Free things to do today
It was more than four decades ago that journalist and anti-development activist Juanita Nielsen disappeared from the streets of Sydney. Nobody knows exactly what happened to her, but it’s believed she met a violent end due to her opposition to the development of Victoria Street, where tenants were being evicted to make way for more apartment blocks. And the possible theories about her fate are wild; one is that she’s buried under the runway at Sydney Airport. So it only makes sense to approach this unusual story in an unusual fashion, which is exactly what Sydney artist Zanny Begg does in this documentary film having its local premiere for Sydney Festival. The Beehive stitches together documentary footage, recreations and other film shot by Begg (Pamela Rabe plays a narrator), but the fabric of this stitching together is determined by a randomised computer algorithm. Each screening lasts somewhere between 20 and 33 minutes, and there are 1,344 possible ways it could turn out.
A majestic yoga practice performed on the edge of the glistening Sydney harbour is already an uplifting experience, but you’ll feel even better about this seaside class because it’ll cost you no dollars. Throughout February and March, luxury hotel Pier One and activewear brand Lululemon are teaming up to bring free yoga classes Sydney. They’ll set up just outside the hotel on the wharf on Wednesdays, with the 50-minute practice starting at 6.30pm. It’s open to all levels, so grab your mat and come along even if you’re feeling less than limber. The hotel’s restaurant the Gantry will also be serving some not-so-free but healthy dinners and kombucha cocktails if you’re starved after class and want to stay on the health train. And if you want to focus on mind strength over body tone, you can try the free meditation sessions they’re running on Tuesday mornings from 7.30am.
If you reckon you’re a trivia wizard, a scattergories queen and gernal knowledge mastermind, you’ll probably have heard of of the television series Pointless. This game show asks contestants to find the most unusual, least-referenced answer to general knowledge questions. The more uncommon the response, the fewer points it’s worth. But rather than competing to earn the most points, it’s the team with the lowest score, that is closest to being ‘pointless’, who will come out on top. This Australian program is based off its UK counterpart which first went to air in 2009. Now onto its second Aussie season, the mind boggling trivia session will once again be hosted by Network Ten’s former Breakfast co-host Andrew Rochford and Mark Humphries, who recently departed from SBS program The Feed. Tickets to be part of the studio audience are free but only open to telly fans over 12, and they are limited, meaning you may not be selected if you apply. You’ll want a clear social plan for the day of viewing, as filming can run anywhere from two to four hours.
American artist Nick Cave – not to be confused with the Australian singer-songwriter – is bringing 16,000 wind spinners, 24 chandeliers, 10 miles of crystals, thousands of ceramic birds and one crocodile to Sydney. Cave’s Until is a mammoth new installation work coming to Carriageworks from November 23 2018. It will be open until March 2019, so you’ve got plenty of time to explore every nook and cranny of this extraordinarily detailed, opulent, kitschy world. Cave is best known for his ‘soundsuits’: brightly colourful, full-body costumes covered in noise-making materials made of everything from dyed human hair to plastic buttons. He made his first soundsuit in 1992, as a response to the Rodney King bashing, and in late 2016 brought a herd of horse-shaped soundsuits to Carriageworks for a memorable performance parade. While the soundsuits aren’t the focus of Until (although one has crept in), a visit to the installation is a little like stepping inside the belly of Cave’s creations. Thousands of small found objects have been pulled together to create three major spaces full of surprising colours and textures. At the centre of this all is a huge hanging crystal cloud, topped with a beautiful “private garden”. You can climb one of four ladders for a peek into this secret world, complete with its own crocodile, golden gilded pigs and blackface lawn jockeys. If those jockeys seem like an unusual addition, there’s a strong political slant to all of the work by Cave, who has
Just one day before it was due to premiere in Melbourne in 2018, Sydney duo Soda_Jerk's latest film lost the support of the philanthropic trust that contributed $100,000 to its development. Soda_Jerk (aka Dan and Dominique Angelero) didn't lose the money they used to produce Terror Nullius, but the Ian Potter Cultural Trust no longer wanted to be associated with the promotion or publicity of a film that they deemed too controversial. So what exactly sent the trust running for cover? The film splices together classic pieces of Australian cinema into a political revenge fable that challenges Australian mythology. Expect to see Pauline Hanson alongside the characters of Mad Max while the voice of John Howard rings out across the desert. Characters from Muriel's Wedding meet Josh Thomas in Please Like Me, Russell Crowe in Romper Stomper, and even the Babadook. Terror Nullius is the centrepiece of this exhibition, which features work from 20 living Australian artists working with satire and alternative narratives, and questioning what it is to be Australian. There's also work from Vincent Namitjira, Tony Albert, Abdul Abdullah, Cigdem Aydemir, Karla Dickens, Joan Ross and more.
