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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

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Chicago the Musical
Photograph: Supplied/Jeff Busby

Looking for fun things to do in Melbourne this weekend? We've got you sorted. Scroll down to find new theatre shows, Christmas markets, parties and food festivals. 

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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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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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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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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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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Golden Plains Meredith Amphitheatre
Photograph: Supplied
Music, Music festivals

Meredith Music Festival

Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, Meredith

Get ready to disco 'til you drop, Melbourne. Meredith Music Festival is back again for some booty-shaking, sunny summer fun over December 13, 14 and 15.  Topping the bill this year is Irish pop superstar Róisín Murphy, who will be joined by the likes of rapper and activist Briggs, German DJ Helena Hauff, heartbreak maestro Julia Jacklin and Melbourne's own Amyl and the Sniffers. An additional two acts were announced in late August: Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and Welsh musician Cate Le Bon.  Leading the nostalgia train at Meredith this year is Christine Anu, who will no doubt treat audiences at the Supernatural Amphitheatre to renditions of her classic '90s hits 'Sunshine on a Rainy Day' and 'My Island Home'.  The full line-up is below. Be sure to enter the ballot to nab your tickets. See you at the 'Sup! Róisín MurphyLiam GallagherBriggsHelena HauffAmyl and the SniffersSho MadjoziJulia JacklinCate Le BonViagra BoysJesswarChristine AnuThe Egyptian LoverStompin' RiffraffsLogic1000U-BahnSteam DownEric PowellGordon KoangWVR BVBYSweet WhirlVanessa WormDigital AfrikaScott & Charlene's WeddingDimpaConstant MongrelKarate BoogalooThe FacultyRambl

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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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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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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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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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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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Photo: 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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Ice cream cone at Cherry Hill Pick Your Own
Things to do, Food and drink

Pick-your-own-cherries at CherryHill Orchards

CherryHill Orchards, Yarra Valley

Is there anything better than fresh summer fruit? Maybe being able to pick your own straight from the orchards.  This summer you’re invited to pick your own cherries at CherryHill Orchards in the Yarra Valley. This picturesque property produces some of the country’s finest cherries, and the CherryHill team are opening their doors to the public this year for picking season.  CherryHill Orchards will be open every day throughout cherry season (excluding Christmas Day), which runs from November 30 to January 12. The orchard will be open from 9am until 5pm, with the CherryHill team on hand to show you where and how to pick the best cherries.  It’s not all about picking, though. Head down to see live musicians and purchase food from a rotating roster of food trucks. All guests will receive a complimentary Cherish Spritzer on arrival, and you can purchase the cherry ice cream, rosé cider and more Cherish Spritzers (trust us, one is never enough).  Entry costs $15 per adult to pick your own fruit, and you'll be charged a small fee per kilo for cherries to take home. All cherries eaten on site are included in the entry price. There are discounts for families, and kids can enter for free on weekdays (otherwise it’s $6 on weekends). Check out the website for more information and to grab your entrance tickets in advance.

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Melbourne Airport
Music, Music festivals

Boarding Pass Music Festival

Melbourne Airport, Melbourne

Travellers going through Melbourne Airport will get a special musical treat this holiday season. Melbourne Airport is presenting the inaugural Boarding Pass Music Festival from December 13 to 20. The festival is featuring some of Melbourne’s most prominent young performers and songwriters like Davey Lane, Yara, Fenn Wilson, Talei Wolfgram and more, with mood-enhancing sounds across all four terminals. The diverse young line-up is providing mainly original music, covering everything from folk, indie-pop, blues, dream-pop, classical, neo-soul, rock-pop, country, jazz and classical music. There’s something for everyone to help send off or welcome back happy travellers.  Throughout the festival there will be 74 scheduled pop-up performances. For the festival guide, visit the website. 

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Still from Love Actually (2003)
Photograph: Universal Pictures
Film, Special screenings

Love Actually in Concert

Hamer Hall, Southbank

Relive the film that made us love Hugh Grant again, despise Alan Rickman and realise love actually is all around. This December, it’s Love Actually’s turn to be given the symphony orchestra treatment as Hamer Hall screens Love Actually Live in Concert.  A full orchestra will play Craig Armstrong’s powerful score live on stage alongside the film screening. No word yet on whether they’ll get the percussion section to recreate Sam’s drum part in ‘All I Want For Christmas is You’ though.  You know you’re going to have your annual Love Actually screening sometime – why not time it to coincide with this special event? It all goes down on Sunday, December 15 and Sunday, December 2 at Hamer Hall. There will be four screenings only, a matinée and a evening performance each Sunday. Tickets range from $100 to $150.

