Things to do in Melbourne today
Very early in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet promises to remember his father “whiles memory holds a seat in this distracted globe”. Of course, he straight forgets this most elemental of tasks and needs the ghost to return “to whet thy almost blunted purpose”. Even a father most wrongly murdered is fodder for forgetting. Imagine what chance an actor has to cement their legacy in the firmament of fame, not least in a society intent on burning through its icons like yesterday’s papers. The fading actor is a particularly poignant image, as romantic and elegiac as the Dane himself, and it’s brought into glorious focus by UK performer and “drag fabulist” Dickie Beau. Re-Member Me is at once a tribute to and excavation of the actors who have played Hamlet, the greatest non-actor ever written for the stage. It opens with Richard Griffiths’ quote from Withnail and I, his lament that “it is the most shattering experience of a young man’s life when one morning he awakes and quite reasonably says to himself, ‘I will never play the Dane’”. This is no less profound for being pathetic; for any actor the role of Hamlet can seem the pinnacle of achievement, and a failure to reach it becomes the ultimate symbol of loss and decay. The genius of this piece is the way its form so eloquently illuminates its theme. Beau is, after all, a drag fabulist, and drag queens lip sync; here he lip syncs not so much for his life as for the lives of Hamlets past. Thus we get recordings of great actors performin
Need some greenery in your life? Make a beeline for the Royal Botanic Gardens over the weekend of October 20 and 21 for a bonza spring plant sale. The sale will take place on the Acmena Bed Lawn, opposite the Tropical Glasshouse, which you can reach via Gate E. Throughout the weekend you’ll be able to choose from a variety of plants including Australian natives, herbs, succulents and shrubs. The sale will run on Saturday, 10am to 4pm and Sunday, 10am to 3pm. All proceeds from the plant sales will go to support the work of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
Oh buoy! The team behind massive outdoor eatery and beer garden Arbory Bar and Eatery have brought back their famed floating bar and restaurant Arbory Afloat for summer. The giant, nautical-themed floating pontoon has moored itself alongside Arbory’s permanent fixture beside platform 13 of Flinders Street Station. This year Arbory Afloat has teamed up with Parks Victoria to create a barge that's 19 metres bigger than last year’s (it now sits at over 69 metres in length). As well as boasting 360-degree views of the Yarra River and the CBD skyline, Arbory Afloat has an extensive cocktail list (think fruit-driven cocktails like Pomegranate Daquiris and Watermelon Sangria) and a Mediterranean-inspired wine list. Hungry? You can dig into fresh seafood including grilled southern calamari and eight different wood-fired pizzas. Entertainment has been curated by Sky Lab and will feature some of the country's buzziest DJs who will be soundtracking your balmy evenings all throughout summer. Arbory Afloat will be open from 11am to 1am, seven days a week, including Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. If last summer is anything to go by, Arbory Afloat will be the hippest watering hole in town so we suggest arriving early to nab your spot beside the Yarra.
As far as shopping sprees go, there’s nothing quite like rummaging through pre-loved goodies at a garage sale. Part of the joy is never knowing what you’ll find (and not realising how badly you wanted that pair of neon pink parachute pants until you rescue them from a cardboard box). These days, a good garage sale is as rare as an original 1960s troll doll – which is where the Garage Sale Trail comes in. What started on the front lawns of Bondi in 2010 is now a nationwide campaign during which 15,000 garage sales run across the country for one massive weekend. Its organisers are on a mission to reduce waste and encourage reusing among local communities; this year, the goal is to stop 4,000 tonnes of perfectly good stuff from ending up in landfill. So here’s how it works: to run your own garage sale, visit the website and register your event. If you live within one of the participating local councils (most of Melbourne’s councils are involved), then it’s free to register. Garage Sale Trail will then send you promo materials to help put the word out, plus they’ll list your sale on the official website website. Keen shoppers can then use the website as a guide to all the sales in their area. For heaps of ideas on how to host the ultimate garage sale, visit the website. Our tip: bake! Luring shoppers in with sugar always works a treat.
