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Support our Pozible Campaign! by Kian West

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It is almost over, but we have some much further to go with your help!

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Stretching as far as we can with your support,

Mirage is keen to get cracking on a monthly Podcast so we are really pushing to kick over that $3,000 mark and start working on turning the dream into reality with your help!

There are some really exciting options including a Limited Edition Nathan Jay T-Shirt!

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Or if you are feeling extra generous go all out with a 4 pack T-shirt deal.

It doesn't stop with a Podcast,

Mirage have so many exciting projects on the horizon and are super keen to support the community even further if we crack higher goals like implementing a paid internship for students completing studies because, while we understand the gift that is professional experience, Mirage believes in supporting skills but making sure bills get paid. Coffee ain't free right?

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Sounds great right?

PICK A REWARD!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Minutes With... Mitta Norath by Ryan Williams

I MET MITTA ON AN UNSEASONABLY STEAMY OCTOBER AFTERNOON, AT A CERTAIN CAFE ON BEAUMONT ST WITH GOOD COFFEE. I WAS LATE. IF YOU'RE READING THIS, I'M SORRY I WAS LATE MITTA. ANYWAY, MR. NORATH IS AN ACCOMPLISHED DRUMMER, RECORD PRODUCER, AND NOW THE VERY PROUD OWNER OF A BROKEN HAND. "TOMFOOLERY" HE SAYS, AS HE REJECTS MY MOTION FOR A HI-FIVE.

MOVING ON QUICKLY, I PULL OUT MY CHAIR AND SIT DOWN.

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So this year has been massive for you Mitta with your work with Staunch, Eat Your Heart Out and Fingers Crossed. You’ve become Newcastle’s go-to heavy music guy. Are you stoked with how it’s all going?

Yeah I’m fucking stoked all the time, every day. The other band that should have been in that list was “Those Things” from Sydney. They’re a rock n’ roll punk band, like The Bronx. Party rock. I did a 10-inch for them last year, and then a 7-inch this year.

Another band I’ve recorded recently that I’m really happy with is a band called “Under Grey Skies” that were around a year or two ago. They’ve just finished up some songs up recently and are about the release those. Really heavy, full on shit.

It’s been cool this year because I’ve had so many different projects. Like “Those Things” are like a Fender Deluxe Telecaster sound, while the stuff I was working on last week was 7-strings tuned to drop A.

Heavy music is my passion obviously. I’ll always play that and always love it, but it’s good having a few different things on your plate to keep things interesting.

Another good thing about it is when you learn something from a certain genre, it’s going to cross over into others. A lot of metal production these days has heaps of pop elements in it. So that kind of massive sound metal sound, a lot of it is derived from pop techniques. For example the dude that mixes My Chemical Romance is traditionally a pop mixer who moved over into that heavy stuff so now you’ve got this super clean, massive Fall Out Boy kind of sound. So bands like Bring Me The Horizon are going for this type of production now.

It’s cool in the respect that I get to do everything, like this year I got to engineer two country pop albums for solo female artists. Lauren Wheatley from Newcastle and Innocent Eve, a female duo from Queensland. I got to mic all these instruments that I hadn’t even seen before, let alone played. Just getting to do new stuff all the time and not getting bored, because being bored sucks. Doing the same album over and over again sucks too.

So how is Lauren Wheatley Doing?

She’s doing really well! She’s getting a lot of airtime on CMC these days, which I find crazy to be honest. Also some people like fucking country music for some reason. [Laughs]

Should I put that in?

If you want to [Laughs] Her's is more of a country pop crossover.

There’s a lot of that floating around these days.

Dude it’s huge now, and it’s the mainstream. You know like Keith Urban, Taylor Swift and Morgan Evans. These are all like country artists, who are now considered pop.

Dude I have a really funny story actually, about a week or two ago I filmed Marsha Heins in Sydney. She was doing one of her shows on her tour and I went and filmed it for her DVD or some shit. It was really cool, and I totally didn’t expect it though. I was like Marsha Heins, Australian Idol, 70s, and now man, I just listen to her stuff all the time! I was just on YouTube and I had one of her ballads on, and it’s about being faithful, and being in love with people, and I seriously almost cried. It’s gotten to me. It’s that old 70s stuff that makes you feel good.

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What was influencing you when you were a young lad?

How far back?

You can go back as far as you like.

Like out of the womb?

