Friday, January 21, 2005

The No. 8 Wire - Issue 22

Gondwanaland Ministry of Culture
Artists' Information Bureau

An Electronic Alert for 582 of Wellington's Creative People



A new Arts Centre for Wellington is beginning to take shape, and interior renovations are set to begin in less than a fortnight. Information about arts studio spaces and rentals, and an application to obtain a studio, will be announced on The No. 8 Wire very soon (and other outlets as well). Construction work, to reconfigure the interior, will be conducted throughout February and March. The first phase of the new Arts Centre, opening thereafter, involves between 12 and 25 artist studios, a large dedicated gallery and exhibition space, the Council’s arts office, a support area for creative projects and smaller/emerging organisations, and a series of rooms for workshops, meetings, and classes. Other upcoming phases involve 3 or more soundproof rehearsal spaces for bands and musicians, a larger performance space for rehearsals and live productions, a support area for collectives, collaborative projects, and producers, as well as a complex of high-quality officer spaces for established and professionalised arts organisations. Thanks go to everyone who has shared an idea and time to help move this project along. There would be no vision without you.



Postmark: an artist’s project by Gabby O’Connor

Featuring work by Katharine Allard, Vanessa Crowe, Diana Goodwin, Chelsea Gough, Georgiana Morison, Lisa Munnelly, Genevieve Packer, Sarah Jane Parton, Pippa Sanderson, Sandra Schmidt and Leanne Williams

Michael Hirschfeld Gallery at City Gallery Wellington
22 January - 20 February 2005

Wellington artist Gabby O’Connor’s collaborative exhibition at the Michael Hirschfeld Gallery reflects the adventures of a craftcamper who has toured foreign lands.

O’Connor came up with the concept of ‘Postmark’ before embarking overseas in June 2004. She sees the exhibition both as a way of continuing to produce artworks while travelling, and of staying in touch with friends and fellow-artists in Wellington.

While travelling throughout Europe and the United Kingdom, O’Connor treated hostels, trains and transit lounges as her art studios, making works that responded to new places, sights and experiences. Once every two weeks, O’Connor would package up a work and post it back to one of her collaborators in Wellington. Each artist was asked to produce a work for the exhibition that takes the art work sent to them by O’Connor as a starting point. ‘Postmark’ showcases the products of this long-distance artistic exchange, with works that are beautiful, playful and thought-provoking.

Artists’ floortalk – 10 February 2005, 5.30pm. All welcome

Join Gabby O’Connor and the other artists featured in ‘Postmark’ for a free talk in describing the exhibition project and how the works were conceived and constructed.



More Original Art in Wellington's Urban Landscape
Ten New Murals to Debut on Traffic Signal Boxes in February

Wellington is about to get a gallery's worth of new art on its previously mundane Traffic Signal Boxes. Promenade Artists is pleased to announce the next stage of its creative initiative for pedestrians and the urban landscape. With the generous support of Wellington City Council, the group has commissioned ten local artists to paint new murals for the City's traffic signal boxes. The result of their summer labours will be on display at Mezzo-space ( the temporary gallery in the former BAM bookshop, next to Clark’s Café in the Central Library) between Saturday 22nd January and Tuesday 25th. Wellington City Council staff are also invited to meet the artists at the project launch, to be held at Mezzo-space next Tuesday, January 25th at 4.30pm.

The artists' brief was to create a mural that reflects the environment and sense of place around Wellington's many traffic signal box. Artist were given a choice of locations, and then set out to learn about and visually communicate the essence eof that site. The result is that the new art connects graphically and spiritually with its location.

Justin Duffin, whose work will be on the traffic signal box at the intersection of John St and Adelaide Road, says that his work points towards Newtown and the zoo, with the lively monkeys in his painting encapsulating his love of animals. Justin is a professional animator and is using the traffic signal box to showcase his artistic skills.

The Tree of Life, a new work by Sam Broad, will be applied to the traffic signal box outside Planet Bar in Courtenay Place. Sam’s work refers to the life of the area and his personal remembrances of it’s recent past as a hub of social activity prior to the current renovations. Pinball machine graphics, pulp science fiction, Victorian insanity, wild robots, pop and folk art are all themes that occur in his bold and striking work.

Other artists contributing new mural to this project are Jonny de Painter, Daniel Mills, Davey McGhie, Aaron Frater, Grant Buist, Lynn Clark and Liana Leiataua. The artists were selected to reflect the diversity of people who work in the arts in Wellington.

This is the second phase of the project, following the initial installation of two signal box murals last year. Organisers intend to commission more original works of art for the remaining boxes in the city in years to come. The paintings are a reflection of the diversity and creative thinking in our community.

The project has been made possible with the help and guidance of Eric Holowacz, the Community Arts Officer and Tim Kirby, Manager of Traffic Signals for the Wellington City Council. Promenade Artists gratefully acknowledge the support of Wellington City Council, Ullrich Aluminium, Resene Paints and Wellington Glass.

To learn more about this project, and Promenade artists, contact Kristelle Plimmer on 385-0909 or



Hi all,

Just to let you know that we are doing a last farewell to WHOPPER CHOPPER

This Sunday 23rd January

Bands :

Hope to see you there
Chris Morley-Hall
"El Capitan"



Tiki-touring tutus: The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s much-loved tiki-touring institution is on the road…

From Wainuiomata to Waipukurau, Westport to Whakatane, New Zealand Ballet’s Tutus on Tour takes dance to 49 centres off the beaten track during February and March.
“Live and local, we’re presenting a selection of classical and contemporary dance, right on your doorstep. Diverse dance styles means there’s something for everyone to enjoy,” says Artistic Director Gary Harris.
“The line-up has a strong Kiwi accent,” he says.
“The company will showcase the talents of New Zealand choreographers Shona McCullagh and Turid Revfeim, local designer Elizabeth Whiting and composers Jonathan Besser and John Ritchie.”
Planning the tour is a performance in itself. From selling the show to local presenters, to confirming venue details and booking accommodation, the demanding itinerary is two years in the making.
“In order to tour the North Island and South Island simultaneously, the company of 32 dancers will be split down the middle. One group will tour the community theatres, school halls and basketball courts of the North Island, one the South,” says Harris.
Each contingent travels by bus and packs a five tonne truck with up to four costume changes for each dancer, hundreds of pointe shoes, 40 metres of ballet shoe ribbon, 120 metres of dance floor, 280 rolls of PVC tape, a washing machine and drier, a lighting rig, a sound system, and the all important kettle for afternoon tea.
Revfeim’s tango-inspired ballet Si Supieras opens the programme. Borrowing its title from an old tango, the work draws on the sensual elements of the dance.
Shona McCullagh brings her immense style and energy to Verge, a new work combining ballet and contemporary dance.
Fans of classical showpieces will relish the wedding pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, and Christopher Hampson’s Esquisses, a sweetly subversive homage to 19th century tutu tradition. Hampson is best known for loosening ballet of its stiff corsets in his two major works for the company, Saltarello and Romeo and Juliet.
The season opens at Wellington’s Westpac St James Theatre on 10 February and six weeks and 48 centres later, closes at Lower Hutt’s Little Theatre on 24 March.



