There are no nightclubs at Bondi Beach, but on Monday night at around 8.30pm you’d be forgiven for thinking there was a secret, sweaty rave taking place at the Pavilion as hundreds of drenched, red-faced partygoers emerge from the Seagull Room on the second floor. It’s a weekly ritual for locals who want to work up a sweat after work and shake off that feeling of always being on show (an ailment particular to those who live in a suburb of such beautiful people). This is No Lights No Lycra – the weekly, one-hour dance class that takes place in the dark. And we mean dark! It’s pitch black in the room. Our arms are stretched out in front of us so we don’t collide with another dancer, and splintered light shows chairs stacked around the speakers to make sure we don’t cause any serious damage to the sound system. “It is dark enough that people lose their inhibitions,” says Ash Maher, 27, one of the founders of NLNL Sydney. “We tape the blinds to the wall, especially in summer. And we’re going to start bringing black tape because even people’s FitBits give off light.” Maher and her friend Jodie Fisher, 26, started running NLNL classes in Newtown four years ago, and their Bondi nights around two-and-a-half years ago. “They’re both the same concept, but the nights have their own characters,” says Maher. “People love to pump out the big tunes here, and in Newtown they love the ’80s songs.” Ash and Jodie put in hours each week working on the playlists for their nights. They make su
When it comes to boutique products and locally grown, seasonal produce, the folks at Tramsheds know what they’re doing. It’s home to some of Sydney’s favourite hospitality providers and a popular farmers’ market held every Sunday. Now, they throwing more tinsel into the mix with the Christmas market they’ll set up every Wednesday night and all day Saturday until present day. It’ll be sparkling under Christmas lights and Saint Nick is set to make an appearance. There will still be a focus on fabulous food, with more of a sweet angle than the veggie-championing Sunday market. Sugary carbs never looked better than the intricately designed sweet parcels from Annie Makes Cakes or Petal Met Sugar (especially with a matching flower arrangement), and you can DIY your own sugar towers at home with Sweet Health’s adorable bottled baking mixes. But considering the few weeks until present day, it’s probably time to knuckle down and find some winning gifts for the family. Kids will love Dough My Dear’s custom play dough, Bay on Third will provide chunky gem jewellery, Mavasi can offer your fashionista pals pure silk accessories and Claycups has got you covered for earthy handmade ceramics. Throughout December, you can also get involved in festive workshops at the Tramsheds, like learning how to make Christmas wreaths and decorate gingerbread. You could really impress the rellos this Christmas and learn how to make pasta, dumplings or a creamy platter of burrata and bocconcini. You can
Retrosweat founder Shannon Dooley, a qualified fitness instructor and NIDA graduate, fronts one of the fastest-growing workout trends in the inner west. Kitted out in hot-pink Reebok Classics, white legwarmers and a striking bodysuit and crop top combo, Dooley looks like the picture-perfect ’80s icon. Modelling herself on the queens of home video fitness – from Jane Fonda to ‘Physical’ poster girl Olivia Newton-John – our instructor adopts a Workout Barbie pose at the head of the class, in front of a mirrored dance hall. We jump around to Don Henley’s ‘The Boys of Summer’, bust a lung to Boy Meets Girl’s ‘Waiting for a Star to Fall’ and thrust in earnest to the Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’. Dooley throws in a few quips and flamboyant positions to keep everyone smiling, and one class member claims: “I haven’t done the grapevine for 20 years.” Turns out, neither had we. But aside from a few coordination issues, one never forgets how to shimmy sideways while flailing arms and legs in the right direction. Retrosweat really did what it said on the tin: we danced to 12 original ’80s tracks and we sure as heck worked up a sweat. In fact, Dooley claims a high-intensity workout can burn up to 800 calories per class. But fitness alone isn’t the reason fans flock to the party every week. This class is serious fun – and the 50-minute workout is the added sweetener. Besides, where else can you plunge into a squat while holding a pineapple? “Smells better than a kettle
If you and your little zoologist children have been itching to get to the Australian Museum and see the epic Whales | Tohorā exhibition, this summer deal will send it right to the top of your school holidays list. Every Wednesday from December 19 until January 30, you’ll get to bring a friend (or kidlet) along to the exhibit free of charge when you purchase one ticket either online or at the museum and whisper the code ‘Whales Wednesday.’ You’ll get the full experience of the exhibit, which blends science with storytelling. Listen to the haunting whale chorus in the sound chamber, touch the vertebra of a fin whale, meet the artists and scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying whales, and explore the whale riding stories of Māori culture. There’s also a special discovery trail with puzzles, craft and learning activities for the kids to follow, as well as self-guided tour you can access through the museum’s app.