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Human Nature performing
Photograph: Supplied
Music

Human Nature

Crown Melbourne, Southbank

The suavest boy band south of the equator, Human Nature, is coming to Melbourne this December. Formerly Australia’s unofficial answer to NSYNC, Human Nature survived the death that all boy bands must suffer by transforming into a silky smooth doowop and Motown group.  Those velvety vocals lend themselves perfectly to singing Christmas classics. Human Nature are hopping on a sleigh from their Las Vegas residency and coming to Melbourne for a festive concert series. Christmas at the Palms is a six-show concert series showcasing classic carols from Human Nature’s eternally popular The Christmas Album.  Expect merry hits like ‘Let it Snow’, ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’. Christmas at the Palms kicks off on Tuesday, December 10 at Crown Melbourne, with matinee and evening shows available.

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Punk Rock fortyfivedownstairs 2019 supplied
Photograph: Supplied
Theatre

Punk Rock

fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne

British playwright Simon Stephens’ portrait of teenage angst and violence in schools was almost universally adored when it debuted at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre in 2009. Compared to the likes of The History Boys and Lord of the Flies, the play went on to London and Broadway, and almost as quickly ended up on school required reading lists everywhere. Set in the library of a high-achieving high school, it follows eight students as they navigate the pressures of teenage life and prepare for their final mock exams. Actor and director Ruby Rees (Tusk Tusk) directs a cast of emerging young actors including Laurence Boxhall, Jessica Clarke, Ruby Duncan, Zoe Hawkins, Karl Richmond, Annie Shapero, Flynn Smeaton and Ben Walter.

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Sugar Republic Christmasland
Things to do, Pop-up locations

Christmasland

379 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Ho ho hooray, the team behind Melbourne’s sweetest experience Sugar Republic are back with a Christmas-themed extravaganza. Christmasland is an all-ages yuletide playground that’s taking over MacRobertson’s Chocolate Factory in Fitzroy this silly season. Just like with Sugar Republic, Christmasland is made up of several themed rooms that you can explore freely. There are ten immersive spaces to explore including Naughty and Niceville, Tinseltown and Candy Cane Lane. And of course, they’re all highly ‘grammable.  

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Gold cakes on a white plate
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

A Merry High Tea

Sofitel Melbourne, Melbourne

Every Monday to Friday from December 2 to December 31, Sofitel is hosting Christmas high tea that’ll satisfy your festive cravings while remaining anything but predictable. Incorporating familiar favourites with haute cuisine tweaks, guests can expect treats such as a layered gingerbread Jaconde and seasonal spiced mousse, topped with gold nuggets and Four Pillars Christmas Gin liqueur chocolate. The menu for the Christmas-themed high tea has been created by pastry chef David Hann, and will be served on custom-made cake stands inspired by Escher’s “impossible objects”, created for the hotel’s Monochromatic High Tea. A Merry High Tea starts from $55 per person with a glass of sparkling wine on arrival. Guests may also choose a glass of Taittinger for an additional $10 per person. For a further $15, you can receive replenished high tea sweets and savouries, and for $19, enjoy free-flowing La Bohème Cuvée. High tea is served between noon and 5pm.  Also in the spirit of the season, Sofitel’s master mixologists have concocted a selection of festive cocktails, including a pink and white, candy cane-inspired special made with house-made peppermint, strawberry sorbet, green chartreuse liqueur, Kettle One vodka and a splash of sparkling rosé. There’s also a nativity-inspired Espresso Marini, Les Trois Mages (the Three Kings), made with Kraken rum, Tia Maria liqueur, Mozart Dark liqueur, a shot of espresso and a 24-karat yellow gold toasted marshmallow, fit for a king.  Merry cock

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Press shot of comedian Tim Ferguson in a red suit and cane
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Classes and workshops

Tim Ferguson Comedy Writing Masterclass

When we see something funny it can be a struggle to retell that story. Now you won’t have to when you become the comedic genius at your next social event by learning how to write narrative comedy with Tim Ferguson’s two-day masterclass this December.  Ferguson is a successful Australian comedian, screenwriter and/filmmaker who has trained thousands of writers at institutions such as New York University, Australian Film Television and Radio School, Victorian College of the Arts and the Screen Academy of Scotland, so you know you’ll be in good (and hilarious) hands. He also wrote the very cheeky comedy writing manuscript – The Cheeky Monkey: Writing Narrative Comedy.  The event will allow you to hone in on your comedic craft and is open to novices and professionals alike. Ferguson will help you develop original comic characters and stories, let you in on the secrets of comedy writing, teach you how to cater to different mediums and how to pitch and package your ides. We’ll keep our eyes and ears peeled for your next big comedy project.

