Free things to do in Sydney today
What do you get when you combine 52 artists from 31 countries and give them each a week to make a statement about an issue that concerns them, sharing it with audiences online? You get the ambitious, year-long project that is 52 Artists, 52 Actions. Hailing from a wide range of ethnicities and cultural backgrounds, and from countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Korea, Turkey and Australia and the Pacific, the project, which began in January 2018, aims to generate a continuously unfolding archive of creative responses to political and social issues, and inspire audiences to consider how art has the power to invoke change. The resulting exhibition opens at Artspace on May 18.
This long running, fascinating investigation into museum curation gives visitors insight into how and why historically and culturally significant objects are moved around the globe. It’s sure to tackle some controversial topics related to ownership and heritage of artefacts, but also the value of having access to items which contribute to our understanding of different cultures, social groups and histories. Some particularly intriguing questions may also come up, like how the torso of an Egyptian statue came to reside in Sydney, while its head still calls Cairo home. But what really unveils the truth behind these stories of diaspora and reveals more about the objects, is the connections between museums themselves. The Connections exhibition, divided into connections between identities, structures, assemblages and meanings, will be the last to feature at the Nicholson Museum, before it, the Macleay and Art Gallery collections are moved to the Chau Chak Wing Museum in 2020.
The National Art School is built on the site of the old Darlinghurst Gaol, a place where people were imprisoned and even hanged for their crimes. So it's somewhat fitting that this exhibition at the NAS Gallery is all about artists who use theft as part of their creative practice, and artists who are deliberately caught in the act. Curator and NAS lecture Jaime Tsai has pulled together some pretty big names for the exhibition, including Fiona Hall, who brings together found objects in a scientific glass vitrine. Photographer and filmmaker Destiny Deacon looks at different sorts of theft from forced adoption to gallery theft, while Louise Paramor is showing a sculpture series made of colourful domestic objects found in the Vietnamese shops around her studio.
An iconic room in the Sydney Comedy scene, Cactus Juice runs each Monday with a guaranteed stellar line up. This cosy space upstairs at the Newtown Hotel complete with vintage cinema seats makes for an entertaining evening. The show starts at 8pm but if you arrive anywhere from 6pm you can snag yourself a $4 happy hour pizza before the show. Comics have up to four minutes per set, and can sign up on the Cactus Juice Facebook page from 10am on Mondays (although not everyone will get up – their slots are in high demand).
At first glance, this fast-paced sport could be mistaken for a rowdy game of netball or basketball, but don’t be fooled: korfball has its own world of skills and rules. It didn’t take long before we realised our years as a netballer wouldn’t do us much good. This game doesn’t let you live in your safe position bubble – everyone must defend and attack across the court. But that’s just basketball right? Wrong. In korball there are dedicated attack and defence halves where players operate, and after two goals are scored, defenders become attackers and vice versa. There’s also no dribbling basketball-style, but more freedom compared to netball – you can take an extra step and get up close to defend. The korf – which is Dutch for ‘basket’ – is also about half a metre higher than its basketball cousins and placed within the court so you can shoot from behind it. Basically, it’s a bloody rodeo out there. The club’s coach Ben King sums it up well with his favourite korfball introductory line: “It’s like mixed netball without all the rubbish rules.” The ‘mixed’ element is also a unique selling point of the game. There are always four male and four female players on the court, who mark any opponent of the same gender. “The sport was invented by a Dutch primary school teacher,” says King. “He just wanted something that everyone could play together, so he invented this kind of egalitarian sport.” The club’s president Amber Gulamali says they get a lot of players joining the korf s
It’s 50 years since Neil Armstrong took that giant leap for mankind, and to commemorate the half century since the Moon landing, the Powerhouse Museum is hosting a cosmic exhibition dedicated to the landmark event. The Apollo 11 exhibition will feature more than 200 objects involved the momentous 1969 space journey and other pieces exploring the science, design and historical impact of the event. Star (and Moon) gazers will undoubtedly flock to the accompanying installation, 'Museum of the Moon', which is an intricate replica of the Moon’s surface. Created by UK artist Luke Jerram, the piece combines detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface with ‘moonlight’ (we’re excited to find out how you capture such an aura), and an ethereal soundtrack by BAFTA Award-winning composer Dan Jones to create a gobsmacking experience of the Moon on Earth. The spherical structure measures seven metres in diameter at a ratio of 1:500,000 to detail five kilometres of our favourite glowing sky orb. Beyond that mesmerising display, you can investigate intriguing specimens like a feed horn (a device which collects radio waves) from the famed Parkes Radio Telescope, which received the very first images of the Moon landing that were broadcast around the world (well done New South Wales). There’s also part of the Redstone Rocket, which flung the first American into space, and an Olivetti Programma 101 computer, which is the kind of processor used by NASA to calculate the famed launch and landing.
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Pasta lovers, rejoice because Otto is doing a noodle-devoted degustation to end them all. The waterfront Italian restaurant will be heating things up in the cooler months with this five-course pasta purveying dinner, which celebrates the Italian staple in all its glorious different shapes and sizes. Five courses may sound like a lot of carbs – but the degustation has been thoughtfully designed so you can enjoy each hand-made piece of pasta from beginning to end. Start with a spanner crab and mascarpone cappellacci in a rich lobster bisque, followed by a mushroom agnolotti. The third course is a hand made cavatelli with Clarence River braised baby octopus, cherry tomatoes, capers and olives, while the fourth course is a hand-rolled pici (a long udon noodle-like pasta) with a Berkshire Pork and fennel ragu. You'll even finish with pasta for dessert, with a unique sweet ravioli, tonka bean ganache and pineapple sorbet. Add in a swish waterfront location and the option to include matched wine, and you've got an experience that will really have you living la dolce vita.