A huge, immersive Halloween festival is coming to Melbourne for the first time this October. Hauntville is a festival celebrating all things spooky, scary and macabre, and it's popping up at Burnley Circus Park in the lead-up to Halloween. Scaredy cats are advised not to come – Hauntville isn’t for the faint-hearted. At the festival you’ll find two hair-raising haunted houses, creepy performers, carnival games, food trucks, the ‘Fright Night’ bar and a haunted graveyard (tread lightly lest you wake the dead). Scared of clowns? You will be. Hauntville’s Cirque du Slay haunted house is crawling with demonic clowns and creatures summoned by dark forces. Make it through alive and you’re ready for the Yarra River Coffinworks, a dank and musty haunted house infested with snakes, spiders, rats and the screams of the undead. If you need a breather after that, drop into the haunted food festival, where you can grab a bite from food trucks like Bavarian Bangers, Poke Time and 196 Below. Want to imbibe? The Fright Night Bar has just your poison, plus Halloween-themed brews like pumpkin ale and spooky Sangria. Throughout Hauntville you’ll run into zombies, circus freaks and other performers there to make sure you stay scared. Try out the Halloween carnival to play Angry Crows, Zombie Head Ring Toss and to score a peck at the kissing booth (careful – there’s a nasty twist). Brave guests can also take a stroll through the haunted graveyard and hear freaky stories. Despite the fear
The Archibald Prize is the exhibition that stops a nation – well, a city anyway. Everyone has an opinion about who and what is most deserving of the $100,000 top gong – and the annual exhibition of finalists (this year there's a whopper 57 paintings) offers plenty to argue over, featuring faces familiar and not, by big name, mid-career and emerging painters. The top gong for 2018 has gone to Yvette Coppersmith for her self-portrait, emulating the power of New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who was unavailable to pose. She beat out painters like Jamie Preisz, who won the Packing Room Prize for his portrait of Jimmy Barnes, and Vincent Namatjira, whose studio self-portrait was highly commended by the judges. The line-up for this year also includes Archibald veterans like Robert Hannaford and Del Kathryn Barton.
It’s unlikely that any photographer boasts a portfolio like Australian artist Polly Borland’s. It’s as chock full with celebrities as it is with fetishists – Borland spent five years documenting the surreal lives of adults who get their kicks by dressing up as infants. But it’s the wild diversity of her work that is perhaps its most distinctive quality. In Polyverse, the upcoming showcase of her new and recent work at the NGV, another facet of Borland’s photography will be on display. These otherworldly images feature human subjects distorted with stockings, gags and lumps of padding; smeared with make-up; bodies straining and restrained in poses that are both sexually charged and monstrous. It’s a collection that toes a fine yet powerful line between shock and awe. You could be forgiven for assuming the various phases of her output – spanning mainstream fashion editorials to avant garde tapestries – were created by different artists. And yet there is a unifying thread that binds her canon together. Borland’s images often hide a dual personality, albeit on a sometimes inscrutable level. Emotional extremes are superimposed, challenging the viewer to make sense of an underlying contradiction. “I think that’s partly the success of my work, but it’s also partly its downfall too,” Borland says of the duality found her shots. “When you’re conveying insights or ideas or other ways of seeing things, you’re giving the viewer another way of looking at the world. But I think what y
A world-first exhibition of 50 jaw-dropping wildlife photographs is being shown at Melbourne Zoo, giving visitors a look at some of the world's most beautiful creatures in their native habitat. The photographs come from one of the world's best-known wildlife publication, National Geographic. The pictures were taken by some of National Geographic's most renowned photographers, including Paul Nicklen and David Doubilet. They reflect some of the best pictures published during the 130 years of the magazine's history. National Geographic published its very first animal image in 1903, a reindeer. Alongside the exhibition is an augmented-reality work called Air, Land & Sea. Visitors are able to look inside a watering hole as a range of animals, from all over the world, come to drink. Entry to the exhibition is included with zoo entry.
If you had fun getting lost (and bumping into your own reflection) in the House of Mirrors outside the Arts Centre last year, you'll have an idea of what you're in for with this year's 1000 Doors. The work is designed by Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney, who were also behind House of Mirrors. It is a maze of doors, some locked, some open, some leading to corridors and rooms, and some leading to cupboards and dead ends. Visitors will be able to walk through the installation, opening whatever doors they fancy and discovering new and interesting pathways through the maze. It's not just doors, either – there are also gateways, portraits and screens to walk past, into and through. The interactive installation is designed to encourage people to give into their curiosity and have a stickybeak through a self-contained world.
The Melbourne Festival is a world-renowned celebration of the finest art from across the country and the globe. Melburnians have come to expect some serious talent headlining their festival, and this year is no exception. There's work from choreographic master William Forsythe, a performance from post-punk royalty The The, a visit from Yo-Yo Ma's Silkroad Ensemble, and a collaboration between Peter Sellars and Los Angeles Master Chorale. If you're after something spectacular, the Royal Botanic Gardens are being taken over by some epic fire sculptures. On the complete opposite end of the scale is a magical miniature theatre work experienced in a private booth. See our highlights from the 2018 line-up.
More things to do in Melbourne today
Find all the best art exhibitions in Melbourne over the next few weeks.
This month we welcome the happy mayhem of Melbourne Festival – and boy howdy are you spoilt for choice, whether your tastes run to blockbuster musicals, independent theatre, new writing or experimental dance. Don't spend all your dollars, though: Melbourne Theatre Company and Malthouse have announced their 2018 seasons, as has the Australian Ballet.
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.
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.
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.
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.