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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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Caroline O'Connor in Kiss of the Spider Woman
Photograph: Justin Ridler
Theatre, Musicals

Kiss of the Spider Woman

Southbank Theatre (Melbourne Theatre Company), Southbank

This musical from Kander and Ebb (the songwriting team behind Cabaret and Chicago) has never before had a professional mainstage production in Australia. Melbourne Theatre Company's artistic director Brett Sheehy says he’s reversing that “unconscionable neglect” with this new production starring Australia’s own Broadway and West End star (she played the leading role in Chicago on Broadway), Caroline O’Connor. It’s based on Manuel Puig’s 1976 novel set inside a South American prison where two men are sharing a cell. One is a Marxist revolutionary, and the other is a gay window dresser who escapes into a fantasy world of movies starring the fabulous diva Aurora. That’s where O’Connor comes in.

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Pin gin buffet at the Marriott
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

Pink Gin Afternoon Tea Buffet

Marriott Hotel Melbourne, Melbourne

Fancy high tea stands are all well and good, but they don't always have exactly the right ratio of what you're looking for in a high tea. Maybe you're just here for the scones, and you want seven of them and nothing else. Or maybe scones aren't your jam (!) and you're here for the savoury tarts instead. The high tea stand doesn't let you choose, but if you dispense with the stand you can choose your own adventure from a buffet. That's what the Marriott has done for its Pink Gin Afternoon Tea Buffet. You won't find any stands here, as it is an all-you-can-eat situation. There are baskets of scones along with jam and chantilly cream, plates of vegan chilli jam and avocado bagels and offerings of white chocolate and mango panna cotta. There are also spicy lamb sausage rolls and vanilla-raspberry doughnuts – and you can have as much as you like of any of these delights.  You can help yourself to different kinds of tea or brewed coffee, or add a pink gin cocktail for $10 each. The high tea is running until December 22 and is $79 per person, without cocktail. 

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

Sunset Safari at Werribee Open Range Zoo

Werribee Park, 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 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. 

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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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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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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Theatre, Drama

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Princess Theatre, Melbourne
4 out of 5 stars

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

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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. 

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Lekker
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

Lekker

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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People running around course Foam Festival
Things to do, Sports

5K Foam Fest

Wandin Park, Gruyere

The 5K Foam Fest is set to return Down Under for a foamy summer fun run. Last year’s debut brought in over 30,000 athletes and adventure seekers so you can bet your bottom dollar this year’s will top that with an even bigger schedule. The five-kilometer fun run is made up of 22 exhilarating obstacles including the world’s largest inflatable water slide, bouncy castles, mud pits, cargo climb and 70,000 cubic metres of natural foam. Up to 5,000 participants will descend on each location daily, kicking off on Saturday, November 30 at St Anne’s Vineyard in Myrniong. The event will tour nationally visiting Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide before rounding out in Canberra. For us lucky Melburnians, Victoria will host the event twice when it stops in at Wandin Park Estate in the Yarra Valley from February 15 to 16. This is the perfect summer event to enjoy with your friends or family, with a free kids zone, tasty food and drink vendors, a thirst-quenching beer garden and an on-site DJ spinning tunes to transform the fun run into one big electronic dance party. Get in early to save a buck with early bird ticket specials. Visit the website for more information and to register.

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Flight Darkfield Melbourne 2019 supplied
Photograph: Mihaela Bodlovic
Things to do, Pop-up locations

Flight

Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne

Here's a guaranteed way to not cure your fear of flying: step inside a plane cabin recreated inside a 40-foot shipping container, don a pair of high-quality binaural headphones, and fasten your seatbelt. If you find real planes uncomfortable, physically or mentally, you'll find this one uncomfortable. And that's before the plane plunges into complete, pitch-black darkness. And then the screaming begins.

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Yarra River at Arbory Afloat
Bars, Cocktail bars

Arbory Afloat

Arbory Bar and Eatery, Melbourne

The giant floating pontoon has once again moored itself alongside Arbory’s permanent fixture beside platform 13 of Flinders Street Station. This year the bar will be taking inspiration from Miami in the '70s, with a pastel blue and pink colour palette and palm trees aplenty. The upper deck has been extended so there will be plenty of room to kick back, grab a drink and celebrate in your own private cabana.  Probably the most exciting part is the introduction of Arbory Afloat's own pool, which will be located on the upper deck level. Don't forget your bathers!

