The old Dutch word for November is ‘Slachtmaand’, which means “slaughter month” because that’s when you kill all the animals that won’t survive the winter. November in Brisbane is very different. It’s the last chance you’ll get to go outdoors with only one layer of sunscreen on, and it’s time to start looking indoors for fun. Fortunately Brisbane has plenty of activities both indoors and out to keep you occupied in November, and none involve slaughtering sheep.
#1 Get your art on
The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial Of Contemporary Art will present work by 83 artists from 36 countries, from Mongolia to the Kyrgyz Republic. This time out the triennial will have a focus on performance, with a new APT8 Live component still to be detailed as well as the regular cinema programs (focusing on Pop Islam, Filipino Indie, and the films of Lav Diaz), and new commissions including a suspended sculpture by Korea’s Haegue Yang and a sprawling found-materials installation by India’s Asim Waqif. The opening weekend is November 21 and 22 at GOMA, with more info to be announced as the exhibition continues through to April next year here.
#2 BAPFF, POW, ZAP
Last year’s debut Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival, or BAPFF for short, was a big enough success to ensure its return return in 2015. The 16-day-long festival will screen over 75 movies, documentaries, and short films from the region beginning with Ya Tayr El Tayer, about Palestinian singer and Arab Idol-winner Mohammad Assaf growing up in Gaza. It concludes with The Taking Of Tiger Mountain, Tsui Hark’s 3D action epic set in the aftermath of World War II. Follow @BAPFFilmFest on Twitter for more.
#3 Bring Spring Hill to life
The inner suburb of Spring Hill has a new street festival called Spring Hill Alive, resurrecting the old annual Spring Hill Fair (which the Go-Betweens named their third album after, as Brisbane music nerds will tell you). Boundary Street will be filled with live music, food trucks, flower displays, kid’s activities and arts and crafts. It’s on Saturday November 14, and entry is free.
#4 Watch movies outdoors
The Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema in South Bank (right near the Wheel Of Brisbane on the river) ends its current season mid-November, so this is your last chance to eat and drink on the grass while watching a movie on its huge outdoor screen. New movies like The Martian and Legend are on the bill in early November, but two classics will help see the season out. A 20th anniversary celebration for high-school comedy Clueless will be a “Sundae Session” for Sunday November 8, featuring live music from Mzaza and free ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s. The timely last movie on the calendar will be Back To The Future on Sunday November 15.
#5 Throw spoons at a screen
Tommy Wiseau’s “worst movie ever” contender The Room enjoys a particularly strong following in Brisbane. The last screening sold out well in advance and was packed with enthusiastic fans who interact vocally and physically with the movie just like audiences for The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s showing at Palace Centro on Friday November 6 at 11pm as part of their cult late nights, and you might need to get in quick to book a ticket. (Don’t forget to bring your plastic spoons.)
#6 Become a foodie
The old building at 180 Latrobe Terrace in Paddington was once a tram terminal back when Brisbane still had them, and has more recently been home to the Flower Cafe, the Hampton Home Living combo homeware store/cafe, and now Chapter IV. It’s the kind of restaurant where they use wood blocks instead of plates, serve pulled pork sandwiches, desserts with Nutella, and cold drinks in jars, which should give you a pretty good idea what kind of eatery they are. If you’re looking for somewhere hip they are relatively cheap (especially for Paddington, where the expensive vegan cafes have transformed into expensive paleo cafes), the view from the balcony is gorgeous, and the food tastes great as well as being made for Instagram. They’ve added a full dinner menu of fancy burgers but if you just want beef the “1kg beef pattie burger challenge” will either satisfy or kill you.
#7 Travel out to Bulimba
Head out to the bend of the river Bulimba is nestled in for the Bulimba Festival, from November 9 to November 15, a street festival that’s got a lot more to offer than the usual fare. You can have breakfast with writer Annabel Crabb at Riverbend Books, dance like you’re in your own bedroom and nobody’s watching at the No Lights No Lycra dance party, and watch the Bulimba Vet Pet Parade, among many other events in a packed schedule.
(Lead image: Bulimba Festival)
Jody has written for The Big Issue, Brisbane Times, and Rock Paper Shotgun. He is currently planning a trip to South Korea, where he will enjoy rich cultural traditions like K-pop and very fast wi-fi.