November 30, 2014

Richter City vs Bay City Rollers

The last home game of the season had our Richter All Stars up against BCR’s Iron Maidens, from Napier.

The Roller Derby World Cup is just a few short days away (Team NZ’s first bout is 4am December 5th our time), the All Stars were down a few of their regular players. Anna Pave-U'Ova, Beatrix Skiddo and Jem Molition were already on their way to Auckland to meet with the rest of Team NZ prior to flying out Monday.  If you happen to be in the area with some time up your sleeve, join a gathering of fans and skaters to farewell them, from 4.30pm at Auckland International Airport.

Following the kerfuffle surrounding Meat Train that we alluded to last time, she was invited to skate for one of the two invitational international Vagine Regime teams that are scheduled to battle it out at the World Cup in an expo bout at the end of day two.  Meat Train was one of the founding members of the Vagine Regime Aotearoa team and has yet to depart for Dallas, Texas, so was able to be at the bout.

Solid performances from Burn Witch Burn and Gael Force throughout this year has earned them both a spot on the All Stars this time, as well as the first Wellington appearance this year for a post injury Princess Slayer.

Richter pulled out in an early and expected lead, with the BCR jammers (Krash Bambi Kute, Angel Rage, Kill Billy and Dee Capitator) struggling to get through the purple walls.  Penalties were flying thicker and faster than seen before at Kilbirnie Rec Centre. It was just seven jams in when the first player, BCR’s Kill Billy, was expelled from the bout for a high block against Bubble O’ Kill that was deemed reckless by the refs.

A jammer down, but not giving up hope, BCR managed to get their first lead jammer not long after. They took advantage of Princess Slayer, Richter’s jammer, being in the penalty box and gained lead jammer the following two jams, scoring some much needed points.  Other jammers Richter used in the first half were Volcanic Ash, Burn Witch Burn and Invisigirl.  The scores into half time was Richter City 194 to Bay City’s 45.

The second half seemed longer than usual, thanks to the skater penalties fast approaching the max of seven before fouling out of the game. Each jam felt like it was followed by an official time out, with the foul outs giving rise for some shuffling in line ups, and a chance for some to rest!  The first foul out of the bout was birthday girl Ella Kazam (Richter’s Co-captain), but closely followed by Evenger (BCR’s captain), Porterhouse Skate (BCR) and Princess Slayer all before we had seen ten jams in the second half.  Soon after Wanda Bash (BCR) and J’Knee Dodgem (RCRD) also fouled out before in a kind of turnabout from the first half, Bubble O Kill was expelled for a dangerous low block. The foul outs continued seeing Richter’s Tino TurnHer and BCR’s Reigning Chaos and Angel Rage skate off to spectate the final few minutes.

All the foul outs and the two expulsions meant that what had been 22 skaters rolling out at the beginning was reduced to just 11 in the final moments.  The final jam started with BCR giving it their all with just four skaters left in the game, only to see Burn Witch Burn gain lead jammer and end the final score at 331 v 104 to Richter City.

Bay City Rollers’ skater Krash Bambi Kute was great to watch at several points during the game, and was my pick for MVP.  Special mention to Angel Rage for looking like she was having the time of her life at several times during the night.

November 22, 2014

The Tempest

William, you've been 'punked.

A darkened stage; thunder, lightening and the spidery projection of a clockwork airship hurtles towards the audience. Monocles are dislodged, corsets frayed and bustles are skewed as the ship is wrecked upon the shore of a strange, steam powered island.

This is no Jules Verne novel, but the beginning of director Benjamin Haddock's steampunked version of William Shakespeare's The Tempest, currently showing at Gryphon theatre.

While it may seem to be a unusual intepretation of the great classic, the bare cogged and brass boned mechanics of this sub-genre of science fiction are a successful substitution for the magical manipulations in the original and visually emphasise the play's major theme of theatrical illusion. The neo-victorian/futurist props and costuming in particular are a highlight; the result of a collaboration between Haddock, Karl Arndt (Production Manager), and his local steampunk consultants who have based each character's outfit on a streampunk alter ego. Posters outlining this process are available for perusal in the theatre.

The play itself remains true to the original tale of ship wreck, betrayal, manipulation and redemption, though with some notable gender shifts; Alida Steemson gives a convincing performance as the magician /puppeteer Prospera (originally Prospero), the wronged Duchess of Milan, betrayed by her sister and banished to the island 12 years prior with her young daughter Miranda.

Prospera is a magician in the manipulative sense, not a witch, but a mechanically minded genius who manipulates her machinery to create a storm to bring her enemies together, engineering a series of often hilarious events with the ultimate aim of marrying her daughter to Prince Ferdinand and restoring her to her rightful highborn place. Prospera is aided by two servants, a gentle automaton named Ariel (in the original an airy spirit) and by Caliban, a snarling disfigured creature. Ariel's costuming is worth a mention, with interactive elements that include flashing lights and a removable key.

Miranda and Ferdinand (Amelia Noble and James Bayliss) are perfectly and humorously portrayed as the innocents of the plot, naive, posturing adolescents in love, and infinitely dorkable. Comic relief is provided by the drunken Stephano and Trinculo (Andrew Goddard and Allan Burne), who had the audience in stitches with their carry-on bafoonery.