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Christmas Bricktacular at Legoland
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do

Christmas Bricktacular at Legoland

Legoland Discovery Centre, Malvern East

It’s that time of year again, and as you slowly get into the festive season there is no doubt that Christmas can also bring with it a lot of stress. If you’re making a pit stop at Chadstone, it might be wise to drop into the Legoland Discovery Centre to have a little fun with yours kids at the Christmas Bricktacular.  Legoland pays homage to Melbourne with a 1.5 million Lego brick replica of the city, which will fearture festive additions like a winter village near the Royal Exhibition Building and an Aussie-style Christmas scene at Lego St Kilda Beach. Legoland is also home to two thrilling rides, a 4D cinema, the Duplo farm adventure zone for toddlers and 11 Lego build zones for kids between the ages of two and ten.  Why not switch things up a little this year? You can take your yearly Christmas family photo under the gigantic 1.9m tall Lego Christmas tree. Kids can write their letters to Santa and post it in the Lego mailbox with one of Santa’s special little elves granting five lucky winners with a Lego-related Christmas wish. Finally, you can also fill your Christmas stockings with some Christmas Lego sets including a Gingerbread House, Winter Village Fire Station, Christmas Brickheadz, baubles and plenty of stocking fillers.  Christmas Bricktacular is running from December 1 to 24.

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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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2185446 - Charlies Angels
NADJA KLIER
Film

Charlie's Angels

Director Elizabeth Banks takes the helm as the next generation of fearless Charlie's Angels take flight. In Banks' bold vision, Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska are working for the mysterious Charles Townsend, whose security and investigative agency has expanded internationally. With the world's smartest, bravest, and most highly trained women all over the globe, there are now teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys taking on the toughest jobs everywhere. The screenplay is by Elizabeth Banks from a story by Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn.

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35
Come from Away 2019 Comedy Theatre
Photograph: Jeff Busby
Theatre, Musicals

Come from Away

The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
3 out of 5 stars

When Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins premiered in 1990, George Bush Sr was in power and the Gulf War was underway. Audiences during war time weren’t really ready for a musical about the dark heart of the American dream, and it closed early. In 2004 it was remounted on Broadway and won four Tonys. Its time had come. Come from Away feels like the reverse: a musical that suits its time, is perhaps even flattered a little by it. It’s of course impossible to predict, but it seems unlikely that this show will play quite so well in 15 years. Something about its message, its attitude and its structure relies heavily on the audience’s willingness, even hunger, to receive it. We are living in dark times, and a show like this certainly hits the sweet spot. Does that necessarily make it a great show? Certainly, it tells a warm and reassuring tale about a community who rallies for people it doesn’t know, and in that regard it is a necessary and timely one. 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 the

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

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

NGV International, Southbank

[Sponsored] 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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Sesame Street characters in front of colourful decorations
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Exhibitions

Sesame Street Exhibition

Melbourne Central, Melbourne

Did you know that it’s been 50 years since the beloved children’s television show Sesame Street premiered? To celebrate this huge achievement, Melbourne Central is putting on a free exhibition in the space next to the Shot Tower.  The exhibition has been curated by creative director and curator Eddie Zammit, who asked 50 local and international artists to put their spin on some of the most popular Sesame Street characters. You’ll be able to see the likes of Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie and heaps more.  The exhibition is free to attend.

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39
A Christmas-themed high tea on a three-tier stand on a coffee table
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

Christmas High Tea

Little Collins St Kitchen, Melbourne

The Christmas season is now in full swing, and Little Collins St Kitchen in the Sheraton Hotel is aiming to raise the festive spirit into a whole new level of indulgence. Every Monday to Saturday afternoon from December 1-31 2019, the French-inspired modern restaurant inside the Sheraton Hotel is offering a new selection of its afternoon tea service with a merry twist.   The hotel is jollying up some of its favourite sweet and savoury dishes with some festive flavours. The menu features a turkey and cranberry sauce wrap; a Gruyère, thyme and French onion quiche; smoked salmon and crème fraîche on spinach bread; and a fancy take on the ham and cheese sanga (the traditional Boxing Day meal). There’s also a colourful selection of sweets with some very merry names. There's the "Christmas Carol", a red velvet sponge with berry cream cheese; the "Snow Land", an orange flourless cake with white chocolate mousse and blood orange jelly; and "the Ginger Man", a spicy ginger and orange meringue tart. And, of course, a high tea wouldn’t be complete without scones – choose from vanilla or rum and raisin, both served with jam and cream. For $59 during weekdays ($65 on weekends), the menu includes coffee or tea plus the special Jingle Berry cocktail on arrival. To make a booking, visit the Little Collins Kitchen website.

