A particularly packed Take Five, as the column’s taking a break next week. So, without further ado: expect to see busloads of schoolchildren heading across Wellington for the various events that make up the CAPITAL E NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL for young people (March 11-23). Highlights this year include “puppetry, projection and performers”, not to mention the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra playing music by Gareth Farr, in a stage adaptation of Witi Ihimaera’s novel Sky Dancer (March 15). Another book, Gecko Press’s wonderful translation of Wolf Erlbruch’s Duck, Death and the Tulip, has also been brought to stage life with the aid of puppets, as well as masks and other objects (March 23).
Hurrah. Christchurch art gallery – sorry, “contemporary art project space” – the Physics Room has been renovated and is open again after being put out of action in the February 2011 earthquake. To inaugurate it, Brussels-based Cantabrian artist Louise Menzies continues her exploration of film and print media with WORLD, BUSINESS, LIFESTYLE, SPORT, an exhibition that takes its title from the sections of the Press newspaper, which has already published a full-page text work by Menzies as an extension of the show. Check out physicsroom.org.nz – if only for a rather good clip of Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. Until March 10. Meanwhile, in late-breaking news (which is why it wasn’t in last week’s Take Five) for those getting to the magazine early, New Zealand Opera and Southern Opera inaugurate their new close ties with a chance to don black ties for a Glyndebourne-style outdoor production of Handel’s ACIS & GALATEA. Tipapa Estate, North Canterbury, February 23 (sold out) and 24. A more relaxed dress code is in operation for LOVE AND WAR, this year’s outdoor concert at Government House by the newly renamed Orchestra Wellington. You might want to take same earplugs, though: not because of the playing of the orchestra (no complaints there) but for the cannons and muskets that will be called into action for the performance of Beethoven’s battle symphony Wellington’s Victory. March 9 (rain date March 10).
Hurrah again. Those of us missing the once more absent New Zealand Book Council Words on Wheels programme of summer tours by writers can take some solace from the ROCKY OUTCROP WRITERS TOUR, which features Pip Adam, Kirsten McDougall and Ashleigh Young on the road and teaming up with such local writers as Tina Makereti, Lynn Jenner and Tim Upperton (if you can bring yourself to see him after his Pride and Prejudice put-down on page 36) at their various stop-offs. Hedley’s Booksellers, Masterton, March 12; Palmerston North Library, March 13; Beattie & Forbes Booksellers, Napier, March 14; Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui, March 16; St Peter’s Hall, Paekakariki, March 23.
DIZZEE RASCAL supported by Azealia Banks makes for a great double bill of British hip-hop, and there are even more acts further down the bill (Vector Arena, Auckland, March 1). The JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION (Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland, March 4; Bodega, Wellington, March 5) is one for those who like their music louche, raw and raucous. Art, fashion and music combine in the form of CHICKS ON SPEED (Cassette Nine, Auckland, February 28; Puppies, Wellington, March 1). Make that art, fashion, music and jewellery, if you factor in TOUCH ME BABY I’M BODYCENTRIC, A MULTIMODALPLOSION!, their City Gallery Wellington collaboration with New Zealander Lisa Walker (March 2-April 21). For a funkier, less-confrontational vibe (and indeed vibes), there is Ethio-jazz luminary MULATU ASTATKE (Powerstation, Auckland, March 1).
Two good painting exhibitions: TAKEN PERSONALLY is a selection of some 50 works from the 1970s onwards by Marianne Muggeridge (New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Wellington, March 7-June 16) and THE LIQUID DOSSIER mixes “paintings and sculptures and combinations thereof” from Nick Austin’s year as the University of Otago’s 2012 Frances Hodgkins Fellow (Hocken Library, Dunedin, until April 13).