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.
After receiving an intriguing email, from ‘Farro Fresh’ about their up-and-coming “NZ Artisan Producers Festival” being held today – my foodie curiousness kicked-in.
I had previously purchased some Farro money, to the value of $20 in-store, as banknotes were unacceptable at the festival. This touch of fun, added to the community-feel and vibrance of the event.
Firstly, after securing a prime-positioned car park (within a stones-throw from the festival), I proceeded to the first welcoming artisan supplier. I tasted some delicious gratifying “Proper Hand-Cooked Crisps” in sea-salt that are made in Nelson. They are 100% natural, gluten-free, GMO-free and don’t leave you feeling guilty.
Right next door was “Catherine’s Block” wines from the Wairapa. Each (generous) serving was $5, poured by gregarious, smiley-faced staff that looked at me strangely, when I asked them if they have a twitter-handle. No they don’t – only Facebook and a website. No mentions or tweets on this occasion then!
From the $5 menu on offer; I decided to go with the pan-seared salmon fillet with kasundi & sheep yoghurt. Explosive flavours, great service, NZ salmon: sold, naturally. I also sampled a ‘kiwiana’ BBQ sirloin steak and rocket pride. The horseradish cream left my sinuses clear – that is for sure.
My pick of the “NZ Artisan Producers Festival” was the “Paleta” mini-ice blocks in Raspberries & cream. Served by Hayden, who spoke passionately and genuinely about their hand-crafted product: made from Fresh cream, Raspberries, Fresh milk, Organic cane sugar, Carob gum Natural flavour on a sustainable hoop-wood stick! So all-in-all: deliciousness and ice-block perfection.
After yelping, tweeting and instagramming – I left the festival with a tummy-full of contentedness.
This engaging platform/app called “Jelly” is a new way to search and seek information, through the knowledge of others, by connecting with your (social) networks: Facebook and Twitter.
Biz Stone (Twitter Cofounder) and Ben Finkel would like to “make the world a more empathetic place” to live.
After downloading the app, you take a photo of something and send your question out to your network, simply asking your friends and followers what/where/who it is.
Hot or not?
Last night I attended the first ‘Yelp’ Elite event in Auckland, along with 50 other yelpers that regularly review, check-in and tip about restaurants, cafes, bars and other cool, or not so cool places, to acquaint.
The difference with ‘Yelp’ is that it is a consumer-driven experience, so you are getting ‘real time’ reviews about people’s experience.
Mexico restaurant hosted the event, facilitating a ‘Margarita Masterclass’ which proved entertaining and interactive, to my betterment.
Yelp is a social media platform available on app or desktop, for you to voice your (personal) feedback – on all the places you visit, in 22 countries, to date.
It’s super cool.
Have we become too aloof, unfriendly, introverted or just never think about, who we live next door to anymore? I have not known my neighbour for years, even decades, literally.
What happened to (those days) when you introduced yourself to the person that just moved in, across the street, or the apartment that is a stone throw from yours. A simple ‘hello’ or ‘great to meet you’. Never happens, too busy maybe?
Now when I can’t find my friend in the house, I text her. No longer do I yell or persevere to look for them – I just pick up my smartphone, and type in what I need to know.
Crazy. So what has happened to the art of communication with our neighbours? Has this time expired?
Do you know your neighbour?
April Phillips is a well-known playwright in New Zealand. Her work (STiFF, Death & Taxe$, Killing Me Softly, Blue Eyes) has been performed across New Zealand, Australia and into London, since 2002. So, naturally I was delighted to attend the double-bill of ‘SNiP’ & ‘Bonking James Bond’, produced by Phoenix Theatre, at the Rose Centre, Auckland.
The production notes highlighted that both plays, were directed by first-time directors: Rob Holland and Mandy Kavanagh. Phillips’ plays were both 4 handers – 2 female and 2 male cast for each play – this felt deliberate to (possibly) balance the gender war.
‘SNiP’ opened with Frank (Gavin Lewis) and Jenny (Melissa Roberts) in bed. They appeared to be the ‘average’ married couple with 3 children, the youngest was still waking in the night. Jenny gave Frank an ultimatum, that he needed a vasectomy, if he wanted any more sex. He struggled with the decision to ‘snip’ his manhood, talking to the audience about his dilemma. Then in walks the ‘Don’ (Justin Grannall) who challenges Frank about relinquishing his virility. Don Corleone was obviously ‘The Godfather’, renown to most of us – voted one of the best films of all time.
Frank then meets with Dr Sam Smith (Debbie Mueller) to perform the procedure.
Engaging with the characters was difficult – due to all the blackouts. Frank (Gavin Lewis) lacked credibility, as he did not manage to share his inner turmoil, that he was experiencing. Losing our ‘reproductive organs’ is a life-changing event, that I did not share with Frank – on this occasion. Jenny (Melissa Roberts) is a strong-minded, unsympathetic woman, that will not take ‘no’ for an answer. She screams with emotion, when (probably) saying nothing at all – may have moved me more. Don (Justin Grannall) followed Frank around the stage, which looked awkward, however he had some great one liners, ‘You are more than the Godfather, you are a good father’. Dr Sam Smith (Debbie Mueller) could have been amazing, with more polish.
The (minimal) set doubles for both plays – a simple table, 2 chairs stage left, a double bed in the middle that represents the bedroom and a clothes rack. The sound was predominantly ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Walk the Line’ soundtrack. The lighting needs some work: less is more. I prefer lights up, for most of a performance, even set changes. Keeps it real – and interesting.
With more some tweaks, ‘SNiP’ has the potential to be a brilliant comedy.
‘Bonking James Bond’ opens with Betty (Helen Litterick), Jeffery (Ralph Duggan) her husband, and Penelope (Kate Regan) his mistress, talking in monologue about their physicality, their fantasies and their lives. Betty becomes aware that her husband is having an affair with Penelope. Betty speaks and works through all the hypothetical scenarios, of what she could do – or not. Jeffery is head-over-heels in lust, with Penelope who has big boobs, tiny waist and wears’ short skirts. Typically – he is having a mid-life crisis – after 20 years of marriage with Betty.
Betty then decides she will dapple in ‘reverse psychology’ (notes the program) to win her husband back. In the process, her imagination runs wild and we meet James Bond (Pedro Silva), who is her fantasy. Betty explores her womanhood: what her marriage is or not – and makes some radical discoveries.
There is a lot of comic timing in ‘Bonking James Bond’ that is executed fairly well. Betty (Helen Litterick) gives a brave performance, stripping on stage and (nearly) bears her soul.
Her husband, Jeffrey (Ralph Duggan) needs to be more charismatic and assertive, who is committing adultery, and in love with ‘Angelina Jolie’. Dreams are free.
Penelope (Kate Regan) appears confident, voluptuous and happy to be the ‘second’ woman. The affair was unbelievable: the connection was skin-deep. James Bond (Pedro Silva) walks about the stage rigidly and awkwardly, without any ‘Bond’ finesse. His attire is more convincing – and with more assured self-importance- Silva would be home and hose: mimicking Bond.
All in all – the direction of ‘SNiP’ and ‘Bonking James Bond’ evidently screams lack of experience. With more depth of character, both of these plays would be laugh out loud.