NEWTOWN :: SYDNEY :: NEW SOUTH WALES
If you want find out what is happening in Newtown, click the Newtown Precinct Page for details. The Precinct accurately describes Newtown as the "cultural and creative epicenter of the Sydney inner west". In a newspaper article, Pam Walker wrote:
Now the area has become the cradle for the performing arts, actively nurturing young playrights, actors and dancers. So exactly what is about Newtown that attracts the creatively endowed?
The Enmore Theatre's Greg Khoury says that the suburb's artistic leanings go back a long way. In fact, Newtown has thrived since its inception as an artistic outpost to Sydney in the late 19th Century.
"I can't think of any other area that had so many theatres and venues in it," he said. "When you see the photos of the 19th Century it looks like an absolutely thriving burgeoning gold rush town."
He got that right -- this is a gold rush town! So, where do you find the goodies? Read on dear reader, read on!
But first, a basic geographic pointer -- Newtown is basically one long street (King Street) and a lot of little appendages. I remember that the first few times I visited King St in the 1990s, I realized this was a helluva long street. The roads might be bustling with snarling little cars and trucks, but the pavement is a walk on the wild side. There are Thai eateries, Turkish pide and kebab joints, tattoo clinics, M&S accessory retailers, raucous pubs and billiards hall. Or rather make that billiard halls!
So on to the goodies and where to find them. Later I will tell you about my Newtown date with the amazing A. back in the Nostradamian year of 1999!
Glow Girl: 208 Australia St, Newtown. Phone: 02/9519 3101.
The ad claims: "Imagine... a massage followed by another massage, a facial, some lunch, some wine maybe, a waxing, a pedicure, a manicure..."
This place is open late evenings and offers a complimentary skin analysis.
The Kastle: 131 Abercrombie St, Chippendale. Phone: 02/9690/1150.
In a media saturated with imagery I sometimes wonder what desire looked like before we were exposed to porn... the assumption being that pornography always leads to S&M? Can you remember your earliest fantasies... they were undoubtedly less hardcore than your pornconditioned fantasies now? Unless you have an exceptionally strong moral foundation... or you're a feminist. But if you don't have and you aren't, and if you have been infiltrated by fetishism to some degree by all the pornware out there (and to be honest everyone is a fetishist these days, as much as they would like to deny it), then you might find yourself someday at a place like the Kastle. I visited this Newtown institution at the end of 1993 when I was studying at CSU Mitchell in Bathurst and living in a share house with Meat Pie director Garnet Mae (the movie about a guy with a thing for kitchen appliances, who gets a penis transplant), F.H., and the adorable though terminally messy/messed up Katja F., on the outskirts of town. In a place which I think was called Rocket Street. Looking back on it this was one of the few sharehouse experiences in my life which actually worked, for a couple of months at least. It was a nice change of pace to the psychotic gay/lesbian sharehouse I had experimented with on the other side of Russell Street. Living at Rocket Street had its nice domestic vibe and warm stove moments until the end of 1993, when we all veered off our different ways. Late 1993 we were going through a kind of happy hardcore/techno phase and F. Honor's boyfriend S. was displaying the first signs of an interest in S&M. I don't remember how exactly it happened, but we decided one weekend to car it to Sydney on the other side of the mountains, no doubt in Garnet Mae's trusty old skyblue shitbox, and visit the place they called The Kastle. Sinister looking entrance -- just an anonymous door on an innercity backstreet. Kind of looked like an abandoned warehouse. Enter inside and suddenly it is warm and there are tonnes of guys and gals wearing black leather, heavy moustaches, dark techno on the decks (this was the early 1990s, remember!) I was expecting it to be a nightclub, but it was more a theatre... a theatre of cruelty. True to his form S. stripped off his shirt and allowed some dame to drip hot wax on his chest, sometime near the end of our stay. The beginning of his descent. Then I saw a man and two women engaged in a threeway kiss, and I knew that a new festish in my mind was born. The holy trinity: two girls and a guy...
Bank Hotel: Newtown.
Jess had the following piece of advice for those looking to pick up at the Bank Hotel: don't.
"Unless you are a very butch lesbian, don't bother with the Bank Hotel in Newtown! Definitely pass through there on your way to Suma Lee Thai which is downstairs - it's AMAZING (albeit expensive)."
Botany View Hotel: 597 King St, Newtown. Phone: 02/9519 4501.
Coopers Arms Hotel: 221 King St, Newtown. Phone: 02/9550 3461.
The Sandringham Hotel: 387 King St, Newtown.
This is one of Sydney's legendary venues, with an outstanding record in live music and the like. You are not a Sydneysider unless you are at least partially familiar with this place.
The Vanguard: 42 King St, Newtown. Phone: 02/9209 4614. Web: http://www.thevanguard.com.
African Feeling: 501 King St, Newtown. Phone: (02) 9516 3130.
put it in your mouth (aka Melissa Leong from FBI Radio fame) said of this place: "Chef Hudu Alhassan may originally hail from Ghana, but his little slice of Africa in Newtown is just about one of the best places to go on safari in Sydney. Taking cues from all over his home continent, you can expect to experience distinct flavours from plantain chips from Nigeria, Bua; tender goat curry from Ghana and Yai Machuzi - boiled eggs rolled in chicken mince, coated in bread crumbs and spices - kind of like an African scotch egg..."
The Animal: 174 King St, Newtown. Phone (02) 9557 6399.
Thai Pothong Newtown: 294 King St, Newtown (50m from train station.) Phone: (02) 9519 8050.
Enmore Theatre: 52 Enmore Rd, Newtown. Phone: 02/9550 3666.
Without a doubt this is Sydney's leading concert venue, hosting in recent times the incredible Franz Ferdinand, the legendary old school Bangles, and so on, and on. If the Arctic Monkeys played there one day I would be really impressed. For more information and booking details go to the website at http://www.enmoretheatre.com.au.
Newtown Theatre: Corner Bray St and King St, Newtown.
Sidetrack Studio Theatre: 122 Addison Rd, Marrickville. Phone: 02/9294 4655.
Skin Deep Tattoo Studio: 351 King St, Newtown. Phone: 02/9557 0002. Website: http://skindeeptattoo.com.au/. Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Skin-Deep-Tattoo/155466307807097.
Beauty is only skin deep.
As reported on Cumberland Newspapers in 2011, during my Alternative Media stint: "Bookseller Bob Gould, of Gould’s Book Arcade, has died at the age of 74. The well-known left-wing activist and anti-Vietnam War protester died after a fall. Former NSW Labor MP and Upper House president Meredith Burgmann paid tribute to Mr Gould. “He was the archetypal political activist,” Ms Burgmann said. “From the moment I first met him, probably in the mid ‘60s, he turned up at every political event. He was involved in most of the great political protest movements of the time.” Before operating Gould’s Book Arcade on King St, Newtown, Mr Gould worked at the Third World Bookshop in Goulburn St, from 1967.
Shot With Desire: Can be ordered online.
Alternative to the cliches of the porn industry.