Archive for the ‘Films & shows’ Category

The Natural Magic Pirates were the entertainment at today’s Holy Trinity Parish Fair in Avonside.  They are an inspired choice for an event like this, always entertaining with songs to suit everyone.  I’ve engaged them in the past for Volunteer Picnics, and would heartily recommend them.

Please note the creative percussion instrument played by the pirate on the left.

We bought a couple of DVDs (Stephen) and a couple of jigsaws (me), and met our newly elected M.P. for Christchurch Central.  It was good to be able to congratulate him on now being part of the Government.

Afterwards I intended to visit the Eastside Gallery‘s latest exhibition, but found they weren’t open until 12 noon (sorry, Robyn).

“The Pirates are a top notch band
with entertainment that is grand.”


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This is a photo of me at Scott Base – well almost.  It was taken at Canterbury Museum at a viewing of Guy Frederick’s exhibition ‘Postcards to Antarctica‘, where visitors are invited to have their photo taken against an Antarctic background, and then share their ‘icy postcard’.   The exhibition includes photos and videos that Guy took during his week on the ice, as well as postcards written by people who were working there.  It’s situated on Level 3, right outside the permanent Antarctic display.  It’s years since I’ve looked at this, and I was amazed to rediscover the wealth of artifacts there, covering over a hundred years of polar exploration.

“Explorers sailed on the high sea
to find a continent that’s icy.”


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Yesterday I participated in a Seder (Passover) meal with a difference.  This was “Yom Tov”, staged by the Positive Deviance Theatre Company from Auckland.  Judged the Best Newcomer at the 2017 Auckland Fringe Festival they offer theatre that is particpatory and immersive.  Entry to this performance was by edible koha, i.e. it was a pot luck kosher meal.    Our hands were ritually washed before we entered the dining room where the table was set with candles and flowers, and a half orange at each place.

We learned the reason for the oranges was because at a feminist Judaism Conference a woman gave a speech asking why women were not allowed to practice as Rabbis.  A man heckled from the audience saying: “Women belong as Rabbis as much as an orange belongs on the Seder plate”.  Thus began the tradition of putting an orange on the Seder plate to acknowledge the inclusion of all genders and sexualities at the Seder table.

The meal began with the breaking of matzah bread.  The three matzah represent the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  During the course of the meal we were served four cups of wine (actually grape juice) which represent the matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.  The traditional story of the Jews leaving Egypt was told, with graphic depictions of the plagues.  The young cast members sang, improvised, and made the whole experience great fun.  This was theatre with a difference, modern and edgy.

“A very different kind of meal
served with theatrical appeal.”



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The National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art’s production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” was different!  Apparently the casting was gender neutral, which meant all students could audition for all roles.  Many of the main roles (Caesar, Brutus, Cassius) were played by women.  Calpurnia and Portia were played by men, as was Mark Anthony.  All this meant that familiar words needed to be changed – she for he, woman for man, etc, and at first I found this confusing.

The students did very well, but some of the voices were not clear, and this was sometimes exacerbated by speaking too quickly and/or having a drum beat in the background.  The clearest speaker was the woman who played Cassius, so congratulations to her.  Mark Anthony was fine, but he missed one line of the funeral speech (‘The good is oft interred with their bones”) – a pity as this is surely one speech most people know.  The crowd scenes were very well done, and gave scope for many students to be involved.

Julius Caesar curtain call

The play was at the YMCA’s Papa Hou Theatre, which was previously the site for the Spectrum Street Art Festival.  Vestiges of the festival were still obvious, and I suspect mobility access might be a problem.  There’s a lift at the other end of the building, but a YMCA escort would be needed to get people from there to the theatre.

We had drinks beforehand at DUO which is also part of the YMCA complex.

DUO bar

I enjoy any Shakespeare production, and was glad to support these students.  The show continues until Friday.

“Shakespeare writes great rhyming verse
and mine is surely not much worse.”

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Hakui showcases the wonderful women of Kai Tahu.  There are taoka and interactive elements, together with photos, stories, and whakapapa of fifty amazing women who are all part of our local heritage.  We were privileged to be among the crowd at the opening night, where the speeches (all by men!) were followed with waiata and kapa haka.

It was hard to take in the exhibition with so many people there, but I will definitely return for a closer look.  Last evening was an opportunity to re-connect with some people I haven’t seen for a while.  A further visit will allow me to absorb more of the stories of these wahine.  Interesting that this exhibition coincides with a long overdue apology to the people of Parihaka.

Kai Tahu women claim their place
seen here with dignity and grace.”



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The new Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities at the Arts Centre is well worth a visit.  Its is renowned for having the best teaching collection of classical vases in the Southern Hemisphere, and the red and black Greek vases, all at least 2,000 years old, are certainly amazing.  This grave monument, dated about 320BC may have held the ashes of a deceased male:

The current exhibition is titled “We Could Be Heroes: The Gods and Heroes of the Ancient Greeks and Romans’, and I was pleasantly surprised to find there were many images of Goddesses among them, Amazons, Medusa, Athena, Hygieia, even the transgender Kaineus.  There are two beautiful Syrian mosaics in the floor including this dog:

I was interested that one funeral urn had a modern plug in it, and was told it was there to minimise upward movement in case of an earthquake.  There were nice touches of humour in the explanatory notes, e.g. an image of Nike/Victoria on a coin minted by a Roman Emperor to celebrate victory in a battle which was not in fact fought until the following year.

The curators have carefully included the fact that these ancient heroes still resonate today.  The exhibition includes a couple of Asterix books (one in Latin), and a costume from “Xena Warrior Princess” on loan from Te Papa:

The exhibition is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 3pm, and is free, although donations are welcomed.  It’s a good size, not overwhelming as some large museums can be.  Apparently what’s on display now is only one quarter of the collection, and the exhibition will be changed twice a year.

“This set of Roman art and Greek
is in our hemisphere unique.”

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At  a concert last week I was surprised when the person introducing the artist used ‘um’ a number of times.  In this role you expect someone to be a confident public speaker.  If they don’t know what they’re going to say they could have it written on a piece of paper and read it.  That would be better than using ‘um’.

This morning I listened to a podcast of an interview with Jeremy Corbyn, and was disappointed to hear him also using ‘um’.   He appeared to not be fully prepared for the interview, which in his position is inexcusable.  I’d rather see Labour in Government in the U.K. than the Tories, but after hearing this I see how unlikely that is.

For people in public life training in public speaking is vital.  In the 1990s I benefitted greatly from being a member of Tecorian Speakers.

I learned a lot, and also had fun.  I still remember an Avon Tecorians A.G.M. as the most enjoyable I’ve every been to (we played charades).  Tecorian clubs still meet in Hornby, Rangiora, and Darfield, but sadly the inner city clubs have disappeared.  One reason I was attracted to Tecorians was the fact that they were entirely New Zealand based.  Similar training can be found at Toastmasters, but they are an international group based in the U.S.

The only time ‘um’ has been acceptable was in this 1964 recording by Major Lance.  Do you remember that?

“There’s no excuse for the Um word
if your message is to be heard.”


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