The best things to do in August
Melbourne's theatre scene might look to be totally dominated by a certain boy wizard in 2019, but there's another big show headed our way from Broadway. Come from Away is set to open at the Comedy Theatre in July. The historic theatre will get major refurbishment and new seats (anybody's who's sat through long show at the theatre knows the seating is a necessity) in time for Come From Away's Australian opening. The musical has been a bit of an unexpected hit in North America, set in a small Canadian town in the days following the September 11 attacks. Written by Canadians Irene Sankoff and David Hein, it tells the true story of Gander, where 38 international flights carrying 7,000 passengers were forced to land, effectively doubling the population of the town with stranded passengers for several days. The vibrant score has Celtic flavours, and the show's cast recording was nominated for a Grammy Award.
The National Gallery of Victoria's latest winter blockbuster was a look back at the last 130 years of modern art, but its major 2019 winter exhibitions are looking a fair bit further back. All the way to the third century BCE. For more than 2,000 years an army of 8,000 life-sized terracotta warriors have stood guard at the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, in the Shaanxi province. The army was entirely unknown until it was discovered by farmers digging a well in 1974. It's not every day you stumble across one of the wonders of the world. A delegation of eight warriors are visiting Melbourne as part of an exhibition at the NGV called Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality. But the NGV is a gallery that always has one eye on the present and the future, which is why it's presenting another exhibition from China this winter: all new works from contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang, inspired by his home country.
Cai Guo-Qiang is best known for unique, large-scale artworks that draw on his cultural heritage. In this exhibition, part of the National Gallery of Victoria's prestigious Winter Masterpieces series, he's presenting all new works, ranging from a monumental installation that will see 10,000 porcelain birds suspended over visitors heads to a 31-metre artwork created using silk and gunpowder. This exhibition is being presented with Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality, which features eight of the world famous terracotta warriors and other archaeological and historical objects from China. A ticket grants entry to both exhibitions, which stand side by side. Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape is one half of a two-part exhibition, alongside Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality.
You might know Apollo Bay as a summer seaside haven, but in winter, things are very different in the town where the wild forests of the Otway National Park meet the Southern Ocean. The Winter Wild festival launched in 2017 in response to the 2015 Colac Otway bushfires, which had a lasting impact on the region's coastal communities. It's Victoria's answer to Dark Mofo, and it's well worth traveling down the Great Ocean Road for. This year's festival is themed ‘visions and ecstasies' and offers a “right-hand path” and a “left-hand path” (which are separately ticketed). Those who choose to walk the left-hand path will be exploring concepts like mystery, sexuality and the “shadow self”. Take note that tickets for this event are gender-specific, and you’ll be asked to select whether you identify as female, male or non-binary when purchasing. If you feel the urge to walk the right-hand path you’ll be exploring meditation, nature and movement. Participants on both paths will take part in four workshops (specific details are revealed on the day), meals, a locally crafted talisman and entry into certain additional WinterWild events. If you don’t want to tread either path you can still take part in the other events on the WinterWild schedule. Across the two weekends you’ve the chance to witness abandoned quarries lit up by projection art, yoga, carnivorous feasts, ritualistic bonfires, consensual touch workshops, didgeridoo-guided meditation, forest bathing, panel discussions and l
The Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula Chocolateries are famous for their month-long festival dedicated to hot chocolate in all its delicious forms, and this year is no different. A total of 31 limited-edition hot chocolate flavours will be available to try throughout August 2019, with eight new flavours introduced every week. Each flavour is created using a coverture chocolate base, which has seasonal and exotic ingredients, herbs and spices added to it. This year's line-up takes the classic chocolate and milk combo and adds some signature flair: try the Mocha Margarita, Troll Magic, Mad Chocolatier or a Girl's Best Friend which is made with ruby coverture chocolate and rosé Champagne. There's a Green Goddess hot chocolate with kale and coconut and even a Hot Shoey – which yes, is hot chocolate that you eat out of a chocolate shoe. A little bit classier than your average shoey, hey? Every limited-edition hot chocolate flavour you order at the Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road or Mornington Peninsula location comes with an extra shot of milk, white or dark chocolate as well as a giant marshmallow. Too many flavours to choose just one? Book into a tasting session, where $20 lets your try eight different flavours and create three hot chocolate spoons to take home. Bookings are essential. The Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery hot chocolate festival is on every day in August. Entry is free.
