Category Archives: Culture

withflaws. issue 10 launch!!


Issue 10 is ready and may possibly be the last one for a while. Join us at RedStar Fitness, an alternative gym in the valley for live music, vegan food and drinks!!

Bands include:
Kate Woodhouse:
Hypnotic Bedrooms:
The Shakeouts:
Black Deity:
Lizzard Wizzard:

+ more to be confirmed

Entry is $5 this time round but includes free magazines on the door.

Strictly no BYO.


withflaws. issue 9 launch!

withflaws. issue 9 launch poster- A3

Issue 9 is ready to roll and will be released on the 20th of February. Join us to celebrate a new year, new issue and a new section; creative writing!To entertain us there will be a number of bands performing from 6pm- 10pm in Winn Lane, just in front of Atavist Books.

Bands include:
KILL FRANK- Emo rap without a facebook page. Will blow your mind.

More goodies to be announced soon!

Join the facebook event page HERE to keep up to date.

Love Up-Cycled: Handmade objects from the heart

Up-cycled Leather Feather Earrings by Nadine Schmoll of Spitfire Designs.

Up-cycled leather feather earrings by Nadine Schmoll of Spitfire Designs.

If you haven’t heard of it, which I hadn’t until recently, Reverse Garbage is a wonderful non-profit initiative in Woolloongabba that collects industrial discards and sells them for cheap, saving both the environment and the customer. Items sold can be used for art, jewellery making, set designing and many other creative endeavours.

This month Reverse Garage is holding a Valentines-themed exhibition in its warehouse – Love Up-cycled: Handmade objects from the heart. The exhibition will showcase 25 local Brisbane artists who up-cycle. Like recycle, but better. They’ll be presenting a range of love-themed gifts in preparation for Valentine’s Day. Or you could just treat yourself; you don’t need a relationship to buy jewellery, right? The exhibition runs for three weeks, but the free opening event is on Saturday the 8th of February, from 6:30-8pm. Brisbane duo The Phoncurves will be playing, there’ll be late-night shopping, free snacks (free snacks!) and a cash bar.

Nadine Schmoll, the face behind Spiritfire Designs, is one of the artists exhibiting at Love Up-cycled, and she’s also Reverse Garbage’s Workshop Co-ordinator and Board Director. Nadine’s been a long-time customer at Reverse Garbage and she finds salvaged materials inspire the art she creates.

“They set the framework for my art to occur. Using salvaged materials means I need to let the process be guided by what I have available to me at the time, as I try to use as many up-cycled elements as possible. The actual process of finding materials is also very inspiring – it may spark an idea, a colour theme or experimentation,” she said.

“As a workshop facilitator, I am also very passionate about educating and inspiring others to re-use in a creative way. I hope that by setting an example, I can inspire others to make small changes to reduce their own impact on the environment.”

At the exhibition Spiritfire Designs will be selling leather feather earrings, mini dream catchers, chandelier crystal & fabric flower hairpins and bow ties, all made from re-used materials.

Up-cycled dreamcatchers by Nadine Schmoll of Spitfire Designs.

Up-cycled dreamcatchers by Nadine Schmoll of Spitfire Designs.

Self-taught artist and veteran user of salvaged materials, Samantha Gilkes of Jetta’s Nest will be exhibiting at her fifth Reverse Garbage exhibition. Samantha’s been re-using materials for 15 years now, aided by her carpenter husband and a friend who owns a mobile saw-mill.

“I first started using salvaged wood pieces to paint on after painting a mural on a wooden dining table for a friend.  The wood I used was quite hard for me to source then but after meeting my husband it became something I had ready access to so I stuck with it,” she said.

Jetta’s Nest will be selling a number of salvaged wood wearable art jewellery pieces, including brooches and necklaces as well as cards made from recycled card stock.

If you miss the opening, the exhibition will run from February 8-28, Monday to Saturday from 9-5 at Reverse Emporium, Reverse Garbage, 20 Burke St, Woolloongabba.


Myth: Poetry Exists In A Bubble, Away From The Real World

Photo thanks to Martin Ingle. Taken at Ruckus Slam December 2013.

Photo thanks to Martin Ingle. Taken at Ruckus Slam December 2013.

Many people continue to turn a blind eye to the Brisbane poetry network, often regarding it as boring and pompous. The greatest misconception being that poetry is not a part, nor worthy of being a part of the Pop Culture scene. This stance needs to change, but so does the scene.

Spoken Word, in particular open mic nights are seldom found in Brisbane and arguably Australia. However, what is on offer, does not feign quality or intrigue. Yelling and foot stomping and galloping and awe-inspiring words and humans and minds, are the bones of the atmosphere. There is a boy in Brisbane who brings his guitar and reads amongst his own sounds. There is Kiera, a bearded trans lady who rhymes each simple sentence she writes with expression that tells a clear story. It is a special occasion to be surrounded by like-minded humans sharing a part of themselves. It is saddening to see fewer and fewer punters and watch the rooms creep quieter and quieter.