One day destined to be seen as a stealth metaphor for climate-change denial—a brutal Florida hurricane plunges a house and its broken family into disaster—Crawl will, for the time being, serve nicely as a merely okay giant alligator movie. Competitive college swimmer Haley (Kaya Scodelario, in square-jawed Sigourney Weaver mode) sneaks her way into the storm’s path to check in on her divorced dad (Barry Pepper, born to this kind of trashy fun), whom she discovers in the crawlspace below their old house, unconscious and a victim of gator abuse. Both become trapped down there, with relative safety only feet away. That gives them plenty of time to talk through her abandonment issues while dodging sharp teeth. A depressing lull takes over once you realize that pretty much the whole movie is going to transpire in a cellar, which reminds me of the joke about “such small portions”: It’s gunky, vermin-infested—and so underlit! Director Alexandra Aja used to be a visual genius; he had a brief flourish during the torture-porn years of High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes remake and Piranha 3D, all his. Crawl’s concentrated setting could have been an exciting challenge for him, but it’s one that Aja never quite exploits. Neither do screenwriters Michael and Shawn Rasmussen, though they do give Pepper a deliriously dumb line, which is all you need from a horror time-waster like this: “We are going to beat these pea-brained lizard shits.”
Something is off about this defiantly unmagical remake of The Lion King, a film that is both photorealistic – down to every artfully crafted lens flare and whisker on Simba’s chin – and the furthest thing from real. It’ll either mildly disturb you or make you feel like your skin is on backward. Granted, it’s still The Lion King: still a study piece of Hamlet-derived musical theatre, only with 100 per cent more Beyoncé, which is never a bad thing. (Look deep into the lemon eyes of her lioness, Nala, and you can swear you see her.) But Disney’s animated movies have traditionally been invitations to dream bigger than nature; even when you go to one of its theme parks, you submit to pretending. This new Lion King is an invader of the real world, its characters akin to stuffed trophies mounted on the wall. They’re lifelike, yes, but somehow not alive. Almost certainly, kids aren’t going to mind this, even as their imaginations get a little shortchanged. Set in one of Africa’s uncannier valleys, today’s Lion King remains a story about talking and singing animals; no amount of digital work is going to change that. And vocal talent is what semi-saves this remake from Jungle Book director Jon Favreau’s more computerised instincts. As the regal Mufasa, sensible leader of the Pride Lands, the rumbling James Earl Jones still has his Darth Vader sonority on tap. He remembers to give an actual performance, as does Donald Glover, voicing the cub who would be king with increasing surety. Th
You couldn’t accuse choreographer and director Graeme Murphy of having a shortage of ideas for his new production of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. It’s Opera Australia’s first new mainstage version since Moffatt Oxenbould created the company’s definitive, traditional staging in 1997. It’s a lot to live up to, and Murphy clearly understood his task: bring something new to one of the most popular operas in the canon. The production begins with the eponymous figure descending from the heavens suspended by red shibari (Japanese bondage) ropes, arranged to resemble giant wings. We’re in some sort of high-end sex club, with grabby businessmen crawling over one another to reach women suspended in air. It’s a striking and somewhat unsettling image, but it’s only deployed fairly briefly before we’re in the house that American naval officer Pinkerton (Andeka Gorrotxategi) has rented in Nagasaki to live with Cio-Cio-San (Karah Son), the 15-year-old girl he plans to marry – just until he finds a “proper” American wife. Murphy uses the 12 high-definition LED screens to create a digitalised house, where everything slides back and forth using a handheld device – a little like Google Home – complete with a digital servant to bring glasses of whisky. It seems, at this point, that Murphy’s vision might be of a Butterfly where sexual objectification sits up against the dehumanising effect of technology – the way that technology allows us to objectify people who aren’t part of our own, immedia
Hard to believe since she’s aging so well, but Barbie is celebrating her 60th this year. And, over the school holidays, the Shangri-La Hotel is celebrating in a manner befitting a five-star hotel: with a special Barbie High Tea. The menu, designed by celebrity pastry chef and frequent MasterChef star Anna Polyviou, is a smorgasbord of whimsical desserts and finger foods. Kids and adults alike will delight in fairy bread cake (white chocolate mud cake with bubblegum and Fruit Loops), pink whippy ice cream, a rainbow jelly trifle and a jewellery box made of candy. The Barbie High Tea costs $50 for children and $65 for adults (which includes an actual Barbie doll to take home). It’s available every day from July 5-28, but on Saturday July 6 there’s an extra special seating at 11am. In addition to the regular high tea, the Barbie Birthday Soiree ($95) includes a glass of sparkling wine or a Barbie shake, a Barbie cookbook, live DJ and a Rocky Road workshop with Anna Polyviou. Now that’s how you celebrate 60. The Shangri-La's Barbie High Tea will have three sittings daily, at 11am, 1.15pm and 3.30pm. Bookings can be made online.
Been going hard all night?
There’s nothing like the harsh reality of the last call to make you realise how hungry – and perhaps how tipsy – you really are. Sometimes the only way to sort yourself out and curb tomorrow’s hangover is to treat yourself to a feast. Whether you prefer sweet, salty or spicy, we’re here to help keep your hangover at the helm with a cheat sheet for a satisfying late-night meal in Sydney that’ll bring you back to your senses.