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Sydney Vegan Markets
Photograph: Supplied/Milo Jones King

October events in Sydney

The second month of spring is packed with film, food and festivals galore.

By Maxim Boon

After months on hiatus, city life continues to regain an ever-increasing sense of normality. So, as we head through spring towards the usually bursting summer calander, it's time to take stock. Some of October's annual highlights, such as Sculpture by the Sea (postponed until later in the year) and the Night Noodle Markets (reimagined as an at-home experience) are notably absent in 2020. However, when one door closes, another inevitably opens, and there are several exciting new events for Sydneysiders to enjoy this year. 

An alternative alfresco exhibition to Sculpture by the Sea is coming to Manly's Q Station, and for the first time ever, the Good Weekend Quiz is getting a live treatment as part of Good Food Month. There's also a heap of theatre, art and film on offer, as the city's top arts institutions welcome back Sydney's eager culture vultures. Here's our pick of the best events to enjoy this October, and quite frankly, you're spoilt for choice.

Looking for more inspo to kickstart your spring? Check out these physically distanced activities to try now the warmer months are here.

October's biggest events

Scott Marsh’s portrait of Adam Briggs 'Salute of gentle frustration'
Photograph: Supplied/AGNSW

1. Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2020

Art Galleries Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

Australia’s most prestigious arts prizes are back in a big way after being postponed by you-know-what. The show-stopping Archibald Prize, first awarded in 1921, is always a huge event on Sydney’s cultural scene. The subjects captured for posterity are usually celebrity-packed. From portraits depicting film stars to politicians, sporting heroes to artists themselves, we can’t wait to see who shows up in canvas, and IRL.

The finalists for this year have been announced, giving a glimpse into a colourful cross-section of contemporary Australian culture. Yoshio Honjo has depicted celebrity chef Adam Liaw wrestling with a bream in a traditional Japanese art style. Street artist Scott Marsh has depicted his mate and the many-hat-wearing rapper, comedian and Indigenous activist Adam Briggs in his signature style. And previous Archibald winner Wendy Sharpe has turned out a striking portrait of Magda Szubanski as a forlorn version of her netball-playing alter-ego Sharon Strzelecki, set against red flames. 

The accompanying Wynne Prize is awarded to the best landscape painting of Australian scenery, or figure sculpture, while the Sulman Prize is given to the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media. The Young Archie showcases the work of budding artists aged 5–18.

The Packing Room Prize has been awarded to Wongutha-Yamatji artist, actor and writer Meyne Wyatt for a self-portrait, the only time a First Nations Australian has been recognised in any category. 

The trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW judge the Archibald and Wynne, with an invited artist picking the Sulman. You can vote on the ANZ People’s Choice until December 13. The doors will open on the exhibitions from Saturday, September 26, and will show until January 10, 2021. Due to capacity restrictions, all tickets are strictly dated and timed. Lock in your visit and book here. Adult tickets start at $20, with compensated prices for children, concessions, members and families. 

In a special twist, this year Archie Plus will run alongside the exhibitions. This is a free program of art, music, performance, spoken word and dance that marks a year of challenge and change. Work from local artists and collectives including Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Angela Tiatia, Studio A, L-FRESH The Lion and Nardean will appear across different gallery spaces. Find out more here

And you can watch the live-stream announcing the prize winnners of the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes on Friday, September 25 at noon on the Gallery website and Facebook page.

Want more? Check out the best art exhibitions in Sydney this month.

Fresh oysters with vinaigrette and lemon on ice.
Photograph: Supplied

2. The Morrison Oyster Festival

Things to do Food and drink The Morrison Bar & Oyster Room, The Rocks

It's the eigth year of the Morrison Oyster Festival and Sydney still can't seem to get enough of those tasty little bivalves. During the month of October, the inner city restaurant and bar will boast oysters from 50 regions around Australia.

Oyster Hour is back with $1.50 oysters from 6-7pm daily, and the weekend holds two-hour sessions of unlimited sparkling wine to accompany a dozen freshly shucked sea babies for $55 per person – or upgrade to French maison G.H. Mumm’s Cordon Brut Champagne for a cool $155. 

But this year, a whole range of bespoke oyster plates have been added to the lineup. The 'Million Dollar Oyster' comes topped with snow crab meat, Avruga caviar and chives; while the chicken fried po’boy is slathered with oyster mayonnaise; and oysters come dressed with your choice of kimchi vinaigrette, fermented chilli XO sauce, horseradish crème fraîche or Tanqueray gin and tonic.

Make your reservations for Oyster Hour and Oysters and Bottomless Bubbles here

A man takes a photograph of a hue projection of Van Gogh's  'Sunflowers'
Photograph: Supplied

3. Van Gogh Alive

Art Digital and interactive Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park

The triumph and the tragedy of Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh has captivated people worldwide, with his art speaking to audiences far beyond the normal gallery-hopping set. Now Sydneysiders can soak up the sweeping, soaring beauty of works like ‘Wheatfield with Crows’, ‘Vase with Twelve Sunflowers’ and ‘Starry Night over the Rhone’ at unimaginable scales.

Blockbuster exhibition Van Gogh Alive has so far graced Rome, Berlin, Singapore and more. It finally touches down in Australia, just a little off course. Originally intended for Melbourne, their unfortunate lock lockdown loss is our gain. The vast space of the Royal Hall of Industries, next door to the Entertainment Quarter, will bring van Gogh's work alive in a way that’s never been seen before. 

Housing screens and projections with a combined surface area of more than 30 IMAX screens, the paintings will ripple across them like light dappled on the surface of water. Devised as a multi-sensory experience, the incredible shimmering visuals will also be accompanied by fragrances designed to place you within the paintings. You can also get in the mood with this beautifully curated Spotify playlist of inspiring classical music.

Making the magic of art come alive for all ages, the Van Gogh Alive experience uncovers new angles and amazes afresh. And you can also check out the painstaking process behind the masterpieces thanks to accompanying photograph and video exhibits.

American outlet CNN got it bang on when they said, “Van Gogh Alive lets you peek into the heart of the painter and connect with him… both deeply and subtly.”

The exhibition opens September 18 and tickets are on sale now, starting from $30. They've been in such high demand the show has already been extended through to November 22, so get in ral quick before they're all gone again.

Take to the streets for your art fix now. Here’s the best street art in town

‘A Terrible Beauty’ by Tania McMurty on the Pier at Q Station
Photograph: Supplied/Les Sculptures Refusées

4. Les Sculptures Refusées

Art Sculpture and installations Q Station, Manly

Hot on the heels of the announcement that the much anticipated return of Sculpture by the Sea has been postponed with no new dates set, this brand new seaside sculpture exhibition has announced its debut. 

In a nutshell (a seashell?), Les Sculptures Refusées showcases the 'rejects' from Sculpture by the Sea. Some of Australia’s best sculptors – who have previously shown, or just missed out on exhibiting in Sculptures – will be on show at this open air exhibition situated at the historic Q Station in Manly. 

This scaled down answer to the popular Bondi counterpart features “more than 10 sculptures” (the final list is still being curated) along Q Station’s picturesque Pier and Quarantine Beach. The Refusées is held in the same spirit of S.H. Ervin Gallery’s Salon de Refusés and Tap Gallery’s Real Refuses exhibitions, which take in rejected artworks from the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes and have gained cult followings of their own. 

The idea for Les Sculptures Refusées was born over a dinner between artist Tania McMurtry, and friend and close collaborator Simon Hodgson. “I have long been a follower of the Salon de Refusés and after admiring the success of that exhibition and speaking with fellow sculptors, the idea of Les Sculptures Refusées was born,” McMurty said in a press release.

“With the incredible luxury of space Q Station affords, I thought the property would make an excellent location for such an exhibition … we have been able to pull an amazing line up together and we are excited to see it come to life. We hope this event will become bigger and stronger over the years. It is a win for Q Station, a win for the Northern Beaches and most importantly a win for the sculptors who will now have another opportunity to show their work.” 

With the current state of affairs considered, there’s an interesting edge to visiting an exhibition at this historic quarantine station, which during colonial times was the first port of call for ships coming in that were carrying passengers with contagious diseases. Nowadays it’s a quaint place to sip on a bevvie by the ocean spray, with the charming G&Tea House serving tea-infused gin and tonic cocktails alongside sweet and savoury high tea options. The tea house operates Friday to Sunday, with live Sunset Sessions happening on the lawns every Saturday between 4 - 6pm. Q Station is also one of the most haunted places you can visit in Sydney, if you feel like getting in on the spooky season. 

Les Sculptures Refusées will be open from October 15 to November 19, with free entry and free parking (it’s also perfectly accessible by ferry). 

Feeling arty? These are the best exhibitions to see in Sydney right now.  

2018 Night Noodle Markets
Photograph: Graham Denholm

5. Good Food Month

Things to do Around Sydney, Sydney

When October swings around each year, Sydney's tastebuds perk up. Despite the slew of cancellations and postponements left in the wake of the global health disaster, 2020 has finally given Sydneysiders something to look forward to. The 22nd annual Good Food Month, headlined by the relentlessly popular Night Noodle Markets, is set to proceed as planned, albeit with some tweaks and a greater emphasis on smaller scale and more intimate experiences. It's an annual celebration of our culinarily inclined city, and all the tastemakers and cocktail shakers who shape it. 