If you want.

I don’t know if I did the standard thing that everyone did, but my dad bought me up on Michael Jackson, Queen and things like that. Kind of classic rock and roll as well as crossover pop rock stuff. So a lot of that stuff is still my favourite. I went through that heavy stage that everyone goes through, Frenzal Rhomb, Blink 182 (Enema of the State), which led into Slipknot, which led into Death Metal, and then got heavier and heavier until the point when, you know, I listen to noise and shit now. To me that’s as heavy as it gets. But that’s debatable obviously.

I think like everyone I’ve had the standard evolution of taste, where it just changes from one thing to another. Because of my job and because of the nature of my surroundings I believe I have a pretty eclectic taste. I like a lot of different, weird things.

I think you’ve got to have your head fairly in the sand to not like a lot of things. When I was about 18-19 I used to be one of those dudes who hated anything not metal. “You listen to something that’s not breakdowns? What’s wrong with you?” So I was just one of those fuckwits. Then I hit 20-21 and realised that the only person I’m hurting with this shit is myself. There’s so much out there to enjoy, why am I worrying about what other people think. So I guess I let go of the ego in that respect, and now I just enjoy whatever, whenever. Fuck I liked that Carly-Rae-Jepsen when it came out, and that’s fucking embarrassing.

You’re all grown up.

I don’t believe that there’s such a thing as a guilty pleasure. I think if you enjoy something you should be able to enjoy it.

How is Regresser going?

Regresser is going good. We’re on a bit of a break now because we’ve got an injury.

Well yeah, what’s going on with that?

Just dumb shit. Drunken tomfoolery. I just fractured a little bone in there, so it’s not a big deal. Everything should be back to normal in a week or two.

So yeah, we’ve had two releases this year, which makes it feel like we’ve been doing it for two or three years so far. We released an EP at the start of the year, and then we’ve released a single for fun. Now we’ve got a whole new release recorded which is ready to go, but we’re just one of those bands that re-does things again and again. When you hear a Regresser song, you’re really hearing the third recording of that. We’re sitting on this release for now until the right time. The dudes in the band are all eccentric and weird, which is what I like. They can be very strange in the decisions they make.

Right now we’re writing and trying for pre production for an album or a long EP or something like that.

How does all this work fit in with you in the producer’s role? How does that slot in with the creative process? Do you think you hold a certain power over the way the recordings come out?

With that band and most bands that I’m creatively involved in the writing process I’d say I’d end up taking a producer’s role most of the time. Because I’m a drummer I end up structuring a lot of things, and the other guys might bring in ideas and I’ll either contribute to that or help rearrange things. I’ll try and look at things not so much from inside the band’s perspective, but from outside the band’s perspective. So because the guys are more intensely involved in the writing of the music, I try and remain objective to what might be working and what might not be.

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How do you feel about the music scene in Newcastle at the moment? Do you think this town a hub for heavy music?

I think Newcastle has always had a massive music community. The city has one of the highest bands per capita in the country, if not the world. It was number 1 for a bit in the early 2000’s, I’m not sure if it still is though. So for that reason I believe we have a very rich musical culture. We’re responsible for Silverchair and I don’t know who else.. Marsha Heins? [Laughs]

The Screaming Jets

Exactly. It’s all very work orientated. I’m a little bit jealous of the Sydney scene in that respect because of the diversity of ethnicities, incomes and backgrounds they’ve got down there. There is so much music down there. Having said that, because there are so many fish in that sea, people don’t seem to care as much. So you can be a fantastic band in Sydney and have nobody give a fuck, but be an average band in Newcastle and people really care. So that’s kind of cool.

I like how Newcastle is kind of niche-y. You’ve got to have a groove to get anywhere. I like that you can’t just form a regular-ass band that’s been done a hundred-thousand times and put it out and expect to get noticed, because people won’t care. I like how people are a bit selective and a bit elitist like that, because that breeds out the mediocrity. However at the same time, it does make it hard. You really need to be able to please a certain crowd to get noticed.

For example, noise music has it’s own culture in Newcastle because of bands like Safe Hands, Tired Minds & Coma Lies, there’s a bit of a noise scene. But if you’re in a gent band, it’s really hard these days in Newcastle to pull people. They’re all various forms of heavy music, but the scenes are all divided within. The problem is the guys that go to the metal shows, don’t go to the hardcore shows, and the guys that go to the hardcore shows never go to the noise shows. Instead of having this one big scene where everyone supports each other, it’s pretty divided out there. That hurts the scene. I think if everyone pulled together, did mixed bills and all that sort of shit, and not be bitchy, we’d be better for it.

