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

 

 

At the Silwerskemfees with Bechdel goggles

SilweskermfeesFor kykNET‘s Silwerskemfees 2015 at the Bay Hotel I went armed with a tiny moleskin, a power bank and the Bechdel Test.  The latter might sound petty to anyone not a feminist, so you might get very annoyed or have fun hate reading. There are three components in the Bechdel Test:  1. The movie has to have at least have two women, 2. that speak to each other, 3. about something other than a man. Seems simple but you’d be surprised how many films fail to meet even the second requirement. According to The Guardian the “pass rate” in the international industry dropped 12% in 2014 to only 55.4%.

Even though it’s technically possible to see all the feature and short films at the 4 day Silwerskermfees, the emotional toll (and having a day job) limited my viewings. Therefore all the ‘scores’ relate only to the films mentioned and not the festival as a whole.

Man soos my Pa

Man soos my Pa

‘n Man Soos My Pa

The set design in ‘n Man Soos My Pa is so rich it feels 3D. It was as if a second designer walked through each set adding at least another 5 items, recreating that authentic kitschy Afrikana style.

In a panel discussion a few days later Uitvlucht filmmaker Reghard van den Berg cited the effect a strong actor can have in raising the game of the entire cast. The effect of Sandra Prinsloo, and a lesser extent Albert Maritz, was undeniable on the cast of n Man Soos My Pa.

I realised that applying the Bechdel test is not as simple as yes and no. In terms of representation the film is fairly split in half. The women do speak to each other, but like almost every other conversation in the film it’s a about a ‘pa’ which is the central theme.

Die ProDie Pro

A coming of age surf movie, showing how doing what one loves can drag one out of a dark place. The highlights of the film are the surfing scenes and whenever the Bennie Fourie (Hermann) and his perfect one-liners got screen time (except when he was surfing).

A Bechdel Test (BT) rating of 2, with sadly very weak female characters.

Sink

Sink

Sink

Sink is purely driven by the emotion on Shoki Mokgaba’s face. This is highlighted by the minimal use of score in the first half of the film, only using amplified sounds of the environment such as the Kreepy Krauly ‘breaching’ the pool and the weather elements. The method of splashing most of the online communication on the screen like the UK series Sherlock Holmes is clean and easy to read.

Sink and Uitvlucht were the only two films (I saw) that passed the Bechdel test outright. 

Short fims

For me short films are the soul of the Silwerskermfees. Some filmmakers use their 20 odd minutes as a jumping-off point to bigger things, for others it’s a way to finance a passion project.  While some of the shorts will be shown on kykNET, it is still less mainstream than the features that are released commercially. For this reason I decided to save viewing one of the biggest films at the festival, Dis ek, Anna, for when it is released at the end of October and spend my Friday watching short films.

Another hitch when using the Bechdel test in its pure form came in revealing the shorts as many of them have a small handful of) characters.

Three short films in particular made a big impression on me:

Silwerskermfees 2015: KleingeldKleingeld

“When you’re young change (kleingeld in Afrikaans) is worth a lot, much like your first love. But as you get older notes hold more value, just like your true love. “

With this lovely unassuming sentiment Gambit Films smashes the boy meets girl formula of the romcom genre and give it a quirky update. The story is augmented by whimsical nerdtastic graphics.
BT: 1

Dearest Elle

Dearest Elle is the worthy winner in the Best Existing Short Film category at the Silwerskerm Awards.  Elle (Jenna Dunster) is stuck in a routine and a crush. It reminds me of how Jane Austen describes Pride and Prejudice, ‘Light, bright and sparkling” BT: Not applicable as there’s only 1 character and a tiny cameo.

Skewe Reënboog

Written and directed by Wim Steytler Skewe Reënboog looks at the life of an autistic shut-in (Gavin van den Berg) caught up in the idealism of the Rainbow Nation. The film is set against the striking backdrop of Santarama Miniland. The score of the film is beautiful silence, letting the audience decide for themselves what they’re feeling, politics is after all a topic that can either get people to get fired up or clam up.
BT: 2, quite remarkable as most conversations were between the autistic man and statues.

