Theatre review: Bad Jews at The Fugard Theatre

Glen Biderman-Pam (Liam) and Lara Lipschitz as Daphna argue, with Donna Cormack-Thompson as Melody looking on, in The Fugard's BAD JEWS. Photo credit: Daniel Rutland Manners

Liam (Glen Biderman-Pam) and Daphna (Lara Lipschitz), with Melody (Donna Cormack-Thompson) keeping her distance.      Photo credit: Daniel Rutland Manners

The joy of family is that you have people in your life that you would not necessarily choose yourself.

The downfall:  you have people in your life you would not have had despite your best efforts to shake them.

Bad Jews plays off in bachelor apartment with a view of the Hudson River that, even though said view is just from the bathroom, is quite a palace by New York City standards. However, it quickly becomes claustrophobic as outspoken Jew, and defensive person in general, Daphna (Lara Lipschitz) stays over with her cousin Jonah (Oliver Booth) after their grandfather’s funeral.

There’s a culture clash of sorts when Jonah’s secular brother and Daphna’s least favourite cousin Liam (Glen Biderman-Pam) shows up with his Christian girlfriend Melody (Donna Cormack-Thomson). As grandchildren of a Holocaust survivor, the cousins all have very different ideas about honouring, or forgetting, this legacy.

Bad Jews is (VERY) loud and in your face. In fact, when I saw the show during its first run at the Fugard last year I felt quite rattled. From my second row seat it felt like I was being screamed at for an hour and a half. From the 5th row seat it felt much safer this time around.

The dialogue has the fast-passed, high pitch of a well-oiled Gilmore Girls rant, stuffed with a lifetime worth of comebacks that are usually only thought of days later, stewed in a pressure cooker of resentment.

Set designer Saul Radomsky has created a set that seems so solid they might as well have built a real New York City apartment on stage. With real SMEG appliances and textured wallpaper, the stage is every bit as desirable as the characters gushing about it implied.

The pure force of personalities in Bad Jews makes for unorthodox comedic and dramatic moments. It’s like being wacked over the head by an entitled millennial with a witty, hard, truth stick.

If you’re in Cape Town for some local flavour you can also make a hard right in the Fugard foyer for the return of the musical District Six – Kanala by David Kramer.

Bad Jews is on at the Fugard Theatre until 14 January

Theatre review: The Father 

Brent Palmer (Pierre), Marius Weyers (Andre) and Anthea Thompson (Anne) Photo credit: Daniel Rutland Manners

Brent Palmer (Pierre), Marius Weyers (Andre) and Anthea Thompson (Anne)
Photo credit: Daniel Rutland Manners

In the opening scene of The Father the audience drops in on a conversation between a father and his daughter. Judging by the tears in Anne’s eyes it is clear that this is not the first time they have had this particular conversation. His tears, in turn, express his ras-le-bol. A French term with no literal English translation, ras-le-bol is used to express annoyance or frustration: although some words in Florian Zeller’s Le Père might have been slightly tweaked in Christopher Hampton’s translation, the raw emotion is not lost.

Marius Weyers (Andre) stars alongside Anthea Thompson (Anne) in The Father at the Fugard Theatre. The play gives the audience a unique view of life through the eyes of a man with dementia, and his daughter’s balancing act of taking care of him and being with her partner Pierre (Brent Palmer). The cast is rounded off with Amy Louise Wilson (Laura the caregiver) and Emily Child (Woman) and Nicholas Pauling as Man.

Having grown up watching Marius Weyers on television it was quite an honour seeing him on stage. One notable series he starred in was Song vir Katryn were he played a scene-stealing role as a man with advanced Alzheimer’s. With Andre, Weyers gets to really let loose, by not going that… well… loose at all. He keeps the character tight, authentic.

This approach is true to the heart of the play. The Father does not rely on big reveals and dramatic twists to move along the narrative. It is a highly visual production. With frosted glass sliding panels, the set changes dynamically within seconds, almost as fast as the actors switch roles. At curtain call the stage looked so full with the whole cast of six that, having been completely drawn into Andre’s mindset, I genuinely wondered “Who are you people?”.

