Ron Swanson for ants

A year and a day ago, The Plus One proposed to me during an episode of Parks and Recreation. Not a conventional engagement story but for me it was the most romantic thing he could do.  Ron

Seeing as I still haven’t found him a ring yet I tried to compensate with a very special gift, one of Lorrain Loots’ Paintings for ants.

Lorraine has committed to painting one miniature a day for the whole of 2013. I started following the project after reading a blog post on I want a Dodo. What captured me most about the project was that it didn’t just focus at seemingly ‘spectacular’ subjects. Ranging from 2 tiny pigeon eggs in a nest to the former Athlone Cooling Towers, to a plastic toy dinosaur. Lorraine captures memories in 24 x 24mm – and sometimes even smaller than that.

Paintings-for-Ants

Ron Swanson is the coolest character in Parks and Rec so picking him as the subject of my miniature was a no brainer. And yes, somehow I don’t think that he will approve of such “tom foolery”.

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Review: Chris Chameleon – Herleef

A South African musician recording a gospel album is akin to an American musician making a Christmas album – it either means they’re out to make a quick buck or they’re washed out. With this in mind I was rather sad to get an invitation to the launch Chris Chameleon’s Afrikaans gospel album, Herleef. He is way too talented to be washed out and somehow he never came across as someone who is just in it for the cash. So I made my first visit to an NG Kerk in 3 years to find out what Herleef was all about.  ChrisChameleonHerleef

The 12 track album is made up of Chameleon’s favourite Psalms and Gesange. He likened his process of creating the album to a restaurant using a “Kook en Geniet” recipe book:  taking something already familiar to the consumers and adding a little personal twist.

Chameleon put together a supergroup of sorts with Albert Frost on guitar (all 5 of them), Schalk Joubert on bass and drummer Riaan Van Rensburg for the recording of the album.

MelChameleon

My sister Mel was very jealous when I met Nataniël but after this pic she has “forgiven me”. Ironically she borrowed the polka dot scarf I wore at my set visit of Die Nataniël Tafel.

Chameleon is completely audience orientated. After the emotional show it was not 15 minutes before he was in the foyer to sign CDS. He does not interact over a table, he stands next to his fans.  We were making our way out of the foyer when he suddenly appeared behind us, completely unassuming.

To do this review justice I called in the help of someone who is closer to the target market: my sister, a devout Christian and a big Chameleon fan. She really enjoyed the general flow of the songs on the album. However she did not feel that the songs were popular enough to warrant the title Herleef (which in the context of the album means ‘revive’). Therefore this is more of a “lekker luister” album than one, for instance, a congregation can sing along to. The top track on the album is Psalm 1 with its powerful lyrics and instrumentals.

ChrisChameleonChameleon

Chameleon says that he does not believe in God, he knows him. And I now recognise that there is in fact a third kind of South African musician that records a gospel album: a true artist.

Theatre Review: Mr Johnson Presents

Mr Johnson Presents is a collection of the old, new and totally random brought to the Kalk Bay Theatre stage by the spectacular Godfrey Johnson.GodfreyJonhnson

Johnson plays old favourites in a way that is instantly recognisable, yet there’s something more to it, an extra layer not audible to the naked…um…ear . My Plus One was fortunate enough to have one of his favourites, When Doves Cry by Prince, played.

The classics got us going but it was the original songs that crept into one’s heart. Anyone who has spent 2 minutes in Cape Town will recognise the man who is neither gay nor metro sexual in ‘Modern Man’, also known as a hipster. For ‘I’m not going to sing that song’ the audience were granted the privilege of being a fly on the wall inside? Johnson’s brain. He starts off by putting his foot down in a minor temper tantrum against singing a song from the famous Broadway musical Wicked. This is followed by a medley of other highly requested songs and Miley Cyrus being told off for trying to pass off licking a hammer as art.

MrJohnsonPresents

All the songs in the set where propped on a sandwich board much like a café announcing the specials. When he got to the bottom of the sandwich-board he simply flipped it over, to the delight of the folks in the third mezzanine, revealing the options for the audience choice. Right off Piano Man was the clear crowd favourite which merged into Butterflies by Tori Amos. For good measure he threw in Marieke by Jacques Brel, a composer he had mastered in his Shadow of Brel shows. Two songs over par and the greedy audience’s appetite was still not satisfied. Johnson obliged with another two before taking his bow.

