Monday, May 25, 2009

Primo Italiano 2009. Romeo and Juliet. Stanley, Yurong, Riley streets

It's amoure !

More than 40,000 people attended Primo Italiano 2009. It is a popular annual event in the festival calendar of the City of Sydney. Primo Italiano celebrates Sydney’s original little Italy and the rich Italian history of East Sydney. The day was extra special for East Sydney couple Liesel and Johnny who have played as the love-struck Shakespearean couple, Romeo and Juliet at Primo Italiano for the past 3 years got legally married at this year's Primo Italiano in a ceremony involving the whole community.
Neighbourhoods of Stanley, Yurong and Riley Streets were convereted to a giant wedding reception “hall” to host the big Italian wedding party with a giant wedding cake, Italian music, dancing and other entertainments. Three streets offered the visitor with taditional Italian food and drinks from the stalls as well as from the restaurants in the neighborhood.

Italians began migrating to Australia en masse after World War II. It was a time when Europe was war ravaged; many infrastructures were badly damaged and employment was low. It was a time too when Australia was realising that, to have a secure and viable future, it needed to populate. The Australian Department of Immigration was newly formed, created by a Labor government in 1945. In March 1951 the Australian and Italian governments signed the Assisted Migration Agreement. Enduring the sometimes gruelling application process, hundreds of thousands of Italians took the opportunity, and risk, of assisted passage and set off for a new life in Australia. The majority of Italian immigrants came between 1945 and 1972. There were almost 400,000 of them, a significant number given that Australia's population in 1945 was only 7.5 million. After the British, the Italians were the next largest group to migrate to Australia. Although there doesn't seem to be an official list of towns which the Italians left behind, it appears that specific regions were targeted by Australian immigration officials. A case in point is the valley running inland from the seaside city of Chieti in Abruzzo, which is dotted with Australian connections. (this paragraph is courtesy of

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sydney Writers' Festival 2009

Alex Ross, winner of the Guardian First Book Award in conversation with Ramona Koval - 21 May - at the Sydney Theatre

Alex Ross' the Rest is Noise - Listening to the Twentieth Century, winner of the Guardian First Book Award, is a sweeping musical history that goes from the salons of pre-war Vienna to New York lofts of the sixties and seventies, by way of Stalin's Soviet Union, Hitler's Germany, and Cold War America. He spoke to Ramona Koval this evening (21 may) at the event - Listening to the Twentieth Century of the Sydney Writers' Festival 2009 at the Sydney Theatre. Ross said the main story of the Rest is Noise is the volatile, ever changing relationship between composers and the society around them.

Alex Ross has been the music critic of The New Yorker since 1996. From 1992 to 1996 he wrote for the New York Times. His first book, The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century, published in 2007, was awarded The Guardian First Book Award and was shortlisted for the Pulitzer and Samuel Johnson prizes. In 2008 he became a MacArthur Fellow. A native of Washington, DC, he now lives in Manhattan.

Ramona Koval has a regular program, The Book Show, on ABC Radio National each weekday and on Sundays. She has also written several books including the novel Samovar.