Take Five: Including the Auckland Pride Festival and The Tempestby gabeatkinson
The Auckland Pride Festival, The Tempest, Jane Evans, and the NZSO National Youth Orchestra
Time to search out your gayest red top – it’s the AUCKLAND PRIDE FESTIVAL (February 8-24), featuring the first Auckland Pride Parade (February 16) in over a decade, Get It On! Big Gay Out (February 10, headlined by the Kids of 88) and, kicking it all off, the Auckland Pride Gala (February 8). Among this year’s cabaret, comedy and theatre offerings is banjo-packing Brit Rose Collis with Trouser-Wearing Characters (February 15-18), a homage to such historical crossdressers as actress Coral Browne (aka Mrs Vincent Price) and Colonel Victor Barker (aka Valerie Arkell-Smith).
Another Victor, Rodger, has a new play, Black Faggot (February 16-20), a co-presentation with the AUCKLAND FRINGE festival (February 15-March 10). We have an interview with Rodger in next week’s Books & Culture section. Back again for Pride (and what a hairy back it is, too) is Bear New Zealand Week (February 10-17). Suggestions Gerry Brownlee might be cultivating a beard for the occasion remain unconfirmed at the time of going to press.
Bard Productions bills itself not unreasonably as an “adventure-theatre company”, having staged such works as Frogs Under the Waterfront under, yes, the waterfront of Wellington Harbour and Quarantine on the harbour’s Somes Island. Frogs was tremendous; Quarantine less so (“an opportunity squandered”, said Listener reviewer Elspeth Sandys). Now, Bard is returning to Somes for THE TEMPEST, a play ripe for the island setting and indeed the ferry ride that takes you there. February 7-16 (bookings via Circa Theatre).
JANE EVANS (1946-2012): A COMMEMORATIVE SURVEY is, as one would expect, in the artist’s hometown of Nelson at the Suter Art Gallery she was such a stalwart supporter of. Although dominated by the bold, for some of us shrill colours of the paintings that established Evans’s popularity, especially in the 1980s, the exhibition covers four decades, with works sourced from both public and private collections, and shows the full extent of her stylistic facility. Highlights in this respect include darker-hued early 1970s nudes and, especially, Old Woman (1972). Until March 24.
Kenneth Young will know what it feels like to be on the other side of the podium when he conducts the NZSO NATIONAL YOUTH ORCHESTRA for its summer concert, having been principal tuba in the orchestra from 1974-75. This year’s musicians will be performing Brahms’s Symphony No 2 Op 73 in D Major, Grieg’s Two Norwegian Airs, Strauss’s Serenade for Winds, Arnold’s Brass Quintet 1 and the premiere of a specially commissioned piece by Sarah Ballard, winner of the 2012 NZSO Todd Corporation Young Composers Award. Each of the last four pieces shows off a different orchestral section, with Ballard picking up the “leftover” instruments to work with: trumpet, trombone, bass trombone and timpani – a rare, not to say unique, compositional combination she discovered offered “no accessible repertoire” for
pointers. No molly-coddling for the young here. Wellington Town Hall, February 8.
Possessors of one of the more magnificent monikers in music, GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR (it comes from a 1970s documentary about Japanese biker gang the Black Emperors) bring their expansive post-rock soundscapes to New Zealand on the back of their no less magnificently monikered 2012 album Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland, February 8; San Francisco Bath House, February 9. If you don’t feel up to Godspeed’s billowing chords and distorted drones but still yearn for something beyond the norm, the BOND STREET BRIDGE EXPLORERS CLUB TOUR could be the place for you. Purveyor of “psychedelic electro-acoustic folk” Sam Prebble and band are giving 20 shows across the country that mix the spoken word and songs drawn from the diaries of Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, plus projected illustrations and archive photographs. February 2-March 23.
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