Monthly Archives: January 2010

Short + Sweet

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Short + Sweet is a theatre festival made up of plays that are less than 10 minutes long. There are 4 showings, each with 10 plays. Plays 1-10 and 21-30 run for 5 nights each; plays 11-20 and 31-40 make up the Wildcard shows which only get a single showing. There’s a Grand Finale on the last night of the festival with the favourite 10 plays getting a shot at the title. The finalists are chosen by votes. Audience members get to choose a single play from the ten. Super special judges get to choose three.

If you’ve read a short story or seen a lightning talk then you will have some idea how it works. It’s amazing what the writers, directors and actors can pack into less than 10 minutes. (I didn’t have a stop watch so I don’t know if they all squeaked in under the deadline. FYI – plays can be disqualified on the final night if they’re over time.)

I’m interested in how the organisers decide to schedule the plays. Do they make the directors pull their place out of a hat? The play I voted for in Week Two benefitted by being scheduled after a particularly dark and nasty one. It was almost as if the audience were ready to laugh at anything. “He’s wearing a red shirt! HAHAHAHAHA.” If it had come after one of the other, lighter, plays I’m not sure it would have had the impact. (I really did like it though. Even on reflection it’s my favourite for that set.)  I made my choices based on plays that I wanted to watch again. In fact, I didn’t vote for my favourite play in Week One; it was third on my list on the night. I found it very affecting. Laughing one minute and having my heart strings tugged the next. Why didn’t I vote for it? I think it’s because I couldn’t bear to watch it again knowing where it ends up.

There were five plays I thought could be extended out into long form. I wanted to know more about the characters. My favourite from those five was “The Mooncake and the Kumara”. It’s about a Chinese man who had come to New Zealand leaving his wife behind and the relationship that was blossoming between him and a Maori girl. I really liked the use of different languages and the way the story was shown from their different points of view.

To be quite honest I’m also curious as to why it came to Auckland and not Wellington. It seems like something that would do really well down there. Not that I’m complaining. It was a fun night and I’ll be looking out for it next year.

Tuesday 19 – Sunday 31 January, Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre.  Book tickets at The Edge

Tip: Don’t take your children under 15. Especially if you are going to talk to them everytime an actor uses a swear word.

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Yummy, art

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This weekend I’m off to see “Taste: Food and Feasting in Art” as the first event in the #smackmyarts programme. It’s an art exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery which highlights that “Art reveals the central place of food in all cultures”.

I thought I’d do a little bit of homework before I go. I know that food is a symbol for different things (in art, isn’t everything a symbol or metaphor?) but what things? My first stop is the “Oxford Art Online database”.* Surprisingly, the “Food” subject is about creating art out of foodstuffs. There’s a cute little line “the nineteenth-century pastry cook Marie-Antoine Carême, who was famous for his elaborate sculptures made out of sugar, claimed that confectionery was the principal branch of architecture” which makes me wonder whether he had an ant problem and how he solved it. The article goes on to talk about the aesthetic pleasure in smell and taste. Somehow I don’t think it’d be acceptable behaviour to lick the paintings.

I quite like the idea of art created from food. There’s some amazingly creative people out there as this Bento Box Flickr group demonstrates. Creating art from perishable goods must say something about the fleeting nature of beauty. (Maybe it only says something about love? Or the unstoppable creative spirit?) The Gallery are also trying to encourage some food making. I love the way they have recipes on the exhibition page, sort of a ‘create your own masterpiece’ invitation. Best of all you get to eat the results.

A Google search sent me to The Empty Easel an online arts magazine. The Long History of Food in Art by Donovan Gauvreau describes a long tradition of food in art. It says that depicting food in art allowed the artist to show off their technical skills. I imagine it would have been rather restful to paint/sculpt food too – no whining or complaining about the weather.

I wait with interest to see what the exhibtion shows.

 

*Database available through your NZ public library’s online database subscriptions.

It’s choice, ay?

