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Nick Dent

Nick Dent

Associate Publisher, Time Out Australia

Nick Dent joined Time Out in 2008 and is the Associate Publisher, Time Out Australia, heading up the Creative Solutions team.

Based in Brisbane, his area of expertise is Film, but he also writes about Art, Theatre, Travel and Music, and he has many years of experience as a sub editor. In addition to writing about Film for Time Out, he has published more than 1,000 film reviews in NewsCorp's Australian Sunday papers. These days he largely wrestles with branded content for clients, and in 2019 he had his first children's book published, the award-winning Goat on a Boat.

Reach him at nick.dent@timeout.com

Articles (98)

20 of the best bakeries in Australia

20 of the best bakeries in Australia

No matter where you live in Australia, we take our baked goods very seriously. Between our sourdough-centred meals, we all need a little sweet treat (trust us, you deserve one). Luckily for us, Australian bakers are giving Parisian pâtissiers a run for their money, creating their own takes on classic baked goods to create one-of-a-kind products.  You’ve undoubtedly heard of the big players (hello Lune Croissanterie), but there are plenty of neighbourhood gems to spend your hard-earned dough. While we wish we could shower love on every flaky, buttery layer of pastry, we’ve narrowed it down to a few of our favourite bakeries in Australia. RECOMMENDED: These are the best pies in Australia.

The 17 best cafés in Brisbane

The 17 best cafés in Brisbane

You’ll have plenty of reasons to rise and shine in Brisbane. With an array of the Sunshine State’s finest cafés and some of Australia’s highest calibre coffee roasters, choosing where to go first is an unexpected (but fun) challenge.  To help you navigate the city, we’ve collated this guide to Brisbane’s best cafés. From hidden laneway gems and suburban corner stores to a quirky Vietnamese spot and a completely gluten-free doughnut shop, we've got you covered. All that’s left for you to do is eat your way through it. RECOMMENDED: These are the best restaurants in Brisbane right now.

The best cinemas in Sydney to watch the latest movies

The best cinemas in Sydney to watch the latest movies

In Sydney, going to the movies is almost as popular as going surfing, having a barbecue, dining out or watching the Test series. Even as the world becomes filled with screens and accessing movies becomes as easy as looking at your phone, Sydney's top cinemas are still thriving, because we love the communal experience of watching a film. While several cinemas have closed in the last decade, others have sprung up in their place. So what are the best cinemas in Sydney? We've ranked them according to the quality of film selection, the architecture and the overall pleasure factor. Looking for a meal before the movie? Here's our list of the best places to eat in Sydney.

The 13 best breakfasts in Brisbane right now

The 13 best breakfasts in Brisbane right now

The idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day may have been the result of a ridiculously successful marketing campaign in a bid to sell cereal and bacon in the 19th century, but the tagline holds true for the good people of Brisbane. It’s no secret that you lot love breakfast, from your piccolos to your pancakes. That’s why, when coming up with this list of the best breakfasts in Brisbane, we lost far more sleep deliberating over who and what to include than we’d rather say.  Just know that it came down to strict criteria including flavour, innovation, freshness, ambience, service and presentation (to name a few). These are the venues you will go to with friends visiting from out of town to show them just how ‘in the know’ you are, and the dishes you’ll order time and time again, no matter what new additions grace the menu. From Hungarian-style meals reimagined for an Australian palate to aesthetically pleasing venues you’ll want to photograph for the ‘gram, this list proves once more that breakfast is the far superior meal of the day after all. Want more cafés? Go chasing the best beans with the best coffee in Brisbane. 

The best hotels in Sydney

The best hotels in Sydney

The Emerald City is peppered with a whole host of stellar hotels that each individually carry their own little sparkly slice of je ne sais quoi. Whether you’re in town for one night, want a longer stay, are flitting through for business, or are travelling to Sydney for the very first time and want to make sure you’re in the best possible spot to properly explore the city, we have you covered. Having earned our stripes reviewing hotels across the country, our team of writers (including Lifestyle Writer Winnie Stubbs and our Travel and News Editor Melissa Woodley) have shared their top picks – along with top tips on how to make the most of your stay. From five-star luxury to boutique boltholes, this list is our edit of the best hotels in Sydney (in no particular order). Warning: it'll be hard for you to choose just one to stay at! Sorry, not sorry. Rather stay under canvas? Find the best glamping sites in NSW or the best camping near Sydney. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 17 best fish and chips in Australia

The 17 best fish and chips in Australia

Fish and chips are such a nostalgic meal for Australians that it’s easy to forget that they didn’t actually originate here. Sure, the Brits often get the credit for the dish (they do love their salt and vinegar), but it turns out that Portugal is the motherland of the ultimate takeaway food. Wherever it was invented, we’re just happy that it touched down in the land Down Under, and at just about every waterside location you can imagine. After all, it isn’t a salty summer by the beach if your hunger wasn’t satiated with some fish and chippies, right? So whether you're touring Australia's best beaches, or need a pit stop on your great Australian road trip, here are the best fish and chips shops in the land.  RECOMMENDED: These are the best pizzas in Australia.

