Whakanuia: 4 Things Worth Celebrating in October 2017
Our monthly list of awesome mahi to look forward to, featuring an arts festival, an improve festival, a new collection of poetry and a record release with accompanying tour.
Did you know that there are only 12 weekends between now and Christmas? Which means just around the corner is carpark madness, shopping fury and food arguments all topped off with all that festive beer. If the thought of buying a thoughtful gift for that distant relative you got in secret Santa is making you anxious, we have just the distraction for you, art! This month, our editorial team have recommended a range of festivals, shows and reads that are well worth celebrating, especially while taking your mind off the looming holiday season.
Sarah Jane Barnett
‘It’s an optical amusement, a punctured surface letting light pour through holes cut out of the picture.’
Browsing Auckland University Press’ website the other day I discovered that Michele Leggott (Poet Laureate 2007 to 2009; PM’s Award for Lit Achievement in 2013; general all-around poetry star!) has a collection coming out. This is her first since Heartland in 2014.
Vanishing Points concerns itself with appearance and disappearance as modes of memory. It is full of stories, history and family, lights and mirrors, and the real and the surreal. Something to look forward to this October.
A rare opportunity for New Zealand émigrés in Melbourne and Sydney (plus anyone else who likes solo shows by overlooked songwriters in quiet bars).
Herriot Row (AKA some-time Punch contributor Simon Comber, who wrote for us about R.A.K Mason and the creative process in September) is in both cities performing songs from his debut album, Lesser Stars, from October 13-26. Since I first encountered Simon's music in a previous life as a music journalist, I've been a fan of his dedication to the craft of ambitious storytelling and imagery in tight parameters. In a stack of CD-Rs to plough through (most folky, many beardy, c.2011) his stood out. His debut under a Dunedin streetsign's moniker was produced by John Vanderslice, who's also worked with fellow traveller John Darnielle. These should be good sets, worth seeing. The record and tour dates are here.
The New Zealand Improv Festival kicks off on the 14th of October at BATS Theatre and the newly-opened Scruffy Bunny Improv Theatre (a space in the Reading Courtney mall with a ridiculously creepy human-sized rabbit mannequin in the front window). The NZIF programme is stacked with workshops, performances and workshops for building those performances; that insistence on open and collaborative experimentation is one of the Festival’s quiet triumphs. I’m paying close attention to Sydney director Jim Fishwick’s interactive Intrepid Bazaar and Wellington improvisor Matt Powell’s Anne Washburn-esque horror project Don’t See This Show Alone. You can find the performance programme here.
We know that the annual Artweek Auckland 2017 is upon us because galleries, cafes, and anywhere you can find pamphlets have filled up with the Artweek programmes. Artweek brings a week of art events for art lovers and novices alike across Tāmaki Makaurau with a sense of energy unmatched by anything else. Events include walking tours and cycle tours for that matter, pop up art experiences, workshops, talks and Late Night Art. Two events in particular I’m looking forward to are Korero Mai a Q&A session with Karanga Ink artists hosted by writer, poet and playwright Courtney Sina Meredith and Lit! a series of 8 lightboxes curated by Tautai Contemporary Pacific Arts Trust.