cultural elsewhere

cultural elsewhere on Elsewhere by Graham Reid - Browse our selection of content tagged 'cultural elsewhere'.

SALVADOR DALI, HIS MUSEUM IN FIGUERES: The Disneyland of the disturbed

SALVADOR DALI, HIS MUSEUM IN FIGUERES: The Disneyland of the disturbed

Of all the monuments a man has built to himself few, if any, are more bizarre than the grand conceit Salvador Dali designed in a burned-out theatre in his birthplace of Figueres. A little more than an hour north of Barcelona by local bus, Figueres is a modest, not especially interesting town of some 35,000 people. But it is the...

FRIDA KAHLO (1907-54), THE ARTIST AS SUBJECT: The pain and passion

FRIDA KAHLO (1907-54), THE ARTIST AS SUBJECT: The pain and passion

Pain. The word rings like a refrain in any discussion of painter Frida Kahlo. Her pain is writ large on the pages of even the most meagre of biographies: the crippling polio at age 6; the horrific bus accident at 18 and the more than 30 operations she endured as a result; the emotional wounds in her marriage to the great Mexican muralist...

Austin, Texas (2004): Deep in the Arse of Texas

Austin, Texas (2004): Deep in the Arse of Texas

Drive through America's southern states tuned to country music radio stations and you'll hear it; Letters from Home by John Michael Montgomery. It's real catchy, was still in the top 20 of the country charts after six months, and you can guess what it's about. But in case you miss the sentimental message the video is even more literal:...

MADRID AND BARCELONA: Putting in the hard yards for art's sake

MADRID AND BARCELONA: Putting in the hard yards for art's sake

We should expect to suffer for our art. God knows I have for mine -- although standing in the rain outside Madrid's famous art gallery the Prado on a bitterly cold day might just have be taking it too far. It was. I quit the queue and headed back to my tiny hotel room for a warm shower, then jumped puddles to the nearby bar where I...

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2010 (Cartell)

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2010 (Cartell)

Another year, another compilation to accompany the Alliance Francaise Film Festival -- and a chance for an overview of chic music out of France. Big names here are Charlotte Gainsbourg with the electro-title track of her new IRM album, Nouvelle Vague (a previously unreleased version of Fad Gadget's Under the Flag), Rachid Taha (in...

Gil Scott Heron: Winter in America (1974)

Gil Scott Heron: Winter in America (1974)

The great pre-rap, spoken word-cum-jazz-poet Gil Scott Heron is perhaps best known for his angry The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (see clip below) in which he assailed those uncommitted or comfortable blacks who seemed to be standing on the sideline while the streets ran red and Black Panthers had their fists raised. For him it was never...

ARCHITECTURE; THE COMPLETE BOX SET (Five DVDs, Ovation/Southbound)

ARCHITECTURE; THE COMPLETE BOX SET (Five DVDs, Ovation/Southbound)

Although at a first encounter the narration to this series -- 29 major architects and/or buildings in separate episodes over five DVDs -- might seem a little dry and distant, you warm to it as the images take hold and the voice-over offers clear and informative commentary. These episodes take the nature of self-contained films (character and...

FELIPE FERNANDEZ-ARMESTO INTERVIEWED (1999): Cheer up, it will all be over soon

FELIPE FERNANDEZ-ARMESTO INTERVIEWED (1999): Cheer up, it will all be over soon

The phone call is an hour late and catches Felipe Fernandez-Armesto at dinner with his father-in-law. Apologies are cheerfully rebutted by impossibly rounded vowels which roll across the global link direct from Brideshead Revisited. My apology includes how I relied on an international telephone operator to calculate the time difference...

CHUCK CLOSE, a doco by MARION CAJORI (Madman DVD)

CHUCK CLOSE, a doco by MARION CAJORI (Madman DVD)

More than a documentary about the great American artist Chuck Close -- whom we see work on an astonishing self-portrait during the course of the filming -- this remarkable, revealing and important film weaves in the work of many of Close's contemporaries (Richard Serra, Robert Storr and others) and has friends and longtime colleagues (Philip...

BODYOGRAPHY, photographs by CHRIS VAN RYN

BODYOGRAPHY, photographs by CHRIS VAN RYN

Some months ago the Auckland photographer Chris Van Ryn, whose innovative and often moving work I have long admired, told me he was putting a collection of some of his images into a book. I was genuinely excited for him because it meant his work would get to a wider audience. He asked me to the write the foreword. The book is now...