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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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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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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, bicycle-powered program of short films and award-winning feature documentaries celebrating grassroots action around climate change over three evenings – January 14, 21 and 28.  Canine fanatics can join Dog Walking Adventures. On the third Sunday of every month from November to March the team behind Tom + Captain Dog Walking Adventures embark on meanderings through the city with and a bunch of good boys and girls. BYO pup or just join the pack.  This is just a taste of the diverse program, which also includes Sound Bath Sessions, nature-based creative kids workshops with artist and next-gen crafter Beci Orpin, Indigenous arch

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Art

KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness

NGV International, Southbank

Even if you don't know his name, you're almost certainly familiar with Brian Donnelly's (aka KAWS) larger-than-life sculptures and paintings. Kaws take icons from cartoons and pop culture and reimagines them in vulnerable and unexpected situations. His signature? Their hands are marked with sharp crosses. This new exhibition at the NGV (which is running at the same time as the gallery's Basquiat and Haring blockbuster) features paintings, sculptures, graphic design and product design, covering the full spectrum of his creative output. Central to the exhibition is a monumental sculpture, which is his largest work in bronze so far. 

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Blinded by the Light
Photo: Nick Wall/Warner Bros.
Film, Comedy

Blinded by the Light

4 out of 5 stars

What Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It like Beckham did for football, her effervescent latest does for Springsteen. And Sony Walkmans. And double denim. For viewers of a certain age – if you ever owned a Level 42 cassette, that’s you – there’s loads of easy ’80s nostalgia to feast on. Blinded by the Light is about connecting with music in a way that finds you a tribe and respite from your worries – even when they’re as grave as the racist thug stalking you across your estate. It’s set in Luton at the mass-unemployment- and National Front-stained end of Thatcher’s ’80s, but Chadha gives it a sparky American-high-school-movie sheen and a Bruce-heavy soundtrack to banish the minor-key moments. Its hero, Javed (Viveik Kalra), is a British-Pakistani teenager who writes poetry, dreams of escape and gets his spirits crushed daily by his ultra-strict dad. But when his new friend Roops (Aaron Phagura) chucks him a couple of Bruce Springsteen tapes, salvation arrives in the form of the Boss’s uncannily relatable blue-collar anthems. "Bruce knows everything I’ve ever felt," he marvels. Based on a book by journalist Sarfraz Manzoor (who also co-writes), it’s peppered with the kind of loving details that can only be real. Javed’s sister chops onions in swimming goggles, while it takes the whole family to jump-start his dad’s old banger. His musical epiphany comes during the Great Storm of 1987, which has him spinning through the tempest, lost in the Boss’s tunes. With the lyrics pinwheeling acr

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45
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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Judy and Punch
Photograph: Picturehouse
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. 

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47
Photo: Niko Tavernise/Netflix
Film, Drama

The Irishman

4 out of 5 stars

Martin Scorsese pulls off a killer self-own at the top of his overstuffed, frequently electrifying The Irishman. Too-generously adapted by Steven Zaillian from the 2004 crime memoir I Heard You Paint Houses, the nearly three-and-a-half-hour The Irishman – spanning its decades like an extra-large Cadillac – isn’t about perfectly still nights so much as the dying of the light, the end of one’s years, and the belated, unarticulated guilt that’s inherent to mob lifestyles. 

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Razzmatazz DJs Caity and Ted against a pink backdrop
Photograph: Supplied
Clubs

Razzmatazz Indie Disco

Globe Alley, Melbourne

You might remember Razzmatazz as the party people responsible for some raging nights out at the Exford and the since-closed Ding Dong Lounge. But you can't stop indie music and Razzmatazz is back in action after a hiatus.  Razzmatazz Indie Disco runs on the first Friday of every month at its new home, Globe Alley. Resident DJs Caity and Ted are back too, spinning the indie classics from every era. Expect bangers spanning Bowie, Blur, Oasis, the Arctic Monkeys, the Cure and Chvrches.  Better still, the newly reincarnated Razzmatazz night is free to enter. That's more dosh to spend on Globe Alley's drink specials (or their jalepeño poppers). 

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49
Canvas bell tent with entrance open, showing interior of tent
Photograph: Ferne Millen
Things to do, Pop-up locations

Glamping at Terindah Estate

Terindah Estate, Portarlington

If you’ve visited the cellar door or restaurant at Terindah Estate, you’ll be well acquainted with its exquisite views of Port Phillip Bay. Now you can experience those soul-soothing waterfront views in a whole new light – literally – with the vineyard opening up one of its back paddocks for glamping. Barely five minutes' walk from the carpark are 15 canvas bell tents bookable every night of the week from the first of November until early May. The tents embrace the aesthetic of glamping – inside it’s all comfy soft furnishings, jute rugs and macramé ornaments.

