Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Around Tamaki Makaurau Auckland

So many enjoyable gatherings in our largest city, Tamaki Makaurau Auckland, to do with the arts this summer. Three or four or so that I was lucky enough to be invited to, the first a minarets reading. This magazine has now gone online, but they had a reading in public using studio space in New North Road. Various people, mostly around 20-or-30-something and a few others of various ages either side of that. A friendly, thoughtful crowd. In mild afternoon sun we walked towards the shop front where there was already a crowd gathered.  Some wine to drink, a few beers, much careful and enjoyable interaction.
We need these kinds of get togethers. They're fun, they help keep people in touch, and the arts alive.

Someone at the minarets event mentioned a man in Wellington who used to dress like Roy Orbison. This reminded me of the Prince impersonator who many used to see quite regularly on buses in inner-city Auckland. In purple, with a black lacy mask, he stayed completely in character. 

Sometimes he travelled with a quite ordinary young man as a companion, on the bus. They liked to try to get people to believe the man dressed up really was Prince. It was playful, not scary particularly.
Some of the minarets crowd thought he could've left our shores and gone to travel the world as a Prince impersonator, with a minder. perhaps he has?
This is the kind of fun conversation I enjoy.

I look forward to seeing more of those Minaret readings held in studio spaces and so on, poetry conversation and pleasant company.


Then recently when a friend was visiting, from Brisbane, Lana with her daughter Tay, we had a good long chat about important matters like drawing. (I hope it is okay to shorten Tay's name, I often do not mention children's full names online, it seems best). Tay drew an excellent Tweety Bird, then two snakes, and some background. Later, she drew the Tweety Bird in the background watching one of the snakes. The reptiles kind of floated in the air. 

 I explained that snakes represent wisdom, and this child took it all in.  Maybe Tay thought she was Tweety Bird watching her mother and I? What a compliment.
I am so pleased these drawings were in my notebook, now I have a remembrance of this delightful child. 

Also, we discussed various private matters and it was something like  Dark Gold Mistress of Perfection converses with Dooper-Sooper Word Woman. Fun times.
Perhaps ex-haust-ing, *said with a toss of the head* but what a lovely way to tire oneself out.

We met two friends of Lana and Tay's in a cafe, later. And I misheard something that their daughter said, I thought it was, "wit-wings."
I love how sometimes a new word appears in this manner, through an error or mistake. It could be fun to think of meanings for this new word perhaps? Maybe wit-wings are a quick wit's best accessory?


Only last evening, a beautiful, moving, and entertaining tribute to Lauris Edmond at the Music School, the University of Auckland. We enjoyed superb classical flute and piano interspersed with readings of poetry from Frances Edmond, (Lauris' daughter), and Riemke Ensing, (who was given the Lauris Edmond Award in 2012). 

Sometimes I am at an event as lovely as this and I think I must be one of the luckiest people alive. Such stellar performances help me to stay well, and take me outside of myself where so much wonder exists.

It was extremely difficult to find a park, however, and I am not yet used to the fact that classical music performances always start on time. As Bryony Jagger told me, "It takes such a lot of effort to get a classical orchestra together. They must start when they are scheduled. Waiting around would only tire them out."
Luckily I now have a mobility parking permit, due to my various walking difficulties, so I could park somewhat closer than before.

Later in the foyer people talked and we had various conversations about new projects and so on. A really good chat with Denys Trussell who explained I probably do not walk properly to start with which is why I injured my foot and got arthritis. Denys is a great walker. 

Also, pleased to see Mary McIntyre who is helping me with a tribute piece to her dear friend Jan Nigro, recently and sadly passed away. We so loved Jan.

War of the Roses - oil on canvas - by Jan Nigro

Such riches available to us. Arts treasures. Sights, sounds, secret doorways....

Happily, Suji Park invited me to her latest exhibition and I was able to go. 

The last time I saw Suji's work was in an Elam graduate show some time ago now. Perhaps it was three years hence. I wandered the Elam halls and so on. A few memories of my own time there were surfacing. Then I noticed and moved quickly towards these delicately coloured pieces in the distance. Some vivid highlights provided a kind of miniature beacon upon them.
Instantly intrigued with Suji Park's ceramics. 

These somewhat abstract figures reminded me of pieces in a game of some kind. Suji agreed they could be in a game. Such a charming young woman, we had quite a conversation. The colour and texture on the surfaces gave the impression of life. It was as if the figures where in movement, then caught in a blur such as a photograph takes sometimes. But they were more substantial than that.

So it was with excitement I found out I could attend her latest exhibition, as mentioned, some years later. The work at the top of this webpage is from that exhibition.

Entering the Ivan Anthony G 312 K-Rd (Karangahape Road) Newton, there was ahead of us a tiny door about a metre tall which reminded my friends and I of Alice in Wonderland, a little. The stairs up to the gallery also have a beautiful art deco mosaic on the wall as part of the decor. This is from when the building was built around the early 20th century. Lovely curved bannister, dark wood. 

