Arts and Culture Magazines at the State Library of Queensland

Now that Australia is gradually reopening after months of lockdowns, restrictions and general uncertainty, it might just be time to dare to be optimistic about the future of the arts and culture scene. You can read up on all the latest news in arts, culture and film through State Library of Queensland’s collection of magazines. With one eye on the calendar and two fingers firmly crossed, let’s take a look at three such publications available for loan with your library membership.

Front cover of Variety magazine, July 2021.


Variety is a Los Angeles-based weekly entertainment magazine, covering movies, TV and showbiz in general. What’s interesting about this publication is that the target audience is producers and entertainment executives. As a result, you will notice some full-page ads for various movies and TV shows emblazoned with the heading ‘For Your Consideration’ (or ‘FYC’ for short), placed in an attempt to influence readers who may be voting during the award season. Not that I’m eligible to vote, but just reading that still somehow makes me feel important! News on accommodation, filming locations and various incentive programs for film production crews makes this essential reading for those with an interest in the business side of how movies are made.

Interestingly, Variety is renowned for coining industry jargon (called ‘slanguage’), some of which has entered the vernacular, while other words have faded into obscurity. If you do find any terms that go over your head, try consulting the handy slanguage dictionary on the Variety website!

Cover of Limelight magazine August 2021.


Get the full story on the best and brightest local productions with Limelight Magazine. Starting as an offshoot of ABC Classic FM, Limelight reports on the performing arts scene, with a particular focus on classical music. There are reviews and features on theatre, opera, dance and classical music productions, as well as stage and book reviews.

Interestingly, some of the magazine’s past features have included a blind listening test to find Australia’s best orchestra, and a survey of critics, performers and audience members to vote on the best concert hall acoustics. It’s plain to see the depth of knowledge and appreciation for classical music by the writing staff, which makes this magazine a must for the music connoisseur.

You’ll also find insightful interviews with prominent Australian classical musicians and stage producers, and the ABC Classic concert program schedule is handy if you’re looking to save the date of a performance by a symphony orchestra that you’re following.

Sound & Sight magazine front cover, Summer 2021.

Sight & Sound

What are your favourite films? If you’re like me, you might be interested to compare your list with the critics’ cream of the crop, and maybe add a few to your watchlist in the process.

Sight & Sound is an international film magazine produced by the British Film Institute (BFI). The magazine is home of the illustrious Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time poll as voted by critics, which has been conducted once every 10 years since 1952. The 2012 poll saw Hitchcock’s Vertigo at number one, with Citizen Kane relegated to second after taking out the top spot for 50 years, and Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story coming in at number three. The magazine is notable for its comprehensive review section, featuring every film released during the month, including a laudable focus on arthouse and indie films in limited release. An interesting feature here is the inclusion of a full cast and crew list for every film reviewed, which I think is a great way of providing recognition to all who work on the film.

Perhaps due to the major disruption to film release schedules as a result of the pandemic, the magazine has shifted to a summer and winter double issue format. This means that its more than 140 pages are jam-packed with great content, written with a demonstrably deep knowledge and appreciation of film history.

Variety, Limelight, Sight & Sound and so many more great publications are available for loan with your State Library membership. Come on in to level 2 of State Library to browse the collection.


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