June 7, 2013
Alfred Hitchcock with Jeff Desom

Alfred Hitchcock with Jeff Desom

Alfred Hitchcock unveiled his masterpiece Rear Window, a suspenseful thriller with James Stewart and Grace Kelly, in New York 60 years ago.

30 years ago, James Stewart flew to Sydney to present Rear Window as the opening night film of the Sydney Film Festival, the first film in a Alfred Hitchcock retrospective.

Luxembourg based artist Jeff Desom, has reconstructed the view out the rear window of James Stewart’s New York apartment in his 20 minute Rear Window Loop.

To celebrate both the anniversary of the iconic film and the Sydney Film Festival, Jeff Desom is in Sydney where his panoramic projection of Rear Window Loop has premiered at the Sydney Film Festival HUB.

Jeff’s film can now be viewed free at the Theatrette, Sydney Film Festival HUB, Lower Town Hall,
483 George Street (enter on Druitt Street) Daily, 5-6pm & 10-12pm.

Sydney Film Festival Hub is a short stroll from the Festival’s major venues and the perfect place for festival goers to meet up, get a snack and just relax between films.  Visitors can enjoy exhibitions, talks, live music, DJs and screenings.

The Hub Ticketing Bar is also the only place to buy $10 tickets with no booking fee, to selected next day screenings (open daily 5-8:30pm).

All events at the Hub are free and open to those over 18.

The Sydney Film Festival runs until Sunday, 16 June 2013.

Sandra Tiltman            Photos:  John Pond

Jeff Desom's  Computer Generated Panorama of Rear Window Set

Jeff Desom’s Computer Generated Panorama of Rear Window Set



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 


January 15, 2012

The first glimpse I ever had of Halong Bay was while watching a James Bond movie many years ago.  Halong Bay is a must see on any visit to Hanoi and fortunately Helen Wong’s Tours had it as an inclusion on a recent tour I did through Vietnam.

The best way to experience this mystical location is by a cruise aboard a junk, that included a seafood lunch.

The cruise which lasted three hours was quite enough time to experience the tranquility of the Bay and observe the many massive towers arising from the seabed as we sailed on the calm tourquoise waters.

Even though there was a three hour trip by bus to get there from Hanoi, it was worth it.

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January 15, 2012

San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, was our destination after crossing the Atlantic aboard SeaDream I in November.  My first glimpse of this quaint town was while having breakfast on the deck, watching as we proceeded past the dark stone fortress walls.  After gathering all my suitcases (I never travel light), we headed to the Old Town, a mere five minutes away from the quayside by cab, and pulled up at El Convento Hotel.  This very imposing building had begun life as a convent and after being left empty for many years, was converted into a hotel, much to the delight of all the guests.

The cobble stoned streets and brightly coloured buildings made me glad that I decided to spend two nights enjoying my break here before heading on to New York.  I discovered a fantastic shopping street and left San Juan with even more luggage than I had arrived with.

Another very important discovery I made while walking around the centre of town was finding the Barrachina Restaurant which was the birthplace of the Pina Colada.  Naturally I had to dine there that evening to take in the atmosphere and try their famous invention.

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January 14, 2012

Whenever I go on a cruise, the last thing I ever think about is that I may have to evacuate in the life boats, but after what has happened to Costa Concordia, I will certainly pay more attention to the safety drill and also make sure I know the quickest route to my muster station

As Costa Concordia is only six years old and fitted with all the latest in navigational aids, it is very hard to comprehend how such a disaster could happen.  Any obstacles such as reefs would surely show up on their equipment.

Every ship I have ever been on has held their safety drill an hour or so before leaving the port.  It is mandatory for every passenger to attend. Demonstrations of the correct way to wear the life jacket are given and assistance is offered to any individual who is unsure of what to do.  Often on these occasions I have observed that some passengers are only interested in blowing the whistle that is attached to the life jacket, perhaps they will now take this drill a bit more seriously.

If everyone on board, passengers and crew alike, are clear on what they are to do in case of any emergencies, this will ensure there is no panic or hysteria and ultimately lead to an orderly evacuation and hopefully no loss of life.  Crew members should be easily identifiable and take charge of any situation.

I hope we will not see people in the near future cancelling their cruise holidays after viewing news broadcasts of this event.  Sandra T.

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December 31, 2011
Please remove your shoes was the request by crew to media and travel industry guests on coming aboard True North which was berthed at Sydney’s White Bay.  We had been invited to enjoy some Kimberley hospitality, the region where 25 years ago, True North pioneered adventure cruising.  Going shoeless is a unique feature of life aboard this vessel, don’t really understand why, as I like to protect my feet.  I am sure my Podiatrist would agree.
The very young and enthusiastic crew served canapes and oysters done a variety of ways, along with wine and beer in the main lounge.  The Chef certainly excelled himself with the sampling offered.  We were taken on a tour to view the three styles of  cabins, all offering  L’Occitane products in their large bathrooms.  The dining room had several long tables, no chance for an intimate twosome here.  There was not much outdoor deck space, but smoking was allowed on the rear deck where the small adventure boats were kept. They did not bring the helicopter with them on the
Sydney visit, but it is always on board for the sailings in the Kimberley.
Cable Beach Club Resort and Spa also partnered in hosting the event.  Having recently spent two nights at this resort, I would say that no visit to the Kimberley region is complete without a drink at their Sunset Bar where you can watch the nightly procession of camels along Cable Beach and of course see the sun go down.

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