Though every film (I saw) had some level of representation at the Silwerskermfees, it was fascinating that the only other production that passed the Bechdel Test outright was the documentary Vat Die Rap. Legendary South African musicians were paired with local Afrikaans rappers to give their treffers a reboot. The music industry is notoriously skewed towards men, and let’s not even go into the misogyny of rap, the inclusion of Rina Hugo and YOMA (pronounced Jou ma in Afrikaans*) was a positive step in the right direction.

Feminism is not a swearword, it’s not about hating men, it is about equality. Maybe I’m also caught up in the idealism of the Rainbow Nation when I say filmmakers have the power to crack the patriarchal society we live in, and with the power of kykNET it can be done in more than one taal . What a wonderful potential the Silwerskermfees can still tap into.

*Best rap name ever.

Book Review: Die ou met die snor by die bar

Die ou met die snor by die bar reads like a drunken conversation at a dive bar, the kind that is interesting enough to stick around for long after the storyteller veered from his original story. This is Zander Tyler’s life as told by his alter ego Jack Parow (and penned by Theunis Engelbrecht).

Jack Parow Die ou met die snor by die bar The book is selectively personal, divulging details of his childhood and rise to fame but limiting details of his current home life to scant mentions about his supermodel girlfriend and daughter Ruby.

His hard party days however are chronicled in detail starting from his skelm (and later less skelm) drinking as a teen, travelling as far as Russia with a bottle of brannas to his current carefully managed Jägermeister and water habit.

 

The book is filled with previously unpublished lyrics of his songs and the events that inspired them. The rap of my favourite Jack Parow tune, Die Vraagstuk, was written in 2 hours in front of the Ferrari garage near Assembly in the light of a street lamp.

The mothers who send him passive aggressive hate mail will find it quite hard to believe what a “nice boy” Zander really is. He has better manners than their children he “corrupted” because his momma raised him right and he is not afraid to praise her and his father every chance he gets.

That said, this is not the book to give your 11 years old cousin for Christmas. It will give him too many ideas and his Afrikaans teacher a few grey strands. Only those with a platinum album under the belt can get away with the ‘write as you speak’ style of writing.

The above mentioned style does lose some of its punch without that punchy inflection or facial expressions. Even with the random doodles and happy snaps with witty captions, a book is far too 2D to capture the complete Zef phenomenon that is Jack Parow.

With its bright blue cover that looks more like a graphic novel, Die ou met die snor by die bar a sweet guilty pleasure read. I got quite a kick seeing it next to the unauthorised Nancy Reagan biography I’ve been struggling though on my nightstand. One might get a lot closer to the truth with an unauthorised biography, but a memoir has more spirit(s).

Die ou met die snot by die bar written by Theunis Engelbrecht and published by Penguin Books. The recommended retail price is R200 and is also available in ebook format.

Silwerskermfees 2015: fresh popcorn, fresh ideas

Silwerskermfees 2015Do you smell the fresh popcorn floating through on the salty Camps Bay breeze? It’s Silwerskermfees time again, 4 days of fabulous South African film.

The heart of the film festival is the 15 short films commissioned by kykNET with a budget of R120 000 a piece. Over the years many film makers have parlayed their “15 minutes” into bigger opportunities like Buurtwag, that won best direction (Jaco Smit) and best screenplay (Beer Adriaanse) in 2012 that has since been adapted into a series for kykNET.

Here’s a few of my top picks for this year:

Short films

KleingeldSilwerskermfees 2015: Kleingeld

Last year Gambit Films was a Silwerskermfees audience favourite with Nommer 37, a thriller based in the Cape Flats. This year’s offering is an off beat love story of an awkward petrol attendant in love with a cashier.