The 18 best things to do in Brisbane for free

The 18 best things to do in Brisbane for free

Nothing in life is free. Nothing! And you might disagree and say something like “what about walking along a beach? That’s free!” And you’d be right, but Brisbane doesn’t have beaches, so you’d be wrong.  So if you’re in Brisbane, and you’re broke and looking to have some fun, what do you do? Well, after living here a long time with varying amounts of disposable income we feel we’re in a position to offer some suggestions. Here’s what we’d do, in no particular order. Cashed up? You may like to go eat at one of Brisbane's best restaurants. Walk it off on one of the best easy day hikes near Brisbane.

The 18 best art galleries to explore in Australia

The 18 best art galleries to explore in Australia

Australians have a love affair with art, and with incredible galleries dotted throughout the country, it’s also one of the top reasons we travel interstate. Every year, our nation welcomes blockbuster international exhibitions, along with major showings of our most colourful and creative local talents.  Whether it’s contemporary Aboriginal art in Alice Springs, delicate glassworks in Wagga Wagga, topical portraits in Canberra or 21st-century Chinese art in Sydney, these are the best public galleries worth visiting in Australia.  RECOMMENDED: These are the 20 top tourist attractions in Australia.

The best kid-friendly pubs in Sydney

The best kid-friendly pubs in Sydney

From rock climbing to giant Scrabble, these pubs in Sydney have all bases covered for both parents and kids to have a fun night out. The days of your local watering hole being an exclusive, blokey hideout are long gone. Not only are there pubs embracing inclusivity and actively welcome families with kids, but they're broadening their appeal across the board with delciious food, and more diverse entertainment. These are our favourite local pubs that don’t shun families for bringing toddlers or tweens in tow. Need to burn off some steam? Check out the best playgrounds in Sydney here. Want to have a nice sit-down lunch with kiddos in tow? Check out the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney.  

The  best luxury hotels in Sydney

The best luxury hotels in Sydney

Who needs far-flung destinations when you can have world-class staycations right here at home? You don't need to leave Sydney to find astonishing accommodation where you can get your glam on for an evening or two. To guide you in your search for the high life, our Sydney team (including Time Out Sydney editor Alice Ellis) have road-tested five-star spa hotels overlooking the city and boutique offerings that provide proximity to a wild night on the town and the city's best attractions. Want a rustic retreat without slumming it? Sleep under the fanciest canvas in these luxury glamping locations. Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in every hotel or accommodation offering featured, we've based our list on top reviews, hosts and amenities to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

The best fish and chips in Brisbane

The best fish and chips in Brisbane

Brisbane may not have any inner-city beaches to speak of, but that doesn't mean Brisbanites aren't still partial to a seaside staple. For a fuss-free feed, you really can't go wrong with a hearty portion of fish and chips. And whether that's the old-school British variety – beer battered, vinegar spiked and liberally dusted with chicken salt – or one of the more refined gourmet spins that are increasingly popular amongst discerning diners, there's a catch of the day to suit every taste in Brissie.  We've wet our lines and hauled up a bounty of top fish and chipperies that are serving up the very best fish and chips in Brisbane. Hungry for more cheap and cheerful eats? Here's where to eat out in Brisbane on a budget. Or why not splurge on a meal at one of Brisbane's best fine diners?

How to do St Kilda like you’re in The Secret Life of Us

How to do St Kilda like you’re in The Secret Life of Us

“Starting to feel my head in your space, starting to lose track of the weekdays…”  The Secret Life of Us was Australian commercial TV’s coming of age. This sophisticated soap about the emotional lives of nine bright young things was the first to realistically depict youthful inner-city life in Melbourne. Funny and insightful even as it casually broke all the commercial TV rules about language, drugs and sex, it showed what it was really like to share an apartment while trying to find love, and yourself, in the brand new millennium.     Debuting in July 2001, the series launched an astonishing pool of talent. Former child star Claudia Karvan found her groove as young doctor Alex, paving the way for her success in Love My Way and beyond. Playing her housemate Evan, an aspiring novelist, Samuel Johnson captivated the nation with his honey-and-gravel baritone, which he parlayed into a stellar run as a voiceover artist (he would later win two Logies for his portrayal of Molly Meldrum).  It was only 20 years ago that First Nations actors were rare on mainstream TV, and Deborah Mailman’s beguiling turn as their lovelorn housemate Kelly was groundbreaking as well as brilliant. Then there was Joel Edgerton, on the sidelines at first as sensitive tradie Will, whose increasingly powerful presence presaged his future success in Hollywood as an actor, writer and director.    The series burned bright for three years and won a clutch of awards, but its shining success opened doors for the c

Listings and reviews (76)

