There’s always something new happening in Potts Point.
This month, the Sydney Art Quartet’s three-year residency at Yellow House comes to an end with their three-night performance of Savage Taste, a collaboration between the quartet and Bentley Group chef Brent Savage.
The Quartet often includes local businesses and personalities in their shows. Earlier this year, they collaborated with the actor David Wenham, another Potts Point local, on a performance entitled “Words Are Weapons,” where they matched great literature with the music that inspired it. The Quartet has also worked with local florist Saskia Havekes on “The Flower Whisperer” and interiors store Becker Minty and Carlos Huber from Arquiste Fragrances to create “Scent of Memory.”
I sat down with James Beck, the Artistic Director and cellist with the Sydney Art Quartet and a Potts Point local of eighteen years, to get his insider’s perspective on the area.
What is unique about the Sydney Art Quartet?
There’s a lot of string quartets out there in the world but we try to create an experience which touches more than one sense. We collaborate with highly respected artists, people who make fragrances, people who make food or design things or explore other disciplines like botany, psychology or social history, and we try to tell stories that are about a wider life experience.
Tell me about the upcoming performances, Savage Taste.
We love working with people who have businesses in the area. Brent Savage, the head chef at Bentley Group, has inventive, imaginative food and two of his restaurants, Monopole and Yellow, are in Potts Point.
We’ve worked with Brent to match five pieces of music to five different tasting experiences, exploring sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness, and umami. It’s not dinner and a show – it’s five very carefully-made experiences of one or two mouthfuls each to match each piece of music.
The shows are held at the Yuill Crowley gallery in Yellow House, which is a contemporary art space inside the Yellow House.
What is your favourite thing about the shows?
We only have eighty to a hundred people at each performance and we can see everyone. Having that really close connection to the audience is really great. And the sound in Yellow House is really full, so it’s not just your traditional classical music concert.
What is the best thing about being based in Potts Point?
It’s still very much a village but you’ve got some of most creative and diverse people in the country doing what they do at the highest level. It can be a challenge to perform for such an educated audience but it’s also an opportunity and we love working doing it.
What is the worst thing about being based in Potts Point?
Nothing! I suppose there aren’t as many eccentric, beautiful old ladies as there used to be. We’re losing our critical mass of the exquisitely dressed, eccentric older women who were artists and performers and who used to live here! But apart from that, I still really love living here, even after eighteen years.
What advice would you give to people who are about to move to the area?
Ditch the car. Make an effort to go out in the community and talk to people. It’s a social neighbourhood and that’s what makes it thrive. Go to the markets, have a cup of coffee and entertain at home as well as going to restaurants.
How has Potts Point changed in the time you’ve lived here?
It’s more professional people now, it’s more like Double Bay and less like Kings Cross. It’s quieter. It used to be a really loud and aggressive place on a Saturday night and I don’t miss that. It’s still an exciting place to live and I love that all kinds of people are celebrated here, it’s such a diverse group.
What’s your top recommendation for coffee or eating out in Potts Point?
Savage Taste is on 28th – 30th November at 7pm in the Yellow House
For more information, visit http://sydneyartquartet.com/savage-taste
Photo Credits: http://sydneyartquartet.com/