Spring has sprung

Spring has sprung
Roses at the Cottage

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

ACMI - Hollywood Costume - a must see

For those who are fascinated by film, and even those who are not, Hollywood Costume is a must see exhibition currently running 24 April 2013 - 18 August 2013 at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) - Federation Square. Not only will you see over 100 iconic costumes including Dorothy's gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz, Marilyn Monroe's famed dress from Some Like it Hot, Audrey Hepburn's little black frock from Breakfast at Tiffany's (what a tiny waist she had!), John Wayne's ride-em-cowboy western outfits; Batman and Superman - of course; the Heath Leger and Jake Gyllenhaal clothes from Brokeback Mountain (the choice of jeans/riding boot heel height specifically different); Spiderman's costume - well the list goes on, and on, and on.
They are all there watching you - rather creepy! (Telegraph.co.uk)
The 'sets' are wonderful, the explanations more so, the interviews with famed actors insightful. I was fascinated by Meryl Streep describing the handbag that she carried when playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. "I wanted to know what was in the handbag" (not tissue paper as is often the case in a film) That handbag represented more to Meryl Streep than just the 'outside of the handbag'. For me the following summed up the detail that Meryl Streep goes to ensure the person she is playing is her. I quote from one of the succinct and enlightening clip-board explanations throughout the exhibition  'Clothing accessories enable actors to shape their role and create a new person. As costume designer Ann Roth says of working with Meryl Street in the fitting room: "We wait for the third person to arrive".

The presentation is terrific. Above each costume is a 'TV screen' with the head (moving) of the actor. 
Mama Mia Meryl Streep outfit with her smiling/singing face above (theclotheswhisperer.co.uk)
I was fortunate to attend a lecture by the curator of the show Deborah Nadoolman Landis - herself a costume designer (think Harrison Ford and his Indiana Jones outfits, and even Michael Jackson in his Thriller jacket). She is married to Director John Landis. She has stated that this is the greatest Hollywood costume exhibition in history. Her insightful lecture on the detailing that is required by the costume designer (every single piece of clothing must be chosen to tell a story - and that includes for all the extras). If she is told that the costumes were wonderful she feels she has failed at her job. The film/story tells the tale not the costumes - they are there to re-inforce the story not to take centre stage. 

Deborah Nadoolman Landis (ACMI)
The Hollywood Costume exhibition was originally organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London - we are fortunate to have this amazing exhibition here in Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces. Don't miss it.  

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

When autumn leaves start to fall

Ole Nat King Cole is always on my mind at this time of the year. I can still hear his melodious voice singing:
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall 

One of the Barkly Gardens Oak walks
Autumn weather - it can be so perfect but with a crispness in the air. Clear blue skies, soft falling rain, warm days and cool nights. And then again it can be cold when heating and electric blankets are in order. In my opinion Autumn has it all! With the end of daylight saving the evenings darken early. It is as Nat sings "I'll soon hear old winter's song" but in the meantime what beauty as the leaves turn from red to orange before falling to the ground (unless you have to sweep them up - ugh).

A wall of autumn leaves - waiting to fall
What fun it is to swish through piles of leaves gathering on the path or pick up the odd 'perfect' one to add to a coffee-table collection. 

An 'evening' dress of swirling autumn leaves - perfect
And I love that creative local shopkeepers enhance their windows with autumn reminders. I worry that we are falling (!) into the American vernacular with the word Fall - When autumn leave start to fall! I much prefer the word autumn.
The long and winding road that leads to your door (well oak walk!)
One of my favourite Richmond parks is Barkly Gardens (off Swan, Mary and Coppin Streets) which has sweeping oak tree walks. This dog friendly park has everything - loads of running space for dogs - and children - a great playground and BBQ's - and even a yoga class!

Stretch two three four!
But most importantly it is here that I can walk along the paths swishing to my hearts content through the piles of oak leaves. It brings a smile to my dial! Do you like swishing autumn leaves (how do you say fall leaves) and where is your favourite swishing spot?

I love collecting autumn leaves to put in the house. The colours are wonderful. The shapes beautiful. Good ole nature - she always gets it right!
What colours. What shapes. Mr Rabbit looks pleased!
Bowen Cottage client comment: The beds are super comfy!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Jacques Reymond - come back to Richmond!

I was totally unaware that Victoria's most consistently '3 hatted' chef Jacques Reymond opened his first restaurant in 1988 upstairs at 259 Lennox Street, Richmond departing for his current location in 1992! In those early days Reymond visited nearby Victoria Street (little Vietnam) for inspiration. Melbourne diners were excited by the combination of East and West. He created his own Australian/French take on the food from his adopted country. Sadly for we Richmondites when the lease came up for renewal Reymond decided he didn't want to stay in the location.And who would blame him when you see the difference between his first restaurant - now a Milk Bar - and his beautiful restaurant in Prahran.

