The best things to do in July
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. True, eight warriors out of 8,000 feels a little bit measly, but they are presented alongside more than 150 treasures from ancient China.
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.
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. While we may have been sworn to secrecy about Cursed Child’s plot, we can reveal that the hype – and rarely has a piece of theatre ever generated such fever-pitched buzz – is entirely deserved.
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.
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'...).
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.
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.
Quentin Tarantino's ninth feature film is a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don't recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor...Sharon Tate.
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.
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.
Dani and Christian are a young American couple with a relationship on the brink of falling apart. But after a family tragedy keeps them together, a grieving Dani invites herself to join Christian and his friends on a trip to a once-in-a-lifetime midsummer festival in a remote Swedish village. What begins as a carefree summer holiday in a land of eternal sunlight takes a sinister turn when the insular villagers invite their guests to partake in festivities that render the pastoral paradise increasingly unnerving and viscerally disturbing. From the visionary mind of Ari Aster comes a dread-soaked cinematic fairytale where a world of darkness unfolds in broad daylight.
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.
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.
When it comes to comfort foods dumplings are pretty high on the list. The team at Horse Bazaar are taking dumplings to a whole new level of cosy by offering a dumpling and massage combo on Tuesday nights. Every Tuesday night at Horse Bazaar is Dumplings 'N' Massage night where you can get three dumplings and a ten-minute massage for $15 (plus online booking fee). There are six flavours to choose from ranging from Horse Bazaar's classic pork and vegan dumplings to stranger concoctions like fried cheese, Nutella and nuts and the very experimental 'Aussie breakfast' dumpling (that's egg, bacon and Vegemite). Your massage will be delivered by resident masseuses from Soul Aquarian Therapy who will work the knots from your back as you work the dumplings into your mouth. Make the worst day of the week just a little bit better – Dumplings 'N' Massage is on every Tuesday at Horse Bazaar. Bookings are a must and can be made online.
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.
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.
The Melbourne Music Bus Tour, a collaboration between Arts Centre Melbourne and the Australian Music Vault, takes 22 lucky people on an almost four-hour tour of Melbourne's famous music venues, laneways, recording studios, rehearsal spaces, artists' homes and important Indigenous music spots. The tour visits current live music hotspots like the Tote, the Espy and the Palace, as well as famed venues of yesteryear like the Crystal Palace. It also visits recording studios including Mushroom Records, Bakehouse Studios and the Dogs in Space house, and even stops by Molly Meldrum's house.
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.
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.
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.
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 August 4.
White Rabbit, a privately owned four-storey temple to 21st century Chinese art, is a big deal in Sydney. It shows Judith Neilson’s epic and eclectic collection to hordes of Sydneysiders every week, ranging from small-scale works to massive installations. This is the first time the collection is being shown at the NGV, with a selection of 26 artists, and several works never before seen in Australia, all of which paint a contemporary portrait of China. Highlights include Zhu Jinshi’s ‘The Ship of Time’ (2018), a massive cylinder made of 14,000 sheets of xuan paper, 1,800 pieces of fine bamboo and 2,000 cotton threads. And yes, you can walk straight through the middle of it. There’s also Mao Tongqiang’s ‘Order’ (2015), a 45 square metre piece of mirrored stainless steel embedded with 2,000 bullets fired from a gun. And Yang Jiechang’s ‘Tale of the 11th Day’ (2012–14), an epic, 20-metre silk work depicting an imagined paradise.
Imagine chocolate desserts of all kinds and colours, from Granny Smith apple, white chocolate and frangipane layer cake to 55% bitter chocolate terrine with raspberry croquant. Picture Belgian milk chocolate and Vittoria coffee éclairs with caramel pearls, miniature dark chocolate and hazelnut tarts with gianduja mousse, white chocolate and passionfruit pops, chocolate cannoli filled with coconut, Malibu gel, white chocolate and berry cream, Bailey’s Irish cream pannacotta with coffee crumbs and chocolate spaghetti, and vanilla and white chocolate mousse. Throw in a chocolate fountain with fruit, marshmallows and cake. Now imagine you can eat as many of these treats as you want. You've just imagined the Langham's Chocolate Bar High Tea.
