May 20, 2013

BLUE MAN BMG_blankMinister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts, The Hon. George Souris, recently announced yet another exciting theatrical event for Sydney.  From 10 August 2013, BLUE MAN GROUP, the international entertainment phenomenon, will play an Australian premiere season at the Lyric Theatre.

BLUE MAN GROUP creates experiences that defy categorisation.  Performances feature three bald and blue characters who take the audience on a journey that is funny, intelligent and visually stunning, accompanied by a live band whose tribal rhythms help drive the show to its unforgettable climax.

Best known for their wildly popular theatrical productions and concerts that combine electrifying music, sensational technology, comedy and multimedia theatrics to produce a totally unique form of entertainment, BLUE MAN GROUP continues to reinvent itself

The show combines signature moments with breathtaking new sections that include Blue Men interacting with “GiPads” (think Gigantic iPads), a funny and perceptive look at contemporary modes of communication.  “Over the years, we have grown as artists and the world around us has transformed. These changes are reflected in the new material we’ve generated and implemented into this show,” said Chris Wink, who co-founded BLUE MAN GROUP with Phil Stanton and Matt Goldman.

Producer, Rodney Rigby (Jersey Boys, The Addams Family) said “After years of planning I am thrilled that BLUE MAN GROUP is now coming to Australia. This brilliant show has been entertaining audiences for 25 years and has launched one of the most innovative performance groups ever.  First time audiences leave the theatre astounded by the excitement of a BLUE MAN GROUP show, resulting in one of the highest return businesses of any theatrical event.  People of all ages just love the BLUE MAN GROUP experience, I am sure that same excitement will also be felt by Sydney audiences.”

Sandra Tiltman 



May 20, 2013
Lee McDonnell Finishing His Winning Painting

Lee McDonnell Finishing His Winning Painting

With the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge as a backdrop, Art Battles Australia “The Quay Series” held its two day finale recently at Circular Quay, in front of a huge crowd of locals and tourists.

Twelve artists, who had competed in weekly heats of two artists per heat, over a six week period at Darlinghurst’s “Name This Bar”, came together at Circular Quay on the Saturday to battle it out in three semi-final rounds throughout the day.

Artists had 90 minutes to complete an artwork on oversized canvases, with the theme “Concrete Jungle”.  The top five artists then went through to the Grand Final held the next day, with the new theme “Where You Would Rather Be”.

Taking out the first prize and crowned 2013 Art Battles Australia winner, was Lee McDonnell, a Mambo artist, who has won an all expenses paid trip to Vietnam to represent Australia at Tiger Translate Vietnam, which aims to celebrate global creativity through the exposure to different cultures and experiences.

INDO, a professional graphic designer/illustrator turned professional artist, came second and won an Eckersley’s hamper.

Sandra Tiltman    PHOTO:  John Pond


May 12, 2013

Pyrmont Festival of Food Wine & Art sm

The Pyrmont Festival of Wine, Food and Art is back again for a third year, running from 17 to 26 May 2013.

The Festival is a collaboration between the Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce, City of Sydney and the Mudgee Region Tourism and Wine industry.  It provides a unique opportunity for Pyrmont, just 2km from the CBD, to demonstrate its diversity as a dining and lifestyle precinct with events at art galleries, Pyrmont Wharf, Pirrama Park, TAFE NSW, The Star and bottle shops, as well as restaurants, bars and cafes.

Commencing with an outdoor breakfast on Friday 17 May at Pyrmont Bay’s Doltone House, followed at 12.30 pm by lunch at Flying Fish, the program offers plenty of choice.  Another unique experience to be held on 22 May is The Apprentice at Tafe NSW Wine Dinner.

The free outdoor event, ‘Wine, Food and Art’, which this year has expanded into two days, will be held in Pirrama Park on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May, from 11am to 5pm.  Come and meet around 30 of Mudgee’s premium winemakers and taste from a selection of over 150 Mudgee wines, see the 7th Annual Pyrmont Art Prize, as well as enjoying all the food and entertainment, sounds like fun for the whole family.

For the first time, iconic Ultimo-Pyrmont cultural institutions will join in the celebrations, with events at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Powerhouse Museum and Sydney Heritage Fleet where one of the Festival’s concluding events of a wine and classical music concert ‘Music in the Sail’s’, will be held.

Other new events include Mudgee Region artists showcasing large works in a sculpture garden.

Pyrmont Festival's Huntington Estate breakfast at Dolton HousePyrmont chefs will team up with Mudgee Region winemakers with events at Café Morso with Bunnamagoo wines, Bar Zini with Cooks Lot wines, Pyrama with Vinifera Wines and Quilty Wines, and Blue Eye Dragon with Botobolar and Gooree Park.

Mudgee wine tastings will also be held at Fisherman’s Fine Wines at the Sydney Fish Markets, Porters Liquor and Red Bottle.

The Mudgee Region is 3.5 hours drive from Sydney and is one of the State’s first established wine regions.  It is renowned for its food and wine with around 40 family run boutique wineries, as well as excellent art, music, nature and history experiences.

After visiting the Festival and sampling some of the fantastic produce that the Mudgee region has to offer, I am sure that many people will be inspired to travel to Mudgee for a either a short break or a long weekend. Sandra Tiltman 



May 12, 2013

Macau Grand Prix

Long before Macau was famous for being the modern metropolis that it is today, with its many skyscrapers, casinos and luxury hotels, Macau was well known for the Macau Grand Prix.  Held each year in November, it has a reputation as being one of the most demanding circuits in the world.

In recognition of the upcoming Diamond Jubilee of this world famous Grand Prix, the Macau Government Tourist Office in Australia is hosting a free exhibition showcasing the event’s sixty years of history.

