CityLife Arts

Festival ends this weekend, but show goes on

By CityLife Arts Writer

The on going National Arts festival, which started on June 25 and official ends this weekend does not mean that arts lovers who might have missed some shows will not be able to catch up.

This follows the decision by the organisers to extend some shows that this year are happening on the virtual world, to go beyond the festival official schedule.
Creating a Festival in the online space means that even as it happens, it is being captured in time and space; shrugging off the calendar that a normal Festival would have.

With so much to see in so little time, it’s good to know that you have right up until 16 July to watch all the shows you missed. Even more exciting is that there is a whole crop of new shows being added to the vFringe until the end of July – so you’ll still have lots to stay on for.

This weekend’s exciting new releases include  Pepper’s Ghost at the Centre for the Less Good Idea, co-curated by William Kentridge and Phala Ookeditse Phala, which plays with illusion through live performance; Nico Athene’s uneasy blurring of lines between fact and fiction in Together Apart; and four distinct interpretations of South African artist Dumile Feni’s work by Nora chipaumire, Chuma Sopotela, Dorothée Munyaneza and Nadia Beugré.

The work of Standard Bank Young Artists Jefferson Tshabalala, Seen Pha Kwa J.B!, and Lulu Mlangeni (Lesedi – The Rise of Lulu Mlangeni) is on the weekend’s line-up as well.

Algorithms, avatars and animation – the Creative Programme continues to fan the flames of innovation and fun with an assortment of eclectic workshops and webinars. Bru and Boegie South Africa’s first full-length animated 2D movie, was released yesterday, and the Makhanda Virtual Film Festival  premieres no less than 8 films in its inaugural appearance.

The CPO’s rendition of Verdi’s Requiem and Peter Marten’s Six Bach Suites vie for attention with Jill Richards’ and Waldo Alexander’s Beethoven’s 250. This weekend’s jazz line-up includes Eastern Cape Jazz stalwarts Vuyolwethu Nyangwa and Mlungisi Gegana as well as Thandiswa Mazwai, Mi Casa and Lana Crowster from the Standard Bank Jazz Festival programme.  

From Whatsapp theatre, to music experiences, documentaries to dance – there is no shortage of works to engage with. Buy a Festival Pass and continue to enjoy it all! 

Shoppers’ delight: A Treasure Trove at the Virtual Green
Just about 280 different stalls make up the 2020 Virtual Green and there really is ‘something amazing for everyone’.

Traders, who have lost out on a whole season of fairs and festivals, have pulled out all the stops to show off their wares – stunning ceramic bowls line up beside intricately carved furniture; eco-friendly wraps nestle with beautifully beaded necklaces and bracelets; and soothing balms and hot oils rub shoulders with pillows and throws and other simple but stunning  home décor items.

Surfers, tourists, teenagers – there’s a T for you on the Virtual Green clothes horse, for gardeners there’s galoshes, for the sleepy, there’s slippers; and even dogs get beautiful beds and nutritious bikkies. 

Remember that new year’s promise to get the Christmas shopping done early? This is the solution! Happy shopping! Fearless. Funky. Fun.

VFringe Takes to the Stage

The vFringe has arrived and is dishing up a smorgasbord of theatre, music, cabaret, comedy and more. Expect to be challenged and provoked; to be shocked, saddened, uplifted, healed. Join in the craziness, the banter, the music and dance. Come for a ride on the vFringe train! 

Classical music from i Grandi Tenori, acoustic rock from Hatchetman, Gospel and soul from Ikhona, Bollywood rock from Shashika Mooruth, rap from Nuance and Friends, and jazz from Christine Kamao and uNqulo …  that’s just a smattering of the music on offer. 

Youngsters will be enchanted by Patrick Kenny’s William Becomes a Warrior and Carol Preston’s Stuppet Stories and the Zip Zap Circus’ Once Upon a Circus will wow the whole family.

In Township Talks: The Suitcase, writer/director Thami aka Mbongo looks at the world of drugs, crime and gangsterism; and Beast in Him from the Masifunde Academy of Creativity is a sobering look at life for many young women in South Africa.

Brendon Peel is in The Absolutely Mental Magic Show, Followspot make their online debut with Manband, and Mike van Graan brings a highlights package with Quantative Teasing starring Daniel Mpilo Richards. And what Festival is complete without a dose of Raiders? Raiders of the Lost Aardvark is a documentary on the making of the 21st anniversary show, starring Nicholas and Luke Ellenbogen. These are just some of the many, many shows you need to see before the end of July – and more are being added every day. 

 Inspiring. Curious. Contemplative.VFringe Art Galleries

In Makhanda, the Fringe Visual Art galleries are often over-looked by harried Festival visitors rushing to their next theatrical fix, but this year it is different. The vFringe galleries provide a soothing alternate to the noise outside.

These rooms, crammed with an artist’s perspective of their immediate world, are safe spaces for reflection. Some of the work is beautiful, real, unfettered; some is chaotic, proud, even dangerous; there is more that is abstract – crying out for understanding; shaking a fist at the world.

Oils, acrylics, water colours. Graphics. Ceramics, photography, pencil drawings. Linocuts, fabric art. The galleries show the work of more than 40 South African artists – and each gallery is stamped through with the artist’s personality. Deserving of a visit, the vFringe art galleries will remain open until the end of July.
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