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Nine things to do around Canberra this weekend (17–19 January)

Zoe Pleasants 16 January 2020
Nutcracker

The Storytime Ballet is an interactive, educational ballet production that encourages kids to learn, practise making magic and explore their love of dance! Photo: Canberra Theatre Centre.

As the smoke from the bushfires continues to pollute our air, it could be a good weekend to check out some of the indoor exhibitions on around town over the summer. There’s Matisse & Picasso at the National Gallery of Australia, Hi-Vis Futures at the Canberra Gallery + Museum (very topical), DreamWorks: The Exhibition at the National Museum of Australia, Game Masters at the National Film and Sound Archive, and plenty more. Both the NMA and NFSA are opening late this Friday, and providing a more in-depth experience of their exhibitions. And don’t forget the National Library of Australia, Portrait Gallery, the NGA and Museum of Australian Democracy have dedicated kids space.

All weekend

American Express Openair Cinema
Where: Patrick White Lawns
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 6:00 pm
The American Express Openair Cinema is up and running on the Patrick White Lawns in front of the National Libary for another year. This weekend see Maleficent: Mistress of Evil on Friday night, Charlie’s Angels on Saturday night and A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood on Sunday night. Gates open at 6:00 pm and the films start at around 8:30 pm. Bring your own picnic and picnic rug, or buy food and drinks from the on-site vendors. If you’re after a more luxurious experience try the American Express or Prime Video Lounges where you’ll get a lounger, blanket, a glass of wine and additional food and drink delivered to your lounger! General admission tickets are $20 or $17 for concession (discounted if tickets are bought with an AMEX card). Entry to the Prime Video Lounge is $42 (less if bought with an AMEX card) and entry to the American Express Lounge is $35 (but can only be purchased with an AMEX card). Check out the cinema’s Facebook page for updates about cancellations due to smoke and other weather events.

Yours Faithfully
Where: Museum of Australian Democracy
When: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
In an age of pithy one-liners, text messages and FaceTime, the Museum of Australian Democracy is inviting you to slow down and rediscover the lost art of writing a letter. Use a range of tools – including restored typewriters – and supplies to craft a letter and post it on the spot. MoAD will even pay for postage!

Storytime Ballet: The Nutcracker
Where: Canberra Theatre
When: Friday 11:00 am and 2:00 pm; Saturday 11:00 am, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm
Storytime Ballet is a narrated, interactive ballet production designed to engage kids from age three. This year’s show is a new production of the classic Christmas ballet The Nutcracker. Tickets from $37+bf, book here (but be quick, there are only a  limited number of tickets left).

Matisse and Picasso
Where: National Gallery of Australia
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
The National Gallery’s summer blockbuster exhibition – Matisse & Picasso – tells the story of the artistic relationship between two of Europe’s greatest 20th-century artists: Henri Matisse (1869–1954) and Pablo Picasso (1881–1973). For more than half a century they followed each other’s creative developments and achievements. The sustained rivalry between them not only fueled their individual successes but it also shaped the course of 20th-century Western European art. At the outset, Matisse and Picasso’s styles were poles apart. Spanish-born Picasso explored novel territory that would lead him to Cubism while Matisse, the older French master, was a leader of the Fauves (or ‘wild beasts’) art movement. They watched each other’s work closely, sometimes ‘answering’ each other immediately with their paintings or responding later to an artistic theme with a flurry of activity. Each felt the need to acknowledge and absorb the other’s work. After Matisse’s death in 1954, Picasso’s art changed again as he mourned the loss of a figure who had held such sway over his career. This exhibition brings more than 60 paintings and sculptures from Australian and international collections and includes paintings that will be on display in Australia for the first time. Tickets from $28 for adults, $25 for concession and $10 for children (aged 5 to 16). Book here. During the school holidays, the Gallery is encouraging you to make your own art inspired by the art in the Matisse & Picasso exhibition with art supplies available from the Gallery’s Mobile Studio.

Seated odalisque

Henri Matisse, Seated odalisque, 1926.

Hi-Vis Futures
Where: Canberra Gallery + Museum
When: Friday & Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Hi-Vis Futures is a collaboration between artists Mandy Martin and Alexander Boynes and musician Tristen Parr showing at the Canberra Gallery + Museum until 1 February. It is an exhibition of sound, video and mixed media artworks depicting the connection between industry, fossil fuels, carbon emissions and climate change. From works featuring a lurid dawn to a massive open-cut coal pit fire, these works depict dramas on an epic scale with fatal consequences. The exhibition tackles the complex political, environmental and social issues that are occurring right now and for the foreseeable future. See our story on the exhibition here.

Friday

UC Capitals vs Melbourne Boomers
Where: National Convention Centre
When: Game starts at 7:00 pm
The UC Capitals has a tough weekend ahead in Round 14 of the Women’s Basketball Leauge taking on the two top teams –the Melbourne Boomers and the Southside Flyers. The Caps play the Boomers this Friday night at the National Convention Centre followed by the Southside Flyers on Sunday in Dandenong. Tickets for the home game are $10, book here.

Up Late Series
Where: National Museum of Australia
When: 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
The National Museum is opening the doors to its DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition after dark this Friday. As well as being able to explore the exhibition, Philip Millar, puppet designer and artistic director of Melbourne puppet company Puppetvision will be giving a presentation about bringing fantasy creatures to life using puppetry, animatronics and complex hydraulics. Learn about the nature of movement design for the giant dragons created by Creature Technology Co for the How to Train Your Dragon – Live Spectacular and understand the challenges of these productions. The presentation is followed by a screening of How to Train a Dragon. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for concession and $15 for Museum Friends, book here.

Friday Lates: Local Heros of Gaming
Where: National Film and Sound Archive
When: 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm
The NFSA is hosting one of its Friday Lates events this week with the opportunity to win a SEGA Mega Drive Mini, talks, a panel discussion, a screening of the Canadian 2012 documentary Indie Game: The Movie and access to the Games Masters exhibition with its 80 playable games. Listen to 10-minute lightning talks by:
  • Tejay Fraser-Chitticks who works remotely in Canberra for California-based company Counterplay Games whose game Godfall was just announced as the first official game for the PlayStation 5
  • Tony Lawrence, COO and Director at Mighty Kingdom which won Australian Studio of the Year at the recent Australian Game Developer Awards
  • Mark Schramm, an award-winning Canberra based VR and AR developer, and
  • Ed Orman, director of Uppercut Games.

Tejay, Tony and Mark will then be part of a panel discussion followed by a presentation by Elliot Schultz who will discuss the history and aesthetics of the Game Boy handheld console and present his artwork for a new game set in Canberra! There will also be a bar and live music in the courtyard. Tickets are $25 for adults (15 years and over) and $20 for concession. Book here.

Saturday

Big Community Choir
Where: Eastlake Gungahlin
When: 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Lift your spirits with a sing-a-long directed by choirmaster Dan Bennett this Saturday. Learn a much-loved pop-rock classic in an hour and then perform it along with your newfound choir friends in support of those affected by the bushfires. Singing in a group has been proven to improve mood, decrease stress and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety (and we could all use a little of that right now). The Big Community Choir welcomes everyone and every voice, even those whose enthusiasm vastly surpasses their ability. Dan will have you singing along in no time. Dan conducts the barbershop chorus, the Canberra Chordsmen,  as well as the Strange Weather Gospel Choir and Mixtape Chorus, Canberra’s own indie-pop choir.


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