Anthea Thomson (Anne) Photo credit: Daniel Rutland Manners

Anthea Thomson (Anne)
Photo credit: Daniel Rutland Manners

Up until Wednesday evening I was not a fan of Anthea Thompson, simply because her brand of comedy is not my cup of tea. Her drama on the other hand is superb.  Consider me converted. Thompson brings a regal quality to the character of Anne, refusing to be pitied.  One can’t help but be in her corner.

Birrie Le Roux’s costume design is so sleek the cast won’t be able to walk on the street without being harassed by a ‘street style’ blogger. Except for Andre’s sloppy red robe of course.  This robe and Laura’s red Tony sneakers are the only pops of colour in an otherwise monochrome palette, bookending the cast’s attire in a sense, echoing that Andre is in the winter of his life while the young Laura is in the spring of hers.

Despite dealing with a very dark subject matter, The Father does not leave its audience feeling drained. Maybe a bit nostalgic, but mostly more educated on a human condition that befalls many.

The Father runs at The Fugard Studio until 3 December 2016.

This review was featured on WhatsoninCapeTown.com

Theatre review: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

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Brendan van Rhyn dreamed of becoming a pediatrician.  I found it very hard to see myself, in let’s call it the darkest timeline, as his adoring audience of one, grateful that he cured my spawn of the flu in 13 days opposed to the regulation 14. Instead we were both in our highest heels, me without kids, and van Rhyn as Cathy Specific at the launch of Gate69. The Cape Town production of John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch almost became a sideshow to the splendor of Cape Town’s newest theatre.

Gate69 is plush and purple with Warhol-style pop art pieces and Cathy Specific-adorned furniture. Let’s just say no one will come off lightly making a drinking game out of seeing the premier flight attendant’s face at Gate69.  What starts subtly with the drag artist’s face on a few chairs in the bar area, explodes into a million of Cathy’s knowing smiles splashed on the wallpaper as you walk up the stairs, only to be greeted by the lady herself (Brendan van Rhyn) with a familiarity that makes you want to believe you are cousins.

Inside, the tables are packed tight and piled high with mezze platter delights and seasonal fruit. The waitresses – dressed in revealing PanAm air stewardess-style outfits (‘sexy’, but classy rather than crass) – plied us with warm bread all evening, reminiscent of a time when it was still fabulous to fly.

Hedwig (Paul du Toit) is unapologetic about having parked her trailer on Gate69’s prime real estate, the stage, and along with Yitzhak (Genna Galloway) she spends the next hour breaking it in, or rather bending it to her will.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch could be described as the lovechild of a down-and-dirty glam rock musical and a telenovela script that was rejected for being too realistic. Yet, as melodramatic as an East German genderqueer who survived the botched sex change operation needed in order to marry a man and escape the Berlin Wall only to be dumped in America may sound, it is relatable in a bizarre kind of way. Well the way Hedwig told it I could not help but believe it.

The audience feels Hedwig’s pain when we overhear the voice of her former lover – her ‘invention’ – thunder from

the Cape Town Stadium and not mention her name, not even to credit her for all the hit songs he ran off with.  With little acclaim for her work Hedwig jealously guards the dim spotlight, mostly from her far more talented and long resentful husband, Yitzhak.  Callously introduced by Hedwig as her ‘Boy Friday’, Yitzhak  is brilliantly played by Genna Galloway who, as it happens, is even more talented than du Toit.

The repeated mention of Cape Town stadium is just one of the many localisations that nonchalantly roll off Hedwig’s sharp tongue. I particularly enjoyed the dig at Patricia Lewis’ hair extensions, a classic if ever there was one.  She also occasionally broke the fourth wall to pick on the crowd and particularly on Cathy Specific and her ‘skinny stewardesses’.

Most Cape Town audiences will remember Paul du Toit from his extensive stint as Brad (440 performances in South Africa) opposite Brendan van Rhyn’s Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show. Caked with glittering blue eye shadow du Toit looks much more comfortable in Hedwig’s skin. The red gash on his knee – presumably a rug-burn though Hedwig would have a more suggestive explanation – is evidence of his dedication to the role.  He is currently also on the South African film circuit as a corrupt brute of a police officer in SA’s official entry to the 2017 Oscars, Noem My Skollie, though the ultra-masculine character fell flat in my mind after experiencing Hedwig just two days earlier.

