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Things to do in Melbourne this weekend

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

Still of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cast  in costume
Photograph: Jeff Busby
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We have heard whispers that spring is on the way, but good lord is winter going to kick us in the teeth before it lets go. So let's get cosy and go to a festival dedicated to gravy-covered chips, or learn how to make mozzarella. Or embrace the chill, rug up warm and go to White Night, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Go early though, as it wraps up by midnight (2am Saturday). 

Need more inspo? Check out our curated guide to all the fun things to do in Melbourne this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including free attractions, art exhibitions, theatre shows, activities for kids and so much more. Plus, if it's a rainy day, consult our guide to Melbourne's best indoor activities instead.

Things to do in Melbourne this weekend

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Small girl interacting with the Waterlight Graffiti installation
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

White Night

icon-location-pin Around Melbourne, Melbourne
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Since 2013 White Night has been lighting up the streets of Melbourne for a 12-hour art party, featuring spectacular projection art, mind-bending installations and unexpected experiences. In 2019 the festival changed to White Night Reimagined, a pared-down but stretched-out version of the arts, music and light festival. Here's how the new White Night works. The festival will no longer run from 7pm to 7am over a single night. Instead, it will take place over three finger-numbingly cold winter nights from Thursday, August 22 to Saturday, August 24. Events will start from 7pm every evening and finish at midnight on Thursday and Friday, and at 2am on Saturday. 

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Random International Rain Room
Photograph: Creative Commons / Alexandermcnabb
Art, Installation

Rain Room

icon-location-pin Jackalope Pavilion, St Kilda
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It’s pretty common to get caught in the rain while walking around Melbourne. What’s less common is to get caught in the rain while walking around indoors in Melbourne – and even weirder when you realise that the rain is inexplicably falling everywhere except on you. This August Melbourne will be the first city in the southern hemisphere to host ‘Rain Room’, an immersive artwork by London-based collective Random International. ‘Rain Room’ is one of Random International’s most famous works and has previously shown at the Barbican in London, MoMA in New York and at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Guests are invited into a darkened room filled with continuous rain. No need to bring an umbrella though because this rain won’t dampen your clothes or spirits. Thanks to motion sensors in the ceiling ‘Rain Room’ detects where visitors are and ensures a dry six-metre radius around guests. The artwork is being brought to Melbourne thanks to a collaboration between the currently closed ACMI and uber-luxe hotel Jackalope. For at least seven weeks (tickets can currently be purchased for dates between August 9 and September 29) you can experience the installation for yourself at the Jackalope Pavillion, a pop-up space on the corner of Acland and Jackson streets in St Kilda.  Tickets are available to the public from July 4.

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Dingo encounters
Photograph: Cass Knowlton
Things to do

Dingo Puppy Encounters

icon-location-pin Dingo Discovery Sanctuary, Research and Education Centre, Melbourne
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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.

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High Cheese The Westin Melbourne
Things to do, Food and drink

High Cheese

icon-location-pin The Westin Melbourne, Melbourne
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What’s better than gorging yourself on scones, finger sandwiches and Champagne at a regular high tea? Gorging yourself on piles and piles of cheese at the Westin’s un-brie-lievable High Cheese event. Yes, the insanely successful, sold-out event is back for 2019. The idea for High Cheese began when Westin executive chef Michael Greenlaw teamed up with Anthony Demia from Maker and Monger to bring a series of cheeses together in both sweet and savoury dishes. Running until August 31, High Cheese brings some favourites from last year's menu plus a few new additions to the table. Traditional scones and cream are swapped out for L'amuse Signature Gouda scones served with whipped spiced butter. There's also black truffle, porcini and walnut layered Brie Fermier la Tremblaye; Swiss Gruyere Vieux Gougères with burnt green leek; and Marcel Petite Comté Réservation custard tarts for the savoury section.  For the sweeter side, there's poached French pear with stracciatella, fresh honeycomb and smoked roasted macadamia crumble; ruby chocolate parfait with Brillat Savarin Frais and raspberry jam; caramelised salted white chocolate tiramisu; plus ricotta cassata cannoli.  The coup de gras (pun intended) is the whole baked Normandy camembert served with lavosh that you can dip right into the cheese, like your very own cheese fondue. Holy cheesus. The Westin's High Cheese is priced at $70 per person and is available every day from 5pm. Guests can also add on a wine pairing which starts

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Photo: Courtesy of A24 / Gabor Kotschy
Film, Horror

Midsommar

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.

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Come from Away 2019 Comedy Theatre
Photograph: Jeff Busby
Theatre, Musicals

Come from Away

icon-location-pin The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
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On the morning of September 11, 2001 a total of 38 planes carrying 6,579 passengers were diverted to the remote airspace in Newfoundland, near the town of Gander. They didn’t know why, nor even where they were, but they soon learnt just how kind and welcoming the locals could be. Gander (and neighbouring towns) took them all in, almost doubling the local population in a single day; they fed them, clothed them and housed them. They broke the news of the terrorist attacks in New York, and they gave them phones to contact loved ones. And then five days later they said goodbye and life went back to normal. Irene Sankoff and David Hein have pieced together a musical (although it’s probably more accurate to call it a song cycle) from the testimonies of the people who were there; the actors are constantly shifting between the local community and the “come-from-aways”. The music itself is also lovely, heavily influenced by Irish folk, with a keen, driving rhythm and some beautiful and unusual instruments. The production, as you’d expect from this kind of slickly mounted replica of a Broadway hit, is superb.

