RuPaul's Drag Race season 8 recaps

The shadiest Drag Race recaps on the web. Get ready to death drop, queens!

The Bachelorette Australia recaps

One woman, 14 desperate men, mucho LOLs. Oh, and Osher Gunsberg.

The Bachelor Australia recaps

Sequins, spray tans and sex - it's season 3 of the world's stupidest dating show.

RuPaul's Drag Race Season 7 recaps

YASS, HUNTIES! Every episode of season seven recapped for your reading pleasure. Let's get sickening!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Bachelor episode recap: S16 E5

Having already survived the non-stop thrills of Sonoma and Utah, The Benchelor this week ups the ante by taking his harem to Puerto Rico (or more specifically: Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, which I think translates to "Island of Spray Tan and Breakdowns".)

Meanwhile, what's with all these destinations? When did The Bachelor turn into The Amazing Race? Why don't they just rename it The Amazing Bachelor and be done with it.


Hmm, maybe "amazing" isn't really an option.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adelaide, it's time to get out and walk

Hold onto your latte, Adelaide, because I'm about to share a great secret with you that will blow your mind.

Are you ready? You might want to sit down for this. Here it is: You and New York, you've got a bit in common.

Here, do you need a paper bag to breathe into? Are you alright? Now stop laughing, breathe deeply, and let me explain.

Obviously the Big Apple is much, well, bigger than you. Sure, it has a few more internationally famous landmarks. And I'm not going to lie, its nightlife is considerably more exciting.

But after reading the story online this week over the proposal to remove parking in Adelaide's CBD it hit me that there's one major thing you have in common with New York – and one major thing you could learn.

Here it is: both cities are very pedestrian-friendly, but only one knows how to actually encourage pedestrians.

Both cities are relatively flat, built on an easy-to-navigate grid and have pretty much everything one needs within walking distance (assuming you're sticking to one general area of Manhattan and not, say, attempting to walk from tip to tip).

The difference is that in New York people don't bat an eyelid at walking 10 blocks to get somewhere, even in the rain or snow. Suggest that kind of trip in Adelaide – say, from Parliament House to South Tce, and people will automatically reach for their car keys.

Is it because Adelaideans are lazier than New Yorkers? Probably. But it's more than that.

It's true that most New Yorkers simply don't have cars – on a tiny island crammed with 8 million people, it's practically impossible to even find a place to park one, so walking is something of a necessity.

However they do have one of the greatest public transport systems in the world in the New York subway. So why do so many people still choose to walk?

Here's the thing, Adelaide: walking is actually enjoyable. You see things you wouldn't see from the driver's seat, you interact with people, you feel the buzz of a place.

And for a small city that enjoys such great weather, wide streets, empty footpaths and picturesque views, it is quite simply crazy how reliant you are on the car.

You might say “But walking through Adelaide is boring, the only shops and cafes are on the major strips, and everything in between is dull.”

Maybe, but it's a vicious circle. More foot traffic through a neighbourhood means more vibrancy, more trade and more opportunities for business to thrive. It's no wonder Adelaide finds it so hard to develop new parts of town (the south west corner, anyone?) when no one will get out of their cars long enough to visit them.

This is why this whole kerfuffle over Adelaide's parking is so ridiculous.

The state retailers' association says the plan would kill retail in the CBD, as people would simply drive to suburban shopping centres instead where they can park their cars.

Er, isn't that already happening? Hasn't that been happening for years?

Maybe Adelaide should stop talking about how to accommodate more cars in the CBD, when it's patently obvious the suburbs are always going to win that battle, and work out what else it can offer shoppers. Like say, more footpath space for alfresco dining and better public transport – both projected results of, golly gosh, REDUCING PARKING SPACES.

Take a tip from the Big Apple: a vibrant city isn't about cars parked on streets, it's about people walking on them.

---

This article was first published in the Adelaide City Messenger on January 19, 2012.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Bachelor episode recap: S16 E4

After last week's Cray Cray Festival involving bikini skiing, bridge climbing, bitching and spontaneous fainting it's hard to believe The Bachelor could get any more nutso - but then Ben flies on in a helicopter and announces he's taking everyone to Utah.


THIS.

