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
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.
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.
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