Tag Archives: fun

Melbourne Tourist tips

Waking up on the Summer morning ,sipping coffee as the birds dart in and out of the garden, is bliss, even if the rest of the day will be spent in an office.

For warm weather the best time to come to Melbourne is between November and April. Australia is not built for cold weather, it is a beach culture, we endure July in houses that are poorly insulated. During Winter, the southerly winds off the South Pole shred through thin walls and coats, but in Summer it’s a cool change that swings a scorching heat into an icy gail. Melbournians wear layers because random weather changes are expected.

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Summer, long weekends and Easter

When the sun is out the locals are basking. There is a mass exodus to the coast in January, Easter and Public Holidays, if your planning an Ocean Road tour during these times book early. Bayside beaches fill up and most Tourists head for St Kilda but South Melbourne and Brighton Beaches are more relaxing.

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Inner city Melbournians, get up early on Saturdays and have breakfast together in Cafes, the best places fill up quickly. On a hot afternoon, the South Melbourne market has  great outdoor seating under a large golden canopy, enjoy Mediterranean cuisine and a glass of wine. Expect to eat dishes from all over the world, each new flood of settlers has brought their food culture with them and each gets its day in the spotlight. Currently everything is ‘infused’ with something Asian.

If the weather turns foul, which means the ‘cool’ (freezing) change came early, head to the NGV Gallery at Federation Square and take in some Australian Art. The City is proud of its Artists but Sport is given most sponsorship. The Art is world-class but under promoted.

The Docklands is a relatively new development with ‘state of the art’ architecture, just behind the Southern Cross Station on Spencer St. It has a futuristic opulence , a skating rink and the Southern Star.

Trains and trams are the main form of transport and very well mapped, it’s easy to follow.The MYKI card works for locals but is not visitor friendly as you have to buy it to get around. Transport inspectors can be a bit intimidating so it’s important to get one. Currently the City has all night transport on Friday and Saturday nights.

Great places for dinner are Smith, Gertrude and Brunswick Streets in Fitzroy. It’s a fabulous block of ambitious ambiance. A historical area where hustlers and artists have had ‘their day’. but currently it is urban cool.

Melbourne has great theatre but if you want to catch a local act for under $30, after dinner there are some quaint venues; The Butterfly Club, La Mama, The Owl and Cat and The Meatworks, (just to name a few) are close to town and have their own character.

Bars are numerous and many are tucked into the lane network that are the life beat of the town, most often decorated with great Street Art. Roof top bars are great on hot nights but most places have outdoor heating when it’s not great.

The highlight of Summer is the Australian Open and the best place to watch it is at Federation Square in a sun-chair. Despite Australian pride of designer beer and class wine most public places are dry. On New Years Eve drinking is banned on public Bayside beaches so cancel the beach party.

Melbourne was once called the ‘Garden State’ as we like our trees. When its too hot for the beach there are great Botanical gardens and the Ripponlea Estate offers shade and a cafe. The changeable weather has created a fashion consious culture and there are plenty of shopping strips and malls to cater for discerning tastes or a bargin.

Summer essentials are thongs and light coat. We all talk about the weather; we complain when it’s hot and when it’s cold. 

‘I remember when I was young and I was happy’

“We played your song to John Lee Hooker, and he liked it” Matt Taylor remembers being told.

Chain performing in Melbourne at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in the 80’s

In 1971 Sunbury, tried to deliver a concert like Woodstock, but apart from being an outdoor concert, the two had little in common and most sources will confer that theirs was a ‘Love-in’ and ours was a ‘Drink-on’; yet for $1 you could enjoy Chain and Phil Manning blowing the breeze with cool blues and sweet guitar. Decades later they are together in Chain, playing in St Kilda at MEMO, just doing their stuff…living music.

Chain is like a Classic Harley Davidson, it doesn’t grow old but rather more impressive. I don’t doubt that the crowd on Friday night were just as alive to the music as they could ever have been. The artists ability hadn’t dimmed nor had their creativity faded, they were effortless, clean sound welded together with musical precision . They are not an old band regurgitating one hit wonders, this is a band  of genuine artists perfecting their craft.

There was a mixed crowd of those that grew up with the music and younger folk that were new to it.

“It’s not an age thing man, you love them for their music and like them because they are good at their music” Josh (20something)

Matt Taylors relaxed and inviting stage presence between songs gave the night an unexpected charm. The session closed with ‘I remember when I was young’ and it set the crowd alight.

