Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Moomba Parade 2010

Celebrity Chefs

The rain stopped and the sun was out for this years Moomba parade. After the ferocious weather Melbourne has been experiencing, a sunny day for even only an hour was  a treat for all. Crowds were consistent to previous years, perhaps a little less with the unpredictable weather. I always tell myself to view the festival from the west side of Swanston street and always forget. If you are viewing the festival, Collins and Swanston St, on the western side seems to be the prime position.

This year, they simplified the line up, with an emphasis on themes: arts, sports, food.  Celebrities were abound with celebrity chefs Guy Grossi and Shane Delia. Hosting duties were up to Coxy,  Rebecca Madden & Matthew Richardson.  At one point, they left the microphone near Richo on and you could hear the experienced presenters giving Richo a few pointers.  Another pleasant surprise was seeing Lou Richards.  Not a bad parade and the weather held out until about 20 minutes after the parade finished.

<a href=”” title=”Celebrity Chefs by neilmelbournemetblogs, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”Celebrity Chefs” /></a>

The King and Queen of Moomba Presenters at Moomba The Art Centre Float Moomba Lou Richards Turks

View the rest at Flickr

Happy Melbourne Day


Melbourne's flags waving. Photo:

This Sunday, 174 years ago, Melbourne was founded. What better way then to celebrate Melbourne by visiting some of it’s attractions on the cheap. Although the deals are not as sweet as previous years, a 2 for 1 deal is a good excuse to take a look at some of the attractions you have been meaning to see.

2 for 1 offers on the following:

Melbourne Aquarium
Eureka Skydeck
Melbourne River Cruises
Old Melbourne Gaol
Australian Racing Museum
Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Chinese Museum Bridge of Memories Exhibition
City Museum at Old Treasury Melbourne
Cooks’ Cottage
Melbourne Golden Mile Guided Walk
Melbourne Aquarium
Old Melbourne Gaol

50% off:

Queen Victoria Market Tour
Rialto Tower Observation Deck

and a free swim at the City Baths. I would guess the deals this year aren’t as good previous years because Melbourne Day falls on a Sunday this year, assumingly the busiest day for most of these attractions. Maybe going next year on a Monday might mean less crowds and better deals. Melbourne Day

Lost Dogs – a photographic exhibition

Photobucket The Lost Dogs’ Home has put together a photographic exhibition capturing images of daily life at the shelter. Melbourne-based photographer Penny Koukoulas spent several weeks at the Lost Dogs and focused on individual dog stories which promises to be an emotive and educational exhibition.

Lost Dogs opens on Tuesday 4 August 5.00pm to 7.00pm and runs 4 to 15 August at fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne.

Tue to Fri: 11.00am to 5.00pm Saturday: 12.00pm to 4.00pm. Entry is free.

Image from

Dr. Phil GFC tour in Melbourne

drphilDon’t get me wrong, I love his show and I’m all for people making money but cmon now. Tickets to hear him speak start at $89 and go up to $289 for a floor ticket at Rod Laver Arena.  Just to give perspective, AC/DC, one of the most sought after tickets this year went for $149.

From the description on Ticketek,

“He will flood you with inspiration and motivation, giving you the power to implement his strategies immediately for your success. You will learn some of Dr. Phil’s break-through strategies to improve your career, finances, health, and personal life,”

Charging $289 for a ticket is certaintly a break-through strategy.

Ticketek: Dr. Phil Live in Australia

Tamils Nightly Vigil Continues in Federation Square, Melbourne

Melbounes Tamil community continues a nightly vigil against the genocide. The vigil is now ending it's third week.

Melbounes Tamil community continues a nightly vigil against the genocide. The vigil is now ending it's third week.

Melbourne’s Tamil community continues to protest against the ongoing genocide in Sri Lanka, which has seen thousands of Tamils locked up in camps, subjected to terrifying conditions by the Sri Lankan military, and often killed outright, while the Sri Lankan government works to block foreign media from entering. Earlier in the week, I reported on the existence of a protest group at Federation Square. Now, after seeing them there for the third night and talking to some of those involved, I’ve learnt much more about it.

