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Things to do in Melbourne this week

The week's best events in one place – it's your social emergency saviour for fun things to do in Melbourne this week

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Crowd at Zoo Twilights
Photograph: Ian Laidlaw

Wondering what to do in Melbourne this week? Great news – MTC is debuting a new production of the comedy Home, I'm Darling, there's a 755-minute Lord of the Rings marathon, a seafood-focused high tea is on at a CBD hotel, plus there's all the fun from the Australian Open and Midsumma Festival

Want more? Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne, including free attractionsart exhibitionstheatre showsactivities for kids and so much more. 

Things to do in Melbourne this week

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Angelique Kerber of Germany takes on Serena Williams of the United States on day thirteen of the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday, January 30, 2016.(Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia)
Photograph: Ben Solomon
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Australian Open

Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Every year, thousands head to Melbourne Park to watch the superstars of tennis battle it out in the fierce summer heat. Despite the heatwaves that occur regularly during the event (temperatures of 35 degrees or higher are common) the Australian Open continues to attract the world's best tennis players and their fans for the southern hemisphere's only Grand Slam tournament. Even if you don’t make it into the arena, Birrarung Marr will buzz with live entertainment and food stalls at the Australian Open Festival, where live screenings of matches will be played on big screens. The AO Live Stage also features a series of live performances by some amazing home-grown acts.  World-famous chefs are serving up good times and delicious fare at the AO Chef Series, plus there will be plenty of brand activations happening all around the sporting precinct.  Tickets for the Australian Open start at only $49. Click the 'buy tickets' button above to get yours. 

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Image from Lord of the Rings
Photograph: Warner Brothers
Film, Special screenings

The Lord of the Rings Marathon

The Astor Theatre, St Kilda

One does not simply sit through the Lord of the Rings extended editions trilogy. Truly, it is a feat of endurance and one which the Astor Theatre will be attempting this January. The St Kilda theatre is making the most use of the January long weekend and screening all three films in Peter Jackson’s phenomenal Lord of the Rings trilogy back to back. But they won’t be screening just any version of the films. Oh no. They will be screening the extended editions, meaning you’ll get to see all the scenes that got cut out in the original cinema release. The theatre even has rare 35mm versions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. The movie marathon starts at 10am on Sunday, January 26. There will be 20 minute breaks between films so you can dash off to the loo or stock up on lembas bread. Tickets are $35 and can be bought online now.

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A group of people at the Midsumma Carnival
Photograph: Alexander Legaree
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Midsumma Festival

Around Melbourne, Melbourne

Drag superstars, cult cabaret artists and gender-bending performance artists take over the city every summer – not to mention the swag of free parties, events and more.  In the past few years, the LGBTQIA-focused festival has begun to come into its own as an international arts festival, pairing a suite of free events and parties with a program of theatre, cabaret, live art and music. It's been more than three decades since the first Midsumma launched, and the festival now attracts talent from all corners of the globe.  Whether you're queer or an ally, there's an event for everyone at Midsumma, so break out those rainbow threads and get celebrating!

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The Westin High Seas 2020
Things to do, Food and drink

High Seas

The Westin Melbourne, Melbourne

We in Melbourne love our high tea. We've had all-cheese high tea, all-chocolate high tea, and even a monochromatic high tea. Now the Westin is bringing back its nautical twist on the concept with an all-seafood high tea. For 2020, the Westin is pairing up with Healesville gin brand Four Pillars for a gin-inspired menu. Savoury treats include oysters with Four Pillars Rare Dry gin and red snapper dressing, Port Phillip Bay scallops with Four Pillars orange and mustard glaze, Balmain bug sandwiches, yabby sesame toast, as well as Humpty Doo barramundi scotch eggs with lemon myrtle aioli. To top it all off there's even a gin botanicals ice cream sandwich for dessert.  Skip the sparkling wine and do as sailors do with a gin cocktail. There's the Wave Racer (Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin, sour rhubarb, orange, bay leaf and fizz), the Downbound (Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin, fino, bergamot and finger lime) and a classic gin and tonic with Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin, Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water and orange.  It's $89 per person to take part in this special high tea. High Seas runs Monday to Sunday from 5.30pm at the Allegro Restaurant, and Saturday and Sunday from 11am until 4pm in the Lobby Lounge. The tide will roll out on March 31, so make sure you hit the deck before then. 

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2001: A Space Odyssey still
Photograph: Supplied
Music, Classical and opera

2001: A Space Odyssey in Concert with the MSO

Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Wharf

We’re seeing a lot of orchestral movie events of late, but this one might just be the most… epic. In late January, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is performing the score to Stanley Kubrick’s ground-breaking 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey for one night only.  The original score will be recreated under the guidance of MSO conductor Benjamin Northey. The full orchestra will be accompanied by the MSO Chorus, who will perform pieces from the original classical soundtrack, like ‘On the Beautiful Blue Danube’ by Johann Strauss, ‘Atmosphères’ by György Ligeti and ‘Also Sprach Zarathustra’ by Richard Strauss.  Granted, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a little dated, but it remains as intelligent and provocative as ever, kick-starting years of conceptual dreaming. Plus, as Time Out London put it, Douglas Rain’s clammy voice work as Hal 9000, the murderous machine, “remains one of Kubrick’s snazziest pieces of direction”.  The MSO's 2001: A Space Odyssey in Concert will be performed at the Plenary at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, January 25 at 7pm.

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Chinese New Year Melbourne Festival
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Chinese New Year

Around Melbourne, Melbourne

This January and February, Melbourne will once again kick off its Chinese New Year celebrations – this time, to welcome the Year of the Rat in 2020. The official lunar new year is on Saturday, January 25 but the Melbourne celebrations will kick off on Friday, January 24 in some locations. There will be festivities across the city featuring traditional live music, food, firecrackers, street performers, martial artists and the traditional lion dance down Little Bourke Street. See the full program of events on the Chinese New Year website.

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Home I'm Darling Melbourne Theatre Company 2020 supplied
Photograph: Justin Ridler
Theatre

Home, I'm Darling

Southbank Theatre (Melbourne Theatre Company), Southbank

Melbourne Theatre Company is kicking off the year with plenty of belly laughs, thanks to this hit British comedy, which picked up Best New Comedy at this year’s Olivier Awards. It follows a couple in the 21st century who have decided to live a completely authentic 1950s lifestyle. “It throws up situations that are incredibly funny but also deeply poignant and moving in many ways,” MTC artistic director Brett Sheehy says. “It really looks at the clash of their chosen ‘50s lifestyle against the 2020s, and what the frisson between those two time periods means in terms of values. How much have our values really changed over that period of time?” Nikki Shiels plays Judy, the woman who has chosen to step back in time, while Kath and Kim star Jane Turner plays her mother, who used to be a hippie feminist and is outraged that her daughter has chosen to be a stay-at-home housewife. Director Sarah Goodes is helming a cast that also includes Peter Paltos, Toby Truslove, Izabella Yena and comedian Susie Youssef.

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A plate of chicken nuggets and a sack of goon in a half-cut box
Photograph: Creative Commons
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Goon and Nugz Fest

The Ascot Lot, Ascot Vale

If you’ve now entered full time work, you’ll probably agree that uni was the best time of your life. Sure, most of us had no money but the hours were relatively great, the socialising opportunities grand and many of us had the freedom for the first time to do whatever we pleased.  The Ascot Lot is allowing all Melburnians regardless of study status to relive the hedonistic diets of their youth with a Goon and Nugz (sic) festival. On Saturday, January 25 (that’s the long weekend FYI) four local food trucks will descend on the festival to sling all sorts of nugs to hungry punters. There will also be veggo and gluten free nuggets if you’re not keen on meat or wheat.  Rounding out the festival will be a pop-up goon bar serving glasses of goon poured fresh from the box, as well as craft beer and non-boozy drinks. The bar will also serve goon cocktails – we’re hope that includes the crème de la crème of goon cocktails, the Goon Sunrise.  DJs and acoustic musicians will bring the party vibes and there will be a nugget eating competition. Plus a $50 bar tab goes towards whoever is judged as having the best goon and nugs-inspired outfit (the winner will be announced at 8pm).