Since 2013 White Night has been lighting up the streets of Melbourne for a 12-hour art party, featuring spectacular projection art, mind-bending installations and unexpected experiences. In 2019 the festival changed to White Night Reimagined, a pared-down but stretched-out version of the arts, music and light festival. Here's how the new White Night works. The festival will no longer run from 7pm to 7am over a single night. Instead, it will take place over three finger-numbingly cold winter nights from Thursday, August 22 to Saturday, August 24. Events will start from 7pm every evening and finish at midnight on Thursday and Friday, and at 2am on Saturday. So if you're expecting the same surreal all-nighter of previous years where everyone from students to parents with prams and little old ladies with dogs could be seen gallivanting through the CBD at 4am, we're sorry to say that that particular version of White Night is dead. Having said that, there is still plenty to love at White Night 2.0. There are three main festival precincts this year: Treasury Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Birrarung Marr. Each also has a distinct theme. Birrarung Marr will be home to the ‘physical realm' and host a range of appropriately high energy works and performance like Globe (a performance by Amsterdam street theatre company Close Act). Treasury Gardens will be transformed into the 'sensory realm' where you can explore artworks and installations that engage all your senses. Finally, Carlt
If you've ever wanted to make your own cheese, this is the masterclass for you. Henry and the Fox is offering a series of masterclasses to teach you how to make all kinds of cheese from around the world – and yes, tasting is encouraged. Classes offered include everything from brie to tallegio to peccorino, halloumi and mozzarella, and each class is marked with a level of difficulty. Each class is $89 per person, and they run for three hours. The classes include a glass of chardonnay or pinot noir on arrival, plus a shared cheese board. You'll also get to take home your cheesy creations at the end.
A new batch of tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are going on sale on Tuesday May 7 at 11am. The tickets are for dates from February 5 to March 22. The first rule of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is that you don’t talk about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Safeguarding spoilers is an expected responsibility for anyone who attends the Potter-verse’s first on-stage outing. There’s even a hashtag: #KeepTheSecrets. But in truth (as far as theatre critique is concerned, at least), JK Rowling needn’t have worried. This marathon, five-hour spectacle has a plot so dense and sprawling, so wonderfully, unashamedly elaborate, it would take many thousands of words more than any theatre review to even scratch the surface.
It’s pretty common to get caught in the rain while walking around Melbourne. What’s less common is to get caught in the rain while walking around indoors in Melbourne – and even weirder when you realise that the rain is inexplicably falling everywhere except on you. This August Melbourne will be the first city in the southern hemisphere to host ‘Rain Room’, an immersive artwork by London-based collective Random International. ‘Rain Room’ is one of Random International’s most famous works and has previously shown at the Barbican in London, MoMA in New York and at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Guests are invited into a darkened room filled with continuous rain. No need to bring an umbrella though because this rain won’t dampen your clothes or spirits. Thanks to motion sensors in the ceiling ‘Rain Room’ detects where visitors are and ensures a dry six-metre radius around guests. The artwork is being brought to Melbourne thanks to a collaboration between the currently closed ACMI and uber-luxe hotel Jackalope. For at least seven weeks (tickets can currently be purchased for dates between August 9 and September 29) you can experience the installation for yourself at the Jackalope Pavillion, a pop-up space on the corner of Acland and Jackson streets in St Kilda. Tickets are available to the public from July 4.
Long before Robert Downey Jr donned the Iron Man suit, Marvel Comics was delighting readers with the derring-do of Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men and all their superhero pals and nemeses. In fact, Marvel Comics has been around for 80 years, and in celebration, the company is bringing a free exhibition of Marvel art to Melbourne. The exhibition includes work from every decade of the company, from its start as Timely Comics in 1939 to the buff superheroes we love from modern movies. You can find the exhibition next to the Shot Tower, and entry is free. It includes art from Australian artists including Patrick Brown, Jon Sommariva, David Yardin, BenTemplesmith and Wayne Nichols.
Spend your Wednesday nights surrounded by food at the Queen Victoria Market's legendary Winter Night Market. Rows and rows of street food stalls, festival bars, as well as more than 50 art, fashion, homewares and general knick-knack merchandise traders will feature alongside a rotating line-up of musicians and entertainment. Food stalls will be cooking up delicious snacks all night long. This season you can get amongst market favourites Burn City Smokers who are serving some smoky American-style barbecue; Churro Kitchen with their sugar and cinnamon dusted churro bowls; and ReWine who have your weekly fix of hot, spiced mulled wine sorted. New traders for winter 2019 include Mörk Chocolate with their ethically-sourced hot chocolate (FYI it's our favourite hot choc in the city); Melted Cheese Bar who are serving melted cheese baguettes and toasties; Ciao Chips with their take on Belgian frites; Pierogi Pierogi with pierogi, naturally; Melbourne Cocoa with some artisan chocolate; plus Turkish at QVM who are serving pideli kofte (a meatball-style kebab) with red sauce and yogurt.
