A Month of Culture: 10 things to do

By Fiona Ralph

The Auckland Writer's Festival celebrates literary greatness. Pictured L-R: The Color Purple by Alice Walker $28, Emma by Jane Austen $38, The Life and Art of Lynley Dodd by Finlay Macdonald $50, Promoting Prosperity: The Art of Early New Zealand Advertising by Peter Alsop $80, The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh, $38, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton $28, all from Unity Books. Ph (09) 307 0731. Vintage bookends, stylist's own.
The Auckland Writer's Festival celebrates literary greatness. Pictured L-R: The Color Purple by Alice Walker $28, Emma by Jane Austen $38, The Life and Art of Lynley Dodd by Finlay Macdonald $50, Promoting Prosperity: The Art of Early New Zealand Advertising by Peter Alsop $80, The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh, $38, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton $28, all from Unity Books. Ph (09) 307 0731. Vintage bookends, stylist's own.

We like to use the cold and dark of winter as an excuse to head indoors and make the most of theatres, art galleries and film festivals.

This month brings more than enough opportunities - it's NZ Music Month, the Comedy Festival is still on, the Architecture & Design Film Festival has just begun and the Auckland Writer's Festival starts this week.

Our pick of the bunch?

1. Alliance Francaise French Film Festival encore weekends

The festival proved so popular that this weekend, and next, favourites such as Carine Roitfeld's Mademoiselle C, Chinese Puzzle, starring Audrey Tautou and David Moreau's It Boy, return to the screens. Tickets from Hoyts and Rialto cinemas.


2. Auckland Writer's Festival

The year's literary feast starts this Wednesday and runs until the end of the weekend. Expect insights from renowned authors such as Irvine Welsh, Alice Walker and Eleanor Catton, alongside workshops, conversations and more.


3. Fragile Beauty: Historic Japanese Graphic Art

An exhibition of colour woodblock prints, which opened last week at the Auckland Art Gallery. The ukiyo-e (pictures of the floating world) depict beautiful landscapes and historical occasions from the last century of the Edo Period (1603-1868).


4. Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival

On until mid-next week, this small selection of films includes fascinating insights into the design of tiny off-the-grid houses, the gentrification of Brooklyn in New York, and the history of modern architecture in Palm Springs - a double feature which includes an Architectural Designers NZ Q&A. Tickets from Rialto cinemas.


5. International Comedy Festival

There's one more week of laughs up for grabs at the Comedy Festival, including the nightly international round-up The Big Show.


6. RNZB perform Coppelia

There's nothing more memorable than a night at the ballet. The costumes and storyline of the classical Coppelia are nicely accessible, with tickets from just $30.


7. Documentary Edge Festival

Another film festival to whet our appetite for the International Film Festival (our winter highlight), this year's Documentary Edge is themed Life Unscripted. Too many great films to choose from! Starts next Wednesday 21 May at Q Theatre.


8. In Flagrante cabaret

Get your kicks at the cabaret with Mary Jane O'Reilly's hit show In Flagrante, back at the refurbished Galatos Ballroom after successful tours and shows in the Edinburgh and Dunedin Fringe Festivals. 7pm and 9.30pm, Friday May 23. Tickets from iTicket.


9. Janelle Monae with Kimbra
Two stylish girls with great voices, the pair will perform together as well as separately, having met and jammed together while staying at the same hotel during the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Vector Arena, Saturday, May 24.


10. NZ Music Month

A whole month of great Kiwi music. Our picks? The Naked and Famous play this Friday at The Powerstation, and on May 30, Orleans presents Hollie Smith Unplugged - complete with two-course meal.


- VIVA

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