Marketing modernising today’s music industry.

July saw music industry students flocking to the CollArts building on Brunswick St for an event organised by The Push and CollArts for its FReeZA Summit 2017.

An estimated 150 students from all over Victoria attended the summit, which facilitated workshops and talks by music industry professionals like Paige Cho – Head of marketing for the Melbourne born company ‘Bolster’. Based in Collingwood, with an additional office in Brooklyn, New York City, Bolster has worked with big music acts like Flume, Queens of the Stone Age and Angus and Julia Stone.

The Push, a not for profit youth music organisation based in Victoria and established in 1986, mentor youth interested in breaking into the music industry. The Push hosts a number of educational events and programs to inspire young people to get involved in music.

Jeanine Orr, head of finance and administration of The Push said it acts as an “advisory centre for CollArts and Youth Central (a state government support website for youth aged 12-25)”. The FReeZA committee and events are funded by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Cho, 30, puts her success within the notoriously difficult music industry down to having raw passion and a mind for good business.

Her talk at the summit on Friday July 14th, to a room of young CollArts students, encompassed the importance of advertising on Facebook in the music scene. She boasts an 11-year successful career within the music industry.

“I started out completing a psychology degree after high school but, at 19 I decided I wanted to get into the music industry,” She told The Yarra Reporter.

Cho started out as a music journalist and her passion and hard work ethic quickly got her gigs writing for Beat Magazine and MTV.

Paige Cho, head of marketing at Bolster. Photo: Caitlin Matticoli

She sympathises with the next generation of young people trying to get into the marketing and event planning industry and thinks it’s definitely not as easy as it used to be.

“I was lucky to land a position in marketing; after freelancing for various music publications I kind of just fell into it.”

“My psych degree has been useful [and] my advice to those who want to get into the industry is [to] keep learning and finding ways you can up-skill because that’s what’s going to give you the advantage over someone who hasn’t.”

Cho told students at the talk to get acquainted with photography, photoshop, finance and the legalities of the industry because while marketing for the music business is fun and exciting, you still have your work cut out for you if you want to make it big.

“Based on how much Facebook’s campaigning nuances have changed over the years, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to start in the marketing industry from scratch at the stage it is now,” Cho said.

The push pop up shop flyer. Photo: Caitlin Matticoli

Cho gave students important tips on boosting posts and streamlining demographics and also shared the importance of making sure accompanying images are as bright and clear as possible.

Written by Caitlin Matticoli

Walking, cycling and public transport – travel the Yarra way

In her three separate tenures as Mayor of the City of Yarra, Cr Jackie Fristacky has invited residents and visitors to ‘travel the Yarra way’.

“To travel the Yarra way is to walk, cycle and use public transport,” Cr Fristacky said.

In December 2013, the City of Yarra released the four-year Yarra Environment Strategy 2013-2017 (YES).

The strategy’s aim was to provide the direction and actions required to make the City of Yarra more sustainable.

A key pathway in this strategy is ‘Sustainable Transport’ and more broadly, sustainable infrastructure.

“Despite the larger projects such as rail and road being the responsibility of Federal and State Government, at a council level, we have created great developments for the City of Yarra’s infrastructure,” Cr Fristacky said.

One development is the adoption of a bike path on every road in the City of Yarra.

The project was created in 2003 and has progressively been rolled out.

“There are line markings on most roads, as part of ongoing maintenance, some line markings need to be redone,” Cr Fristacky said.

Melbourne Bike Share is a public bicycle hire scheme designed for short trips across the city and is another example of a recent addition to the City of Yarra’s sustainable infrastructure.

“Bike Share is growing, with already 51 stations across the city and thousands of users annually,” Cr Fristacky said.

Two men hiring a bike using Melbourne Bike Share. Photo: Flickr

Australian Bureau of Statistics data comparing the method of travel of people living in the City of Yarra showed a 2.1% increase in bicycle use between 2006 and 2011, with this number expected to rise once 2016 data is available according to Cr Fristacky.

“Bike paths are embedded in every road project as an important part of cycling infrastructure,” Cr Fristacky said.

