Rasta Thomas’ Rock the Ballet

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When:  Wed 13th June

Where: Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna

What:  Rasta Thomas’ Rock the Ballet

I headed along to this show on Wednesday night not sure what I was expecting to see and therefore with no expectations, however, even if my expectations had been insanely high they would have still been blown out of the water.    

This show needs no stage set, they masterfully use dance, lighting, modern and classical music, and a video backdrop to create beautiful pieces of art.  The audience are encouraged to join in before the dancers even grace the stage, with a warning that spontaneous dancing may occur, and the dancers when they appear acknowledge the audience and get everyone clapping along with the music.  

The music is loud, the bass thumping, and it’s very hard to avoid tapping your feet in time to the music, the dancers combine the discipline and strength of ballet with modern dance styles such as hip hop and the Michael Jackson trouser grab.  Each piece of music has a beautifully choreographed dance that whilst being a stand alone piece, also blends and merges with the other pieces.

The stand out pieces for me had to be the opener of act II, a musical interlude written by Clint Mansell which for me showed the dancers at their full potential.   

This was a show made of ballet, gymnastics, hip-hop and modern dance, that whilst not being the best choreography I’ve seen, there was a lot of repetition, it certainly was entertaining and the crowd all seemed to fully enjoy themselves.

The only downside for me was possibly at the end when they did a bit of a mickey take of male strippers (without the stripping obviously).  It was unnecessary when the rest of the show had been mostly classy apart from the comedy dance to Carmen with inflatable dolls, which managed to avoid seedy by being hugely fun and very funny, it reminded me of the skits the Two Ronnies used to do, totally outrageous without being particularly offensive.   

Dem baps, dem baps, dem bibimbaps

Cross posted from Auckland Cheap Eats Reviews – fine lunching for the tight of fist. Get over there for more of this kind of thing.

Korea, what is it good for?  Absolutely everything if the way their economy continues to develop is an indicator.  Hyundai, Samsung, LG, Daewoo, Hankook, 400kph trains etc etc, the new industrial marvel.  I reckon the humble bibimbap is a microcosmic glimpse of the thinking that supports such development.

Elegant, efficient, healthy and cost effective, that’s the bibimbap.  It’s one of Korea’s national dishes, and so varies regionally, but the one pictured here is from New Village Korean Food in the Newmarket Plaza Food Court, Kent St, Newmarket (see previous posts) and it seems to be pretty representative of the offerings to be had around Auckyland.

Bibimbap means mixed rice.  How understated.  This is one of the freshest, healthiest, tastiest bits of nosh around.  Room temperature steamed rice sits in a bowl and is surrounded by neatly prepared raw courgette, carrot, beansprouts, mushrooms and greens.  In the middle of these is a helping of nicely moist but amazingly unfatty minced beef and the whole is topped with a fried heggyweggy.  This lot receives a healthy shaking of black pepper and a drizzle of sesame oil.  One takes gobfuls of this delectable combination with an appropriate quantity of the accompanying gochujang, Korean medium-hot chilli sauce.  My oh my, luvverly.  But let’s not forget the all important differentiator…the relishes, ‘cos these do vary place to place and New Village offers the biggest and best selection  Those little spuds second from left are class-A addictive, but watch the seaweed as it can grab the old uvula and lead to near death moments.

So, that’s the bibimbap.  But it has a mate – the dolsot bibimbap.  Dolsot means (very) hot stone pot, and so the above ingredients are lobbed in to one of these hence creating a volcanic version to warm the cockles of ones’ wintery heart.  Not only does this approach make the dish very different to the room temp version, it has the added bonus of creating a ricey crust at the bottom of the bowl.  Crunch crunch.

$8 – $10 depending on the outlet.  New Village is $9.

Quality: 9/10   Quantity: 8.5/10    Value for money: 9/10

Our own place

Hey, we’ve gone and got ourselves our very own domain name:

Aucklandista.com

From now on, that’s where all the action is going to be, so change your bookmarks and update your feeds, cos this old site isn’t going to be around for much longer.

See you over there!

K Road Plasticware Centre

Closing DownThe Plasticware Centre (which may or may not be “Payless”), has been a K Road fixture for years, lurking in the basement of the HB building on the corner of Mercury Lane.

