Friday, July 30, 2010

Behind the Scenes at Saltimbanco

I'm backstage at the Wembly Arena. Preparations are being made for opening night of the UK run of Saltimbanco, the show that will make Cirque du Soleil's debut in South Africa.

There is a man wearing a 2010 Fifa World Cup t-shirt hanging from a rope. As he tumbles his body, which is wrapped up in a ball, over and over in midair, his t-shirt lifts ands waves up and down. There are two sisters - Ukrainian, I'm told - who are warming up on a giant swing, lunging their bodies back and forth on the little stick they're sitting on. They're swinging higher and higher, as if they are in a playground and not suspended dozens of metres up in the air of an arena. But this is a circus, a playground of sort, only bigger and bolder than the playgrounds any of us has ever been on.

Costumes being fan-dried!
The Ukrainain twins
 With Vanessa Gurie the South African responsible for treating injuries
 Discovering the MAC make-up stash!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The A-Team Hit London

Well what do ya know, I arrived in London to find that The A-Team were also popping into town. Sharlto Copley and co drove onto the red carpet in The A-Team van as the film made its UK premiere. They came in from Spain and are headed to Berlin now, before Sharlo and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson come to South Africa next week, for premieres in Cape Town and Joburg.
Wonder if the van is coming with them?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cirque du Soleil

It has been a dream of mine to watch a Cirque du Soleil production ever since I was a little girl (which some might say wasn't too long ago!). I get to fulfill that dream this week, as I fly to London for the opening night of Saltimbanco, one of the titles in the stable. I will be getting a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into putting on a show like this, and meet some of the performers. The best part about this is that the show is coming to South Africa next year, so you'll get to see it too!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Waved Our Flags

We've come a long way, look and see how far we've come
Over mountains, through valleys, 
And we still go on
Count your blessings and rise like the morning sun

If you're ready, then come
If you're ready, then come.

Seize the day
Seize the moment
Seize the chance to run
With the wisdom and the vision that has spurred us on
Let your love well up
Let the walls fall down

If you're ready, then come
If you're ready, then come.

Spirit of Freedom - Judy Bailey feat.Uju

Along with Wavin' Flag, Waka Waka and Viva Africa, this song became part of the soundtrack to my World Cup experience. It may be all over, but we still have the music to bring back the fond memories.

We worked hard, but we also played hard (although Bafana-Bafana could probably have played a little harder!) I dramatically increased my football knowledge thanks to cute foreigners and hung-out with my girlfriends a lot more than my job usually allows. It was an emotionally-charged time that took a lot out of us, but put a helluva lot more back in! The spirit that our country showed was just incredible and seemed to renew our faith and energy in working on developing South Africa's potential for greater nation-building and pride.

Post-WC I now know who Samuel Ett'o, David Villa and Landon Donavan are. The tournament also brought with it stars I had yet to meet, like the wonderful John Travolta and the woman-with-abs-I-covet Shakira. John Legend, Paris Hilton, Angelique Kidjo, Naomi Campbell and Charlize were all repeat visitors.

With The Citizen's Melody Brandon and "Danny Zukow" at the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund

Friday, July 9, 2010

Brandon Flowers is Solo

Not solo, as in not married anymore (pity that, haha!) but this is the first offering from his solo album, Flamingo due out in September. It stars Charlize Theron. How much do I wish I was THAT Benoni-born blonde in this video...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Orlando Bloom's SA Connection

In my quest to find Orlando Bloom in South Africa, I discovered some very interesting info about this Hollywood hearthrob, who is engaged to the gorgeous Miranda Kerr.

