Category Archives: lifestyle

DocEdge19 | Searching Eva

Berlin based. Virgo. Bisexual. Sex Worker. Anarchist. Musician. Recovering addict … With such a myriad of labels attributed to just one, outwardly complex individual, ‘Searching Eva’ is a documentary sure to push the boundaries of raw candour and identity, as it explores the life of social media star Eva Colle’ through the uncensored and often affected, lens.

The film opens in whispered and hushed voice-overs on an otherwise blank computer screen monitor.  Self-doubt, fatalism and naivety are a few of the topics that are touched upon, as the voices parallel those in one’s head, goading the subject.

The artistic expression and avant-garde culture of Berlin is a focal point for this documentary.  The city’s strong resonance to the creative and questioning inclinations of Eva Colle’ (the subject) are inescapable.  It is also a base for director  Pia Hellenthal, which explains the strong connection and affinity the city holds for them both.                        Location is a very important aspect of this film.  As it documents the wide disparity between Eva’s homeland – a seemingly banal village laced with communist history, to the liberal and experimental metropolis of Berlin, Germany, through cinematography and sound.

In ‘Searching Eva’, Hellenthal also uses very modern and pertinent methods to bring forth some of the underlying themes of this documentary; with flinching and antagonising statements, like ‘Rotting at 25′ (referencing age) alongside honest yet projecting responses to the comments and questions posed regarding sex, weight and purpose  – all streamed to the viewer over computer screen prompts, in the same mode as that of an online chatroom.

We learn the sometimes harrowing truth about Eva (not her given name) and her unconventional life choices, through frank, honest and open conversations between herself and those around her – from potential flatmates to those with her friends and most intimate family members.

Nothing is shied away from, nor is considered taboo in this film. Perhaps even intentionally, as to rattle the awareness of the viewer so we must acknowledge the situational reality of Eva, and in doing so, also challenge and reflect upon our own thought processes and judgement of self.

Searching Eva can be, at times, somewhat uneasy to watch, from obvious bed stains to exposing the most intimate body parts with such detachment, for her they seem to be just a normality.  Stories of her upbringing; growing up alongside heroin-addicted parents, leaving home at 17 and jarring sexual encounters, are some of the most confronting and saddening.  However, in some ways, these moments have paved the way for the artistic direction of the protagonist of the film’s online persona.

Furthermore, her often bleak and melancholic insights inspired me to search for her material online and delve deeper into the real Eva.

A very creative and honest insight into the life of a modern age internet star.  Searching Eva also is important, in that is also addresses the issues that drive the age of the milennial Bloggers/Instagramers/Tweeters etc … and is the internet a positive platform for this?  My conclusion after delving deeper into online posts and her cogitation throughout this film, is that Eva Colle’ is just like many of us out there, searching to be loved and accepted.

Despite her layered and intricate past, Eva leaves the impression of  being fragile and childlike.  This can make the message of the film confusing, and also poses the question as to whether there need be a message at all.  However, perhaps we can find this in Eva’s apparent ease and calmness in one closing scene.  Perhaps she chooses to display this to us, as to demonstrate her own acceptance and/or a sign of regaining control.  In summary, it is evident that the major impact Eva Colle’ has made on her followers is in helping them embrace their identity and be comfortable in their own skin.

Director: Pia Hellenthal                  Country: Germany                Running Time: 83mins

Searching Eva(2019) is part of the DocEdge Festival 2019 and screenings are at the following locations and times:

AKL – Q Theatre.  Sun 2nd (6pm) & Tues 4th Jun (8.45pm)                                                                                                WGN – Roxy Cinema.  Tues 18 (8.15pm) & Fri 21st Jun (8.45pm)

 

been | St Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2018 – Auckland

You know the buzzy feeling you get after a concert or music festival that lasts for a few days after?! Yea that is my current situation.

Auckland was treated to perhaps what felt like the hottest day on Monday with a sweltering 28 degrees Celsius! Being from Papua New Guinea you would think I would be accustomed to the heat but far from it! I avoided getting to the festival until much later when it was slightly cooler. And it seems it may have been a smart move with reports on Twitter about massive queues at the festival entrance and people waiting for up to an hour and 30 minutes to get in. By the time I made my way there, there were no queues at the entrance thankfully.

