Things to do in Melbourne this weekend
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.
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
Taking the old-fashioned highs of an MGM musical and pairing them with the deep lows of an addiction drama, Rocketman is a turbo-charged rock fantasia that pushes hard against the boundaries of the medium as it zips through the first four decades of Elton John’s life. The songs explode from the screen, time jumps catapult the story forward with exhilarating élan and even the emotional stuff lands, for the most part. Sure, Elton John purists will be here until Christmas pointing out the flaws in the chronology and the liberties taken with real-life events, but they’ll be doing it dancing in the aisles. It’s a credit to director Dexter Fletcher, who really comes of age as a filmmaker here, that any thoughts of Bohemian Rhapsody fade away in the first few minutes. Fletcher was parachuted in to help finish that Queen biopic, but while there are some superficial parallels, he’s saved all his good stuff for Rocketman. From an opening blast of 'The Bitch Is Back' which thrusts a young Reggie Dwight (Matthew Illesley) into a glorious, sepia-tinged dance routine outside his northwest London home, the movie is filled with vividly choreographed, imaginatively staged, wow-isn’t-cinema-great? moments. One standout sequence finds a drunk and overdosing Elton plunging suicidally into his Los Angeles pool, before segueing from ambulance to hospital to concert stage, via a boyhood version of himself playing the title track on a tiny piano — underwater. It must have looked nuts on the script
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo was established in 1985 by Princess Caroline of Hanover (in accordance with her mother, Grace of Monaco’s wishes) and has since become one of the world’s most exciting ballet companies. “For a ballet company, they’re so different to what we do, but they’re really creating ballet of the 21st century,” the Australian Ballet's artistic director David McAllister says. The Australian Ballet has invited the company to Melbourne with this new, critically acclaimed take on Swan Lake, choreographed by Jean-Christophe Maillot. His production is dark, sexy and features costumes by Winter Olympics designer Philippe Guillotel. “As Jean-Christophe always does, he approaches it from a very contemporary angle,” McAllister says. “It’s the same Swan Lake story – the white swan versus the black swan – but in this production they’re played by different people.”
After the success of their monthly yum cha night, Heroes karaoke bar in the CBD is introducing ‘Curry-oke’ Sundays. As the name suggests, guests can expect a hearty Malaysian curry followed by endless sing-a-longs, with drink and cocktail packages available. For $25 per person, diners will get a choice of meat or vegan curry, plus a soy- braised dish, sambal stir-fried veggies, a variety of pickles and complementary rice or deep-fried buns. For an additional $20, patrons can get a drink ticket that includes the signature ‘Curry on My Wayward Son’ cocktail on arrival. This punchy drink features lemongrass and chilli- infused vodka, coconut cream, jalapeno hot sauce and is garnished with dried curry leaf. Drink tickets also include two house drinks throughout the night. Rest assured that everyone will be singing and dancing like no one’s watching, as the team at Heroes are carefully constructing the ultimate karaoke playlist. Curry-oke nights will run from 6-10pm on Sunday May 26, Sunday June 23 and concluding on Sunday July 28. Book ahead to secure your spot.
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.
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'...).
These dinosaurs are large-scale models of these ancient beasts, and they will be roaming around at Healesville, Werribee and Melbourne zoos for 100 days. If you're lucky, you might see a keeper waking a sleeping dinosaur, or come face to face with a moving prehistoric creature. At Melbourne Zoo you can experience Dino Park, where dinosaurs made by Erth Visual & Physical Inc come to life. At Werribee Open Range Zoo, you calk walk through the new Zoorassic river trail. There are nine life-sized dinosaurs to see. The wide open plains will also be opening after dark for an adults-only dino experience. Over three nights Werribee is opening its gates for Dino Files, an evening event for over 18s who want to walk, eat and drink with dinosaurs.