There might never be another time in western history like the late 1960s. It was a time of the Beatles, the Who, the Rolling Stones, revolutions, civil rights, social justice and monumental change. This exhibition comes from London's Victoria and Albert Museum and includes more than 500 objects. Highlights include John Lennon's real-life glasses and the uniform he wore on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, handwritten lyrics for "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", Mick Jagger's stage costume and a guitar the Who's Pete Townshend once smashed on stage. The handwritten lyrics to 'Revolution' show an insight into Lennon's songwriting process, with words that rhyme with 'revolution' scribbled down the left side of the page ('constitution', 'institution', 'revelation', 'dissolution', confusion', 'intrusion'...).
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.
Melbourne is one of Australia’s cooler cities (in more ways than one), but it’s still pretty rare to see snow within the city limits. That’s changing this winter, though, with Federation Square transforming into a frosty winter wonderland. The Skyline Terrace at Federation Square (the roof of the Fed Square car park) is home to the Winter Village: a (faux) snow-covered pop-up bar inspired by European winter markets. The pop-up is surrounded by snowy pine trees à la the Black Forest, while inside guests can enjoy an ice skating rink, 21 toasty warm private igloos and a mega igloo where it snows (inside!) every hour. You can stave off the winter chill at Feast Kitchen and Sip Bar. There are winter-themed treats to keep you warm or you can book a private igloo and get an inclusive food and beverage package. The Winter Village is also open until late on Fridays and Saturdays so you can really chill out with local DJs and after-dark events.
There is something fascinating about seeing a world-famous skyline recreated in tiny Lego bricks. Ryan 'the Brickman' McNaught and his team have built some of the greatest cities in the world out of bespoke Lego for a new exhibition at Scienceworks. The cities are New York, Dubai, Tokyo, Sydney and London, and the exhibition showcases their histories for almost a thousand years, from castles and forts to skyscrapers and instantly recognisable landscapes. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a 3m by 4m to-scale model of lower Manhattan, built out of white Lego. Stories of New York are 3D projected onto the buildings for extra insight into the city's history. Lego fans can also have a go of building their own cities of the future in an interactive section of the exhibition. It took more than 1,900 hours and 1 million individual Lego bricks to build the exhibition. Catch it at Scienceworks until October 6.
What’s better than gorging yourself on scones, finger sandwiches and Champagne at a regular high tea? Gorging yourself on piles and piles of cheese at the Westin’s un-brie-lievable High Cheese event. Traditional scones and cream are swapped out for L'amuse Signature Gouda scones served with whipped spiced butter. There's also black truffle, porcini and walnut layered Brie Fermier la Tremblaye; Swiss Gruyere Vieux Gougères with burnt green leek; and Marcel Petite Comté Réservation custard tarts for the savoury section. For the sweeter side, there's poached French pear with stracciatella, fresh honeycomb and smoked roasted macadamia crumble; ruby chocolate parfait with Brillat Savarin Frais and raspberry jam; caramelised salted white chocolate tiramisu; plus ricotta cassata cannoli. The coup de gras (pun intended) is the whole baked Normandy camembert served with lavosh that you can dip right into the cheese, like your very own cheese fondue.
Get ready to open up this winter season as the Immigration Museum introduces Our Bodies, Our Voices, Our Marks, a collection of new exhibitions and experiences focusing on tattoos and the meaning behind them. There will be two main photography exhibits that focus on the intersection between ancient and modern tattoo practices as well as a series of contemporary installations curated by tattoo artist Stanislava Pinchuk, also known as Miso. Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World will explore the artistry and extensive history of Japanese tattoos, which has persevered despite the criminal stigma thanks to its association with the yakuza, the country’s most notorious mafia syndicate. Held in tandem with this is an exhibition exploring a traditional Samoan art form called Tatau: Marks of Polynesia, showcasing the works of both traditional tatau masters and emerging artists that are still practising this 2,000-year-old art form.