LIVE; GIGS THAT ROCKED NEW ZEALAND by BRUCE JARVIS AND JOSH EASBY

LIVE; GIGS THAT ROCKED NEW ZEALAND by BRUCE JARVIS AND JOSH EASBY

At a recent Paul Weller gig at the Powerstation -- me with a wide smile, it was thrilling -- I was reminded again just how many great concerts it has been my pleasure to have been at, and the collective power of music to bring people together for a shared experience. There are many of us who count milestones in our lives which have a great...

STRAVINSKY; ONCE, AT A BORDER, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

STRAVINSKY; ONCE, AT A BORDER, a doco by TONY PALMER (Voiceprint DVD)

When Tony Palmer made this acclaimed and insightful documentary about Igor Stravinsky on the 100th anniversary of the composer's birth, the great man had been dead less than a decade. As with the other docos by Palmer previously mentioned at Elsewhere (notably All You Need is Love), the filmmaker was therefore close to the lifetime and...

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP: A BANKSY FILM (Madman DVD)

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP: A BANKSY FILM (Madman DVD)

In these days where you sometimes feel there are more mockumentaries than documentaries, and this having as a central figure a man who maintains a scrupulously guarded anonymity, you can feel just a little sucked in. But "sucked in" in a throughly enjoyable and rewarding way. Right from the start we are told by the mysterious and...

IN THE CITY; A CELEBRATION OF LONDON MUSIC by PAUL Du NOYER

IN THE CITY; A CELEBRATION OF LONDON MUSIC by PAUL Du NOYER

Some cities are shaped and defined by their soundtrack: Salzburg and Mozart; Liverpool and the Beatles; Seattle and Nirvana . . .   But you don't envy anyone undertaking the task of writing about the music of London given the city's long musical history and its exceptional diversity. Is there a link between the barrow boys of the East...

LISTEN TO THIS by ALEX ROSS

LISTEN TO THIS by ALEX ROSS

One of the many funny lines in the profanity-strewn satirical film In the Loop came from the character Jamie Macdonald, the senior press officer in 10 Downing Street and the “angriest man in Scotland”. On hearing opera he bellowed, “It's just vowels! Subsidised, foreign fucking vowels!” The New Yorker music...

MICHAEL CHUGG INTERVIEWED (2011): Rock'n'roll never forgets

MICHAEL CHUGG INTERVIEWED (2011): Rock'n'roll never forgets

It would be a fair guess to say Michael Chugg has been at more shows than any musician you can name. Because when musicians take a break Chugg is at another show. Not that he actually sits down and sees them, as a promoter he's more likely to be backstage somewhere or, as at Gorillaz last year, just popping out to stand at the side of the...

AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL ART (2011): The state of the art

AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL ART (2011): The state of the art

If only the moment could have been frozen in the lens. It resonated with meanings. The heavily bearded Aboriginal man -- unsteady on his feet and the cuffs of his worn jeans caked red with dust -- stands outside a gallery of Aboriginal art in Alice Springs. Through glazed, yellowed eyes he stares silently into the air-conditioned room...

LOST AND FOUND IN SPACE: To boldly split an infinitive

LOST AND FOUND IN SPACE: To boldly split an infinitive

Some time in the mid-Seventies the late Alistair Cooke – in one of his patrician but always fascinating Letter From America programmes – spoke about an old editor he worked under. On a slow news day the editor would haul out a book of important events in history and scour the pages. He’d usually return with a wonderful...

Ashokan Farewell/Sullivan Ballou Letter (from 1861)

Ashokan Farewell/Sullivan Ballou Letter (from 1861)

Among the many remarkable documentaries which American filmmaker Ken Burns has helmed (Jazz, Baseball, those on various architects) the most outstanding and compelling is perhaps his series The Civil War. To keep your attention over so many episodes was a feat in itself, but to do so with no moving footage -- just period stills -- was...

Waylon Jennings and Steve Cash: They Laid Waste to Our Land (1978)

Waylon Jennings and Steve Cash: They Laid Waste to Our Land (1978)

Melody Maker was blunt about the country music concept album White Mansions on its release in '78: "A dilemma -- on the one hand we have some exceptionally good music; on the other, a project of doubtful worth". Because White Mansions -- which featured Jessi Colter and her husband Waylon Jennings, John Dillon and Steve Cash with...

JOE MASSOT INTERVIEWED (2001): And after all, you're my wonderwall . . .