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Sunday in the Park with George 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre, Musicals

Sunday in the Park with George

icon-location-pin Southbank Theatre (Melbourne Theatre Company), Southbank
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Over the last century only nine musicals have managed to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, arguably America’s highest prize for anything on stage. One of those was Stephen Sondheim’s 1984 musical, Sunday in the Park with George, which is widely considered to be one of the smartest musicals ever written, drawing inspiration from Georges Seraut’s painting ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’. The first act imagines Seraut’s process of creating the painting and digs deep into all his artistic crises. The second act leaps forward a century and we see yet another artist struggling to make their work.

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Terracotta Warriors NGV 2019
Photograph: Courtesy NGV
Art

Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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The National Gallery of Victoria's latest winter blockbuster was a look back at the last 130 years of modern art, but their 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. In winter a delegation of eight warriors will visit 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'll be presented alongside more than 150 treasures from ancient China. But the NGV is a gallery that always has one eye on the present and the future, which is why it's presenting another exhibition from China this winter: all new works from contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang, inspired by his home country. At the centre of his exhibition is an installation of 10,000 suspended porcelain birds flying high above visitors' heads. 

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Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape NGV 2019 supplied photo
Photograph: Jason Edwards
Art

Cai Guo-Qiang: The Transient Landscape

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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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.

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Australian Realness Malthouse Theatre 2019
Photograph: Zan Wimberley
Theatre, Drama

Australian Realness

icon-location-pin Malthouse Theatre, Southbank
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Zoey Dawson has been one of the most popular playwrights working in Melbourne’s independent theatre scene for the last few years, but this new play marks her mainstage debut. It's a comedy about class in which every actor plays two different characters – one bourgeois, one bogan. Malthouse's artistic director Matthew Lutton says the play starts out as a very recognisable satire but then questions the tropes of Australian class comedy. “It’s sort of looking at the way that class is weaponised, used politically, and asking if it’s an economic definition, a cultural definition; or if any of the definitions are true anymore – or if they’re all porous and constantly changing.”  

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Actors on stage in production of Golden Shield
Theatre, Drama

Golden Shield

icon-location-pin Southbank Theatre (Melbourne Theatre Company), Southbank
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Golden Shield is the first work from the Melbourne Theatre Company’s Next Stage program, which promises at least 35 new plays. While independent writers and companies are facing a public funding system that seems to have little respect for new stories, it’s exciting to know that new writing is being supported by a company with one of the biggest audiences in the country. Playwright Anchuli Felicia King is from Melbourne and works between New York, London and home. She has worked with significant theatre companies, including the Sydney Theatre Company, Punchdrunk and the Royal Court Theatre, and has two new works opening before the end of the year: two in Sydney and a second production of one in the USA. As she’s only in her mid-twenties, it’s easy to imagine her becoming a significant Australian theatrical voice. 

Time Out says
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See-through igloos on a Melbourne rooftop
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Pop-up locations

The Winter Village

icon-location-pin Federation Square, Melbourne
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Melbourne is one of Australia’s cooler cities (in more ways than one), but it’s still pretty rare to see snow within the city limits. That’s changing this winter, though, with Federation Square transforming into a frosty winter wonderland. The Skyline Terrace at Federation Square (the roof of the Fed Square car park) is home to the Winter Village: a (faux) snow-covered pop-up bar inspired by European winter markets. The pop-up is surrounded by snowy pine trees à la the Black Forest, while inside guests can enjoy an ice skating rink, 21 toasty warm private igloos and a mega igloo where it snows (inside!) every hour.  You can stave off the winter chill at Feast Kitchen and Sip Bar. There are winter-themed treats to keep you warm or you can book a private igloo and get an inclusive food and beverage package. The Winter Village is also open until late on Fridays and Saturdays so you can really chill out with local DJs and after-dark events. Keen to skate? You can book into daily 45-minute sessions every hour. 

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Disney
Film, Animation

The Lion King

From Disney Live Action, director Jon Favreau's all-new – The Lion King – journeys to the African savanna where a future king is born. Simba idolizes his father, King Mufasa, and takes to heart his own royal destiny. But not everyone in the kingdom celebrates the new cub's arrival. Scar, Mufasa's brother -and former heir to the throne- has plans of his own. The battle for Pride Rock is ravaged with betrayal, tragedy and drama, ultimately resulting in Simba's exile. With help from a curious pair of newfound friends, Simba will have to figure out how to grow up and take back what is rightfully his.