Wander down to the Rocks from Friday-Sunday and you’ll find a village of market stalls stretching from George Street to Playfair Street and Jack Mundey Place selling arts and crafts, locally manufactured clothing, handmade jewellery and many gifts and trinkets. In December, these weekly markets are amping up their sparkle levels to bring Sydney another twinkling Christmas shopping opportunity. The markets will be setting up as usual, but will extend hours on Friday evenings for a twilight edition with roving entertainers and live music throughout the festive month. In addition to the regular stallholders, you’ll find craftspeople offering Xmas decorations, wrapping, toys, themed presents and more dotted throughout the cobbled lanes. There’s also a huge snow globe for kids top marvel at, as well as festive events and offerings popping up around the Rocks to celebrate the season.
Using the expanses of Orange Grove primary school, these markets fill the playground with covetable goods on a weekly basis. Farm fresh fruit and veg is everywhere here and you’re spoilt for choice for truss tomatoes, plump berries, technicolour capsicums and leafy greens. There’s also a glut of small producers for all your smallgood and fancy condiment needs; grab a fragrant saucisson (an air-dried pork sausage); or rummage through bright yellow, ice-filled eskies for some juicy free-range steaks and nab a carton of free-range eggs.The popularity of the bacon and egg rolls from Bowen’s has reached celebrity status, with queues long enough to make you think Bieber is signing autographs at the end of the line. They’re undeniably delicious. But our breakfast of choice is a steaming carton of Eat Fuh pho, purveyors of one of the most fragrant broths in Sydney. Try their vegan option, too; the broth has a rich mushroom aroma that almost overshadows the meat version. And, if the crisp crunch of an organically grown carrot isn’t your thing on a Saturday morning, the market also has tables laden with top notch baked goods. Grab a slab of Flour and Stone’s popular lemon cake or a goat cheese and zucchini savoury tart from Croquembouche patisserie, or collect flavoured seed varieties at Brooklyn Boy Bagels.Food isn’t the only thing on the menu – there’s also a range of handmade and environmentally conscious clothing, second-hand records and jewellery. Find the best markets in Sydney.
T’was the weekend before Christmas, and all through the city, late shoppers were stirring, thinking, oh, what a pity. No stockings were hung, no presents were bought, but by chance there was a market – oh, what a thought. The Marrickville Makers’ Market is throwing a lifeline out to last minute Sydney Christmas shoppers with their artist-run markets. On December 22, Join the Dots artist studio will be taken over by stallholders selling handmade jewellery, ceramics, woodwork and sustainable fashion. They’re mercifully open for the full day from 10am-5pm, so you’ve got plenty of time to stock up on stocking items while you listen to some smooth DJ tunes.
