From February 2010, The Lumière Reader will publish from its all-new website. This existing website will remain online in an archival capacity until we relocate its content.
By Richard Lewer
Monash University Museum of Art | Reviewed by Andy Palmer

A FEW YEARS AGO, 2004 to be precise, Richard Lewer had a show at Enjoy Public Art Gallery in Wellington. In Between consisted of a DVD of Lewer’s drawings used to animate interviews conducted by then Enjoy curator Charlotte Huddleston. It was a ghost story, and a great work; subtle, engrossing, smart, and humorous, and unlike a lot of video work really held my attention.
The Auckland Performing Arts Centre
December 12-20 | Reviewed by Renee Liang

THE FIRST THING you should know about The Sexy Recession Cabaret is that it’s potluck. Along with items from the core cast, a rotating list of guests (some very recognizable) means there are new surprises every night. According the programme notes, the Depression-styled show aims to “be relevant to how we are living now and how we are dealing with our own recession”. It’s a big theme that doesn’t quite deliver, but that doesn’t seem to matter.
Christchurch City Gallery; Canterbury University Press
NZ$80; $60 | Reviewed by Andy Palmer

I CAN’T remember exactly when I became aware of Séraphine Pick’s work, but it was probably around the turn of the new century. What I do remember is that, while I appreciated them as beautifully executed paintings, they didn’t particularly interest me as images – fantastical, surrealist images, which I’ve never been much into as a genre in any medium.
Auckland Town Hall
November 12 | Reviewed by Samuel Holloway

THE VIOLA is a much-neglected instrument. Falling in the string hierarchy between the violins and celli, it has received the attention it deserves from neither composers nor audiences. And it really does deserve attention, with a richer tone than the violin but with the benefits, contra the cello, of a smaller instrument.
By Gavin Hurley
Self-published, NZ$30 | Reviewed by Hanna Scott

WITH AN embossed cover, uncoated paper stocks, and an immediate sense of the three dimensional nature of paper collage, A to Z is both a delightfully tactile and visual experience. Proof, if any were needed that the book is very much alive, and not in any danger of dying an electronic death.
Interview by BRANNAVAN GNANALINGAM.

NEW ZEALAND artist Jordan Reyne may go down as one of New Zealand’s most underrated musicians of the last decade. She has decided to give up releasing music – despite (and because of) her fifth and latest album How The Dead Live. Part-funded through the Department of Conservation and Creative New Zealand’s “Wild Creations” programme, Reyne spent time at Karamea on the West Coast. From her research there, Reyne conceived of a narrative based around an early settler to the area – Susannah Hawes who time and history have forgotten. The result is a highly idiosyncratic album, full of great songs and an ambition rarely seen in New Zealand music. It’s also highly listenable, beautiful melodies and Reyne’s lauded voice carrying through stories of New Zealand’s forgotten past.
Maidment Theatre
Sept 30-Oct 8 | Reviewed by Renee Liang

THE WHO’s Tommy (1969) was one of those iconic pieces of rock which I missed out on as a teenager. For a start, I was a teenager twenty years too late. Secondly, I was nowhere cool enough. But finally, in 2009, Stage Two productions has enabled me to see this rock musical up close and very, very live.
JIMMY ASTON is a young man living in Dunedin who really should know better.
Tempo Festival of Dance 2009
Leigh Sawmill Café; Ascension Vineyard, Matakana
Oct 16-17; 24-25 | Reviewed by Renee Liang

THE RUSTIC timber surrounds of the Leigh Sawmill Café at first seems an unlikely place for a show described as “an opulent and flamboyant avant-garde burlesque cabaret”, but during the efforts involved in getting there something of the intent of the producers starts to dawn. For Birds of Paradise is not so much a show as an experience. It provided an opportunity to escape Auckland on a warm and sunny Friday afternoon (we got away well before the traffic jam started on the Bridge) and laze into a glass of rose at Matakana before claiming a front row table for a preshow dinner at the Sawmill Café.
Auckland Town Hall
October 16 | Reviewed by Samuel Holloway

WHILE evolution may be (to borrow from Richard Dawkins) ‘the greatest show on earth’, the creation-in-seven-days still makes for a damn good story. And Genesis has never seemed more enjoyable that in Haydn’s oratorio The Creation (1798), a monumental, joyful piece that draws on the Old Testament and Milton’s Paradise Lost. It is one of Haydn’s most admired works, and – in running the gamut from the creation of worms to the creation of planets – contains some of his most memorable musical moments.
Understand nothing about this ‘town’, where everything is traveling except the pigeons.”—Marcel Duchamp, postcard to Jacques Doucet, Venice, May 23, 1926.*

