Archive for the ‘street art’ Category

An Extra Hour in Melbourne

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Waking up to face the day on our last day in Melbourne was difficult. We were all groggy and tired from our long night out at Eurotrash. Regardless of this, we still had to be checked out of our rooms by ten, so we dragged ourselves out of bed, dressed and started to pack up our belongings. Lyndsay had gotten out my laptop the night before to play music while we were getting ready to go out, so I had to pull it back out and turn it off. When I did I was surprised to find that the clock on my laptop said 8:08am and not 9:08 am like my watch and my cellphone were telling me. When I brought this to the attention of the group Jordan was the first to say “O shit, daylight savings time!”

We deliriously debated this for a few minutes, but it was too wonderful a miracle for any of us to believe it was true, so we sent Jordan out to the front desk to ask what time it was. He came back and confirmed that our miracle was in fact reality. We all sat in stunned silence for about a minute before Seth announced that he was going back to bed. We all followed suit and fell back into bed, fully clothed with suitcases already packed and ready to go. It was a marvelous 50 minutes of sleep, and we all awoke feeling far less groggy than we had an hour before.

Around 10 am we checked out, placed our luggage in storage for the day and were out in the city once again. I had demanded that since we were in Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia, we needed to go to at least one museum before we left. Most of the museums are located off of federation square so we headed in that general direction. On our way there we scouted for odds and ends to make up a breakfast. Yaella had recommended that we try out this vegan/vegetarian fully kosher burger stand called Lord Of the Fries.  http://www.lordofthefries.com.au/ It is just a small take away stand that looks like a regular burger stand with a sweet literary referencing name. All of the burgers are made without any dairy products and the burgers are made of meat substitute.

Their slogan is "We care, alot"

Generally I shy away from any sort of meat “substitute,” as this kinda sketches me out and if I want a burger I get a black bean, chick pea, or garden burger, but I had been assured by Yaella that these burgers were amazing and I was not to leave Melbourne without trying one.  The boys, being hardcore carnivores, were scared off of the  meat “substitute” thing, but Lyndsay and I decided we would go halfies on a burger and fries. One bite into the burger, Lyndsay, who is not a vegetarian, was mumbling praises through a full mouth. Once she had chewed properly she said that not only did it taste amazing generally, but that she had trouble telling that it was not meat. This surprised all of us, but we all sampled it and came away with the same conclusion. The fries were equally good, and the selection of sauces was extensive. I opted to go with “Aussie sauce” which was basically a variation of ketchup, but it was quite tasty. I was impressed that such a great burger could be created and be vegan and kosher and still taste amazing. Lord of the Fries is truly a burger mansion among burger huts.

The travel desk clerk at Nomads had suggested that we check out the Australian Center for the Moving Image, which offered free admission, so that was our first stop after we had all eaten. http://www.acmi.net.au/screen_worlds.aspx

Australian Center for the Moving Image from the Outside

The main exhibit in the museum was free, but they also had a special exhibit running called “Dreams Come True” which was all about the artistry behind Disney’s animated films which they were charging admission for. While the Disney exhibit sounded really awesome,  we all agreed it wasn’t worth the $15 dollar admission price and we could do without it. As it turned out the main exhibit, called “Screen Worlds, The Story of Film, Television, and Digital Culture” was incredible. It detailed the development of the moving image and highlighted Australian contributions to the film and television industries.  The whole exhibit was highly interactive and allowed museum goers to play classic and contemporary video games, view movies, tv episodes, rarely seen behind the scenes footage, and use interactive displays to understand the technology behind the special effects in movies and animation. The scope of the exhibit was ambitious but very well put together, and really gave a comprehensive look into the diversity of entertainment and creativity that makes the moving image such a dominant cultural force.

Main floor of the exhibit. Everything was really interactive

The car from Mad Max

One of the dresses Cate Blanchett wore in "Elizabeth"

**GEEKS OUT** The red dress Nicole Kidman wore in Moulin Rouge during the "Elephant Love Medley" song, and one of the windmills they used for scale models of the set. I FREAKED WHEN I SAW THIS

After a few hours in the museum we went out in search of more Melbourne adventures. We ran into some Melbourne city guides, who are basically cute old ladies wearing baseball caps and fannie packs filled with free fliers and maps who can answer questions about attractions and things in the city. We asked them where we could see more street art and they point us in the direction of Hoiser Lane. If street art is the premiere art form of Melbourne than Hoiser Lane would surely be the Lourve. It is a long alley way that is famous for the art put up on it.

Hoiser Lane

Further up Hoiser Lane

Hindu Elephant!

"Terrorists Often Wear Suits" Truth.

WHy so serious?

This arrow decal was all over the city

Textile street art installation

so much color.

