Monthly Archives: June 2012

Matariki development festival at Circa Theatre

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This is the third year the festival has been going. It is an “indigenous playwrights’ festival developing new plays by indigenous writers” held over a week. It is based on a similar festival in North America. At the beginning of the week there were two panel discussion, one with Maori women playwrights, and one about Pacific Island theatre. The panels and rehearsed play readings are open to the public. It’s exciting to be present when a work is at the beginning of its development. There are things to be worked on, tightened up, shifted, but the potential of pieces can almost be tasted.
Nga mihinui ki a koutou.

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Bulls

Parekowhai’s 2011 Venice Biennale sculptural installation, On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer, will run at the Ng Gallery until July 29.

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Librarian myths

I used to work in a public library with a woman who didn’t read fiction. At all. Yet she was able to suggest book titles, new authors, titles-that-might-be-like-the-one-you-just-read to readers who wanted advice. She listened to reader’s feedback, kept up to date with reviews, and crucially, judged a book by its cover. Her book-enjoyment strike rate was pretty good.
I think her lack of experience actually helped. She didn’t have all the fears and doubts that plague those of us who read a lot.

This is what I imagine happened when someone asked her for advice on what to read next.

Reader: Hi. Can you suggest a book that I should read next?

Her: *thinks* Yes I can.
Her: Sure. What kind of books do you like to read?

Reader: Um, well I read [TITLE] recently and really enjoyed it.

Her: *thinks* Everyone has read [TITLE] recently.
Her:  There are a lot of people reading that book! So you like [GENRE]?
Her:  *thinks* [COVER] [COVER] [TITLE] [REVIEW]

Reader: Not usually. I don’t like [CHARACTERISTIC OF GENRE]. But I really enjoyed this one. Do you have any more like that?

Her: Yes, why don’t you try [TITLE]?

Reader: Thanks!

Her:  You’re welcome! Come back and let me know what you think.

This is what happens when someone asks me for advice on what to read next…

Reader: Hi. Can you suggest a book that I should read next?

Me: *thinks* That’s a wide open field buddy.
Me: Sure. What kind of books do you like to read?

Reader: Um, well I read [TITLE] recently and really enjoyed it.

Me: *thinks* Everyone has read [TITLE] recently.
Me: There are a lot of people reading that book! So you like [GENRE]?
Me: *thinks* [TITLE] [TITLE] [TITLE] [AUTHOR] [AUTHOR]

Reader: Not usually. I don’t like [CHARACTERISTIC OF GENRE]. But I really enjoyed this one. Do you have any more like that?

Me: *thinks* oh god.
Me:  *says cheerfully* Probably! Was there anything about it that you really liked?
Me: *thinks* [TITLE] [TITLE] [AUTHOR] [AUTHOR] [SERIES]

Reader: I really liked the way it was written. I didn’t like the [DIFFERENT CHARACTERISTIC OF GENRE].

Me: *thinks* FUCK.
Me: *says cheerfully* Okay, let me think about this.
Me: *thinks* [TITLE] That’s pretty heavy going. [TITLE] Teenage? Nah. [TITLE] Not in this weather! [AUTHOR] Mmm, risky. [TITLE] I LOVE this book!
Me: Well, you could try [TITLE]. It’s about [PLOT], is pretty [ADJECTIVE], much like [TITLE]…?

Reader: Oh. I was hoping for something more [DIFFERENT ADJECTIVE].

Me: *thinks* FUCK.
Me: Oh, okay. Well try [TITLE] then.

Reader: Thanks!

Me: You’re welcome! Come back and let me know what you think.
Me: *is nibbled at by the mice of doubt for the rest of the day*

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Access

Back on June 8, my sister and I were exploring the underground world of Wellington. We’d started in the Old Bank building and were planning to walk to the railway station. (I had a vague idea this was possible. It isn’t.) Also with us was her 6month old in a stroller. This caused several interesting situations. Firstly, the best place to see the clock is from the second floor outside the mall office. As far as we could tell, the lift didn’t go to that floor. So we hauled the stroller up the stairs and then back down again after the clock had done it’s thing. Then we thought we’d walk to the floor below. The only way down stair-wise was an escalator which the stroller didn’t fit on to. Luckily the lift did go down. We went to have a look at the remains of the ark. It was a tight fit to push the stroller around the escalator. Single file only. Next we went across the road to the food court. Technically we could have gone underground but the stroller didn’t fit. The only way to get back underground (that we could see) was to haul the stroller back down the stairs. We managed to have quite a good explore of the space although we were often stymied by places-where-the-stroller-didn’t-fit. We then crossed back into another building…but by this time I had completely lost my bearings. Now it was pretty much plain walking as we crossed from one building into another, using the lifts to get from floor to floor.

Such a simple exercise yet interesting exercise to go through.

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New Zealand International Film Festival 2012

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The Auckland line up for @nzff has been announced! Pity I’m no longer in Auckland. Never mind, the Wellington line up is announced later this week. They’ve been giving out bits and pieces of information but I’m looking forward to having a copy of the programme in my hand.