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Crowd at Zoo Twilights
Photograph: Ian Laidlaw
Music, Music festivals

Zoo Twilights

Melbourne Zoo, Parkville

We'd be lion if we said that Zoo Twilights wasn't our summer highlight.  The concert series kicks off in January and attracts some pretty big names in music. Kicking things off on January 24 is Aussie duo Confidence Man supported by party starters Wax’o Paradiso. The next night audiences will be treated to a special performance from Iva Davies and Aussie music royalty Icehouse.  Influential Jamaican reggae troup Toots and the Maytals will also hit the stage this summer,  as well as a run of Aussie favourites like Missy Higgins, the Cat Empire, Methyl Ethel, Meg Mac and Julia Jacklin. ‘I’m Not in Love’ singers 10cc are also gracing the line-up, as is UK art pop pioneers Stereolab. Randy Newman, whose inescapably hummable 'You've Got a Friend in Me' anchors the Toy Story film series, will hit the stage as part of his Australian tour. The festival will close on Saturday, March 7 with a performance from living legend and soul king Mavis Staples.  Topping the line-up, of course, are the Zoo's wild residents. All proceeds from the Zoo Twilights summer concert series will be going back towards the zoo's conservation work, including work to save the critically endangered mountain-pygmy possum from extinction.  No Zoo Twilights night is complete without a gourmet picnic – pre-order a hamper with your tickets or check out the Taste of Twilights food zone on the night for street eats from some of Melbourne's best food trucks. Zoo Twilights tickets also include exclusive zoo entry f

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Jojo Rabbit
Photograph: Kimberley French/Fox Searchlight
Film, Comedy

Jojo Rabbit

4 out of 5 stars

Get your cringing over with now: the guy who directed Thor: Ragnarok, New Zealand’s gifted Taika Waititi, has made a movie about an adorable Hitler Youth whose imaginary buddy is Adolf himself (Waititi plays Hitler). Honestly, the news is good – it’s high time to rethink this filmmaker from the ground up. Breathtakingly risky but worthy under scrutiny, Jojo Rabbit dates back long before Waititi’s Marvel success – to 2012, when the circulating screenplay, an adaptation of Christine Leunens’s sombre novel Caging Skies, was celebrated as brilliant but unfilmable. (Waititi’s real subject is difficult boyhood; his second feature was called Boy.) Jojo Rabbit has a child’s perspective: that of a naive, lonely ten year old, Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), who, in the mincing voice of Waititi’s cartoonish Hitler, is the “bestest, most loyal little Nazi I’ve ever seen.” If you hope to roll with the film's laughs, you’ll have to embrace this intentionally immature set-up – one that shows us a frenzied Jojo running down the street in his brown shirt to the German version of the Beatles’ 'I Want to Hold Your Hand'. Otherwise, the anachronisms will play harshly. Waititi has conceived his Third Reich with deliberate broadness: there’s a strutting kids-camp counselor (Sam Rockwell), a vicious secretary (Rebel Wilson) and a towering geek of a Gestapo agent (Stephen Merchant), all of whom nail their comic parts with po-faced perfection. Should we be laughing at all this, though? Very rarely does

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Indigenous people gathering in traditional clothing at Share the Spirit Festival
Photograph: Share the Spirit Festival
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Share the Spirit Festival

Treasury Gardens, East Melbourne

Every year, crowds gather to Treasury Gardens for a family-friendly day of music, dance and culture, with performances by some of the country's most talented Indigenous artists. Presented by Songlines – Australia's peak body for Aboriginal music – Share the Spirit, or Balit Narrun, is Victoria's longest-running Aboriginal music festival and an all-inclusive celebration of the culture of Indigenous people from all over the country.  Acts include Kutcha Edwards, Doe Eyes, Mitch Tambo, Brian Morley, No Fixed Address, Deans of Soul, Allara, Chelsy Atkins, Rochelle Pitt, the Djirri Djirri Dancers and the Dreamtime Dance Troupe. The festival also runs markets vending everything from arts and crafts to food.  For the full line-up, visit Share the Spirit's Facebook page.

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A white plate with lots of small pastries, scones and ribbon sandwiches on it
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

Lunar New Year Afternoon Tea

Hotel Windsor, Melbourne

Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor is celebrating Lunar New Year the best way it knows how: with a dainty afternoon tea.  Hotel Windsor is well known for its afternoon tea offering, a traditional three-tiered stand affair replete with ribbon sandwiches, French pastries and fluffy scones. For Lunar New Year the hotel is giving its tea a seasonal twist, drawing inspiration from Chinese cuisine to update the menu. The Lunar New Year Afternoon Tea features savouries like mushroom XO tarts and scallop toast; ribbon sandwiches with fillings like confit duck, five-spice pork and egg yolk jam; sweets such as peanut cookies, matcha financiers and pineapple tarts; and orange peel (or traditional) scones served with double cream and marmalade.  The special high tea is available for three weeks starting Monday, January 20. Lunar New Year itself falls on Saturday, January 25 and guests dining on this day will also get to see a traditional lion dance (kicking off at midday).

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People walking around at the South Melbourne Night Market
Things to do, Markets

South Melbourne Night Market

South Melbourne Market, South Melbourne

South Melbourne Market's annual night market will be returning in 2020, kicking off a killer summer on January 8. Returning for five consecutive Wednesday evenings, Melburnians can enjoy a balmy night of eating, drinking, and dancing as live music performers take the stage. You can expect food trucks, food marquees and food carts, with many of the market's regular food traders also open. Plus junior gourmands can learn something new, with Neff Market Kitchen offering a school holiday cooking class program for under fives. The festivities kick off from midday, which means you can head over for lunch and stick around for a few hours of shopping, live entertainment and more food. To help launch the night market program on January 8, the market's butchers will compete in the Great Sausage Cook Off. At stake is the chance to earn their butcheries the title of Best Market Snag, with the public invited to cheer along the competitors.  The full program will be announced closer to the opening, so stay tuned. 

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War Horse 2020 tour supplied
Photograph: Brinkhoff Mögenburg
Theatre

War Horse

Regent Theatre, Melbourne

There aren't many plays in the world as successful as the National Theatre's epic staging of War Horse. Since Joey first cantered onto the stage of the Olivier Theatre in London in 2007 – and then galloped all the way to Broadway, the West End and a Stephen Spielberg-helmed film adaptation – it's been amassing fans and honours, including the Tony Award for Best Play.  Now it's returning to Australia with a tour that kicks off at Melbourne's Regent Theatre on January 10 2020, continuing to Sydney and wrapping up in Perth. When it was last here in 2013, the show featured an Australian cast, but this time around we'll be seeing a 34-member international touring cast. The show is based on English writer Michael Morpurgo's book about Joey, a horse who belongs to young Albert but is sold to the Army during World War I. Over the course of the play Joey goes on some weird, wonderful and terrifying adventures, all the while Albert is working to bring him home safely. Directed by British theatre dynamos Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, the play is known for its innovative staging and the ingenious use of puppetry to bring the four-legged characters to life. And although it's based on a kids' book, we'd strongly advise bringing tissues with you; it's about a boy and his horse and the sort of bravery required to save one another. We're welling up just thinking about it now.

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Australia Day Parade in Melbourne
Photograph: GAZi Photography
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

Australia Day Parade

Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne

Join the procession of thousands of people down Swanston Street to celebrate our culturally diverse Victorian community. The parade kicks off at 11am after a flag-raising ceremony at Melbourne Town Hall, and will include 1,000 representatives from more than 80 community and multicultural groups, plus musicians, performers and more.

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Invasion Day Rally in Melbourne, 2016
Photograph: Snehargho Ghosh
Things to do

Invasion Day Rally

Parliament House, East Melbourne

Every year, thousands gather at the steps of Parliament House to protest the date of Australia Day: a day that marks the landing of British colonial forces onto this country and the beginning of colonisation and oppression of First Nations people that still occurs today.  All are welcome to participate in this event, which will begin at Parliament with the laying of flowers in memory of Aboriginal ancestors. Following some speeches, a march through the CBD will begin. The event is also an opportunity to call for treaties for stolen land, and to stand up against ongoing oppression of Aboriginal people across the country. Photograph: Snehargho Ghosh.

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Press shot of actor David Suchet
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Talks and discussions

David Suchet

Hamer Hall, Southbank

There are two types of Agatha Christie fans: those who are team Poirot and those that are team Miss Marple. If you identify as the former then we bring good tidings. David Suchet, the man behind arguaby the most famous iteration of Hercule Poirot, is coming to Australia.  Known for his small stature, big personality and impeccable curled moustache, the fictional Belgian detective used his “little grey cells” (that is, his brain) to untangle even the most dastardly murders. Suchet played Poirot for 25 years, appearing in a whopping 74 television films. Of course Suchet is more than just Monsieur Poirot, having also portrayed Lady Bracknell in the Oscar Wilde comedy The Importance of Being Earnest and the father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud in the BBC’s 1984 miniseries Freud. The accomplished actor is coming to Melbourne as part of an in-conversation tour looking back at his favourite performances.  See Suchet at Hamer Hall on Saturday, January 25 or Thursday, February 13. Tickets available now.