Sydney Showground is getting a frosty festive makeover when Christmas Wonderland sets up from December 15-24. The Christmas carnival will bring real falling snow, unlimited ice skating, winter tube slides and photos with the big red man himself. In addition to the standard stomach-churning rides, there’ll be some sparkling Xmas-themed activities for kids. They can build ol’ Frosty the snowman inside Santa’s snow house, wander through a colourful Christmas village, the elves’ workshop, toy land, candy land, gingerbread land – basically all the lands. There’ll also be musical stage shows, festive colouring competitions and an alpine forest to explore, all under a canopy of twinkling fairy lights. For the all-inclusive price of $40, all this cheesy Christmas magic can be yours for three hours. You have ten days to visit, and it’s open Monday to Friday, 10am-4.30pm and 10am-8pm on the weekends, but they’re wrapping up at 1pm on Christmas Eve.
Santa will be joined by an all-star line-up of Australian performers at this popular family event, which going into its 36th year and holds the title of Australia's largest Christmas concert. Powerhouse performer Dami Im, teen star Isaiah Firebrace, one of the original Australian Idol talents Paulini, and dance and musical theatre personality Matt Lee will come together with local choirs to sing all your favourite carols and seasonal pop hits. The carnival starts at noon with festive food, drinks and family activities running throughout the day while pre-show entertainment kicks off at 3pm before the main event at 7.45pm.
The fictional galaxies of Star Wars have been igniting imaginations for decades, and as a world entrenched in artificial intelligence (AI) becomes more of a reality, our kids are becoming more excited about robotics than ever. In this full day workshop, they can learn how to create their own mini Star Wars bots, from your R2D2 types to a more classical C3P0 friend. They’ll be using littleBits, which is system of easy to use electronic building blocks. It’ll let little engineers snap together circuits, lights switches and buzzer to create droids and dioramas. Beyond the building, there’s also plenty to learn about AI, space travel and the world of Star Wars. This school holidays program is running as part of Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition which is currently running at the Powerhouse Museum. This intriguing workshop is suited to primary school aged children.
Sydney’s home of queer culture, nightlife and entertainment, the Imperial Hotel, is hosting a glittery evening of Christmas carols, and it’s completely free. The front bar will be taken over by festive folk for one hour of song on December 23 from 6pm. The Welcome Choir, which invites people of all singing abilities to its LGBTQIA family, will be leading the symphony, but you’re more than welcome to belt your best Mariah Carey numbers as the night rolls on. Plus, the choir will be giving some basic instructions as you go, and the bar will be open to give nervous songstresses some liquid courage.
This huge exhibition exploring the Rolling Stones’ rise to stardom and their subsequent impact on pop culture, rock’n’roll, fashion and art is an exclusive Sydney event. It’s setting up at its only Australian destination, the International Convention Centre, from November 17 until February 3, 2019. It will feature more than 500 items from throughout the band’s career, including vintage guitars, lyric books, backstage and touring paraphernalia, album art, and the personal diaries and letters of the Stones themselves. Their style, which definied a generation of rock fans wardrobes, will be on show, with clothing items worn by the band members from the ’60s till today on display. These will be accompanied by articles from designers who were inspired by or dressed the group, including Alexander McQueen, Prada, Dior, Gucci, L’Wren Scott, Mr Fish and more. If you’ve lived under a rolling stone (sorry) for the last 50 years and aren’t clued up about this genre-defining rock group, the exhibition curators are adamant that you’ll still enjoy your experience. There’s 190 original Stones-inspired artworks from the likes of Andy Warhol, David Bailey and John Pasche to enjoy, alongside an interactive sound deck and recording studio, a film screening narrated by Martin Scorsese, video elements throughout the exhibit and a big 3D concert finale. The premiere exhibit in London was touted as a wild success, and the US tour of the collection saw similar reviews. Let’s hope Sydney gets just
