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Friday, 28 June 2013

Celebrating the Winter Solstice with Hippies

logo for Winter Solstice Festival

In the olden days, it was very common for people not to survive the harsh winter months. Cattle and other animals were usually killed just before the onset of the season to avoid more mouths to feed. With all this fresh meat available at the same time as wine and beer finally reaching fermentation, it was a great time for celebrations and festivals to occur. The Winter Solstice marks the beginning of winter, offering us the shortest day and the longest night of the year.

Located at the Northey Street City Farm in Windsor, we followed the little hand-made lanterns placed on the lawns. They led us around walls of trees and foliage to discover groups of people enjoying the bands on stage. The ground smelt very earthy and I noticed people walking out of nearby wooden huts and wondered if they lived there. People had brought blankets to lay on whilst they enjoyed their plates of food. On closer observation, we noticed that people were dressed like hippies with alternate hairstyles, beards, knitted beanies, some with bare feet and long dresses .

We decided to join a queue for the Chai Cafe - and I was glad I had it with soy milk because there was no real taste. Long lines had formed, particularly to get the organic Himalayan curry which I also wanted to try. I could smell mushrooms in the pan and I pondered whether I should opt to make my own pizza at the woodfire ovens but one of my friends didn't want to eat there so we left and ended up going to Burger Urge. Although it was a really cold night, I think it would have been nice to stay another hour to sample the food and watch the circus acts and bonfires!

What other events would you have gone to? Read about: 
Sundays Reserved for You - Ideas Fiesta at the City Botanic Gardens;
BrisStyle indie Twilight Markets in King George Square; and
Enjoying the Basics "Feet First" Invitation to Dance.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Eating my way through the Jan Powers Farmers Markets

photo of the Calamari available for tasting at a counter

Set against the backdrop of the Brisbane Powerhouse, where the World Press Photos were hosted, the Jan Powers Farmers Markets was surprisingly a lot busier and bigger than I expected. Farmers Markets they're called? More like Food Markets!

As I visited each stall, I was impressed with the quality products on offer, many available for sampling. I tried organic gluten-free cereals with yoghurt, fresh apples and acid-free pineapple. I watched the other market-goers grab organic coffee and pastries, kransky sausages with sauerkraut, Chinese dumplings and buns, freshly-squeezed fruit juices and home-made jams. A few larger stalls sold produce and there were plenty of people lining up to pay. And if you're game, there's a goat pie stand, strangely, ten metres away from real live freckled brown baby goat!

Unlike the Twilight markets and the Manly markets, don't look to feast your eyes - look to feed your appetite! The Jan Powers Farmers Markets are here every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month from 6am to 12 midday.
Love your food? Go to Taste-testing and Entertainment at Asian Cooking Classes!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Lanterns and Markets at the Winter Lights Festival

photo of the parade, with huge people-sized lanterns

The Winter Lights Festival was held on Saturday from 3 to 9pm, signifying the onset of Winter. On arrival, it was a bit off-putting that we had to pay five dollars each to attend an outdoor market. The way I see it, these events attract people to the area, giving surrounding businesses a boost and stall owners already pay their share of money to the council. 

Parts of Racecourse Road was sectioned off and market stalls of jewellery, clothing, toys and food were on display. There were farm animals, showground rides and balloons for kids. A few music acts played and artists painted on randomly placed easels. We shared a Cheese Kransky roll and walked up and down the street. Many had ended up in the surrounding pubs, cafes and restaurants - maybe due to a lack of things to do or maybe due to a lack of seating. 

Just as we were about to leave, a little parade came down the street with cartoon characters and people holding some amazing lanterns. They were large and shaped like musical instruments, animals and people! On a closer look, you can see that they were made by some sort of paper stretched over wire. This entertained us briefly but we left not long after to have a sit down meal. Maybe we'll make our own lanterns a bit later! 

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at Brisbane Square Library; and
BrisStyle indie Twilight markets in King George Square, Brisbane City

Monday, 17 June 2013

On an Oasis at the Stokehouse on South Bank, Brisbane

photo of interiors within the Stokehouse on South Bank, Brisbane

With one of my besties in town, we decided to try a new restaurant recommended by one of my Chef friends – the Stokehouse on South Bank. A scenic walk along Eagle Street Pier, the City Botanic Gardens, and the Goodwill Bridge led us to our destination. The sight of the wooden planks and interesting angles of the architecture quickened my pace and once inside, I enjoyed the interiors and views as well. Soft bread rolls were brought to our table in little brown paper pouches to be eaten with olive oil. The delicious pistachio-crusted quail was the highlight of my meal, followed with the textured scallop squid-ink linguine. We also tried a tender beef rib on the list of specials but didn't manage to finish it, even with his big appetite! All-in-all, a nice meal. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

The mere presence of my best friend offered me enough comfort and perspective than I have had in months - I realise who I am again.
I have to let you go. Goodbye for now...