Colin Thiele’s 1964 novel Storm Boy took 12 years to become a film. Touching but also blatantly sentimental, it drifted rather languorously into the Australian consciousness, to become a minor classic that’s been filmed twice and adapted twice for the stage. It’s a stark contrast to an English classic that bears significant similarities, Barry Hines’ 1968 novel A Kestrel for a Knave, which Ken Loach filmed two years later as Kes. Both stories focus on the relationship between a young boy and a bird and touch on social isolation, familial grief and the healing power of the natural world.Storm Boy (Conor Lowe) is referred to simply as “boy” by his father, Hideaway Tom (John Batchelor), who has shuffled the pair to the edge of the civilised world in Coorong in South Australia, living a hand-to-mouth existence of fishing and self-imposed isolation. A local itinerant called Fingerbone Bill (Tony Briggs) gives the boy his moniker, as well as introducing him to the local birdlife. This leads to the adoption of three orphaned pelicans, which the boy names Mr Proud, Mr Ponder and, his favourite, Mr Percival.
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.
Stephen Sondheim is widely regarded as musical theatre's greatest composer, having written hundreds of unforgettable tunes for shows including Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods and Follies. But there's one song of his that will outlive all the rest: 'Send in the Clowns'. It's been covered by everybody from Kenny Rogers to Barbra Streisand, and remains Sondheim's most recognisable tune. But not everybody is familiar with the show it comes from, a bittersweet and frequently funny musical about missed opportunities and old flames. Sondheim based the musical on Ingmar Bergman's comedy Smiles of a Summer Night, which culminates in an ill-fated weekend in the country. Victorian Opera is reviving this lush production directed by Stuart Maunder, bringing to life Sweden in the early 20th century with plenty of glamour and sophistication. Operatic soprano-turned-cabaret star Ali McGregor plays Desirée, a formerly successful actor hoping to rekindle a love affair (she's the character who sings 'Send in the Clowns').
Sorry, tea – you’ve had plenty of time to be paired with finger sandwiches, scones and macarons. Now it’s time for High Coffee, Sheraton Hotel’s new twist on a classic high tea. High Coffee features coffee (duh) but also coffee-infused food and Espresso Martinis. Think cappuccino macarons, chocolate hazelnut tarts with Kahlua and espresso eclairs, plus all your favourite savoury snacks like croque monsieurs, almond scones, smoked salmon frittatas and pumpkin and leek muffins. High Coffee runs all throughout June and July at Little Collins Kitchen from 1 to 3pm. It’s $59 per person on Munday to Friday and $65 per person on weekends. This includes an Espresso Martini on arrival and unlimited coffee (plus tea, if you think all that coffee will give you the jitters).
Malthouse's artistic director Matthew Lutton is working with award-winning Scottish playwright David Greig on this adaptation of Stanisław Lem’s seminal sci-fi novel. It’s been turned into two films in the past, but Greig is going back to the original source material to tell a story about a mysterious planet where visitors encounter the ghosts of long-lost loved ones. Eamon Farren will star with a company of local and international performers in this co-production with Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre. Expect something spooky and potentially even terrifying.
Whether you’re learning to make your way in the world as a writer or you’re just up for fascinating talks and good times, make sure you catch at least one of the events of the festival. We suggest Opening Night: Speaking Truth to Power The festival opens by championing those who can't always champion themselves, whose voices are silenced while the powerful fill the airways with lies and propaganda. Paola Balla, Vicki Couzens and Eugenia Flynn will speak at the opening night event, which is hosted by Izzy Roberts-Orr. It's free, but bookings are required.
ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE is a major festival all about the ways that artists are approaching climate change, with more than 30 exhibitions around Melbourne. But this exhibition of immersive projection works by Melbourne artist Yandell Walton is one of our highlights. Developed over a series of international residencies in 2017 and 2018, the exhibition explores the human relationship with our natural world and looks at how our environments are shifting. But this isn’t a dry scientific experiment; Walton’s installations are inspired by – and respond to – the architecture of the Substation, where the exhibition is being presented.
