May 30, 2012


Reasons to love Bluebridge:
- it’s cheaper than the other options
- the Wellington terminal is right across from the train station (and the backpackers)
- free movies

Do you remember when Bluebridge first started taking passengers? Well, passengers that weren’t truck drivers. You might remember that they weren’t so fancy. Not so now. I was lucky enough to sail on the Straitsman, the newest ship in the Bluebridge fleet and on the Cooks Strait.

The Straitsman is beautiful, it reminded me of a cruise ship. And they even have cabins that you can book! (Or if you’re lucky, and some aren’t booked, get one for free). It is a huge step up from what I remember.

I was planning to nab one of those cabins on my return but was sadly on another boat. They still had free movies to entertain me the whole trip (the same movie on two screens – the other boat played different movies so you had a choice). My one complaint was that the toilets blocked on this sailing. Honestly, I think the passengers, me included, were too embarrassed to tell the staff otherwise it would’ve been fixed. I know people complain about the price of food but it is comparable to a cafĂ© on shore.

This was the first time I drove my car on the boat. As you can imagine I was nervous. Both terminals were very well organised though it is much easier at the purpose built terminal in Picton. They do a great job of working with what they have on the Wellington wharf. I was most worried about actually driving on the ship but whenever I wasn’t sure where I was meant to go a staff member would appear as if by magic.

Both sailings were fully booked full everyone was well behaved. We were lucky to not experience adverse weather or any delays that it could have caused.

The Bluebridge sails daily between Wellington and Picton
Prices vary

May 20, 2012

RCRD Game 2 2012: Smash Malice vs Brutal Pageant

As a long time fan of Roller Derby - a regular when it started gaining attention 2-3 years ago - I feel that there's just something that's *changed* about Derby. The *feel* of it has gone almost. I still enjoy it - people still dress up (someone going full out in an Elmo costume) and there are still prizes for home-made signs, but the little things could just make it so much better (explained further below).

The night starts off only 7 minutes late - a nice change as other games I have been to usually start about 15-30 minutes late. They have new sponsors in ZM and each team has bigger and more official banners.

Instead of the MCs explaining how derby works while the teams warm up, they asked people to pair up with those who have never been before. I really think the explanation of how the game works could be done better - people I knew there who had never been before had no clue what was going on.

An avid supporter of Brutal Pageant, it's going to be an awful lose to Smash Malice. This team used to be so good! What happened?! Where has Perky Nah Nah gone? She hasn't been in this team for a long time I can say one really good change to the Derby community - the fact that Boston Backlash no longer MC's.

So on the subject of MC's - last night they felt awkward. They didn't fit together as a group, didn't have a smooth flow, and were quite hard to hear at times.  They had a hard time getting a response from the crowd.

The half time entertainment was local ceroc group performing to a couple of songs. They had a good response from the audience, though I still miss The Hot Bitches - the cheerleading squad from a couple of years ago. They were just fantastic and always funny. Bring them back.

Brutal are still losing, badly. . Referee DangerDanger keeps the crowd entertained with some of his specialist roller dancing whilst an official time out is taking place. There's about 10 minutes to go. The MCs keep insisting that Brutal may make a come back.

And with a lose of about 200 to 90, it's time to go home.

May 10, 2012

Pole Dance Aotearoa

Every Tuesday night Pole Dance Aotearoa holds a free introductory class to give everyone a taste of pole dancing. The studio is hidden in Edward Street, off Victoria, a street I didn't even know existed (though it has some great looking establishments down there that I'll have to investigate). A steep flight of stairs leads up to the studio, it is unfortunate that only the top half of the staircase is lit, especially on a dark Autumn evening. I would not like to navigate them in heels. I liked the practice rooms - big windows, wooden floor and mirrors. However, it required a good clean - as did the poles (ew! we practiced moves that put our crotch right up against them) - and the dying plants were gasping for water. There was writing all over the mirrors; no doubt this was useful for instructors taking the class but it just looked messy.

