Friday, August 28, 2015

Healthy Fruit

 It's not every day one is confronted by a live breathing platter of fruit. The opening night party for the revamped Cruise Bar at Circular Quay was an eye-opener. Leggy bodies were covered in all manner of goodies like luscious grapes, bananas, peaches and berries of all kind. And you don't always see guests eager to scoff their daily supply of vitamins with healthy fruit but this was a food platter extraordinaire. We didn't wait to see what would be revealed once the food had been consumed. Far too well mannered.
News of live food platters has swept social media and even newspapers in the UK are running the tale with headlines like "Outrage!" and"Guests shocked !". So that's another successful PR coup then.

## When Hollywood star Keannu Reeves was living in Sydney while he filmed the Matrix movies, the Cruise Bar was one of his favourite hangouts. Whispers often spotted him there in the afternoons, quietly sipping a latte and reading a book or just taking in the sensational view of the Sydney Opera House which is directly across the bay.


Has high profile barrister Charles Waterstreet noticed this image of his Archibald winning portrait?

It's on the corner of Park & Elizabeth Streets in Sydney not a stones throw from his chambers. It's plastered on the outside of a uni-sex convenience.
There's a joke somewhere in there about briefs etc

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Media madness

The Village Inn                  Karl Stefanovic & Lisa Wilkinson wear vests to "support" tradesmen
 Some times media beat-ups are just too ridiculous to let pass without comment. But the sight of the line-up of this morning TV crew in 'support' of 'tradies  was about as gormless as TV can be.
The Village Inn is a newly renovated pub in trendy Paddington. The Inn has posted a sign with a dress code. It's hardly onerous. Those "hi viz" vests worn by tradies' (tradesmen) are banned. This is similar to just about every venue, restaurant & hotel in the inner city. Some media seem to think this is an insult, and have given the impression that tradies themselves are actually banned. The Sydney Morning Herald even jumped into the fray with claims that tradies had been posting facebook messages on the Inn's profile page threatening revenge if the pub ever needed work done. As though there is some sort of cartel of tradesmen

Paddington used to be a working class suburb where houses cost a few hundred pounds. These days you wouldn't get a property there for under a million dollars. It's been like for about 40 years.
It's amazing that there was still a pub that hadn't been renovated.  We don't know how much the Village Inn spent renovating the joint but it would be in the 100s of thousands of dollars. Tradie labour isn't cheap. At $180-300 an hour you can see how the costs would run up pretty fast and why the Inn owners would need to put their prices up. The notion that tradies, having made a small fortune renovating the place, would then complain because the Inn owners need to recoup the costs of their wages is nonsensical.

Meanwhile where does Karl Stefanovic who said "get lost you  hipsters" live? Possibly less than ten minutes from the Village Inn in a lavish penthouse. As for Lisa Wilkinson, Whispers often sees her at fashion shows or at the Randwick Races. We've never spotted her yet protesting about the strict dress rules there or anywhere else. But we will ask her why.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Love Still Going Strong

It was many moons ago when Whispers introduced to the world, the former Mrs Anna Murdoch, with her new husband William Mann at the Lord Mayor's News Year's Eve party at the Sydney Opera House. Anna & William (pictured centre left) had flown into town to visit family members as out exclusive photo shows with her brother Hans Torv and his wife Kaiya.
Hans, who runs a radio network centred on the Gold Coast in QLD (sister Anna is a shareholder) is also father of the successful actress Anna Torv (below) star of the cult TV series Fringe. She lives in New York and often holidays with her aunt Anna Mann.
How pleasing then to see William & Anna in fine form last week at The New York Center for Children's "The Sunflower Party" in Southampton in Long Island.                              
As for former hubby Rupert Murdoch, he is currently in Sydney visiting son & heir Lachlan Murdoch and wife Sarah. They were spotted last week at Hamilton Island for the Audi Race Week.
Early next year a New York court is expected to hear what could be America's most expensive divorce case when Rupert & Wendi Murdoch go to battle unless an amicable settlement is reached as it was when Rupert divorced Anna who picked up a reputed $500M.

William & Anna Mann at the New York Center for Children's "The Sunflower Party". photo by Patrick McMullan (c)

Battle of the Super Models

We really do love the department store David Jones. Especially when they keep having fashion shows with acres of flesh (skinny flesh of course). Thus on Thursday night we battled through the late night shoppers to ooh & ahhh over the delectable models Jessica Gomez and Joan Smalls who jetted in for the night.
The occasion was DJ's launch of the fashion label Studio W which is now available at all the DJ's stores. below are some of the fab fashions on show and some of the ringside guests. Hey, it's a job but someone has to do it!
ring side seats : Kate Waterhouse              Ian Thorpe & Cheyenne Tozzi                April Rose Pengilly                                                                 
Studio W fashion at David Jones

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Neil Perry is The Tops

The luxury travel magazine Gourmet Traveller has chosen Neil Perry's Rockpool Restaurant as the countries top eatery for 2015 with the judging panel proclaiming it as the“most sublime” dining experience in Australia. And that's not a decision we would argue with having dined there several times.