The combination of confident performances and elaborate costuming have created a visually dynamic and entertaining work, though a dash more emphasis on the darkside of human nature would not have gone amiss. All in all a great show that will translate well to any audience.

The Tempest will be showing from Wednesday, 19 November - Saturday, 29 November at Gryphon Theatre , 22 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington
Get your tickets here

November 17, 2014

Boulcott Preservation Society Garden Tour

In times of adversity it's great to see a community come together with a common goal. That goal for the Boulcott community is to limit the building of a retirement building on land which once belonged to the golf club. Although promises were made that Sommerset would consult with locals the current plans up for approval are much larger than originally proposed. Desperate to reduce congestion in an area with narrow roads which already bear traffic from a primary school, a golf club and the hospital; ensure the area is not disrupted by loud and protracted building; as well as unsightly building of a towering four storey block in people's single storey back yards the Boulcott Preservation Society was formed.

The first fundraising event was the Garden Tour held Sunday 16 November. It was a success with 700 tickets sold and a substantial amount raised to support any future legal battles. Signs have been popping up all over the neighbourhood with slogans such as; "They call it consulting; we call it insulting."

Crowds thronged the streets of the Boulcott community on the boiling day to see a diverse range of gardens, from modern to classic, small to surprisingly expansive. Of particular interest was the students garden at Boulcott Primary School. Pride in their own properties as well as pride in the community was shown by all involved. I do hope that this will be an annual event, whatever the outcome of the current issues.

You can read more about the Society on their Facebook page

October 22, 2014

The Bodice Ripper: Katherine Mansfield from decorum to decadence and Dressing the World of Katherine Mansfield

Perfectly timed to coincide with the World of Wearable Arts awards the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace is holding an exhibition of corsets. Costume students from Toi Whaakari have contributed pieces to show alongside items from Te Papa and the Birthplace's collections.

Some of the pieces on display are so delicate that gloves are provided should you wish to touch them. But in another room there were some available to try on. The costume student's pieces to a certain extent represented their creators; reasons behind their designs are detailed on cards next to them.

The written posters provide information about the history of corsetry and its recent resurrgence. You'll find old promotions from our own Kirkaldies and Stains. They also track Mansfield's private life; her affairs with men and women, early forays into writing and opinions of those who knew her.

In conjuction with the exhibition on Saturday 4th October a fashion show called Dressing the World of Katherine Mansfield was held at Old St Pauls. The Dreamstress (Leimomi Oakes) presented an engaging show with 8 models showing how fashion, from underwear to eveningwear, evolved through the timeperiod of Mansfield's life. She wove the story of Mansfield's life and how revolutionary she was around the fashions. All items were sewn as accurately as possible to the period, both material and composition.

Price: $8 (admission price to the birthplace)
Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-4pm
Dates: 21 September - 21 December
Location: Katherine Mansfield Birthplace, 25 Tinakori Road, Wellington

October 12, 2014

Richter City Convicts vs Hellmilton Roller Ghouls

The Richter City Convicts played Raggedy Angst of Hellmilton Roller Ghouls at Kilbirnie Rec Centre. A lot of lower north island players who normally attend our games were in Levin for Sur5al Worlds; a 16 team tournament with mixed teams from all over the country. This meant a lower turnout for the game played in Wellington. It was an unfortunate schedule clash.

Hellmilton was captained by one of their two Team NZ representatives and featured jammer, Miss Crunchbull. She didn’t do much to impress us, though she was taking a lot of big hits from the Convicts.  Their other main jammer Indi Slam-her Jones appeared to have more success breaking through the orange walls. Richter pulled their jammers from a larger pool, by the end of the bout it seemed that most of the team had jammed at least once. Core jammers Burn Witch Burn!, Volcanic Ash, and Meat Train played a strong and consistent bout, as they have done all season.  Again, Poise’N’Dart proved she is growing to be a formidable blocker.

The Convicts got an early lead which they maintained throughout the game. At halftime the score was 149 Convicts to 107 Hellmilton. The final score was 128 Hellmilton to 259 Convicts.

It was a mostly drama free match. There was a brief concern that Invisigirl was injured but she came right. No skaters were sent out of the game. However, behind the scenes other things were going on. Earlier in the week, the New Zealand national team was announced. Three Richter City skaters made the team Anna Pave-U'Ova, Beatrix Skiddo and Jem Molition. Some ruckus broke out when the head coach made a frankly stupid statement that Meat Train had not been selected because she was deaf. Although it was later made clear that was not the only reason for the selection decision, and offers were made of providing statistics to back it up, the damage was done. It is understood that the Human Rights Commissioner will shortly be involved.

Next weekend (18 October) Richter City plays Auckland on their turf. You can buy tickets here.

Next home game: 29 November against Bay City Rollers. They appear to be warming up to take Richter City on by a full calendar of events between now and then.

September 14, 2014

Westfield Queensgate VIP Style Session

Friday's VIP Style Session was a huge improvement over the last (which after standing for half an hour in heels I didn't hang around for), this one had seats and refreshments for the free food conscious. Stylist Sally-Ann Moffat outlined the three major trends for the season while exchanging banter with Camille of The Hits radio station.

