Where exactly did January go? Make the rest of Brisbane’s summer last forever by getting along to as many events from this festival-rich smorgasbord as you can cram down your sched-hole.
#1 Melting moments
Returning this year after a riotously successful inaugural outing in 2015, MELT celebrates spectacular queer arts and culture. Claiming February as Queer Month, MELT takes over Brisbane Powerhouse with circus, cabaret, theatre, comedy, visual art and even a picnic. Don’t miss the timely Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust, with Bowie’s entire 1972 masterwork performed live; Vulcana’s Fluid night of women’s circus; stories of growing up with parents who broke the Nuclear mould in Gaybies; the inaugural MELT Portrait Prize; and a day of family-friendly fun at the MELT Picnic in New Farm Park, with free live performances, a dog-and-owner costume contest, and plenty to eat and drink. MELT queers the tail-end of summer from 3 to 14 February. Check out Brisbane Queer Film Festival too, running from February 18 to 28 at Brisbane Powerhouse and New Farm Cinemas.
#2 New year, new moon
Celebrating the diversity of Brisbane’s Asian communities, BrisAsia Festival is a month-long program of free arts and cultural events. The festival offers a taste of all sorts of activities, from karate and tai chi qigong classes to shadow puppetry and Chinese lion-dancing (much cooler than line-dancing) workshops. There’s plenty to eat, too, with cooking classes and street-food tours. Don’t miss the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in the Chinatown Mall on 12 February. (And don’t forget the eighth Asia Pacific Triennial is still on at GoMA – until April.) BrisAsia Festival runs from February 5 to 28and you can check out the full program on the Brisbane City Council website.
#3 The Green Metre
Founded in 2015, Metre Market returns to Brisbane’s Morningside School of Arts on February 7 for a day of sustainable shopping. Metre Market gathers together local designers and artists, but also provides stall space to those wanting to swap and sell pre-loved designer and vintage threads. Recycling is the new black; clear space in your wardrobe and help save the planet. It’s win-win.
#4 Switched on
The Judith Wright Centre plays host to a quarter-century celebration of big screen brevity, with Flickerfest returning for its 25th birthday festival this month. As ever Flickerfest screens an Academy Award-accredited program of short films from around the world. Come along on opening night to see the best shorties Australia has to offer, or drop in over the weekend for a buffet of international fare. Flickerfest lights up from February 11 to 13.
Running alongside the Australian Performing Arts Market, World Theatre Festival is a highlight on the Brisbane calendar of contemporary performance. Without fail, WTF curates a collection of unforgettable international works that shake up mundane notions of what theatre can be. Don’t miss심청 <Shimchong>: Daughter Overboard! (from the Australian/Korean team that brought you 지하 Underground), Edinburgh Festival comedy favourite Penny Arcade, and Mana Whahine, an all-female work that draws on Maori mythology through dance, theatre and film. Check out Club WTF for free (and often whacky) nighttime dance parties. World Theatre Festival runs from February 18 to 27 at Brisbane Powerhouse.
#6 A ca-scuse me
Where my pitches at? Brisbane City Sounds Chorus is running an introductory a cappella and barbershop program for women in February and March. Rehearsals gear up towards performing your pitchin’ new harmonies with the chorus on International Women’s Day. The course covers vocal production techniques and choral tuition, and includes a full ticket to the IWD show. If you catch the barbershop bug when you graduate, you can audition to join the chorus itself. Registration costs $60.
#7 A bloody good time
Oedipus needs you, and your mother — and anyone who’ll come along, really. Oedipus Schmoedipus calls on Brisbane volunteers to join in on the theatre-history-disrupting fun of this innovative work. Creators Zoë Coombs Marr, Mish Grigor and Natalie Rose bring this peculiar patchwork, which features death scenes from several hundred of the greatest plays of all time, from successful seasons at Belvoir Street (Sydney) and Arts House (Melbourne). Expect lots of fake blood. The show’s cast includes 25 volunteers (no experience required) and you can get involved via the Australian Performing Arts Market. Oedipus Schmoedipus plays at the Judith Wright Centre on February 26.
(Lead image: Dangerous Liasons at MELT, Brisbane Powerhouse)