Late last year, it was revealed that the Noodle Markets would no longer be allowed to take place at its traditional home in Hyde Park, to protect the turf from hordes of noodle-seeking punters. The new format is yet to be announced, but organisers claim the markets will be “as you’ve never seen them before.” That’s guaranteed due to the new restrictions that will need to be in place, but expect a very different experience to previous years.

While 2020 won't feature the cohort of international chefs Good Food Month usually attracts, a bevy of Australian experts are throwing dinner parties and pop-ups. Two live iterations of the Good Weekend Quiz, everyone's ideal Saturday moring activity, are even popping up on Sunday October 25 and Monday October 25, paired with wine, nibbles and dinner by Rockpool

Several headline events celebrate the cuisine of bella Italia. A mulit-course ode to pasta to mark the release of Elizabeth Hewson’s new cook book, Saturday Night Pasta, will involve a matched dinner on Saturday, October 24, set to the sultry sounds of classic jazz: think Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Nina Simone ($150 per person). Icebergs Dining Room is also throwing a Night in Napoli with a feasting style menu and drink on arrival in its gorgeous waterfront setting ($170 per person). Book in for October 21. Danielle Alvarez, head chef at two-hatted restaurant Fred's in Paddington, is throwing a lunch and dinner to celebrate the launch of her new cookbook, Always Add Lemon. You can hang out with her on Saturday, October 18 ($170 per person). 

Tickets for all Good Food Month events go on sale Thursday, September 17, from 9am. Get yours online

Time Out Love Local campaign logo

Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

Plates of food
Photograph: Supplied/Good Food Month

6. The Good Weekend Quiz Live

Things to do Eleven Bridge, Sydney

You've fumbled through the weekend paper looking for it, or maybe you're one of its avid Instagram followers. Either way, the Good Weekend Quiz is a beloved ritual half this city sits down to alongside a Saturday morning coffee – hungover, maybe, but still perky enough to put their wits to the test. Now, for the first time ever, the Quiz is getting its own live and in-person event, as part of Good Food Month.

For two nights at 6.30pm on Sunday, October 25 and Monday, October 26, the Quiz's trivia masters, in partnership with Good Food's restaurant critics, will curate a culinary-themed quiz to test your gourmet knowledge (and also to whet your appetite before dinner). Tables will be sold in teams of six – so choose your foodie friends wisely. You'll be quizzing in style, with a main course, dessert and appetisers included, designed and delivered by the connoisseurs at Rockpool

These most delicious of trivia nights will be hosted at Eleven Bridge, located at 11 Bridge Street, Sydney NSW 2000. Tickets are $140 per person. Book online from 9am, Thursday September 17.  

Time Out Love Local campaign logo

Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

Drawing in colours
Photograph: Supplied/Pier One

7. Creator Series at Pier One Sydney Harbour

Things to do Pier One Sydney Harbour, Dawes Point

Harbourside hotel Pier One is putting on a new series of creative classes in conjunction with some renowned local brands, so you can work with your hands as you learn from the best in the business. 

Every Saturday until October 31, you can let your most creative self out in a one-and-a-half-hour creative art class run by Matt and Maurice from GAS (Goldberg Aberline Studios), whose work has toured London, New York and other cities around the world. They just want you to let loose – they'll provide materials, direction and some breakfast too. The class starts at 9am and costs $99 per person.

On Sundays, book in for a flower arranging class with Potts Point's Poho Flowers, where you'll learn from how to pick and put together unusual, interesting floral combinations from an industry innovator. Tickets are $150 per person and classes go for two hours from 11am-1pm. 

Friday evenings at Pier One are all about cocktails at sunset, canapés, and a makeup workshop from Napoleon Perdis, in a two-hour-long session led by artists who've been in the industry, well, basically forever. In need of a new blusher brush? The workshop comes with $50 to spend on products, too. Tickets are $150 and you'll get a cocktail or glass of bubbles included. There'll also be a cocktail crafting class run by the legends at Archie Rose – so stay tuned for the details. 

Book in online to all classes here

Time Out Love Local campaign logo

Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

Sydney Vegan Market
Photograph: Don Urban Photography

8. Sydney Vegan Market

Things to do Markets The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park

On the third Sunday of every month, Sydney Vegan Market has been bringing together more than 100 stalls selling 100 per cent plant-based food and drink, homewares, fashion, art and cosmetics from some of the biggest names in cruelty-free shopping.

The set up at the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park offers a full day of eating, shopping, activism and education. If you want to fill your boot with ethical goodies, you’ll be please to know there’s 2,000 car parking spots and heaps of green space to spread out on a picnic blanket to assess your purchases. It’s also dog-friendly, and there are ATMs within easy reach.

You can expect to see stalls from the likes of Southern Soul, Monchay Kitchen, Kindness Cafe, I Should Be Souvlaki, GogoVego, Holistic Kitchen, Treat Dreams, the Cruelty Free Shop, Vegan Leather Co, In the Soulshine, Wax Movement and Headless Nation.

The market also hosts Tent Talks, which is a discussion program that gives business owners, activists and experts the platform to share their passion and upcoming projects in ethical living. And if you’re making a day of it, there’ll be yoga and pilates classes by donation, face painting and acoustic performances from local singers and musicians.

A still from David Lynch's take on Dune
Photograph: Supplied

9. David Lynch Retrospective: Master of Surreal Cinema

Film Special screenings Ritz Cinema Randwick, Randwick

Cinema lovers salivating over the trailer for Denis Villeneuve’s new take on Frank Herbert’s sweeping space opera Dune, starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, might have picked up on a few interesting shots. The French-Canadian director seems to have slipped in a few visual nods to the work of great American auteur David Lynch.

The Twin Peaks creator wrangled the brick-like book about spice wars and giant worms onto the big screen way back in that most dystopian-appropriate year 1984. But he wasn’t the first to try. Chilean-French visionary Alejandro Jodorowsky gave it a red-hot go in a glorious-looking folly that failed to lift off. It was considered something of a cursed project, and Lynch disowned his attempt, which made it to cinemas and promptly flopped.

Which is not to say it isn’t as gloriously bonkers and surreally cerebral as you’d expect from the man who apparently knows how to tap into our haunted dreamscapes. Thanks to the Randwick Ritz, you’ll be able to reassess Lynch’s vision. Hs Dune will screen on October 15 as part of the cinema's showcase David Lynch Retrospective: Master of Surreal Cinema.

Kicking off with black-and-white body horror film Eraserhead (1977) on October 8, each Thursday night the cinema will show all ten of his mind-bending features, one a week at 7pm. Dune will be followed by neo-noir thriller Blue Velvet (1986) on October 22. It cast soon-to-be Twin Peaks lead Kyle MacLachlan alongside Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, and Laura Dern.

Then, on October 29, Wild at Heart (1990) brings back Dern and pairs her with the irrepressible Nic Cage as young lovers on the run in this 30th anniversary screening. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), the big screen prequel that fills in the final days of doomed Laura Palmer, will play on November 5, while Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette are unforgettable in the identity shifting Lost Highway (1997), showing November 12.

Road trips are a recurring theme in Lynch movies, with biopic The Straight Story (1999) slightly more unusual in its relative wholesomeness. It depicts Richard Farnsworth as a WWII veteran who journeys across America atop an 8km an hour lawnmower to visit his dying brother (Lynch regular Harry Dean Stanton). It shows on November 19, with one of Lynch’s greatest masterpieces, the Naomi Watts-led Mulholland Drive (2001) on November 26.

While 2006’s Inland Empire is arguably his least celebrated, it’s well worth a revisit on the big screen, and then the season ends with a legit masterpiece in 1980s haunting biopic The Elephant Man, which casts the late, great John Hurt as a Victorian man cruelly shunned for his disfigured appearance, and Anthony Hopkins as the surgeon who tries to offer him a kinder life.

You can check out the program and book tickets here. They’re $12 for members, $20 for regulars. Then get your research in by watching Lynch’s Dune first to compare and contrast when the Villeneuve drops on Boxing Day.

Into cinematic experimentation? Stream all-new movies shot on mobile phones. 

Time Out Love Local campaign logo

Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

Four burlesque performers pose in black and white costumes with broad brimmed hats.
Photograph: Supplied/La Femme

10. La Femme

Things to do The Vanguard, Newtown

Drawing on Parisian traditions like the famous Crazy Horse cabaret (think the racier big sister to the Moulin Rouge) this homegrown cabaret experience is infused with subtle Aussie influences.

La Femme is the brainchild of Sydney’s reigning queen of burlesque, Porcelain Alice, and the “glamorous and horrifying” performer Bella Louche. Aside from big budget travelling productions that tend to roll through during Sydney Festival or Mardi Gras, Sydney doesn’t see much in the way of big productions with a cast serving choreographed group routines. This is something Alice and Bella are seeking to change.

Rather than a collective of performers bringing in their own acts, which is the kind of burlesque show you’d normally see on the Sydney scene, La Femme is a full production with a troupe of four performers joined by a guest star each month. The show endeavours to portray a diversity of ways to be feminine and express femininity. The core performers are Porcelain Alice (with travel restrictions sadly currently keeping Bella Louche over in Melbourne); singing siren Ava Torch; vogue star Karlee Luna; and bearded pole-dancing drag queen Lady Fur. 

Time Out joined the physically distanced crowd at the show's post-iso grand debut in July, and we liked what we saw. From the life-sized actualisation of one of those fringed lamps with a sexy high-heeled leg (you know the ones!), to a bathtub routine (with real bathwater) that is the personification of erotic art, all the performances are delightful and creative.

