Archive for the ‘Films & shows’ Category

A clever exhibition Carpe Librum ‘Seize the Book’ was part of the Word Festival.  It’s on show at Ara Institute (formerly CPIT) Artbox in Madras Street until Friday.  Some of the works by Ara students and staff were made from decommissioned books from Ara’s library.

By Deborah Marshall

By Deborah Marshall

Deborah Marshall, photography tutor, sent her book out and asked those who picked it up to take a photo of themselves with it, then pass it on.

Dinner is served by Bruce Aitken

Dinner is served by Bruce Aitken


by Penny Jamieson

by Penny Jamieson

Penny Jamieson made a beautiful new book in a clamshell box.

by Carol King

by Carol King

Carol King’s offering used a book called ‘The Utilisation of Wood Waste’ and included a toilet roll holder.

'Bang Bang Bang' by Henry Sunderland

‘Bang Bang Bang’ by Henry Sunderland

The bullets in Henry Sunderland’s work were labelled Google, Facebook, and YouTube.

“It’s good to go and have a look
see what they can do with a book.”

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Bust (Small)

‘Feminism and Popular Culture’ was the title of Saturday morning’s session at WORD.  Debbie Stoller is the co-founder and editor of Bust magazine, and the author of the Stitch n Bitch books.  There were more men at this session – at least ten – but they all appeared to be there with a female partner.  The session opened with an inquiry as to whether anyone had brought their knitting.

Bust magazine (“for women with something to get off their chests’) has been published since 1993 and just produced its 100th issue.  The aim is to publish the truth and variety about women – ‘girlie feminism’.  Debbie spoke of the difficulty of producing a feminist magazine in print and said they need to ‘pull themselves up by their brastraps every day’.  There is no money in feminism, and a hard copy magazine is considered retro and vintage these days.  She spoke of how they started by doing the layout by hand, copying by xerox, and stapling the sheets together.  I was reminded of my days editing the Values Party Linkletter (doing layout with removable cow gum), and the early days of Broadsheet. 

Debbie talked about how those working in the private sphere, e.g. stay-at-home mothers, get no public recognition, but these days they can start a ‘lifestyle’ blog with photos, and this transforms their work into something more satisfying.  People in the public eye used to be afraid to say they were feminists, for fear of backlash, but nowadays celebrities are afraid not to be feminist because of possible backlash.  She pointed out that the myth that feminists are ‘ugly and hate men’ goes right back to suffrage days.  Many issues are too complex to be discussed on Twitter, and there is no real arena available to explore issues affecting women.  These days mainstream media is the site of change and power, where once it was politics.

It was interesting to hear a younger woman talk about today’s feminist issues.  Most of my feminist friends are in their sixties or older, and I sometimes wonder where the young feminists are.  There is no feminist magazine in Aotearoa since Broadsheet ceased in 1997.  The Hand Mirror is a local blog which discussed feminist issues, and there must be more?  Debbie said that while women may now be able to make choices, they are still making them within a sexist society, and just being able to make a choice doesn’t mean you’re a feminist.  She wondered whether the fact that we can say anything is feminist may mean that feminism will die.  Having a satisfying paid career is often seen as the aim for women, but that comes from a male culture,  We need to re-value and re-consider the things that come from a female culture, e.g. knitting and cooking.

Asked about the U.S. Presidential election Debbie said that although she had supported Bernie Sanders she would be voting for Hilary Clinton, because the U.S. system means people are obliged to vote strategically ‘for the lesser evil‘.

“Feminist future seems to me
to be uncertain as can be.”



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Waiting for WORD (Small)

Dame Fiona Kidman was the focus of my first session at WORD Writers and Readers Festival this morning.  Her latest book All Day at the Movies follows some characters from Songs from the Violet Cafe.  It’s about being a woman in New Zealand, and covers six decades.  Various chronological signposts of NZ social history are referenced to show how politics and circumstances affect individual lives, and the book also explores issues around pregancny and adoption.  It ends optimistically and Fiona hopes it may help readers to think about how they react to people who’ve been in difficult circumstances.  Fiona spoke of how her characters have a powerful presence in her imagination, and by the time she writes about them they’ve developed their own voice.  This was reinforced in a later session The Power of Poetry where she read her poem This Change in the Light.

Fiona writes in many different genres.  Her preference is for short stories, but these are not always practical and writing in different genres brings more income.  For instance two months of writing TV scripts can bring as much as two years of writing novels.  She sees poetry as the joyful side of writing, somewhere you can express yourself spontaneously without thinking of the audience.

How are we doing, Christchurch? was a panel session with five people who’ve been involved in the earthquake recovery process.  This reinforced how far we have still to go, and how little those outside Christchurch understand our experience.  For me the key message was the need for locals to decide for ourselves how we’re feeling, not to be told by outsiders how “resilient” we are.  There is widespread lack of trust in institutions, and creative growth is being stifled by bureaucracy, fear, and exhaustion.  It seems some children are hopeful for the future, and perhaps the best way forward is to build for them.