If you’re currently tearing your hair out with climate anxiety we have good news. Science Gallery Melbourne is hosting a new exhibition that proves that the literal flaming garbage piles of rubbish society creates need not be put to waste. Disposable: Reimagining Your Waste brings together art, installations and events that aim to creatively address Australia’s (and the world’s) culture of excess and waste. Really, creativity is key to these works. Take the exhibition’s ‘Urinotron’ for example – this installation from French artists Gaspard and Sandra Bébié-Valérian takes urine and uses it to power electronic devices before recycling it back into water. Other highlights include ‘Trash Robot’ (a remote-controlled robot that will be collecting rubbish from the Yarra); ‘Sewer Soaperie’ (where Chinese-Fillipina artist Catherine Sarah Young takes solid grease waste from sewers and turns it into soap); ‘Eel Trap’ (a ten-metre long biodegradable installation by Indigenous artists Maree Clarke and Mitch Mahoney sitting on the Maribyrnong River); ‘Plastivore’ (an installation showing how mealworms can eat styrofoam and turn it into compost) and ‘Pollution Pods’ (a series of airtight rooms that simulate the air in polluted cities like London, New Delhi and Beijing). Artists Arne Hendriks and Mike Thompson will also be attempting to created Australia’s largest fat deposit or ‘fatberg’ (grease that is poured down the drain and soldifies in sewers). The largest ever fatberg found was i
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale brings exhibitions, workshops, screenings, portfolio reviews, discussions and social events to the historic Gold Rush town of Ballarat once more. Over two months the town will host 30 exhibitions, 70 open programs, outdoor public art and special screenings. This year, the festival will be jointly headlined by Chinese photographer-activist Liu Bolin and Indigenous Australian artist Dr Fiona Foley. Bolin is sometimes called “the invisible man” for his signature style of camouflaging himself within his images, prompting viewers to consider those who have been forgotten or marginalised. Foley’s work also brings attention to the disenfranchised, and highlights racial inequality in Australia. Who Are These Strangers and Where Are They Going? presents a mid-career retrospective of her work via site-specific installations and indigenous language soundscapes. Other program highlights include Bauhuas Foto, an exhibit marking 100 years since the establishment of the iconic Weimar school, and To the Moon and Back, which explores all things lunar in recognition of the Apollo moon landing 50 years ago. While those exhibits examine the ongoing impact of historic events, others deal with urgent political issues of the present moment. A History of Misogyny, Chapter One: On Abortion is a stark look at women’s reproductive rights by Spanish photographer Laia Abril; while Adi Nes’s homoerotic portraiture, often featuring Israeli soldiers, delves into qu
Can you really do good while eating well? A series of dinners aims to provide a platform for musicians who have been displaced from their home countries and are looking for an Australian audience. The musicians will perform during dinner, thus giving diners a feast for their tastebuds and ears at the same time. Music in Exile has teamed up with chef Ella Mittas, who will be cooking for the evening. The first event will feature Gordon Koang, a South Sudanese pop star who came to Australia to flee the civil war in his own country. Mittras will be serving up a three-course meal, with dessert provided by Sticky Fingers Bakery. The event will take place at Cam's at the Convent, a kiosk within the Abbotsford Convent grounds.
For generations, easily distracted kids and teens have gone crossed-eyed after spending hours playing Pac-Man. Whether you know the maze from the original 1980 Namco arcade game or from the App Store, you’re likely to have known the highs of gobbling power pellets and bonus fruit, and the bitter disappointment of Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde catching up with you. Now, those childhood pixelated joys are coming to Melbourne. A huge Pac-Man themed maze is descending on Williamstown this August, where racers will be tasked with collecting fruit, decoding puzzles and outsmarting the ghosts. At the end of the race, you can keep the fun rolling with an ’80s themed pop-up party featuring original gaming machines and a DJ spinning nostalgic tracks. You can teach your kids the old ways in Saturday sessions from 11am-6pm, but it’s an adults-only affair in the evening.
In a side step from what is traditionally considered a fancy hotel dinner, chef James Wallis (Love.Fish) has been invited into the kitchen at Hotel Lindrum to collaborate with head chef Michael Bentley on a menu focussed entirely on food waste. This dinner includes five courses of food that is normally considered food waste. Think fish collars being turned into terrines, stale sourdough being upcycled into gnocchi, and the weed dandelion being a highlight of a dish. This dinner is inspired by Wallis's passion for sustainability, and he hopes to encourage people to change the world with small actions. Wallis says: "Food waste is a huge contributor to global warming and massive food inequalities around the world. How we eat can shape our future." With this dinner, all the hard work has been done for you. All you have to do is book a table, eat, and hopefully walk away rethinking the way you cook in the future.
