Autumn Arts News 2021… Hi there. It’s been awhile and I seem to have plenty to say…

Some ideas in here that I hope get you curious – visit, watch, listen, walk, read and this time one of my Mum’s biscuit recipes to bake…

Cassandra French, Pop-Up Publicity
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Autumn Arts…
Hi Everyone and welcome back.
I admit from the getgo that this is a long and wordy newsy newsletter – it seems like I had alot to say after such an absence. So please, take from it what you want and remember I always love hearing back from you…

Summer seems long ago now – autumn beginning with floods and chaos and more loss for many. Now the light has softened and the temperature is beautifully mild. The days have presented us with perfect blue skies, softly streaked here and there with little white clouds and the nights have given way to a dark dome high above bedazzling us all with a trillion bright stars and a large luminous ‘pink’ moon. There feels like hope and calm and order in the sky.

What a change from weeks in March of some of the heaviest rain we’ve had for ‘100 years’ – or am I making that up?

The year of 2020 was difficult and strained – I am sure we can all agree on that. Some people flourished and could adjust with the oddity of it all – but not everyone could walk such a path. I had my own strains and pains and uncertainty to confront and manage throughout the year. Not many highs – though there were enough and they were good – perhaps too many lows. But nothing quite prepared me for what was coming on the 4th January 2021. A blindside moment. A knockout punch. Almost…

I was housesitting at the time in a beautiful 3 storey high 1880s ornate terrace in Sydney’s east, caring for a big house and a little fluffy dog named Stella. She was loyal and cute – but hell on the lead.

There were piles of books in the house everywhere and many little piles of brand-new books – being post-Christmas of course – they were gifted books waiting to be opened and explored. Two of them saved me (I had to buy new ones and replace them) and I think they should be read by everyone. Victor Frankl, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ and Brene Brown ‘Rising Strong’.

Both explore the way things happen to us that are out of our control – we do not ask for them or anticipate them to happen – shitty things, rotten things, deeply hurtful things, harmful things, sad, shocking and unexpected things. Events we can do absolutely nothing about and cannot change. The one thing we can control, however, is how we react to them. The wisdom in these books gave me courage.

So, I am exercising more and loving my 7am outdoor training sessions in Rushcutters Bay Park. Running further than I believed I ever could – I owe the encouragement to a friend who earlier this year had me barefoot running on a south coast beach to the horizon and back (or so it seemed at the time). I am cleaning out the house and cupboards, decluttering and repairing. Getting ready to paint and secateurs readied to control the triffid garden situation in my back yard. It is lush and green and happy but getting up the back garden stairs has become a battle of elephant ears, balsam, frangipani and the occasional spider.

Swimming, walking, riding my bike and Saturday outdoor yoga all bring joy and connection. I love a little drive and so have had many trips up the coast, especially to Umina where one of my daughters and her partner have moved to, and some down the coast or out to the country, with friends. My kids and their partners took me camping back in January to a glorious spot in Myall Lakes National Park – Stewart and Lloyds campground. Dingoes roaming, vast expanses of sand dunes along the coast, historic midden sites, angophora forests and a sparkling blue ocean to dive into. I loved it.

I have completed some study with another course on the ready, attended job interviews resulting in two new jobs started over the last few weeks.

The work I do with artists and events is always enjoyable and nourishing. It is wonderful – and necessary – people remain creative and vibrant. Through the second half of last year, I worked with artists Andjana Pachkova, Greg Weight, Sandy Edwards and Kim Carpenter. This year has started well also, with the Gaffa group exhibition in February, Grounded, Carol Ruff in March, and now in April and through May, Mayu Kanamori and Adam Rish.

Galleries large and small are re-opening and producing excellent exhibitions. Music, events and theatre have become exciting again. Some weeks ago I went to see ‘Playing Beattie Bow’ at the newly re-vamped Sydney Theatre Company wharf theatres. Wow! What a fantastic new theatre space. I was not so keen on the change to the long walk entry. It has been narrowed somewhat (obviously to accommodate the new bigger theatres and offices), but whilst one wall is spectacular with the glass and windows to the stunning iconic harbour view, the opposite is a vast high wall of white cladding material like the outside of a shipping container, which seems cold and plain and not at all connected to the experience – given the beauty and context of the space. The blue fluorescent up-lighting was a bit charmless too. But once you arrive at the end of the wharf – gorgeous. Take any visitor to Sydney here for sunset on the balcony – or just take yourself. One of my favourite ‘Secret Sydney’ spots.

