subpixels.com | SPXL.TVblog | contactgallery | videoflash | processingmyspace | facebook

Category / Parties & Nightlife

VNTZ | Event Listings 31 July, 2015 at 4:37 pm

For a long time now there has not been a decent resource listing events in Sydney. InTheMix had officially shut down its WHATSON section. Time Out, Resident Advisor, and even SPRACI are currently hopeless, and Facebook keeps you in an information bubble where you can only see stuff you are more or less directly connected to (eg by invitation, and now Facebook is limiting the number of invitations people can send to their own list of contacts!). What is one to do?… Roll your own!

VNTZ is my contribution. Currently a simple website with links to events pages elsewhere (could be any site, but currently linking to public events on Facebook).

Link submissions are made by simply posting a link to the corresponding VNTZ Event Listings page on Facebook. Easy peasy.

Site: VNTZ.info

Once upon a time in London 16 November, 2008 at 4:43 am

This is an entry I’d started writing on Tue 28 October, but didn’t get around to completing until now, so mostly references a weekend three weeks ago…

Tuesday 28 October

It seemed to be quite chilly when I was out last night, and this evening, when a houseguest came inside, they announced that it was snowing outside. What?… I open the window to take a closer look outside, and sure enough… snow!

I guess it is time to go shopping for a warm jacket then. Especially since my last jacket was nicked a couple of months ago at the Notting Hill Carnival (or just after it, since the carnival was closed for the night at that stage).

Speaking of things getting nicked, I might recount a tale from Saturday night. I had a mind to write about it just after it happened, but instead became engrossed in playing with visuals and making some new videos. Put on your slippers and dressing gown, grab a blanket and come sit by the fire…

Shunned // Shunt

Saturday night, 25 October, I caught a bus down to London Bridge to check out the final night the Netaudio mini-festival at Shunt Bar. It had been running there the previous two nights without me knowing about it, and I was keen, from what I’d read it was about, to go. There was some warning about arriving early as the bar tends to get very busy, but I didn’t manage to get down there until a bit after 9pm. When I arrived I saw a queue. Walking, walking… where does it end? Woah, it goes around the corner and far beyond that. Eventually find the end, wondering if it was going to be a complete waste of time. Soon enough, one of the staff came down and said that, based on last night’s experience, queuing from around that point we could expect a three hour wait. Yes, three hours. And, given that they close the doors at 11pm (the bar itself closing 2 or three hours later), that essentially meant there was no chance of getting in at all.

Disappointment!

Well, what could he recommend nearby that might be somewhat similar? There’s nothing else anything like it, apparently (I’m not surprised, really), so I decided to head back to see what Shoreditch held in store.

Spacelapse // London Bridge

I decided that I would walk back to Shoreditch. A chance for some healthy exercise, even though it was a bit chilly, and reflection on why I hadn’t left the flat earlier to go to the Netaudio gig. Also hoping that I didn’t get lost, given that I didn’t have a map.

Crossing London Bridge, I decided to take a bunch of shots of the Tower Bridge and see if i could make a ‘spacelapse’ animation something like I have seen made by Dr.Mo. And so I’d take a long exposure (4 seconds) photo with the camera resting on the bridge’s railing, take a bunch of steps (about 8), and snap again. This tooka little while, and I had a few strange looks from people, but noone getting in my face or being aggressive, which is a good tradeoff. :o)

In the end, I’m not sure that the photos are of suitable quality, nor perhaps great enough quantity to make a decent animation, but I haven’t really played with it much to see for sure. A project to put on the back burner, I think.

Seeing the Light

It didn’t seem like too long before I was back at Bishopsgate, Liverpool Street Station, theh Shoreditch High Street. I didn’t know what was on or where I wanted to go, but had a general idea to check out some place(s) that I hadn’t been to before. One such place was The Light. Open. Plenty of people around. In I go. Seems to be a lot of (fumbling for right term) “classy”/snooty/suited/gold-digger-y people around in the bar on the ground floor. Perhaps nice to look at, but I didn’t attempt barging in on anyone’s conversation.