British dramatist Caryl Churchill has a knack for imbuing intimate scenarios with epic power, which certainly resonates with Red Stitch Actors Theatre, the small venue with a reputation for big storytelling. Written in 2016, Escaped Alone is a prime example; a simple conceit that unlocks an awesome vision exploring the existential terrors we hide beneath a veneer of everyday small talk. In a pleasant, sun-dappled garden, three women sit chatting over tea. They’re joined by a vague acquaintance, Mrs Jarrett (Julie Forsyth), welcoming her with inconsequential, middle-class conversations about favourite TV shows, the coming and going of shops on the high street, and the accomplishments of grandchildren. These pleasantries are so familiar, we’re lulled into thinking we know these people. But slowly, hints of their unique internal struggles rise to the surface.
If you’re not familiar with Paraguayan cinema, that’s hardly surprising: the South American country produced a handful of films during the entire 20th century. But it only takes a single filmmaker – a Bergman, von Trier or Haneke – to put a country on the map. On the evidence of The Heiresses, director Marcelo Martinessi might be the one to do it. It took out the Sydney Film Prize at the Sydney Film Festival in 2018, and scores bonus points for being the most Bechdel test-friendly film of the year. Middle-aged couple Chela (Ava Brun) and Chiquita (Margarita Irún) have enjoyed being part of Paraguay’s wealthy elite, but straitened times mean big changes are on the way. Mounting debts lead to a spell in prison for Chiquita, treasured possessions are being sold off, and Chela resorts to running a taxi service for well-to-do women. Humiliation would appear to be all that their future holds, but venturing from her rusting gilded cage leads Chela to enjoy new freedoms, including sensual bisexual Angy (Ava Ivanova), and a future ripe with possibility. Working from his own exquisitely observed script, and interpreted by phenomenal actors with barely any screen experience, Martinessi creates a beguiling, female-centric story that has an almost Almodóvar-esque understanding of women. It’s directed with a documentarian’s sense of realism, cleverly anchored to Chela as the film’s viewpoint. It’s an assured feature debut and it isn’t too much of a stretch to see Chela’s late flowering a
It’s not an exaggeration to say Alexander Calder changed the face of modern art. Known as “the man who made sculpture move”, his gravity-defying mobiles are instantly recognisable. Now, in conjunction with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Victoria presents the first retrospective of Calder’s work at an Australian public institution. Bringing together more than 100 of the artist’s works, from childhood pieces to three-dimensional wire portraits and the mobiles and “stabiles” (grounded sculptures) with which he made his name, at the heart of the exhibition will be an immersive canopy display of Calder’s hanging mobiles, including 'Jacaranda' (1949), and the landmark 'Black Mobile with Hole' (1954).
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
Christmas in Australia is strange. We’re expected to eat roast dinner and wear Santa suits, but the mercury is often well past 30 degrees. Which is why Luna Park is celebrating Christmas in July these school holidays. From June 29 to July 14 (that is, the Victorian winter school holidays), the seaside amusement park will be celebrating Christmas six months early with festive lights, bunting, snow and the big, jolly man himself. Visit the giant Christmas tree or say hello to Santa, who will be sitting in his merry sleigh every weekend and telling stories. Make sure to say hi to Santa’s elves too – if you’ve been good so far this year they’ll even give you a chocolate for your trouble. There will also be hourly snowfalls, so make sure you bring your woolies.
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.
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.
The Yarra Valley isn’t just good for wine; it’s also home to an outstanding collection of Australian contemporary art courtesy of the TarraWarra Museum of Art in Healesville. The gallery’s latest exhibition examines the fragments we leave behind, and places works by Australian artists such as Simryn Gill and Sangeeta Sandrasegar in a more global context by hanging them alongside those by international artists such as Belgian-Mexican artist Francis Alÿs video installation 'Paradox of Praxis 5: Sometimes we dream as we live & sometimes we live as we dream, Ciudad Juárez, México'; new works by Carlos Capelán and Shilpa Gupta; and refugee Hiwa K, whose works trace his journey from Kurdistan to Germany on foot.
South Wharf’s Akachochin has announced a sushi making masterclass, which will be run by the restaurant’s head chef Seyong Park. The masterclass will give punters a hands-on experience of the entire process of making sushi – from choosing the perfect fish to the skilful slicing and preparing of high-quality pieces, right down to choosing the correct combination of sauces and condiments. Fresh ingredients will be made available throughout the class while the head chef teaches you how different types of sushi – the pressed ‘cake’ variety as well as sushi rolls – are put together.
