My picks for this weekend

August 23 and August 24

To the heavens
The Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra performs in Gordon this weekend with violin soloist Katie Betts and conducted by Ron Prussing. The program includes Nigel Westlake Cudmirrah Fanfare, Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending and Holst The Planets. Tickets available at the door. KPO
When and where: Saturday 23 August 7.30pm and Sunday 24 August 2.30pm. Ravenswood Centenary Centre Auditorium Henry Street Gordon

Australian Chamber Orchestra : Intimate Letters
London Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Gordan Nikolic joins the ACO to present works by Mozart (Divertimento), Janacek (String Quartet No 2) and Smetana (String Quartet no 1). Also performing from Bell Shakespeare are actors Marshall Napier and Ella Scott Lynch who will read excerpts from these composers letters.
When and where: Sunday 24 August 2pm Sydney Opera House. Also on at City Recital Hall 26, 27, 29 and 30 August

Big Day Out: Dogs Under the Sea
Dress up in underwater costumes for the Dog’s Big Day Out this year- why because the theme is Under the Sea – and there is a prize for the best dressed dog and owner! Dog obedience skills workshops and advice given to dog owners. Free
When and where: Sunday 24 August 10.30- 2.30pm Frenchs Forest Showground Blackbutts Road Frenchs Forest

TaikOz : Towards the Crimson Sky
A new show from TaikOz based on a haiku by Japanese poet Miura Yuzury. The amazing taikoz drumming is blended with the bamboo flutes and a performance on the bass koto – the Japanese 17 stringed plucked instrument. Tickets $70- $30 and just under 2 hours. Bookings at Glen Street
When and where: Tuesday 6.30pm, Wednesday 11am, Thursday to Saturday 8pm Saturday 2pm, Sunday 5pm Glen Street Theatre Blackbutts Road Belrose

Love and Death and an American Guitar
A return season for 3 nights only at the Hayes Theatre. Set in the years after the release of Bat Out of Hell, this is the story of the rock composer Jim Steinman. Written and performed by Toby Francis, directed by Andrew Worboys. Tickets $30 Bookings 8065 7337 Hayes
When and where: Sunday 24 August, Sunday 31 August and Sunday 7 September 8pm Hayes Theatre 19 Greenknowe Avenue Potts Point

European Prints and drawings 1500- 1900
From the Art Gallery of NSW, 150 works on paper feature in this exhibition. Artists include Rembrandt, Delacroix, Cezanne, Klimt, Munch, Gainsborough, Goya, Constable.
When and where: From 30 August to 2 November Art Gallery of NSW The Domain

Sydney University Revues
The annual uni revue season is on and the Sydney University faculties are in full swing to present them at the Seymour Centre. The Law Revue is on Saturday 23 August at the York Theatre. Architecture Revue is on Saturday 23 August at the Reginald Theatre. Medicine is on from 28 August at the York Theatre. The Queer Revue is on Friday 29 August reginald Theatre. Commerce Revue is on Saturday 30 August at the Reginald Theatre. Engineering is on 11 September at Manning Bar 7.30pm
When and where: On now till 11 September Seymour Centre (and for engo’s go to Manning Bar)

Hazelhurst Regional Gallery: South
13 contemporary artists for Australia, Mexico and South Africa have been inspired by the southern parts of the world that they live in – so Hazelhurst Gallery in Sydney’s south- has decided this is the place for this exhibition! See the site specific car installation by Mexican artist Betsabee Romero, black and white portraits by Zanele Muhali from South Africa. Contemporary art practice is given a good push in this exhibition! Free
When and where: On now till 6 October daily 10-5. 782 Kingsway Gymea