The Australiana references are subtle: there's whip cracking, a tribute to the old Kings Cross Coke sign (we suspect this stunning solo routine solidified Lady Fur's switch from guest performer to permanent cast member), a homage to the ladies of King Cross with three large neon-lit 'X's, and sultry live covers of the music of the Divynls (you don't even realise how much Chrissy Amphlett's raw eroticism is watered down on the radio before Ava Torch sings Pleasure and Pain).

There's more to this show than the beautiful and the camp. In between acts, a soundscape engineered by the talented BitchCRAFT features commentary gifted by anonymous real life 'femmes'. This inclusive and unfiltered commentary on everything from gender expression to sex work gives agency to the art and also really reaffirms that you are in Newtown, Sydney's alt-epicentre. The luxurious costumes are created by local demi-couture label Nicol & Ford, with the lighting design by Terrence Maxwell elevating the experience.

La Femme definitely falls under the 'experience' category rather than a clean-cut show, and  is best experienced as such by partaking in the full dinner and show experience, complete with table service, a bottle of bubbly, and/or cocktails from the skilled bar team. 

This strictly 18+ event takes over Newtown’s vaudevillian-vibed live music and cabaret venue, the Vanguard, with physically distanced cabaret seating. The early sitting runs from 6-9pm, and for the night owls, the later sitting runs from 9.30pm-midnight. You can enjoy a two-course dinner with the show for $96.80, or enjoy the show only for $50.75. 

So rouge your knees and pull your stockings down (and buy your tickets), we know a whoopee spot where the gin is cold but the performance is hot. 

Sydney's burlesque scene is about more than getting your kit off, we spoke to Porcelain Alice and up-and-comer Lottie Lamont about the local community

Peter Mungkuri  'Punu Ngura (Country with trees)' 2018-19  (detail)
Photograph: Peter Mungkuri

11. Real Worlds

Art Galleries Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

If you feel like you’re always getting lost in your imagination, then this is the exhibition for you. Real Worlds: Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial 2020 introduces you to the brave new worlds conjured up by eight exciting contemporary artists.

Featuring NSW artists Danie Mellor, Nathan Hawkes and Jack Stahel, they are joined by fellow dreamers Becc Ország and Martin Bell from Victoria. Helen Wright and Matt Coyle represent Tasmania, with Peter Mungkuri from South Australia.

Some of the drawings which will be represented are firmly grounded in the real, with a deep connection to place or country, but others soar into the unknown. All of them will open up your mind.

We cant wait to see what lies in store when the exhibition opens on October 24, running to February 7, 2021.

Baseball girl
Photograph: Supplied/KOFFIA

12. KOFFIA Korean Film Festival in Australia

Film Film festivals Your place, Sydney

If anyone in 2020 still doubted that Korean movies are a force to be reckoned with then the events of February 9, when Parasite was named Best Picture at the 92nd Academy Awards, would have ended the discussion. It was a popular and historic win, the first ever by a non-English language movie, and a reflection of the depth and quality of the film industry known affectionately as ‘Hallyuwood’ (‘hallyu’ meaning ‘Korean wave’).

So the announcement that the Korean Cultural Centre’s Korean Film Festival in Australia will be both online and free to everyone in Australia this year is fantastic news. Brimming with beautiful young people, K-pop, hot-button issues, thrills and chills, the program will push all of the buttons that fim lovers have come to expect. 

Speaking of Parasite, that film’s Jessica, Park So-dam, features in Fukuoka (2019), an eerie drama reminiscent of the novels of Haruki Murakami. Two former friends who were in love with the same person in college reunite in Japan with the help of a ghostlike young woman (Park).

Period drama Forbidden Dream (2019) takes viewers into the court of King Sejong the Great, who ruled the Joseon Kingdom in the early 15th century. The movie is about the king and his court inventor Jang Yeong-sil and the way their advancements in astronomy put them into conflict with Imperial China (which considered the heavens to be sacred).

In heart-tugging drama The House of Us, an 11-year old girl from a troubled family forms her own family group when she starts to look after two neglected younger girls. 

The role of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency in the assassination of Korean president Park Chung-hee 1979 is the subject of The Man Standing Next (2020), a fact-based thriller in the tradition of John Le Carré. Meanwhile An Old Lady (2019) is a suspenseful drama about a 69-year-old woman (Ye Su-jeong, who was in Train to Busan) who accuses a hospital employee of raping her. 

One of the festival’s must sees is Kim Ji-young: Born 1982 (2019), which has been hailed as Korea’s #metoo film. Based on a bestselling 2016 novel, it chronicles the everyday discrimination faced by a 30-something woman, and the film’s release in Korea last year caused a social media firestorm. Also tackling issues of gender equality is Baseball Girl (2019) in which a high school girl strives against the system to become a professional baseball player. Lee Joo Young won the Rising Star Award at the New York Asian Film Festival for her part in the movie. 

KOFFIA kicks off on October 29 through to November 5 at the festival website with 18 feature films (all with English subtitles) as well as a program of talks. Films will be available at a scheduled time and streaming is available up to 30 minutes after the scheduled time.

Find out more about the Korean Film Festival in Australia 2020.

Interior of exhibit, ornate dresses at the centre surrounded by ritual objects.
Photograph: Supplied/Sydney Jewish Museum

13. Jews from Islamic Lands

Museums Sydney Jewish Museum, Darlinghurst

This petite but jam-packed temporary exhibition at the Sydney Jewish Museum perfectly compliments the museum’s narrative, which explores Jewish culture and history internationally and the Jewish community’s existence in Australia. 

Jews from Islamic Lands is centred around objects from the museum’s collections as well as some sourced from local families with direct lineage from Islamic regions, including intricately designed ritual objects, such as a colourful wedding dress from Iran, an elaborately adorned Torah cover – or a tik – from India, and a Passover seder plate from Egypt.

The exhibition traces the lives of Jewish people and families from the Middle East, Asia Minor, North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula and how people from these distinct regions have dispersed around the world. One of the most thought provoking takeaways from this exhibition is that some families displaced by WWII arrived in Australia only to be divided, when the White Australia Policy deemed that only some family members and not others had a light enough skin colour to gain entry. 

Another temporary exhibition currently showing at the Sydney Jewish Museum is Nostalgic Glimpses of a Bygone Eraan exhibition of paintings by Camille Fox, a Jewish artist who was born in the 'golden era' in Alexandria, Egypt.

The Sydney Jewish Museum is currently open to visitors on Wednesdays and Sundays from 10am-4pm. Pre-bookings are not required and there are no allocated time slots, however visitors are capped at 80 people at any one time. Read about our impressions from a recent visit to the museum over here.

Rough Edges cafe with man in mask inside
Photograph: Jen Webster

14. Roughtober

Things to do Your place, Sydney

With its bright blue muralled wall on the thoroughfare of Darlinghurst's Victoria Road, it's hard to miss the Rough Edges café. Since it opened in 1996, Rough Edges has established itself as a stalwart of the local community, serving the inner city's homeless and marginalised communities through a nightly meal service, as well as community outreach programs like counselling, legal assistance and domestic violence assistance through its Banksia Women program.

Like many events which have been forced to innovate under physical distancing, Rough Edges is changing up its annual sleepout fundraiser a little this year. Instead of gathering together to sleep outdoors on the church grounds for a night, groups can take on the Roughtober challenge in their own ways. 

On the night of October 30, choose your own spot to camp out for the night in order to raise awareness and money for homelessness. Groups and individuals have already signed up to sleep on balconies, backyards and car parks. You can register online

If you're not ready to brave a night outdoors, but you still want to suport the cause, you've got some options. Grab a 'Darlo Darlings' cocktail at Darlo Bar, of which 50c from each drink will be donated to Roughtober, or the cocktail of the month at L'il Darlin, of which $1 will go to the cause. if you'd like to peace out this weekend, Kindness Café is hosting a yoga and meditation class with a buffet-style lunch on Saturday, October 3 – and all proceeds will suport Roughtober. 

Have you heard? Sydney's streets will be transformed into outdoor dining spaces this summer.

A painting of a dark blue boxy car on a sandy beach with big surf in a blue ocean and a huge cloud in a big blue sky
Photograph: Supplied/Hiroshi Nagai

15. Hiroshi Nagai: Paintings for Music

Art Drawings Japan Foundation, Chippendale

Oft-compared to the bedazzling appeal of British painter David Hockney, Japanese illustrator Hiroshi Nagai is an outstanding artist in his own right. Starting out designing record sleeves, he depicted the clean-cut lines of beachside Californian dream scenes with a vibrant panache that ensured his work went pop in ‘80s Japan.

And pop’s the right word, because the Tokushima-born artist’s vision of midnight blue swimming pools, swaying palm trees and boxy Cadillacs parked in the sand propelled him to the fore of the ‘city pop’ style. It was a cultural wave embraced by the suddenly cash-rich working class whose prospects soared in the post-war period. With an eye on Western mores, Japan was also leading the world in its own way, stepping into the future with a huge technological push. Music was exploding outwards too, onto the streets with the invention of Sony’s Walkman, with boom boxes and cars hooked up with cassette players.

Nagai knew how to ride the city pop wave, and now you can check out glorious highlights of his prolific 40-year career in a retrospective hosted by the Japan Foundation in Chippendale. It runs from September 25 until January 23 next year, so slip in and soak up some of his finest, showcasing images of egg yolk yellow Tower Records store façades and the pink blush of sunset cityscapes reflected in the water.

