Tag Archives: music

Sharks, Poets and other Endangered Species

 
 
On Thursday, 30 July 2009, the Two Oceans Aquarium, in collaboration with the UCT Writers Series, will present DEEP: A Night of Creative Currents featuring Sharks, Poets and other Endangered Species.  The event is in support of the Aquarium’s Adopt-a-School Programme.
   
Tickets cost R40.00 and include entrance to the Two Oceans Aquarium and a free glass of wine on arrival.  Fairview will present cheese and wine and a cash bar will be available. Art, and books from the Book Lounge, will be on sale.  Doors open at 18h30 with performances starting at 19h00.
   
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Writers and poets have been inspired to speak and write in celebration and defence of the oceans.  In today’s rushed world there are fewer and fewer places available for contemplation and creativity, especially in cities.  Just as our creative spaces and practitioners are under threat, so too are our oceans and their creatures.  DEEP is an opportunity to celebrate the oceans and some of South Africa’s most creative artists.
  
Central to DEEP is the launch of Hyphen, a debut collection of poems by Tania van Schalkwyk, which is published by the UCT Writers Series.  Included in this collection are a number of poems inspired by the sea including ‘Siren Song’, ‘Abyss’, ‘Lionfish’ and ‘Water’.  Lindsey Collen, author of The Rape of Sita, Mutiny and Boy, and twice winner of the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, Africa, said, “Tania van Schalkwyk’s poems are warm, sensuous memories that often shock and surprise at the same time … They are not just on inner space, but are poems of place, as they move from islands to the veld, from cities to the desert”.  No stranger to the Aquarium, having assisted with the launch of Shoreline Café, van Schalkwyk also curated DEEP in collaboration with Michelle Matthews of Electric Book Works.
  
The launch of Hyphen will be supported by a collection of three minute sea-inspired flash readings and performances by select poets and writers, including Gus Ferguson, Justin Fox, Sarah Lotz, Helen Moffett, Malika Lueen Ndlovu, Henrietta Rose-Innes and a collaborative piece by Toni Stuart, Michael Mwila Mambwe & James Jamala Safari.  The MC for the evening is the inimitable Suzy Bell; writer, columnist and pop culture aficionado.
  
Ferguson has had seven collections of poems and two books of cartoons published; Fox is deputy editor and senior photographer at Getaway magazine; Lotz is a scriptwriter-cum-krimi author with an insatiable greed for the macabre; Moffett has recently published her first collection of poems; Ndlovu is dedicated to creating indigenous multi-media works in line with her personal motto ” healing through creativity”; Rose-Innes won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2008; Stuart works with young people, using poetry as a means of self-expression; DRC born Mambwe’s has performed on various stages from the Cape Town Book Fair to the Africa Centre’s Badilisha Poetry Exchange and Jamala Safari’s earliest artistic exposure came in the form of theatre at a young age in Bukavu, South Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  
These well-known word-artists have a wealth of performance experience and publications behind their names and will give voice to the ocean’s deepest secrets.
  
Word art by Gabeba Baderoon, Gus Ferguson, Tania van Schalkwyk and others in The Vinyl Collection, will come to life against the backdrop of smaller exhibits in the Aquarium.  Baderoon is the author of three collections of poetry and was the recipient of the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry in 2005.
  
The evening will also feature seven short films including three from the City Breath ProjectWaitless, The Electrician and Omdat ek die stadsrumoer (Because I chose the city noise).  The writer of the latter film was blinded at age four, but at sixty-nine, still has vivid memories of visiting an aquarium.  A film, alpha, by Kai Lossgott, curator of the City Breath Project, will also be shown.  City Breath is an urban oral history video project which seeks to interrogate the official understandings of South African cities conveyed in television, film and other mass media.
  
Other film pieces include Umbilical Cord by poet/filmmaker Shelley Barry and Sea Orchestra and The Tale of How by the Blackheart Gang.  Barry’s films have been screened at major festivals and events around the world and The Tale of How has won numerous international awards, including “Best Independent Film” at the Bradford Animation Festival in London in 2006.
  
Artists Rebecca Townsend and Colwyn Thomas will show their work which will be available for purchase. Townsend works predominantly with glass and creates sculptural glass vessels that reveal the magic of the ordinary things we live with every day.  ‘Kelp’ by Thomas is a 12-part light-box installation which, according to Thomas, “is a rumination on some of the changes that take place when we grow up.”. Thomas is influenced by traditional and modern Japanese art and his works often show both humans and fish or animals in dreamscapes animated by trailing clouds, plants or jellyfish tendrils.
  