Constellations
What might have been or what could have been – this play is a series of conversations between Roland (Sam O’Sullivan) and Marianne (Emma Palmer) as they meet, fall in love, separate, stay together and contemplate the possible death of one them. Their conversations are repeated and replayed in each scene, sometimes with the roles reversed, all in a choose your adventure style and each time with a different ending. Marianne is a physicist fascinated by string theory, quantum physics and the whole of the “multiverse”, where there are seemingly endless permutations. Sam is a beekeeper making organic honey on the rooftop of a city apartment block. Their universe creates myriad of options as to how their lives may or may not turn out. Like Sliding Doors, each scene folds in on itself, presenting a new fork in their life together. At certain moments it can be intensely irritating but that seamlessly evaporates as you are reminded of the fragility of life, the luck of circumstances and the random happiness that can occur. Simple and elegant direction by Anthony Skuse allows the complex script by Nick Payne, riddled with variations and rewrites of life, to be at the heart of this work. At just under 80 minutes, this is like a beautiful yet complicated equation with recurring variations and poignancy.
When and where: On now till 7 September Eternity Playhouse Burton Street Darlinghurst

National Science Week at the ANMM
Endeavouring Science – is the presentation this Saturday at the Maritime Museum with talks on science on board the Endeavour. The science of cannons, the spread of scurvy, the physics of sailing with air pressure – all explored and flora botanist Louisa Murray shows how to make a specimen collection and what plants were used by local Aboriginals for medicine and food. Included in the museums Big Ticket $27 / $16 and family $70. The history of Bush food will be discussed at 11am and again at 12.15 by indigenous elder Aunty Beryl Van Oploo about the science of native foods.
When and where: Saturday 23 August 10- 4.30 Australian National Maritime Museum

Cherry Blossom Festival
The Auburn Japanese Gardens have their cherry blossoms in bloom for the annual festival dedicated to this beautiful plant. Take up the Japanese way of picnicking under the cherry blossom (if it is raining, stroll with your umbrella and a warm drink through the delicate pink flowering trees! As part of this festival, there will be an origami workshops, choir performances, martial arts demonstrations and ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) sessions.
When and where: Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 August. Auburn Botanic Gardens and Peacock Gallery Corner of Chiswick and Chisholm Roads Auburn

Sydney Design
This is a cutting edge festival at the Powerhouse Museum bringing Australian designers and a range of digital applications all under one roof. This year the theme is Design Futures – with a focus on how new technologies are changing the process of design. A new exhibition Interface: people, machines, design about the transformation of information technology is at the heart of this Festival. Interactive parts include the FabLab, which is a working space for digital fabrication and design practice. Design Futures Late Night features Michaela Davies, a performance artist, using her body as a technology interface. COFA presents Feral Experimental – a program with panel discussions and workshops looking at experimental design and service design. Free with general admission ($15 /$8 and family $38)
When and where: On till 24 August 10-5pm Powerhouse Museum 500 Harris Street Ultimo Sydney Design

Britney Spears: The Cabaret
Perhaps this is more a therapy than a performance! Written by Dean Bryant with musical direction by Matthew Frank, Christie Whelan Browne takes us on the Britney tour with Spear’s songs and life story. Tickets $39/ $35 Hayes Theatre 8065 7337
When and where: On now to 7 September Hayes Theatre Greenknowe Street Potts Point

The Indigenous Science Experience
At the Redfern Community Centre on Saturday, enjoy an interesting science week event which celebrates western science and indigenous culture. Try a cup of bush medicine tea, learn about native animals and talk with Aboriginal elders. free
When and where: Saturday 23 August 10.30 to 2.40 Redfern Community Centre 29-53 Hugo Street Redfern

The Elixir of Love
A joyous bubbly opera by Donizetti will brighten even the darkest winter evening. Simon Phillips production of this love story between Adina (Rachelle Durkin / Jane Ede), a feisty and humourous young woman who wants to make sure she gets a say in who she is paired up with, and Nemorino (Aldo Di Toro) who adores Adina but thinks he may not be good enough for her. Enter Belcore (Samuel Dundas) a dashing officer who thinks he may have a good chance with Adina. Nemorino won’t give her up without a fight- or perhaps a drink from a special love potion that travelling quack Dulcamara (Conal Coad) may just happen to have up his bring pink silken sleeves!. The scene is set for the sweet elixir to do its magic- will he get the girl or will she be off and running with the man in uniform?? The set by Michael Scott-Mitchell is a orange and yellow seeped colorbonded Australian outback with clever perspectives for horses and vehicles that travel over the mountains. Gabriela Tylesova’s costumes are stunning with a palette of earthy colours grabbed up from ground. Donizetti’s delightful opera is a glorious evening at the Opera House.
When and where: On now through August and September Opera House

