Residents of Sydney's gayborhood are getting hate-mail signed by "Jesus"

People who live in the LGBT-identified Sydney neighborhood of Darlinghurst are getting letters through their door signed by "Jesus" that blame queer people for extreme weather (drought, hail); "Jesus" also takes credit for felling the (admittedly horrible) former PM Malcolm Turnbull. Read the rest

Projection-mapped light-show on the Sydney Opera House

Sydney's annual Vivid festival fills the harbour with barges equipped with powerful projectors that use the buildings ringing the harbour (especially the iconic Sydney Opera House) as geometrically complex screens for projection-mapped lightshows, synchronised to music. Read the rest

Hey, Sydney! I'm coming to see you tonight (then Adelaide and Wellington!)

I'm just about to go to the airport to fly to Sydney for tonight's event, What should we do about Democracy? Read the rest

Hey, Melbourne! I'm coming to see you this week (Sydney, Adelaide and Wellington: you're next!)

I'm typing these words from Perth airport, after a wonderful time at the Perth Festival; my Australiasian tour for Walkaway has four more stops to go: tomorrow and Wednesday, I'll be in Melbourne; then it's off to Sydney; the Adelaide Festival; Wellington Writers and Readers Week and Read the rest

Cool sculpture made of repurposed wooden escalator stairs

Sydney's Wynyard Station wooden escalators, built in 1932, have been preserved and repurposed as a sculpture titled Interloop, in the station where they operated for over 80 years. Read the rest

There is now a Ferry McFerryface ferry, and the crew is pissed

The year 2016, and a public vote, brought us Boaty McBoatface, followed by Horsey McHorseface. Then, earlier this year, Trainy McTrainface pulled into the station.

Now, there's a Ferry McFerryface.

Australia's largest city Sydney asked its citizens to name the new passenger ferry, and six others, in an online public poll. Over 15,000 entries came in. Boaty McBoatface was the number one choice, with Ferry McFerryface coming in second. Since there was already a Boaty, the transit service went with Ferry "for the kids."

While it might appeal to children, the union workers, who are slated to work on the amusingly-named boat, are offended:

Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch assistant secretary Paul Garrett said ferry staff would boycott the new vessel, which is due to start service on November 26, saying the name was an “insult” that will last for decades.

“Members don’t want to crew the vessel,” he said. “It’s an insult to the integrity and heritage of Sydney Ferries, it undermines the professionalism and pride of the fleet.

“This is not a five-minute internet sensation — this name has to be around for 20, 30, 40 years. This vessel will be left alongside the wharf until further notice.”

Mr Garrett said maritime staff would only crew the vessel if it was renamed.

“Members will leave that vessel alone, we won’t work it,” he said.

(Pee-wee Herman) Read the rest

China's capital controls are working, and that's bursting the global real-estate bubble

More news on the Chinese crackdown on money-laundering and its impact on the global property bubble: the controls the Chinese government has put on "capital outflows" (taking money out of China) are actually working, and there's been a mass exodus of Chinese property buyers from the market, with many abandoning six-figure down payments because they can't smuggle enough money out of the country to make the installment payments. Read the rest

Mirrored Ziggurat melds earth with stairway to the skies

Sydney's Underbelly Arts Festival included this cool Mirrored Ziggurat by Iranian artist Shirin Abedinirad.

Inspired by the pyramidal structure of Ziggurat in ancient Mesopotamia, this installation offers a transformative view of the self. The Mirrored Ziggurat acts as a staircase, which seeks to connect nature with human beings and to create union of ancient history and today’s world. For Abedinirad, mirrors amplify this paradise, giving light; an important mystical concept in Persian Culture, and a medium creating an optical illusion.

Read the rest