Crawl under the blankets with a glass of wine and settle in for another season of movies at the Entertainment Quarter in the Showring. The concept is irresistible – a large inflatable bed to snuggle into, food, drinks and a great movie – but this year they're introducing a few innovations. They include Bottomless Popcorn sessions – with unlimited refills from the Bar – and cheap Grass Tickets, where you can bring your blanket and a picnic and enjoy your favourite movie under the stars for as little as $9 per head. Then there's the option to Dine in Bed. Mov’in Bed is partnering with the Rockpool Dining Group – Fratelli Fresh and Bavarian Bier Café – to offer food delivered straight to your bed. You can even order your food in advance online. The Bar, meanwhile, will be serving beer, wine, bubbles, ice cream, candy and popcorn. The line-up of movies is a well curated as ever. Highlights include recent hits such as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom; Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald; Johnny English Strikes Again; Bohemian Rhapsody; Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again! and Mortal Engines. Also on the line-up are some of 2018’s best films such as Ocean’s 8, Black Panther, BlackKklansman and The Breaker Upperers. Retro greats screening at Mov'in Bed include La La Land, The Jungle Book, Ted, Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, Pretty Woman, Akira and Notting Hill. Keep an eye out too for brand new releases Aquaman, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Mary Poppins Returns, all of which
We've already got movies in the park, movies by the beach, outdoor movies in bed, and movies by Sydney Harbour, and now Sydney's mania for alfresco screenings takes that extra leap we always knew was coming and delivers movies on a boat. The concept kicks off on December 17, 2018 with Elf, and Love Actually (Dec 18) followed by January screenings of Mean Girls (Jan 16), Anchorman (Jan 17) The Hangover (Jan 23) and Pulp Fiction (Jan 24). Pick-up and drop-off is at King Street Wharf, Darling Harbour. There are only 150 tickets available to each cruise, so you'll probably need to sign up to have a chance of scoring some.
There's nothing quite like a film under the stars in the beautiful surrounds at Belvedere Amphitheatre in Centennial Park. Settle back with friends and family for a movie and as always, the Moonlight Cinema food truck and bar can supply you with comestibles, but you're welcome to BYO food and drinks, too. This summer's programming has the usual mix of acclaimed Oscar hopefuls, kids' favourites and retro screenings to satisfy the nostalgic urges. Time Out is especially looking forward to The Favourite – the new film by the director of The Lobster that portrays the outrageous rivalry of two cousins in the court of England’s Queen Anne in the 18th century, with Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. Green Book follows a distinguished African-American pianist (Mahershala Ali) as he’s chauffeured through redneck southern towns by a tough white New York City bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) in 1962. Mary, Queen of Scots pits Mary (Saoirse Ronan) and Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) against each other in a struggle for the throne of England. Meanwhile balls-out Will Ferrell-John C Reilly comedy Holmes and Watson has the former Step Brothers playing an idiotic Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, to Ralph Fiennes’ supervillain Moriarty. Widows promises to knock your socks off: Viola Davis and Elizabeth Debicki star in crime thriller about widows banding together to pull off their late husbands’ big heist. The director is Steve McQueen (Shame, 12 Years a Slave). We can also recommend G
After such imposing films as Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave – the titles are punishing enough – you’d be forgiven for thinking British director Steve McQueen has a mean streak, if not toward his audiences, then his actors. Now comes Widows, which also has its fair share of suffering, mainly on the haunted face of Viola Davis. But McQueen has discovered something new. Should we call it fun? Let’s not get carried away. Still, Widows, a supercharged, Chicago-set caper of consummate skill, zooms along in a way that feels peppier than usual, McQueen brewing the action and ominous municipal intrigue like he was trying to outdo The Fugitive. He comes frighteningly close. Three women dominate the story, giving it a survivor’s poise that Ocean’s 8, a high-collared pretender, could only dream of. They’re the recent widows of a deceased gang of high-stakes criminals, men who barely get any screen time. In their absence, Veronica (Davis) floats around her white-walled penthouse like a ghost, Linda (Michelle Rodriguez) gets her thrift store sold from under her, and Alice, an abused blonde trophy wife (Elizabeth Debicki, who goes from fragile to fierce and runs away with the movie), is urged by her own mother to become an escort. As if economic freefall and grief weren’t enough, their husbands’ unfinished business shows up on their doorsteps, in the form of thugs demanding payment. To watch the women coalesce into a hard-nosed crew of heisters is the year’s most purely pleasurable pi