Venetian glass is known across the world for its vibrant colour, elaborate designs and exquisite craftsmanship, honed over centuries by traditional glassblowers on the Venetian island of Murano. In Liquid Light, the National Gallery of Victoria brings together their extensive collection of glass pieces to explore the development of the Venetian glass tradition, from the Golden Age of the 16th century to the postmodern creations of the Memphis Group. Highlights include a Games of Thrones-worthy 17th century goblet, complete with intertwining dragons coiling around the stem, and a contemporary patchwork vase by renowned Murano glass artist Fulvio Bianconi.
St Kilda Film Festival is now a winter event, launching on Friday June 21 with a gala event at the Palais Theatre. The festival features the top 100 films submitted by Australian filmmakers, plus music videos (SoundKILDA), international content and special events. The festival has partnered with Virtual Reality (VR) Cinema by offering a novel viewing experience for audience members. Patrons will be able to watch a selection of short films and music videos for free while wearing VR headsets. St Kilda Film Festival is now an Academy Awards qualifying event, meaning that prize winners are eligible for consideration for the Academy Awards for short films, animations and documentaries.
The District Docklands is set to transform into a winter wonderland. No need to hit the slopes or get any snow gear sorted this season; you can get your thrills and spills right here in Melbourne. Hop onto a tube and hurtle down the 15-metre long District Ice Slide, which has been set up at the Square next to Uniqlo. Bring your beanie, scarf, gloves and a gold coin or two. The gold coin is charged per slide, and the money raised is for Kids Under Cover, which combats youth homelessness. This year, the District Docklands team are introducing an evening edition, just for over-18s. There will be DJs, coffee, beer from local brewery Urban Alley and doughnuts from San Churro. The District Ice Slide is on from June 29 until July 14, and open 11am to 5pm daily. The line for the slide closes at 4pm sharp.
Arriving with the sledgehammer momentum that only 21 previous global blockbusters can provide, Avengers: Endgame is the multiplex-rattling and curiously emotional culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe – at least until the next chapter. You know it’s going to be long (three hours, but there’s no need to sit out the end credits this time); you know it’s going to be high-level homework for even the most advanced fan. But what you don’t know is how deeply invested you may be in these 11 years of movies, a compendium of destruction and heroism that altered our culture but also reflected it, sometimes weightlessly, at other times grandly. Endgame often pays tribute to itself, which makes it as fascinating as it is self-serious.
The average person might look at a broccoli stem, leftover bread or any part of the fish that isn't the fillet as stuff belongs in the bin, but Congress is hosting a Sunday lunch to make you rethink that. In a lunch that will marry sustainability with minimalising food waste, Congress will be serving its cult-status pig's head sanga alongside other dishes, like potato skins, pork jowls and fish collars, which will make you see your trash as treasure. Neil Prentice, of Gippsland's Moondarra, who practises winemaking with minimal impact on the land, will be pouring wines to match each course on the day. Bookings are essential and can be made by emailing the restaurant.
The Tolkien estate has pre-emptively ‘disavowed’ this biopic of fantasy great JRR Tolkien – a fancy way of letting the world know that it was made without any official help and basically boo-sucks to the filmmakers. There’ll be few regrets when its trustees see the finished film. Despite the best efforts of its committed young cast, and especially a game (if suspiciously old-looking) Nicholas Hoult as Tolkien in his late teens and early twenties, it’s a plodding and polite portrayal that holds few surprises.
The NGV's Friday Nights series is back for another round, and this time they’re pairing a string of gigs alongside the new Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality exhibition. Few things go hand-in-hand like music and art, and NGV Friday Nights’ set-up is the best way to take in the latest NGV exhibition after dark while enjoying the best in local and international acts. Performing in the NGV's Great Hall every Friday night until mid-October, this season's line-up will feature the likes of Ngairre, Rainbow Chan, Husky, Slum Sociable, the Audreys, Young Franco, Sui Zhen and heaps more. See the full line-up on NGV's website. This year, the NGV has teamed up with the dumpling heroes at Hutong Dumpling Bar. A selection of their signature dumplings will be available to purchase at NGV Friday Nights at the NGV Gallery Kitchen.