I have seen the band Van Coke Kartel in a venue with 20 people and open air venues where one has to fight for a place to stand, and they always played with the same energy. This is the same feeling that I got from Hedwig and Yitzhak. They ‘played’ to a stadium packed with fans pushing get a spot in the front instead of a crowd with assigned seats.  Behind Hedwig’s’ back Yitzhak rocked the hardest, careful to stay out of his line of vision and inadvertently solidly into that of a polite(ish) theatre crowd now itching to mosh in front of the stage.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch runs at at Gate69, Cape Town until 27 November 2016.

A version of this review was featured on WhatsoninCapeTown.com

Silwerskermfees 2016: The short and the long of it

Next week Silwerskermfees will once again commandeers the Table Bay Hotel to screen for the best local feature films and 13 commissioned short films from 24 – 27 August 2016.

Here’s a few of the films I’m most excited about:

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Tess

Tess is about a sex worker who gets pregnant, how she got to that point and more importantly, what she’s going to do about it now. The film features a diverse cast that paints a true picture of South Africa.

I came across the film poster for Tess on Instagram and even though the name and the image was dramatically different to the novel, I immediately knew it was based on Tracey Farren’s Whiplash. I rcan not remember all the details of the book, but I do remember a feeling which is how, despite having just looked at a million pics of stranger’s lunch on Instagram, I identified the essence of the novel on Christia Visser’s (the eponymous star ofTess) face.

With: Christia Visser, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Brendon Daniels, Lee-Ann van Rooi, Quanita Adams and Greg Kriek.

13988116_318327588506951_587711829203814384_oNoem my Skollie: Elke roeping het ’n prys

Just last week South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord accused the makers of the blockbuster Suicide Squad for ripping off their look. Twitter in turn was quick to call out Die Antwoord for appropriating the gangster culture of the Cape flats.

Now forget everything you know about the above mentioned mess.

Set in the 60s Noem my Skollie looks at the real life experiences of the people living on the Cape Flats and joining a gang. Noem my Skollie is the directorial debut of Daryne Joshua and is based on the life of scriptwriter John W. Fredericks. Joshua who was born in raised on the Cape Flats made a point to cast actors similar backgrounds of the characters.

With: DJ Mouton, Austin Rose, Tarryn Wyngaard, Christian Bennett, Gershwin Mias, Oscar Peterson, Abdu Adams, Peter Butler, Charlton George, Jill ­Levenberg en Denise Newman.

Promising short films…

Die-Bok-Poster-723x1024Die Bok

A bitter pregnant women fights to protect her rose garden against a goat while her marriage is deteriorating.

Philip van Zyl is the director and writer of Die Bok. He is a film-maker from Pretoria with a love for truly South African stories with a strong human element.

Beloofde-Land-Poster-729x1024Beloofde Land

Lodewyk Mouton is the naive ruler of the dictatorship Anskroepolis. When a group of socialist rebels arrives at his manor house and threatens to topple him, Lood is confronted with the reality of his bubble-existence and the misery of his people.

Mia Cilliers is a writer and director of Cape Town with a background in documentary films, web series and reality television. She obtained a master’s degree in documentary arts from the University of Cape Town. She is the author and director of Beloofde Land.

Spoorloos-Poster-727x1024Spoor(loos)

If we could just disappear.

Marisa Drummond is a famous film and theatre actress and director of Spoor(loos). She made her directorial debut in the new kykNET soap Getroud met Rugby. The author of the short film is the PANSA-winning author Jannes Erasmus, making his short film debut.

Click here to snag the last few tickets to Silwerkermfees 2016.

 

Acoustics Underground: Francois van coke and Arno Carstens

Arno Carstens, Francios van Coke and Jett Kossew at Acoustics Underground at the Chavonnes Battery Museum Foto Credit: Chavonnes Battery Museum via Facebook

Arno Carstens, Francois van Coke and Jett Kossew at the Chavonnes Battery Museum         Photo Credit: Chavonnes Battery Museum via Facebook

It was a few months before the turn the century and a corporate was once again breaking ground on prime V&A Waterfront real estate to build boring offices. However, the power tools were soon downed in favour of excavation tools (in my mind it’s a million UCT archaeological students with fine brushes) when the ruins a 17th Century battery was discovered. The Chavonnes Battery is now a nerd fabulous museum where one can wear a tricorn hat and experience a sliver of Cape Town’s history that was almost lost under concrete and overpriced suits.