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Oil Red Stitch 2019 supplied
Photograph: John Lloyd Fillingham
Theatre

Oil

Cromwell Road Theatre, South Yarra
4 out of 5 stars

It’s 1889 in Cornwall. It’s a freezing winter night. A suited stranger interrupts a family dinner and introduces them to a strange, black substance pooled within a lantern. This is oil, and it shocks everyone into excitement or doubt – it ignites into a warm, thick tongue of flame, but gives off a peculiar smell. After the stranger leaves, May, the pregnant wife of a farmer, decides to go outside. She picks up the lantern and starts to walk. She walks through time. It’s now 1908. Tehran. May, a servant, with her eight-year-old daughter Amy in tow, scrounges up one last job. Time jumps forward again, and May and Amy, now in a car, drive through decades, to 1970, where they thunder at each other in a kitchen in Hampstead. Time jumps forward again. 

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51
Tricolour photograph of the Milky Way galaxy
Photograph: Aperture Vintage / Unsplash
Things to do

Planetarium Nights

Scienceworks, Spotswood

Now I don’t know about you, but I would personally like to be well-informed when aliens invade earth and claim their place as our overlords. In this regard, the Planetarium at Scienceworks might be able to help. This season, the Planetarium will be offering guests the chance to explore the cosmos with a series of after-hours and adults-only film screenings on the huge planetarium dome. Every Friday night those over 18 can explore everything from black holes to fluorescent coral. You won’t go spacing out with these shows, either, as they’re loaded with amazing visuals and stellar content. Each night features two screenings, one at 7.30pm and the other at 9pm, with films varying from month to month. Some of the films being screened include Europe to the Stars, Chaos and Order, Ticket to the Universe and Capcom GO! Don't miss December's screening of Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon where you'll be able to listen to the entirety of Pink Floyd's seminal 1973 album while colourful, psychedelic visuals are projected over the full dome.  Plus the bar will be open if you fancy a drink with your trip into space. Planetarium Nights are on every Friday until December 27.

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Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros.
Film

Joker

5 out of 5 stars

It's the laugh that gets you: Joaquin Phoenix’s half cackle, half rasp has all the soothing aural balm of a vulture in a blender. It’ll be ratting around in your ears long after the old-school “The End” card flashes up on this unrelenting, grimly funny and brilliantly visceral reinvention of the DC supervillain. Joker is a truly nightmarish vision of late-era capitalism – arguably the best social horror film since Get Out – and Phoenix is magnetic in it. 

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53
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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Last Christmas
Photograph: Universal Pictures
Film, Romance

Last Christmas

Kate (Emilia Clarke) harumphs around London, a bundle of bad decisions accompanied by the jangle of bells on her shoes, another irritating consequence from her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Tom (Henry Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate's barriers. As London transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two. But sometimes, you gotta let the snow fall where it may, you gotta listen to your heart . . . and you gotta have faith.

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55
People in chairs at a pop-up cinema
Photograph: Anton Rehrl
Film

American Express Openair Cinemas

South Beach Reserve, St Kilda

Screening a bunch of fresh new releases, golden oldies and critically acclaimed alternative films, American Express Openair Cinemas offers movie fanatics much more than the average cinematic experience. From October 9 until November 3, Yarra Park will be taken over by a packed program of live entertainment, dining, music and dog dates. Yes, that’s right, dogs. Proud puppy parents can snuggle up to their own wonder dogs while they settle in for a season of new release flicks, including Downton Abbey (Oct 25 and 27), Ad Astra (Nov 3), It: Chapter 2 (Oct 31), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Oct 9), Rocketman (Oct 10), Yesterday (Oct 18), Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (Nov 11), Abominable (Nov 2), The Australian Dream (Oct 22) and plenty more.  You’re sure to work up an appetite with all the excitement, so grab a slice of something covered in cheese from the Italian masters at Ladro. They're curating a menu for the evening, complemented by beers by Urban Alley Brewery, aperatifs by Pimms and wine from Giesen Wines. Speaking of wine, every Wednesday has officially been coined Wine Wednesdays at American Express Openair Cinemas. Guests can sample Giesen Wines' full range and even purchase bottles at Happy Hour prices.  If you have an American Express Card membership, this will be is your golden ticket to the exclusive lounge area at the event. You’ll receive the VIP treatment, complete with a comfortable bean bag chair, blanket, movie snacks and the best view in the hous

