Theatre review: ‘Gorge’ by Virginia Frankovich & Phoebe Mason
Walking into a ‘fairyland’ of gluttony made me reminisce my childhood birthday parties. A space over-flowing with green jelly, decadent cupcakes, salty popcorn, chelsea buns, chocolate cornflake slice, iced-pink biscuits & sugar aplenty – a feast for queens and the audience, of course. I did not see the first season of ‘Gorge’ that showcased at Auckland Fringe Festival in March 2013 – however it was worth the wait. ‘Gorge’ is storytelling at its finest – about gluttony. Virginia Frankovich and Phoebe Mason were majestically outstanding as they played different characters, engaged with the audience, stimulated our imagination and questioned our relationship with sugar. Apparently ‘we are what we eat’. I love sugar – don’t you? Give me some tiramisu any day. I applaud the ‘Gorge’ girls. See you again in 2016.
Filming ‘Refugee’: Behind The Scenes
Director: Melissa Fergusson
DOP: Tim Butler-Jones
1st AD/Sound Tech: Rob Ipsen
Location Manager: John Blackman
MUA: Angela Crumpe
Hair Designer: Jordan Camilleri
Stylist: Melissa Fergusson
Refugee: Rebecca Parr
Psych patient: Gaby Turner
Counsellor: Rob Ipsen
Foreigner: John Blackman
Dealer: Baz Te Hira
John: Rhys Collier
Featured extras: Laura Ehlen-Wilson, Olliver Fergusson, Hudson Turner, Cooper Turner
Special thanks to Katherine Hair, The Rose Centre, John Blackman, Paper Bag Princess, Love Your Condom, Splice, Four Eyes Media & Donna Banichevic-Gera x
#Yelp Event: So Fresh & So Clean
Yelp Auckland – you did good. Thievery studio is an understated, urban, artist’s ‘dream space’ for photographers (namely Garth Badger), filmmakers, event producers, fashion designers and anyone wanting a creative hideaway on the infamous Karangahape Road. Attending ‘So Fresh & So Clean’ last night was an outstanding event showcasing ‘Honey Trap’ (Hummingbird Cake & Mini chicken club sandwiches), ‘Cocoloco’ (Pure coconut water & Spiced Stolen Rum with coconut water) – truely orgasmic. ‘Room by Room’ (affordable & accessible) interior design consultation, who gave away gorgeous cacti wrapped in recycled brown paper. ‘Invivo’ sampling delicious red wine, ‘Garage Project’ with their array of craft beer from Te Aro, ‘Antipodes’ sparkling & flat water that I can never drink enough of. ‘Bird on a Wire’ with paleo-style fare. The dip was heaven. ‘Little Eats’ was sampling a deconstructed creme brûlée-like sweet & a bite size spicy pastrami treats, ‘Bluebells Cakery’ offered ginger crunch, chocolate brownie, mini jammy donuts & more gastronomy! I drunk the Clasico & Rose Cava and nibbled on most of the above. The highlight was the Spiced Stolen Rum Cocoloco, the carefully positioned life-size zebra mounted on the wall, ‘Honey Trap’ clubs and Yelp for always exceeding my expectations – Yelp me!
Review: Junk & Disorderly
‘Junk & Disorderly’ is a second-hand shoppers’ haven: inundated with everything vintage including timeless books, kitsch ornaments, old-school pails, rocking horses, dainty tables, mannequins, crockery, 1970’s sofas and the kitchen sink. Serious. I absolutely adore this oversized jumble-sale – that favours the consumer. I have purchased, borrowed and browsed this awe-inspiring warehouse for days without boredom. Parking is a dream; located in the heart of Northcote – go and find some treasure now or miss out.
Review: First Scene (Fancy Dress)
Are you having a fancy dress party? This is the place to venture to – if so. Word. Whether it’s an Elizabethan gig and you’re looking for ruffs, pantaloons, jerkins, corsets, queens & kings wigs – they have this covered. Or maybe you’re after Bollywood attire? I have indeed hired ruffs, tutus, props, wigs and costuming from First Scene. It’s rather overwhelming place to visit – so make sure you ask someone for assistance – if you’re short on time. I particularly like the selection of false eyelashes, theatre makeup and their shoe selection. All the staff are suitably friendly and helpful. Based just over the hill from Kingsland’s Main Street (shops and cafes) so very convenient and centrally located with parking right outside the building. Cool. Majestic. Transformative. Check it out.
