Cul­ture that gives you bang for buck

The best things in life are not al­ways free. Here are seven of our favourite cul­ture spots that de­liver more for less

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Story Club

Mon­day nights are very good date nights – there’s no ex­pec­ta­tion to make it a late one (it’s a school night) and you can usu­ally find a fun ac­tiv­ity to break the ice. One of our favourite monthly sto­ry­telling events ticks these boxes and is bang­for-buck en­ter­tain­ment no mat­ter who’s on the bill. In re­cent years, we’ve been brought to tears by The Bach­e­lor host and gen­eral heart­throb Osher Güns­berg, who shared his strug­gles with men­tal health; we’ve been cap­ti­vated by the fear­less in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Kate McC­ly­mont, who told the au­di­ence what it was like to stalk crim­i­nal mas­ter­minds in the dead of night; and we’ve laughed till we ached at co-cre­ator Zoe Nor­ton Lodge, who re­galed the room with mem­o­ries of her de­light­fully shitty job at the Easter Show. It’s more fun than shar­ing a box of pop­corn – and you can learn a lot about your new beau from their re­ac­tions to what’s shared on stage. Emma Joyce

Next up Story Club: Smoke and Mir­rors This edi­tion fea­tures Rachel Cole, Jess Dettman

and more sto­ry­tellers to be an­nounced. Ò Gi­ant Dwarf, 199 Cleve­land St, Red­fern 2016. gi­ant­d­warf.com. au. 8-10pm. $25. Mon Aug 7.

Queer­sto­ries

There are a mil­lion dif­fer­ent ways to be queer. This reg­u­lar sto­ry­telling event hosted by writer and per­former Maeve Mars­den cov­ers ev­ery stripe on the rain­bow flag – and be­yond. Ev­ery lineup is a win­ner: Han­nah Gadsby, Simon ‘Pauline Pants­down’ Hunt, Ben­jamin Law, Bren­dan Maclean, Demi Lardner, and Jax Jacki Brown have all jumped up on the Gi­ant Dwarf stage to share per­sonal sto­ries of queer love, com­ing out, and find­ing your voice. On any given night (each of which is Aus­lan in­ter­preted) you might hear about blowjobs gone wrong, the his­tory of punk Syd­ney queers squat­ting in con­demned build­ings, build­ing new fam­ily mod­els, de­stroy­ing het­eronor­ma­tiv­ity, or trans com­ing-of-age tales. The sto­ries are never bor­ing and your fel­low au­di­ence is al­ways cool and re­spect­ful. It’s like hav­ing a big, gay fam­ily re­union once a month, and you will feel warm fuzzies. Cassie Tongue

Next up Queer­sto­ries

Au­gust’s event fea­tures guest host Sally Rugg (GetUp!), with sto­ries by Max­ine Kauter, Simon Co­p­land and Kelly Az­izi, and more TBA. ÒGiant Dwarf, 199 Cleve­land St, Red­fern 2016. gi­ant­d­warf. com.au. 7.30pm. $20-$25. Fri Aug 25.

Car­riage­works

It’s not a se­cret, but it’s so sat­is­fy­ing that it some­times it feels like it is: all Car­riage­works-pre­sented shows are $35. They capped the price in 2013, and since then au­di­ences have been able to see Aus­tralian and in­ter­na­tional dance, the­atre, per­for­mance, con­tem­po­rary mu­sic and cham­ber opera for well be­low the mar­ket price. Over the last three years we’ve seen Game of Thrones star Stephen ‘Stan­nis’ Dil­lane de­liver a mono­logue in the round; Xiu Xiu play the mu­sic of

Twin Peaks; Syd­ney Dance Com­pany and Ban­garra; in­ter­na­tional dance doyens Olivier Dubois and Xavier Le Roy; the Gee­long-based in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed com­pany Back to Back The­atre; and count­less pro­duc­tions by lo­cal young guns Syd­ney Cham­ber Opera. If you’re look­ing for cut­ting-edge cul­ture on a bud­get, this is your first port of call. Dee Jef­fer­son

Next up The Rape of Lu­cre­tia

Syd­ney Cham­ber Opera present Ben­jamin Brit­ten’s post­war cham­ber opera, di­rected by Kip Williams and star­ring Opera Aus­tralia’s Anna Dowsley ÒCar­riage­works, 245 Wil­son St, Eveleigh 2016. 02 8571 9099. car­riage­works.com.au. 8pm. $35. Aug 19-26.