Alexey Medvedev to Offer Three Wellington Concerts This Weekend

Acclaimed Russian guitarist Alexey Medvedev, now based in Dunedin, returns to Wellington next weekend for a series of concerts. The first will be a free performance in Civic Square, scheduled for Friday, 28 January, at noon. At the request of the musician, representatives from Oxfam will be on hand to collect donations for the tsunami disaster relief effort.
That lunchtime concert will be followed by engagements at Newtown Community Hall on Saturday, 29 January, at 6pm, and a special gig at Bar Bodega on Sunday, 30 January at 8pm. Medvedev’s appearances are being sponsored by the Wellington Russian Club.
"We’re very excited to have him back in the Creative Capital," said club president Vladimir Bell, "Alexey is a master of the guitar, and one of the greatest Russian-Kiwi musicians alive today."
Known for a fast-picking style, incorporating both Western and Russian styles, Medvedev has gone form playing at Mikhail Gorbachev’s 70th birthday party in 2001 to jamming with Chris Martin of popular rock band, Coldplay, during a visit to Otago.
Medvedev’s complex playing was honed at the Moscow Studio of Improvisational Music and the State University of Culture. "It incorporates a percussive rhythm and simultaneous bass lines, with chord progressions and melody on top of that," explained Bell. "The result sounds like an incredible one-man-band, which Alexey is."
After emigrating from Moscow to New Zealand, the guitarist quickly established a reputation for virtuoso fretwork and a bold exploration of the folk music genres. A typical concert might include Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass standard, "Blue Moon of Kentucky," followed by The Beatles "I Saw Her Standing There" and then a handful of original compositions. Those are followed by a few traditional Russian songs for guitar or balalaika, topped off with a J. J. Cale song or an old Blues number by Leroy Carr.
Medvedev recorded and released his first New Zealand CD last year, and has toured in New Zealand extensively since, including stops at the Whare Flat Folk Festival and the Whitestone Folk Festival. Besides solo engagements, Medvedev also performs frequently with his Dunedin-based band, Charma.
"I named my first solo album ‘Naphanya’, which is a type of spirit in Russian folklore," explained Medvedev. "It is often a good spirit, with a clever, surprising, and even mischievous nature…a lot like me!"
Audiences can catch the good, talented, and surprising guitarist this weekend, beginning with a free lunchtime concert on Friday in Civic Square. For details visit the artist’s website at



You have until this coming Saturday night to see The Bacchanals' production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' before it goes on tour around the North Island.

'The Bacchanals get the theatrical year off to a loud, boisterous, and comical start with a gallop through Shakespeare's 'Dream'... [They] set out to emphasise the festive, celebratory, and theatrical nature of this most-produced of Shakespeare's plays, and judging by the reaction of the opening night audience, they succeeded.' - Laurie Atkinson in the Dominion Post

Performances are at 7pm every night through Saturday 22 January. Tickets cost $15 full, $10 concession.

And bookings are also open for next week's two shows - both have strictly limited seasons, so it's a good idea to book promptly. At 7pm from Wednesday 26th - Saturday 29th January, Annie Ruth and Lhibou Hornung will be performing 'Dissident Voices - Collateral Damage'. This show is inspired by the website and book, 'Poets Against the War' - American poets join their voices in protest against the invasion of Iraq by the Bush administration. Actor Annie Ruth, violinist Lhibou Hornung and designer Brian King's devised dramatic setting of a selection of these poems is a rare chance to see a professional theatre response to recent events in the Middle East.

Also next week, at 9pm from Thursday 27th - Saturday 29th January, 'Sstimuluss - Live at BATS'.

With the sun setting late, and mid-summer nights warming up, 'Sstimuluss ¬ Live at BATS' is sure to prove a late-night pleasure for anyone interested in experiencing new music in a great venue. As well as performing at festivals (The Gathering, Visions), Sstimuluss have played regularly at Bodega, and now return to BATS after collaborating on WordVirus. Their music is a combination of electronica, rich instrumentation and the sublime voice of Elizabeth Judd. Liz and Emile de-la-Rey are joined by singer/musician Jeremy Brick and a host of theatre practitioners, to create what will be a gem in this summer's music scene.

And, finally, pick up the fresh edition of Guano magazine, your comprehensive guide for upcoming BATS events and productions (including an awesome line-up of NZ Fringe '05 shows).

BATS Theatre
1 Kent Terrace
Wellington, Aotearoa
bookings 802 4175
office 802 4176
fax 802 4010



The Sideshow, Menswear X-hibit
Friday, 4th March 2005
Steam Incorporated
Fringe NZ Festival

A celebration of the muscular gorgeousness of the male silhouette. The management dress code is de-constructed and then re-constructed in
these colourful and challenging garments by David Roil. Grasp this
opportunity to release your inner freak by donning the urban armour
that is clothing by FREAK!

For the first time in Fashion history here in New Zealand, the show will travel in
Old-world style on board Locomotive Ja1271 and nine carriages dating
back to the beginning of last century, supplied by “Steam Incorporated ”.

“FREAK!” Productions and Ja1271 will depart from Platform 9, Wellington Rail and arrive Upper Hutt then return to Platform 9.

When the train arrives at Upper Hutt the Locomotive will be taken to the other end of the carriages and then will return to Wellington, backwards reducing the speed it may travel to 25 miles an hour, (that will mean about 1 ½ hr approx).

Each carriage will hold 51 passengers totaling 255 ticket holders, 51 V.I.P’s,
51 media, possibly 40-50 models, designers etc.

The project is rapidly gaining steam. For details, or to get involved in the journey…

Contact: mr freak himself david roil
021 6170702
(04) 384 1525



Stephen Sinclair's hilarious dissection of middle class New Zealand is about to hit Circa Theatre.

Michael and Simon, two middle-aged brothers, meet for the first time in years at their family bach in the Coromandel, scene of countless childhood memories. They arrive to discover that in their absence the council has erected a public toilet right next door. Bruised by career disappointment, burned by relationship failure and battered by identity politics, the two brothers decide it's time to make a stand.

'Terrific entertainment...intellectually daring...darkly funny' NZ LISTENER
'...a stunning artistic triumph' NZ HERALD

THE BACH - by Stephen Sinclair
Director - Danny Mulheron
Cast - Peter Hambleton (SIMON), Miranda Harcourt (SALLY), Paul McLaughlin (MICHAEL), Kayte Ferguson (HANA)
Circa Theatre January 29 - February 26. Preview January 28
Prices: $35 Full, $28 Seniors/Students, $30 Groups 6+
Bookings: 801 7992 or

Stephen Sinclair is one of New Zealand's most successful playwrights and screenwriters. His play, The Sex Fiend (co-written With Danny Mulheron) which premiered at Bats Theatre in 1989, went on to play return seasons in all the main centres. Ladies Night, co-written with Anthony McCarten, and which premiered in Auckland in 1987, continues to be performed internationally with productions in Germany, Scandanavia, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. It has toured Australia, Canada, and France where it won the Moliere Award for Best Stage Comedy for 2001. It has been touring the UK since 1990. Other plays include Legless, Braindead: The Musical and Blowing It. In 1990 he co-scripted the feature film Meet The Feebles and in 1991 Braindead, which subsequently won Best Screenplay at the 1993 New Zealand Film and Television Awards. He worked with Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson on the scripts for the three-feature film adaptation of Lord of the Rings.



Stay Tuned to No. 8 Wire



Great theatre storytelling coming to Circa Studio…

The Baggage Co-op will present an exciting new storytelling show as part of this year’s Fringe Festival.

Soul Food 2005-Te Haerenga premiers at Circa Studio
7pm 1-5 March and 4.30pm 6 March

Full details will be in the Fringe programme and, of course, in an upcoming issue of The No. 8 Wire.



Originally premiering at Bats in 2004, the truly New Zealand play, Wheeler’s Luck, expands its audience at Circa, starting this weekend.

Wheelers Luck
Circa Studio 21 January- 19 February
7.30pm . Matinees 4.30pm Sunday 30 Jan 6 Feb.
Tickets $20/$25.

Two tall to middling white actors from the provinces play the entire population of a small kiwi beach town facing development and the possible end of it's way of life. The critics raved: 'Gloriously performed' 'very very funny,' 'brilliant in it's simplicity.'

Nigel Collins, Toby Leach and director Damon Andrew create an entire community with no set, no props, just pure imagination, energy and keen observation.

Book now, as in right now: 801-7992 or



Here’s a link to a very cool clock. That’s all it is: a cool little time-teller for your computer screen.



