Month: September 2013

melbourne fringe festival 2013

    If you haven’t already dropped by the Fringe, now’s your last chance. With only a week left to go, the Melbourne Fringe Festival 2013 has a whole bunch of events scheduled including dance, theatre, comedy, circus, music and cabaret performances, as well as live art, visual art and other special events. There are also a few events happening for the kiddies. See the full programme here. The Festival Hub is located in the North Melbourne Town Hall in Errol St, but performances are held in venues across Melbourne (check specific event info for location details). Events are generally between $10 and $30, although there are some free performances and exhibitions, too. The Melbourne Fringe is a not-for-profit organisation that supports artists year round as well as presenting the annual Fringe Festival. If you love the arts, these guys are well worthy of your support.   Melbourne Fringe Festival 2013 Dates: 18 September — 6 October Festival Hub: North Melbourne Town Hall Address: Corner Errol St and Arden St, North Melbourne Venues: various   Advertisements

event: festival of ideas

    Put your thinking caps on and get on over to Melbourne Uni next week for the Festival of Ideas 2013. There are a bunch of free events happening, which are divided into five categories: Environments, Food + Nutrition, Families, Brains + Mind, and Democracy. Speakers include human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, leading indigenous scholar Marcia Langton, writer and comedian John Doyle (i.e. ‘Roy’ from ‘Roy and HG’), The Chaser‘s Julian Morrow and many more. Check out the full programme and book tickets here.   The Festival of Ideas 2013 Dates: 1–6 October 2013 Venue (daytime events): Carillo Gantner Theatre Address: Cnr Swanston St and Monash Rd, University of Melbourne   Venue (evening events): Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre Address: 2 Clarendon St, Southbank Enquiries: ideas-info@unimelb.edu.au  

event: beyond apathy — acting on climate change

    Oooh, a juicy Fifth Estate coming up, people. On Tuesday 1 October get down to The Wheeler Centre to see host Sally Warhaft discuss climate change with Nobel laureate Professor Peter Doherty, Greenpeace Australia CEO David Ritter and award-winning writer Chloe Hooper. Here’s the spiel from The Wheeler Centre: How did climate change action − once ‘the greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time’ − become political poison? When (and why) did we fall from the giddy heights of the Kyoto Protocol signing, and the rise of emissions reduction schemes around the globe, back to suspicion and resignation? The environment − and more specifically, climate change − has rapidly plummeted in terms of public priority and political urgency in Australia. And with a new government set to abolish the carbon tax and disband the Australian Climate Commission, what lies ahead? It’s pretty rare to have the chance to see such high-calibre panellists (Doherty is one of just fifteen Australian Nobel laureates) — and it’s free. Book your seats here.   The Fifth …

Australian art at the Ian Potter Centre

If you only have time to visit one art gallery in Melbourne, make it the NGV’s Ian Potter Centre. Located in the large buildings at the back of Federation Square, this is the first major gallery in the world to be dedicated exclusively to Australian art. There’s a gorgeous collection of Indigenous art here, as well as some brilliant works from artists such as Sidney Nolan, Fred Williams, Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Arthur Streeton, Albert Tucker and Arthur Boyd.     The permanent exhibition is free to enter, so come back as many times as you like.   The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia Address: Federation Square, Melbourne Open: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–5pm (closed Mondays) Tel: 8620 2222 Email: enquiries@ngv.vic.gov.au Damage: Free  

foreign language bookshop

    If you’re new to Australia and craving some entertainment in your own language (or you’re trying to learn a new language), head to the Foreign Language Bookshop in Collins Street in the CBD. This place sells books and films in over 125 languages. They stock fiction and non-fiction books, language learning courses, foreign-language board games and gifts, dictionaries, foreign-language travel guides and ESL products. The store is located below street level near the corner of Collins and Elizabeth Streets. It’s easy to miss — keep an eye on street numbers and look for the neon red sign pointing down a flight of stairs.   Foreign Language Bookshop Address: 259 Collins St, Melbourne Open: Monday–Friday 9am–5.30pm, Saturday 10am–5.30pm Tel. 9654 2883 Email: shop@flb.com.au  

No Lights No Lycra

I doubt there’s anyone in world who doesn’t like to dance. Even people who say they don’t like dancing probably do, they just don’t know it yet. In mainstream culture, dance has become more of a social construct than a form of personal expression; most people dance in a style that’s socially acceptable, and I suspect many people dance to impress rather than fulfil an innate desire. Of course, if we feel self-conscious dancing, we don’t feel particularly impressive. Instead, we feel uncomfortable, uncoordinated, judged. But put someone in a dark room and turn on some toe-tapping music and most people, I’m betting, will start a’ tappin’. Or jiggin’. Or jivin’. Or just flaying their limbs around to the sound of the beat. This theory has been put to the test by No Light No Lycra, a dance ‘class’ that began in Melbourne and proved itself so popular that it can now be found around the country and other parts of the world. The idea behind NLNL is to provide a friendly, non-threatening drug- and alcohol-free environment in which people can dance …

Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar

Whenever you hear someone talk about Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, they will invariable use the words ‘Melbourne institution’ in the same breath. And quite rightly so. This little Italian cafe has been doing its thing for over 50 years, and it’s obvious. You don’t come here for the coffee so much as the atmosphere — the staff are friendly, if a little brusque at times, and the place is littered with tatty framed pictures of who-knows-what. Stepping into Pellegrini’s really does feel like stepping into a little slice of Italy on Bourke Street. There are no set prices for the food, but main meals generally hover around the $15 mark. I thoroughly recommend stopping by for a late-night coffee in the front checkered-floor diner. Caps off a night very nicely.   Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar Address: 66 Bourke St, Melbourne 3000 Tel: 9662 1885 Opening hours: Mon–Sat 8am–11.30pm; Sun 11am–8pm Damage: Around $15 for main meals   Read more reviews at

Vote Compass: where do you stand?

  The Australian federal elections are fast approaching. With only four sleeps to go until the big day, Australians will (I hope) be giving some serious thought to their voting options. Unlike most countries in the world, voting in Australia is compulsory. No matter whether you’re interested in politics or not, if you are an Australian citizen you will have to scratch a mark on a ballot paper come Saturday or you’ll risk being fined. I know where where my vote’s going this year. If you’re feeling unsure, head over to Vote Compass, a tool that can help you compare your values and opinions on policy with those of the major political parties. Hosted by the ABC, Vote Compass has been developed by a non-profit group of political scientists and, as far as I can tell, it’s pretty accurate. Non-Australian citizens are also free to take the test and see where their values fit into the Australian political landscape. By the way, in case you missed it, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appeared on the ABC’s …