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DISCO-TASTIC - DISCO DOME: THE LOST DISCOTHEQUES OF PARRAMATTA



A cultural trip that gets you on your feet

Take a trip through the streets, culture and history of the lost discotheques of Parramatta with Disco Dome - an immersive, after dark walking tour and dance event that revisits/reworks Parramatta nightlife (1978-1995).
 
Presented by Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) in association with Sydney Festival, Disco Dome bumps its bootie and struts its stuff with pumping music, contemporary art, live performance, architectural tours and talks, community reminiscence, food, cocktails and a an old skool Disco Inferno.  You will Dance, Dance, Dance!  
 
Strap on your heels. Zip up your flares: for three consecutive Friday and Saturday nights during the 2015 Sydney Festival (January 9, 10, 16, 17, 23 and 24) Parramatta will be Funky Town, with Disco Dome grooving from the twilight hour (8pm) to the midnight hour (12am).
 
Via funk, fun and the streets of Parramatta (and its of old discos/cinemas) Disco Dome will casts its glitter eye on the times and tensions when Australia (and Parramatta) was moving from Anglo monoculture (read Pub Rock), to multi-cultural haven (read Disco, R&B, Hip Hop).  Nowhere was the clash of ‘flannelette’ and ‘satin’, ‘head bang’ and ‘boogie’ more evident than at Parramatta’s legendary ‘War and Peace Discotheque’ (1978-1986) where most nights it delivered on its name. Disco Dome revisits blood on the dance floor.  
 
 Mighty Real, Disco Dome also brings back to life the infamous Lucky Lil’s Nightclub as the venue for a range of specially commissioned film, digital, recorded/audio and performance artworks from some of Australia’s leading contemporary artists: Liam Benson, Khaled Sabsabi, Justene Williams, David Capra, Heath Franco, Fadia Abboud, Jerome Pearce and Zehrish Naera.
 
Indeed, Parramatta based Liam Benson channels Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons when he takes over the Fitness First Health Club (the old art deco Astra Cinema site) with a participatory performance (in the cardio pump room) that lets us all Get Physical.
 
Best of all, each night will be capped off by legendary DJ Danny K coming out of retirement to Relight The Fire, and spin a live old skool disco. It will be Boogie Wonderland (with supper thrown in). 
 
“We’re absolutely stoked to present Disco Dome in Parramatta”, said project curator John Kirkman. “It takes us back to a heady time of great music, incredible fashion, dancing, sex, drugs and as little Rock and Roll as possible.”
 
Feel the Night Fever? Do Ya Wanna Funk? The only answer is Disco Dome. Book NOW.
 
WHAT:                                   Disco Dome: The Lost Discotheques of Parramatta
WHEN:                                   9 & 10 January at 8pm
                                                16 & 17 January at 8pm
                                                23 & 24 January at 8pm
WHERE:                                  Starts at the Cnr of Darcy Street and Church Street Mall
DURATION:                           4 – 4.5 hours
PRICE:                                    $89 + bf includes cocktails/drinks and supper. 18yrs+
BOOKING:                             Sydney Festival 1300 856 876
                                                www.sydneyfestival.org.au/2015/disco-dome
                                                For more information, visit: ice.org.au/project/disco-dome| 02 9897 5744
 EDITOR’S NOTES
 
ARTIST BIOS
 
JEROME PEARCE is an audio-visual artist, designer and cultural producer. He has been working in the creative cultural industry for over 10 years creating work with communities and collaborating with local and international artists on interactive and experimental installations, video and design. He works across the arts, community, education, disability and business sectors facilitating small and large-scale projects that cater to diverse audiences, needs and levels of interactivity. He is the founder and director of Just Pixels www.justpixels.com.au, a digital media enterprise that provides a range of creative and digital services.
 
FADIA ABBOUD is a filmmaker, cultural producer and has been the Co-Director of the Arab Film Festival Australia since 2007. 
Most recently written and directed “I Luv U But…” a web-based series nominated at the Beirut Social Media Awards in the most Engaging Youtube Channel category (Series 1), and funded by Screen Australia (Series 2). Some of her previous work includes “I Remember 1948”, a documentary that was screened on SBS in 2008 and two short dramas, one of them “Big Trouble, Little Fish” screened at Flickerfest. She has worked for several community organizations, art and educational institutions on a variety of projects producing digital stories with communities and creating video art for theatre and other live performance based productions. Fadia has also worked as a facilitator and creative producer on various projects with Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) for over 12 years.
 