On Wednesday evening we were versed on a slightly newer chapter of the Mother City’s history, as Francois van Coke along with Arno Carstens and Jett Kossew opened Acoustics Underground with fokofolisiekar’s Hemel op die platteland.

The set was a retrospective of tunes from Francois van Coke (fokofpolisiekar, van Coke Kartel and solo) and Arno Carstens’ (Springbok Nude Girls and solo) projects peppered with a few covers of songs that inspired them. Carstens also debuted a few new songs off his Afrikaans album, so brand spanking new that he used sheet music.

Though the show had elements of van Coke and Carstens’ Blood Brothers performance last year where the duo teamed up with 8 other South African legends for the Vrede Foundation, the stunning venue added to the performance like no commercial space can. Acoustics Underground is the bottle of moderately priced wine you reluctantly share, to Blood Brothers’ shot of Jose Cuervo with a slice of orange*.

The cover of the evening was ACDC’s Highway to Hell reimagined as a ballad. Just as Carstens had the crowd whipped up like congregants receiving the spirit with his take on Hozier’ Take Me To Church at Blood Brothers, I could see quite a few people ready to call shotgun if he announced a road trip on said highway.

When I looked at how the three musos interacted with each other (at that point I had a unique top down view of the stage standing on a walkway) the word that came to mind is not often associated with rock n roll, mindfulness. Like when Carstens quietly swapped microphones with van Coke while the latter seemed to have mild technical difficulties during Toe vind ek jou. The 2 lead singers respectively stepped back, in a manner of speaking of course as they were seated, as the other took the rein of their respective treffers.

After being buried so many years, Underground Acoustics concert series gives the Chavonnes Battery a masterclass in the local music scene, pulling it into the 21st Century while still respecting the integrity of its hallowed walls.

The next Underground Acoustics features Judith Sephuma and Camillo Lombard on Wednesday, 18 August.

* Catch Blood Brothers at Carnival City on 9 of September 2016 with new recruit Zolani Mahola (!) replacing Arno Carstens. Unfortunately, there won’t be a Cape Town gig this year

Trash Cabaret: Where normal people are the freaks

St Fox

St Fox

Trash Cabaret’s Carnival of Dreams was the most body positive event I’ve been to in a long time. People of all shapes and sizes were dancing, singing, swinging through the air (one from her ponytail), making the jocks wish they played oversized brass instruments in high schoo­l, singing Spider Pig and playing with fire (hoola hoops).

Trash Cabaret is “a multi-cultural circus cabaret extravaganza”. Dancers from different burlesque troupes pealed and revealed side by side and the house band played as one. Along with the band Master of ceremonies Riaan Smit (the sexy raspy voice behind Crimson House and one of the organisers of the event) was the lynchpin keeping the flow between all the different acts. With few exceptions such as the excellent Nameless Dance Crew, who used an eclectic mix of Rihanna*, Drake and other treffers, the music was live.

The Red Baroness

The Red Baroness

Not all the acts worked but it really didn’t matter because the pumped up house band, a fusion of The Nomadic Orchestra, Ann Jangle and Crimson House, provided constant stream of fun with their stage antics.

In jest Smit proclaimed that Trash Cabaret is like AfrikaBurn only they have grass and credit card facilities. Trash Cabaret is no AfrikaBurn, but that’s not a bad thing. Trash Cabaret is something AfrikaBurn could never be, inclusive. At R100 – R150 a ticket, Trash Cabaret is an affordable outing even in the middle of the month, and you don’t need a 4×4 to get to Hillcrest Quarry**.

While I might have moved up my inevitable deafness by 4 years, I didn’t feel too fazed. I also didn’t mind the speck burnt on my pleather jacket. It’s the price you pay when you stand right up against the speaker with sparks flying from St. Fox’s Mad Max grinder guitar while a selection of the most beautiful burlesque dancers twirl their tasselled nipple caps with dirty smiles. Dancers with my body shape, deemed ‘plus size’ by mainstream media, with the confidence that make Victoria Secret models look mousey.

This is a very shameful photo. Somehow we missed the memo about dressing up. Felt like a tourist.

This is a very shameful photo. Somehow we missed the memo about dressing up. Felt like a tourist.