There are a lot of young, aspiring bands out there, which I find to be really inspirational.

You get bands coming down from Singleton and the Hunter Valley to play down here.

Yeah! Staunch are from Muswellbrook and they’re killing it at the moment.

You’ve got Hombre Records on Hunter St as well, which seems like a good base for hardcore in town.

Now that you say that, it reminds me of a time about ten years ago where the scene was really massive in Newcastle. Mainly older dudes, the likes of The Dead Walk and Dropsaw. Now there are these waves of young people that are coming in like the dudes in Staunch who are eighteen-year-old kids. The scene is just full of young people now, which is what you need.

Having hardcore more in the mainstream because of bands like Parkway Drive, it’s made the idea of having a career in hardcore possible. It’s opened the music up to kids that wouldn’t normally be interested, which is awesome.

These DIY venues are really cool. I think it’s all come out of other venues shutting down left right and center. The Loft is gone. All that sort of shit. I think we’re really in a time of change too because of things like the Internet. You’ve got bands out there that are massive on the Internet that will only get fifty to one hundred payers. They’ve got twenty thousand hits on YouTube, but will only get fifty people through the door because everyone’s in their bedroom watching shit on Facebook. So being big in real life and on the Internet is two different things.

What should Newcastle Mirage readers go out and get right now local music wise?

It’s not super local but I’d definitely say check out Those Things, I have serious faith in that. I reckon it’s a wonderful CD. Endless Heights, Idols (Syd), Jurassic Penguin (Mel) & Totally Unicorn (Syd).  But if I had to choose just one... Hmm...

AFTER A FEW MINUTES OF THINKING TIME, I OFFER TO COME BACK TO THE QUESTION. MITTA AGREES.

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Do you have any advice for young kids coming out who want to write music and want to maybe open their own studio one day?

Just fucking practice. I know everyone says that, but what I mean is don’t go to Uni, don’t go to fucking JMC academy, don’t go to fucking the Con or whatever, just practice. Just buy your own shit, and sit at home and play with it.

Did you go to uni at all?

M: No. No SAE. No JMC. No fucking private college. No university. None of that shit. They charge so much money (which is cool, I know how much all that equipment costs) but you don’t need it. Just practice.

You think about all the famous producers out there, the Chris Lord-Alge’s the Rick Rubins, nobody’s going to ask what piece of paper they’ve got. They’re going to ask about what was the last CD they did. How does it sound. So that would be my biggest piece of advice.

To young bands, is to do it right and do it right from the start. Don’t go in with shitty attitudes, don’t go in expecting the world, and putting in no effort. Do it professionally. Spend money where you need to. Record a good CD. Have the right artwork. Get a good photo. Look professional, because people won’t take you seriously. Local bands...

AT THIS POINT IN THE INTERVIEW MITTA STOPS AND RACKS HIS BRAIN AGAIN TO THINK OF HIS FAVOURITE NEWCASTLE BAND AT THE MOMENT.

Hang on I’ve got this.. Hold on… Umm.. There’s been so many releases lately.. Staunch have been doing really well. I think their music is fun, and they’re heaps good live. But if I had to put it on one..

This is becoming a loaded question.

It’s getting way too hard.

Your desert island Newcastle band. What is your desert island album by the way?

We’re off the Newcastle band thing now?

For the minute.

For my desert island album it would have to be a Dillenger CD. One of them. They’re my number one favorite, so it would be one of those.

But which one?

Fuck you. Probably the last one. One Of Us Is a Killer.

Newcastle Bands... Hmm... Safe Hands, Tired Minds, King Trio are doing well...

How is everything else at Tommirock going?

Good! I’d like to mention as well that I’d love to introduce some more engineers into the studio. Getting more people to come and hire out the studio space. I don’t care if you don’t want to record with me, I would just love for Tommirock to become a bigger part of the Newcastle music community. The space is useless when there’s not a band in there. It doesn’t sound any good when they’re nobody playing.

What’s next for the future?