The moves taught were quite complex. The teaching technique was step by step which was very effective. They also developed the moves they initially taught later in the class so it felt like we were improving. We were proudly informed as we arrived that we would be instructed by the best male pole dancer in the country. He wore boxer briefs and spoke to the class in the mirror which I found weird. He made me feel uncomfortable, I'm not sure whether it was because he was male or because he was wearing minimal clothing or because he didn't face the class. There were also three female instructors who walked around to give pointers to students individually, they were obviously very talented but also made me uncomfortable, I don't know why.

The class was overfull; in some cases there were 3 people to a pole. But as this was a free introduction class, it was expected. I assume that if you are paying (and booking) you get your own pole to work on.  My fellow students were young, very young. I overheard some of them discussing how they would explain their bruises (from smacking themselves on the pole) to their parents.

Overall I feel this was a good introduction to the basics of pole dancing, but think that much could be done to the place and the teaching to make improvements to help newcomers feel welcome and comfortable, the class did not tempt me to want to go back.

Venue: 19 Edward Street
Class: Tuesdays 6.30
Price: FREE

May 5, 2012


I remember theatresports from high school, back when they measured by forms rather than years. It is more popularity recognised through Who's Line is it Anyway? I attended the opening night of The Improvisors season of of Theatresports at Circa last Sunday night. The show is performed in Circa Two (where I did actually watch high school theatresports once) a more intimate theatre than Circa One.

You may have never been to the theatre and had to call anything out before but that is what is expected here. Each show is different; the performers rotate (from what i understand) and the content is based heavily on audience suggestions.  You could attend every show and have a unique experience each time. Audience participation is key "the show you get is the show you deserve."

Two teams of three performers compete to win the night. Scoring is based off audience applause, a system I prefer to that of the high school scoring which was based on technique (I want to enjoy the show, don't you?). I am sure that at certain points the performers tried to make it harder for each other; one example I remember was a rhyming interview about soccer playing elephants which was interpreted (hilariously) for the hearing impaired.

John Banks was a recurring theme of last Sundays show throughout the different games including a love song created just for him. The highlight was the gibberish opera; the two performers who were selected to do this game could really sing, I was blown away by the pipes on the female performer especially. 

Tonight was the final night of another Improvisors show, History Never Repeats which I didn't get a chance to see. The second show in the Theatresports series is on tomorrow night, go check it out and let us know what you thought.

Written and Directed by the Improvisors
Circa Two
29 April - 1 July
Sundays 7pm
Price: $18/15
See the Circa information page here

May 2, 2012

TJ McDonald: My Life Has Been a Series of Poorly Made Decisions

I was lucky enough to attend the debut of this show last night and I think his decision to chose comedy as a career was not at all a poorly made one. TJ is not as fat or funny looking as he thinks. This is a bit of a backhanded compliment as he uses both of these as part of his act. I found him quite charming with a nice easy manner, he spoke with good diction and a lot of intentional cheese. Some of the jokes missed their mark but that depends heavily on the crowd.

The set up is very simple: 3 boards on a stage.
1. lessons I have learnt
2. things I will not apologise for
3. Dad Jokes (you know the ones)
He used the boards to punctuate his jokes throughout the show. I hadn't seen a comedian use props before unless they were specifically part of the act (like the boy with tape on his face) but it worked really well.

I'm not sure what to say without ruining all this jokes. The theme music was over the top and added to the humour. TJ warmed up the crowd well and was fairly gentle on them but then I don't think you can be too mean in such a small venue, the crowd was in return very receptive.

As to the venue itself, well, I've been there before. I knew to get their early so I could get a seat and wouldn't end up stuck on the couches at the back. I was not impressed with having to pay for water but perhaps I should've asked for a glass of tap water. The free condoms in the bathroom just made me feel old but well done for providing them. The ticket collecting at the door was a bit disorganised, this probably had more to do with TJ's generosity with tickets then anything else. They are squeezing in the shows with another comedian on half an hour after TJ's set finished.

All in all it was a great show with something to offend everyone and "if you don't like it you can go back to your own country...your marae...or your kitchen."

Venue: Fringe Bar
Time/date: 1-5 May, 7-8pm (15-19th in Auckland)
Get your tickets here