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A still from the film 1917 featuring George MacKay
Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures
Film, Drama

1917

5 out of 5 stars

A pure adrenaline hit of a movie that takes place mostly in the lethal glare of daylight, Sam Mendes’s stunning, sorta-single-take 1917 hits its greatest heights when darkness falls. A single British soldier dusts himself off from a glancing wound, wanders to the window of a broken-down house and, in one invisible cut, emerges magically into the skeletal, hellish remains of a French town. The abandoned settlement glows with orange hues as Thomas Newman’s score hits a rare crescendo. It’s at once an epic piece of filmmaking, the launchpad for the second half of the movie, and possibly the greatest “person walks into a town” moment in cinema since Claudia Cardinale strolled into Once Upon a Time in the West. Needless to say, in a film that only stops to reload, the soldier is soon running like hell. Once Upon a Time on the Western Front – as you could subtitle Mendes’s nerve-fraying rollercoaster of a war movie – is a simple men-on-a-mission drama dressed up with all the technical bells and whistles at the director’s disposal. The men are Lance Cpls Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), who are summoned into the trenches for a hurried briefing with Colin Firth’s General Erinmore. The entire German army, it turns out, has hit reverse to the tune of about 8 miles, holing up behind the Hindenburg Line and waiting secretly for an unsuspecting British attack that will cost the lives of 1,600 men, including Blake’s brother. The mission? To deliver a message to

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Moonlight Cinemas Melbourne
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Moonlight Cinema

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne

There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the evening cool of the Botanic Gardens. Settle back with friends and family for a movie this summer at Moonlight Cinema. The alfresco theatre has announced its dates for the 2019-2020 summer season, with films running from Thursday, November 28 until Sunday, March 29. Punters can expect a mix of acclaimed Oscar hopefuls, kids' favourites, festive faves and retro screenings to satisfy the nostalgic urges. There will be screenings of the Elton John biopic Rocketman, JLo's star turn in Hustlers, a 20th anniversary screening of The Matrix, Joaquin Phoenix's thrilling Joker, Stephen King's Dr Sleep, Disney blockbuster Frozen 2, the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, as well as Pulp Fiction, Love Actually, Dirty Dancing and Die Hard. You can check out the full program here. As always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks, too. A pop-up Tia Maria bar will even be serving Espresso Martinis (essential for long movies) and Tia Popcorn Frappés.  Those looking to splurge can opt for the gold grass experience where you'll sloth out on bean bag beds with a premium view of the big screen. You don't even have to get up for movie snacks or drinks as waiters will happily take your order.  Screenings kick off at sundown (around 8.45pm from December to February and 8.15pm in March) and tickets range from $18-$40.

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Horn Please
Photograph: Peter Tarasiuk
Things to do, Food and drink

All-you-can-eat vegan at Horn Please

Horn Please, Fitzroy North

Every Sunday in summer the modern-Indian North Fitzroy diner Horn Please will be hosting an all-you-can-eat vegan dinner night from 6pm. Don't fear! It won't be a sad affair where there is a huge trough of dahl and mountains of stale bread. Instead, there will be a roster of six vegan curries, two snacks, rice and vegan naan for you to gorge yourself on. The menu will include dishes like a yellow dahl; potatoes and cauliflower curry; chana masala; red and black bean curry; eggplant curry; a roasted butternut squash curry; spinach fritters; and General Tso's cauliflower. The best news is that it will only set you back $20 a person, but don't forget to book, or you will definitely miss out.

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Chicago musical Capitol Theatre 2019 supplied
Photograph: Peter Brew-Bevan
Theatre, Musicals

Chicago

Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank

Long before it was an Academy Award-winning film, Chicago was a hit Broadway musical. Penned by musical theatre's dynamic duo John Kander and Fred Ebb, the musical was only a minor splash when it premiered in 1975. But when it was given a stripped back and sexed up new production in 1996, it became an immediate sensation and eventually the longest running Broadway revival of all time. That's the production which Melbourne audiences will see, this time with Natalie Bassingthwaighte playing Roxie (the Renée Zellweger role) opposite musical theatre star Alinta Chidzey as Velma (the Catherine Zeta-Jones role). Jason Donovan is playing the smooth-talking lawyer Billy Flynn, while vocal powerhouse Casey Donovan is taking on Matron Mama Morton, the prison warden who sings 'When You're Good to Mama'. The show also includes 'Razzle Dazzle', 'Cell Block Tango', 'Mr Cellophane', and, of course, 'All That Jazz'.

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The Veronicas, Australian Open Live Stage
Photograph: Australian Open
Music, Music festivals

AO Live Stage

Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

The Australian Open is bringing back its powerhouse concert series this summer. AO Live Stage is returning this January as part of Australia's only grand slam event. The Australian Open's tennis stars might be hot, but the AO Live Stage line-up is hotter with a stack of big musos taking part in the concert series. This year we're excited to be hooked up with the Veronicas who will be playing alongside Japanese Wallpaper and Kian on Thursday, January 23. Prefer a bit of old school Aus rock? Grinspoon and Eskimo Joe are playing a double bill on Friday, January 24.  The stellar voice of Kate Miller-Heidke will ring out across the AO Live Stage on Monday, January 27 (with a little support from Seeker Lover Keeper) while avid Triple J listeners will likely be in attendance on Wednesday, January 22 when Lime Cordiale and Ruby Fields hit the stage.  Other artists that have been announced include Montaigne, Cub Sport, Broods, Matt Corby, Jessica Mauboy, Bastille and Billy Idol. You'll also be able to walk without rhythm with Fatboy Slim on January 26 in his second Melbourne performance for the summer. You can see the full line-up on the AO Live Stage website. The AO Live Stage concert series runs for 15 days (the length of the Australian Open). As usual you will require a ticket to the Australian Open to enter, but with ground passes starting at $49 the concert is a very economical way to see your fave artists live.

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Little Women
Photograph: Wilson Webb/Sony Pictures
Film, Drama

Little Women

5 out of 5 stars

Greta Gerwig has directed only two films that are solely her own but she’s already become a brand. That’s in evidence within the first five minutes of Little Women, a huggably self-deprecating take on the Louisa May Alcott classic. Brashly confident Jo (Saoirse Ronan, from Gerwig’s debut film Lady Bird, still uncorking those soulful stares that outclass the competition) sits in the office of a New York publishing house. Because it’s the 1860s, she has to pretend she’s trying to sell the work of a friend, presumably a male one. But a parental editor (Tracy Letts, also from Lady Bird) sees through this and has mercy on her. He reads, pencil in hand. "Make sure she’s married at the end – or dead," he concludes, somewhat approvingly. Jo, elated, runs down a city block, just like Gerwig did in Frances Ha. If this isn’t the Little Women you remember, either on page or screen, that’s understandable. But it’s likely the one you felt, and that’s more important. Gerwig, who should be celebrated as both an evolving screenwriter (the bold adaptation is hers) and a shrewd formal stylist, cuts to the thematic essence of the novel – sisterhood and coming of age, but also nostalgia and mourning your own past – and finds a visual language for it. Alcott’s saga of the four March sisters has been divided and restitched by Gerwig into two interwoven halves. Girlish energy suffuses the warmly lit scenes of their Massachusetts teenhood (Daddy’s away, fighting the Civil War), days chockablock with

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Sunset over bed outdoor cinema
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Mov’in Bed Outdoor Bed Cinema

Catani Gardens, St Kilda West

It’s made big waves in Sydney, and now it’s Melbourne’s turn. Mov’in Bed Outdoor Bed Cinema is headed to Melbourne this summer as part of the outdoor cinema’s first national tour. The concept is irresistible. Imagine a large inflatable bed to snuggle into, food, drinks and a great movie. This summer it’s headed to St Kilda Beach, right in front of Catani Gardens, with its very own beach club popping up for 45 magical nights.   The full program is yet to be announced for Melbourne audiences, but if the earlier event in Perth is anything to go by, it’s looking like a winning summer of movies. Think the likes of the Leo, Brad and Margot Robbie retro drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, recent releases like Joker and Last Christmas, and golden oldies like Jaws.  The only catch is you need to be speedy – there are usually only 150 beds per night (accommodating up to three people – cosy). If you don’t mind sitting on the grass, you can BYO blanket, and the tickets are cheaper. Ticket prices range from $9 to $93. The cinema gate opens at 5pm, with the movie starting at around sunset (which is around 8.45pm). The season runs from Saturday, January 4 until Sunday, February 23. Screenings run every day except Mondays.

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Gaol Experience theatre restaurant
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Comedy

The Gaol Experience Theatre Restaurant

Old Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne

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

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This Bitter Earth Theatre Works 2020 supplied
Photograph: Matthew Predny
Theatre

This Bitter Earth

Theatre Works, St Kilda

Chris Edwards’ razor sharp and riotously funny play about what it means to be young, white and queer in Australia started life as part of his final project for a Masters degree at NIDA before going on to have a critically acclaimed season in Sydney’s New Theatre. Now it comes to Theatre Works. Directed by Riley Spadaro, six performers bring to life six different stories of queer millennial life, from dating disasters and dick pics to money troubles and existential climate despair. Insightful, funny and moving, it stars Michael Cameron, Elle Mickel, Matthew Predney, Ariadne Sgouros, Sasha Simon and Alexander Stylianou.