More of the same. Bigger and better. I’ll probably be staying where I am for a while, but the client base is getting bigger all the time. As far as what I want to create, I want to engineer and produce really niche, artists and works. Likely always heavy music, but I want to take the left of center, weird, crazy stuff. I don’t want to make the same old shit.

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If you're a Newcastle Based engineer and want some time in a studio space, get in contact with Mitta at mitta@tommirock.com to work out a deal! He's a lovely dude.

Newcastle has lots of blogging going on... by Kian West

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You may have spotted out post on Facebook a little while ago asking Who has a Blog & Who would be keen to attend a Blog Meet. Well it was pretty astounding the level of feedback we achieved and has taken us a bit of time to check out so many amazing blogs that were posted onto the conversation thread. We thought we had a duty to share all of those links with you... so in no particular order here are all of them:

The Rebel Rabbit

Victory Gardens

Morris Bear

A Wonderful Life

Balance in Wonderland

Poppy Bevan

Becomingness

Funktacular Fotography

Never Ending Bookshelf

Cupcakes Yummy Things

The Naughty Corner of Social niceties

Melisa H May

Chris Does It

Linda Swinfield

Sunday Girl, In Newie

My Ideas Man

The Daft Knight

A Little Bit Crinkled

The Little Lioness

Peachy Keen Muma

Beautifully Organised

Enfants Prudente

Polka Dots & Frocks

I Heart Tuesdays

Meadowlake Street

Money Perry

My Home Truths

Smarter Happier

Reading Upside Down

For This Way

(if you aren't on this list and want to be added shoot us an email: info@newcastlemirage.com)

We are pretty certain this is just the beginning of a list and there are so many other places to find local creative talent in Newcastle such as the Newcastle Writes page that have a kick-arse list of Blogs and inspiring local websites to visit!

A Date has been Selected for a Blog meet and will also form the basis for the Newcastle Mirage Christmas Shindig! on December 13th at The Commons Cafe on Beaumont St. with a kick-off around 3pm for afternoon tea, networking games and some crafternooning before some music and a couple of beverages. Fun huh?

Tickets will be available soon at a small cost.

 

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Just Another Tuesday 260814 #Blogtribe by Kian West

For those of you playing at home, I write the "Intro" section every month for Newcastle Mirage and have always tried to emulate the Editor sections of other magazines I really enjoy. An inspiring piece that also somehow connects with the articles inside. A sort of cohesive glue to the rest of the zine... Inside the August Intro I mentioned I'd write every week for the month and if people liked it I'd continue. Well, I failed.

I failed miserably and didn't write all month. In my defence, after I wrote that I realised I hadn't really planned any further than that. It seems simple enough at face value, write something every week. But What? And When? So it has taken me a month to work out the When part and oddly enough that seemed more important than the What because without consistency it really doesn't matter what it is about. So in light of all this, inspiration grabbed me this week. I have been following The Blog Society for a few months now and trying to get a feel for what other Bloggers are writing about. Most are women that I could find, a lot are themed around cooking, fashion, decorating or craft, entertaining children and similar. But that doesn't help me. We write a monthly Art & Culture Zine that is focused on the WHO of Newcastle...

But then, you suddenly think, maybe people want to hear what is going on behind the scenes? Every week we meet with people as the project of Mirage develops, contacts are formed and events are happening and so I am really asking...

Does this sound interesting?

 

  1. Like for instance, I met with Jon from the Hunter Business Chamber last week about becoming a member and also to start gaining some business insight, maybe a mentor, to help assist the growth of us as well as myself.... Would you like to hear about that?
  2. I also visited a Poetry Slam. I've never visited a Slam before and was completely blown away... What about that?
  3. At the same time I've had Ryan on the case to develop layers of our logo and cutting out a stencil for some limited Edition Tote Bags... Would you enjoy hearing/seeing this project?

So, I'm asking you to pick 1, 2 or 3 and I'll elaborate on this before the weekend... But in future I'm planning to write something for every Tuesday and if I don't get any feedback I'll just keep on writing random stories... it is much more fun together though.

 

KW

Fresh to Newie: Stepping Stone Studio by Kian West

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One of the perks of writing for Newcastle Mirage is the invitations you get to visit new and exciting developments in our amazing city, such as the freshest of fresh: Stepping Stone Studio. 1800400_479240545515143_2024071473_n Well, to be perfectly honest, my mother is actually cooler than I am - she set up the introduction in typical fashion, dropping my name while she was checking out the studio and mentioning (I imagine it went like this), "My son writes in a local magazine, the Mirage" (or something similar) then probably pulled out baby photos or something equally embarrassing before handing over one of my business cards. Who needs a PR when you have a mum like that?

