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The Big Grapple: Loving and Loathing New York City



Event Status

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.'


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... Read more

Dave Graney

Dave Graney started out IN the Moodists. Then there was Dave Graney ‘n’ the Coral Snakes. Then Dave Graney and the mistLY. Involved in the writing, production, recording, mixing and releasing of approximately 40 albums. Four books: It Is Written, Baby (1997); 1001 Australian Nights (2011); Works... Read more

Brodie Lancaster

Brodie Lancaster is an author and essayist from Melbourne. Her work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Vogue Australia, the Guardian and New York magazine. Her first book, the pop culture memoir No Way! Okay, Fine, was published by Hachette in 2017. She co-hosts See Also, a w... Read more

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 ... Read more

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.... Read more

Kate Miller-Heidke

Kate Miller-Heidke is an award-winning singer-songwriter who traverses the worlds of contemporary pop, folk and opera. She has released 4 studio albums in Australia, achieving multi-platinum status and appearing in the top 10 album and singles charts numerous times. Her most recent album O Vertigo!... Read more

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 f... Read more

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. Tina Del Twist h... Read more

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 s... Read more


Athenaeum Theatre

188 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.