The organizers have created something special with hosting Laneway Festival right in the middle of Auckland City at Albert Park. The lush trees and gardens make such a huge difference to the whole vibe of the festival, definitely was feeling it on the day.

So onto the music. Who did I manage to see? Well quite a good number of quality acts for sure. Not knowing much about this year’s lineup and what to expect, I came away being a fan of pretty much most of the bands I saw.

Noah Slee – Image credit David Watson

Having read up on Noah Slee I thought I’d check out his set and to see what was up on offer. Slee is based in Berlin and hails from Tonga via Glenn Eden, West Auckland. He definitely tried to work the crowd up with some pretty sweet summer neo-soul tunes and mixed in Erykah Badu and Sergio Mendez tracks to the crowd’s delight. Slee had some great energy and finished off his set with one of his popular tracks Radar.

Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals – Image credit David Watson

When I got to the main Rotunda stage 10 minutes early for Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals I was not expecting it to be completely packed out. Actually I haven’t listened much to Anderson .Paak but oh boy I was in for such a treat! Anderson had such great energy and the crowd absolutely loved it, I loved it!!! Mixing up some jazz, hip-hop, R&B, the whole ensemble had such a great vibe and everyone felt it. So I now completely understand why there was a massive crowd gathering around the stage way ahead of his scheduled performance.

TOKiMONSTA – Image credit David Watson

TOKiMONSTA served up some killer beats at the Thunderdome stage. It felt like it was the perfect time for it, riding on the high from Anderson .Paak. I wanted to stay for the whole set but ended up rushing back to Rotunda stage to catch the start of Bonobo.

Szjerdene + Bonobo- Image credit David Watson

Playing at the main stage Bonobo brought a live band with him which was great. Also featured was vocalist Szjerdene who has provided vocals on a number of Bonobo tracks including the sublime Transits. A few issues with Szjerdene’s mic meant it was hard for us to hear her which was a shame. Again, I wanted to stay until the end for the set but really wanted to catch The War on Drugs.

The War on Drugs – Image credit Connor Crawford

The War on Drugs played on the Princess Street Stage and it was a great way to end my night at Laneway Festival. After winning a Grammy for Best Rock Album earlier in the day, Adam Granduciel and the rest of the band must have been on such a buzz. Their set was amazing and I was left wanting more. Playing tracks from Lost In The Dream and their latest Grammy award winning album A Deeper Understanding, it was a definite festival highlight for me.

The War on Drugs – Image credit Connor Crawford

Featured image: Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern – Taken by Max Lemesh

interviewed | multi-talented Director Leo Gene Peters

Santa Claus is coming to town, literally. Santa Claus is the Basement Theatre’s ninth annual Christmas show, and it’s coming to Auckland from Thursday 30th November to Wednesday 20th December. The show is directed by Leo Gene Peters, director of the award winning independent theatre company A Slightly Isolated Dog. Over the last few years, A Slightly Isolated Dog has been exploring how to make a theatre experience truly alive, by removing all barriers between the audience and performers, and this will be evident in Santa Claus.

The annual Christmas show will include the usual host of secret celebrity guests. Team this with Leo Gene Peters’ raucous, sexy, signature style, and this is a show not to be missed.

I chat to Leo, who has worked as a professional director, designer, technician, actor, tutor, facilitator and mentor, to find out more about the show, his career and how he likes to celebrate.

Q: From your point of view, what is the Christmas show Santa Claus about?

A: The show is a celebration of our ridiculous lives, especially the way we build up expectations around Christmas (and our lives in general) and how the real events rarely ever live up to our expectations… it’s a party that celebrates the childhood magic and the adult disappointment of Christmas… it’s a chaotic romp through the Christmas fantasy into the Christmas nightmare.

Q: Should the audience be worried if they haven’t been good this year?

A: No… well, I mean judgement is coming, Santa sees all. He knows when you’re sleeping, and he knows when you’re awake and he’s definitely coming… but I wouldn’t worry about it…

Q: Tell us a little more about the cast of the show…

A: They’re a great group of performers, really charming and very sexy and very funny… and very French.

