Loads to do in Jozi over the next 10 days

2 floors of exhibitors

2 floors of exhibitors at the Turbine Hall

I can’t ever give a gift that I don’t personally like (although I make an exception when it comes to sport-loving sons), so my things to do in Joburg always reflect my personal tastes and interests. You won’t find any suggestions of air shows, expos at Northgate or events at Emperor’s Palace. This last week-end I went the Turbine Art Fair and loved the selection of art on offer: really accessible, reasonable and varied – something for all art-loving income brackets.  Next year I am going to make sure I make the time to go to some of the talks, and have a more leisurely visit. There’s live music, a couple of great pop up cafes and the space of the Turbine Hall lends itself to the these kinds of events.

 

 

Kawanabe Kyosai’s Crow on a Snowy Plum 1880s

Kawanabe Kyosai’s Crow on a Snowy Plum 1880s

You can still catch Fiona Pole’s exhibition Le monde flottant at Arts On Paper at 44 Stanley until 1 August. Pole references traditional Japanese woodcuts including Kawanabe’s Kyosai’s famous images of Crow on a Snowy Plum. AOP also has a great edition of Norman Catherine prints – my friend and I were both sorely tempted at the Art Fair.

 

 

 

 

Kyõsai's Crow  2015  Linocut, chine collé  Edition 5  97X92 cm

Kyõsai’s Crow 2015 Linocut, chine collé Edition 5 97X92 cm

In addition, Wilhelm van Rensburg, curator of the Pierneef exhibition at the Standard Bank Gallery, will be holding walkabouts of this exhibition on Wednesday 22nd at 1 pm as well as Saturday 1st at 10 and Wednesday 8th at 1pm.  Booking is essential sue.isaac@standardbank.co.za. While we are on walkabouts, you’ll need to juggle as Gordon Froud has walkabouts of the touring exhibition Twenty: Art in the time of Democracy on Wed 22 July also at 1 pm and Sat 1 August also at 10. The exhibition has recently returned from a tour of the USA and many of South Africa’s artistic luminaries have works on this group show, so it will be well worth the visit to the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery.

One of the reasons I didn’t have time to finish my orgy of art viewing at the Art Fair was that I had booked matinee tickets for We Didn’t Come to Hell for Croissants: 7 Deadly New Stories for Consenting Adults  showing at the Wits Theatre as part of the 969 festival.  Jemma Khan and Roberto Pombo are quite superb in this extraordinary piece of theatre. If you do one thing this week, book for the last show (Wednesday 1.15). It’s clever, witty and completely outrageous .. be warned. For R30 this has to be the best value for money you will get all year.  Book on Webtickets.co.za for this show and other productions showing at the 969 Festival which finishes on 26th July.

More exciting events at Wits include the long-awaited beadwork exhibition which opens at WAM on 28th July at 6 pm. The Standard Bank Collection housed at Wits includes one of the finest collections of  Southern African beadwork in the country. Beadwork, Art and the Body runs until 11th October.

 

Braving the icy wind last year.

Last year, despite an icy wind in the early morning it did warm up during that day.

Anybody else doing the Walk the Talk this Sunday 26th?  If so remember to collect your tickets and pack from Marks Park from Wed this week any time from 7.30-5  and Sat 8-1. And for those who need to get around Joburg that day, make sure you check the 702 route and road closures on their website. Last year saw the 50,000 odd runners braving a freezing cold winter’s day, so let’s hope it’s going be warmer this year.

And if you fancy an evening out with some late night shopping make sure you get to Christmas in July  in Parkhurst on Wednesday 23rd again on 30th July. It’s always good to meander down 4th Ave Parkhurst – specialty stores, antique treasures, stylish decor shops and loads of eateries. Hopefully there’ll be gluwein and cinnamon roasted chestnuts for sale in the pavement as in previous years.

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Stay and play in Joburg on upcoming week-ends

Ice Age exhibits. Photo courtesy Joburg Tourism

Ice Age exhibits. Photo courtesy Joburg Tourism

Do Jozi-ites realize just how many domestic tourists come to the city to see big events?  Last week Liz at Lancaster had no fewer than 4 families who drove from different parts of the country to bring their children and grandchildren to see Disney on Ice.  We had very excited little ballerinas at breakfast time, all dressed and ready for their long awaited treat with lots of excitement and chatter the next morning about all the characters, including a few scary ones!   Then from one icy event to another, the next day they went off to the Ice Age exhibition at the Sandton Convention Centre to mingle with mammoths, woolly rhinos and glyptodons (bet you have to Google that one.)   It proved to be a big hit with even Granny braving the ice-slide.  Because you book a time-slot, it is not too frenetic, despite being school holidays.  However if you are going without youngsters and want to take in all the information, you can go when schools are back as the exhibition runs until the 8th August.

