Festival goes glam today

Dr Glam invades the Octagon (from left) Laura Howison, Genevieve Lawrence, Rachel Trainor, Ian Chapman, Mitch Smyth and Marek Rogale. Photo by Nigel Benson.
Dr Glam invades the Octagon (from left) Laura Howison, Genevieve Lawrence, Rachel Trainor, Ian Chapman, Mitch Smyth and Marek Rogale. Photo by Nigel Benson.
The Dunedin Fringe Festival glams up today.

Extraterrestrial eccentrics meet Planet Earth's spandex fashion sins of the past in Dr Glam Presents Freaks Cabaret at Refuel tonight.

"It's a chance to showcase all the different components of Dr Glam in a cabaret concert, from glam rock to free-form jazz," University of Otago music lecturer Ian Chapman says.

Chapman started the band two years ago to impress upon his students the power of marketing.

The centrepiece of any Dr Glam set is the hang drum, a mesmerising instrument that resembles, and may even be, a UFO.

The cabaret-format concert will feature covers of songs by glam giants T Rex, David Bowie, Alice Cooper and Marilyn Manson.

"I've also written a goth song about a vampire teddy bear," Chapman tells me.

Also appearing will be a belly-dancing troupe, soloists Hana Fahy and Geva Downey, glam rock bagpiper Daniel Milosavljvic, fire dancer South Murdoch and female impersonator Miss Ruby (Grant Benson - no relative, honest!).

Dr Glam makes an earthly visitation to Refuel at 9pm today.

Sequins optional.

The Biff Merchants return to the scene of the crime when they appear at BigUps Yourself at Sammy's tonight.

The band recorded its new album, Harold, in Sammys over five days last year, because they loved the acoustics of the building.

"We just did the national release tour for Harold and we really wanted to do the proper album release here at Sammy's, where we recorded the album," guitarist Andy Straight told me yesterday.

The Biff Merchants hit Sammy's at 9pm.

Kristelle Plimmer sticks it up the arty-farty types in The Therapeutic Hour: Art History Explained tonight.

"The Art of Art History: a Critical Anthology, has become the principal text for the study of art history methodology since it was published in 1998," Plimmer says.

"It's been translated into all the main European languages and now it's about to be published in Chinese.

"But, what I'd like to know is: when are they going to translate it into English?"It's filled with words like `epistometemological technologies' and `metonymic contiguities'."

Plimmer is a former-singing telegram gorilla who now works as a concept designer at Te Papa.

Always wondered what happened to retired singing telegram gorillas.


The Therapeutic Hour: Art History Explained
is on at the Otago Polytechnic School of Art seminar room at 6.30pm till tomorrow.

There is also a 2pm matinee today. Entry is by koha.

I saw Footnote's gorgeous 2009 Made in New Zealand at Allen Hall last night.

A highlight for me was former-Dunedin dancer Sarah Foster's nostalgic Quick Unpick, about her grandmother, Jean Leggett, who was president of the North Otago Embroiders Guild.

The stitches continued at the Festival Club at XII Below, where comedians Chris Brain, Steve Wrigley and Simon McKinney were performing.

McKinney is from Dunedin and still has family here.

"I always love getting back home," the former-Otago Boys High School pupil told me before his show.

"I come down for a recharge and then I can cope with Auckland again."

Oh, and I got a gentle serve yesterday from Christchurch dancer Julia Milsom, whose stunning Corrupt Productions dancework, Self Portrait, I saw at Allen Hall on Wednesday night.

Turns out I've been claiming artist Rita Angus, whose paintings inspired the dances, as a Dunedin artist all week.

Angus actually spent most of her life in Christchurch and Wellington, although she was known for her Otago paintings.

Ooops.

I just assume all good artists are from Dunedin . . .