How do you choose your wine? Do you buy something your friend brought to dinner that one time? Maybe you always stick to the brand or two you can remember? Or do you just pick whichever label is prettiest and/or has the most stickers? There is a better way to buy wine, and that is by tasting a lot of it, talking to the people who make it and working out what you actually like. Cellarmasters is holding a special event so you can do just that, tasting wines from across Australia, including the most awarded Chardonnay in Tasmania (Riverdale Estate's Crader Chardonnay) and Blood Brother Republic BBR McLaren Vale Grenache, which won James Halliday's 'grenache challenge'. Even better, the winemakers themselves will be on hand to talk you through what you're tasting and work out what you like. If you get hungry with all that tasting and chatting, there will also be a cheese and antipasto grazing station, as well as canapés. Tickets also include a glass of sparkling on arrival.
Blobfish might be a weird name for a beer festival, but festival organisers Sam Hambour and Duncan Gibson from Hop Nation liken the current state of the Australian beer scene to the fish- 'intriguing, slightly obscure, somewhat unknown but always exciting.' We just think it is a good excuse to drink beer. Hambour and Gibson have herded together 16 boundary-pushing breweries who are doing exciting and interesting things with their sour and barrel-fermented program to present their beers at this festival. As you beer-drinking enthusiasts may have noticed, sour beers are a growing part of the craft beer industry, and Hambour believes there is a beer for everyone, even non-beer drinkers, 'People who think they don’t like beer will try a cherry sour, or a barrel-aged saison, or something fruity with a bit of funk in it, and it’s unlike anything they’ve ever tried, and they love it' Here's the list of breweries showing their wares for the inaugural Blobfish Festival: Hop NationSite Fermentation ProjectWildflowerOcho BeerBridge Road BrewersThe Barrel Farm by Blackman’sMolly RoseFathom by Green BeaconFuture MountainSailors Grave3 RavensDollar Bill BrewingBeer FarmVan DiemanGarage Project (NZ)8 Wired Brewing (NZ) The entry price will get you $20 worth of tasting tokens (it is $2 a taste), a Blobfish branded glass for you to take home on the day, and a voucher for one item from the festival pop-up restaurant, Blobfish Kitchen. The festival will be selling tickets in two ses
The NGV's Friday Nights series is back for another round, and this time they’re pairing a string of gigs alongside the new Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality exhibition. Few things go hand-in-hand like music and art, and NGV Friday Nights’ set-up is the best way to take in the latest NGV exhibition after dark while enjoying the best in local and international acts. Performing in the NGV's Great Hall every Friday night until mid-October, this season's line-up will feature the likes of Ngairre, Rainbow Chan, Husky, Slum Sociable, the Audreys, Young Franco, Sui Zhen and heaps more. See the full line-up on NGV's website. This year, the NGV has teamed up with the dumpling heroes at Hutong Dumpling Bar. A selection of their signature dumplings will be available to purchase at NGV Friday Nights at the NGV Gallery Kitchen.
Tjungu Palya is an Aboriginal-owned and run art centre in South Australia, around 450 km south-west of Alice Springs at the base of the Mann Ranges. Given that it’s situated in the Nyapari community, of which there are only around 85 members, it’s a significant and influential force in Australian art. This exhibition from the centre is two years in the making and is taking place across both Artbank in Sydney and Melbourne. If you’ve not heard of Artbank, it’s an Australian government initiative that purchases works from contemporary Australian artists and rents them to the public. But they also throw some wonderful exhibitions to show their own collection. This exhibition, the full title of which is Tjungu Palyangku Tjukurpa titutjara kunpu ngaranytja-ku: As we come together we stand strong for our story, tells Tjukurpa (sacred stories) through painting, drawing and performance. There are 12 artists displaying work: Teresa Baker, Maringka Baker, Kani Tunkin Baker, Ruth Fatt, Kunmanara (Wipana) Jimmy, Beryl Jimmy, Imitjala Pollard, Keith Stevens, Bernard Tjalkuri and Ginger Wikilyiri.
Every weekend until September 22, the Dingo Discovery Sanctuary and Research Centre is offering visitors the chance to cuddle, pat, feed, play and take photos with their adorable dingo cubs and friendly dingo adults. Every Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm, guests will have the chance to spend some quality time with these little fuzz-balls, and also learn about what makes the dingos so special from the sanctuary’s team of keepers. Tickets are $49 for adults and $35 for children. Children must be seven or older, and seven to 12-year-olds must be accompanied by a paying adult.
