Glebe Town Hall: Week 204

Phia performing at Glebe Town Hall for High Tea: Sydney, Australia

For most people high tea is a sugar-filled, decadent afternoon treat. For Sydneysiders in the know, High Tea is also an invite-only folk music event that happens twice a month.

The musical headquarters is located inside a small loft in Surry Hills. The street-level entrance leads people through a graffiti-covered passage, up a few flights, and out onto a walkway that is curiously squeezed between two buildings. It’s a bit of an urban rabbit warren.

Because the venue is so intimate, it’s not always easy to get tickets. You have to follow the High Tea Crew Twitter account so you know exactly when the event list has opened. The event fee is payable at the door and, as always, a table covered with tea cups and hot kettles awaits guests at the entrance.

High Tea at Glebe Town Hall: Sydney, Australia

If the tea fails to excite, there is no charge to bring in your own bottle of wine. There aren’t a lot of chairs but there are plenty of cushions around the room. The lights are low, the candles drip, and the large art deco windows front a twinkling nighttime city landscape.

The only difference this time around was that for the season opener, High Tea was being held at Glebe Town Hall. This historic venue was built in 1880 and the main hall fits up to 200 hundred people, which is a lot larger than the loft in Surry Hills. Although the Town Hall lacked the quirky layout of the usual venue, the table of tea was still there and I suspect the program organizers spent a lot of time tracking down more cushions.

Glebe Town Hall: Sydney, Australia

High Tea kicked off with Phia- an Australian/German loop pedal and kalimba playing songstress. She was classically trained on the piano and is the first to admit her parents weren’t too happy when she first ditched all that training for the kalimba. Her boyfriend is the only other member of the band and is probably the most timid musician I have ever seen on stage. He looks a bit like a lost puppy- which I mean in the nicest way possible. It was the second time I’d seen them perform and I liked them even more than the last time.

The Maple Trail closed the program and as it got close to the end of their set, I lay down, closed my eyes, and listened to the music. The group sounded a lot like The Wallflowers and it reminded me about my childhood in Florida and the excitement of owning my first few CDs (which obviously included The Wallflowers).

While I’m guilty of enjoying a bit of nostalgia, I’m lucky enough to be simultaneously happy about the past and the present. And where I am- inside the Glebe Town Hall with friends and tea and wine and music- is pretty darn good.

About: High Tea

How to get to the Glebe Town Hall: 160 St Johns Road, Glebe NSW 2037

About: Phia

About: The Maple Trail

GRE: Week 124

GREstudy2

You know that x is a positive integer. Which of the following statements individually provide(s) sufficient additional information to determine whether the square root of x is also an integer? Select all such statements.

1)      X is the square of an integer.

2)      The square root of x is the square of an integer.

3)      0<x<10

***

It’s been three years since I left the US and although I am living abroad, I’m still thinking about what I want to do when I go home someday. Not that I’ve figured it out, but I have narrowed down my list of goals and I find myself continually attracted to the idea of grad school.

This might be a bit optimistic, but I am really looking for a program that combines photography, international relations, graphic design, kitten fostering, writing, yarn bombs, gimchi, communication and philately into a concise yearlong program. If the school happens to offer Conversational Spanish for Zookeepers, well of course that would seal the deal.

Thankfully GRE scores are valid for five years which means I have a lot of time to find the right program. And because Sydney has online testing facilities, I can easily book a test any day of the week (I am aiming for early October).

So for those reasons my newest weekend excitement involves the upstairs alcove at Le Petit Tarte and a GRE diagnostic test. It’s been ten years since my calculus class and I don’t exactly remember what an integer is, but I am still feeling confident.

And in case you were wondering, the answer is: 1 & 2. I checked the answer key.

About the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

Breville Juice Fountain: Week 94

Polaroid of Breville Juicer

We had discovered a Breville Juice Fountain in the kitchen downstairs.

