What’s On: Freaky films, food trucks and more good things for the weekend (2023)

Delve into dark film noir, learn how to make a zine and dine on Victoria Park’s vegan fare.

Celebrate a new album release

The Aotearoa Music Award winner Vera Ellen is touring across New Zealand in the coming weeks, celebrating the same-day release of her new album Ideal

Take in the spectacles of neo-noir

The Nights of Neo-Noir kick off tonight at Academy Cinemas, celebrating the sometimes-brilliant, sometimes-brutal films of the dark revival genre. Eight films will be shown in the cosy underground theatre, including David Lynch’s Lost Highway, Wong Kar-Wai’s Fallen Angels and Rian Johnson’s Brick — the especially terrifying Se7en will close the festival on April 7. The hardboiled genre is not for the faint of heart, with violence, paranoia and mysterious deaths a recurring element in the lineup. Tickets start from $5.

See an exhibition

A new showing is set to open in Village Arts, the community art gallery in Hokianga. Three artists — Tira, Rachel Miller and Denise Batchelor — have collaborated to create a mixed-media collection that showcases striking weaving, photography, film and paintings. The exhibition is named Heaven on Earth, connecting the different pieces with a singular theme, and will open on April 1.

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Whanganui will celebrate and showcase the best local indie music this Saturday, at the One Fine Day Festival in Majestic Square. Pop-rock band The Phoenix Foundation and pop-electronic artist Anthonie Tonnon are the headliners, and they’ll be joined by Caslecliff Lights, the Meanowls and Space Trash. The diverse range of artists will bring different genres and energies to the lineup, with catchy pop tunes and more experimental sounds. Starting at 3pm, it’ll be an afternoon made for a boogie. Local artist studios will also open during the event, so festival-goers can wander to explore the workshop spaces of the region’s art scene. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.co.nz.

Take some Oscar-level lessons

This weekend Wētā Workshop will be hosting several different classes teaching the techniques to make movie magic. With expert guidance, visitors will be able to explore costume design, sculpting and SFX. There will also be the opportunity to explore props and costumes from The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Avatar and District 9, for an intimate fan experience. Tickets start from $80.

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Cure your cravings

Victoria Park will host the Vegan Food Truck Festival on April 2, as the Food Truck Collective brings the most delectable vegan-friendly eats to Tāmaki Makaurau. Vege Bang Bang, Lulus, Double Dutch Fries, Hash and Smash, Pioneer Pie, The Rolling Pin and many other trucks will roll into the city centre carrying feasts. The event will also host live music and entertainment, with performances from DJ Arivan, Brother & Sister Synth Band and double act Lee Gray & Thabani Gapara, alongside an onsite bar. The event will run from 10am-5pm and tickets are $5 (children under 12 attend for free).

Wander an exhibition

The Xabilities collective, which focuses on supporting neurodiverse people and creating community spaces, is hosting performances and an exhibition to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day. This Sunday at Te Oro in Glen Innes from 4-6pm, there will be Nesian dance, singing, public speaking and a tour of an exhibition brought together by Colour Spectrum.

See a film

Red, White & Brass has acquired nearly unanimously positive reviews in the week since its release, as audiences have flocked to local theatres to see the feature from Damon Fepulea’i. The flick, which is inspired by a true story, follows Maka in his attempt to score tickets to the Tonga vs. France game at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. After realising he’s missed out on tickets, the superfan pulls together family and friends to form a brass marching band before the match — Maka’s only missing instruments and musical ability. The feel-good film continues to show across the country in cinemas.

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See an exhibition

Designer and jeweller Fran Allison’s latest collection is a perplexing and playful exploration, aptly named Ms Interpretation. Many of the cheeky, challenging pieces include phrases hand pierced into sterling silver slates, which creates an ironic and surreal tone. One of the ornaments includes a brooch, presented on a slate of silver, with the words ‘a brooch’ stamped out. This piece hangs from a lanyard, secured by a vintage bull clip. It’s somehow both whimsical and sterile, the mixed aesthetics making it unclear whether it’s a piece of jewellery or part of a workwear uniform. The collection, which continually plays with this sort of startingly approach, seeks to reflect the insecure social context of the time of production. It’s a marvellous and unique perspective to bring to jewellery, which can be admired as art and accessory. The exhibition is open at Masterworks Gallery, Eden Terrace until 22 April.

Go to the Christchurch Food Show

It’s a good weekend to be a foodie, as The Food Show returns to Christchurch with a packed schedule. Over 120 exhibitors will pop up their stalls to share eats, gin tastings and cocktails creations will be running at Reefton Spirits Studio and Wairau River Winery, and some of our top chefs will be providing exciting culinary experiences. Among the talented cooks showcasing their specialities are Sam Low, Annabelle White and Christall Lowe. The show runs from March 31 to April 2. The Food Show will also make its way up the country over the next few months, stopping in Wellington (May 26) and Auckland (July 27).

