Well another Australia Day is officially over and you might just be nursing a bit of a hangover thanks to one craft cider too many.
Usually, our Australia Day holiday – the official day off – is tagged onto the weekend, either on a Friday or a Monday, but this year we had the misfortune of it falling on a Thursday, breaking up the working week and meaning some folks are back to the grind today, aching for the weekend to start already.
If you’re thinking of keeping that Oz Day spirit alive this weekend (or indeed if your plans got cancelled yesterday, like Perth people who had their sky-show called off due to a tragic plane accident in the Swan River), here are a few suggestions of what to get up to. Things to do that are outside of the ordinary… because we like outside of the ordinary now, in this great multicultural land of ours.
Host a good ol’ Aussie barbie – but with a dressup theme
Folks rarely dress up for barbeques, often resorting to simple shorts and thongs for such a laidback affair. Get into the spirit this year by asking guests to dress in colours of their choice (red, white and blues or red, black and golds, depending on your or your guests’ political perspective). Just be sure the barbie’s been well scrubbed down, there’s more to stick on the barbie than just sangas (prawn kebabs, yum), and that there’s plenty of Hovex Vaporguard anti-mozzie spray at hand to keep the bad bugs at bay. So far as the soundtrack goes, make youre own Hottest 100, perhaps picking the best Aussie tracks from the past (start with Sherbert and AC/DC in the ’70s right through to contemporary likes of A.B. Original, Flume and Courtney Barnett).
Enjoy plenty of laughs
There’s plenty of comedy about at the moment. Perth’s Fringe World offers a huge amount of laughs in its 700-event strong program. If you’re in Perth this week, be sure to check out Fringe because what we’ve witnessed so far is hilariously entertaining (www.fringeworld.com.au). If you’re in Sydney, Powerbomb Comedy is a night packed with laughs at Staves Brewery in Glebe. The show features some of the best comedians Sydney and Australia has to offer (www.eventfinda.com.au).
See a local band live
Catch some local music live no matter which city you’re in. WA’s city of Fremantle will ring out with the sounds of John Butler, Dan Sultan and Mama Kin at its alternative to Australia Day celebrations in 2017, which will see all commemorative events moved away from the controversial date of 26th January and the show put on Saturday 28th. Seymour Centre in Sydney is hosting Courtyard Sessions, known for its diversity as well as its commitment to supporting young and emerging musicians. On a local note in Brisbane, you can catch the ‘Infest the Night’ hip-hop showcase at Woolly Mammoth on Friday.
Get your culinary fix
If you’re in Victoria, the team behind Burn City Smokers are taking their Southern-style BBQ operations to the coast with the set-up of the Mornington Restaurant Counting House whose final night is this Sunday January 29. Co-founders Steve Kimonides and Raphael Guthrie have transformed the old restaurant space into a smokehouse for the summer, and diners can expect delicious dishes such as smoked beef short ribs and brisket burgers served with mac and cheese. Yum! Or, if in Sydney, enjoy the long summer evenings at the annual Twilight Food Fair in North Sydney’s Civic Park – a great way to end the week with delicious hot food and live entertainment. There’s a great international line-up of food stalls and live music to help patrons unwind and ease you into the weekend. Details at http://www.eventfinda.com.au.
Get your Chinese New Year on
Saturday 28 January marks the first day of the Lunar New Year, with Asian-inspired celebrations to be held across Australia. Sydney Opera House will light up red to celebrate the Year of the Rooster – and for the duration of the festival, 12 large zodiac lanterns for those walking through Circular Quay.
Also this year Sydney will be bringing in the Chinese New Year with a nighttime food festival at Carriageworks. Curated by award-winning chef Kylie Kwong, the night market is inspired by the street food of Harajuku in Tokyo, Hongdae in Seoul and AnFu Lu in Shanghai. All this unique Asian culinary goodness is set to take place on Saturday January 28. If you’re in Perth, Elizabeth Quay will showcase giant zodiac animals and an interactive lantern wall as the hub of the city’s celebrations plus a host of market stalls and live performances will line the quay with free tai chi classes and traditional Chinese arts and craft lessons.
Admire glorious Indigenous art
Galleries large and small are getting in on the Australia Day spirit. Smaller galleries are focusing on exhibitions featuring homegrown artists, while the NGV in Melbourne is presenting ‘In Land of All Sally Gabori’ which depicts the Australian landscape in a fuzz of red, white, yellow and purple. In John Olsen’s ‘The You Beaut Country’, his famous paintings of Australia from the sky are shown alongside ceramics and tapestry. Meanwhile ‘Who’s Afraid of Colour?’ presents a different view of Australia, covering Indigenous women’s experiences, from the political to the ‘pop’. On at Federation Square, Melbourne (www.ngv.vic.gov.au).