Monday, 18 March 2013

Culture Vulture

Culture Vulture
18 March 2013

Helene – The Culture Vulture.  Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!!  That is hilarious and too funny for words.

Though, I have been enjoying a fair bit of entertainment of the show type variety of late.  And what a vast variety it’s been.

There’s normally music around.  And this time, the music segment, came in the form of my awesome brother, brother-in-law and stepdad, who all played at my 40th.  Separately and together.  I want to say “Magnifique!” and kiss my fingers like the French do, but it’s hard to portray in words.  So, just picture it.  Squishy lips, eyes closed and then cast to the heavens, fingers all together for the kiss and then all spread out like a star – MAGNIFIQUE!!!  “Très bien” – Very Good!

And then, for a bit of class and in an effort to further my education, I went to our local little theatre, The Playhouse, to watch a homebred production of a Shakespearian classic – Much Ado About Nothing.  Albeit a modern and souped up version of the classic.  Not entirely sure that the original Benedick in Shakespearian days wore a pair of platform heels, fishnet stockings, trendy dress and a wig to boot.  It was phenomenal and I simply don’t have enough words to describe it.  And despite the 2013 rendition, of a very old story, I do believe they did justice to it.  The message remained the same.  I also admit to having a vested interest though.  My incredibly talented cousin, Roxy, played the female lead role.  A feisty chick called, Beatrice.  She was mind blowing.  Her raw natural talent for acting is indescribable.  Heaven knows how she remembers all those lines, as there were lots and lots of them.  I enjoyed the modern twist to the old tale.  Set on a cruise ship if you don’t mind.  The cast was amazing.  The props were simple, yet so effective.  The director, was spot on in so many ways.  The English, was quite high and old worldly – Shakespearian in fact.  And I feared that my eleven year old little Amber would be bored and find it hard to follow, due to the lengthy verbal volley’s between Beatrice and Benedick.  Yet, in the middle of the first half, she leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, “this is the best show I’ve ever seen”.  The humour was fantastic.  It was quirky and unexpected at times.  The thread that wove all the parts together, exceptionally clever.  And, I do like clever.  Not that I am.  I just to happen to have an appreciation for it.  And let’s not forget my amazing aunt, Trish, either.  Roxy’s mom.  I would like to venture and say that Roxy got her acting talent from her Mom.  Trish is a hoot and is able to pull any role off with remarkable aplomb.  Irrespective of the part she has to play.  She is a whizz at accents.  Her body language and absorption in any role, is incredibly believable.  In this play, she most certainly was the Italian, captain’s help body/ship’s hostess.  It was hard to remember that she was not in fact, Italian.  And so, to Trish and Roxy – Très Magnifique!!!

Still, the culture did not stop there.  I happen to live next door to the Von Trapp family.  Dinkum!  No lies.  Our neighbours, the De Necker family, is extremely musical.  And not unlike the original Von Trapp family, they also decided that bigger is better.  They have four children.  Yip!  Four.  Not something that one sees very often nowadays.  They are all exceptionally musical and talented.  They all sing.  Some dance.  They play instruments.  And they act.  In fact, their Captain Von Trapp is the drama teacher at Strand High School, literally just up the road from us.  He is very quirky and a dynamic person.  Given to loud outbursts of spontaneous song.  It is delightful to hear singing, the piano and guitar noises from their home.  And I do believe that theirs is a happy home.  Their eldest daughter, Marichje (simply called Miggie or Mig by all), has an incredible voice.  And just recently, she has made it through to the singing Nationals.  An awesome opportunity for her to showcase her phenomenal talent on a competition platform.  But here’s the thing.  It costs a lot of money to take part.  Not only are there entrance fees to be paid, but the competition is being held in Rustenburg.  She would have to get there and have accommodation, once she’s there.  This is going to cost a few thousand rand.  I don’t think very many people have a few thousand rand lying around.  And Miggie is a bright and unselfish girl.  She does not want to put strain on her family’s finances, to foot the bill for her competition.  And thus, the solution was pretty obvious.  She would have a little concert.  Held on the stage in her father’s drama’s class.  A stage she and her family had helped to build.  They quickly did the sums.  Calculated that they could seat 60 people a night over two nights, and set a weekend aside for their show.  They spread the word.  Arranged sound and lighting and set to work with their little production.  And on Saturday night, Amber, her best friend and I went to watch.  I do love supporting local people.  People in my community.  And this is such a deserving cause.  Miggie is not looking for a hand out or charity.  She is offering her beautiful voice and an awesome hour and a half of musical entertainment in return.  Her voice is hauntingly beautiful and she has excellent control.  She is pitch perfect and the tone to her voice is warm, husky and evocative.  She sang a selection of popular, modern and some older songs too.  Very hip and trendy.  The teenagers in the crowd went wild.  The slightly older people too.  Her selection was clever.  She did a few songs on her own.  A few with her guitar (she’s called Charlotte).  A few with her younger sister, her younger brother, even her baby sister.  But by far, the biggest hits were those she did with her Dad.  Or should I rather say Dusty Burger (Tina Turner’s niece) – a.k.a. Captain Von Trapp dressed in drag.  He is brilliant, hysterical and a real hoot.  What an amazing family.  I salute their entrepreneurial spirit.  Their go-getter attitude and their commitment to hard work.  Team work goes a really long way.  They were all willing to put themselves out there for the common good of one of them.  Furthermore, I enjoyed listening to them prepare during the weeks leading up to their little show.  On wind still nights, we could hear them singing.  Always followed by laughing.  And it reminded me a lot of when I still lived at home with my family and we prepared our annual skit and musical number for our Christmas concert.  I wish 17 year old Miggie well.  I think she’s going to rock this competition.  And I look forward to following her musical career.