People danced with careless abandonment during The Nomadic Orchestra’s set. The sound from the 5-piece orchestra bounced off the high walls of the quarry, swished around the countless top hats in the audience and swept me off my feet. I now fully understood the name of the name of their new album, Love. Dancing was the only option to keep from falling over.

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Like Trash Cabaret on Facebook for more photos and updates on furture events.

*Rumour has it that Riri signed up to Trash Cabaret but got caught up last minute with the business of retrieving her money from bitches.

Bacon on Bree: Bacon for people who eat carbs

Bacon on Bree

The Plus One getting an eyeful of Salma Hayek

I gave my Plus One a side eye worthy of Michelle Obama as he nibbled on Salma Hayek. But I was being unreasonable as I was taking hearty bites out of Harvey Specter. This wasn’t one of those couple celebrity free passes, Bacon on Bree keeps an already interesting menu spicy by naming their sandwiches after movie stars, TV characters and movies.

After being up North for a week I was hungry for a classic Cape Town breakfast. I could taste the Jason Bakery doughssant already. But Jason Bakery had other plans for the long weekend that didn’t include my pastry needs and was boarded up.

Bacon on Bree

Top left: The Harvey Specter on the pig shaped plate. Top right: In the shaddow of a church, it was Easter weekend after all. Bottom right: Not on the menu (yet), the baconccino. Bottom right: Foto credit – Bacon on Bree/Facebook

Just up the street there’s a row of establishments squished together, each quirkier than the rest. Mother’s Ruin are amongst these with excellent gin cocktails. Its neighbour has a signature ingredient with a slightly wider appeal, bacon.

The service was extremely friendly and helpful, yet we had to ask twice for my Bacon Mary and three times for the Plus One’s second flat white. They did indulge us with 2 rashes of bacon with the coffee so the Plus One could create world’s first baconccino (patent pending).

Crispy and thin, we both wiggled a rasher of bacon out of our respective sandwiches to taste it by itself first. I was reminded of a Parks and Recreation episode where Ron Swanson asks a waitress to bring him all the bacon and eggs in the place. He calls her back – and to paraphrase – says that he doesn’t mean that he wants a lot of bacon, he wants ALL the bacon.

I’m willing to ask three times, I want all the bacon (and ciabatta) at Bacon on Bree.

Bacon on Bree
217 Bree Street, Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 422 2798
Also read:
Cheese & Whine: Bacon On Bree for Brunch

Book review: Death by Carbs – Paige Nick

Death by Carbs

Death by Carbs

All books needs a goodie and badie (protagonist and antagonist if you will). For the best selling Real Meal Revolution it’s bacon vs carbs*. Death by Carbs is not as clear cut.

I came across Death by Carbs in the biography section of CNA. Paige Nick’s latest novel (yes CNA, a work of fiction) is set in a fictionalsised (sorry CNA, now I’m just being douchey) Cape Town where South Africa’s premier sport scientist, Tim Noakes,  has been murdered. Who-donut (now I have to apologize to Paige, she told the joke better)… I mean whodunit?

With jealous co authors, the worst hijackers ever and general pleps hoping to cash in on the banting craze there’s more than enough suspects. But don’t work too hard trying to figure it out,  the SAPS sure ain’t making the effort. And if you nodded in agreement to that South Africanism, casual pessimism about the police, you’d enjoy this novel dipping into the best and worst of South African culture.

Downsides: I would have liked to see more female characters. Misspelling Marian Keyes’ name**.

Is Death by Carbs a very thinly veiled brand extension of the Real Meal Revolution? Or is it a brilliant yet accessible critique on the fickle 24 hour news cycle and herd mentality of social media in South Africa? Possibly both, but it’s a good holiday read.

Above all Death By Carbs is a great icebreaker for that awkward dinner with the in-laws this Easter. “Fabulous cake Tannie Marge…. (crickets)… so how would you off Tim Noakes?”

* I think, couldn’t be bothered to read it.

** In the first draft of this review I spelt Noakes wrong multiple times. Thanks for pointing that out Paige!

Spier drive-in: The blog post with all the updates including this headline

Alternative headline for this post, “Spier just dropped the watermelon”. But let’s start from the beginning.

  • Or you can scroll through to the end of this post for 3 updates that were added through the week.

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I grew up in a time when drive-ins were slowly being phased out, but was already an overgrown field in my rundown plattelandse hometown. So this experience was high on my (sadly limited childhood) bucketlist.