So Cate gave me a call and we set up a time to stop by SSS and chat all things art and such. I was lucky enough to meet one of the other in-house contributors, Nadia (left in image), who is originally from Port Macquarie and moved here about 5 years ago. I'm assuming because Newcastle is such a hot-bed of activity, but she could have her own reason...

I also met with Catherine (right in image), the reason I was visiting in the first place. Cate has moved to Newcastle recently to further her studies at the University of Newcastle. She has traveled some way to be here, hailing from some outback town outside of Geelong (I don't remember specifically). If you don't know where Geelong is, shame on you! It is in Victoria, the state below NSW with 4 seasons in one day.

Stepping Stone Studio is a Fresh Renew Newcastle addition inside the shop where Go-Lo previously lived at the bottom of Market Square, below Pocket Design. Their agenda (apparently according to the website) is to create ‘A diverse, thriving and valued community of Newcastle Artists creating and selling Art work together in a nourishing, inclusive and fun environment’.

"Stepping Stone Studios is an inviting and friendly Art studio and exhibition space located in the heart of Newcastle. Stepping Stone is proud to be part of the Renew Newcastle project. Through the Renew Newcastle, this space was offered to local artist for use as an Art space. The opportunity was taken up with enthusiasm and the space was soon overrun with a diverse community of artists.

The Art work at Stepping Stone is for sale! Any purchase made will be helping to grow and encourage our talented local art community and support the Renew Newcastle project.  At Stepping Stone you can discover small items that are great for gifts or adding colour to your home. You can also find treasures both for little kids and big kids (adults). With a diverse group of Artists we can boast a diverse collection of artworks in a range of themes, mediums , sizes, shapes and colours!"

Shop 7a and 7b Market Square, Hunter Street Mall, Hunter Street Newcastle 2300

Stepping Stone Studio opening hours:

Wednesday to Friday 10am – 4pm Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 2pm.

The Monthly Nick - Nick Milligan by Ben Mitchell

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NEWCASTLE IS A CITY FILLED WITH MEN OF MANY NAMES – PLENTY OF MATTS, SEANS, LUKES AND BENS – BUT AFTER YEARS OF STEEL CITY MINGLING, THIS REPORTER HAS FOUND THAT THE REAL PIONEERS, THE NOVOCASTRIAN GLUE HOLDING THE CULTURAL SCENE TOGETHER, ALL SHARE A NAME WITH THE HUMBLE SAINT NICHOLAS. OUR CITY IS BURSTING AT THE SEAMS WITH NICKS, EACH DOING THEIR PART TO MAKE IT A BETTER PLACE. AFTER NOTICING THE COMMON BOND OF PASSION AND AMBITION ATTACHED TO THE NAME, IT WAS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THE MONTHLY NICK CAME INTO FRUITION, AS THERE ARE LIKELY SEVERAL NICKS NEAR YOU, KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE IN THEIR OWN WAY, REGARDLESS OF RECOGNITION OR CELEBRATION. THESE ARE THEIR STORIES.1492311_10153714848510035_876247877_o I feel as though I have done the good people of Newcastle a disservice in my article on October’s Monthly Nick, local writer, Nick Milligan. I’ve always struggled with eBooks  (if you’re reading the printed version of this article, I’m sure you can relate) as the concept of keeping my attention in one place digesting information that is not on the printed page has always been an obstacle for me. When the October Nick gave me a digital copy of his debut novel Enormity to read before our interview, I explained my deterrence to the kindle and that I wanted to pick up a printed copy to read it properly, proceeding to carry on with that article as if I had read more than just the blurb. The perfect crime. You were all none the wiser. Months later, finally the owner of a hard copy, I found myself spending twice as much time on trains – which had quickly become sacred chambers of quiet carriage concentration,    desperate to cram in another chapter of what could be my favourite thing to come out of Newcastle.

