Victorians! As some of your may know, V/Line has been offering free travel on its services over this past week to make up for ongoing service disruptions. The offer was due to end today, but it has now been extended for another week — until the last service on Sunday 7 February. The offer includes all services, including Night Coaches.
This is a great opportunity to get out and about the state and explore those places you’ve been meaning to visit — or just have a look at the network map and do a lucky dip! It’s recommended to book tickets early as trains and coaches are expected to fill up quickly. More info here.
We Melburnians are fortunate souls. I felt this particularly keenly the other day as I cycled the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail for the first time. Surrounded by green, and with frequent easy access to public drinking taps, we cycled all the way from Brunswick to Tullamarine hardly ever seeing a car.
I’ve long been a fan of the beautiful Merri Creek Trail, but the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail turns out to be equally lovely, even if it’s not quite as well maintained. As the trail winds along the creek, it takes you through stark industrial underpasses and lush parkland, including one of the prettiest picnic spots I’ve yet come across in Melbourne.
The trail is 25km long, linking the Docklands with Tullamarine, with only a short on-road section in the quiet backstreets of Essendon. If you are in the mood for a full day’s ride, there are also connections to the Merri Creek trail and the Capital City Trail.
For more information on the trail, visit the Moreland City Council website.
Over the last few years, beloved visual storyteller Shaun Tan has produced dozens of small paintings depicting the inner Melbourne suburb of Brunswick. Best known for his beautiful illustrated storybooks (The Rabbits, The Lost Thing), Tan will show over 50 of these works at Tinning Street exhibition space from tomorrow.
Here’s what Tan has to say about the exhibition:
“I’ve been painting little oil sketches of local environments since the age of thirteen, when I saw a show of Arthur Streeton’s 9×5 landscapes painted on cigar box lids. These unassuming miniatures seemed to capture entire worlds, and I’ve always aspired to do the same. I rarely exhibit my own sketches, regarding them only as painting exercises, somewhat removed from my other work as an illustrator, writer and film-maker. Ironically, this actually makes them very good subjects for an exhibition! There is a freshness and honesty about them, and kind of loose purpose that is often hard to emulate in larger projects. Since moving to Melbourne in 2006, this work has also helped me build a personal connection with a new landscape, particularly Brunswick, which has its own kind of light and time-worn, cobbled-together personality. Most of the paintings in this show depict places within a few kilometers of my home, noticed incidentally while walking, driving, shopping, toddler-wrangling and every other kind of non-artistic day-to-day activity. I hope you enjoy them!”
The opening reception will be held on Saturday 5 December from 2pm.
Shaun Tan’s Little Brunwswick
Dates: 3-12 December 2015 (opening reception 2pm-5pm on 5 December)
Venue: Tinning Street
Address: 5/29 Tinning St, Brunswick
It’s always nice to be able to get behind new Australian films, and this one sounds as though it may be really worth the effort.
The Melbourne premiere of ‘Tanna’, the first feature film to be shot entirely in Vanuatu, will be held next Tuesday 20 October at Cinema Nova in Lygon Street. The event will include a post-screening Q&A with the directors Bentley Dean and Martin Butler and cultural director Jimmy Joseph Nako, plus a special Yakel dance performance by the cast, who are largely non-professional actors from local communities.
‘Tanna’ won the International Critics’ Week Audience Award for best film, and also scooped the critics prize for cinematography at the Venice Film Festival. Based on a true story, the film tells the story of forbidden love and tribal warfare on the tiny island of Tanna. Here’s the trailer:
If you can’t make it to the premiere, keep your eyes peeled for screenings at Melbourne’s independent cinemas where it’s bound to make the rounds.
‘Tanna’ film screening plus Q&A
Date: 20 October 2015
Venue: Cinema Nova
Address: 380 Lygon St, Carlton
On July 23, Amnesty International’s Urgent Action Network will host a free film screening event of the documentary ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’.
This 52-minute doco explores the circumstances and reasons that many asylum seekers make the choice to step onto boats and make the dangerous journey to Australia. The filmmakers, Jessie Taylor and Ali Reza Sadiqi, met with 250 asylum seekers in gaols, detention centres and hostels across Indonesia to discover what drives refugees to become ‘boat people’.
The refugee issue continues to be a controversial and desperately misunderstood subject in Australia, as it is in many other parts of the world. No matter your personal opinion on this issue, this event is sure to be thought-provoking. Catering will be provided by the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Book your free tickets here.
Date: 23 July
Venue: Hares and Hyenas
Address: 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
Tel: 9412 0700
Everyone loves a good night market. The food, the bustle, the twinkly lights — it’s all pretty winning.
Melbourne’s biggest and best-loved night markets happen every summer and winter at the Queen Victoria Market, with this year’s winter season kicking off on Wednesday 3 June. But this year, it gets better. The 2015 Winter Night Market has just become a little more exciting with the announcement of a new addition to the event: a screening of short films programmed by a new guest presenter every week.
