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14 March 2009 @ 07:42 pm
I went to a show this afternoon. A show that, on Thursday, I wouldn't even have thought about it, contemplated it. Such a lot of difference 3 days make!!

A picture book by Shaun Tan was Australian Picture Book of the Year in 2007. No words, stunning illustrations. What would you expect?
Kate Parker didn't know about the award when she spoke to Shaun Tan about turning said picture book into a stage show. He gave his permission - partly due to the intended construction of most of the set and props using cardboard and paper.

The book, I should say, is "The Arrival", conceived of and illustrated by Shaun Tan.

The stage show is incredible - hugely due to its being faithful to the book - though they added some of their own inspiration (with the permission of Shaun Tan) - a made up language which allows for dialogue, but still without the understanding of what is going on. And a shadow puppet scene which shows the terror and size of the invasion. But other than that, the play is entirely faithful to the book (something I checked after the performance by visiting Borders, not wanting to take myself out of the mood the show created).
ALL the creatures are represented, gorgeously and full of language and activity. It is as faithful to the books as I often wish movies are.

I wish I could find the words to explain how much I love it!

I hope this show travels. I hope it survives. It wasn't a sell out show this afternoon, and I doubt it'll sell out tonight or tomorrow - or that it sold out before that. And it's sad. This show deserves so much more than only one level of seating, deserves far more than five shows - six if you count the schools only performance yesterday.

If you think I'm biased, check out the reviews:
Auckland Festival information
NZ Herald preview
NZ Herald review
Theatreview review

For those not familiar with the book, check out this page on Shaun Tan's Website.
Current Mood: bouncyawed and amazed
20 February 2009 @ 11:18 am
One of the things I love about Madeleine L'Engle's writing is her way of describing classical music, in such a way that you want to go out and listen to what she's writing about. Other subjects have the same sort of treatment, but this is one of the key ones, in my opinion. That woman can tell stories!

Yesterday I reread "Camilla", and discovered some of this kind of magic.

"I wanted to go in with her and look at the picture of the two old ladies picking coal off the railroad tracks and the picture that is called White on White..."

"I said, 'Yesterday I passed an apartment house of yours, Father. Is it going well? Is it going to be a beautiful apartment house?'
My father shook his head. 'No, it's not. There was to be sunlight in every room, and space to breathe, and a feeling of the beauty of the city as you looked out the window; but my plans have been taken and distorted and cramped, and now it is just going to be expensive. Very very expensive.'
'Are you working on anything that is beautiful now?' I asked him.
'Yes,' my father said. 'I am designing a small private museum that is very beautiful, and it is that that is keeping me alive.'."

"He picked out an album and we went into the last of the small listening booths. Frank had me sit down in the chair. 'Do you know Holst's The Planets?' he asked.
I shook my head. 'No. What is it?'
'It's kind of queer,' Frank told me, 'but it's kind of wonderful. I thought maybe it might be interesting to you. Of course it isn't scientific or anything, but I think it's sort of interesting to listen to a musician's conception of stars. There's one place that sounds to me like the noise the planets must make grinding against space.'
He put the record on and it was different from anything I knew. I knew Bach and Beethove and Brahms and Chopin and I loved them, especially Bach; but this music - it was like stars before you understand them, when you think an astronomer is an astrologer, when they are wild, distant, mysterious things. And as I listened I realised that the music had a plan to it, that none of the conflicting notes came by accident."

"'Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto. Particularly the andantino. You probably won't think it sounds like you.' His voice was suddenly gruff and embarrassed.
I listened and it didn't sound to me like me, but it was as exciting and different as The Planets had been, and as I listened I was filled with a great tremendous excitement. Oh, I love I love I love! I cried inside myself. So many people, so many things! Music and stars and snow and weather! Oh, if one could always feel this warm love, this excitement, this glory of the infinite possibilities of life!
And as I listened to the music I knew that everything was possible."

"'Too many of us let our suns go out,' Mona took off her glasses, looked at me without them, and put them on again. 'The main thing is to care. As long as you care, your sun hasn't gone out. Though sometimes you can care so much, you can desire so much more than you can ever reach, that your burning sun can consume you utterly. However, that seems to me to be the better fate, because I still happen to think that man is a noble animal.'"

"I remembered then what Frank and I had talked about in the park, how to be alive is to be happy. I remembered it because right at this moment I felt more alive than I had ever felt before, and I felt terribly happy.
I wonder why it is so much easier to describe sorrow than it is to describe happiness, even happiness so great that it can make you forget sorrow."
17 February 2009 @ 12:54 pm
Okay, I have a dilemma, and I figure that the more theatrically minded of my friends might be able to help out.

An international group are doing Chekhov's "The Cherry Orchard" on the 4th and 5th of April. A Tom Stoppard version of the play. link.