Metartworld

Metartworld

The term 'metal head' just got a new meaning. Metartworld is a large space in Port Melbourne dedicated to hundreds of incredible statues made from scrap metal and other recycled materials. There are animals, movie characters, soldiers, cars, motorcycles, princesses and more. It's like someone waved a magic wand in a junkyard and brought everything to life. Unlike at other art galleries, you can touch the exhibits, and taking selfies is actively encouraged.  Meanwhile the permanent Starry Sky exhibition on level two consists of dazzling mirror mazes. There's a colourful Candy Maze, and Enchanted Forest maze, Intergalactic Journey, a Jellyfish Maze and an Abyss Maze with lights seemingly disappearing into infinity. There's also a disorienting 360-degree tunnel to traverse.  Your entry ticket allows access to all of the above, but kids under 15 can also take part in children's workshops. Kids can make their own handbags, keychains, windmills, puzzles, fans, hats, masks, eyewear and more. There are literally hours of distraction for the little ones over the school holidays. Metartworld also offers more than 60 DIY projects for all ages in the Metart Studio, including the Turkish mosaic series, whipped cream decoration series, plaster doll painting series, sculpture painting collection, fluid bear pouring DIY, miniature box theatre, jewellery beading, shell painting, and embroidery. Prices vary – check the webpage for more information.  Entry tickets are for two-hour sessions and

Ryde Wharf Market

Ryde Wharf Market

Launched at the end of 2020, these markets right on the Parramatta River have brought around 70 food, produce, craft and fashion stalls to a part of Sydney that was crying out for something social and fun on a Sunday morning that didn’t involve worship. The markets take place the second Sunday of the month in the Ryde Wharf Reserve, a green space punctuated by granite and sandstone blocks that attest to the wharf's colonial history. The iron colossus of the Ryde Bridge looms in the background as visitors browse fruit and veg, jewellery and candles, children’s clothes and distillery offerings.  Grab a market brekkie and eat it with your legs dangling off the wooden wharfside. You’ll find crêpes, bao, arancini, pho, dumplings and more. Our pick is the bacon and egg burek from Alexander’s Bakery, a triangle of rustic, flaky pastry layered with egg and bacon bits – a guaranteed hangover buster. Alexander’s also do beef mince and onion, spinach and cheese, spicy Mexican or a more healthsome kale, cheese and mushroom burek. Still hungry? Try a pandesal, a traditional pastry filled with salted caramel, choc hazelnut or purple ube, from the Filipino Australian Pastries stall.  Bring the whole family, although you may have trouble dragging littlies away from the impressive pirate ship slide in adjacent Anderson Park. Parking is at a premium too, although the Meadowbank ferry terminal is just a pleasant stroll around the bay away.    Hungry for more? Check out our list of the best mar

Little Black Pug Café

Little Black Pug Café

4 out of 5 stars

Josh and Louise Daly don't like gluten, but they really, really like pugs. Pick your day carefully and you might just get to meet Bowie or Mate, the small, dusky canines which give Little Black Pug Café its name. The dogs make occasional appearances in the front or back outside dining areas (alas health regulations keep them from the inside parts) but that is by no means the only reason to give this Mount Gravatt coffee shop a look. You can grab a streetside table – sufficiently distanced from the traffic of Logan Road – or a place at the long bench just inside, adjacent to the kitchen. But it's likely you're going to want to head through to the back. Here, in a bright main dining room in a separate building, a dozen tables are set up under hanging pot plants and fairy lights. This annexe can be hired for functions such as birthday parties, and it's where most of the café action happens.  The café has a low-waste ethos and a large number of vegan and meat-free options. That doesn't stop Time Out from ordering the carnivore version of the signature Dog's Breakfast, designed to be a big feed. Belying the name, this is not a messy dish by any standard – it's a crowded but orderly looking plate. Chipolatas sliced lengthways, housemade baked beans in tomato sauce, nicely crisped-up Gotzinger bacon, two hefty slabs of halloumi, two shiny confit cherry tomatoes and a swirl of scrambled egg on toasted rye sourdough are arranged around a thicket of wilted baby spinach. Flavours are ni

Manly Boathouse

Manly Boathouse

Few restaurants in Brisbane can boast iconic status but Manly Boathouse gets there on two counts. One, it’s a stunning white dining room with views of the boats moored in the marina as well as Moreton Bay. Lunch (or dinner) here can’t help but be an occasion. Two, you don’t have to be Daddy Warbucks to have an ace seafood experience here, but can line up for fish and chips in the casual outdoor Patio section and eat your catch at the tables under big umbrellas. You still get to look at the ocean (albeit framed by cars in the carpark) and your food is coming straight from the same kitchen that’s servicing the indoor diners.  When Time Out visits the outdoor part, a basic crumbed or battered cod is $11 and, let’s speak plainly, huge. Grilled snapper is a reasonable $16. Half a dozen fat calamari rings ($8) are panko crumbed and tender, nothing like the chewy, overcooked tyres you might be imagining. Prawn cutlets are $3 a pop, as are fried-and battered sea scallops. (Relax, old schoolers – the potato variety are also available.) Got the bug? A cold quartered Moreton Bay bug is just $20, and you can feast on fresh oysters and prawns too if that’s your desire.  There’s a lengthy queue to order from the Fish & Chippery on weekend lunchtime, but once we’ve ordered we don’t have to wait long for the reassuring tones of the beeper. Our fry up comes wrapped in paper, with a cardboard annex for the snapper, so you can take the lot away and eat it on the esplanade if you prefer.  This s

