Now that we’re all done with that business of emerging, blinking, into the sunlight following the national lockdown, a lot of our regular events and programmes are getting back underway. Happily, this includes our regular Youth Nights at Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Community Hub!
‘What is Youth Night?’ I hear you plaintively ask. ‘Why would I spend my Saturday night in a library of all places?’ Well, friends. Perhaps a more apt question is ‘what isn’t Youth Night?’ We play games, we make music, we watch movies, we debate the ins and outs of LGBTQ+ representation in contemporary media (this one is optional), we try to beat each other’s high scores in Beat Saber, we laugh, we cry, we rank the characters of the classic 1990s cartoon Gargoyles in order of hotness (Goliath and Demona come in at joint first place, obviously, with everyone else trailing a distant second), and most importantly, we eat pizza.
Our Youth Nights are totally free (pizza included!), but you do need to be 14+ in order to come, so please bring your student ID. Once you’re in, our spaces are all yours. Youth Nights are on the first Saturday of every month, from 5.00-8.00pm. The first one since lockdown is this Saturday, the 1st of August. See you there!
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently sent a very kind message of encouragement for our WCL Teen Writers, following their huge success participating in the Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020 Challenge, in which they collectively wrote well over 100,000 words in their bid to write a whole novel over a month of isolation. Here’s what the Prime Minister had to say:
I want to pass on a quick message to everyone involved in the WCL Teen Writers group — and I want to start by saying thanks.
Right now, we’re living through really challenging and uncertain times, and for many people, it’s been tough. I know young people are facing their own unique challenges, from adjusting to distance learning, giving up special occasions like school balls, and not being able to meet up with your friends, but so many of you have put in an amazing effort and played your part to help keep this virus under control. Thanks for this — it’s so important.
I was interested to hear about your online writing group, the work you’re doing, and the support you provide each other. This is a really good example of the positives that have come out of the COVID-19 response. You’ve all come together online to support each other, share your work and ideas, and embark on some pretty impressive projects. I hope you’re enjoying the group and will continue to keep in touch when life returns to something a bit more normal.
All the best with your writing — I’m sure I’ll be seeing your work in bookstores soon! For now, though, stay safe and look out for each other.
— Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern
As you can imagine, the Prime Minister’s message generated considerable interest on our WCL Teen Writers Discord server, from the joyous but mostly coherent:
…to the joyous but not so coherent:
…to the reflective and compassionate:
…and right back around to the disbelieving:
Thank you, Prime Minister, for your words of encouragement, motivation, and solidarity. Rest assured, we’re still writing and keeping connected (and of course the banter is still top-quality), and hopefully will be for a while yet! Here’s what one of our talented writers had to say about the group:
If you’re a keen writer, or even just really like reading, we’d love for you to join our vibrant community on Discord! Just email us or message us on Facebook with your name and school year level, and we can send you a link to join!
We’re past the halfway mark through NZ Music Month now, so better make the most of it! Don’t forget we have Harriet and the Matches performing at Newtown library this Friday the 23rd of May, we’ll see you there at 7pm!
In the mean time, have a dance party in your living room to these fab songs and videos from NZ artists!
Here’s Lorde performing Tennis Court at the Billboard Music Awards the other day
Settle Down by Kimbra
Apple Pie Bed by Lawrence Arabia
It’s Choade My Dear by Connan Mockasin
Dominion Road by The Mutton Birds (an oldie but a goodie)
40 Years by The Phoenix Foundation (this one’s directed by Taika Waititi who directed the movie Boy)
And finally Just A Boy by Pikachunes
This post was brought to you by Gina at Newtown library’s genius (Gina-us?) suggestions! With much enthusastic nodding and encouragement from myself.
Hopefully you’re celebrating NZ Music Month with us by listening to more local artists! I thought I would highlight a few recent-ish NZ releases we have in our collection, with some help from very music-savvy fellow librarian Kim. Let us know what you agree or disagree with, and please leave us some of your favourite NZ artists in the comments!
Dating earlier than her hit album Pure Heroine, The Love Club EP (first released for free on SoundCloud) contains the ubiquitous ‘Royals’ along with four other songs not on her full length album. ‘Bravado’, ‘Biting Down’, ‘Million Dollar Bills’ and ‘The Love Club’ are all excellent songs, and have a slightly different sound to Pure Heroine – perhaps a little cheekier? In any case, any Lorde fan needs to listen to this EP.
