The best things to do in Melbourne in April
Venetian glass is known across the world for its vibrant colour, elaborate designs and exquisite craftsmanship, honed over centuries by traditional glassblowers on the Venetian island of Murano. In Liquid Light, the National Gallery of Victoria brings together their extensive collection of glass pieces to explore the development of the Venetian glass tradition, from the Golden Age of the 16th century to the postmodern creations of the Memphis Group. Highlights include a Games of Thrones-worthy 17th century goblet, complete with intertwining dragons coiling around the stem, and a contemporary patchwork vase by renowned Murano glass artist Fulvio Bianconi.
Yep, they're doing the Adele one. The British diva's soul-stirring, Academy Award-winning theme tune is probably the first thing you remember about Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, and for good reason. It harks back to the golden era of Bond, when Shirley Bassey was belting about men who love gold and reminding us that diamonds are forever. Plus, there's Adele's caramel-hued voice and a lush orchestral arrangement. While Adele won't be joining the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for this in-concert screening of the film, the orchestra will perform the number live to her recorded vocals. But that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the 2012 film, which was directed by Sam Mendes and is widely acknowledged as one of Bond's finest moments. It's a gripping espionage-adventure film with Daniel Craig in fine form and stellar supporting performances by Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw. And there's also one of Bond's most formidable opponents yet: a former agent turned cyberterrorist Raoul Silva, played by Javier Bardem. All the action is set to Thomas Newman's score, which made Skyfall one of only two Bond movies nominated for Best Original Score at the Academy Awards.
Melbourne institution Bimbo (universally called Bimbo's) is celebrating LGBTQI pride each and every Sunday from 3pm. Queer Deluxe is an all-inclusive day to relax, eat, drink, boogie and celebrate queer culture. There are performers, drag queens, DJs and drink specials, including $20 Bloody Mary, Spritz and Margarita cocktail jugs. Bimbo reopened after a devastating fire in May 2019 and has re-cemented its place in Melbourne's north for good times and great eats. And yes, of course, the pizza is still just $4.
A trip to the Yarra Valley is always an excellent day out – for everyone except the poor schmuck who draws the short straw and can't partake because they're driving. So why not take a tour to the Yarra Valley, allowing everyone to enjoy the fruits of someone else's labours? Chillout Tours runs small tours of up to 11 people (or up to 25 for privately booked tours), and the bus picks up eager wine tasters in the centre of Melbourne, outside St Paul's Cathedral. The first stop is the world-famous Domaine Chandon winery, owned by Moët and Chandon and purveyors of some of Australia's favourite sparkling wine. The views are stunning at Domaine Chandon, with panoramic vistas over the vines and softly rolling hills, and best enjoyed with a glass of sparkling in hand. Luckily that's just what's on offer at this first stop. A staff member explains four different sparklings (the brut, Cygnet rosé, sparkling pinot shiraz and sweet cuvée riche), and you get a full glass of whichever one of the four you choose. You have a bit of time at Chandon, so if you want to do a full tasting ($12 for about six tastes) or order a second glass, go for it. The second stop is at small winery Soumah, which is an abbreviation for South of the Maroondah Highway. It sells Yarra Valley stalwarts chardonnay and pinot noir, but it also specialises in northern Italian varietals like nebbiolo, brachetto, pinot grigio and savagnin, which the winery has renamed 'Savarro'. After the tasting and a chat with Soum
In 2017, Melbourne suffered a mighty blow. Dracula’s, arguably Melbourne’s premiere theatre restaurant and cabaret venue, closed its glittery doors after 37 wild years of G-strings, pasties and ghost train rides. Luckily, Melbourne’s other two theatre restaurants were available to fill that void: Witches and Britches and Williamstown’s Titanic Theatre Restaurant. But in 2019 something new came along to add to the list. Say hello to the Gaol Experience, a dinner and show experience. As you might have guessed, it takes place in the Old Melbourne Gaol and dredges up the site’s 174-year history for a show that combines burlesque, sideshow and comedy. Guests are served a two-course dinner in the original cell block of the City Watch House, which is the place where felons were brought to face justice when the jail was in operation. Fancy taking things up a notch? VIP guests can serve more time, kicking back cocktails in old jail cells as the evening goes on. The show itself includes the talents of a team of inmates (also known as cabaret performers Queen of the Damned) and includes lots of classic songs – think anything from Tina Arena and Queen to Wolfmother and Beyoncé. And because it’s burlesque, you should expect some risqué scenes – these inmates were charged with indecent exposure, after all. The show takes over four areas of the old jail and includes anything from laser beams to wanted photos and even a flash mob. Tickets start at $75, and you can organise special hen
After the success of a joint exhibition of work by Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei in 2016, the NGV is bringing together another pair of art legends for its 2019/20 summer blockbuster. Who doesn't love a two-for-one deal? Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat's careers burned bright and fast in the 1980s, rocking the New York art establishment. Both are known for the huge impression they made with their street art, and both died young: Basquiat from a heroin overdose in 1988 at just 27, and Haring from an AIDS-related illness in 1990 at 31. The exhibition features more than 300 of their works presented side-by-side, ranging from paintings to sculptures and, of course, public works. Both artists made work with strong social and political messages, particularly about racism and the AIDS crisis, and each had his own distinctive visual style, which will be central to this exhibition. Expect to see plenty of Haring's dancing figures (which Melburnians should be familiar with given that they feature in a mural he painted in Collingwood in 1984) and Basquiat's crown and head motif. In fact, one of the key works in the exhibition is Basquiat's 'Untitled (1982)', which features a distressing but brightly colourful image of a black skull. The painting sold for $110 million in 2017, making it the most expensive American painting ever. The exhibition features Basquiat and Haring's collaborations with each other, as well as work with Andy Warhol, Grace Jones and Madonna. It's all being pu