Sea Fuel West End

Sea Fuel West End

Perhaps the most fun thing about Sea Fuel in West End is the photographic wallpaper depicting a crowd of 1970s schoolkids clamouring for fish and chips from a van. This retro touch alludes to the fact that this family-run restaurant has been frying for several decades. They preside over a large, modern dining room with black walls, wooden tables, metal chairs and a banquette, fully open to the street to make the most of summer breezes. Peruse the fresh fish in the display case, order takeaway, or dine in.  A 'Seafood Meal' here is a grilled, beer-battered or panko-crumbed fillet with a chips, salad, tartare sauce and lemon wedges. The sustainable list goes from cod ($22) up to a NZ Ora king salmon ($36) and spans goldband snapper, blue grenadier and red emperor as well as prawn cutlets, barra and flake. For salad, you can select from Greek, rocket, seafood or Asian. Our beer-battered flathead comes in three batons of solid batter that crumbles in the mouth without leaving behind an oily taste. Chips are blocky and golden and the largeish serve of rocket salad has shaved parmesan and pine nuts through it. The plate is piled high – you won't go hungry after one of these things. The tartare sauce is homemade and spiked with plenty of lemon juice. The fully stocked bar includes wine and sparkling with a Cypriot lager and some Greek wines available among a large selection. We can see ourselves having a long lunch here with friends and making good use of the bar. Sea Fuel also has

The New Black

The New Black

5 out of 5 stars

They stare across Ann Street at each other, like Minas Morgul and Minas Tirith: one, the ancient home of late-night partying and misdeeds; the other, a redemptive temple to facing the day.  The New Black is a bright, stylish, even family-friendly café, right opposite the Beat nightclub in Fortitude Valley. It's one of the main puzzle pieces in Bakery Lane, the design and hospitality development that is one of the nicest things ever to happen to a grungy part of town. (Joy restaurant and Nom Nom Korean Eatery share the laneway, among others.) And for those seeking really good coffee, brekkies made with care and flair, and a warm and kindly welcome, the café delivers on all fronts. Let's be clear, however: breakfast really is the main meal of the day here, because the place pretty much shuts at lunchtime (1pm during the week, 2pm weekends). You could make an early lunch of their chorizo burger or pork-and-pickled fennel burger, but the emphasis in the open kitchen is clearly on setting you up for the day ahead and leaving you to get on with your afternoon.   Most importantly, there's that coffee. Carrara's Parallel Roasters are supplying the beans, and they're being deployed with plenty of punch by the barista team, which operates in a separate section of the café out the back that fronts onto the lane. They make a fantastic cup of joe here with that special blend of Brazilian, Colombian and Papua New Guinean beans, powerful enough to get you going, its satisfying bitterness te

Holey Moley Fortitude Valley

Holey Moley Fortitude Valley

Golf and stained glass windows, you'd think, would never mix, but that's where you'd be wrong. Holey Moley, Australia's mini-golf juggernaut, has its base in the former Valley Presbyterian Church, an 1885 building that has been put to rather more secular uses since being sold off by the Uniting Church in 1989. It used to be a nightclub; and judging by the enormous mirror ball hanging from the Holey Moley ceiling, it kinda still is.  In case you haven't heard, the Holey Moley concept is indoor mini golf for grown ups. You can drink booze and eat bar food while you make your way around either of the two nine-hole courses. Kids aren't actually allowed in after 5pm, but they get a warm welcome during the daytime, and the whole place has more colour and movement than your typical putt putt.  Indeed, the holes have been conceived like Rube Goldberg machines, with some, such as the Willy Wonka-themed hole 7, involving a pneumatic pipe that sucks your ball up and takes it on a wild ride. There are chess, Pac-Man and ET-themed holes, and a rudely titled one involving Donald Trump's face on a donkey's posterior.   You pay more for the experience – considerably more – than elsewhere, but to be fair you can see where the money goes. From the pretend gumball machines that dispense multicoloured golf balls to the neon signage, this is a mini golf turned up to 11. Staffing is more helpful too, and if you're lucky enough to get a hole in one expect to see them come running to confer a free H

Alex Hills Putt Putt

Alex Hills Putt Putt

Impressive mega-pub the Alexandra Hills Hotel boasts a bistro, a nightclub, a conference centre, 40 accommodation suites and swish, colourful putt putt. The mini golf has been cleverly landscaped around the Fairway Beer Garden, meaning that parents can drink and dine while watching their kids make their way around the course, which is divided into 'Roadside' and 'Mountainside'. Or they can grab a putter themselves and have food and drinks brought out to them as they play.  There are boulders, rock gardens, a waterfall, fountain and palm trees to play around. Our favourite greens are the 'Pinball Maze' – multicoloured poles that your ball richochets off – and the 'Pole Hole' – with hanging poles above each hole that will knock your ball away if you don't time the putt correctly. Tricky. There are only 12 greens rather than the traditional 18, but each has four different holes of varying difficulty: Blue (kids), White (Easy), Yellow (Medium) and Red (Hard). Our tip is to choose your colour and stick to it otherwise the plethora of holes makes it all too easy.  Find more of the best putt putts in Brisbane.