THOMASIN SLEIGH: Even though it is ambitious in its aspirations, grandiose in its size, and touted as the most important event on the contemporary art calendar, the Venice Biennale is shabby. It runs for five months. Venice is crumbly, and it crumbles over everything. Art works break. Venue attendants don’t know what they are talking about. No one knows what a ‘Collateral Event’ is. All the maps for the Biennale are inexplicably different and impossible to decipher. Visitors get lost and are only found months later, walking in circles in Campo Santo Stefano.
On the eve of Niki Caro’s adaptation of The Vintner’s Luck (in cinemas Novemebr 12), its author, Elizabeth Knox, talks to CHRISTINE LINNELL about conceiving the sequel, The Angel’s Cut.
Auckland Town Hall
October 3 | Reviewed by Samuel Holloway

IN THE 1930s and 40s the United States received a cultural shot in the arm with an influx of artists, writers and composers from war torn Europe. One such émigré was the Hungarian Béla Bartók. In contrast to the experience of others who were fêted upon their arrival, Bartók’s time in America was characterised by frustration and poverty. In spite of this – or, some might romantically argue, because of this – Bartók managed to write one of his best works there, shortly before his death in 1945.
Metronomy front-man Joseph Mount talks making music, sci-movies, and other priorities. Interview by BRANNAVAN GNANALINGAM.
BATS Theatre
Sept 22-Oct 3 | Reviewed by Matthew Fairhurst

LOOSELY based on Lucy O’Brien’s time spent in a miserable mail-sorting centre, there is much in Postal that will be recognisable to anyone who has subjected themselves to the mind-numbing routine of public sector employment. Wisely, O’Brien avoids over-dependence on customer service in-jokes, and chooses instead to focus on the characters – the effect their incredibly mundane job has on their self-respect, and the coping strategies they bring in the attempt to maintain their identities despite the emptiness of their careers and their lives in general.
Aotea Centre; St James Theatre
Sept 17-26; October 10-17 | Reviewed by Samuel Holloway

BASED on the novel by Pushkin, Eugene Onegin (1878) is the story of Tatyana Larina, whose impulsive love letter to the urbane and aloof Onegin is rejected. In time, Onegin grows to regret his dismissal of Tatyana (and the killing of his best friend Lensky in a duel). But in the end Tatyana – despite an enduring love – rebuffs his pleading, and Onegin is left in despair.
By Haruhiko Sameshima
Rim Books, NZ$60 | Reviewed by Hanna Scott

LIKE AN Oscar-winning speech the first thing that hit me when I opened the pages of this almost-square format book is the list of acknowledgements on page eight. A whole page of them, stacked into categories. The most heart warming, and also the longest, is the list of “photographers that I have never met but whose work had a direct influence on me when making photographs for this book,” as if Sameshima were making a disclaimer against an accusation of inappropriate appropriation.
Phoenix Foundation drummer Richie Singleton talks about becoming Rebel Peasant on his new solo album, The Walls of the Well. Interview by BRANNAVAN GNANALINGAM.
MAJELLA CULLINANE is originally from Ireland and became a New Zealand resident last year. Her poetry, short stories and reviews has been published in Ireland, the UK, and the US [forthcoming JAAM 27, New Zealand]. She has won a Sean Dunne Young Writer’s Award, an Irish Arts Council Award, The Sunday Tribune/Hennessy Literary Award for Emerging Poetry and been long-listed and short-listed for Fish short fiction prizes. In 2006, she completed an MLitt. in Creative Writing from St Andrews University Scotland. She recently moved to Wellington.
ELI KENT is a 21-year-old writer from Wellington. His first full-length play Rubber Turkey was performed at BATS and Auckland’s The Basement as part of the NZ International Comedy Festival 2008 and went on to win him the Peter Harcourt Award for Outstanding New Playwright of the Year at the 2008 Chapman Tripp Theatre awards. His third play The Intricate Art of Actually Caring (performed in his bedroom) won “Best Theatre” in the NZ Fringe Festival 2009 and will tour nationally in 2010. His new work Bedlam opens at the Basement Theatre at Toi Whakaari on September 1.
Auckland Town Hall
August 20 | Reviewed by Samuel Holloway