At MEMO StKilda 2018

 

by April Forward

Spring Snow

The Victorian Snow Fields experienced a long season with full coverage to delight skiers that could enjoy skiing in fine weather.

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The lure of fun on the slopes draws Melbournians out of the urban web and into the quiet melancholy of a country morn. Off to Buller for three glorious days.

FORECAST

‘Another crystal clear and sparkling day here on the mountain.  It will climb to 9 degrees today so will feel delicious in the sunshine.  SPF your nose, get out early for the crunchy snow and enjoy a mild Spring day’

Snow borders spend more times on their behinds than those that prefer the dual drive, however the competent make it look easy and provide entertainment for those moments between chair-lifts.

Mount Buller is Melbourne’s closest mountain and locals claim that this is the best season they have had since 1986. The easy access encourages families but I would not recommend it as a learners destination due to its steep drops, the green runs turn into blue runs and spill into black runs. No matter how green you are, you will find yourself on an advanced run to make your way to a lift, back up the mountain. The ‘Family Run’ is a blue run with sharp black drops. If you suffer from vertigo head off to the Burnt Hut or the Mercedes Run but for those that love a black run with speed and tight turns this is your mountain.

Most Ski parents have no comprehension of danger and some take their kids to the Summit. The offspring of snow mums learn to ski when they can walk, or as one mum explained, “when they are out of nappies”. Toddlers and children follow their Ski teachers like ducklings.

The major flaw of this field is the disconnect between sections of the mountain that involve a trek that makes it more difficult for the snowboarders. There are sections where a T-Bar would be a convenient link. For time-out the Mercedes Hut offers a lounge, fresh water, chill out music and phone charges and there are also cafes and bars for a break, or a glass of wine on the home run.

 

The Buller advantage is the 300 hectares of coverage and 22 lifts to take you there.


	

Daylesford get-away

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Winter time-out in the country heart-land

 

When your energy levels are low and each day seems the same as the last, it may be time to get-away. A week-end retreat keeps it simple and offers an opportunity to step-back from the race and breath.

The Resting places

 

Whether in a simple room above the Daylesford Hotel, or an Airbnd off the beaten path; the time away will reignite your dwindling flame with country vitality and charm.

The Charm

The main strip offers cafes for morning coffees and brunch in front of open fires as the cares fall away. Some Tourists come up for Spas and Massages but don’t need them after a day of wondering through antique stores, art galleries and climbing up streets without the visual insult of ‘development’.

 

The Churches

are located at the top of the climb and few tourists are up early enough for a Sunday service but that won’t stop a charming convert from offering a stranger a lift to the market, when they are only asking for directions.

 

The Market

Get to know the locals at the farmers market. Few stores have EFTPOS so remember to bring cash and enjoy over-sized samosas, a store devoted to mushrooms, antiques, fresh produce and a yarn with every purchase.

 

The Train

runs through the market, it is a living museum of leather seats and wooden panels that rattle and rock as it parades through the country side, with city folk smiling by.

 

The Stops

Cafes spotted throughout the town for an afternoon tea or a glass of wine, many have open fires to warm up by.

 

The Gardens

on top of the hill offer botanic country paths to meander

 

and places to sit and ponder.

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Nightsongs

Life looking back is a vista, a remarkable journey, encumbered,encrusted and inspired; the good,the bad ,the ugly and the beautiful, the footprints the young look upon with indifference, unless it weeps from the tree of integrity.That nectar that inspires trust.

Natasha Moszenin has over 25 years of musical experience that mixes the palette of life and art and delivers a performance at the quaint Butterfly Club that made Friday night fatigue, a soothing recharge.

Moszenin stares unflinching at the drama and terrors of life that hide in the shadows, she has faced them all and knows them by name. With maturity, resilience and defiance, she acknowledges and creates a wonderful score about her life. Ironically the Butterfly Club’s eclectic pictures on the wall illustrate the transformative passage of hope,  love,trauma and …triumph.

The Artists Lara Vocisano, Claie Nicholis and Jai Luke present a narrative through song that washes over the audience. The beautiful voice of Nicholas is of a song-bird but not to take away from the solid vocal presence of Vocisano and Luke, as Moszenin plays the beautiful score on an old piano.

Moszenin dives into the depths and finishes off on a light comment on todays less emotional world.

Nightsongs is performing at the Butterfly Club this weekend

 

 

Review by April forward

Everything is not as it seems

TRIENNIAL NGV Melbourne

The show stopping art storm is fixated on capturing the Melbourne imagination with no expense spared, and this year it is free.