Cycling isn’t the only transport priority for the City of Yarra.

In 2014, the route 12 tram was established, travelling from Victoria Parade to St Kilda.

“The route 12 tram shuttle was enormously important for Yarra,” Cr Fristacky said.

“Instead of the route 109 to Box Hill, route 12 provided a quicker, additional service for people to get around the City of Yarra, particularly through Victoria Parade,” Cr Fristacky said.

The City of Yarra is proposing a similar shuttle on Brunswick Street, as a joint venture between the Yarra and Moreland councils.

Tram in the City of Yarra. Photo: Flickr

Dr Kane Nicholls has lived in Clifton Hill for two years and has embraced the sustainable transport mantra.

While 34.4% of residents in the City of Yarra get to work by car, Dr Nicholls isn’t one of them.

“I take the train from Clifton Hill station to work and then repeat the journey on the way home,” Dr Nicholls said.

“I rarely use my car, only when I go grocery shopping or to suburbs without a quick transport option such as Doncaster,” Dr Nicholls said.

The Doncaster Rail Project has been a buzz topic for the City of Yarra and a political issue for State Government for some time.

“We support Doncaster Rail as it will reduce sole occupancy vehicles on roads in the City of Yarra,” Cr Fristacky said.

“We opposed the East West link and the West Gate tunnel. These will have the opposite effect of a new public transport network,” Cr Fristacky said.

The Victorian State Government recently announced $10 million towards devising a new airport rail plan, despite a 2013 study by Public Transport Victoria concluding the high costs of the plan outweigh the project’s benefits.

“Airport Rail would reduce the number of people using the Eastern Freeway and lessen the number of cars driving through the City of Yarra, which is desirable,” Cr Fristacky said.

Both Cr Fristacky and Dr Nicholls are supporters of travelling ‘the Yarra way’ and next time you visit the City of Yarra, if you don’t already, maybe you should too.

Written by Nicholas Nakos

A Celebration of Diversity at the Cocoa Butter Club

The Cocoa Butter Club’s second event celebrated, entertained and educated the audience about the talent of Queer, Transgender and Intersex People of Colour (QTIPOC) with a night of music, dance, acrobatics and performance art.

Held at the Melba Spiegeltent on the 26th of July, the themes of Aboriginal sovereignty, structural discrimination and racial dynamics were seamlessly stitched into the night.

Originally from London, the Cocoa Butter Club’s website describes it as a “roster of queer performers of colour” with a mission to “moisturise a thirsty club scene [through] representations of the other in everything from neo-burlesque to poetry, live music and voguing”.

Organiser Dani Weber praised the diverse talent presented during the night.

“The strength of the Cocoa Butter Club lies in diversity – the diversity of genres and the multiplicity of talents that people of colour have. Our existence is real. We are loud and talented,” she said.

“Attendees don’t have to be people of colour, but they need to be willing to enter a space where they will be supportive to the mission of the night, to centre Indigenous [people] and people of colour,” Dani said.

Roseanne Chalker performed a series of stunning acrobatics, using only a cloth hung from a hook and her body. Her gravity defying display of strength, artistry and ingenuity transgressed physical boundaries. Photo: Alexis D. Lea

The Melba Spiegeltent had undergone an interesting transformation for the event. Rather than rows of seats, circular tables decorated the space.

The night’s main singers Mama Alto and Kandere were a standout.

Mama Alto circled around like a shimmering diva, stepping onto the stage as if making a mistaken stop from the 1940s.

Mama Alto soared, particularly as she hit the piercing high notes of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston.

Moreover, she educated the audience about the achievements of people of colour in theatre. She applauded last year’s Tony Awards, which had awarded all four major acting awards to people of colour for the first time in its history.

Kandere was composed of two pacific islanders: Lakyn Tarai and Wahe Kavara. Their set included a mishmash of breathtaking beats, distorted vocals and some heated dance moves.

