It’s that time of the month, guys. We’re chucking on our top hats, polishing our opera glasses and getting some good ol’ fashioned culture. Some people think art and theatre are the cultural equivalent of eating your greens—but who cares? Greens are good for you. They have vitamins and stuff. And they taste great when you cover them in pork and oyster sauce...were getting side-tracked.
Here are 13 shows you should check out this month.
If you haven’t checked this one out yet, get on down to Melbourne’s NGV. The National Gallery is currently hosting 200+ works from New York’s Museum Of Modern Art, including Dali, Warhol, van Gogh and Cezanne. They’re also running Friday night Jazz sessions as part of the Melbourne X NYC festival. Groovy.
The idea of selling blue jeans and vinyl rock albums on the black market might sound silly to you, but that was the reality for Belarusian journalist Nicolai Khalezin and human rights activist Natalia Kaliada who founded the underground Belarus Free Theatre in 2005. The candid, solo performance explores what life was like in the Soviet era—hint: dodging KGB agents, dealing with police brutality and never giving up on freedom. See you there?
Studio Ghibli Film Festival
It was a toss-up between this and the new Egyptian Mummy exhibition (spoiler: Ghibli won). Brisbane’s Elizabeth Picture Theatre is running an epic Studio Ghibli film festival till 12 August. You can check it out on Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons. Personally, a matinee of Spirited Away with boysenberry choc top sounds like a f*cking amazing way to spend a weekend.
Dark Emu is the latest production from contemporary dance troupe, Bangarra. These guys picked up seven Helpmann Awards in 2018, and Dark Emu is being called their best show ever (it’s inspired by Bruce Pascoe’s famous book, if you were wondering). Expect interpretative dance, trippy soundscapes and one hell of a ride. Kicking off 24 August at QPAC.
Sidney Nolan Exhibition
Over to Perth we go...for a travelling exhibition of artist Sydney Nolan’s rebel masterpiece series. This one’s pretty special—26 canvases on loan from the National Gallery Of Australia, each one depicting Ned Kelly (or at least a stylised artistic splodge that looks a lot like Ned Kelly). These were landmark works in the 1940s, and they don’t often leave Canberra. Get down on Saturday 11 August.
North By Southeast Exhibition
So a bunch of Australian artists took up residency in Finland, Sweden and Denmark, and a group of Nordic artists set up camp in Australia—this exhibition is the result. It’s called Spaced 3: North By Southeast, and it’s taking over the Art Gallery WA from 18 August to 7 January. You can check out the full line-up over here, but the sneak peaks look pretty sweet.
John Russel: Australia’s French Impressionist
A lot of people don’t know the name John Russel, but they really should. He was Australia’s leading impressionist painter, hanging out with guys like van Gogh and Rodin in Europe (while Roberts and Streeton and the other Aussie boys were painting gum trees back here). The NSW Art Gallery is throwing a huge John Russel exhibition this month, and it’s the first one in over 40 years.
This one sounds creepy as hell. Horror is a stage-based tribute to the horror genre (they’re calling it a “waking nightmare”). Director Jakop Ahlbom sets the scene in a creepy family home, haunted by a vengeful spirit (why are there no friendly spirits, eh?) Take a mate whose arm you don’t mind grabbing in fright. This is gonna get dark...
New Zealand Fashion Week
Paris, Milan, New York...Auckland. Yep, NZ Fashion Week is back on this month, and it’s taking over the fair city of Auckland from 27 – 30 August. Expect the usual mix of show-stopping runway shows, giraffe-like models roaming the streets and the (always popular) Designer Pop-Up sale, where you can snag some of New Zealand’s hottest designer pieces for a fraction of the usual price.
Semi Permanent design festival is back this month, rocking Auckland’s Aotea Centre with the very best of international film, graphic design, photography, illustration poetry and architecture. There’s panels, talks, workshops and a bunch of free events to check out, and this year’s speaker line-up is pretty off the charts (think Chris Wiggins from Spotify, Netflix’s head of product design, and Ethan Eismann from AirBnB).
Star Wars In Concert
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...Mark Watters and the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra rocked out to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Yep, Star Wars is coming to the Tokyo International Forum this month. You can watch the film while the orchestra plays along with the score. Personally, we can’t wait to see classically trained geniuses trying to learn the Cantina Theme Song. Check it out on Monday 14 August.
Summer Streets NYC
New York City
Easily one of our favourite NYC festivals—every year about seven miles of Gotham turf along Lafayette Street and Park Avenue turns into a pedestrian paradise, complete with slip n’ slides, rock climbing, live musicians, art installations and pop-up markets. It’s the Summer Streets NYC party! Keep an eye out for the five dedicated ‘rest stops’ too. This one’s on Saturdays (4, 11, 18 August) from 7am to 1pm.
This is The Tate Modern’s brand new exhibition: a look at the art of Weimar Germany from 1919 to 1933. It’s 100% free (a good start) and features some of the most important pieces in the German Expressionist movement, including some cracking works by Otto Dix. It’s kicking off in August and running all the way through to July 2019. It also might be the only thing in The Tate that you can actually understand.
Image credit: Sidney Nolan Exhibition