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Sunday, September 29, 2019

WOW announces winners for 2019

The Lady Warrior
The organisers of the 2019 World of WearableArts have announced the winners for this year.

This year's Supreme Award was won by Indonesian designer Rinaldy Yunardi (The Lady Warrior, pictured above).

Yunardi has entered previously.  In 2017 – his first entry – he also won, taking out the Supreme Award and the Avant-garde Section with his garment, Encapsulate.

The Lady Warrior has won the Avant-garde section of the awards show.  Yunardi has also managed to add an extra award, being the Asia International Design award.

For this year's entry, Yunardi  was inspired by what he calls  "toughest warrior of all" – Woman.

His entry incorporates the role of a daughter, a wife and a mother.

"I used various mediums of materials to represent the different elements of The Lady Warrior. Recycled paper made into rope and woven tightly together represents humanity and inner strength built from her experiences," he said.

As the supreme winner, Yunardi wins $30,000 - from a total prize pool of $180,000.

WOW founder and resident judge Dame Suzie Moncrieff said Yunardi's design "demonstrated perfect balance and form, as well as immaculate craftsmanship."

"The Lady Warrior conveys a stunning fragility which is perfectly balanced with a subtle strength. The judges particularly loved the use of traditional weaving to create a piece that is so contemporary."

In 2019, designers from 43 countries and regions entered in the hope of their garment making it
through the judging process and appearing on stage as a World of WearableArt Awards finalist.
Finalists come from an incredibly diverse range of backgrounds, professional and
non-professional, and working in the fields of fashion, art, costume and theatre, along with
students and first-time entrants.

This year the 115 finalist designers were presented with six design provocations, which
subsequently form the six worlds of the stage show. Three of these thematic worlds are
recurring - Aotearoa, Avant-garde and Open, and three are new for 2019 - Mythology,
Transform and White.

Woven In-tent by Kirsten Fletcher (Queensland, Australia)
WOW’s 2019 judging panel is comprised of WOW Founder and resident judge Dame Suzie
Moncrieff, innovative Auckland-based designer James Dobson of fashion label Jimmy D and
acclaimed multimedia sculptor Gregor Kregar. In addition, a number of awards were judged by
Sir Richard Taylor, CEO and Creative Director of Weta Workshop, B. Åkerlund, iconic fashion
activist and co-founder of The Residency Experience in Los Angeles, and Melissa Thompson,
Cirque du Soleil’s Montreal-based Creative Intelligence Team Lead + Conceptrice.

Dame Suzie Moncrieff, WOW Founder and resident judge says: “Each year we are presented
with the most extraordinary garments and each year it gets harder and harder to judge as there
are so many outstanding works.

This year has been no exception. I have been astounded by the wide range of materials used and the intricacy and originality of the designs. It is the highlight of my year and is an exhilarating and humbling experience to view this stage full of the world’s best examples of wearable art and to appreciate the immense amount of work that goes into each one of them”.

This year's WOW awards had a 108 garments enter from 115 designers across many countries. The WOW season runs from September 26 to October 13.

The Lady Warrior by Rinaldy Yunardi (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Winner: Supreme WOW Award / Winner: Avant-garde Section / Winner: International Design Award: Asia

Woven In-tent by Kirsten Fletcher (Queensland, Australia) / Winner: The Residency Experience Award / Winner: International Design Award: Australia & Pacific Runner Up: Supreme WOW Award
Second: Avant-garde Section

Waka Huia
Waka Huia by Kayla Christensen (Island Bay, Wellington) / Winner: Dame Suzie Moncrieff Award
Third: Aotearoa Section

Natural Progression by Dylan Mulder (Wellington) / Winner: Aotearoa Section /
inner: Wearable Technology Award

Kaitiaki by Lisa Vanin (Cambridge, Hamilton) / Winner: New Zealand Design Award
Second: Aotearoa Section

Chrysanthemum & Amphitrite by Jack Irving (London, United Kingdom) / Winner: Open Section
Winner: International Design Award: United Kingdom & Europe

Regnum Dei by Daniella Sasvári & Aaron La Roche (Upper Hutt, Wellington) / Second: Open Section

