Category Archives: festivals

been | Electric Kiwi Billy T Jams

Last Friday night reigned in a showcase of epic comedic proportions.  From a pool of 19 hopefuls, 5 successful up-and-coming comics were chosen to take part in N.Z’s answer to the best in show awards – The Billy T Jams (sponsored by Electric Kiwi).

Previous year’s winner Kura Forrester, hosted this year’s parade. With a warm Maori welcome and loud booming presence, she shared antidotes from her humble roots from Tokomaru Bay to Lower Hutt …

First up on the nights’ bill we had Josh Davies, a diminutive bespectacled Weezer frontman lookalike, who supposedly cursed by a gypsy woman, regaled us with tales from his afflicted childhood, amusing experiences at a blind kids school camp, and running ‘Spy Kids’ film gags.

Following in quick succession, Ray O’Leary had us all in an uproar, with his customary deadpan delivery of sharp and quirky one-liners and dry sarcastic wit.  His monotonous internal dialog was refreshing and distinct to his personality. From bravery on being on stage, to the uncanny presence of wheelchairs in supermarket, Ray was great at creating visual scenarios that were perfectly pitched and hilarious to his audience.

Next act of the evening was Brynley Stent – who opens her set with a quiz show format, that of popular daytime program, ‘The Chase’.  Energetic and innovative, she begins with a ‘Shoot, Shag or Marry’ scenario, which quickly flips to an absurd question of ‘What would you like for dinner’?  Brynley performance is highly entertaining and engaging, with the use of popular music (‘Hungry Eyes’ as an example) and reenactments of everyday mundane situations; eg:Modern advancement in technology presently in supermarket checkouts, Brynley takes it to the next level; sexualising even the inane act of card insertion, albeit in an unique, quirky and fabulously funny way.

~  Back from the break in eager anticipation of a belter of a second half;  James Mustapic leads the way with childhood memoirs and moments of self-deprecation; jokes stemming from his openly gay lifestyle, regular use of public transport and white culture, his set resonates with those with shared experiences, being non-straight or binary and sometimes confused …

Last on the bill we have … Lana Walters.  Newly in relationship, blissfully happy and accepting of current weight issues.  She imparts fondly, her experiences with shower heads, water conservation and cop-dating with hilarity and zeal!

A surprise guest in the form of past fellow Billy T nominee – Tom Sainsbury, rounds off the evenings’ festivities.  Rolling off with correspondence from a local council newsprint; conversation shared among it’s wildly creative and interesting town folk -It is both absurd and amusing.  A highly suspect ‘Top Ten of things to Do In …’ had us all questioning our next endeavour to Tauranga  🙂

All comedians have their shows playing in full format at the upcoming NZ International Comedy Fest 2020. Be sure to catch them in all their glory and see what all the fuss is about!


*** Billy T Jams was showing at the Q Theatre 28th February.  NZ International Comedy Fest kicks off 30th April and runs to 24th May




been | One Love 2020

One Love 2020 kicked off the new decade with one of the best line-ups in the festival’s history. Held in the sunny Tauranga Domain over Auckland Anniversary weekend, New Zealand’s favourite Reggae festival delivered on all fronts.

Another year, another exhilarating music party, featuring an incredible array of international big hitters and local talent. Good vibes, hot sun, Reggae & Roots music, and pure love sums up my One Love experience which kicked off on Saturday 25 January with a high of 29C and nothing but clear sky and a light breeze, and 20,000 people just having a good time.

The scorching heat didn’t keep us from dancing, while others preferred sitting down and chilling out; watching from the edges of the dance floor. Water mist canons were placed around the domain, a much-needed relief as people moved and danced.

International stars such as Sean Paul and Shaggy, as well as Kiwi favourite’s Katchafire , L.A.B, Sons Of Zion, Nesian Mystic, and Fiji were among the 26 artists and bands to perform over the two fun-filled days.

Sean Paul’s dance hall goodness included banger after banger took us back to the good times early 2000s with the dutty wine dance moves.