Costa's Seafood Café

Costa's Seafood Café

You can't talk about fish in the Redlands without talking about Costa's. In both 2019 and 2021, this place on Old Cleveland Road was named Queensland's Best Fish and Chips by the Great Australian Fish & Chip Awards, a People's Choice award established in 2017 by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (FRDC).  The owners, Maria, Chris and Costa Tapinos, have more than 30 years of experience in delicious things from the deep, and the family atmosphere is as palpable as the quality and value of what's on offer. This is a true café, open for breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, with tables out front and a dining room tucked around the side. Costa's is also a proper seafood market selling the day's fresh fish, prawns, oysters, crabs and Moreton Bay bugs straight from the boats.  A standard fish dinner ranges fro $18.90 (for cod) to $29 (for a half dozen sea scallops) and comes with salad, chips, lemon and tartare. Snapper, barra, Atlantic salmon, whiting, coral trout, NZ sea perch, sweetlip, flake, NZ dory, prawn cutlet sand calamari are also available. They do a range of seafood platters as well, both hot and cold. Old schoolers can get burgers, potato scallops, a battered sav, dim sims or a Chiko Roll – Costa's is a happy combo of market-standard cooking and retro fish and chipper. Our cod comes well seasoned and just crisp on the outside and moist on the inside, and the half serving of chips is extremely generous. We'll be back.    Find more of the best fish and c

Golf Central Brisbane Airport

Golf Central Brisbane Airport

Golf is an obesession for the jetsetting class, and just on the outskirts of Brisbane Airport you can find this handy golf centre to kill some time between connecting flights. It's basically a golf course without the course: there's a driving range with 29 undercover bays, a chipping range, pro shop and bar-restaurant. You can get professional lessons here, or enjoy a round of mini golf.   In a nod to the proximity of the international airport, the puttt putt comes with an all-nations theme – the 18 holes are named after 18 countries. The holes are all par 2 and challenging enough to make you want to come back. The course runs between bushes and fountains and doesn't have too many fancy tricks. The 'Denmark' hole has two levels joined by underground pipes, but that's as tricky as it gets. Pricing is very fair, with littlies under five years old getting to play free. If you feel like playing again at the end, it's only $5 per person.  Every covered bay includes access to Toptracer, which is an app that allows you to analyse your swing. The DFO outlet centre is right next door, so you can shop for bargains when you've run out of swing. Practise your putt at Brisbane's best mini golf courses.

The Fortitude Music Hall

The Fortitude Music Hall

The Fortitude Music Hall is big. Like, really big. It exists on an altogether grander scale than other music venues, and Brisbane has no shortage of decent-sized ones. It seats 1,100 people, and standing-room gigs can accommodate no fewer than 3,000 moshers. Playing a gig here? You better be Pop-U-Lar. Sitting centrestage on Brunswick Street Mall and evoking Art Deco splendour, the Fortitude has occupied a central place in Valley nightlife since opening in 2019 courtesy of group including Powderfinger bassist John Collins and touring/festival entrepreneurs Live Nation. The partnership saw a lack of a large venue in central Brisbane worthy of top touring acts (venerable Charlotte Street concert venue Festival Hall was demolished in 2003). Since opening, the Fortitude has hosted the Wiggles, Pavement, the Flaming Lips, Liam Gallagher, the Veronicas, Mallrat, Thelma Plum, Violent Soho, Sigur Ros and the Jezabels, as well as top acts from the Brisbane Comedy Festival.

Sister

Sister

5 out of 5 stars

Sister lives in the prestige Hawthorne strip surrounding the cinemas on Hawthorne Road, one of the city's best eating destinations and a place to inspire daggers of envy towards the locals who can drop in any time they fancy.  The peach pastel-coloured café heaves with these lucky ducks on a sunny Sunday morning: hip young couples breakfasting away the pain of Saturday night's revels; peacock mums and their stylishly dressed progeny; and the older set who know they're onto a good thing. Time Out rocks up unannounced and is astonished both to be directed straight to a window bench seat (prime viewing for the passing parade) and to receive our orders in front of us in record time. Sister's kitchen is obviously powering on all cylinders. What's coming out from behind the pass is exceptionally tasty. The potato is the unsing hero here, with breakfast gnocchi a signature dish, and housemade hash browns featuring widely. Someone at Sister is doing double duty grating spuds, mark our words, as these rustic potato cakes are huge, plump things, crumbed and fried but with a little bite left in them to differentiate from the flat, frozen variety.  Two hash browns sub for bread in the Pork Belly Benedict. Asian pork belly is the sticky, savoury-sweet protein here, handily cubed so it doesn't become unwieldy. There's a buffer of wilted kale, and a poached egg sits on top, bright and shiny with Hollandaise. Stab the egg and yolk soaks through luxuriantly. The richly flavoured result is a k

News (187)

Melbourne International Comedy Festival opens to a grateful audience, and more grateful comics

Melbourne International Comedy Festival opens to a grateful audience, and more grateful comics