The journey starts and ends in the Moroccan coffee house but our focus is on the second floor, up the Reko Rennie elevator, an elevator that is part of the Galleries structure; not imported. From the Australian Aboriginal world, without excess to the post-communist decadance, up the spine into the heart and soul of the human mind.IMG_1147We arrive at the GOU PEI exhibit, a Chinese Fabric Artist that engineers her Masterpieces, stitch by stitch, bead upon bead, golden thread and a mantle of dreams. Inspired by an ancient past with dresses that would inspire the Pope. Her exhibit arrived in Melbourne, as precious as the Emperors Palace treasures and is located in the eye of the TRIENNIAL storm at the NGV.

Pei claims her work denies what it succumbs to, human vanity. Heart, soul and creativity, with a barrage of craftsmen on the floor, and this has happened before, in Dynasties past, a royal glass slipper for the ball. Rhianna , contemporary Diva, herald in the Artist at the Met Gala, formally the Costume Institute Gala, in New York.

The NGV hive, houses the Queen in an exhibition that begins in a blaze of glory.

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Like Michelangelo, one can imagine that she is ripe for Vatican success.

The NGV has gone wild, Curated by Simon Maidment’s team, a wonderland passing from one installation to another, a mind altering experience of Art.

As art-life drifts out of the fringe into the mainstream an unholy alliance bridges the gap between today and tomorrow. The current stream sedating, a war brewing.

It’s an epic bombardment, a Cultural revolution in it’s full thrust of life bordering on the ruin of decadance. Ron Mueck explores the human condition and its vulnerability in the wake of God-like delusions.

 

 

 

Review A.Forward

MONA, the road to OZ

MONA; the Museum of Old & New Art

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Prior to the visit I had heard plenty of favourable comments and recommendations about MONA; surprisingly they were coming from a range of people varying from art lovers to people with typically little interest in the arts. This intrigued me on the lead up to the visit. After visiting the gallery I understand its broad appeal; it’s a place where enjoyment and the experience are placed as the ultimate priority over pretension. Before any art is viewed, visitors have already been captivated by fun from the roaming roosters, kids trampoline, boat ride (dependent on arrival method), Tasmania’s oldest vineyard and the spectacular and awe-inspiring architecture – it has already been a successful venture. From here on it’s all a bonus, but it continues to intrigue with atmospheric galleries that range from tight quirky spaces to vast open areas. The art itself is diverse in its appeal with a little something to tickle everyone’s interest.’ MONA Visitor

 

MONA is not what you would expect regardless of all you have heard. We took ‘the journey ‘ beginning on the historic Station Pier for a Bass Straight crossing on the Spirit of Tasmania. The large window portals in the cabins gave a haunting view of the black water peeling back into white foam as the ship cut into a calm night sea. We arrived on the chilly Devonport coast at 6am with a temperature of zero.

The road to the museum of OZ has a few enchantments on the early Spring morning that perpetuate the unfolding drama of the landscape. As a typical Melbourne crew we anticipated a home-grown cuisine and strong coffees at the next town, we were mistaken, as each village was merely half a dozen rooftops and no signs that pointed us to a cafe. We regretted not dropping into the All Nice Things Bakery that beckoned from the corner, with the signed promise of a warm breakfast, if we had have known that cafes were few and far between, we would have eaten and stocked up.

Rumbling stomaches and caffeine withdrawals aside ,the natural resplendent views that the winding roads were drawing us into, satisfied the Winter frayed mind. Each scene was vast and framed within majestic snow-capped peaks. Our first stop was within the heavily mossed rainforest of the Liffey Falls , a gushing river flowing into cascading waterfalls. This area was once heavily populated by the Pattittore Aboriginal people, they held their social gatherings there, on this day there was only our small group.

The second wonder on the journey was the ice stalactites along the roadside, rain that was petrified into a dripping beauty. A short journey onward and random clumps on snow begin appearing on the side of the road unfolding into an expansive  snow field amongst the lakes. Naturally a snow fight ensued.

When we arrived at OZ, or rather MONA we were expecting a Glass City, not an old Vineyard, chooks and a small building set amongst outer shed like structures. It’s appearance is provincial, as though it was being considerate of the natural beauty that encased it. The real drama was yet to come.

Mona is built into the ground, not above it. The evaluator takes us deep into her interiors and we arrive at the lower floor of a towering bedrock wall, flanked by a contemporary Bar at one end and a 50’s Tea Room at the other, passing by a waterfall of words.