An update from the New Zealand poetry Society…

We have been working on our website
to give you more news and resources, such as upcoming deadlines for competitions, scholarships, grants, awards and links to interesting poetry sites.
These will continually be updated so keep checking the site.

During 2005 we intend to add more resources to the website to include databases of literary magazines, poetry related organizations, recommended bookshops, scholarships & grants, work opportunities, literary agents, reading lists etc. as well as a register of poets, NZPS regional groups, courses & workshops. If you would like to make any suggestions for resources you would like to see listed please feel free to email me at:



The Fringe Festival 05' is planning to construct some sculptures using all manner of junk items.

If anyone has any bits of old machinery, computer parts, car parts --- anything that qualifies as junk, we would really like to hear from you!

Please contact:

Casey Marks
Artist Liaison & Office Manager
Fringe 05
PO Box 6596
Marion Square
021 129 6975
495 8015



Top International exponent works with the best of New Zealand Dance.

We are thrilled to announce that the guest teacher for the masterclass series of Footnote Choreolab will be Jeremy Nelson, current holder of the Guggenheim Fellowship award for Contemporary Choreography. Jeremy was born in New Zealand, trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance and went on to dance for Siobhan Davies and Second Stride Dance companies in London before moving to New York in 1984. He is a member of the teaching faculty at Movement Research in New York and a guest artist in 2004 at Connecticut College. In the United States, he has taught as part of the American Dance Festival, and at various universities including New York University Tisch School of the Arts and Bennington College. He has been invited to give classes to several internationally recognised companies including Anna Terese de Keersmaaker’s ROSAS in Brussels, Sasha Waltz Company in Berlin, and Siobhan Davies Company in London.

Choreolab at Footnote Dance began as a direct response to needs identified by the industry and supports the resulting strategy plan that has been developed by Creative New Zealand. It is designed to be an opportunity to explore choreographic processes without the objective of performance and is unique in New Zealand for a professional company to host and work alongside such a project.

Footnote Choreolab has become the highlight of the choreographic year for dancers from all over the country and overseas. As part of the development process for Footnote’s new repertoire for 2005, we are hosting another summer Footnote Choreolab.

The lab choreographer for 2005 is Julia Sadler. Julia graduated from UNITEC in 2001 with a BPSA in contemporary dance. Julia has danced with Scrambled Legs Dance Theatre Company since 1998 and recently performed in '7' which presented seasons in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Julia is currently based in Christchurch. She has taken part in the first three choreolabs so she brings a wealth of perspective to this process-orientated event.

Master classes that address a wider range of performance topics are being taken by Jo Randerson (drama), Nic McGowan (music) and Fenn Gordon (production) and there will be a mentoring process in the lab explorations.

New Zealand choreographers developing new works for the Company during this time include Moss Patterson, Raewyn Hill and Katharina Waldner. For the celebration of 20 years of commitment to New Zealand dance, Footnote’s repertoire this year will also include works by Moana Nepia and by Director Deirdre Tarrant as well as some choreographies by the current company members. Footnote has been and continues to be pivotal in the development of our own national dance identity.
If you would like further background information, please contact: Carey McDonald at Footnote Dance on 04 384 7285
And, by all means, check out the splendid, simple, yet elegant website for Footnote, and learn more about this champion of dance in Wellington



Royal NZ Ballet two-time nominee for ‘Oscars’ of British theatre
The Royal New Zealand Ballet has received two nominations for the 2005 Laurence Olivier Awards, it was announced in London yesterday (Thursday evening, New Zealand time).
The awards are considered the Oscars of British theatre. Winners will be announced at a star-studded ceremony on Sunday 20 February. RNZB Artistic Director Gary Harris will attend.
The RNZB – a first-time nominee – dominates the Best New Dance Production category. It secured two of the category’s four nominations for Romeo and Juliet by Christopher Hampson and Milagros by Javier De Frutos.
Both works were presented on its tour of Britain last year.
Nominee Christopher Hampson was back in the RNZB’s Wellington studios this week, rehearsing a work for the company’s New Zealand Post Tutus on Tour programme.
“It’s always rewarding to have one’s work formally recognised,” he says. “I’m especially pleased that the collaboration with the Royal New Zealand Ballet has been acknowledged with a nomination for such a prestigious theatre award.”

The company’s commitment to presenting new work has been much-admired by the British press: “by most standards, what's going on in Wellington these past few years amounts to a hotbed of creativity,” said The Times. The Guardian agreed: “the fact that all the ballets were commissioned within the past three years reflects even better on the company's own creative health and on the nerve of its director Gary Harris.”
New Zealand Post Tutus on Tour, featuring Hampson’s Esquisses, opens at Wellington’s Westpac St James Theatre on 10 February and six weeks and 48 centres later, closes at Lower Hutt’s Little Theatre on 24 March.
In May, Milagros will be restaged for The Peugeot Season of A Million Kisses to My Skin, which tours New Zealand, San Francisco and Sydney.


and look for Taika’s film…

TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT from writer/director Taika Waititi has made it to the semi-final round of competition for the Academy Awards 2005 in the Short Film Live Action category.

TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT is one of 11 international short films that will now be screened to the Nominating Committee which consists of all members of the Academy Short Films and Feature Animation Branch. This group will then select between three and five short films that will be nominated for an Oscar. The nominations will be announced in Los Angeles on 25 January 2005.
Winning 10 film festival awards worldwide in 2004, TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT is the one of the most awarded in the history of short film at the New Zealand Film Commission.

Two Cars, One Night, is produced by Ainsley Gardiner and Catherine Fitzgerald, tells the story of a boy and a girl who meet in the carpark of a rural pub and the friendship that develops as they wait for their parents.

New Zealand Film Commission CEO Ruth Harley said that she was delighted at the news the TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT had made it to the Academy's short-list.
"This is wonderful news for our talented young filmmakers. Many of our most celebrated New Zealand writers, producers and directors began their careers with short films including Niki Caro, Christine Jeffs and Brad McGann.

"I congratulate Taika, Ainsley and Catherine for their arresting short film and wish them all the best for Oscar nomination day."

In a week of good news, Taika's newest short film, TAMA TU, has also been selected for the USA's most famous film event, the Sundance Film Festival founded by Robert Redford.

Taika will also be the first New Zealander invited to participate in the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, since Alison McLean (KITCHEN SINK) attended.

TAMA TU is about the 48th Maori Battalion in WWII and was produced by Ainsley Gardiner and Cliff Curtis.

Sundance takes place in Park City, Utah, from 10 - 20 January 2005. Taika and Ainsley will travel to the festival with assistance from the New Zealand Film Commission.

More information about TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT and Tama Tu can be found at:

Winner Best Short Film, Panorama, Berlin Film Festival 2004
Winner Best Drama, Aspen Film Festival 2004
Winner Prize of the Cinema Jury, Oberhausen 2004
Winner Best Editing, Drifting Clouds Film Festival New Zealand 2004
Winner Jury Prize, Newport Film Festival 2004
Winner Best Short Film, Hamburg Short Film Festival 2004
Winner Best Short Film, Seattle Film Festival 2004
Winner Best Fiction Short Film, Melbourne International Film Festival 2004
Winner Grand Jury Prize for Best International Short Film, AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival 2004
Winner Best International Short Film, Seagate Foyle Film Festival 2004



The Latest News from Photospace…

You're invited to the opening of Male Order Bride by Maree Prebensen and
In the Neighbourhood by Dan Lucka on Wednesday, 26th January, 5PM to 7PM.

Both shows run until 12 Feb.
See for details.

Andrew Ross's survey of the of Te Aro along the path of the motorway extension is still running, as is Graeme Borthwick's set of images of the writers walk plaques: see for more info. These exhibitions come down at the end of Saturday this week, 22nd Jan.