UK comic Mark Watson perhaps summed it up best.  “I’ve got three years of stuff to tell you!” jetlagged Londoner Watson told the sold-out Palais crowd, begging them not to applaud during his four-minute set. “There’s no time!” With all the cancellations and digital pivots of the recent past, Melbourne International Comedy Festival has not been truly international for a while. At the Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow on Wednesday March 30, Watson noted on his return to Australia that he had “not seen the sun since March 2019”. At it was sheer relief that fuelled many of the 24 acts marshalled to the stage by neurotically dapper host Rhys Nicholson, along with their reports on how Covid has been for them.  While South African superstar Urzila Carlson reflected on her new appreciation for her wife’s role as a stay-at-home mum (not as gratefully as you’d expect), and laconic Melburnian Kirsty Webek extolled the unexpected benefits of cutting your own hair while homebound, Joel Creasy spotlighted Melburnians’ perverse disappointment at being superseded by Buenos Aires as the world’s most locked-down city.  Anti-vaxxers did not get any kid-glove treatment – but then, as a sparkly suited Zoe Coombs Marr quipped: “They’re not allowed in here – we can say what we like!” UK double act Flo & Joan offered an eviscerating musical tribute to the vaccine averse, showcasing their incredible lyrical dexterity.   The gala format has its pros and cons. Rapid mic handover means it’s imposs

Music venues can avoid police shutdowns thanks to a new way of dealing with noise complaints

Music venues can avoid police shutdowns thanks to a new way of dealing with noise complaints

It’s a tale as old as time: rich person buys property next door to a pub in Sydney, is outraged to hear loud music, and calls upon law enforcement to have it shut down.   Right now, post-lockdown re-openings are expected to bring a deluge of noise complaints from residents unused to the sounds of people enjoying their city, and the rise of alfresco venues will only exacerbate the issue. In response, a new community campaign is here to provide the resources for venues and residents across Sydney to work together and manage the potential of increased complaints. Let’s Hear It has been launched by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) in partnership with the Sydney City Liquor Accord. The campaign calls on communities to support their local venues and engage with them directly before pursuing assistance from their local council if necessary, rather than calling the police. “Our local venues have been hard hit in the past two years and this campaign appeals to communities to be a part of the solution,” says Justine Baker, NTIA chair.  “Many residents are not aware of the channels available to them when it comes to noise complaints and tend to call the police, where in fact local councils are far better placed to deal with the issue if need be.” The campaign is promoting a three-part approach. Step one is ‘Let’s Say Hi’ – venues are encouraged to reach out proactively and start a positive conversation with their residential neighbours. Step two is ‘Let’s Talk’. In the event

You can take a kayak tour and help clean up Sydney Harbour at the same time

You can take a kayak tour and help clean up Sydney Harbour at the same time

Maybe you’re on the lookout for some unforgettable, fun, Covid-safe things to do outdoors during this weird-as-heck summer. Well, what about something that might actually do our struggling environment some good rather than harm?  Sydney by Kayak offers Sydney’s first Clean Up Kayak Tour. The tour takes you around the Lavender Bay foreshore armed with a paddle, a sieve, a bucket and a litter picker stick. Your mission? To help Sydney by Kayak pull 200kg of rubbish out of Sydney Harbour by the end of February.   Two experienced guide/instructors lead up to 12 paddlers at a time. Get your photo taken with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House as a backdrop as you enjoy some exercise and fresh air. On the way, find and collect pieces of rubbish that would otherwise mar your enjoyment of the waterway.  At the end of the tour the group’s trash tally is weighed, and members of the group that collects the most by summer’s end will win a $50 gift certificate for another kayak tour plus an eco-friendly, glass drinking bottle. And the single person who collects the most rubbish will get a Sunrise Kayak and Coffee for two people. Clean-up Kayak Tours cost $50, with $15 from the cost going directly towards the purchase of a ‘Seabin’ for Lavender Bay (Seabins are submersible devices that can capture 1.5 tonnes of rubbish per year). You can book into one of the tours leaving daily at 9.30am or noon, or book a private tour for your group of eight to 12.   This is a 100 percent outdoors e

'Baby Done' star Rose Matafeo talks Potter, Covid guilt and Taika Waititi

'Baby Done' star Rose Matafeo talks Potter, Covid guilt and Taika Waititi

Kiwi comedian Rose Matafeo may not have had any babies, but she does know a thing or two about life-changing events. In 2018, her standup show Horndog won the Edinburgh Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. To understand how huge a deal this is you only have to glance down the list at previous years’ winners: Hannah Gadsby, Sam Simmons, David O’Doherty, Daniel Kitson, Dylan Moran and Steve Coogan are just some of the names that leap out. And yet Matafeo, 28, can’t help feeling like an imposter. “I mean, I didn’t feel confident calling myself a comedian until like maybe a year before I won that award,” she tells Time Out. “I’m only kind of semi-confident in it now. To be a ‘comedian’ feels like it’s an occupation that’s a matter of opinion. Although I suppose I am a comedian now, I have literally no other skills.” Matafeo is lying on her bed in London at 10.17pm, drinking a beer (“the publicist is in Auckland, so they can’t take the beer off me”), speaking on her phone about another arguably life-changing event: her first starring role in a movie. In Curtis Vowell and Sophie Henderson’s Baby Done, executive produced by Taika Waititi, Matafeo plays Zoe, a tree surgeon who reacts to the news of her pregnancy by going into denial and trying to cram as much DINK fun into her life before everything changes.  Matafeo, who’s “nowhere near getting pregnant”, says she can relate to the story, which is based on the filmmakers’ own experience of parenthood. “I’m an incredibly an