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Liu Bolin, 'In the Woods'
Photograph: Liu Bolin, courtesy of The Ballarat International Foto Biennale
Art, Galleries

Ballarat International Foto Biennale

icon-location-pin Around Ballarat, Ballarat
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The Ballarat International Foto Biennale brings exhibitions, workshops, screenings, portfolio reviews, discussions and social events to the historic Gold Rush town of Ballarat once more. Over two months the town will host 30 exhibitions, 70 open programs, outdoor public art and special screenings. This year, the festival will be jointly headlined by Chinese photographer-activist Liu Bolin and Indigenous Australian artist Dr Fiona Foley. Bolin is sometimes called “the invisible man” for his signature style of camouflaging himself within his images, prompting viewers to consider those who have been forgotten or marginalised. Foley’s work also brings attention to the disenfranchised, and highlights racial inequality in Australia. Who Are These Strangers and Where Are They Going? presents a mid-career retrospective of her work via site-specific installations and indigenous language soundscapes.

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People doing yoga at Two Wrongs
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Beer Yoga

icon-location-pin Two Wrongs, South Yarra
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A healthy life is all about balance. It’s important to eat well, exercise and get enough shuteye, but it’s just as important to act like a loose unit occasionally. Or you could save time and be healthy and get lit at the same time at Two Wrongs. The Chapel Street bar is hosting a beer yoga class and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. The 50-minute yoga classes are run by a mix of different yoga teachers who incorporate drinking beer (or cider if that’s your jam) into the session’s poses. An average of four to five beers are consumed during each class, all of which are included in the class fee (which is a mere $10). Given that you can barely get a single schooner of beer for $10 in Melbourne (not to mention the price of yoga classes), Two Wrongs beer yoga classes are almost ridiculously good value. 

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Our Bodies, Our Voices, Our Marks exhibition Immigration Museum
Photograph: Lekhena Porter/Supplied
Museums

Our Bodies, Our Voices, Our Marks

icon-location-pin Immigration Museum, Melbourne
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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. Keep an eye out for a series of four installations titled Documenting the Body curated by Stanislava Pinchuk. These works will be located over all three levels of the Immigration Museum and will include works from Australian tattoo artists including Paul Stillen, Brook Andrew and Angela Tiatia.

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A beautiful, golden poodle-cross dog wearing a tie
Photograph: Dog Photog School Photo Day
Things to do

Dog Photog School Photo Day

icon-location-pin Lon Gallery, Collingwood
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Dog Photog, a specialty dog photography studio, is hosting a school photo day for very good boys and girls this August. Bring your canine along and they’ll get their portrait expertly taken against the classic blue marble background from your school days.  Your dog won’t get detention for being out of uniform either, with Dog Photog providing props like polo tee shirt collars, ties and school pins (is your dog library monitor, prefect or school captain material?). It costs $45 to get your dog’s photo taken. This price includes one screen resolution image but you can purchase extra images and photo packs (yep, just like at school) for a little extra. You can also get two dogs’ pictures taken for $70 (so long as they’re from the same family).  

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Film, Documentary

Apollo 11

Film review by Joshua Rothkopf  The most perfect movie that will ever be made about its subject, Apollo 11 takes the purest documentary idea imaginable – telling the story of the first journey to the moon and back using only the footage captured in the moment – and rides it all the way home. Conceptually, it’s a masterstroke: other films have leaned into narration or interviews, while Damien Chazelle’s brooding First Man took a somewhat incidental leap into personal grief. But by mining a trove of archival NASA footage (much of it unseen since 1969, or ever), disciplined filmmaker Todd Douglas Miller places an unmistakable emphasis on the thousands of people who toiled in modest synchronicity, pulling off America’s greatest mission without a hitch. Apollo 11 will bring you to tears: It’s a reminder of national functionality, of making the big dream happen without ego or divisiveness. Miller’s exhilarating first act supplies an emotional catharsis that’s rare in nonfiction (or, frankly, movies in general). Quietly, the rocket is rolled out on a massive tractor platform. Crickets chirp on a hot July night. In the astronauts’ blindingly white dressing room, the three-man crew – Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Buzz Aldrin – suit up. Their personal backstories receive flurries of silent images: wedding photos, military service, children. These flashes play like insistent memories; it’s the kind of subliminal device a dramatic director might use to reveal a character’s psych

Time Out says
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Photo: Jonathan Prime / Universal
Film, Comedy

Yesterday

There’s a lot that’s mind-bendingly corny about director Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis’s Yesterday, a peppy ‘what-if?’ musical comedy that imagines a world in which the Beatles never existed. Your ability to spend time in its big-hearted, dad-joke world might lie with your tolerance for Ed Sheeran making fun of himself: if you can cope with those sort of inventions along with the film’s hit-and-miss gag rate and its happy-clappy view of modern Britain, then its endless sugar rush of Beatles covers and endearing performances from the likes of Lily James and newcomer Himesh Patel make it hard not to like. It also has a strange cameo, bold and not what you expect, and maybe the best screen jokes so far about Google searches. (Type ‘John Paul George Ringo’ in a Beatles-less universe and what do you get? ‘Pope John Paul II’ of course.) It all spins on a goofy high concept that blossoms in an average corner of coastal Suffolk. Jack (Himesh Patel, a real discovery) is a struggling 27-year-old singer-songwriter sick of playing to thin crowds. But his bright-eyed old friend and manager Ellie (James) is supportive – and clearly in love with him. The years of musical irrelevance end when there’s an electricity blackout across the globe, a jolt from the storytelling gods so absurd that you go with it. Jack is knocked off his bicycle and wakes in hospital to the gradual realisation that not a single other soul in the world knows who the Beatles are. The most powerful moment in t