Enormity is a very difficult story to give an ‘elevator pitch’ for. Before I sat down with Nick about the book, I was told it was about an astronaut who lands on another planet and becomes a famous rock star by claiming popular earth songs as his own. This immediately gave the sci-fi comedy vibe of the Craig Robinson plotline in Hot Tub Time Machine, or the Enchantment Under The Sea dance in Back To The Future, and, if anything, gave me the wrong impression. About halfway into the novel, it became clear that using that synopsis would be like saying Breaking Bad is about meth, or Watchmen is about superheroes – one over-arching plotpoint is used as a jumping-off point for much larger, darker and more abstract themes. Enormity isn’t the sexy satirical rock and roll romp I was expecting, but a very genuine-feeling epic, transcending genres of sci-fi, horror, action, suspense and dark comedy.

Though the idea of dishonesty leading to unwarranted success is a big part of Enormity, a much more important theme explored in its chapters is the concept of celebrity, and how members of the entertainment industry are put on a pedestal by the general public. This is shown (without a grain of metaphoric subtlety) by this new planet treating our lyric-stealing protagonist, Jack, like the second coming of Christ, when his own sense of morality and self-indulgent behaviour should really have him fingered as a fallen angel. In between the sex and drugs, the small glimpses that are offered of the planet’s society, history and biology paint it as a much more peaceful utopian version of our own, and Jack’s alien presence there, along with his ‘discovery’ of rock and roll, is a ticking time bomb of disruption that he is very aware of.  Along with uncovering a nation-wide conspiracy, interacting with deadly other-worldly creatures, fabricating an intricate web of lies to conceal his alien status and the slew of his other experiences covered in Enormity, I can understand why these themes were omitted by readers using the ‘rockstars in space’ pitch. Describing a mix of Paradise Lost, Total Recall and Almost Famous, as if written by a lovechild of Brian K Vaughan, Kevin Smith and Henry Rollins, would be a very difficult thing to do in an elevator.

Enormity is a very easy read. With short, sharp sentences and well-resolved chapters with definitive peaks and valleys, it plays out in a very cinematic manner with a non-linear timeline, bouncing between the present and past like a jigsaw the reader needs to put together. As it is told from the perspective of the story’s only earth-native character, Jack’s role as narrator becomes similar to that of Twin Peaks’ Agent Dale Cooper, who David Lynch once described as an innocent: a ‘person you trust enough to go into a strange world with’. As Jack marvels over the difference between this new planet and his home, the reader is right there with him, which makes for very believable transitions between experimenting with other-worldly drugs in one scene, and hiding from gigantic alien spiders in the next.  It’s easy, at times, to forget you’re reading a novel with sci-fi elements, as Enormity is speckled with charming, believable situations that could easily happen on our home planet, like Jack and his bandmates competing to get the pull-quote in an interview, or Jack’s reluctance to corrupt his next-door neighbour’s seemingly innocent daughter. Similarly, despite the very dark mix of horror and sci-fi the story can foray into, the novel can be refreshingly tongue-in-cheek at times, as well as very erotic, with a surprising level of intricacy. This has lead me to believe that Nick Milligan, the jolly Music and Movie Trivia host we all know and love, is secretly very good at sex and sex-related things. Take note.996648_10153534061610035_1253434956_n

It should not be taken lightly that I found this novel very hard to put down, as I have grown accustomed to (and developed my life’s profession around) written words with accompanying visuals.  Nick once told me about the time he wrote a letter to Ralph magazine, commending them on their inclusion of model Jennifer Hawkins, predicting very big things for her future career. This was years before Hawkins became 2004’s Miss Universe, and the clipping of the printed letter became a prized possession of his, as confirmation of his good taste before the hype. I feel like this review will serve a similar purpose in my life. Give it a few years, and Enormity is going to be huge. If we can get to 2030 without seeing Jared Leto’s portrayal of Jack on the big screen, faking an Australian accent to describe his motivations behind writing Stairway To Heaven, I will eat my hat!

60 seconds with - ERYN WITHAWHY by Kian West

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  Eryn graciously featured on 1/2 limited edition covers for the January issue of NM and we were so incredibly stoked to catch up with her and take a moment to highlight someone that is such an inspiration to so many others and a personal favorite of us here at Mirage. If you don't already know Eryn Withawhy, this article will be a special treat. It is people like Eryn that make our amazing city the incredible place it is. YOU MIGHT KNOW ERYN AS THE ENERGETIC FACE OF THE STEEL CITY COLLECTIVE, BUT ERYN IS SO MUCH MORE THAN THE DIRECTOR OF AN ART COLLECTIVE AND GALLERY OWNER. SHE IS A HIGHLY CREATIVE INDIVIDUAL, EXTREMELY MOTIVATED TO DO GREAT FOR THE COMMUNITY SHE LIVES IN AND LEAVE AN IMPACT ON THE SOULS SHE CONNECTS WITH. IT IS BECAUSE OF THIS WE FELT IT NECESSARY TO INTERVIEW ONE OF THE ORIGINAL CONTRIBUTORS OF NEWCASTLE MIRAGE.ISSUE_8_COV1