Shaggy our favourite Mr Lover Lover had the crowd singing and dancing along to every song; each one of them serving the Jamaican flavour.

My favourite Bay musos L.A.B owned the stage on the second day. Saying they deserved to close out the festival is an understatement, they carved up the stage and the crowd’s reaction to the live performance was undeniable.

We had the pleasure of Nesian Mystik reuniting on the One Love 2020 stage – they’re a group who owned Kiwi summers in their day and when they hit the stage, it was like they never left. We’ve missed you guys!

Other highlights included Jackson Owens’ joining Sons of Zion on stage as their new vocalist – I’m looking forward to seeing more of what he brings to the band. They certainly knew how to get the crowd moving.

Jaro Local is a fast-rising Pacific star, making waves internationally with his unique blend of modern island music and reggae. He had great crowd interaction which they repaid by knowing his music and songs.

THIRD WORLD is one of the longest-lived Reggae bands of all time, and one of Jamaica’s most consistently popular crossover acts among international audiences. Mixing in elements of R&B, funk, pop, and rock and, dancehall and rap, Third World’s style has been described as “reggae-fusion” – We certainly felt their energy on Day One; what an epic experience!

Stan walker with his Yummy challenge was better in real life than Instagram also when he was joined on stage with Hamo Dell and Ria Hall and Tawaroa Kawana; there was no shortage of pure talent in their performance.

International reggae stars Fiji had the crowd vibing out with Sprawnbreezie and having the crowd singing word for word.

Each one of the performers did justice over the weekend – there was plenty to love about One Love Festival 2020. We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us at One Love 2021.

Images by Meenal Maharaj.

Photos + interviews coming soon.

been | Laneway Festival 2020

Laneway Festival served up a great diverse lineup this year! There indeed was something for everyone. It was a scorcher of a day and thankfully the Duck Island Ice Cream truck was present to cool us off. Having only recognised a handful of the acts in lineup we found some new favorites on the day that have been added to our Spotify playlists! Gallivanting from stage to stage trying to at least catch a few of the songs was definitely a workout! Luckily we had access to the Friends & Family section so we avoided queues and danced to Linda T’s eclectic mixes.

Kaiit made her first appearance ever at a NZ music festival this year at Laneway. Last time she was in Auckland she played an intimate gig at Ponsonby Social Club in 2018. Winning an ARIA last year for Best Soul/R&B Release, she served up a great performance and scored herself many new fans. Singing our favs Natural Woman and OG Luv Kush Pt. 2 we hope this isn’t the last time we see Kaiit here in New Zealand.

Having played last year at the Thunderdome Stage, Bene returned to Laneway Festival this year with an upgrade on the Princes Stage. With fans packing out the street, Bene delivered a more confident set this year singing radio fav Soaked and in Te Reo too.

With a slight clash this year with Bene, Mahalia was a definite must-see at the festival. With What You Did on constant repeat on our Spotify, a song she sings with fellow Brit Ella Mai and in which she samples Killa Cam’s Oh Boy we were quite looking forward to her set. She sang mostly from the Love and Compromise album and delivered her hit songs Simmer and Do Not Disturb. She ended her set with I Wish I Missed My Ex with the crowd singing along. She did promise us she will be back in Aotearoa so we cannot wait!

Bringing it back to basics and with an incredible band, Marlon Williams was a highlight at the festival. Dedicating Make Way For Love to Kobe Bryant, it was hard not to be moved by the beautiful performance. A last minute replacement for Fontaines DC which pulled out just a week before the festival, we are so grateful the stars aligned and Marlon was able to step in.

Notable mentions, The 1975 and Charlie XCX.

All images provided by David Watson.

heard | One Love is back and bigger than ever

New Zealand’s much-loved ONE LOVE Festival will kick off a new decade with the best line-up in the festival’s history.

ONE LOVE is without question one of the most popular two-day festivals in Australasia. And today promoters have revealed that an array of international big-hitters are set to perform at the summer extravaganza.