Time Out says
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Food warriors at sofitel x ngv terracotta warriors
Things to do, Food and drink

Terracotta Warriors High Tea

icon-location-pin Sofitel Melbourne, Melbourne
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To celebrate Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality, NGV’s upcoming winter exhibition, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins and Dulux are calling on the curious, the creative and the hungry for a new high tea series. Treat yourself to an Asian-inspired high tea in which guests are invited to paint chocolate Terracotta Warriors using Dulux’s signature chocolate paint. China’s terracotta sculptures date back to around the 3rd Century BCE, but the original colours have remained unknown for over 2,200 years. Think you know what they would have looked like? Have a go at painting (and then eating) your own chocolate warriors. This weekly high tea aims to unite traditional Chinese culture with the "artistic flair" of Sofitel's pastry chef David Hann. And yes, you'll finally be able to live out your childhood dream of playing with your food.  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.  Diners are invited to head along from 2.30pm every Saturday and Sunday starting May 25. The high tea will run until October 13 at Sofi's Lounge at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. 

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Photo: Andrew Cooper
Film, Comedy

Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

The sort of high-wire, playfully enjoyable riff on movies that only Quentin Tarantino could get away with, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood is a massively fun shaggy-dog story that blends fact and fiction, inserting made-up characters at the heart of real, horrible events (Charles Manson horrible) and then daring history to do its worst. Sitting at the mature, Jackie Brown end of Tarantino’s work, the film is also a love letter to Los Angeles and the film industry, bringing his tongue-in-cheek storytelling together with exquisite craft and killer lead performances from Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. And yet, it’s still very much a Tarantino film, trading in genuine emotion one minute, unapolegetically silly the next. 

Time Out says
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Photo Credit: Daniel Smith
Film

Aladdin

Twenty-seven years after the release of the animated classic, Aladdin gets the live-action treatment, with Sherlock Holmes director Guy Ritchie at the helm. The well-known plot is the stuff of Disney magic: a rags-to-riches tale in which a common thief wins the heart of a princess with the help of a magic lamp that transforms him into a prince. If today's Aladdin is not quite a scene-for-scene remake, it’s pretty close. The plot is tweaked with some sensible improvements: Agrabah, a mythical Silk Road city, was described in the original opening song as “barbaric”. It’s now simply chaotic, with a bustling population of people from as far as northern Europe (look out for Billy Magnussen’s hilarious Prince Anders) to China, and everywhere in between. It’s clear that this version of Aladdin celebrates the cultures from which the Arabian Nights folk tale emerged – a sensitivity no doubt learned (better late than never) from Black Panther, which provided an alternative to the typical white-saviour motif. Canadian-Egyptian actor Mena Massoud perfectly captures Aladdin’s street-smart charm, while British-Gujarati actress Naomi Scott gives a firecracker performance as Princess Jasmine, showing she’s less concerned with finding a husband than learning the required skills to succeed her father (Navid Negahban) to the throne. Marwan Kenzari’s Jafar verges on pantomine villainy, but there’s no denying that he cuts a menacing figure. Best of all, the film is a proudly out-and-out musica

Time Out says
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People looking at a white fatberg floating in a tank
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Disposable: Reimagining Your Waste

icon-location-pin Around Melbourne, Melbourne
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If you’re currently tearing your hair out with climate anxiety we have good news. Science Gallery Melbourne is hosting a new exhibition that proves that the literal flaming garbage piles of rubbish society creates need not be put to waste. Disposable: Reimagining Your Waste brings together art, installations and events that aim to creatively address Australia’s (and the world’s) culture of excess and waste. Really, creativity is key to these works. Take the exhibition’s ‘Urinotron’ for example – this installation from French artists Gaspard and Sandra Bébié-Valérian takes urine and uses it to power electronic devices before recycling it back into water. Other highlights include ‘Trash Robot’ (a remote-controlled robot that will be collecting rubbish from the Yarra); ‘Sewer Soaperie’ (where Chinese-Fillipina artist Catherine Sarah Young takes solid grease waste from sewers and turns it into soap); ‘Eel Trap’ (a ten-metre long biodegradable installation by Indigenous artists Maree Clarke and Mitch Mahoney sitting on the Maribyrnong River); ‘Plastivore’ (an installation showing how mealworms can eat styrofoam and turn it into compost) and ‘Pollution Pods’ (a series of airtight rooms that simulate the air in polluted cities like London, New Delhi and Beijing). Artists Arne Hendriks and Mike Thompson will also be attempting to created Australia’s largest fat deposit or ‘fatberg’ (grease that is poured down the drain and soldifies in sewers). The largest ever fatberg found was i

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Brickman Cities Sydney Harbour Bridge
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Brickman Cities

icon-location-pin Scienceworks, Spotswood
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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. 