Q: How have you explored removing barriers between the audience and performers for this Christmas show?

A: We tell the story with you, so the audience is always a part of what we do… we like there to be no barriers. Even with that, some people just watch the shows, some people play with us a bit… we do our best to make sure everyone has the best possible time. We want you to do what you want and have a great time out.

Q: Can you tell us more about using transformational venue experiences, integration of popular culture and interactivity? Are you doing this again for Santa Claus?

A: We love to play make-believe, then create something together and all buy into a story and tell it together in an exciting and entertaining way. This is something that is inherently in us as human beings, it’s why all the storytelling forms exist, we need to dream and exercise our imaginations. We like to play the way we did when we were kids, to make magic happen by turning one place or object into another. There are very few places for us to do this together and we believe the theatre is a crucial place for this to happen.

Q: What has been a key highlight (so far) in creating and directing the show?

A: We spend a lot of time making each other laugh at ridiculous offers for the show… but I’m enjoying most all the stories of our family Christmases that we’ve been telling/hearing in the making process. It’s such a lovely process to reflect in this way and see other people’s experiences of Christmas, whether they’re good or bad, whether they like it or hate… we celebrate them all.

Q: What do you want the audience to feel/experience/get from the show?

A: A great night out that is different from any other great night out… we want people to come and feel sexy and laugh and have a party that celebrates our ridiculous lives.

Q: What would be your best piece of advice to give to the audience before they attend the show?

A: Meet up with friends, have a meal and some drinks, chat about your Christmas plans with them, tell stories to each other… and come to the theatre expecting to have a great time. We will do everything in our power to make you look as good as possible and to have a great time.

Q: How will you celebrate once the show has finished?

A: Probably Christmas with close friends (surrogate family). A lot of food and a lot of drinks. Once the show opens we may have a few drinks as well…

Q: How does Santa Claus compare to previous shows you have done with your theatre company?

A: It’s delightful to be partnering with Basement to create it – we love working in Auckland and especially with Basement. They’ve created a great energy and community in the venue. The show itself is similar in a lot of ways, but very much its own beast… it’s been different to plays with such well known mythology and cultural events that so many people have a strong relationship to.

Q: What do you have planned for A Slightly Isolated Dog, after the huge Santa Clause show? Will you have a break or are you straight back into planning for another project?

A: We’re always planning for upcoming projects… but we’ll have a bit of a break for the holidays for sure. We’ve got a project coming up for CubaDupa in Wellington that we’re really excited about, as well as a national tour of Jekyll & Hyde. And there are a number of other projects in development.

Q: You have worked in many areas – directing, designing, acting, tutoring, mentoring and much more. How do you manage your time? Does the workload ever get too stressful? How do you like to unwind?

A: I try to make sure there is enough time to work through all the projects that I’ve got going at once, but sometimes I just work a lot of hours to get everything done… other times it feels like I do very little… The workload can be stressful, I try to keep up good practices in my life… I try to meditate, I run quite a bit and I’ve been doing Wing Tsun Kung Fu for a number of years as well. And I also enjoy drinking, which is useful…

Q: If you had to choose just one of the above professions to do full time for the rest of your life (you couldn’t do anything else), which would it be and why?

A: I’d direct/create new theatre… It’s a place for us to come together and share our loneliness. To celebrate all the ridiculous and beautiful things about life – to build community through reflection and imagination. It’s an amazing thing to be a part of. It’s amazing to be with a thriving audience in that way.

Q: Random question – what is your favourite food if you had to choose one item or dish?

A: Tricky… Cochinita Pibil.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for the aspiring directors out there?

A: Question the purpose of what you want to make. I think it should be for a bigger reason then wanting people to tell us that we’re good. What are you trying to create in the community? Why should we come together for some event that you want to make? These questions seem crucial, but I don’t think they’re often really examined.

