February is upon us, and many of us are wondering how that happened so quickly. Instead of worrying about where January went, though, you should get ready for five awesome things you'll be able to enjoy this February (among many others not listed here!). With help from a couple of Scoop's resident geniuses, here are five things you can't miss this month.
Scoop Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Varidel's pick for the month is Chinese Lunar New Year. The lunar new year in China's timezone starts on the Thursday - 19th February. Our Sydney celebrations get cracking then too, in fact we'll be celebrating the Year of The Sheep all month. It's not until the weekend however, when we line the Sydney streets on the Saturday night for the Twilight Parade which winds its way from Sydney Town Hall to Chinatown. Just before the parade begins the city buildings will light up in a magical transformation. And of course, there's fireworks - for luck!
Back in 2012, Father John Misty (a.k.a. Baltimore singer-songwriter and former member of Fleet Foxes, Josh Tillman) made a splash with his debut record under the Father John Misty name, Fear Fun and its incredible single "Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings." Three years later, he has returned with "Bored in the USA," a song which has made tsunami-sized ripples since its live debut on the Late Show with David Letterman and is the first taste of his upcoming second album I Love You, Honeybear, which is out February 10th. Second single "Chateau Lobby in #4 (In C for Two Virgins)" bodes just as well for those who had this literate, witty and very funny songwriter pegged as the next Harry Nilsson. Taking its musical cues from the 1970's folk-rock scene of Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon area, the music of Father John Misty often plays like a parody of a scene typified by rampant drug use and quasi-intellectual vapidity - a parody that is no less relevant today on an international level. Fingers crossed that after this album finally drops, Mr. Tillman will be making his way to Sydney to blow our minds and make us laugh live on stage.
Scoop contributor and resident live music expert Olivia Watson recommends Mountain Sounds Festival, one of Australia's hottest new boutique festivals. The Festival hits the Central Coast for a second time this February after its successful debut last year. Held by the gardens of Mt Penang Parklands on Saturday February 21st, the all-Australian line-up features a generous dose of homegrown favourites: The Jungle Giants, DZ Deathrays, Tkay Maidza, Alison Wonderland, Touch Sensitive, The Griswolds and The Kite String Tangle, plus more. It's an exciting collection of contemporary artists, with many of them having just appeared on the Triple J Hottest 100 of 2014. Added only recently to this line-up are the winners of a statewide band comp to find the festival's opening acts, further demonstrating the young event's dedication to supporting new local talent.
This all unfolds in the scenic environmental surrounds of the parklands, a delightful setting for a long day of summer tunes, friends and fun. Get yourself a camping ticket and you can head up the night before and make a proper weekend of it, with the festival promising bars open for campers both Friday and Saturday nights, plus parties and a silent disco to keep you dancing after the main festival finishes. Mountain Sounds is also proud of its sustainability efforts, and aims to help showcase the highlights of the Central Coast by involving the local community and businesses in the event. Attendees are encouraged to venture a little further and explore the area - the festival's website offers a range of suggestions. Kariong is just over an hour's drive from both Sydney and Newcastle. Mountain Sounds Festival tickets available here.
Dendy Newtown and Circular Quay are already regularly showing this year's crop of Oscar Nominees (even bringing back The Grand Budapest Hotel and Boyhood, so if you missed the chance to see some of our top five films of 2014 on the big screen then now is your chance!) but the last of the Best Picture nominees to arrive in Australian cinemas is Selma, the gripping historical drama which opens on February 12. Centred around the battle for voting rights for black citizens that resulted in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches, led by (among others) Martin Luther King, Jr., Selma is a fascinating look at one of the most inspirational and mythical figures of modern history. Breakout history David Oyelowo is supported by the likes of Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey and Cuba Gooding Jr, making this film an absolute acting powerhouse. With only two Oscar nominations, many feel that this movie was snubbed, but now is your chance to decide for yourself if it's truly worthy. Either way, Selma is going to be unmissable.
Perhaps you don't care for Valentine's Day. That's fine, because even the cynics will have something to look forward to this Valentine's Day. Why not go out and catch a special Valentine's Day showing of Fatal Attraction at Golden Age Cinema and Bar, and relish's Glenn Close's terrifying performance as the original bunny-boiler? On the other end of the spectrum, romantic, Audrey Hepburn-starring classic Breakfast at Tiffany's is showing at Moonlight Cinema on the 14th. If you've got a new beau on the boil, then we have our Five Best Spots for a First Date to help you impress that special someone. The key to Valentine's Day is don't try too hard; check out our Calendar and Directory for cool venues and Valentine's Day specials, but maybe a nice home-cooked meal would be even more special. Spend it with a partner, or just spend it with some really good friends. Just have fun.