I saw Tiny Ruins a.k.a Hollie Fullbrook when she opened for Calexico last year and they were both excellent! Morphing from gentle and folky to classical-sounding with strings and looping back around again, Tiny Ruins keeps it interesting. She has been compared to Beth Gibbons from Portishead AND Nick Drake, so if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.
Goin’ Steady by Newtown Rocksteady (adult collection, costs $1)
13-piece Newtown Rocksteady’s extended EP documents their musical progression over the last four years, representing and reinventing the 60s Jamaican vibe known as rocksteady. Rocksteady mixes together reggae, dub, ska and dancehall music, all perfect for a good boogie which they provided in droves at the Newtown and Womad festivals earlier this year. If you get the chance to see them live, do! They provide amazing entertainment and you’ll be blown away by their collective talent, not to mention their 5-piece horn section.
Louis Baker by Louis Baker (adult collection, costs $1)
Wellington local Louis Baker is sometimes mellow and completely soulful. His sound has been compared to Jeff Buckley – these are some amazing comparisons being made to our local talents! He’s very talented and grew up in Coromandel Street, Newtown. His self titled EP made it to number 8 in the NZ charts, check it out for yourself!
And then we have some faves that don’t have CDs out in the library yet:
Brockaflower Saurus-Rex (and the Blueberry Biscuits)
This 9-piece band’s first album is full on but spacious, allowing everyone their own instrument space – an impressive feat with so many people and instruments demanding attention. But they make it work, and very harmoniously, too. As for genre, they’re a bit funk, a bit psychedelic and a bit “neo-soul” (who even names music genres these days?) and they’ll keep you grooving with each song full of energy. They have an album out titled “Build It” but we sadly don’t have it in the library. You can listen to it in full here on SoundCloud though!
Speaking of genre names, Estère’s probably takes the cake – “electric blue witch hop”. She is a singer/songwriter/beatmaker/producer from Wellington and this whole album was made and recorded in her bedroom. She uses loops of live instruments, has an MPC named Lola and has been likened to Erykah Badu with her sometimes raspy and always stunning vocals. Although we don’t have her album here in the library yet, you can listen to it on SoundCloud for free, and even download it for free from Estère’s Bandcamp page!
It’s no secret that I love graphic novels, which is why I’m so excited about ComicFest, an event that the library is running from the 2nd-3rd of May. We’ve got some great events lined up: a panel on Friday night with some of the best cartoonists in New Zealand, plus more events on the Saturday. You can find out more on the event page, but here are just some of the events running:
A panel on Friday Night featuring Ant Sang, who wrote and drew the awesome comic Shaolin Burning and worked on Bro’ Town. There’s also Robyn Kenealy who’s a brilliant webcomic artist and creator of Steve Rogers’ American Captain, which chronicles Steve Rogers’ attempts to work out his place in the twenty-first century. Grant Buist, another one of our awesome panelists, has been working in comics for almost twenty years. He’s currently working on a graphic novel and draws Jitterati for Fishhead Magazine. His website is well worth a look, since he’s done a heap of great reviews of our graphic novel collection. This is definitely the panel you want to attend if you want to know what it’s like working in comics today.
There are also some wicked workshops: Ant Sang is running “Comics 101” from 4:30-6:30 for those aspiring artists among you, and then there’s another workshop run on the Saturday by Gavin Mouldey, a Wellington-based animator and illustrator. He’s done all the gorgeous promotional art for all our advertising, and owns the dittybox shop and gallery in Island Bay.
There’s a costume competition all day Saturday with a special category for teens and great prizes for you to win, generously provided by Unity Books and and White Cloud Worlds. A fair few of the library staff will be in costume too, so try and work out who we’re being!
Finally, last but certainly not least, we are giving away FREE, yes, FREE comics from when we open. We have limited stock, so get in early! This is because the library is participating in Free Comic Book Day, a day where all over the world stores and librariess give away a selection of comics and graphic novels. We decided to use this as an opportunity to promote a great (and steadily growing) part of our collection and bring together some of the best comic artists working in New Zealand today. You can find the main Facebook event here, and interviews with our featured panelists and artists on our main blog.
Weekend newsflash: The latest film from Studio Ghibli (and the last film directed by Hayao Miyazaki before his retirement!) is showing this Sunday at the Embassy cinema! It’s called The Wind Rises and it tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II. Check out the trailer below and book your tickets over at the Embassy website.
