On Events, with Chris Gordon
One of my favourite Melburnian traits is how resilient we all are. We understand how to dress in the middle of winter (wear layers), we make pots of soup (and freeze leftovers), we seek indoor entertainment (bookshops, art after dark, hidden bars) and we will not be deterred by sleet or wind that blasts through to our soul. We are tough and we do not stop for weather.
Our July month of events is designed to get you active. The Readings program is specifically curated for different tastes, with an understanding that, in winter, we are looking for outings with purpose, fascinating angles of thought and a memorable experience. Here are my suggestions.
Join us to celebrate Marcel Proust and reflect on the enormous impact of his work over a specially curated meal at Cumulus Up, the wine bar above Cumulus Inc. (Wednesday 13 July, 6.30pm). Over a delicious French meal, novelist and Proust devotee Antoni Jach will ask us to consider Proust’s major themes of love, art, time and memory. Proust’s monumental work, In Search of Lost Time, is one of the greatest novels of our age. Proust biographer William C. Carter once wrote for the website Lithub: ‘The opening pages [of In Search of Lost Time], which Proust called the overture, state in a musical, intimate, and subtle manner the goal of the quest, which is to find the answer to life’s essential questions: Who am I? What am I to make of this life?’ What better place to reflect on these questions than at Cumulus Up, surrounded by friends?
Glam up your layers and attitude and join us to celebrate the release of Sundressed by fashion insider Lucianne Tonti (Thursday 21 July, 6.30pm at Readings Emporium). Sundressed looks beyond sustainable fashion to a future remade by natural fibres. This event will be an exploratory dive into the art and industry of clothing, and an ode to the possibilities in nature. Consider it a call to action. Join us because you are an environmental warrior and because you want to feel optimistic about change and choice.
And if you’re looking for an evening that will make you shiver with anticipation and delight, join award-winning crime writer Sulari Gentill as she chats about her new crime novel, The Woman in the Library, at our wonderful State Library shop (Monday 18 July, 6.30pm)! (I mean, that makes sense, right?) Gentill’s novel transports you to a cosy library reading room with sounds of the wind swirling around outside and the rain pelting on the roof – that is, until you hear the sound of a scream. A scream that not only changes you, but also exposes you. Come and listen as Gentill shares her deeply clever understanding of the complicated nature of friendships, the lives we show versus the lives we lead, and the ways in which art can imitate life. Or it is the other way around? (Melburnians have made this very question a lifestyle.)
Nearly every night throughout the middle of winter, I promise you will find something in the Readings program that is worthy of you donning your puffer jacket. I know it is cold out there, but Melbourne, we appreciate tenacity. We understand that shared experiences create warmth. We realise that the weather can energise us. We recognise that our creative selves become liberated when we are among our own community. See you in the aisles (I will be the one in black wearing many layers).