I'll spill the secret and tell you the trends:
1. White out
2. Tribal
3. Tropicana

So anything white, ethnic, floral or brightly coloured and you'll be "on-trend." It seems really simple. Sally-Ann broke it down further showing ways to mix and match within the trends as well as between them using items sourced from Queensgate retailers. She admitted that fashion usually comes across as pretentious and exclusive. There is no way for me to express how much fun it was to see the pure joy she expressed each time she ran across the stage to show another piece. Her personality and passion is what made it such a wonderful night.

The best lesson from the night is to play dress-ups and enjoy fashion.

You can find more about the Queensgate Fashion Festival on the website
Sally-Ann also does personal styling and shopping tours which our weight loss blogger really enjoyed

September 1, 2014

Richter City Home Season Final - Brutal Pageant vs Smash Malice

After a short home season the Richter City final was Brutal Pageant vs Smash Malice. Comic Slams won the past two years so it was time to pass the cup. The PledgeMe winner blew the first whistle of the game.

The Kilbirnie Rec Centre was packed as it hasn’t been all season. At least with so many people it wasn’t as cold as it has been. Looks like we’ll be there next year. Refreshments were the usual offering; Hells pizza, candy floss, sausage sizzle and beer provided by The Garage Project.

The game started with three nil jams. Anna Pave-U’Ova scored the first points in the bout but it wasn’t until the seventh jam that both teams scored. Anna scored a 33 point jam half way through the first half. By half time Smash Malice was leading with 122 to Brutal Pageant’s 83.

Three players were sent out of the game: Bubble O Kill with 11 minutes left in the game, then Burn Witch Burn with 5 minutes left in the game closely followed by Dolly Diddit.

With most of Smash Malice in the penalty box Poison Dart got lead jammer to Anna Pave-U’Ova who was sent off. There was much excitement in the crowd. Would she somehow close the large gap? Sadly she didn’t. Meat Train jammed in the final bout and fought till the end. The final score was 227 Smash Malice to 167 Brutal Pageant.

Special mention to Taraist for the Flitstones meets Frida Karlo of her amazing look, that hair! And Ella Kazam for balancing on one hand to keep her skates inside bounds.

Next game: Convicts vs Hellmiltron October 11th.

August 20, 2014

Chocoholic High Tea

I had missed the Visa Wellington On a Plate Hippopotamus Chocolate High Tea in previous years and regretted it.

The event descriptor stated that “(a)ll high tea items (would) be gluten free and vegetarian” but that was not the case. The head waiter seemed personally affronted by a lady at my table who was vegetarian.

To start, cocoa infused cocktails or mocktails were interesting but didn’t taste like chocolate. The teas on offer were the usual selection; it is a shame that no special blends were created or sourced for the event.

The long half hour before the food arrived could have been better utilised by having the representative from the chocolate company speak, rather than in the middle. The wait staff did not realise this talk was upcoming so advised people that they could eat the provided chocolate samples. The staff appeared initially very attentive but later took plates when people were still eating and poured incorrect tea selections.

The head waiter did not appear familiar with the menu. It was not written (or read) in the order it was presented on the cake tiers. Some unknown words could have been explained and items directly identified; otherwise it was a guessing game.

The food itself was more interesting than good and a surprising portion (four of nine items) lacked any chocolate flavour. It was, however, a unique experience. I am glad I didn't miss it this year but I would not go again.

Tickets: $65
Dates: 15, 22, 29 August, 2pm

August 12, 2014

Laser Hair removal at Caci Clinic

Caci clinics throughout the country are currently offering an amazing 2 for 1 on laser hair removal and it comes with a guarantee. Sounds pretty good right? I had to investigate. Eight sessions six weeks apart means you'll be spending the best part of a year with your therapist (so I hope you like them!). Laser is very expensive so it makes a great deal - you could get your whole leg done instead of just half (if you're one of those people who bothers to shave above the knee).

There are selling points to laser; no more hairy legs while you wait for your next wax (you can shave while having laser treatments). It does mean a commitment, you have to sign up for the whole programme. Caci will book all of your appointments at once to ensure that you will have the correct spacing so your laser is as effective as possible. The promise is an 80% reduction of dark hairs, I was assured that most have results higher than 90%. If the hair grows back within two years they will give you free laser to get rid of it. It all sounds too good to be true.

It is pretty expensive. For lower legs or Brazilian it costs just under $3,000 but that works out at $187.50 per session for two areas. It still seems pretty high but it's the guarantee that convinced me, I've had ineffective laser before.

I parted with a lot of money and I wasn't initially convinced I did the right thing. My first session was more painful than I expected due to the dry shave rather than the laser. There was a smell of burning hair. The ultrasound gel does not absorb and it will get all over your clothes so make sure to wipe yourself down.
I'm over half way through and the reduction is amazing, I shave every couple of weeks rather than every day. This round the deal gets even better: you can share the cost and laser with a friend. It costs nothing to look into it but do it soon, the offer ends 31 August.