There are pieces on show from his ‘80s heyday right up until now, with Nagai as prolific and successful an artist as ever. Nagai is music critic to boot nowadays, and you can be sure that some of his original record sleeve designs are also on display at the Japan Foundation exhibition, plus there will be a series of events to accompany the gallery show. So get set for summer by diving into Nagai’s neon nights and bright beach delights.

Love vibrant art? You can snap up some of the Biennale's best at auction

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Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

Two women laugh as they sculpt clay with wine and cheese on the table
Photograph: Supplied/Clay Sydney

16. Wine and Cheese Ceramic Workshop

Things to do Classes and workshops Multiple venues

Wine time and snacking are tried and tested ways to blow off steam, and a lot can be said for a little art therapy. Throw in the gentle sense of accomplishment of making a beautiful object with a practical use? Muy bueno!

Clay Sydney has opened the doors back up and is welcoming in visitors once again for it’s ever popular Wine, Cheese and Clay Nights. Grab a bottle of your favourite plonk and snacks and head down to the new Enmore studio on Wednesdays, or the Marrickville studio on a Friday or Saturday night to get your hands dirty at one of their chilled out, boozed up workshops. They’ll provide all the tools, raw materials and guidance required to create your own smashing ceramic mug or vase. You’ll be guided through hand-building your vessel with speckled white clay and decorating it with vibrant glazes. 

Keeping the atmosphere intimate – and keeping physical distancing observed – class sizes for these workshops are limited and they do book out, so check ahead and book online. The workshop will set you back $80 including your precious item to take pride of place on the mantelpiece of your ‘good room’.

There’s more going on down at the studio. You can book in for a Planter Party or Mugs and Mimosas workshop on alternate Saturday day-times, recreate the famous scene from Ghost with beginner Wheel Classes on Saturdays and selected weeknights, plus special Date Night wheel throwing taster classes on Sundays to share with some special. If you're a bit of a pro mud slinger, there's also more advanced in-studio classes. Check out all the classes and make a booking here

If you’re out of town or you’d rather get your hands dirty at home, Clay Sydney is still slinging Clay at Home kits nationally so you can get amongst it from your kitchen table with a live virtual class – you can even get some mates around and Zoom in together. Choose between serving platters and teapots, kids classes and special ladies night sessions where you can make your own ‘boobie vessel’.

Looking for more options to get your hands dirty at home? Check out all these pottery classes and kits you can get stuck into at home.

Did you know? Boozy painting classes are back on in the studio as well.

Shaun Gladwell, 'Planet and stars sequence: Barrier Highway' 2009 (video still),
Photograph: Shaun Gladwell

17. Under the Stars

Art Galleries Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

Bringing together Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, Under the Stars highlights our shared understandings of the night sky. Highlighting the commonalities and connections in our shared attempts to understand the sky above our place in relation to it, the exhibition has a particular a focus on Indigenous knowledge.

It presents an opportunity to explore, engage and educate at a time when discussions surrounding the 250 years since Captain Cook’s arrival have sparked great debate, as further highlighted by the Black Lives Matter marches.

Under the tars includes the work of artists like Lindy Lee, Mick Kubarkku and Shaun Gladwell. Shining a light on complex ideas, it also centres the idea that the night sky is an expanse that is not owned, and that connects us all.

The free exhibition runs until sometime next year.

A pendulum swinging over an under-lit glass bowl
Photograph: Supplied

18. Hybrid: Objects for Future Homes

Art Design Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo

The Powerhouse Museum continues to bring the arty goodness to Sydney’s heart with brand-new exhibition Hybrid. Taking a look at what homes might look like ten years from now – because seriously, we’re so over 2020 already – it promises to be a forward-thinking dream for Grand Designs watchers.

Part of Sydney Design Week 2020, the show has been curated by creative director and esteemed writer design Stephen Todd, design editor at the Australian Financial Review. He tasked nine design studios to work alongside researchers and practitioners from a host of alternative industries, together brainstorming new ways to tackle the urban lifestyle for our domestic futures. They were asked to look at our new normal, from the climate crisis and subsequent longer, scarier bushfire seasons to our current global predicament. Taking a look at the fascinating results, there’s nary a jet pack nor hoverboard in sight.

The team includes innovative Australian industrial designer Adam Goodrum working alongside furnituremaker Ella Williams, and Dutch immersive art and design duo Golnar Roshan and Ruben de la Rive Box – aka Rive Roshan – collaborating with local spatial designer Emmaline Cox.

Bringing wellbeing and heart to where the home is, the works range from lighting that emulates the great outdoors inside to stools made from recycled plastic. Thirroul-based designer and lecturer at the University of New South Wales Art & Design Trent Jansen has re-teamed with Nyikina man and leatherworker Johnny Nargoodah. We’re particularly keen to see what they come up with after their previous collaboration, ‘Ngumu Janka Warnti (All Made from Rubbish) High Back Chair’ (pictured), which was stunning.

Todd argues the way we live and how we experience our homes has been radically altered, so he wanted to see new solutions that think outside the box. “The primary role of the home in the 21st century is to be a sanctuary, a respite from the clamour of daily life, the ultimate refuge in these times of crisis,” he says. “For the Hybrid commission, we asked creatives outside of the field of design to create domestic artefacts for our future.”

With the intriguing exhibition running from September 12 to February 28, you can mainline your designs for life right here.

Want more inspiring art? Check out Fijian-Australian show Bittersweet.

Re-Claimed at the Clock Hotel
Photograph: Supplied/Solotel

19. Re-Claimed

Bars Clock Hotel, Surry Hills

A multi-sensory, immersive art installation is transforming the Clock Hotel’s gin garden into an oasis of sound, light and spirits. Re-claimed is a collaboration between Sydney artist Sam Whiteside and creative studio Babekuhl, supported by the Clock and Bombay Sapphire. In addition to the installation itself, there will also be a series of live performances, masterclasses and limited-edition cocktails on offer between October 15 and November 15.

Attempting to describe an immersive installation is a bit like trying to explain an enticing flavour – words will fail to communicate the nuance, shade and subtleties of something that can only be known by experiencing it firsthand. But to give you at least a hint of what to expect, dazzling light displays will work in concert with a shifting soundscape, including original music by producer-composer Patrick Santamaria, as botanical elements evoke an urban world reclaimed by wild, untamed nature.

Entry to the installation is completely free, however, to ensure all CovidSafe measures are observed, entrance will be strictly limited. It promises to be quite unlike anything staged at the Surry Hills pub before – think Vivid meets Dark Mofo vibes – so come with an open mind and a curious spirit. 

To really enhance the experience, a special, gin-focused cocktail menu will be on offer, devised by ACME’s Ed Loveday. Be sure to try as much of the list as you can handle – these juniper creations are only available for a limited time.

For those inspired to get a little creative themselves, Bombay Sapphire ambassador Loy Cotada will be leading two mixological masterclasses on the art of making the most of gin’s complex flavours. These interactive sessions (yes, you will be able to sip on the fruits of your labour afterwards) take place on October 28 and November 11, and booking in advance is essential as places will be strictly limited.

Pink food on a table
Photograph: Supplied/Daniel San

20. Cherry Blossom Festival at Daniel San

Restaurants Daniel San, Manly

While we may not be lining up to see flowering cherry blossom trees in the Auburn Botanic Gardens this year – the park is currently closed to visitors – the team behind Manly's modern Japanese eatery Daniel San has decided to mock up its own version of a pink-hued sakura paradise. From late September and for the whole month of October, the airy beachside venue will transform into a blushing floral bower, decked out with thousands of cherry blossom stems to emulate the two weeks in spring when the streets of Japan are filled with blooming cherry trees.

Cherry blossom season is a time that represents renewal and growth. Communities gather to reflect on the beauty of the flowers, in a celebration known as hanami. In tribute to this event on the Japanese calendar, Daniel San is introducing an all-pink menu; rosy bao buns, pink-toned sushi, and sweet, blushing sakura mochi ball skewers with ice cream centres. Drinks also get a pink spin, with a riff on a Gin Fizz and a sakura Martini.

They are also hosting a bottomless cherry blossom Bellini brunch, which includes a sakura tasting plate for $59 per person. Bookings are essential.

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Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name
Photograph: Supplied

21. Rainbow Retrospective

Film Film festivals Dendy Newtown, Newtown

If you’re excited about the return of the Queer Screen Film Festival and its smorgasbord of LBTQ+ goodies – including a drive-in Priscilla screening – then do we have some bonus round good news for you. The Dendy Newtown will also run a five-week Rainbow Retrospective of awesome queer cinema from September 24.

Kicking off with schlocky cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the late, great and fabulously fish-netted and corseted Tim Curry has Susan Sarandon, Barry Bostwick and pretty much everyone else in the palm of his latex-gloved hands in the barmy B-movie musical treat where sexuality is an all-you-can-eat buffet.

If you’re in the mood for swooning romance, the line-up has plenty to get flushed over. There’s Timothée Chalamet and his impossibly floppy hair mooning over a chisel-jawed Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name, or Our Cate bedazzling Rooney Mara in Todd Haynes’ impeccable drama Carol. Céline Sciamma took home the Queer Palm at Cannes last year for the lush Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight is like poetry turned into a movie. Or if you want things a little bit dirtier, literally, then get mired in the mud of a blasted English moor with Francis Lee’s heart-swollen God’s Own Country, one of our absolute faves of recent years.

