The last Art Party (AP) for 2015, before going on a short break, started off with a drumming circle. Rendra Freestone was very much in his element and in charge, teaching AP newbies a series of beats on drums that he provided. Those who arrived early had the chance to participate and let off some steam.

Alex Mitchinson – Poet

Alex started off with a poem, talking about love, connections and connecting, remembering those who are no longer with us and how through love, we are able to maintain memories. He wrote this poem 4 years ago when he thought the world was going to end. He then collaborated with Alex Driscoll, who pretended to be a dinosaur in an egg, dancing interpretively to Alex Mitchinson’s words. It was his collaboration with Bravo Child that had me transfixed. Feeding off each other’s energy and words, it had to be seen to appreciate the brilliance of it. Finally, he ends his performance with a song. He sang about love and loss, pain and giving thanks to those higher above us, overcoming demons and shining through once they have been defeated. He sang of hope and the home that is within us, our hearts, and the love that is strong within each individual.

Olivia Rosebery – Singer/Songwriter and sound healer

This was Olivia’s first time performing at AP, as a last minute addition, she did not disappoint. She’s mind-blowingly talented and that shone through as she spoke of her journey to a sacred mountain and told the story of its creation. The creator of the universe left earth from a spot on sacred mount after making love to the earth mother. She had a bowl with earth from the sacred mountain, while she sang she rubbed the earth all over face, a ritual, giving thanks, connecting the audience of AP back to nature.

Her soulful voice was amazing to listen to, strong, raw, intense at times, and showing a vulnerability and strength that comes from a woman who is in touch with her inner being and nature. Using her voice alone, she had the attention of the audience. With songs inspired by her travels, studies in sound healing and meditation, she sang songs full of emotion and passion, with lyrics that are relatable. She sang a song that she wrote on her way to AP reminding the audience to breathe. She then dedicated a song to all women, called ‘Wild Woman’ telling the women in the audience it’s time for them to shine and get out of the dark. There is something about her voice that is calming and transcending, the audience felt her vibe and where clapping and singing along. Olivia is open to collaborating with other artists on her original music. Get in touch!

Susie Hurley – Singer/Songwriter

Susie Hurley came recommended by Rendra Freestone from the Rhythm Hut out in Gosford. With a backup vocalist and Rendra on drums, it was clear that she was going to be impressive. She started off with a song called, ‘Running through my head’ about someone that keeps running around in our heads whether we want them to or not. Then she sang a song called, ‘She’s walking along’ about her mum, who has early onset Alzheimer’s. Susie told the AP audience it’s not a sad song, but a positive one. Her mum lives in the now, in the present, while many spend a lot of money trying to learn to be in the present. While there is a positive lesson, it’s sad when you think about how this lesson was learnt. Love goes out to Susie’s mum.

While travelling through South America, she wrote a song at the end of her trip about letting things go, embracing the moment, laughing, loving and embracing, it was a song that many in the audience were able to relate to. She wrote another song when she first landed in Rio, Brazil about the things that were to come and the things she left behind, reflecting. Her lyrical contemplations and beautifully spun melodies accompanied with her hauntingly beautiful voice that resonates with the listener, it’s clear why she comes recommended and why she is packing out venues right across Sydney.

Mickey Khoury – Free form fire manipulator

Mickey created a 3 headed staff which he has called, ‘The Viper’ and I was excited to see how different it looked compared to the Dragonstaff. A true performer, manipulating the props with just one hand, mesmerising the audience, cheering for more. Mickey’s playfulness was contagious but there was this recognition that he was using a live element, which has its dangers, the respect was there. The flames brought The Viper to life, the audience felt the heat in the night, balancing the staff on his heat. Going through his routine, never losing momentum, the audience cheering and demanding more. He did not disappoint as he freestyled for the enjoyment of the audience and himself.

Pip Simpson – LCD Whips

This was something that had to be seen and experienced in person, truly amazing. AP’s very own Katniss Everdeen, this looked like something out of The Hunger Games. The LCD whips wrapping around her body, head and arms, all the while changing colours. The effect of this in the darkness was spectacular to watch. The whips looked like tentacles of on octopus. They seemed to come to life in the darkness, as though Pip was battling some unknown creature. It was difficult to look away, you don’t want to miss the patterns that the whips drew in the night sky, truly hypnotic.

Rhythm Hunters – Band

Having had the chance of seeing the Rhythm Hunters perform at a previous AP and was left speechless. I was excited to see what they were going to bring to the last AP of the year and how different it was going to be from the last time. This time, they were joined by a saxophonist and trumpet player and later in their performance by 7 woman holding drums. It was safe to say that the Rhythm Hunters left me speechless for a second time, constantly amazed at the level of talent that passes through the doors at AP.

There is something about the combination of drums and percussion that just beckons the body to move, to respond, and to dance to the beat. To respond in the only way your body knows how, to move. Rose Callaghan is a force to be reckoned with, the talent of this woman is unsurpassed, her voice was amazing, powerful, and I desperately wanted to hear more. The 7 women were once again enthralling to watch, their strength, their passion, completely mesmerising to the point that one stops dancing just to watch. The audience moved chairs and cushions out of the way, to dance to the beat. Check out the Rhythm Hunters and be sure to catch them live, you won’t be disappointed.

Bella Fuego – Dual fire act

Having had the pleasure of watching Bella perform a number of times at AP and watching her grow as an artist, getting better at her craft and pushing things further, I was excited to watch her perform. For the last AP of the year, she choreographed a dual fire act with her partner Shaman Dural. There is something spectacular about being in an audience, experience the same thing and feeling the same as you gasp collectively.

A lover’s dance, with the duality of the masculine and the feminine that isn’t defined by gender lines but by love and the union of two people. Sexy, hypnotic, sensual, captivating, entrancing and the look on their faces was priceless, the love, a seduction. Bella started off with a fire parasol waiting to see if shay could impress her enough with his prop before they took things any further. Moving onto the Dragonstaff, almost in unison they went through the routine, throwing the staffs to each other and catching them multiple times, without losing momentum, to the amazement of the audience. They end their performance manipulating a dragonstaff together, with one arm around each other, they ended their performance and AP with a kiss.

With an end like that, AP was done for the month and for 2015. Ending with a fire jam on a street in Marrickville, the audience got the chance to manipulate the props first hand. Connecting the performers with their fans.

For event queries/advice or to perform, get in contact with Jessie Ray and be welcomed into the AP family with friendly faces and hugs.

Art Party would like to thank all of the vollies that have helped make Art Party an enjoyable experience making sure things run smoothly.

Create or Die – Thank you for giving AP a home right through 2015

Rob Studdert (Digital Image Studio) – For the amazing images and memories

Jenna Tros – for the delicious curry and Chai

Kat Kicuroski and Tim Kicuroski – For their mastery of the fork and their warm hugs and smiling faces

Art Party will be back in February, 2016. To stay updated you can find Art Party on Facebook. Alternatively you can visit the website www.artparty.com.au for more details and information about how to perform at AP.