Spier Wine Farm preys on this kind on nostalgia. Tickets for their drive-in screenings sell out weeks in advance. By hook and crook we got a ticket (it’s sold by car) to the Dirty Dancing screening on 27 February.

The organisation was bumpy from the beginning, the cars pilled up as only one person ticked off names from a list and explained how the evening worked. We weren’t on the list but were ‘allowed in’ because we had the ticket on us. Very decent of them. The ‘movie usher’ and security at the field were much friendlier. Spier claimed to arrange the cars according to size. You know, like a raised 4×4 in the row in front of a Mini Cooper.

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Retro date night – despite of the general negative tone of this post we had a lot of fun

Due to power failure/technical difficulties the film started about 15 minutes late. We were kept in the loop by the lady apologising over the radio and asking questions that couldn’t be answered by a hoot of a car horn.

Once the movie started rolling it was wonderful. As the sound comes from your car’s radio once tuned in a local frequency, it’s clear and as loud as you need it to be. It feels like you’re in a bubble. I didn’t hear a single person from the cars near us, there was just the occational flash of a selfie.

Then about three quarters into the movie the DVD skipped over a whole section. It happened so quick that those kissing in the backseat wouldn’t have noticed how one second Baby and Johnny were cuddling in a post coidal glow and the next she was at breakfast with the folks. Yet this was a forgivable fuck up compared to what happened next.

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One fool proof way to have a good time is to bring your own props

Just after the movie’s famous line (Nobody puts Baby in the corner!) the DVD started acting up again messing up the pivotal dance scene. The bubble burst, I could hear my neighbours clearly, loud boos and car horns were hurled across the field. In between empty apologies the scene was restored and the last few minutes played in the spirit it was made, in spite of management.

Radio lady blamed the glitches on the fact that they had to wait for dark therefore they couldn’t run a test (or some bs like that, no version of which makes sense). Is it not possible to do a dry run the night before, when it was also dark? But mostly, haven’t they done tons of movie nights which uses the same technology and general setup? You have a cashcow on your hands Spier, invest in equipment that works and people who know what they’re doing.

I’m filing this experience under a fun night with my Baby that I won’t recommend to anyone with high irritation levels and have a need to get value for their money. Rather support the professionals at the Galileo Theatre or watch a shaky bootleg on your tablet.

Note: Now and then I write random rants that I delete, why should I add more negativity to the internet? This post was doomed to that fate until I got this response from Spier’s Twitter account:

Spier

So instead of writing another account of the evening’s events that they won’t read, I thought I’ll just post it here where my mother stays up to date with my life.

UPDATE 1: The following Facebook post was in response to another complaint on Spier’s facebook group.

Short & Sweet Cape Town Hi Raighan, we are responsible for your experience last night. Short&Sweet pioneered the pop - up drive in and we host the drive-in at Spier. Last night we experienced a technical fault - which I'm sure u can imagine was my worst nightmare. I want nothing more than everything to run smoothly from beginning to end, but that doesn't always happen, and we need to roll with it. We had a good copy of the film, but it was a Dvd format, which is the worst format to screen from- but our options are limited legally. Please note SPIER are not responsible for the technical fault or the non-stop talking MC (me) - Short&Sweet take full responsibility - we are not an audio and visual company, we are a movement that aims to bring the magic of film to everyone by taking film out of the theatre and into the city bringing it to the people. I host free screenings at schools using the short film medium to educate, inspire and empower the youth - we also host pop-up cinema as fundraisers for schools across the country. The mission is to get cinema everywhere - screens = access to information for everyone! With regards to the price, I have struggled with customers saying R250 is too expensive for a ticket - It is not R250 per ticket - it is R250 per car. This makes it R62.50 per person with 4 people in a car, which is less than the cinema, but it includes all of the other magic. The pop-up cinema set up is a big job - my team of 7 work 12-14 hour shifts when we host the drive-in - The screen is extremely heavy and when the wind blows it is almost impossible to lift it onto the stage. But they rock it every time. That said I sincerely apologize that the magic I had hoped you would experience was not realized. I can only hope that this message helps you see who we are and that your support is playing a role in the bigger plan we are working on. Much love xjulia