So, I conclude it is friends and friendship, love and care, empathy and understanding, consideration and respect, connection, openness and kindness – that really gets us all through in life because this is what gives life a deeper meaning. Throw in there, nature and art, stories and music – kitchen dancing when you can – and remembering others might be having a difficult time with something too – is a rather good mantra.

One is lucky if they have someone in their life that is smart, intuitive, loving, wise, generous and caring. They can help anchor you and direct you when the seas are rough. I am so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such people – my daughters, their partners, my sisters, my friends, my neighbours, work colleagues. And sometimes complete strangers who don’t even know they have helped you in some way – like those in my morning exercise class in Rushcutters Bay, or everyone I meet at my new favourite local café, Darlo General, or my new colleagues in my new jobs. It is unfortunate that some people choose to remain clueless and hurt you deeply without a thought to it. Mostly, I believe the majority of people in this world have capacity for great kindness and we all have the capacity to say sorry.

What I have learned from everyone who inspires me, is the secret to a rich life is to be open to it, remain unafraid to be vulnerable and stay curious.

So I hope you find something here in my newsletter that sparks your own curiosity and gets you reading, listening, watching, walking, or just outside in the sunshine.

Until next time.

October Arts News. What’s on around town, out of town, look, listen, watch, walk…

Exhibitions on now in the galleries or online, a few secret Sydney walks, drives, good reads, podcasts and a little nature. I hope you’ll find a few good ideas here …

View this full Arts Newsletter in your browser – this is just the intro…

October arts…
Hi Everyone.
Some of us are a little freer to move about now, but we all remain cautious I hope. I love that galleries are opening up, restaurants, bars and cafes. Only a few libraries though – I did go to return my library books last week (I got an overdue notice) only to find my local closed. That was a heavy schlep for no good reason.
Walking, swimming and little day trips have been enjoyable. Being in nature, however we can, is always good. I love a drive and exploring new places – short drives, long daytrip drives, overnight drives, longer drives. Walks around town have been great with lots of new discoveries within 15km of Sydney’s cbd. I have a group of friends who are all expert at finding these incredible walking tracks right in the city, where you feel like you are in mountain rainforests. Go exploring Sailors Bay Track, Flatrock Gully to the Walter Burley Griffin Incinerator (restored and now a cafe and gallery), Northbridge, Castlecrag, Willoughby and Roseville – incredible and beautiful walks. You wouldn’t know you are in the city – I included a couple of my own below in Secret Sydney. Because they are urban tracks, there are some truly amazing architectural homes, old and new, to ‘awe’ at. Walter Burley Griffin houses aplenty – but then some modern gems that take your breath away. Then there are the others…
A few months back my partner Gary and I did a few days away to Canberra, travelling via Gunning (brunch – there are only two options), to Yass (coffee), via Murrumbateman way to Canberra. This was a beautiful and relaxing way to hit that big ol’ Capital town for two nights. We stopped at wineries along the way and stocked up too. Stayed at the Hotel Kurrajong, which was great – spot the politician and tv journalist seemed to be on – and it was so cold we were scraping ice off the windscreen in the mornings. I chat about a few exhibitions we saw below. Visiting the National Portrait Gallery (terrific gift shop) – where I proudly saw my friend and neighbour Andy Baker’s pic of Bruce Pascoe in the National Portrait Prize – and The National Gallery are a must. All close together to walk around and an easy walk back to the Hotel.
On now is the Bankstown Biennale until 21 November – Symbiosis, with featured work by environmental artist, Bonita Ely And on your gallery walk around Darlinghurst, be sure to include Kim Carpenter at ARO Gallery (more below) Stanley Street Gallery (contemporary jewellery until 23 Oct) around the corner and King Street Gallery on William (Wendy Sharpe until 24 Oct) up the hill.
Coming up in November are a couple of arts festivals to track. Head On Photo Festival will be a pared back festival to add to their online festival earlier this year and NAIDOC Week begins 8th November, with events everywhere, across the country, so check out their website
Three photography websites to discover and explore – all very different: Robyn Stacey, Helen Grace, Mayu Kanimori.
New fave shop discovery is Glass Et Cetera in Crown Street, Surry Hills – the colour and vintage collection of glassware and ceramics is gorgeous and the owner, Jenny, a dynamo. She also teaches ikebana.
New fave recipes – all come from sharing family dinner pics around town and across the world, via WhatsApp, with my Swiss-French extended family.
Trip Plans, this weekend, heading to Bangalow in the Byron hinterland to meet up with my sisters – flying to Ballina – and in a few weeks to the Blue Mountains for a weekend with friends.
Otherwise, riding my bike when I can, yoga on Saturday mornings outside in the park (the best tonic, especially with such a wonderful group), work, writing, walking, watching (I have to get stuck into my Flickerfest 2021 pre-selection) – all continue.
There is lots to read here. Click away on links if you don’t feel like reading, or grab details from the top of the posts. If we didn’t have art and nature and friendship – and books – what would be the point of it all?
Until next time


