Backyard Study

A study of suburban life.


Balsamic vignettes #18- Bondi Beach in January

Puppies learning to swim ¤ small babies in purple tutus ¤ fairybread beach ¤ coronas on the sand ¤ halter necks ¤ hairy necks ¤ torso tatts ¤ drippy pink ice cream ¤ soggy salt and vinegar chips ¤ american accents ¤ professional athletes  ¤ vigilantes in red and yellow speedos ¤ roxy ripcurl pipeline beach towels ¤ uniform bikinis on the twelvies ¤ slip slop slap ¤ “taste of the tropics” coconut snow cones ¤ kiddy pool ¤ flapback hats, zinc and rashies ¤ beach ping pong ¤ tan lines ¤ angry sun burn ¤ clear water ¤


Bondi Beach

Waiting for the ferry.

“I know the recipe for toast. I know fruit. I don’t want to go and pay $16 for something I can make at home. ”
“Yeah, I just want to sit down and be served some orange juice and my newspaper. But when the fruit is labeled as fruit on the menu, you know? But they serve me tinned peaches – absurd! Especially when it’s in an area with orchards…! Is that too much to ask?”

“And it only came with mushrooms!”
“Oh, love fresh peas, not frozen, and asparagus. Love asparagus.”

“Gotta watch- in those towns, the hamburger places close early.”

“You know I saw her there. I bumped into her again.”
“Yeah, she’s not the sort of person you’d catch up with unless it was a coincidence, to be honest.”
“Yeah, I swear she was wearing the same woolen skirt as she had on in Cowra.”
“She had no idea of the dope culture there. She came a virgin, and three years later, she left a virgin!”
“MY word!”
“And like, I bumped into her in Surry Hills and and yeah maybe she’s successful, but like, she’s probably still a virgin and she probably hasn’t been at all adventurous like it should be in academia.”

“And restaurants and conferences that have sit-down dinners, good Lord! I need movement. I can’t stand sit-down dinners. You have to sit next to the same person for the whole thing-!”

“Plan B is Conowindra,  but I’d prefer waterfront in Sydney.”
“Exactly, exactly.”
“Anywhere that’s damp at three o’clock in the afternoon-”
“Oh, my arthritis!”

“Look, it’s actually really quite civilised, they’ve got a deli now.”
“Good, because Mudgee is hundreds of dollars for one night these days.”
“Wouldn’t mind the Southern Highlands though…”
“I mean, I mean, I mean, it’s like a smaller Sydney… right?”
“Well, yeah, I guess, but like, Southern Highlands though.”

“Married out-? Oh, okay. But what did he marry out… to?”
“Chilean. She was Chilean.”
“Probably a mongrel then.”
“Yeah, a hybrid.”

Ella Keto receives first Queen’s Guide awarded in Pennant Hills District for 38 years

Written by Regi Su

Published in: The Hills Shire Times, The Hornsby Advocate and the Daily Telegraph Online.


The Red Dress


Showing at the State Theatre for a limited time is The Red Dress, a love story from Southern China, told through dance and drama. With elements of folklore and traditional customs, this performance is a dynamic hybrid of tradition and the contemporary and is visually breathtaking. This performance is bright to Sydney by the China Arts and Entertainment Group.

Through dance, the love story is told symbolically and beautifully. Visually, there’s so much movement, so much to look at on stage, especially with props and detailed sets. The intricacy of the choreography meant that at times, the performance was a little chaotic. This vibrancy struck a balance, however when the chorus came together in synchronisation  and danced as one with levels and layers. The ensemble danced with such passion, energy, precision and timing that they weren’t unlike a well-oiled machine. Depending on the mood of the scene, the music fluctuated between a contemporary soundscape and traditional instrumental music.  The clever choreography matched these to create a holistic experience.

To cater to both an Eastern and Western audience, the performance makes use of visual commentary to help explain some of the cultural customs presented. This helped as an aid, however I think the story was carried well enough  by the dancers and the chorus. There was a lot of symbolism, through colour, sound and lighting, which made some moments incredibly poignant. Commendation to the protagonist for her grace and elegance in  classical dance.

I think the second half was more engaging, because rather than being a confusion of tradition and contemporary music and dance, it was a seamless fusion. Moments of deep emotion and yearning were held for just long enough to be utterly breathtaking, so when the atmosphere was broken by the chaos of the chorus, at least we had time to  the leap too, (in contrast to the first half which seemed a little difficult to connect with at times). One scene in particular was purely stunning. The Lotus Lanterns scene in the second half saturated the stage in a soft pink lighting creating a very dreamlike state. The stage was filled with women in silk dresses that floated as they twirled, in various gradations of pastels.

The Red Dress felt like a cultural immersion and was an interesting insight into traditional customs, folklore and storytelling. The classic love story of lovers parted, created a universal base point from where the unique theatrical experience was created.


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