Is your brain stuck on a diet of Ninja Warrior and rom-coms?

We’re here to assist you. Here’s 10 things to get amongst this August 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 high brow stuff you might have missed if it wasn’t for us.

1.LITERATURE: I’m With The Band

Pamela Des Barres was the groupie of the ’60s and ’70s, the golden age of rock and roll, so naturally her memoir is full of torrid affairs with the who’s who of music, from Mick Jagger to Jim Morrison. But it’s also a story of sexual awakening, and then sexual confidence – from a young woman who genuinely lived and breathed music.

2. THEATRE: Calamity Jane (Sydney)

The 1950’s Wild West tale has been given a big-time shake up, with Jane becoming all defiance and rough edges, and her love life being described by Belvoir Theatre, who host the production in Sydney this month, as “calamity in more ways than one.” The play stars Virginia Gay as the titular character, and she apparently gives a ripper of a performance.

WHEN: 23rd August – 30th September, Belvoir Theatre.

3. ART: Rirkrit Tiravanija, Untitled (Melbourne)

If you’re into conceptual art, head down to the NGV and participate in Rirkrit Tiravanija’s work ‘Untitled (lunchbox)’. Every day at 12.15pm, staff at the NGV invite four visitors to share a Thai meal together, which forms the basis of his work. Tiravanija is known for art that is based around the idea of creating social spaces for instruction and discussion.

WHEN: Until 7th October, NGV.

4. EDUCATION: Melbourne Writers Festival (Melbourne)

This year’s MWF has some huge names on the bill – like Ta-Nehisi Coates, national correspondent for The Atlantic and author of the award winning Between the World and Me and New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum. In what will undoubtedly be an intense and moving session, Kurdish journalist and poet Behrouz Boochani, who is currently a political prisoner of the Australian government, will live-stream from Manus Island. And there are plenty of massive Aussie names on the bill too, like Magda Szubanski, Yassmin Abdel-Magied, Tim Winton and Judith Lucy.

WHEN: 24th August – 2nd September, multiple venues.

5. THEATRE: Melancholia (Melbourne)

Lars Von Trier‘s cinematic masterpiece (you know, the one with Kirsten Dunst floating in her wedding dress down a stream) has been tailored for the stage by playwright Declan Greene. The play tells the story of Justine, who falls apart on the night of her marriage, while at the same time the planet Melancholia begins it’s collision course with Earth.

WHEN: 13th July – 12th August, Malthouse Theatre.

6. FESTIVAL: Darwin Festival (Darwin)

Running for most of August, the Darwin Festival is full of notable events to hit up, from the Indigenous-led circus act Chasing Smoke, to Australian storyteller Omar Musa and Australian Dance Theatre‘s The Beginning Of Nature.

WHEN: 9th – 26th August, Darwin.

7. DINING: NOMAD Wine School (Sydney)

Feel like you could know a little more about wine? NOMAD is opening it’s restaurant and cellar doors with a series of masterclasses – our picks are Saturday Wine School, which runs from 11am-4.30pm once a month and comes complete with lunch and afternoon cheese courtesy of NOMAD’s famed kitchen, as well as the Tuesday short course on natural wine that’s happening on the 14th this month.

WHEN: 14th August and 18th August, NOMAD.

8. LITERATURE: The Yellow House

This novel by Brisbane-born Emily O’Grady centres on Cub, a 10-year-old who lives with her family on an isolated property bordering an abandoned cattle farm. Because of the infamous actions of her granddad Les, Cub’s community have ostracised the whole family. When Cub’s aunt Helena and cousin Tilly move next door into the yellow house previously occupied by her granddad, the family secrets start coming back to haunt them.

9. DANCE: Synergy (Brisbane)

Bringing together rising stars within the Queensland Ballet, Synergy is a series of short contemporary and neo-classical works created by both established and emerging choreographers, like a re-imagining of ‘Giselle‘ Act II pas de deux and a new work by Jack Lister that explores the connection of movement to music.

WHEN: 27th July – 4th August, Thomas Dixon Centre.

10. ART: Tracey Moffatt: Body Remembers (Adelaide)

For the first time in Australia, Tracey Moffatt’s series of 10 photographs that were met with critical acclaim at the 2017 Venice Biennale will be shown. The photographs centre on a maid stranded on a local property, and Moffatt describes the series as a ‘play with time, backwards and forwards of the past and present’.

WHEN: 14th July – 30th September, Gallery 25.

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Image: Malthouse Theatre