And then, to end off my cultural education, I had a spot of frivolous fun with my Twisted Sista’s yesterday.  We went to go and see Tap Dogs at Artscape.  Incredible!  What amazing talent.  There are no frills and no fuss.  It is just 6 guys, wearing jeans or short, t-shirts and boots.  Their set is based on a construction site, and so they incorporate angle grinders, scaffolding, ladders, etc.  There’s even a spot of gumboot style water dancing for fun.  They have incredible chemistry on stage, those six guys. They interact with the audience and grasp their attention.  And even though they interact with the audience, they don’t actually speak to the audience.  There were no microphones and they made no long speeches.  Heck, they didn’t even talk at all!  It’s all just looks, glances and body language.  They tell a whole story with their feet.  Their set just comprises lighting, and a frame for their platform/stage.  A stage, they deconstruct continually and break down in order to use different parts, to make different sounds.  So, in actual fact, they do a fair bit of constructing too.  Everything that they use is on stage with them, when the curtain raises.  I was on a complete and utter buzz the whole time.  During the show.  After the show.  Even now.  They managed to take the art form of tap dancing, an often airy-fairy dancing style, and make it completely and utterly masculine.  And they weren’t beefcakes either.  They weren’t there to show off their bods.  Not a single shirt was removed.  Some of them are quite young and some are much older.  It’s all about the dancing.  Their rhythm is impeccable, their interpretation phenomenal.  Their ingenuity – WOW!!!  It is so simplistic.  Yet so effective.  And they prove a very important point – sometimes, less, really is more.  They don’t over think it.  They just get on with it and do it.  And it is clear to see that they have a passion for their dancing style.  And that they get great enjoyment from doing it.  I am dying to see them again.  Their show is still running until Sunday, the 24th of March.  I urge you to see it, if you haven’t already.  You will not be disappointed.  Tap Dogs is a must!

But please, I beg you.  Please let my foray into culture not be over.  I do so enjoy shows, concerts, live music, etc.  And we are so blessed to have such amazing talent right on our doorstep.  Most of it local, with the odd import, in terms of shows like Tap Dogs too.  I am going to strive to go to more shows.  To take my kids along too.  A bit of culture goes a long way.

And, just because we can, our crowd of friends are going to go and watch The Blues Broers on Sunday evening at Bertie’s Mooring in Gordon’s Bay.  The Blues Broers are just such a polished act to watch.  Yes, once again I have a vested interest.  My brother on lead guitar and lead vocals and my stepdad on the bass guitar and harmonica.  But still. 

And despite, practically growing up with the band, I am blown away anew every single time I see them.  They are top class.  The cream of the crop.  And for entertainment value, they’re a hard act to beat.

And so, I’ve done live music.  I’ve done family-style singing.  I’ve done Shakespeare.  I’ve even done some dancing.

Wondering what is next on the horizon? 

I simply can’t wait!
No wait.  I can – the Justin Bieber concert with Amber is just around the corner….. Somehow I just don’t think I will get the same buzz from seeing The Bieber, as I got from seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

Oh well.  Every so often, one has to take one for the team.  Guess this is my turn. 
Tap Dogs doing their water thing - all patrons in the front row were given complimentary rain coats.  And they sure needed them.
They are phenomenal!
The Dogs engaging with the audience
The show ends on Sunday - if you have an opportunity, go and see it
Much Ado About Nothing - Amazing!
The original Wills - also battling with a bit of a receding hairline


  1. Clearly I don't get out enough! Sounds like such awesome fun!

  2. Great fun! Roxy was indeed absolutely stunning in Much Ado About Nothing.
    Excellent to get our and do stuff......notice your Grantie doesn't join you that much..Boys not so great on culture. They want sport!

  3. Flip it all sounds like SUCH huge fun!! The tap dogs sound incredible. Reminds me of a brilliant brilliant movie you have to see while you're on a tap dancing 'high'. Incredible how they can modernize such a talent. Would have looooved to see Rox and Trish! But gals getting Bieber fever together would have been my ultimate. ♥♥♥ Next time!!