The public will be able to view Macau Grand Prix: 60 years of Motorsport History from 23 to 26 May at the Lower Exhibitions Hall at Sydney Town Hall, open each day from 10am until 4pm.

Three Australian based racing cars of different vintages will take pride of place within the exhibition.

Church MacaVisitors will have the chance to win a coffee table book on the history of Formula Three racing at the Macau Grand Prix, signed by two Australian motor racing legends, Kevin Bartlett and Vern Schuppan, who both won past Macau Grand Prix.

The venue for this exciting free exhibition, which is displaying six decades of action packed motor racing, will be decorated with a series of historic photographs, video coverage of Macau Grand Prix meetings, fascinating posters from yesteryear and other forms of motor racing memorabilia.

If visitors to the exhibition want to find out more about this vibrant location, tourism information on Macau, including maps, guidebooks and details on their various attractions, will be handed out during the four day event.

Macau, with its Portuguese heritage, is a popular holiday destination, offering attractions aimed at the whole family.  A great place to spend several days, or even just a day, it is easily accessed by high speed hydrofoil from Hong Kong.  The trip takes just under an hour, with departures every 15 minutes from the Hong Kong Ferry Terminal on Connaught Road, Central.  Sandra Tiltman 


May 12, 2013
STC's "The Maids" - Season 4 June - 20 July

STC’s “The Maids” – Season 4 June – 20 July

Exciting news for theatre lovers with the recent announcement of a major new partnership between Suncorp and Sydney Theatre Company, which will make a selection of tickets available for just $20 for every STC performance.

$20 tickets will be on sale for the eagerly awaited The Maids with Cate Blanchett, Isabelle Huppert and Elizabeth Debicki, Waiting For Godot with Richard Roxburgh and Hugo Weaving plus Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead with Tim Minchin, Toby Schmitz and Ewen Leslie.

Suncorp Twenties will be released for sale by telephone and over the counter every Tuesday at 9am for the following week’s performances (Monday to Sunday). There will be no transaction fees for Suncorp Twenties and tickets will be sold two per transaction.

The first Suncorp Twenties will become available at 9am on Tuesday 14 May, for performances of STC’s Fury by Joanna Murray-Smith.

Throughout the remainder of 2013, Suncorp Twenties will be available for every STC performance, excluding opening nights and the already sold out Machinal in Wharf 2 from 21-30 November.

Suncorp Twenties is the first comprehensive, year round initiative of its type for Sydney Theatre Company.  The partnership will run for two years and will include a number of tickets for all performances of remaining STC shows in 2013 and beyond.

The $20 ticket initiative was a long held ambition of Andrew Upton and Cate Blanchett throughout their tenure as Co Artistic Directors of Sydney Theatre Company.     Sandra Tiltman 



May 7, 2013


Affectionately known as “The Marly”, Newtown’s Hotel Marlborough recently launched their new Garden Bar, bringing a trendy new venue to this iconic inner west pub.  Located on King Street, right in the heart of bustling Newtown, this new bar gives patrons the option of a lush green outdoor setting to enjoy their drinks.

The Garden Bar is an urban garden and outdoor courtyard that has been opened up and transformed, bringing an indoor/outdoor hangout like no other in Newtown.

DSC00038Even when the weather gets a little cooler, the outdoor Garden Bar can still be enjoyed, due to the warmth from the gas heaters, which have been strategically placed around the garden setting.

“Indie and hip hop music, great eats and drinks in a quirky designer setting will see the Garden Bar really hit the spot with the area’s cool young crowd” said Richie Haines, the Hotel Marlborough’s new General Manager.

New Head Chef, Ernie Priestley, has created a menu to fit the Newtown scene with a stack of vegetarian offerings and the reinvention of old Aussie classics.   With six burgers on the menu, he has strong ambitions of being known as the best burger place in Sydney.

The Garden Bar opens from 12 noon to very late seven days.  Sandra Tiltman.    Photos:  John Pond


May 6, 2013


Residents of Sydney’s eastern suburbs now have a good reason to take the plunge and travel across the water to the other side of the harbour.

The reason:  Kirribilli is now home to a most delightful small bar and restaurant named The Botanist.  Open for only five months, the word is spreading and it has become a very popular venue, not only with the locals, but with many from Sydney’s East.

Named after Botanist, Gerard Fothergill, who travelled the world researching plants, and whose latter years were spent running a small bookshop in the very building the restaurant now occupies.  The Botanist pays homage to these historical and botanical themes of exploration and discovery, with food and cocktail menus using abundant offerings of fresh produce, herbs and spices.

DSC00040The Botanist recently launched a new innovative cocktail and food menu, as well as a new website.   Cocktails on the new menu, constructed by co-owner Hamish Watts, all reflect the Botanist themes with simple and elegant flower and spiced infusions, such as the Mexican Garden made with Don Julio Blanco tequila, Le Bulleit Bleu a blueberry infused Bulleit bourbon and High Seas rum punch a mixture of Captain Morgan’s spiced rum, Cointreau and pineapple.

Their share plate menu, designed by head chef Justin Walshe, formerly of La Grillade, includes exciting additions with a Mexican flare such as soft shell tacos with the choice of marinated beef and chilli chicken, as well as pulled pork or southern style chicken sliders and pizza choices of a veggie mushroom, artichoke and olive and Italian sausage, potato and rosemary.

On Saturday or Sunday, why not walk across the Harbour Bridge and reward yourself with brunch, served every weekend from 11 a.m.

The Botanist is located in Kirribilli’s main shopping precinct, not far from Milsons Point railway station, for those who do not want to drive and the hassle of finding a parking spot, it’s well worth the trip.   Sandra Tiltman.  Photos:  John Pond