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Jennifer Lopez stars in Hustlers
Barbara Nitke/STXFilms
Film, Drama

Hustlers

4 out of 5 stars

Think Ocean’s Eleven with strippers and you’ve got the premise of Lorene Scafaria’s surprising, gripping Hustlers. Constance Wu stars as Dorothy, aka Destiny, the new girl at a hot Manhattan gentlemen’s club. The wildly successful Ramona (Jennifer Lopez) takes Dorothy under her wing and shows her how to get ahead in exotic dancing. But after the 2008 financial crash, the pair and their friends resort to criminal means to keep the cash coming in. This is a deeply feminist film, one where men are given less screen time than the cameoing Cardi B and Lizzo. These women are objectified by the world (though rarely by Scafaria’s camera) and they use that fact to scam money and take revenge on Wall Streeters. The director treats the women as flawed, fractious characters and folk heroes, not sex dolls. She packs in some visual flourishes too, like a shaky-cam shot of one of the crew’s walk of shame to her daughter’s school. It’s a reminder that there’s more at stake for these women than the ability to buy designer clothes. If Wu is compelling as Destiny, Lopez is magnetic as her savvy mentor. It’s her most authoritative role since Out of Sight. The plot, in contrast to the stars, sags in the middle and there are a few more celebratory hang-out scenes than we need, but the gang is so charismatic, it’s no great chore to spend extra time with them. Some people would pay thousands for just a few minutes.

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Installation view of 'Collecting Comme'
Art, Design

Collecting Comme

NGV International, Southbank

The National Gallery of Victoria has always been quite forward-thinking in its integration of design and fashion into its exhibition program, but it also has a hugely impressive collection of design, including a heap of pieces from Japanese label Comme des Garçons. The label is led by founder and designer Rei Kawakubo, who has been creating innovative fashion since the 1970s, and is continuing on that journey today. The NGV collection includes key pieces by Kawakubo, which are being shown in this free exhibition. They've been donated by Takamasa Takahashi since 2005, and together show how Kawakubo's designs challenged tradition to create a new fashion vocabulary. The pieces range from 1981, when Kawakubo first showed work in Paris, to recent designs from the 2014 'Blood and Roses' collection.

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

Rain Room

Jackalope Pavilion, St Kilda

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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Ready or Not
Film, Thriller

Ready or Not

Ready or Not follows a young bride (Samara Weaving) as she joins her new husband's (Mark O'Brien) rich, eccentric family (Adam Brody, Henry Czerny, Andie MacDowell) in a time-honored tradition that turns into a lethal game with everyone fighting for their survival.

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Smashed avo and cocktails on a table filled flowers
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Food and drink

Rooftop Bottomless Brunch at the Provincial

The Provincial, Fitzroy

[Sponsored] We love hanging out at a rooftop watering hole, and we love it even more when said hangout includes brunch and bespoke cocktails. Fitzroy’s Provincial Hotel is welcoming the return of the warm weather with open arms by launching a new bottomless brunch on its sun-soaked rooftop. And this time around it’ll include a boozy ice-cream cart.  Every Saturday and Sunday starting October 19, the Provincial is offering bookings for its glammed-up rooftop brunch. Assemble your mates then settle in for two hours of cocktails and a menu filled with brunch favourites.  Choose from a traditional brunch item like the Provincial’s bacon-and-egg burger, chicken and waffles or Northside smashed avo. You can also opt to go more lunch than brunch and order a cheeseburger or a brunch pizza (there’s even a veggo option available). Washing all that down will be three cocktails made with 78 Degrees Sunset Gin. Sip on a Tonic Spritz and Highball, as well as a gin and juice (bottomless Mimosas, house wine and beers are also available). Be sure to save room for dessert, as the Provincial is wheeling out an ice-cream cart with four flavours – vanilla choc chip, Belgian chocolate (both vegan), lemon meringue pie or a boozy strawberry gin rosé. The Provincial’s new bottomless rooftop brunch is available every Saturday and Sunday from October 19. It’ll set you back $60 per person for two hours of revelries and can be booked online.

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61
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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Treats at Wonkariffic Kids High Tea
Kids, Food events

Wonkariffic Kids High Tea

The Westin Melbourne, Melbourne

While the adults are digging into the Wonka Bar at Melbourne’s Westin Hotel, kids can have their own fun.  To celebrate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory landing at Her Majesty's Theatre, the Westin Hotel is recreating its kid-friendly high tea with a little Wonka magic.  The Wonkariffic Kids High Tea includes three tiers of sweets crafted by the Westin’s Oompa Loompas… er, I mean pastry chefs. There’s everything from chocolate river cupcakes, honeycomb and chocolate mousse, cucumber finger sandwiches, violet and almond gobstopper cookies and even a golden ticket milk chocolate bar.  Thirsty? Kids can take choose from Violet Beauregard’s bubblegum milkshake, hot chocolate, juices or soft drink to wash down all the sweets.  When partaking in the Wonkariffic High Tea, all kids will receive a limited edition Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book by Roald Dahl to take home.  The high tea is aimed at children four to 12-years-old and costs $49 per child.