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Elton John
Photograph: Greg Gorman
Music, Pop

Elton John

Multiple venues

His gift is his song, and this one's for you.  Elton John is coming to Australia as part of his three-year (!) Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, and he is performing at several wineries as part of A Day on the Green as well as a huge stadium show at Hanging (Crocodile) Rock.  The tour is just as epic as you'd expect from Elton John, with more than 300 shows across five continents. You can expect all the hits you know and love from the seasoned performer, including 'Tiny Dancer', 'Sad Songs', 'I'm Still Standing' and maybe even 'Candle in the Wind'.  As Saturday night's all right for performing, John's biggest shows in Victoria will be on Saturday, January 25 and Sunday, January 26 at Hanging Rock. Also on the Saturday theme, he's playing AAMI Park on February 22.  He's also playing Mt Duneed Estate on December 7 and Rochword Wines on January 31 and February 1.  Don't let the sun go down on 2020 without seeing one of pop music's living legends. 

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Hamlet Australian Shakespeare Company 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Drama

Hamlet

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne

The Australian Shakespeare Company has been bringing us Shakespeare Under the Stars for more than 30 years, so it’s safe to say they know their way around the Bard. This year, they’re tackling Hamlet, with the criminally underrated Andre de Vanny (Swansong) in the title role. Joining him is a top-notch cast that includes Alison Whyte (The Dressmaker, Satisfaction) as Gertrude, Greg Stone (Cloudstreet) as Claudius and Emily Goddard (This is Eden) as Ophelia, in a production directed by the company’s Glenn Elston. Don’t forget to complete the experience by bringing a picnic, or you can hire chairs and pick up drinks and snacks on the night.

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A stock image of a bubbling cauldron.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

The Wizard’s Cauldron

Polly, Fitzroy

While you won’t find the most famed greasy-haired potions masters or boy wizard at this creative drinking experience, you will have a lot of fun at the Wizard's Cauldron if you’re keen on the occult. Channel the powers of your coven idol, from Sabrina to Hermione and any of the kids from Wizards of Waverly Place, and brew devilish concoctions in your cauldron. Like any brave young witch or wizard, you’ll have to master the dark arts to unlock the secrets to perfecting your brew. Wand and robe will be supplied upon entry at the Wizard's Cauldron, and your golden ticket also covers the cost of a warming glass of mead or mulled wine plus two boozy magical potions created with the help of your potion master. The 90-minute potion-making experience is happening at Polly's Bar in Fitzroy. Sessions are available Wednesday to Sunday.

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Person playing bowls at Summertime Social
Things to do, Pop-up locations

Summertime Social

Federation Square, Melbourne

From January 3, Fed Square’s Skyline Terrace is hosting the Summertime Social – an outdoor pop-up featuring a large communal lawn, bookable caravans and plenty of summer-appropriate food and drink.  On the rooftop lawn you can have fun with giant games (yes, there will be Jenga) or relax with live music on Sunday afternoons. For a more chilled out group outing, there will be decked out huts and luxe converted caravans to sprawl out in. The caravan booking even comes with food (like ploughman’s platters, pies and potato salad) included. Now to the important information – the drinks. Summertime Social has three cocktails on tap (Aperol Spritz, Passionfruit Caprioska and Miami Iced Tea) all of which are $6 between 4-6pm weekdays. On really hot days you can get around a frozen Margarita, Mango Daiquiri or simply order an Esky containing your choice or four cans of beer or wine. Kids are welcome too, with a dedicated children's menu, family picnic baskets and peanut butter and jelly ice cream sandwiches (those over 18 can also partake in boozy ice cream flavours). Additionally, on weekends, Summertime Social offers bottomless brunches. The square’s rooftop has been getting a work out lately. During winter 2019 it hosted the Winter Village pop-up featuring igloos, mulled wine and even snow. Summertime Social is being run by the same team behind the Winter Village (that is, behemoth hospo group Australian Venue Co) so you can expect a similar level of fun, sans snow. Summertime

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Gut Feelings Exhibition
Things to do, Exhibitions

Gut Feelings: Your Mind, Your Microbes

Melbourne Museum, Carlton

When is the last time you really considered your gut health? Or thanked the tiny microbes that live your intestinal track and digest your food, boost your immunity and keep you healthy? Scientists are learning more every day about the fascinating community of microbes that live inside each and every one of us. There are more microbes inside the human body than there are stars in the Milky Way, and they weigh up to 2kg.  Melbourne Museum's Gut Feelings exhibition will change your mind about the tiny creatures (yes, they're alive!) that you share your body with. The interactive exhibition is a multi-sensory experience, with things to touch, hear and see.

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Weathering with You
Film, Animation

Weathering with You

The summer of his high school freshman year, Hodaka runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hodaka meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky...

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A taco
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Pop-up locations

Fiesta de Tequila

Howler, Brunswick

Brunswick bar Howler is turning its sights towards sunny Mexico for summer – and beyond.   Howler has relaunched its Fiesta de Tequila pop-up bar, serving a selection of specialty tequilas, cocktails and tacos every Friday to Sunday. This isn't the first time that Howler has hosted the tequila and taco pop-up bar but this year the team is aiming to make the bar a more permanent weekly fixture. Because, if we're honest, tequilas and tacos are an all-year fave. Between 5pm and 6pm Friday and Saturday evenings, Howler is serving $5 tacos (smoked brisket, black bean or achiote chicken) as well as honest-to-goodness $5 frozen Margaritas. Missed happy hour? You can still score the tacos for $6.50 until 9pm Friday and Saturday, and between 3pm and 7pm on Sundays.  Howler is also shaking up a mix of tequila cocktails ranging from hearty Paloma Mimosaa to Micheladas (a little like a Mexican Bloody Mary) and the dangerous sounding Jalepeño Margaritas.  The Fiesta de Tequila bar is open from 5pm to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 3pm to 7pm on Sundays.

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Two kids lit by coloured lights
Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Exhibitions

Air Playground

Scienceworks, Spotswood

This summer, Scienceworks is blowing guests away with a new exhibition all about air. Air Playground is a 600m2 playspace where kids can explore six worlds that unpack the invisible but important resource. They’ll learn the basics of aerodynamics by designing their own paper planes, play around with the physics of airflow, and even make objects float. As part of its breezy programming, Scienceworks will also be hosting giant bubble shows and blowing up a giant inflatable sculpture for kids to bounce around on. There will even be a special week for the tiniest tots (those aged five and under) where they can learn all about air through play-based activities. 

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Summer Cabin at Melbourne Star
Things to do, Pop-up locations

Melbourne Star’s Summer Beach Box

Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, Docklands

What could be a better summertime activity than taking a 30-minute flight in Melbourne Star’s cool, temperature-controlled cabin? This summer, Melbourne Star’s cabins will become pop-up summer beach boxes featuring pool toys, refreshments and a blissfully cool 21-degree temperature controlled space 120 meters above Melbourne. During this flight, you'll also enjoy 360-degree views of the port, towards Melbourne CBD and all the way out to the shores of Mornington Peninsula. By nighttime, you can enjoy a spectacular sunset with views of the city along with audio commentary playing in the background, revealing the hidden stories and history of the viewable landmarks. Summer Beach Box bookings also include a cheese platter and a complimentary drink for each guest. The Summer Beach Box experience is available daily from 11.30am to 8.30pm, until February 29, 2020. Bookings must be made five days in advance The flight starts at $29 per person for a group of eight or $200 for an intimate two-person flight.

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Courtesy of the artist and Bank Gallery, Shanghai
Tianzhuo Chen with Andrew Thomas Huang, 'Exo-performance / Beio' 2019 (still)
Art

Feedback Loops

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art - ACCA, Southbank

The real, the fictive and the speculative roll together as one in this exhibition that asks six Australian and international artists to sample and reinterpret real and imagined characters and events from their past and present in order to understand and speculate upon the feature. Incorporating elements of spirituality, mythology, philosophy and pop culture, the six participating artists – Madison Bycroft, Tianzhou Chen, Lu Yang, Sahej Rahalm, Justin Shoulder and Zadie Xa – use video, installations, interactive gaming, artificial intelligence and live performance in a way that challenges us to imagine how things could have been.

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En Route: Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler Heide Moma 2019 supplied
Photograph: Christian Capurro
Art

En Route: Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen

Nature has always played a key role at Heide. Originally six hectares of rundown farmland on the outskirts of Melbourne, over almost 50 years art lovers John and Sunday Reed transformed the site into a haven for artists such as Sidney Nolan and Albert Tucker. Now artists Wona Bae and Charlie Lawler are honouring that connection, creating site-specific installations that respond to the modernist building Heide II. Developed at Heide over several months, the pair’s collection of installations, sculptures and two-dimensional artworks experiment with botanical materials and deconstruct familiar forms to encourage visitors to consider the relationship between human activity and the environment. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of photographs by Sean Fennessy documenting Bae and Lawler at work.

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Theatre, Drama

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Princess Theatre, Melbourne

At long last Melbourne muggles will be able to get a glimpse inside JK Rowling's Wizarding World with their own two eyes: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is headed to the Princess Theatre. After becoming the highest selling play on both Broadway and the West End, Melbourne is the third stop on the Hogwarts Express. The official opening is set for February 23, 2019, but there'll be preview performances from January 18. If you don't know a lot about the play, then here's the lowdown: it's a sequel to the series, based on a story conceived with Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. It's presented in two parts, which you can watch on the same day or across two consecutive evenings. We won't give too much away about the plot, but audiences can expect to find the gang 19 years on from the Battle of Hogwarts.