 

So Eryn, thanks for taking time out of your crazy schedule to speak, Tell us a little bit about yourself? Any time, Kian! To be honest, it’s weird to be on the other side of an interview. Well…according to my shiny new website (www.withawhy.com.au), I’m the girl who asks questions. I think that sums me up pretty perfectly. I’m constantly evolving, constantly learning and constantly pushing myself to know more and be more. I’m a freelance designer, illustrator, artist and creative events manager. Sometimes I write copy.

You have recently been working with the Special Olympics when they were in Newcastle, care to tell us a little about this experience? Newcastle is so lucky to have hosted such an amazing event! The people involved; the athletes, families, support staff, volunteers and event co-ordinators, were such positive, inspiring people! I was asked to orchestrate a large scale art performance as part of the Opening Ceremony. With only two weeks lead time, my plans of creating a 200-canvas strong illustrative mosaic were a little ambitious, but the resulting display was something I’m very proud of. In the end I painted approximately 70 1m x 1.5m canvases over three days. The individual pieces matched up to reveal a portrait of Jessica, a dancer who was chosen to be showcased as a hero in the ceremony. The first time I saw the whole piece was at the dress rehearsal - it was pretty surreal. They had a helicopter fly over to film it. Footage of the event unfolding and us spray painting in front of a stadium of people was streamed live on national TV. I’m so grateful to all the people who volunteered last minute to help at the rehearsal and the performance. I couldn’t have picked a better team to work with. Everyone who came along was positive, flexible, supportive, enthusiastic and just great. I owe them a great deal. Many thanks to Jane, Claudia, Lauren (and her lovely mother!), Bryan, Grant, Josh, Glenn, Nathan, Andy, Dane, Dru, Gale and Ethan as well as the fantastic staff and students from Swansea High School and Newcastle Waldorf School!! Special thanks to my wonderful mother who had no idea that she’d be called upon to assist when I was lacking volunteers! Thanks lady! ISSUE_8_ERYN 2What are some of the current projects you are working on? Where do I start? I’ve just finished the poster for an event I’m involved with on the 16th of January at South Newcastle Beach - it’s an all ages festival brought to Newcastle by a variety of community organisations including Headspace, Samaritans, Salvation Army Oasis Youth Network Hunter, Newcastle Community Youth Development Project, Newcastle Skate, Steel City Collective, Multicultural Neighbourhood Centre Inc and Medicare Local Hunter. There’s going to be live music, DJs, live art, games, skate clinics, prizes, giveaways and a free lunch! I’m also working on branding and promotional material for a huge night of entertainment in Sydney mid next year as well as some ongoing events in Melbourne kicking off in a few months. There’s also the various public art installations and walls I’m working on with Steel City Collective - including a series of murals in Hunter high schools, a backlog of commissioned artworks and a few other smaller boutique designs for local businesses and individuals. After the success of TravJamJar’s solo show at Shop Steel City, I’m looking forward to curating a group show as well as putting on a few more solo shows for some very talented local artists. I’m sure that I’ve forgotten about a bunch of things…

Where do you see yourself in five years? I don’t know where I see myself next week.

If you could work with any person, who would it be? There’s a few on my list. I’d love the chance to work for agencies BMF and DraftFCB, responsible for the Aldi - Prices You’ll Love Talking About and Honda Civic - Symphony In Motion campaigns respectively. They were two of my favourite multi-platform campaigns in 2013. Locally, I’m actually really excited about a collaboration with Alien Art tattoo artist Dan Arnold (@ridingwithdeath on instagram). He’s a good friend of mine and a brilliant artist. I cannot wait to work with him on the large scale works we have planned!

