Featuring more than 80 handpicked galleries from Australia and abroad, Melbourne Art Fair is one of the city’s biggest visual feasts. Along with a colossal trade-style event at the Royal Exhibition Building, this year’s programme offers lectures, forums, artist talks, touring shows from Chalk Horse (Sydney), Arndt (Berlin) and Two Rooms (Auckland) plus a specially commissioned work by New York-based Australian sculptor Ian Burns who gathers everyday objects as sculpture and powers them with ironic lights and/or video. “In humour there’s often a lot of insight,” reckons Burns. “It alters the mind, and the viewer recognises how the work is built. Humour triggers empathy for construction and that gets curiosity going. In humour, there’s hope.” 9 Nicholson St, Carlton 3053. 03 9416 2050. www.artfair.com.au. Thu 11am-7pm; Fri 11am-8pm; Sat 11am-7pm; Sun 11am-5pm. Aug 1-5. $22-$395.
Literature buffs of all ages and tastes rejoice! The Melbourne Writers Festival has 300 events and 350 writers inspiring 11 days of seminars, keynotes, conversations, workshops, performances and master classes, many of them free. Guests this year include actor and Charles Dickens devotee Simon Callow, Miles Franklin-winner Andrew McGahan (The White Earth
) and Melbourne-born legend Germaine Greer. A major highlight this year is The New Yorker
team – editors, artists, critics, cartoonists – exclusively in town to discuss and dissect their venerable magazine. Around Melbourne. 03 9999 1199. www.mwf.com.au. Aug 23-Sep 2.
Premieres. Classics. Features. Shorts. Retrospectives. Docos. There’s an awesome diversity of film on offer at the 61st MIFF. This 17-day celebration of cinema is this year book-ended by two very hot Australian comedies. Wayne Blair’s Cannes smash The Sapphires
opens the Festival and Muriel’s Wedding
director PJ Hogan closes it with Mental
starring Toni Collette. In between you’ll find Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom
, Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or winner Amour,
Frederick Wiseman’s erotic dance documentary Crazy Horse
and the much-vaunted mystical fable Beasts of the Southern Wild
. Around Melbourne. 03 8660 4888. www.miff.com.au. Aug 2-19.
We all know coffee is a serious business in Melbourne and the city’s cafés are temples to worship the bean. Here’s our 'Top 5 Coffee Cathedral' hot spots brewing up black magic this month.
Consistently great coffee and classic food in a cavernous warehouse boasting a coffee laboratory and temperature-controlled storage facility out back plus hipster bicycles all over the walls. Just off the city grid, it’s a comfy, caffeine-fueled stroll to Queen Vic Market too. 114 Berkeley St, Carlton 3053. 03 9347 8664.
Nothing but black, white or filter coffee at this popular bolthole where it’s strictly small-batch beans, artisan pastries and standing-room only. 493-495 Little Bourke St, Melbourne 3000. www.patriciacoffee.com.au.
Little brother to Seven Seeds, this cosy CBD espresso den and retail shop does a fine line in single origin blends and exquisite fresh pastries and cakes. 359 Little Bourke St, Melbourne 3000. 03 9606 0449.
Nestled in the ground floor of David Jones, Sensory Lab is just that: an experimental stage for staff in white coats to roast, brew and pour amazing organic coffee. There’s seasonal blends, single origins from around the globe and surprises galore. 297 Little Collins St, Melbourne 3000. 03 9645 0065.
Named for the printing press that once stood here, this airy gallery space now houses baristas as artists, cranking out high-octane cups from a beautiful, high-roofed room full of old woods and scavenged furniture. Brilliant bagels are a stand-out on a refined but tasty menu. 8 Rankins Ln, Melbourne 3000. 03 9600 4054.
For everything else happening this month, check out Visit Victoria
or better still, download the Play Melbourne app from iTunes.