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39
Koorie Art Show 2019 supplied Koorie Heritage Trust
Image: Teena Moffatt 'Nanyak Nharebula Gana #1 (Mother Shield Design)', 2018
Art, Galleries

The Koorie Art Show

Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne

The Koorie Art Show is the largest Indigenous art prize in Victoria, featuring artists at the very start of their career alongside long-standing arts leaders. Each year, the Koorie Heritage Trust's Federation Square Gallery hosts a free exhibition of every entry, offering a brilliant opportunity to see the richness of Indigenous art in the 21st century. It’s the sort of exhibition where traditional practices sit alongside cutting edge contemporary work, and you can get a glimpse of the future as much as the past. You’ll see painting, sculpture, photography, fibre and even digital mixed medium works. This year is the seventh iteration of the awards, and there are 90 artists from across Victoria competing for a total prize pool of $32,000. That pool includes a major prize of $10,000 as well as prizes for both two-dimensional and three-dimensional works, and an award for emerging artists. There’s also a people’s choice prize, so you can exercise your inner art critic and vote for your favourite. The people's choice winner will be revealed when the exhibition closes on February 23, 2020.

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A dimly lit dance floor of people are dancing.
Photograph: Ardian Lumi
Things to do, Exhibitions

Summer of Dance

Immigration Museum, Melbourne

When there’s nothing left to do but dance, boogie on over to the Immigration Museum where a season of dance-inspired events are transforming its galleries and courtyard for the summer. You’ll discover diverse participatory dance experiences, parties, residencies and performances for dancers of all persuasions. Amongst the exhibition program, Amrita Hepi’s residency in the Long Room kicks off with Dance Reel (until 29 February), a large-scale projection of moving images of contemporary dance projected across 19th-century walls and columns.  On Friday, February 14, you can feel the love with Latin Valentine, a night of dancing, music and much more inspired by the Mexican tradition El Día del Amor y la Amistad (the Day of Love and Friendship). Cuba's king of dance Eric Turro Martinez will open up the dancefloor, local legends Mariachi Los Romanticos will serenade the crowd with mariachi love song dedications, and your taste will be in love too with Latin-inspired cocktails and street food.  Make the most of the extra night of summer on Saturday, February 29 with a courtyard party featuring genre-hopping artists celebrating those who’ve made the leap. Leaps and Beats is an astrological dance-meets-rave-meets-ritual experience led by local dance luminaries Deep Soulful Sweats ,with a participatory dance experience complemented by DJs, choreographers, dancers and you – BYO moves.  There’s more to be discovered including collaborations with Midsumma Festival that will be queerin

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Queen Victoria Summer Night Markets 2019
Things to do

The Queen Victoria Night Market

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Spend your Wednesday nights surrounded by food at the Queen Victoria Market's fantastic Summer Night Market. Expect rows and rows of street food stalls and festival bars as well as art, fashion, homewares and general knick-knack merchandise traders – there are 130 stalls to explore in total.  Food stalls will be cooking up delicious snacks all night long, with plenty of wine, beer and cocktails also on the menu. New traders for this season include Portuguese tarts from Casa Nata, chilled chocolate drinks and desserts from Mork Chocolate, African barbecue from Tasty Suya, traditional Filipino cuisine from Kuya's Simply Pinoy and Israeli falafel pita pockets from Falafel Arayes. The highlight of the 2019/2020 summer season will be the Palm Springs Bar, a pop-up watering hole filled with giant pink flamingos, desert plants and fruity perfect-for-summer cocktails. The summery fun continues with a full-sized beach volleyball court popping up within the market. You can play a match with your friends (or complete strangers), watch professional players in action or take part in a volleyball tournament or workshop.   To kick off the summer season on Wednesday, November 20 the Queen Victoria Night Market is teaming up with Melbourne Music Week. A stack of musicians are taking over the city stage on Queen Street – on the line-up is Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange, Sunnyside, Memphis LK, Loure, Pjienné and Toni Yotzi. Right in the heart of the city, the markets make a great dinner

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43
The Sky After Rain Manningham Art Gallery supplied 2019
Photograph: Pippa Samaya
Art

The Sky After Rain

Manningham Art Gallery, Doncaster

The stories of three queer Iranian diasporas, Payam, Shyla and Shaya, are told in this exhibition that explores the taboo of being LGBTQIA in Iranian communities. Dancer Tara Jade Samaya is at the centre of three video installations that question what it means to be a queer voice in a society that actively represses those voices.  The exhibition is presented by Midsumma at Manningham Art Gallery, and was developed by the Blame the Shadows Collective.

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Photograph: Disney
Film, Animation

Frozen 2

Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she'll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In Frozen, Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In Frozen 2, she must hope they are enough.

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45
Pixar Putt
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Pixar Putt

Melbourne Museum, Carlton

Kick some serious putt at Pixar Putt, a pop-up mini golf experience that’s back in Melbourne this summer. The experience is inspired by some of Disney Pixar’s most famous films, including classics like Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, Monsters Inc, Wall-E, and new hits like Inside Out, Coco, The Good Dinosaur and more.   Pixar Putt pops up at the Melbourne Museum Western Forecourt from December 20 to February 3.  You can choose between playing a nine-hole round or go to infinity and beyond with the full 18-hole course. Tickets will be $24.90 for adults, $19.90 for children or $79.50 for families doing the nine-hole course, or $39.90 for adults, $29.90 for children and $119.60 for families doing the 18-hole course.  Best to buy tickets in advance to secure your spot. Tickets are available now via the 'buy tickets' button above. 

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Mini Mega Model Museum child playing with dinosaurs
Photograph: Benjamin Healley
Things to do

Mini Mega Model Museum

Melbourne Museum, Carlton

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be like Alice and eat something to become huge, or drink something to become tiny? What would the world look like to a giant? What does it look like to a cat?  You can find out at Melbourne Museum's Mini Mega Model Museum, which plays with scale in more than 300 objects displayed in tiny and oversized galleries. There are model specimens to examine in the Zoomological Laboratory, hyper-realistic wax food in the life-sized cafeteria to play with and a fully furnished mini-mansion to pore over. The mini-mansion took more than 40 years to create, and museum visitors could spend hours appreciating every tiny detail.  Kids can learn about model making and try their hand during the Mini Mega Makers Workshop. And for some very large-scale critters, have a stroll through the museum's Dinosaur Walk. 

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Bombay Sapphire NGV placeholder
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

NGV Friday Nights during Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines

NGV International, Southbank

The spirit of New York’s underground downtown art scene during the 1980s is flowing through the National Gallery of Victoria on Friday nights. With a little help from Bombay Sapphire, the latest NGV Friday Nights series is inspired by the gallery’s summer blockbuster exhibition, which celebrates the work of two of the most influential artists of the late 20th century, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Every Friday night from December 6 to April 10, DJs are spotlighting different moments in ’80s music from disco to post-punk, hip hop and new wave, mixed in with drag performances, New York City street food, classic cocktails from the Bombay Sapphire Gin Bar, and an '80s dance floor in the NGV Garden to wrap up each night. Explore the Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines exhibition after dark and lean into the fascinating corners of 1980s music and pop culture with curated beats, talks and interactive activities.  The December 13 event, New York Jazz and the Golden Age, features a jazz-infused DJ set from Loure, a set spotlighting the golden age of hip hop by DJ/producer Paul Gorrie and an exhibition talk by NGV curatorial project officer Meg Slater. On January 3, the gallery delves into Paris is Burning-era ballroom culture with Sass & the Ballroom. Danny Hotep will lay down a banging soundtrack of pure '80s sass followed by Melbourne DJ MzRizk piling on the funk, with a talk on art from the margins by Dr Quinn Eades from La Trobe University. In March a

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Barefoot Cinema
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Barefoot Cinema

Multiple venues

Barefoot Cinema returns to the south side for a season of fun flicks.  A chilled out outdoor cinema will set up in the picturesque grounds of Portsea at Point Nepean National Park (Dec 26-Jan 7), then move to the Briars Homestead in Mount Martha (Jan 10-26) and end its season at Elsternwick's Rippon Lea Estate (Dec 6-7 and Jan 29-Feb 16). Films range from family-friendly comedies to fantasies, cult classics and documentaries. Whatever your niche, watch a film against the backdrop of Port Philip Bay and get stuck into food and drink from the on-site bar, various food trucks and the candy bar, where you can pick up all of your favourite movie-going snacks.  Highlights from Portsea's line-up include Tarantino's tribute to the 1960s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, music-themed hits Yesterday and Bohemian Rhapsody, Joker and Downton Abbey. Over in Mount Martha there are retro screenings of La La Land, The Princess Bride and Muriel's Wedding as well as new releases such as Frozen 2 and Knives Out.  Early bird tickets are $16.50, otherwise, adult tickets are $22, and kids can get in for $15. There's also a VIP upgrade for an extra $20, which gets you into the comfy Jalna Lounge. Check out the website for the screening schedule. 