When you aren’t creating, what else do you enjoy doing with any spare time? Hahahahahahahahahahaha. You’re funny, Kian.ISSUE_8_ERYN 1

The Rainbow Flag Darkens In Newcastle by Newcastle Discovered

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Living in Newcastle and being a young (ish) gay man feels at times a little hard up for entertainment and a safe place to meet people. While the Gateway has stood tall for many years as the only LGBT venue in town, only having one option is well, not really an option at all. Another highlight is Picnic In The Park, run by Rainbow Visions, who run the annual LGBT festival that is one of the greatest cultural events our city has to offer.914058_678923128799051_1097851271_o Then in 2012 a second LGBT venue opened, “Unity”, at the Sydney Junction Hotel. It was not just a venue; it was a club and event venue that attracted some amazing national and international talent to our town.

So when I read this year that the picnic in the park was cancelled due to lack of support, and Unity closed due to new management at SJ's, I was honestly really ticked off. It felt like the gay community in Newcastle was just starting to go somewhere and then it all just disappeared. The Rainbow Visions Festival is partially funded by the government but relies a lot on membership and fundraising events to put on more, and sadly it did not raise enough money this year to cover the cost of the picnic.

The Sydney Junction Hotel forced Metro Entertainment's Unity club with the owner Kate Beauchamp stating that she wished for the hotel to go in a “different direction” (oddly enough the hotel is now painted hot pink - looking gayer than it ever did?). I spoke with Aaron Little from Metro Entertainment, who is hard at work finding a new home for Unity in Newcastle. “We are very busy working on getting UNITY Nightclub relaunched at a new venue in Newcastle. Currently we have had many offers, but are looking for the right place to move our safe venue.”

So what can we do? Get out there and support local LGBT events! If we want our community to grow and make a mark in Newcastle, supporting the venues and people that put on these events is essential. We will be posting what is happening on our Facebook page so please get behind our community and show your pink support!

 

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO READ THE UNITY PRESS RELEASE THAT WENT OUT LAST WEEK.

UNITY FINDS A NEW HOME Newcastle’s UNITY Nightclub has found a new home in Newcastle after being approached by the owners of one of Newcastle's most iconic nightlife hotspots

UNITY's new home is at Newcastle’s Crown & Anchor Hotel. The Crown & Anchor Hotel owners approached Metro Entertainment directors Aaron Little & Ashley Doran after hearing about the clubs sudden ejection from the Sydney Junction Hotel at the hands of the Hamilton hotel’s new licensee.

The Crown & Anchor has dedicated its 2nd floor club level, formerly the iconic “Frostbites”, to UNITY after hearing about the plight of the club. The owners of the Crown and Anchor have copped their fair share of media attention recently when they met heavy opposition from residents to turn the hotel into a gentleman’s club however have decided to work with UNITY, a nightclub brand which had statistically the lowest recorded incidents of alcohol-related violence in the Newcastle area in the last 12 months.

“We received so many calls from licensees, club promoters and venue owners in the Newcastle area and beyond, wanting to take UNITY after the Newcastle Herald published their story on UNITY”, said director Aaron Little.

“The boys at the Crown and Anchor are young, full of ideas and wanted to help the LGBT community of Newcastle plus it’s a great venue” explained Little regarding the reason that the Crown & Anchor was their final choice. “It’s centrally located, close to public transport, there’s a taxi rank directly outside and with our clubs record of outstanding patron behaviour we think it’s going to be an asset to that area of town and really help to rejuvenate nightlife in a positive direction.”

“People are under the perception that UNITY is a “gay” bar… but it’s not. Yes, we provide a safe space for the gay, lesbian and transgender community of Newcastle but we also have a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination of any sort (race, gender or sexuality) and a zero-tolerance policy on violence or bullying of any type. Everyone is welcome at UNITY as long as you are there to have a good time and you believe, accept, respect and promote that everyone is different.”

At this point UNITY promoters have advised that the club will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will play host to many of Australia’s best DJ’s, performing artists and drag queens. Whilst Friday and Saturday nights have always been extremely busy for the nightclub brand the promoters hope to bring back “Sunday sessions” to the inner city where patrons can enjoy laidback house music with a cocktail or 2 on one of the two balconies overlooking the mall and the harbour during summer.

UNITY will open on Friday 8 November with Diva award winning DJ (2006-2013) KITTY GLITTER plus a huge show lineup and some very special international guests on the Saturday 9 November

The Crown & Anchor Hotel is located at 189 Hunter Street Newcastle. For more information on UNITY go to their website www.unitynightclub.com