The gallery spaces themselves are well appointed, contemporary, plain and simple. Good light in the galleries and the work well hung to show it to its best advantage. They are connected by a contrasting, charming hallway with original fittings and arches, dim yellowish light there. This makes the gallery experience all the more worthwhile.

So, after enjoying the ambiance, we took some time to admire, examine and puzzle over the art. I like to get to an exhibition early so I can see the work, without lovely people in the way. Hardly anyone was there. So we four took some time in our individual ways to discuss and examine and relish these much larger sculptures than I thought I would see.

I wish I had more time and energy to be able to go into detail about these quite different to each other, (although stylistically congruent), magical forms. Some appear to be natural objects perhaps found in the earth, initially, or something fallen from a building site. Others could at first glance appear to be broken or scattered. One is like a 21st century idol, strangely a little blue, on its own wall bracket of distressed wood. Their charm lies in this first impression, because they are not then intimidating. 

Suji Park - a piece from her latest exhibition

It is easy to approach Park's work and to see, in the 'inner eye' manner, whatever you wish. Inspired by the extraordinary surface detail, surprising elements like imbedded crystals, or large almost imposing forceful elements which surprised the viewer, (the way they are at the same time rather self-contained). 
These all reminded me of meditations and daydreaming while looking at shells on a beach, as a child, and then more profound ideas. The idea of mastery of thought, for instance, how when we master our thoughts we can use our emotions to assist us, but we are not controlled by them. This is how we work together within ourselves using imagination, dreams and their senses along with memory, emotion and so on in a kind of fabulous, however quiet or otherwise that may be.

Park's work has progressed from a smaller pieces, (which were every bit as accomplished as this latest work), to larger and more adventurous forms. There were two pieces I wish I had a room for at home, somewhere. If only I had my own wing as an art gallery, to house such wonders. I would've liked to have stayed longer and enjoy further this excellent exhibition.


Then for The Pride Festival, which opened last weekend we attended The Night of the Queer Cabaret. This quick-change-around format was cleverly used to showcase different shows, which are going to be then on this week.  Great shows, startling shows, fun shows, stunning shows, poignant and lovely shows. Showio Showity Show-a-la-la-la-whooo.

I always enjoy seeing excellence. An excited crowd, with some famous faces, the entire foyer packed. Stern drag, gushy drag, and some non-drag with their swag apparent.

Book for these Pride Festival shows at TAPAC they will be well attended.

Eight pages of notes, a few delicious Geisen wines, a full TAPAC house, a cast of millions, (well, it seemed like at times there were so many thoughts and ideas evoked. Queer Cabaret delightfully epic).  

Mumbai Monologues has its own beverage, chai offered before the show. First time we've ever seen a show with its own beverage, my daughter mentioned. 
Later, the excerpt ran for about ten minutes, Mumbai Monologues presents flavours, music, acting, poetry and dialogue. A stand-up piano with fine player, a singer with misty soul, (only way I can explain it), and three actors separately and together tell a story about somewhere known and yet not known, and those mysterious spaces in between. So glad I now have tickets to see the show in its entirety.

We sat at table three, my lucky number. Down the front, my favourite. On the stage a violinist in a black dress with her back to us and a man sat at a stand-up piano. This player wore a red shirt. We were surrounded by black walls and ceiling, floor too and the stage, we sat at tables with red tablecloths. Patrons and players stood out so beautifully.



Ms Lola La Bomb singing, "I always get what I aim for..." our delightful and terrifying, gorgeous MC

Two players, men, read from a book, a diary, about unrequited love. An excerpt from Queen. The tension between the two players was well realised. Also, they showed the characters had obvious regard for each other, while one was in love though, the other was not. Or perhaps the one who "was not" did not know how to express it, and perhaps never would. Beautifully manifested, in any case, and it touched my heart, so I really want to know what happens next. If you go to the play, please tell me about it.

Sorry I do not have time to add lots of links. Please feel free to google these things yourself, they are at TAPAC.

MC Lola La Bomb whooo waahh wow introduced a Best Queen competition. People from the audience clambered on stage, and attempted a Best Queen Walk. Mine was flouncy and a bit uppity, the one who won however so did the strut and pout, one arm akimbo, hips leading, o my yes. All good fun laughing and clapping we were, true.

A monologue followed, a male player announcing, “I told you I really like you...” He's reminiscing. Sad.

“Then he said nothing and I knew.” 
(Ah yes, that nothing that saves us and yet also, disappoints us).
He sang a song then, excellently. I'm not sure what this was from but perhaps someone reading this will let me know so I can pop in the name? I was still getting used to all the fabulousness.

There were a number of competitions throughout the night. A best pickup line competition, for instance. And Lola had a great line of savvy chat.