Director: Jenn van Zyl
Writers: George van de Riet en Zenn van Zyl
Producers: Travis Taute and Nosipho Dumisa
Starring: Edwin van der Walt, Marvin-Lee Beukes, Shamilla Miller and Roland Reed

Silwerskermfees 2015: BeurtkragBeurtkrag

Just mention the word ‘loadshedding’ (or beurtkrag in Afrikaans) and a chorus of sighs are sure to follow. A short film (with the emphasis on short) with loadshedding as the antagonist to a couple in their perfect little home seems to be  something all South African can relate to.

Director: Tina Kruger
Writer: Stiaan Smith
Producer: Stiaan Smith, Tina Kruger, Bouwer Bosch and Rachelle Crous
Starring: Stiaan Smith and Lilani Prinsen

FotoSilwerskermfees 2015: Foto

Foto follows a young photographer trying to track down the origins of a photo taken in a time before reverse Google image search.

Director and writer: Linsen Loots
Producer: Mandelise van Loggerenberg
Starring: Antoinette Louw, Roeline Daneel, Ludwig Binge and Albert Maritz.

Full length film: Dis ek, Anna

Dis ek, Anna is based on Anchien Troskie’s best selling novels, Dis ek, Anna and Die Staat teen Anna Bruwer about a young girl molested by her stepfather.

The film recently ran into some controversy when the Films and Publications Board (FPB) classified the film as “borderline pornographic”, with a rating of 18LSV. This was a surprising move as there are no frontal nudity or explicit sex scenes in the film. On mybroadband producer Niel van Deventer said the point of the film is to address rape and abuse issues in South Africa, and that a “huge number” of under-18s in the country are affected by abuse.

Starring: Charlene Brouwer, Morné Visser, Marius Weyers, Nicola Hanekom, Elton Landrew and Ilse Klink.
Director: Sara Blecher.

Date: 26 to 29 Augustus 2015
Venue: The Bay Hotel, Camps Bay
Tickets: R150/day or R500 for the full 4 day festival

Click here for more information on the films and the program.

Mini Theatre Review: Little Shop of Horrors

Alan Committie with Audrey II

Alan Committie with Audrey II

From our Theatre on the Bay balcony cheap seats we felt like voyagers spying on our neighbours across the street through a slightly pulled back curtain. It is an ideal vantage point to witness as the comings and goings of the little flower shop on the dodgy side of New York takes a turn from the mundane to the extraordinary. With the birth of Audrey II, homicidal avocado like Venus fly trap, Mr Mushnik’s flailing flower shop is transformed into the rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors. The scale of everything in this Pieter Torien produced musical is stupendous. From the size of the ever growing Audrey II puppet (“Feed me Seymour!”) to multiple immaculately fitted costume changes and the deep pool of talented performers such as Alan Committie (Seymour Krelborn) and Michael Richard (Mr Mushnik).

Candice van Litsenborgh and Alan Committie in Little Shop of Horros

Candice van Litsenborgh and Alan Committie in Little Shop of Horros

As impressive as the puppetry of Audrey II might be, the person you can never take your eyes off is its namesake Audrey I played by Candice van Litsenborgh. Van Litsenborgh no longer has the Understudy Blues* as she shines as Audrey, acting and singing everyone, including the combined powers of the doo-wop trio, under the flower shop counter. In the hands of another actress the character of Audrey can easily be completely pathetic and annoying, but with her high pitched Frenchie-from-Grease voice von L injects the character with a lethal dose of comedy and heart.

The Little Shop of Horrors has unfortunately come to the end of its Cape Town run (for now anyway, nothing like public demand to sway Pieter Torien into bring the show back to the Mother City, nudge nudge), and will be moving to the Pieter Toerien Main Theatre at Montecasino, 12 June – 9 August 2015.

This write-up is a little short (and late) to be useful as a review so I’ll rather call it an open letter** to Pieter Torien and Theatre on the Bay to say thank you for a putting on a smashing production.

* A seasoned understudy Candice van Litsenborgh rocked in her one woman show last year, Understudy Blues. Click here to read more. ** I actually consider open letters rather douchy but I probably can’t be an opinionated South African without writing at least one.