Life Interrupted : Personal Diaries from WW1
Since 1918 the State Library (through the then principal librarian William Ifould) collected the personal diaries of men and women that served in WWI for Australia. These people were ordinary citizens who experienced great sadness, moments of bravery and great loss. Their first hand accounts of the war and the impact on every day lives bring the horror of the Great War very much alive. Some of the diaries cover the first battle in New Guinea by Australian soldiers, the naval battle between the HMAS Sydney and the sinking of the German ship, the Emden. There are accounts from Gallipolli, Fromelles and Pozieres as well as the Middle East Campaign. It is not only the horror of war that is written about but also the lighter side- the souvenirs and trinkets picked up along the way, the countryside, the women and the food. Together with the diaries are images by professional photographer Frank Hurley and amateur photographers using pocket cameras. Free exhibition
When and where: On now daily State Library Macquarie Street

Claire Healey and Sean Cordeiro : Venereal Architecture
This is essentially an exhibition of works made from a combination of lego and household times (many Ikea items) like a coffee table, shelves, a chair and stools. The artists think it is deeper than this and are showing us how humans adapt and manipulate their environment. Meshing Lego and Ikea is about constructing deconstructing our every day. This is a colourful and fun exhibition.
When and where: Exhibition on now till 30 August Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery Soudon Lane off Hampden Street Paddington

Don Giovanni
Well the bad boy of opera is back and in his black boots ready to walk all over the women he comes across. The ever randy root rat himself, sowing his seeds of naughty behaviour throughout Europe as he (through the assistance of his wingman Leporello, the fornication facilitator), lays conquest to well over 1000 women, notching up details in his little black book. Played by Teddy Tahu Rhodes with Shane Lowrencev as Leporello, this opera is set in both castle and external scenes all in 50 shades of grey. Design by Robert Jones is apt with it dark and brooding overtones. At its heart, this opera is a morality tale where the Don gets his ultimate comeuppance with a fiery ending but not before the good burghers work overtime to trap him. Donna Anna (Elvira Fatykhova) has been done over by the Don and is still bruised from loving him and being betrayed. She joins forces with Donna Elvira (an almost conquest of the Don’s) whose father was slain by the Don on his mad dash out of the house. Don Ottavio (John Longmuir) is Donna Elvira’s fiancé and he will be dammed if he doesn’t avenge the attack on his fiancé and the death of his father in law, the Commendatore (Jud Arthur). Peasant girl Zerlina (Taryn Fiebig) and her bridegroom Massetto (Richard Anderson) are enjoying their wedding day when the Don interrupts to take advantage of the chaste Zerlina. Like the original Brad and Janet, they fear the lascivious Don, who like Frank n furter, offers pleasures of a kind that turns Zerlina’s head- albeit momentarily. Directed by Sir David McVicar, conducted by Jonathan Darlington. Sung in Italian with English subtitles. This is one of the all time big operas and brilliantly done in this production. Mozart would be pretty pleased with this effort!
When and where: On now till 30 August. 7pm and matinees on 23 and 30 August. Opera House

Ugly Mugs
Peta Brady’s play takes its name from the phrase used by sex workers to describe aggressive clients. The play explores violence against women in Australian culture. Brady’s time spent working with sex workers and understanding the violence that they are subjected to, makes the play a depressingly authentic look at these women’s lives. Stars Peta Brady, Steve Le Marquand, Sara West and Harry Borland. Directed by Marion Potts (Malthouse). Tickets 9361 3817
When and where: On now till 23 August Saturday 2pm and evenings 7pm. Stables Theatre 10 Nimrod Street Kings Cross