259 Lennox Street - an immaculately clean Milk Bar in the old style
The Age recently ran an edited extract of the history from the renowned cooking writer and former food critic Rita Erlich in her book Melbourne by Menu. As the publicity blurb says 'this is the story of Melbourne's restaurant revolution and provides a behind-the-scenes look at some of the industry's triumphs and failures, movers and shakers.'

What a difference - Milk Bar to Victorian Mansion (Jaques Reymond website)
Well Reymond was - and is - certainly an industry triumph is the modern day world of cut throat 'food fashion'. The restaurant is now located in a beautiful Victorian mansion in 'not far over the river' at 78 Williams (nice name!) Road, Prahran. Phone 9525 2178. It is open for Lunch: Thursday - Friday 12:00pm - 1:30pm and for Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday. 6:30pm - 9:00pm.   

A smiling Jacques (after he left Richmond!!) (from his website)

It's a far cry from his beginnings in Richmond. We would certainly love him back! And if not Jaques himself then perhaps three of his four children Nathalie, Edouard and Antoine could open a Richmond version of their trendy South Yarra restaurant Bistro Gitan.
I will never pass 259 Lennox Street (between Bridge Road and Swan Street) again without a bow to our three-hatted chef Jacques Reymond.  

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Deborah Halpern - Public Art in Public Spaces

My first introduction to Deborah Halpern's major public sculpture was Angel which was commissioned as part of the 1988 Australian Bicentenial Celebrations. She 'lived' in the moat at the National Gallery of Victoria for many a year until she was moved to Melbourne's newest park Birragung Marr in 2006 on the banks of the 'mighty' Yarra River. Angel is worth a visit. You can see the detail of Deborah's work up close and personal and from all sides and angles. I liked Angel when she lived at the NGV but I think she suits her current location admirably.
'Angel' by the river
Deborah creates her exuberant and rather whimsical sculptures from scratch even making, painting and firing her own mosaic tiles. The works are enormous. Angel is over 10 metres tall with 4000 individually hand cut - and painted - tiles. She was a truly mammoth task. I was fortunate to do a mosaic workshop with her a number of years ago and she was an inspiration. 

Another of her works is Ophelia which you will find back at Southgate (she was 'rested' during the recent renovation of the area). Ophelia was named the official face of Tourism Victoria in 1996. Again I love the fact that you can get 'up close and personal' and really look at the details of the work. And you can touch as well!

Ophelia at Southbank (The Age)

Deborah also contributed to the recent 150th Celebrations of Melbourne Zoo with a 'Mali' located outside the Melbourne Town Hall (see earlier post 10 July 2012) This was one of my favourite pachyderms dotted around the city. The vibrancy of the work was so eye catching. There's nothing quite like a bit of sparkle-arkle to catch your attention.
Deborah's Mali at the Melbourne Town Hall

I think her works are rather Picasso-ish - or is it Halpern-ish. They are quirky and memorable.

Bowen Cottage client comment: Is there anywhere else to stay in Melbourne? We say no!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

If you can't beat em - join em!

Our local Council seems to be of the opinion that 'official' graffiti is better than 'spontaneous' graffiti. Well I'm not so sure. There is something rather contrived about 'official' graffiti. It just doesn't seem to have the creativity, fun and energy (if graffiti can have such a thing as energy) that 'spontaneous' graffiti brings to our walls. 
Council graffiti on a traffic light control box
Melbourne's lane ways are famous for their graffiti which is ever-evolving while the 'official council' graffiti is static, rather contrived and one dimensional. 
Just near the Cottage at the corner of Bridge Road and Lennox Streets are perfect examples of 'council' graffiti. Covering a traffic light control box is the eye of a woman (with lovely long eyelashes!) and on the walls of the public toilet are some rather cute paintings covering the four seasons. But are they 'graffiti' of just decoration?
They are rather fun and certainly an improvement on the grey walls of the public toilet!

I am interested that they have not been 'attacked' by the spray can as many of our streets have. I guess it won't be too long before they are defaced. Then there will be the Council cost to return them to their original design. 

Somehow the ever-changing public graffiti just has more colour, life and energy about it. There is a surprise around every corner. 
The ever-changing graffiti walls abutting Richmond Station
Another wall abutting Richmond Station
As I stated in an earlier post 8 August 2012 I love the public graffiti on the history of Richmond. It is an extraordinary piece of art. I will be watching closely as the building is being 'developed'. I would hate to see this disappear. I hope it has a Heritage Listing!
The history of Richmond (and Melbourne)
For me the Council is trying too hard. And bizarrely I recently received a letter from them inviting me to attend a 'how to remove graffiti from your fence' class. Even more bizarrely there is no graffiti on the fence!

Bowen Cottage client comment: Your attention to detail is much appreciated. The house is very well equipped. Thanks for providing such a comfortable place to stay