MIFF 68½ breaks the record with the festival's largest audience ever

MIFF 68½ breaks the record with the festival's largest audience ever

When the virtual curtain comes down on MIFF 68½ on Sunday night it will mark the end of the most attended Melbourne International Film Festival ever, organisers say.  The festival has registered over 205,000 streams, which means the estimated overall audience has exceeded 300,000 for the first two weeks of the 17-day event.  “Despite the complexity and challenges of wholly reinventing the Southern Hemisphere's largest film festival, it is heartening to see the simple, resilient truth here: that stories, whether viewed on a big screen or in your living room, still connect and compel us, perhaps more than ever,” said festival director Al Cossar. Audiences had been predominantly Victorian but 20 per cent tuned in from outside the state. The festival's free content, which represented 36 per cent of the line-up, helped contribute to the overall big numbers. Box office expectations had also been surpassed, organisers said. The festival's other achievements include half of all films screened having a female director.  MIFF 68½ closes on Sunday night with a screening of Pablo Larrain's dance-themed drama Ema, which 3,000 viewers are predicted to watch.  Read Time Out's reviews of MIFF 68½ films here.    

Time Out has launched a podcast exploring what the future holds for our cities

Time Out has launched a podcast exploring what the future holds for our cities

Things have changed, and they're probably never going back to the way they were. What does this mean for restaurants, bars, theatre, the arts, business and life in the city? That's the topic Time Out is exploring in the new Time Out for Business Podcast.  The podcast is the brainchild of Time Out Australia's managing director Michael Rodrigues (who also co-hosts the hospitality podcast Back of House). Mike is interviewing visionaries who are making our cities vibrant places to live – from hospitality professionals to festival directors, entrepreneurs to creatives. Episode one features a chat with Earl's Juke Joint co-owner Pasan Wijesena about how bottled cocktails will be an ongoing trend post-lockdown. In episode two, musician Josh Pyke describes what it was like cancelling his planned tour and instead launching his new album with livestreamed concerts.   Photograph: Time Out for Business Episode three has Mike talking to Sydney city councillor Jess Miller, who is famous for her creative approaches to sustainability, strategy and innovation. Miller talks about the unique chance posed by the pandemic to improve our cities. And episode four features a chat with theatre maker Andy Henry, who got Alec Baldwin to star in his livestreamed play reading and reached an audience of many thousands online. In the latest episode, Mike catches up with our very own Time Out Melbourne and Sydney editors, Rebecca Russo and Maxim Boon. How have their jobs changed in 2020? What are Time Out r

Time Out has launched a podcast exploring what the future holds for our cities

Time Out has launched a podcast exploring what the future holds for our cities

Things have changed, and they're probably never going back to the way they were. What does this mean for restaurants, bars, theatre, the arts, business and life in the city? That's the topic Time Out is exploring in the new Time Out for Business Podcast.  The podcast is the brainchild of Time Out Australia's managing director Michael Rodrigues (who also co-hosts the hospitality podcast Back of House). Mike is interviewing visionaries who are making our cities vibrant places to live – from hospitality professionals to festival directors, entrepreneurs to creatives. Episode one features a chat with Earl's Juke Joint co-owner Pasan Wijesena about how bottled cocktails will be an ongoing trend post-lockdown. In episode two, musician Josh Pyke describes what it was like cancelling his planned tour and instead launching his new album with livestreamed concerts.   Photograph: Time Out for Business Episode three has Mike talking to Sydney city councillor Jess Miller, who is famous for her creative approaches to sustainability, strategy and innovation. Miller talks about the unique chance posed by the pandemic to improve our cities. And episode four features a chat with Sydney theatre maker Andy Henry, who got Alec Baldwin to star in his livestreamed play reading and reached an audience of many thousands online. In the latest episode, Mike catches up with our very own Time Out Sydney and Melbourne editors, Maxim Boon and Rebecca Russo. How have their jobs changed in 2020? What are T

The original 'Star Wars' returns to the big screen for one week

The original 'Star Wars' returns to the big screen for one week

Back in 1977, cinema audiences lost their minds as first an impressively big space ship zoomed into view, only to be followed by a vastly bigger Imperial Star Destroyer in hot pursuit.You can relive that more innocent time – long, long ago, before sequels, prequels and global shutdowns – with the Hayden Orpheum's one-week season of George Lucas's original Star Wars, retrospectively titled Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope.  Feel the pull of primal storytelling as farmboy Luke Skywalker embarks on a quest to rescue Princess Leia, mentored by ageing Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi and aided by roguish smuggler Han Solo, gentle giant Chewbacca and comical droid sidekicks C-3PO and R2D2.  If this is the big-screen nostalgia hit you've been craving then bookings are now open for the season, which runs August 13-19 with nightly screenings as well as weekend matinees.  As C-3PO once complained, it sometimes seems like we've been made to suffer: so stay on target, get tickets and surrender to he power of the Force one more time. Extra points if you show up in a transmission-safe Tusken Raider mask. Seen it too many times? Check out the latest movies screening in Sydney.

