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Human Statue Bodyart

Human Statue Bodyart Phantom of the Opera

Phantom Of The Oprah Haunts Sydney...

You would have had to be living in a cave not to have heard of 'Phantom Of The Opera', but how about 'Phantom Of The Oprah'?

Yes, as the world knows, Oprah Winfrey mania has hit Sydney, Australia in a big way, whether you're talking Harbourside at Circular Quay, Bondi Beach, Ayres Rock, or even out in the 'burbs of Sydney.

For the uninitiated, 'Phantom Of The Oprah' is yet another creation of leading Sydney based artist and bodypainter, Eva Rinaldi.

The photo shoot started out normally enough at the community based Skid Row Radio, which is rich in talent, but not so wealthy with all the trimmings you might normally expect in the whiz bang news media world. At the eleventh hour "technical difficulties" struck, but folks, as they say, The Show Must Go On!

Fortunately, just 45 minutes earlier, Rinaldi had done a spot of last minute prop spotting and purchasing at the local arts hangout 'Reverse Garbage', which positions themselves as a arts community shop where you can buy all sorts of arty wonders for next to nothing. Well, as they say, one mans junk is another mans treasure, and on this day Rinaldi spied a black cape, perfect for her 'Phantom Menace', for $2 no less. A bargain, which in all likelihood would give St. Vinnies a run for their money any day of the week. As it turned out the cape was a perfect fit for her in-house phantom.

Rinaldi and her fearless comrades, Taaleah Jezierski and 'Mr X', collected their thoughts (and paints), and went in search for an alternative location, and before long had found the most magical place just one block from the regular broadcasting station.

Within 10 minutes Rinaldi had painted her very own 'Phantom', the subject joked that he was actually the 'Phantom Menace', and his partner in crime, TJ, was the 'Phantom Of The Radio'. It may have been an unbroadcast happening, but the vibes and repercussions are likely to be felt in the creative arts and media world for quite a long time, and fortunately the artist had enough insight to start shooting photographs of both phantoms in the most unusual and unique poses that ranged from 'hide and seeks', aerial, phantom plays circus, magical mayhem, genie in the bottle, freestyle and light meets dark.

Rinaldi said "Today's photo shoot was such an extraordinarily happening.  It originally was going to be a radio broadcast in a modest community radio station but in the end it worked out quite different, but we think its for he better.  We stumbled across a huge arty themed gymnasium with the most beautifully coloured curtains, high ceilings and delightful music and performers adding to the atmosphere.  The creative juices were really flowing and the music and colour seemed to really bring the characters alive, in a phantom type of way. The photos have turned out beautifully and we had so much fun and laughs.  We didn't get spooked at all, despite the theme and the unexpected technical difficulties".

Phantom Of The Opera is generally considered a bit of a sophisticated audience affair, attracting high priced tickets and 'The A-List', but Rinaldi and her team added a community and people power approach, that is likely to trigger a new breed of phantom followers.

Just where will Rinaldi's "phantom menaces" strike next? Given her track record of other creative arts friendly surprises, highlighted by the 'Rebel Avatars', who incidentally have struck previously at Bondi Beach, The Sydney Oprah House and Marrickville, it's safe to say expect the unexpected.

Something tells us that original Phantom writer, Frenchman Gaston Lerux (and his "Erik") would have stood up and taken notice of Rinaldi's phantom experience today. Whether he would have had sweet dreams or would he have been turning in his grave, we may never know, but the intention was pure, and is yet another part of the Oprah - Opera phenom that has captured hearts and minds across our great country. All we can say is encore.