Collide-o-Scope by Vicky Robertson (Newtown, Wellington) / Third: Open Section

Gemini: The twins
Gemini: the Twins by Dawn Mostow & Ben Gould (Atlanta, United States) / Winner: International Design Award: Overall / Winner: International Design Award: Americas / Third: Avant-garde Section

Huaxia Totem by Sun Ye, Miao Yuxin & Yuan Jue (Shanghai, China) / Winner: White Section
Winner: Weta Workshop Emerging Designer Award / The Blomar by Akhilesh Gupta (Bangalore, India) / Second: White Section

Enlightened by Michelle Wade (New South Wales, Australia) & Adam Wade (Hawke’s Bay,
New Zealand) / Third: White Section

Infini-D by Tara Morelos, Ahmad Mollahassani & Nelia Justo (Sydney, Australia)
Third: Transform Section

Sea Urchin Explosion by Jack Irving (London, United Kingdom) / Winner: Cirque du Soleil Invited Artisan Award / Winner: Transform Section

Dress Up Dolls by Meg Latham (Motueka, Nelson) /  Second: Transform Section

Banshee of the Bike Lane 
Banshee of the Bike Lane by Grace DuVal (Chicago, United States) / Winner: Mythology Section

Soul Guardian by Chang Yi-Wei (New Taipei City, Taiwan) / Second: Mythology Section

The Moirai - the Shape of Us by Tina Hutchison-Thomas (St Albans, Christchurch) / Third: Mythology Section

Wrath of Medusa by Edyta Jermacz (Suchy Las, Poland) / Winner: First-time Entrant Award

Walk All Over Me by Louise Dyhrfort (London, United Kingdom) / Winner: Student Innovation Award

Engolfed by Leanne Day (Papakura, Auckland) / Winner: Sustainability Award

Protest: Third National Climate Change Strike

The third national climate change strike will go down in history as the largest held in Aotearoa.  Friday's strike action in the name of climate change attracted over 170,000 nationwide, according to the strike's organisers.  This is larger than NZ's 1951 industrial strike that saw 22,000 wharfies on the picket lines for 151 days (February to July).  It even out did this year's mega teachers' strike.

I personally saw thousands in the Capital holding placards and signs.  The March stretched from Civic Square to Parliament with no breaks.  In Lambton quay it took over both sides at one point.  Children and adults alike gathered to demand positive and definitive change mitigate the effects of climate change.

 In Wellington organisers, who were mainly High School students, reported 40,000 protesters.  An estimated 80,000 filled Auckland's Aotea Square; 9000 in Christchurch; 9000 in Dunedin; and another 2000 in Palmerston North and Tauranga.

There were believed to be about 45 events occurring nationally.  'School Strike 4 Climate New Zealand' spokesperson Sophie Handford said info was from people at each event, advice from councils, police.

The events were inspired by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, who spoke at the UN this week.  Handford is reported to have said the turnout was so large because people are so much more aware of the urgency of the situation. With local body elections, a general election and events in the UN in New York this week, people are on full alert and know they have power to get leaders to take change.  "More and more people are realising that our elected leaders aren't going to take action on the climate crisis without people using their power to show how important this is." (she told

School Strike 4 Climate New Zealand national coordinator Raven Maeder was reported to say that  everyone should march. "We want people from all walks of life to join us, I can't imagine a future where people are shamed for joining us. They will be celebrated."

Photos and Youtube slide session by Tim Gruar

Thursday, September 26, 2019

World Of WearableArts 2019 - Another fantastical night out!

Banshee of the Bike Lane by Grace DuVal (Chicago, United States) / Winner: Mythology Section
I can't remember how many WOW shows I've seen over the years but every year they seem to outdo the last.  I was privileged to talk to Musical Director Paul McLaney, who gave me a small insight into what was planned for this season.  But nothing prepared me for what I encountered at last night's Preview!

I don't want to give too much away, so I'll have to be a bit of a generalist.  What I can say is that I was totally blown away by the massive projection screen that opens up across the entire back of the stage - as wide at the TSB arena itself!  The imagery moves from Ice Caves to huge animated eyes to steam punk industrial scenes. 