 

The current exhibition is the The Museum of Everything  and although Mona is a highly contemporary venue , this exhibit invites you into wallpaper drawing-room with a random collection of worldly works and audio stories to match the vision.

 

Is Mona the interior of a rich persons fantastical world? – Yes  

Is it Art-worthy? – Yes

Is it magnificent? – Absolutely

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Sidney Nolan Room

 

Catch the ‘Spirit’ and sleep in the dark waters, it’s a genuine adventure, but eat before leaving Devonport, or you will be hungry.

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On the Clock

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As the MICF circus wraps up, 2 clowns sent it off with a bang.

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The afternoon show at ACMI was the icing on the Festival, after a series of ‘Stand up’ wit and profound observations we discover a new territory. These Guys have nothing to say, it’s what they do that suspends reality and slaps you in the face. Throughout  the performance the unexpected continued to surface from beneath the banal.

Confused? Good , that’s a great start.

You will be bewitched within a Dadaists performance of an office mundane that imploded into the wild and creative instinct of lifes little dramas. Bit by bit they shatter through reality to reveal a seething internal existence with comic twists.

Intrigued? I hope so, it is an intriguing experience.

No matter how sober you think you are, they will pick up your solid piece of reality and twist it until you feel entirely happy. Like an animal can become a chair, a thing can become an animal. They are very clever Consultation Specialists.

Welcome to Ruck’s Leather Interiors starring Gareth Grubb (Trygve Wakenshaw) and Dennis Chang (Bernie Duncan) as Performance Artists.

Bernie Duncan

FullSizeRender-20 Where did you Guys train? MP

“I didn’t do training but Ttygve went to Gaulier, a French Clown School in Paris.”

How did you get into this? MP

“I always made theatre, we started a Company (Theatre Beating) about 14 years ago, and we made stuff we liked”

Audience Responce

“I never dreamed that I would ever see two people entertain me from the time they started right up until the very end. Everything that happened was totally unexpected , it shocked me, it was so funny and you never knew what was coming and everything that came was brilliant.”

3 Mates & a glass of wine at MICF

The MICF Show is in town and Three Course Comedy is the show-bag of comic treats. Each night 3 Comedians take the stage to give you a sample size dish of their material. It’s a great way to be exposed to a range of comic styles, with a line up that changes each night.

MP went to the very ambient Fort Delta Gallery  in Howey Place to be amused by Tim Hewitt, Adam Knox and Michael Shafer

Tim Hewitt warms up the Crowd, as first up in ‘Three Course’ line-up.

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Hewitt is soaking in the City culture of MICF after doing the ‘hard yards’ in the parochial wilderness of Pokies Den’s and Greyhounds. The comics life may be rich in experience but it may not afford holidays to remote islands with Supermodels. There are compromises.

Hewitt has a personal warmth that endears the crowd, his suburban tales ‘touch a nerve’ and there are outbursts of laughter throughout the room.

With two comedians to follow, the routine manoeuvres speedily through his visual landscapes.

Also performing ‘Comedy Zone’ on the MICF circuit.

‘Knoxie’ is next

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Knox brings a mix of cultural anomalies to his performance wrapping his clever wit around some pearls of insight. He wavers between action, concern and an offhand remarks. He establishes an instant rapport with the audience before entering his comfort zone, once there, he opens up to the deeper issues that concern him, like a mate does.

Knox is also a part of Chimp Cop Forever

Michael Shafer

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Shafer breaks away from his sellout solo performance Jewis-ish to join his mates in this 3 course round-up. His routine is a bite sized, sped up sample of what audiences can expect to hear at the full show. Shafer continues to polish his work with diligent effort, comedy is not a vacation it’s his vocation.

Shafer manages to lead the course through the choppy waves of perception and throws out a line to the women in the audience, those that may be floundering in the male shallows.

Shafar on fire in Jewish-ish

MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL review

Michael Shafar held his own at the momentous Trades Hall, that scrubbed up nicely, awash in neon for the MICF 2017.

Shafar is an eclectic blend of cultural experiences that have shaped and unshaped him. He is sorta Jewish, sorta Aussie,sorta cool, sorta nerd, sorta serious but definitely funny. His shows are selling out because the word is out, Shafar ‘nailed it’ this year.

