Enlightenment – Vivid Sydney’s opening night cocktail party

Enlightenment – VIVID Sydney opening night cocktail party at The Calyx in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney on Saturday 26 May 2018, consisted of light, curated food and drinks, artisan performers and deep conversation.

The  Age of Enlightenment was an intellectual movement which advocates freedom, democracy and reason as primary values of society. It developed mainly in France, Britain and Germany in the 18th century when great thinkers such as Rousseau, Diderot and Voltaire started to look at the world in a different way. They used science and reason to shed new light on traditional ideas and the way of doing things. This philosophical, cultural and social movement spread out of Europe and changed the world. Three hundred years later, we still ask the same questions.

The evening at The Calyx explored curious things from existence, aliveness, being human and the very essence of enlightenment – probing the mind and soul to think about difficult questions – and their answers. Guests also enjoyed exclusive access to the VIVID Light Walk to end the evening.

Those attending the evening listened to speeches by Fiona Kerr, Neural and Systems Complexity Specialist who explored the wonders and possibility of our brain, Entomologist and Collaborative Memory and Intelligence Specialist Tanya Latty, Collective Mind Expert Derek Leddie and Philosopher and Writer Tim Dean. Never before did I guess that ants have transport systems far superior to humans, although their collective approach to society does result in a barbaric disregard for the weak.

One of the highlights of the night was the Enlightenment cocktail which was made from gold leaf, St Germain elderflower liqueur, vermouth infused with herb de Provence, Belvedere single estate vodka, and a dash of dandelions and burdock bitters

If you thought you missed out on a great night, or if you were here but have room for further enlightenment, there will be an Enlightenment Immersive Dinner on Saturday 2 June 2018 at the Calyx in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

The immersive dinner will include a three course shared feast, artisan performers and a selection of engaging speakers. Kerr, Leddy and Lattie will speak again and will be joined by Dan Goods, the Visual Strategist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and founder of the Museum of Awe, who reminds people of the gift and privilege of being alive. Philosopher Matt Beard will also take to the stage, bringing old philosophical concepts of ethics, meaning and purpose into the modern world.

What: Enlightenment Feasts: Immersive Dinner – three course meal with matching wines, speakers and performances

Where: The Calyx in The Royal Botanic Gardens

When: Saturday, 2 June 2018, 6:30 pm – late

Price: $250

To buy tickets to Enlightenment at Vivid Sydney, go to:  http://www.hardthingstotalkabout.com/enlightenment/

BBC TV series Taboo launches in Australia

An advanced screening of episode one of Taboo was shown on Wednesday 12 July 2017 at Restaurant Huberts ahead of the official release in Australia on 17 July 2017 on BBC First on Foxtel.

A select group of guests were sent a top hat and an invitation to a venue “where a combustible tale of murder, betrayal and treachery will unfold”. The venue was a dimly lit forty seat cinema in Restaurant Hubert. It contained a long table in the middle with charcuterie boards, cheeses, candelabrums, top hats, roses, and newspaper clippings about Taboo.. Guests were served brandy cocktails and wine before they were seated to watch the first episode of the period drama.

Taboo is a fascinating story set 1814 about adventurer James Keziah Delaney (starring Tom Hardy) who was believed to be dead but returns to London from Africa to inherit his father’s shipping empire. Delaney discovers his father was murdered (by poisoning) and is intent on vengeance. He is eager to claim his inheritance but others are determined to take it away from him. He is willing to be just as ruthless to hold on to it and build his own shipping empire that will be greater than the East India Company.

Taboo is the first major TV drama that Tom Hardy has overseen himself. He came up with the idea for Taboo with his dad, Edward ‘Chips’ Hardy and got movie veteran Sir Ridley Scott to direct it.

In addition to Tom Hardy, other members of the cast include: Oona Chaplin (who plays his half-sister and is the granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin); Jonathan Pryce (Games of Thrones); Stephen Graham (Boardwalk Empire); Michael Kelly (House of Cards); Jessie Buckley (War and Peace); Tom Hollander (The Night Manager); Jason Watkins (W1A); Franka Potente (The Bourne Identity); Jefferson Hall (Vikings); and Mark Gatiss (Sherlock).

Taboo will premiere in Australia on BBC First on Monday 17 July 2017.

For more information about Taboo, go to: http://www.bbcaustralia.com/shows/taboo/

A night at the movies and the BLOOM Gin Garden at the Sydney Film Festival Hub

Thanks to BLOOM gin, I was given a Sydney Film Festival experience which included movie tickets to a movie of my choice and drinks and a cheese platter at the BLOOM Gin Garden at the Sydney Film Festival Hub.