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Theatre, Musicals

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

icon-location-pin Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne
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From August this year, Melbourne audiences will step into a world of pure imagination with the new musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The show, which just wrapped up a three-year run on the West End and a short stint on Broadway, is heading south from Sydney, where it's been selling out performances at the Capitol Theatre. It will have its Melbourne premiere at Her Majesty's Theatre. The musical is based more on Roald Dahl's 1964 book than the beloved 1971 film, but does feature a couple of the songs you know and love, including 'Pure Imagination', 'Candy Man' and 'I've Got a Golden Ticket'. The rest of the music is penned by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, who are best known for writing the score for the musical Hairspray. You already know the plot: the eccentric master chocolatier Willy Wonka opens up his mysterious factory to four young children, looking for an heir to take over the kingdom. Four of the children have been spoiled rotten and *spoiler alert* suffer horrible fates inside the factory – Augustus gets sucked up a tube after gorging himself on chocolate, Violet turns into a giant blueberry, Mike's TV addiction gets the best of him and Veruca gets her comeuppance via squirrel – but the poor, young Charlie Bucket manages to prove his integrity. The musical was an audience favourite in London, but received a cooler reception in New York, where it got mixed reviews. Time Out New York's critic wasn't the greatest fan – you can read his two-star r

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A Midnight Visit
Theatre

A Midnight Visit

icon-location-pin A Midnight Visit warehouse, North Melbourne
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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. 

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Wonka Bar
Things to do, Food and drink

Wonka Bar

icon-location-pin The Westin Melbourne, Melbourne
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Drawing inspiration from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory showing at Her Majesty's Theatre, the Westin is bringing a dedicated dessert and cocktail bar to its lobby, named the Wonka Bar, until January 2020. Darren Purchese from Burch and Purchese has teamed up with the kitchen crew at the Westin to create some truly remarkable and over-the-top desserts. Expect the likes of the Black Forest (in dessert form) with an actual chocolate river surrounded by cherries, chocolate sponge, a crunchy biscuit base, chocolate twigs and chocolate mushrooms. Unlike Charlie, you'll be able to purchase your golden ticket in the form of a gold chocolate bar, dark chocolate mousse, smoked vanilla ice cream with a salted caramel cream. For those with an 18+ palate, four candy-inspired cocktails will be available to buy from the Wonka Bar, like the vodka-based Blueberry Gumball, with blue curacao, raspberry balsamic and an ice sphere, garnished with popping candy and Persian fairy floss; or the chocolate lover's Pure Imagination, made with chocolate liqueur and sauce, garnished with actual chocolate. 

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The Poutine Festival
Things to do, Food and drink

The Poutine Festival

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The folks at the Ascot Lot are throwing a whole-day festival dedicated to the humble, but delicious, poutine. Yes, that's a day of eating golden brown, delicious chips smothered in curds and gravy from a dog-friendly food truck park who have gathered five of their favourite poutine purveyors to help you fulfil your winter-bod dreams.  Poutine will be provided by The Poutine Project, Chris P Bacon's Crispy Bacon, the Pickle & the Patty, Taste of Cyprus, Chef Calamari and Asado.  Don't forget, the Ascot Lot is licensed, so there will also be drinks purchasable on the day like $5 bottles of Kona Brewing Longboard Lager and Hanalei IPA, $10 Canadian Club cocktails, and $10 Espresso Martinis.  Doors open from midday and entry is free, but we recommend bringing some cash to save yourself some trouble when you hit up the bar or food trucks. BYO goodest doggo. 

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Art

A Fairy Tale in Red Times: Works from the White Rabbit Collection

icon-location-pin NGV International, Southbank
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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.

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Graze and Grains Farmers Daughters
Photography: Carmen Zammit
Things to do, Food and drink

Graze and Grains

icon-location-pin Starward Distillery, Port Melbourne
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Gippsland paddock-to-plate restaurant Farmer's Daughters is teaming up with Melbourne's most loved local whisky, Starward, and bringing you a series of three events that feature a produce market, bar, tasting area and campfire feast cooked by Alejandro Saravia, which will make it feel like you've left the city without actually leaving the city. The event is at Starward's Port Melbourne distillery and focuses on one region of Victoria, bringing produce, beer, wine, fish and meat from the area. You can buy produce to take home or purchase meals already cooked in front of you over a campfire. There will also be collaborative cocktails made with brewers, winemakers and distillers from each region like a wine-infused cocktail or a fat-washed, honey-buttered whisky using local honey and butter along with Starward Single Malt whisky. 

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Red Spice Road pork belly dish
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

Red Spice Road farewell party

icon-location-pin Red Spice Road, Melbourne
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Two of our favourite phrases in the English language are 'all you can eat' and 'all you can drink'. The crew at Red Spice Road are being forced out of their McKillop Street site due to redevelopment and thought the best way to say goodbye to their old home is to put those phrases together in one giant farewell party in the form of an indoor hawker-style market with cocktails, DJs and an obligatory lion dance.  The party will take place at their current site (before they move to Queens Street in October), and a ticket buys you three hours of non-stop drinks and food that includes Red Spice Road's famous pork belly, noodles, dumplings, betel leaves and plenty of bites straight off the charcoal grill.  