August Arts Newsletter 2020. It’s been awhile…

Lots to see, visit, read, listen, watch, learn – I hope you find something in here…

Click on this link and it will take you to my latest August Arts Newsletter – the complete version.

August Arts Newsletter 2020 intro…Hi Everyone.
It has been some time since writing and so the last month of winter seemed like a good time to return. You can feel spring getting that little bit closer, especially on recent days when it has been deliciously warm. Seeing tiny new buds on the jasmine vine in my garden and all over the neighbourhood, wattle bursts of yellow everywhere you walk or drive, are pleasing signs of new life. What a strange time for us all – and for many a sad and stressful time too. Changes everywhere – jobs left, jobs lost, working from home, working on the front line somewhere, wearing masks, no travelling, less visiting, more zooming.
There are still many good and nurturing things to do to liven the spirit a little and stay connected: being in nature, reading, watching movies, listening to stories, little drives, longer drives, little walks, long walks, cold water swimming, (if you’re brave), friends, art – perhaps we all have found new ways of the everyday. I have been enjoying riding my bike more and learning all the cycle paths around town– I really don’t like riding on the road. Our Saturday yoga class has been held outside (rain free days only) on the top of Mt Steele in Moore Park for many weeks now and it is wonderfully energising in the warm morning sun, surrounded by others out exercising or walking their dogs, or doing their own yoga class, or copying ours. Even with a broken wrist, our teacher Sandy cannot be stopped.
I live in Sydney near the city, so mostly my ideas are based from here. But I do hope some of the following inspires you to visit or explore for yourselves – there are plenty of online connections if you can’t visit, or prefer not to – or maybe some suggestions might ignite a few ideas of your own you’ve had bubbling away.
COVID shutdown has given me a few new favourite discoveries. Here are some of them:
Favourite new recipes – they’re old recipes really as I cook through some of my Mum’s biscuit treats.
Favourite bakery Wholegreen in Arden Street, Clovelly. Who would ever know everything is gluten free? No one!
Favourite new hobby beside riding my bike around town – I discovered I don’t mind being immersed in a puzzle (preferring a 500 to a 1000 but perhaps that’s being a bit lazy). I have found it relaxing and meditative, getting lost in finding that one last piece and then I’ll stop for the day…
Favourite morning walk – meeting my sister Robbie and walking either around Rushcutter’s Bay to Darling Point, or the Mrs Macquarie’s Chair and Botanical Gardens track. Both always end in a coffee and a good start to the day.
Favourite new online storeLove and West. If you love retro and clever crafts with good old linen tea towels, this is for you. I absolutely love my new carry bag and Queensland (my childhood State) tea towel cushion cover. This will be my new go-to gift idea store.
There is lots to read here. Click away on links if you don’t feel like reading, or grab details from the top of the posts. If we didn’t have art and nature and friendship, what would be the point of it all?
Until next time

For the rest of my newsletter click here:  

Cassandra French, Pop-Up Publicity
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Spring Arts 2019 – Sydney is bloomin’ lovely…