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Photo: Claire Folger/Lionsgate
Film, Thriller

Knives Out

When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. From Harlan's dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through a web of red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan's untimely death.

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Sinofuturists, Lu Yang
Photograph: Supplied
Art, Digital and interactive

Sinofuturists

Multiple venues

[Sponsored] Multimedia artists including Lu Yang, Howie Lee and Alex Wang will combine immersive gaming environments, traditional Chinese music, digital avatars and civic ethics in a series of boundary-pushing works and discussions for the Sinofuturists program, part of Asia TOPA 2020. Sinofuturism is an artistic movement popularised by simulation artist Lawrence Lek with his 2016 video essay Sinofuturism (1839-2046 AD). Though this framework, the artists visiting Australia will explore how technology can offer new modes of expression, and what this means for our future realities.  Until March 22, Feedback Loops transforms ACCA's galleries into an immersive environment of live performance, video, installation, interactive gaming and artificial intelligence with six artists speculating on the past, present and future. As part of this exhibition, Lu Yang’s motion capture performance Electromagnetic Brainology will explore sexuality, religion and mortality using hyper-pop and kitsch environments. Two Live AV performances will converge on Melbourne Recital Centre as part of the program. Alex Wang and Chill Chill’s performance will guide the audience through an Orwell-inspired unreal nightmare and cyberoptic vision of modern China on Thursday March 26, while on March 27 Howie Lee and Teom Chen’s collaborative performance incorporates the movement of the audience and traditional instruments using the latest technological tools to create a reactive world that strips the barriers between perfor

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51
Lekker
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

Lekker pop-up

1 Bourke St, Melbourne

What is a neo-bistro exactly? We're not quite sure, but according to Rob Kabboord, who until recently was chef de cuisine at Quay, it's a comfortable bistro with a sharper, sassier offering than its classic counterparts. Kabboord is spending his summer back in Melbourne at the Windsor Hotel's event space at 1 Bourke Street with Lekker, an Aussie-Dutch bistro offering a selection of snacks and a moderately priced tasting menu (6 courses for $85) at a seasonal residency. Expect dishes like smoked salmon cigars; a kingfish roulade with wakame, frisee and tarragon; a modern interpretation of snert (a Dutch split pea soup) with pork trotter, neck, belly and peas; a Black Forest cake; and even a return of Melbourne's most mourned cheese trolley – a callback to Kabboord's famed cheese selection at Merricote (RIP). To match the playful food is a smart and concise drinks list featuring aperitifs, local craft beers, sake and a well-priced, balanced wine offering will be available throughout the season.  Bookings are encouraged, but walk-ins will be welcome.

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Segredos Oficiais (2019)
©DR
Film, Thriller

Official Secrets

She risked everything to stop an unjust war. Her government called her a traitor. Based on world-shaking true events, Official Secrets tells the gripping story of Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), a British intelligence specialist whose job involves routine handling of classified information. One day in 2003, in the lead up to the Iraq War, Gun receives a memo from the NSA with a shocking directive: the United States is enlisting Britain's help in collecting compromising information on United Nations Security Council members in order to blackmail them into voting in favor of an invasion of Iraq. Unable to stand by and watch the world be rushed into an illegal war, Gun makes the gut-wrenching decision to defy her government and leak the memo to the press. So begins an explosive chain of events that will ignite an international firestorm, expose a vast political conspiracy, and put Gun and her family directly in harm's way.

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53
Cameo Outdoor Cinema
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Cameo Outdoor Cinema

Cameo Cinemas, Belgrave

Belgrave's Cameo Cinemas operate an outdoor cinema every summer, showcasing a mix of epic summer blockbusters and arthouse films in among the green forests of the Dandenong Ranges.  This summer's program opens with the long-awaited Disney sequel Frozen II. The season includes a week of screenings of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Dec 19-25). Greta Gerwig's Little Women, Guy Ritchie's The Gentlemen and Sam Mendes' 1917 are among the auteur highlights, and the new film from Australia's Justin Kurzel, The True History of the Kelly Gang, screens on Tuesday January 14. Retro movies include Labyrinth to celebrate David Bowie's birthday (Jan 9 – actually the day after, but then David always was ahead of his time).  For the optimal film-watching experience, Cameo Outdoor Cinema features a 14m wide screen, headphones for the best sound quality, and a picnic area for deckchair and bean-bag seating. The outdoor cinema opens an hour before every film screening, giving moviegoers enough time to take in the breathtaking surroundings and grab treats like sweets from the Sassafras Sweet Co and hand-made choc tops. The Cameo Outdoor bar is open at the back of the lawn before and throughout the film, so you don't have to go far for extra popcorn and drinks. And yes: dogs are welcome at each and every Cameo Outdoor session.

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Photograph: Chia James
Film, Drama

The Good Liar

3 out of 5 stars

A good twist ending should feel like a jigsaw puzzle deftly assembled from pieces that have been in front of you all along. The ending of The Good Liar takes a different approach: namely, lobbing fistfuls of random pieces at you then beating you over the head with the box. It stands alone as the silliest twist of the year – a year that, lest we forget, has also featured a film in which Matthew McConaughey turned out to be a video-game character. The big reveal of this con-man potboiler may be weapons-grade nonsense, but you shouldn’t let it detract too much from the enjoyable ride to that point. Its stars – Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen – certainly don’t. McKellen is in joyously hammy form as confidence trickster Roy Courtnay; Mirren is gauchely naive as Betty, his wealthy mark. Both are clearly having a blast and the screen crackles when they share it. We meet this pair of out-of-touch old-timers while they're on a “computer service” date. Dressed like a fixture at a golf-club bar and boasting a certain level of unctuous charm, Roy has a line in fleecing the unsuspecting. Mirren’s ingenuous Betty, a widow, is sweetly trusting. Charmingly, they’re both a bit nervous (though at least one of them is putting it on). They’re soon bonding over their grown-up kids and, hilariously, a movie trip to see Inglourious Basterds, of all things. He has a strange dislike of kitchens that hints at a shadowy backstory. Probably involving kitchens. Behind the scenes, Roy has a sidekick to h

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55
Weekend Summer Sessions
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

Weekend Summer Sessions

Adelphi Hotel, Melbourne

Melbourne’s Adelphi Hotel is collaborating with the Campari Group to bring weekend session celebrating 100 years of Aperol, meaning you can spend your summer arvos splayed on the hotel’s rooftop pool deck, Italian-style.  Sip your way through the heat with classic aperitivo offerings like Campari and soda, Prosecco, Peroni and of course Aperol Spritzes galore, in addition to a range of non-alcoholic options. It’s only natural that this Aperol celebration also features food. There is a seasonal snack menu from Adelphi’s signature menu available, as well as Om Nom Kitchen’s halloumi fries with chilli and lime crema.  Adelphi’s Weekend Summer Sessions run from Saturday, December 7 to Sunday, March 1. The bar is open from 12.30pm to 6pm, with happy hour running from  12.30pm to 1.30pm.

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Nicole Kidman stars as ‘Gretchen Carlson’ in BOMBSHELL
Photograph: Hilary B Gayle
Film, Drama

Bombshell

3 out of 5 stars

Transforming her voice into a husky boom, Mad Max: Fury Road’s Charlize Theron continues to be the best thing in movies about irresponsible men. As Bombshell’s subtly aggrieved Megyn Kelly – the Fox News anchor who largely turned the tide on eventually ousting chief creep Roger Ailes – she consistently hints at the smarter Time’s Up drama this might have been if it were stewarded by a media-savvy director who didn’t feel the need to cast its female characters as walking, talking symbols (was David Fincher not available?). Instead, the film has Jay Roach (HBO’s Recount, Game Change and All the Way), who lends things his TV-ish snap, if not any kind of visual signature. From an overly busy script by The Big Short co-writer Charles Randolph, Bombshell wants to touch upon every facet of the network’s predatory climate – a noble goal, but one that results in a power-suit pile-up. Nicole Kidman can’t get her Gretchen Carlson working beyond a sternly set jaw, while the composite role played by Margot Robbie slides too easily from naive to shrewd and back again. There’s occasional intrigue in scenes that depict a failure of solidarity between women: already jockeying for the spotlight (a competition fraught with anxiety about aging and viewership numbers), the central trio connects only tentatively, while female colleagues and underlings sometimes sell them out. Then again, blonde-on-blonde infighting seems like a weird emphasis to place on a story in which Ailes should be the enem

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Keith Haring, 'Malcolm X' 1988
Art, Paintings

Keith Haring | Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines

NGV International, Southbank

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

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Black Star Pastry's strawberry watermelon cake on a table
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

Black Star Pastry pop-up

Jackalope Pavilion, St Kilda

Thanks to the fine folk of the JKLP Group who has brought us Jackalope Hotel and the Rain Room (which has been extended for another season), Sydney's insta-famous Black Star Pastry is popping up underneath the Rain Room from November 25 until Easter. This means you can grab a slice of Sydney's famous watermelon cake and eat it, too. For the uninitiated, the watermelon cake is a gluten-free layered cake made with almond dacquoise, rose-scented cream and watermelon, topped with strawberries, pistachios and dried rose petals. It's caused Sydney to line up for it and queue around the block, but luckily, we'll be able to preorder our slices for an express pick-up.  It's not just the watermelon cake that will be available, Black Star will be bringing us its raspberry-lychee cake (raspberry marshmallow and vanilla cream built on a rich, chocolate biscuit base), pistachio-lemon zen cake (pistachio ganache, white chocolate mousse, lemon curd and pistachio dacquoise) which is also gluten-free, and when it is Easter, its hot cross buns. Gearing up for a special occasion? Pre-orders vary in sizes and go up to four-tier wedding cakes. Are you picking up what we're putting down? Coffee from St Ali will also be available for those who want the full coffee-and-cake experience.

