Celluloid architecture

These days it seem like there’s a specialist film festival for every taste and interest: human rights, vegetables, silent films and even Phoenix dactylifera. There’s even one for architecture buffs, and the Wellington season starts at the Penthouse this Friday.

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Bar Wars

The Capital Times has begun its 2006 Best of Wellington survey (not online), inviting readers to vote for their favourite things under dozens of categories.

However, one category is glaringly absent: best bar. They have best barman, barmaid, music venue and nightclub, but no bar (or best Martini, for that matter).

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Newtown words

Newtown spoken word - flier
Tomorrow night, the Newtown Community and Cultural Centre hosts Newtown Spoken Word Winter 06, an open mike event organised by the Word Collective, the people who brought you Sk8board Poets, Karaoke Poetry and the Word Festivals. It starts at 7:30pm at the corner of Rintoul & Colombo streets, and entry is by koha. For more information, call Craig on 027 242 3453.

Musique Non Stop

While you were sleeping poster, 05/08/06(right, that’s the obligatory Kraftwerk reference out of the way)

This weekend’s a busy one for followers of electronic and dance music. Tomorrow night, Module‘s live band (including Rhian Sheehan and Raashi Malik) plays the late set at Cabaret. From there, it’s just a quick jaunt along Courtenay Place to Sandwiches for Rhombus, who will be starting at about … oh, whenever gigs start at Sandwiches these days.

After a late night like that, on Saturday you might be in the mood for something more laid-back, so try out While_you_were_sleeping‘s explorations of ambient and experimental sounds at Room 101 (under Bar Bodega) from 8pm. To get a preview of the sounds on offer, listen to The Session on Radio Active tonight, featuring tracks and interviews from some of the artists involved (inclding Pang, Panoramica and Anaesthesia Associates).

So So Modern, Disasteradio and Chairman Miaow, will be playing an Amnesty International benefit show at Indigo The San Francisco Bathouse from 9:30. And if you’ve any pills energy left, Concord Dawn and Minuit are playing not one but two gigs at Subnine: all-ages from 7pm to 10pm, and grown-ups only from 11pm.

It’s not my bag, baby!

Posted in the window of a certain shop in Cuba St:

It's not my bag baby! Oh the shame.
I guess he won’t be trying that again.


circuit bendingThe next installment in the “bleep” series takes a kind of DIY mad-scientist approach to making music. Bleep #2 is all about “circuit bending“: the art of torturing, transplanting, and grafting electronic sound-making devices so that they make more interesting sounds. Start with some mass-produced techno-toy from the Warehouse, the sort of thing that make irritating electronic noises, and attack it with screwdrivers and soldering irons to coax more interesting (and yes, probably more irritating) noises from its innards. The street finds its own uses for technology, indeed!

It is a two-part event, consisting of an interactive worshop this Sunday afternoon, followed by a gig at Happy next Wednesday. Full details are on the bleep website.

Future waterfront

just the spot for a wooden rollercoaster, or a brothel?I’ve been asked to give a brief talk to the board and management of Wellington Waterfront Ltd (WWL) about my “three top priority ideas for the waterfront”. It will be no suprise to most of you that I won’t struggle for things to say, but while I’ve been asked to speak as an individual rather than as a representative for any group, I’d like to get your input into this.

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Future City

In a recent post, I mentioned that I had seen projections of an extra 3,000 inner-city residents within the next few years, but that I couldn’t find a reference to the study. As it turns out, the campaigners against the controversial Harbour Quays development have come to my rescue: their report on the potential economic impacts (530kB PDF) includes a table of actual and forecast CBD household numbers from 1991 to 2021 (page 14). They list the sources as Statistics NZ, Bayleys and Property Economics (the authors of the report), but I couldn’t find out whether the future figures were based upon economic and demographic modelling or simple extrapolation.

But let’s take the numbers as read, and use them to estimate the increase in inner-city population by taking a nominal average household size of 3. This is a bit smaller than the current average for the CBD, but household sizes are generally falling, so it seems a reasonable guesstimate. This gives an extra 3,300 people by 2011, and 11,000 extra by 2021: a 75% increase over the current CBD population!

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Whares? No worries.

When they were first proposed, the Wharenui and Wharewaka at Taranaki St Wharf were among the least controversial developments on the waterfront. Even Waterfront Watch seemed to cautiously approve, given that these were low-rise cultural facilities rather than medium-rise buildings with commercial components, though some of their members managed to find views that would be blocked. However, that quickly changed once the rowing clubs realised that they might have to lose some parking space, and the dispute has only just been resolved.

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Mystery bar number 36

mystery barOkay, last week’s mystery bar was way too easy: it’s Electric Avenue in Courtenay Place, which has just opened in the two storey building vacated by Saffron last year. Most bars go for a stealthy approach when they’re under renovation, keeping their windows papered over until the opening, but Electric Avenue took the unusual approach of actually displaying architectural plans and sketches, so we all had a fair idea of how it would look when it opened.

So, now we have an Eighties bar: hooray.

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