Cassandra French, Pop-Up Publicity


View this email in your browser – LINK TO FULL SPRING ARTS NEWSLETTER
Spring arts…
Hi Everyone.
Well it has been some months since I have posted a newsletter and Spring seems the perfect season to reconnect. With flowers blooming all over everywhere, trees all leafy and now jacarandas and flame trees beginning to burst open with purples and reds across the skyline and suburban streets, the mad-crazy beautiful flowers all over the passionfruit vine in my backyard and heads of flowers on hydrangeas getting bigger, plus more, the days are lovely. Flowers and bees are glorious things aren’t they?
The last 6 months I have been busy with a few little travels and work of course. A 5 day visit to Daydream Island and the Barrier Reef, to see before it disappears, was fun with my daughter and her BF; a 2000km solo winter road trip out to Broken Hill and back to Sydney, via Wilcannia (out) and Mildura (back), was absolutely fabulous and I highly recommend; a trip to Brisbane to see family and go to my 40 year School Reunion (strange and good); another little solo road trip Sydney to Minnie Water north of Coffs Harbour to stay with my sister in their holiday house – beautiful coast, lots of whales and wonderful rockpools; and other small day trips here and there. I love a drive.
There have been good Festivals on around town and exhibitions in the major galleries – I love the Art Gallery NSW on a Wednesday night when there are no tourists. You must get to SH Ervin Gallery, River on the Brink (until 17 Nov) if you can. The newest fashion exhibition I can’t wait to visit is the Jenny Kee & Linda Jackson show on at the Powerhouse Museum (Sydney).
The last three weeks I’ve had a big show a week – it’s just worked out that way. Chicago at The Capitol Theatre – what a beautiful art deco theatre and the play was pretty good too – especially Casey Donovan belting out When You’re Good to Mama. Last week I was at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo with my 86 year old dad and his baby sister – and one of my daughters came as moral support. The Tattoo was not our choice, but it was a big wish for my dad to go. It was epic and we went – and I will admit we really enjoyed it. And then last night was another biggie with Cirque de Soleil: Kurios. This is 2+ hours of being in another world dimension and it is incredible what the body can do. Fabulous stuff. For me now, I need a rest!
So lots to read here. I have included below a few highlights of shows I love, on now around town. Click away on the links if you don’t feel like reading, or just grab the quick details at the top of the posts.
So happy book reading and gallery hopping and movie watching – I didn’t even go there this time around – and driving and walking… until next time.

Link to Full Spring Arts Newsletter 2019

May/June Arts News…

Festivals galore

Cassandra French, Pop-Up Publicity
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May/June Autumn arts…
Hi everyone.
Sydney is about to launch into a big art month and another to follow. The Sydney Writers Festival has started and I am volunteering this year, resplendent in yellow festival tshirt around Carriageworks over the next few days, so say hi if you spot me. And Head On Photo Festival kicks off right there in the middle of it all, making it quite hard to get to both, with the launch Friday night 03 May at COFA in Darlinghurst and the announcement of competition winners. It’s always a buzz of a party. A few highlights I love are below, but also check out Luke Hardy, Lisa Tomasetti, Paul Blackmore – just a couple of other shows to keep an eye on. Best start at the Festival Hub in Paddington Town Hall, head to the Reservoir across the road and grab a program, as this Festival is huge – now branching more widely to regional galleries. And when these two festivals are done, they are followed by Vivid and the Sydney Film Festival. By July you will be looking for a warm place to be and a good book. And my most recent favourite personal memoir has been Rick Morton, One Hundred Years of Dirt. I met him today at the Festival and wanted to give him a big hug – and his mum. She is the hero in the story – and all the women like her. So happy reading and gallery hopping and movie watching and walking… until next time. Cassie

Autumn Arts News – a few ideas for around town and beyond…

For the full Newsletter click on this MAILCHIMP LINK

Autumn arts news. I haven’t written in a while…
Hi everyone and welcome to my Autumn Newsletter and the first for 2019.
The end of 2018 got away a little – there was a spot of ill health (well recovered now). followed by adventurous travels to Paris and Greece (Athens, Milos, Crete), followed by fab exhibitions that kept me too busy to write about them, then my other work days as a nurse in a little Sydney private hospital that is not without drama. Summer was wonderful and not quite long enough with family visits, books to read, movies to see, tv series to binge out on, new music to discover and podcasts to tune into when cooking. I loved swimming when I could over summer discovering a few new spots and enjoying other favourites. And walking of course – around the city, the harbour, in the bush, out of town. So here we are beginning Autumn – a season I love for all the good things it brings with it – the cool of a morning, beautiful clean light, coloured leaves on the trees and crunchy drifts of them piled high on the ground, new veges to plant out in the garden, March celebrating International Women’s Day and Art Month Sydney. Below are a few art ideas for around town and a little beyond – and what I love is they are all free – so I hope you find something here to help colour your autumn too. And If anyone has any secret Sydney shares, books, podcasts, pretty swimming spots or tv series to suggest, send them through. I love hearing from you.
Thanks for reading.