IN THE AGE of the sub-four-minute song, listening to the work of Gustav Mahler presents a special challenge. His Sixth Symphony, performed recently to a sell-out crowd by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, weighs in at around ninety minutes, with both the first and last movements individually as long as many complete symphonies.
JESSICA LE BAS’s first collection of poetry, incognito (AUP) won the NZSA Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award for Poetry at the Montana NZ Book Awards in 2008. Her second collection Walking to Africa (Oct, 2009 AUP) looks at mental illness in adolescence through a mother’s eye. She lives in Nelson.
With the publication of ‘Map of the Invisible World’, and the recent death of Robert McNamara, MATT MCGREGOR revisits Tash Aw’s 2005 novel ‘The Harmony Silk Factory’.

I FINISHED Tash Aw’s 2005 novel The Harmony Silk Factory, set in Malaysia in 1940, to the news of Robert McNamara’s death. As Kennedy’s Secretary of Defence, people will rightly remember – and judge – McNamara as one of the principal architects of the war in Vietnam. But, as Errol Morris’s The Fog of War reminds us, McNamara’s involvement in American war crimes predates Vietnam by two decades, with his position as a statistician during World War Two. In The Fog of War, McNamara describes his work in improving the efficiency of the American bombing-raids over Japan’s wooden cities. The film portrays, along with McNamara’s later regrets, his technocratic certainties and absolutes, his statistics of maximum casualties, his systematic and ultimately terrifying mind.
ALEXANDER BISLEY looks back on Auckland’s superlative literary event.

THE Auckland Writers and Readers Festival is, three-in-a-row, a terrific literary festival. It raises an exciting challenge for Wellington’s festival. Richard Holloway was my unexpected delight for 2009. The former Bishop of Edinburgh and current chair of the Scottish Arts Council (“a sort of Bishop to the Arts”) is the ideal intellectual: profoundly humanistic and soulful, a formidable presence with a swashbuckling Scottish wit. In discussion with Glynn Cardy, the author of Between the Monster and the Saint and Looking in the Distance: the Human Search for Meaning scintillated. He criticised the Anglicans, his former church, for their attitude towards homosexuality. “These endless, tedious arguments about gay sexuality.” He said it was perverse to tell young people that their love, a beautiful thing, was wrong. He recalled how Bobby Kennedy, a too often callous/opportunistic politician, became spiritual. “That summer [before the assassination] soul entered Kennedy.” On bigoted African bishops? “It’s history’s revenge.” Holloway eloquently spoke of imaginative compassion: “Identify with the humanity of the other.”
The Basement
August 13 | Reviewed by Samuel Holloway

175 East is an unusually constituted ensemble, with an emphasis on the bottom end. It’s an idiosyncratic combination of flute, clarinet, cello, double bass, bass clarinet and trombone that has, for over ten years, performed some of the most interesting ‘new music for old instruments’. Their recent Auckland concert (repeated in Wellington) proved no exception. The concert took place at the acoustically-interesting Basement, and the ensemble, joined by horn player Carl Wells, presented six works, including three from New Zealand composers.
Opera House
August 11 | Reviewed by Anne Harré

PARK YOUR Puritanism at the door, The Tiger Lillies are in town. The British cult band and regular on the festival circuit (they’ve just come from the Christchurch Arts Festival) stirred up the cobwebs in Wellington’s Opera House recently with their mix of lusty, crude, rude, and extraordinarily poignant songs. Paintings of the crucifixion will never be the same.
From Wattie’s tomato sauce to Daniel Cartier via Tame Iti and Vichy Invercargill, the laughs keep coming in Dave Armstrong’s new play, Le Sud. He talks to ALEXANDER BISLEY about reimagining the South Island as a French colony.
One half of the Handsome Furs, Dan Boeckner, unbundles the Montreal band’s latest album Face Control on the eve of two shows in New Zealand this August. Interview by BRANNAVAN GNANALINGAM.
BATS Theatre
August 5-15 | Reviewed by Kate Blackhurst

Measure for Measure is known as a ‘problem play’, as it holds comedy and tragedy in unequal balance, and director Alexandra Lodge certainly seems to be confused. Having seen the Three Spoon Theatre production at BATS, I am no clearer as to what she considers this play to be about.
Annabel Alpers, aka Bachelorette, discusses with BRANNAVAN GNANALINGAM making the transition from the brilliant and solitary Isolation Loops, to her more collaborative and technophilic second album, My Electric Family.
By Alison Annals, Abby Cunnane, Sam Cunnane;
University of Canterbury, Dept of Art History and Theory
pearsoned.co.nz; canterbury.ac.nz | Reviewed by Andy Palmer