The movie we watched was Pop Eye, a movie set in Thailand about a disenchanted architect who is having the crowning glory of his career, Gardenia Square, demolished to make way for a new mega-building that will grace the skyline of Bangkok. Being excluded from being part of this new architectural project, he leaves his office feling disenchanted and has a chance encounter with his childhood pet, an elephant called Pop Eye, which he repurchases. Pop Eye was sold to the circus by his family when he left his village for the big smoke. Realising that he cannot keep Pop Eye in his modern designer home, he embarks on a long arduous journey, mostly by foot with Pop Eye, to return him to the village where his uncle still resides. Along the way, he meets a few interesting characters and ends up finding that things have changed and will never be the same again.

After the movie, we headed to the BLOOM Gin Garden at the Sydney Film Festival Hub Bar in Sydney’s Lower Town Hall which was serving BLOOM Gin’s signature cocktails: BLOOM Classic G&T (made with BLOOM gin, Fentimans tonic water and a strawberry garnish) and BLOOM Rosé (made with BLOOM gin, Fentimans rose lemonade and a strawberry garnish).  We enjoyed our drinks with a lovely cheese platter.

BLOOM Premium London Dry Gin is a light, delicate and floral gin. It is created with a bespoke blend of three botanicals: honeysuckle, chamomile and pomelo.

BLOOM London Dry Gin is distilled at the oldest distillery in the UK. Established in 1761 only seven Master Distillers have worked at the distillery in its 250 year history.

For more information about BLOOM gin, head to: https://www.bloomgin.com

The Australian LGBTI Awards return to Sydney

On Thursday 15th June 2017 we were invited to the launch of the 2nd annual Australian LGBTI awards. Bloomberg, one of the awards top sponsors, did the honours of hosting the event on their sky terrace on the 27th floor of their offices at one Bligh Street.

Guests were greeted with drinks on arrival and enjoyed the impressive views of the city. A delicious buffet style lunch was provided and included: sushi & nigiri (with wasabi, ginger soy, yuzu and togarashi), chinese vegetarian fried rice, and southern fried chicken.

The director of the Australian LGBTI Awards, Silke Bader, explains why the awards are so important by saying “as a whole the LGBTI community spend a lot of time fighting for equality, it’s nice to be able to take some time out to come together to celebrate one another, and this is what the Australian LGBTI Awards is all about.”

James Breko Brechney was the emcee for the event and did a great job of keeping the audience entertained and the energy up for the duration. Peter FitzSimons hosted the lively panel discussion that took place with three winners from the 2017 awards: Michelle Heyman (sports personality), Sharon Carroll (inspirational role model 2017) and Julie McCrossin (broadcaster and presenter of the year).

Michelle Heyman was the only openly gay athlete to represent Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She is a role model to many members of the LGBTI community for her outlook and positivity. As part of the panel discussion regarding why the awards are important she commented “everyone needs to be who they are and love themselves, and I get to do that everyday and it’s just nice to be able to spread that to the world.”

There are a total of 18 categories in the Australian LGBTI Awards 2018. This year the awards have added several new categories. The awards are split into two sections: Public and corporate. The public awards will be decided by public voting only and voting will close on 31 December 2017. The corporate awards will be nominated online by the public and then scored by the Australian LGBTI Awards judging panel to determine a winner.

Below is a list of all the awards and their previous winners.

Public Awards:

  • Brand and Marketing Campaign (sponsored by Coca-Cola), SBS
  • Celebrity Ally, Lucy Lawless
  • Community initiative/ Charity, Australian Marriage Equality
  • Destination (sponsored by oaks hotels and resorts), Airbnb
  • Hero, Ro Allen
  • Journalist, Chloe Sargant
  • LGBTI Celebrity, Ruby Rose
  • Politician, Penny Wong
  • Sports Personality (sponsored by GM HOLDEN), Michelle Heyman
  • Student &  LGBTI Rising Star, Caitlyn Georgeson

New Categories in the Public Awards: Music Artist (sponsored by The Star Sydney), International Celebrity.

Corporate Awards:

  • LGBTI Employee Network Group (sponsored by Big W), Accenture
  • Inspirational Role Model (sponsored by Bloomberg), Sharon Carroll – Australia Post
  • Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by Vodafone), Molly Meldrum

New categories in the corporate awards: Corporate Allies, Diversity Champion.