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Aidan Gillen with a kitten on his shoulder

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Earlier today my sister, her fiancee, and I were saying how nice it was to see new faces on Game of Thrones. Apart from the ‘names’ there are a only a couple that I have recognised from other shows.
I don’t have really have an opinion on this actor, Aidan Gillen, or his character, the wicked Petyr Baelish, but I though it was cute that his IMDB photo is what looks like a webcam pic with a kitten on his shoulder.
Other than that I have nothing else to say.

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Dinner

Tonight’s menu.
Starter: bread with oil, balsamic, and dukka; crackers and cheese with pear paste.
Main: lamb roast sprinkled with rosemary, roast kumara, roast potato, cauliflour and brocolli with cheese sauce.
Dessert: chocolate fondant cakes with vanilla icecream; All Blacks over Ireland.

Happy Matariki everyone.

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ZombieNZ

As a friend and I agreed – it’s all so plausible

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Photos and war and quotes

Seems the theme of my past week has been photography.

It started with an article on Stuff about @Deanogormano‘s new exhibition at the Page Blackie Gallery. He has staged a series of photos themed around the forces in the Vietnam war. The article quotes him as saying “I thought wouldn’t it be cool to try and stage something that could allow you to potentially feel something similar, but wasn’t actually real? “I’m not trying to trick anybody, but I’m just trying to play with the idea of how do you feel about something that is not real but is made to seem real?” What really intrigued me was this quote “The weird thing is that I wanted it to not look staged and I found that it had to be more staged in order to look less staged.” which refers to some of the action shots, not the posed portraits.
This one is my favourite of the portraits on the website. (Am hoping to get to the exhibition on Saturday.)

http://www.pageblackiegallery.co.nz/exhibition.php?exhibitionid=132&showimage=1774

Posed photographs or not posed photographs are (sort of) the subject of Believing is seeing: observations on the mysteries of photographs by Errol Morris. This is a bind up of articles published in the Opinionator webpages of the New York Times. The first chapter muses on potential fakery and deception in photos purporting to be photojournalism as represented by two photos from the Valley of The Shadow of Death by Roger Fenton taken in the Crimean War. Quotes from chapter one that leaped out at me “Much of our problem comes from our collective need to endow photographs with intentions…The photograph is posed not by the presence of the elephant but by its absence. Isn’t something always excluded, an elephant or something else? Isn’t there always a possible elephant lurking just at the edge of the frame?

There are no elephants lurking outside of this photo by Geoff Dale, only a policeman with a rifle.

http://www.geoffdale.co.nz/

(Hopefully the right photo shows!) It’s from his book Press pass: 40 years of award winning press photography. According to the caption “The policemen are hiding because their colleague (not pictured) is carrying a rifle, not because they are scared of the steer!” Unfortunately I can’t find many of his photos online. The one I wanted to show you was a 1974 photos of a nun wearing her habit with knee-high rugby socks and rugby boots. (There’s also a 1993 photo of big Jens Voigt leaning right over the front wheel of his bike descending to Taupo. JENS! VOIGT! In NZ!)

Yesterday @digitalNZ announced that a new collecting function was available on their site. I follow a lot of people interested in digital heritage so my tweet stream exploded with links to sets that people had created. Today that led to photos of Lt. E.H.Garland. He could appear in Spartacus because look as I might, I could not see any tattoos. Y’know. If the photos were taken this year, rather than 1916.

More World War I photos can be seen in the Kiwi Faces of War Flickr group. “These World War One soldiers, relaxed and fresh-faced, were photographed on the eve of their departure from Wellington, New Zealand. Many were photographed alone. Others were accompanied by the families and friends they were about to leave behind.” Not all of the soldiers have been identified so Te Papa are appealing to the public for help. With some success too- excellent.

Finally, to bring us back to photographs staged and unstaged, here’s a beautiful portrait of a cop and a tiny girl. It features in the exhibit All Women by Bev Short at the Portrait Gallery.

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Supergroove – Sitting Inside My Head

I walk around this town as buildings close and windows are boarded
I think about you
When I hear a door slam in the wind
and the glass on the mat says welcome
I think about you

Sitting inside my head, Laughing at what I said
Come on baby let's have another toast
You might think I'm dense, laughing at my expense
Fill the cup let's wash away the ghost

In this ghost town where we live there's a wanted poster of you on every corner
She keeps asking me 'who's that' and 'what's her name?'
But I choke on every letter, as the glass flies off the table
I keep telling her I ain't the one to blame

Sitting inside my head, Laughing at what I said
Come on baby let's have another toast

You might think I'm dense, laughing at my expense
Fill the cup let's wash away the ghost

I left when I was gone, I didn't feel a thing
I didn't think you'd haunt me this long after
But the buildings crumble down, as I run from the town
I hear you breathe and I listen to your laughter

Sitting inside my head, Laughing at what I said
Come on baby let's have another toast
You might think I'm dense, laughing at my expense
Fill the cup let's wash away the ghost

I walk around this town as buildings close and windows are boarded
I think about you
When I hear a door slam in the wind and the glass on the mat says Welcome
I think about you

Lyrics from Sweetslyrics

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