Tree!

Punny

political

More traditional graffiti

Colorful

bullet holes

The diversity of art here was incredible

This one was incredible. I don't even want to think about how long it must have taken

The living wall!

sticker tag war

Crazy detail

Street artist in progress

Big Fail

Once we made it past the colored walls of Hoiser St we went out in search of more Melbourne adventures. Next stop: the Royal Botanical Gardens!

Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens

Fairy Tree

Mini tudor Village in the Botanical Gardens.

The steps of the Victoria Parliament building, we saw so many couples going in to get married. you can see one on the right there.

Self Explanatory

After a bit more city wandering the day began to wind down. We had to catch a plane out of Avalon at 8:50 and in order to do this we had to get on the bus that would put us at Avalon around 8:10. Around 6 we headed back to the hostel, grabbed our bags and walked back to southern cross station to buy our bus tickets and catch our bus. Once we got to the airport we headed in to check in, and as soon as the four of us had cleared the checkout counter a woman came over the loud speaker and said

“The check in desk is now closed”

We had made it in just the nick of time. The lady at the check in desk scolded us saying that we should have come in on the earlier bus, which was an option we had considered but it would have put us at the airport around 7, which would have given us two hours to sit in that tiny rinky dink shed of an airport, and since we had the option of a later bus we decided against it. I don’t know what would have happened if our bus had arrived any later, and I would rather not think about it.

Lyndsay and I cleared security no problem, but when Seth’s bag went through the x-ray scanner, security stopped him and said:

“Sir you have a fork in your bag, you are going to need to take that out”

Earlier in the weekend Seth had gotten take away food at an Indian restaurant and had grabbed a real fork out of the restaurant because they had neglected to include a utensil with his takeout order, or so he thought, he had later found that they had included a spoon, but never the less he had kept the fork. When security pointed this out to him he went searching for it, but it was actually inside his small day bag inside his backpack, so he had some difficulty finding it. Lyndsay and I were boarding the plane while Seth and Jordan were still caught up at security. Eventually he was able to locate the fork and security asked what they wanted him to do with it. What was he supposed to do? Check his singular fork? Yeah no. It got left behind in Avalon.

Finally we all made it onto the plane and were back in Sydney before midnight. We were all exhausted the next day, but Melbourne had been a lot of fun and even though waking up the next morning was rough, it was well worth the trip.

Melbourne City Sights

Monday, April 4th, 2011

After a full day on the Great Ocean Road on very little sleep, Seth, Lyndsay, Jordan and I were all too pleased to sleep in a little bit the following day. We woke up around 11 and set our sights on checking out a local Melbourne music festival for the day. Once we got a little breakfast we headed off to Federation Square where it was being held. On our way there we passed Findlers St Station, a famous Melbourne landmark and meeting spot. We also saw street art around every corner. Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia and is known as the cultural capital of Australia, and also for its diverse range of street art and subcultures. The whole street art movement began in the 1970s and 80s and Melbourne was one of the first major cities outside of the UK to embrace this renegade art form as legitimate, and not try to penalize people for doing it or cover or clean it up. Due to the governments laze faire approach to this art form, the movement has grown to take over just about every empty alley way in the city. The street art in Melbourne includes not just graffiti paintings and stencil art but also sticker art, poster art, wheat pasting, graphs, wood blocking, sculptures, textiles, and street installations. There is a strong sense in community ownership of these art works and much of the art carries with it some sort of political message.

Sticker art

More sticker art

stencil tagging

so cool

Creepy

Findler's St Station. The front of this building has different clocks that tell the time in various cities. This is a big meeting place in Melbourne, you say "meet me under the clocks!"

We arrived at the music festival to see that it was much smaller than we had heard it was going to be and the turn out there was disappointing. I have seen larger crowds at ihop at 2 am. So we ditched that idea and just wandered around the city instead. In the picture above you can see the “free” Melbourne tram. Technically it costs money to ride it, but there is one official who checks every tram in the city once a day, so the chances that you will get caught riding it without a ticket are VERY low. When the front desk manager at our hostel was describing this to us he said “Everybody rides and nobody pays- isn’t this country great?”

We rode the “free” tram down to brunswick and spent the day wandering aimlessly through the city looking at street art, shops and popping in and out of any store that grabbed out attention.

Amazing chickpea veg burger

Australia in general I have found to be very vegetarian friendly, but Melbourne in particular had a LOT of vegetarian/vegan/kosher/healthy food options. For lunch Lyndsay and I found this burger place that specialized in vegetarian burgers and it was FANTASTIC. Quite possibly one of the best burgers I have ever had. Mine was made of chickpeas with tomato, sweet tomato relish, tomato, beet root, and various other delicious things on it. At $10 it was a steal (yes this is considered affordable in Australia).