Up until he was 13 years old, Orlando believed his dad was South African anti-Apartheid activist, Harry Bloom. He died when Orlando was just four years old, and almost a decade later, Orlando found out the truth. Various internet sites contribute to the story - and it goes like this:

- as a teenager, Bloom discovered his father was in fact a family friend named Colin Stone because Harry was unable to father children
- Harry was an advoacate who studied at Wits and he became a novelist, penning the famous work Episode In The Transvaal, which was banned by the apartheid government for being a "danger to the safety of the state"
 - he worked with Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg in the 1950's, and during the state of emergency that followed the Sharpville massacre in 1960, Harry was detained for ninety days, wthout charges or going on trial.
- Harry also wrote the play for the musical King Kong: An African Jazz Opera
- In the 1960's Bloom went into exile in England. He left behind his wife, Beryl and two children.
- He got married for a second time to Orlando's mother Sonia.
- Nine years after Harry's death, Sonia revealed to her children that their biological father had been family friend Colin Stone.
- apparently, in interviews, Orlando refers to both men as his father

I'd love to find out more about all this. Harry was such a important figure in our country's history: did this have any impact on Orlando himself? Does he feel a close link to South Africa as a result? Or has it not played a part in his life at all?

Monday, July 5, 2010

World Cup Crazy

So my celeb-taking pics may leave a little to be desired. See Exhibit A: my twitpic of Mick Jagger visiting some budding soccer players. I had to quickly take the snap before his burly bodyguards came to take me to task. And of course, someone walked in front of him, right at the point when the camera clicked so you'd be pretty hard pressed to spot his hair and shoes, unless you're the one who took the pic...

So it makes me happy to see some photos taken that are much more expressive and where the celeb in question is clearly visible. This site, Social Life has some gorgeous pics of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jagger enjoying the Germany / Argentina game. I particularly enjoyed this one!

And this one

Eyeing out the Prince

When I said that I was eyeing out Prince William, I really meant it!
This was from the Queen's Birthday celebration.

Friday, July 2, 2010

More Than Just The Game

We've been keeping busy with watching the games, yes, but there are also some other fabulous things going on as well. In Jozi there are some great art exhibitions asking for our attention in the hours not spent with eyes glued to the screen. One of them is PACE2010, which is a collection of handmade contemporary designs from around the continent. It's at the Craft Design Centre just behind the library on Nelson Mandela Square. These are just some of the whimsical designs:

From the House of Fire in Swaziland

Blue Lotus Tin-Tin Vase from Ivory Coast

South African Ronel Jordaan's Felt Chair

The curators Adam Levin and Andile Magengelele say they wanted to challenge traditional ideas of what curios are. So if you have any friends who want to take home some nifty African-inspired pieces, try this spot.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Masekela Jnr

ESPN presenter and co-host of E!Entertainment's The Daily Ten Sal Maskela is one lekker guy. He's been travelling around South Africa with his famous father Hugh Masekela, filming a TV series called Umlando: Through My Father's Eyes. It sounds great: father and son meeting interesting South Africans like photographer Sam Nzima and lion whisperer Kevin Richardson. It's been airing on ESPN in the States, but there are plans for it to air here too, after the World Cup. I think that would be fantastic. Plus, I've also heard it's in the works for locals to be able to see the great collaboration between U2 and Soweto Gospel Choir that's currently airing on the sports network.  

I'd spoke to Sal last year, ahead of the US elections, but only met him in person at the E! Oscars Afterparty in LA earlier this year. We then met up at a cool little spot in Santa Monica called the Lazy Daisy where he told me about his trip to come here for the World Cup. As a kid, Sal used to spend some time with his dad on tour. He says that when he was 19, he was a road manager for the Homecoming Tour that Hugh did with Sankomoto, so he got to see the country then. Now, it's been a different journey of sorts, one he says has been filled with lots of laughter. We know his father as a legendary musician, who is he to Sal?
 "To me, he's the funniest global inspector of great food and pop culture that I've ever met. He's my best friend. He really is my best friend."
Sal's mother is from Ghana so he had a pretty tough time choosing which side to support when they played USA. The interesting thing about that match is that it was such a record-setting game - ESPN says the June 26th match is the highest-rated and most-viewed match of the tournament so far, and the most-watched FIFA World Cup game ever in the US. Sal reckons the ratings post that game show that interest for Americans in the tournament is still there - even though Landon and the guys have gone back home.