Culture

Dancers in top form

ballet

Just when you thought the Royal New Zealand Ballet couldn't get any better, they are back in Invercargill to present their dedicated audiences with Allegro.

Awards win catches performers unaware

Liv McBride and Graeme Woller

An Invercargill musician and her partner have won the New Zealand Country Group/Duo of the Year.

Tackling gender debate with lots of humour

are men obsolete

This little book takes on the gender debate with four talented feminist writers and critics taking a crack at the argument both for and against those hairy creatures we share our lives with: Men.

From our reviewers: Non-fiction

Books

Our reviewers take a look at a selection of non-fiction books available now.

No surprises policy not so good in book

Before We Met

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

With the blurb on the back of this book telling us that Hannah Reilly had a perfectly happy life until the day her husband failed to come home, it comes as no surprise that her husband fails to come home in the very first chapter.

Quirky debut mixes drama, mystery to good effect

Books cover

NADINE HANCOCK

BOOK REVIEW: I'm not usually a fan of the books that insist on footnotes. However, for New Zealand author Robert Glancy I made an exception.

Fairy-tale life that turned sad

Empty Mansions

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

BOOK REVIEW: It's human nature that we have a fascination with the lives of the rich and famous, but sometimes the lives of the incredibly wealthy are also incredibly sad.

Inspiration top of ill teacher's list

Priority List

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

The word "inspirational" is often bandied about when it comes to biographies of the famous and wealthy, but this story of a teacher who simply wanted to carry on doing what he loved best is one of the few times "inspirational" is the appropriate description.

Sex-tape 'sitcom' clumsy and rarely funny

sex tape

MOVIE REVIEW: When home video cameras came on the market, the sexually adventurous were among the first customers, and since then there's been no shortage of amateurs recording their bedroom antics and often sharing the results.

Techies take over theatre

Behind the scenes: Mamma Mia!

Mama Mia! interns

The technical team has moved into the Civic Theatre to get things ready for Mamma Mia!

Copping a part in opera

Southland Times photo

Who better to play a Russian constable in the Fiddler on the Roof show than Gore's own police senior sergeant.

First time nerves for students

Hokonui Fashion Design Awards

Hokonui Awards

A group of eager fashion designers are entering the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards for the first time this weekend.

Seamless ape sequel shocks and awes

 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

MOVIE REVIEW: Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a flawless blend of good storytelling, great casting and seamless production.

Sophie wears win really well

Practice makes perfect for dancer

Southland Times photo

Eastern Southland has a new national champion.

Hokonui awards just part of the fabric of NZ

Hokonui Fashion Design Awards

The Hokonui Fashion Design Awards are just part of the fabric of NZ.

'Amazing garments' in this year's Hokonui lineup

Hokonui models

Trends come and go but good quality will never go out of style.

Slow burner that soon heats up

Murder Bag

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

Is there anything more likely to warm the cockles of your heart on a chilly winter evening than a good murder mystery?

Southland stakes claim for wonderful Catlins

ABOUT THE SOUTH

The Catlins

ABOUT THE SOUTH: New Zealand's top 10 landmarks from a recent TripAdvisor poll put Olveston in Dunedin in top place.

Animal stories essentially funny

MARK HOTTON

Father-of-two Mark Hotton casts his eye over three books for children.

The sound of music

Behind the scenes: Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!

Getting the sound right for Mamma Mia! is going to mean getting the process right first.

Short and to the point

Books on shelf

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

The critically acclaimed Bridget Williams Books "short books on big subjects" have moved from the digital world to print.

Artists to show how it's done

Aleisha Toomey

Art lovers can watch how artwork is created this week at City Gallery.

Superstar Sirocco in spotlight again

'From Dud to Stud' up for award

Sirocco

A film about the only bird in the world with a government job is in the running for a prestigious award.

Great family movie

how to Train Your Dragon 2

MOVIE REVIEW: I cried in a kids' movie. I admit it. But How to Train Your Dragon 2 got me all caught up in the moment.

Rhythm and Alps festival final lineup announced

Rhythm and Alps

The final lineup of the second Rhythm and Alps in Cardrona has been announced.

Dream comes true for author

Abby Wilder

If working part time and raising two children wasn't enough, Abby Wilder has self-published her debut novel.

