Centenary sounds of the summer

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WHERE’S the best spot to enjoy this lovely city’s summer nights? My vote would go to the Australian National Botanic Gardens, where executive director, Dr Judy West surely has something to crow about.

They’ll be pretty well they first cab off the rank in marking our Centenary year with the month-long “Summer Sounds” concert series.
In the old days, it used to be used to be just jazz, but as West says: “We’ve got … everything from jazz, swing, big band, Latin American, country, rockabilly, popular and even hip hop”.

These include Key Grip, Canberra Swing Katz, As Famous as the Moon, Dorothy-Jane Gosper Band, Kulture Break, Los Chavos, The Cashews, Plump, The Fuelers and favourites Annie and the Armadillos with Wiradjuri Echoes.

They’re extending the concert times so people can enjoy the music, dancing and gardens. The concerts will run 5.30pm-7.30pm every Saturday and Sunday throughout January.

Then in February, it’s time for “Flix in the Stix” program on February 2, featuring a line-up of short films under the stars curated by Nash Edgerton, accompanied by a performance by The Whitlams and some spoken word from raconteur Murray Hartin.

And that’s not all.

“We love the outdoor cinema concept so much,” Dr West says, “we’re hosting a special Centenary Sunset Cinema.”

That’s to be a six-week outdoor film program of latest releases, classic and art-house films, including the new “Les Miserables” and “Life of Pi”, beginning on Thursday, February 7 and running each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening until March16.

As well there will be the usual Bush Magic Storytime, the “Snakes Alive!” reptile exhibition and a photographic exhibition celebrating botanic gardens from capital cities such as London, Washington DC, Wellington, Buenos Aires and Brasília from January 4 to March 5.

All the while there’s the popular “afterDARK” series, described by staff as “a sensual feast of summer night Gardens tours, live string music and gourmet tasting of local food and wine.”

Is this not the National Capital of Hedonism?

“Delicious! afterDARK”, 7.30pm, January 4 and February 4, online bookings essential at anbg.gov.au/gardens
“Flix in the Stix” February 2, Gates open 6.30 pm, bookings to 132 849.

For all program details at anbg.gov.au/gardens/whatson/events/

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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