New Zealand’s Cup

Originally published July 3, 2013 in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.  America's Cup, seen by many here as a billionaire's boat race, looks very different Down Under, with its culture of sailing and maritime innovation. A few weeks ago I was walking down the dock in the marina where I live, in Wellington, New Zealand, … Continue reading New Zealand’s Cup

Fell in love with the bassist

Originally published April 3, 2013 in Capital Times.  We listened to Being There that winter it snowed so much we could jump off the balcony. One summer, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was the soundtrack at every barbeque. Sky Blue Sky took me to California and all the Mermaid Avenue volumes across the sea to New Zealand. I … Continue reading Fell in love with the bassist

Take it from the heart

Originally published March 27, 2013 in Capital Times.  The way Albert Dadon sees it, being a successful musician means being a good businessman. Fortunately, he’s both. “I’m a business musician. Music is part of everything I do,” says the man who plays jazz under the banner Albare, but signs important property development documents with the name … Continue reading Take it from the heart

Swan song for the sea

Originally published March 20, 2013 in Capital Times.  When Mara Simpson and her guitar landed back in New Zealand she made a goal to go swimming every day. Well, almost every day, she confesses to Amanda Witherell at a café on a morning before the sun’s high enough to hit the beach. When Mara and The … Continue reading Swan song for the sea

Not playing it cool

Originally published March 13, 2013 in Capital Times.  Eamonn Marra hates being labelled, and it is impossible to say he’s one thing. Writer, musician, student, radio show DJ, zine-maker, prolific reader, relentless multimedia chronicler of life at http://www.yourjokesarealwaysbad.tumblr.com – all of the above applies. Since he moved to Wellington about a year ago, he’s added stand-up … Continue reading Not playing it cool

From barre to bar

Originally published February 20, 2013 in Capital Times.  Royal New Zealand Ballet and local brewery Garage Project don’t seem like drinking buddies, but they’re putting together a special pilsner-powered performance to celebrate the world premiere of Bier Halle – quite possibly the first ballet about beer. The connection with Garage Project came through one of the … Continue reading From barre to bar

The New Zealand that never was

Originally published February 7, 2013 in Capital Times.  What does it take to go from the apex of Fringe Festivals – Edinburgh – to Wellington’s own three week bonanza of performance? Sixty puppets, 56,000 roads that only exist on paper, and a very large suitcase. Amanda Witherell walks down The Road That Wasn’t There with Ralph … Continue reading The New Zealand that never was

Diplomatic Ladies

Originally published on January 23, 2013 in Capital Times. An affair with H.G. Wells, hidden homosexuality, undercover spies, and coups before teatime, Diplomatic Ladies: New Zealand’s Unsung Envoys is a page-turning account of what really goes on behind embassy doors. Not just a chronicle of juicy anecdotes, the book details the inherent sacrifices wives and … Continue reading Diplomatic Ladies

A short ride with Band of Horses

Originally published January 9, 2012 in Capital Times.  When a band gets big – selling out shows, touring the world, opening for Pearl Jam, and getting Grammy nominations – the handlers really limit their contact with journalists. Yet, the musicians in Band of Horses have always seemed like they’re just out there having a good … Continue reading A short ride with Band of Horses

These farms deliver

Evil Genius record store in Berhampore is an unlikely place to get a box of vegetables, but that’s where some Wellington residents go for theirs every Thursday. They’re not perusing the vinyl looking for victuals, though – they’re subscribers to Wairarapa Eco Farms’ Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme. The concept is simple, but the ramifications … Continue reading These farms deliver