JOE MASSOT INTERVIEWED (2001): And after all, you're my wonderwall . . .

Joe Massot – who died in 2002 – had a short but reasonably spectacular career as a film director who had passing glances at rock'n'roll culture. He directed the first rock'n'roll western Zachariah in 1971 (pretty awful) and was working on the '76 Led Zeppelin concert film The Song Remains the Same when he was removed from the...

FANTASTICA: THE WORLD OF LEO BENSEMANN by PETER SIMPSON (2011): A man apart

FANTASTICA: THE WORLD OF LEO BENSEMANN by PETER SIMPSON (2011): A man apart

Shortly after Leo Bensemann's death in January 1986, Dennis Donovan wrote a tribute to him in Landfall, the magazine which the artist and graphic designer had long been associated with, and which he also edited for a period. Donovan's tribute was generous (“more than a genius – he was also a scholar, a learned man”) but...

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2011 (Border)

Various Artists: So Frenchy So Chic 2011 (Border)

These annual double CD compilations of recent music from France -- from pop to, yes, chic, but not alt.rock etc -- are the unofficial soundtrack to the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival (details here) but afford us the opportunity of hearing a swag of music from a country with a reputation of making the most awful pop. At least that's what...

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT; THE RADIANT CHILD, a doco by TAMRA DAVIS (Roadshow)

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT; THE RADIANT CHILD, a doco by TAMRA DAVIS (Roadshow)

The art critic Robert Hughes didn't have much time (but some sympathy for) New York painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. In a brutal essay in The Republic in '88 -- after the death of the painter at age 27 -- entitled Requiem for a Featherweight he pulled no punches. The truth abut Basquiat, then the most famous painter of his generation, was,...

I FELT LIKE A FIGHT, ALRIGHT? by RUTH CARR

I FELT LIKE A FIGHT, ALRIGHT? by RUTH CARR

While it seems to be going too far to suggest, as the reviewer of Radio NZ National did, that these "one-liners, poems, lyrics and tales" are "reminiscent of Cohen's mid-career poetry and writings" they are certainly more than merely diverting. The writer -- Ruth Carr of the band Minuit -- has some snappy aphorisms, odd...

A MICRONAUT IN THE WIDE WORLD; THE IMAGINATIVE LIFE AND TIMES OF GRAHAM PERCY by GREGORY O'BRIEN

A MICRONAUT IN THE WIDE WORLD; THE IMAGINATIVE LIFE AND TIMES OF GRAHAM PERCY by GREGORY O'BRIEN

Perhaps because he is a poet and curator, Gregory O'Brien here approaches the life of the New Zealand-born artist Graham Percy with an eye for subtle (and sometimes strong) artistic connections more than strict chronology. And this is a fitting approach to an artist whose work slipped easily between many styles and practices, from...

JOHN PSATHAS INTERVIEWED (2000): Rattle of a complex man

JOHN PSATHAS INTERVIEWED (2000): Rattle of a complex man

After John Psathas won best classical album of 1999 at the New Zealand Music Awards in March, nothing happened. No arts writers called wanting to profile this prolific composer, sales of the album Rhythm Spike on the independent Rattle label didn't jump, and no critics decided to belatedly acknowledge this exceptional album which, on...

THE COMMONPLACE BOOK by ELIZABETH SMITHER

THE COMMONPLACE BOOK by ELIZABETH SMITHER

Some years ago I was walking down Queen St in central Auckland and stopped outside the Body Shop. There, along an exterior wall, was written one of those thought-provoking and inspirational quotes which are designed to prod the conscience, in this instance about the fragility of Mother Earth. Or maybe it wasn't a quote. It was in...

Dave Lisik: The Curse of the Queen's Diamond (Rattle Jazz)

Dave Lisik: The Curse of the Queen's Diamond (Rattle Jazz)

Yet another fine addition to the Rattle Jazz imprint, this beautifully packaged album by Canadian-born, New Zealand-based trumpeter Lisik (and others) explores that profitable margin between chamber jazz and classical music. And in that he has unimpeachable assistance; Amy Rempel is on piano and her improvisations are at the heart here, bass...

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAMOUS COMPOSERS (Time Life/Shock DVD)

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF FAMOUS COMPOSERS (Time Life/Shock DVD)

Myth making and hype attached itself to Beethoven at an early age. When he was eight his father -- a boozer -- presented him at a recital as being just six in order to pass him off as a child prodigy like Mozart. Not that Ludwig needed much help in the prodigy stakes. And although he was a genius, it wasn't without a struggle and...