Little Shop of Horrors

The delightful doo-wop trio – Dionne Song, Chantal Herman and Lelo Ramasimong

Hebron Estate: Happily stranded in Piketberg

In April we did something very few people do, we actually returned and paid full price on accommodation we previously visited on heavily discounted coupon.

Hebron Estate Manor House

(Top) The Plus One took over the daybed when I went for a quick refill. (Bottom left) Earth hour

Hebron Estate does autumn very well with crackling fires and a lawn carpeted with multi-coloured acorn tree leaves. Its summer, at least the version we experienced early April, was marked with warm evenings, lounging by the dam pool and a lawn that is now plush and bouncy.

The Saturday we were almost stranded when the keys broke off in the ignition after the boys went for a mild 4×4 excursion around the farm. But in the spirit of the weekend everything worked out, the Plus One put a dusty engineering degree to good use and fixed the problem that had the potential of running into triple digits, all with a miniature screw driver set bought in Piketberg for a measly R12.

While the boys were out breaking keys and taking selfies with sheep I settled in on the wraparound porch’s day bed overlooking the mountains with a book. I only planned on reading a chapter before hitting up some trashy reality tv starring an assortment of Kardashians. I didn’t move for hours, and then only because there was food and bubbly down at the dam pool.

Hebron Estate Pool

(Top) The Teenager got lost in translation in a panoramic shot (Bottom left) The deck braai (Bottom right) Getting every drop out of a bottle of Graham Beck Bliss

Proprietor Elmien Uys coined the term dam pool as the pool is fashioned out of an cattle trough. I came to love the deck-chairs under the acorn trees with the same intensity I had last time for the fireplace. The small drum braai on the deck might look silly next to the other 2 braai options in the big house, but we ended up using it the most as it keeps the whole family together even when everyone does their own thing around the pool.

Hebron Estate 4x4

(Top left) The R12 fix (Left) The real dam (Bottom left) First driving lesson

The manor house was largely unchanged in the 2 years, with the notable exception of a sturdy wooden table proudly baring Hebron’s label in the place of a glass table, much better for family board gaming.

As they had no one checking in the next day we were encouraged to book out anytime on the Sunday. We shamelessly abused their kindness and only hit the road at 17:00.

Hebron Estate
Tel: 022 914 5353
Cell: 083 226 8878
info@hebronestate.co.za

Other great places to visit in the Swartland:

More on Piketberg:

AfrikaBurn Decompression: Tankwa NP and the ghost town with cell signal

AfrikaBurn DecompressionOne of the lasting effects AfrikaBurn had on my life is a love for the nothingness splendour that is the Tankwa Karoo. On our honeymoon road trip last October, one of our most amazing stops was 2 days at Elandsberg in the Tankwa National Park, a few kilometres from the AfrikaBurn site.

A night at Elandsberg after the Burn seemed like the ideal way to miss the worst of the crowds on the great Sunday exodus back to Cape Town. As it turned out, we weren’t up for AfrikaBurn on Sunday in any form. The Saturday morning the trance music finally got the better of us and within 15 minutes of getting up we were driving the opposite direction, deeper into Tankwa.

Despite it being a long weekend we thankfully found moderately priced accommodation at the Tanqua Karoo Guesthouse. For the evening we took over the exceptionally large family unit of four bedrooms and one very random pullout bed cupboard.

Tanqua Guesthouse

With a four hour layover before Elandsberg’s book-in time on Sunday, we tackled a common Karoo conundrum; not enough fuel to drive south back to Cape Town in a few days time but enough to make a 100km roundtrip in the wrong direction to fuel up. The wrong direction was Middelpos, on the other side of a narrow mountain pass.