National Poetry Day Readings at Scorpio Books featured a number of excellent local poets, many of whom had studied at Hagley Writers’ Institute..

My final session for the day was The Power of Poetry where four of the best New Zealand poets and one Australian read some very powerful poetry, which was amazing to hear.  I especially enjoyed that of Selina Tusitala Marsh.  You can hear her reading Unity on Radio NZ.

WORD is a great place to catch up with friends, and I met several I hadn’t seen for years.  There are still two more days of WORD to go!

“We are so lucky to have WORD
and get our inspiration stirred.”



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Poi E: The Story of Our Song (image 1)

This is an uplifting film, moving and joyous.  It’s full of real people telling a true story of our history, plus it has that wonderful song.  Lots of music, dancing, and heartwarming anecdotes.  Don’t miss it.

If you want to know the words of the song, you can find them here.

We saw it at the independent Hollywood Cinema in Sumner.  A member of our group who has limited mobility arrived late, and the staff could not have been more helpful to her.  I doubt we would have had such wonderful service from other (chain) cinemas.

“This song brought Maori to the fore
our toes tapped and we wanted more.’

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Botanic D’Lights is sheer magical pleasure, with something for everyone (especially those who enjoy fairy lights). Trees are beautifully silhouetted:

Tree (Small)

There are lights on the river:

River Lights (Small)

Fairies, snowflakes, and toadstool rings, archways, changing colours, and imaginative artworks all combine to make this a spectacle not to be missed.  If you can’t get there in the evening I think it would be worth going in the daytime just to see some of the installations.  There are pink flamingoes in a pond (sadly my camera battery gave up before these) and giant nests with eggs in the herbaceous border.

Marshalls at various points all had radiant dreadlocks.  Although the temperature on Thursday evening was 0 degrees, there was no wind, and well-bundled up I didn’t feel cold.  In one area there were ghostly howls, and eyes peering out of the dark:

Trees with eyes (Small)

“I hope you won’t miss these D’Lights
with so many delightful sights.”



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Star Trek Beyond (Small)As a confirmed Trekkie I loved seeing all the old characters in their younger form.  While “The Next Generation” with Jean-Luc Picard will always be my favourite, this film is a worthy successor/prequel.  There is more violence than I’m used to in “Star Trek” and I sometimes had trouble following the vivid action, but the characters won me over, especially Spock ( who actually showed emotion) and Lieutenant Uhura.  I especially liked the cast taking turns at the end to intone “Space – the final frontier . . . . .”  Are you a “Star Trek” fan?

“I am a faithful Star Trek fan
fond of Jean-Luc and Vulcan Man.”

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Kate Sheppard and Teresa May have both been labelled as “difficult”.  It’s a term that tends to be used by men for any woman who won’t be silenced.

The first written evidence of patriarchal silencing of women is contained in the Lagash Code of 2350BCE.  One statute states that “if a woman says [text illegible…] to a man, her mouth is crushed with burnt bricks.”

Set for 'That Bloody Woman'

Set for ‘That Bloody Woman’

Court Theatre’s “That Bloody Woman” is an exhilarating and energetic depiction of Kate Sheppard, a woman who refused to be silenced, and was the leader of the movement which led to Aotearoa New Zealand being the first country to give women the vote (Yay!).  As well as bringing Kate to life in a personal and moving way, the show portrayed her two firm supporters Jennie Lovell Smith (wife of William whom Kate married after Jennie died), Ada Wells (the first woman elected to the Christchurch City Council in 1917), and her principal opposition, Richard (King Dick) Seddon.  The show is a punk rock musical, and perhaps the most entertaining number was the one where Jennie and Ada supplied the f-word, which Kate was too dignified to utter.  Their wonderful chorus of ‘F***, f***, f***ety, f***’ will certainly linger in many ears!

The music was loud.  I was disappointed that I couldn’t catch some words in the more raucous numbers, and wondered if they’d have been clearer at a lower volume.  The feminist vibe was wonderful.  No interval in this show, because it would have detracted from the high energy.  The season ends on 30 July, and seats are selling fast.

This morning came the news that Teresa May will be U.K. Prime Minister within a few days.  She too has been called difficult.

The last word on difficult women comes from U.K. poet, Helen Mort published in nowthenmagazine.com:

In London, it’s said you’re never more than 6 feet
from a difficult woman. Have you or a colleague

had a difficult woman in the last 6 months?
If so, you may be entitled to compensation.
Do you have difficulty with our questions?
Are you afraid you may be difficult yourself?

“So are we difficult if we
want equal opportunity?”



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