I WAS intrigued by the title, Saying What You See: How to talk and write about art, hoping I would find some hints and shortcuts to help me say what I see. What I discovered though was that how I have been doing it all these years is also the way students are also taught to do it: read stuff, make notes, view shows, make notes, talk to people, make notes. So no quick cheats then.
Gryphon Theatre
August 5-15 | Reviewed by Kate Blackhurst

I’VE NEVER liked those inspirational teacher stories. Sure, we’ve all had one, but do they have to be so nauseating? Trudy White as the eponymous character in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie doesn’t break the mould so much as shatter it and proves that influential educators are not always a good thing.
Auckland Town Hall
July 23-24 | Reviewed by Samuel Holloway

TWO VERY different programmes were on offer in recent concerts from New Zealand’s two finest orchestras. The Thursday night concert by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra saw an odd pairing of Spanish composers de Falla and Rodrigo with Brit Ralph Vaughan Williams. The programme opened with Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo (‘Love the Magician’), a colourful if lightly-textured score consisting of thirteen scenes from a gypsy story. The APO’s performance included notable contributions from many woodwind and brass players, but too often the Orchestra overwhelmed soloist Anna Cors, a New Zealand-based Spanish soprano, who otherwise displayed admirable pronunciation and enthusiasm.
Shayne Carter talks Dimmer’s latest album, the excellent and unpredictable Degrees of Existence, with BRANNAVAN GNANALINGAM.
Courtenay Place Light boxes; The Film Archive
June 19-Dec 19; July 19-Aug 1 | Reviewed by Thomasin Sleigh

IT IS HARD not to be attracted to Marie Shannon’s photographs currently installed in the light boxes on Courtenay Place, Wellington. A collection of affectionate notes left by Shannon, her partner and their son to each other, these messages have a touching intimacy incongruous with their large, public presentation.
DAVID EGGLETON lives in Dunedin. He is a poet and writer whose articles, reviews and essays and short stories have appeared in a variety of publications. He has had published five books of poems and a book of short fiction, and has written or contributed to many works of non-fiction. He has also released a number of poetry recordings featuring his collaborations with musicians. His most recent book of poems is Fast Talker, published by Auckland University Press in 2006. His most recent book, published in 2007 by Raupo Publishing, is Towards Aotearoa: A Short History of Twentieth Century New Zealand Art.
HARVEY MOLLOY lives and teaches in Wellington. His poems have appeared in Albatross, Blackmail Press, Bravado, Jaam, NZ Listener, Poetry New Zealand, Southern Ocean Review and Takahe. His first book of poems, Moonshot, was published by Steele Roberts in September 2008. Before training as a teacher he worked for eight years as a writer/information architect.
The Basement (Akld), BATS Theatre (Wgtn)
July 10-25 | Reviewed by Kate Blackhurst

THESE THREE PLAYS are performed one after the other each night. You can get a decent serving of up-and-coming drama and feel quite satiated after a night out or you can choose individually from the smorgasbord. They present an intriguing pick and mix of styles and themes with an overarching element of seeking a place and a sense of self. If you can afford a plane ticket, they are being presented concurrently in Auckland and it would be well worth seeing the different interpretations.
The Basement (Akld), BATS Theatre (Wgtn)
July 10-25 | Reviewed by Renee Liang

FIFTEEN years after the Young & Hungry Festival of New Works was set up in Wellington, it has finally come to Auckland – and it is set to be a valuable addition to an already lively youth theatre scene. Over sixty young theatre practitioners aged 15-25 are involved in acting and production roles in the two centres, mentored by some of the most respected names in NZ theatre. In Auckland, a partnership with the Auckland Theatre Company gives these fresh young artists access to some enviable resources, clearly shown in the production values for these three plays.
Alexandra Park, Auckland
July 9-August 23 | Reviewed by Renee Liang

ENTERING the Grand Chapiteau, I’m unexpectedly buzzed by a feeling of excitement. We’ve walked in from a cold wet bastard of an afternoon, bad even for Auckland in winter. We’ve been funneled through the souvenir tent, sneering slightly at the poor sods who are already buying. And now we have been shown to our seats, and the atmosphere in the near-capacity tent is crackling.