1. Forget Miramar, Crofton Downs is fast becoming the film and TV powerhouse of Wellington. Sort of. The quiet, unassuming suburb is home to expat British writer Neil Cross, whose third season of crime series Luther is coming soon from the BBC and whose first US show, Crossbones, starring John Malkovich, is on its way, too, on the back of his US box office hit horror movie Mama. There were a couple of episodes of Doctor Who, too. And a fair few books. You get the idea. If you want to get more of it, you can spend AN EVENING WITH NEIL CROSS. Ilot Theatre, Wellington T0wn Hall, June 29. It’s a fundraiser for Crofton Downs Primary School. There’s suburban solidarity for you.
2. The second Beatles movie, HELP! (Universal) - directed, like the black and white first, A Hard Day’s Night (1964), by Richard Lester - is out today on Blu-Ray and via iTunes in all its digitally restored colour glory and with extensive extras. Meanwhile, that nice Mr Hedley of Hedleys Booksellers in Masterton, is overseeing the New Zealand end of another of the swish rock tomes from his old friends at Genesis Publications. Usually, these will cost you an arm and a leg, along with the pledge of the arms and legs of all your offspring at some point in the future, but Ringo Starr’s PHOTOGRAPH sees Genesis venturing into the affordable ($17.99) world of the ebook. Those for whom affordability would just not be the same will be relieved to know they can start severing limbs for a forthcoming expanded, hand-crafted, hand-signed, limited-edition hardback.
3. The winter chill of Auckland is augmented by some Californian cool in CALIFORNIA DESIGN, 1930-1965: LIVING IN A MODERN WAY, which features more than 250 items, from Saul Bass graphics to Julius Shulman photographs of landmark homes, from Charles and Ray Eames furniture to – perhaps not so cool but irresistible anyway – the first Barbie doll. The show comes from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and also involves film screenings, talks and other associated events. There’s a rather good free iPad app, too. Auckland Art Gallery, July 6-September 29. (Barbie? Did someone say Barbie?)
4. If anyone can pull off a musical about cancer, it is the partnership of lyricist and director Paul Jenden and composer Gareth Farr – with Jenden’s own ongoing treatment a riposte for any naysayers. C - A MUSICAL features a cast headed by Jackie Clarke and Danny Mulheron. Circa One, Wellington, July 6-August 3. Elsewhere in the capital, Bats Theatre has a bunch of goodies, including A PLAY ABOUT SPACE RETURN (July 2-6) and the you-know-what-spoofing GAME OF THINGS (June 28-29 – if you can still get a ticket). In Auckland, INTIMACIES is a pair of new technology-tackling one-act plays by Stephen Sinclair. Musgrove Studio, Maidment Theatre, July 5-27. Further north on the Hibiscus Coast, Centrestage Theatre in Orewa is the latest recipient of the Vintage Collective’s GLORIA, described by the New Zealand Herald as “a fascinating story and unique piece of theatre of one of New Zealand’s war brides”. June 29-July 4.
5. Finally, PUT UP YOUR DUKES. I’ve always wanted to say that. It’s more than a good title, though; it’s an intriguing artistic meeting of methodologies. I assume Queensberry rules apply. Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin, until July 13.