Nominations are now officially open for the Australian LGBTI Awards 2018 and you can nominate by visiting http://www.australianlgbtiawards.com.au/public-nominations.html

Written by Abigail Andrew.

Sydney Event Blogger was an invited guest.

The 2017 Logitech Media Showcase presents the latest technology for the home

Logitech invited media to a beautiful waterfront mansion in Mosman on Friday 12 May 2017 for the 2017 Logitech Media Showcase to demonstrate how Logitech, Logitech G, Ultimate Ears and Jaybird products could enhance our lives at home.

On the ground floor, there was a large open plan sitting room and kitchen. In this room Logitech Harmony was used to control entertainment and home automation devices. With just a few easy steps of a remote, tablet or smartphone you can now control your TV, set-top box, speakers, lighting, thermostat, door locks, window shades and other popular devices. Plus, with Harmony Activities, you can easily create one-touch control of multiple products, letting you turn on your TV, dim your lights, adjust the temperature and open your window shades—all at the same time. You do this by either by using your remote, mobile app or in response to sensors. And if you’re away from home, you can check the status and adjust devices from the Harmony mobile app.

Downstairs, there was a smaller sitting room and home gym. The gym featured the Jaybird X3 Wireless Sport Headphones. These next gen wireless in-ear buds don’t require a headphone jack, are sweatproof and offer a universal secure sport fit with improved sound and customisable audio options. The smaller sitting room had some Ultimate Ears bluetooth speakers on display including the new Wonderboom. The Wonderboom is a super-portable, waterproof, Bluetooth speaker that blasts 360-degree sound with clear and crisp bass. It is waterproof and floats on its own in the water. It is also drop-proof from up to five feet, boasts a 10-hour battery life and 100-foot wireless Bluetooth range. You can connect two Wonderboom speakers together to Increase the sound.

In the pool outside, there were a number of megaboom, and ue booms floating around in the pool.

Upstairs in the study and bedroom there were PC’s for work and gaming. In the study, there was the Logitech MK850 performance Wireless keyboard and Mouse Combo, which is a full-featured keyboard and mouse set with a cushioned palm rest and carefully-crafted keys designed for all-day comfort. The keyboard and mouse work together with new Logitech DuoLink software which enables customised functions and navigation. DuoLink enables the mouse buttons to have a different set of actions and gestures when you hold the Fn key down on the keyboard. There was also the 2017 doodle Collection of the Logitech M238 Mouse which is covered with colourful hand-drawn characters and appeals to people with a kid-at-heart attitude. It has up to 12 month of battery life and 10 metre wireless connection.

In the bedroom, there was the Logitech G Pro gaming Mouse and Logitech G Pro Mechanical Gaming keyboard. Designed in collaboration with top eSports athletes, the new gaming mouse features Logitech’s most accurate optical gaming sensor, a metal spring button tensioning system, onboard memory for driver-free operation on tournament systems, and a comfortable, durable yet lightweight design, while the Pro Mechanical Gaming Keyboard is a high performance, ten keyless mechanical gaming keyboard that is purpose-built for professional competition. The keyboard features Logitech’s exclusive Romer-G™ mechanical switches, offering 25 percent faster actuation than standard mechanical keyboards.

Logitech was founded in 1981. It started making computers, and is now designing products that bring people together through music, gaming, video and computing.

For more information about Logitech, go to: https://www.logitech.com/en-au


The Sydney Comedy Festival delivers its finest acts for a Cracker Night

Everyone loves comedy and the Enmore Theatre was packed for Sydney’s biggest night of comedy, Cracker Night, which is part of the Sydney Comedy Festival on Tuesday 25 April 2017.

The 13th Annual Sydney Comedy Festival kicked off with a Cracker Night that featured a dazzling line up of the biggest and best Australian legends, international stars and next-big-things of comedy, including the British-Irish stand-up comedian (and Australia’s favourite) Jimoein.

The night was hosted by comedian Joel Creasey, who entertained the crowd with tales of his experience on I Am A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and the gay dinner party in his apartment block in Melbourne.

Many of the comedians performing at the Sydney Comedy Festival were given five minutes to entertain the audience. They included comedians such as: Romesh Ranganathan, Andy Zaltzman and Des Bishop who I got to speak to after their performance.

Cracker Night is sponsored by the Comedy Channel and was filmed for television on the night.

The audience left thoroughly entertained. My top pick was Jimeoin who uses facial expression, body language and various accents to tell a joke. I can’t wait to see what his full set has to offer.

