The Civic:

Life is a cabaret, come to the cabaret ... and this weekend, you well and truly can. Auckland's playing host to a winter cabaret festival at the Civic – "the jewel of Auckland" – where we're promised a progressive mix of music, drag, theatre and comedy. We're particularly excited about

Delicious Oblivion

, where Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Shane Bosher and musical director Robin Kelly take a trip back to Berlin of the 1920s and early 30s to explore what really lay behind the lyrics of Kurt Weill and his contemporaries. If you prefer the here and now, New Zealand Music Theatre has something for you. It's putting on what is believed to be the first professional music theatre cabaret featuring only contemporary songs written for the stage by New Zealand composers and lyricists.

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Auckland Live Cabaret Festival, Wintergarden and the Civic, until Sunday

Whammy Bar:

Randa is releasing their new single and music video,

Rock Bottom

, this weekend, a track produced by Shannon Fowler from Okie Dokie Studios. The song was co-written with A.C. Freazy, who, on top of his own sublime pop project, plays in

Tiny Ruins

. To celebrate, Randa is throwing a release show at Whammy Bar with support from self-taught producer Bobandii, who is releasing his own album

Running Handshake/B.L.U.E

later this month. More special guests are expected on the night. Randa always throws a great party and Bobandii's smooth beats are perfect for a blissed-out dance.

Randa Rock Bottom Single Release Show ft Bobandii, Whammy Bar, tonight, 8pm

And returning to Whammy Bar on Friday night, Auckland genre-bending outfit Hallelujah Picassos are throwing a party to celebrate the release of their new album Voices of Exuberant Hellhounds. A unique blend of musical styles saw Hallelujah Picassos win a loyal following in the 90s and the group is back with a record dedicated to former drummer and vocalist Bobbylon, who contributed to the recording before passing away last May. 1:12 Records label mates Vincent H.L. - featuring members of Magic Factory, Echo Ohs, Bozo and Na Noise – and surf rockers King Kaiju are also on the bill.
Hallelujah Picassos, Vincent H.L., and King Kaiju, Whammy Bar, Friday night

A Fine Balance stars some of New Zealand's finest South Asian actors.
A Fine Balance stars some of New Zealand's finest South Asian actors.

Q Theatre:

You'll laugh, you'll cry (you will definitely cry) and you may finally understand why, when you were a kid, your mother used to threaten to package up your uneaten dinner and send it to starving children in India. You may also leave with a newfound sense of outrage about the balances of power and inequalities in this world because

A Fine Balance

is theatre that makes a punch. In 1975, struggling Parsi widow Dina sets up shop, hires two Hindu tailors and takes on a boarder in a gutsy attempt to maintain her independence but their country is in flux, a State of Emergency declared. Through these tumultuous and terrifying times, this makeshift family shows what compassion, spirit and heroism looks like. Prayas, our leading South Asian theatre company, joins forces with Auckland Theatre Company to stage this saga of ordinary people and extraordinary change in what promises to be a truly epic theatre event.

A Fine Balance, Rangatira at Q Theatre, until Saturday, July 6

Rima Te Wiata joins in the annual shindig to commemorate the live and times of Irish writer James Joyce.
Rima Te Wiata joins in the annual shindig to commemorate the live and times of Irish writer James Joyce.

Thirsty Dog:

We know of few events more arcane but wonderful than Auckland's annual Bloomsday celebration where you can Re-Joyce and Bloom in June. Actually, it's part of a worldwide commemoration of a totally fictional date, a date in which something happened in a book. On June 16, Ireland's James Joyce re-imagined Homer's epic poem

The Odyssey

, unfolding its 10 years into the modest streets and seaside and pubs and brothels of 1904 Dublin in a comic masterpiece,

Ulysses

. A dedicated group of Joyce's Auckland aficionados, led by writer Dean Parker, Linn Lorkin and the Jews Brothers Band, get together to stage a Hibernian-Hebrew cabaret that, this year, stars Rima Te Wiata, Tom Sainsbury, Donogh Rees, Bruce Hopkins and Farrell Cleary. Think it won't be fun? Muse on this James Joyce anecdote: When a young man came up to him in Zurich and said, "May I kiss the hand that wrote

Ulysses

?" he replied, "No, it did lots of other things too."

Bloomsday, the Thirsty Dog, Karangahape Rd, Sunday at 4pm