What's on

One of Auckland's favourite events is back, with the annual 2007 New Zealand International Film Festival opening on Friday. There are so many films on show that it can be a little daunting to choose. The wonderfully quirky Kiwi film Eagle vs Shark, starring Flight Of The Conchords' Jermaine Clement and directed by Taika Waititi, will be a highlight. As will the potentially amusing and informative This Is New Zealand, a 1970 promotional film watched by two million Japanese.

* 2007 International Film Festivals - various venues, see www.enzedff.co.nz/ from Friday to Jul 29

After the shutdown of the Our House dance party in June, Auckland clubbers are keener than ever for a big dance event. The Highlife Experience has obliged. The party happens this Saturday and has managed to wrangle about thirty local DJs to perform, including Peter Urlich, Dick Johnson, General Lee, Ned Roy, Bevan Keys, Greg Churchill and more. The international guest is DJ Kellie Marie, a DJ and producer tied in with the famous Hed Kandi record label and party brand. Musically you can expect big room house, breaks, electro house, funk and disco.

* Highlife Experience - Ascot Stand, Ellerslie Racecourse, Saturday, tickets $39.90 at iTicket

The singer/songwriter who helped us fall in love with YahooXtra with a tear-jerking chorus in that cute ad, plays in Auckland on Wednesday. Regina Spektor, whose song Infidelity made an impact here on radio and in the charts, plays the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna. Spektor has an interesting story. She was born in Russia in the 1980s, then emigrated first to Austria, then Italy, before settling in the Bronx in New York. Her album Begin To Hope was named by Rolling Stone as the 21st best album of 2006.

* Regina Spektor - Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Wednesday, tickets $64 at Ticketek

If - touch wood - he has made it into the country, American R&B supremo and sometime tabloid favourite Bobby Brown will play in Rotorua this Sunday then Auckland the following Wednesday. Brown formed New Edition in 1981, scoring a hit with the catchy tune Candy Girl. By 1986 he had branched out on his own, and began releasing hits like Don't be Cruel, My Prerogative, which turned him into an international star.

* Bobby Brown - Energy Events Centre, Rotorua, tickets $54 at Ticketek, Sun; TelstraClear Events Centre, Manukau, tickets $54 at Ticketdirect, Weds

Can coffee be good for you? Was your mother right when she insisted you must eat your vegetables? All these questions and more will be posed and answered over the next six weeks in a new University of Auckland Lecture series devoted to food. It starts this Tuesday with two doctors speaking around the rather simple question: What Is Food? Topics covered in the coming weeks include obesity, the digestive system, food processing and more.

* Winter Lecture Series 2007: Your Food Your Health - Maidment Theatre, 8 Alfred St, Tuesdays, 1pm, until August 21

This could be the perfect chance for petrolheads to understand the art world a little better, and vice versa. It all started when artist Alexander Calder gave driver Herve Poulaina's BMW a new paint job in 1975 for the 24-Hour Le Mans race. That then led to BMW commissioning Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Frank Stella and more to customise their own Le Mans cars. Four of these cars - including Warhol's and Lichtenstein's - will be at the Dome at the Auckland Museum from Monday. Apparently Warhol's car attempts to "portray speed pictorially".

* BMW Art Cars - The Dome, Auckland Museum, from Monday to August 12

Northland is a funny place - there are some real characters around. But they tend to operate more in everyday life, not so much in a formal stand up comedy situation. So it's great that the Classic Comedy people have decided to go north this weekend. Comedy In Northland sees comedians Jeremy Corbett, Paul Ego, Irene Pink, Jeremy Elwood and Simon McKinney performing in Kerikeri on Friday and Whangarei on Saturday. All are stalwarts of the Auckland scene, who will no doubt find plenty of material to work with in the north.

* Comedy In Northland - The Centre, Kerikeri, Friday; Forum North, Whangarei, Saturday

Rock / Pop / DJ
Tertiary students have had two weeks off, which apparently requires them to be totally reorientated for the next two weeks at AUSM Reorientation 2007. There is a bunch of musical entertainment for students and the general public to enjoy. Every day in the AUT Wellesley Quad the Red Bull DJ Sessions keep the tables turning and the feet tapping. Singer/songwriter Sarah Brownplays on Tuesday at noon, then Pluto play the Quad Wednesday night. There's also comedy, air guitar, and hypnotism.

* AUSM Reorientation - From Monday, AUT, see www.ausm.org.nz for more info

The NBR New Zealand Opera's NZI winter season of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor is a new telling of one of the most exhilarating Italian operas of the 19th century. Expect passionate characters, dramatic scenes and magnificent music. Elvira Fatykhova, the star who won over critics and audiences in 2005's La Traviata returns to play Lucia. Behind the production are two women with award-winning careers: Australian director Lindy Hume and New Zealand set and costume designer Kate Hawley.

* Lucia di Lammermoor - tonight to July 21, Aotea Centre, Auckland, tickets from $49.50 at Ticketek

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