Director of Choreography Sarah Foster-Sproull has done a superb job conveying Artistic Andy Packer's futuristic dystopian muddle.  As always, models decide how to 'move' in their individual costumes - some with little movement, some with great dramatic flourishes.  Then there's the circus performers and rope artists, who melt with the regular ensemble who carry the themes between each bracket.  One of the most memorable was a reinterpretation of the barricades of Les Miserables.   She included deep sea divers, urchins, a crazy violinist, drummers and a jazz band. Another amazing moment includes a large group of children and all other ages carrying inflated 'worms' on sticks like they do during the dragon festivals.  What the actual purpose was, I cannot say.  Did it matter?

I am very jealous of Chris Petridis's lighting.  As a budding lighting operator myself, I don't think I'll get to play with the massive bank of ultra-cool LED's that cut between colours and washes with split second precision.  The tandem effort between the lighting and John Strang's AV animations was near perfect.  Only twice (for only a second) was there a tiny misfit.  Together they created some fantastic atmospheres for the costumes.  Sometimes there was a bit of a visual clash as the eyes are over demanded by such an explosion.  But this has always been part of the WOW experience.

As far as the costumes go.  Well, what can I say.  To lead the design themes, the competition asked for entries loosely based around 6 themes, which all show up in surprising ways: Elizabethan, Architecture,  Monochromatic, Avant-Garde, Open and Aotearoa.  From the entries they are shown in to six distinct categories for the competition.  We got to see all the finalist's work last night, with photos of the costumes clearly printed in the programme (a must to get if you're going!)

The first is 'Blindingly Beautiful', where all the costumes are pure white.  Many this year incorporated variations on lacework, and one by India' s Akhilesh Gupta ('The Blomar') reminded me of those elaborate paper cards you see in shopping mall stalls, with their intricate details cut with scalpel precision.  Her's was also mechanical, opening like an impossibly fragile infrastructure.

'Connections Run Deep' was the Aotearoa section.  As with last year, there were plenty of references to our Colonial past.  Kayla Christensen's Waka Huia carried on an idea I saw last year of huge wearable paintings with portraits of wahine on each.  Lynne Dunphy played with our dubious land trading heritage, making three sets of clothes (with colonial themes) out of woolen blankets (get it muskets and blankets traded for lands?)

The open section this year had a new name, too.  'Wonder Has No Bounds'.  A chance to really experiment.Jack Irving did just that.  The UK designer gave up a life sized 50s atomic illustration made of inflatable plastics.  It was kitsch like a lilo, or a blow up cactus.  Hi second piece was completely bizarre, as if the model ha fallen into a spiked blow up paddling pool.  Her upper torso was completely covered by a large clear inflated sphere.  You had to wonder how she breathed. 

Mythology gave designers a real go at exploring the lurking elephant in the  WOW room: Cosplay.  Ever since its conception, the competition has straddled a fine line between Halloween party costumes and art.  'Where Stories Begin' is a chance to embrace that.  Works varied between birds and superhero villains.  One, aptly named 'Banshee of the Fallen Bike Lane' (by US' Grace DuVal, was made of bicycle tyres and parts.  This one stood out as a 'howling spectre to fallen cyclists'.

The Transform section ('Nothing is at it seems') features costumes that move or transform into other shapes, lights or colours.  The orange inflatable sea urchin (by Jack irving) and Anna Baines' multi layered flower ('Bloom') were clear standouts in this category.

Aptly titled 'Blurring The Lines', the avant-garde section offers a chance to really get crazy,  Yet most of the entries this year were pretty conservative.  Some were more like theatrical period costumes or even real fashion.  There was an emphasis on care and detail, which didn't necessarily come through unless you were up close to the garments.  China's Lyu Lu and Gu Yiheng gave us "Faceless" - an entirely black, faceless anonymous character inspired by an origami method called RES that transforms 2D into 3D.  'Dearth Extern' by Aussie Nicola Rule made a strong female witch character that would feel right at home in 'Lord Of The Rings' or a Harry Potter film.

