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Whet your appetite for the rapidly approaching summer festival season with some quality comedy (Wil Anderson, Arj Barker, Russell Brand), Euro movies (Italian Film Festival) and the biggest headliner of them all (Oprah).

AN EVENING WITH OPRAH

The legendary talk-show host finally graces our shores, five years after the failed campaign to get her across when she visited Australia in 2010. But by all accounts, the wait will be well worth it – the billionaire media player and philanthropist is regularly cited as one of the world’s most influential people, and The Oprah Winfrey Show was historically high-rating for reasons far beyond the freebies. Expect an intelligent, insightful and deeply personal experience at this once-in-a-lifetime event. Perth Arena, December 7.

 

ITALIAN FILM FESTIVAL

This festival takes la crème de la crème of Italian films and presents a carefully curated selection, which includes a clutch of winners of David di Donatello Awards – the Italian Academy Awards equivalent. Festival director Elysia Zeccola Hill picks God Willing, Black Souls, The Dinner, An Italian Name and Do You See Me? as her festival favourites – and we have high expectations from the heavily awarded selection. Expect a thoughtful, highbrow program from the entire festival – no cheesy melodramas here. Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX, September 24-October 14. 

 

RUSSELL BRAND

You may turn up your nose at the Messiah-complexed comedian, but ignore pottymouthed pop-culture fireball Russell Brand at your peril. He was recently named the fourth most influential world thinker by Prospect magazine, coming
14 places above none other than Henry Kissinger, and his conflation of anarchist political theory and YouTube charisma enshrines him as leader for the next generation of disillusioned e-activists. In this world tour, Trew World Order – which takes its name from said YouTube show, The Trews (a portmanteau of ‘true’ and ‘news’) – Brand rallies his masses, demanding action from the millions of apathetics who subscribe to his philosophy. At least they’re angry about something, right? Perth Arena, October 20. 

 

WIL ANDERSON

The comedian’s punishing schedule (he plays more than 200 shows a year) guarantees a tight set when he gets on stage – and this show, Free Wil, is no exception. Anderson’s been refining the set with a year-long tour through the US (which, incidentally, garnered rave reviews), and our expectations are set high for the funnyman’s signature thought-provoking patter, which he adeptly applies to both lowbrow gags and takedowns of sexism and rape culture. Expect something much more than a usual stand-up gig. Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, October 9-10. 

 

ARJ BARKER

The beloved American comedian first toured Australia in 2000 for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and liked it here so much, he’s since taken every opportunity to return. We’ve been utterly charmed by Barker’s irreverent, introspective humour, which is perfectly aligned with our very Australian neuroticism. While this show, Get In My Head, plays to form (as its name suggests), there’s still space for big, goofy laughs. Regal Theatre, October 27-31.

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