The first day we tried it Barret erred on the side of vegetables. It didn’t have to taste good, it just had to taste healthy.  Whole bushels of carrots, beetroots and celery were minced till they bled sherbet-colored blood and their fibrous structures tossed aside like pencil shavings. He tossed in a hunk of ginger and, as an afterthought, an apple. Barret loved it but I wanted more sweetness.

The following day, we made juice for breakfast. We wanted to impress our guests with our best blend yet. In an effort to achieve maximum vitamin potential, Barret and our friend Cade decided not to peel the oranges or the grapefruit. After six or seven citrus had been tossed in they added a few stalks of rhubarb.

The juicer whirrrred and a fine mist of arterial spray shot out every time Barret raised the plunger. The result: hypnotically tropical colors with a foamy maroon head.

It was disgusting.

The rind was so incredibly tart it coated our mouths like an extremely tannic and concentrated red wine. It settled in our bellies like lead.

“Man, I am feeling all the toxins being released from my body!” Cade exclaimed. Barret nodded in solemn agreement.

I laid down on my bed and clutched my stomach. “Sure it’s not food poisoning?”

About Breville Juice Fountains

Glebe: Week 92

Polaroif of the summer skies in the Sydney neighborhood of Glebe

I glanced up to see our Japanese roommate.

“Hello, are you staying home today?”

Because of a fortuitous twist in the staircase and because we were the sole occupants of the upstairs unit, Barret and I were used to privacy. It was completely unexpected to hear someone thump thump thumping up our stairs; she was lucky she only caught me in pajamas and a freshly washed face.

“Uh… yeah.” I wasn’t sure where her question was going. I also couldn’t remember her name, I hardly ever saw her.

“Ok. It’s just that I have been really itchy you know and I am going to bug bomb my room. So, you should leave in an hour.”

As if to authenticate her claim, her fingers grazed the maroon bumps on her forearms before settling down to scratch them.  She asked if I was itchy.

I did suddenly feel itchy but I said no as if saying it forcefully enough would save me from the same ravaged ankles and forearms. I definitely didn’t want whatever she had to migrate upstairs.

“No problem, we can leave the house for a few hours.”

“Ok.” Our roommate was already hurrying downstairs to warn others.

Turns out, the bug bomb dropped at an auspicious time. As soon we stepped outside we were greeted by a beautiful sunny day, literally. There was a smiley face in the sky.

We walked down Glebe Point Road, the heart of Glebe, and stopped in at Wedge Espresso for brunch. It was a narrow café, wide enough for three people to theoretically sit next to each other. Since Barret and I sat along the counter overlooking the sidewalk, our waiter walked outside the café to deliver our salad and toast & eggs.

He was a friendly young Aussie who wore both overalls and two dark hickies with stylish aplomb. He was interested in our Polaroid camera, so we showed him the photo we had just taken of the sky. When we paid our bill, he shook our hands and invited us back like old friends.

We had only been gone about an hour, so we spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a Secret Santa present. The only thing I knew about my coworker was that she didn’t like chocolate or anything else I covertly mentioned at work. After scouring the local book and vintage stores we ended up at the Broadway Shopping Centre, the mall at the end of the road.

Barret liked a ring-shaped ice cube tray, I thought it was too risky- she could have just broken up. Barret liked the gift set from Target, I thought it looked too cheap. He also liked the Jamie Oliver recipe box, but I was like who even uses recipe cards anymore? Then Barret chose a heart-shaped box made from rolled newspaper, which I vetoed. My Secret Santa didn’t have any soft spots (btw I found out later her favorite food is meat, I think that proves my point).

I was beginning to suspect that Barret liked anything that would get us out of the mall faster.

Just before the Christmas crowds in Trade Aid engulfed us, I decided on a set of organic tea. By that time we had been gone for several hours and we figured our home was ventilated enough. Barret, of course, liked that idea.

How to get to Glebe: bus 431 or 433 from George St, downtown Sydney

About: Glebe’s history

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