This is the time of year when Melbourne really lives up to its reputation as cultural capital of Australia and the other states just have to get over it. The Melbourne International Arts Festival, known simply as Melbourne Festival to its friends, is a massive 17-day celebration of visual art, live music, film, opera, outdoor events, *breathe* installations, theatre, dance, and discussion forums. Hectic.
As with all festivals of awesomeness, it can be hard to decide what to see and what, if anything, to avoid. So, being the information collectors and list writers that we are, we’ve come up with a list of must-see events, in no specific order.
First and second places on the list are Billy Bragg Celebrates Woodie Guthrie and An Evening with Billy Bragg for two nights of nostalgia. In his solo show, Bragg will play classics from his own 12 studio albums, and in his Guthrie tribute show, he’ll play from the music man’s mysterious archive to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Next is Antony and the Johnsons for a spiritual awakening backed by a 44-piece orchestra. This is a one-off event and if his Cut The World album is anything to go by, it will blow your mind.
Then we’ve got Thurston Moore, the ‘new’ Thurston Moore, who is touring on the back of his solo album Demolished Thoughts and is now acoustic and folk-like and hard to imagine unless you’ve heard him.
About Face is the Where Are They Now of models from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s including Isabella Rossellini, Jerry Hall, Christie Brinkley and many more beautiful women. This documentary may increase anti-aging product sales.
Andy X is one film we’re going to have to see to believe. Jim Sharman (of The Rocky Horror Picture Show director fame) has lured Andy Warhol back to the waking world and put him into a musical with cabaret, installation art and hallucinatory, dreamlike imagery. Don’t worry, Sharman will be there to answer all your questions after the screening.
Diana Vreeland, Queen of Couture, discoverer of models and the reason it’s socially acceptable to wear blue jeans. She’s a legend for more reasons than we can name, so watch this documentary and bask in her trailblazing glory.
City Within in City is a collection of 17 works by artists that explore the idea of expanding metropolises through architecture, landscape, literature and cinema. So many activities of expression and rebellion are born in cities it can be hard to find a place to carve your own niche, but this film has the answers.
Impasse is a massive mind trip. You’re in a place where space is tangible. YOU CAN ACTUALLY TOUCH SPACE. And you’ve got to move around and carve a path with your body on a journey that will change the way you see, feel and hear the world.
Last but not least is Human Effect, which you shouldn’t see last because it’s a bit of a downer and you’ll probably feel pretty bad about the effect we’re having on the environment. It’s an interactive installation of vines, moss, ferns and butterflies that all die while you’re standing there, but bloom again once you walk away.
You can see the full program here, and the festival runs from 11-27 October 2012.