The Sydney Comedy Festival will be running from 24 April to 21 May 2017. Performances will be at multiple venues including the Sydney Opera House, the Riverside Theatre at Parramatta and Bondi Pavilion among others.

International performances include Ireland’s Jason Byrne and David O’Doherty, UK favourites Stephen K Amos and Jimeoin, American  Arj Barker and New Zealand’s Rose Matafeo and Urzila Carlson.

Local talent will include Matt Okine, Dave Hughes, Joel Creasey, Rove McManus, Nazeem Hussain, Susie Youssef, Becky Lucas, Neel Kolkatkar, Akmal, Aunty Donna and Rhys Nicholson.

Most tickets range from $15 to $65.

For more info and tickets, go to: sydneycomedyfest.com.au

UE Wonderboom: the latest and greatest portable speaker launches in Sydney

Ultimate Ears launches their latest and greatest speaker, the UE Wonderboom, on Tuesdsy 4 April 2017 at the Original Porteno in Cleverland, Surry Hills.

The Wonderboom is the newest in a celebrated line of Bluetooth speakers from Ultimate Ears, the audio brand acquired a few years ago by Logitech. It borrows some of the best features of the UE Boom 2 but sells for half the price. It’s also almost half the size (10cm high and 14 cm wide).

Guests walked into a winter wonderland with blue light, an ice sculpture with UE Wonderbooms embedded in it, a large snowball for snow fights, a fireplace and two chocolate fountains with strawberries, bananas, pineapple pieces, wine jellies, nougats and marshmallows for dipping.

in addition, they were spoilt with canapes consisting of: spiced lamb empanadas; smoked salmon with vodka and dill cream on a hash browns; wood fired pumpkin and ricotta cannoli; fig and gorgonzola tart with vincotto; and smokey pork sausage with plum sauce.

For drinks they were treated to: the Mistress Jerry cocktail (made with spiced rum, raspberry puree, lime juice, and honey ginger spirit); mulled wine; Peroni beer; 2012 Candela red blend from Argentina; and Les Vignes Blanches from France.

But the biggest treat of all was the UE Wonderboom that was given to celebrities and media to take home. Celebrities included: The Bachelor’s Lisa Hyde; Big Brother host Mike Goldman; Big Brother contestants Tim Dormer, Jake Richardson and Lisa Clark; Nova newsreader Matt de Groot; and selfie instagram sensation Kurt Coleman.

The UE Wonderboom can wirelessly play (stream) to two Wonderbooms from one source, with a 360 degree sound and a ten hour battery life (that charges in 2.8 hours).

The Wonderboom, like the rest of the UE Boom family, is waterproof (up to a depth of 5 metres of water for 30 minutes) and shockproof (when dropped from 1.5m or less). It’s adorable. It’s affordable. And it floats!

The UE Wonderboom comes in a variety of colours: lilac, stone (grey), subzero (blue), cashmere (pink), fireball (blood orange) and phantom (black).

It retails for $129.95.

For more information about UE Wonderboom, go to: http://www.ultimateears.com/en-au


The best bars are announced at the Time Out Bar Awards 2017

Time Out Magazine held the Time Out Bar Awards 2017 on Sunday 29 January 2017 at the Sky Terrace.

Every year, Time Out awards the best bars in Sydney over a number of categories. The ten winners were:

  • Best New Bar – PS40
  • Best Wine Bar – The Dolphin Wine Room
  • Best Cocktail Bar – This Must Be The Place
  • Best Neighbourhood Bar – The Gretz, Enmore
  • Best Restaurant Bar – Big Poppa’s
  • Bartender of the Year – Michael Nicolian, Continental
  • Best Bar Team – Ramblin’ Rascal Tavern
  • Hot Talent Award – Ryan Snedden, Lobo Plantation
  • People’s Choice  Hudson Ballroom
  • Legend Award – Venue 505

At the same event, Time Out launched their 2017 The Time Out Bar Guide which contains information on all the bars they reviewed. Since its inception, it has become the authoritative guide on bars in Sydney.

The bar industry has changed in the last 12 months. There are bars that are restaurants, pubs that are cocktails bars, restaurants that you can visit for a drink and places that you can do all three. Time Out no longer hands out an award for Best Party Bar due to the lockout laws, but introduced the new award category of Best Restaurant Bar and Queen of the Party.

Guests enjoyed a bar menu of: Yenda Pale Ale; Yenda Pale Lager; Yenda Golden Ale; Yenda India Pale Ale; Weston Caple Road No 3 medium dry; Weston Stowford Press medium sweet English cider; Southern Comfort and Fever Tree Ginger Ale; Buffalo Trace and Fever Tree Cola; Teeling Small Batch on the Rocks; and Hayman’s London Dry and Fever Tree Naturally Light Tonic.