The music seemed irritating-less enough, so went upstairs to see where it was coming from. At the door I’m told that there are some private parties, but it is also open to the public for a fee. How much? Two pounds. Okay, I think I can deal with that. :o) The night is called Mediterraneo, though I’m not sure exactly what the Mediterranian connection was. The DJ had copies of a mix CDs scattered at the front of the booth for the taking, so I stashed one in my pocket before taking my stuff down to the cloak room.

Had a dance for a while, and a few beers (I’m still not overly keen on beer, but I don’t find it so terrible any more that I can’t drink it), and ended up chatting for some time with a guy who was evidently friends with the DJ (since he was behind the booth) about music production and I can’t remember now (three weeks hence) what about. I remember he was from eastern Europe, but can’t remember if he was Polish or from somewhere else.

Anyhow, had a nice enough time there, had a good dance, had a chuckle at a couple of trashy drunk girls doing crazy stuff all around the place, and all for not much more than the entry price might have been for the Netaudio festival. (Note: I have to talk it up else feel depressed about not getting to spend my tenner at the Netaudio festival!) And I’d finally seen the Light.

The Light is scheduled to be closed down, for redevelopment, I believe. There’s a big poster about saving the light in the downstairs bar.

Canadians + Kebabs // Hoxton

I was hungry well before leaving The Light, so was on a mission to find some food. I stopped by T-Bar to see what was happening – about to close, so continued on. Takeaway Chinese sounded good, so head over to the place on the corner where Great Eastern Street meets Old Street, thinking “honey chicken”… but finding they were about to close when I arrived, with a few measly scraps of stuff I wasn’t excited about, so left empty-handed. Made a decision to head back over to the Caltex / Somerfield minimart on Shoreditch High Street, but walking along Old Street decided to check out Hoxton Square on my way through. In that directin encountered a kebab shop and decided that food now was better than food later, so went in and queued for service. A couple of guys came in after me, and I ended up talking to them about the menu, wondering just what exactly an order of “meat and chips” would land us. It seemed like a “good idea”, since so far I’ve not been impressed by the pocket bread they seem to use here to house the “kebab”, only I wanted one of those big juicy peppers with it. I think that’s what I was after most, since my first encounter with them in kebabs when I was in Berlin last year…

Anyhow, kebabs, meat & chips, whatever, we were talking for a bit before deciding to exit the shop. I have a vague recollection of a someone walking past and asking us some strange question; we were all in some sort of take-the-piss mood and I think we confused them, even though it seemed their initial intent may have been to confuse us. It was three weeks ago now, so can’t remember really what that was about. One of the Canuks spied some girls and made a comment about “follow the legs”, so we parted ways. Shortly after I saw one of them giving a girl a piggy back down the road. Time for another chuckle.

Byron // Old Street

On my way home I encountered an Aussie who was looking for “Dalston Street”. He’d had a few drinks and was asking pretty much everyone he passed, saying he’d only been in town for a day. I didn’t know where Dalston Street was, but figuring it is in Dalston, thought I’d help him at least find the right bus to go there, especially since it was in the direction I was already walking and not far away.

Anyhow, this guy is from Byron Bay, and is staying with friends in London, just arrived the night before. Working or studying in Byron? Studying. At the SAE? How did you know?! .. It’s the only school I know of in Byron. Lucky guess. Talked briefly about the school, asking about whether they have the (multi-)media, 3D etc courses up there. Yep.

On to more important things – someone said to me not so long ago that Kinglsand High Street is notoriously dodgy. Not the whole area, just the corridor of the street where a large number of people pass through every day and night. I told Byron (I didn’t catch his name) about this, and he said he knew something about it, and that’s why his wallet was in his front pocket. Okay, good start. Anyhow, at the point where I was about to say ti him that if he sees anyone looking a bit strange in the area (we were on Old Street, near to Shoreditch High Street / Kingsland Road, at this point) to stay away from them, we were greeted/accosted by a group of four guys.