To the Jefferson Airplane song, White Rabbit, "...go ask Alice...," two dancers played the part of a man and a woman in a romantic and sexual relationship of some kind, but used words too. They also indicated stories about the parts of the body each touched at different times, relating those to themselves as dancers. This was energetic, scary, at times looked dangerous, but beautiful too, full of passion.
At one point the woman fell off the stage in such a convincing way we all gasped. Then she climbed back in apparent pain and described the time falling really did happen, and also what about falling in other ways? Daring, ambiguous, at times hilarious, and often a beautiful dance, even with violent undertones, overtones and the tension of the piece. Nathaniel and Daniel were the dancers, I think, if I heard correctly, if anyone has their surnames please let me know.

An opera singer sang La Boheme with the piano played too by another fine musician. This opera singer wore a black corset, green skirt with black ruffles, a blue flower in her hair and sang there before us. In ashort interview after this glory, Erica (her real name) explained she trained in opera and she likes to sing opera, "...out of place, in a place, and this is one of those places." Our good fortune to hear such expertise and beauty in an everyday, albeit excellent, theatre.

Lady Trinese, (please inform me if any spellings are incorrect, I was scribbling away frantically in the semi-dark and I do not get paid for this, so cannot spare time for extra research), yes, so Lady Trinese in a spectacular yellow polka dot dress to the floor with pointy shoulders higher than her hair, (which was a confection of wispy light red and the size of a small shrub), well she wore killer gold platform shoes. Lady Trinese lip synced with extra-oomph. “Better prepare for when I'm a lady fair.” “I want a real....” The comic effects and pathos were devastating, the effect being a mix of shock and humour. It was like somebody miming to a radio song from way back, a lovely distant crackle in the sound, her glitter lipstick and glitter eyeshadow under brow gave the whole performance a little bit extra, all that light sparkling. I felt completely absorbed and reacted the whole time. Mesmerising. We all were entranced and in action, the packed house in an uproar.

After intermission some people inflated a few condoms, festively bouncing them around. Condoms were provided free on the table. Love Your Condom. Anyone can catch AIDS who has unprotected sex. You have to truly trust your partner to have unprotected sex. Straight, bi-sexual, gay, everyone needs to.... Why are we still saying this? 

HIV and AIDS is increasing, please take care out there darlings.

Anyway, at our table we got so excited, also talking about the film Cabaret. O Liza was a sensation in that, wasn't she? Great story too. 

Hey Big Spender then suddenly booms through the system and two male dancers with bare brown chests and arms appeared. I felt sure I remembered them from Black Grace. Hula skirts to the floor made of white tulle and pink flowers girdling their waists. Their performance ADDED at least ten years to my life. 
They are life-giving, I swear it.
Akoranga Dance Company and that dance was Papatuanuku.
These dancers had just flown in from overseas, where they work lately performing.

The whole thaaang evolved into a fabulous poi competition, with audience members taking the stage. Attempting with long white poi to look excellent after a few wines, hmmm, it was hilarious and then miraculous. The winner a true star.

Next, poignant and poetic, Mumbai Monologues worked as a low-key rather deep piece. Piano provided a background, tinkly lovely, complex sounds. The others appeared to listen while one another spoke. At the end the applause was so loud it sounded like the ocean. 

Three men in suits sang beautifully “He's got a way…” “I can't live without him anyway.” Songs For Guy shall be on for only four nights. 
Go and melt and reform as someone else, better, more in tune, free of angst.
Glorious singing, lovely men, stylish dressers, relaxed, poised, generous with their voices. Loved them.

Then in my notebook I've written, EIGHTEEN BEAUTIFUL LOVE STORIES Why? No idea. But maybe the whole evening felt that way? We floated out of there.

“If there's a wrong way to lose….” “...nobody does it like me...” Lola La Bomb our MC's song finale. So rocking it felt like we lifted from the Earth and railed on into outer space.

Auckland Council sponsored this event. Good on them.

Some of the inflated condoms were kicked and popped as people walked out. These are delicate things in some ways so take care with yours, do. Always ensure the condom is not ripped or damaged or past its use-by date.

My hugely cheeky daughter told me that I should say something crazy now. What she said was far too over-the-top. Where does she get this behaviour from? It did make me laugh at the time, but now....

A woman with red wings is walking towards the house. This appears perfectly normal.

GO TO TAPAC and to PRIDE FESTIVAL events.  Glorious.

Any comments welcome. *hugs*

Circus Performer c. 1950

I was given tickets to review the Queer Cabaret. I genuinely did enjoy it, however, and anyone who knows me knows I usually have no need to pretend I like anything, nor visa versa.

Please plant Trees for Travel to cover your carbon cost.  Australia needs them, for instance.  Trees for Life are a fine organisation.


No comments:

Post a Comment