The Bachelor episode recap: S16 E3

Having left the bright lights of the Sonoma cheese shop behind, the Benchelor takes his harem to his home town of San Francisco where HANG ON, WHO IS THIS BITCH?


Oh, right.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why Adelaide needs an IMAX

My heart was pounding, my mind racing, my breathing fast. I didn't want to look down but couldn't resist. Eight hundred metres below me lay the desert sprawl of Dubai, and certain death. I adjusted my grip on the window of the 160 storey skyscraper I was clinging to, and took a deep breath...

Well OK, so it was actually Tom Cruise facing death on the side of that skyscraper, not me. I was sitting in the two-storey cinema stuffing my face with popcorn and watching his new film Mission Impossible IV.

But I swear that's what it felt like. Never have I experienced borderline vertigo while watching a film until now. Until IMAX.


Save for climbing up Dubai's Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world), smashing a window and popping out onto the ledge for a quick look around, watching MI4 in an IMAX cinema is about as close to being international daredevil spy Ethan Hunt as you could ever hope to get. (Or Tom Cruise, for that matter, who actually DID HIS OWN STUNTS. Blimey.)

Remember Adelaide's IMAX? It shut down in 2002, because all it ever screened were weird documentaries about whales and dinosaurs and no one went. Which is sad, because it's probably going to be the future of cinema.

With its giant screen (typically 16 metres tall, about double the height of a regular cinema screen), greater resolution projectors, ear thumping sound and stadium seating that allows for wider views and a more immersive experience, IMAX is cinema turned up to 11.

It used to be a novelty, but in recent years it's surged in popularity thanks to some blockbuster films released in the format like Avatar, Inception and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. MI4 has at least 30 minutes specially shot on IMAX cameras, as does upcoming Batman film The Dark Knight Rises – director Chris Nolan chose it over shooting in 3D. (If ever there was a death knell for 3D cinema, this is it.)

When you watch an action flick like that on that giant screen, it's not hard to understand why many are predicting IMAX will be the next big thing in cinema – literally.

The clarity of detail in MI4 is simply incredible. Sweeping shots of Moscow, Dubai and Mumbai are so crisp you'd swear you were flying over them in a glass helicopter. The beads of sweat on Ethan's face practically drip off the screen. You can almost feel the heat from the explosions.

As traditional cinemas continue to shrink - grand old theatres like the Chelsea and the Capri, swallowed up by suburban multiplexes - and home televisions grow bigger and bigger, going out to the movies is starting to lose its gloss. What's special about paying $70 to cram your family into one of 15 small cinemas to watch a film you could probably download at home and watch on your gigantic flat screen?

Going to the cinema should be – it used to be - an experience. IMAX brings that experience back. If only Adelaide still had one.

This article was first published in the Adelaide Sunday Mail's TV Guide on January 15 2012.

Communal dining? Eat me.

“Do you have a Chinatown in Australia?” the woman asked, noisily slurping up wads of noodles from her plate.

We were in one of New York's most famous restaurants, a Chinatown icon renowned for its yum cha, or “dim sum” as it's called here.

I didn't know this woman, nor her five friends who also shared our table - all Americans of a certain age – and figured I must have misheard her over the clatter of steamer trays and Cantonese shouting.

“Pardon?” I said.

“You know, Chinatown – does Australia have one?” she repeated.

The rest of her party raised their heads from their bowls of fried rice and looked at us expectantly across the table.

I wondered how big they thought Australia was. Or if they were even aware it was a country.

“Yes,” I replied, as waiters whizzed past with trays of steamed dumplings.

“Australia has a Chinatown, one big one right in the middle. Everyone catches shuttle buses there once a week for dim sum, all 20 million of us. The waiters are kangaroos.”

At least, that's what I wanted to say. Instead, I held my tongue while my partner politely told the table that yes, Australia has many Chinatowns, located within its many major cities.

“I've been to Australia,” the woman continued, despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.

“Have you been to Adelaide?” asked my partner as I jabbed him under the table.

“Oh yeah – Uluru,” she said, shoving more noodles in her mouth.

Such are the joys of communal dining, otherwise known as “ruining dinner by sharing a table with people you probably don't want to talk to and never want to see again in your life”.


"Isn't it GREAT that we get to share a table like this?"