MIFF artistic director Al Cossar launches a sensational 2020 online lineup

MIFF artistic director Al Cossar launches a sensational 2020 online lineup

“I’ve barricaded the door so my one-year-old daughter doesn’t make too many cameos in too many Zooms.” Like many other people, Al Cossar has had to make a few adjustments in working from home. But attention-seeking toddlers were far from the biggest problem for the director of the Melbourne International Film Festival when the city went into lockdown in March. Cossar and the MIFF board had to make a call on whether or not to cancel this year’s event, which was still five months in the future.  “It was a difficult decision and a heartbreaking one, but it was done with the utmost clarity,” Cossar says. “You’re talking about people’s safety first and foremost and the situation demanded a cancellation.” Following the lead of other major international film festivals, and with the help of major benefactor Susie Montague, MIFF was able to announce a digital pivot. Subsequent events have only confirmed that the right decision was made. “We would have stuck by it regardless. With these additional restrictions in place, we’re happy we can still connect to audiences in a substantial way.”  And he means substantial. In contrast to the radically stripped-back, virtual Sydney Film Festival that took place in June with 33 films, ‘MIFF 68½’ boasts a healthy lineup of 113, including new movies from major international directors such as Kelly Reichardt and Benh Zeitlin; 12 world premieres; 82 Australian premieres; and a program of events including a script table reading of an Australian film c

The Ritz will screen every James Bond film in the lead-up to No Time to Die

The Ritz will screen every James Bond film in the lead-up to No Time to Die

The 25th official Eon James Bond movie, No Time to Die, had its April release postponed due to Covid and will now release on November 12. To ramp up the anticipation, the Randwick Ritz has announced it’s going to screen every one of its predecessors, from 1962’s Dr No starring Sean Connery right up to Daniel Craig in 2015’s Spectre.  Whether you’re a Bond tragic keen to experience the series on the big screen, or a Bond newbie about to discover how brilliant, cheesy, exciting, clichéd, romantic and misogynistic the series has been over the last 58 years, then the Ritz's Bondathon is your chance to don a tuxedo or evening gown and order a Vodka Martini from the bar to take in with you – shaken or stirred, we're not judging. Screenings take place every Sunday and Wednesday from August 19 at "double-O" 7pm, and tickets are on sale now. For what it’s worth, our critics’ picks are From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), You Only Live Twice (1967), On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), The Spy Who Loved Me (1976), The Living Daylights (1987), GoldenEye (1995), Casino Royale (2006) and Skyfall (2012).    

You can watch St Kilda Film Festival’s opening night for free tonight with host Claire Hooper

You can watch St Kilda Film Festival’s opening night for free tonight with host Claire Hooper

Major short film festival the St Kilda Film Festival opens tonight (Friday June 12) at 8pm with a live ceremony followed by the streaming of 11 highlight films. The session is free to watch from the festival website, along with the full festival program from 10pm until June 20.    Produced by the City of Port Phillip and curated by Richard Sowada, the St Kilda Film Festival is a showcase of the 100 best new short films made in Australia. Switching from the Palais Theatre to online for the first time, tonight’s event will be hosted by top Australian comedian Claire Hooper, who spoke to us from her home in Brunswick while fending off her small daughter. Hi Claire, how are you?Hold on just a sec [speaks off the phone]. Sorry, I’ve got a four-year-old at home. Remember that BBC reporter and the two little kids walking into his office, and how we laughed so hard? That’s just every day of our lives now.  So tonight’s opening event will be livestreamed. What will that involve for you?The Welcome to Country will be done in the Palais foyer, and I will be in front of a shiny curtain up in Brunswick at an independent film studio called Stupid Old Studios, and somebody will be toggling over to me at the right moment. Gosh, it’s weird. My duties are to bring people on, and then kick off the short films. There’s 11 highlight films in the session, a lovely little night’s viewing. Any favourites in tonight’s lineup?They’re all incredible in different ways. There’s a horror film that I love

Discover the only Indigenous-run police station in Australia at Sydney Film Festival

Discover the only Indigenous-run police station in Australia at Sydney Film Festival

This article names a person who has died. Ian Ward, known as Mr Ward, was an elder from Warburton, WA. A conservation worker, an interpreter for local police, and a teacher of children of the Gibson Desert, he also travelled to China with a delegation representing the Ngaanyatjarra lands. In January 2008, the 46-year-old was charged with a drink driving offence, put in the back of a van and driven for four hours by the G4S prison transfer service. Air conditioning in the rear of the van was faulty. Given no way to communicate with the officers driving the vehicle up front, he collapsed in temperatures so severe that he suffered burns to his stomach from the metal floor, and died shortly after arrival.  This notorious incident, one of the 432 deaths in police custody of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people since 1991, is one of the reasons why trust in the police in the Gibson Desert region has been in short supply. It’s also why the existence of an Indigenous-run police station in the remote community of Warakurna, 330km west of Uluru, is a welcome development.  “The community has been directly affected by a death in custody – a senior member of the community,” says filmmaker Cornel Ozies, whose half-hour documentary ‘Our Law’, profiling the Warakurna Police Station, screens in the Sydney Film Festival this month. “Right now with the drama unfolding in America and the spotlight turning to Indigenous issues in Australia a lot of people are looking at the problems, but