JUSTENE WILLIAMS was born in Sydney and completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Western Sydney in 1991. Further art education was undertaken at Sydney College of the Arts (Postgraduate Diploma in 1992 and a Master of Visual Arts in 2006). Williams’ early work revolved around photography and utilised the ad hoc nature of disposable cameras and one-hour printing labs. The locations for these early photographic projects were sites of public recreation: shopping centres, car shows and strip clubs; and the resultant imagery channeled the energy of popular culture while often being luxuriously abstract. Often, Williams images were the rescued “out-takes” from rolls of film; the out of focus, blurred “mistakes” that mysteriously hinted at figuration, but eluded resolution.
In 2005 Williams’ interest in photography was subsumed into the medium of video. Coupled with her interest in choreography and performance (Williams danced as a child), she began to use video as a performative medium, creating elaborate sets and costumes from “waste” materials in which absurd, repetitive actions were executed. These delirious choreographies in fabulist settings have the aura of voodoo, with the artist channelling various periods from art history in an effort to reconstruct the essence of forgotten images. Through the physical collaging of materials to construct her complex sets and costumes, and the digital collaging and editing of video, Williams invokes the ghosts of artists past.
In _Bighead Garbageface Guards Ghost Derr Sonata _at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney in 2009, Willliams conjures the spirits of Dada artists Kurt Schwitters, Sophie Tauber Arp and Man Ray. In Berlin Burghers Microwave at Penrith Regional Gallery in 2010, Williams summoned Auguste Rodin’s The Burghers of Calais (1889) and Claude Monet’s Waterlilies, and in the MCA’s Crutch Dance in 2011, a Futurist figure vainly does battle with a treadmill, invoking Umberto Boccioni’s famous sculpture Continuity of Unique Form in Space (1913). Justene Wiiliams’ embracing of both high and low art, history and salvage, painting and video, results in a hypnotic new form of recycling – a curiously ‘carbon neutral’ method of image production.

KHALED SABSABI specialises in multimedia and site-specific installations, often involving working across borders, culture and disciplines to make artwork that challenge extreme principles and actions. Sabsabi has worked with communities, in particular communities in Western Sydney, to create and develop arts programs and projects that explore people and places from a broad social, political and ideological spectrums.
Sabsabi has exhibited in more than forty-five solo and group exhibitions in Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Lebanon, New Zealand, Poland and Spain. He is a recipient of the Blake Art Prize, Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship and an Australia Council for the Arts Community Cultural Development Fellowship.

LIAM BENSON is a performance artist who documents his work through photography, video and new media. Benson’s work deconstructs the social perceptions of gender, race, culture, sexuality and identity by cross- referencing art, popular culture and media language. He mines the visual language and communication formats of advertising and popular media to document his performances as both still photographs and video for a form of contemporary myth making.
Liam Benson has been exhibiting and performing since 2002. Benson also regularly works in collaboration with Naomi Oliver as the performance based duo, The Motel Sisters. His works are held in significant public and private collections and he was awarded the Hazelhurst Art on Paper Awardjudged by Ben Quilty, and the Contemporary Award category of the Fishers Ghost Art Award judged by MCA curator Glenn Barkley
In 2013, Benson was the winner of the prestigious Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award. He also exhibited and performed in a group exhibition in New York City, and at the Cutlog New York Art Fair.
In 2014, Benson was the Arts Category Winner of The Champions of the West Initiative, and was awarded a grant for his project ‘I Adorn Myself’ – a community art project collaborating with female participants investigating the significance of their individual cultural legacy and identity. Benson was also invited to perform at the Museum of Contemporary Art, to celebrate the institution’s 2 millionth visitor.

DAVID CAPRA work examines 'intercession; practices claimed to solicit intervention in initiating spiritual and literal healing'. Capra's performance work is articulated through such gestures as the laying on of hands, flag waving, dance and glossolalia (speaking-in-tongues). Capra's use of objects in his work 'function as props, yielding towards ornamentation and layered with imagery streaming from prophetic visionary encounters'. He holds a  Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours), College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales.

HEATH FRANCO has been a fixture of the independent Sydney art scene since completing his degree at the College of Fine Arts in 2005. But it was his breakout video work Your Door in 2010 that hit audiences like a blast of hot air after a day browsing in a generic, air-conditioned shopping mall that put him on the radar of the mainstream contemporary art world. It was a brutal psychological portrait of suburban life which demonstrated the artist’s laser-like ability to understand the devil in the detail of human behaviour, as well as his entirely unique way of expressing it through performance personas that are simultaneously bizarre yet oddly familiar. The characters that populate Franco’s videos are performed with a Brando-like bravura, a dadaist sense of the absurd and the relentlessness of comedic genius Andy Kaufmann. His rise to mainstream success had been greatly assisted by the mentoring he has received from Michael Dagostino, the former director of Parramatta Artists Studio where Franco was artist- in-residence from 2008 to 2011. In 2012 things took off for Franco in a big way. He was signed by a commercial gallery, Galerie Pompom, where his first solo show Dream Home was both a critical and commercial success; he was included in the Tokyo Art Fair where Your Door was chosen for exhibition in the vernissage, a first for an Australian artist; he won the prestigious Churchie National Emerging Art Prize; and his work was collected by major public institutions.