James Gilberd
Photospace studio/gallery
1st floor, 37 Courtenay Place
Wellington, New Zealand
ph/fax: 64-4-382 9502
cell: 027 444 3899
Gallery hours: 10-4.30 Monday-Friday
11-3 Saturdays, closed public holidays



The Wellington World Choir, founded in 2002, is a community-based choir for young and old. Conducted by world-renowned vocal specialist Bert van Dijk, it creates a most wondrous palette of sounds with the rhythms and harmonies of a wild variety of exotic and ethnic songs from around the world.

The repertoire includes the boisterous sounds of a Czech mountain song, soothing harmonies of a Samoan love song, the stirring rhythms of a Hebrew song, the sad discordant flow of a Russian lament, the passion of a Maori waiata-a-ringa and much, much more.

Mr van Dijk teaches in a very simple and joyful way the different uses of voice and harmonies. He encourages a physical way of singing that draws from the soles of their feet. The weight is shifting, the spine is rippling, the arms are flowing and the eyes are expressive and alive. Singing is an essential part of the experience and celebration of life. It fulfils the human need for self-expression and belonging: to be unique and to be part of a collective.

The choir warmly welcomes all people who can hold a tune and enjoy singing with others. Rehearsals are every Tuesday night from Feb 8 – April 12 at St Hilda’s Church, 311 The Parade, Island Bay.

Beginners group: 18:30 – 19:30
Performance group: 19:45 – 20:45
Super Twelve: 20:45 – 21:15.

The cost is $60.00 for 10 sessions or $7.50 per session. The choir performs regularly at Rest homes, in hospitals and at Community Festivals.
Wellington World Choir
Bert van Dijk
04 233 2090


DANZ (Dance Aotearoa New Zealand), the National service organisation for the dance industry, has great pleasure in announcing that it has received a grant of $44,000 from the ASB Trust toward:
Tuanui Whakamaru - Dance Canopy 05
National Dance Conference
9 to 15 July 2005
Auckland, New Zealand
The conference comes at an important time for dance in New Zealand, the contemporary dance scene is mushrooming with new dance companies and exciting repertoire. This in part relates to the development of a number of regional and national dance and arts festivals and to the growth of dance programmes in Tertiary institutions across the country. At the same time dance is now a curriculum subject in primary and secondary schools, creating a need for dance trained educators as well as producing dance-savy students - our future dancers and audience. The development of contemporary Maori, Pacific and other contemporary dance in New Zealand contributes to the current sense of a new, emerging New Zealand dance style.
The conference will bring together professional dancers and mentors, educators and students of the tertiary, secondary and primary school sectors and teachers of studio and commercial dance.
Tuanui Whakamaru - Dance Canopy 05 will celebrate the strength and diversity of dance in Aotearoa New Zealand. The focus will be on skill learning and networking and include workshops, presentation of research, performances, forums and discussions on areas of interest.
Other funding for the conference comes from Creative New Zealand, The Teachers Refresher Course Committee (TRCC) and DANZ.
For further information visit
or contact Celia Jenkins, Communications & Projects Manager, DANZ - phone (04) 801 9885 or email



The Play About The Baby
By Edward Albee
Directed by Penni Bousfield

February 1 – 5 at 8.00pm
Seeyd Space, Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School, Hutchison Rd, Newtown.

To book call: 389 9056
Tickets: Waged $15, Unwaged $10

Toi Whakaari’s intimate performance venue, The Seeyd Space, is about to play host to a production of Edward Albee’s dazzlingly witty The Play About The Baby.

In this surreal and absurdist comedy of memory and illusion, a young couple with a baby are visited by an outrageous older couple who have designs on the baby.

Since his debut as a playwright in 1959, Albee has proven to be one of the most interesting and influential American dramatists. Proclaimed as the playwright of his generation, Albee won Pulitzer Prizes for three of his provocative and innovative plays, A Delicate Balance (1966), Seascape (1975) and Three Tall Women (1991), as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play for his brilliantly original and ferociously humorous, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1962). Described by Tennessee Williams as “the only great playwright we’ve ever had in America”, Albee’s work challenges his audience to form an opinion on different social issues and often leaves theatre-goers in hot debate about what they’ve just seen.

The Play About The Baby, written in 1998, is one of Albee’s most recent works and has only been performed once before in New Zealand. True to form, this poetic and surreal comedy is open to a number of interpretations. In it, reality is pitted against illusion and humour is tinged with the macabre as the four characters grapple with themes of identity and relationship, compassion and cruelty.

Baby constitutes the major project for director Penni Bousfield’s Master of Theatre Arts in Directing ( a course taught conjointly by Toi Whakaari New Zealand Drama School and Victoria University of Wellington). Prior to studying for the MTA, Penni has directed several New Zealand plays and Shakespeare productions in Auckland.

Brad McCormack and Tania Nolan, who play the generically titled characters “Boy” and “Girl” are both Toi Whakaari students, currently on their summer break from classes. Brad is in his second year at Drama School, while Tania is a third year student, and both are performing in Baby as an extra-curricular theatrical venture in addition to their course. The actors playing Baby’s other couple, the bizarre and mysterious “Man” and “Woman,” are Barry Lakeman and Marjorie McKee who both have an extensive background in community theatre. Barry most recently appeared in the Caryl Churchill double-bill Blue Heart at Studio 77.

For those craving an original and stimulating start to 2005’s theatre season, Baby may be just the tonic.



Visit the Museum of Bad Album Covers, another great destination on ye olde World Wide Web



See how…

"The professional challenge, whether one is an architect in the rural American South or elsewhere in the world, is how to avoid being s stunned by the power of modern technology and economic affluence tat one does not lose sight
of the fact that people and place matter....

For me, these small (Rural Studio) projects have in them the architectural essence to enchant us, to inspire us, and ultimately, to elevate our profession. But more importantly, they remind us of what is means to have an American architecture without pretense. They remind us that we can be as awed by the simple as by the complex and that if we pay attention, this will offer us a glimpse into what is essential to the future of American Architecture: It’s honesty. ' Love your neighbor as yourself.'

This is the most important thing because nothing else matters. In doing so, an architect will act on a foundation of decency which can be built upon. Go above and beyond the call of a 'smoothly functioning conscience'; help those who aren't likely to help you in return, and do so even if nobody is watching!”

Samuel "Sambo" Mockbee
Architectural Design: The Everyday and Architecture, 1998





David Morrah is directing a short whodunnit comedy called Checking Inn, which will be shot in March. He hopes to release it at the Wellington Film Festival later in the year and is offering $50 for each role. Most of the roles are for people 30 or older, although he is accepting auditions for people who are 25. In addition to the younger roles on offer, he is urgently looking for older people to play Gertrude Stubbs (someone who is at least 70) and Steven Lucky (someone who is in their late 30s to early 40s). Roles available and information about the project (script, character breakdowns, shoot dates) can be found by visiting his website

Or by contacting David Morrah:

027 416 5904
475 3719


Links for the Literary Minded

Published twice yearly, in March and October. Submissions must be typed and include a stamped, self-addressed envelope
P.O. Box 11-806, Wellington. Fax # 04.463.6581

NZ Book Council

New Zealand Electronic Poetry Centre





Leaf Salon





Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Letters is losing valued administrator Fiona Wright to the full-time pursuit of legal studies. A vacancy has therefore arisen for a part-time administrator at the International Institute of Modern Letters. The new .4 appointee will work afternoons commencing February. For further information about the position, see
The closing date for applications is 2 February.





…for large cast Fringe festival show at Karori Wildlife Sanctuary , Feb 11, 12 and 13. Experience not neccessary. Currently in rehearsal, but we could do with 2-3
more people. Rehearsing Tues and Thurs evenings and Sunday afternoons.
For more information ph Penni Bousfield on 385 7991 or email


Ben Baker Celebrates Wellington

Ben Baker is enormously proud of his New Zealand heritage. Born in Wellington, Ben is delighted to have been invited back to perform with the NGC Wellington Sinfonia in their Celebrate Wellington concerts on 25 and 26 January. Along with a line-up of other local celebrated performers, including Margaret Medlyn, Linden Loader, Richard Greager, Rodney Maccann, the Orpheus Choir and Strike (with a world premiere of a new work written by Gareth Farr), Ben will help Wellingtonians celebrate the centenary of its Town Hall. Ben, now fourteen, will be soloist with the NGC Wellington Sinfonia playing Mendelssohn’s gorgeous Violin Concerto.