The deal: 2 areas (or people) for the price of 1, laser hair removal
Where: Caci Clinics across the country
Cost: Varies
Ends: 31 August

August 11, 2014

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof explores the universal themes of love, death, and money; how the interplay of them can bring people together or pull them apart. It must have been hugely controversial when it was first performed. It probably still colours how southern Americans are viewed by the rest of the world. Cut into three acts the play makes for a very long evening (almost 3 hours).

The lovely Fanciforia Foxglove graces the posters and programme but it is Amy Whiterod (just as beautiful) who plays the cat of the title. As Maggie the whole play revolves around her; with perfect accent she does a fabulous job so much so that things feel a little flat when she isn't on stage.

Big Mama waddled like she was fat but she could have used a lot more padding, it was an excellent imitation of the movement. Big Daddy had a great accent, one other actors slipped during emotional speeches. The more secondary characters paled in comparison to the large personalities of the parents and Maggie but were such vile people that I their presence was felt even when they weren't on stage.

Stagecraft has turned out another worthy production; not shying away from a difficult script they bring it to life with great characterisation and deceptively simple but effective staging. Do go see it particularly if you have only seen the movie - this production is based on the real script, a lot of which is missing from the Hollywood production.

Performances: 12-13 August 6:30; 14-16 August 7:30
Tickets: $20/25

August 4, 2014

Richter City Home Season Game Three - Smash Malice vs Comic Slams

Saturday night's third bout of the Richter City home season was an interesting one.  The second one each for Smash Malice and Comic Slams, and the decider of which team is to skate in opposition to Brutal Pageant in the final at the end of the month.

Comic Slams presented another small team; nine on skates versus Malice's 12, but slightly better than last week's eight skaters.  We believe this may be a contributing factor in their difficulties this season, as it was soon apparent that Smash Malice were going to trample Comic Slams, much the same as Brutal Pageant did.

It wouldn't surprise us if jammer referee Mental Annie likely woke up Sunday morning hoarse, as she (along with the other refs) kept busy calling penalties, much to the distaste of some nearby fellow spectators. Penalties were so frequently awarded that in one jam about twenty minutes into the bout, all five Comic Slams skaters on track were lining up to enter the penalty box.  This was around the same time Slams suffered a blow with one of their strongest skaters Beatrix Kiddo fouling out in what was the quickest collection of seven penalties we had seen. The second half brought three more skaters fouling out, J'Knee Dodgem and Venom de Plume in Comic Slams, and Bailey's Comet in Smash Malice.

In addition to penalties galore, there was a lot of skaters falling over - seemingly more so than you'd usually expect, and often for no clear apparent reason from our viewpoint.  Invisigirl wasn't getting battered as much as she was last time, and was doing a great job using her stature to her advantage in forcing low block penalties to be called on most who came near her.  Suffer Jet entertained the crowd a few times with her skate-scream-slam approach to bulldozing the Slams blockers to clear the way for the Malice jammer.

We thought there was some notable work coming from Tino TurnHer and Nordic Nightmare for Smash Malice, and the six Slams ladies who managed to not get fouled out!  Richter City awarded MVPs to Volcanic Ash and MillerGnomer for Malice and Slams respectively.

Final score was 271 to 118, with Smash Malice facing Brutal Pageant in the home season final on August 30th.  Check Richter City on Facebook or Twitter for ticket sale announcements.

July 28, 2014

Richter City Home Season Game Two - Brutal Pageant vs Comic Slams

The second game of the Richter City Home Season introduced the crowd to several new players including crowd favourite InvisiGirl formerly of WRDL. She was very well matched against Burn Witch Burn! both of whom we thought warranted mention for outstanding play. Meat Train played an excellent game and was awarded Most Valuable Player for her efforts. Gael Force was Comic Slams MVP of the match and newbie Lethally Blonde received an honorable mention.

The Kilbirnie Rec Centre was not as packed as at the last game possibly because people expected to be squashed again. Sponsors Hells Pizza were doing a great trade and the candy floss (fresh on a stick!) was making many hands sticky.

Brutal Pageant slaughtered Comic Slams early in the game. Things got worse in the second half as Comic Slams were down two players (InvisiGirl and Sweaty Pig) due to fouls. Ma Whero Mischief was slated to play but bench managed further limiting numbers. The final score was 285 to 119 to Brutal Pageant.

Next game: Comic Slams Vs Smash Malice, 2 August 

July 14, 2014

La traviata

On it's final leg of a trans-Tasman collaboration between New Zealand Opera, Opera Queensland and the State Opera of South Australia, Verdi's La traviata has made it's way to Wellington after spending May in Adelaide, and June in Auckland.

As the curtain rose for Act I, I heard gasps in the audience around me for the beauty of the stage setting foreshadowing what was to come.  A large fallen chandelier next to a waifish Violetta crumpled on the ground.  The chandelier rises looking not unlike a jellyfish as it does so, while the fallen Violetta also rises to look through the windows that make up the walls of the cutaway cuboid room housing her past self in the final stages of preparing for the party at which she will meet her soon to be love, Alfredo.  A quick spin of the room brings the party into the presence, and the story to a start.