Tartuffe
Bell Shakespeare presents a hipstered version Moliere’s biting political satire, a play that was banned by the church in France in the late 1600′s shortly after it was first performed. There is nothing in this version though that would cause authorities to ban it. Instead this is a hilarious crowd pleaser which takes the main comic element in Moliere’s play and ramps it up to an audience laughfest. The text, famously written in nearly 2,000 rhyming couplets has been shaken up by writer Justin Fleming and given an Aussie treatment with “fair suck of the sav” and “one piddle short of a piss” finding there way into the characters mouths. Orgon (Sean O’Shea) is a wealthy husband and autocratic father who has pleased his king and is living the aristocratic dream when he and his mother Madame Pernelle (Jennifer Hagan) are willingly deceived by a religious conman Tartuffe (Leon Ford) who sets up camp in Orgon’s home and runs him like a puppet. Orgon’s family sees right through this deceiver but cannot get their father to see it. Son Damis (Charlie Garber) in his slightly too short stove pipe jeans and tottering boots is cast aside by his father’s fury at being questioned over the integrity of Tartuffe. Daugher Mariane (Geraldine Hakewill) is promised to Tartuffe as a bride, causing heartache to her and her lover and hoped to be husband Valere (Tom Hobbs). Stealing the show with her droll observations and quick wit is maid Dorinne (Kate Mulvaney) who acts a constant cattle prod to Orgon’s conscience, though without a lot of success until Orgon’s wife and stepmother Elmore (Helen Dallimore) concocts a scheme to reveal the deceitful conman for what he is. Directed by Peter Evans and with a colourful and oversized Facebook set designed by Anna Cordingly. Two and a half hours with interval Tickets $35- $79 Bell Shakespeare
When and where: On now to 23 August Drama Theatre Opera House

Mosman Art Prize
A diverse offering of work in this years Mosman Art Prize with 85 paintings by artists including Ken Done, Rocco Fazzari, Anh Do, Kerrie Lester, Craig Waddell and many more. This years winner is Michael Muir for his work “Past the stacks”.
When and where: On now to 7 September Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman

Also on at Mosman Art Gallery is an exhibition of the works of artist Josefia Lemon which focuses on the views of Middle Harbour between Mosman and Cremorne. These watercolours and oils are stunning and there is an emphasis on the light as it hits the Harbour waters. Free admission
When and where: On now to 12 October. Mosman Art Gallery Myaghah Way Mosman

King’s School Spring Festival and Art Fair
On both days of the weekend, this annual fair includes the annual art show with over 1000 paintings, etchings, photographs and sculptures. Players from the Western Sydney Wanderers will meet fans on Saturday at 2pm and Waratah reps will run rugby clinics on Sunday. Over 1.500 vintage and current models of prestige cars will be in the All British Car Rally. High Tea in the Gardens (very Gatsbyesque) will feature scones, tea and sandwiches. Over 60 market stalls and wine tastings. Vehicle access fees $5
When and where: Saturday 23 August and Sunday 24 August 10- 4. The Kings School 87- 129 Pennant Hills Road North Parramatta

Casula Powerhouse : Vivienne Binns + Hossein Valamanesh
A new exhibition of works by Australian contemporary artists Vivienne Binns and Hossein Valamanesh. There is an incredibly diverse range of works from each artist highlighting the differences between each of them and their respective styles – and many of these works have not been shown before in Sydney. Free
When and where: On now till September 7 Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula

Four flat whites in Italy
Two couples, entirely unsuited to travelling together, venture to Italy with wildly different ideas of what makes a good holiday. This will remind you of any holiday you have ever taken with someone with whom you do not quite gel – and the patience and compromises that both couples need to make to accommodate the others! You may recall this on at the Ensemble Theatre a couple of years ago.
When and where: On until 23 August Hunters Hill Theatre, Hunters Hill

Archibald Wynne and Sulman Prizes 2014
The annual exhibition of the winners and finalists in these three art blockbuster awards is on at the Art Gallery of NSW. The Archibald Prize, first started in 1921, is an award for the best portrait painting. The Wynne Prize is for the best landscape painting of Australian scenery or figurative sculpture and the Sulman Prize is for the best subject painting, genre painting or mural project in oil, acrylic, watercolour or mixed media. This years Archibald winner is Fiona Lawrie for her portrait of architect Penelope Seidler. Painted by airbrush, it is a stand out with its arresting ghostly grey and ethereal tones. Rodney Pople’s portrait of Barry Humphries (Well dressed for a Sydney audience), comedian turned cracker of an artist Ahn Do, with his portrait of his father and Joanna Brathiwaite’s portrait of Colleen McCullough (Bright Spark). As usual a range of celebrity type sitters to allow everyone to have an opinion on what did or should have won!
When and where: On now till 28 September, Art Gallery of NSW.