Golden Age Cin­ema and Bar

Once you get over the fact that a movie ticket ba­si­cally costs $20 these days ( with some ex­cep­tions – see p19), you’ll re­alise you’d rather spend it in this stylish 60-seat cin­ema, with its 1940s seats and ad­join­ing Art Deco bar – per­fect for a preor post-screen­ing tête-à-tête. And that’s be­fore you even con­sider the pro­gram: cu­rated by for­mer FBi Ra­dio host Kate Jinx, there’s a mix of Aussie indies, art­house, cult fare and clas­sics. Jinx also has a thing for witches and is do­ing a PhD in early Aus­tralian gay lib­er­a­tion doc­u­men­taries, which is ev­i­dent in some of the more es­o­teric choices. DJ

Next up Au­gust at Golden Age

Au­tumn’s line-up in­cludes Wes An­der­son’s The

Royal Te­nen­baums, Al­fred Hitch­cock’s Ver­tigo, Turk­ish cat doc­u­men­tary Kedi, cult clas­sicin-the-mak­ing The Love Witch, an ex­clu­sive

Syd­ney sea­son of ac­tivist doco Cit­i­zen Jane: Bat­tle for the City, and re­cent art­house re­leases Lady Mac­beth and A Ghost Story.

ÒParamount House, 80 Com­mon­wealth St, Surry Hills 2010. 02 9211 1556. our­gold­e­nage.com.au. $15-$20. Tue-Fri from 5.30pm; Sat, Sun from 3pm.

Red Bull Sound Se­lect

Launched in Syd­ney in April 2016, this world­wide se­ries pro­motes live mu­sic – for less than the price of a cof­fee. The lo­cal edi­tion takes place on the fourth Fri­day of each month and is cu­rated on a ro­tat­ing ros­ter by FBi Ra­dio, I Oh You and Laneway Fes­ti­val – in other words, peo­ple with taste. Each month you can see three of Aus­tralia’s best new live acts for $3 (if you RSVP) and $10 (if you don’t); the only catch is that your RSVP puts you in the way of the Red Bull mar­ket­ing list. Kat Dop­per (of Heaps Gay), the artist rep for the se­ries, says: “Sound Se­lect sup­ports lo­cal artists and venues as well as giv­ing back to the fans via the oh-so-af­ford­able tick­ets.” DJ

Next up FBi Ra­dio presents Red Bull Sound Se­lect

Line-up is TBA. ÒRed Rat­tler, 6 Faver­sham St, Mar­rickville 2204. 02 9565 1044. www.red­bull sound­s­e­lect.com/events. 8pm. $3-$10. Fri Aug 25.

The Lans­downe Ban­d­room

The cal­i­bre of tunes in the new Lans­downe ban­d­room is a cut above the scuzzy metal you used to find on the down­stairs stage in the early thou­sands. The Rule brothers are book­ing the line-up, bring­ing decades of ex­pe­ri­ence to bear in an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of new folk dar­lings, in­die rock kids, sparky up’n’com­ers and names you’ll recog­nise a few years from now. They’re on a mis­sion to build a new gen­er­a­tion of live mu­sic reg­u­lars in Syd­ney, and with gigs gen­er­ally com­ing in un­der $25 a head, they’re priced so that you can roll the dice on a lit­tle-known artist any week­end you fancy some tunes. The ban­d­room is now up­stairs, with a bar off to one side for easy beer ac­cess and an out­door deck for cig­gies be­tween sets. Emily Lloyd-Tait

Next up Tiny Lit­tle Houses

This Mel­bourne four-piece de­liver scuzzy-butsweet in­die cuts that make you feel like it’s the ’90s again. ÒLans­downe Ho­tel, 2-6 City Rd, Chip­pen­dale 2008. www.oztix.com.au. $17.85. 8pm. Thu Aug 17.

The Song Com­pany

If lis­ten­ing to a big choir singing Han­del is like tak­ing your ears on a scenic bus trip, a con­cert by the Song Com­pany is more like a cu­rated jaunt around the CBD in a Fer­rari. Just their six amaz­ingly ag­ile and skil­ful voices can han­dle any­thing their artis­tic di­rec­tor, con­duc­tor and com­poser Antony Pitts puts on their mu­sic stands, and that’s some of the most chal­leng­ing clas­si­cal and con­tem­po­rary con­cert mu­sic you’ll ever hear per­formed live. Pitts has in one sea­son dis­pelled fears that the world-beat­ing stan­dards set by their pre­vi­ous AD Roland Peel­man could never be main­tained. Where else could you find John Cage’s no­to­ri­ous four and a half min­utes of si­lence next to a su­perb and up­lift­ing a capella ren­di­tion of Phar­rell Williams’ ‘Happy’? Ja­son Catlett

Next up Dream­ers of the Day

This line-up – span­ning from Han­del’s 1727 coro­na­tion an­them to Steve Re­ich’s 1972 Clap­ping Mu­sic – aims at noth­ing less than a tran­scen­den­tal ex­pe­ri­ence for lis­ten­ers. ÒUt­zon Room, Syd­ney Opera House, Ben­ne­long Point, Syd­ney 2000. song.com­pany. 7.30pm. $20-$65. Mon Sep 4.

The Song Com­pany at St Mary’s Crypt

Queer­sto­ries’ Maeve Mars­den

The Lands­down Ban­d­room At un­der $25 you can roll the dice on a lit­tle­known artist

Story Club

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