Kick it up a notch with the beguiling eroticism of French fancy Stranger by the Lake, or local hook-up app thriller Sequin in a Blue Room. Australia also fields Ana Kokkinos’ classic Christos Tsiolkas adaptation Head On, and seminal HIV/AIDS crisis story Holding the Man.

Both Tangerine and A Fantastic Woman are brilliant films about indomitable trans women. Break your heart all over again when cowboys Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal fall head-over-heels, giving us all the feels in Brokeback Mountain, or take off for Paris in activist celebration BPM. Or if you need a hearty chuckle, fly for The Birdcage.

For the full program and to book tickets, head here.

It's rainbows all round. Glow up as the Queer Screen Film Festival returns.

Nude model poses, she faces away from the camera holding a sparkly shawl in the air.
Photograph: Supplied/Camelot Lounge

22. The Camelart Club

Things to do Camelot Lounge, Marrickville

Marrickville’s intimate live music space the Camelot Lounge is opening back up the doors after lockdowns, and in good news for seasoned sketchers and newly minted hobbyists alike, it’s popular weekly life drawing sessions are back on.

The Camelart Club kicks back off from Wednesday, July 29, downstairs in the quirky lounge room-like surrounds of Django @ Camelot. Have your pencil at the ready as a nude model takes to the stage for two sets of artistic posing between 6.30pm and 8.15pm. This sketch club is popular for being accompanied by evocative live musicians every week, with an eclectic bevy of artists bringing everything from jazz piano, Gypsy guitar and French accordion to the table. While new physical distancing protocols are configured, the sessions may be underscored by chilled out DJ sets. 

Admission is just $10, BYO art materials (pencils, paper, etcetera). The bar will have you sorted for cocktails, wine, and craft beers poured from the tap – and there’s pizza if you’re peckish. Numbers are capped and entry is first come, first served. Get down to support this stalwart venue in the Sydney creative scene and have a nosy at the facelift and brand new stairwell art slapped up by local art students while things were closed down. 

A tarantula peeks out from a nest.
Photograph: Javier Aznar González de Rueda

23. Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Art Galleries Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour

Update: the Maritime re-opened to visitors from Monday, June 22. The Museum urges all visitors to pre-book online as there will be limited capacity. For weekdays you can purchase a daily ticket, and on weekends there will be two sessions from 9.30am to 1pm, and 1pm to 5pm.

Sydney is taking temporary custody of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition (WPY). On loan from London’s Natural History Museum, this world-class collection of 100 mesmerising images will be housed at the Australian National Maritime Museum from March through to October. 

This collection showcases not only the best of the natural world, but the patience, ingenuity and talent of the photographers who spend their time embedded within wildlife so that they can get that one incredible shot. Judged by a panel of industry-recognised professionals, this year's pictures were taken by some of the world’s best nature photographers and selected for their creativity, artistry and technical complexity. 

Put on your best Sir David Attenborough impression as you browse this spectacular collection or intimate animal portraits and astonishing landscapes, showcasing the beauty and diversity of nature and reflecting the environmental challenges the planet is experiencing. This year’s winning photograph, ‘The Moment’ by Chinese photographer Yongqing Bao, lets us into a tense, life-or-death moment between a Himalayan marmot and a Tibetan fox. 

Australian photographers were also highly commended in this year’s competition. Western Australian photographer Wayne Jones’ ‘Night Rider’ is an unlikely scene from the deep, a juvenile argonaut (part of the octopus family) hitches a ride on a tiny jellyfish with electric green tentacles. Justin Gilligan’s ‘Colliding Views’ is a stark image of Australian road kill, a red kangaroo sprawled on an outback road, framed by orange dust. 

Tickets to the exhibition are $20 for adults, $12 for children over the age of four, and $50 for a family of two adults and three kids.

Sunset Drive-In Cinema Ku-Ring-Gai
Photograph: Supplied/Sunset Drive-In Cinema

24. Sunset Drive-In Cinema Ku-Ring-Gai

Film St Ives Showground, St Ives

While 2020 has been pretty terrible in just about every way, these strange coronafied times have at least proven to be a boon for drive-in cinemas, which have enjoyed a renaissance in recent months. The latest addition to the Sydney's socially distanced picture palaces, at the St Ives Showgrounds, has arrived just in time for a night of supernatural scares and grizzly gore (although after the year we’ve all had, we’re not sure much frightens us anymore). 

Two classic horror flicks headline the Sunset Drive-In Cinema’s Halloween double bill on October 31: the stab-tastic Scream, and the OG found-footage nightmare fuel that is The Blair Witch Project

If spooks and slashers aren’t your thing, there's a huge program of less bloodcurdling movies on offer throughout October, including feel-good classics and brand new blockbusters. Of the more recent releases on offer, sci-fi and action fans are well taken care of, with Christopher Nolan’s latest reality-warping thriller, Tenet, the X-Men-inspired psycho-drama The New Mutants headlining. Those in the mood for a chuckle should catch Seth Rogan’s kooky intergenerational comedy about New York's Jewish heritage, An American Pickle. 

Heading down memory lane, there’s a double-feature of bougie highschool Americana with Mean Girls and Clueless, Tarantino’s seminal shoot 'em up, Pulp Fiction, a night of hip-swinging romance courtesy of the late, great Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing, and Tim Burton’s gothic fable Edward Scissorhands, as well as a bunch of other tried and true movie favourites.

Tickets are $50 per car (with a maximum occupancy of eight), which works out as an absolute steal if you don’t mind sharing your ride with a few passengers. And good news for pet owners: dogs are permitted, as long as they remain leashed while outside of your vehicle. 

Because no trip to the cinema is complete without snacks, you’ll be able to buy popcorn, lollies, beverages (soft and alcoholic), and more substantial eats from a roster of top local food trucks.

Sunset Drive-In's Ku-Ring-Gai cinema opens on October 1, with screenings Wednesday to Sunday, every week until the end of the month. Head to the Sunset Cinema website for more details.

Table with pink chairs

25. Kitchens on Kent Dinner Series

Restaurants The Langham Sydney, Millers Point

In-hotel dining may be ultra-chic in Hong Kong, Singapore and London, but ask a Sydneysider where you should go for dinner and they're not likely to recommend a lobby restauarant. At the luxurious Langham Hotel nestled in Sydney's Rocks district, however, they're looking to change that.

The Kitchens on Kent dinner series celebrates the return of the in-house eatery – which first only opened in September 2019 – after months of shutdown. Elegant, inimate five-course degustations take place each fortnight, and each course comes paired with drinks – just not those you'd expect. 

The first dinner on Thursday, October 8 matches each dish with different Glenlivet whisky drams and cocktails, while the next on Thursday, October 22 heroes Mr Black coffee liqueur, matching plates with a new, fresh spin on the sumptuous spirit. (Thought coffee liqueur was just for Espresso Martinis? Think again.) Later dinners shine the spotlight in turn on Laurent-Perrier Champagne, Archie Rose gin, and Wayward Brewery ales. At these classy meals Champagne flows over each course rather than just for a bubbly beginning, stoic drams are sipped alongside entrées, and hearty ales are matched with delicately constructed desserts. Five takes on each drink let you taste its complexities and ambiguities, while also showcasing its versatility.

Book in online at Kitchens on Kent for your spot. Each dinner is $195 per person, but the more dinners you book in for, the more you'll save on each. 

Don't want to go home after? Bring your pup and book in for a staycation

A pale blue and orange 3D printing of a human heart
Photograph: Supplied

26. Design for Life

Art Design Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo

We’ve all got one eye on our health at the moment, though it’s very rare that we think of the science behind life-saving equipment and the beauty of art going hand-in-hand. Reality is, creativity hums in every machine we make.

That’s the thinking behind new Powerhouse exhibition Design for Life. Exploring the central role of design in the health and medical sector, it’s all about celebrating the oft-overlooked intersection between innovation and art. Showcasing some 200+ objects from the museum’s collection, it will trace the evolution of the medical equipment that has been saving human lives from the late 1800s right up until today.

You can take a closer look at how things like life-saving respiratory devices work, how surgical masks have changed over the centuries, huge leaps in progress on medicine, how we monitor our hearts and brains, and the incredible possibilities opened up by 3D bioprinting. It also demonstrates the hugely collaborative approach at play, in Australia and between nations.

An exciting look at the great minds behind these inventions, Powerhouse Museum chief executive Lisa Havilah says they’re thrilled to support the latest in science and design innovation with Design for Life. “As science and technology accelerate, the body’s capacities, perception, longevity and durability are being pushed to new limits. Recent partnerships between the medical sciences and design industry have pioneered medical equipment to help this and improve the quality of human life.”

Running from September 26, 2020, to January 31, 2021, entry is free, but booking is essential. For more information, click here

Want more art that explores how we live our lives? Check out Hybrid

Tables against a window wth red curtains
Photograph: Guy Kinsman

27. Milan Cricket Club Pop-Up

Restaurants La Rosa Bar and Pizza, Sydney

A culinary fusion of British and Italian cuisine isn't the most obvious – but given how much Brits love a holiday on the Med, perhaps it was inevitable. At Italian stalwart Pendolino's more casual younger sibling restaurant, La Rosa, a new pop-up steakhouse celebrates the best of British cuisine with a touch of Mediterranean pizzaz. 

