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Whatever took me so long: I’d been a fan of Chrissy Amphlett and Divinyls since the release of their 1983 Monkey Grip EP, yet it took me until the summer of 1988-9 to see Chrissy live on her Temperamental tour at The Sevens Creek Run Woolshed auditorium at Euroa. It was a hot, balmy night, so the outdoor seating, even with the odd mosquito, was perfect. The band started with a slow heartbeat guitar rhythm…

Penny Grant, whose passion for wine started as a kid, picking and stomping grapes with close family friends at BlackJack wines in central Victoria, decided at the age of 16 to focus on a career in the wine industry. She first trained at Brisbane’s highly respected ISIS Brasserie (later Ortiga Spanish restaurant). Head sommelier Matt Brooke was instrumental in connecting her with Circa Melbourne, where she met her partner Jake Nicolson (now executive chef at…

With the release of her addictive, awesome new album – Ultraviolence – Lana Del Rey has no intention of glossing over her troubled psyche – rather, she hypes it up. With Lana, it is often hard to separate the real woman from her controversial David Lynch-ian ‘femme fatale’ public self – the stunningly beautiful singer with the pouty lips and storytelling gloomy outlook on life. Yet she has parlayed her angst and gloriously melancholy music…

She’s played an alien (Under the Skin), a disembodied operating system (Her), and a porn addict’s girlfriend (Don Jon), but that’s nothing compared to the turbocharged amazon Scarlett Johansson gets to play in LUCY, an action thriller directed by Luc Besson. The film carries on the legacy of the French filmmaker’s previous depictions of strong female characters in ‘La Femme Nikita,’ ‘The Professional,’ and ‘The Fifth Element.’ This time out, Johansson becomes the ultimate object…

International fashion model Daria Plyushko has walked the runways of Paris and London, been featured in a worldwide campaign for Swarovski, and appeared on countless magazine covers. She spoke to Essentials’ Jamie Durrant about her career, family values, love, life and her wildest dreams. Coined in the 1980s, the term ‘supermodel’ is perhaps synonymous with multimillion dollar contracts, campaigns and product endorsements, coupled with worldwide fame. Three decades on, is this kind of success still…

Christina Hendricks has shown that her aura carries just as far amongst the French as it does amongst fans of Mad Men elsewhere on the planet.  Joining Ryan Gosling on the fabled Croisette for the world premiere of LOST RIVER, his debut film as a director, the statuesque actress proved to be an enchanting presence at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Though the film earned mixed reviews, virtually all the critics were unanimous in their…

To walk inside the home of artist Asher Bilu and his wife, Luba, is the stuff of considerable wonder. Known for large works of abstraction, Asher’s authentic Victorian Brighton abode acts as an informal survey of his creations, ranging right through from his very first painting in 1958, which hangs on the wall of the front study.  It’s hard to know which way to turn when entering the Bilu home. An Alice in Wonderland chequerboard…