About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

04 February 2012

Improvisations on Nosferatu

The 1922 German silent horror movie, Nosferatu, has an interesting history (as per the Wikipedia article), and is one of the earliest adaptations of Bram Stoker's Dracula. As part of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival, pianist Paul Hammer and saxophonist McCoy Mrubata, performed a musical score (don't think it was unrehearsed) accompanying the screening.

As a movie, Nosferatu was interesting in it self (though it seems the translated version does use the Dracula names and not the German substitutes). It does not come across as terrifying; and a lot of that is due to the explosion of vampire lore. The music was not terrifying either; and in fact made the movie a lot more comical than what was intended.

The venue was The Bioscope, an independent movie theatre in downtown Jo'burg (near Ellis Park). It's part of a wider artistic community including cafe's and a hotel. There are some interesting movies on their lineup ... thinking of exploring further on what it has to offer.

This is a great idea, and hopefully future editions of the festival showcase more of these collaborations.

02 February 2012

Fugard's Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act

The recent furore over a DA youth poster, led to some interesting comments in the newspapers - some commented that it was a cheap marketing ploy, others commented against the naked models in the posters and off course there were commnents on the inter-racial couple itself. In many respects, the timing of the poster couldn't be a better advertisement for the staging of one of Athol Fugard's earliest plays.

The Fugard Theatre is off course an apt location for the performance of an Athol Fugard play (I believe that the theatre and the playright are not directly connected). Located in District Six, in a renovated old building; and in its young lifetime it has hosted some impressive acts (as advertised prominently on the lobby walls). It has a strange combination of formalism and informalism at the same time - M commented at the fact that it was probably the most well dressed crowd she had come across in Cape Town (and we were very much under dressed in t-shirts and jeans); while they also happily let you take your drinks from the bar into the theatre with no issues.

If you felt that the DA poster was inciteful, then don't bother with going to the play - not only is the play about inter-racial relationship (under apartheid) but the two main characters are also nude throughout. Set in a time when inter-racial relationships were illegal, the play is about the relationship between a single, white librarian (played by Bo Petersen) and a slightly younger, coloured school principal (played by Malefane Mosuhli). The set and lighting design is deceptively simple; but very effective - and you almost don't notice that all the actors are actually on stage when you go in to take your seat.

It starts of slowly; and almost too dramatically. But as the story evolves, it pulls the audience in and the flowery monologues disappear. It is not a happy story, and after the performance Mr Mosuhli commented that he hoped it didn't spoil my evening. It's a story that is still relevant; because, as the DA poster controversy revealed, we still have a long way to go. The play runs till 11 Feb, if you are in Cape Town - go. And if you aren't, maybe it will come to your neck of the woods.

30 January 2012

Music: Claire Phillips and Jimmy Dludlu

I think my first music concert I attended was Soweto String Quartet playing at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. It was an UCT RAG initiative, and I believe one of the first concerts ever in the gardens. Since then, there has been a regular season of music concerts in the gardens, drawing a wide range artists.

I am back in Cape Town, and since M is also here; we decided to go have a picnic in the late afternoon, while enjoying jazz legend Jimmy Dludlu (interestingly there is a German wikipedia page, but no English) and local artist Claire Phillips.

Despite the strong summer sun, the grounds were packed. We still managed to find some shade at the back, though that did reduce the visibility of the stage somewhat. The MC was annoying, in his attempt to say something meaningful about the artists, but instead just babbling on.

I am not sure if there is an exact "type" of music for Claire Phillips - it was a bit of jazz and a bit of pop. It sounded good; but it was not very spectacular. She did engage the audience a lot; and drew warm applause at the mention of her (and the band's) imminent second album.

Jimmy Dludlu's set started rather slowly, but slowly much of the audience started to stand-up and dance along. He played some of his big hits, with barely a pause between songs; and included a song from Michael Jackson which got high approval from the crowd.

It was not the most active concert I have been to; but it was a relaxing way to spend the afternoon/early evening. I do think both artists' music would be better experienced in a more intimate setting of a club, but it was still enjoyable. If you are in Cape Town, I can't think of many better ways of spending a Sunday afternoon in the summer.