Two books you need to read this festive according to Lindelwa
Nov18

Two books you need to read this festive according to Lindelwa

Nnedi Okorafor – Who Fears Death? This is my first encounter with African Sci-fi (or Afro-futurism, if you may) and I loved it! I must confess, I had no idea what to expect – how do we talk about voodoo and muti in a futuristic sense? Nnedi laid it all down. One (I) might be apprehensive when reading about African “culture,” for lack of a better word, from someone whose life was spent mostly in the US, but to my surprise the book is relatable. All the characters are real; they read like people I know in my own life, and that’s one of the reasons why this book is AMAZING. It tells the story of a young lady coming of age and discovering so much about herself, her lineage and the purpose she was born for. Excellent, excellent read.   Taiye Selasi – Ghana Must Go Ghana Must Go is another first for me. You could say Nigerian authors have dominated my African reading experience, so I looked forward to learning about another place, again through the eyes of a Diaspora citizen. What I love about this book is that it catches you off-guard – nothing Selasi writes is heading in the direction you think it is, and that makes the reading experience absolutely enjoyable. I must confess, her writing style is one I had to adapt to, and I only grew comfortable with her words two-thirds into the book, but I am glad I held on. She tells the story of a broken family who are reunited by tragedy – yes, it sounds like you’ve heard this all before, but Selasi adds a little something that makes it worth the...

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The 3, 2, 1 take-off: A weekend of launches.
Nov11

The 3, 2, 1 take-off: A weekend of launches.

by Ludwig Spies The Sextons launch their debut album Welcome to Forever The Sextons launched their debut album Welcome to Forever on Saturday, 7th November. The launch party took place at Dakota Lee Tattoo Shop & Rockabilly Bar  in the Design on Appel complex in Kramerville, Sandton. Dakota Lee is a multi-faceted creative space infused with all the sexiness of rock and indie culture – the perfect venue for The Sextons’ unpretentious sound. Performing live, Jamie-Lee Sexton’s voice acquires a whole new level of intimacy that further enhances the narratives of the album. Instead of boring the crowd with long stories about the difficulty of success, The Sextons just got everyone excited with their lust for life and their authenticity. Welcome drinks were sponsored by Red Bull Summer Edition and live DJ’s played before and after the artist set. Welcome to Forever is currently available on iTunes.   Caroline Leisegang hypnotises with her first album Øyeblikk Contemporary classical composer Caroline Leisegang  introduced her album of pieces for piano to the public at a warm soirée hosted by Rabbit In The Moon at the Thrupps Illovo Centre, Illovo. Leisegang is partly of Norwegian origin and the music on this album is inspired in part by the elements of the melancholic and sometimes eerie Norwegian weather. A definite chill runs through her compositions that evoke images of frosted forests, icy creeks and quiet white expanses. Leisegang played Vinter (Winter) from the album, but prefers to cede concert playing to her friend and colleague Judith van der Wat aka Jude HarpStar. Leisegang explains that an able composer is not necessarily an equally able pianist. Van der Wat, a prodigious musical talent, played five pieces from the album: Drømme I (Dreams I), Forelsket (Falling in Love), Rød Regndråper (Red Raindrops), Drømme II (Dreams II) & Karusell (Carousel). Guests were treated to tapas-style cuisine and whilst the sounds of the piano spoke of snow and ice, we enjoyed a fine summer evening al fresco. Øyeblikk is currently available on iTunes.   AGEO Menswear summer showcase and website ‘launch’ AGEO Menswear presented a showcase of their collections shown at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week 2015 and the South African Fashion Week AW16 at Sandton’s The VIP Room . The event doubled as the brand’s website launch. Unfortunately, the party was not nearly as well attended as the pair from AGEO had hoped it would be, and logistical issues delayed the start of the showcase. A Google search on Monday revealed that the website is not yet live. In the meantime customers will have to stick it out with AGEO’s Facebook page...