Short & Sweet Cape Town: Hi Raighan, we are responsible for your experience last night. Short&Sweet pioneered the pop – up drive in and we host the drive-in at Spier. Last night we experienced a technical fault – which I’m sure u can imagine was my worst nightmare. I want nothing more than everything to run smoothly from beginning to end, but that doesn’t always happen, and we need to roll with it. We had a good copy of the film, but it was a Dvd format, which is the worst format to screen from- but our options are limited legally. Please note SPIER are not responsible for the technical fault or the non-stop talking MC (me) – Short&Sweet take full responsibility – we are not an audio and visual company, we are a movement that aims to bring the magic of film to everyone by taking film out of the theatre and into the city bringing it to the people. I host free screenings at schools using the short film medium to educate, inspire and empower the youth – we also host pop-up cinema as fundraisers for schools across the country. The mission is to get cinema everywhere – screens = access to information for everyone! With regards to the price, I have struggled with customers saying R250 is too expensive for a ticket – It is not R250 per ticket – it is R250 per car. This makes it R62.50 per person with 4 people in a car, which is less than the cinema, but it includes all of the other magic. The pop-up cinema set up is a big job – my team of 7 work 12-14 hour shifts when we host the drive-in – The screen is extremely heavy and when the wind blows it is almost impossible to lift it onto the stage. But they rock it every time. That said I sincerely apologize that the magic I had hoped you would experience was not realized. I can only hope that this message helps you see who we are and that your support is playing a role in the bigger plan we are working on. Much love xjulia

UPDATE 2: Spier has since taken ownership of this situation. I am open to being wrong about an establishment that makes wine (happy even) (early days) (this is the last bracket in this paragraph). They sent the following email to everyone who attended the event:

Spier takes ownership of the Dirty Dancing f*up

Spier takes ownership of the Dirty Dancing drive-in f*up

FINAL UPDATE: I have changed the headline of this post [Nobody (except Spier) puts Baby in the corner] which was a true reflection of our experience at the drive- in on Saturday, to something that sums up the experience since then. Spier stepped up. Customer service isn’t dead.

Blood Brothers rocks GrandWest

Blood BrothersA few years ago the presenter of one of my favourite MK shows went bald; it really didn’t suit him I thought in my horrible judgmental teenage mind. Neither did the cancer, but that didn’t stop Herman Pretorius from living what time he had left to the fullest and leaving a beautiful legacy with his Vrede Foundation. Vrede raises awareness and early detection as well as funds for young people with cancer.

In aid of Vrede, Blood Brothers brought together 10 local rock n rollers (Jason Hinch, Albert Frost, Rian Zietsman, Francois van Coke, Arno Carstens,- take a deep breath – George van der Spuy, Kobus de Kock Jnr, Hunter Kennedy, Loedi van Renen and Isaac Klawansky) with the awesome Catherine Grenfell as host to one stage for a mind blowing three hours of rock and all its mutations.

With multiple ‘lead singers’ the stage dynamics made for fascinating viewing. Francois and George played solid backup when needed, killing it when they had the main mic. Black Cat Bone’s Kobus on the other hand stalked the stage like a caged lion. Arno Carstens seemed content being in the background on his tambourine, until he too displayed signs of a caged lion, in the form of a flamingo dancer.

Photo by @glanskind

Photo by @glanskind

With the Blood Brothers out of their comfort zones, most of audience members responded in kind. For the first time in years we stood close enough to feel the swoosh of wind then Francois twirls his mic on the cord and see the crazy in Kobus’ eyes. Instead of the cellphone screens the emotion of Van Coke Kartel’s Tot Die Son Uitkom inspired a few lighters to come out, no worries about scorched fingers. Then there was the middle aged guy standing rigid all night then doing what can only be described as jiving to Bubblegum On My Boots. The biggest fans of all seemed to be the Blood Brothers themselves, of each other and the music they were performing.

One of the standout covers was Hozier’s Take Me To Church with Arno Carstens on lead vocals and Albert Frost rocking the bowed guitar (simply put, it looks like he’s playing an electric guitar like a cello). For three minutes GrandWest became a charismatic church, the kind held in circus tents in the middle of a veld, with frenzied dancing.

For more on the Vrede Foundation click here.

Buy the Blood Brothers original song ‘People Gotta Kno’ here.

Photo Album: Blood Brothers @ Carnival City