In a town where eight million people are frequently forced to cram into restaurants not much bigger than a walk-in wardrobe, communal dining is something of a cultural necessity in New York.

The first time it happens is a humbling experience. You and your partner will enter a bustling restaurant with a queue of waiting diners trailing out the door, but will miraculously be seated on a huge round table all to yourself.

You will congratulate yourselves on how obviously important you are, to have received such a plum spot in such a busy place. And then five minutes later another couple will be shepherded over and seated next to you.

You'll look at each other awkwardly, smile, and then each will spend the rest of the evening pretending the other doesn't exist.

I'm sure there are exceptions to this scenario - people who relish this sort of interaction with strangers as some sort of spiritual exercise, who see it as a way of expanding their world view and plugging in to a wider social consciousness.

But they're also probably the type of people who wear Birkenstocks and dreadlocks and say “dude” a lot. Or the type who wonders whether Australia has “a Chinatown”.

To be fair, I've backpacked solo around south east Asia and most nights dinner and a chat with strangers was a very welcome thing. Disclaimer: I also wore Birkenstocks then.

My point is that as with most things, it's all about etiquette. Reading social cues. You can't just plonk yourself down next to a loved-up couple trying to enjoy their dumplings (so to speak) and start quizzing them about Australian geography. You have your piece of table, they have theirs. Pretend the lazy Susan in the middle is Switzerland.

True New Yorkers know the rule about communal dining is the same as for the subway – sit down, shut up and don't make eye contact. And keep your dumplings to yourself.

This article was first published in the Adelaide Sunday Mail on January 15, 2012.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Australians: We're all rugged and shit

Meet "Craig N", Yelp.com reviewer. He tried a meat pie at an Australian-run pie shop in New York's East Village, and didn't like it much. AUSTRALIA, THIS IS YOUR FAULT.

I really don't understand nyc's fascination with things Australian.

Yes, they have an accent. Yes, they seem all rugged and shit. Yes, they surf. Yes, they were a penal colony. That isn't actually relevant but I just like saying penal. But quite honestly, I find nothing that outstanding about their food, politics (do they have any?), or atmosphere.

What I would like to see more from Australia is more platypus and less blondes.


This sentient review has inspired me to make the below range of new tourism advertisements, which I will suggest Tourism Australia start running on American billboards as soon as possible. Let's be honest, they can't be worse than Lara Bingle's effort.












Friday, January 13, 2012

The Bachelor warning: oh no!

So I'm going to Miami this weekend for a holiday in the sun surrounded by much better looking people, and because I'll be busy stuffing my face with Cuban sandwiches and cocktails I won't get to recap The Bachelor episode 3 for a whole week.

Cue the guy on the left: OH NO!

I realise this will be devastating news to many of you, but all I ask is that you hold on until Monday January 23 when I resume duties.

In the meantime, this should get you through. Just put it on repeat - I have.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Jack White buys an elephant head

Today I thought "I wonder what Jack White's up to these days" and Google answered - he's buying elephant heads on reality TV.

The guitar god and object of my lusty affection stars in a new episode of the History Channel's American Pickers, a show in which two blokes scour garage sales, auctions and rubbish dumps for treasures and then sell them for profit.

Why is Jack on the show? Because he wants to buy a giant elephant head, of course.


"Ever since I heard 'Rag and Bone', this was my band!" - yeah good mate, because after they released that they didn't do anything for four years and then broke up. I BLAME YOU.

Meanwhile, Karen Elson's really gone downhill since the divorce, eh?


"You're going to Photoshop this, right?"

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Bachelor episode recap: S16 E2

This week sees the 18 remaining personality disorders head to Ben's Californian home town of Sonoma, which sounds a lot to me like a brand of sleeping pill. Do not visit Sonoma while operating heavy machinery.


Uh-oh.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Bachelor episode recap: S16E1

Ever since Australia's Next Top Model finished in October, there's been a hole in my life.

The kind of hole that can only be filled by making sarcastic jokes on the internet about skinny girls doing stupid things in crazy outfits. Preferably on a Monday night.

What LUCK then that ABC America has started screening season 16 of The Bachelor, a show that's pretty much the last word on skinny, stupid and crazy.


Well, almost. The skinny part, anyway.