Australians Lorina Gore and Samuel Sakker are our leads, Violetta and Alfredo, who come together at the end of Act I after a good long drinking song and a bit of reluctance from Violetta.  During the party scene I found my eye drawn away from the leads by the movements one of the chorus women, despite the chorus being all in black and Violetta in a smartly contrasting but almost harsh red dress.  At the end of the party, I wasn't yet convinced of our leads, but the goofy grin Sakker gave as he exited the stage after Alfredo received the blessing to visit Violetta the next day, began to warm him to me.

The little chemistry I felt between Violetta and Alfredo in the first act while he was trying to convince her that to be loved wasn't a bad thing, was more than I was going to get for most of Act II.  The cube that previously was the centre of the party, was now a countryside sun room of sorts, with vases of flowers seeming placed haphazardly over the floor, around a stunning fainting couch I want for my own.  The six metre high backdrop now featured a camellia motif, in a continuous length of 30 metres, which together with the lighting accentuated the moods of the scene as they passed. 

It is during Act II we meet the third lead, Alfredo's father Giorgio Germont, played by Scottish-born David Stephenson.  Stephenson, no stranger to Verdi, La traviata or indeed the role of Germont, showed his ease on the stage compared to the younger two leads, and seemed to provoke Gore to inject some emotion in to the acting part of her role.  After Germont convinces Violetta to leave Alfredo for the sake of Alfredo's sister and her upcoming nuptials, everyone runs separately back to the city for another party, this time with gossip, gypsies, gambling and some humiliation thrown in for good measure.  With emotions running high, this party is easily the most exciting part of the opera.

Act III, after the excitement of the party, was almost a bore for me. I spent almost as much time paying attention to the tricks and treats the choreographed lighting played on the glass box (or as it almost seemed in this Act, the 'prism prison') as I did to the dying Violetta, her maid and the doctor.  Alfredo returned just as it seemed to be too late, and the audience got to play "will she wont she" as Violetta's strength ebbed and bounced back almost in the same breath.
Gore is more than vocally capable to carry the huge role of Violetta, but I felt the rest of the performance that I saw for the most part was a bit wooden.  Sakker brought a bit of life and a lot of facial expression to Alfredo, nailing the role all round.  The orchestra for the most part were spot on, the same of the chorus. Christina Smith and Matt Scott as set and costume design and lighting design respectively helped make this a collection possibly the most stunning stage settings I've seen at St James.  Much respect to them and the rest behind the scenes who get to polish the jewel box and untangle the beads every day.

La traviata has three more shows in Wellington at St James, Tuesday 15th, Thursday 17th, and Saturday 19th July.  Tickets available from Ticketek.

July 13, 2014

Richter City Home Season Opener - Brutal Pageant vs Smash Malice

The Richter City Roller Derby 2014 season has well and truly begun. After hosting WRDL and the triple header with Pirate City and Paradise City earlier in the year, it was time for some home team action.  The new year has not only brought us the new venue of Kilbirnie Recreation Centre, but new sponsors have been found in the guise of Hell Pizza, who were also selling their snack pizzas to compliment the sausage sizzle, candy floss and bar. 

Being a smaller venue, the seats filled quick.  We arrived barely 15 minutes after the doors opened and almost struggled to find a suitable seat on the grandstand. The suicide seats area seemed busier this time, and there also appeared to be more people standing around the outside of the rink.  The "Hell Pizza Penalty Box" has found it's way to the middle of the track due to lack of space in the usual spot between the team benches, which lead to many collisions between refs, officials and skaters on their way to or from the box.

After two years of Comic Slams seeming to have unfair advantage during the home season competition, and what seems to be a fair amount of player attrition thankfully matched with plenty of graduates from fresh and tender meat, the two teams we saw on Saturday of Brutal Pageant and Smash Malice were teams not seen before.  Long time Malice skaters Tuff Bikkies and Jem Molition now don the red and pink of Pageant, Suffer Jet and Anna Pave-U'Ova who have been core Slams members the last two years are now in black skating for Smash Malice, Jet as captain. Ella Kazam has too left Comic Slams, and now captains Brutal Pageant.  Both teams had three or four new skaters in their ranks to compliment the switch-up of our old favourites.

A strong start was made by Brutal Pageant, winning a few points first jam and getting a power jam shortly after.  New skater Burn Witch Burn featured heavily as jammer for Pageant, helped along by Meat Train, Tuff Bikkies and Ella Kazam in racking up points in the first half.  Malice fought back, clawing the lead several times in the first half thanks to jammers Anna Pave-U'Ova, Skanda Lass, Bubble O'Kill and the relatively new Dolly Diddit.  Both teams featured some intense walls of blockers, sometimes causing those seasoned jammers a lot of hard work trying to get through.  The half time score was 142 to 91 in favour of Brutal Pageant.

A lack of half-time show was almost refreshing when remembering some of last years efforts, it was merely a thankful break from the hard seats and a chance to go for a refreshment run.