To celebrate Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality, NGV’s upcoming winter exhibition, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins and Dulux are calling on the curious, the creative and the hungry for a new high tea series. Treat yourself to an Asian-inspired high tea in which guests are invited to paint chocolate Terracotta Warriors using Dulux’s signature chocolate paint. China’s terracotta sculptures date back to around the 3rd Century BCE, but the original colours have remained unknown for over 2,200 years. Think you know what they would have looked like? Have a go at painting (and then eating) your own chocolate warriors. The high tea will feature an assortment of Asian-fusion dishes including smoked salmon, sweet chilli cream cheese and teriyaki sandwiches; sticky lemon, chilli and ginger beer; prawn and chive wontons; and char sui pork buns. The sweeter section includes a red bean curd white chocolate bombe on coconut shortbread; salted coconut sago with palm sugar caramel; pandan crème brûlée; crispy wontons with chocolate, ginger and pineapple; and black sesame matcha macarons.
Long before Fred Armisen forged a career as one of Hollywood's most distinctively talented deadpan comic actors and writers, he was a gigging musician, drumming for Chicago punk act Trenchmouth and even occasionally for the Blue Man Group. Now we know him for his appearances on Saturday Night Live, Portlandia and 30 Rock, as well as his memorable spots in Anchorman and Zoolander 2. Last year he combined his passions in his Netflix special, Stand-up for Drummers, which saw him perform music-adjacent comedy for an audience full of drummers. The show he's bringing to Australia builds on the special, but the title makes it clear that you don't need any musical talent to get into it: Comedy For Musicians but Everyone is Welcome. Expect Armisen to pull out some character bits, rhythmic comedy and pithy observations on the lives and works of musos as he leads his audience through an eclectically funny show.
And so it returns. The most (un)talked about immersive cinema experience returns to Melbourne. Attendees are given a nonspecific title for the experience, a dress code and a general theme. Closer to the time of the event, the location is revealed (or not! Sometimes a bus will take cinema-goers to the site). Underground Cinema has been in the live immersive cinema business for seven years and has recreated more than 30 filmic worlds. Arriving feels like walking onto a film set, full of actors, costumes and props (and an onsite bar). Attendees complete a task or take part in an event before the screening commences and the film is finally revealed. This time the theme is La Guerre 2.0, and the message is in French: TÉLÉGRAMME URGENTIls arrivent. Nous devons agir rapidement mes frères et soeurs. Le temps est essentiel. Hâtez-vous maintenant. Vive La Résistance!
The Danger Ensemble was one of Brisbane’s most provocative and, um, dangerous theatre ensembles until they moved to Melbourne last year under director Steven Mitchell Wright. After wowing audiences with The Hamlet Apocalypse – in which they performed Shakespeare’s tragedy on the night of an apocalypse – they’re back at St Kilda's Theatre Works with a new show inspired by The Scarlet Letter. They're calling it a "liturgical slut drop dripping with song, dance, and theatrical madness."
The ballet Sylvia falls very firmly into the “neglected classic” category, and has been rarely performed since it premiered more than 150 years ago. “It’s sadly neglected, and I think it has one of the great scores written for ballet,” Australian Ballet artistic director David McAllister says. And you don’t have to believe just McAllister; Tchaikovsky famously said that Léo Delibes’ score was better than anything he had written, including Swan Lake. The ballet draws its narrative from Greek mythology, following Sylvia, a chaste, ferocious huntress who swears off love but eventually falls for a human man. “The thing that’s always been difficult is that the story is fairly convoluted,” McAllister says. “Sometimes those Greek, Arcadian stories don’t really play for a modern audience. But Stanton has done a lot of work to make it a lot more resonant today, and not just looking at Sylvia and Diana, but the whole idea of Greek mythology and how it fits into our lives today.”
The mysterious and macabre works of Edgar Allan Poe are scary enough when they're just on a page, but what happens when they burst to life across 34 rooms in a two-storey abandoned North Melbourne warehouse? That's what audiences will experience at A Midnight Visit, a large-scale site-specific theatre work encouraging visitors to choose their own adventure and encounter unusual characters across a number of surreal environments. The show premiered in Sydney last year in a former furniture factory to stellar reviews. It will have its Melbourne premiere season from July 30 to September 15 at 222 Macaulay Rd, North Melbourne. Time Out Sydney wrote: "With A Midnight Visit, it’s okay to let the story be second to the experience – to the simple pleasures of finding yourself in an unexpected crawlspace, of carefully looking through a doorway with bated breath, of suddenly looking at a beach in the middle of an old, repurposed building. It won’t be like any other night out." There'll be four to six sessions a night, with performances running from Wednesday to Sunday. Tickets range from $44 (for previews) up to $79 for Friday and Saturday nights, and you'll need about 60 to 75 minutes to explore the building at your own pace.