The protestors have been gathering at Federation Square, every single weeknight, beginning around 5 and lasting until 6 or 7, for the past three weeks. Previous protests have gathered around Parliament and the State Library, but at these places, they were failing to attract much notice. Now they’ve found that at Federation Square, far more people can see them. Not only that, but they’re near the police station here, and in full public view – both of which make them safer from attacks by Sri Lankan ex-pat supporters of the genocidal regime. Recently there was an incident in which a group of pro-government Sri Lankans had been out drinking, and Tamil protestors were driving through the city on a pre-planned route. The government-supporters mobbed the Tamil cars and broadcast the incident on YouTube to make fun of them. Racism is a real issue for ethnic Tamils in the Sri Lankan community.

So they stand chanting slogans relating to Tamil independance, to stopping the genocide, and to the controversial resistance group the Tamil Tigers. (more…)

Melbourne Italian Festival

italianfestThe Melbourne Italian Festival began a few days ago and runs until June 7. According to their website, this is the 5th year running yet I can barely recall this being on in years past.  It seems to be a decentralised Italian recognition festival focussing on the arts.  Locations for the festival range from Epping to Lygon Street and include music, dinners, and even Sunday mass thrown in.

The epicentre of the festival, called Festa della Repubblica, is being held on the 31st of May at Piazza Italia, otherwise known as Argyle Square park before they decided to brick half of the park. There appears to be music, dancing, and of course an array of food from local restaurants and cafes.

Some other interesting events on the lineup:

Italian Beer and Food Experience
May 30, 3.30-5.00pm
Beer DeLuxe at Federation Square

When most people think of Italy, they probably think wine but I guess there must be beer beyond Peroni.

Spaghetti Western Festival
June 6/7
The Grande Boutique, Hepburn Springs

A couple of classic Eastwood films on display.


Melbourne Italian Festival

Now until June 7, Various Locations


University staff go on strike for a new contract

Redmond Barry's statue bearing an NTEU flag

Redmond Barry's statue bearing an NTEU flag

The picture is of the statue of Redmond Barry – the quintessential aristocratic buffoon, and the man who sent Ned Kelly to the gallows, forever standing outside our State Library. But the flag he’s holding? Apparently after death, Mr Barry has become involved in the union movement!

It’s an NTEU flag, and the National Tertiary Education Union has called a strike today after several Melbournian universities failed to sign new contracts for many of their staff.

University managements have been mis-managing Australian universities for some time – there’s no dearth of academic articles analysing various aspects of this mismanagement (that’s the problem when you mistreat wordy-types), and various issues came to a head as the NTEU called it’s strike. I spoke to one person who has been kept on casual contracts with no job security for the past five years; one speaker referenced a friend who had been in that position for the past twelve. And I know academics who work far more than eight-hour days to keep their work going, and yet are paid part-time. These sorts of stories have become commonplace in the modern Australian university, and there’s little sign that things are going to change.

Interestingly, NTEU members seemed far more radical than the union leadership supposedly representing them, and it seemed that the strike rally ended rather abruptly, with no general call for a Speak Out – something which would certainly have kept most of there for another couple of hours!

I helped out at the RMIT picket lines today, and found that many people where generally sympathetic. Those crossing the picket line did so apologetically and with some awkwardness, a minority tried to tear down our posters and generally make nuisances of themselves, but such people are always in the minority. What was most heartening was that quite a few people i spoke to decided to turn around and take the day off, and i convinced some to come along to the rally later on.

All in all, the support from the ground up was far more impressive than the support from the top-down. If this had been announced further in advance, if those in the various ALP-aligned student unions had been willing to support it more fully, if the NTEU leadership had encouraged a speak-out and allowed the membership to dictate what happened, it could have been huge.