The best horror movies, just as major as the more reputable stuff, work on a primal level, beyond plot or words. They grab at your bowels. Dario Argento’s 1977 stunner Suspiria, an explosion of colour, gore and vaulting stylistic ambition, is undoubtedly one of them. To know (and to love) the film is to appreciate Italian cinema in a deeper way, for its eeriness and hysteria. Still, it wasn’t quite a slam dunk when it was announced that a fellow Italian – even one as gifted as Call Me by Your Name's Luca Guadagnino – would be re-imagining Suspiria, an obsession of his for decades. Guadagnino knows about getting good performances, and how to brew adult sexiness. But it’s a miracle that he seems to understand Argento’s witch-centric original on an almost molecular level – so much so that he can radically depart from it and still cast his own spell. Scripted by David Kajganich (who also did Guagadnino’s A Bigger Splash, itself an adaptation of the 1969 French thriller La Piscine), today’s Suspiria is a spectacularly strange affair, thrumming with wild blood and weird powers. It’s easily the classiest horror movie made in years, maybe ever, decked out in muted pinks and green marble, and scored, gorgeously, by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, whose arpeggiating piano lines, rumbling synths and cooing vocals create a propulsiveness similar to the experimental German band Can. Traditional horror fans won’t be pleased: almost transgressively, Guadagnino has deprioritised the shocks, even t
You know what would make theatre even better? Having a picnic whilst watching it. Well my friend, this is your opportunity to do just that. This December and next January, Sport for Jove is celebrating its ten-year anniversary by taking theatre back to some of its origins, and putting on a season of two epic Shakespeare adaptations, dubbed ‘Rose Riot’. The Hollow Crown and The Wars of the Roses will bring together and reimagine several of Shakespeare’s works, with the first combining the stories of Richard II, Henry IV and Henry V, and the second mixing Henry VI and Richard III. But great shows don’t create themselves and Rose Riot’s artistic director, Damien Ryan has a lot to say on the works and history that inspired this project. “It’s not just the extraordinary battles, political factionalism and its revolving door of new kings and queens, it is its sheer humanity that draws me to it,” says Ryan. “It is extravagant, violent, funny, fierce and very moving. It could be described as history’s greatest leadership spills.” The plays work as two separate but connected stories. So you can see one or the other or both and still get the satisfaction of a complete story. Among the award-winning company’s new cast are some seasoned vets, including the likes of James Lugton (from Macbeth and the Taming of the Shrew), Eloise Winestock (from Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It and The Tempest) and Bernadette Ryan (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It). Tickets range f
How do you approach a play like David Williamson’s The Club in 2018? This scathing 1977 comedy takes a fly-on-the-wall approach to the toxic cultures lurking inside footy clubs, from puffed-up politics to misogyny and sexual assault, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cathartic or illuminating text. It’s so packed with masculinity its nearly suffocating, and while all the violence and sexism within it is clearly condemned, it’s a lot to sit with and take in, especially in a year where 66 Australian women have been killed by male violence. Adelaide-based company isthisyours? have found a solid solution: stage The Club with a cast of women. Jude Henshall, Louisa Mignone and Ellen Steele share six roles, and their workaround for doubling is hilarious at first – they clip wigs to wires and dash to each for their designated line – though it’s wearying, and doesn’t swing back around to being funny again until well into the second act. It’s the shattering of momentum that undermines the gag during the stretch of the first act, which is a great one in theory. But it is indicative of the spirit of the play: find the ridiculous and separate it from the harmful, and follow the two on separate, concurrent lines. For the most part, isthisyours? and director Tessa Leong keep this in sight, and it makes the play’s final, more twisted reveals still genuinely absorbing. Leong has a good eye for narrative structure and shape, and she manages to almost retro-fit The Club with a greater sense of it