La Rosa is set in the glass-stained windowed Strand Arcade in the city, a building populated with Australian fashion brands and niche boutiques selling hand-poured chocolate and stylish hats. La Rosa, like Pendolino, is decidedly Italian – and so, makes the perfect setting for the Milan Cricket Club, overseen by Nicholas Hill, who has most recently been charming regulars of the Old Fitzroy Hotel in Woolloomooloo with his stylish take on British pub classics.

Hill will be dishing up plates like his acclaimed Scotch egg with Oxford sauce; raw beef on dripping toast; grilled tongue on anchovy; whole flounder with green sauce and lemon; and a pig's head schnitzel. The must-have dish, though? The Florentine T-bone cut, a style of steak popularised and refined in the villas of Tuscany by English intellectuals in the 19th century.

As part of Good Food Month in October, a one-night-only event on October 21 will shine the spotlight onto all things pork. Hill, along with chef-turned-butcher Michael Robinson, will create a nose-to-tail ‘Butcher and the Chef’ dinner featuring dishes like crispy pigs tails; terrine with ears and endive; and roasted, dry-aged cuts.

Reserve your space at the Milan Cricket Club

Want more? An industrial micro-brewery just opened up in Redfern

Bar artwork
Macon Reed, ‘Eulogy For The Dyke Bar’, 2016. Installation and public programs series. Image courtesy: the artist

28. Friendship as a Way of Life

Art UNSW Galleries, Paddington

The notion of ‘family’ has long been a cornerstone of queer identity and a major new exhibition at the UNSW Galleries explores what ‘being together’ means for different queer subcultures – in Australia, internationally and across time.

The work of more than 20 artists and artist collaborations, along with a series of films, plus material from the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, has been compiled for the exhibition by curators José Da Silva and Kelly Doley. 

Perhaps the most visible feature of Friendship as a Way of Life is the foyer of UNSW Galleries, which American artist Macon Reed has transformed into a ‘Dyke Bar’ for the duration of the exhibition. Including a full bar, pool table, neon signs and hand-painted '70s-era wood panelling, the installation is titled ‘Eulogy for a Dyke Bar’ and asks why dyke and lesbian bars are increasingly rare on the gay and queer cultural landscape.

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Among the international contingent for this show are the Berlin-based artists Elmgreen & Dragset, famous for their witty installation art designed for public places. Camilo Godoy, a politically motivated New York-based Colombian artist, is exhibiting some of his photographic portraits of friends and lovers. Collaborative work by transfeminist artist AK Burns and AL Steiner (Chicks on Speed) is in the show, as is work by US artists ALOK and Mark Aguhar. 

Australian artists represented include Frances Barrett, Shannon Michael Cane, Helen Grace, Gavin Kirkness and the AIDS Quilt Project, Dani Marti, Parallel Park (Holly Bates and Tayla Jay Haggarty), Nikos Pantazopoulos and Ella Sutherland. 

In addition to the exhibition, an online talk series called Flesh Meet is covering topics such as alternative club culture in Australia, and online culture and communication practices. Scholars Dr Kerryn Drysdale and Dr Sophie Robinson will discuss the rise, decline and transformation of lesbian and queer social scenes over two talks on September 17 and 24; digital media scholar Paul Byron online queer spaces on October 1; and DJ Sezzo will reflect on the ideas and intentions behind her QPOC (queer people of colour) focussed experiential club nights on October 15. Before all this, co-curator José Da Silva will sit down for an in-conversation with artist Dani Marti on September 3 to discuss his work and his major video installation that navigates issues of power and care in human relationships. Check out the full online talks program here.

The exhibition runs until November 21. 

Green apple
Photograph: Unsplash/Aaron Burden

29. Granny Smith Festival

Things to do Around Sydney, Sydney

It's not just a quaint name. The Granny Smith apple was developed in Sydney, by a humble orchardist named Maria Ann Smith from Ryde – and wow, a street festival held each year in Eastwood celebrates good ol' Granny’s legacy.

The Granny Smith Festival is all about the chance and the luck of little acts. Smith would toss seeds from French crab apples out her window, which, combined with Ryde’s famously fertile soil at the time, resulted in one of the most recognisable mutations of apples in the world. To honour her memory, in October, Ryde transforms into a festival of all things green apple. While it's usually a one-day celebration, this year, events are taking place over the month of October. 

“While many annual events have been cancelled this year, the City of Ryde felt it was vitally important to still stage a Granny Smith Festival that featured lots of fun entertainment while ensuring the safety of everyone in the community,” the mayor of Ryde, Jerome Laxale, said in a statement.

Catch some outdoor flicks at the drive-in cinema over two nights across the weekend of October 3 and 4 – bookings are essential. A new artist will take over the Eastwood plaza from October 8 for four weeks, allowing audiences who stroll past to see works in progress and completed pieces from unusual perspectives. 

A whole raft of events will be taking place online, too – the Ryde Hunters Hill Symphony Orchestra will stream a live performance from the grounds of the Brush Farm House on Saturday, October 24, while Emma from The Wiggles will be taking over your kids' screens on Saturday, October 17. Check out the full line-up online

In the meantime, check out the best things to do this September.

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Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

People painting on canvas and drinking wine.
Photograph: Supplied

30. Cork and Canvas

Things to do Classes and workshops Cork and Canvas Crows Nest, Crows Nest

The fine artists from Cork and Canvas have been spreading colour all over Sydney with their wine and painting classes. Even while we were all stuck at home, they kept us occupied with creativity kits and on-demand virtual classes – and now as the city opens back up, they’re inviting us back into the studio again.

That’s right, you can dip your brush and wet your whistle in public once more at their Crows Nest and Darlinghurst sip and paint studios, with classes having started up again in early June. While the doors have been closed, the team have been busy coming up with new paintings for budding artists to interpret, including a ‘Stargazing’ design on a brand new round canvas. 

The studios are amping up hygiene and safety practices, including spacing out guests in accordance with 1.5 metre physical distancing rules (allowing for couples and small groups to sit together), offering hand sanitizer at the door and sanitizing all equipment and wine glasses. 

Check out the website for session times for both the Crows Nest and Darlinghurst studios and to make your booking. Most classes run from Wednesday through Saturday nights, with afternoon sessions on Sundays and some Saturdays, starting at $55 including materials (just BYO wine and snacks). 

For anyone who is out of town or who’d rather stay home, Cork and Canvas is continuing to offer virtual alternatives, providing step-by-step video classes and mailing out creativity kits nationally, from $80. 

It isn’t too late to pick up an iso-hobby and have the picture evidence to prove it. And if you’re nervous about picking up a brush, just grab a bottle of vino for inspiration and let these guys help to lead your brush strokes. 

Looking for art classes you can take from the comfort of home? Check out the sip and paint classes that saw us through lockdown.

Judith Inkamala 'Thepa Mapa' 2018
Photograph: Felicity Jenkins

31. Joy

Art Galleries Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney

Take a look at pictures of placards held aloft during Australia’s Black Lives Matter marches and you’ll see that even in the midst of tragedy, there’s a fierce sense of dark comedy at play too. And even empowered joy.

We all need a bit more of the latter in our lives this year. Thankfully the Art Gallery of NSW has you covered. Opening on October 24 and running to sometime in 2021, new exhibition Joy gathers fun art from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander creatives from across the Central Desert.

Collecting everything from Queenie Kemarre’s cute bird statues carved in wood and painted in brilliant pink hues, to Judith Inkamala terracotta magpie adorned pots, and films too, it’s a celebration of the brighter side of life.

As the AGNSW sees it, although it’s important to tell the stories of history and people that are uncomfortable, in need of critical dialogue or deeply embedded in culture and its practices, sharing joy is just as necessary, and we often forget to make space for that in our appraisal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.

Food at Cabrones Taqueria
Photograph: Supplied/the Marly

32. Cabrones Taqueria Pop-up at the Marly

Bars Pub dining The Marlborough Hotel, Newtown

Everybody likes a taco, there’s just something about them. Maybe it's the way you can hold it in one hand, or the way they can be stacked with the perfect balance of flavours. While not all tacos are created equal, we’re willing to bet the new pop-up restaurant launching Thursday, October 1, at the Marly in Newtown is dishing out some of the best you’ll find on this side of the globe.

Hashtag Burgers, the name behind the infamous Nameless Bar and Sydney’s OTT burger festival Burgapalooza, has teamed up with Mexican-born chef Juan Carlos to create Cabrones Taqueria. Carlos knows his way around crafting a menu: he was the head chef behind the modern Mexican menu at Sonora in Potts Point, and has held the position of sous chef at the highly regarded Three Blue Ducks in Rosebery. The selections at Cabrones Taqueria will combine Carlos’s authentic flair with western twists to create the ultimate pub grub. 

There are five base tacos on the menu, featuring a mix of authentic flavours – like barbacoa lamb, slow cooked in five chilies – and less authentic flavours – like southern fried chicken served with sweet and spicy morita mayo, or beer battered fish served with cucumber, fennel and mint pico de gallo, and hot tamarind sauce. Hashtag Burgers will also be putting a distinctive twist on the weekly specials, with taco flavours coming up inspired by meat lover’s pizza and the big mac. Pick and mix your favourite flavours, there two for $15 or three for $20.

While tacos are the star of the show, they’re not the only things on the menu. There’s also loaded nachos and fries with chilli con carne or chilli con ‘veg’ and housemade blue corn chips; huge, deep-fried bullhorn poppers stuffed with three cheeses; and whole cobs of chargrilled corn to sink your teeth into. There’ll be new additions to the menu over the coming weeks too, so look out for spicy chicken wings and chimichangas. The Marly is celebrating the fiesta by adding frozen Margaritas to its already enormous drinks offering – bottoms up.