Perry also overseas Qantas' flight catering and now has a stable of 5 restaurants, two in Melbourne and three in Sydney including the award winning Rockpool in The Rocks (pictured).

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

LatteLife Scoop

We here at Whispers knew that this drama was bubbling just below the surface and now Jane King of the Southern Highland's newspaper LatteLife has published an extraordinary claim that former NSW Prison's Minister Michael Yabsley, known for his hard line policies- he was the member for Sydney covering Kings Cross and the gay strip of Oxford Street-and  now a major fundraiser for the Liberal Party, may have been operating an unlicensed venue called Wombat Hollow in East Kangaloon.

Whilst we won't comment on the legalities of this - rather point you to a Channel Ten news report - it does show the importance of small independent publishers who can shine a light in dark corners. Jane King posted a message on Facebook today recounting the problems she had with this matter whilst praising the Ten Network for taking up the baton as they were 'better resourced"
In the meantime, LattelIfe has now ventured into the lucrative Sydney city centre with another new publication City Circular which was launched this month. There are small newspapers covering the city but this new publication hopes to present a more vibrant take on the nerve centre of NSW and with their success in the Eastern Suburbs, publisher King and Managing Editor Cristian King look like they have another success on their hands.
# Whispers & have been part-time contributors to LatteLife Newspapers

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Party we Least Wanted to Go To

 It has to be the glitzy wedding of Auburn deputy mayor Salim Mehajer and his gorgeous bride Aysha  pictured here with singer Missy Higgins in the centre. Streets were blocked off, red carpets were rolled out to helicopters in the local park and 600 guest partied away the night in Lillyfield. Thankfully, our invite must still be in the mail.

Sydney (drugs & social ) crime update

Just a few weeks after his portrait was chosen winner of the Archibald Portrait Prize high profile barrister Charles Waterstreet (below left) has had to withdraw from the drugs and murder trial involving former policemen Roger Rogerson (below right) and Glen McNamara who are accused of murdering Jamie Gao. The trial will now take place early in 2016. He withdrew apparently after a series of social media posts appeared under his name but whether they were actually by him is still a mystery.

Waterstreet makes regular appearances on the Sydney social circuit, has written several books and in his spare time is a film producer and script writer.
He produced the 1986 film Howling 3 and is the inspiration behind the successful ABC series Rake which has also been picked up by US television. Waterstreet is also a columnist for the Sun Herald newspaper and a Facebook pal of Whispers, known for his often witty posts.
Sadly, he has gone a bit silent over the past fortnight.

Meanwhile former blogger Lisa Stickbridge  has been jailed for 2 and half years after being busted in a drugs sting. Whispers often spotted Stockbridge at Sydney parties and was always slightly puzzled about how her blog supposedly profited. We better than anyone know how difficult is to make any website even pay for itself and view it as a...public service?.
The schadenfreude shown by some social writers over Stockbridge's jailing has been a bit over the top though. Not mentioned of course is just who are the high profile customers who indulge in cocaine and the sort of drugs that were supplied by Stockbridge which she dealt out of a luxury Range Rover. Do we know? If so we aren't saying.

But the strangest report must be from the world's worst best tabloid the Mail Online and their claim that a Coogee model Kirsty Dayment was a "socialite". Shurley Shome Mistake as the UK satirical magazine Private Eye would say. Other newspapers echoed that the claim the model was a "fixture" on the social circuit. Not in the ones we mix in. But maybe her alleged customers are.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dead Men Talking

There are still tickets left to see the brilliant Waren Fahey and Max Cullen in Dead Men Talking at the Teachers Federation Theatre in Reservoir St. Surry Hills.
A fantastic insight into Australian folklore presented through the songs and poetry of Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson when they meet up in heaven and have a drink together. The final show is on Sunday and tickets cost from $25 to $35. Max has come out of retirement in Gunning to do this show and Fahey is a music historian. Critics are raving about the show!
Book tickets here.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Scooping up Awards

 A popular member of the Sydney's bright young things and all round nice guy Alex Zobotto- Bentley has won a number of awards for design as our exclusive snap shows.
Zabotto-Bentley who is also regularly featured in best dressed lists has, along with his design team scooped the pools at the Sydney Design Awards for a number of projects that includes the Gold for Event Design March into Merivale 2015, an event we simply love which is part of uber nightclub mogul Justin Hemmes' Ivy nightspot. They also won the  Gold for Interior Design for @trumpsspa and Silver for Event Design for SBS Upfront Presentations 201. And what a handsome devil he is  !