There were a number of returning designers, including Ian Bernhard, whose had winning entries in 2013, 2014, 2016, and last year.  He's back this year with a colourful costume called 'Joan', with it's sleek aviation helmet and and spiky shoulder pads.  It reminded me of the evil queen in Snow White.

Sadly, one category was missing.  The amazing and fantastically whimsical bra section was not there this year.  It seemed like a bit of  a hole.  With that section gone, the humour and fancifulness of the competition was missing - absent but returning we hope.

There is plenty more to see in this year's show.  But I don't want to spoil it for you.  Once again the star shaped set is set and the costumes, dancer, musicians and lighting are ready.  Dress flashy, buy bubbles at the bar and soak it all up.  An amazing show.  Well down everybody!

CoffeeBar Kid


Nominees for the Vodafone Music Awards

The finalists for this year's 2019 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards have just come out.  Alt artists are leading the race with Aldous Harding, The Beths, Troy Kingi and Avantdale Bowling Club all showing high in the category lists.

Some awards like the Pacific and Jazz sections have already been announced but there's plenty more.  The official Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards will on telly, live on Three on November 14 (8.30pm).  We plebs can also join in the fun, for a price: General public tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Finally, the Westies get their day: The Legacy award this year will go to one of our favourite pub-stomper bands Th' Dudes.  Bliss, indeed.

And the nominees are (roll those drums!):

Album of the Year
Aldous Harding - Designer
Avantdale Bowling Club - Avantdale Bowling Club
Broods - Dont Feed The Pop Monster
Marlon Williams - Live at the Town Hall
Mitch James - Mitch James
The Beths - Future Me Hates Me

Vodafone Single of the Year
Aldous Harding - The Barrel
Benee - Soaked
Church & AP - Ready or Not
Drax Project - All This Time
Six60 - The Greatest
The Beths - Future Me Hates Me

Three Best Solo Artist
Aldous Harding - Designer
Avantdale Bowling Club - Avantdale Bowling Club
Benee - Fire On Marzz
Mitch James - Mitch James

Beatwars - IV
Broods - Dont Feed The Pop Monster
L.A.B - L.A.B II
The Beths - Future Me Hates Me

Smirnoff Best Breakthrough Artist
Baynk - Someones EP II
Benee - Fire On Marzz
Church & AP - Ready Or Not
The Beths - Future Me Hates Me

Pop Artist of the Year
Benee - Fire On Marzz
Broods - Dont Feed The Pop Monster
Mitch James - Mitch James

Aldous Harding - Designer
The Beths - Future Me Hates Me
Tiny Ruins - Olympic Girls

Beastwars - IV
Racing - Real Dancing
Villainy - Raised In The Dark

Hip Hop
Avantdale Bowling Club - Avantdale Bowling Club
Chursch & AP - Cathedral/All Purpose
Diggy Dupe - Island Time

Soul / R&B
Bailey Wiley - Bailey Wiley
Louis Baker - Open
Rei - The Bridge

L.A.B - L.A.B II
Lost Tribe Aotearoa
Troy Kingi & The Upperclass - Holy Colony Burning Acres

Louis Baker - Open
Rei - The Bridge
Troy Kingi & The Upperclass - Holy Colony Burning Acres

Pacific Heights - A Lost Light
Sweet Mix Kids
Tali - Love & Migration

Michael Houston & Bella Hristova - The Complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas
Simon O'Neill - Distant Beloved
The Linkwood Guitar Duo - Music from New Zealand for Two Guitars

Equippers Worship - Equiipers Worship
Harbourside Worship - Collide
Jule Riding - Rivers

Josh Fountain - various
Simon Gooding
Ji Fraser
Eli Paewai - Mitch James (Mitch James)
Tom Healy - Olympic Girls (Tiny Ruins)

Ben Lawson & Vivek Gabriel - Avantdale Bowling Club (Avantdale Bowling Club)
Josh Fountain - various
Simon Gooding - Mitch James (Mitch James)

Album Cover
Jaime Robertson - A Quiet Divide (Rhian Sheehan)
Mike Braid - Raised In The Dark (Villainy)
Tim Harper & Dick Frizzell - Offering (Various Artists)

