Straights and lesbians banned from Collingwood’s Peel Hotel

Well, you’re not reading it here first — read The Age here, that magnificent font of investigative journalism the Sunday Herald Sun here — but at least you can actually read VCAT’s full judgment here: Peel Hotel Pty Ltd [2007] VCAT 916, and this little rag beats The Peel’s “What’s New” page to what’s new at The Peel. Deputy President McKenzie’s reasons run to only 1,600 words, kind of odd for a landmark ruling which has prompted interest from the BBC and in South Africa. It is apparent that a specific problem led to the application resulting in the right to exclude everyone except those men who identify themselves as gay to the bouncer in those cases “where to allow entry or unrestricted entry would, in the [bouncer’s] opinion adversely affect the safety or comfort of the venue for its homosexual male patrons, or the nature of that venue as a venue primarily for homosexual male patrons.” That problem is described in this way:

14. … Sometimes, groups seek to use the venue for parties and it is clear from Mr McFeely’s affidavit that these groups wish to look at the behaviour of the gay male patrons as a kind of spectacle or entertainment for the group’s enjoyment. Entry of these groups would undermine or destroy the unique atmosphere which aims to foster and not frighten or discomfit its gay male patrons.

20 The exemption … seeks to prevent discrimination against gay men, for whom this venue is designed. The anti-social behaviour which would be at the heart of a decision to refuse or restrict entry to groups of heterosexuals or lesbians is sexuality-based behaviour and includes sexuality-based insults and derision. It would be most unfortunate if at this venue, gay men were subjected to the very behaviour that the venue seeks to protect them from. I would add that I take a similar view of the restriction or refusal of entry to those groups who wish to use the venue for “hens’ nights” and the like, where they wish to use the gay male patrons as a form of entertainment. To regard the gay male patrons of the venue as providing an entertainment or spectacle to be stared at as one would at an animal at a zoo, devalues and dehumanises them. It is, although subtle, another form of sexuality-based humiliation or discrimination.’

Dante’s Maria buys Glasshouse

Gertrude St is my preferred east-west bike artery into the heart of the city, but from time to time I find myself wandering along Gipps St, one block north. It boasts the Laird O’Cockpen Hotel which in my imagination might conceivably be the place that erotic poet and Liberal parliamentarian Bruce Atkinson visited out of professional obligation, as well as Nicholas Dattner‘s emporium of super expensive wooden tables (did you know his old man was a British spy on whom Trevor Howard’s character was based in the 1949 zither music-rich The Third Man, one of the most famous films of all time?). It also sports the Glasshouse Hotel. I thought it was standing vacant, but I found out a year or so ago it was doing a roaring lesbian trade on certain evenings, and always had done. Now I find Maria from Dante’s in Gertrude St has bought the place. A little online pamphlet named Same Same says of the development: Continue reading “Dante’s Maria buys Glasshouse”

Rove’s back in Abbo

Abbotsford boy, John McManus, son of John McManus and best known as the crab in Finding Nemo, has apparently got over the sad death by breast cancer on Remembrance Day last year of his young wife, ‘Home and Away’ and ‘All Saints’ actress Belinda Emmett, and the 2004 destruction by fire of his Abbotsford studio. John and Blindy courted for 5 years and were married for less than 2.

The show has had what they call a ‘major overhaul’ and sports a new crew. My great mate the furniture manufacturer across the road says (i) an old lady nearby is going batty and (ii) the new crew are not quite so friendly in response to his garrulous waves from his factory, but he’s giving them time. The first show for a while screened Sunday night, and attracted 1.69 million viewers, two of whom were Miss K and me (all in the name of journalism). There were funny bits, none of which were associated with Ross Noble, and most of which were associated with Hamish Blake and Dave Hughes, but what was Toni Collette thinking when she dressed in a bright yellow dress and red shoes? The Comedy Festival is almost upon us. Hopefully someone has a comedy about the Prime Minister and Mister Hicks. Must get out more.

Abbotsford gets its own short film festival: 3 March 2007

In the Realm of the Senses 2007 is to be held at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, probably a much more sensible location than last year’s under-attended Deep Rock Reserve in Yarra Bend Park. It’s a short film festival open to entries only from Australian and New Zealand film makers. I went to the 2006 festival, absolutely froze my balls off, and got quite excited about the lead film, about the tour to India by The Abbotsford Anglers, a cricket team, before realising very belatedly that the team belonged to Abbotsford in Sydney.

Their website is one of the most beautiful bits of web design I have ever seen, and you should go there now just to check it out (compare how crappy their Myspace site looks.) The brochure I picked up the other day says:

“Featuring a mish mash of live roving performers; DJs spinning a vast array of eclectic tunes; Visual Projections by hi.tek.trash; Healing and chill out zone; Random acts of kindness; Tasty mouth watering food; ‘El Rancho Relaxo’ bar; BYO couch, beanbag, blankets”. (1300 361 574)

Tap dancing and african drumming in Abbotsford

Snap! by Lauri Apple, a temporarily New Yorker and law student.

I put what success I have had in my career down to the claim on my curriculum vitae that I was the co-founder of the Melbourne University African Drumming Club. As far as I know, that is still going strong. And having travelled through West Africa to Timbuktoo, and listened, entranced to a guy singing along to the accompaniment of his own kora playing in a petrol station in Dakar, I read with particular interest in The Age today about the African drumming and dance academy within a couple of hops of my house, in Hoddle St, Abbotsford: Continue reading “Tap dancing and african drumming in Abbotsford”

Mountain Goats (The)

Brilliant snap! by the husband of Stephanie of Georgia, USA, aka Bonsai Butterfly, with thanks.

It has been a mountain goat day. The Mountain Goats were drinking Mountain Goat at The Corner this evening, a pleasure the punters were denied, Mountain Goat’s founders were on The 7.30 Report calling for a moratorium on excise on microbrewed beer, their Richmond brewery presumably held their weekly Goatage tonight, where the brewery turns into a pub, and John Darnielle — theconstant member of the ensembles which have over time performed as “the Mountain Goats” — sang about magpies in Richmond to an adoring goddam piercingly screaming crowd, a big crowd, and brought him and his little frantic guitar and vocals sometimes duet sometimes trio within the rubric of this little newspaper. Snap by husband of Bonsai Butterfly from Georgia, in Montana, with thanks. Continue reading “Mountain Goats (The)”

Abbotsford woman wins Australian Social Entrepeneur of the Year Award

Abbotsford woman and Opera singer Tania de Jong founded The Song Room and has been crowned Australia’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year for her efforts. Given that we also boast the latest Metropolitan Local Hero Award in the Australian of the Year Awards, it suggests that we Abbotrigines are good folk. Schooled in Waco, Texas on a tennis scholarship, and subsequently in law at Melbourne University, she does not have the typical background of an opera singer. The Song Room’s website says: Continue reading “Abbotsford woman wins Australian Social Entrepeneur of the Year Award”