Interactive Art: Don’t Talk To Strangers
Recently, I went to this intriguing art exhibition called ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ at Bridge Gallery Studio, off Karangahape Road. When I arrived after 10am (opening time), there was no one there, and was alerted to a note in the window to call a mobile – in this instance. I went away and returned 30 minutes later to find a welcoming young French woman who offered me tea. I declined, after just having coffee. There was a collection of eclectic objects on tin shelves, that all had a hand-written (personal) story attached, ranging from a thimble, painting, nail set, dried flower, postcard, book and so forth.
“Attendees can choose an existing object from the gallery to take home with them, in a sort of trade-like marketplace. Participants are also given the opportunity to write a small note to accompany their object, sharing its past, or its significance for its former owner. It’s all very sentimental.”
I wrote my note and left my object after discussing the content on the shelves (and their previous owners) with the curator. I always speak to strangers, including today when I asked a complete stranger to jump over my fence, as I had accidentally locked myself out of my house. Sometimes gifts are warranted, other times a kind exchange of words is ample for an ever-lasting memory.
Strangers can shape our world and alter our mood – for the better.
Interview with L.Y.C (Love Your Condom): Ricky Te Akau
1. When/why was LYC initiated?
L.Y.C is a community-focused programme designed to create a condom culture across Aotearoa New Zealand. L.Y.C encourages all gay and bisexual men to use condoms and lube every time they have sex. It is a sexy, upbeat call to ‘love your condom’. ‘Love your condom’ is about moving us past all those lame excuses not to be safe, and inspires us to not just tolerate, but love the sexy confidence that comes with condom covered cocks.
L.Y.C recognises that gay and bisexual men, the people most at risk of HIV, are influenced by their partners, whānau, friends, colleagues, employers and the environment in which they live. While it is essential that L.Y.C reaches and affects all gay and bisexual men living in Aotearoa New Zealand, it is also necessary to reach the people who can support, influence and enable gay and bisexual men to use condoms and lube every time they have anal sex. L.Y.C. Was originally launched in 2009 in it’s first iteration as ‘Get It On!’.
2. What is your role at NZAF?
I am the Social Marketing Coordinator Maori and look after aspects of online and mass media of L.Y.C. with a particular focus on Takatāpui and their whanau.
3. What is your opinion on sex work?
I believe in choices especially choices that empower individuals and allow lives to be lived and no judgements be made. As the old adage says sex work is the oldest profession and has been happening since the dawn of time . . . I think the stigma attached to sex work and workers is a new one.
4. Do you know the current statistics of HIV/AIDS in NZ?
The best place for the most up to date information would be to visit our website at NZAF http: http://www.nzaf.org.nz/
5. What services do NZAF & LYC offer?
Again all our NZAF services are listed on our website with LYC being the social marketing arm that promotes safe sexy times and being empowered in making the right decisions.
6. How could other people in society support NZAF?
There are no boundaries to assisting NZAF be it with your time in volunteering or through donating in a monetary sense. Our doors are always open.
7. What other organisations do NZAF work with?
The list is endless! We work with and support various organisations who likewise support LGBTQI and heterosexual people in either HIV prevention, people living with HIV and those who are there for assistance.
8. Tell me about the last World HIV/AIDS conference you attended in Melbourne last month?
Melbourne was an amazing opportunity to be able to see what other countries are doing in research, prevention and assistance for those affected directly and indirectly with HIV/AIDS. Some 15,000 passionate people from around the world attended and this brought about effective networking, sharing and valuable knowledge.
9. Why do you think HIV/AIDS is still so stigmatized in modern society?
The lack of knowledge around transmission and those that are affected by it. More education around the epidemic is needed and with this would come greater acceptance.
10. What do you think of the word ‘WHORE’?
The word has been bandied around for years and is inexplicably connected with prostitution . . . and in this sense is used in a derogatory way. I’m not one for name calling . . . and don’t think WHORE is an offensive word.
Interview With NZPC Founder, Sex Work Activist & Former Sex Worker: Catherine Healy
1. When/Why did you establish NZPC?
We established NZPC in 1987 to support each other and to address the illegality of our work in the face of police arrests and the potential of HIV to affect our work. We were determined to make conditions related to our work safer and had to to build awareness that legislative change was needed for this to happen.
2. Do you directly work with sex workers’ Catherine?
Most of my work involves direct work with sex workers on a daily basis.
3. What is your stance on underage sex work?
NZ shifted its focus to one of protecting sex workers who are under the age of 18, as opposed to one of prosecuting these young people. This used to be the case before the law changed in 2003.