A horse traffic sign is the first sign into Middlepos, but before I could make a (frankly uninspired) quip about it being a one horse town, I spotted 2 horses (and went on to see at least another 8). The one “something” of this town is way too bizarre to be a stereotype.Middlepos

At the freestanding fuel pumps a friendly fuel attendant confirmed our fears that they only accepted cash. With most of our cash firmly stashed in his pocket he happily locked open the general store for firewood. Inside 2 mannequins wearing vintage (since they were new 20 odd years ago I bet) watched over the ragtag collection of goods and groceries.

On request our store fuel attendant/store-clerk directed us to the hotel for lunch, where he himself took our order 2 minutes later. At this point we had to pool our resources dumping all our coins and small notes on the bar lounge’s table. Without missing a beat our fuel attendant/store-clerk/waiter/barman scooped up all our silver in return for 2 ice cold Hunters and fresh tomato and cheese toasted sandwiches.

As we had never been served by 1 person in 3 different settings within the span of 30 minutes another unique Karoo conundrum faced us, do we tip the “waiter” again when The Plus One already tipped the “petrol attendant”? Of course yes and hopefully the crumpled note showed our appreciation for the greater Tankwa’s triple threat.Elandsberg

The Tankwa National Park’s Elandsberg cottages are a special blend minimalist luxury and privacy. With the 5 cottages spaced far apart, neighbours are tiny specks never to be heard. If it was possible I would buy a timeshare.

I don’t feel the same excitement that I had after ArikaBurn 2015, maybe some distance and a whole lot of fomo and good memories might have me refreshing the computer screen to buy a ticket in 2 years or so. The rest of the Tankwa however, will see me a little sooner. And with a bit of luck there will be bit be more silver in my purse.

* Click here for pictures from our AfrikaBurn adventure.

AfrikaBurn 2015: The Rowdy Gift

AfrikaBurn 2015 Watch me Burn Over the past year this blog received an extraordinary amount of traffic from people looking for AfrikaBurn happy snaps, better known as naked photos in the default world*. From the simple “AfrikaBurn girl naked” to the long tail searches: “girl walking nude at afrika burn”. On the return of my second Burn there’s one AfrikaBurn myth that I can dispel with some confidence: the reality is less “free the nipple” and a whole lot more free hanging balls. Generally guys are just less photogenic in the buff. A notable exception to this was The Peacock we spotted a few times proudly prancing about, always with his water bottle on hand.

Naked'ish

Naked’ish

In 2014 I grew fairly attached to the Subterrafuge structures that towered over the flat plane and was thrilled when weather conditions caused the postponement of its burn to this year. The burn on the Friday night was bittersweet but dignified; the way the one tower fell into itself like a demolished skyscraper was pure artistry. In terms of sheer size the only art that came close to Subterrafuge this year was a piece of performance art involving stilt walkers that had a large devoted crowd following a large balloon that initially looked like a giant sperm cell. Any resemblance to sperm was forgotten as the balloon rose into the air shedding the material attached to reveal a regal trapeze artist. What followed was a performance that worked so perfectly with the elements and on a scale so spectacular, I can’t imagine it working anywhere else but right there, in that moment.   AfrikaBurn 2015 Overall my AfrikaBurn experience was not quite as renewing as last year; trance music pumping at full blast across the dessert way past 8:00 each morning got me down towards the end. There’s a lot more to AfrikaBurn than just a party in the desert, this distracts from that. In the WTF Guide handed out at Die Hek (the gate) there’s one sentence that really struck me: “You look even better than last year**.” I did my best to convince a few in the camp that this sentence was especially written for them. In a culture built on collectiveness, an individual can still shine in a crowd of 10,000. AfrikaBurn: clothing optional, contribution mandatory.AfrikaBurn 2015 * AfrikaBurn is the real word, outside its gates is the default world ** Paraphrasing, my WTF Guide was swallowed up by a black hole in our vehicle Scroll through for amazing images by my Plus One. AfrikaBurn 2015P1380830AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015

This photo was taken by Hennie Niemand with our crappy camera

This photo was taken by Hennie Niemand with our crappy camera

AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015Jana Egg 4 (1 of 1)AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015P1380818AfrikaBurn 2015AfrikaBurn 2015 Sunset I know you want more, click through for other perspectives and more pics of AfrikaBurn 2015:
Hennie Niemand – AfrikaBurn 2015
AfrikaBurn – a journey into the interior

Our AfrikaBurn adventure didn’t end when we left, a few days of decompression in the Karoo pushed the experience over the edge —> AfrikaBurn Decompression: Tankwa NP and the ghost town with cell signal

My post of 2014: AfrikaBurn.

