Weekends are an adventure, inspired to create grin-inducing memories, new friendships and captivating stories. Every weekend deserves a Weekend Note.
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In May, enjoy the blue skies and sunshine we revelled in during April as you sample the best of Free Sydney with this list of May's free events and activities.
Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize - Monday to Saturday, 11am - 5pm until 20 May
Our finest contemporary artists are often arguing about the best artist and the best new talent. To settle the argument, they've been teamed with an emerging artist, submitting their most captivating work in this unique art prize at the National Art School Gallery, Forbes St, Darlinghurst. The entrants are competing for prizes of $25,000 for the experienced artists and $10,000 for the next generation's star. Visit the National Art School website for details.
Their Loss is Our Loss - daily until 6 May, 7am to 11pm
Anzac Day commemorates the sacrifice by Australians during war, particularly World War I. This new art installation at the SLOT Window Gallery, Botany Rd, Alexandria, honours the loss of Indigenous soldiers, with red, black and yellow poppies, symbolic as the colours of the Australian Aboriginal Flag and evoking the sentiment of the powerful poem by Second World War sapper Bert Beros, The Coloured Digger. Visit the Pia Larsen's website for details.
Guitar for beginners - Mondays, 3pm to 4.30pm
At the Harry Jensen Centre on 17 Argyle St, Millers Point, begin your road to rock stardom with these small group classes hosted by a volunteer tutor. The format is perfect for beginners, with easy instruction and one-on-one guidance to master your audition for The Voice (or play along at home). Bring your own 'axe' or use the guitars in the centre. Visit the Harry Jensen Centre website for details.
Silard Toth: Sydney Harbour series - until 20 May, Tuesday to Friday 9am - 6pm, Saturday 9am - 4.30pm, Sunday 9am - 2.30pm
Silard Toth was born in Transylvania but quickly left for Sydney via Germany, perhaps after seeing Dracula. A passionate photographer, he's captured the perfection of Sydney's harbourside with images of breathtaking and tranquil beauty. The exhibition at the Four Seasons Hotel, 199 George St, features our city's most prominent landmarks, the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House, in a spectacular new series of vividly colourful and pure, crisp black and white images. Visit the Silard Toth's website for details.
Dragon Boat Racing - Tuesday and Thursday, 6.15pm to 8pm, Saturday, 8.45am to 10am
Meet at the dock at 2 Bank St, Pyrmont for a paddle-powered adventure with the Sydney Tsunami Dragon Boat Club. At these complimentary sessions, you'll learn how to power majestic boats in a sport originating over 2,000 years ago in China to encourage life-giving rain. Visit the Sydney Tsunami website for details.
Object Therapy - Tuesday to Saturday, 11am to 4pm
We're often surprised by the amount of waste in society, as new products are designed with planned obsolescence, encouraging regular upgrading and replacing of phones, cars and small appliances. At the Australian Design Centre on 101 William St, Darlinghurst, 29 of the discarded, 'broken' objects have been repaired and re-imagined in a creative transformation, encouraging us to think laterally and fix or make our own products. Visit the Object Therapy website for details.
Zumba classes - Tuesdays, 1pm to 2pm
Break a sweat with the coolest cardio in town at the Reg Murphy Community Centre, 19 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point. Zumba is the 21st century phenomenon in fitness, an aerobic all-body-workout with dynamic choreographed dance. Each class will boost your balance, stamina, coordination, flexibility and strength. Phone 02 8374 6310 for details.
Go4Fun - Thursdays, 4pm to 6pm
Kids aged 7 - 13 are invited to join a 10-week program to learn more about healthy eating, fitness and boost their confidence while while making new friends at the Skyzone on 75 O'Riordan St, Alexandria. Visit the Go4Fun website for details.
Dragonboat Racing (by Sydney Tsunami)
The Book Club television filming - Thursday, 11 May, 4.30pm and 6pm and Thursday 25 May 1.30pm and 3.45pm
Join the studio audience for a recording of The Book Club, the popular ABC television program with a panel of booklovers discussing the latest novels, classics and picks by special guests. Meet Jennifer Byrne, Marieke Hardy and Jason Steger and experience the magic behind the television camera at the ABC Studio on 700 Harris St, Ultimo. The episodes on the 25th are special events during the Sydney Writers Festival. Book free tickets at the Eventbrite website.