But, sadly, a sign has appeared recently advising customers that the shop is closing down. One more piece of old K Road is going.

It’s not your average plastics shop. It feels like that at one point it may have been quite ordinary – perhaps at some stage in the ’70s, when Newton was a dying, working class suburb, decimated by the newfangled motorway and trying to find itself again. Back then, people needed to be able to buy cheap plastic goods, cos they surely couldn’t afford anything pricey.

Even though the Plasticware Centre gets plenty of light from the Mercury Lane side windows, it still feels a bit damp and dodgy, but that just adds to the charm.

What I like best about the Plasticware Centre is that some of the stock appears to be decades old. I found a set of kitchen scales just like the ones I grew up with. My mum bought those in the ’70s. I could buy a “new” pair from the Plasticware Centre if I wanted.

If you were wanting to deck out your kitchen in a ’70s or ’80s retro style, forget Iko Iko – the Plasticware Centre has all your needs, including a ye olde spice rack full of spices that probably aren’t so spicy anymore.

There’s 10% off everything now, and stuff is pretty cheap there anyway, so there are sure to be bargains to be had. It’s worth a bit of an explore anyway, just to enjoy its quirky character.

The Lorne Street Bingo Club

Our first ever meet was, I think, a success. Eight players made it to Lorne Street, which was fortunate as we only had eight chairs.

p1010117.jpgAs suggested everyone brought prizes which were thrown into the prize pool. We had a bag of Feijoas, a small bottle of bubble solution, two old microwave curries, a pot plant, a learning Greek CD and other bits and pieces. I’d like to thank everyone who came along and made the evening what it was.

The intention is to hold the Club on the last Sunday of every month. If anyone is interested in coming to the next meet email me at jfbarbosa@gmail.com.

p1010110.jpgWe’re already looking forward to the next meet. Discussions have revealed a desire to get some dabber action going and plans for an electronic scoreboard have been filed for the future.

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Two short points on Auckland bookshops

1. Unity Books, probably the best Bookshop in Auckland (along with this one. And this one.) are having a sale, and it just got real crazy. Discounted books, most of which are going for, like, twelve or ten bucks, have just been marked down by 50%, and even my BA Majoring in English (not that you’d know it with all the commas in this sentenceyour English lecturer) brain can do that math. It’s not clear how long this As Seen On TV-style discounting is going to last, so I reckon you should get to the Auckland branch at 1 High Street, stat.

2. Borders may well be the Starbucks of book retail, all male white corporate oppression, but are you going to liberate the Borders employees from Stevie Wonder? My last three visits to the Queen St branch (hey, they send me vouchers) have been accompanied by the dulcet tones and funky basslines of the dreadlocked, sunnglass-ed maestro, in some kind of greatest hits package. You know, Superstition, Higher Ground and the like.

It could be worse, but if I’ve noticed Stevie in three infrequent visits, they must be thrashing it around the clock. And I bet it’s driving their  generally helpful and professional team nuts. I say pull your socks up, Borders, get some new CDs out of your impossible-to-open shrink wrapping, and give the team a break.

I want to ride it where I like

Fancy a bike ride but can’t face levering the trusty ten speed from behind Granddad’s train set in the shed? Seems you’re in luck, ‘cos Goodgear bike racks are springing up around Auckland City.

It seems pretty easy – you call or text to unlock a cruiser-style bike for as long as you like, and drop it off at any rack when you’re done. The bikes look modern and well maintained, and come with helmet, lights, and a nifty rack for your shopping.

The website uses Google maps to keep track of the bikes, and racks are dotted around the central city, from Symonds St to the Viaduct (obligatory Aucklandista viaduct Booooo! goes here). If you’re confident cycling around town, they’d be great for zipping to meet a mate for coffee, or you could take one to Mission Bay for fish ‘n chips of a weekend.

This is not an answer to Paris’s Vélib‘, or “freedom bike”, a state-sponsored scheme that has the French cycling to the theatre or picking up bread, cheese and a little wine from the market, all the while smoking a Gauloise, but it’s a start. The Goodgear team seems to have some council co-operation, securing prominent locations for racks on Queen Street.

What do you think? Would you ride a bike around Auckland? There’s all those hills to contend with, not to mention rabid drivers, but this seems a sensible part of the continuing effort to get Aucklanders out of their cars. Go Goodgear.