Happy Birthday Buddha

BuddhaIf you are in Fed Square this week and want a bit more enlightenment than Carlton vs. Collingwood, stop by at Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival. I pose the question again to festival namers, why so long of a name? Was it necessary to put multicultural festival in there? I suppose they could have made it the Melbourne International Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival but I digress.

I accidentally attended this last year and it was quite a humbling festival.  I was given leaflets with information on the Buddha and the crisis with the Chinese earthquake as well as  a candle to participate in the light offering ceremony. According to their website:

“The offering of light extinguishes darkness, it symbolically represents the way in which wisdom dispels ignorance. “

But of course, what would a Melbourne festival be without it’s food.  Throughout the weekend, chefs will be preparing their best vegetarian dishes to demonstrate that vegetarian food can be tasty. Happy Birthday buddy!

Buddha’s Day and Multicultural Festival

May 16 & 17, Federation Square


Melbourne Awards 2009

melbourneawards08logoThe City of Melbourne runs the Melbourne Awards every year to honour individuals, businesses, and community groups that contribute to making Melbourne awesome. Unfortunate for us, that doesn’t include blogs but it does honour people who really go above and beyond to promote our city. Judging is done by a panel but nominations are done by the public via their website.

Looking at some of the past winners, they all seem to contribute to groups that help the underprivileged or the environment.  Some  interesting mentions from last year are Flexicar (the community car share program), The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival,  and the Chill On Ice Bar, a bar that I’m amazed it is still in business.

The nomination process seems like a daunting process involving up to 5 pages for your submission,  a 150-word overview of the project,DVDs, supporting materials, and industry testimonials among the many things recommended but is probably worthy of a good cause. Nominations close Friday May 15.

City of Melbourne: Melbourne Awards

Comedy Festival: We’re halfway there

comedyfestposterWell, we are half way through the Comedy Festival and I have mixed feelings on this year’s festival. It’s sort of like asking halfway through the season last year about the Geelong Cats. Most would have said, they are great and are going to win the premiership. You can’t say the same after last year’s Grand Final. With sporting teams and comedy festivals, your impression can be changed by the last thing you saw them do.

I started out the festival with seeing Steven K Amos and was not disappointed.  The comedy was simple. Steven K Amos and a microphone on stage, telling us stories, interacting with the audience, and even talking about the current events of Melbourne.  The entire audience was continually laughing. I laughed so hard I cried. That is good comedy.

The great thing about the festival is its ability to give anyone a chance. The whole city turns into amateur hour for a month. This is great and has seen many comedians excel in comedy. Unfortunately, there is no licencing or guidelines for comedies, and what you can get is a mixed bag.

So due to different sets of circumstances, I ended up seeing Jokey Joke Time and Accidental Identity. I had the same feeling for both shows: is this the Comedy Festival or is this the Fringe Festival? JJT was well presented in the courtroom of the Melbourne Gaol and featured  Eric Hutton performing standup comedy mixed in with the occasional rap, saxophone playing by Jennifer Wong, and pictures/sketches to accompany some topics. As a presentation or something fringy, it was good, as a comedy it failed to make myself or the audience laugh. It reminded me of  PowerPoint presentations I had to do at uni with myself making the speech and my partner controlling the computer. An ability of a good comedian is to connect with the audience and while the content of the comedy was funny, I don’t feel like the audience or myself connected with him. He did make me realise one thing; it really grosses me out when someone talks with a mouth full of food.

Accidental Identity was definitely far from what I expected from the comedy festival. This was a full length play with an intermission, that happened to be in the comedy genre. As a comedy I found some parts of it amusing but as a play I found the show very interesting and well acted. Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of plays in fact the only thing resembling a play I’ve seen in my years is the Lion King.

Maybe I set my standards too high? Do I expect too much to just see either standup or improv that can make me laugh? Has Youtube ruined me? Maybe, but I think you have to keep it simple. The most sucessful comics at the festival are people who can connect with audience, who can talk about things that relate to the audience, and appeal to people of all ages and interests.  But what do I know? I would have picked “Man getting hit with Football“.

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