Presented by Mai FM and Pato Entertainment, ONE LOVE 2020 will be held in its long-standing home at Tauranga Domain across Auckland Anniversary Weekend on January 25 and 26, 2020.

Earlybird Tickets go on sale on Wednesday, July 3 at 7pm on the official website:

With demand expected to be huge, punters are urged to get in quickly to avoid disappointment. The 24-hour Early Bird special runs from Wednesday, July 3 at 7pm until Thursday, July 4 at 7pm and all tickets purchased in that 24-hour period will receive a ONE LOVE t-shirt.

As in previous years, VIP tickets will also be available for purchase. This year, LAYBUY tickets are also available, which allows punters to purchase tickets on the day and pay across six payments. This option will be available when you reach the check-out when purchasing tickets.

It has just been confirmed that some of the biggest names in the reggae and roots world will appear at the 2020 festival, including Jamaican dancehall legend Sean Paul; iconic reggae superstar Shaggy; the OGs of reggae Toots and the Maytals; as well as Californian reggae royalty Common Kings; Jamaican singer Etana; the incredible dancehall act, Collie Budz; and reggae legends Third World are all on the line-up.

The star-studded cast of legends will perform at ONE LOVE alongside a packed line-up of other international festival favourites and local heroes, including Katchafire, L.A.B, Sons of Zion, FIJI, Israel Starr and Josh Wawa.

Spawnbreezie, Mike Love, 1814, Ardijah, Latasha Lee, Ria Hall, Conkarah, Lion Rezz, FIA, Jaro Local, Victor J Sefo, DJ Jayraski, DJ Hemz complete the first line-up announcement.

Promoters are also excited to reveal that the much-loved Kiwi act Nesian Mystik, whose hits include ‘For The People’ and ‘Mr Mista’, will be reforming for a special performance at ONE LOVE.

ONE LOVE has sold out for the last four years in a row and with today’s announcement, it is expected that tickets for the festival will once again be in hot demand.

“We are very excited to bring one of our biggest line-ups yet. The hype is so big, we are expecting to sell out faster that previous years,” says promoter Pato Alvarez.

Earlybird Tickets are on sale Wednesday July 3 from 7pm until 7pm Thursday July 4. All tickets purchased in the first 24 hours will receive a free One Love t-shirt –

Check out our review from One Love 2018.

DocEdge 19 | Sunset Over Mulholland Drive

The opening credits roll in a style most reminiscent of the Golden Age of Hollywood …

With a sweeping musical score, elaborate car chases and italic typeface across the screen that pays homage to it’s stars – ‘Sunset over Mulholland Drive’ does not leave much to question, as to the entertaining subject of this film.

At the corner of Spielberg Drive and up through Mulholland, a tour guide takes his passengers, regaling them with stories from a bygone era; of talent agents and big names in the motion picture industry.  This particular retiring haven has been home to a wealth of talent of the octogenarian age since it was founded 95 years ago.

Sunset over Mulholland Drive, covers a time lapse between a budding group of writers and their personal pilgrimage; sharing their philosophies and purpose for writing.  The classic film ‘Casablanca’ becomes the focal point for this creative writing group, as the residents explore the themes surrounding the film and the paths it’s protaganists; Rick, Elsa and Victor, ultimately choose to take.  The characters in the film; somehow providing an idyllic parallel to themselves throughout their patterned lives ….

The wealth of talent residing within the comfortable confines of this leafy suburb are incredible: Connie Sawyer, a longtime actress, paints colourful and youthful snapshots, through anecdotes of an erstwhile age. From her starry-eyed beginnings in Vaudeville, to the big screen. Tony Lawrence, original ‘Hawaii 5’0 – producer and writer, living in the shadow of Elvis’s twin brother, also makes an appearance.