First off – I used to really like that saying "When the student is ready the teacher appears" but now I think it's a load of bollocks.??

Let me explain.

(Now) I think that teachers are always there but as a student you don't notice until you're ready to learn a lesson or two.?? This has happened to me (conveniently at the beginning of the year) so obviously I'm ready to learn some lessons.

Lets see.?? From teacher number one "It's a discipline." In other words you have to keep practising it.?? Fail once, you fail once.?? Not the end of the world.?? Reset and start again.?? Keep at it – what ever it is.

From teacher number two * "It's not what happens to you; it's what you do with the happening".?? In other words – you can chose your destiny. You frame the experiences you have. (I used to think this was a bit of a cheat.?? Something happened and I reframed it to have a postive spin (listen, if you need someone to do that for you I'm your girl.)?? I didn't seem to be affected by the swings and roundabouts of life.?? Sure I freaked out occasionally but in general I was okay. Now I think it's a fabulous way to live.)??

Then the Terrible Year And A Bit happened and everything I learnt disappeared…only I didn't know it.?? I knew something was wrong but just how wrong??? I didn't learn that until I just recently which is 6 months after the journey out of the hole started.

This year is the Year Of The Best Friend.?? (That's me.)?? I'm going to be working on those two things – practice and attitude.?? It's a good year for it given what's happening in my job. (That's important because I spend more thinking time at the job than I do not at the job (the rest of the time I'm sleeping.) )?? I'm going to make this year about choosing what I want to do.?? That walk??? A choice.?? That icecream? A choice.?? I'm not going to say "I don't have enough of/I have too much".?? It's my choice to not/have those things.

I fully expect this culture thing to be part of it.?? I *choose* to spend my money on plays and exhibitions and music and movies and interesting things and people.??

It's MY choice.

* Sally Anderson?? someone I suspect would be really good as a mentor/coach.

#smackmyarts kickoff

The informal??#smackmyarts team are about to start their cultural journey.??Anyone who is interested in expanding their cultural horizons (or just wants to go to stuff) is welcome to join us.??
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Here are the rules and guidelines I've set for myself.?? Since this is informal and casual I expect that people will set their own rules.
1. Something every month.
2. At least one thing outside the normal theatre/lecture stuff I go to.
3.????A blog post before AND after – preferably before the next thing!
4. A variety of things (see my initial draft.)
5. At least one free community??thing.
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Our first meeting is this weekend so that we can compare and share what sorts of things we'll be going to.??
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DM me for more details @librarykris
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Inspired by #kissmyarts
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Festive greetings or: how I say “Hello”

Greeting people is fraught with danger and confusion as far as I’m concerned. 

 

In some spaces it’s easy…

– Whanau/Friends I haven’t seen for a long time – smile, kiss on cheek and hug for several seconds.

– Friends/Distant whanau – smile, hold elbow, kiss on cheek.

– Performers after a show – smile, kiss on cheek.

– Work – smile, handshake/wave (depending on what you’re doing.)

 

But what happens when there’s a cross over or category-blur?

– People I met through work who I now consider friends because we hang out and go to stuff and don’t always talk about work

– Friends who I see at work-related things

– People I met through work who I go to stuff with who aren’t really friends

– Tweeps/FB friends who are online friends but who are really only physical acquaintances

– Friends I see regularly

– Performers who haven’t been performing in the thing I’ve just seen but we recognise each other

 

I’m not so keen on shaking hands – probably because I’m usually too busy juggling a drink, a bag, a jacket, possibly a scarf and trying to shake crumbs from my fingers to notice whether you are wearing rings or have arthritis and therefore don’t need your hand squished (and I certainly don’t need mine squished!)

My greeting preference is the elbow hold/kiss on the cheek combo. Why?  I don’t know. Maybe it’s being able to dictate the distance between me and the other person.  Perhaps it’s a subtle modification of the hongi so it’s some kind of inbuilt genetic thing *rolls eyes*. At least it means I don’t have to worry about my drink.

You?