30 January 2006

Social retardation and open homes

Well, what an introspective yet still quite lovely weekend that turned out to be. The weather on Saturday. Stunning. So stunning that despite invitations to both a sun drenched Kelburn bbq and a sordid cbd rooftop do, I was motivated to seek company only with a bench in the sun on Oriental Parade, and my lovely wife. I sometimes wonder if I'm developing an allergy to real people. Still, no hangover on Sunday morning!

Sunday was 2 rides on the new bike (sorry Wand). And it was good.

And open homes. I think this blog could well move in focus (or should that be develop a focus) to chronicle the trawl through people's homes every Sunday afternoon. It really is a weird occurance. Maybe one day I'll write a movie script about it. It could be a tale of love, emotion, and real estate. People meeting each week at a raft of homes, gleaning each other's names from the sign-in sheet. Communicating through the calls from the agents that night, until the relationship turns sour when they discover they're both bidding for the same partly developed semi-detached Ngaio townhouse with internal access garage. It might have a happy ending when one gets it and the other somehow buys the other townhouse in the complex, and there would be a slow-motion seduction scene as they hang out their washing on the shared retractable clothes line in full view of the neighbours. A bit like that saucy toothpaste ad on tv.

Back to real life - we're caught in some sort of DIY vs. readymade paradox - this shy wee fellow requiring absolute renovation, and this rather bold Karori residence, requiring nothing more that moving in.

But the other treasures we have seen - the tiniest villa in the world in Brooklyn, populated by a small christian community that came with free planter boxes. Another Brooklyn option so bleak we didn't get out of the car. A fiesta of creative landscaping in Ngaio. And an inner city apartment with a stunning focal point created around the washing machine.

All a bit overwhelming really.

25 January 2006

Baby's coming home

Oh happy day. My new bike is ready. 18 months in the building - deliberating on every element, the costing, weighing, ordering and receipt of each individual part (one every fortnight on pay day) - and it's finally all together and ready to be collected. Colour me excited, except it's crap weather, and I won't want to get it filthy dirty until at least the weekend. Here it is part way through the assembly process...

11 January 2006

Tonight in the Acapulco Lounge

Tonight's entertainment is Hollie Smith at the Botanic Gardens.
Should be good.

The tale of 3 little pigs

Provincial art galleries love this time of year. Visitor numbers swell massively as the province's expats return home to spend Christmas with their families, and while trying to evade cabin fever seek cultural refuge in the centre's art gallery. The gallery in turn generally comes to the party with an accessible and indicative exhibition programme that will equally engage both first time and 'educated' visitors, and leave a favourable impression with both camps. The 'summer blockbuster' exhibition, if you will.

I visited 3 provincial art galleries over summer, Te Manawa in Palmerston North, The Sergeant in Wanganui, and the Govett-Brewster in New Plymouth. They all had a very interesting take on the summer blockbuster, which reminded me of the whole 3 little pigs tale.

Te Manawa had built its summer-house out of straw - a graduation show from the local Maori arts course, and a touring photography show that was nice, but frankly intellectually light. In this face of summer blockbuster this house blew over.

The Govett-Brewster had built its summer-house out of wood. The Len Lye show, under the stewardship of Tyler Cann, remains a crowd favourite, particularly with the inclusion of a number of the kinetics, but the other two shows went to the other extreme, offering elaborate conceptual works on the whole - a digression from the easily digestible break/connect series of previous years. In this face of summer blockbuster this house also blew over.

The Seargeant chose to build its house from brick. The shows it has put together feature a solid and extensive range of work by almost every significant mid or late career artist working in NZ, and the thematic grouping offered an easily accessible entry point to both unfamiliar visitors, and critical theorists alike. Despite limited resources and marginal top-down support, the Seargeant emerges as the best summer blockbuster show, indeed able to withstand the oft harsh winds of public opinion.