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Hopsfest
Photograph: Carmen Zammit
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

HopsFest

icon-location-pin The General Assembly, South Wharf
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Whether you like your beer canned, bottled or tapped, you're in for a real treat as a new craft beer festival kicks off. For five whole weeks at the General Assembly, Hopsfest is getting Melbourne beer lovers excited with tap takeovers, brewer sessions, daily 'hoppy hours' and bottomless brews. Things kick off with educational Beer Banter Thursdays, consisting of brewer hangouts, masterclasses, tastings, snacks and giveaways. Tickets are $30. Boozy Bash sessions continue the froth-tastic fun on Saturday arvos with brewer parties and of course, free tasters and live music. Entry is free. 

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Dessert drink at Hot Chocolate Festival
Things to do, Food and drink

Hot Chocolate Festival

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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The Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula Chocolateries are famous for their month-long festival dedicated to hot chocolate in all its delicious forms, and this year is no different. A total of 31 limited-edition hot chocolate flavours will be available to try throughout August 2019, with eight new flavours introduced every week.  Each flavour is created using a coverture chocolate base, which has seasonal and exotic ingredients, herbs and spices added to it. This year's line-up takes the classic chocolate and milk combo and adds some signature flair: try the Mocha Margarita, Troll Magic, Mad Chocolatier or a Girl's Best Friend which is made with ruby coverture chocolate and rosé Champagne. There's a Green Goddess hot chocolate with kale and coconut and even a Hot Shoey – which yes, is hot chocolate that you eat out of a chocolate shoe. A little bit classier than your average shoey, hey? Every limited-edition hot chocolate flavour you order at the Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road or Mornington Peninsula location comes with an extra shot of milk, white or dark chocolate as well as a giant marshmallow. Too many flavours to choose just one? Book into a tasting session, where $20 lets your try eight different flavours and create three hot chocolate spoons to take home. Bookings are essential. The Yarra Valley, Great Ocean Road and Mornington Peninsula Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery hot chocolate festival is on every day in August. Entry is free. 

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Revolutions exhibition - Melbourne Museum
Things to do, Exhibitions

Revolutions: Records and Rebels

icon-location-pin Melbourne Museum, Carlton
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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'...).  

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Wonderbao
Things to do, Food and drink

Wonderbao's seventh birthday

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Seven years is a long time in restaurant years, especially when you're a tiny bun shop tucked behind a university building. To celebrate the massive milestone of hitting seven years old, Wonderbao will be holding seven days of specials from the 17th to 24th of August. As part of the specials, expect Wonderbao's house-made soy milk to be churned into gelato by Gelato Messina and stuffed into a fried bao bun with boba; a bao birthday cake reminiscent of Chinese fruit cakes with strawberries, cream and meringue (minus the delightful durian); scratchy prizes that include $5 and $10 vouchers; a make-your-own bao day where you choose your own protein, topping and sauce for the usual price of $5.40; an all-day happy hour where $10 buys you a gua bao, fries and drink; a day of Korean fried chicken; and a limited release of some sweet, sweet merch (25 each of jumpers, T-shirts and totes) made in Wonderbao's signature dark grey and pink.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Theatre, Drama

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

icon-location-pin Princess Theatre, Melbourne
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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. And not just because of the quality of the production. The masterminds behind the show – led by Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany – have not merely set out to put on a play, but rather craft a rich and detailed immersive experience. To this end, Melbourne’s Princess Theatre has undergone a top to bottom $6.5 million makeover, transforming its interiors to match a Hogwartsian, Potterfied aesthetic. If this sounds like an unnecessary extravagance, it’s probably an indication this play isn’t for you. The success of Cursed Child, which has

Time Out says
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Pac man, Flinders st station
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Pac Maze

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For generations, easily distracted kids and teens have gone crossed-eyed after spending hours playing Pac-Man. Whether you know the maze from the original 1980 Namco arcade game or from the App Store, you’re likely to have known the highs of gobbling power pellets and bonus fruit, and the bitter disappointment of Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde catching up with you. Now, those childhood pixelated joys are coming to Melbourne. A huge Pac-Man themed maze is descending on Williamstown this August, where racers will be tasked with collecting fruit, decoding puzzles and outsmarting the ghosts. At the end of the race, you can keep the fun rolling with an ’80s themed pop-up party featuring original gaming machines and a DJ spinning nostalgic tracks. 

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Photo: Francois Duhamel
Film, Comedy

Booksmart

The story follows Dever and Feldstein's characters, two academic superstars and best friends who, on the eve of their high school graduation, suddenly realize that they should have worked less and played more. Determined never to fall short of their peers, the girls set out on a mission to cram four years of fun into one night.