There’s no shortage of shindigs to get you out of the house and into the streets of Wellington this weekend. Here’s a quick run-down of what we’ve circled with our highlighter.
The New Zealand International Film Festival continues and included is the world premiere of Fantail. Rachel and Rebecca made some picks in last week’s Trailer Tuesday. Also in film this weekend is the fundraising screening of documentary Maidentrip about kiwi-born Laura Dekker’s solo adventure around the world aboard yacht Guppy. Proceeds to Wellington Ocean Sports.
One of Wellington’s best and formerly hidden treasure troves of Zines and art, Matchbox Studios has a grand opening at its new street front location.
The always thought-provoking World Press Photos exhibition is in town and hanging out on Willis Street.
If you haven’t had a chance to yet Young & Hungry is in its last weekend at Bats. It’s well worth the outing.
In new music for the playlist this week Indie band Typhoon, from Portland Oregon, have released a sneak peak of their new album White Lighter. They’re a bit of a well kept secret and it’s not really a sneak-peak it’s a peak in entirety. If you’re a fan of indie bands like the Fleet Foxes, Beirut, Boy & Bear, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Band of Horses etc we reckon you’ll dig these guys.
Another weekend in Wellington is lurking just ahead of us. Here’s some heads-ups for ways to spend it.
Rūamoko has been a busy lad this week. If you’re keen on a sweet geology-heavy hangtime then you can checkout his antics here.
Soldout Splendour In The Grass has lured a whole bunch of epic bands down under this weekend but, and it’s a really big but, they’re all the way over in Australia’s New South Wales. If you want to get a sneak peak at some of the big acts (and there are plenty of them) you can do that right here at the “Best-Of-The-Fest” stream.
There’s no shortage of musical fairy dust in our own town this weekend though with acts like the Veils, Shapeshifter, The Phoenix Foundation playing 18+ shows (links to our CD collection included).
The Naked And Famous have dropped a new single from their upcoming second album In Rolling Waves.
The Wellington season of Young And Hungry, a festival showcasing young playwriting talent, kicks off at BATS Friday night with three sweet plays. More info here.
The (actual) New Zealand (full and proper, in its entirety) International Film Festival 2013 is finally upon us. Their website and full schedule is here. Looking forward, very much, to seeing The National’s (who’re playing over at Splendour In The Grass) film Mistaken For Strangers about life on the rock ‘n’ roll road.
Enjoy your first week back at school!
There’s a good chance you’re not going to get to get to experience them while they’re here if you’re under 18, so here’s a short film with the Veils playing some of their tunes for you.
Want to spend the weekend watching baby pandas? Well you can! Thanks to Atlanta Zoo’s Lun Lun you can watch TWO baby pandas (twins). Woah!
There’s a swell looking, all ages, fundraising performance at Paramount Theatre of Echolalia. Here’s a brief description; “Inspired by the humour and directness of autistic children while working on a holiday program, McArthur’s delightful character Echo doesn’t register social niceties. A young woman on the spectrum preparing for a much needed job interview, Echo unwittingly puts our unspoken social rules under the spotlight…and finds a lot of them wanting.”
If none of that floats your boat, why not spend the weekend making a robot that can do flips like this one?
Here’s a slice of what’s on in Welly-hood this weekend to kick your holidays off with some excitement and/or amazement.
The Company NZ are presenting Block Party up on the hill at Wellington High School – it’s a showcase extravaganza from this super talented dance school. Not to be confused with Bloc Party. Here’s a sweet video of the tutors busting some moves.
Oceania’s two most Hipster* cities Wellington and Melbourne clash in derby time on the water front. Bust out the Purple and orange.
Something a bit different and enriching for the ears? Gale Force Gospel are putting on a concert of African American Song.
In theatre The Legend Of Hector visits BATS. “Drawing from sources as diverse as the Arthurian Legends, an old friend’s travel blog, and toilet-wall graffiti, The Legend of Hector goes right to the heart of the moments we feel most epic, and the moments we desperately wish for greater adventures.” – That sounds awesome!
Looking for something to watch? Here’s a list compiled by Rachel & Rebecca to quell your winter blues.
In playlist news Jay-Z released new album Magna Carta… Holy Grail this week – you can judge that one for yourself. His wife Beyonce announced a tour to our shores. Australian folksters Boy & Bear are gearing up to release new album Harlequin Dream in August and here’s a track off it to chill to – ‘Southern Sun’.