Caption: Drag king, Justin Teliqure, stole the hearts of the audience. His suave dance moves projected his irresistible charm. Photo: Alexis D. Lea

Next, a performer embodying  Mother Nature made an appearance. Surrounded by a cacophony of nature, she flipped the coin on conceptions of normalcy and encouraged the audience to unpack their thoughts about gender and sexuality.

Her performance reinforced that members who identified as non-binary, transgender or gender diverse had every right to belong.

Throughout the night MC’s, Nayuka Gorrie and Davey Thompson, educated the audience about the controversies and racial discrimination faced by Aboriginals.

The MCs also reminded the audience about the recent deaths of Elijah, Dr Yunipingu and Lynette Daily. A sense of loss resonated through the night.

The Cocoa Butter Club gave a voice to the QTIPOC community on their terms. With the voices of this community often hidden or ignored, the event portrayed their beauty, agency and authority.

The next Cocoa Butter Club event is to be held at a yet to be announced date in October. Stay tuned to get the exact dates.

Written by Devana Senanayake

Residents seek justice following ‘Pattern of Negligence’

It’s been four months since 200 residents of Fitzroy’s Atherton Gardens, a housing estate located at 125 Napier Street, were forced to flee their beds in the early hours of March 29 when the sixth floor of the high-rise housing estate was set ablaze.

Now residents are seeking justice for a catastrophe that they say could have been avoided and are seeking legal advice in an attempt to resolve issues with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Following the fire, the Melbourne Fire Brigade (MFB) released a report damning the Fitzroy Housing Office, citing a lack of duty of care and mentioning several faults. These included a lack of smoke alarms and sprinklers and the build-up of combustible items – like a mattress that started the blaze, that had lain for weeks on the building’s sixth floor, despite residents’ complaints.

The Fitzroy Housing Office has announced they will be accepting all of the MFB’s recommendations, and Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin Foley has announced the changes will be applied to all 44 public estates across Melbourne.

But according to one resident, the fire is just one in a series of incidents that Minister Foley and the Department of Health and Human Services, of which Fitzroy Housing Office are a branch of, have to answer for.

Ranko Cosic has been a resident of Atherton Gardens since 2001, and is fed up with what he describes as a “pattern of negligence” on the part of the DHHS and the Fitzroy Office of Housing.

He says that in the 16 years he has lived in the building, there have been no fire drills or inspections to ensure all smoke alarms were in working order, but he says this is just the tip of the iceberg.

A terrorist threat, rampant drug use in common areas and instances where the DHHS had taken nine months to address complaints regarding unstable or unsafe tenants are just some of the issues Mr Cosic has brought to the attention of the DHHS and Fitzroy Housing Office. His appeals went as far as the Premier himself, but he says his complaints fell upon deaf ears, and that the neglect goes further than just the Fitzroy Housing Office landing at the doorstep of Minister Foley himself.

“Since his election, the Minister did not come to our estate until the day of the fire,” Mr Cosic says of Minister Foley, who he believes to be uninterested in his position as housing Minister and unwilling to police the performance of his subordinates.

“Everything rots from the top; it starts at the head and transfers through the whole body. I have reported very serious matters to Minister Foley and it all gets ignored,” Mr Cosic says.


Ranko Cosic says the first time Minister Foley visited Atherton’s residents was when they took refuge in the Town Hall following the March 29 fire. Photo: Ranko Cosic

He also recalls personal experiences of harassment and attempted character assassination at the hands of the department, which he feels came about in an attempt to silence his efforts to improve living conditions for himself and fellow residents.

Mr Cosic remains defiant however, declaring he’s “not going to lay down”.

Fed up, Mr Cosic reached out to Yarra City Councillor Stephen Jolly, whom he describes as an ‘integral part’ of the legal battle: “I’m fortunate Steve is there, because who else would fight? I haven’t seen anyone else.”

Like Mr Cosic, Cr Jolly is tired of the pattern of neglect shown by the DHHS and Fitzroy Housing Office, who he says have ignored their residents for years, “and it’s taken a fire and media publicity [and the] threat of legal action for them to do anything”.