Here is my full newsletter…


Winter Pop-Up Arts News – hope you find something arty in here you love too…

Cassandra French, Pop-Up Publicity
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Winter arts news. It’s been a couple of months and so time to check back in…
Hi everyone and welcome to my Winter Newsletter.
The months pass by with lots of stories and arty things to see and do and read and watch and listen to. So I wanted to check back in with you all and share some of it. My book pile has grown again, exhibitions and events around town (and out of it) have kept the pace going and music, movies, walks, drives, discoveries and little travels in between have been great adventures of their own. And of course there has been work to pay the bills! But I have missed writing and vowed to try to be more regular in sharing some of the things I love about this town and beyond. So thanks for reading and I hope you find something you love in here too.

Winter Pop-Up Arts News – hope you find something arty in here you love too…

Cassandra French, Pop-Up Publicity
View this email in your browser
Winter arts news. It’s been a couple of months and so time to check back in…
Hi everyone and welcome to my Winter Newsletter.
The months pass by with lots of stories and arty things to see and do and read and watch and listen to. So I wanted to check back in with you all and share some of it. My book pile has grown again, exhibitions and events around town (and out of it) have kept the pace going and music, movies, walks, drives, discoveries and little travels in between have been great adventures of their own. And of course there has been work to pay the bills! But I have missed writing and vowed to try to be more regular in sharing some of the things I love about this town and beyond. So thanks for reading and I hope you find something you love in here too.

March Pop-Up Arts News – Festivals, Music, Food, Books, Movies & Travels

Welcome back to my Pop-Up Arts Newsletters…


March and the beginning of a new season – Autumn can be so pretty…
Hi everyone and welcome back to my Pop-Up Arts News.
After a long hot summer of swimming and festivals, family and work schedules, the year ahead has much more to give – there are more festivals, adventures, movies, bingey TV, books, walks, drives, travels, life and nature to jump into. Autumn has plenty going on: March is Art Month Sydney, Africultures Festival, WOMADelaide, Byron Bluesfest (I love all the fab music that comes to Sydney after these Festivals); April is a trip to Perth for a nephew’s wedding and some travels around. It’s also the kickoff for Sydney Writers Festival at their new Carriageworks venue. And then May – one of the prettiest months in Sydney right up there with November – brings with it Head On Photo Festival (even with the extended deadline I still missed getting in my 3 photo submissions!).
So here we go and thanks for reading.
CassieLINK TO FULL NEWSLETTER – click here


Spring, history, stories, typewriters, jacarandas and art…

Cassandra French, Pop-Up Publicity
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November 2017 Pop-Up Arts News. One of my favourite months in Sydney…
Hi Everyone.
I am back home now in Sydney after my recent adventures in Spain and Switzerland. Three weeks on the Roman archaelogical site in Spain, Cerra de la Muela (aka The Roman Pulpon) were hot, fascinating and incredible – and yes, we found coins from the time of Augustus (200AD), iron blades, nails, caligae (studs from Roman sandals), pottery, jewellery including fibulae (toga brooch) and hair pins, small turned pebble toys, animal bones and loads of roof tiles – some even with small hand prints and finger marks across their surface. Most of it in poor condition and broken, but it has been buried in a farmers field for over 1800 years. I also learned a lot travelling on my own for 5 weeks – an opportunity I said yes to, but will admit to being quite nervous about – before meeting up with friends and one of my daughters in Switzerland, where we toured gigantic mountains, glacial lakes, raging rivers and historic towns, all the while being surrounded by stunningly beautiful verdant countryside. We were mostly in the Swiss French and German parts and it seems everyone in Switzerland is a gifted backyard gardener or farmer. And what sound sums up Switzerland? For me it will always be the lulling sound of tinkling cow bells.
Sydney in November is one of my favourite months of the year – certainly one of the prettiest – with jacarandas and flame trees, tangles of bougainvillea and star jasmine, strelitzia and grevilleas growing like crazy all over this bloomin’ town. And I am very happy indeed to watch all the veges planted from seed popping up in my own backyard garden, albeit a very small one.
But let’s now look at a few arty ways to enjoy spring in this city and thank you for reading…