Assisted by many generous New Zealanders, at the age of eight Ben left Wellington to take up a part scholarship at the Yehudi Menuhin School in the UK, where he is taught by Natalia Boyarskaya, originally from the Moscow College of Music. Her method of teaching is based on the traditions of the legendary Russian School of Music. ‘Natasha’ as her pupils call her, gives as well as expecting from her pupils, total commitment and enthusiasm. She has taught many young virtuosi including NZ’s Young Musician of the Year (2000), Natalia Lomeiko.

Although he had done a considerable amount of performing (including a programme to an audience of some 20,000 at Carols by Candlelight at Frank Kitts Park just before he left New Zealand), his first professional solo concerto was in May 2002. He was chosen to perform Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 4 at a Mozart Music Festival in Istanbul, Turkey, performing two concerts with the Romanian State Radio Orchestra in a magnificent 6th century church to an audience of over 900 people. Two years ago he returned to New Zealand to play Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 as soloist with NGC Wellington Sinfonia, conducted by Kenneth Young, to an audience of some 1800.

His accomplishments in 2004 included playing in the Abbey Road Studios for the Launch of the UK Government’s Music Manifesto shown on BBC; a full recital in Osimo, Ancona, Italy; performing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in Folkestone, UK with the Kent Sinfonia conducted by Robert Turrell.

While they are in Wellington, Ben and his sister, Rebecca, will perform with local Suzuki students in a fundraiser for Tsunami victims via World Vision through whom Ben has supported children since he was five. In 2000 Ben won a McDonalds/Disney Millennium Dreamers Award for his work in raising money for World Vision and other charities through his many years of busking. He was selected as one of 2,000 children from around the world to attend a conference in Florida at Disneyworld for five days. On 28 January, accompanied by local pianist, Julie Coulson, Ben and Rebecca will feature in Celebrating Suzuki at St Andrew’s on the Terrace from 12.15-1.15pm. Entry is by gold coin donation.

Ben will play two pieces on his first CD, ‘Arcadian Strings’, which was released in December 2004. Copies will be available for purchase at the concerts in which Ben is performing.

The Baker Family is most grateful to John Todd, Margaret Burgess, Burgess Investments, The Adam Foundation, Rotary Club of Port Nicholson, Tui Parsons and the other sponsors who have made it possible to return to celebrate the place Ben is still proud of calling ‘home’.

For further information please contact:
Dawn Sanders
04 476 8369
027 283 6016



Growing Potatoes - a Play in a Pool has finished casting and has begun rehearsals. The auditions were a blast - everyone jumped in the pool, tried their best to synchronise swim, improvise and cause a splash! The cast of 15 includes a diverse range of cultures; German, Fijian, Irish, Australian, Kiwi, Dutch and Maori .

The play's central theme is community. At the auditions every was asked what they thought of this. Some responses were;

"I believe community is very important, whether you feel like you belong or not."

"It's a good theme because when people watch this play they may be able to relate to it."

"I like groups of people...but not too close!"

"This theme really suits me because I'm from a different culture."

"Community reflects in ourselves, and in being part of this play, it means I get to meet a whole lot of different people. And it's for the community too."

"Communities are becoming more important each year."

If you're interested in being a part of this play on the production side - please email



World leaders in musical innovation, the internationally acclaimed Kronos Quartet make their debut visit to Auckland in February and return to Wellington for the first time in nine years in March.
Kronos are one of the world’s most influential and sought after contemporary music ensembles, and for over 30 years have changed the way audiences experience music.
The group are renowned for crossing musical and artistic boundaries, with their recordings and performances appealing to lovers of classical, jazz, rock and world music.
The members of the quartet are excited about sharing their worldwide experiences with Kiwi audiences. Founding member and violinist David Harrington says, "We want to give our audiences the widest possible experience of our work. It has been a long time since our last performance in New Zealand and we realised that there have been many wonderful pieces written for Kronos in recent years. This is our chance to share a few of them."
For New Zealand¹s largest chamber music presenter, Kronos¹ visit kick-starts the beginning of a year where the traditional is combined with the unconventional. CMNZ Chief Executive Brian Budd says "The Kronos Quartet embrace a diversity of music and culture that is emblematic of CMNZ¹s 2005 season: eclectic and electrifying music for all music lovers. Kronos¹ performances will be without a doubt, a must see for music fans of all genres."
Chamber Music New Zealand presents Kronos Quartet by arrangement with Arts Projects Australia. The Auckland concert is supported by the Endeavour Trust. The Wellington concert is presented with support from the Willi Fels Trust, Adam Foundation and Peter and Carolyn Diessl.
For more information:
0800 CONCERT (266 2378)



A public art project by Simon Gray
Cuba St, Wellington. December 2004 – February 2005

All those visiting Cuba St cafes over summer are invited to participate in Sugarcube, Simon Gray's public artwork for the Art Box Project.

Throughout December and January, thousands of specially printed sugar sachets have been distributed to participating Cuba St cafes. As the essential part of Gray’s work the public are invited to draw or write on these sachets, and leave them in the boxes provided in the cafes to be collected. As Gray says, “the involvement of other people allows a work to evolve and adds an element of surprise”. Gray will then turn the completed sachets into a collective artwork, to be displayed in the Art Box in early February on Cuba Mall.

Gray, who has an MA in Public Art and Design, recently moved to New Zealand from the UK, where he was involved in a number of public art residencies and initiatives including Open City, in Bristol. Gray collects sugar sachets as a record of his travels and swaps them to build up a collection of sugar sachets from across the world - Sugarcube stems from this obsession.

A big thanks goes to the cafes supporting the project. You can find the sachets at: Fidel’s, Midnight Espresso, Steinburg Cafe, The Purple Onion, Olive Café, Plum of Cuba and Krazy Lounge (all on Cuba St). Sachets can also be found at the Wellington Art Centre, Oriental Bay Rotunda.

Full details and updates can be found at
For more information email: or ph: 0211848741



The package requires a new editor for 2005. If you excited about local music, art and culture; have great communications skills; can use computers; can rewrite 'finished' work; and believe you generally have the skills, demeanor and commitment required to compile and edit The package each week please send your CV to Urbanist Media PO Box 9234 Wellington or email Position available immediately and we want to appoint someone ASAP. Remuneration very modest and negotiable.



Colourful Connections, a growing group of international and local artists, will hold its first meeting of the year at Vincent’s Art Workshop, Level 4, 84 Willis St, from 6-8pm on Wednesday January 26. Anyone interested in meeting artists and craftspeople from a variety of ethnic backgrounds is welcome to come and share some of their creative work, ideas, projects, and experiences. Learn more, by connecting with



Magpie’s Eye Productions Present:
“Pop is dead, The Word Is King”

What is Karaoke Poetry?
“Imagine if you will
A Karaoke Booth
Where, instead of a bound
Book of Songs
From which to pick from,
There’s a thick volume of verse
To immerse yourself in”

Producer Craig Ireson says “Karaoke Poetry is about a time in the not so distant future when people are tired of the idle idols and prefabricated pop stars stumbling and mumbling their way into the charts and rich lists. This is a time when people return to poetry and poets as their pop stars.”

Karaoke Poetry is what you get when you mix the Spirit of the Fringe 2004 (Craig Ireson and Will Frew from The SK8Board Poets) with the Best Visual Artist from Fringe 2004 (Johanna Sanders, Rear Projection Window). It also features live music from Andrew Savage (Sunship) and a deliciously irreverent cameo from Ciara Mulholland (Sniper, Most Original Production, Chapman Tripp Theatre awards, 2004)

“Karaoke Poetry is a sexy, wordy, polyphonic romp through the world of the “mash up.” The works of two diverse artists - or more – are reined together to channel a “third mind” of chaotic brilliance. Where else this summer will you hear the words of Walt Whitman, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Beatles, Hone Tuwhare, Denis Glover and Frankie Vallie mashed up in a poetic, comedic mixer!” says Craig.