The Tap Gallery in East Sydney, the one venue Whispers had never wandered near has closed it's doors forever. As evidenced by a pile of furniture left on the footpaths outside the gallery and - true to the word of the director, paintings flung into a rubbish skip and piled up outside the gallery for passersby to pick through. Such is life  in the Art World.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Joel Cleans Up

The UK newspaper Guardian has said this of Aussie actor and director Joel Edgerton's new film The Gift : "One of the moment’s men to watch is Australian actor Joel Edgerton. After writing last year’s Ozpocalypse thriller The Rover, he writes and stars in this feature-directing debut.". Oher reviews :
"The Gift Lives Up to the Term 'Psychological Thriller' while the respected websie Rotten Tomatoes says :"Just when we think we know where The Gift is going, we're surprised. And then surprised again.".
And the US box office looks like agreeing with Edgerton's $5M flick taking well over $12M on it's opening weekend. Not bad for the ex-Bondi boy and Whisper's pal. Below is a clip

Thursday, August 6, 2015

"No Comment"

One guest at the David Jones Spring Summer fashion parade last night was TV presenter Angela Bishop, pictured right. Angela's mom is the Hon Bronwyn Bishop MP who has just had a horror few weeks culminating in her resignation as Speaker of The House. Something to do with a helicopter. And what did Angela think of Bronnie's Mensis Mensis Horribulus (hey it's Latin for a ghastly month!).
"No comment" was Angela's response. Sensible girl.
And another guest- the delightful actress and film producer Samara Weaving  (who is actor Hugo Weaving's niece) who we are showing just because we can. And she looks fab.

Construction Zone at David Jones

Daniel Johns entertains at the David Jones Spring Summer fashion parade
They promised us an auditory & sensory experience unlike anything they had showcased before. What we got was David Jones 7th Floor decorated with scaffolding and some colourful lighting. New for them maybe. Hey these publicists have to write something to lure us out on a freezing Sydney winter night. We did get to see some fab clothing from local designers, Daniel Johns from Silverchair singing and forced ourselves to quaff the odd glass of Champagne. And of course, there were some rather nice models. Here are some of the outfits you might be wearing on the beach this year. And the delectable Jessica Gomez because we know you like her.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Turning off The Tap

the old Sydney Tabernacle - now the Eternity Theatre
Darlinghurst's Tap Gallery closes permanently tomorrow much to the relief off neighbours in the upwardly mobile East Sydney suburb. No doubt a smart architect's office or advertising agency will arise in it's place.
Whispers has never actually been to the Tap but it was popular with Sydney's hard-core group of gate-crashers who would be acceptable if they brought something to the party, like at least personality- that was good enough reason to never enter it's doors.
The other was for very good reasons like safety. the Tap began giving live "performances" some time ago with rather large audiences. The problem is that they never had fire safety doors. That's an
 insult to all the other theatres and galleries that spend a small fortune complying with safety laws apart from the shocking matter of risking visitor's safety.
The Tap's persistent claims for help from Sydney Council who shut down Tap's performance space have also fallen on deaf ears much for the same reasons. Council did not have or were not prepared to rent premises to a gallery that flouts safety laws. Council should be applauded for that.
The last word on the closing of the Tap Gallery goes to the owner who has been talking to various local newspapers about the lack of financial help from Council who have just spent $millions on restoring the Sydney Tabernacle right across the road from the Tap and turning it into the wonderful Eternity Theatre (with all the correct safety features) along with planned renovations to a Community Centre on the opposite side of the road: on one hand she was extolling her promotion of unknown artists over the years (most who still remain unknown today) and was quoted as saying: "now I will have to dump all the art into a skip". As for the claim that Tap fitted new fire doors at a wasted cost of $10,000 (apparently raised via donations ) -the building has been sold- and that this was the responsibility of the building's owner, what was not revealed is that the owner happens to be a relative.
Also soon to close it's doors and already in receivership is Kings Cross nightclub Hugos Lounge which has hosted numerous visiting stars over the years like Kim Kardashian and Mick Jagger.