The Fugard Theatre: The dawn of a new VIP

The Fugard Theatre Kit Kat Club Performances

(Left) Photo credit: Claire Taylor (Right) Photo credit: Claire Baillie

The concept of “VIP” has been so overused and bastardised that it has lost all meaning, and don’t get me started on “exclusive”. The Fugard Theatre’s Golden Ticket Event added meaning to these concepts again.

When they opened sales for Cabaret early-bird tickets a year ago they “hid” 50 golden tickets in the tickets for the special event. Details of this event remained sketchy until the very end, not that anything could have prepared us for the night we had.Kit Kat Club Antics

The eve before Freedom Day, a fleet of white stretch limousines lined the street outside The Fugard. While limos aren’t really that fabulous this side of the millennium, for the few hours that we hopped over to the unjaded other side, and it was spectacular. Through the tinted windows we could hardly see where we were going, and even when we entered a building that seemed borderline derelict, I still had no idea.

It was the Sideshow, kitted out to resemble the Kit Kat Club. The round tables were set with heavy glass– and silverware with a lone vintage musical instrument as a centrepiece. A working instrument as it turned out when a musician 2 tables over trumpeted a tune with their centrepiece.

Kit Kat Club Food

(Top left) Photo credit: Jenna Robinson Child (Top right) Between the steak and fish options most on my table opted for the “grass-fed beef fillet”. (Bottom left) The Chicken liver parfait and pistachio nut terrine entrée (Bottom right) Photo credit: Fugard Facebook page

Now please excuse me while I gush a bit like the theatre nerd that I am. We were seated next Dominque Maher (Columbia) and Emile Doubell (the usher that screamed “Oh you naughty man”) from The Rocky Horror Show amongst other performers. It was illuminating seeing performers’ reaction to a show, so much more enthusiastic and encouraging, obviously the way they want to be for cheered themselves.

The entertainment kicked off with the first number from Cabaret, Willkommen. My favourite was a dazzling mashup of Money and Lord’s Royals by Charl-Johan Lingenfelder (Emcee) and Claire Taylor (Sally Bowles). The band was not quite as beautiful as the stage production, though I recon a Big Band clad in white blazers would prefer the term handsome anyway. The real beauty was a lovely trapeze artist in the Kit Kat Klub uniform of nude undergarments that took to the air above us.

Kit Kat Club Photos

Using the hashtag #fugardcabaret, guest could send their snaps directly to a Brand Rocket machine to print a keepsake. My first goal was to create Cabaret-Inception.

Mingling with the cast was a pleasure as they kept in character and were always 2 seconds away from striking a pose. Pulane Rampoana (who plays the snarling Texas) made the biggest impression when she slipped out of her snarling character of Texas, and was warm and friendly – taking a few ladies for a twirl between the tables.

The Fugard Theatre’s Kit Kat Klub was like Disneyland for theatre freaks; a divine decadence. Maybe the best things in life are free – and VIP!

Cabaret is currently showing at The Fugard Theatre,  Tuesdays to Saturdays from R100-R280.

* Initially I thought it was way to early for another Cabaret production in Cape Town, as there was one about 3 years ago. The Fugard Theatre’s production, however, is darker and closer to the subject matter. While I never got around to writing a review, my sentiments were summed up by a conversion I eavesdropped while waiting for a taxi outside the Kit Kat Klub: “I don’t care if we don’t have any money, you have to see it. Even if I wait outside in the car for you.”

My Rocky write up: The Horror on Caledon Street