Joburg Hipster Meander

Joburg Hipster Meander

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My recent birthday celebration fell during the hellish work week so I decided to be a fogy about it and celebrate the following Saturday. My girlfriend is always bugging me to take in some ‘kultcha’, going on about the ballet, cinema nouveau and other things which require me to actually use my brain on my brain dead weekends.

So after a few million hints about the Penny Siopis exhibition at Brodie/Stevenson I decided I would kill more than just the one proverbial bird and do a bit of a gallery tour topped off with a slap of binge at the Troyville Hotel (the hipster combo).

We met up with my brother and one of my girlfriend’s chomma who happens to be studying to be a curator and let me tell you if you’re ever planning one of these soirées it’s great to have one. She was like those headphones you get given in bourgeoisie galleries overseas, feeding us tit bits from her bindle of Wits knowledge – it was fantastic. (Thanks Max).

Penny’s new work titled My Furies was amazing. Learning about her in school from text books just didn’t do her justice. She used ink and glue to create these works which sounds crazy but when you see them you will realise how cool it is.

We then left for the Goodman Gallery. The Goodman was ok although I expected more for some reason. I found that the space was great, in that if I was an artist I would love to have my work exhibited there but as a visitor I just found that there was not much to see. One piece was made from some sort of metal which read: “Oprah thinks that Osama would look great in a pair of Slacks”. This was mainly cool due to its comedy value.

We crossed the road to 2 Gallery which is a small space but packed with different art forms including sculpture. After 2 Gallery we arrived at Resolution Gallery which was a real treat. The artist did a series of posters, each depicting someone famous on the South African scene, from Waddy Jones to Bishop Tutu. The best by far was our chief of police, Commissioner Bheki Cele who was depicted in full cowboy sheik with his famous words ‘Stomach in, Chest Out’ as the header… brilliant.

David Krut is busy hosting Stephan Hobbs’ Fools Gold. I’m not sure what it was all about but I didn’t much like it. There was a video piece and a bunch of premade models which he messed with using matchsticks and bits from a mechano set, maybe it just went over my head but I could personally smell mediocrity, the only thing I liked was the prices (around R80 000 cheaper than most of the stuff we saw on the day).

We then tried Artspace, the exhibition consisted of a series of edited photos. They were truly beautiful and although I couldn’t comprehend the labour that was involved, the photographers in our pack seemed to be taking note of elements I wasn’t privy to.

After the Jan Smuts route we decided to go through to Newtown to chill out until our booking at the Troyville. We went through the African Market on the outskirts of the square and I actually quite liked it. I’m the first to admit that these faux African markets are a waste of time but I actually thought this one was cool. They had a bunch of different stuff, I even saw one guy selling classic hip hop tapes from Pete Rock to Dilla, Common and even Lyricists Lounge One (which now that I think about it I should have bought).

We then headed to the Pink Flamingo at Troyville Hotel. Now Troyville is quite a dodgy neighbourhood but I must say that it didn’t seem it. Rugby fans were out in full force, I even saw one get knocked over by a guy speeding past in a Zef mobile hit and run style. The restaurant looked appropriately cruddy, keeping true to its grungy reputation.

The menu was printed on an A4 with around seven starters, ten mains and a couple of desserts. They have all the expected rugged Portuguese fare from giblets and livers to baby chicken and prawns.

I ordered the prawns which were good and at only R120 while others tried the baby chicken and trinchado with no complaints. The meal was definitely good but I still don’t see where all the hype came from, other than the experience if anything. My advice to the Troyville would be to do full chickens and other share plates like traditional Portuguese steak strips in olive oil because most people like ordering for the table and that’s certainly what I was looking forward to.

After our meal we noticed the stairs going toward the roof and twisted our waiters arm into letting us up there to take a look. This was amazing, a 180 degree view of the city from the east side. We also found out that they do venue hire, catering for parties on the roof and on other floors which would be perfect for bachelors parties or other functions where you want a little edge.

The day was a success and I must say I advise this for anyone keen on a little culture, adventure and it’s darn cheap to boot.

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