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La Guerre image
Photograph: Paul Benjamin
Film

Underground Cinema

icon-location-pin Around Melbourne, Melbourne
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And so it returns. The most (un)talked about immersive cinema experience returns to Melbourne. Attendees are given a nonspecific title for the experience, a dress code and a general theme. Closer to the time of the event, the location is revealed (or not! Sometimes a bus will take cinema-goers to the site).  Underground Cinema has been in the live immersive cinema business for seven years and has recreated more than 30 filmic worlds. Arriving feels like walking onto a film set, full of actors, costumes and props (and an onsite bar). Attendees complete a task or take part in an event before the screening commences and the film is finally revealed. Past movies have included Gattaca, Let the Right One In, Children of Men, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Lords of Dogtown. This time the theme is La Guerre 2.0, and the message is in French: TÉLÉGRAMME URGENTIls arrivent. Nous devons agir rapidement mes frères et soeurs. Le temps est essentiel. Hâtez-vous maintenant. Vive La Résistance!   

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A bowl of smoked brisket ramen
Photograph: Supplied
Restaurants, Barbecue

Texakaya Burn City Pop-Up

icon-location-pin Collins Kitchen, Melbourne
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Now that the weather has well and truly turned on us, our winter white knight for the days when the wind-chill factor makes it feel Arctic, not Australian, is Burn City Smokers. The low'n'slow barbecue maestros have revived their inner city pop-up at Collins Kitchen. But this year they're doing things differently. They've brought their custom-built smoker to town, but what they're serving is a fun mash-up of Japanese and Southern barbecue – they're calling it Texakaya.  Most importantly, there's a ramen on the menu that features 14-hour Texas-style wagyu brisket in place of the typical char siu pork. They're also ladling big bowls of Carolina-style tonkotsu made with a 12-hour smoked pork broth and crunchy smoked pork belly pieces. If you prefer plants, there's a mushroom ramen starring smoked king brown and shiitake mushrooms in a ginger and porcini mushroom broth. And you can bulk it out with a whole head of cauliflower, seasoned in miso and smoked for three hours to give it some earthy grunt.

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They Shield Us Koorie Heritage Trust 2019 supplied
Photograph: Michael Jalaru
Art

They Shield Us

icon-location-pin Koorie Heritage Trust, Melbourne
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From identifying ourselves as part of a particular group to showing off our creative side, clothing is so much more than just a way of covering our bodies and keeping warm. Nowhere is this more true than for First Nations women, for whom clothing serves as a tangible way of harnessing the strength and power of ancestors and celebrating the continued survival of Indigenous culture. Designed to coincide with Melbourne Fashion Week, the Koorie Heritage Trust's free exhibition They Shield Us brings together contemporary and historic jewellery, clothing and body adornments from the Trust's collection. There are also new works by artists Yaraan Bundle, Djirri Djirri Dance Group, Isobel Morphy-Walsh, Marilyne Nicholls, Laura Thompson and Lisa Waup. The exhibition explores the ways in which the creation, sharing and wearing of adornments help shape the identities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Immersive wallpaper installations throughout the gallery will feature Indigenous models wearing the older and newly created works, all of which have stories and history woven into their very fabric.

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Palm Beach
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Comedy

Palm Beach

If you're a real estate agent, add an extra two stars. Rachel Ward’s gentle film about three late-middle age couples coming together for a weekend of wine, catch-ups and nostalgia is the perfect promotion for the Northern Beaches of Sydney, with its lingering shots of crystal clear water and luxuriously appointed homes. The people populating the screen have their problems, but it’s difficult to feel too stressed when surrounded by so much wealth and excess. The beachside villa in question belongs to Frank (Bryan Brown), a wealthy former music manager who has invited two former members of his most successful band (Sam Neill and Richard E Grant) and their spouses (Heather Mitchell and Jacqueline McKenzie) to his home to celebrate his birthday. Frank and his wife Charlotte (Greta Scacchi) are dealing with a crisis that neither will admit, as they struggle to ignite any sparks in their later years. The other two couples have their own mid-life, mid-relationship woes. With three men and three women coming back together to reminisce by the sea and uncover long dormant secrets – backed by a soundtrack of retro bangers – there’s a touch of Mamma Mia! about the first third of the movie, without the same surety of tone. Ward’s attempts to bring playfulness to these early scenes feel a little halfhearted, and it’s not until those secrets are exploded that things really heat up and this fine ensemble of actors gets to flex some dramatic muscle. There are clichés al

Time Out says
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Photo: Courtesy of Pixar
Film, Animation

Toy Story 4

Turns out, Pixar’s sentient toys can still make us cry. Nearly 25 years after their debut, the sweetly selfless plastic pals return in a fourth Toy Story, one charged by the animated series’ thematic essence of finding purpose in being useful to others. It’s a hopeful, immensely human chapter that echoes the franchise’s complex notions of loyalty, displacement and self-worth, doing so with humour and warmth. Working from a script by Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom (as well as six other story contributors, including ousted ex-Pixar chief John Lasseter), director Josh Cooley successfully balances all of these elements – a noteworthy achievement considering the large cowboy boots he had to fill after the epic yet nuanced Toy Story 3, one of Pixar’s perfect achievements. The reliable company of old friends certainly helps: now happily living with a new kid, Bonnie (voiced by Madeleine McGraw), Tom Hanks’s pull-string pardner Woody, Tim Allen’s devoted Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack’s feisty Jessie and the rest of the gang are back. New to the clan is Forky (Veep’s Tony Hale, adding nervy personality and genuine weirdness), an existentially confused spork with low self-esteem that the ever-imaginative Bonnie creates as a kindergarten craft project.

