If you’re worried that your brain is mostly filled now with Taylor Swift lyrics and useless facts about reality TV contestants, then maybe you want to vary it up a little, go a bit pretentious for a weekend. If you wanna mix your regular normal guy interests with a taste of the pretentious, then we’re here to assist you.

Here’s ten things to get amongst this October around Australia that’ll a) give you primo date/dinner conversation that makes you seem really, painfully cool and b) gets you in and around some highbrow stuff you might have missed if it wasn’t for us. We’re here for you.

1. LITERATURE: The End of the End of the Earth

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More Cultured

Jonathan Franzen‘s third essay collection The End of the End of the Earth comes out mid-month. It’s a collection of essays and speeches written for the most part over the last five years covering off everything form his relationship with his uncle, to the global seabird crisis. Even if you think you don’t, you know Franzen: he writes thick, literary soap operas, book club fodder, the type of heavy tome people carry around so they’re seen reading Purity or The Corrections on buses. They’re also very good.

2. ART: Toby Ziegler: Your Shadow Rising (Hobart)

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More Cultured

Hobart‘s iconic Museum of Old and New Art hosts British artist Toby Ziegler – no, this is not an homage to The West Wing character – and his paintings and sculptures. His artistic practice often involves modelling spaces and mapping surfaces digitally, before reworking images by hand. Amongst the diverse body of work on display will be not only paintings and sculptures but also a video work, and a “lump of volcanic rock” in this exhibition which is included in the cost of museum entry.

WHEN: November 4 to March 25, Mona

3. THEATRE: The Dance of Death (Sydney)

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More CulturedBelvoir‘s putting on early 20th century Strindberg classic The Dance of Death to cap off their 2018 Upstairs season, starring three longstanding stars of the Aussie theatre scene, Colin FrielsPamela Rabe and Toby Schmitz. Friels and Rabe play a married couple who detest each other, while Schmitz is Rabe’s younger cousin, who is not a fan of Friels. This can only go well. Judy Davis, Oscar nominee and Friels’ long-time partner, is on board to direct.

WHEN: November 10 to December 23, Belvoir St Theatre

4. ART: Secret Walls

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More Cultured

International illustration battle, Secret Walls, comes to Sydney, Brissie and Melbourne this month, boasting a mint selection of local street artists and DJs. The live art event – which started out in east London back in 2006, and has since made a mark on 42 countries all up – pits two teams of artists against each other, creating black markered or painted images on plain white walls over 90 minutes. The crowd, drinking of course, then cheer their faves to victory.

WHEN: November 4 to 10, various venues

5. DRINK: Native Wine (Perth)

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More Cultured

Wine garden Henry Summer is hosting its first ever organic wine festival this month, featuring a whole stack of innovative local producers. If you feel a bit fancy with a glass of wine in your hand, then this is the event for you, where you can try over 50 different wines from natural winemakers like Walsh & Sons, LS Merchants and Chalari Wines. Tickets include tastings from each winery – there’s at least 13 on the line-up – nibblies from your host, and a Henry Summer wine glass of you very own.

WHEN: November 10, Henry Summer

6. DANCE: Next Move 11 (Melbourne)

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More Cultured

Chunky Move‘s annual program devoted to fostering new dance makers Next Move returns for its 11th instalment, this year featuring two works from three upcoming choreographers. The first, Nether, by Lauren Langlois, and featuring James Vu Anh Pham, combines contemporary dance with physical theatre to imagine a dystopian future. Meanwhile Joel Bray‘s Dharawungara, also starring Naretha Williams, explores the choreographer’s Indigenous heritage and the impact of colonisation.

WHEN: November 9 to 17, Chunky Move Studios

7. MUSIC: Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones Exhibit (Sydney)

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More Cultured

Image credit: Helmut Newton.

If you’re one of those people who earnestly believes music was better in the ’60s and ’70s, then you’ll probably be interested in Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones Exhibit. At the exhibit, you can parse through over 500 pieces of rare and unique Stones’ memorabilia, including fashion from the likes of Alexander McQueen and Prada, lyric books, personal diaries and letters, vintage instruments, and original art by Andy Warhol, David Bailey and more. All capped off with a 3D concert finale.

WHEN: November 18 to February 3, International Convention Centre

8. SHOP: The Finders Keepers

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More Cultured

While you just barely missed out if you’re a Melbourne local, you oughta know if you’re based in Brissie or Sydney that over one weekend this month you’ll be able to get all your Christmas shopping sorted. And you can do it with a focus on artisan design, thanks to the Finders Keepers market. Essentially here is where you go to get original prints by Aussie artists, yummy-smelling, locally made candles and all of the homewares your nesting heart desires.

WHEN: November 9 to December 2, various venues

9. THEATRE: North By Northwest (Brisbane)

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More Cultured

After productions in Melbourne a few years ago, then in the UK and Toronto, the theatrical adaptation of Hitchcock‘s North by Northwest starts its run in Brissie at the end of the month. It’s the story of Roger Thornhill, played by Rake‘s Matt Day, a man mistakenly kidnapped by thugs who try to kill him, before deciding to frame him for murder instead. The play, from theatre veteran  Simon Phillips, then moves on to Adelaide Festival Theatre at the end of the year.

WHEN: November 27 to December 9, Lyric Theatre

10. TALK: Eric Idle

10 Things To Do This November To Make You Feel Smarter / More CulturedMonty Python comedy legend Eric Idle is coming to Australia – to Adelaide, Brissie, the Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne – to promote his new book, a “sortabiography“, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. In the book, and presumably on stage, he’ll be talking highlights from his life and his long career, including BTS yarns about real and fictional characters as diverse as Princess Leia and Queen Elizabeth II.

WHEN: November 22 to 30, various venues

Image: Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones Exhibit