Blackie Blackie Brown was such an epic hit in its first Melbourne season, Malthouse is bringing it back for a short stint in 2019. There's a lot of killing in a short space of time in this play. But let’s face it, in this country it’s hardly unprecedented; it’s almost a piece of cake. Playwright Nakkiah Lui is something of a comedic sensation – and audiences who’ve seen previous works such as Blak Cabaret or ABC’s Black Comedy will have some idea of what to expect – but Blackie Blackie Brown represents a solidification of her talent. It has an absolutely genius conceit, an in-built entertainment generator, but it’s also expertly crafted and forensic in its approach to its satirical targets.
Most arts festivals come with a pretty specific theme, whether they’re celebrating a particular art form, genre or culture. But Arts Centre Melbourne and Sophia Brous’s three-day festival of music, performance and multisensory art projects is a little bit different. Supersense (Aug 23-25) is dubbed a “festival of ecstatic”, which might sound a little vague, but it allows Brous to bring together an eclectic range of performance that’ll set your heart racing. The festival is back for its third iteration, and its most distinctive feature is how it takes over every space in Arts Centre Melbourne, with performances happening on stage, in smaller rooms and in backstage spaces. The idea is that you’ll be free to roam, subverting the traditional strictures of arts centres, and might even find yourself on stage at some point. There are some big hitters in this year’s program, including New Zealand musician Aldous Harding, theatrical legend Robert Wilson, a performance of dance works by choreographer Merce Cunningham, and Marlon Williams in concert with a live orchestra. But according to Brous, who was formerly the artistic director of the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and a curator at Adelaide Festival, it’s the lesser-known parts of the program that’ll surprise you and might just give you that transformative art experience you’re hoping for. There are different ways to experience the program, and even an epic free event on the final night, coinciding with White Night Melbo
At the Roller Disco Brunch you’ll be partaking in just that: a brunch with intermittent twirls around a retro roller skating dancefloor. And this new party on wheels ticks off just about every hipster Melburnian could want: bottomless booze, a retro theme and a similarly old-school sporty activity. They’ll be pumping tracks from the ’80s – the height of the roller skating era – while you zoom around the arena at Seaworks in Williamstown. If you roll along to one of the brunch and skate 90-minute sessions from 11am-3pm on Saturday, you’ll also get to scoff as much pizza and down as many mimosas as humanly possible (the piping hot slices are only going for the first hour, though). From 5pm, it’ll be all about the skating, as they scrap the brunch part and focus on the roller derby-style sliding (you'll be able to purchase refreshments from a cash-only bar). There are also skate-only sessions available Friday night.
What do you do when your baby sister is murdered by a monster? How can you possibly respond to something so horrifying, traumatising and unfair? Would you find some way of moving on, or would you do all you can to exact revenge? That's the crisis faced by Lila, the central figure and narrator of this gripping one-woman show from Canada. Performed by Cherish Violet Blood and penned by Tara Beagan, the play takes its audience on an extraordinary ride that's constantly entertaining despite its dark and difficult subject matter: the ongoing murder of Indigenous women both in Canada and across the world. When we saw the show at this year's Sydney Festival, we wrote in a four-star review: "It’s a brilliantly structured monologue, tracing Lila and Hammy’s life and the traumas they’ve suffered, slowly ramping up over the course of the play. But it’s punctuated with lightness – just when the darkness starts to suffocate – and evocative prose that brings Canada’s wilder corners to life on stage." This is a gorgeously crafted piece of theatre and our only word of advice would be to take those content warnings seriously. This isn't one for audience members who are easily made queasy.
