Monday, March 18, 2013

Friends - Sing-along Now

In this brave new electro-wonderland-zing-bling-and-screens-with-everything world of ours, friends matter more than ever. 

Chalking, Grey Lynn Footpath 2007

Nothing beats the close contact of attractive people who understand us and know what we're like, then love us anyway.

We can make more contact with more people than ever before nowadays. Arguably, we may gain more interest in our projects over a far wider territory too.  A global culture. So cosmopolitan, we live in more than one or two countries, some of us, (albeit only virtually in many cases) and share a range of cultures

Everyone sensible seeks common ground in any situation, that's so aims and goals are realised properly and more likely to succeed. It's true, when we stand together somewhere understood as shared, with values or interests we all recognise as worthwhile, then it's easier to communicate and aim for the same things, as a group.

My fine, fascinating, talented friends in America who I visited last year, and love so much, we're attracted to writing, literary fanatics and writing wonderchildren. Soaked up so much literature between us it could furnish a fair-sized library. That's if we could somehow transfer the material recalled in mind to paper and cardboard and ink, I hope no one ever wrings my mind out however I like this swim I'm in. 

From the Pacific Islands to Hawai'i by ship, then San Francisco, to Seattle, then Iowa, Chicago and New York, mainly by train I told my own travel story on this blog. An enchanted tale, my charmed life we could say, except I have various conditions which make living difficult, and still have to also earn a living, exercise, take care of bills and interact with a bewildering variety of people some of whom actively or ignorantly work against me, so life's not perfect.

Friendship is however close to perfection. We choose these magnetic people we're aligned with and we each share so much together. They choose us. A contract as casual as we wish, but friendship can appear stronger and more resilient than imagined when tested, or even if simply permitted to blossom, to grow. We share joy, tears, laughter, imagined futures, furious arguments, plans, we grow closer. It's a basic, common equation but the sum of this closeness is always far greater than its parts. Many factors are also included which we cannot recall always, or do not necessarily mention every day. 

I love them all, my friends here and overseas. They've made my life what it is now to an enormous extent. Some offer advice, many support me, a few tell me off and others remind me of my duty or talent, then they may gather and celebrate here and there success with their whole heart, for which I am always more grateful than I can ever say. I love to celebrate their triumphs too.  This blog today, I'm writing to promote the work and projects of some of my friends, globally. They all deserve attention, I only wish I could write about everyone.

A friend in London, England, Steve Moran who edits this collection of stories and runs a fine short story competition every year, invites you to the launch of this year's edition of the Willesden Herald: New Short Stories. Many of the Willesden Herald Competition prize-winners over the last seven years have gone on to ever greater literary achievements. The seventh edition, this book also has a fund-raising website. You receive either a mug or a book for your kind donation. The money will go towards producing the book, this year. 
I love the way a community of literary buffs has grown to create an event like this, globally. The book is published in The States, edited in the UK, covers are designed in Europe. People from all over the globe send in entries each year. The internet made this possible.

In America, in the Big Apple NYC another writer friend along with a few others runs a new venture - Underground Books. If you click 'like' on their facebook you'll receive a variety of poems and arty links, along with surprising original posts each day, in your news feed. 
In future, this publishing house will produce various books and events.
Their irreverence, wild taste and sheer verve excites me.

Then with a hiss, a roar and the unmistakable sound of wit crackling like fire, there's pretendGeniuspress, who publish excellent books. This has been going on for years, some volumes could be classics now. 
The latest is Thus Virginia Passes, a challenging, exciting and highly original poetry collection by James Browning Kepple.

pretendGeniuspress have also published other engaging, startling literature and I recommend you investigate further. I hope and pray that Amy Tucker's book of stories will be published one day. This story is one of the best I have ever read.

A Victorian-inspired Gazebo by Honeyweather and Speight, Melbourne

 The enchanting James Cattell in Melbourne I've known since art school days. (We both opted out and took the chance to travel overseas). He's witty and fearless, kind and entertaining, there's a book that could be written about the range of art he creates. I hope it happens one day, these images need preserving and promotion, widely.  
Dorelle Davidson and James work through Honeyweather and Speight, prepare to enter another world. 