More Restaurant Reviews can be found at:
Food and Memories at George's Paragon, Brisbane;
Grumbles from Celebrations at Jade Buddha; and
Vietnamese Pork Belly and Prawn Pancake at Sing Sing, West End, Brisbane.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Opening my eyes at the World Press Photos, Brisbane

powerful photo of the bodies of two children being carried by their family to their burial

The 56th Annual Exhibition for World Press Photos came into Brisbane for a few weeks in June, and as I have never been before, I decided to check it out for myself. It's not normally my type of thing as I love absorbing the beauty in everything but I was ready to open myself up to different perspectives.

Photojournalists record world events with their cameras, and as I viewed each piece that was presented, I wondered what danger they might be in whilst they snapped away. Pictures of tragedies in war-torn countries such as Iran and Iraq, people hiding from snipers on rooftops, women prostituting in the country-side in Italy, what has our human race come to?

I looked around to observe the reactions of the other viewers and noticed a woman who had brought her son into the exhibition. I believe he would be about 8 or 10 at most. He looked appalled and held his mother tight, burying his face in her clothing while she explained the context of the photos. The images were so sad, yet frightening and so powerful.

I sat down and watched a video of one of the journalists explaining that he was firstly there as a human being, ready to help whoever needed his help, and only secondly, was he there as a photographer. His eyes expressed such empathy, and I wondered what he been through. As I left for the fresh air and sunshine that I gratefully knew was awaiting for me outdoors, I heard a couple of women talking about the new generations that are being brought up these days - how they were so used to luxury that they wouldn't be able to handle these events in their world...

Other Interesting Events can be found at:

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Enjoying the Basics at the “Feet First” Invitation to Dance

photo of different dancer's shoes demonstrating a variety of dancing

The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) organised dance performances and classes from the 30th May to the 8th June as part of the "Feet First" event. Different forms of dance styles were presented including Russian Folk Dance, Capoeira, Breakdance, Swing, Flamenco, Ballet, Line Dancing, Afro-Brazilian and many more! I watched the Salsa Demonstration and eagerly participated in the Street Latin Classes on stage. Having spent a few years dancing, I still got a lot out of the new perspective the instructor gave – which was to learn to move with your partner, rather than remembering the steps. He was humorous and used a few of us as examples to teach the class. I grabbed a flyer for Rio Rhythmics and had a few dances whilst the Live Salsa Band played. I think it’d be fun to learn more types of Latin Dancing… expand my repertoire and find a greater love for it :) 

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at the Brisbane Square Library;
"Girl Clock" at Brisbane Library; and
Taste-testing and Entertainment at Asian Cooking Classes.

Monday, 3 June 2013

"Girl Clock" at Brisbane Library

Movie Poster for Girl Clock

I've never been the type of girl who cooed over babies. Not to say that I don't find them cute - some are, some aren't. I only started liking them when my brother had his little one, my niece - the most perfect little thing I ever saw just hours after she was born. And if the friends I love had babies, I slowly develop affection for them too but the way I see it, it's something that might happen later, but only when I find the right man. Hey, that's just me.

A friend of mine was telling me that sometimes, men will avoid her, once they find out her age, as they think she will want to settle down and start having babies straight away! On the other hand, I've also talked to women who have always wanted babies and often I find, they will settle with a partner just so they can start having them - hell, some of them don't even care if the partner is or isn't going to be around in the future! That's what this film "Girl Clock" is about.

About 10-15 people piled into the theatrette at the Brisbane Square Library and we watched how a group of women in their early 40s feel about life and their place in society. I would actually prefer to watch it again as the high-pitched laughs and loud exclamations of curiosity/confusion of one woman smothered much of the dialogue. Being a Brisbane production, the actors and producers were able to participate in discussions afterwards with cheese and wine. Further movies will be held on the first Friday of every month so keep an eye out!

More Brisbane Events can be found at:
Making Cosplay Wings with Frances Foo at Brisbane Square Library; and
BrisStyle indie Twilight markets in King George Square, Brisbane City