Archive for the ‘Films & shows’ Category

Meeting a friend for lunch in Worcester Boulevard gave me an ideal opportunity to take a guided tour of the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu at 11am.  We were a group of four, with Donna, a volunteer, to guide us.  First we viewed John Stezaker’s “Lost World”.  This artist makes collages in the old-fashioned way, cutting and pasting.  He works mainly with vintage film stills and old postcards.  Some of these I found disturbing as people’s faces were replaced with landscapes.  I was more attracted by his gender-blending portraits where two images are cleverly melded into one:

Another current exhibition is “Closer” where ten of the Gallery’s best-loved paintings are given new explanations.  These include the intriguing “In the Wizard’s Garden” by George Dunlop Leslie.

These daily free tours are a great way to learn about what’s currently on show, and I intend to go again.

“These guides do not receive a salary
they do it cos they love the gallery.”



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Too wet today for a beach walk, so we visited COCA instead.  They currently have an exhibition called “Fieldwork” by Peter Robinson which consists of sculptural objects made from wood, metal, magnets, etc.  Some are attractive:

Others are difficult to comprehend, or indeed to find. Apparently there are 65 objects in the upstairs gallery, some up high, some tiny pieces on the floor.  We didn’t count how many we’d seen.  A staff member told us she checks several times a day to ensure they’re all there and intact.

We did find all 14 objects on the ground floor, including some inside the toilet area.  The idea is that the pieces give a new perspective of the gallery spaces, and they reflect images of nature.

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COCA has a coffee bar on the ground floor, where I enjoyed a hot chocolate for only four dollars.  My companion had an iced coffee and was surprised that it was served with a plastic straw.  Hopefully these are being phased out.

Altogether this was a good way to spend a wet Sunday morning.

“There’s objects scattered all around
but most of them we think we found.”

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Welcome Wicked

What an enjoyable evening we had at “Wicked”!  The story is a prequel to “The Wizard of Oz”, and I was glad I’d read a synopsis beforehand.  If I hadn’t I may have found it difficult to follow the story.

Photos are forbidden during the performance, but I was able to capture the map of Oz which filled the stage beforehand.  (I also captured a friend who sat two rows in front of us – hi Fi!)

The performance was wickedly wonderful.  Great costumes, great dancing, singing, and music.  The two women who played the lead roles were excellent, as were all the other Showbiz performers.  Sometimes the volume made it hard to decipher all the words of a song, but that’s a minor quibble.  None of the songs were familiar to me and I found myself wishing to hear the familiar tunes for “The Wizard of Oz”, which would have fitted in so well.  Maybe I’ll look for them on YouTube.

The season is only two weeks, finishing 21 April, so if you haven’t already booked you need to be quick.

“This show is wonderful because
it’s all set in the land of Oz.”

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The Chinese Lantern Festival marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.  The lanterns will be lit tonight and tomorrow from 6pm, and are along the river between the Worcester Street Bridge and the Bridge of Remembrance.  Even unlit in the daytime they make a colourful display well worth seeing.  I was pleased that in this Year of the Dog a Border Collie featured in one of the displays.

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“This year is the Year of the Dog
you may see flamingoes and frog.”

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Feminism Failure?

“All About Women” was a livestream broadcast from the Sydney Opera House, shown free at the Christchurch Art Gallery Auditorium yesterday afternoon.

The first session was “Grabbing Back: Women in the age of Trump” and the panel included Fran Liebowitz, the only one of the day’s speakers I had heard of before.  One comment I noted (not sure from whom) was that “Republicans only care about life from conception to birth.  After that, you’re on your own.”

The second session about the #me too movement featured movement founder Tarana Burke and Australian journalist Tracey Spicer.

The third session was “Suffragettes to Social Media: Waves of Feminism” with a panel of four women each speaking about a particular wave.   Historian Barbara Caine spoke of the first wave, and how at early suffrage meetings only pretty women were allowed to sit at the front of the hall.  The suffragettes, who took dramatic action and made the campaign more urgent, were a group of only a few hundred, while the suffragists numbered thousands.

Anne Summers spoke of the second wave (1960s and 1970s), and how many of its progressive reforms were reversed in Australia by John Howard’s Government.

The third wave (1990s) was represented by Rebecca Walker who spoke of how many young women were disconnected from feminism.  They didn’t want to identify as feminist and felt the label was divisive.  Third wave feminists were different from the first and second wave in that they focussed on similarities and equality for all, not just gender equality.  Intersectionality, which acknowledges that all oppressions are connected, is needed to keep feminism relevant.

Nakkiah Lui spoke for the Millenial fourth wave.   An aboriginal woman, she talked of decolonisation and how silence empowers the oppressor.  A feminist future is a possibility if change includes everyone.

The panel agreed that rich men have to get used to the fact that not everything is for them.  A question about the importance of art in bringing about change brought the response that art has as much impact as political work, and cannot be reversed.

I enjoyed all the presentations and found the experience similar to a Feminist Studies lecture, but was surprised and disappointed at the tiny size of the Christchurch audience.  The Sydney Opera House was sold out for at least one of the live sessions, but there were only a dozen people in the large Christchurch theatre.  I wonder whether the sponsors will bother doing anything similar next year, and hope there were more at the livestream broadcast at Auckland War Memorial Museum.

“I thought that more would have been there
perhaps they opted for fresh air.”

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Sustaining Sisterhood

Last night I experienced a wave of feminist energy that I haven’t felt for a long time.  This was a session of Shared Snood where the theme was “When life gives you orange bigots: Active methods of smashing the partriarchy.”  The group of about 30 were mainly young artists, and included several men.  The variety of coloured hair made me hanker for the days when mine was purple or blue.  I met new friends and felt totally included despite being the oldest person there.

The first speaker, Danielle O’Halloran focussed on decolonisation and I was strongly reminded of a weekend workshop on Structural Analysis of Racism led by Ripeka Evans, back in 1984.  For me, that had been a transformative experience.  Danielle pointed out that before we can understand the system we need to know ourselves and each other, and to share our personal stories.  She asked us to introduce ourselves in groups of two or three so we could identify our connections.  This process is so familiar, yet one I rarely encounter these days.

The second speaker was Gemma Syme of Fantasing who talked of their radical action.

Third was Alice Anderson, an impressive young woman who led us through a meditation reminiscent of the Dances of Universal Peace, which demonstrated how we might smash the patriarchy.  She went on to speak confidently and inspiringly of how she lives her dream.

This was an evening of stimulation and inspiration such as I have not experienced in many years.  It felt nostalgic, reminding me of the energy in protests for peace, reproductive choice, homosexual law reform, and taking back the night.  It’s wonderful to know that such feminism is alive and active in Christchurch.  I’m aware that I may never have known about it if I hadn’t been linked on Facebook.  The BBC Woman’s Hour is my main contact with feminism these days, and I’m thrilled to know that discussions like these are taking place much closer to home.  I’m looking forward to the free session “All About Women” at the Art Gallery this Sunday, and I’ve joined a Facebook group of Christchurch Feminist Poets.

“The Sisterhood’s alive and well
and surely it is bound to swell.”



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This week’s Lazy Sunday concert featured the All Girl Big Band, and they were great.  It’s wonderful to see and hear so many women playing brass instruments, and playing them so well.

As I entered the Gardens I got a free hug.  The young woman said she’s done this a few times.  She just wants to “spread the love around”.

On the Archery Lawn we met a couple of people dressed as animals – all adding to the fun of the afternoon.

“A summer Sunday’s time for fun
with something to suit everyone.”


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