Take a zine-making workshop

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Crushes Social Club will host The Auckland Zinefest for a crash course in zine-making on Sunday. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn a little about the history of the medium and how they are constructed, before taking on a challenge to create a new zine from scratch in just one hour. Tickets are just $15.

Head along to CultureFest

Over 60 communities are set to gather and celebrate CultureFest in Tāmaki Makaurau this Sunday. Over 100 stalls will fill Mt Roskill Memorial Park, bringing kai, arts and crafts, clothing and fairtrade goodies, as well as entertainment and experiential activities. It’s set to be a full day of events and an exciting celebration for the country’s biggest city.

Party in the Auckland Domain

More than seven hours of uber-danceable live electronic music is set to play in Tāmaki Makaurau on April 1 at Synthony in the Domain. The line-up for the music festival has now been announced and there are some major acts on board, like Kimbra, Sir Dave Dobbyn, Sachi, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and Shapeshifter. There are two stages, a food and wine village and a VIP garden set to pop up in the Domain, and you’ll be able to organise the party you prefer.

See a play

The run of Proudly Asian Theatre’s play Not Woman Enough began on Tuesday and closing night will come around quickly on Saturday evening. The piece, directed by Sananda Chatterjee and written by Hweiling Ow, follows three women as they navigate difficult issues of adulthood together. The play is described as a “shocking, gut-wrenching and snort-laughingly bare-all conversation” and is sure to leave you contemplating for a long while after the curtains close.

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Read through a rich Te Papa collection

Over the last few years, Te Papa has been collating essays, artworks, audio-visual pieces and stories in an online project, which seeks to provide more context and showcase responses for notable historical objects that represent Aotearoa’s queer histories. The collection features a whole range of formats and subjects, including a poetic response to pou kātua from essa may ranapiri, an essay from Chris Tse about Batman, a discussion of the New Zealand AIDS Memorial Quilt from artist Owen Connors and curator Simon Gennard and a comic strip by Sam Orchard that responds to Poutokomanawa, a portraiture collection. It’s a rich source of diverse, queer storytelling made accessible through the Te Papa website, and it’s worth setting aside some time for these in-depth reads.

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Dust off your bookmarks

As the Auckland Writers Festival countdown begins (it kicks off on May 16), the programme serves as a handy reading guide for the autumn and winter months. Perhaps you’d like to delve into the catalogue of poets from Aotearoa, like Joanna Cho (People Person), Khadro Mohamed (We’re All Made Of Lightning) and Anahera Maire Gildea (Sedition). Or maybe local fiction and non-fiction is more your speed, and you could catch up with Eleanor Catton (Birnam Wood), Albert Cho (I Love My Stupid Life) or Ruby Tui (Straight Up). To branch overseas, there’s also the work of Bernardine Evaristo (Manifesto On Never Giving Up), Colson Whitehead (Harlem Shuffle) and Jenny Odell (Saving Time). There are many more notable authors and panellists set to converse at Waituhi o Tāmaki, and the programme is available online. Check your local bookshops and libraries for the copies you’d like to pick up — as the official sponsor, the Women’s Bookshop in Ponsonby is likely to have a few.


Book for a double-bill show

ASB Waterfront will be home to an exciting showcase of dance performances with the New Zealand Dance Company set to premiere the double-bill show Stage of Being, celebrating Chinese and Sāmoan dance choreographers from Aotearoa. The first show on the bill, Made In Them, by Xin Ji and Xiao Chao, will explore societal pressures and authenticity, while Little Bits and AddOns, by Tupua Tigafua, opens up to a fairy tale presentation of the human condition. The show will run on April 21 and 22.

Check out the International Comedy Festival lineup

The season of laughs is set to return to Aotearoa throughout May, with the NZ International Comedy Festival hosting over 150 local and overseas talents across 600 performances. It’s the 30th birthday of the festival, so the celebrations will be as large as the guest list. The lineup includes local heavyweights like Chris Parker, James Nokise and Kura Forrester, as well as international powerhouses Nazeem Hussain, Joe Lycett and Australian Drag Race star Karen From Finance. Ticket sales are now live and you can rifle through the packed programme online. The festival starts May 5.

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Book in for the return of Kia Mau

The trail-blazing contemporary Indigenous arts festival Kia Mau will return to the city streets of Te Whanganui-a-Tara in June, with dance, music, theatre, wānanga and hui, and visual arts lined up on the programme. The festival, back for the seventh time, will continue to support mana whenua artists, and also welcome performers and companies from national and international contexts. The first round of events has now been announced and includes Taku Waimarie, a production from Taki Rua (the first national kaupapa Māori performing arts organisation), The Haka Party Incident, an award-winning theatre piece from Katie Wolfe, and Mînowin, a dance performance from a leading Indigenous company in Canada. Kia Mau will return to Wellington from June 2 to 17.

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