Depression banished

Zacharie Santana (3), of Dunedin, admires angel Natapiya Dryshchuk, of Christchurch, at the ...
Zacharie Santana (3), of Dunedin, admires angel Natapiya Dryshchuk, of Christchurch, at the "Still Life at the Station" exhibition on Saturday.
The first weekend of the Dunedin Fringe Festival has been more fun than you could shake a court jester's baton at.

The Eastern, with Delaney Davidson and friends, at the Glenroy on Saturday night was possibly the best - and certainly the most moving - concert I have seen in the venue, as a packed house saw the New Zealand folk song deconstructed and re-invented in "No Depression (in New Zealand)".

The Eastern had every reason to be depressed, as it hails from Lyttelton and has been in demand for charity concerts as the ravaged town toils to put itself to rights post-earthquakes.

"That was their first proper gig since the earthquake and it was such an effort for them to get down here," Fringe director Paul Smith said yesterday.

"It was very emotional for them, as they're needed in Lyttelton and Christchurch. It shows the importance of arts, especially after a catastrophe. Art is not an extra; it's vital to our sense of community and wellbeing."

The festival nears the halfway stage today, with a swarm of new artists set to create a buzz in the city.

Contortionists Jemadeekara Lewandowski-Porter, of Tasmania, and Pascal Haering, of Basel,...
Contortionists Jemadeekara Lewandowski-Porter, of Tasmania, and Pascal Haering, of Basel, Switzerland, woo the crowd at "Pick of the Fringe" in the Octagon yesterday. Photos by Peter McIntosh.
I caught the ninth edition of the ever-popular Pecha Kucha in the Glenroy Auditorium last night.

This fascinating forum has its origins in Japan (Pecha Kucha means "chit chat") when a Tokyo architectural company became tired of long-winded presentations and restricted designers to 20 seconds a slide when explaining their creations.

One of the best things about Pecha Kucha is the amazing cross-section of interesting and talented people it puts the spotlight on, who you would never usually have the opportunity to hear from.

Today, I plan to check out the premiere of dystopian black comedy Once Was by Dell McLeod, Jimmy Currin and Richard Huber at the Theatre As Is at 377 Princes St at 9pm.

"It's about a couple who have been together for 77 years and are always looking ahead to the future," Currin said during rehearsal yesterday.

"It's set in the past, the present and the future."

The Fringe fun continues today with a symphony of visual art, including A Boy had a Mouth Full of Glitter in the Chipmunks Carpark. It tells the tale of a long-forgotten piece of graffiti which once adorned the former Century Theatre.

"Who Let the Monkeys Out" is the latest commentary by Avis Hunter and Andrew Keogh on the monkeys which used to live at the Dunedin Botanic Garden and is on at Queens Gardens from 9am until 5pm, while Cooee continues during the same hours in the stairwell on the top floor of Lure Jewellery, at 130 Stuart St.

Dunedin artist Deano Sherriffs reveals the secrets of Catlins petrified forest, with an exhibition of photographs, paintings, drawings, quilts and music in "From the Mountains to the Sea" at Tangente Café from 10am until 5pm, and Dunedin artist Jenny Powell explores what happens when reality is rearranged and the fantastic is familiar in "Pattern and Paradox" at Gallery on Blueskin from 10am until 5pm.

Entry is free to all visual art installations.


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