The Basement Christmas Show has evolved from a low-key fundraiser, to one of Auckland’s must-do Christmas offerings. The show sells out every year, so don’t miss it. You can get tickets from $32 to $50 on iTicket.

interviewed | Rap Sensation Melvin Bailey

The comedy musical Love Me Tinder is coming to Auckland this week. Stephen Sinclair has directed and produced a hilarious perspective on the path of love in the age of Tinder. The show, who is for anyone with a smart phone and an open heart, was a sell-out at the Auckland Live’s International Cabaret Season last year.

Love me Tinder is the story of Zoe and Daren who meet on the ubiquitous dating site. They are compatible in so many ways, but Tinder’s on-going temptations then threatens to tear them apart. The show lets the audience witness the train wreck of a Tinder date going disastrously wrong.

The musical has been rewritten and developed for this year’s show. I chat to local rap sensation Melvin Bailey AKA Kloos, who has created suave and seductive lyrics for Love Me Tinder.

Melvin, who was just fifteen when he started rapping, explained how the script has been adjusted for the second season, and all of the music is now original. He said: “The show is about relationships and how the advancement of technology has affected the ways in which we communicate.”

Melvin is excited about acting alongside Jennifer Austin and Stephen Lunt, who play Zoe and Daren.

When asked how he got into rapping, Melvin said: “I love music and naturally Hip-Hop suited me, I wrote bits of poetry whilst studying at university and thought why not lay those verses down. It was my new year’s resolution for 2015 to make a mixtape, and once I did that, I simply carried on.”

I asked Melvin about his personal experiences with Tinder. He said: “We were encouraged to download the app last year for research purposes but I lasted less than five minutes. I’m more of a walk up to you and chat kind of guy.”

At last year’s Auckland Live International Cabaret Season, Melvin thought it was awesome to partake in the lively vibe in town. This year, he said he’s excited about “being part of the music once again, and having the opportunity to perform at the Comedy Club, which puts everyone at the heart of it all.”

After the show finishes, Melvin is hoping to get tickets to see Drake and celebrate all of the shows hard work. He will then focus on solo projects. He said: “My debut EP has been in the works for some time now, but the finish line is in sight.”

Melvin gets his inspiration form Kendrick Lamar, J Cole, Chance The Rapper, Childish Gambino and Lute. He said: “These guys are skilled and force me to go further with my lyrical content. Through their words, they alter my perspective and I’m left with a greater appreciation of life. I hope that one day I can do the same for someone else.”

Melvin’s advice for aspiring rappers is: “Create tracks that you enjoy and be honest in your output.” He gets his inspiration from life, “each day is a blessing, regardless of what happens.”

Love Me Tinder returns to bar Freida Margolis in New Lynn on Sunday 29th and Monday 30th October, then plays at The Classic Comedy Bar on Queen Street from Thursday 2nd to Saturday 4th November. Book your tickets here.

been | Cole

How much charisma does it take to fill the Auckland Town Hall? If you’re Michael Griffiths, consider the building bursting.

The spirit of Cole Porter lives in Griffiths, who has been portraying Porter for 3 years in this show. From the moment Griffiths stepped onstage – complete with Porter-esque limp – the spell was cast for an hour of marvellous musical magic.

As with the best cabaret, all of the glamour and fun of the genre combined beautifully with hints of melancholy as Mr Porter regaled us with the highs and lows of his life and career; taking in Paris, New York, a marriage of convenience, love lost and found, and the riding accident that nearly ended his career. These moments, retold wittily and wistfully, but never self-pityingly, were touchingly revealing, and Porter’s greatest hits are cleverly woven into the narrative, musically illustrating the story.

Typically matinee audiences are subdued, but Griffiths in mischievous style alternately teased, cajoled and affectionately bullied the assembly until we were transformed into his own private singalong chorus. A gorgeous setting – complete with glittering curtains at the doors, romantic lighting, roses on the tables, and a particularly well-deployed mirrorball– completed the spell.

Like the most pleasing of parties, the hour flew by in the blink of an eye. I didn’t want it to end. Five stars.

