24 July

Program announced for Melbourne Writers Festival 2015 (and it’s a beauty)


Melbourne Writers Festival 2015, our annual celebration for writers, readers and thinkers, kicks off Thursday August 20, and tickets for its biggest program to date go on sale noon today.

Each year the festival highlights the talent and ideas of hundreds of writers from Australia and around the world, through a thought-provoking program of storytelling, conversation and debates, music and art events. In fact, this year brings together over whopping 530 events.

Celebrating its 30th birthday, this year’s festival takes us on a literary tour of Australia and all corners of the globe. Here are our highlights:

Opening night address by Louis de Bernieres, author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (Thu Aug 20, 6.30pm).
Rob Thomas, creator of arse-kicking teen-detective series Veronica Mars and new show iZombie, talks about how pint the sized PI made it from tele to silver screen (Thu Aug 20, 9pm).… Read more

23 July

Meet the Astor Theatre’s fluffiest new tenant, Duke


One of the best parts of seeing a film at the Astor Theatre was Marzipan. You’d notice the tortoiseshell cat curled up in the corner of one the Astor’s couches; or sometimes, softly purring through one of the sessions. Two years ago, Marzipan – aged 21 – passed away, leaving reams of Facebook RIP messages in her wake and plenty of sad glances at the couches.

Now, the newly re-opened Astor – which has recently passed into the hands of Palace Cinemas – welcomes Marzipan’s successor: the dashing Duke, named after Oscar-winning film legend John Wayne (whose nickname was Duke).

The grey and white cat’s cowboy swagger earned him the name, which general manager Zak Hepburn chose as soon as he met Duke at the Lost Dogs’ Home. “Since Palace took over the Astor, there have been so many enquiries as to whether we’d get another cat and while Marzipan is irreplaceable, we thought as this year has marked a new chapter for the Astor, why not give Duke a new chapter in his life?”

Duke, you’ve struck gold, buddy.… Read more

22 July

Say goodbye to open mic nights and move out of your folks’ garage, the Melbourne Music Bank competition’s on again

Ella Hooper

It’s not that often that we find ourselves in the position of saying “yay banks”, but kudos to Bank of Melbourne for once again giving Melbourne musos the opportunity to kick-start their careers during the Melbourne Music Bank competition.

The comp gives solo artists and bands a chance to perform an original song in front of a panel of industry experts including singer/songwriter Ella Hooper (also the ambassador for the campaign), Damo Costin (Director of 123 Agency), and Beat Magazine‘s Music editor, Cara Williams. Four finalists will be chosen from a shortlist of 12 by the public to tread the boards at the Arts Centre’s State Theatre.

The prizes are sweet: the winner will receive a two-day recording stint at Melbourne’s famous Sing-Sing studios; a film-clip, album artwork and printed CD’s from Oh Yea Wow; mentoring from Artist Manager and founder of Wah Wah music, Chris Robinson; PR from On The Map (the crew responsible for Ron Pop and Boy and Bear’s publicity); an on air plug from Varrasso PR; gig bookings by 123 Agency and the chance to have the song featured on telly in a BoM ad.… Read more

22 July

Uber is delivering ice cream all day this Friday – here’s how to get it

Uber Gelato

Last year, something delicious happened. Uber announced that it would deliver ice cream on demand, to your door, for one day only. Finally, it’s back.

Start stretching your texting thumb, Melbourne: from Friday morning Uber will deliver frosty treats courtesy of Gelato Messina (you know, that place on Smith Street that is always packed) to wherever you are. #UberIceCream madness will take over 254 cities across 58 countries, including 17 in Australia. Hell, they’ll even deliver to your tent at Splendour in the Grass.

Gelato Messina has worked with Uber to create uberX Scoop; a special flavour blending hazelnut gelato with white chocolate, hazelnut fudge, milk choc chips and wafers. Yes.

To get on board, enter ICECREAMOZ in the promotions section of the Uber app, then open the app on Friday July 24 between 11am and 5pm, set your location and request ICE CREAM.

Never used Uber before? Even better: sign up to Uber and you’ll get $20 off your first ride, or one whole, tasty tub of uberX Scoop.Read more

15 July

David Bowie Is launched to media this morning, opens to public tomorrow

Bowie Is Blog

It’s been too many sleeps since David Bowie Is came on our radar, but the wait’s over – ACMI launched the V&A curated exhibition this morning for the media (hereafter, we will refer to July 15 as Bowie Day) and it opens to the public tomorrow.

Proving again that gingers are rightly taking over the world, songstress and dyed-in-the-wool Bowie fan Geraldine Quinn put us in the mood, while giving us a glimpse of what we can expect during the Late Nights Program with her dramatic and powerful rendition of ‘Let’s Dance’. Suitably fabulous in a red and blue sequinned gown (slashed to the waist and with a sequinned horn on one shoulder) Quinn went full throttle on the chorus, making more than flowers tremble.

ACMI’s new CEO Katrina Sedgwick ran us through some of the exhibition’s stats – apparently, it’s broken attendance records worldwide (Australia’s the seventh stop on its global tour to date) and the pre-sales have exceeded any other ACMI exhibition to date, including Hollywood Costume.… Read more