Time Out says
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ACCA On Vulnerability and Doubt 2019 supplied
Courtesy the artist
Art

On Vulnerability and Doubt

icon-location-pin Australian Centre for Contemporary Art - ACCA, Southbank
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Putting yourself out there – whether in love, work or friendship – is one of most terrifying things a person can do, so it’s the perfect inspiration for the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art’s winter exhibition. Bringing together local and international artists to engage with questions of intimacy, awkwardness, modesty, fear and desire, highlights of the exhibition include German artist Andrea Büttner’s moving collection of woodcut portraits; the irreverent paintings and animations of Iranian artist Tala Madani; and Sydney photographer and lecturer Cherine Fayd’s depictions of personal fears in public spaces.

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Film

Diego Maradona

Having never won a major tournament, ailing football giant SSC Napoli had criminally underachieved. Their fanatical support was unequalled in both passion and size. None was more feared. But how they ached for success... On 5th July 1984, Diego Maradona arrived in Naples for a world-record fee and for seven years all hell broke loose. The world's most celebrated football genius and the most dysfunctional city in Europe were a perfect match for each other. Maradona was blessed on the field but cursed off it; the charismatic Argentine, quickly led Naples to their first-ever title. It was the stuff of dreams. But there was a price- Diego could do as he pleased whilst performing miracles on the pitch, but when the magic faded he became almost a prisoner of the city.

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Marvel: Journey of Heroes
Image: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Marvel: Journey of Heroes

icon-location-pin Melbourne Central, Melbourne
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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, Ben Templesmith and Wayne Nichols.

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People dressed in retro attire and roller skates.
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Roller Disco Brunch

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At the Roller Disco Brunch you’ll be partaking in just that: a brunch with intermittent twirls around a retro roller skating dancefloor. And this new party on wheels ticks off just about every hipster Melburnian could want: bottomless booze, a retro theme and a similarly old-school sporty activity. They’ll be pumping tracks from the ’80s – the height of the roller skating era – while you zoom around the arena at Seaworks in Williamstown. If you roll along to one of the brunch and skate 90-minute sessions from 11am-3pm on Saturday, you’ll also get to scoff as much pizza and down as many mimosas as humanly possible (the piping hot slices are only going for the first hour, though). From 5pm, it’ll be all about the skating, as they scrap the brunch part and focus on the roller derby-style sliding (you'll be able to purchase refreshments from a cash-only bar). There are also skate-only sessions available Friday night.

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Tjungu Palya Artbank 2019 supplied
Photograph: Silversalt
Art

Tjungu Palya: As We Come Together We Stand Strong For Our Story

icon-location-pin Artbank Collingwood, Collingwood
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Tjungu Palya is an Aboriginal-owned and run art centre in South Australia, around 450 km south-west of Alice Springs at the base of the Mann Ranges. Given that it’s situated in the Nyapari community, of which there are only around 85 members, it’s a significant and influential force in Australian art. This exhibition from the centre is two years in the making and is taking place across both Artbank in Sydney and Melbourne. If you’ve not heard of Artbank, it’s an Australian government initiative that purchases works from contemporary Australian artists and rents them to the public. But they also throw some wonderful exhibitions to show their own collection. This exhibition, the full title of which is Tjungu Palyangku Tjukurpa titutjara kunpu ngaranytja-ku: As we come together we stand strong for our story, tells Tjukurpa (sacred stories) through painting, drawing and performance. There are 12 artists displaying work: Teresa Baker, Maringka Baker, Kani Tunkin Baker, Ruth Fatt, Kunmanara (Wipana) Jimmy, Beryl Jimmy, Imitjala Pollard, Keith Stevens, Bernard Tjalkuri and Ginger Wikilyiri.

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Press shot of musician Brooke Taylor
Photograph: Supplied
Music, Rock and indie

Live N Local

icon-location-pin Around Port Phillip, Port Melbourne
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The City of Port Phillip’s end-of-winter music festival Live N Local is back for another year. Take your pick from free and ticketed gigs, and explore Melbourne's thriving music scene. One of the best things about Live N Local is the variety of music on offer. You'd be hard pressed to find a genre of music not covered at the festival, with everything from reggae to country on the cards. One of the biggest and most anticipated events will be Live N Local's opening night party at Memo Music Hall. The free (!) party has lined-up the sultry Lady Lash, rapper Daniel Elia and hip hop-meets-jazz outfit Chicken Wishbone. Need some help picking your way through this year's program? Our picks include the all-female choir the Decibelles, who will put on an outrageously fun night of pop music and sing-alongs at Newmarket Hotel on Wednesday, August 28.