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Floriade Nightfest 2014*

23 Sep

*Tonight I, along with other members of Human Brochure and the media, was treated to a preview of Floriade’s Nightfest, which begins tomorrow (Wednesday) night and runs until Sunday, 28 September.

It’s hard to put the experience into words – and the photos don’t really do it justice. Here goes:

For those who are wondering – yep, the tulips are out!

We’re first greeted with seas of tulips bathed in changing colours. It’s hard to tell what colour they actually are!

I said sea, right? I meant it.

The flowers are stunning, but Nightfest wouldn’t be Nightfest without doing something pretty damn special. And that’s this.

It’s Alice in Wonderland-esque. Stunning flowers light up in time to the music as we walk through thick fog – genuinely mesmerising. Each enormous flower is slightly different, and the colour show is so varied – after standing there 15 minutes I can’t spot any repetition. Very special.

The attention to detail actually reminds me of Skywhale

Gorgeous!

We’re not to wander off, but I almost have to be dragged out of this stunning forest. Fortunately, the most beautiful flowers are just outside and their presence is enough to tempt me out.

Towards the lake there are these – lotus flowers? – reflecting wonderfully

Not many things can claim to look as good at night as they do during the day – particularly after a long day at work 🙂

And then there’s entertainment, including some juggling – lit up, of course – but I’m fascinated by these enormous orbs. Yes, they change colour. Yes, I took a thousand photos of all the different colours. You’ll have to see them all for yourself.

Then there’s the piece de resistance – another bed of flowers, surrounded by life-size neon humans, set against a background of the bright ferris wheel.

Canberra’s best photographer (in my opinion) Martin Ollman always goes the extra mile to get the best shots

Good night, Nightfest

In addition to the lights, there’s plenty of stuff for kids and big kids, including comedians and cooking demonstrations. And Philip Jones from The Martini Whisperer is doing Shaken not Stirred. You can check out the program for each night here.

But in all honesty? That Alice in Wonderland-like walk is worth it alone.

(Oh, and there’s free wifi!)

Date: Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Where: Regatta Point, off Commonwealth Avenue

Cost: This was a preview event courtesy of Visit Canberra

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Get tickets here.

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Small Brewers Beer Fest – take two

29 Sep

In March, we had a good time at the inaugural Small Brewers Beer Festival at the Botanic Gardens (not to be confused with the Canberra Craft Beer and Cider Festival). It had a huge turnout, and, with it, a few teething problems: the lines were enormous, there wasn’t water available on the hot day, and some of the beer served was hot. With news that the festival was returning for a second time in late September, I was excited – the second time was surely going to be better, with the benefit of lessons learned from the first festival. The first good news is early bird tickets: for the same price it’s 20 tokens instead of 10, meaning double the beer. The second good news is its move to EPIC – an inside event, like Oktoberfest, will be ideal. Even though there are 50km/h winds, I don’t bring a jacket – what will be the point if we’re inside? My expectations plummet when we arrive to find the festival in …

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Floriade Nightfest

26 Sep

Floriade is a huge event for Canberra, and while I appreciate all the good it brings for our fair capital, I’m always a little wary. Floriade is synonymous with traffic being backed up down Commonwealth Ave Bridge and Parkes Way thanks to those pesky (but necessary) traffic lights, and it always signals the start of hayfever season for me. But, every time I see Floriade’s Nightfest being advertised, I get more than a little excited. It always looks so other-worldly. Last year was going to be the year I finally went along, but we had a wedding overseas instead. So, as soon as it was announced this year, I booked tickets – and hoped I wouldn’t be disappointed.

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Taste and Test at Sage Dining Rooms

11 Sep

Clever, clever, clever is what runs through my mind during our two hour dinner at Sage Dining Rooms. Sage is one of the best restaurants in Canberra (I have been known to wax lyrical about it here, and here, and elsewhere!) and in August they announced a ‘taste and test’ month – essentially, for three nights a week over the month, the restaurant would become an experiment as they test dishes for their new menu, and the diners become reviewers. The price is marked down: five dishes for $60. I book us in immediately and look forward to it for weeks.

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Courting Courgette

17 Aug

I won’t beat around the bush – our standard four course dinner at Courgette took 3 HOURS. It’s the key impression I’ve taken away from my experience. Sure, there was superb food, lovely wine and a decent ambience, but for years to come, all I’m going to remember is that it was slo-o-o-ow.

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Avenue Q at ANU Arts Centre

27 Oct
Yes this is a fridge magnet

Yes this is a fridge magnet

I met the news from a post at the Riot Act that Avenue Q was being performed again in Canberra with a curious double bill of excitement and scepticism.   Having been thrilled by a performance at London’s West End in 2009 (much like other reviewers at the Riot Act, oddly!) and listening to the soundtrack for literally weeks afterwards, I desperately wanted to see it again – but was unsure just how well the much smaller and local Repertory Society (or Supa Productions? I’m not sure who actually ran this thing – another fault!) would be able to pull it off. I decided to give it a chance after seeing some rave reviews.

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Dylan Moran at the Canberra Theatre

19 Sep

The last time I’d seen the Irish comedian was early 2009, when I had no idea the character his name represented, having not seen any of the short-lived cult hit Black Books (much to the horror of my friends). I’d enjoyed him then, but figured now that I had seen and thoroughly enjoyed Black Books – thus catching up to what seems like the rest of the planet – it made sense to see Dylan Moran again at the Canberra Theatre, this time ‘in context’.

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