Salon des Refuses
If you are catching the Archibalds at the AGNSW, make it a daily double and head to the S H Ervin Gallery to see the ones that were rejected. This Sunday hear artists Nicholas Harding and Leslie Rice discussing their portraits in the exhibition.
When and where: Exhibition on now S H Ervin Gallery Watson Road The Rocks and the talk is on Sunday 24 August at 3pm

Moving House
After a successful showing in Gosford, Peter and Susan O’Doherty’s works are featured at the BLue Mountains Cultural centre and explore what it is like to move house and feel displaced, leaving things behind. Mixed media assemblages and paintings.

When and where: Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Katoomba on now to 24 August. Weekdays 10- 5pm and weekends 10-4pm

The making of Midnight Oil
Manly Art Gallery has a new exhibition delving into the formation of one of Australia’s iconic rock bands Midnight Oil. You can see the collection of stage props, instruments, original lyric music, memorabilia, posters and photos both from the band’s own collections and other private donors. There is also unseen film and audio and 25 years of the photos of the bands performers. An apt gallery to feature the works – as Midnight Oil had a huge and early following in the pubs and venues on the northern beaches. Free admission. There will be a talk on by Rob Hirst together with the band’s biographer Mark Dodshon and the curator Ross Heathcote as they discuss the stories behind the exhibition pieces ($10) August 30 6.30-8pm.
When and where: On now till 7 September Manly Art Gallery and Museum West Esplanade Tuesday to Sunday 10-5

An Enchanting evening with Yvonne Kenny and Simon Tedeschi : Gala Benefit Concert
At the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre on Saturday 23 August, soprano Yvonne Kenny will perform with pianist Simon Tedeschi- works from Schubert, Faure, Debussy, Hughes, Tate, Brittten, Grainger, Gershwin and Novello. The concert is a Gala Benefit for music education with proceeds raised going to youth music scholarships. Tickets are $120 which includes champagne and canapés on arrival. Frock up as the dress code is elegant! JSPAC Bookings also on 02 4723 7600
When and where: Saturday 23 August 8pm Joan sutherland Perfomring Arts Centre 597 High Street Penrith

Dark Voyager
John Misto creates an intriguing meeting- Bette Davis (Jeanette Cronin) and Joan Crawford (Kate Raison), both leading actresses with their careers in decline, dining together with gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Belinda Giblin) but in walks a young drunk Marilyn Monroe (Lizzie Mitchell). A comedy directed by Anna Crawford with lighting design by Matthew Marshall $69 Tickets Bookings 9929 0644
When and where: On till Saturday 30 August Ensemble Theatre Kirribilli

The Magic of Music
At St Ives Uniting Church upcoming concerts will showcase the talents of a series of artists. Louise Page (soprano) and Tamara-Anna Cislowska (piano) will delight audiences on Sunday 24 August with music from Verdi, Liszt, Grainger and Hahn. Tickets $40. Bookings 9144 6044 fay.laginestra@bigpond.com
When and where: August 24 at 2.30pm. St Ives Uniting Church Corner Mona Vale Road and Douglas Street St Ives

Celestial City
A fascinating look into the history of the Chinese in Australia. From the arrival of the Chinese in Australia during the Gold rush to the deportation of the Chinese boat people arriving in Sydney Harbour in 1888 and right through to well known members of the Australian Chinese community, this exhibition is rich in detail and personal stories. The contribution by the Chinese to the development of market gardens and the supply of fresh vegetables to capital cities is documented in photographs and memoirs. Little known stories such as the 1878 riot at Ah Toy’s workshop on George Street Sydney where 2000 young men attacked Chinese residents with blazing torches in an terrible act of racial warfare. The exhibition also focuses on the specific contributions of Chinese merchants such as Quong Tart, who ran a successful team room which became a hub for suffragettes and progressive thinkers.
When and where: Exhibition on now till 12 October. Museum of Sydney Cnr Phillip and Bridge Street Sydney.