Smash Malice appeared to have received a good talking to in the changing rooms at half time while the relaxed Pageant girls were gossiping out front with their friends, family and fans.  A couple of good strong jams from Malice and trips to the penalty box for Pageant, helped close up the gap in the points differential, with about ten minutes to go there was less than 8 points in it.  As the last ten minutes progressed, it seemed more spectators slid closer to the edge of their seats and more time outs called by the teams and officials.  An official time out with less than a minute on the clock led to Bubble O'Kill being ejected from the game for maximum penalties, announced to us by the head referee (as he did with the reason and result after each official time out - a change in process I at least appreciated).  The last jam may have gone differently for Smash Malice had they not lost this strong skater at crunch time, with a win still easily in their grasp.  Unfortunately for Malice, Brutal Pageant ended the night with a power jam skated by Meat Train resulting in a final score of 168 to 197.

Skaters who really stood out to us in this bout were Burn Witch Burn and Dolly Diddit, both had some outstanding escapes and runs as jammers, while Poise N Dart (Pageant) and Lolo Morales (Malice) cemented our ongoing respect for their blocking skills.  Richter City chose Skanda Lass and Cher Trouble as MVPs for Smash Malice and Brutal Pageant respectively, and an honorable mention to Dolly Diddit.

Tickets are already on sale for the next home season bout, Brutal Pageant vs Comic Slams on Saturday July 26th.  Check the Facebook event page for hints closer to the time such as reminders to bring cushions and change for the raffles and pizza etc.  The third home season bout is on Saturday August 2nd, see Facebook for further details and Eventfinder for tickets.

June 13, 2014

The Motorcamp

The Motorcamp is drenched in kiwi summer, a strange or brilliant choice in the middle of winter. Every possible cliché about New Zealanders is covered; from the “real” people to the politically correct who patronise them. The script is strong with great dialogue but one flaw. The plot twist has highly implausible consequences quite out of line with the realism in the rest of the storyline and characterisation. The play was staged at Circa last year and I’d be interested to hear comparisons from people who saw that production.

The Porirua Little Theatre production had an excellent set, which we were informed is up for sale once the show closes. There were flashes of excellent acting; a fathers face going from concern to delight, an exasperated daughter. A few fumbled and forced lines are expected of opening night. I hope the actors settle into their roles over the course of the coming weeks.

Porirua Little Theatre are still fighting to save their “home” in Titahi Bay. In the meantime they have a huge pop-up theatre in the centre of Porirua. Remember to bring a jacket, as the big area is difficult to heat, and nibbles for the cabaret style seating.

Performances: June 12-14, 19-21, 26-28 7:30pm, 14 June 2pm
Tickets: $22
Venue: Porirua POPUP Theatre

June 11, 2014

de Sade

I am speechless after tonights performance of de Sade by Alexander Sparrow. He did his very best to make every member of the audience feel included and uncomfortable. No one was safe.

Once again he sacrificed his body (in new and distrubing ways) for his art. It's theatre but with a dark comedic twist and included elements of improv. As much as the audience was kept on the edge of their seats they kept Alexander on his toes.

This is definately an adults only show. I would advise you to only go with very good friends, definately not a good place for a first date. Or perhaps it might be; it would foster open communication early in the relationship. It's a short season so get in quick.

It taught an interesting philosophy from a deeply disturbed man. Honesty. When you find someone attractive you should tell them. But I couldn't do it and scuttled out at the end of the show.

Performances: 10-14 June, 8:30pm
Venue: Bats theatre
Tickets: $18

June 5, 2014

Crumble (Lay Me Down, Justin Timberlake)

Crumble is a disturbing play about three women who's lives are crumbling, as is the house, around them.

I had expected the current Justin Timberlake but this play refers to the earlier NSYNC incarnation of the star being obsessed over by a teen. The characterisation would have been appropriate for someone several years older, even one year would have made it more believable. The two adult women were perfect pictures of women trying to make themselves happy with all the demands life places on them. To speak about the male roles much would reveal too much, they really are side pieces to the three main females.

I felt the production was let down by the ending. All the elements were there for a conclusion but it seemed instead to just end. The script seems weak in this area and perhaps there wasn't a way to bolster it up. After the emotional turmoil it was unsatisfactory.

Stagecraft have found innovative ways to adapt their space to the story while completely unsettling the audience. As always the acting is superb including the American accents (although one actress didn't have to fake it). Clever use of shadow and projections brings the women's fantasies, startlingly alike, to life.

Make sure you take a bathroom break first as there is no interval in this 90 minute show. This was an excellent idea as any interruption would be detrimental to the storyline by reducing the impact.

Performances: 4-7 & 12-14 June 7.30pm; 10-11 June 6:30pm
Tickets: $20-25


May 11, 2014

Triple-header: Richter City v Pirate City v Paradise City

Saturday saw the first public triple header of Roller Derby in Wellington with invited teams from Auckland and Australia. Overall there were more injuries than I recall in previous bouts; because there was more pressure to win or tired players, who knows?

The first game between Pirates and Richter City was a very close game which may have ended differently had not jammer Myrtle Kombat been injured in the very last jam. She was heavily featured by Pirates despite not coping well with falls early in the match and her tiredness continuing to show. Beatrix Kiddo (RCRD) was fouled out of the game for reaching the seven penalty max, mostly for cutting. It was an excellent game with both teams exhibiting multiplayer blocks which we haven’t seen to this extent before. Richter City won 209 to 204 Pirates.