Eastern Suburb's newspaper LatteLife hosted a recent party there and many moons ago Whispers also celebrated with a dinner party at Hugos with guests like New York's uber social snapper Patrick McMullan, PR supremo Deeta Colvin and the late Lady Sonia McMahon.
Hugos, despite the best efforts of owner Dave Evans, brother of controversial chef Peter Evans, is yet another victim of the new lock-out laws that is devastating Kings Cross and Oxford Street.
So Vale Hugos, we will miss you & thanks for the fun over the years.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Over Here & Over Priced

It's a perfect example of how Australian property prices, especially in Sydney are sky-rocketing. With just an average suburban house, inner city terrace or a Redfern apartment now costing up to $1M, Iona , the gorgeous residence of Academy Award winning film duo Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin has gone on the market for a whopping $16M US with the pair moving permanently to New York.
Whispers has been to the property twice, once before Baz bought Iona and it was fairly run down and once for a garden party given by the pair. We managed to peek inside and the decor is truly wonderful and an example of Catherine's exquisite taste.

But consider what their movie contemporaries pay in Hollywood or New York. Julia Roberts put her sensational NY penthouse on the market for $4.5M while fitness guru Russell Simmons picked up a stunning LA house for $5.8M. Meanwhile writer and actor Larry David purchased a huge mansion with 7 bedrooms & 9 bathrooms in the snooty Pacific Palisades with stunning water views for $15M (Iona may be in Darlinghurst but it has absolutely no views at all) and comedienne Rosie O'Donnell has listed her New Jersey mega mansion for sale at just $7M while mega star George Clooney & Amal Alamuddin paid an affordable $16M for a 300 year old Grade II listed Georgian mansion in a five-acre islet in the River Thames west of central London.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Maxine's Magnificent Gig

She's a welcoming sight to Darlinghurst visitors : drag star Maxi Shield patrols Sydney's Oxford Street like she's owns it. And why not. On freezing winter nights like those we are currently experiencing Maxi warms the cockles of any heart as she happily chats to passersby at the Colombian Hotel on the Golden Mile adding a touch of glamour to the strip, now losing much of it's glitter under new licensing laws that are crucifying inner-city nightlife.
Now Maxi will be the grand hostess at Madonna's 2016 Rebel Heart Tour of Australia where she will host after-parties in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and hopefully it could lead to a whole new career along the lines of Perez Hilton who does similar around the USA. # Maxi swears that bosom is real.

Kerry Packer's family pours scorn on Richard Desmond claims

A close relative of the late  Kerry Packer says claims by Britain's Daily Express newspaper owner Richard Desmond in his autobiography The Real Deal that the Aussie media mogul said to him "I will slit your throat from ear to ear" are complete hogwash.

The relative who wished to remain anonymous said "Kerry was tough in business, could be brusque but was also very fair and it was not his style to issue threats like that".
People who have worked for Packer or who have done business deals with him often confirm that although the media baron could drive a tough deal, he was also very honest in his dealings.
"Kerry always wanted the most advantageous deal" says the relative "but he was never one to threaten or do the dirty on anyone. It was his policy to pay good money or even more than required and he expected loyalty in return and he always received it. There was no need for him to ever talk like that as his reputation was - you do the wrong thing to me and I will never deal with you again".

And Britain's famous Private Eye magazine seems to agree and in a review of Desmond's book point out that he has put words into several mouths of people who are all conveniently dead, echoing the late Hollywood actress Shelley Winters who was once asked for advice by an actress friend on how she could beef up her book as she had had so few affairs : "include anyone who is gay or dead" said Winters, "neither will complain".

Whispers has experience with Richard Desmond when he was Britain's most successful, and much disliked porn merchant. Taking over management of a gay bookshop in Notting Hill while the owner was being detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure (for tax evasion) we were instructed that the local police would raid the shop once a month. Although the books and magazines on sale were perfectly legal the police did arrive and confiscate half the stock to "examine" it to see if it was legal. The magazine were so cheap to produce, costing around 30p for a magazine that might sell for £15-20, it wasn't worth the hassle getting back the material so several warehouses would need to be visited to obtain new stock.
 One of those warehouses was Desmond's in the East End and he was one of the most abusive, arrogant and mean people we have ever encountered. None of his heterosexual porn titles sold (they were just there for 'balance') and according to Private Eye that has  been his history along with many unsavoury dealings with dubious 'partners' in the UK and the Mafia type people in New York.

Former porn barons in the UK have now risen to such heights they support the ruling Conservative Party as this article demonstrates but Desmond's desperate desire to receive a Knighthood in Britain seems doomed to failure considering his background.