Grab tickets HERE.

been | The Food Show

Walking through the showgrounds in Greenlane, your nostrils are hit with a combination of meat, cheese and spicy fragrances; and you can hear the sizzling of oil in pans – The Food Show has come to town.  Forget about the 6 am gym class and bring out the elastic joggers; you’re eating this weekend!

Not having luxury of time, our strategy was clear, visit as many stalls in 2 hours – not clever, as we could’ve easily spent a whole day there.  One tip, before you start open, the booklet and map out your route!

The floor was filled with sample trays. Along with our best loved brands, there were new brands showcasing their products to our fellow foodies.  There was a sample for everything, from cheese and crackers to naturally produced fizz, veggie crisps, turmeric based drinks, delightful kombucha mixes and the freshest baba ghanoush.

Pete'sNatural

Aside from sampling relishes, condiments and award-winning spirits, there were several food prep and utensil exhibitors, including the most delightful hand-manual chopper.  We’ve never had the urge to make salsa by hand before!

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Some of our favourites included chocolate flavoured gin, Black garlic Aioli, Carrot, orange and turmeric juice and Jersey Cow milk.

almighty

There were cooking demonstrations, shows and cooking classes.

Barilla

To ensure you make the most of your food show experience, book-in-advance  to the Berlina cooking class, where a famous italian chef will teach you how to cook pasta the italian way, giving his cooking tips, all in under 15 minutes.

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To make the best of your day, maybe get a lift or taxi in – there are plenty of alcoholic  drinks to sample, and you will surely be over the driving limit.

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Top tips to make the best of your day:

  1. Get in early
  2. Take a large empty bag
  3. Take some cash although most places have eftpos machines
  4. Open the booklet and map out your route!

Check out our photographs and recommendations for the day.  All photos were taken on a #HuaweiP10NZ.

humans of mac+mae: Merv Pinny

Bath Time.  I like this photo because it reminds me why I wrote the song “OB can you hear the children cry”. It is a protest song against war and terrorism. All the suffering the children and the people from these countries have been through, it is hard to imagine. Yet, this dad finds a way to bring some normality into his children’s lives by way of giving them a bath against a backdrop of total destruction.

Some people have found the video “OB can you hear the children cry” upsetting I remember the first time I ever played it to anyone was a group including mothers that were visiting my Studio. Some ended up in tears and I thought I had gone too far, however the song had a message and I was trying to raise emotion to get that message across. I wear a gas mask in these videos, it is a symbol of war and the terror that comes with it whether it is tear gas, or worse chemical warfare. It is designed to make people take notice of “the messenger” and evoke emotions that highlight the message about war that I am trying to convey.

“Wipe Out” my new single is part two of that story and the after effects of someone that grows up in that environment with the anger and frustration that they must have to deal and live with. So the vocal and the lyrics are pretty full on as I try to capture the anger and frustration that they might be feeling.  The video is based on a true story told to me by a once refugee and now new immigrant who reached out to me. He told me the song “OB can you hear the children cry” reminded him of his own life and told me about a dream he had after listening to the song. He had lost his whole family and was feeling isolated and struggling to fit in, he was terrified of the rioting which brought back memories of war and his childhood. He dreamed two dark angels rose up out of the water to help find his lost sister and returned her to him surrounded in fire. I haven’t heard from him for some months but I hope he finds peace and his sister.

I heard many stories after releasing that song however some are too graphic to share. Unfortunately this is the reality we live in today and it is my hope that by bringing more awareness to the effects of war we will be reminded to choose our leaders wisely, in hope to bring peace to our world.

Kiwi rocker, MERVY PINNY has been in the game for a very long time.  Picking up a guitar as early as 10, Merv has evolved his sound over the years.  In the 90s, his single ‘Destiny’ was nominated for a NZ Music Award and won a Waikato Rock Award.

Merv’s latest project takes his musical talent and uses it to address timely world issues of the effects of war, terrorism and refugee immigration on children.  His single, OB Can you hear the children cry was recently named Best Rock Song and Best Rock Video at the Academia Music Awards in Los Angeles.

Inspired by the ‘Humans of New York’ series, we’re talking to our network find out what’s special to them, whether it’s a place, a thing, or a memory – Meet the “Humans of mac+mae”.