Lanfranchi’s Memorial Discotheque was Sydney’s favourite artist-run space, situated on the second level of an inner city warehouse. Lanfranchi’s doubled as a residence and unauthorised performance venue for five years, growing from unlikely beginnings to become what director Neil Armfield (Candy, Belvoir St Theatre) described as a ‘major strand of our city’s cultural DNA’. The decaying warehouse hosted hundreds of shows and was an accessible starting point for Sydney’s emerging performers, artists and musicians. That is, until property development gets in the way and Lanfranchi’s residents are given sixty days to vacate the building.
The story of Lanfranchi’s is told through ex-residents such as Lucas Abela (Justice Yeldham); an experimental musician who plays amplified sheets of broken glass with his mouth. A show he developed at Lanfranchi’s and has since performed in more than forty countries. Others soon to be displaced include Dorkbot; a community of electrical engineering artists, the bastard cover band Winner, experimental theatre-comedy group Cab Sav and the Marrickville Jelly Wrestling Federation.
Despite the impending eviction, the parties roll on during the final days of Lanfranchi’s, until the building’s owners and police intervene. But with no replacement, and with Sydney’s vibrant underground art communities fractured, where will the city breed its cultural DNA?