Sydney Writers' Festival - 22 to 28 May
The Sydney Writers' Festival features over 300 events, from author talks to workshops and readings with every genre of fiction, from romance and thrillers to sci-fi and historical, as well as nonfiction, screenplays and poetry. In 2017, there are a range of free events during the festival, hosted throughout Sydney, from Hornsby and Chatswood to Randwick, Ashfield and Kogarah. Two of the special free events are author talks with Richard Fidler and Jacqueline Rose. Visit the Sydney Writers' Festival website for details.
Live music - Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm till midnight
In the exclusive James Cook Room on level 5 of the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth at 61/101 Phillip St, Sydney, enjoy an enchanting evening of soulful music with singer songwriter Kylie Stephens, a popular contestant on The Voice, in the piano bar. Visit the Sofitel Sydney website for details.
Walking group - Fridays, 7.45am to 8.30am
Fly through Friday to begin the weekend with this friendly walking group, stepping from the King George V Recreation Centre at
15 Cumberland St in The Rocks, improving fitness and enjoying the sights and sounds of our city on a healthy hike. Visit the KGV website for details.
House of Capricorn - weekdays, 11am to 2pm
In balmy climes between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, some of the world's most exotic plants thrive. See these rare and spectacular flowers, including orchids and hoyas, in the Latitude 23 Glasshouse at The Royal Botanic Garden. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden website for details.
Royal Botanic Garden Guided Walk - daily, 10.30am and 1pm on weekdays
Explore 30 hectares of lush green gardens in the heart of Sydney, discovering the historical and floral highlights of our Royal Botanic Garden with a learned guide on a 90-min tour. Join the tour at the info booth in the garden shop. Visit the Royal Botanic Garden website for details.
Geotour in the Rocks - throughout April
The sport of orienteering, where participants use a physical map and compass to find hidden treasure via waypoints, has been revolutionised in the 21st century with geocaching. In the Rocks, you can use your smartphone's smarts, connecting with GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) to find hidden containers or 'caches'. If successful, you'll discover colourful interpretations of our history created by local contemporary artists. Download the Geocaching app, choose a geocache from The Rocks website and sign the logbook once you've succeeded. You can also find plenty more geocaches throughout NSW at the Geocaching website. Visit the Geotour in the Rocks website for details.
In the Ultimo Community Centre at 40 William Henry Street, grab a paddle for a hit and a chat at one of 6 table tennis tables. The games are open for all ages but watch out if Forrest Gump arrives. He's a pro. Visit the Ultimo Community Centre site for more info.
Tudor Comedy - Mondays and Thursdays, 7.30pm to 10.30pm
At the Tudor Hotel, 90 Pitt St, Redfern, follow the laughter (or the heckling) to find the show, hosting a mix of seasoned comedians and new talents eager to test their jokes, skits, gags, satire and dry wit. Stay for drinks, dinner and the show or take the mic to try your latest knock knock jokes on an unsuspecting audience. Visit the Tudor Comedy FB page for details.
Free Monday Night Movies - 8pm
At the Soda Factory on 16 Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills, settle in with free popcorn, $5 snacks and $5 drinks until 7pm to see a classic film each Monday. The program begins on May 1 with 8 Mile featuring Enimem, Brittany Murphy and rap battles, continuing on May 8 with Back to the Future and Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and a time-travelling DeLorean, May 15 with Grease and feelgood 50s dancing by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, May 22 is Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion with Mira Sorvino, Lisa Kudrow and carefree chaos and May 29 with Spirited Away, a Japanese anime by the acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki about a fantastical amusement park. Visit the Soda Factory website for details.
Afternoon Acting Class - Tuesdays, 1pm to 3pm
To be or not to be? Perform your favourite scenes from contemporary and classic plays from writers including Shakespeare, Pinter, Chekov. At 50 MacLeay St, Elizabeth Bay, you'll learn the vocal, emotional and physical techniques to captivate an audience as you're guided by a founding member of the Bell Shakespeare Company. Phone 02 8374 6310 for details.