Harmonies make up for leisurely start

Jersey Boys

MOVIE REVIEW: Jersey Boys reignited our reviewer's love for the music of The Four Seasons.

Exhibition aims to inspire 'art city'

South Alive Community artspace

A new "art city" to develop a creative hub is gaining support.

We're just crazy about our pets

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN (WITH HELP FROM SEYMOUR AND NORMAN)

Kiwis tend to fall into two categories when it comes to our furry, feathered and/or scaled friends: we are either pet-owners or poorly adjusted human beings who are incapable of forming real, meaningful relationships and doomed to a life of loneliness and social ineptitude.

Searching for some nostalgia

The Searchers

Frank Allen remembers a time when all he and his band had to do was walk on stage and the crowd screamed.

Tech team swings into action

Behind the scenes: Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!

The technical crew move into the Civic Theatre on the Thursday, July 24. Their nemesis is time.

Gangland killings a shock

REVIEWED BY MARK HOTTON

Set against a backdrop of six o'clock closings, a Chicago-style underworld, bent cops, prostitution and the lure of a quick buck or two, the book helpfully provides a brief history of the sly-grog dens in Auckland, which helps create an interesting backdrop to the environment in which the murders took place.

Southland hits the right note

St Kilda Brass Band

Southland's mild weather has been praised as organisers wrap up the New Zealand brass band championships. | Visitors play prosperity's tune

True story is gripping reading

book cover

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

This book shows that a true story can be every bit as exciting as any work of fiction a Hollywood scriptwriter could come up with.

Brothers' lip fitness

Getting down to brass tacks

liam and jack bewley

It might sound like the latest Hollywood exercise fad but lip fitness is serious business for the Bewley brothers.

Performing arts centre plans dealt blow

Trevor Daley

Plans for an art centre adjoining the Scottish Hall have had their bid for funding rejected.

City music teacher gains honorary membership

Piano

A visiting music examiner says performance challenges for musicians are growing.

Special skills lost to a wide circle of people

Anna Chilton

Southland's art world shrank with the sudden passing at the end of June of Anna Schneideman Chilton.

Great read captures Kiwi experience

book cover

REVIEWED BY JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

Going on the big OE is something of a rite of passage for many young Kiwis, so it should come as no surprise that there is now a book looking at the history of this trend.

American Bandstand to entertain Invercargill

invercargill lipstick

A golden era of American music will be revisited in a show in Invercargill this week.

Whimsical work a little gem

Edwin's Egg

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN

Newly published collections by former New Zealand Poet Laureate Cilla McQueen, Owen Marshall and southerner Kay McKenzie Cooke are poetic gems.

Fire-breathing robot dinosaurs 'boring'

transformers4

MOVIE REVIEW: There is a fire breathing robot dinosaur. And that's really all there is to say about Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Unsung heroes make magic happen

Behind the scenes: Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia

We go backstage with Invercargill Musical Theatre to gain an insight into what it takes to produce a show like "Mamma Mia!"

Free to perform

Home detention is fertile creative ground

Daimon Schwalger

A not-so-chance meeting with an undercover cop has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for international music artist Daimon Schwalger, aka The Nomad.

Huge amount of work before rehearsals begin

Behind the scenes: Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia rehearsal

One thing not often considered when it comes to a stage production is the preparation the cast put in before they even reach rehearsal.

Reunion could have been better

Blended

OPINION: MOVIE REVIEW: In 1998 The Wedding Singer graced our cinema screens with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. In 2004, Sandler and Barrymore fell in love again in 50 First Dates. Now, 10 years on, the romantic comedy couple are back.

Shining a light on Wellington's vampires

 Jemaine Clement(Vladislav), Ben Fransham(Petyr), and Taika Waititi

OPINION: MOVIE REVIEW: There's no real storyline to hang the action on here, which makes sense given the nature of the film. It's also very, very, very funny.

Faultless big screen adaptation

The fault in our stars

MOVIE REVIEW: If you haven't heard of young-adult author John Green, then boy oh boy, "The Fault in Our Stars" is certainly the best and most emotional way be introduced.

Rockquest teen bands get shot at stardom

The Fiends

Students are hoping to find a path to fame and fortune at the Central Otago Smokefree Rockquest finals.

Dancers heading to Hong Kong

Jazztime group

Young dancers from Jazztime will take part in workshops, visit a refuge and dance at Disneyland.
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