Jun 28, 2022 Metro Arts
We have a new issue out, and it is (I think) one of the thickest issues Metro has ever done. I’m still in that stage of post-publication fear where I can’t look too closely but from pre-print memory, it’s pretty good.
It’s the schools issue, and is donned with a stellar cover shot by Edith Amituanai at Waitākere College, and brings to light the schools’ data from 2021. I always found the schools’ data controversial growing up, but that’s because I went to a school whose NCEA data always showed us to be mediocre — when we had so much more to give! Because NCEA results are not the be-all and end-all, and we know that, we also have a piece by Gabi Lardies which looks at the inequities in schools during Covid, Emil Scheffmann looks at the role of art and the art room as refuge, and Rachel Trow and Morgan Godfery ask what does it look like when a traditional boys’ school tries to decolonise itself? Also in the issue is the top 50 wines, the best bread in Auckland, and some musings on Auckland’s mayoralty race. Hayden Donnell and I have two different yet complementary central suburb feature stories. Donnell looks into the character protection legislation and how it is turning Auckland into a ‘doughnut city’. And I write about inner-city Pacific life, and spoke to a bunch of incredibly generous families about how they got to the central city and what helps them hold on in moments of extreme change.
And I haven’t even got to art yet! I told you it was thick. In this issue, I talk to Simon Denny and Karamia Müller ahead of their upcoming show at Gus Fisher and Michael Lett (and desperately try to learn about cryptocurrency and cable harnesses in the process), we ask a whole bunch of independent presses why in a time when it is so expensive to make books are they all so committed to doing it, Taualofa Totua speaks to Oscar Kightley ahead of the restaging of Dawn Raids at the Auckland Theatre Company, Sam Hartnett visits Haru Sameshima’s studio, Kate Prior talks to the actors from seven methods of killing kylie jenner, and we tell you our picks for the Auckland Writers Festival and the New Zealand International Film Festival. All that and so much more, just buy the thing!
Before I leave you, one more thing. I unexpectedly got a pretty huge opportunity in the United States, which I gotta say is feeling pretty hectic given everything that went down there over the weekend. Anyway what that means, is only two more months of me in my post as Metro Arts Editor and a chance for someone fresh to swoop in to take my spot. If you think that could be you or someone you know read more here.
As always, if you have something you want to share or an unmissable arts story to pitch for our next issue, please do get in touch! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scenes from a Yellow Peril
21 June – 3 July
ASB Waterfront Theatre (pictured above)
Written by poet Nathan Joe, Scenes from a Yellow Peril is the latest work to be staged by Auckland Theatre Company (ATC), and co-produced by ATC and SquareSums&Co, in association with Oriental Maidens. Scenes from a Yellow Peril has been in development since 2018 with the likes of Proudly Asian Theatre and Playmarket. Additionally, it has been read at TEDxAuckland and Auckland Arts Festival 2021. While all that time in the zeitgeist could have been the work’s own demise — the complete opposite is true. Rather, all that time to test and refine the work comes together on stage.
I’ve never gotten along well with performance poetry, I can’t give you details other than that the reaction is bodily. Given Joe’s background as a performance poet, I have to admit I felt nervous. We begin by meeting the cast and host in a kind of panel set-up (a recurring feature of the show). As each cast member introduces themselves and answers a few questions from the host, I still felt nervous. Introspection can be hard to pull off.
But as the curtain raised, that hesitancy fell away, and I was quick to be suspended in the theatre. The scenes which explore racism, microaggressions, and belonging through anger, humour and song (!) take you across the full range of emotional responses. The staging moves and shifts for each scene, at times, closing in on itself to feel somewhat claustrophobic, and at other times opening up to allow for vastness. The performers do an excellent job with scripts that leave no room to hide, supported by costuming from Steven Junil Park (who btw went to the same primary school as Joe).