On the first Sunday of the month Arts Centre Melbourne host High Tea Live, a traditional high tea with a different live act every month. Performances range from jazz to broadway and it's all paired with a traditional three-tier cake stand of sweet and savoury tea favourites. Make sure you leave room for the scones though – these fluffy, golden nuggets are served still warm from the oven. Held upstairs in the Arts Centre Melbourne's Pavilion function space, High Tea Live is just fancy enough to impress without feeling stuffy. The sparkling wine on arrival is a nice touch, as is the free-flowing tea and coffee that staff will happily top up for you throughout the musical performance. Note that High Tea Live seats guests at eight-person tables. If you're not feeling up to meeting new people then make sure you book in with seven of your friends.
Upcoming drag king and queens get the chance to practise their shows and refine their acts every Thursday night at Melbourne's favourite LGBTQIA+ venue (as voted by Time Out readers), Sircuit. Bio queens, drag queens, trash queens and drag kings all perform, and the event is hosted by famed drag queen Missy La ’Minx. It's a chance for up-and-coming performers to get experience, and for audiences of course it's a night of fantastic drag. The bar offers $5 pints from 7pm until 10pm, and entry is free.
If you are someone whose creative juices are stimulated by beverages stronger than, well, actual juice, this could be the perfect event for you. Fairytale-themed bar StoryVille is hosting twice-weekly art classes – with cocktails. Artist Liam Waldie teaches participants how to recreate a painting based on pop culture themes like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Dr Seuss and Alice in Wonderland. Entry is $63 and includes a cocktail – plus, more cocktails and jaffles are available for purchase at the bar. Waldie has been teaching art for 12 years, and his work has been used in posters, T-shirts, wrapping paper and children's books. He guides participants through the painting process step by step, so depending on how many cocktails you've had, you should be able to create your own masterpiece to take home. Each class takes two hours. The classes are on offer every Wednesday at 7pm and every Sunday at 4pm.
If you love Camberwell Market's flea market every Sunday, you'll love Footscray Finds. This monthly market (located at the schmick, lo-fi events venue the Line) is set up similarly to Camberwell Market, with a combination of stalls on offer. Stalls are different each month, but you can expect everything vintage clothing, locally designed and made goods and homewares, vinyl records, and even locally grown fresh produce. The market will also feature live music from local musicians and food trucks for when hunger strikes. Keep your eyes out for food and drink from Biggie Smalls, Cobb Lane, Brew Sisters, Oscar's Vintage Coffee Van, Boho Blends and the Copper Pot. The market is free to enter and runs from 9am-2pm on the second Sunday of every month.
Tokyo Tina is entering Melbourne's overstuffed brunch scene, but it is doing things a little differently. This year it has launched 'bingo academy' – a rather illustrious title for what is essentially a boozy, Japanese-style brunch with some bingo thrown in. Every Sunday the venue runs two bingo brunches complete with Bloody Marys, bottomless Aperol spritzes, bubbly and beer. Feast on Tokyo Tina's sumptuous brunch menu including okonomiyaki, smoked duck bibimbap and Tina's own twist on a brunch favourite, a bacon and egg bao. The bingo itself will be hosted by the giggle-inducing Granny Bingo trio, who will give you a new appreciation of the age-old game.
MLIVE is reinventing the piano recital with their event series Wood, Metal and Vibrating Air, where four pianists from contemporary, classical or progressive backgrounds will give a performance from June 27 to September 26. After a successful run at the Robert Blackwood Hall, this year’s event will be at the newly opened Sound Gallery at the Ian Potter Centre for Performing Arts at Monash University Clayton campus. This venue is a new 130-seat intimate space with incredible acoustics that will be on show through this series.
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