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Posts from the ‘Culture’ Category

Hobbitification of Wellington continues…

For anyone who is excited about the impending release of The Hobbit film (part one only, somehow they managed to string it out into two films… how?!), Wellington is certainly the place to be right about now. With just four days to go (as the billboard on the front of the Embassy Theatre reminds us! See below), all sorts of Hobbity kinds of events are kicking into full gear…

Today we checked out the Hobbit Artisan Market, in Waitangi Park.

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An ambassador for the Embassy?

Look who appeared on the front of the Embassy Theatre (our local cinema, definitely the best place to catch a film in town, as it is both beautiful on the inside and out) today. That’s right folks, Wellington is continuing to be Hobbit-ified (or should I say Tolkien-ised or Weta-fied?) more and more as the days count down to the world premiere of Sir Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. Overnight (street closure? Why not?!), the front of the Embassy (where the premiere will screen) was decorated with a new Weta Workshop creation, replete with over-sized hobbit-hole and Gandalf watching over Courtenay Place (if we can’t have Sir Ian McKellen in town for the premiere, we can have a giant sculpture of his character’s likeness, right?!). It’s definitely going to be a focal point in this city over the coming days and doubtless will look great at the end of the red carpet in nine days time…

… we had some fun taking photos of this latest Hobbit-related sculpture in the city tonight.

CIA

Photos by PJD and CIA, Wellington, 19 November 2012. Gollum is already in town too.

Middle Earth baggage services

Tonight, arriving back in Wellington the middle of Middle Earth™ we were surprised to see that a new baggage handling service was on offer from Air New Zealand.

That’s really something.

PJD

Photography by CIA (with a cameo image from PJD), Wellington Middle Earth Airport, The Middle of Middle Earth, November 2012.

Simply cool

Sometimes, you see a piece of design – graphic in this case – which is just so cool, it’s worth taking a photo of.

CIA

We do love Swiss design (who doesn’t?!) and the high quality of graphic design posters advertising various events as we wandered around Zurich was inspiring. Photo by CIA, Zurich, Switzerland, May 2012, International Experimental Film and Video Festival, Zurich, 2012.

The Weeknd, live.

As I walked along the waterfront this evening, I came across this quite random chalking. “The Weeknd” looked great in yellow chalk, along the side of whatever wharf shed this was. It reminded me of Pitch, and though we’ve already mentioned how great Jessie Ware, SBTRKT and Gui Boratto were, we’ve neglected the Weeknd.

I first came across The Weeknd (Abel Tesfaye) when I heard a song on an NPR broadcast (Public Radio is a good thing!). The song, House of Balloons, included a sample from the Siouxsie and the Banshees song Happy House. The guitar was slowed right down, but I recognised it right away – a remnant from my mis-spent youth, appropriated from the mis-spent youth of the generation before me. I have, since then, become completely hooked.

I was lucky enough to download his three mixtapes before the release of the album Trilogy, which includes remastered versions of the tapes*. If you weren’t, it’s probably worth getting. Because it’s a m a z i n g.

Our friend and her sister are also huge fans, and at Pitch, we were all stupendously excited to see how the music we loved converted into a live experience.

We were not disappointed. It was not a flawless performance, and at times, the live sound struggled to capture the layered richness of his recordings, whilst the vocal performance was at times a little pitchy. But Tesfaye has awesome stage presence, and he had the enthusiastic Dutch crowd thrashing about in front of the stage in ecstatic rhythm.

PJD

Photos by CIA & PJD, Pitch Festival, Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam, July 2012.

* Mixtapes seems like an awful misnomer in the age of digital music.

His Royal Highness…&c

Today I saw His Royal Highness The Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Royal Knight Companion of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Member of the Order of Merit, Knight of the Order of Australia, Companion of the Queen’s Service Order, Member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.

I didn’t see him very close up, but I did take some photos.

I enjoyed watching the launch of one of the waka (roughly speaking, a canoe), and the haka which accompanied it. The new Marae on Taranaki Wharf is beautiful – we will write more on it in the future. It was hard to get a glimpse of HRH and consort, but it you look closely, you’ll see them there. It was a beautifully sunny day, so they now know the truth of the well-known Wellington proverb, “You can’t beat Wellington on a good day”.

But, I wonder how they felt about being in the middle of Middle-Earth?

PJD

Photos by PJD, Taranaki Street Wharf, Wellington, 14 November, 2012. For the record, PJD would like it know that he is a republican, but took pictures of royalty in the public interest.

Rules you don’t see

I came across a piece of music yesterday that I found extraordinary. It came up in a discussion between Brian Eno and Ha-Joon Chang. That these two were in discussion was peculiar to me, but more of this kind of crossover discussion is a good idea. Cross-pollination of ideas is almost always worthwhile, if only because it helps uncover the rules you don’t see.

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