Whether it’s in your yoghurt or on the stage, culture is good for you. Get your monthly dose in July: there’s a Harry Potter spin-off play, and a Jaws screening on the Thames, plus film festivals coming out the wazoo. Your eyeballs will thank you.
Puffs, The Play
Sure, everyone’s been getting sweaty about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child making its way to Melbs in 2019. Yawn. The big news is that PUFFS the play is back after a record-breaking run at St Kilda’s Alex Theatre. The humble Hufflepuffs of Hogwarts seldom get a mention in the books and movies, but here the stage is set to tell their tale. Expect magic, laughs and badgers. The last shows are selling fast for this one, so get in quick.
MoMA at NGV
From Calder to Kahlo, Picasso to Popova, twentieth-century ‘new art’ was transformative then and transfixing now. New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is bringing over 200 works from its iconic collection to the NGV, promising a timeline of 130 years of masterly art and design. Like the back catalogue of Andy Warhol, it’s going to be pop-pop pop-ular. It's running from 9 June – 7 October. More deets here.
Micro | Macro by Ryoji Ikeda
Part science, part art, the masterful Ryoji Ikeda is back with not one, but two new sound and visual installations at Carriageworks. In true Ikeda style, micro | macro is huge—the “micro” installation commands 172 square metres of exhibition space—and with his haunting (at times unsettling) electronic soundtrack, it’s a hypnotic, immersive experience for audiences. It’s got amazing reviews, and it’s very free. Running 4–29 July, more deets here.
Rigoletto by Opera Australia
Ah, La Donna e mobile, a fine operatic song from the nineteenth century...and the soundtrack to those Legos pasta sauce ads. This little earworm is just one in Verdi’s Rigoletto, an opera about secrets, society, seduction...and a razor-sharp court jester. Opera Australia is bringing the production to life with their trademark cinematic stage setting and glam costumes. If you’re worried that your Year 8 Italian isn’t going to cut it, don’t be—you’ll easily follow the storyline with their English subtitles, so no need to Wikipedia the plot later. Get your tix here.
The Bar at Buena Vista
If half of your heart’s in Havana ooh-na-na, then this show will win it back. The Bar at Buena Vista takes you back to the famous Havana Club of the 1940s and 50s, where Cuban folk music, jazz and salsa collide. It’s running for two nights only (20–21 July) at QPAC, so snag your tickets now.
Lysa and the Freeborn Dames
A world premiere that tackles the big f-word: feminism. Following the success of her debut novel Beautiful Mess, Claire Christian’s Lysa and the Freeborn Dames explores politics, power and identity when you’re coming-of-age in the adult world. It’s inspired by the classic Greek comedy Lysistrata (if you don’t know the story yet, you should get onto it). It’s a touching and topical portrait of a young woman in today’s world. There will be glitter. More info here.
Revelation Perth International Film Festival
This ain’t no ordinary film fest. Revelation has forged a reputation for showcasing independent, experimental films from around the world. For example, they’re screening the already notorious ‘Strayan pop culture mash-up Terror Nullius (feat. one Pauline Hanson), the confronting Caniba, and um….this. Will most likely snap up tix to the *free* family-friendly screening of My Neighbour, Totoro. See the rest of the program here.
Perth Winter Festival
Just ‘cause it’s cold, doesn’t mean you can just Netflix and chill. Get out to the City of Perth’s Winter Fest, ‘cause they’ve got heaps of creative and/or entertaining things to see and do, most of which is family friendly. A giant ball pit? A snow mall? A colour-filled installation from the legendary Yayoi Kasuma? The winter city is yours—take it! More info here.
New Zealand International Film Festival
Film festivals aren’t just for AV club nerds and arthouse-Luc-Besson-watching types. They’re about presenting cinematic diversity in styles and genres from around the world, and New Zealand's International Film Festival has been doing just that for decades. It’s the 49th NZIFF, and there's some goooood pickin' here. Crowd-funded indie film Stray took ten years to make, and is generating strong film fest buzz (plus it home the Best Actor prize at the Moscow Film Fest), and there's the trippy Climax by the scandalous Gary Noé (or as I call, him the Notorious N.O.E. It'll stick, trust me). There's also heaps of quality home-grown shorts, award-winning international docos, animated films and the best of the rest from Cannes. It’s on from 19 July to 12 August in Auckland, and tours around the rest of NZ too. Check out the full program here.
Celebrate Maori New Year
There are more than 100 events in Auckland to celebrate Maori New Year, and you should 100% get involved. Matariki began on 15 June, but there’s a whole swathe of celebrations and events happening around Auckland. There’s light installations, night gardens, and Maori cuisine. We’ve got our picks here.
Fuji Rock Festival
Kendrick Lamar! N.E.R.D! CHVRCHES! And...Bob Dylan. The famous three-day music festival in Japan has gone from strength to strength since the first Fuji Festival in 1997, when the second day was cancelled due to a typhoon. Can’t make it to Japan? Then at least make sure you watch this wonderfully mind-boggling “how to etiquette” video for the festival. Still reeling. More details about the festival here.
Beyond the Streets
Sure, it’s a little odd putting street art in an exhibition. It’s like putting trees in a tree museum. But unlike a major art gallery, the street art for Beyond the Streets have been sourced directly from the artists, rather than private collections. It’s a ‘retrospective’ of LA street art from over 100 international artists, including big names like Shepherd Fairey, Banksy, and trademark banners from Guerilla Girls. Get on it, more deets here.
Movies on the River
You know where’s a great place to watch Jaws? On a boat. You can do just that with London’s City Cruises, who are screening movies on the top deck of their sea vessels, as they gently cruise down the Thames. The event is called—you guessed it—Movies on the River, and it runs five nights a week until September. Can’t wait for their next event: Snakes on a Plane, on a plane. More deets about Movies on the River here.
How To Become A Parisian In One Hour
True story: When leaving my final hotel in Paris, I farewelled the concierge with a very sincere Bonjooooour! He was very confused. I was confused about his confusion. If only I’d caught Olivier’s Giraud’s stand-up comedy show, How To Become A Parisian In One Hour? I would have become fully fluent in the behaviour and idiosyncrasies of Parisians in general society within sixty minutes. It’s an hour-long roast about the French, by a Frenchman, while in France. So meta, so get(a) your tix here.
Image credit: Puffs