The second game Pirate City played again, this time against visitors Paradise City from the Gold Coast in Australia. Myrtle Kombat was back but on the bench rather than the track. This game included a skate malfunction, one player being carried off on a stretcher (Past-Her Belx?) and a weird jam where the jammer paused play simply by refusing to move. Paradise City took out the game with 197 to Pirate City’s 153.

The arena filled up for the third and final game between Paradise City and Richter City. Three players from the visiting team were sent off this match; Rattlin’ Bones, Sarsaparilla and Guns N Rosie perhaps due to this being their second game and having little rest. Neither side backed down despite a strong lead throughout the game for Richter City. They eventually won with 204 to Paradise City’s 184.

Bringing Pirate City down from Auckland to meet our visitors from Australia was an inspired idea. It’s more economical for all the teams involved if not a little tiring.

The first game of the RCRD Home season is another triple header Comic Slams vs Smash Malice vs Brutal Pageant on 28 June at TSB Arena.

May 7, 2014

It Was Supposed To Be a Joke

I saw a lot more than I intended of Alexander Sparrow tonight. Suffice it to say my sister is getting married soon and I might give him a call for her hen's night. Apart from having a (possibly lucrative) side career, in addition to being a good comedian, he can act and the boy can move.

Thankfully he's another comedian who doesn't rely on swearing for laughs. He even gauged the audience's response to his offensiveness. Losing his place didn't seem to phase him, indeed he engaged more with the audience who seemed to find him charming. He is certainly more polished than he was when he started out a year ago.

He wore a very sharp suit matched with cufflinks and vintage style wingtips (those are shoes, he seriously wasn't wearing wings). His lovely hair style, keeping with his old fashioned attire, was a little disheveled by the end of the evening.

Like another review noted the shows are packed in for the New Zealand International Comedy Festival so there is no chance to linger as another comedian goes on in half an hour. That was a shame as I would have liked to compliment Alexander on his, ahem, dance moves.

Shows: 6-10 May, 7pm
Venue: Kitty O'Shea's Irish Bar
Tickets: $12-15 

May 4, 2014

Wellington Better Home and Living Show

Westpac Stadium was host again this weekend to the Wellington Better Home and Living Show. You're likely to have known about it from the flyers littering inboxes and supermarkets across the city offering 2-for-1 entry.

As "the only home show in Wellington this autumn & winter" it was appropriate that there were over five exhibitors for double glazing as well several heat pumps and air conditioning / circulation stalls. A wasteful exhibit for hot water had a tap running the entire time but other stalls included information on solar powering your home and other ways to make your home eco friendly.

The show wasn't as good as I remember it being in past years. There was a collection of things unrelated to homes - jewelry, jewelry cleaners, weight loss and bee tablets. Entertaining additions were SPCA, a stall with bees and adopt a greyhound (much loved by the children). Vibration training units were a strange thing to have turned up this year but seemed to fit alongside chiropractic advice and massage chairs/cushions.

Coming up in September (26-28) is the Home and Garden Show.

April 30, 2014

Sara Pascoe Vs The Truth

Sara Pascoe is described as a 'rising star in the UK' and you can see why. She's comfortable on stage and slightly self deprecating (just to put the audience at ease). Her comedy runs from topic to topic with little segways which she throws in with an almost off-hand "I'll get back to that." It feels so natural, like listening to an overly excited and talkative friend.

In amongst the comedy Sara takes the audience through a brief outline of some pretty major philosophical theories, not that you'd know it. My handful of philosophy papers qualify me to recognise them. The major one you can see in the title - what is the truth? This is intelligent comedy that doesn't rely on swearing for laughs.

You'll want to discuss it after but there's no chance to linger as patrons for the next show will already be lined up outside. We were hurried out by festival staff to make way. But you can make your way down to Foxglove to sample their rather fancy bar menu.

Shows: 29 April - 3 May, 7pm (followed by a season in Auckland)
Venue: Foxglove Ballroom
Tickets: $26

April 13, 2014

Roller Derby: RCRD vs WRDL

Roller Derby is back in the capital for 2014. The first game was against Whakatāne Roller Derby League (WRDL) at Richter City’s new home, the Kilbirnie Recreation Centre. This years games will be split between Kilbirnie and TSB Arena.

It appeared at the start of the game that it would be an easy win for the home team but quickly WRDL fought back. It was a close game with only a six point gap at half time. The final score was 151 Richter City Convicts to 186 Whakatane.

Stand out players were tiny dynamite Invisigirl for WRDL and Meat Train for RCRD who both shone at working their way through the pack - Invisigirl by skilled weaving and Meat Train by slamming. Other standouts for WRDL were pool players Miss Crunchbull (Hellmilton Roller Ghouls, Hamilton) and Hellvetica (Mount Militia Derby Crew, Tauranga), who were down this end of the country for Team New Zealand training in Palmerston North earlier in the day. Other players who were present at that training and playing last night were; Meat Train and Crash Candy Boot.

The new venue was a tight squeeze but added to the atmosphere. It welcomed back derby’s favourite seating; suicide seats. Suicide seats are on the edge of the track and come with the risk / bonus of having a player end up in your lap. Parking was easier and the smell of the sausage sizzle was welcoming.