For many years I enjoyed invitations to read my poetry in Australia and twice managed to make the trip. There are some exciting poets all over that land, Wednesday Kennedy I met at the last Overload Poetry Festival. Wow, what a show. Most of all however I'd like to mention Steve Smart and Elizabeth Lish Skec, dear to my heart and wonderful performers of their fine writing.
 Overload Poetry Festival did not happen last year but it is going ahead this year, 2013 I gather.

Miles McKane in France, another ex-pat I knew in Elam days, often turns up with yet another story about his wonderful events. I love the eco-art emphasis of some pieces and the wit involved in everything he does.
It was really a privilege to have him be my curatorial advisor for my exhibition at Satellite Gallery last year, I Guess I Just Don't Know. Miles has a real insight into so much of importance.

Here in New Zealand and soon to be featured overseas possibly in Australia and Edinburgh, the indefatigable, engaging Yvette Parsons soon stars in a longer season of Dolly Mixture, with two other equally talented actors. 
Not for the faint-hearted, I screamed my head off at the end when I saw the play for The Fringe this year in Auckland. This play is nevertheless refreshing and sometimes hilarious. 
 Dolly Mixture addresses many issues around families and relationships, while it's also a surreal romp through the most peculiar scenarios, and what a stage set. 
Yvette Parsons was nominated for Best Actress last year, well-deserved.  More here -
Book now, it will probably sell-out and is only on for a week.

More info., about the play here -
Now I'm writing about friends at home I could be in trouble. So many talented people live and create here, but my fingers are starting to hurt. Let's just say if you make friends with me on facebook then search some of my friends' names, you'll find plenty to entertain, amaze and delight.

Doris de Pont runs the NZ Fashion Museum who provide excellent events and publications, throughout the year and the country. Home Sewn was one of those.

That's me, not Doris - loved this show.

I'd also like to promote the work of Judy Darragh, fine artist. I've known Judy for decades now, and admired her adaptability, originality and sense of wonder. The most ordinary things become magical when she's done with them. 

Then there's the Youth Theatre in Whangarei run by Peter Larsen. He performed with the troupe I directed, Poetry Brats many moons ago. Their fabulous Odyssey was such a hit lately.

The extraordinary Genevieve McClean deserves a mention too, her writing and performances are simply stellar. If you ever get the chance to see her work, or read it, I urge you to get along there. 

Sandra Bell I've admired for years too, her singing and guitar with that Dunedin depth and grind. Powertool Records release her CDs and sometimes she plays gigs around New Zealand. For years, Sandra was performing and living in Germany and recently, read poetry in NYC as part of the Phantom Poster performances there. 

Gus Simonovic has read poetry and performed world-wide for some time, he also directs Printable Reality in Aotearoa, New Zealand. A project to mentor young poets and improve their writing along with performance lately, is called Page 2 Stage. Do support the events around this excellent programme. Shows will be held at The Pumphouse, Takapuna and other exciting venues, there may be open mic events associated with those. 
To my surprise and delight, I'm a Page 2 Stage mentor. We were chosen from many applicants, by a panel of international judges.

Linda Niccol, now a talented writer and film-maker, I recall from back in the day. Like everyone young, we owned Auckland. Punk and New Wave matched our sass and fury. Dreams meant more to us than almost anything else. 
Some lucky enough to get close to realising those visions, or we're already living in that hard work bliss. This requires assistance at times. Please support her film, (with its international prize-winning script) if you can -

Now, also, far be it from me to pretend I'm not the most determined stage-mother in existence, so saving the best for last, my daughter sings like an angel in two bands. Both groups vastly entertaining, each in different ways.  

This group plays rock and roll music, do shoop da wah diddy, fun-times and rockin' rhymes. In huge demand at weddings, parties, RSA Saturday nights, boat clubs, Beach Hop and so on - 

The Rocking Roller-coasters.

Here they are at Beach Hop March 2011 Whangamata, (they've just performed at this year's Beach Hop too).

