Aotea Centre & Square
: Auckland's annual Writers Festival is so big, it now spills out into a spiegeltent in Aotea Square because, it seems, we can't get enough of authors and illustrators, performers and poets, academics and reviewers waxing lyrical about the magic that happens when words hit the page. In discussions, debates, readings and performances, they'll talk about the deeply personal to the determinedly political ranging across genre, geography, gender and global perspectives. Hot picks? Definitely Norwegian literary sensation Karl Ove Knausgard (pictured). Kick things off on Friday evening with
Call on O'Connell
, 90 minutes of literary mayhem orchestrated by 30 writers and performers who promise restyled news, racy readings and reports from abroad. Who said books were dying?
Auckland Writers Festival, various venues in and around the Aotea Centre, now until Sunday
Auckland Town Hall
: When Leonard Bernstein wrote the music for
West Side Story
, he composed the soundtrack for a generation. The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra comes to town to pay homage to the late, great American composer, pianist, teacher and conductor celebrating his centenary with a show that includes music from
West Side Story
On the Town
. The orchestra is joined by fast-rising US conductor Brett Mitchell and Broadway star Morgan James in a toe-tapping retrospective of Bernstein's work.
Bernstein at 100, Auckland Town Hall, Friday
: PP Arnold was born into a family of gospel singers and has made sure she's put those inherited pipes to good use, singing since she was just 4. In her life-long career, Arnold's performed alongside music greats such as Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, the Small Faces and Rod Stewart. In Auckland for one night only, she'll perform hits like
The First Cut Is The Deepest
(If You Think You're) Groovy
Angel Of The Morning
with backing vocalists You am I's Tim Rogers, Rusty Hopkinson, and Andy Kent, Talei Wolfgramm and James Black.
PP Arnold, Powerstation, Sunday
Q Theatre & Basement
: It's the last weekend of the Comedy Festival, which means the Billy T Award nominees are giving it their all ahead of the awards. Laura Daniel and Joseph Moore give comedy a power-pop twist in Two Hearts: Restart the Hearts (Loft at Q Theatre); Donna Brookbanks' You Do You Babes has added an extra show due to popular demand (Basement Theatre – Studio), as has Alice Snedden's Self-Titled: Volume II (Basement Theatre); there's also Melanie Bracewell's Melodrama (Basement Theatre) and James Malcom's Fameless (Vault at Q Theatre). It's a tough race this year; see 'em all if you can.
Comedy Festival, various venues, Thursday-Sunday
Flight Facilities have shown New Zealand they're worth more than just their (undoubtedly amazing) 2010 radio hit
, with appearances at Laneway Festival and solo shows over the past few years proving their dynamic stage presence. They're back this Friday as part of a special run of intimate shows at what the duo has described as a "turning point" from the band. As they've shown with recent chart-topping singles
and the Broods-featuring
, Flight Facilities are still capable of churning out dancefloor bangers, and Friday's show is sure to be a night of impeccable electronica.
Flight Facilities, Powerstation, Friday