Cabrones Taqueria is popping up six days a week for six weeks, with room to hang around a little longer if the demand is there. You can get down for your taco fix on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5-10pm, and from Thursday to Sunday between the hours of noon-3pm and 5-10pm. 

 Machiko Motoi's simple clay vases are traced with detailed linework
Photograph: Supplied

33. Bansktown Biennale

Art Bankstown Arts Centre, Bankstown

After months of turbulence, Sydney’s arts scene is gradually re-emerging. But it won’t necessarily look the same as it did before. And a big part of the new normal is loving local. While the city-wide Biennale of Sydney may be wrapping up, Bankstown Arts Centre has announced the smaller but perfectly formed inaugural Bankstown Biennale.

Opening on Saturday, October 10 and running until November 21, it’s a celebration of the creative output of 20 Sydney-based artists, several of them from the immediate vicinity. It's co-curated by Bankstown Arts Centre director Vandana Ram and curator and artist Heidi Axelsen, and their overarching theme is ‘symbiosis’. 

Each of the artists has been tasked with creating works that respond to the hullabaloo of 2020, from a traumatic summer of bushfires through to lockdown and the knock-on effect on the creative community when arts venues across the land were forced to shut up shop back in March. Bankstown Biennale asks them for creative solutions.

Multimedia artist Machiko Motoi literally draws on the building blocks of Bansktown. Using clay sourced locally, she has created raw sculptural pieces traced with beautiful line work. Bonita Ely will also contribute a new work that’s hyper-local, examining the tragic pollution of the Cooks River that winds its way through the suburb.  

Textile designer Alia Parker’s work ‘See you in the Symbiocene’ explores a more sustainable way to embrace fashion, including the possibilities presented by fungi. Composer, musician and sound artist Boyd teams up with regular collaborator Alison Clouston, a visual artist, on an immersive installation. Redfern-based Nicole Monks, a multi-disciplinary artist of Yamatji Wajarri, Dutch and English heritage, is a gifted storyteller who embraces Aboriginal philosophies of sustainability, innovation and collaboration.

Three writers will lend their wise words to the exhibition: Filipino-Australian creative non-fiction writer Martyn Reyes; Nadia Hirst, who challenges colonial narratives; and writer, photographer and poet Christine Lai. Curator Alessandro Berini and Macquarie University lecturer and audio installation artist Selina Springett – working under their collaborative name of  Atelier 23 – will give Incubate Artists’ Studios a green glow up by festooning the joint with seedlings, encouraging folks to slow down. And goodness knows after the mess we continue to move through, taking a deep breath is exactly what we need right now, all while celebrating local heroes who make life look a little brighter.

Want to apprecaite art without leaving home? Check out Sydney Contemporary. 

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Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

Dining table at Aria
Photograph: Anna Kucera

34. Maybe Aria Pop-Up

Restaurants Aria, Sydney

Enigmatically dubbed 'Maybe Aria', a new collaboration between suave CBD bar Maybe Sammy and the inimitable Aria looks set to spice up the mid-week drinks during the month of October.

Each Wednesday, the skillful mixologists of Maybe Sammy will take up residence in Aria's humble – read, insanely beautiful – abode on the shores of Sydney Harbour, to mix up some fancy cocktails designed to pull you over the week's hump. Created exclusively for the pop-up, drinks include the Fly Me To the Moon (featuring gin, sandalwood and white vermouth); the Gran Finale (figs, Mister Black coffee liqueur, sherry and honey); and the Aria di Sammy, which features bitters, Cocchi Americano, Madeira, and comes topped with a show-stopping 'aromatic bubble'. 

To keep you sated food-wise, Aria's executive chef Joel Bickford is coming through with accompanying snacks, and we're not talking about bar nuts – think the likes of raw scallop with potato and caviar and macadamia and acacia éclairs. 

One admittedly pricey ticket ($85 per person) gets you a choice of two cocktails and two snacks. You can order more a la carte, if you're left wanting more. And keep an eye out for Aria's new wine bar, featuring the snack menu Bickford is debuting at the pop-up, slated to open later this year. Book online at Aria

Want more? A new micro-brewery is opening up in Redfern.

Woman dressed in robes pouring a liquid into a cauldron.
Photograph: Supplied/The Wizards Cauldron

35. The Wizard’s Den

Things to do Wonderland, Potts Point

While you won’t find greasy-haired potions masters or famed boy wizards at this creative drinking experience, you will have a lot of fun if you’re keen on the occult. The Wizard’s Den invites you to escape to a world of magic and potion-making (read: cocktail mixing).

The Time Out team was invited to get its wands at the ready and learn the ropes (robes?) at this boozy encounter. First things first, the event name is a ruse* – you won’t find any tall bearded gents of Gandalf’s ilk. Wizards are not the ringleaders here, but a fierce witch by the name of Morticia Le Mort, who nec-romances you with her witch’s familiar filling the role of potions assistant.

With the acting antics of the cast and the clever set-up of the venue combined, this experience is a whole lot of fun for those willing to play along. You’ll be tasked with a series of escape room-like clues and riddles to work out. Solve them to uncover magical wands for your team, potion bottles and ingredients required to mix up cocktails. 

The atmosphere and staging of the venue are a great mix of spooky, playful and immersive – with floating candles, shelves stacked with trinkets, crystal balls, pentagrams, witchy paraphernalia, and even a secret entrance to a witch’s garden (which is sure to please those of us who went green and succumbed to plant fanaticism in lockdown). 

During the two-hour dose of escapism you’ll ‘levitate’ a book off a shelf, brew up a steaming cauldron, and be classed in “evocation and cyromancy”. The tasks and riddles are not so challenging that someone starting to get a bit tiddly can't give them a go (but there is help at hand if necessary), and the cocktail flavours are fruity and intriguing without veering into sickly sweet territory. 

Your golden ticket will set you back $40 (plus booking fee), which includes a drink on arrival, two cocktails, and wand rental – which is quite the value-for-money experience when you consider how much the average cocktail can set you back in Sydney.

If you were amongst those tempted into donning a cape and wand at ‘Semester I’ when the Wizard’s Den debuted in Sydney last year, you’ll discover a whole new set of challenges and rewards at ‘Semester II’, which takes place upstairs from the Lewis Carroll-inspired Wonderland Bar in Potts Point (the former residence of World Bar, may it rest in peace with the ghosts of the grungy Kings Cross of yore). 

Wizards and witches in attendance are encouraged to BYO robes (in Semester I, these garments were supplied, but not even the strongest banishing spell can overrule the public health and safety measures required in post-lockdown 2020). 

This strictly 18+ potions class is in session until December, with multiple evening sessions Wednesday through Sunday starting from 5.30pm and running until late, as well as weekend afternoon events from 2pm. For junior conjurers, there is a family friendly session on Sunday, October 25, at 2pm – just in time for spooky season. Check out sessions and availability here.

* For anyone concerned their ticket purchase might line the pockets of a certain controversial author of a book and movie franchise set in a magical school, this event has no association with said author.

Feeling saucy? This X-rated drag 'n' dine show is back with a cheeky menu and cheekier queens.

Boxes of noodles
Photograph: Supplied/Teppanyaki Noodles

36. Night Noodle Markets at Home

Restaurants Your place, Sydney

One of Good Food Month's most popular events, the Night Noodle Markets, is set to return in a very different format this year. While in previous years it has reached far beyond what its name would imply, serving all kinds of dishes in addition to the long and noodle-y variety, this year's event broadens the scope of the Markets further than ever – right into your very home.

That's right. This October, the Night Noodle Markets are transforming into an at-home event, with eight of your favourite stallholders delivering inventive, mouth-watering dishes and desserts to your door. Think fluffy gua bao from Bao Brothers, yakisoba from Teppanyaki Noodles, hefty doughnuts from Donut Papi, pillowy Korean-style sandos from Toastiesmith, and Nutella-loaded desserts from Waffleland

It won't be quite the jam-packed, bustling Hyde Park set-up we've become accustomed to – but on the upside, this year's more demure event allows you to slurp the sauciest of noodles at home, with only your pup to shame you. Be gone, snaking lines, irascible hanger and friends lost in the fervent search for noodles – this year, we'll just settle into our couches and wait for the excellent Night Noodle Markets purveyors to come to us. 

You can order online from the full list of stallholders on the DoorDash app between October 7 and November 5. 

Wall of flowers
Photograph: Supplied/RBG

37. In Bloom Exhibition

Things to do The Calyx, Sydney

The Royal Botanic Gardens' light-filled glasshouse, the Calyx, is back in action again after a period of shutdown. Previously home to exhibitions like the carnivorously-minded Plants with Bite, the Calyx returns with a brand new floral display called In Bloom

With more than 20,000 flowers in a dizzying array of colours, it's a spectacle to be seen. On one expansive wall is a living vertical flower arrangement, which stretches over 50 metres in length, and is more than five metres in height. 

In Bloom is open to guests from 10am-4pm every day. As the flowers grow and change, the exhibition will develop too – so it's worth coming back for a second visit. In Bloom is open until winter of 2021, so you'll have plenty of chances to see the flowers unfold. 