If the daily grind is making you feel baaad, we've got the perfect event that will really perk ewe up. Breathe in and bleat out is a meditation session where you’re joined by a flock of baby goats and sheep. No, we’re not kidding. The session is hosted by yoga and meditation outfit Karmably, and instructors will walk visitors through some light stretching and sound meditation as the cutest cohort of kids and lambs frolic freely between people. If it sounds distracting, well, you’re right. But having the baby animals roaming about actually serves as a metaphor for newbie meditators and allows you to embrace the chaotic situation and let go of control. You can expect to be cuddled, nuzzled and maybe even nibbled by the wee baby ungulates.
If you are someone whose creative juices are stimulated by beverages stronger than, well, actual juice, this could be the perfect event for you. Fairytale-themed bar StoryVille is hosting twice-weekly art classes – with cocktails. Artist Liam Waldie teaches participants how to recreate a painting based on pop culture themes like Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Dr Seuss and Alice in Wonderland. Entry is $63 and includes a cocktail – plus, more cocktails and jaffles are available for purchase at the bar. Waldie has been teaching art for 12 years, and his work has been used in posters, T-shirts, wrapping paper and children's books. He guides participants through the painting process step by step, so depending on how many cocktails you've had, you should be able to create your own masterpiece to take home. Each class takes two hours. The classes are on offer every Wednesday at 7pm and every Sunday at 4pm.
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 August 25. 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.
Rosslynd Piggott is one of Australia's most diverse contemporary artists, working seamlessly across painting, drawing, photography, textiles and installation to create her unique multisensory works. Presented 21 years after her last survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, I Sense You But I Cannot See You brings together more than 100 of Piggott’s works, many of which have not been seen in Australia before. Highlights include Collection of air 2.12.1992-28.2.1993, which saw Piggott travel Europe for three months capturing vials of air from 65 locations, and a group of engraved glass sculptures created in collaboration with artists on the Venetian island of Murano.
Skating At is adding a slice of winter wonderland to St Kilda, installing an ice rink where you can skate gracefully (or not so gracefully) 'til your heart's content. The rinks are fine for skaters of all levels with skates included and 'kanga' skate aids available for littlies still finding their ice legs. You can find the St Kilda ice rink on the corner of Acland and Barkly streets, near Acland Court Shopping Centre. On Tuesday evenings head along for Skate and Date (featuring romantic tunes) or turn up (in more ways than one) on Thursdays nights to hear R'n'B tunes from the 90s and 00s. The rink is also wheelchair accessible and holders of carer or companion cards can attend for free.
This June Firelight Festival takes over Docklands for three days of enchanting performances, delicious food and drinks, quality tunes and beautiful light shows and installations. Plus: lots and lots of fire. The Firelight Festival takes its name very seriously after all – no matter where you turn during the event, you’re sure to come face to face with flames (how better to stay toasty warm?). Firelight has enlisted FireWorks Dance Company who will be putting on flame-licked dance and circus shows to dazzle you with. During the festival, Dockland’s sparkling Victoria Harbour will also come to life with dozens of musical performances every night. Enjoy the fiery antics of trumpeter Flaming Blunderbuss; the one-man musical marvel that is Uptown Brown; high-energy drumming and dance-like moves of D2 Drumline.
Even if you’re more pro-Republic than a Peter FitzSimons bandana, there’s no denying the impact and ongoing appeal of Britain’s royal families. Over the ages England’s kings, queen, princes and princesses have been responsible for everything from divorce (Henry VIII’s desire for a son is to blame) to white wedding dresses (before Victoria white wedding dresses were unusual), while their desire to stick union flags into far-flung corners of the world had permanent and frequently destructive political effects. Bendigo Art Gallery is home to five British dynasties and more than 500 years worth of history for Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits.