This is not an open Mike night, but a raucous revising of the poetical canon by an award winning crew of genre benders. Karaoke Poetry is guaranteed to be a hit of the Fringe, defying classification and demanding attention with its sassy stomp through the history of the word

Karaoke Poetry premieres at BATS Theatre as part of the 2005 Fringe NZ Festival
Friday 25th- Sunday 27th February 2005 8pm

$14 (Full) $12 (Unwaged) $10 (Fringe Addict)
BOOK AT BATS (04) 802 4175

For more information:,
027 242 3453
389 8177



French Film Under The Stars
The New Zealand Film Archive and the French Embassy are pleased to announce the starlight screening of Amélie (Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) at favourite Wellington venue - The Dell.
The Film Archive have been responsible for screening many classic Kiwi films during previous Summer Cities but this year are thrilled to join with the embassy in presenting one of France’s more recent screen gems.
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and released to great acclaim in 2001, Amélie (Played by the beautiful Audrey Tatou) inhabits a world of photo booths, suicidal goldfish, and elaborate good deeds. Amelie Poulain was a hit with New Zealand audiences the first time around and The Archive and Embassy are sure she will win hearts all over again.
Amélie Screens at the Dell, Botanic Gardens 9pm Thursday 10 February 2005. Moviegoers are encouraged arrive early and pick a good spot. Space at the outdoor screenings is always at a premium and in the past audience members have been known to sit in the trees. In case of bad weather Amélie will screen on Thursday 17 February 2005



Salsadrome & Tango Bar 2005 Starts Friday February 18th with Live Salsa from Wellington's latest salsa sensation 'Clave Latina!'
WPAC 36 Vivian St from
7:30pm Tango lesson
8:30pm Salsa Lesson
DJs and band: studio 1 from 8:45 Pm
Tango salon with guest DJs: studio 2 from 8:30pm



Young Creative Minds at the Arts Centre

Wellington Arts Centre wants to keep your kids creative. The Council facility, located on the ground floor of the Oriental Bay Rotunda, has announced its Term 1 courses and activities. These include a range of opportunities for young people and parents.

Popular instructor Paula Mason will again offer two "Artworks" classes, designed to teach creativity and visual art-making to children, aged 6 to 17. Her approach fosters drawing and painting skills, and includes a term project for each participant. The classes begin on February 11, and are held on Friday mornings and afternoons. Cost for the 9-week course is $100, or $80 for Passport to Leisure holders. To learn about Artworks, and how to enrol your child, contact Ms Mason on 939-0159 or

For the even younger Picasso, instructor Stephanie Woodman is offering Mini-Expressionists, a unique art course for children between the ages of 3 and 5. It's designed to enhance elemental skills, develop personal expression, and explore the basic art mediums, all in a nurturing and fun environment. The 8-week class is $95, or $75 for Passport to Leisure holders, and can be booked through Ms Woodman on 388-9479 or 027-435-2073, or by email to

And finally, the Arts Centre's Musical Babies sessions continue to grow in popularity. Parents and children, from a few months up to 4 years old, have discovered these weekly Thursday morning romps. Instructor Felicity Giltrap uses music, movement, and games to foster expression, coordination, and parent-child bonding. Sessions are $45 for the term, and begin on February 10. They can be booked through Ms Giltrap on 972-9752 or

Wellington Arts Centre offers over 100 creative courses and workshops each year, and is also home to a range of local arts organisations and projects. To obtain a detailed listing of 2005 events, meetings and opportunities, please send an email request to



Where to Begin with Wearable Arts

Wellington Arts Centre, located on the round floor of the Oriental Bay Rotunda, has announced its Term 1 courses and activities. New for 2005 is a special 8-week course by 5-time WOW finalist, Fifi Colston. Ever dreamed of making a bold and extravagant wearable statement, but don't know how to begin? Colston's course is entitled "Wearable Art, Where to Start" and will cover the entire process, from planning and garment concept, to materials and construction, and then how to make your design stand out with that WOW factor. It begins on February 11, from 9:30 to 11am, and runs through Term 1. Course cost is $95, or $75 for Passport to Leisure holders. Advance bookings or enquires can be made by calling Colston on 970-4899 or by email to

Wellington Arts Centre offers over 100 creative courses and workshops each year, and is also home to a range of local arts organisations and projects. To obtain a detailed listing of 2005 events, meetings and opportunities, please send an email request to



Fringe Fridays are designed as an informal catch up over coffee, for anyone and everyone involved with Fringe. Come up and see us at the Fringe office, every Friday between 4 – 6pm, from now through the Festival

Support the Fringe. Make interesting art. Collaborate in new ways. Contact them now.

Mark Westerby – Festival Director
21 712 527

Casey Marks – Artist Liaison & Office Manager
21 129 6975





Art Commission for a Temporary Site-specific Installation


To conceive, design, construct, install and pack out a site-specific sculptural installation to be the 'welcoming face' of the ECOSHOW 2005.

The Artist will be required to work with the Ecoshow team during the concept and design phase to align the artistic concepts with the Ecoshow vision, values and philosophies.

The exact location, scale and scope of the project will be clarified in collaboration between the Artist and the Ecoshow team, responding to the opportunities offered by the site, the resources from within the Ecoshow and the skills and vision of the Artist selected.

Ecoshow leadership team will provide the following resources:
Budget: $5,000 includes all financial expenses including Artist design and construction fees, materials and construction expenses, subcontractors (excluding Ecoshow volunteers), transport, lighting, etc
Volunteer labour force (to be coordinated by an Ecoshow team member)
Access to free recycled materials
Access to free potted native vegetation

Please send CV's and a letter of introduction by 24th January 2005 to Bryan and Jo contact details 021 799 056, 66 Ngamotu Rd, Taupo. Feel free to visit the Ecoshow website, or call for more detailed information about the event, and the vision for the Sculptural installation.
Sculpture project starts immediately, 1 February 2005. Ecoshow opens 3 March 2005.

The EcoShow - Sustainable Solutions for Living Today
3-6 March 2005

The Ecoshow is a showcase of products that contribute to making our lives more energy efficient and healthy (in our homes, communities and businesses) on the way to greater sustainability; demonstrations of the science and practical reasons why things work (energy, materials, processes); practical workshops where people can gain skills; inspiring talks & seminars led by experts and experienced professionals – with time for questions, discussions and dialogue

The Eco Forum will be at the heart of the Ecoshow, tying together the main themes of the Ecoshow, a forum for challenging ideas; discussion; debate; dialogue; insight and inspiration

The Exhibition area will provide a focus on product interpretation and demonstration of products and services available in New Zealand and the world
The involvement of businesses, universities, government, NGOs, not-for profits, communities and individuals with examples of sustainable technologies, processes and projects.