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Illustrator Bianca Brand presents Strange Creatures, a tribal mythology of unknown origin
Nov10

Illustrator Bianca Brand presents Strange Creatures, a tribal mythology of unknown origin

By Ludwig Spies “I want people to be affected by my work.” Bianca Brand isn’t tall, she isn’t loud and she’s surprisingly nonchalant about her work. Yet affection is exactly what she achieves with her captivating imagery. She readily waives the title of artist in favour of being called an illustrator. On the difference between the two, Brand says that art expresses what the artist feels. “An illustrator has to predict what other people may feel and find a way to capture that. Illustrators specifically produce for an audience; we create posters, album covers, merchandising. It’s much less about us and much more about tapping into the audience’s emotions surrounding the product, organisation or event for which we are creating.” Although she creates for commercial purposes, Brand has a very strong and distinctive style. Instead of modifying her style to suit a brand’s corporate identity, she chooses to work with brands that are attracted to her style in the first place. “Developing your style is crucial”, she says. “It might seem like an obvious thing to say, but once you realise that your style is your single most important marketing tool, the thing that makes people notice and remember you, not a moment will go by without deeply and critically examining the finest details of what you create.” One might be surprised to learn that during her studies at Open Window, Brand struggled with colour use. She has since evolved into an illustrator particularly known for her use of bright, electric colours. “Most of my subject matter is quite dark and strange, and I feel that the colours prevent them from becoming scary or downright ugly. In this way, I hope that the works intrigue rather than disturb people.” Brand’s work is often incorrectly called surrealist. Her work hearkens back to much older art forms like rock painting and tribal art. Otherworldly figures and alien landscapes are all weaved together with the evident symbolism of lines and shapes and repetitions, creating the impression that one is viewing the pictorial mythology of an existing culture. The works seem to depict significant and sacred events and drive one towards finding a spiritual or ethical message. “I love narratives,” says Brand. “But these are not real stories, if that makes sense… I couldn’t tell you what’s happening in the pieces or what this one is about because they’re not about anything.” Instead of conceiving a tale and depicting it, she creates a piece with the potential for becoming a different story for different viewers. Many artists/creators claim to do something similar when they are, in fact, leaving lazy blanks and creating ill-conceived...

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Maboneng’s POPArt Theatre presents We Didn’t Come To Hell For The Croissants
Nov06

Maboneng’s POPArt Theatre presents We Didn’t Come To Hell For The Croissants

By Ludwig Spies If you’ve ever wished that you were crazy enough to bungee jump or take hard drugs, but felt that either might end in tragedy you’ll be happy to hear that someone has finally created an alternative. The POPArt Theatre & Performing Art Centre is currently staging a production of We Didn’t Come To Hell For The Croissants, a deeply thrilling and subversive piece that will make you laugh, gasp and tear up. Performed by Jemma Kahn and Roberto Pombo, and directed by Lindiwe Matshikiza, Croissants uses the traditional Japanese art of kamishibai to tell a series of seven stories loosely inspired by the seven deadly sins. The stories are illustrated on a set of large paper cards that slot into a wooden frame. As Kahn narrates the stories, and Pombo provides sound effects, she removes the cards one-by-one to reveal the next scene of the story. Kahn hates boring theatre. Thus, the stories are written and illustrated by different authors, and told as different genres in highly divergent styles. The first tale lulls like a bedtime story. This is followed, amongst others, by a scintillating musical number, a ‘dialogue’ in the form of a letter exchange, and a hilarious parody of a motivational speaker’s speech. The characters range from a deranged love-sick German youth, to a vengefully sadistic housewife to a glamorous Upper East Side housecat who inherits her owner’s fortune. Kahn so brilliantly brings the characters to life that one can barely decide whether to watch her or the edgy illustrations. Satirical commentary is woven into all the stories, and the postmodern irony is thick like lemon meringue. But instead of leaving the audience depressed and disillusioned, these tales of vulnerable, deeply flawed and authentic people reveal the most delicate of sentiments. There are scenes of terrific violence that possess a counter-intuitive beauty. There are scenes of explicit and ridiculous sexual encounters that amuse (and arouse…) without deteriorating into mockery. Some of the stories do contain a cautionary message, but they do not preach. Far from feeling old-fashioned, the low-tech, intimate production reminds of the Weimar cabaret of Berlin c. 1935. Kahn proudly describes the piece as queer theatre, and agrees that in many ways it is a revitalisation or a rediscovery of the vibrance that existed before that awful man with the small moustache came along. Croissants is labelled as a sequel to Kahn’s first kamishibai piece, The Epicene Butcher (And Other Stories For Consenting Adults) – another play with a ridiculously long and unintelligible, but highly satisfying name. Fortunately, your understanding of Croissants will not be hampered if you didn’t see the prequel....