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Healesville Sanctuary Acoustic Afternoons
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do

Acoustic Afternoons

Healesville Sanctuary, Badger Creek

There are three things you need to make a good day trip: nice weather, delightful drinks and some form of entertainment. Healesville Sanctuary is stepping in to offer up the latter two in its Acoustic Afternoons event, so all you have to do is check the forecast and pick the day. Across the weekends of November 30-December 1, December 7-8, February 15-16, and February 22-23, visitors are invited to roll out a blanket and enjoy live music provided by the likes of Anita George, This Way North and the Tuck Shop Ladies. A pop-up bar is offering local beer, wine, cider and Four Pillars gin cocktails, and you can keep sated with a barbecue and charcuterie featuring local Yarra Valley produce.  Once you’ve filled your tummy you’ll have plenty of time to wander the grounds and see the animals, or maybe just relax on the big lawn. There are giant games for kids (we doubt they'll be checking IDs though, so you can have a go too). The afternoons start at noon and run until 4pm. It's complimentary with entry into Healesville Sanctuary, and tickets to get you through the door range from $19 for a child to $37 for an adult.

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Ashes, Ned Kelly's Armour and MacRobinson's sweets
Photograph: Supplied
Museums, History

Velvet, Iron, Ashes

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

Melbourne is growing and developing at a rapid pace, but how much do you really know about it? Now you can learn about some of the state’s most influential people, events and icons. Velvet, Iron, Ashes is an exhibition located in the State Library's newly refurbished Victoria Gallery. The exhibition will showcase more than 200 items from the Library's own collection plus additions from other major institutions and private collections. It gives visitors an opportunity to learn some illustrious stories about Ned Kelly, the Ashes Urn, Yalloum Power Station and even Nappie Wash.  Visitors can learn how fairy floss is linked to fancy dress, how the Freddo Frog is tied to one of the greatest air races in history, and what the Ashes Urn and Ned Kelly’s armour have in common. A retro-style Map-o-matic device allows visitors to print out a map, opening up a world of storytelling to a new generation of Victorians. The exhibition is open to all ages and runs from October 24, 2019, until July 12, 2020. It is free to attend. The Ashes Urn is exclusively loaned from Marylebone Cricket Club in London and will be displayed from November 2019 until February 2020, so don’t miss out on seeing it in the flesh.

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Fire Bad Comedy Gala supplied
Photographs: Supplied
Comedy

Fire Bad Comedy Gala

Howler, Brunswick

While there might be fierce political arguments breaking out over the cause of the current bushfire crisis and our response, there's one thing we can all agree on: fire bad. That's why a group of leading Melbourne comedians are joining together for a one-off Fire Bad Comedy Gala, in support of the Australian Red Cross. Matt Stewart will be hosting the gala on January 25 at Brunswick's Howler. The line-up includes some of our absolute faves: Joel Creasey, Becky Lucas, Nazeem Hussain, Claire Hooper, Rhys Nicholson, Damien Power, Danielle Walker, Greg Larsen, David Quirk, Sami Shah, Ben Russell, Sonia Di Iorio, Jess Perkins, Alex Ward, Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall and Xavier Michelides. Tickets are just $40 and are on sale now. We'd recommend getting in pretty quick, as the last Melbourne comedy gala announced in support of bushfire relief sold out in just ten minutes.

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Claire Hooper Photograph supplied by Token 2019
Photograph: Supplied
Comedy, Stand Up

Local Laughs

The Local Taphouse, St Kilda

Local Laughs is the best comedy room on the south side, hands down. It takes place at the Local Taphouse – a European-inspired neighbourhood tavern specialising in craft beer and great food. It almost sounds too good to host stand-up but it works perfectly. We’d argue this is the handsomest and cosiest room on the scene. Sometimes punters stay sitting around long after the show has ended. Every Monday you can catch some of the best comics from Melbourne and Australia, plus the occasional international too. With upwards of five acts every night you are sure to be entertained. Doors open at 7.30pm if you want to come in early and try one of their many delicious tap beers (it’s in the title).

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Quem Brinca com o Fogo... (2019)
©Paramount Pictures
Film, Comedy

Playing with Fire

When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his elite team of expert firefighters (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane) come to the rescue of three siblings (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery and Finley Rose Slater) in the path of an encroaching wildfire, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet - babysitters. Unable to locate the children's parents, the firefighters have their lives, jobs and even their fire depot turned upside down and quickly learn that kids - much like fires -are wild and unpredictable.

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An installation of a red crocheted bear standing on a matching red crocheted landscape
Photograph: Supplied
Art, Installation

Between Appearances: the Art of Louise Weaver

Buxton Contemporary, Southbank

The whimsical, warped and often woven worlds of Louise Weaver are at Buxton Contemporary this summer. Between Appearances: the Art of Louise Weaver draws together three decades of the artist’s work and peers into her constant exploration of growth, transformation and the natural world. Perhaps best known for her faceless woven animals (the zoological equivalents of Lift Off’s EC doll), Between Appearances also showcases Weaver’s paintings, drawings, prints and textile works. This is Weaver’s most extensive solo exhibition to date, with more than 100 works represented across Buxton Contemporary’s four galleries.  If you’re enamored with Weaver’s enchanting crocheted worlds you’ll be pleased to hear that ‘Taking a Chance on Love’, Weaver’s vivid red 2003 installation, is coming back. Like with many of her works, it boldly smooshes together artificial and organic materials to create a scene both alien and wonderfully comforting – it’s hard to resist the urge to reach out and touch. Two new paintings have also been commissioned for Between Appearances: ‘Diagram for the Structures of Feeling (Lilac Sea)’ and ‘Diagram for the Structures of Feeling (the Green Ray)’, large-scale works that are in part inspired by the work of Swiss French artist Félix Vallotton (the parallels are particularly apparent in the context of Vallotton’s sunset paintings). Between Appearances: the Art of Louise Weaver is on at Buxton Contemporary until February 9.

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Lido on the Roof
Photograph: Eugene Hyland
Film, Outdoor cinema

Lido on the Roof

Lido Cinemas, Hawthorn

Lido Cinema’s rooftop makes a triumphant return this summer for its fifth year under the stars.  Lido on the Roof will screen critically acclaimed summer releases including the new Charlie's Angels, Matt Damon and Christian Bale in Ford V Ferrari, Stephen King's Doctor Sleep, Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes, as well as Marriage Story, the new Noah Baumbach film starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver.  Other screenings include Great Gerwig's Little Women, Jumanji: The Next Level, Cats, Frozen 2, Bombshell and even a midnight screening on Wednesday, December 18 of the brand-new Star Wars film, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.  No need to BYO snacks: Lido's food and drink counter serves up great movie treats, from choctops and vegan-friendly popcorn to edamame and craft beers. Check out the full program to see what's showing and hit the Book Now button to buy your tickets. 

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Judy and Punch
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Drama

Judy and Punch

4 out of 5 stars

The entertainment industry is facing a reckoning when it comes to the way it treats women, so what better place to start righting wrongs than with the appalling spectacle of domestic violence that is the traditional Punch and Judy puppet show? The staple of English seaside towns for hundreds of years – based upon Italian commedia dell’arte – Punch and Judy shows depict the brutal Mr Punch applying his truncheon liberally to his wife Judy, as well as to a baby, a policeman, Toby the dog, a crocodile, and sometimes Death himself. All of these characters appear in Judy and Punch, writer-director Mirrah Foulkes’s feature debut, which offers a kind of origin story for the “punchy-smashy” handpuppets and repositions them within a live-action feminist revenge tale. The scene is a mythical, landlocked European town called ‘Seaside’ in the mid 17th century. When the crowds aren’t gathering to watch the stoning of women on the suspicion of witchcraft, they’re attending the marionette show staged by ‘Professor’ Punch (a loathsome and self-loathing Damon Herriman) and his more talented wife Judy (Mia Wasikowska). Punch is a local hero, high on fame and booze; when his weaknesses lead him to commit two unforgivable acts, Judy finds herself allied to the town’s outcasts and on a mission to protect the innocent from the town’s mob-exploiting powerbrokers in the shape of the oily mayor Mr Frankly (Tom Budge). Perched somewhere between The Crucible and a fairy tale – with a good dose of M

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Linden Postcard Prize exhibition 2017 installation view 2016 at Linden New Art courtesy LNA
Photograph: Supplied
Art, Galleries

Linden Postcard Show

Linden New Art, St Kilda

This annual exhibition, now in its 29th year, offers a ‘snapshot’ of Australia’s artscape by dint of its open door policy: the only rule for entry is that the artist must be Australian, and that the work must be 8 by 10 inches. Add a $5,000 main prize, and a suite of smaller awards (including People’s Choice), and you have a perfect storm for a consistently dynamic range of styles and calibres.

