Archive for the Shameless Namedropping Category

Writers and Readers Week schmoozing

Posted in Fitz Bunny: Lust For Glory, I can write stuff as well, you know, Shameless Namedropping on March 8, 2012 by brunswick

I spent a pleasant evening at Playmarket talking to Robert Shearman, playwright, Alan Ayckbourn collaborator and Doctor Who writer. He’s here for the Writers and Readers Week, and is nice enough not to be annoyed that everyone wants to talk about Dalek and not the 18 plays he’s written. I also had a good talk with Murray Lynch, who runs Playmarket and enjoyed FB:L4G last year, and finally got to meet Ken Duncum.

That is all.

Shelly Bay Artists

Posted in Shameless Namedropping, Unwarranted criticism on October 18, 2011 by brunswick

Shelly Bay Artists
18th-23rd October 2011
Thistle Hall

I went with Anita to the launch of this exhibition today. From the title it’s probably no great spoiler to reveal that it features the work of several artists from Shelly Bay. I was there to see Carlos Wedde, who has produced a series of paintings on large white blocks of wood in delicate blue paint – from a distance they look like china. He’s also fashioned a giant illuminated concrete egg, and a set of bull heads moulded in resin, which sold quickly.

I was also struck by the work of Basia Smolnicki, who has printed numerous woodcuts featuring stylized characters and animals, and in the same manner sandblasted figures onto mirrors and elegant metal trays. The gallery was packed with wellwishers and cheesehounds, and I watched with horror as a departing woman with a large red handbag pushed past Carlos’s egg, and obliviously scraped a long red line across his finest painting.

More Auckland highlights

Posted in Cartoon stuff, Deep Thought, Shameless Namedropping on August 28, 2011 by brunswick

Dunkin’ Donuts. We forgive you for your missing ‘g’ and ‘ugh’.

Selling two pieces in an exhibition where only about one in six pieces sold, very few of them from the cartoonist section.

Seeing Dylan Horrocks and Ant Sang at Auckland Museum’s Storylines Festival, looking at some of the beautiful A2 original pages of Shaolin Burning and meeting Katz Cowley, illustrator of The Wonky Donkey, every NZ toddler’s favourite picture book.

Visiting the Gucci store on Queen St to specifically check out their new kids clothing range. $500 coats. $165 sock sets. Caps fit for flinging onto the school roof during playtime. ‘G’ logos on everything, disproportionately huge on these tiny clothes. Within any context, even one as simple and direct as standing on the street outside and taking a look around – an obscenity.

Donating old Brunswick books to Auckland Library’s new zine collection, and discovering that the librarian is Tim Kidd.

The International Food Court. Down an unprepossessing flight of stairs on Queen Street is the ugliest, cheapest and most satisfying food court I’ve ever eaten at. Huge, inexpensive portions of world comfort food.

Long, hot hotel baths, with bath salts and a towelling robe. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Getting out of Wellington long enough to appreciate it, while realising that some things in Auckland – public transport and cafe beer – are actually cheaper. Also not freezing my ass off for a couple of days was nice.

Auckland Grammar School Art Expo

Posted in Cartoon stuff, Shameless Namedropping on August 26, 2011 by brunswick

One look at the motto inscribed over the arch at the main entrance and I had a certain song from Funny Business running through my head:

Per angusta
Ad augusta
Per angusta
What does that mean?
Per angusta
Ad augusta
Who cares?
Only poofs take Latin!

Such was the tenor of my thoughts throughout the evening. The cartoonists had their own little ghetto in the hall onstage (we spotted the wooden magpie immediately) and everything was nicely presented. The framer hadn’t bothered to spend a minute with an iron to remove the creases in two of my prints, but one quickly had a red ‘sold’ sticker placed besides it, so it couldn’t have appeared that bad.

Artist & Children (photo by Anita)

There were about 600 pieces of art on display, and they were uniformly tasteful with only a few clangers, like the artwork originally priced at $800 with a biro emendation of “$45” and rather too much stuff designed to match people’s lounge suites. There was a single brave installation piece consisting of cut-up books arranged on a shelf – I don’t think it’ll sell*. The most expensive painting I saw was $16,000, but it’ll probably sell*.

Overall, prices struck me as being quite high, but the crowd for the opening seemed up for it. In fact, the people were as interesting as the paintings. I had a nice talk with Otis Frizzell, who commanded his own pop-art corner and turned out to be very pleasant, and I got to meet Chris Slane, who is pretty much the only NZ political cartoonist who has been around for a while whose work I respect. Relievedly, he was also very nice, although he looks alarmingly like Spider Jerusalem. I also got to meet caricaturist Daron Parton and Herald cartoonist Guy Body.

Three hours later the booze showed no signs of running out (unheard of for a Wellington exhibition) and everyone was raucously congregating in the middle while offensively polite and tall senior students lounged around with trays of canapés. I’d had a few weird encounters with the endless supply of Ladies Who Lunch who make up a fair part of this city, but nowadays I take being patronised by people with 500 times my net worth in my stride. Not much had sold by the end of the evening, but we’ll return on Sunday to check it out again.

*It didn’t.