The food that was served included: wild mushroom arancini with truffle mayonnaise; heirloom tomato and caramalised onion goat’s curd tart; Queensland spanner crab cake with lime aioli; BBQ pulled pork in a soft bun with Carolina slaw and Southern Comfort sauce; and poached crumble with Southern Comfort whipped cream.

For more information about Time Out, go to: https://www.timeout.com/sydney/bars/time-out-sydney-bar-awards-winners

The Grove Rooftop Bar launches in Haymarket Sydney

Novotel Sydney Central unveiled their new outdoor bar, The Grove Rooftop Bar, to over 100 media and influencers on Thursday 19 January 2017.

The bar is located on the eighth floor of Novotel Sydney Central, Haymarket and nestled within the hotel’s outdoor garden on a converted putt-putt course.

The pop-bar has a relaxed casual atmosphere featuring fairy and festoon lighting, director chair seating, recycled timber furniture (that conceal the holes of the former mini golf course) and green synthetic turf.

The Grove Rooftop offers a selection of beers served in cans, along with a limited selection of wines and spirits. The wines on offer include: McWilliams Markview Brut; McWilliams High Altitude Pinot Grigio; Essenza Sauvignon Blanc; McWilliams Chardonney; McWilliams Bagtown Pinot Noir; McWilliams High Altitude Shiraz; and McWilliams Cabernet Merlot.

Guests also enjoyed two cocktails on the night: Solerno Serata (made of Solerno, pink grapefruit juice, orange bitters, and sparkling water) and Hendrick’s Sunburnt Fizz (made of Hendrick’s Gin, slices of cucumber, lime, mango nectar, sugar syrup and mineral water).

The menu consists of crowd pleasers such as sweet potato fries with house made truffle oil and organic honey, wedges with sweet chilli and sour cream, loaded fries topped with bacon, melted cheese and chipotle mayo, and nacho style hot chips loaded with spicy ground beef, melted mozzarella, jalapeño and sour cream.

The Grove Rooftop Bar uses five UE Boom’s Mega Boom Bluetooth speakers to deliver music to the venue. The speakers are weather and shock proof, and pump out incredible 360-degree sound.

The Grove Rooftop is open to Novotel Sydney Central guests and external patrons from Wednesday to Sunday from 5:30pm until 10pm until 31 March 2017.

For more information about the Grove Rooftop Bar visit www.novotelsydneycentral.com.au or call +61 2 9281-6888

The 26th Flickerfest International Short Film Festival launches at Bondi Pavilion

The 26th Flickerfest International Short Film Festival officially opened on Friday 6 January 2016 at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach with the screening of five short films and an after party.
The five films that were screened at opening night included:
– OS Love – a film about a woman who immerses herself into a world of tropical screensavers and desktop backgrounds and manages to create an operating system called ‘OS Love’
– Bon Voyage – a film about a Swiss couple who are sailing the Mediterranean and encounter a refugee boat
– Messiah – a film about an Irishman and his French girlfriend who encounter a mystical Aboriginal man while driving in the outback
– Fish with Legs – a film about a group of fish who wake up to find that they have four legs and are trying to comprehend why this occurred
– Timecode – a film about two security guards at a carpark who work different shifts but still manage to find a way to connect.
After the screening, guests enjoyed drinks at the after party which was held at the Flickerfest bar and the balcony overlooking Bondi beach.
For ten days, Flickerfest will be screening some of the best short films from Australia and around the world at Bondi Pavilion until Sunday 15 January 2017. It will screen over 150 short films hand picked from over 2400 entries.
The Flickerfest bar will be serving delicious food and drinks every day throughout the festival.
When the ten days are over, Flickerfest will leave Bondi beach and travel to over 50 venues around Australia for their national tour.
Flickerfest began as a small local festival at Balmain High School in 1991. Since then it has grown to become Australia’s leading Academy accredited and BAFTA recognised competitive Australian and International Short Film Festival with 1000’s of entries coming from filmmakers across the globe.
Flickerfest awards a number of prestigious prizes including the Flickerfest Award for the Best International Short Film, the Yoram Goss Award for Best International Animation, the Virgin Australia Award for Best Australian Short Film, and the Flickerfest Award for Best Documentary. There are also a number of prizes for various craft areas inherent in making great short films.
Please visit the Flickerfest website for further event information at: www.flickerfest.com.au
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