A few concert promoters have hijacked the term ‘intimate’ of late, because nothing is more intimate than Grand West Arena or a packed Kirstenbosch, right? A solo pianist surrounded by a tiny audience in the Kalk Bay Theatre is the true meaning of the term. I was happy to show my sister the polar opposite, yet still fabulous, side to the Cape Town theatre scene as opposed to the super popular The Rocky Horror Show we’re watching later in her visit*.  KalkBayTheatre

It is not often that this calibre pianist holds mass appeal. Johnson achieves this through his sharp wit, a knack to read the audience and the ability to wear dark rimmed Typo glasses without looking like a silly ‘Modern Man’ himself.

Mr Johnson Presents runs at the Kalk Bay Theatre Wednesdays to Saturdays until 26 October 2013.

* I have seen The Rocky Horror Show twice already

R’ing the Ds

Woodstock Mafia

Woodstock Mafia at Rocking the Daisies 2013 Photo credit: Woodstock Mafia Facebook page

Sjoe but there were a lot of people. 15 000 people all drawn to the West Coast town of Darling to Rock Daisies. In a sustainable way, of course.

When we rocked up at 10am on Friday the festival grounds were already packed tight. Priority parking was given to those who have carpooled, a nice gesture but we already had the ultimate parking spot, in the campervan area. At R200 extra one can purchase a limited campervan ticket where one can camp with ones car. In another lifetime the Plus One was big into 4×4 overland trips so the cruiser is completely kitted out. Other than the luxury of a running fridge and not having to carry our tents we had space that seemed to go on for days. I bet another 200 tents could have comfortably squeezed into the area. We did have to walk to the end of the festival to get to our spacious pad but it was worth it. My own personal Walking the Daisies, without the pretention that I’m saving the world. 1395945_10202019423024337_1392978364_n

The Plus One and I loved Woodstock Mafia whose debut album Defiance had found a semi permanent home on our car radio. Their live sound turned this up a few notches with louder (and longer) screams and guitar riffs. My sister preferred the mellow vibe of The Plastics. We all agreed on the crazy ass Al Bairre who drew in an impressive crowd for their early Saturday morning set.

I missed the enclosed area of previous Red Bull Studio Live stages. However, this did mean that we could enjoy the music from our tent. We listened to an insane set from The Cutt blasting from the Redbull stage while making pasta at the campsite as the sound was top class.

Saturday night was freezing. We planned on seeing all the international acts but as my toes startingfalling off one by one it became a case of, “Okay we’ll stay for 10 minutes of The Hives, mmmm or maybe the first song.” Once we moved into the crowd (we sat on the outskirts for Alt-J, only my sister was a fan) it was much better and after lead singer Pelle Almqvist’s first crazy monologue there was no way we were missing any of this.  The Hives

The Hives were absolutely magnificent.  Almqvist has a crazed drawl of a Southern gentleman reminiscent of Leonardo di Caprio’s character in Django Unchained. Their performance reminded me slightly of Billy Talent, especially in terms of energy and the way the leads drew in the crowd. As a prelude to their song ‘100 Answers’ Almqvist gave the audience the chance to ask them questions. A fellow Swede wanted to know if he could join them on stage to which Almqvist replied, “No, start your own band and give it 20 years.”

The Yays
The Hives!
Woodstock Mafia
R10 Jack Daniels shots
It didn’t rain
Showing my sister her first festival
Black Cat Bones
Bingo in the Lemon Tree Theatre
Rocking The Daisies App

The Nays
The horrible weather deprived us of most of the camp side kuier
People selling their tickets for up to R1750 on Gumtree, not cool
Long queues at the toilets (though I must say the Daisy Den cut the general queues for the ladies much shorter)
The Rocking the Daisies crowd did not seem to get Black Cat Bones at all, a pity because they source their energy from the audience.
Allowing the cold make me miss Skunk Anansie