Artful Dodgers // Old Street

I still had my hands full, eating the “meat and chips” as I walked, and the meeting started with one of the group asking Byron “What’s your name?” Uh-oh… this is not something you expect to be asked by someone you’re just walking by on the street. Given what I was just abou to talk to Byron about, I was instantly suspicious. I was asked my name too, I think in a bid to keep me distracted. I was trying to keep an eye on what was going on with Byron and saw what appeared to be the leader of the group give him a big hug, reaching straight for Byron‘s back pocket – not into it, just feeling the outside to see if something was there. Oh, shit… I’m trying to ignore the guy who is more or less standing between me and Byron, being wary of him coming any closer or trying to touch me, still holding my dinner, but he is successful in distracting me enough that I can’t quite follow the action. I see the group leader hand Byron his phone – some sort of (intended to be seen as) playful/friendly gesture, and I knew there was a good chance that the phone wasn’t all he’d managed to get his hands on. Byron, still fairly drunk asked somehing like “Where’d you get that?” and might have even thanked the guy… I made my way closer, raising my voice saying “Come on, man, we have to go”, putting my hand on his shoulder and trying to physically drag him away. The group of guys let him go, and walked off towards Shoreditch High Street.

Now was my chance to tell Byron what I was about to say before we were interrupted, and suggest he check his pockets. Sure enough, his wallet was gone. Byron asked what to do. I didn’t really know, and suggested he could try asking for it back. Four gangsters vs. me and a drunk guy didn’t seem like good odds if there was any (more) trouble… Byron chased after them. Seemed like a bad idea at that moment. I checked my own pockets and continued walking along, hoping I didn’t have to make an emergency call to the ambulance and/or the police. Amazingly enough, when I caught up with Byron, he’d retrieved his wallet. He thanked me repeatedly, and found that his ID was still in there and either his credit card was still in it, or he’d left it at home, I’m not sure which (and I’m not sure if he was sure).

Anyhow, Byron stll needed to get home, so I continued on with him to the bus stop on Kingsland Road to find out what bus he should take. It started to rain when we were there, so I asked another passenger if they could try to guide Byron on to the bus, which they would be getting themselves. I had to assume Byron would know where to get off (I asked him, and he seemed to think so), and I had to dash home myself in the rain (using the foam takeaway pack as a tiny attempt at sheltering myself). As I went, I hoped that Byron didn’t get done over again before making it back to his friend’s house…

-spxl

Sweet, sweet eye candy 11 August, 2008 at 2:37 am

From the What’s Cooking? department…

I’ve been to a couple of VJ events this week: the vjlondon.org meetup on Wednesday at T-Bar, and Immersion (a live experimental electronic music + visuals gig) on Thursday in The Flea Pit. I’ll mention that it’s great now living in Shoreditch, as both these venues are only a short walk away from my flat! :o)

Back to the story… it has occurred to me on more than one occasion that I will probably want (need?) to get into 3D at some point, and at these two events I saw some nice interactive 3D animation by pixelpusher (Evan Raskob), an earlier version of which can be seen in the video from the previous post (London VJ Meeting, Wed 9 July at T-Bar). I’m talking about the kinetic squiggles (which are input as gestures via his digital tablet) which zoom around. Evan had been working on this simple idea since last meetup, upgrading it from 2D only to 2D and 3D (combined), allowing multiple gestures to be loaded up as a set before “launching” (these are my own terms, I don’t know what Evan calls them!). I’ll have to clear some space on my Laptop (or get hold of another external drive – the one I brought with me from Sydney is out of reach at a friend’s house while they are at the Boom! festival in Portugal!) to upload the video I took at the event, and until then all I can say is that it looked quite amazing. That particular visual is produced in Processing from processing.org. I haven’t had much of a play with it just yet, but it looks promising! From the home page:

Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.

I’ve also had a word in my ear from Dr Mo about XNA the last couple of times we’ve met. I’d had the idea that I might use DirectX to build my own visuals engine at some point, and Mo’s feedback is that XNA is nice to work with, especially as the coding is done in C#.

I found myself installing the XNA Game Studio last night and discovered there is a free 3D modeling package: Truespace 7(.6) from Caligari. Upon further investigation I see that Caligari (or at least this product) is now owned by Microsoft, hence the plug from XNA. I remember the name “Caligari 4D”, and think it may have even been one of the packages available back in the day of the Amiga.