Archives of the No. 8 Wire are on-line at



To be removed from this email list…

To be added…

To submit contents, events, opportunities, or comments to contribute to…

Please send word to

Furthermore, send comments, questions, requests, etc to

Eric Vaughn Holowacz
Community Arts Co-ordinator
Wellington City Council / Wellington Arts Centre
P. O. Box 2199
Wellington, New Zealand




From the Sydney Morning Herald: 24 December 2004

Tolkien's mystical world of Middle Earth comes to life in a new exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum.
Four-time Oscar winner Richard Taylor - one of the creative geniuses behind the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy - is describing a place where fantasies are made. It's not Mordor, or Hogwarts, but a vast fun factory on the outskirts of New Zealand's windy capital.
Here, at the headquarters of Weta Workshop, is the world's most comprehensive special-effects facility. This is where 170 highly skilled masters of deception spend their days tricking us into believing their false universe is real.
"We've got everything here from chemists to sculptors, miniature builders to welders," Taylor says on the phone from Wellington. "Engineers, electronics experts, seamstresses. We have a very large leatherworking department. Plus two full-time swordsmiths who have had unbroken work at the company for nine years."
Obviously this was the city Tolkien built, along with Weta Digital, which focuses on "CGI" (computer-generated images). But Weta is no one-trick pony. As Taylor points out, "Since finishing Lord of the Rings, we've done Master and Commander, Peter Pan, The Last Samurai, Perfect Strangers, Hellboy, Van Helsing,
I, Robot, Kingdom of Heaven, King Kong and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." He pauses for breath. "We're on another large feature film at the moment."
If this sounds like boasting, it's justified. Twelve years ago, Taylor and his Weta partners - including Peter Jackson, the director of The Lord of the Rings - "realised there was going to be a serious change in the way that visual effects for film were going to be made". They formed Weta (named after a native New Zealand insect) and bought their first special-effects computer. By the time they made The Return of the King, the computer power they were able to harness made Weta Digital one of the world's five most powerful computer facilities (and that, Taylor says, includes military establishments).
Taylor is explaining the revolution that has occurred in movies in the past decade, and why a new exhibition that opens at the Powerhouse Museum on Boxing Day is so groundbreaking. Already, 800,000 fans in cities as far flung as Singapore and Boston have seen the awkwardly titled The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition since it opened at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, two years ago. At London's Science Museum, it attracted 260,000 people in less than four months.
No wonder most experts predict this will be the mother of all blockbuster exhibitions, eclipsing even the 214,000 who queued to see the Star Wars exhibition last year.
What makes The Lord of the Rings so special? For that matter, why have certain films and television shows - the Star Wars, Star Trek and James Bond series, Godzilla, Dr Who, even the puppetry of Thunderbirds - spawned exhibitions around the world when other, better ones have not?
Some reasons are obvious. The Lord of the Rings and James Bond movies - as well as the Harry Potter films (rumoured to be the subject of a forthcoming exhibition) - were all based on enormously popular books with cult followings. Star Trek and Thunderbirds were long-running TV series. All are sagas with episodic adventures and mythology built up over many years.
There are other similarities. Is it just coincidence that each of these movie series (even James Bond) has a clearly defined moral code?
Certainly, The Lord of the Rings has all the ingredients needed to make a good exhibition, argues Paul Brewer, of Te Papa Tongarewa, which realised even before the first movie was made that it offered New Zealand a unique opportunity to market its creative skills to the world.
"It has got this incredibly popular and credible literary background, based on one of the most popular books ever written," Brewer says.
"It has those wonderful themes of good versus evil, redemption, life and death. It touches the human psyche."
Some find this a bit highfalutin, including Kerrie Dougherty, a popular-culture expert who curated two previous Powerhouse crowd-pullers, Star Trek and Star Wars. You can build an exhibition around any film, she says, but there's no point doing it unless the movie has a committed following. The ones that have been successful are those that already had a cross-gender, cross-generational audience. Take Star Wars. Although people generally agree that the most recent movies in the series have been inferior to the originals, most of us know the Star Wars history, whether we're seven or 70, male or female, gay or straight.
But sheer longevity is not enough. "I can't see anyone making an exhibition out of the Police Academy movies, though there are plenty of them," Dougherty says. As for chick flicks, the Powerhouse did run a small exhibition about the costumes in Strictly Ballroom, but it's noticeable that most of the successful shows have featured some aspect of "boys' toys" - from 007's cars to Darth Vader's mask. That's partly because science fiction is a handy tool for explaining science itself.
Likewise, museums have found fantasy has a way of drawing in people unawares, teaching them about technological advances almost without them knowing it. In 1997, the Powerhouse's Star Trek show was little more than a collection of props. Star Wars, in 2002, was more ambitious. But the Lord of the Rings exhibition is the most sweeping yet, conceived from the outset - by Te Papa Tongarewa, Weta and New Line Cinema, which made the trilogy - as a celebration of the technological genius behind modern filmmaking.
Taylor admits there was much discussion within Weta about whether to "reveal the magic trick", to expose the fantasy. Jackson felt ignorance was bliss: what was important for the paying customers was the narrative journey they experienced when they sat in a darkened cinema for three hours. Thus, exhibitions like this involve risk. As Taylor puts it, "When you reveal what happens behind the scenes, some of the fabric of that mystery is rent." In the end, "what ultimately drove the decision [to go ahead] was the overwhelming desire from the world's fans to explore the movies at a greater level".
For Dougherty, what made The Lord of the Rings unique as a film trilogy was Jackson's use of state-of-the-art CGI techniques and traditional special-effects skills -
a marriage of computer nerd and model maker. A similar exhibition could not be made, she points out, from the Matrix movies, which relied almost totally on CGI.
One of the most popular stunts the new exhibition explains is the camera trickery that made two normal-sized actors - Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood - appear wildly different in size as Gandalf and Frodo. But it also dwells on the tangible - some of the 11,000 costumes made for the army of extras, as well as gigantic models of Treebeard and a cave troll.
Then there's the record-breaking number of prosthetics needed to make the fantasy figures feel real. "Hobbit feet apparently wear out very quickly," Dougherty says. "At one point, the filmmakers had more or less bought up the whole supply of latex in New Zealand so they could keep churning out the prosthetics. The special latex drying oven was going 24 hours a day, seven days a week, getting the prosthetics ready for the next day's shoot."
The model-maker's art is well represented. "Within the exhibition you'll see the beautifully detailed work that went into creating the models of the Tower of Orthanc and Sauron's tower in Mordor," Dougherty says. Plus, there's "the miniature of Hobbiton Mill, showing what might happen if the forces of evil were to conquer and destroy Hobbiton. It's wonderfully elaborate, yet it was only on screen a few seconds. All these traditional models and miniatures were used alongside CGI creatures like Gollum."
Of course, no exhibition on the genius of The Lord of the Rings would be complete without Gollum, one of the most mesmerising and intriguing rogues in cinema history. Powerhouse visitors will be shown exactly how Gollum leapt from the page of Tolkien's imagination to the "reality" of the screen through "motion capture" technology. The actor who played Gollum, Andy Serkis, was loaded up with sensors that relayed his movements back to a computer, which then allowed the filmmakers to create the grotesque character yet retain the human similarities.
Ultimately, though, what will visitors discover from this exhibition that they couldn't experience from a special-edition DVD?
Taylor answers the question best: "Our world is a busy and cluttered place because of the cultural references piled one on top of the other. We wanted the world of Middle Earth to feel equally saturated and detailed. There are things you'll never notice on screen, but if they weren't there Middle Earth wouldn't have seemed so real.
"What fans who have visited the exhibition have enjoyed is discovering a richness and cultural depth far beyond what they appreciated on film."
The Lord of the Rings Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition opens at the Powerhouse Museum on Boxing Day and runs until March 31. Adult, $19.50; child, $9.50; concession, $12; seniors, $10; family, $48. For more information, phone the museum's information line on 9217 0444 or visit



Los Angeles Is Becoming the Capital of Artists Whose Canvas Is Human

The New York Times, January 11, 2005

Inside the crowded convention center here, Chuco Caballero, wearing only blue boxer shorts, stood in the center of an admiring crowd. It was the last day of Body Art Expo 2005, a gathering of tattoo aficionados, and the drone of tattoo machines, like the buzz of a plague of locusts, filled the hall.

Mr. Caballero's 53-year-old body appeared covered in portraits: Susan
Hayward, Robert De Niro, the Statue of Liberty under an armpit and some
menacing gangster types just above his ankle. Chuco, as he is called,
is a walking canvas of what is known as black and gray, a Los Angeles
style that emerged from the city's Chicano culture, and is a highly
popular one here.