Just opened is the Canopy at that most fabulous of urban spaces:  the Sheds no 1 Fox St. The Canopy is open every Friday for casual lunches so make your way to the Market Shed  (loads of safe parking opposite) and enjoy a leisurely lunch in front of the Marshall Street Bar.  Choose between wraps, burgers, curries, ‘ribs, wings and things’, and other good wholesome fare, settle back with a glass of red wine and heave a sigh of relief that it’s Friday. What a way to start the week-end.

On of the many shops in Jozi inner city selling fab Sheshwe cloth

On of the many shops in Jozi inner city selling fab Sheshwe cloth

If, after lunch at the Canopy on Friday, you aren’t be able to stay away from the Sheds, you can return  on Saturday 11th  to meet at 10 for a 2 hour walking tour of inner city Jozi  with Past Experiences (the original Joburg walking tour company).  Joburg was laid out as a mining town with small stands and short blocks to maximize on taxable land and corner stands for increased business visibility. These narrow streets and short blocks were fine for pedestrians and horse-and-cart transport , but not so great for high traffic car and taxi volume in the 21st century.  So the best way to experience  Joburg is on foot.  The focus of this tour is on shopping, with possible stops including African fabric shops, a Chinese supermarket (Ferreirastown is Joburg’s original Chinatown) a record shop and a bag store. You’ll be able to scoop up bargains and might find shops that stock goodies you never even knew you needed. But be prepared to go with cash – few stores accept credit cards. For more information see http://pastexperiences.co.za/?page_id=54 They have more exciting tours coming up. On 25th July there’s a tour of Jeppestown focusing on the history of the area, graffiti and street art,  and past and present communities.

Exploring our past

Exploring our past

And if you’ve had enough of the big smoke and want to get out into the country,  book for one of the amazing tours of an active palaeontological dig out in the Cradle on 18th July. Swartkrans is one of the Cradle’s richest fossil sites and every now and again it is opened to the public.  Morris Sutton who is currently excavating at this site, shares his expertise and knowledge in an accessible and fascinating way. And to top it all there’s a wonderful picnic lunch served al fresco. I went a few years ago and would highly recommend it  – the whole affair is a real treat.  To book:  http://shop.maropeng.co.za/products/150718-18-july-swartkrans-walking-tour. It costs R400 including the picnic lunch.

 

 

Obstacles for mountain bike riders on the Delta cycle route

Obstacles for mountain bike riders on the Delta cycle route

If you plan a couch potato extravaganza this coming week-end,  watching the Tour De France and/or the Wimbledon finals, why not consider burning up some calories in advance by doing the Delta Park Run. Don’t be intimidated by the ‘run’ bit – plenty of people walk it. It starts at 8, it’s 5km,  it’s free , it’s fun and it makes one feel virtuous. What a win. Kids, dogs and everybody from speedy runners to slow amblers are welcome.  Or, if the Tour de France is an incentive to get onto that bike, why not join the hundreds of cyclists who ride the 25km long Braamfontein Spruit every week-end. Or simply have some fun on the cycle course around Delta Park. Lots of place to stop for coffee and breakfast at the end of your cycle:  Delta Cafe (near the blue bridge in Craighall Park ),  the new coffee shop near the bridge on Conrad Drive or Citizen Cafe on Conrad Drive.

Gentle live music at the Patisserie in Blairgowrie and fabulous breakfasts

Sunshine, gentle live music, and out of this world French style food at the Patisserie in Blairgowrie – the nearest thing to heaven on earth

For a real treat, loads of calories and a bask in the wonderful morning sun have breakfast at The Patisserie on Mackay Ave, Blairgowrie – there is even chilled live music.

Always popular are events at Katy’s Palace Bar in Kramerville,  and Slippery Spoon’s pop up dinners are no exception.  There are 2 coming up next week but Friday 17th is already sold out with only a few tickets left for  Thursday 16th.  Slippery Spoon dinners happen once a month with each menu inspired by the theme of the night.  This month’s theme is ‘Senses’, so expect something fabulous from Johnny Hamman and Marius Uys’ 5 course meal. It doesn’t come cheap at R500 a ticket with a cash bar, but it promises to be a dinner with pezzaz and style.  For more info and to book go to http://nothambutman.com/slippery-spoon/?show=Jul

And finally for some light relief and an escape from our very own everyday  political pantomime, book for Little Shop of Horrors at Pieter Toerien Theatre at Monte Casino. Be prepared for a good laugh with Alan Committee who, by all reports is hilarious in his role as Seymour, the wannabe botanist.  Based on the 1960s movie of the same name, it’s a  wonderful spoof of B-grade sci-fi movies with lots of comic book imagery and 50’s music. It is showing until the 9th August.