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Sussing out The Sextons
Nov02

Sussing out The Sextons

By Lebogang Mgiba One of Joburg’s hottest live acts, The Sextons, has just released their long-awaited and highly anticipated debut album Welcome to Forever. Produced by Kevin Leicher, the album is a collection of new-age singer/songwriter-styled compositions, mixed with modern folk, funk, an undertone of jazz and a whole lot of soul. From the opening track, Inside, you’ll become engrossed in the rich storytelling and won’t want to stop until the end. There is definitely room for what The Sextons has to offer the music industry. We sat down with band frontwoman Jamie-Lee Sexton to get the back story.   Congrats on your album! The first track Inside is so much fun and it really sets the mood for the rest of the album. How would you describe Welcome to Forever? Thanks! Inside is definitely a favourite. Welcome to Forever is a combination of genres, stories, life experiences and an expression and interpretation of the way I view life and the way the songs were written. Each song has a life of its own, and the album shares a great amount of emotion and understanding of these life experiences… Welcome to Forever is just the beginning. Life is another one of our favourites; what inspired it? This song is very close to my heart. Life was written for my aunt and my father who both passed away. “Hold onto life” is one of the key lines in the song; such a simple sentence but so poignant when it is lost… Every time I sing this song I am taken back to that point in my life when everything meant nothing, and life was but a tiny light at the end of a very dark tunnel. I truly hope this song reaches out and touches many people who have experienced loss in any way. Music is my therapy. The album is a collection of a whole lot of genres. How did that happen, and what was it like creating this album? Welcome to Forever has taken many, many years! Inside was the first song I wrote, and that was written seven years ago. It is a collection of songs I have written over the years, and songs I have written in the last year and a half. The process has been an organic one, which I am so happy about. From our pre-production phase, which took a lot of time and hard work, to being in studio, which was the best, everything ran freely for us. The creativity was awe-inspiring, the understanding and patience from each person that was present, and our producer Kevin Leicher, who is such a boss… it...

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The Warner Music Fashion Experience with Amos Tranque & Ephraim Malingoane at SAFW AW16
Nov02

The Warner Music Fashion Experience with Amos Tranque & Ephraim Malingoane at SAFW AW16

By Ludwig Spies Fashion and music have been lovers for a very long time, continuously and heavily influencing one another. Both are intensely sensorial forms of expression and together they give rise to cultural movements that embody the mood, attitudes, ideals, context and the anxieties of a generation. This year SAFW AW16 saw Warner Music SA partner with designers Amos Tranque and Ephraim Molingoana to produce a climactic end show for the week. The atmosphere in the show tent was positively electric, and the guests could not help but smile when the iconic high-pitched notes of Madonna’s Vogue rang out from the speakers. The show opened with the scientific severity of Tranque and ended with Ephymol’s richesse. The mere fact that a menswear show could be produced to showcase this juxtaposition is a testament to the development of the South African fashion industry. Read the details below.   AMOS TRANQUE by Amos Tranque 1-WORD-DESCRIPTION: Fundamental DESIGN: 9/10 INNOVATION: 10/10 WEARABILITY: 9/10 In The South African Fashion Handbook Tranque explains that he draws inspiration from disciplines like psychology, science and philosophy. This intellectual orientation was evident in his collection, yet the final product was highly wearable. This must be due to a keen ability to deconstruct his sources of inspiration and apply their fundamentals in a functional way to the business of creating clothes. Hence, one cannot help but draw the parallel between Tranque and cubist painter and fellow Spaniard, Picasso. Tranque’s collection featured robust, geometric designs in a black, white and grey palette, and smooth, acrylic and vinyl textures perfected the hypermodern style of the garments. There is no doubt the South African market has gained greatly from the addition to the industry of Tranque’s fashion architecture. Web: amostranque.com Facebook: http://amostranque EPHYMOL by Ephraim Molingoana 1-WORD-DESCRIPTION: Snazzy DESIGN: 10/10 INNOVATION: 8/10 WEARABILITY: 10/10 Molingoana revisited the suave 70s with a collection of boldly patterned form-fitting suits, tailored trousers and tight long-sleeved tops with minimal collars. The cuts and the palette of muted coppers, bronzes, steel, army greens and artichoke were reminiscent of 70s playboys and older military uniforms. The garments had the fantastic effect of accentuating the contours of the male body – highlighting the shoulders, the S-curve of the spine and the perk of the derrière. Glamorous alpha masculinity with a dose of good-humoured...

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