Cut to a humorous repartee between long-married couple Deborah (a psychotherapist) and Joel (a former producer), as they share an amusing story of a dubious producer she once dated, with comical interjections from her husband and details from their latest creative collaboration, ‘How to stay married without killing each other’, this documentary is both whimsical and endearing

Daniel Selznick, son of Oscar winning producer David O Selznick (Gone with the Wind) and grandson of Hollywood’s honcho of cinema, Louis B Mayer (founder of MGM) is one of the newer residents and has himself, earned his own star on Hollywood’s walk of fame (figuratively speaking) through his contribution to the production of ‘American Graffiti’ – one of the highest grossing films of all time.

We are also privy to the dreams of veteran actor Wright King (A Streetcar Named Desire) whose role in the film earns him the status of screen siren Vivien Leigh’s one-time love interest.

Sunset Over Mulholland is witty, uplifting and inspirational.  A very touching and tender documentary that skillfully uses imagery and physical vehicles of life (such as classic cars) as a throwback to a golden and much romanticized era.  Even George Clooney makes an appearance, as part-benefactor of this haven, founded for these important players in Hollywood cinematic history.

Sunset over Mulholland successfully provides us with intimate insights from it’s residents, it also shows us that these veterans have no desire in slowing down just yet.  Dena Dietrich, one actress in particular is still going strong, and has more spunk than those half her age!

And what would Hollywood be without classic love story?  Sunset over Mulholland also features the amorous romance between Tony (producer/writer) and Maddie (actress) beginning in of all places, a retirement setting. Age proving no barrier for this aspiring group of artists.

The classic tune ‘As time goes by’ aptly plays in the background of the theatre, while the audience are all seated,  transfixed to the screen as the projector screen rolls on, reminiscing of those that have gone before …

Once a lifestyle full of silver screens and red carpet, it is now all mobility scooters and guide dogs.  Yet this film is far from a tragedy, but a beautiful and enduring love story,  as the couple Joel and Deborah demonstrate in the final scenes.  Couple goals are eternally fulfilled, and in turn, this becomes a documentary that goes beyond heartwarming.

The film reel rolls on … across the back screen of the car as it cruises across Mulholland drive …  The very fitting choice of film title becomes even more apparent, and timeless.

****4 Stars!

Sunset Over Mulholland Drive (2018)  –   Director: Uli Gaulke      Country: Germany       Running Time:97 mins

~ Showing times:

AKL:  Mon 3rd June, Thurs 6th June, Sat 8th June @Q Theatre                                                                                      WGN:  Thurs 13th & Sat 15th June @Roxy Cinema

DocEdge 19 | War of Art

Norway | 2018 | 102 min | English | Tommy Gulliksen

First off, I must emphasise how much I enjoyed War of Art – if you have any interest or curiosity of politics and modern art and how they meet in North Korea, this is for you.

Norwegian director and artist Morten Traavik began collaborating with the regime in 2011 with the aim of introducing the concept of modern art in what would seem an indoctrinated and fascist society, wit the ultimate hope of opening the channels of communication through creative practices.

Traavik brings a group of artists hailing from a range of disciplines, nationalities and backgrounds – all with varied reasons for participating. Some out of genuine curiosity, and others with the desire to stir the proverbial pot. Morten Traavik states in conversation with one of the artists during the film that he loves the clash of cultures they’re experiencing, finds it beautiful. This eventually develops into visible frustration as he and the team of creatives he’s assembled face barrier after barrier.

Due to heavy isolation from the west since the late 40’s, North Korea is still considered an enigma to us on the outside, which heavily fuels the popularity of film such as this. War of Art at it’s roots is a film attempting to document North Korea and it’s politics, rather than the aforementioned artists collaborative project, and really is  fascinating.

Screenings: Auckland 2 June, 10.15AM & 5 June 2.15PM at the Q Theatre; 6 June, 12.30PM at Auckland Art Gallery, and Wellington 16 June, 10.30AM & 19 June, 2.30PM at The Roxy


The 14th DocEdge Festival takes place Auckland 30 May – 9 June and Wellington 13 – 23 June –

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)