Initially launched to celebrate the NGV’s Escher exhibition Between Two Worlds from last summer, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins has decided to continue running its successful black and white afternoon tea experience. The Monochromatic High Tea is running at Sofitel’s first-floor café Sofi’s Lounge. Punters can enjoy sweet treats inspired by MC Escher’s black and white works, including black sesame waffle cones with salted caramel, passionfruit and coconut chiboust filling, flourless vanilla opera cake with blackened coffee gel, ash profiteroles filled with lime meringue, and a "Black Rose" raspberry sponge with blueberry jelly, raspberry, rose and white chocolate mousse on a hazelnut dacquoise base. All dishes are served on custom-made high tea stands, so you can tuck into charcoal scones and an assortment of finger sandwiches in true Escher style. Each dish has been crafted by Sofitel’s pastry chef David Hann. Guests will also receive a glass of sparkling wine, Madame Flavour loose leaf teas and espresso coffee for $55 per person. You can also up the ante by signing up for free-flowing sparkling for $65, or replenished sweets and savoury dishes for $70, or high tea with Taittinger Champagne for $85 per person. Monochromatic High Tea is available on weekdays until October 31 with two sessions at noon and 3pm.
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.
If the last time you visited Melbourne Museum was on a school trip to see the hall of taxidermy animals, you're definitely long overdue for a return. Luckily, the museum runs Nocturnal – a monthly adults-only event series. Nocturnal transforms the museum into an after-hours adult playground on the first Friday of every month. Punters have access to the museum long after the last school group have left the building and can expect a lounge bar serving drinks and bar snacks. The event's crowning glory is the stage in front of the Forest Gallery where Melbourne's best music acts perform. This August, Nocturnal is happening on Friday, August 23 to tie in with White Night Reimagined and the museum's Revolutions: Records and Rebels exhibition. On the night, Brian Nankervis is bringing the Rockwiz Orkestra to the museum for a fun evening of music, trivia and lots of fun. He'll be joined on stage by indie pop artist Olympia, British India frontman Declan Melia, the Groop's Ronnie Charles and more. The museum, as usual, will be open late for partygoers to explore, with special talks and pop-up experiences happening on the night.
Living in the city sure is convenient, but sometimes we all need to trade the concrete jungle for an actual jungle. The Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens are giving you the chance to experience the restorative powers of nature by offering forest therapy (or forest bathing) classes for city stress-heads. Just what is forest therapy? The idea began in Japan, where it’s called ‘shinrin-yoku’ and is said to improve your wellbeing by immersing yourself in nature. It’s since been recognised as an effective (and cheap) way to improve public health. The Royal Botanic Garden’s forest therapy walk includes a guided tour through the gardens designed to lower your blood pressure, pulse and stress levels through a series of activities. The gardens have released three new dates to try forest therapy over winter – book into a session on July 28, August 11 or August 25.
Bill Henson might just be Australia’s greatest living photographer, so you could be forgiven for thinking he has bigger fish to fry than documenting the changes in his own backyard. Not so. As part of a commission by Monash Gallery of Art to celebrate its 25th anniversary, the acclaimed photographer has produced a new body of work dedicated to the suburb of his childhood and adolescence, Glen Waverley. The artist first documented Glen Waverley in his early ‘suburban series’ Untitled 1985-86 (also featured in the exhibition), and 30 years later, his new work revisits the series and reflects upon the notions of home and belonging.
July marks the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, so what better way to commemorate the occasion than by examining the ways the moon has inspired art over the centuries? Geelong Gallery’s exhibition features historical works alongside those created during the 1960s space race, contemporary reactions to space exploration and links to literature, film, music, science and popular culture. Among some of the earliest pieces are a 16th century woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, prints by acclaimed Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hiroshige and a rare copy of George Méliès’ 1902 silent film A Trip to the Moon, together with works by contemporary artists William Kentridge, Sidney Nolan and Michael Light.
One of Melbourne’s largest and most delicious markets is now running tasting tours. Preston Market has launched Saturday morning food tours that curates some of the tastiest products on offer at this northside food hall. The 2.5-hour tour walks guests through the market, introducing them to traders who will talk them through what they have on offer and how best to use their products in their own kitchens. As well as getting to try organic produce, fresh seafood, deli items and Preston Market’s winning paella, guests on the tour will also get to try more unusual foodie finds like crocodile meat (which we’re informed can be cooked easily on a sandwich press if you want to jazz up your sad office lunch). The Flavourhood tours run roughly twice a month, are $20 per person and include a progressive breakfast, coffee, Preston Market eco bag and a $5 market voucher. Tours are limited to ten people per tour and you can book online to secure your place.
Melbourne's largest literary festival brings together fascinating talks and discussions by authors from all over the world. Readers and writers from all walks of life are welcome at the festival with a program of events to suit the casual Saturday afternoon reader to full-time word nerds. Better still around a quarter of all festival events are free (that means more money to buy books). Visit the MWF website for the full program.