Theatre of dreams, Theatre of play
The Japanese noh and kyogen theatre tradition is one of the worlds oldest theatre forms and masks, costumes, paintings, musical instruments and songbooks from this theatre form have been brought to the Art Gallery of NSW as part of this new exhibition. An intricate set of rules govern who wears the robes, trousers, sashes and headbands which identify the characters in this expressive theatrical exhibition. Tickets $10 /$8 /$7
When and where: On now till Sept 14. Art Gallery of NSW

Colour + Light: Penrith Regional Gallery
This exhibition is a series of works using colour in a scientific and focussed way – and together with the art are science models that show the qualities of visible light. Works by Margo Lewers in this exhibition are from plexiglass. Artist Paula Garrad’s works featuring colour are abstract paintings. Al Munro colourful sculptures of crystallography and Adam Jones colour charts are fabulous additions.

When and where: On now till 24 August Penrith Regional Gallery, Penrith

Hopelessly Devoted
The Glen Street Theatre presents the Sydney premiere of this two hander musical by Elise Greig and Nick Backstrom. Directed by Ian Lawson, this stars Dash Kruck and Elise Greig as brother and sister Andy and Amy who live in regional Australia looking after their sick mother. To escape this world, Amy fantasises about her heroine Olivia Newton-John. Songs from Olivia’s career are included in this musical Xandau, Lets get Physical, I Honestly love you, You’re the one that I want, Hopelessly Devoted to you, Banks of the Ohio and more. Tickets $70- $30 Just under 2 hours including interval. 9975 1455
When and where: 26- 31 August Tuesday 6.30, Wednesday 11am, Wed – Sat 8pm, Saturday 2pm and Sunday 5pm. Glen Street Theatre Blackbutts Road Belrose

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea
From American playwright John Patrick Shanley, this stars Wade Doolan and Karli Evans. Directed by Fiona Hallenan Barker, this is about an unlikely couple Danny and Roberta. Tickets $30 /$25 at the door.
When and where: on now till 30 August Roxbury Hotel 152 St Johns Road Glebe

The City of Forking Paths
This is a magical twilight walk listening to an audio narration accompany a film on a smartphone of the area that you walk from Customs House to the Quay and then to The Rocks. As a local, re-discover your own city and the amazing buildings and stories that have that built the city especially in The Rocks area. As a foreigner or from other parts of Australia, delight in this guided tour of a special part of Sydney. A specially commissioned artwork for the Biennale, Canadian artist Janet Cardiff together with George Bures Miller came to Sydney last year and spent several months in The Rocks, living and experiencing the area. They set about making a film (at night) which immerses you in your surroundings and introduces a soundscape, music and noise that accompany you on a delightful journey. So while watching the film and listening to the narrative which includes fictitious scenarios and confusing sounds, you are directed on this walk wending your way through laneways and streets, pausing to look at places you may normally just rush past and not notice. You take this walk on your own leaving space in between the next person to allow a gap to experience it yourself – indulging in an hour of aloneness and art. This film makes Sydney look like part of a noir film – moody and edgy but fascinating and historic. Given the proposed changes to The Rocks, this may soon be a historic record of the area. This audio video walk is a permanent gift to the city and is downloadable onto your smartphone or you can borrow a phone (leaving your credit card and photo id at Customs House). Suitable also for kids but from age 8 and above. Flat shoes recommended as it takes just over an hour – and then you need to walk back from the Rocks to Customs House to return the smartphone. Free! and on forever! or as long as technology will allow.

When and where: On now (and forever!) after sunset. Customs House Circular Quay.

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