The anticipation and acceptance of poetry, both written and spoken has seen a dramatic decline over the past few decades. Now there is a lack of those with the desire to promote quality and creativity through public appeals and therefore progress culture and talent. Is it a coincidence we find ourselves in the midst of one of the greatest social rivalries to date, analogue v digital while our appreciation for the arts in its natural state dwindles? Well, that’s another argument for another article.

A thriving scene like New York is a good example. The 1930’s through 50’s proved the times for the “Abstract Expressionists.” Poets and visual artists alike worked loyally and intimately – while the non-creatives awaited showcases and openings as eagerly as the artists themselves. Then again in the 60’s with pioneers such as Lou Reed, Bob Holman and even Allen Ginsberg all devouring the opportunity to create a stage for the creators. Holman has been described by Henry Louis Gates Jr. in The New Yorker as “the postmodern promoter who has done more to bring poetry to cafes and bars than anyone since Ferlinghetti.”

But the present day poetry scene of New York is at its most inspired and sought after. There is no shying away or discrimination or anti-minded humans with a scrunched nose and raised eyebrow. It is as much of a community as the Super Bowl is today, as it was 50 years ago.

A leaf from a book Brisbane desperately needs to read.


Elephant Arms (Warning: contains nudity and talk of pornography and BDSM)

Elephant Arms was launched in December 2012. The creator, Sarah (last name withheld), started the blog due to “sexual frustration, interest in good local music [and] occult imagery.” She claims and proves through her blog material that she has an open mind and believes that “sex shouldn’t be seen as being so inappropriate in society; it’s a beautiful and natural thing.” With a large portion of the content featuring erotic fetishism, bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (herein BDSM) it is hard to find the local music content and the natural aspect of sex. Having said this, considering there are a number of photos or gifs of Sarah posing nude, starting such a blog can seem quite daring for a woman, particularly one who resides in such a small, interconnected city such as Brisbane. Elephant Arms continues to exist due to Sarah’s belief that she doesn’t “need to feel accepted by society, everyone needs to be comfortable with themselves, just like I am.”

Photo supplied by Sarah at Elephant Arms

Photo supplied by Sarah at Elephant Arms

When Elephant Arms was first discovered by withflaws. the idea was to create a discourse between a local feminist group and the creator of the blog. Having picked up a copy of the UQ Women’s Collective Zine at a local zine fair they seemed like they would be well suited for such an interview as they were already active in producing independent media. After trying to contact them and inviting them into the discussion of nudity, pornography and sexual expression, the UQ Women’s Collective failed to reply. Due to this, in order to still provide various points of view within this article research was carried out via online news sites and feminist communities.

A common stereotype of feminists is that they hate or are scared of sex and men. It is true that some feminists are ‘sex negative,’ though certainly not all of them. In fact, it is the Feminist Sex Wars that divided Second Wave Feminism or the Women’s Liberation Movement in the 1970’s. There are many ‘sex positive’ feminist websites on the Internet today, flying in the face of the misrepresented stereotype and showing that a consensus has still not been found within the feminist community. As an example, the website has a list of various feminist porn sites. Each of these sites include all gender and sex orientations and represent women’s bodies honestly unlike most mainstream pornography.

Anti- pornography feminists focus on the patriarchy reflected in mainstream porn, which is driven by the arousal of the man. In doing this, women are reduced to objects and are portrayed as not finding pleasure in sex. On the other hand, sex positive feminists debate that sexual expression and freedom are vitally important for women’s liberation. Having said this, such sexual expression will not be found in mainstream pornography but found in porn sites like the one listed above and Elephant Arms. As Sarah stated, pornography does not emphasise anything natural within sexual encounters. Sexual expression, or erotica as some call it, promotes sex positive and pro-woman sexual values.

When Sarah was asked what her definition of porn was she replied, “I tend to think of porn as un-natural sex. No pleasure, no connection, no interest.” At first glance, it is easy to write off Elephant Arms as an independent porn site, particularly seeing as there is such a harsh stigma surrounding sex and open sexual expression. Many members of society still carry the binary belief that a woman is either a slut or the Virgin Mary, which is most often decided on how much skin is shown in public. Sarah strongly believes that she is merely expressing herself “without any restrictions”. She continues, “Whether it be in the form of my own pictures that I upload; or fetishism ones that I have re-blogged, we should be allowed to showcase our interests without judgement, no matter the content.”

Not everyone shares the understanding that women of any size or shape should be allowed to embrace their body. Sarah occasionally receives mail from viewers exclaiming some form of abuse such as “you’re fat” or “you’re ugly.” She has also received messages both through SMS and the Elephant Arms tumblr from an unnamed ex- boyfriend of a similar vein, telling her she’s just doing it for attention. A lack of respect tends to follow women who show any amounts of skin, whether they wear revealing clothing or work in the sex industry. There never seems to be any enquiry into reasons why women may want to express themselves in this way or need to work in such an industry. Even so, there are a number of people who respect Sarah’s boldness and courage. As an example, one comment left by a viewer was “Wow, I tip my hat off to you.”