Local band Benguela will take to the stage against the spectacular backdrop of the I&J Predator Exhibit.  The trio, including Ross Campbell, Alex Bozas and Brydon Bolton, has played at many of the festivals around South Africa.  According to James Garner, “Benguela’s sound is an atmospheric, uncompromisingly adventurous fusion of constantly shifting elements…”  The name ‘Benguela’ is taken from the cold current running up the West Coast of southern Africa and reflects both the flowing nature of the music as well as being geographically representative of where the band came together and the climate in which they live.
  
Proceeds from DEEP will go towards the Aquarium’s Adopt-a-School Programme.  This programme provides the opportunity for children from previously disadvantaged schools to visit the Aquarium and to discover the wonders and beauty of the ocean and its inhabitants.  Such an opportunity can be a life-changing experience for these children and instill a deep and long-lasting appreciation for the oceans.
  
Tickets cost R40.00 and include entrance to the Two Oceans Aquarium and a free glass of wine on arrival.  Fairview will present cheese and wine and a cash bar will be available.  Art, and books from the Book Lounge, will be on sale.  Doors open at 18h30 with performances starting at 19h00.  For more information contact:
  
Helen Lockhart
Communications & Sustainability Manager
Two Oceans Aquarium
Tel: 021-418 3823
Email: helen.lockhart@aquarium.co.za
Website: www.aquarium.co.za

Midsummer Nights

“For me, opera is a place where all the emotions can be fully felt yet safely contained. Certainly this has therapeutic value, but art is not therapy – at least not principally so: it is a profound engagement with life itself, in all its messiness, its glory, its fear, its possibility, its love.”
 
– Jeanette Winterson, Introduction to Midsummer Nights (Quercus Publishing, 2009)
 
In celebration of the Glyndebourne Festival of Opera’s 75th anniversary, British novelist Jeanette Winterson has compiled a collection of opera-inspired stories by contemporary writers. Contributors to Midsummer Nights include Alexander McCall Smith, Ali Smith, Andrew Motion, Andrew O’Hagan, Anne Enright, Colm Tóibín, Jackie Kay, Joanna Trollope, John Mortimer, Julie Myerson, Kate Atkinson, Kate Mosse, Lynne Truss, Marina Warner, Ruth Rendell, Sebastian Barry, Toby Litt and Jeanette Winterson.
 
Read Jeanette’s Midsummer Nights Introduction and story, ‘Goldrush Girl’.
 
Jeanette writes about the Glyndebourne experience for The Independent.
 
Read Lavinia Greenlaw’s review in The Financial Times.
 
Read Catherine Taylor’s review in The Sunday Times.

Vanessa Daou’s Joe Sent Me

 
“For me, music is a response to the world, and the voice imbues the words with life and gives them breath.  I’m especially interested in the idea of recording as an act of preservation of experience.  To be a recording artist is – quite literally – to make a record of sounds, voices, words, and breaths.  Every record I create, I plunge into the depths of life in all aspects of experience:  sound, images, dreams.  Music is a time capsule, capturing, distilling and preserving the essence of what it means to be alive.  The role of poetry, of words and language, is to remind us.”
 
– Vanessa Daou
    
 
  
Hurricanes
Vanessa Daou
 
Soon life’s knowing will come, it will dust the mind
like talcum. Meanwhile, everyone will dream at least
once of times they tried to run but their legs got stuck
in the ambivalence of love’s mud, in the imagination’s
straining. Our days are drenched by hurricanes
entering sideways in our minds with no warning.
It’s gray where the thinking thinks, where the
radar blinks. It’s the surge of you that burns me
crimson. I am asleep, asleep all day, blood running,
an accident of treason. ((My mother was the one
who laughed from other rooms while I cried,
the division between us multiplied a thousand times))
You say (and I quote) “Don’t do the math” (end of quote),
italics mine. (Quote again) “just come here” (end quote).
So what if I do? I go nowhere with you, and everywhere.
I am subsonic, plutonic, woebegone, forlorn, language
forgotten, towel shared. I am scared, scarred, scarlet
letter ‘A’, hermit, Hamlet, tragic, victorious. I am soldier,
souvenir, medal of honor attached to your pocket. I am
intrinsic, entropic, order, chaotic, limited to this word
I have just finished, conception of the infinite. Masculine,
feminine, everything is division; days, dollars, mortgage
rates, bequeathed estates. Leave me with nothing more
than your essence. Invisible lover, indivisible number,
only then will I remember, remember with my lack of logic.
With you I am myth maker, glass breaker, soul taker,
hip shaker. I am techtonic, ironic, sardonic. With you
I am purified, pornographic, protean, prolific; for you
I am problematic, acrobatic.
Yes, like I said, every crevice that cracks in me I spread
for you since that first night in my bed when the flash
of my life turned your blue eyes red. And so the story
always goes, ending before the author knows. Our days
are drenched by hurricanes entering sideways
in our minds with no warning.
  
  
From Vanessa’s album, Joe Sent Me.
  
Joe Sent Me is available here.