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Theatre
School holiday activities
Seven Deadly Sins of Melbourne
What is Art?
Melbourne Show on a budget
Fringe Festival
The Big One
Other stuff
Reader feedback
Country Victoria


Theatre

A number of new shows open this week. There is the new local blockbuster musical Eureka. The promotional material raises some suspicions about historical basis but if it turns out to be a thumping good Australian musical it doesn’t matter. The history can always be corrected in the footnotes (which would make a change from the history being invented in the footnotes). There are also concert performances of Annie Get Your Gun, Theatresports make a return as well as a few smaller productions associated with the Fringe Festival. Details of all these at Theatre in Melbourne.


School holiday activities

Horsey activities for kids at the new Racing Museum ($5) as well as circus at BMW Edge and a free family open day at the Gee. Details at Family Activities in Melbourne.


Seven deadly Sins of Melbourne

Continuing our series of the Seven Deadly Sins of Melbourne.

SIN No. 3 – Prevarcation

We’ll tell you about the evils of prevarication next week.


What is Art?

In the last couple of weeks we have received tons of remarkably similar promotional materials for events and exhibitions. It appears that Marketing 101 has decreed that all events should cause the paying customer to ask “What is Art?” and I suspect in some cases the customer may add “and where has it gone?” It also appears to be necessary to “blur the line between art and real life” (and in some cases unstructured after-school activities). Expect to hear these phrases a lot over the next couple of months. In the meantime I would remind the hopelessly uncultured of you that the Impressionists (who according to a promotion on my desk “merely exhibited technical facility with no understanding for the struggles which surrounded them in the real world” and I suspect some of them didn’t even know how to write a proper grant application) The exhibition is due to finish soon and I believe the gallery is open until midnight to accommodate the misguided petit bourgeoisie who have no real concept of “What is Art?” Details at: NGV International


Melbourne Show on a Budget

Cathy writes:

“I used to get in free every year when I played with the high school band. Then when I joined a community band we got in two to three times. Play for a one hour set (sometimes only half an hour) and the rest of the day was ours. I suspect community choirs and various other organizations get a similar deal. We even had car passes if we had particularly large instruments to carry in, and they never counted heads. Provided you knew where the free food was at, you could do the show (minus rides and showbags, admittedly) for zip. Not that there is much free food any more. I used to haunt the baker's pavilion when the apprentices were showing off their buns every half hour or so for a nice hot snack. Needless to say, I'm not taking the two year old this year. Maybe next year.”

Thanks Cathy, If you are looking for free food samples I can recommend the Prahran Market on a Saturday morning. Start off in the deli section for entrees, then over to the meat hall for sausages and meat from the BBQ then back for another round of the deli section and you won’t need lunch after this. Then take a short walk down Commercial Road to some of the clubs where you can still find young men showing off their buns.

Back to the Show – come on Cathy, back to the Show. Here are a few additional suggestions for those wishing to take the family to the Show on a budget. It is worth doing some homework before heading off. The Herald Sun often produces a guide to the showbags. You might let the kids do their homework and arithmetic and they may well decide to spend their showbag allowance at the local shopping strip instead. Some lifestyle TV programs may have some coverage but they will probably be straightforward advertorial rather than useful information. Try to get hold of a map in advance and plan your trip via the free and cheap exhibits. Not many organizations now have sample bags or giveaways except for government departments who are likely to have a mountain of colouring books they are distributing free to promote the message of saving the forests. If you are really after freebies, try finding a politician and tell him you are a swinging voter.

As with all gated events which allow it, bring your own food and drink. You will eat much better and cheaper that way. Take the kids through the food exhibitions just before lunch then sit down and have your picnic at one of the displays – a parade, shearing exhibition, the chops, etc. Make sure you have packed plenty of fruit and a knife to cut it. That way the kids can feed the animals. Make sure they ask the minder first. And if you are a single parent make sure the kids know how to find out at the same time whether the minder is unattached. Carrots and apples are always good for this (feeding the animals). Just be careful of the minder who gives you a dodgy looking pill to feed to the opposition rooster. You will also want to plan your sequencing. Fairy floss comes after the sideshow rides – not just before.

If you have brought a number of kids remember to do a headcount at the end of the day, and if the numbers haven’t varied by much more than 20% in either direction then that’s near enough and you can head off home.

You can find more school holiday activities at Family Activities in Melbourne See also Money Saving Tips in Melbourne.