Large portions of women are attracted to Elephant Arms for the thrill and shock of Sarah’s open sexuality. It seems to hit them as something they wish they could do without being ridiculed. As well as this, with the emergence of more personal blogs, it helps women find their own bodies more attractive and reduces the stigma of sex in society. The educational aspect of pornography is also often underestimated. Not all explicit imagery, such as creative sexual expression, should be considered ‘dirty.’ By reducing the stigma surrounding sex, a more natural and honest dialogue is enabled between partners and members of society alike.

Bondage, Domination, Sadism and Masochism features heavily in Elephant Arms. When Sarah was asked about the chains, whips and gags she explained her view that “sex should be as fun and experimental as possible, whilst receiving uncontrollable pleasure. For me personally, that includes BDSM, foot worshipping, role playing and just being kinky.” And why can’t girls have a bit of fun? As a further explanation, the sadist in the sexual relationship derives pleasure from giving pain and the masochist takes pleasure form receiving pain. It must be remembered that there is in fact a pleasure exchange at work. There is yet another misconception held by people who tend to hold little knowledge about BDSM. Some believe that violence against women can lead from ongoing participation. There are in fact no studies that prove this is the case. Furthermore, BDSM is a fetish that forms part of a person’s sexual identity and is only performed once consent is given from both parties. Alan McKee, author of The Porn Report stated the real facts on potential violence against women in a discussion at the Brisbane’s Writers Festival. He derived from a study that the 60 plus age group, right wing parties and Christians have the worst attitude toward women and therefore have a more harmful affect than BDSM. Controversial.

When discussing BDSM, Sarah reiterated by saying that “these images should not be viewed as being treated unequally; they are posted to portray the sexual content of a submission and domination relationship.” The key word here is relationship. Bert Cutler remarked in his book; Partner selection, power dynamics, and sexual bargaining in self-defined BDSM couples, that BDSM couples communicate more effectively than mainstream couples due to the increase in risk and harm in a BDSM scenario. The dominant role in particular is always thinking about the safety of the submissive role, particularly seeing as all acts of BDSM follows from full consent. Femdom, or female dominance, also shows that the male partner is not always the dominant role, which moves further away from the violence against women argument.

Expression comes in many forms, with sexual expression being one of them. Both women and men should be allowed to express their enjoyment of sex through independent photography and video without being condemned by those who don’t appreciate it. As discussed in this article, sexual expression (a world away from mainstream porn) and fetishes aren’t hurting anyone. Sarah makes a plain point, “for those who are offended, it’s easier to not go onto my blog, they don’t have to view those images, it’s their choice.”

Quite a range of topics were brought into discussion within this article which will hopefully enable people to feel less on edge when confronted with sexual imagery they don’t quite understand or aren’t aroused by. If you happen to not agree with Elephant Arms or anything that was written in this article, please refrain from using any form of abuse on this website or on Elephant Arms. Instead, withflaws. would love to hear everyone’s differing opinions on feminism, sexual expression, nudity, pornography and BDSM via email:


withflaws. magazine issue 8 launch!

Event poster 2

Come and celebrate the launch of the 8th edition of withflaws.! Music and food will be in abundance and the zine will be for sale on the day! The event is being held at a new space in West End called Blackwall. Check out the facebook event page for all the details: CLICK ME

Twice Shy + Foxsmith = Shy Fox

BuffaloMountainsSeana Seeto is a local freelance graphic designer who makes expressive, bold and colourful art. She describes herself as shy, but her creative collective Twice Shy and clothing/art store Shy Fox are anything but.

Seana founded Twice Shy with her uni friends Laura Packer and Nic Fornasier as a way to collaborate their different strengths in design, animation and film. With Twice Shy, Seana freelances for a bunch of Brisbane bands including Foxsmith, Mega Ogre and Little Buffalo.

Her clothing and art label Shy Fox started up earlier this year, and thus far sells handmade pocket tees, screen printed t-shirts, painted skate decks and prints. She began the store with Charlie from Foxsmith, and the name was a mash-up between their two projects. Shy Fox has a stall at the Young Designer’s Markets in Southbank on the first Sunday of each month.

FuFoxDeckSeana loves the process of turning pencil and paper into a digital illustration. She generally hand draws all of her work, scans it and goes “crazy in Photoshop with my beloved Wacom tablet.”

She’s had a passion for drawing since her childhood.

“One of my earliest memories is winning a Hungry Jack’s voucher for my crayon drawing of Simba from The Lion King – I think this is still a crowning achievement of my life!” Seana said.

Seana long harboured a desire to be an animator, but believing herself to be too impatient, she studied Communication Design at university. Doing so, she realised she wanted to merge her love for illustration with graphic design.

“So I did just that, and worked on developing my style to what it is now… a mix of weird characters, vibrant colours and textures.”

The cosy size of Brisbane’s creative scene has its challenges, but Seana is grateful for its tight-knit nature.

“I do like how there is always a probability of two-degrees of connection between everyone!”

And what are her plans for the future?

“Just working on expanding Shy Fox with some new designs and exciting new ideas, as well as keepin’ on with my band artwork. I’m also working on putting out a new zine of characters I’ve been creating lately. And I’m always on the lookout for new projects to have fun with!”