P.S. Here are some more excellent things to do this weekend


Time Out Love Local campaign logo

Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.

dish featuring red toadstools
Photograph: Supplied/Nel

38. Once Upon a Time Degustation

Restaurants Nel, Sydney

Slide on your glass slippers and get ready for a feast that will leave you feeling happily ever after. Affordable fine dining favourite Nel has reopened its doors for physically distanced dining and they’re inviting you to be their guest with the return of a Disney-themed degustation.

‘Once Upon a Time’ involves eleven dishes with a nostalgia-inducing creative touch. Last year’s menu gained international notoriety for the controversial ‘Bambi’s Mum’, which came complete with dukkah served in rifle casings. While chef Nelly Robinsion is focussing his attention this year on happier childhood memories, it is safe to say that there’s still a lowkey morbid edge that will have vegans and vegetarians steering clear. For example, the new and improved plates include the ‘Bambi and Thumper’, a venison carpaccio served with rabbit terrine.

You can bet this menu will be seasoned with a liberal peppering of shock and surprise, so details of many of the dishes remain strictly under wraps. However, we have been granted a quick peek into the magic mirror, and if Disney references galore are what you're hungry for, this bounty is the Cave of Wonders you seek. Savoury ‘Eat Me’ cookies, ala Wonderland, begin the journey before you plunge into the big blue with ‘Just Keeping Swimming’ – a pan-fried dory served with fennel. Next, you'll chill out to a Frozen fantasy, the ‘Melted Snowman’. This yogurt lad comes served on top of black garlic bread complete with a carrot nose and black iced eyes. To finish, you'll feel like you’ve found true love’s kiss with ‘Roses Are Red, Beasts Are Blue’, a gateau opera cake served up with a side of smashed rose

Bookings are now open for this fantastical degustation, which will be on the table between August 4 and November 7, with sittings from Tuesday to Saturday – for the first time ever, the degustation menu will also be available for Saturday lunch. The Once Upon a Time menu will set you back $135 per person, with optional drink-matching packages available in alcoholic ($105) and non-alcoholic ($50) beverages.

Looking for other ways to head down the rabbit hole? Check out this extravagant Wonderland-inspired high tea at this Lewis Carroll-themed Bar.

Time Out Love Local campaign logo

Time Out’s Love Local campaign is supporting local food, drink and culture businesses in Sydney. Find out how you can help save the places that make our city great.


Rood Food at the Imperial Erskineville
Photograph: Supplied/The Imperial Erskineville

39. Rood Food

Things to do The Imperial Hotel, Erskineville

After shantaying back from lockdown with a bang with The Priscilla’s Experience, the Imperial Hotel in Erskineville is back with its X-rated drag 'n’ dine experience, Rood Food

This multi-course dinner paired with an adults-only drag revue in the Impy’s Priscilla’s Restaurant is not for the faint of heart (BYO pearls to clutch). But if the 2020 outing of Rood Food is anything like the previous incarnation which Time Out had the pleasure of experiencing last year, a happy ending is on the table. Naughty performances and drag antics are set to tickle you with laughter as you work your way through a menu of deftly designed dishes with blush-inducing names that put private parts on the plate. 

Get the foreplay started with a ‘pussy pâté’ (a gaping valley of vegan cashew pâté with black moss) or ‘bring back to the bush’ with a salmon ceviche served with coconut vinaigrette and ‘shuck-you-lents’. For the main event, the Imperial’s head chef Christopher Dale Tolcidas tantalises your tastebuds with what Priscilla’s does best: vegan-friendly dishes that bring the humble veggie out of the closet (a ‘single purple shotgun’ with slow cooked and roasted purple carrot) and lovingly slow-cooked meats (think ‘bareback’ lamb ribs with ‘cum-back sauce’). If you have an appetite for more, they’ll finish you off with a trio of very bad desserts – including the return of Rood Food favourite the ‘panna knockers’, jiggling their way back onto the menu with new and improved brown butter braised pear ‘nipples’. 

The Impy’s resident drag queens are on the enter-taint-ment, with a three-part production directed by Etcetera Etcetera and also starring Peach Fuzz, Dammit Janet, Dakota Fann’ee and Riot. Expect a dragged-up Uber Eats spoof, male dancer Kalin Eade doing mischievous things with a banana, and more self-saucing serves. 

“We've created a sensual, sexy and silly night of shows for crowds to suck on! This show is balls to the wall fabulous fun and I can't wait for audiences to get rood with us,” says Etcetera Etcetera. 

With dancing still restricted to bopping along in your seat at venues across Sydney, a dinner and a show is one of the liveliest nights out on the town right now. And this raunchy take on drag 'n’ dine is a whole lot of fun that is well worth testing your comfort zone. Rood Food encourages us to be playful and see the silliness in sexuality.

Rood Food kicks off on Friday, September 25, and will run every Friday and Saturday night until Saturday, November 21. There’s two physically-distanced sittings each night at 6pm and 8.15pm. Dining packages start from $69 per person for a two-course ‘Kiss and Tell’ affair, while the more sizable ‘Full Service’ three-course package starts from $89 per person, both with an optional two-hour bottomless beverage package available for $40. Bottoms up! Book here

Feeling titillated? Meet the mistresses who reign over the Kastle, Sydney's last full service BDSM dungeon.

Fresh produce at Carriageworks Farmers Markets
Photograph: Daniel Boud

40. Carriageworks Farmers Market

Shopping Markets Carriageworks, Eveleigh

The Carriageworks Farmers Market is resuming from August 8, 2020.

It’s imperative that you do not eat before you visit the Carriageworks Farmers Markets. You’ll want to save maximum belly space for your personal version of The Bachelorette where you decide who gets your dollars and what delicious produce gets to come home with you. Maybe you like something soupy and savoury first thing? In that case go for the pho stand for a traditional Vietnamese start to the day. There’s a bibimbap stall that will even replace the rice with shredded cauliflower if you don’t believe in cheat days, and a classic bacon and egg roll for creatures of habit, from Farmer Rod’s Free Range stall. 

Once the hounds of your hunger have been quieted it’s time to prepare for your next meal, or seven. Maybe you need the sweet bite of Pickle Hill’s Worcester sauce for the pantry? Or some fresh goat’s curd from Willowbrae? While you’re there you may as well get some smoked salmon, fresh ravioli from Pasta Emilia, free range eggs, a load of beer and barley bread form the Bread and Butter Project, and some jersey milk butter to go on it.

Chef Josh Niland of Fish Butchery and Saint Peter in Paddington now has a permanent stall selling inventive seafood using lesser known varieties and flavours. His prawn toast is a certified hangover buster, and the few cooked items sold change with the tide. There are usually take-home packs of fish sausages and Ballina prawns as big as your hand.

You can spend a whole lot of money if you want to here, but equally you could just grab a kombucha on tap and find a chair for some of the best dog-watching in the city.

Find more of the best markets in Sydney.

 Rainbow Chan, Eugene Choi and Marcus Whale bathed in lighting reminiscent of Wong Kar-Wai's classic film In The Mood for Love
Photograph: Supplied

41. In the Mood: A Love Letter to Wong Kar-Wai and Hong Kong

Film Romance

For many ardent cinephiles, Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s lushly lit romance In the Mood for Love (2000) is their favourite film of all time. It certainly wowed critics at the Cannes Film Festival, where it was nominated for, but did not win, the top prize, the Palme d’Or (which went to Lars von Trier’s also excellent Dancer in the Dark).

Star Tony Leung did take home Best Actor for his remarkable turn as a cuckolded man who slowly but surely falls for a neighbour, played by a radiant Maggie Cheung, whose spouse is also doing the dirty. Her dresses alone have been seared into cinematic history, as gorgeous as the sumptuous cinematography they’re folded into, as captured by Aussie Christopher Doyle alongside Kwan Pung-leung and Mark Lee Ping-bing.

To celebrate 20 years of the film sashaying into the sublime, the Opera House will livestream In the Mood: A Love Letter to Wong Kar-Wai and Hong Kong, a night of entertainment inspired by Kar-wai’s vision on Friday, September 26 at 9pm. Performing on the Joan Sutherland stage, Hong Kong-born, Australia-based pop star Rainbow Chan will debut new music from her forthcoming third album, inspired by the movie’s unforgettable score. She’ll also throw some Bossa Nova moves from a famous sequence.

Chan will be joined by Sydney-based composer, singer and performance artist Marcus Whale – who has popped up at Liveworks, Vivid and Sugar Mountain Festival – and regular collaborator Eugene Choi, who will narrate this lavish audio-visual guiding us through a fever dream brought to life, a story of forbidden love and bittersweet longing.

Even if you haven’t seen the film, you’ll dig the swinging ‘60s silk dress and sharp suit looks, plus the sultry saxophone solos. And in a time when Hong Kong is in the throes of political turmoil, Chan, Choi and Whale have a lot to say, exploring their interweaving cultural heritage and the nostalgic sense of a moment lost in time but forever held in our hearts. You can watch it on the From Our House to Yours digital platform on Friday night, or at any point after the livestream wraps. We’re definitely in the mood.

Want more marvellous movies? Check out the Queer Screen Film Festival line-up.

Pick up some new leafy friends

Plants and pots at the St Peters plant nursery Garden Life.
Plants and pots at the St Peters plant nursery Garden Life.
Photograph: Supplied

The best plant nurseries in Sydney


Thinking of starting or adding to your collection of house plants? These plant shops and nurseries have everything you need from on-trend indoor foliage to low-maintenance greenery.


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