The next game is a triple header on 10 May back at TSB Arena with Pirate City Rollers (Auckland) and Paradise City (Gold Coast). Richter City is fundraising to get to the Southern Slam “the largest roller derby tournament in the southern hemisphere”. If you’d like to help you can contribute here.

April 6, 2014

The End of the Summer Movies

This weekend marks the end of summer, despite the fact that we are already well into autumn, we don't really tend to think of summer ending until Day Light Saving finishes. As we gain an hour of sleep we lose other things like summer movies.

Across Wellington this summer there have been three players on the outdoor movie scene:
1. Wellington Free Outdoor Cinema at the Lagoon outside St John's bar
2. Films by Starlight, and
3. Firefly Cinemas an old fashioned drivein in Upper Hutt.

I enjoyed watching classic movies at the lagoon like Dirty Dancing, Grease and The Princess Bride. It's a convenient location and St John's even provides beanbags. There is an option to book tables and (even if you're sitting on the grass) order food.

Films by Starlight was part of Wellington Summer City and offered an eclectic selection of movies for free across Wellington alongside night markets.

I never made it out to Firefly but I'm impressed they managed to keep going as the only charging outdoor cinema. They also offer fundraising and advertising. You can squeeze in another couple of movies there. For Wellington Fashion Week they are offering the chance for viewers to chose the movie and view for free, this Tuesday (8 April), details are few but what there are you can find here. Firefly Cinemas last movie is Back To The Future (I and II) next Sunday (13 April) at 6.30pm. As an extra treat you can park next to a DeLorean. For all the details go here.

It looks like all three ventures will be back next summer. What movies did you enjoy watching outdoors this summer and what are your requests for next?

And if you're looking for things to keep you busy now that summer has gone there's ice skating and the Whittakers Big Egg Hunt (judging by the number of eggs that have moved I think some Wellingtonians have already discovered that).

March 8, 2014

Skindiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Harlot: An Indiana Jones burlesque

The new Fringe Bar (sadly no longer located next to the kebab place) is currently hosting a mixed bunch of burlesque dancers, actors, singers, comedians and puppets performing an Indiana Jones inspired - I want to call it burlesque but it’s more like theatre. Yes, gloriously unexpected, theatre.

An educational show; there’s a classroom scene and you'll learn about appropriate clothing to wear in the desert and how to identify a monkey; it still shows a lot of flesh, some of which we waited the whole show for.

It’s a star studded cast: you’ll recognise former Miss Burlesque NZ, Willow Noir; former Mr Pole Dance NZ, Andre Corey, was also on the cast list but unfortunately was injured. His understudy was so good that I couldn't pick which role he was performing. Songstress Gracie Hart and our sexiest comedian Alexander Sparrow (who had the most lines of any to memorise) round out the names I recognised.

It was the best show I have been to in a long time. The variety of performers and trying to guess what ridiculous thing they would do next as well as an ongoing storyline rather than a new story with each performer, more commonly seen in burlesque, kept me enthralled.

The Philadelphia-based GDP Productions have met their goal to “blur the lines between traditional theatre performance and burlesque, providing satire, nuance, and production value in addition to the traditional glitz and tease.” I sincerely hope that more of their productions will crop up in Wellington.

The final show is tonight (Saturday 8th March, 10pm), go early to check out new talent at Burlesque Baby and watch two shows for (just) under $35!

You can buy tickets ($19) at the door or go here.

Raiders of the Lost Harlot is written by Cubby Altobelli and directed by James Kiesel.

January 6, 2014

Hair on Queens

I couldn't help thinking the whole way through my appointment at Hair on Queens that Tabatha would be appalled. Imagining her reaction kept me amused.

There are too many issues to discuss at length so I'm going to simply list them:

  • the general appearance of the store was shabby; peeling paint, hair on the floor, brackets coming away from the wall
  • my hairdresser did not introduce himself (nor was I told that my hairdresser would be male, something which some people are particular about)
  • my hairdresser made no attempt at conversation and smelled subtly like cigarette smoke
  • I'm uncertain about the quality of dye they offered as I was told only certain shades would show in my  hair; I had thought that permanent colours included a bleach element. The dye stained my towels after several washes 
  • my hairdresser took on another client during my appointment even though someone else was available
  • to "speed things up"  another hairdresser helped; ending up with two pairs of hands in my hair which wasn't terribly comfortable
  • my hairdresser said he would take "some of the weight" out of my hair but removed almost all of the "weight," I have very thick hair that doesn't always respond well to this
  • I was left with hair all over my clothes and at one point hair fell on me even before he started cutting, I have no idea who's hair that was
  • the service took over two hours, most of the time I was sitting there unsure of when my hairdresser would return
  • usually my hair stays looking lovely after a haircut until I wash it, this had gone the day after my cut
I need to point out that I was really happy with the result; my cut and colour is beautiful even though he took more weight out of my hair than it would normally manage and the service was very cheap. I wish I hadn't had to suffer through discomfort for it.

As far as I can tell there doesn't appear to be a set price list, or at least one readily visible. Nor is there a website but they do have Facebook although it doesn't appear that they use it. The overall experience wasn't great but I am happy with the result so it depends on what you're looking for whether Hair on Queens is for you; great service or great results, it is a shame that you can't have both.