Visual arts & family-friendly
Embodied Knowledge: Queensland Contemporary Art – a provocative art show
Until 22 January at Queensland Art Gallery
The Queensland Art Gallery sits quietly alongside Goma, the State Library and the museum in South Bank. While it doesn’t tend to carry the mainstream hype of Goma’s touring works, its curated exhibitions are often achingly personal, pointed and fierce. Embodied Knowledge is a group of commissioned and recent projects by women, people of colour and LGBTQ+ artists with a connection to Queensland, and features paintings, installations, dance and more by the likes of Jenny Watson, Erika Scott and Ethel Murray.
Sign up for the fun stuff with our rundown of must-reads, pop culture and tips for the weekend, every Saturday morning
The Enchanted Garden – immersive sensory wonderland
Until 21 December at Roma Street Parklands
The Enchanted Garden is returning to Roma Street Parklands, much to the delight of children and adults alike. The pathways of the inner-city botanic parklands come alive with colour and sound as the gardens are lit to create a magical nightscape to explore. Using thousands of lights, projections, holograms and installations, it tells the story of water dragons who transform into guardians of the water, trees, rocks and flowers. Come on a balmy summer night for a picnic on the grass (there are also food trucks) then go hunting for some nocturnal secrets.
Tickets are $7; under-2s are free
Air – large-scale art show
Until 23 April at Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, South Bank
Air is an ambitious exhibition featuring a series of major works by more than 30 international and Australian artists. Journeying through five chapters – Atmosphere, Shared, Burn, Invisible, and Change – the show invites questions about the cultural, political and ecological dimensions of air. The centrepiece is a major commission from Argentinian-born, Berlin-based artist Tomás Saraceno: a constellation of 13 partially mirrored spheres suspended in the central atrium space of Goma. Breathtaking stuff.
The Twits – Roald Dahl’s twisted tale
20 – 24 December at Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Shake & Stir theatre company’s wacky and gruesomely funny retelling of Roald Dahl’s children’s book is back after a sold-out season in April to entrance Dahl fans of all vintages and anyone wanting to escape the usual Christmas school holidays activities. Of course, an evergreen moral – about treating others with kindness – accompanies this classic tale of the odious Mr and Mrs Twit; or as the author himself put it: “If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams.”
Tickets are $49; discounts for groups of four
Caribou – cry on the dancefloor
15 December at the Tivoli
As Caribou, Snaith has always leaned towards the kind of electronic music you might use to soundtrack a wistful gaze out the train window, imagining the montage of all your previous heartbreaks – though in 2010, he also accidentally became the soundtrack to an Ibiza summer after his track Sun went viral. His last album was 2020’s Suddenly: a meditation on the weird inconsistencies of life both lyrically and – with its myriad gear shifts embedded into every track – sonically. A real sunshower of an album, expect pure dancefloor catharsis when he plays live.
Darren Hanlon – Christmas tour from troubadour
23 December at Judith Wright Arts Centre
Gympie’s finest pop songwriter Darren Hanlon has made an annual tradition out of his year-end lap of the country’s town halls, front bars and old churches. As his 2022 single Lapsed Catholic might suggest, Hanlon’s Christmas shows tend to be heavy on nondenominational merriment and light on the mangers, heavenly hosts and frankincense. So if you’re looking for an evening of family-friendly singalongs but draw a line at Carols by Candlelight, this might be just the ticket. He is, however, not so agnostic when it comes to presents.
Parties & festivals
Drag Haus Holi-Slay Edition – Queens from Drag Race and beyond
29 December at the Princess theatre
Maybe you had a damn fine time in 2022. Or maybe the year was a total write-off, with all your dreams and resolutions dashed by fate or the superior lip-syncing and death-dropping of a fellow contestant in a drag-based reality television show. Whatever the state of your last 12 months, there is no better way to prepare to defiantly back your way out of it than by partying with meme-inspiring RuPaul’s Drag Race star Vanessa Vanjie … Vanjie … Vanjie … and a cohort of local drag acts including Beverly Kills and Freya Armani.
Woodford folk festival – family-friendly music event
27 December – 1 January at Woodford
Woodford folk festival is back in full swing and all may yet be right in the world. Queensland’s beloved six-day gathering of arts and music is the largest of its kind in Australia, offering a family friendly space for culture, creativity and connection for the past 35 years. Over the six days, excitement builds towards a New Year’s Eve parade, with concerts, dance, street theatre, panels, films, comedy, workshops and more. It’s a wondrous, gentle space (camping is on-site) nestled in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, complete with a lake for cooling off. This year’s musical lineup features Electric Fields, John Butler, Dami Im and Yirrmal.
One-day adult tickets are $135, or for the full thing with camping it’s $652