While Mr Cosic rallied 30 fellow Atherton residents, Cr Jolly recruited key stakeholders and legal counsel.

He hopes the class action will lead to changes within the department, whose behaviour he labels “dangerously incompetent.”

“It’s outrageous the way the residents are treated … the only time the Department is efficient is when you fail to meet your rent,” he says.

Residents of 125 Napier St are seeking a formal inquest of the fire, along with achieving a successful means of communicating their issues with the Department and working towards having these issues addressed.

Mr Cosic admits his hopes for the outcome of the legal proceedings are “lofty” and go beyond monetary compensation. He says he would like to see the Fitzroy Housing Office “purged”, and Minister Foley, whom he describes as “inept” removed from his position and replaced with “a minister who does care about private housing, who will go to the estate”.

Cr Jolly agrees with Mr Cosic, saying of Minister Foley, “I think he needs to go”.

Mr Cosic says for him, it’s not about the money, but social justice, and with the aid of Cr  Jolly, he will continue to fight his cause until he sees justice done.

Written by Alice Wilson 

Slam dunk for underprivileged kids

In the fading afternoon sun, a young man stands on a basketball court with four young children excitedly running around him.

Minutes pass and the four children multiply until more than 30 are bouncing around his ankles with endless energy, seemingly immune to the day’s freezing conditions.

The man unzips the bag at his feet, pulls out a basketball and says: “Okay guys it’s time to start! Split up into two groups and form a line at half court.”

The children sprint off down the court and the young man draws an old silver whistle to his mouth.

His name is Steve Bacash, the head coach at Helping Hoops Richmond.

He gives his whistle a soft toot capturing the children’s attention and yells “okay guys let’s start off with a little warm up, give me two suicides!”

Helping Hoops is a charity dedicated to running free basketball programs for underprivileged children.

What started in 2009 as a single program in Footscray now delivers more than 450 free basketball sessions to more than 1000 children of all abilities, ages 7 to 21.

Participants at Richmond Helping Hoops. Photo: Joseph Regan

Steve first became interested in helping underprivileged youths while volunteering with The Big Issue.

“I was helping out with a street soccer program, which I had heard about through my days playing street basketball in high school, but felt like I couldn’t really help the kids out because I never played soccer.”

“So, when I heard about the opportunity to actually coach basketball and teach kids a sport that I knew the fundamentals in, I jumped at the chance.”

Steve started volunteering in 2013 and was promoted to head coach in 2015.

“I first started volunteering with Helping Hoops six years ago and then two years ago an opportunity came up to coach but our executive director Adam McKay was a bit reluctant to give me the role.”

“He said that he thought I would always be a bit more of a sidekick and that burned in my soul a little bit. However, I didn’t show it and I knew I had more to give.”

“They ended up giving the role to another African American dude with a lot of experience, but about six months later that didn’t work out so they gave me the job.”

“Two years on and I’m now doing four programs in Richmond, Croxton, Prahran and North Melbourne teaching the fundamentals of basketball to more than 150 kids a week.”

Steve is an easy going character and this relaxed, happy-go-lucky approach clearly comes through in the clinics with the focus on the kids having a good time rather than driving the technical development of basketball skills.

“At Helping Hoops we’re not here to turn these kids into champion basketballers, we’re here to create a feeling of community and instil values like teamwork, respect and interpersonal skills.”

“I layer the program because if it’s all basketball most of the kids won’t stay interested.”

“I try to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to speak and be heard because a lot of these kids come from challenging families so I think it’s important to give them a space where they feel they have a voice.”

The energy and excitement on court is palpable, it’s clear the kids respond well to Steve’s approach as he orchestrates the mayhem with carefully timed bursts of his whistle.

Long-time Richmond Helping Hoops volunteer Meredith Oldhan says that Steve is an excellent mentor for the children.

“He’s a bit of a king of the kids when they are all out on court.”

“Tonight is a perfect example, we’re getting buffeted by freezing gusts, pelted with ice cold rain and it’s the first day back for lots of schools and there’s still at least 35 kids down here to shoot some hoops!”