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Kid splaying at KAWS playtime
Kids, Exhibitions

KAWS: Playtime

NGV International, Southbank

Alongside the NGV's mega KAWS exhibition is something for the littlest art fans. KAWS: Playtime is a free and immersive exhibition for kids that includes a number of hands-on activities that draw inspiration from KAWS’ work, especially his BFF character, which is inspired by popular cartoon characters (including a certain blue-furred anxious character). The exhibition is on display from September 20 until April 13 at NGV International and it’s free to attend.

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Melbourne Book Market Queen Victoria Market
Photograph: Supplied
Shopping, Markets

Melbourne Book Market

The famous weekly Fed Square book market shut up shop in 2017, much to the despair of Melbourne's bibliophile community. But the closure was only a temporary one, with the free market now open at Queen Victoria Market every Sunday till December 15. Whether you eat, sleep and breathe books or are just curious, the market has over 5,000 new and second-hand titles to browse from. From sci-fi to non-fiction, the Melbourne Book Market has every genre presented by a revolving cast of veteran Melbourne booksellers. Tweed jackets are encouraged, but not compulsory. There will be around 20 pop-up stalls giving bibliophiles plenty of options to spend all their life savings on, including stalls by the founding members of the book market. After deciding on your next bedtime read take some time to stroll around the market and check off your grocery list with the fresh produce or go into one of the cafés and satiate your hunger. For more information on the next market visit the Queen Victoria Market website or the Melbourne Book Market Facebook page.  

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65
Never the Same River Anna Schwartz Gallery 2019 supplied
Candice Breitz, 'Profile' (still) 2017
Art

Never the Same River

Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne

Anna Schwartz Gallery celebrates its 35th anniversary this year with a landmark exhibition that brings together work from more than 50 Australian and international artists. Ranging from the late '80s to today. Never the Same River draws on the history of four Australian galleries past and present – the now defunct United Artists and City Galleries in Melbourne, and Anna Schwartz Galleries in Sydney (now closed) and Melbourne – to trace the ways in which artists engage with or against the social and political contexts of the time. 

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Photo: Matt Nettheim
Film, Drama

The Nightingale

The Nightingale follows Clare (Aisling Franciosi), a 21-year-old Irish convict in 1820s Tasmania, who having served her 7-year sentence, is desperate to be free of her abusive master, Lieutenant Hawkins (Sam Claflin) who refuses to release her from his charge. Clare's husband, Aidan (Michael Sheasby), retaliates and she becomes the victim of a harrowing crime at the hands of the lieutenant and his cronies. Unable to secure justice from the British authorities, Clare decides to pursue Hawkins, who leaves his post suddenly to secure a captaincy up north.

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

High Cheese

The Westin Melbourne, Melbourne

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. Now extended until December 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

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Segredos Oficiais (2019)
©DR
Film, Drama

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 favour of an invasion of Iraq. 

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69
Woman arranging vegetable stall
Photograph: Supplied
Things to do, Walks and tours

Preston Market Flavourhood tours

Preston Market, Preston

One of Melbourne’s largest and most delicious markets is now running tasting tours. Preston Market has launched Saturday morning food tours that curates some of the tastiest products on offer at this northside food hall.  The 2.5-hour tour walks guests through the market, introducing them to traders who will talk them through what they have on offer and how best to use their products in their own kitchens.  As well as getting to try organic produce, fresh seafood, deli items and Preston Market’s winning paella, guests on the tour will also get to try more unusual foodie finds like crocodile meat (which we’re informed can be cooked easily on a sandwich press if you want to jazz up your sad office lunch).  The Flavourhood tours run roughly twice a month, are $20 per person and include a progressive breakfast, coffee, Preston Market eco bag and a $5 market voucher. Tours are limited to ten people per tour and you can book online to secure your place.

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Wonka Bar
Things to do, Food and drink

Wonka Bar

The Westin Melbourne, Melbourne

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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Petrina Hicks, Bleached Gothic 2019 supplied NGV
© Petrina Hicks. Courtesy Michael Reid, Sydney; and This is No Fantasy, Melbourne.
Art, Photography