Melbourne has seen Simon Stephens’ Birdland and his record-smashing adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. But this 2015 play takes a step away from those large-scale works to tell an intimate story of a 42-year-old woman (played by Offspring star Kat Stewart) who falls for a much older Englishman (Peter Kowitz). The Melbourne Theatre Company production will be directed by Tom Healey. “After the scale and epicness of Curious Incident, this very intimate, bittersweet romantic comedy seemed kind of out of left field,” Melbourne Theatre Company artistic director Brett Sheehy says. “I loved it, sent it to Kat Stewart, and there was this immediate email straight back to me saying ‘yes’.”
[Sponsored] Every circus is set up basically the same, right? You take one big top (preferably red and white striped), add a stage for the performers, some seats for the audience and maybe some barriers to separate the two. Circus Oz isn’t one for doing things like everyone else though. Circus Oz is shaking up the rules of circus with Wunderage: an immersive new show with no seats and no barriers between you and the performers. In Wunderage the audience isn’t just watching the show passively from the sidelines – instead they see it unfold all around them. Through mind-boggling physical feats, humour and an inspiring live score, Wunderage treads a tightrope (literally and figuratively) between who we are and who we might become.
If you've ever wanted to make your own cheese, this is the masterclass for you. Henry and the Fox is offering a series of masterclasses to teach you how to make all kinds of cheese from around the world – and yes, tasting is encouraged. Classes offered include everything from brie to tallegio to peccorino, halloumi and mozzarella, and each class is marked with a level of difficulty. Each class is $89 per person, and they run for three hours. The classes include a glass of chardonnay or pinot noir on arrival, plus a shared cheese board. You'll also get to take home your cheesy creations at the end.
It’s easy to write off Darren Sylvester’s lucid, hyper-real photographs as simply commenting on consumerism. But Sylvester wants to be clear – the branded objects and banal scenes that regularly appear in his works aren’t intended to combat the commercialist agenda. “People sometimes don’t see any further than that – just think it’s about consumerism,” says Sylvester. “Well no, it’s not at all. I have no interest in any kind of consumerist topic or talk.” What Sylvester is interested in is far more relatable and can be seen in his new exhibition at the NGV's Federation Square gallery. Darren Sylvester: Carve a Future, Devour Everything, Become Something is a reflective showcase featuring 70 works, including 43 of the surreal, perfectly posed tableaus the artist is known for, as well as installations, sculptures and even an interactive dancefloor inspired by a Yves Saint Laurent makeup compact. Growing up near Byron Bay, Sylvester describes his childhood as lacking identity and (like many) he used TV to fill the cultural void. It was the aspirational quality of TV shows that he was drawn to – the impossibly happy families and eternal sunshine. Ever since the saccharine depictions of everyday scenes, branding and pop culture have formed the basis of his work, with the imagery serving to be instantly recognisable and relatable to the average Jane or Joe. “You want that genericness because I want the biggest possible range of people to read into them,” says Sylvester. In a co
If you adore your designer brands but not the price tag, then the Make-a-Wish Designer warehouse sale is a great compromise for an even greater cause. The mega sale offers up to 90 per cent off designer brands such as Sass and Bide, Jac + Jack, Vicktoria & Woods, Kookai, Seed Heritage, Guess, Tony Bianco, Decjuba and Cooper St, just to name a few. But the best part is that all proceeds go to the Make-a-Wish foundation supporting children with life-threatening diseases. This means that you can give something (extra stylish) to yourself in order to give something back to others in need – all for a fraction of what you’d usually pay. How’s that for a win-win-win? There will be styles for men, women and children available on both days of the sale. There will also be an on-site coffee van and Krispy Kreme doughnuts for your warranted caffeine or sugar hit.
Nobody wanted this one: a reboot of a series that now feels more redundant with every galaxy-guarding wisecrack coming from the theater next door. But how fun was it back in 1997, when CGI-heavy sci-fi first collided with salt-and-pepper buddy comedy? After three films, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are now AWOL – probably wisely on their part – leaving the dark suits and memory-wiping neuralysers to Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth, who may bring to mind their superior Thor: Ragnarok (which you probably saw and swiftly forgot about some lazy afternoon). They have little to do in a film that’s both whirlingly busy and stubbornly listless and uninspired.