Lyndsay enjoying her tasty healthy burger

With lunch in our bellies we continued to explore. We rode the “free” tram up and down through Melbourne until it was dinner time and we ate in this funky but wonderful restaurant called the Gypsy Cafe. We lingered over dinner and then headed back to our hostel as it was getting dark. While we had been out during the day we had stopped into another Nomads location (its a chain) and talked to the travel desk clerk who was an American guy who had grown up in New York but attended UVA. He gave us some great suggestions on clubs and nightlife locations, including a three level club called Bubbles. He gave us the address for this, so on our way home we tried to look for it. In Melbourne I think they must have named every street and then found that they had run out of street name ideas because for every street there was another street with the name “little” in front of it. There is Collins St and Little Collins St, Bourke St, Little Bourke St, Lonsdale St and Little Lonsdale st and it goes on and on like this. Bubbles was theoretically located on Little Collins st, and we walked the entire length of the street (which, thankfully, was in fact little) and we couldn’t find it. We asked a few different people about it and they all told us the same address we already had. So it became a running joke that this place was just a figment of everyones imagination. My theory was that it had some sort of secret Harry Potter -esque entrance where you had to tap seven different bricks in a certain order for the door to appear. Who knows, we never found it. We went back to the hostel to shower and change and then head back out again in search of nightlife. The front desk manager at our hostel suggested a local club called Eurotrash, but we weren’t completely sold on that idea so we set out with no real destination in mind.

After a few minutes of aimless wandering we ran into two aussie college girls and their male friend and decided to ask them for directions to Bubbles, they told us they had never been to Bubbles, but were headed to Eurotrash and asked if we wanted to come with. Of course we did! We walked with them to Eurotrash, talking the whole way. They asked us lots of questions about where we were from, what we were studying, and the united states, and we in turn asked them about Melbourne. Once we got to the club we were pleasantly surprised to find this little hole in the wall establishment that was busy but not too crowded on the inside playing great dancing music and had plenty of outdoor areas to sit in and chat. We danced and drank the night away with our new Australian friends. I had my first gin and tonic, which was quite tasty.

I'm Lyndsays boyfriend, in case you didn't know. The guy on the far right is the guy we met the night before from Maryland

In a bizarre twist of fate we ran into a bunch of the people we had met the night before at this club. Among them was the guy Lyndsay had met that went to Maryland. He hung out with us for the rest of the night even after his friends left. While we were dancing this tall Australian guy came up to me and started talking to me. Talking to people in dance clubs isn’t talking so much as it is yelling. After a few minutes of half dancing half screaming my way through a conversation I asked him if he wanted to go sit down to talk. He agreed and we ended up chatting for upwards of an hour. As it turns out he was half american as his dad was from Las Vegas. I didn’t know anyone could actually be from Las Vegas, I just always thought of it as someplace like Disney world that people went to have fun but you couldn’t actually be a resident. He asked me lots of questions about America, and about Washington DC under the pretense that he wanted to go there during the upcoming holiday. I feel like this was just an in to talk to me, but either way we had a good conversation.

When we parted ways I went back into the dane dace room to find Seth, Jordan and Lyndsay but they they were nowhere to be found. They had left to go next door and get McDonalds but neglected to tell me this. Luckily I found our new Aussie friends and danced with them while I waited for one of them to return my text message asking where the heck they were. In only a few minutes they came back and insisted I tell them all the juicy details of my encounter with the tall Australian guy. They were quite disappointed to hear that we had just been chatting, and it took me insisting at least eight times that nothing else had gone on for them to believe me, and even then I’m not completely sure they bought it.

We were having such a great time dancing and hanging out with our new friends that we lost all track of time and didn’t end up leaving the club until almost 4 am. Since we had followed our newfound Aussie friends to the club, we didn’t really recognize where we were once we exited. Luckily the Maryland guy was still with us, and he was able to point us in the right direction. Before we parted ways with our Maryland Melbourne friend we went into a 7-11 and each got a maxibon man chew ice cream bar. This is basically a thicker crunch bar without a stick but the commercials they run for them are so outrageous. Watch this and you will understand:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHrhmpKSLVg

Jordan and Seth giving their jaw muscles a work out

So we all had one and made all sorts of cracks about our jaw muscles getting bigger. Once we had finished our ice cream we parted ways with the Maryland guy who was able to point us in the direction of our hostel. We were all more than happy to crawl into bed, but not before setting an alarm for 9am since we had to be checked out by 10 in order to avoid getting charged for another day. It was a slow day wandering through Melbourne followed by a wild night out.

Living it up in Melbourne