Shafar examines his Jew-ish-ness with perplexed wonder. His grandfather was a Holocaust survivor and its more the ‘religousness’ than the faith that is up for review. He has a wealth of material to draw from that keeps the audience in stiches through out the performance. The crowd loved him and there was a reluctance for the show to end

MICHAEL SHAFAR is Jewish-ish at TRADES HALL Mar 30-Apr 23 8.30pm (no Wed & 7.30 on Sun)

An interview with Michael Shafar

“I used to encounter a lot of anti-Semitism when I was playing football for my Jewish school. I played from the ages of 12-16 and it was interesting and sad to encounter kids making anti-Semitic comments. I’m interested in whether those kids actually understood what they were saying, or if they were just repeating taunts that they had heard from their surroundings.”

How do you feel about your performance this year?

So far I’ve been really happy with the shows. I’ve changed up a lot of the content since I last performed it in Perth and have also changed the overall structure to make the theme about being culturally Jewish a lot stronger. I think it’s definitely working better now.

What type of reaction have you experienced from Jewish-ish?

So far the reactions have been great. A lot of people have messaged me to let me know they enjoyed the show. It’s interesting to me how different people tweet different jokes to me from the show, so it’s nice that there are a lot of different jokes in there that people remember and relate to.

What has been your most profound experience? MP

“The Comedians I met in the US were young, emerging comics who taught me a lot about work ethic. In the US, comedians are often gigging 15 times per week, which is why their development is accelerated. I tried to absorb that work ethic as much as possible so I try to gig as much as possible around Melbourne.”

Do Comedians support each other?

“Whenever there is a controversy about something that a comedian has said or done, comedians tend to help each other through it.”

Is MICF different for you this year?

It’s different because it’s my first solo show, so it’s definitely a lot busier than any other year. I also need to manage my time a bit better than previous years, making sure I still get enough sleep, eat well and exercise (which I have failed to do for the first few nights, so hopefully I get more disciplined!)

The play that created a storm

‘It’s foul weather in us all, good soul’

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Melbourne Sky

Ironically, it is a storm that opens the tale of The Tempest, but here on the banks of the Maribyrnong River it is a brewing storm that ends it. Melbourne’s fickle weather has once again cast its cold spell on an outdoor event. It has ‘undid’, subverted and prevented the ambition of this ‘goodly’ play. The stunning performance that was on Friday and Saturday was ‘naught’ on Sunday.

What could have been is; Prospero, performed by Brendon Ewing, dark with revenge and drawing his past into the currents of his macabre island home, seeking familiar company with unkindly aims, that give way to kindness sway. This tale untold, due to weather, it had to fold, so the cast did the next best thing, they sang.

 

Sly Rat Theatre Co.’s artistic directors Alan Chambers and Andy Harmsen have created a unique vision for The Tempest, inspired by science-fiction classics. The Pipework’s Natural Museum is a beautiful outdoor space, rich in atmosphere and a perfect setting for a summer picnic, weather permitting.

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“It’s a Rock and Roll version of Shakespeare, it’s very loud and very big” Director Andy Harmsen

Within the warm hub of the group, a buzz with laughter, singing and the smell of burnt sausage, it is easy to forget that the cancellation of a show could be disappointing, they are taking it so well. It’s a chance to catch up with some of the actors and chat about their role’s, the few that aren’t belting out a tune.

First up is Todd Levi

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“We like to push the boundaries but still tell a great story.. it’s Shakespeare, how he would like it done today…Its bawdy, its real and it is entertainment first and foremost. Prospero has been marooned on a magical island, betrayed by his sister and he’s been there for 12 years. He spies the evildoers sailing by and raises a tempest, a storm that shipwrecks them on the island where he prepares to take his revenge. It’s the search for redemption the final words of the play are; ‘As you from crimes would pardon’d be, let you indulgence set me free’

What made you choose this venue? MP

 “It’s a magical place, it’s a place where the community comes and we played here last year to over 2000 people … most of them had not seen live theatre before, let alone Shakespeare, and playing to an audience like that and seeing them fall in love with it”

Did you factor in the weather? MP

“You don’t expect to have nine shows of good weather every-time, hopefully this is our one and only cancellation.”

Next up is Tara Hauton 

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“Steph and I play the clowns, technically it’s the Court Jester but Andy and Alan have re-invented it to be two women who have been to the races all day long and have arrived at the play. We exist outside the world of the play and that’s where the comedy of the role happens…we are very drunk.

and Ty Holdsworth

 

It’s a play about weather, most Melbournians can relate to that.

 

 

Pipework’s Natural Museum Park on the banks of the Maribrynong River

 

 

by April Forward