steep hills, through farmland, bamboo paths and rice paddies to reach the Zaandtachaa waterfall.  We sat on top of the waterfall, which overlooked one of the large yellow schools and a number of large houses on the mountain across from us.

By the time we got back to Sapa later that day, we were exhausted, deciding to get a head and shoulder massage - I still don't know why we didn't go for the foot and leg massage considering all our trekking.  Will and I decided to buy the ugliest shirts we could find at the local Sapa markets and we succeeded.  However, we upset a few vendors with our ruthless lowballing when it came to bargaining!  That night we caught the overnight train back to Hanoi to continue the next leg of our amazing adventure.

More to come next post!

31 January 2012

Chaco Kato Launch @ CHL

Our second launch at Chapter House Lane was a couple weeks ago, introducing Chaco Kato's Liquid Neurology exhibition.

We have another exhibition opening night this Thursday night (2 Feb) at 6pm. Come ch-ch-check it out!

30 January 2012

Home Boys Home Girls Home


Here is one of my favourite poems that I found in a children's picture book exhibition that perfectly describes my thoughts during my recent visit in Brisbane:

Home is where we make the world,
where we learn and grow and play.
Home is the first world we explore,
where we take our first steps.
Home is where we find the people
who love us most.
Home is where we find 
our special stories and traditions.
It all begins with home.

During my four days in Brisbane, I felt mixed emotions all round.  I'm a fourth generation Brisbane resident and I can't help but feel a natural, inexplicable attachment to the place.  I love the waterholes, the nearby beaches, the verandah hangouts, the river, the bikepath along Corro Drive, GOMA, the West End cafes...the list could go on.

It kills me, however, that every time I go back, a sad feeling accompanies the joy I experience when I catch up with someone.  The length of time between my Brisbane visits is constantly increasing.  I see my Brisbane pals less and less and each time I see them so much more and more is happening...and I'm not there to see it, to share those experiences with them.

There was too much love oozing out of each one of my family and friends that I was fortunate enough to catch up with.  You know who you are and I thank you this much for making the time to hang with me: <----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

Some things I already miss from the weekend:
  • Playing one-on-one Laser Force at 1pm on a Friday with Zopper
  • Driving in circles through the rain to Youth Lagoon
  • Accidentally stumbling into the Jam Jar with one of my oldest friends
  • Researching albinos in West End
  • Bumping into old housemates from the Bamboo Banga at The End
  • Late night gin & tonics and nachos by the river
  • Bad T-shirt bowls
  • Cyber city karaoke
  • Discovering a decent cafe in Kenmore

28 January 2012

Australia Open Australia Closed

Loving Melbourne at this time of year - there's a great buzz about with the Australian Open on. However, it's not really worth watching now that Federer's knocked out.

Love - Nikolai (Davydenko) v Marty (Fish)

Fifteen - Justine Hannah-Hardine v Ana Katinkavich

Thirty - Martina Hingis

Forty - Almagro v Berdych (booooo!)

Game - Federer v Tomic