Idiots: Back 2 School

Posted in Shameless Namedropping, Unwarranted criticism on May 18, 2011 by brunswick

Idiots: Back 2 School
BATS until 21st May
NZ International Comedy Festival

Lots of fun, even hysterical in places, with a large and talented cast. It appears to be angling for a sitcom pilot, which would be probably be dreadful once it had been diluted for the screen. It has five different directors (including Salient editor Uther Dean) and is structured as a series of long sketches set in St. Peter’s School for Boys (and Girls, Since 1982).

There are many things to love about the performances, including Jack Shadbolt and Melissa Reeve’s halpless nerdiness as they flirt during band practice (which culminates in his clarinet becoming jammed in her saxophone), Jessica Robinson as a frayed headmistress (who accidentally sprayed the stage with Mum’s Deodorant and very nearly got the giggles) and Bryony Skillington’s pop-eyed seagull, later inexpertly mounted by Hayden Frost (from Predicament and The Almighty Johnsons).

It must be a drag for the actors having to cool their heels backstage for most of the show (the entire cast are only assembled for the school song at the beginning and a fateful Formal at the end), and some of the actors are consequently underused, and someone’s obviously been watching The League of Gentlemen a bit too closely, but this was very entertaining and even managed to keep a large school group of teenagers in the audience engrossed… before the show their harassed teacher was standing on the staircase in the BATS foyer and shouting “You must turn your cellphones off! Look, I’m turning mine off right now! Remember, behave yourself! This is how these people make a living!”

It was also a weird evening for me as I kept bumping into people I haven’t seen in years, including the radiant Laura McQuillan, a co-survivor from Salient 2007 and one of the few people who knows the full horror of that experience, and comedy superstar Steve Wrigley and gorgeous publicity maven Brianne Kerr.

Which is quite enough namedropping for one day.

Armageddon 2011

Posted in Cartoon stuff, Shameless Namedropping, Utter Trivia on April 8, 2011 by brunswick

I’m not going to be at Armageddon tomorrow… it has very little to do with comics anymore, and it’s too expensive to get in for what it is. But if you visit the NZCC* stall, as well as selling Ant Sang’s Shaolin Burning and Chris Slane’s new graphic novel Nice Day for a War, they should be selling copies of my Jitterati book, and I have a page I’m rather pleased with in the new issue of Bristle. I also have Jitterati books on sale at Graphic in Cuba Mall.

*New Zealand Comics Creators

Rubble, weeping, bravery and other clichés

Posted in A Good Whinge, Cartoon stuff, Shameless Namedropping on March 4, 2011 by brunswick

Christchurch’s Funtime Comics is putting together an earthquake relief issue, and is looking for contributors. I want to draw something, but I’m wary of some of the bloody awful editorial cartoons which have been produced in the past week or so – clichés which display large amounts of sincerity but very little imagination or original thought, on par with stuff like the weeping Statue of Liberty parodied in The Onion by that evil cartoonist Kelly. I would say that’s the (non-ironic) level of the average NZ editorial cartoon, with exceptions like the brilliant watercolours of Chris Slane.

Obviously it’s not a subject to be treated lightly – hundreds of people are dead, and thousands more injured and homeless. The problem for me is that I have no particular association with the place. I’ve only visited the city once, and that was for about four hours. Of course I have friends from Christchurch, but they all left for very good reasons, ranging from racism to homophobia to incest. Which isn’t the sort of thing you can put in a sympathetic cartoon. Sorry if that’s offensive, but it’s true.

Shameless namedropping pays off

Posted in Cartoon stuff, Lovely pictures, Shameless Namedropping on February 16, 2011 by brunswick

Me with comics theorist Scott McCloud.

Shameless namedropping

Posted in Jitterati, Lovely pictures, Shameless Namedropping on February 14, 2011 by brunswick

I know that McCloud has already read one of my cartoons. In my defence, I re-read all three of his damn books over the weekend for research. He’ll either love this or hate it.

Super City

Posted in Shameless Namedropping, Sound & Vision, Unwarranted criticism on February 11, 2011 by brunswick

One of the bravest NZ comedies I’ve ever seen, and nothing less than you’d expect from Madeleine Sami, whose five characters range from Linda, a rich arts-loving divorcee with a daughter with Tourettes, to Jo, a fitness trainer with a frosted merkin and a crush on her (engaged and straight) colleague. It’s also restored my faith in director Taika Waititi after the egregious Radiradirah, which thankfully seems to have vanished from NZ comedy history.

It’ll probably be unfavourably compared to Summer Heights High, but the only similar character is blue-eyed party girl Pasha, just as vile as Ja’me King, but more worried about turning thirty than sponsoring 85 Sudanese children. This is what should make it a good series: the characters are Auckland stereotypes but their motivations are well-defined, and Sami is very, very good at inhabiting them.

The satire isn’t too shabby either, whether it’s status-obsessed art patrons who compete to discover the most fashionably degraded artist, or the exploitation of newly-arrived Iranian taxi driver Azeem by his employer and passengers alike. The only character who edges a bit too close to pathos is mentally-ill homeless Georgie who finds an abandoned baby – this is probably not going to end well.

It’s beautifully shot on digital video with an impressive amount of slightly famous actors in the foreground and background – I even spotted Virginia Frankovich from FB:L4G on an exercycle.