Another group who toured Australia are doing "My Fair Lady" from the 25th of March to the 12th of April. link.

I'm out of town - In Christchurch - from the 7th of April and the 13th of April.

Which one should I go and see? Should I go to both? Should I save my money and go to neither?

Added to the 'Save my money' comment, a collection of impressionist paintings billed as "Monet and the Impressionists" (including Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, Pissarro) from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts is in Wellington for three months (until the middle of May), and I think I need to go down and see it. Of course, it's always possible I could go see it sometime when I go to Boston, but this is practically in my backyard.

Why does everything have to happen at once? I want to do them all and I'm not sure if it's possible!
Current Mood: nervousconflicted
16 February 2009 @ 07:40 am
I made the decision to go up the hill yesterday afternoon ... for no real reason other than that my internet is broken at home and exercise is good. As I neared the peak – where the wind is strongest, I heard song and music. Classical music, soaring above the trees and carried on the wind. I don't know what it is, though I have a reasonable idea of where – from the side of the crater that looks out over the Newmarket viaduct, through a gap in the trees, you can see a mass of people, smaller than jellybeans. The wind is coming from that direction, which only makes it all the better.

Nothing can beat a free unexpected concert on a gorgeous summer's day. Surely nothing can.

I thought, at first, perhaps it's the rehearsal for starlight symphony next saturday, but it seems unlikely. It's not at the domain, after all, but just below the slopes of this volcano.

Clearly, heading up the mountain was a good idea.

I took my computer up the hill at the same time. There are wireless networks available from there, though the signal is weak - not strong enough to actually surf the net yesterday. By the time I got home I had a reasonable idea of what it was, and a flier I'd stashed inside a program confirmed it. The Auckland Philharmonic performing in the grounds of Government House. And oh, it was great! And beat paying $65 for a ticket!
14 February 2009 @ 11:47 am
Once upon a time, Alan of Trebond, who would later become Alanna the Lioness, gained a pet. Sharing her shelter under an old willow tree, with her fire, was a cat. A black cat, with purple eyes.

Pets need names.
"'Pounce,'" Jon suggested.
"'Blackie,'" was Raoul's choice.
"How about 'Raoul'?" Gary wanted to know.

Alanna, however, rather liked 'Faithful', and Faithful was the name from then on out.

Many years earlier, Beka Cooper has a cat too - a black cat, with purple eyes. Name of Pounce.

Many years later, Daine explores a castle at Lake Dunlath, in the form of a cat called Scrap, she overhears a conversation between two of her enemies. Lady Yolane of Dunlath, and Tristan Staghorn.
"Tristan! ... Tristan, Alamid showed us the warriors at the southern pass in his crystal. That's the King's Champion out there, and the Knight Commander of the King's Own!"
"Alamid shouldn't worry you with minutiae."
"Minutiae? ... The Lioness and Raoul of Goldenlake are minutiae?"

I had a conversation with joshwriting yesterday, in which he offered up names of computers in sci fi writings. Hal, P-1, Colossus. Somehow, Colossus didn't fit a netbook very well... but, rather than something large, what about something small? Minutiae, perhaps?

So, for one cat, there were four potential names. Faithful, as Alanna knew him. Pounce, as Beka knew him. Blackie, and Raoul.
And somehow, Blackie doesn't fit a black laptop/netbook very well. But Raoul? The idea of calling a little netbook after a big man, called Giant Killler, amused me. Especially given that Raoul once was referred to as minutiae - a drastic mistake! And, for a little netbook Minutiae fits. More than fits.

Meet Minutiae!
13 February 2009 @ 07:44 am
On Monday night, in Auckland, it hit 100% humidity. 23ºC felt like 32ºC.
TVNZ Article
nzherald article

On Thursday, in Auckland, it hit 32.4ºC. The hottest day in 100 years. And it was humid, so how hot did it feel?
nzherald article
2nd nzherald article

Last night it rained. And, when I say rained, I mean rained properly. Not this silly invasive drizzle that sends humidity soaring and leaves temperatures untouched. I mean real rain, sending temperatures downwards. Unlike the night before, where it got hotter at 1am/2am during the daily temperature change, last night it got colder.
10 February 2009 @ 07:58 am
Friday was Waitangi Day. The comemoration of 169 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi - at Waitangi, of course. Following that day, 169 years ago, copies of the treaty circulated among the chiefs of New Zealand, in search of more signatures, more moko patterns.

Even before Close Up began their story about nationalism, patriotism, I had been thinking about the subject. This is Waitangi Day, perhaps the most New Zealand of holidays - certainly more so than ANZAC Day (and not just because we share it with the Aussies) and the regional anniversaries that spread throughout the calendar. But what does it mean to us? How do we celebrate it?