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Jess Johnson and Simon Ward Terminus Heide supplied 2019
Photograph: National Gallery of Australia
Art

Terminus: Jess Johnson and Simon Ward

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Bulleen

It’s only relatively recently that artists have started embracing virtual reality as a medium, but New York-based visual artist Jess Johnson and New Zealand animator Simon Ward use the technology better than just about anybody in this exhibition of five works that take you into different realms. Some are curiously beautiful and relaxing, while others are a total sensory overload. And as with all virtual reality, the viewer is in complete control. There’s also a physical element to the exhibition, with the entire floor covered by a tesselated pattern relating to the worlds they conjure up in virtual reality. Terminus premiered at the National Gallery of Australia in 2018 and is now embarking on a national tour. Heide Museum of Modern Art is the first stop.

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Shirin Neshat: Dreamers National Gallery of Victoria 2019 supplied
© Shirin Neshat
Art

Shirin Neshat: Dreamers

NGV International, Southbank

Iranian-born, New York-based artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat has been exploring the relationship between women, identity and Islam for more than 20 years. In Dreamers, her trilogy of black and white video installations, Neshat examines the world of the subconscious from the perspective of three women. In the first installation, 'Illusions and Mirrors' (2013), actress Natalie Portman encounters her doppelgänger while exploring the shadowy rooms of a ruined mansion, while the second, 'Roja' (2016), traces an Iranian woman’s attempts to connect with American culture. The third, 'Sarah' (2016), sees the protagonist in a dreamlike forest filled with processions of religious and military figures. “Shirin Neshat is renowned for her films depicting women grappling with identity and society,” says NGV director Tony Ellwood. “The Dreamers is an important trilogy, bringing together three works that are both topical and timeless in their exploration of the female experience.”

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Giraffes at Sunset Safari
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Walks and tours

Sunset Safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo

Werribee Open Range Zoo, Werribee South

What do zoo animals get up to when all the daytime visitors have headed back to their cars? Quite a lot, it turns out, with many African animals most active at dusk. That makes Werribee Open Range Zoo's Sunset Safari the perfect time to see giraffes, rhinoceroses, elands, zebras, scimitar-horned oryxes, hippopotamuses and other incredible African animals.  Visitors are divided up into two groups, Kipenzi and Lataba (named after two of the zoo's seven rhinos). There are three activities on the night, but the order changes by group. Everyone gets a welcome drink on arrival, after which the groups go their separate ways.  One part of the night is an African drumming and dancing performance, which includes a workshop on how to do some of the simpler moves. A second part is an African feast, where visitors can enjoy tagine, couscous, salads and other delights, all topped off with a chocolate fountain, into which you can dip marshmallows, strawberries and meringue pieces. The best part, and the reason for the event, is the safari itself. Visitors pile onto the safari buses and travel out to the 45-hectare open savannah section of the zoo. Sunset is the best time to see the magnificent creatures who live here, and safari guests will get to see all kinds of cool African wildlife at their most active. The luckiest group goes out at the same time as the truck that delivers their food, which is sure to bring the animals running from all corners of the savannah.  Proceeds from the ni

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Classic Cinemas
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Classic Rooftop Cinema

Classic Cinemas, Elsternwick

Classic Cinemas holds the claim to fame as is the longest continuously operating cinema in Victoria. It boasts ten indoor screens and, in addition, has announced the new Classic Rooftop, with nightly 9pm screenings all through summer 2019-2020 and into autumn.  The rooftop cinema has comfortable director's chair seating on staggered levels, while sound is delivered through headsets. Melbourne loves a rooftop bar, and the Classic Rooftop naturally has one too. The inaugural season kicks off with as big a bang as you could wish for with a week of screenings of the climactic Star Wars flick, The Rise of Skywalker.  New releases that follow include camp classic in waiting, Cats, Greta Gerwig's new version of Little Women, Guy Ritchie's new gangster flick The Gentlemen, and a one-off session of Leonard Cohen documentary Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love.  Justin Kurzel's adaptation of Peter Carey's novel True History of the Kelly Gang screens on Friday January 10. Bombshell with Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie, and the Tom Hanks heartwarmer A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, will get showings, as will Taika Waititi's absurdist WWII satire Jojo Rabbit and the award-winning queer French romance Portrait of a Lady on Fire.  Love a retro movie? Classic Rooftop Cinema will have Retro Wednesdays in January playing Labyrinth (on David Bowie's birthday), 10 Things I Hate About You, hilarious 1987 fairytale The Princess Bride and Spike Lee's incendiary 1989 drama D

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Duangporn “Bo” Songvisava
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

AO Chef Series

Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

[Sponsored] Every year, thousands head to Melbourne Park to watch the superstars of tennis battle it out for a Grand Slam title. But just across the road, the Australian Open is serving up another ace on the court for 2020: the AO Chef Series. For the third year running, the Australian Open will be bringing superior culinary experiences to Melbourne in a pop-up restaurant at the Glasshouse on Olympic Boulevard. Four A-list chefs will be putting on exclusive dining experiences across the entirety of the Australian Open tournament. These culinary events allow guests to interact and learn from high-class international chefs including Australian food editor and cookbook icon, Donna Hay; head chef of impeccable Hobart restaurant Franklin, Analiese Gregory; chef and partner of exceptional Bangkok restaurant Bo.Ian, Duangporn ‘Bo’ Songvisava; and restaurateur, TV host and MasterChef alum, Sarah Todd. Each feast will be a multi-course degustation-style experience that shows off each chef’s signature style and will be paired with matched wines – not to mention exciting dinner conversation. Let’s get to know the chefs participating in 2020’s exciting AO Chef Series, shall we?  Donna Hay. Photograph: Supplied Where would the food world be without the Donna Hay empire? Her signature styling and easy-to-follow meals have made their way into the homes, hearts and stomachs of many Australians. But it’s not only her best-selling cookbooks or her gorgeously styled magazines that we’re obsessed with

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Photo: Merrick Morton/20th Century Fox
Film

Ford v Ferrari

3 out of 5 stars

Matt Damon and Christian Bale, both returning to their boyish, likable modes, race cars and squabble like brothers in Ford v Ferrari, a ’60s period piece that works best when it stays on track, literally, in the crush of competitive pressure. Texan Carroll Shelby (Damon), an inspired car constructor whose heart problems stalled his career, and Ken Miles (Bale), the salty British-born driver who would dominate the field, were a real-life duo born to be at the center of a chatty action movie. Logan director James Mangold loads the drama with banter just like Howard Hawks would have done (Hawks’ own Red Line 7000 has Shelby’s cars in it), and even has the two men wrestling in the dirt while a wife waits it out, a scene nicked from Red River. The larger set-up, though, reveals Ford v Ferrari to be one of those oddly misshapen beasts: an anti-corporate studio movie that tries to celebrate individuality while keeping things stiffly in the middle of the road. Brusque Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) hopes to make a name for himself beyond his father’s massive reputation; he’s convinced by various suck-ups (Jon Bernthal and a clownish Josh Lucas, primarily) to take on Ferrari at the 24-hour Le Mans showdown, and maybe recast the Ford Company as something hotter. (“Kids today – they want glamour, sex appeal,” Bernthal’s Lee Iacocca says.) This kind of rebranding intrigue may play well for any stray marketers in your audience, but it’s a dull peg to hang a movie on; the film stalls wheneve

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An image is projected on a brick structure, depicting a group of young women dancing in white dresses in an arid landscape.
Photograph: Melissa Powell Photography
Things to do, Talks and discussions

MPavilion

Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne

Things are warming up in Melbourne, summer is soon upon us and MPavilion will once again be taking up residence at the centre of the Southbank Arts Precinct. With a focus on Australian design, the pop-up modern-day amphitheatre is home to over 400 free cultural events and interventions, lively talks, performances, workshops, installations and kid-friendly experiences. DJs and live music sets take over the pavilion every Friday night from November 15 for Summer Sunsets featuring Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS), DJ Sara Savage and more.  The Archibald Weekend, over November 30 and December 1, invites guest speakers including Art Gallery of NSW director Michael Brand, artist Lindy Lee and 2019 Archibald Prize winner Tony Costa and includes hands-on arts workshops.  Co-curated by Transitions Film Festival, Climate Emergency Cinema is an outdoor, b