The MCA's collection hang is where you go to get an overview of Australian contemporary art – and it's less daunting than it sounds. The last time they curated the hang was in 2012 (MCA Collection: Volume One), for the launch of the re-designed building, so there are a whola lotta new eye-candies to wrap your brain around. Although several works in the first room of the exhibition do take 'time' as their theme (including Stuart Ringholt's giant clock) curator Natasha Bullock, who masterminded the new hang, says the theme is more broadly connected to the ways in which the works in the show connected to histories of different kinds. Bullock deliberately messed with the Western linear notion of time in the exhibition's title, and explains that the indigenous concept of time would be better visualised in a circular pattern, in which present, future and past are connected. Artists in Today Tomorrow Yesterday include: Vernon Ah Kee, James Angus, Barbara Cleveland Institute (formerly Brown Council), John Barbour, Gordon Bennett, Daniel Boyd, Pat Brassington, Bob Burruwal, A.D.S Donaldson, Mikala Dwyer, Dale Frank, Marco Fusinato, Matthys Gerber, Kevin Gilbert, Julia Gorman, Fiona Hall, Robert Hunter, Robert MacPherson, Sanné Mestrom, Frank Malkorda, Linda Marrinon, Elizabeth Mipilanggurr, Callum Morton, Barayuwa Munungur, John Nixon, Kerrie Poliness, Stuart Ringholt, Joan Ross, Super Critical Mass, Gareth Sansom, Sally Smart, Ricky Swallow, Kathy Temin, Imants Tillers, Tjanpi D
Whether it be issues surrounding homelessness, domestic violence, sustainable development or nomadic lifestyles, The Ideal Home finds a way to analyse the subject. The exhibition features watercolours, textile artwork, found objects and video installations which all provide commentary on the last century of evolution within Australian families and the concept of home. The Penrith Regional Gallery has partnered with the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) to produce this series of visual displays, and will house 70 objects from the MAAS collection along with newly commissioned pieces inside the historic gallery. The Western Sydney structure was originally the homestead of two artists prominent in Australian modernism, Margo and Gerald Lewers. When visiting, you’ll find detailed work by eX De Medici that explores domestic violence using tiles made of bullet casings and a wall of flowers that wilt over the course of the exhibition; Blake Griffiths will consider material possessions and home in the age of excess by weaving a blanket with waste products; and Richard Goodwin’s micro-home built out of found objects will examine homelessness and the global refugee crisis. The Penrith Regional Gallery will host this portion of the exhibition concurrently with MAAS until March 24.
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.
Budding horticulturalists who like plants with attitude should head to the Royal Botanical Gardens from October 1 for a free exhibition of carnivorous greenery. The Calyx will be filled with 25,000 of the world’s hungriest, most clever plants. Watch as the venus fly trap lures unsuspecting insects with nectar and snaps them up in its jaws, where they’ll spend their final days being slowly digested. Or meet the drosera, who use their sticky tentacles to attract and snatch their prey before devouring them. Then marvel at the simplicity of the pitcher plant’s hunting technique, which is to lure hapless bugs with honey and let them fall into the pool of digestive enzymes in their pitfall trap. The Plants with Bite display does sound a little like a horror film, but it’s really all bark and no bite (for humans, anyway) and families can expect a very kid-friendly experience. Plus, there will be a range of themed education programs, workshops and a regular feeding display that will intrigue little greenthumbs and their grown-ups.
Free things to do on any given day
If you live in Sydney, a three-hour walking tour around the CBD may sound like a chore rather than a fun thing to do on your day off. But if you have visitors in town, this is a free way to check off many of the city’s historical sites in one go – and there’s a fact-filled guide to do all the talking.
The secret maybe well and truly out about this hidden garden, but it really is heart-warming story and a space worth sharing.
When Time Out has visitors in town this is the hands-down first thing that we recommend they do. It’s a six-kilometre stretch of coastline so most walk from Bondi to Bronte and call it a day, but beyond that is where the walk gets really interesting.
Load up the picnic basket and take a road trip to find these cascading falls around Sydney.
Got a wriggly little one? Let them run off some of that energy at these parks and playgrounds.
OK, so the drinks aren't free – but the karaoke is!
It's less than an hour's drive from the CBD, yet so many Sydneysiders haven't stepped foot in the pristine 15,091 hectares of bushland that lines the coast south of Sydney.