19 years ago, I was at Waitangi for the 150 year celebrations - I was part of the choir, I sang before the queen. I still remember the heat, the red and white "uniform," the visors, the place I stood in that stylised kotuku formation that day. I still remember the lyrics to the songs - not all of them, but most - and I have the tape of songs. I recall hearing that the queen did not stay for all our items, the heat sending her to seek refuge in the Treaty House.

But 19 years seems like a very long time. Waitangi since then has had its show downs, its politician headlines, its struggle to determine how to keep protocol and yet honor female leaders of government and opposition. Mud has been thrown, tears shed, words spoken in anger and demand, high profile people jostled and shaken and roughed up. Headlines, for all the wrong reasons. The nine year old I was, way back then, knew nothing of such a world.

When they talk of renaming the day, the holiday "New Zealand Day" - I disagree. If they want a New Zealand Day, it should be Dominion Day, as some suggest. Don't take away this one - even if we don't quite know what to make of it.

They ran ads on TV including presenters giving a message for the holiday. We've begun wishing "Happy Waitangi Day", yet we talk more of summer drawing to a close, of school starting for the year, of barbeques and family time and other quintessential kiwi summer things - but not of nationhood. Should we?

Or is it not yet the time to celebrate, with all these grievances yet unheard, unresolved?
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05 February 2009 @ 07:46 am
I think that, when you don't experience something for a while, there can be a tendency to forget. Some things more than others, of course, but there you have it.
In this day and age, so much music seems to be electronic. Radio, MP3 players, CDs, DVDs, online music stores, file sharing, television, downloadable songs. You can hold a piece of music in the palm of your hand (or even several hours of music in the palm of your hand), or put it in a jacket pocket. You can forget what it was that made that sound, how magical such a process can be.

Until you sit up and pay attention.

And somehow, as well as forgetting, you can underestimate the effect. Dangerous, that - who knows how much you are missing out on by shutting it out? Music can ... it can fill you to bursting, body and soul, until you think those six little repeated notes can never be forgotten. And then the next powerful note or song drives it out, replaces it, filling you once more. How could I ever have underestimated that?

Last night was the "Nothing But Dreams" Concert in the ASB Theatre in the Aotea Centre. New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Carl Doy, Tina Cross, Grant Sullivan, Bella Kalolo. Everything arranged by the ubiquitous Carl Doy. I loved it, though there were parts that I didn't like as much. I loved remembering what a full orchestra can sound like - and wondering why I'd underestimated it before. At some point I think I need to find "Night on Bald Mountain", and I also wouldn't mind finding "Tarakihi".
02 February 2009 @ 02:44 pm
I haven't posted my monthly booklists or comments on them for a while now, and thought I might as well start afresh. There's a huge mixture of things here...

Nga pukapuka o HanuereCollapse )
20 January 2009 @ 07:32 am
Last night I got home to find a small pile of things on my front doorstep.

I now have a book about a girl who has a turtle who wears sneakers and eats raisins and weighs nothing (unless he is wearing his sneakers, in which case he weighs 1/2). It's fun! :)
I also have a noughts and crosses toy to play with. That seems like fun.
(The package was torn on the sides, presumably by the book while in transit. If there was a note it got lost).

Thank you wenzel!!

I also got a little pad and a note that had been pulled into lots and lots of pieces - and was very cute and fun to put together. Gives me some more evil plans... *insert evil laughter* Thank you camlina!

Mail such as this makes me happy.
01 December 2008 @ 04:59 pm
Every now and then, when the heat and humidity (or lack thereof) etc are just right, I break out in a heat rash, and everything itches.

Which is what happened this last weekend. And, unfortunately, it hasn't stopped with the itchy yet, though the worst of the rash is going away. Last year, it wasn't too bad. This year, with the changeable weather, (It's gone from sunny with no clouds in the sky to torrential downpours and back several times in the last few weeks), I'm not holding out hope.

The last time I remember it happening this badly was two years ago, on a flight from Munich to Hong Kong, where the seats had less legroom than the leg before and after that, and I got itchy and hot and overtired and hypersensitive to touch. Which, on a plane, and in cramped seats, is not particularly easy. Especially given the cabin was warmer than I would have liked, and the only way to deal with the touch hypersensitivity was to curl up in a scratchy plane blanket - at least that way I controled the touch, even if it wasn't the nicest, even if it made everything else seem to be worse.

This, at least, is preferable to that.
Current Mood: soreitchy
17 October 2008 @ 11:15 pm
I went to a Quiz night fundraiser tonight.

Question 1 involved putting the names to the people in 8 pictures.

One of those people was Barack Obama.

McCain was nowhere to be seen.

Does this say something?