“Steve thrives in this organised chaos and the smiles he puts on the kids’ faces at the end of each session always make it completely worthwhile,” says Meredith.

Helping Hoops executive director Adam McKay said that the work Steve does running four training sessions each week is invaluable.

“Each week Steve runs four different programs Wednesday to Saturday spread out across Richmond, North Melbourne, Prahran and Croxton, and at every one of the programs he knows every kids name and takes a genuine interest in who they are as people.”

“It’s only through the generosity of our dedicated coaches like Steve that we are able to reach as many people as we do.”

For Steve, it doesn’t feel like work anymore.

“Initially I found it difficult because you have to give so much of yourself and it can be difficult working out what kind of person these kids need you to be.”

“But after a while, you reach this level where you understand what you’re here to do and that’s when you really start to pick up on how rewarding [it is] working with these kids and watching them grow and develop into young adults.”

“At the end of the day these are great kids who just like anyone else need to be guided, nurtured and supported, and it’s an amazing feeling to be able to provide that to some of these kids.”

Helping Hoops is a not for profit orginisation dedicated to helping underprivileged children achieve their full potential through competitive sport.

More information on Helping Hoops can be found here.

Written by Joseph Regan

Faces of Yarra

Jules, Collingwood

“I’m just meeting a friend of mine for lunch, we haven’t seen each other in a while. We used to make music together; he’s a writer and singer and I play, mostly bass and electric guitar. We’ve had gigs all over the place, you know, Melbourne’s a pretty artistic city. It’s not like Brisbane or Sydney where everything’s a lot more straight. Like artists in Sydney do it for the love, but in Melbourne – because the creative industry is more stable – you can easily do it for the money. I have so many friends in Melbourne who make art professionally or write and have other jobs. Sometimes you have to think there’s an advantage in having a less stable artistic industry because there’s more to rebel against, because nobody’s ‘gonna’ look down on you here for saying, ‘Oh, I wrote a song!’. They might in Sydney. Those artists have that shared sense of purpose in their work. And that purpose can be really powerful.”

Photograph by Ruwanthi Wijetunga

A helping hand since 1946

The Coolibah Centre in Fitzroy, the first senior’s citizen centre in Australia, is doing things differently and providing socially isolated and vulnerable senior members of society with vital life skills.

Events and activities such as barista classes, table tennis tournaments and competitions involving the CEO are a part of daily life and are also crucial in maintaining the fun loving culture at the centre.

Open since 1946, The Coolibah Centre is part of the not for profit organisation, The Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Program co-ordinator, Marica Cindric, told The Yarra Reporter that “we identify each member’s need and then try to help from there.”

“For example, some need help with their shopping, some with healthy cooking and others with cleaning.”

“The main aim of the centre is to help vulnerable older people to become more independent than they currently are, so that they can live in the community that they love for as long as possible.”

Members of the centre hail from all walks of life, with some coming from dysfunctional families where they were not given an education, and many suffering from addiction or dementia – this is where the Coolibah Centre steps in to offer a helping hand.

Art by the senior citizens at the Coolibah Centre. Photo: Deniz Karaman

The centre takes a holistic approach to helping its senior members by arranging a number of different events and activities, such as cooking and gardening classes, advice and education on how to lead a healthier lifestyle, physical activities that range from table tennis tournaments to walking groups, and arts and crafts programs.

“The centre is more than just a social centre, it’s a place where you invest in health and well being. It’s about building healthier and happier people, which in turn, has a larger overall benefit to society,” said Marica.

A ‘family atmosphere’ is crucial in the running of the Coolibah Centre to ensure every member who joins becomes happier and more independent.

“Some changes are immediate, some take longer, it depends on the individual’s goals, but there’s always an improvement,” said Marica.

“We want our members to have a direct input, for example, our CEO teamed up the senior members for a table tennis tournament, it’s a community endeavour and staff regularly get involved in member events.”

The Coolibah Centre is open six days a week and on any given day, between 25 to 45 senior members access the programs and activities available.

For more information on the Coolibah Centre, click here.

Written by Deniz Karaman