Karate - Tuesdays, 6.30pm
After you've mastered DIY with the tips for self-defence inspired home maintenance from the Karate Kid, learn more about karate in a free introduction session at the Redfern Dojo at 638 Elizabeth St. Suitable for women and men at any skill or fitness level, the lessons will deepen your knowledge of Japanese culture with principles to strengthen the body and the mind. Visit the Australian Kei Shin Kan Karate website for details.
Morning Running Group - Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, 6.30am
Every Sydneysider knows Heartbreak Hill isn't famous as a site of romantic break-ups but for the cardiovascular punishment endured by thousands during the City2Surf marathon in August. Start your preparation with the free running session beginning at the Barracks Museum in Queens Square, Macquarie St for 4 kilometres at a gentle pace. Visit the Eventbrite website to book.
Karaoke - Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12.30pm to 3.45pm
Begin your journey to stardom (or at least an amusing audition on The Voice) as you sing your heart out, safe in the sound-proofed Harry Jensen Centre at 17 Argyle Street, Millers Point. You'll be guided by Jeff, the "Big Bopper" in the art of karaoke as you make new friends, learn new songs and develop the perfect 'singing in the shower' voice. Phone 02 9244 3696 for details.
Social gardening project - Wednesdays, 4pm to 7.30pm
At the Ultimo Community Centre on 40 William Henry St, discover the fresh, delicious results from your own sustainable vegetable and herb garden. Join the project with other locals as you select plants then reap the rewards while learning to prune, water, feed and fertilise your new crop. Call the Ultimo Community Centre on (02) 9298 3111 for details.
Surfboard Design Workshop - fortnightly on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10am to 4pm
At 157 Curlewis St, Bondi Beach, you can splash your surfboard with a part of your personality, creating digital design, either begun on paper, your smartphone or a during a vivid encounter in the ocean. Book at Disrupt Sports.
Join a group of drama kings and queens in Pyrmont (by City of Sydney)
Since the 16th century, Tai Chi has been practised to find a gentle harmony in mind and body. Enjoy increased flexibility in body, peace in mind and serenity in spirit, guided by an experienced instructor in a session suitable for all physical levels. Join the session at the Cliff Noble Community Centre, cnr Renwick and Suttor Streets, Alexandria.
Double Bay Market - Thursdays, 9am to 2pm
Rain or shine at Guilfoyle Avenue, Double Bay, browse the stalls of gourmet food, organic produce, flowers, gifts and arts and crafts. Visit the Organic Market Foods website for details.
Drama Group - Thursdays, 7.30pm to 9pm
At the Pyrmont Community Centre on the corner of John and Mount Streets, join or watch the community theatre as the Pyrmont Players, grown to over 20 performers, practise their craft, supported by set designers, costume makers and stage managers. You can join the fun, either as an actor or in one of the supporting technical roles, creating a new theatre group in Sydney's diverse grassroots culture. Visit the Pyrmont Community Centre website for details.
Fusion Magic Club] - Fridays, 2pm to 5pm
Before you master Harry Houdini's straitjacket escape act, learn the art of magic, illusion, storytelling and stagecraft with the multicultural Fusion Magic Club. Guided by Thor Blomfield, or should that be Thor Blomfield the Magnificent?. You'll have time between lessons to practise before experiencing the thrill of performing in front of an audience. The magic begins at the Cliff Noble Community Centre on the Corner of Renwick and Suttor Streets, Alexandria. Phone 02 8512 8000 for details.
Joynton Park Market - Fridays and Saturdays, 9am to 3pm
At the dog friendly Joynton Park on Gadigal Ave, Zetland, browse the art and craft displays for prints, homemade cards, jewellery and scented candles after you enjoy brunch, organic tea or hot coffee from the food stalls. Visit the Joynton Park Market website for details.
Spanish Press Club - Saturdays, 12.45pm to 1.30pm
Tired of the same old news? Get a Spanish spin on the day's events with a session discussing the news and current affairs about Spain and in Spanish. Hosted at the Instituto Cervantes on Sussex Street, Sydney, you'll gain an insight into Spanish culture while learning a new language. Visit the Instituto Cervantes Sydney website for details.
Have we missed your favourite free activity in May 2017? Please let us know with a comment.
Thanks for mentioning my free exhibition at the Ultimate Art gallery at the Four Seasons hotel in Sydney! The two photos you've shown above are not part of the exhibition but here's the list of fine art photographs that are exhibited:https://ultimateart.com.au/product-category/photography/