Take Five: Including Rosemary McLeod, Bryn Terfel and Jello Biafra

By Guy Somerset In Culture, Take Five

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24th April, 2013 Leave a Comment

1 Take Five is online-only this week, so we can do things like this. And this. Those were links to Rosemary McLeod’s WITH BOLD NEEDLE & THREAD: ADVENTURES IN VINTAGE NEEDLECRAFT (Godwit, $55) and an accompanying exhibition of some of the bags, tea-cosies, aprons, cushions and other items featured in the book, in the window gallery of Auckland’s Objectspace (May 3-June 8). There’s also an exhibition at the city’s Vault store (May 11-June 8). With Bold Needle & Thread is McLeod’s follow-up to her 2005 Montana New Zealand Book Awards history category winner, Thrift to Fantasy: Home Textile Crafts of the 1930s-1950s, only this time she is showing you how to make the things included. The new book is possibly even more beautiful to look at than its predecessor (no mean feat), thanks to glossy instead of matt pages, a hard-cover and the photography of Jane Ussher. I couldn’t find the instructions for making Cicero the cat pictured at the end of the book (so lifelike), but might have a go at one of the cravats. Those without needle or thread, bold or otherwise, can just enjoy the sheer splendour of the book itself. Those with needle and thread and who are feeling especially bold after re-creating the items in the book should set forth for Melbourne to gather ideas from the Australian Centre for the Moving Image’s HOLLYWOOD COSTUME exhibition (until August 18). The show, from London’s V&A, features 100 costumes, including Judy Garland’s blue and white gingham pinafore dress in The Wizard of Oz and Audrey Hepburn’s floor-length black number designed by Hubert de Givenchy for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. If a de Givenchy seems a bit too bold to be copying for yourself, you could always start off with Charlton Heston’s robes and tunic from Ben-Hur. Not so chic, but a statement of sorts.

2 The music of Richard Wagner is to the fore, but there will also be some Kurt Weill, Ralph Vaughan Williams and even Douglas Lilburn when Welsh singer BRYN TERFEL performs a gala evening with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington, May 3; Aoeta Centre, Auckland, May 4). Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman steps into the breach for the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s LAST SONGS concert (Auckland Town Hall, May 2), after original singer Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet had to bow out due to a back injury (so, on reflection, probably not a lot of bowing going on). The concert’s sense of finality comes from Richard Strauss’s Four Last Songs, written in 1948 when he was 84, and Schubert’s last symphony, No 9. Gyorgy Ligeti’s Etudes are music “considered by most pianists to be verging on the impossible”, according to composer Jack Body, so it is with no little excitement he has programmed Chinese pianist ZOU XIANG to perform all three books for the first time in New Zealand in one concert (Ilot Theatre, Wellington Town Hall, May 5; Conservatory of Music, University of Waikato, Hamilton, May 8; School of Music, University of Auckland, May 12). For the Wellington and Auckland concerts – which go under the title Piano Virtuosity in the 20th Century – Zou is joined by fellow Chinese pianist (and new lecturer in piano studies at the New Zealand School of Music) JIAN LIU, who will be playing Claude Debussy’s Etudes, also noted for their difficulty and so rarely performed in toto in concert. To end a particularly fruitful week for classical music, it’s goodbye AK Barok and hello NZ Barok. The change of name signifies the national make-up of the baroque orchestra, but unfortunately it’s still very much AK only when it comes to concerts, which are at St Luke’s Church in Remuera. To begin, it’s The Nations, featuring the music of Boyce, Purcell, Geminiani, Brescianello, Rameau, Muffat and Telemann (May 4 and 5).

3 Christchurch Art Gallery’s quarterly BULLETIN is one of the country’s best art magazines, highlighting the gallery’s exhibitions through clearly written articles (Justin Paton is a regular contributor) and fantastically photographed artworks. The print edition ($10 an issue) is in a large format and produced and designed to the highest standards. Some free content is available on the gallery’s website but it is all now for free via an iPad app, along with various visual and audio extras.

4 Like punk never happened? It’s like punk never went away, with concerts ahead by JELLO BIAFRA AND THE GUANTANAMO SCHOOL OF MEDICINE (Bodega, Wellington, May 8; Powerstation, Auckland, May 8) and – if you hurry – the BUZZCOCKS (Bodega, Wellington, April 27; Kings Arms, Auckland, April 28; Dux Live, Christchurch, April 30; Mayfair, New Plymouth, May 1). You’ve got to credit ex-Dead Kennedys frontman Biafra for a nimbly knowing turn of punk phrase, from his former band’s classics California Uber Alles and Holiday in Cambodia to his new band’s name and first two album titles: The Audacity of Hype and White People and the Damage Done. As for the Buzzcocks … what more can I say:

5 Like the last 15 years never happened? Not quite, because there are some updates in Centrepoint‘s revival of Alison Quigan and Ross Gumbley’s 1999 comedy SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP (until May 25), which is the directorial debut at the theatre of its new(ish) artistic director, Jeff Kingsford-Brown. Lyndee Jane Rutherford, Darlene Mohekey, Craig Geenty, Peter Hawes and Helen Moulder star.

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