Music Video
Jason Bock - Feeling Free (Leisure)
Martin Sagadin & Aldous Harding - The Barrel (Aldous Harding)
Vision Thing - Rock Bottom (Randa)

Music Teacher of the Year
Duncan Ferguson
Jane Egan
Sue Banham

Legacy Award
Th' Dudes

Anna van Riel - Fishing For Stars
Craig Smith - Not Just For Kids 2
Marian Burns - Songs For Kids

Winner: Craig Smith - Not Just For Kids 2

Great North- the Golden Age
Jono Heyes - 9 Pilgrims
The Frank Burkitt Band- Raconteur

Winner: The Frank Burkitt Band- Raconteur

Kings - Love & Ego
SWIDT - The Most Electrifying
Tomorrow People - BBQ Reggae

Winner: Tomorrow People - BBQ Reggae

Jenny Mitchell - Wildfires
Jamie McDell - Extraordinary Girl
Tami Neilson- Sassafrass!

Winner: Jenny Mitchell- Wildfires

Antipodes- Good Winter
Dog - No Dogs Allowed
GRG67 -The Thing

Winner: GRG67- The Thing

Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards

WOMAD 2020 Announces the First Two Acts

WOMAD New Zealand has just announced the first two acts for next year's festival plus a whole heap of other goodies.  

Up in Taranaki the organisers for the 2020 festival have been secretly brewing up a heady concoction of artists, writers and performers, culminating in over 100 hours of music, dance and voices across eight stages and running over three days at Ngāmotu's stunning Brooklands Park and the TSB Bowl of Brooklands.  Once again the venue will be transformed into a village of colour, energy and inclusion.  

The full line up will be announced at a special event at Parliament on Tuesday, 15th October.  But for now WOMAD New Zealand is thrilled to share two of the international artists performing and the first two World Of Words artists for the 16th year anniversary of the festival. 

For 2020, the mesmerising duo of Welsh harpist Catrin Finch & Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita will be making a welcome festival appearance as will living legends of gospel music Blind Boys of Alabama

Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh

The ever-expanding World Of Words stage, now held on the sun-drenched lawn of the Kunming Garden will be hosting beloved entertainer Te Radar and pacific poet Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh

WOMAD New Zealand is also elated to announce two new additions to the festival for 2020.

Te Radar
Being hosted on a brand new stage in the tranquil setting of the Pinetum is WOMAD New Zealand's first-ever STEAM Lab. Come and hear speakers from Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics fields talk about incredible breakthroughs and their journey of innovation.

Chessie Henry
Introducing WOMAD New Zealand's inaugural Book Club. The book chosen for the 2020 festival is Chessie Henry's We Can Make A Life.  Book Club aims to bring people together to express their perspectives and explore the themes within the book while getting insights from Chessie herself.

WOMAD New Zealand remains a place to bring artists together from all over the globe to break down barriers, educate, inform and inspire. Come and lose yourself in the sights, sounds, and tastes that blend together to make up the vibrant WOMAD experience!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

WOW Musical Director talks to the CoffeeBar Kid

WOW 2018 - Photo by Tim Gruar

The CoffeeBar Kid catches up with Kiwi music legend Paul McLaney who is returning for a second year as Music Director for World of WearableArt. McLaney’s career has spanned acoustic music as a solo artist, rock and pop with Gramsci and ambient electronica The Impending Adorations. He is the Director of Music for the Pop-up Globe. We first talked to McLaney when he was MD during the World of Wearable Art in 2018 Once again he'll bring together a medley of talented Kiwi musicians spanning genres from drum and bass and electronica to symphony, jazz and blues to create music for each Section of the Show.

Note: Music in this interview was found, sampled and mixed by Tim Gruar and not from WOW 2019.

WOW 2018 - Photo by Tim Gruar

World of WearableArt (WOW) combines an international wearable art competition with a spectacular stage show.  For over 30 years New Zealand’s single largest theatrical production attracts entries by designers from all around the world working at the cutting edge of fashion, art, design, costume and theatre, alongside students and first-time entrants.

For three weeks every year, World of WearableArt showcases the best of these creations in a spectacular show that takes over New Zealand’s vibrant capital city of Wellington in an explosion of creativity.