It's now become an annual tradition that producer Simon Painter brings one of his big, flashy, Vegas-style shows to the Opera House for the Christmas school holidays. He’s given us Circus 1903 and last year’s The Unbelievables, but his most popular franchise by far is The Illusionists, which first appeared here in 2012 and was followed up by The Illusionists 2.0 (2014) and The Illusionists 1903 (2015). In fact, the Opera House was the birthplace of the show, which has now been seen around the world and had several seasons on Broadway. Now there’s a fourth show in the series coming our way, the appropriately named The Illusionists: Direct From Broadway. Expect big stunts, magical flying, mindreading and all kinds of illusions. The line-up for this iteration is: Jeff Hobson (The Trickster), a comedy magician; Robyn Sharpe (The Warrior), an ex-gymnast from Brisbane who performs with a crossbow; Jonathan Goodwin (The Daredevil), a British escape artist who’s been attacked by sharks, buried alive and burned at the stake; Kevin James (The Inventor), an innovative magician who’s worked on illusions by David Copperfield and Penn and Teller; Korean sleight-of-hand magician An Ha Lim (The Manipulator); Chris Cox (The Mentalist), a “mind-manipulator”; and British magician Maddox Dixon (The Showman), who uses storytelling in his illusions.
If you’re programming a season of theatre and wanting to set yourself up for success, you could make a worse decision than to assemble three of the country’s most acclaimed stage actors (Pamela Rabe, Colin Friels and Toby Schmitz) under the direction of Australian acting royalty Judy Davis. You might also think it’s a safe bet to set them loose on a play by one of the most important dramatists to have ever lived (August Strindberg). And if you’ve got a set by Australia’s most influential theatrical designer (Brian Thomson), what could possibly go wrong? A fair bit, it turns out. Strindberg’s The Dance of Death follows an artillery captain, Edgar (Friels), and his retired actress wife, Alice (Rabe), as they engage in a ritualistic feud, trading verbal barbs and rubbing salt into each other’s wounds. They’ve been married for 25 years and have isolated themselves on a strange island – they refuse to use a telephone for fear of surveillance and receive all their communications via telegram – but their world of comfortable misery is rocked when Alice’s cousin, Kurt (Toby Schmitz), arrives on the scene. He can immediately sense that there’s something poisonous about their home – and it seems to be hemorrhaging staff – and fears he’ll be sucked in by it. That turns out to be a pretty accurate prediction. Strindberg wrote the play in 1900, but you can see in it the seed of a model of marital warfare that would be expanded upon in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,
Read about The Book of Mormon's $40 ticket lottery. In 2011, when The Book of Mormon first opened in New York City, it was a risky bet. It’s notoriously difficult for original shows to survive on Broadway – roughly four out of five shows fail to turn a profit – and a parody of religious fervour, packed with anarchic, puerile humour, written by ‘the South Park guys’, Trey Parker and Matt Stone? Not a sure thing. Their co-writer, Robert Lopez, had won a Tony and a Grammy Award for his subversive puppet musical Avenue Q, but repeat success wasn’t guaranteed. But as we now know, it was an immediate hit. Not even celebrities were guaranteed tickets, and prices skyrocketed to meet demand. Its cast recording was the highest-charting musical album in over forty years, until Hamilton smashed all records. Its two lead actors – Andrew Rannells and Josh Gad – booked sitcoms and Disney movies. In the seven years since, Robert Lopez has not only won the EGOT (the full complement of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards) in the shortest amount of time for any recipient, he’s the only person in the world to EGOT twice. The show has toured all over the US, has a long-running production in the West End, and recently opened in Sweden. So is it worth all of the fuss? Does it still hold up in 2018? The answer is yes. We follow two young Mormon missionaries, Type-A Narcissist Elder Price (Ryan Bondy) and Elder Cunningham (AJ Holmes), a mess with a geeky streak, as they’re paired up for their tw