Take Five: Including St Jerome's Laneway Festival and Tropfest New Zealand

by Guy Somerset / 17 January, 2013
St Jerome's Laneway Festival; Tropfest New Zealand; and Prohibition.


Laneway-bound Jessie Ware
Laneway-bound Jessie Ware. Photo/supplied

Who needs the Big Day Out anyway? ST JEROME’S LANEWAY FESTIVAL, which over the past few years has been something of an edgier younger sibling, has proven itself more than capable of stepping up to take over the mantle of New Zealand’s premier summer music event. This year’s line-up is one of its best ever, including Tame Impala, Polica, Alt-J, Bats for Lashes, Japandroids, Jessie Ware, Yeasayer, Of Monsters and Men and many more besides. Silo Park, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, January 28.


Keep your eyes peeled for the gumboots. Each of the short film entries in the inaugural TROPFEST NEW ZEALAND competition was required to contain one and the 16 finalists can now be viewed en masse, with Best Director selected and announced on the night (along with Best Maori Director, Best Actor and Best Actress). Tropfest bills itself as the world’s largest short film festival, originating 20 years ago in Australia, where there is an audience of more than 150,000 either at the event at Sydney’s Domain or via satellite links to other outdoor locations around the country. Tropfest offshoots have since cropped up in such countries as China, India and the US, and now here. It’s early days in this country, so you’ll have to be at the venue itself if you want to see the first year’s crop. TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth, January 27.


Their old man, Charles Montgomery, is a bit of a ratbag, but the apple has fallen far from the Springfield tree when it comes to documentary-making brothers Ken and Ric Burns. Between them – either separately or collaboratively – they have covered so many facets of American life and history that they’ll soon have only each other left to make documentaries about. Ken’s PROHIBITION (Madman) tells the story of the 1920 18th Amendment and the 13 years that ensued. It was an era that gave rise to a legion of Nucky Thompsons and this DVD release is a good companion to Boardwalk Empire. For the other side of the coin – or the bottom of the glass, if you prefer – DRUNK: 100 SMASHED HITS (Proper) is a four-CD box set that gathers together some of music’s finest paeans to the drinking life in all its glory and just as frequently inglory. What a rich vein the subject has proven, featuring such highlights as the Clovers' One Mint Julep, Dinah Washington’s Juice Head Man of Mine and Webb Pierce’s There Stands the Glass. The compilation’s title comes from a song of the same name by the magnificently monikered Jimmy Liggins & His Drops of Joy. Drops of joy indeed.


As popular as Pokemon and Hello Kitty have proven in the West, our relationship to these and other manga and anime characters is nothing compared with that of their fellow countrymen in Japan. JAPAN: KINGDOM OF CHARACTERS is an exhibition examining this relationship from the 1950s to the present in a country where the characters “are viewed as friends and confidantes” and are used in everything from supermarket branding to train tickets. Gus Fisher Gallery, Auckland, until February 1.


Don’t let the musical dominance of Laneway blind you to the presence in our midst of a band that could have easily made a headlining act for the festival. Instead, New York art-popsters DIRTY PROJECTORS are playing a couple of lower-key gigs to promote Swing Lo Magellan, one of the Listener’s 20 best albums of 2012. Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland, January 23; San Francisco Bath House, Wellington, January 24.
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