4. Do you know the current statistics of sex workers in NZ?
I’m aware there are thousands of people who are either sex workers, or who have been sex workers, and who live and work quietly in New Zealand. There are many more people who pay sex workers.
5. What services do NZPC offer?
We focus on working safely, and supporting sex workers to access relevant information which can assist them to do this. People who are considering sex work approach NZPC as do those who want to move away from sex work. We support all.
6. How could other people in society support NZPC?
We are aware there are many individuals and organisations who support NZPC by referring those sex workers who may not know about us, to us. This is important support.
7. What other organisations do NZPC work with besides Women’s Refuge?
We work with a tremendous variety of organisations from Family Planning Association to Sexual Health Services to the NZ AIDS Foundation as well as government organisations.
8. Tell me about your involvement in decriminalizing prostitution in NZ? This bill was passed in 2003?
NZPC was instrumental in pushing for the decriminalisation of sex work. I first presented to a select committee as a representative of NZPC calling for this change in 1989. Decriminalisation of sex work has improved the occupational safety and health of sex workers throughout NZ. Street based sex workers were most frequently arrested and convicted of soliciting and it was a demeaning experience.
9. Why do you think ‘sex work’ is still so stigmatized in modern society?
Sex work is stigmatised because non sex workers are not really listening to the diverse voices of sex workers, and are only happy when sex work is depicted as a horrible “empty” experience. Sex workers would say it’s a lot of different kinds of experiences and want to be treated normally, and not as some problem to be fixed.
10. What do you think of the word ‘WHORE’?
WHORE is understood by sex workers to mean, “We Honour Ourselves with Respect and Empowerment.” It is a word which has been reclaimed by sex workers everywhere.
Interview with Violinist: Etienne Bizjak
1. When/how did you discover your ‘love’ of music?
When I (first) heard my father play the violin. I was about 5 years old. That made me feel a real ‘intense’ moment of happiness.
2. Where do you get your inspiration from?
From my emotions and feelings. Life hands me experiences, which I communicate through my music.
3. How long have you been playing the violin?
For 20 years…
4. How did you come by the name ‘Twistin’ the Swing’?
Twistin’ the Swing is the young brother of Fever Swing. A cover band that Mike and I created when we started to play Gyspy swing music. After two years playing together, we needed something fresh to bring our original music to the public. It’s really hard to think of a name! We are really bad at it. I remember that we wanted something ‘original’ which doesn’t sound like a cover band. Swing is the kind of music we (still) play. Twistin’ because we liked the word, and that brings the idea of something distorted.
5. Tell me more about your last gig with WHORE?
I went to see the play three times because my friend is one of the characters. I met all the actors, Melissa and the rest of the team and felt a really good connection with them. So at Lot23, we naturally played music and hope to collaborate again soon.
6. Who would you like in your next or future audience? Universal records?
I don’t expect anyone in particular. I’d like to see anyone (really) who I can entertain, and also make them happy while listening to us.
7. Any influences?
Stephane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt, Alexandre Cavalière and many others!
8. What is the most interesting thing about you?
I am an aerospace engineer.
9. Do you eat breakfast?
Sometimes. I love having breakfast, however it depends of what I have to eat (in the house) and what time I get up!
10. What makes you smile?
A lot of differents things. I try to smile (all the time) because it makes life a little easier. I notice when I busk on the street, people smile which makes me feel really content. Hopefully I brightened their day – this makes my music meaningful.
Blikfang Event: Artists Speak Out
Recently I was invited to attend an artist event at ‘Blikfang Art & Antiques’ which is a hybrid gallery, shop and museum located in Northcote. The space is brimming with ‘Alice in Wonderland’ mirrors, captivating pieces of art by Rita Angus, June Black, Sheridan Keith, Gretl Barzotto and beautiful objects displayed in an intoxicating fashion.
The talented speakers included William Dart (Editor, Art New Zealand), Shonagh Koea (Author, ‘Landscape With Solitary Figure), Evan Woodruffe (Artist currently showing at OrexArt), Eve de Castro-Robinson (Composer of the Len Lye Opera) and Nina Seja (Art Historian, Author of Photoforum: Counterculture, Clusters and Debate in New Zealand). The MC was Michael Smythe: engaging and erudite. The standout for me was Shonagh Koea, who spoke off the cuff and read from her book with ease: enthralling the audience with her (human) storytelling. All the speakers were stimulating and informative with their content, leaving us all with a wealth of knowledge and delight. There was supper on hand afterwards, a glass of wine or sparkling water, colourful conversation and a room with a (majestic) view.