This is not your ordinary tour bus. The Melbourne Music Bus Tour, a collaboration between Arts Centre Melbourne and the Australian Music Vault, takes 22 lucky people on an almost four-hour tour of Melbourne's famous music venues, laneways, recording studios, rehearsal spaces, artists' homes and important Indigenous music spots. The tour visits current live music hotspots like the Tote and the Palace, as well as famed venues of yesteryear like the Crystal Palace and the Espy (currently undergoing renovations but destined for live music greatness once again). It also visits recording studios including Mushroom Records, Bakehouse Studios and the Dogs in Space house, and even stops by Molly Meldrum's house. Musicologist Bruce Milne (of 3RRR, Au-go-go Records and now Greville Records fame) leads the tours. It's a must-do for any Melbourne music lover.
On the first Sunday of the month Arts Centre Melbourne host High Tea Live, a traditional high tea with a different live act every month. Performances range from jazz to broadway and it's all paired with a traditional three-tier cake stand of sweet and savoury tea favourites. Make sure you leave room for the scones though – these fluffy, golden nuggets are served still warm from the oven. Held upstairs in the Arts Centre Melbourne's Pavilion function space, High Tea Live is just fancy enough to impress without feeling stuffy. The sparkling wine on arrival is a nice touch, as is the free-flowing tea and coffee that staff will happily top up for you throughout the musical performance. Note that High Tea Live seats guests at eight-person tables. If you're not feeling up to meeting new people then make sure you book in with seven of your friends.
After beloved Melbourne artist Mirka Mora passed away last year at the age of 90, many of her artworks and personal possessions were put up for public auction. Horrified at the thought of the artist’s legacy being split up, members of Melbourne’s art community set up a crowd funding campaign to allow Heide Museum of Modern Art, the museum co-founded by Mirka and her husband Georges, to purchase a selection of the auction’s contents. The campaign reached its target in just over 24 hours, and the resulting free exhibition, Mirka for Melbourne, is now at Heide. Featuring a collection of Mirka’s artworks, diaries, letters, furniture and personal effects, it recreates the artist’s colourful home and studio, as well as featuring major acquisitions, including the painting 'When the Soul Sleeps' (1970) and the famous 'Tolarno' mural (1966) from the wall of the Mora’s popular St Kilda restaurant.
It's now been a year since Buxton Contemporary, collector Michael Buxton's impressively designed contemporary art gallery, opened in Southbank. It's celebrating that anniversary with dual exhibitions: National Anthem curated by Kate Just and A New Order curated by Linda Short. A New Order brings together painting, drawing, sculpture, video and installation from 12 artists whose work is included in the Buxton Collection. All of them have some relation to a pretty broad central theme: order and chance, and the push and pull between the two. There's Rosalie Gascoigne’s 'Conundrum', constructed from yellow reflective road signs; Daniel von Sturmer's 'The Truth Effect', which features small video projections design to test the mind and the eye; and Daniel Crook's video 'An Embroidery of Voids', inspired by Melbourne laneways. Other artists include: Stephen Bram, Tony Clark, Emily Floyd, Diena Georgetti, Marco Fusinato, John Nixon, Rose Nolan, Mike Parr and Constanze Zikos.
Why does the desire for a single and unambiguous national identity persist in Australia? Why, when our country is home to people from all variety of cultural backgrounds, of all sexualities, genders, abilities and ages, do we still seek to flatten out that richness and diversity? The 24 artists who are showing work in this exhibition curated by Kate Just all deal with critical questions of national identity, challenging racist, homophobic and misogynistic ideas about Australia's identity. There are 11 artists from Michael Buxton's collection – Brook Andrew, Daniel Boyd, Juan Davila, Destiny Deacon, Tony Garifalakis, Tracey Moffatt, Callum Morton, Raquel Ormella, Mike Parr, Tony Schwensen and Paul Yore – alongside 13 leading artists who have all made their mark on this particular social and artistic debate: Abdul Abdullah, Kay Abude, Hoda Afshar, Tony Albert, Archie Barry, Richard Bell, Ali Gumillya Baker, Janenne Eaton, Eugenia Lim, Hoang Tran Nguyen, Steven Rhall, Christian Thompson and Siying Zhou.