If there were any critiques I was holding onto during the show, Joe deals to them in his afterword. Facing the audience with the stage being dismantled, Joe breaks the fourth wall. It seems to be a current directorial trend for final scenes at the moment, in this instance it works. Returning us to the red curtain, the afterword acts as a grand apology. It’s a dance we all know well by now, safeguarding the offences you know you made or may have made, placing asterixis over every assertion, a dance that feels compulsory in the current political climate. But it goes further. Sorry for existing, for breathing, for the audacity to make and stage work, is how it lands. You’re left with empathy for Joe, for all creatives who apologise for the space they take up and feel the need to preface their own work. Ultimately, I feel empathy for the lack of humanity people are afforded, which creates the impulse to apologise in the first place.
While the three people sitting in front of me who didn’t stand for the ovation (one of which was on her phone a lot during the show) seemed to be having a hard time throughout the show, I loved it. Scenes from a Yellow Peril joins the likes of Wild Dogs Under my Skirt as great poetry collections reimagined as even better shows for the stage. I don’t say that lightly. And like Anapela Polataivao’s reimagination of Wild Dogs, Scenes from a Yellow Peril’s existence is something that we’re all that much better off for.
Now on at ASB Waterfront Theatre. Find your tickets here
The New Zealand International Film Festival is back and this year’s lineup includes a selection of films fresh from Cannes. If deciphering the world of international film is not your strength, don’t worry we’ve done it for you. Here are our top NZIFF fresh from Cannes recommendations.
We are delighted to be co-presenting Decision to Leave/Heojil Kyolshim, which marks Park Chan-wook’s return to NZIFF. This masterful and seductive romantic thriller follows an insomniac detective investigating a mysterious widow oddly unconcerned with her husband’s death.
Triangle of Sadness won the Palme d’Or where it received an eight-minute standing ovation and is this year’s NZIFF closing film. This latest film from director Ruben Östlund is a satirical dark comedy packed with the ultra wealthy, island strandings and a Marxist cruise captain. If it’s anything like The Square, brace yourself.
Based on Denis Johnson’s novel, Stars at Noon is a romance thriller is set during the 1984 Nicaraguan Revolution, when Joe Alwyn who stars as an English businessman meets Margaret Quallery (Maid) who plays an American journalist. From what we can see, a bunch of very dramatic stuff goes down forcing them to try to quickly leave the country.
Corsage meaning bodice in French, is the title of filmmaker Marie Kreutzer’s latest film which premiered in Un Certain Regard. The biopic focuses on Austrian Empress Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie. Known for her fashionablity, Elisabeth also known as Sissy had a beauty and fasting regime which was part of an obsession to remain youthful. As time has proven we all love a story about royal women in the public eye.
In The Blue Caftan Maalem or master dressmaker, Halim sews caftans by hand. While an expert of his craft, his business run by his wife Mina is struggling. Eventually, they bring in Youssef an apprentice to make things easier. Set in Morocco, with some of the harshest laws against homosexuality you can imagine where this three-hander is going.
The New Zealand International Film Festival is on from July 28 — August 31. For the full line up including a selection of great local films visit nziff.co.nz
Matariki Ring of Fire
18 June – 18 September 2022
Priscilla Rose Howe, Alex Laurie, Tom Tuke
24 June – 23 July 2022
Pacific Dance Digital Festival
23 June — 31 July 2022
Te Atuitanga – Between Our Cloak of Stars
Mahiriki Tangaroa, Andy Leleisi’uao, Sylvia Marsters, Benjamin Work, Raymond Sagapolutele, Telly Tuita, Nina Oberg Humphries, Michel Tuffery & Kulimoe’anga Stone Maka.
25 June – 16 July
The Water Tastes Different Here
25 June – 20 July
Gilbert & George: The Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland Exhibition
Gilbert & George
Auckand Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
25 June – 11 September
Across Auckland city
14 July — 31 July 2022
Takurua — Nafanua, War Goddess by Tala Pasifika Productions
Hunua Room, Aotea – Te Pokapū | Aotea Centre
14 — 23 July
5 August – 3 September 2022