In any case, this eventually ends up in looking at videos of 3D animations, and this excellent example appears in Vimeo Staff’s Choice Picks:


Interstellar Sugar – Suryummy from Suryummy on Vimeo.

It reminds me of stuff done by the demoscene crew Farbrausch. If you like Suryummy’s video, you should check out the stuff that Farbrausch pump out in real-time!

Of course this video was created with software other than TrueSpace. Suryummy lists in a comment: maya, adobe*3, particular, live, reactor, absynth.

There is talk on the London Electronic Music Meetup (EMM) group about an Ableton Live DJ Workshop on a Saturday some time soon. I saw Live being used at Funckarma’s Dubstoned ep launch in London, but it wasn’t a “live” set, it was a DJ set, using Live. I want to know more… about using Live generally, but also because I know it has some sort of capability for triggering visuals. I have a project to work on with a DJ here in London, Unity Selekta, to produce visuals for his gigs, and I think I’m going to need some sort of sequencer. Live may be that sequencer.

-G.

Europe 2007 25 June, 2008 at 10:57 am

Prologue: I found myself this evening finishing off a rather incomplete story about my time in Europe last year on my MySpace profile and decided to reporduce it here. I might revisit it later to put in some more links, maybe some photos, and maybe some more details. The trip ended more than six months ago – about bloody time this was done!

I had a vague idea to live in Europe for a year or so. I don’t really know for how long, or what I’d do, or where I’d be: so much unknown, so little actually planned!

Leaving Sydney on Monday 9 July 2007, I passed through Vietnam and Paris on the way to Rome, went to Venice on the way to Rototom Sunsplash and later ended up in Bavaria, Germany. And now: ich bin Berliner! Well, I was for a couple of weekends. Went to Hamburg for a day to visit a CouchSurfer on my way to Denmark. Spent a week or so in Ringsted then caught the night train to Munich to visit friends met in Sydney. Stayed just over a week then got a ride in a BMW to Cologne, nearby to Essen where I went to the Love Parade (Sat 25/Aug/2007). After a few more days in Cologne I took a bus to Amsterdam.

There was an opportunity to meet the Funcken brothers (of Funckarma) at a small festival in a forest in Souest, about an hour from Amsterdam, but I had some last minute plans to make for going to Portugal, and spent too long researching my options, making bookings etc to make it.

Instead of the forest festival, I caught a party in the catacombs beneath a church in the city, which was pretty good (though could seriously do with more ventilation).

Leaving Amsterdam I was 5-10 minutes late for checkin at the airport – bad news! There was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth, flights were rebooked – with a small window to transfer in London – and of course the flight in to London was then 15 minutes late to land, causing near-exponential panic at the prospect of then missing checkin for the not-really-connecting flight to Faro, especially as I had to go through customs, collect bags and go back through security!

Miraculously, my bag was one of the first few out on the carousel, and I’d spoken to a guy at one of the luggage desks who’d called ahead to the checkin desk – they said they couldn’t hold checkin open, even if they knew I was coming, but the guy encouraged me to run, and I did make it. Just.

The weekend after arriving in London I went to Waveform Project, a festival in Exeter, a few hundred km west-ish of London. MegaTrain advance-booking tickets were about 13 punds each way, but missing the return train meant buying a ticket back to London on the day, at a ludicrous price close to 70 pounds. You’d think after the fiasco with flights from Amsterdam to Portugal I’d have learned my lesson, but I didn’t know just how vicious train pricing is. I’ll know next time!

After that, nothing much doing in London for a couple of months. Apparently September is the worst time of year to be house hunting, as all the uni students descend on all available forms of housing at any sort of reasonable (escalating to unreasonable) price. I heard that people would grab the Loot newspaper around 1am or something when it was delivered to newsagents, etc, and start making calls early in the morning, or people checking Gumtree all day at work with places being taken within half an hour or so of ads being posted. Crazy

I went to Denmark again, this time to celebrate my mate’s 30th birthday. Now, according to tradition, if a man turns 30 before he is wed, then a pepper grinder is placed out the front of his house. I think it has something to do with saying that people might be allergic to him or something like sneezing from pepper. In any case, there was a story of a ‘pepper grinder’ so big that it had a car sitting on top of it, and my mate was worried as to what monstrosity was going to be out the front of his flat on the big day… No pepper grinder, but his mates “found” a caravan, which they tastefully decorated and parked out the front. (Note: tastefully, where that might not imply good taste, and somehow accidentally with flat tyres.) Much fun was had by all. I think. I’m not sure, I don’t remember some of it. The Danes do like to drink, and who was I to say no?