In this third installment of the adrenaline-fueled action franchise, super-assassin John Wick (Reeves) returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin's guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world's most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.
This year, the Provincial has swapped crepes for bottomless waffles after teaming up with Wild Turkey American Honey. This breakfast feast will feature a mix of savoury and sweet waffles served with toppings like Tasmanian smoked salmon, various cheeses, curried eggs, pan-fried chorizo, charcuterie, fresh fruits and Melbourne-made honey. GF friends fear not – the waffles can easily be swapped out for gluten-free pikelets. You’ll also get bottomless drinks like wine, beer and sparkling for a two-hour period. Or if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can try one of the Provincial’s American Honey cocktails including a Bacon & Honey Old Fashioned, a Sweet and Sour Iced Tea, and an American Honey John Collins. The Provincial Winter Rooftop is running every Saturday and Sunday, from 11am until 1pm, until August 31.
If you've ever spent time in London, you know the Mandarin Oriental in Hyde Park is kind of a big deal. The Presidential Suite there is more than £5,000 a night. That's pounds, you guys. So when the executive pastry chef of the Mandarin Oriental comes down to Melbourne for a residency, you know he's cooking up something good. Paul Thiéblemont has created an English-style high tea menu for Conservatory, including a twist on a Yorkshire tart, Battenberg bake, Braeburn apple tart and plum Bakewell slice. The prettiest and most Instagrammable dessert on offer looks like a perfect peach, with an ombré red-gold exterior and a little leaf at the top. Slice it open and you'll discover the exterior is made of coloured white chocolate, and it's filled with a cream and jelly.
Father and daughter artists Hans and Nora Heysen helped shaped the course of 20th century Australian art. Both accomplished artists in their own right, Hans is recognised as one of the pioneers of Australian landscape painting, while Nora was an established portraitist and still life painter who became the first female winner of the Archibald Prize and Australia’s first female war artist. Yet, until now, there has not been a major exhibition incorporating both their works. The NGV is changing that, bringing together 270 works from the artists, including Hans’ famous landscape Driving into the light 1914-21, letters, sketches and preparatory studies, and furniture and homewares from the Heysen family home in South Australia.
The Melbourne's longest running and most successful improv comedy night, the Big Hoo Haa, is improvised comedy at its rawest: minimal pretension, audience participation and maximum laughter. Anything could happen! Well, not anything. Scripted comedy, for example. That definitely won't happen.
More things to do in Melbourne this weekend
Find all the best art exhibitions in Melbourne over the next few weeks.
If the chill isn't enough reason to take your culture indoors, then something below should take your fancy. There are a stack of musicals, plays and ballets opening in Melbourne this June. We're particularly looking forward to Malthouse's fresh, one-woman take on Wake in Fright and Melbourne Theatre Company's lavish staging of Storm Boy.
Guess what? Not everything in Melbourne costs a bunch of money. From art shows to coffee tastings, there are a bunch of things to do in this fine city that you can do for free – here are our favourites.
These are the best places to eat in this city right now: the freshest, most inventive and memorable venues, ranked by our expert local editors.
Here is Melbourne viewed through the bottom of a glass: from its world-beating cocktail lounges to its down-and-divey saloons. These bars represent the pinnacle of Melbourne drinking.
Borrow your nanna's tartan shopping trolley and venture out to one of Melbourne's best markets for farm-fresh produce, designer homewares, vintage fashions and tasty street food.
From food to laneways, drinking to ghosts, these tours are the best way to get to know a different side of Melbourne.
We've scoped out the best activities Melbourne has to offer kids of all ages, and even a few that will keep the whole family entertained.
If you're looking for a break from the inner-city grid, there's no better cure than a day trip from Melbourne. The state of Victoria is full of friendly neighbourhood towns, whether you're in the mood for a winery tour, a road trip or a national park to explore.
Looking for a movie to see this week in Melbourne? Check out the latest releases in Australian cinemas, all reviewed by Time Out critics.