The other's a punk-dance music band, a hybrid mania glam-warp. Two stylish members play computers, accompanying a handsome male and gorgeous female singer, while Moppy's VJ creates mind-boggling stage effects. 

Moppy, see them live as soon as possible, they could be on tour overseas any time.

Please, if you have something arty I'd love which you'd like me to put on this blog, (read world-wide by hundreds of people every month), let me know. It's free, if I love the work I'll mention it.
There's a great walloping pile of things I do already but lovely to promote friends' worthwhile activities. 
If your gorgeous play, film, acting, music, poetry, art, clowning, mime, (eeep), model-making, dance or performance are absent from this blog now, it was only due to my avoiding the onset of OOS, (Occupational Over-use Syndrome).  Love you, love your work, mwah mwah, *hugs*.

All comments most welcome and thanks for reading.

Survivors and Free Kowhai Seedlings

Into the beautiful Baobabs - Madagascar
These ancient trees are so beautiful, luckily many of them have survived throughout Africa as their pulp type wood has no value for charcoal traders.

My days lately somewhat like this picture, even if we've bee

living in a drought here in New Zealand. Trees dominate my 

thinking nevertheless and they're the survivors, those trees 

that have made it this far. I'm also dwarfed by economic and

political circumstances we're enduring.

Various people feel entitled to take as much as they can. This 

greed and selfishness doesn't assist anyone, including them. I

feel like I'm preaching or moralising however so instead, I'll 

post this poetry. It celebrates friendship.
'what happens when no new bookshelves are bought?' 
                                                                                           he writes

'many books pile by the bed,
make towers and arches and bridges.'
she's quick like he doesn't recall architecture
'a few editions pretend to fit kitchen
furnishings, between stacks of plates
mutter about appetites.
tomes slide under tables up to who knows what,
while others live in the car as if homeless.
determined volumes dwell outdoors
near the hammock or folding chairs
but rarely risk rain.'

some time stacked in cardboard boxes
books home in bags
or one in pocket
                                the other in hand the better bird.
he enters bookshops reverently
chin lifted but shoulders slightly rounded
to bow over pages
                                 silent chanting blessed ink.
in glove with a paragraph
lines knit into scarves
spectacle-fog laughter and he daydreams.
suit tailored by superbly cut chapters.

fetish akin to slow food,
coloured covers picked
for paper leaves.
between lines invisible ingredients
opening pages at random,
instant or digging for meaning.
not coffee but darker than tea,
drinking to the health of carpenters,
toasting care and hold.
baked true to what's good for us,
this daily read and utter.

-   -   - 
conversations in bed and the bath

'her sunshine stitch name
his a gong from a mountain
obvious to each other at a distance
                                         but they may disappear
neither sees the the other entirely
held in landscape'

she speaks drunk with steamy air
                                             to a solitary room
tells an invisible man the story of themselves
smiles to think he could hear afar while sleeping
a dream interrupted or caused.
car radio songs hint meanings,
but he's nocturnal hunter careful
his answers most often hammers and darts
romance a lone peak and lovely as snow.

'you're the best boyfriend ever'
she splashes
'i make you whatever i wish
recalling voice and walk and glare
a few relics authentic.'
the danger of making him holy.
an imaginary lover arrives with tree tall stories
planted in each footstep
the density of leaves refusing a return home
'we could love marooned here by fine deeds'
she pours grey water into the drought garden
seedling figures reach towards the light,
                                             shadow and wish unzipped.

 -   -   -

Now I work lecturing Narrative Writing, (at lovely UNITEC), 
also assisting a mentee with Page 2 Stage poetry and 
performance so she can hopefully win a place at a festival 
overseas, I find even less time for my blogging. I wish this
 was not so, but there it is. Time's finite even if it's imaginary,
 although I have the energy of some fantastic force of nature. 

 Tree seedlings still flourish true however and some are
 ready for transplanting this April, kowhai trees. Anyone in 
Auckland, New Zealand who would like a free kowhai tree,
please contact me through my facebook or other means.
photo is from  my seedlings are small

Great to see this blog is nearing 7,000 hits, read 
world-wide. Thanks for your attention, please feel free to 

 My latest book news here -