Melbourne Summer Savvy – Special Events & Experiences, 2013

Sensational Summer in and around Marvellous Melbourne – after what can only be politely described as an unusual Spring, Summer is not only on route, trust me, folks, it’s right around the corner – the December 1st corner.

The landmark show Melbourne NOW, as explained by Director Tony Ellwood, will already be in full swing at the NGV International, so be sure you experience the ‘art that is now’.

Kick-off Summer’s happy times by swinging along to Jazz Australia’s event ‘Let’s Face the Music‘ at The Bentleigh Club on Sunday, December 1st.

The event features brilliant jazz pianist Stephen Grant backed up by Jon Hunt, clarinet, Andy Ross, bass, Rory Mc Dougal, drums and special guest, vocalist Hetty Kate; this is an event you don’t want to miss.

Stephen Grant, a gifted musician, can turn his hand to virtually any instrument and any style of music: piano interpretations of jazz classics, trumpet in chamber music ensembles and lead instrumentalist with the Moscow circus band are just a few of his bio entries.

Steve will launch his new CD ‘Let’s Face the Music‘ at the event; the CD features his trio of piano, bass and drums.

For the Jazz Australia event he has added clarinetist Jon Hunt and vocalist Hetty Kate to the lineup – a seriously cool bonus for jazz fans.

The event venue, The Bentleigh Club, is light filled, comfortable and well suited to a jazz concert.

If you can’t make it on December 1st then do yourself a favour and head for Queenscliff, on Saturday December 14th for Jazz Australia’s Christmas event Hark the Herald Angels Swing(love the title) featuring The David Gardner Swing Quartet.

David is one of Australia’s leading jazz clarinetists and is Head of Woodwind and Jazz Studies at Christian College, Geelong.

His quartet:  Zac Barter, bass; Kim Dillon, piano and Dan Zampatti, drums know how to put the swing into swinging, and for this concert, the band will be joined by two great jazz chanteuses: Carol Fogg and Alison Whytcross.

Queenscliff, a lovely old Bellarine Peninsula seaside village, is 1 hour 25 minutes from Melbourne (M1 to Geelong – Queenscliff exit).

The event’s early finish time means you can have a stress free drive back to Melbourne Metro and be tucked up in your bed well before witches or the witching hour darken the night sky.

Why not, though, stay over and enjoy all that Queenscliff has to offer: elegant Victorian-era streetscapes, stately churches, quaint fishermen’s cottages, antique shops and fish and chips to die for.

Queenscliff, B n’ B, Benambra, was built as a guest house in 1883. Quaintly picturesque it has been fully renovated and offers eight beautiful individually decorated rooms, seven with ensuites and one with a private bathroom, each with air conditioning and heating. It is minutes from the beach, shops and the Jazz Australia event venue.

If you book mention Jazz Australia and tell them about this post they will be sure to reward you.

Okay, so you’ve booked for the Jazz Australia summer events but don’t have a thing to wear.

A trawl through your wardrobe reveals clothes still with tags on; outfits that looked fabulous in the shop and frightful in the cold clear light of day, tops and bottoms that don’t match, dresses with zips that refuse to do their job – zip right up, a little too much winter pudding, perhaps. So what to do?

With Christmas on the horizon, money is going to be tight; spending hundreds on a new outfit is not going to feature on your financial clipboard.  So what to do?

Rock along to the AHM Fashion Exchange at in Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne on Saturday 23rd November and refresh your wardrobe by swapping clothes you no longer wear for something new-to-you at (here’s the best bit) absolutely no cost. Yes, absolutely no cost does mean free.

An initiative of AHM Medibank, new research reveals the average Australian has some one hundred and four items in their wardrobe they don’t wear.

The AHM Fashion Exchange operates in all Australian capital cities and aims to stop waste by providing a venue where new or almost new clothes can be exchanged at no cost to the owners.


Bring up to six of these neglected items to the fashion exchange and receive a token for each then shop the exchange for something you love. It’s environmentally friendly shopping and means less waste.

Anything from shoes, bags, designer dresses or shirts, vintage hats, fascinators, or even feather boas can be swapped.

Bring your items of former finery to the venue on Saturday 23 November. Drop them off between 10am and noon and receive a token for each.

Use your tokens to shop the swaps between noon and 3pm and return home with up to six completely different items. Any leftovers will be given to charity. To be part of the AHM Fashion Exchange swap you need to register.

If you would like to email our savvy Fashion Elixir Editor, Jo Bayley fab shots of you in your new-to-you outfits you find at the ‘exchange’, we will have her comment on your swaps.

With all the money you saved at the Fashion Exchange you can afford to splurge a little.

Purchase gifts for your nearest and dearest (don’t forget to include yourself in the list) at the Market on Federation Square in the centre of the city on Sunday 24 November

This is another uniquely Melbourne shopping experience.

It is on for one day only, as the light-filled Atrium and the Deakin Edge Theatre become home to approximately 100 of Australia’s most coveted independent designers and illustrators.

This is a curated market focusing on illustrative and decorative design products, with limited edition pieces ranging from fashion to jewellery, homewares and collectables.

Created by designers as a unique retail platform for independent design, [email protected] provides an opportunity for the public to meet the designers and talk with them about their products.

Check out the many wonderful designers selling their wares at the [email protected]. Must say I was very favourably impressed – particularly liked Renée Treme’s work.

As well as illustrating wonderful books, Renée works with a brilliant ceramic artist Kim Lewis to produce highly functional and decorative wares.

Renée creates lovely images of Australia’s wildlife, a very tired wombat, a skeptical owl, etc printed in black and white or colour on jewellery, cards and other small useful household items.

Renée is just one of many innovative designers whose work will be available for sale at the market.

Admission is free and whether you visit to buy or admire, browsing the stalls will be a fascinating day out.

If historical old mansions are your thing then check the weather forecast for a fine day to visit Werribee Mansion a former a 19th century residence located 30 minutes West of Melbourne on the Geelong Road.

A living, breathing postcard of 19th century Australia, this outstanding property was built by wealthy sheep farmers. The Italianate-style architecture and the Victorian period interiors are as inspiring today as when it was completed in 1877.

Werribee Mansion is surrounded by 10 hectares of formal gardens, widely attributed to W.R Guilfoyle, Curator of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens.

The gardens feature a parterre, which is a geometric garden design best viewed from the mansion balcony, pond and original grotto. The grounds are superbly maintained and there is no trouble finding a shaded spot to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Situated behind the house in a separate wing is the Werribee Mansion Hotel and Spa. This stylish hotel offers five star accommodation with day spa and restaurant for an amazing getaway.

Within walking distance is the Victoria State Rose Garden. Winner of the prestigious World Federation of Rose Societies Award for garden excellence, this internationally acclaimed garden is shaped as a giant Tudor Rose and displays 5000 roses to perfection.

The three consecutive days of sunny weather we had last week does not, I know, a summer make.

However sooner than you think the sun will become a regular visitor to your neighbourhood and you will be able to take advantage of Sensational Summer events in Marvellous Melbourne.

Meanwhile, be brave… leave your umbrella at home and we’ll catch you again soon.

Janet Walker, Special Features Victoria, The Culture Concept Circle 2013

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