DJ DANNY K is a well-known DJ from back in the day. He had thousands dancing to his music weekly in a range of locations across Parramatta from the late 70s to mid 90s. Starting off at Jays which turned into Memories then Images which turned into Moonlighting then finally at Traders for 10 years... the landmark club of Parramatta from 1986 - 1999, where Danny went the crowds moved with him.  Watch Danny K play live once more with his most cherished vinyls... you can even make a request at the upcoming world premiere event, Disco Dome. Danny K was a mobile DJ, discoing house parties from Granville to Guildford until his first nightclub DJ gig at Jays in Parramatta in 1983.  Jay's turned into Memories and the club was pumping funk and disco tunes every night of the week until Danny was poached to the other side of Parramatta at the new club Images.  Where Danny went the crowd moved with him and he played there to a crowd of 1000 on Saturday night until he moved once again to the famous Traders at the Park Royal in Parramatta.  For 10 years Danny DJ'd there and a real family of disco goers were loyal to the venue and called it home week after week.  The beat goes on in Parramatta at Sydney Festival where Danny K will bring out his vinyl once more and play a special old skool set.. meet him, dance, request a song.

ZEHRISH NAERA is a musician, DJ and producer from Western Sydney. He holds a Bachelor of Audio Engineering (JMC Academy). Zehrish works in clubs and with community based organisations (e.g. Blacktown Youth Services) as a music facilitator engaging young people on creative projects. He is currently employed by the Noffs Foundation at Street University Mt Druitt. Zehrish has produced for many prominent artists in Australia, New Zealand and the US, including: Miracle (Sony); True Vibenation (Big Village); L-Fresh; Soul Benefits; Figgkidd/Lee Monro (Sony); Swiss (Dawn Raid); Zeek Spits; Lil Nate Dogg and more. He also produces sound for television commercials, short films, video art, visual art installations, music clips, short films and sound-based culturally engaged tours that interact with site-specific works.
 
PROJECT TEAM
JOHN KIRKMAN: CURATOR
John Kirkman was Chief Executive Officer Penrith Performing & Visual Arts (2005-2012), previous to this he was Director of the Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest (2001-2005). Previously he was Curator/Manager of djamu Gallery Australian Museum at Customs House (1998-2001), and was inaugural Director, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (1992-98). John was also Project Co-ordinator, Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Albury/Wodonga (1987-92). John Kirkman has worked extensively as curator and project manager for a range of exhibitions, performance programs and major public art commissions and consultancies. Clients include Sydney International Airport (SACL), Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, Hawkesbury City Council and Liverpool City Council. John has also co-ordinated and curated a range of international cultural exchange programs with particular focus on Japan and India. He was a member of the NSW Premier’s Arts Advisory Council (2003-2006), and currently a member of the Arts NSW funding panel. John Kirkman has a Masters of Arts Administration (College of Fine Art, University of NSW) and a Diploma of Teaching (Wollongong University).

JONATHAN WILSON: PRODUCER
Jonathan Wilson is a musician, artist and cultural producer. He works with artists and communities to create work that explores existing realities and engages a broader audience using multimedia platforms (including performance, digital art, literature and music). Jonathan produced an experimental arts and youth engagement project ‘Mondo Project’ for Penrith Performing & Visual Arts Centre (2011-2013). This project successfully activated a disputed public space by engaging disengaged and marginalised young people through youth pop culture, music and image. Jonathan also owned and ran ‘Speak n Spell’, one of Australia’s largest independent record labels and artist management companies (2004-2010). He has an honors degree in Fine Arts from the University of Western Sydney.

MOUNA ZAYLAH: EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Mouna Zaylah is a cultural producer and arts manager and has been the Co-Director of the Arab Film Festival since 2007. She has worked at Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) for over 16 years producing cultural events, performance and screen-based projects with artists, communities, business and organisations. Mouna specializes in developing cultural activities that link artists with audiences, introducing emerging talents to new media tools and translating the needs of corporate, community and government organizations into dynamic cultural projects. She has over 22 years experience in the community arts and cultural development sector and has worked for Urban Theatre Projects as administrator and project officer (1992-1997) and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in administration, curatorial and project coordinator roles (1997-1999) and a range of other community and youth based organizations as a freelance project coordinator and consultant.