In fact, judging by the crush of practitioners and fans at the Fairplex
center, in this city about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, which is
emerging as the latest capital of body tattooing. "The new millennium
is starting to be L.A.," said Baba, of the Vintage Tattoo Art Parlor in
Los Angeles, and one of the sponsors of the three-day convention, which
ended on Sunday. The city's turn has come round again: in the 1970's
Los Angeles was the place for tattooing, in the 80's New York became
the capital and in the 90's San Francisco.

"What's going on in L.A. is juxtaposition; that's the easiest way I can
describe it," continued Baba (in the tattoo world one-word names are
the norm). "You have Americans doing beautiful Japanese-American stuff;
you have people mixing hot rod stuff with Chicano stuff; you have
people mixing traditional with new school. I mean, as much as a mixture
of people as this town is right now, that is how the tattoo world is
right now. You have the masters, the king tattooers of L.A., and they
are leading the pack and pushing the envelope."

As he spoke, Baba was performing a cosmetic coverup on the stomach of a
young woman named Sabrina. As she lay on a table in front of him, tears
rolled from beneath her heavily made-up eyelids. Originally, Sabrina
had had a tattoo of a cross with her grandfather's name, but she wanted
something new. "Be strong," Baba told her.

The monotone black and gray style, like many of the images decorating
Chuco's skin, often reflect cultural, religious and prison themes. The
style was popularized by well-known tattoo figures like Jack Rudy,
Freddy Negrete and Ed Hardy.

"Jack Rudy was growing up in L.A., when all the black and gray was
coming out of the prisons," explained Mr. Lucky, who was tending the
booth of Good Time Charlie's Tattooland, of Anaheim. "People wanted
it," Mr. Lucky added, as a departure from simpler biker-inspired
designs, like skulls.

"I grew up in the 60's," said Chuco, who was standing in front of the
booth, "when you could own a tattoo only if you were a gang member, a
drug addict, or in prison. Now, celebrities and movie stars have made
tattooing mainstream." His black and gray designs, mostly portraits
rendered in outline, were filled in with shadowing.

Just a few booths away, stood Bill Salmon of the Diamond Club Tattoo
Parlor in San Francisco. His guest tattoo artist was Hori Zakura, who
creates traditional Japanese tattoos. Instead of needles, Mr. Zakura
shaded in the scales of a carp tattoo by rolling a needled stick back
and forth into his client's skin. The process seemed more meditative
for tattooer and tattooee alike and less painful than the
machine-needle method, which inflames the skin.

The wait for a tattoo from an artist who is in demand can be months to
a year. "I've been waiting to get a tattoo from Bugs for a long time,"
said Kyle Straton about a French-born artist who is, by his own
admission, an outsider in the industry. Bugs, who works in a West Los
Angeles tattoo parlor, Tabu Tattoo, studied fine arts in France. His
style is unusual, leaning heavily toward Cubism. As Mr. Straton sat
serenely for two hours while Bugs worked, Jesus in a crown of thorns
slowly took form on the back of Mr. Straton's neck. Passers-by stopped,
some appearing confused by Bugs's art form.

"It's very simple, needles and skin, pain and a lot of blood," Bugs
said, wiping away droplets of blood from his subject's back with an
antibacterial soap. "I never use anyone else's design. People give me a
subject, and I work it out with my design."

Several steps away, Ron Earhart was putting the finishing touches on a
tattoo in his biomechanical style. "I'm in the zone; it doesn't hurt,"
said his customer, whose green Celtic knot emerged from the ripped
flesh of his arm. Mr. Earhart's Newskool Tattoo Studio, in San Jose,
specializes in the fusion of flesh and machines: gears, switches and
machinery. The style owes much to "Alien," the movie, he said, and the
insectlike creature created by HR Giger.

Early Saturday evening, judging had begun for the best "Black and Gray,
Large" tattoo of the day. Mando, who weighs about 375 pounds, walked
past the row of judges, stopping briefly to let each examine his back.
Its great expanse was filled with an enormous skull, rendered in Tiki,
or island, style. It had taken 12 sessions - from 1½ to 6 hours each -
to complete. Mando, who is Chicano, said he got the tattoo to "show
appreciation for their art."

He lost to a large black and gray of Elvis.



Creating Democracy in the Art World
Art appreciation 2005: Log on and print out affordable art that's good
Few who frequent art museums, galleries and seek out art on the streets can afford to buy the kind of ambitious work they've learned to appreciate.
Artists need to be paid. Typically, they want at least $500 for a small drawing, and that's when they're unknown. With recognition comes a necessary price hike.
Pay peanuts for art, and you'll get nothing but shells.
Spokane painter Megan Murphy hopes to change that with art reproduced on computer printers.
This month, she launched, a new link between artists and a previously untapped audience.
The audience gets good art in the $20 to $50 range. If the site catches on, featured artists could end up with incomes worthy of the name. "I think $2,000 to $5,000 a month would be nice," she said. "I also think it's attainable."
Billions of dollars change hands in the art world ($10 billion in 2004 in the U.S. alone), yet the majority of artists are unable to sustain themselves through their art, and only a tiny portion of the general public is in a position to buy it.
At, low price doesn't mean insignificant product. Instead of desperate bunglers and imitative clones, the site features the kind of artists that show or could show in better galleries around the world.
Murphy achieved this feat by editing for quality and offering digital multiples in volume.
She isn't trying to compete with galleries, which she sees as essential. Her own paintings are available at PDX in Portland and the Ochi Gallery in Sun Valley, selling in the $2,000 to $6,000 range.
"People tell me they'd love to have a painting of mine but can't afford it," she said. "I want to offer them something good they can afford."
Murphy ran an ad seeking artists in the classified section of Seattle-based and received responses from artists across the United States and Korea, Mexico, Ireland, France and Canada. Of the 100 artists who sent résumés and digital prints, she accepted 20. Each has roughly 10 prints available on the site.
"I'm looking for art with content that matches its form, and evidence the artist has thought about the digital delivery," she said.
The closest thing to is in London, but Eyestorm prices start at $2,000 and rise rapidly. Artocracy casts a wider net in the belief that good artists are everywhere working in a wide variety of styles.
The works on the site aren't reproductions of paintings or cheap versions of photos. Everything was created specifically for the digital format.
Most printers can't download an image larger than 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. Artocracy gets around this limitation by offering art that can be downloaded in sections and then taped or pinned together. Some artists specify what paper they want patrons to use, but most of the time, buyers print on material of their choosing.
Murphy's own work is minimalist. On the site she has a long vertical stream of blurred text, titled "Water," 8 1/2 inches high by 44 inches wide. The print can be downloaded and taped together. Price: $25.
"I suggest printing that piece on translucent vellum sheets," she said. "I'm trying to translate ideas from my paintings into this format, using textures and texts and layering them on top of each other."
Other intriguing offerings include Rochelle Ratner's subversions of corporate advertising, Alfonso Nieto's raw egg floating in planetary space and Bruce Eves' startling "Drop Cloths." His "Male Orgy" is pretty cool too.
"Think of all the people who are visually sophisticated and can't afford to buy art," Murphy said. "That's a big group, and I want to serve it."
While she's aware that buyers can cheat the artists by purchasing a print and then downloading multiple copies for friends, she doesn't think it will happen.
"We're asking them not to," she said. "The spirit of this venture is an open communication between artists and the audience. Artists won't have to rely on galleries for their income, and the audience gets to own real art."
Artists receive 75 percent of a sale, with the remaining 25 percent going to maintain and expand the site.
Murphy isn't the first to think about removing the price barrier to art ownership.
The late Felix Gonzales-Torres used to have stacks of prints in his exhibits free for the taking. Bruce Nauman has done it too on occasion, among others.
"Felix Gonzales-Torres inspired me to do this," said Murphy. "Art should not be available only to the wealthy."


If we shadows have offended,
Think but this,--and all is mended,--
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend;
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call:
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.