In late-night vibe, music scene and food mecca considerations, Melbourne and New York have been called sister cities by many. Well, now our city is making it official. MEL&NYC is a new winter program of multi-disciplinary events showcasing the influence that New York City has on the Melbourne arts and culture scene.
The program will take over the city's cultural venues from June through August and see collaborations between leading New York-based institutions and talent with their Australian counterparts. In short: a series of top-notch conversations, live music, performances, educational talks, dinners and community outreach events are in store. The program is split into seven fairly self-explanatory sections: My New York Experience, A Taste of the City, New York Sounds, Art & Creativity, On Broadway, Professional Development & Exchange and Community.
Plus, as an ode to our shared underground music scene, Melbourne's best laneways will come alive with secret pop-up performances throughout winter. In addition to Ilana Glazer's starring spot, with the Broad City star coming to town with her first Australian stand-up act, headline gigs include Arts Centre Melbourne shows by singer-songwriter Regina Spektor and contemporary ensemble Exo-Tech (featuring Kimbra and Sophia Brousa); a Melbourne Museum gig by soulful Harlem group The Rakiem Walker Project; and a jazz show by famed artist Gretchen Parlato. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will also present multiple tributes for renowned composer Leonard Bernstein, including a live-to-film performance of West Side Story. Food and wine experts from New York will take up residence in Melbourne restaurants and bars, too.
Natural wine bars The Four Horsemen (by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy) and Melbourne's Embla will team up, along with Momofuku Ko and Fitzroy's Marion. Plus, Starward Whisky is making five bespoke cocktails that embody what they consider to be Melbourne's five boroughs, and the Green Light Diner will transform itself into New York's Grand Central Station Oyster Bar for a night.
Bringing the Big Apple to the big screen, in July The Astor will curate a program of classic New York films, including New York, New York, Ghostbusters and Do The Right Thing. On the other side of the spectrum, political speakers include an already sold-out conversation with journalists Ronan Farrow, who has spearheaded the reports into Hollywood sexual misconduct, as well as a panel discussion with The New York Times award-winning investigative reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones.
The program also links up with with the National Gallery of Victoria's world-premiere exhibition, MoMA at NGV: 130 Years of Modern and Contemporary Art. It will see New York's MoMA take over the ground floor from June 9 and feature over 200 works from artists such as Picasso, Dalí, Frida Kahlo, Jackson Pollock and Georgia O'Keeffe, to name a few.