So don’t think that all Jozi has to offer is the same-old, same-old.  There is lots to do for people of all tastes –  for urbanites who love this gritty city, bling-seekers, families, fitness enthusiasts, outdoorsy types, foodies. … and of course the couch potatoes get particularly lucky this weekend. Enjoy !

 

 

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It’s time to celebrate the winter solstice this week-end

An apparently dead Juliet on part of the so basic but so effective stage set.

An apparently dead Juliet on part of the so basic but so effective stage set.

We’re due for a mild week-end, from Sunday the days will be getting longer and the gas crisis might ease towards the beginning of August – some positive thinking around the load-shedding blues.  So get out there this week-end as we’re spoilt for choice with really special things on offer. Number one has to be the Geneva Ballet’s performance of Romeo and Juliet showing until Sunday at the Joburg Theatre. It’s powerful, poignant, sensuous with the most simple and dramatic of stage sets and props, stunning choreography and simply brilliant use of the human body. Parts made we want to weep with the sheer aesthetic sensibility of the production, the emotive power and timeless universality,  and the consummate skill of the dancers .  How does ‘Romeo’ perform the lifts of an apparently dead Juliet and how does an apparently limp and ‘floppy’ Juliet still maintain form and control. Breath-taking. We had excellent seats for R280 per seat which to see a world-class production and compared to the price of a movie ticket, is really good value for money.

Courtesy www.niroxarts.com

Courtesy www.niroxarts.com

And for a day in the warm winter sun, head for the amphitheatre at the Nirox Sculpture Park in the Cradle of Humankind.  Amid the sculptures of the Winter Sculpture Fair you can enjoy some glühwein  and picnic fare by Epicurean Emporium while listening to Guitar Giants such as Madala Kunene, Guy Buttery, Ben Badenhorst, Lerato Lichaba, Tessa Ziegler and Richard Bruyns . Tickets available on-line:  www.acousticsnow.org  at R300 per person, or R320 at the gate; Children under 12 pay half-price.

Still taking advantage of the mild weather venture into the inner city on Sunday 21st for a tour with Past Experiences of graffiti in Newtown.    Did you know that Joburg inner city is becoming known as a graffiti and street art destination?  This tour  looks at the history of the movement internationally as well as the graffiti culture in Jozi, major players and top artists. So throw on your comfy shoes, take the whole family and go and explore your city! From 09h30-11h30 meeting at Sci-Bono Coffee Shop with loads of parking adjacent to Sci-Bono’s parking lot on Miriam Makeba Street.  R150pp (kids 12 and under R100). To book or for more info, email  past.experiences@hotmail.com or phone  on 011 678 3905

There’s more to do with kids this week-end.   Opening at the Sandton International Convention Centre is the Ice Age Exhibition which, if it’s all it’s cracked up to be, should be loads of fun while also being educational.  45 moving life-size animals in recreated landscapes such as tundra, forests and glaciers, place the species in their natural habitat. There’s a virtual aquarium as well as lots of interactive displays and games – so it should be a winner with kids.  Sadly you’ll also have to delve into your wallet for this outing: R145 per adult, R99 for kids and R435 for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids.  The exhibition runs until the 8th August.

For those who have want something different from the Joburg week-end market fare (Neighbourgoods and Bryanston Organic Market on Saturday;  Market on Main  and Rosebank Rooftop Market on Sunday), why not try 27 Boxes which opens this week-end in Melville.   All 70 stores are built from shipping containers along the lines of Box Park in Shoreditch, London.  You’ll find a variety of boutique outlets such as Stephanie Lesabe’s Moonyu clothing and accessories and Adihambo Mula-Landers’ amazing Galago sandals; as well as funky designer stores like Love Jozi and Black Coffee.  And of course there are loads of specialist food stalls.   75 3rd Ave, parking entrance on 4th Avenue

Schutz

Schutz man

 

If you have now spent all your money (or didn’t have any to begin with) but still  want something inspiring to do -visit Peter Schütz’s retrospective exhibition at Wits Art Museum. And there’s a bonanza because Penny Siopis’ show (also excellent) is still on view. Peter’s works are complete delight . Peter who died in 2008,was a superb craftsman and a serious thinker with a wicked sense of humour.  He moved from being influenced by pop art to sculpting images that were both steeped in the European Christian tradition of saints, martyrs and Madonnas, as well as being deeply influenced by art from the African continent. Peter’s studio at Wits was a jumbled overcrowded shrine of memorabilia, knick-knacks and tsatskas.  And the curators have played on Peter’s one-eyed vision of the world (he always wore a patch on his left eye) in a wonderful peep-show giving a view onto a mock-up of his cluttered ‘cabinet of curiosities’.  It’s a complete gem of a show not to be missed.

So there’s no excuse for vegging out this week-end.  And a happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there. Although probably the best gift that Dads could get is exclusive use of the TV remote for the entire day!

 

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