Art & Design

The Culture Edit | All The Shows To Check Out This Month

By James Shackell
7th Jun 2018


We’re back, you gluttonous culture vultures. Ready to tear into another month of art, theatre, dance and nude bike rides (we’ll explain below). There’s actually a lot going on in June. Melbourne’s kicking off its huge NYC Festival, Sydney’s still rocking Vivid, and Auckland is celebrating something called Winetopia. The mind boggles.

Here’s everything art + culture worth checking out in June.

NGV MoMA Exhibition


Another month, another world exclusive for Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria. This month kicks off a huge collab with New York’s Museum of Modern Art. It’ll be running till October, so maybe wait till the frenzy has died down before coming to check out the van Goghs, Gauguins, Cézannes and Warhols. (Yep, they didn’t muck about with this one). Check out the details here.

MEL X NYC Festival


It’s gonna be a big month, Melbourne. You’ve also got a HUGE New York City festival swinging into town. We’re talking Ilana Glazer (from Broad City) doing stand-up at Hamer Hall, Regina Spektor rocking a live concert at The Arts Centre, plus secret pop-up music performances in laneways across the city (you can register to find out the latest here). Did we mention Momofuku Ko is coming to town?

Snow White


Reckon you’ve seen Snow White? You haven’t seen it with international dance sensations Ballet Preljocaj. They’re bringing their dark as hell interpretation to the Opera House this month for a VERY limited run. In fact, the last performances wrap up on 10 June (there’s still a few tickets left if you want to snag one). It’s been described as “dark, modern and gripping”, although you could say the same about some hiking boots. Check out the details here.

Vivid Sydney


We’ve already covered Vivid extensively (so you probably don’t need a reminder it’s on). But here we go: Vivid is running this month. You should check it out. It’s bloody amazing. Personally we’re kind of looking forward to ‘Come Closer...Sex and Pleasure’, which kicks off next Wednesday at the Art Gallery of NSW. Sounds...stimulating. Full program deets over here. Vivid runs until 16 June.

Zero Grand Opening At MONA


Gird your loins, Tasmania. Dark Mofo’s prelude weekend at MONA is kicking off with the launch of Zero, an epic new after-dark exhibition. It’ll be running from 13 – 24 June and features live music from legendary space-jazz ensemble (err, what?) Sun Ra Arkestra (USA) and electric string quartet FourPlay. We heard FourPlay perform as a family fair once and it sounded like a soundtrack to eternal damnation—we can only imagine what they’ve got in store for Dark Mofo...

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nightime


If you only see one show this month, Brisbane, make it this one. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nightime has won 5 Tony Awards, 7 Olivier Awards and blown audiences’ minds for years. Now it’s showing at QPAC. Tickets start at $99.90 and the season runs from 12 – 24 June. Don’t miss out, or you’ll be kicking yourself at every dinner party for the new five months.

Short + Sweet Festival


Short + Sweet is the world’s biggest 10-minute play festival. All the pathos and emotion of a real-life play, without any of those pesky long run times that eat into your Friday night Kardashian binge. This year the heats will feature dance and cabaret, burlesque and a special ‘wildcard’ event. Keep your eyes peeled for that one. Plays will be running at Turbine Studio and Visy Theatre—you can check the website for specific performance times.

Swan Lake St Petersburg Ballet


Getting a bit high brow here. If you’ve always been a ballet sceptic, Swan Lake might just be the one to convert you. This production at His Majesty’s Theatre has already been getting rave reviews (mostly for the power of prima ballerina Irina Kolesnikova. Don’t expect Natalie Portman sex scenes. Do expect a lot of dancing and/or prancing. And the costumes are always gorgeous. Swan Lake is running between 7 – 17 June. Prices start at $59 for nosebleed section.



Nothing high brow for you, Auckland. You’re getting a festival called ‘Winetopia'. Don’t act like you’re not excited. This one’s running in Auckland from 22 – 23 June (before heading down to Wellington). You can expect tasting drops from 60+ local wineries, masterclasses and chats with vintners, plus the chance to learn from Master of Wine Bob Campbell. General admin will set you back $39. Don’t forget to use the word ‘terroir’. A lot.

Aotea Square Ice Rink


It may not be high art, but we’re squeezing this one in under ‘winter culture’. The Aotea Square ice rink is back, and this time it’s bringing themed weekends, a brand new ‘Skate Path’ and a magical Snow Dome. There’ll also be a FREE winter lounge, lit up to celebrate Matariki, the Maori New Year. Adults are $20 bucks, and kiddies get in for $15. The whole thing leaves town on 23 July, so get your skates on (sorry).

World Naked Bike Ride


Once a year, prim and proper London throws caution (and underwear) to the wind and takes part in the World Naked Bike Ride. It’s usually cold, so use your imagination. There’s actually several waves kicking off all over town at five locations: Tower Hill, Regents Park, West Norwood, Hyde Park, Clapham Junction and Kew Bridge. Each ride starts at a separate time. Pro tip: you’re encouraged to go in the buff, but nude isn’t compulsory. Perving is frowned upon too. You can find more info over here.

Springsteen On Broadway

New York

The Boss is rocking the Big Apple this year, and there are still plenty of tickets available for his June shows. If you’ve ever met someone that’s actually attended a Springsteen concert, it’s all they can bloody talk about—you may as well see what all the fuss is about. Keep an eye on the ticket site for the chance to enter the ticket lotteries (there’s a few pre-sale and cheap seats available for each performance). The final show is 15 December this year, so you’ve got some time.

Tokyo Quilt Festival 2018


Is it just us or are handmade quilts kind of amazing? Nothing gets our engine running like seeing some crochet and hand-stitching. Good thing there’s a huge quilt exhibition in Tokyo this month. The exhibition is happening at Hotel Gajoen, and theme this year is ‘Japan-modern', whatever that means. It’ll feature quilts made by famous writers and artists, plus some public faves. Expect the unexpected: this ain’t your daddy’s quilt festival.

The Miracle Of Escher


Escher’s so hot right now. There’s actually an Escher festival coming to Melbourne later this year, but in the meantime, you can check out some of the great man’s mind-bending artworks at Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum. They’re on loan from the Israel Museum, and the collection includes some of Escher’s classic hits (they even brought over the famous four-metre long Metamorphosis II). Art nerds, feel free to geek out on this one. 

Speaking of culture...did you hear Broccoli Lattes are now a thing? Not even joking. 

Image credit: Time

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