It’s always great to see local institutions supporting and celebrating local artists, and of course very cool to have a free weekly cinema event to hit up during the winter months. Check out the Night Market website for a run-down of upcoming screenings.
So grab a noodle box, folks, and settle in for some short film fun every Wednesday night for the next couple months.
Dates: Every Wednesday, 3 June — 26 August 2015
Venue: Queen Victoria Night Market, Melbourne CBD
I’m a big fan of Korean food, so it was exciting to stumble on this little eatery on Swanston Street recently. Oppa Kitchen has been around for six months or so, always brimming with hip young Koreans, and it’s easy to see why.
The bright and minimalist decor is the first thing to entice punters off the street, and the cheap and cheerful menu is a close second. This is not the best Korean cuisine in Melbourne by any stretch — you won’t be getting any exciting little kimchi side-dishes here, for a start — but at $10-$12 for most mains, this place is great value and damn tasty nonetheless.
I ordered the very enormous and delicious Korean Beef Bulgogi Meal Bucket — and it really was a bucket. The meal came in a wooden dish, full to the brim with rice, beef bulgogi, tasty salad and an orange slice. It was thoroughly satisfying, and the whole experience — from the self-service ordering system to the bustling atmosphere — was really quite fun, and made me feel I was back in Asia again.
This is not the place to come for an intimate dinner, but for a quick and affordable lunch stop, it’s perfect.
Address: 271 Swanston St, Melbourne
Tel: 0421 351 489
Opening hours: 11.30am–10pm Sunday–Wednesday, 11.30am–11pm Thursday–Saturday
If you don’t have anything planned for today, head to City Square in the CBD for the 2015 Mosaic Festival. Run by the Victorian Immigrant & Refugee Women’s Coalition (VIRWC), the festival celebrates our cultural diversity and encourages the participation of the whole community.
There will be all kind of tasty cuisines — Filipino (GJ’s Grill), Afghan, Syrian, Malay, Indonesian (MiHUB Cafe) and Turkish (Alevi Community Council) — as well as live performances and stalls. If you need any more incentive to attend, the incredibly talented Ning Xue will be there doing one-minute portraits for lucky visitors.
This is such a lovely initiative, and if I wasn’t house-bound with the flu I’d definitely be there. The festival will start at 11am and runs till 5pm. Show your support for these lovely ladies and our community’s cultural diversity today — and treat yourself to some tasty treats!
Date: 26 April 2015
Where: City Square, Melbourne CBD
If you’re the curious type, it’s always worth checking in with Melbourne’s universities for their various free public lectures, because from time to time something really interesting pops up.
This month, there are a bunch of fascinating-sounding lectures on at the University of Melbourne, including “Writing history, making race: slave-owners and their stories” (16 April), “Positive Psych: What’s the hype?” (21 April), and “Religion in the warzone: Driver of conflict, force of peace?” (23 April).
This coming Friday (10 April) it’s “The Purpose and Power of Yoga — In Conversation with Baba Ramdev“.
Swami Baba Ramdev is a renowned Indian yoga guru who has helped popularise yoga in his home country through televangelism and mass yoga camps. According to his profile write-up, in 2006 Swami Ramdev “was a special guest of the United Nations (UN) in New York and was honoured on becoming the first Indian spiritual and yoga guru to lead millions of people across the world in over 80 countries and to observe ‘Standup against poverty initiative campaign’ held at Times Square, New York”.
There seems little doubt that Baba Ramdev knows his yoga, so if you’re a hardcore yogi this talk will probably be a must-see. A small caution, though: Baba Ramdev may not be the all-loving, open-minded teacher one might hope for. He’s been accused of corruption and some of his views on social issues are just not okay (according to Newsweek, he is “ambivalent about women’s rights and detests gays”).
Despite these controversies, it seems Baba Ramdev has inspired many people around the world to practice yoga, which can only be a good thing. Whether or not his personal views affect his message or his credibility is up to each individual to decide.
Date: 10 April 2015
Venue: Copland Lecture Theatre (Basement), The Spot Building
Address: 198 Berkley Street, Carlton VIC, 3053
There’s only a small handful of internationally successful Australian film directors around — a very small handful — and they tend to keep out of the spotlight, so having the chance to hear one of these elusive characters speak publicly is pretty exciting. Particularly if said director has a career spanning 40 years and has worked with the likes of Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Caine, Juliette Binoche, John Cleese and Helen Mirren — to name a few.
Fred Schepisi’s best-known films include the Australian classic The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978), Roxanne (1987), Evil Angels (1988, also released as A Cry in the Dark), Last Orders (2001), the mini-series Empire Falls (2005), and most recently Words and Pictures (2013). He’ll be speaking with producer Sue Maslin at ACMI this Friday as part of the free Friday on My Mind series.
If you missed his 2013 talk, make sure you catch this one. Note the new FOMM time of 6pm.
Friday on My Mind: Fred Schepisi
Date: 27 March 2015
Venue: Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Federation Square, Melbourne
Damage: Free (tickets available at the box office from 10am on the day)