Culture News

Deborah Sussman Susser Does Sydney


If you want the real scoop on the art -- including the three Arizona artists being showcased -- at the Sydney Biennale, you'd best be reading Deborah Sussman Susser's blog entries. The Tempe-based writer/editor/teacher (and occasional New Times contributor) is down under this month on behalf of Arizona State University, where she teaches art/design criticism.

Earlier today, we Q&A'd the heck out of Tania Katan. Now Sussman Susser hops off the gallery merry-go-round to discuss fabulous shoes and "flat white" coffee.

So, how's the weather?
Weather is perfect, as if David Elliott and the Sydney Biennale Board ordered it special. Yesterday [Monday] afternoon the sky darkened to a grayish pink, which the Arizona contingent decided was the result of a bush fire after we overheard somebody say so as we were waiting for the ferry.

What's the one essential item you forgot to pack?

(get the answer after the jump)

Most essential item I forgot to pack is more fabulous shoes. It's an art crowd, after all. One pair won't cut it.

How's the food?
So far so good on the local cuisine. Two fabulous Thai meals will make it difficult to return to what we in the states call Thai food. Coffee is good and plentiful, and after watching a woman at the airport order a flat white from the coffee bar a few minutes after I landed, I've followed suit. It's hot, milky and strong -- perfect balance.

Who's the most famous person you've met?
The most famous person I've met is probably Tania Katan.

How's the reaction been, when you tell people you're from Arizona?
The worst thing that's happened when I've told people I'm from Arizona is exactly what I expected: Everybody (European, Australian, Asian) knows about the new immigration law and is appalled. I'd like to see Jan Brewer try to tell the world that SB 1070 "just mirrors federal law."

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at