Friday, July 17, 2015

2015 Archibald Prize winner Announced

Artist Nigel Milsom has won the Archibald with his portrait of colourful barrister-around-town, film producer, novelist, film script writer (Rake) and newspaper columnnist Charles Waterstreet.
Says Milson : ‘"I’ve known Charlie indirectly and directly since birth. I was born in Albury around the corner from the Waterstreet Hotel, owned and managed by his parents. On Friday afternoons, my father used to sell them freshly caught Murray cod to earn extra money for materials he needed to complete a boat he was building at home, which later sank to the bottom of the Murray River during its maiden voyage one freezing afternoon."
Perhaps the claw like hands (left) are a reference to Waterstreet's 1987 production of Howling 111.
 And the famous Packer's Prize : chosen by the workers at the NSW Gallery-has been picked up by Bruno Jean Grasswill ( husband of ABC "Australian Story" producer Helen Grasswill ) with his portrait of actor Michael Caton. (pictured left inset)

Below are just a selection of this year's Archibald entries. The full exhibition can be viewed from Monday at the Art Gallery of NSW.
 below : At the gallery today for the announcement : Sarah Najjar, Charles Waterstreet, Nigel Milsom & partner. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

exclusive: Eternity for Martin Sharp

The late Martin Sharp is to get his own museum dedicated to his life and works. Whispers has been told by a relative of Sharp's that his remaining family members are working hard behind the scenes to set up a museum to house his extensive works, re-create his studio and house his collection of toys (he loved vintage Mickey Mouse memorabilia)

They are also hoping to get government assistance much in the same way Wendy Whiteley received a $4M grant from the NSW government to buy the late Brett Whiteley's Surry Hills' studio which is open to the public and is popular with school groups.
A Martin Sharp museum is bound to be a tourist attraction with his worldwide fame and his pop art paintings. During his life Sharp also revived interest in the legendary Arthur Stace, an illiterate former soldier and alcoholic who found religion and wandered Sydney's streets as the first great graffiti artist, penning Eternity in white chalk & beautiful script on footpaths. A new East Sydney theatre has now been named Eternity and Sharp's version of the word featured on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the famous New Year's Eve celebrations.

The family also scotched the odd rumour that has appeared in some media stories that Martin had left his Bellevue Hill mansion to Cranbrook School which he attended. The house backs onto Cranbrook's playing fields and although the estate is still in probate, our family source confirmed that his house had been left to friends and family.
Martin was also obsessed with Tiny Tim, bringing him out for tours of Australia and producing a still unfinished film of his life.
( Whispers interviewed Tiny Tim in his tiny Times Square apartment many moons ago. The flat was almost empty of furniture and had threadbare carpets but when he opened a wardrobe there must have been nearly 100 bottles of French champagne stored there !

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mrs Keating's Raincoat

Min Keating and our Paul Keating portrait
The Keating clan assembled last week at St Patricks Catholic Church in The Rocks to farewell their beloved matriarch Min Keating who died at the grand age of 94. Min was the mother of former Prime Minister Paul Keating and notable businesswoman Anne Keating. Whispers & Min had a long association first formed via our own late mother who was a long time pal of Min's.
 In the late 90s Whispers held an exhibition of Warholesque style photographic screen prints on a blustery June night in Kings Cross. It was a huge success with many of the portraits being snapped up by their subjects including Kylie Minogue and Elle McPherson along with Lady Mary Fairfax's daughter Anna and brother Charles purchasing a picture of Lady Mary for the family art collection.

Unashamedly influenced by Andy Warhol (he was an old friend) the famed New York society photographer Patrick McMullan who had two regular social pages on Warhol's Interview Magazine flew out for the opening night of the exhibition. Patrick was chuffed to meet members of Sydney society including Lady Sonia McMahon and Min Keating who was pleased to see a portrait of her son Paul in the exhibition. As we all dined later in a nearby restaurant Min finally left at around 2am.

McMullan was startled to receive a rather frantic phone call from Min at his hotel at 7am the next morning. Min had left her raincoat at the restaurant but it was a very special one- purchased by son Paul on one of his Prime Ministerial trips to the UK.
"I dined out on this for weeks to come when I got back to New York" said Patrick later. " Having the PM's mum telephone is like having the US presidents mum on the blower.".
But what has he done with those photos from the night?,  Somewhere in his extensive archive is a series of pics taken after Min left the dinner, of each of the guests parading in Min Keating's fetching leopard print raincoat, including Lady Sonia McMahon!
" I seriously though of holding an exhibition in New York titled The Prime Minister's Mother's Raincoat" said McMullan. "It's the sort of arty thing that goes down well in the Big Apple"