Weekend alert! Joburg City Festival kicks off Sunday, August 25 2013

It’s been a while in the making, and now it’s just a few days until the Joburg City Festival (an initiative of the Joburg City Tourism Association) kicks off. See my earlier posts Joburg gets an inner city festival and Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra outside the Rand Club. On the programme is music, art, walking tours, a film festival, sundowners with sumptuous views of the city, food, ballet performances, a food and craft beer pairing at Restaurant Lamunu in The Grove, Braamfontein plus the incredibly successful Critical Mass cycle through the city (it happens on the last Friday of each month and attracts thousands of people). And added to that  is the Mail & Guardian’s Literary Festival from August 30 to September 1, featuring a star-cast of Nobel prize-winner Nadine Gordimer, award-winning novelists Niq Mhlongo, Imraan Coovadia plus Booker short-listed author NoViolet Bulawayo. The full lineup of the Mail & Guardian Literary Festival.

One of numerous public artworks in the city - Pigeon Square, Newtown

One of numerous public artworks in the city – Pigeon Square, Newtown

Nothing left to do but offer an annotated version of  some of the programme highlights – which is fully downloadable at Joburg City Festival 2013 Programme Continue reading

Joburg gets an inner-city festival

Impressions of Joburg - The Mapungubwe Hotel Courtyard, Grafitti at Fashion Kapitol and view from The Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein

Impressions of Joburg – The Mapungubwe Hotel Courtyard, Grafitti at Fashion Kapitol and view from The Parktonian Hotel in Braamfontein

To launch Joburg’s inner-city festival coming up in August, the Joburg City Tourism Association threw a three-day party for 60 journalists. I was lucky enough to be on that list and to spend the weekend hanging out at some of the coolest places…. Friday night in Joburg city centre and what could have been a regular few blocks walk between Market and Loveday Streets on a chill Autumn night turned into something extraordinary. On the pavement outside the impressive Edwardian-style entrance to the Rand Club, the city’s grandest landmark, thirty four members of the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra were arrayed, flash-mob style – playing classical and popular pieces. Continue reading

SA Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 opening night

It wouldn’t have been SA Fashion Week (April 11-15) without a nipple or two peeking through sheer fabric, girls on stilts, boys channeling Filipino superstar fashion blogger Bryan Boy with a clutch bag in one outstretched arm and lots of jostling for tickets and attention…

Black Coffee's Congolese Kuba-cloth-inspired collection

Black Coffee’s Congolese Kuba-cloth-inspired collection

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Soweto’s photography collective

Pimville

The photographs make you look twice. First because they are pretty, stylized shots, speaking the language of fashion photography, and then again because of their setting.

Pimville, Kliptown and Orlando in Soweto, Alexandra are not usually names that conjure the hipster lifestyle, freedom, beauty, or high fashion. Continue reading

The sparklers at the heart of the Diamond Jubilee

Sophia Loren is looking at me. And she is entrancing. An extremely realistic portrait of her by Brazilian artist Vik Muniz – created by the arrangement of around 3000 thousand glittering loose diamonds photographed on a page – hangs in De Beers Headquarters on London’s Charterhouse Street.

Part of Muniz’s “Diamond Divas” series of glamorous Hollywood legends – the artwork sums up only a facet of what diamonds have come to represent.

Sofia Loren 'Diamond Diva' by Vik Muniz

The building’s very corporate facade had given no hint of its business, that it houses the world’s leading diamond supplier. Although I am not sure what I was expecting. A giant shiny rock to light my way through the rain-soaked streets? This is on my mind because exiting the tube station that morning I stopped a man in a suit to ask if he knew where “De Beers” was and he directed me to a pub. Continue reading

SA Fashion Week Summer 2012 opening night

Rubicon. Photo © www.planetivan.com

Boys with clutch bags, lots of fiery red chic bobs and dresses cut to way up to there with heels to match signalled the opening of SA Fashion Week – and that’s just the scene in the lobby of The Rosebank Crowne Plaza, the site of Joburg’s real fashion week. And phones, darling, lots and lots of smartphones, snapping photos, texting, tweeting, waving in the air, videoing the shows, easing social awkwardness, amusing people during the long wait for it all to start and shining out in the darkness. I tried to remember what we all did before we had them – and recalled smoking Camel filters. Still haven’t decided which would be the healthier habit. Continue reading

Shopping in Joburg’s inner city

“What’s your top seller?” I ask Fatima Nanabhay of the African Music Store near Diagonal Street in Joburg’s city centre. “The goat bells,” she says. At R14 a piece they fly out the shop. Cow bells are also a big hit, she tells me. As I ask the question the only thing flying past us is the traffic along the city street and the guy wheeling a trolley with blankets piled high past the doorway. For the record there’s not a goat to be seen.


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It’s the Joburg Art Fair. Head for Sandton

It’s the Art Fair. It’s the Art Fair. I don’t usually blog pre- an event, preferring to experience it for myself before I tell anyone it’s worth doing. But the FNB Joburg Art Fair is a sure thing. Opening night (by invitation only) happens tomorrow and then from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon there’s art and more art, framed and named, performances, appearances, talks of all sorts and lots of of other things in between.

Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse, Blue Ponte / Red Ponte I – IX, 2011

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Marie-Claire, Bryanboy and me

Thursday night I spent surrounded by Joburg’s fashion set at the Marie Claire Prix D’Excellence del la Mode 2011, which if my French serves me (until now I could say goodbye, cat, French Revolution, let them eat cake!  and enjoy your meal) means Marie Claire’s prize for supremely excellent fashion and all things fashionable.

The fashion set are an interesting crew – with flamboyant titles that match their taste in accessories. Among the judges were a “fashion architect” and a “fashion council member”. No fashion grand wizard or fashion supreme leader but that’s probably coming next year. As for me – I am a “fashion user”, committed to getting the occasional rush.

Skyline Gardens, Braamfontein. The photo is from SouthPoint Hospitality

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Joburg bloggers and writers unite

I have been remiss. A bad blogger. A blog is like a Tamagotchi. It needs to be fed to be kept alive. Actually a blogger is like a Tamagotchi too, hungry. So in a world of free content where most bloggers write out of love (and occasionally ego) an invitation to dinner is a supreme event.

welcome from @missmillib

welcome from @missmillib

The invitation from mememe and Two, one of my favourite stores arrived by email – addressed to “Dear cool people of Joburg” (I was never going to resist. At my age it could be injurious). Continue reading