It’s the month of Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, and kids are on school holidays, but it’s also the first month of summer and that means outdoor cinemas are back, music festivals fill up every weekend, and yachts race in Sydney Harbour on Boxing Day. It’s also perfect weather to check out Sydney’s best rooftop bars, where to dine alfresco and Sydney’s best beaches.
December's biggest events
This summer, the Museum of Sydney will have a playful exhibition – filled with sand – that features miniature versions of our city’s famous beaches. Sand in the City is based on our love of the seaside, and in particular the tactile enjoyment of scooping and shaping sand with our fingers and toes. So, you’ll be able to play and interact with tiny versions of Manly Beach and Bondi Beach, using ready-made moulds or your own Lego moulds to make sandcastles.
The brainchild of Brett Haylock, the creative producer of La Soirée (and its antecedent La Clique), Club Swizzle has many of the same alt-cabaret ingredients: sex, comedy and skill, served short and fast – but takes a bar as its setting and theme. A counter-top bar serves as a stage during the show, but serves cocktails, champers and wine pre-show and during the interval. The result is a rowdy, boozy, bent atmosphere. The host is downtown New York’s neo-burlesque ringmaster Murray Hill – who in the show's debut season proved himself to be adorable, charming and dirty-minded. There’s also a live band – ARIA award-winner Mikey Lira and The Night Caps – and a resident diva, and three bar-tending acrobats who sweat (possibly vodka) and strut and strive for your applause.
Watch movies under the stars at Centennial Park. Moonlight Cinema's summer program kicks off this weekend with screenings of Sully, Suicide Squad, Bridget Jones's Baby and Masterminds. As always the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks too.
Flavours of Auburn are doing social enterprise right. In 2007 four small cultural groups approached Auburn Council and created the Auburn Small Community Organisation Network (ASCON). Membership grew and in 2009 they began hosting food events as a part of the annual Good Food Month. The classes and tours became so popular that in 2013 they began running Auburn tours year round; in 2014 they got the small business on board to open up to visitors; and in 2015 they began a full time program of tours and cooking classes. The classes not only allow visitors to experience food from around the globe, but also provide employment and training to newly arrived migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
This summer, the Powerhouse Museum will present the world premiere of Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives. The exhibition is an interactive display of six mummies who lived and died in Egypt between 900 BC and AD 40, alongside 200 objects which provide a snapshot of Ancient Egypt life. The mummies have been transported from the British Museum’s collection after being scanned at Royal Brompton Hospital using non-invasive CT scans (they’re very precious) and 3D visualisation technology. The scans, which will be on display in the exhibition, reveal the age, diet and sex of these ancient beings, and the accompanying artefacts explore the themes of mummification, divinity and elements of these people’s lives, such as their musical instruments, medicine and children's toys.
Sydneysiders might remember Miyajima’s massive room installation ‘Death Clock’ from the MCA's popular 2012 exhibition Marking Time, which marked the re-opening of the redesigned building. The artist is best known for this kind of numbers-based LED installation, and that will be the focus of Connect with Everything – though his performance works, paintings and drawings will also feature. It's the largest survey of Miyajima's work to date. Have a sake cocktail and yakitori-style snack at the MCA's themed Cherry Blossom bar while you're there.
Did you know that over 1000 people tour the Opera House every single day? Actually it’s 363 days a year – even an icon gets Christmas and Good Friday off. You can wander through the theatres and auditoriums, guided in English, Mandarin, French, German, Spanish, Korean and Japanese, and for locals who are familiar with the lay out of our world famous concert house, there are also back stage tours available. But Sydney is a city guided by its stomach, and now you can also tour the Opera House by taste with a new monthly tour for the gastronomically inclined.