Fringe Festival

The Fringe Festival starts this week with tons of events and happenings. Details at Melbourne Festivals.


The Big One

Well, the football season is over, although I believe there is still a match in town somewhere this weekend. However the pre-season training has already started in earnest for some dedicated bimbos who are focused on making it to the big one next year. While their friends are dreaming of becoming famous for being wealthy, the truly dedicated ones aim at becoming famous for having no visible means of support. This will be a good weekend to keep an eye out for travel bargains. At the start of the weekend there may be a lot of empty planes flying back to Brisbane and Adelaide and similarly lots of empty planes heading back towards the end of the weekend. As usual the real bargains won’t be through the high profile websites - they have to charge you for all that advertising they’ve used to convince you that they have the best prices. Nor is it the airlines or other suppliers that necessarily have the best prices. Try tracking down the ‘aggregators’. The ‘aggregators’ are the people who go along to the football club of which you have been a long term member, buy up a number of that clubs allocation of tickets at inflated prices, buy a batch of airline tickets, put you up in a serviced apartment in East St Kilda (‘serviced’ means it has both hot and cold running water), provide you with a gourmet breakfast (“would madam prefer Weet Bix or Corn Flakes?”), seats in row ZK together with a can of soft drink and charges you many thousands of dollars for the VIP package to witness a match that possibly won’t come within cooee of the two fantastic performances last weekend. Fortunately, our state government will, as they have done for time immemorial, announce a crackdown on profiteering and manage to apprehend a couple of western suburbs kids who have queued overnight to buy a ticket and sold it for $80 profit on ebay.

Now the providers of these products aren’t stupid and often force the aggregators (sometimes known as Black Hats) to buy bundles including ‘dead products’ such as the empty plane seats and empty hotel rooms interstate. The aggregators are happy to do this because they are still way ahead and can afford to almost give away the dead products. Where do you find these deals? Don’t rule out the daggy looking travel agent in your local shopping strip. How do you find out more about how the process works and where to look? Enrol in Tourism Yield Marketing 301. However make sure that your lecturers have significant business skills and current tourism industry experience as well as the necessary mathematical background to understand Yield Marketing. This may rule out many university and TAFE courses and you will probably need to find a quality private training provider – however that is another story, stop diverting me.

We will keep our ear to the ground within the industry for any genuine special opportunities this weekend. If you would like to be notified if we come across something out of the ordinary, let us know at: gfweekend@whitehat.com.au  We don’t guarantee anything, but you never know.


Other stuff

There is a free floor talk by Reg Livermore at the Arts Centre. Details at: Melbourne Forums. There is also festival of short films (whose name we can’t mention since your spam filter would reject it). Details at Melbourne Film Festivals.


Reader feedback

“Greetings & Salutations to He of the White Hat, Your newsletter has a cult following amongst the younger management in our organization. Several of your phrases and images have captured our imaginations and become a sort of secret code used both at work and on social occasions. Your last newsletter was a ripper and arrived just before our regular Friday afternoon meeting. After a while it became obvious that all of us in the White Hat Club had indeed read it and were making veiled references to various of your historical periods. At the end of the meeting our revered leader decided to inspire us with a story from the MWM Period. I nearly had a hernia trying to suppress my laughter and I know I wasn’t the only one. I’m about to head off for Friday night drinks and I’m sure the first toast will be to White Hat.

Jules of the Secret Seven”

Thanks Jules. I notice you used your work email account to send us this feedback, but never mind, your identity is safe with us. I remember in a different life sitting in a similar management meeting in England where several of us colonials were visiting head office. After listening to several homilies from the leader which I expect the locals could recite from memory I contrived an excuse to leave the meeting early. A stony faced 2IC hastily scribbled a note which was folded and passed down the board table to me. “Hello, I’ve been sprung” I thought. I opened the note and read “That’s not the way we do things here at head office. All such schemes have to receive approval from the Escape Committee”. The 2IC’s face was still stony, but I did detect a distinct gleam in the eye.


Country Victoria

Only a few festivals this weekend. If your dog has died and your husband has just left you then it’s possibly time to buy a trowel and head off to the Stawell Orchid Festival. If on the other hand your dog has died and your wife has just left you, it’s time to buy a guitar and head off to the Mildura Country Music Festival. Details at Country Victoria.

The following weekend has lots of events in country Victoria which can be found at the appropriate dates on our calendar of events.

You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.