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at Athenaeum Theatre

The Big Grapple: Loving and Loathing New York City

New York, we love you … but you’re bringing us down with your sloppy pizza slices, your stinky subway and your surplus of models, moguls and movie stars.

Sure, you've got your world-class art museums. And, yes, we know, you're the birthplace of hip-hop. And okay, okay, you've got Broadway and bagels and Beyoncé. Congratulations on the High Line. But can you really be top of the list, king of the hill, A Number One when you're overrun with wild squirrels?

As part of MEL&NYC – a city-wide cultural festival celebrating all things New York and Melbourne – we’re staging a night of storytelling from some favourite Melburnians who don’t heart NY. They'll talk fantasy, failure and false starts. They'll share horror stories of gridlocked traffic, closet-sized apartments and dumpster-flavoured coffee.

Join them at the Athenaeum Theatre for hilarious tales of striving and surviving but not quite thriving in the city that never sleeps.

An image displaying the text: 'This is a MEL&NYC event, supported by the Victorian Government.'


Portrait of Sami Shah

Sami Shah

Sami Shah is a multi-award winning comedian, writer, journalist and broadcaster.

Sami's comedy has won the Best Local Act at the 2013 Perth International Comedy Festival, and Best Comedy at 2016 Fringe World. He’s performed multiple sold-out runs at comedy festivals across Australia, as well as in London’s Soho Theatre. Sami has been a frequent guest on The Project, and also appeared on QI with Stephen Fry

Portrait of Dave Graney

Dave Graney

Dave Graney and drummer Clare Moore played with the Moodists from 1978 to 1986. They then played with the White Buffaloes/Coral Snakes from 1987 to 1997. Then the Royal Dave Graney Show and Lurid Yellow Mist. Now it’s the mistLY. Graney and Moore are joined by Stuart Perera (guitar since 1998) and Stu Thomas (bass since 2004).

Releasing a single each month from Feb 2016 to April 2017, their current album is a collection called Let's Get Tight. They released a single in February 2018 called 'Song of Life'.

Portrait of Brodie Lancaster

Brodie Lancaster

Brodie Lancaster is a Melbourne writer and critic whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Guardian, Pitchfork, the Saturday Paper and New York magazine. Her first book, a pop culture memoir called No Way! Okay, Fine was published by Hachette in 2017. She co-hosts Fan Grrrls, a podcast about footy and feelings.

Portrait of Sally Seltmann

Sally Seltmann

Sally Seltmann is an Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She has released four solo albums and has toured internationally. Sally is the co-writer of the song '1234', performed by Feist, which became a Top 10 hit on the United States Hot 100. Sally previously released her music as New Buffalo and is a member of Seeker Lover Keeper with fellow Australians Sarah Blasko and Holly Throsby. Her debut novel is Lovesome, published in 2018 by Allen & Unwin.

Portrait of Beverley Wang

Beverley Wang

Beverley Wang is a journalist, broadcaster and creator of the ABC podcast It’s Not A Race, which has been hailed as a ground-breaking series opening up conversations on race in Australia. She is also the producer and co-host of Stop Everything! on ABC RN, focusing on the politics of pop culture.  

Portrait of Kate Miller-Heidke

Kate Miller-Heidke

Kate Miller-Heidke is an award-winning singer-songwriter who traverses the worlds of contemporary pop, folk and opera.

Portrait of Sarah Krasnostein

Sarah Krasnostein

Sarah Krasnostein is the best-selling author of The Trauma Cleaner which won the Victorian Prize for Literature, the Victorian Premier’s Award Prize for Non-Fiction, and the Australian Book Industry Award for General Non-Fiction. She was nominated for the Walkley Book Award and was a finalist for the National Biography Award and the Wellcome Book Prize (UK). Her work has appeared in a variety of publications in Australia, the UK and America. Her latest book, The Believer: Encounters with love, death & faith was published in March 2021.

Portrait of Tina Del Twist

Tina Del Twist

Truly unique, Tina Del Twist is Australia’s much-loved nightingale, known for her ‘beautiful voice and wicked sense of comic timing’ (the Age). With a voice as smooth as honey and a comedic wit that could shred brie, you’ll have a ball enjoying the talents of Tina Del Twist.

Portrait of Christie Whelan Browne

Christie Whelan Browne

Christie Whelan Browne is a stage and television actress. Most recently she has been seen in Muriel's Wedding the Musical as Tanya Degano (Sydney Theatre Award Nomination). Christie is currently performing in Melbourne Theatre Company’s An Ideal Husband. For the company she has also been seen in The Odd CoupleBorn YesterdayThe Importance of Being Earnest and The Drowsy Chaperone (Helpmann award nomination). 


This winter, Melbourne’s leading cultural organisations and communities present diverse events that share culture, creativity, politics, business and everyday experience as seen through the eyes of leading New Yorkers and Australians.

Extending across all corners of Melbourne from June to August 2018, MEL&NYC includes conversations, music, performance, dining, education exchange and community programming led by Arts Centre Melbourne, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, Melbourne Museum, Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Theatre Company, Melbourne Writers Festival, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Wheeler Centre and more.

An image displaying the text: 'This is a MEL&NYC event, supported by the Victorian Government.'


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