1. Estere Single Release Shows
A creative and innovative producer, singer, songwriter and engineer, Estere is back after taking her music across Africa, Europe and the UK. She's dreamed up some new tunes, beginning with the release of single Pro Bono Techno Zone, and is playing two very special shows in Auckland and Wellington to celebrate. It will also be a treat for the eyes with visual installations by local artists Robbie Motion and Joshua Lewis.
• Lot23, Eden Tce, August 11, 7pm (all ages). Meow, Wellington, August 12, 9pm (R18). Tickets $25 from UnderTheRadar.co.nz
2. BWB Winter Talk Series: The Politics of Womanhood
Join three top writers for one of the most thoughtful ways you could spend a Sunday in the city. Holly Walker (The Whole Intimate Mess author), Leonie Hayden (The Spinoff, former editor of Mana magazine) and Barbara Brookes (A History of New Zealand Women author) will have an inspiring chat about "women's lives today ... and in the past" at Auckland Art Gallery. Spend the rest of the afternoon wandering through the exhibitions and digesting what you've heard.
• Cnr Kitchener and Wellesley St East, Auckland Central, August 13, 3pm, free. Visit Aucklandartgallery.com.
3. General Collective Lifestyle and Design Market
Get your hands on some hand-made and designer goodies at the huge General Collective Market. Hundreds of stallholders will set up shop at ASB Showgrounds this Sunday, offering a range of wares including natural skincare, activewear, children's products, delicious food and art prints. Stock up on gifts for your loved ones or treat yourself to something new and locally made for your home. For lunch, choose from a range of streetfood, fresh smoothies and coffee vendors, or have a quiet moment at the bar.
• 217 Greenlane West, Epsom, Sunday August 13, 9am-3pm. Entry is $2, kids under 15 free. Visit Generalcollective.co.nz.
4. Happenstance and Purlieus Exhibitions
Harry McAlpine and Kohl Tyler-Dunshea are two young artists to watch. The Whitecliffe graduates are holding their first solo exhibitions at Skinroom Gallery from this weekend, Happenstance and Purlieus respectively. Kohl is fascinated with plants, both native and foreign, and uses watercolour to create layered compositions imbued with beautiful detail, while Harry has attracted critical praise for his skilful drawing, but works across several mediums, including oil paint and video. These are set to be two exhibitions worth lingering over.
• Skinroom Gallery, 123 Commerce St, Hamilton. Visit Artistsalliance.org.nz
5. The Pickle King
At first glance this Indian Ink production seems a little silly, with its masks, humour and obsession with pickles. But the play raises some pretty serious issues around immigration and globalisation as well as gender and love though it has a lot of fun along the way. The Pickle King tells the tale of Sasha, a blind receptionist at a failing hotel who believes she's cursed, as everything around her dies. One night Death pays her a visit and a love story ensues. The play has racked up awards around the globe, and it would be worth nabbing a ticket and finding out why.
• Q Theatre, 305 Queen St, Auckland Central, August 2-19. Visit Qtheatre.co.nz.
6. Casa Flora Pop-Up Shop
One of Kokako Cafe's chefs, Victor, has kept his talent for textiles under wraps until now. His vibrant Mexican-inspired homeware and craft business Casa Flora is popping up in Ponsonby Central until August 13. There are ceramics, cushions, plants, jewellery, bunting and bags to choose from, many of which Victor makes himself. Each is adorned with bright colours, and there are pom-poms galore.
• Ponsonby Central, 136/146 Ponsonby Rd, from August 7-13. Visit its Etsy and Instagram pages.
7. Emily Fairlight and Tom Watson
Spend an evening with the poetic tunes of Emily Fairlight, who has recently recorded with artists from Bright Eyes and Okkervil River and describes her style as "alternative folk, written with a rock 'n 'roll heart". Joining her at Golden Dawn this Saturday is Tom Watson (Head Like a Hole, Cassette and Lawrence Arabia).
• Golden Dawn, 134 Ponsonby Rd, August 12, 8pm. Tickets $10 on the door. Visit Emilyfairlight.com and Cassettenz.bandcamp.com.
Future events to book and look forward to
Matilda, The Civic, Auckland, Aug 18-Oct 22
A Streetcar Named Desire, Q Theatre, August 24-September 16
Studio Ghibli Film Festival, Academy Cinema, August 24-September 20
Marlon Williams, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, November 10-12