With the cold weather closing in, job hunting not started and being frustrated by the housing market, it became glaringly obvious that going back to Sydney for warm weather, friends, Christmas, and a bit of a general regroup and further preparation was A Really Good Idea. One of the original ideas about going to Europe was to be settled in before winter: I’m not a massive fan of hot weather, but I really don’t like the cold! And so the next available flight back to Sydney was booked. That was a good three weeks away, so I had to wait.

Then came some exciting news – an offer to put on visuals for one of the warm up acts at an Amon Tobin gig. Woah! Hang on a second… that date… is the day before my flight out of here. Argh! Call the airline… “When is the next available flight after the one I have booked?” – Another week away. Er, I think I’ve had enough of London now, so write to the artist, asking how serious this is. The recommendation was to keep my travel plans, which is what I did. The next couple of days drove me crazy wondering what might have come of such a gig, supposing it went through, and had to stop thinking about it. The decision was made. I didn’t find out in the end if he did the warmup; maybe it’s better if I never know.

Just before leaving Europe I managed to get over to Austria to see my favourite Austrian, T (see earlier travels below), and had a really nice few days. She reckons the weather wasn’t good – and it wasn’t, really – but I thought it was charming, if a little cold, as the first snow for the season came. Ate good food, watched some movies, listened to music from a few years back with great memories of fun times, and met with some friends. So much more welcoming and warm than London had been for the weeks that seemed to drag on.

On my way back to Sydney I had a few days stopover in Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City. Such a different place to really anywhere else I know (mind you, I don’t know that many places). First day in Vietnam, just a few days from home, is when I was relieved of my camera and my phone. Crap, crap, crap! And double-crap that with the camera went the photos from the nice time in Austria that I’d not yet transferred to my PC. Grrr! I suppose it could have been worse – I still had my laptop, my passport, drivers licence, credit card, etc. But still… grrr! Made the hours spent walking around taking photos of nearby traffic and building and stuff that first day seem like such a massive waste, too. So I didn’t do much the second day, nursing a hangover and sulking over the loss, but went on day trips to see some interesting stuff the last two days.

A day trip to the Mekong Delta, a visit to the Ku Chi Tunnels, and a ceremony (prayer session?) at the Cao Dai Temple – architecturally/decoratively quite trippy, with things like the “divine eye” in windows.

Of course, with a flight to catch in the evening after coming back from a day trip, there was a massive traffic jam, and we were held up for something like an hour… an hour I didn’t have to burn. Stress.. level.. rising… Talk of perhaps getting off the bus and finding a motorbike taxi to take me back to my hotel – something that scared me just a bit more than a little. In the end a mad rush for the airport – the hotel staff had collected my things together for me in preparation and arranged a taxi. That taxi ride to the airport was the wildest ride I can think of: I almost couldn’t look as we thread our way through crazy amounts of traffic – sometimes oncoming! – at a speed that I could not in all conscience recommend as safe for the conditions. This is normal, apparently, in Ho Chi Minh. What was important is that I did, against the odds, make my flight, and I was on my way home.

Arrived back in Sydney on Sun 18 November. Just over four months away. Not too shabby!

Photo updates from my European adventure are posted in my photo gallery.

-G.

The Wonder Fuss 11 April, 2008 at 3:47 am

The Minimal Fuss crew have made some nice little ads for their parties. This is their latest – a take off The Wonder Years intro for a gig featuring Alex Smoke on the Thursday heading in to the Anzac Day long weekend.

Lineup:

  • Alex Smoke (UK)
  • Declan Lee
  • Oliver A
  • Mat Aubusson
  • Dave Choe
  • Ben Korbel

Thursday 24 April 2008 | The Civic Hotel | 9pm – very late
$10 with RSVP to minimalfuss@sounds.net.au | $15 on the door

-G.