LOST IN SHANGRI-LA by MITCHELL ZUCKOFF

LOST IN SHANGRI-LA by MITCHELL ZUCKOFF

As with many of his generation, American president Franklin D. Roosevelt had been taken by the idea of “Shangri-La”, that tolerant refuge from a troubled world James Hilton had written about in his 1933 novel Lost Horizon and which Frank Capra had adapted four years later for his enormously popular film of the same name,...

BLACK SWAN, a film by DARREN ARONOFSKY (Fox DVD)

BLACK SWAN, a film by DARREN ARONOFSKY (Fox DVD)

There are few successful films where the protagonist is so unsympathetic and whose character requires a suspension of disbelief, yet whose tension-filled course towards their fate you will watch with increasing concern. Black Swan -- flawed but beautiful, much like its central character -- is one of them. Set in the competitive and...

William S. Burroughs: The Mummy Piece (1981)

William S. Burroughs: The Mummy Piece (1981)

Even if you know nothing about William Seward Burroughs (1914-97), when he read from his novels a chill might run down your spine. His slewed, acidic, vitriolic and downright nasty style added an extra dimension of menace to his disturbing visions where heroin, politics, mythology, guns, the CIA and cheap detective stories were cut up and...

Cilla McQueen: Crikey (2006)

Cilla McQueen: Crikey (2006)

Today -- Friday July 22, 2011 -- being New Zeaand National Poetry Day it seems only right we should acknowledge it. It would be easy to go to the collection Contemporary New Zealand Poets in Performance for some Very Serious Poetics or link back to our particular favourite Selina Tusitala Marsh, but this being Elsewhere -- the place where...

TWO WALK IN EDINBURGH, photographs by Mari Mahr, poems by Gregory O'Brien. DEVONPORT: A DIARY by Bill Direen

TWO WALK IN EDINBURGH, photographs by Mari Mahr, poems by Gregory O'Brien. DEVONPORT: A DIARY by Bill Direen

As these two slim, hand-printed, limited edition volumes confirm, the necessaries of the poetic writer are observation and considered contemplation, and the words are vehicles which realise them. And for the photographer, close observation and an eye that edits intuitively come before the shutter opens and closes. Writer, poet and...

DARK NIGHT: WALKING WITH McCAHON by MARTIN EDMOND

DARK NIGHT: WALKING WITH McCAHON by MARTIN EDMOND

When Colin McCahon went to Sydney in 1984 to attend an exhibition of his work the attritions of alcoholism and that intensely personal religiosity he explored had taken their toll. He had given up any meaningful painting two years previous and was just three year short of death at age 67. In a bizarre but telling incident, he went into a...

ARNOLD ZABLE INTERVIEWED (2011): Speaking for those who cannot

ARNOLD ZABLE INTERVIEWED (2011): Speaking for those who cannot

When the Australian writer Arnold Zable read Primo Levi's reference to “the eloquent episode” in prose he recognised immediately what was meant. His own short pieces, fiction and non-fiction, frequently have a memorable incident as an emotional or structural pivot. In each story of his non-fiction collection Violin Lessons...

Dave Lisik and Richard Nunns: Ancient Astronaut Theory (Rattle)

Dave Lisik and Richard Nunns: Ancient Astronaut Theory (Rattle)

Recently it was my great privilege to be asked to write some liner notes for this album on the estimable Rattle label. It is a very special album as you may hear. So rather than relitigate those ideas why don't I simply reproduce the notes here and you can make what you will of it? This is what I wrote . . . We live in a world...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Jonathan Besser: Campursari (Rattle)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2011 Jonathan Besser: Campursari (Rattle)

Since coming to New Zealand more than 30 years ago, the pianist-composer Jonathan Besser has enjoyed a highly successful and diverse career, first with violinist Chris Prosser in the Besser and Prosser duo, with electronic artist Ross Harris in Free Radicals, then his own ensemble and latterly with the small group Bravura. His works have...

DAVE LISIK INTERVIEWED (2011): Ancient, contemporary and to the future

DAVE LISIK INTERVIEWED (2011): Ancient, contemporary and to the future

Even a cursory glance at the website for Canadian-born, American-educated and Wellington-resident composer/musician Dave Lisik is impressive for his work ethic. Aside from noting him being a teacher, trumpeter and theorist, his website lists eight albums under his own name since 2007 and another five where he was producer/director of...

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