The National WOW Museum in Nelson, New Zealand, houses a collection of the most extraordinary garments selected from World of WearableArt’s past season and currently houses the 2018 World of WearableArt Exhibition, with over 60 finalist garments on display.

WOW 2018 - Photo by Tim Gruar

The World of WearableArt Awards Show is divided into six Sections:
three recurrent Sections, and three specific to 2019.

AOTEAROA has its own deep sense of place. This Section draws on that to celebrate
who we are as people and what makes us proud. From our rich cultures to our landscapes,
from our independence to our inventions, designers show us New Zealand and New
Zealanders as they see us.

OPEN is a world with no thematic boundaries, designers have complete freedom to
explore and create their own design. The only limit is their imagination.
AVANT-GARDE is a world that is experimental, radical and unorthodox; a rebellion
against the norm.  Daring to defy the boundaries of fashion, designers create work that is
cutting-edge, rejecting the ordinary and nurturing originality.

MYTHOLOGY is about other worlds and dimensions; fantastical stories of fearsome
monsters and creatures, gods and goddesses, demigods and supernatural humans.
Designers gather their inspiration from a vast treasure trove of tales. Dark and mysterious;
exuberant and outlandish, ethereal and dreamy.

TRANSFORM Designers were challenged to create a work that changes in form,
nature and appearance. To play and innovate with different mechanisms to reveal
unexpected aspects of their garment. The transformation can be playful and humorous,
striking or startling.

WHITE represents a spectrum of emotions, white can be associated with peace, light,
love, perfection, purity and spirituality. In some parts of the world, white can also
represent death and mourning; in others it is associated with angels, good health and
time. Inspiration may be found in sheer simplicity, sculptural boldness, intricate detail or
experimenting with layers, light and shadow, proportion or scale.

 WOW 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Laneway 2019 Line Up Announced!

The most exciting rock band on the planet.

A pop artist who is as successful as she is boundary-pushing. One of the finest electronic acts in recent years. Australia’s most productive psych-rock band. And so much more. The 2020 Laneway line-up is here!

Returning to Auckland’s Albert Park on Monday 27 January, we're proud to present a line-up that guarantees this is where you want to spend your Auckland Anniversary Day.

 Tickets go on sale from 9am, Thursday 26 September!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

2019 Silver Scroll Awards - Who's your pick to win?

2019 APRA Silver Scroll Award nominees… 

Alien Weaponry: Ahi Kā 
Anika Moa: Buttercup 
Foley: Can’t Help The Way 
Ladi6: Diagonals 
Chaii: Digebasse (Enough) 
 Broods: Dust 
Miloux: Enough 
Mousey: Extreme Highs 
The Beths: Happy Unhappy 
Mel Parsons: Just ‘Cause You Don’t Want Me 
SWIDT: No Emotions In The Wild 
Anthonie Tonnon: Old Images 
Tiny Ruins: Olympic Girls 
Church & AP: Ready Or Not 
Benee: Soaked 
Aldous Harding: The Barrel 
Lydia Cole: The Sacred 
 Ha The Unclear: Where Were You When I Was All You Needed 
Avantdale Bowling Club: Years Gone By 

APRA members will vote to determine the five finalists and overall winner of this year’s Silver Scroll Award. The nominated songs were selected from over 200 entries by a judging panel that included; Amanda Cheng (Wax Chattels), Anna Coddington, Chris Mac (Six60), Godfrey de Grut, Jordan Arts (Leisure/High Hoops), Mark Williams (Slave/Fat Freddy’s Drop), Nick Atkinson (Hopetoun Brown), Ria Hall and Tyra Hammond.

 The 2018 winner was Marlon Williams, while other previous winners include revered Kiwi songwriters like Dave Dobbyn, Neil Finn and Bic Runga, and (then) newcomer likes of Ella Yelich-O’Connor (Lorde) & Joel Little, Ruban and Kody Nielson (Unknown Mortal Orchestra).

The 2019 edition of the awards takes place on October 2 at Auckland’s Spark Arena. The evening will also see the induction of a Kiwi songwriter (or songwriters) into the NZ Music Hall of Fame.