Janet McAllister on the arts

Janet McAllister looks at the world of the arts and literature.

Janet McAllister: Of cabbages and kings

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John Banks in Cabbage boat. Image / Rod Emmerson
John Banks in Cabbage boat. Image / Rod Emmerson

More writing, less tweeting! pleaded Metro editor Simon Wilson this year. If his orders were followed, here's what the cultural analysis of 2013 might look like:

Ben Uffindell (aka The Civilian) and Neil Finn could write a rock opera called Cabbage Boat City whose characters include Kim Dotcom, John Banks, SkyCity and Len Brown, with walk-on parts for Bevan Chuang, Emmett Hussey and the FBI. Then the often perceptive "When in Auckland" tumblr site could comment on the result in 30 words plus gif.

Naomi Klein could write a thesis on the first two lines of Royals: "I've never seen a diamond in the flesh/ I cut my teeth on wedding rings in the movies." She could call it "Lorde vs Beyonce on Capitalism and Marriage: if you liked it then why should you put an expensive fingercuff on it?"

Expert concept constructers Jessica Verryt and Isobel Dryburgh could write a set of instructions for independent Auckland theatre on how to design a set that is not hyper-realist. It would be called: "If your audience wanted to watch television they would have stayed at home."

Anybody who has ever been rejected for Creative New Zealand funding should collaborate on a play called Sport was the loser on the day about why CNZ should listen to the third umpire (twitter) and reverse its decision to stop funding the literary journal. Hamish Keith should write a petition asking for publisher Fergus Barrowman to be given 500 days off for long service since it's been 25 years and he's one of our top literary judges.

A bureaucrat needs to cross the T's on whatever applications Roseanne Liang's endearing, funny web series Flat 3 makes, so it gets the funding it clearly deserves. And maybe the next series could include a scene imagining the fallout from this year's Art in the Dark accident where a few seconds of, er, adult entertainment were screened during the cartoons. Whoops-a-daisy!

During the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra's performance of Mozart's Requiem, the woman who sat next to me unobtrusively drew a delightful sketch of the performance. She could draw a graphic novel about how the person whose cellphone went off twice during the APO's performance of Britten's War Requiem should be locked phoneless in a never-ending Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber concert.

Perhaps Hilary Mantel is available to write for the Pantograph Punch about the Tudor-like intrigue surrounding the tragic redundancies in Unitec's art and design department.

Since he leaped onstage with a scrappy piece of paper and mumbled about sponsors almost before Chicago's opening night applause died down, Auckland Theatre Company artistic director Colin McColl clearly needs orders - written by Simon Prast - to stick to the afterparty for his thank-you speech duties, instead of literally stealing the limelight and sabotaging a hit show's afterglow.

And someone could write to Auckland Council asking why the Living Room art event was missing, and telling them the Manukau Arts Centre, Fresh Gallery et al need websites. It's now the 1990s after all.

- NZ Herald

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