Friday, August 20, 2010

The US Envoy Named Fran

She answers the phone with a "hello, this is Fran."
Before the line had dropped, we'd established who I was and where I was from. So now - in an instant - it was like talking to an old friend.
"Hi Fran, it's Nadia."
"Yes, hello there. Tell me, Nadia, what is the weather like there? I'm busy cold?"
And so began the interview with Fran Drescher, aka The Nanny (named Fran!). What an easy interview. Ask Fran one question and you get a lovely, thought out answer. Okay, so it's an 11 minute one. But c'mon, did I really expect anything less from the woman with one of the most-recognisable voices in the TV world?

Fran - a survivor of uterine cancer - is heading for South Africa to help spread the message of education and awareness about HIV/Aids. She may be a humourous woman, known for her comic act, but Fran can be desperately serious too. She's been through a lot - raped in her home, divorce, cancer, and more. It's given her a purpose beyond acting. Now, Fran has become a diplomat, lobbying for women's rights.

Oh, and she, surprisingly, doesn't actually sound like The Nanny - her voice is a lot deeper and not quite as chipper!

Read more about Fran's Cancer Shmancer Movement.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Copley Comes Home

I spot his Springbok sweater before I spot him. In the foyer of the Beverly Hills Four Seasons – the one where Pretty Woman is set – Sharlto Copley is waiting for me. “Geez, when I said you should try come to the Oscars, I didn’t realize you actually would!” he chuckles as he we find a spot to sit down. South Africa had a strong presence at this year’s ceremony: District 9 was nominated for four Oscars – along with two nominations for the Madiba-inspired Invictus – so it was important for me to be there. Fast forward a few months later and Copley is spotted at airports around the world, promoting his latest film, the action-packed, star-cast The A-Team. One set of paparazzi-like pics shows him arriving at LAX wearing the green Springbok sweater again. “I love that top,” he says to me when I tell him about the gossip site that published the photos. “It’s so comfortable to travel in so I wear it all the time. I guess I won’t be any more,” he says, ruefully.


Much has changed for the Joburg-born Copley. For one, he’s added a number of nominations to his CV: Teen Choice Award nod for Best Sci-Fi Actor, MTV Movie Award nod for Scared as S**t Performance, and of course those Academy Award nominations. He won the Favourite Hero and Best Performance of 2009 awards at the IGN Summer Awards, but whether or not the 36-year-old has scooped the awards he’s been up for, Copley’s gained a fair bit of exposure from all the attention. Being part of a big-budget Hollywood film meant that his life has been spun into the global orbit of international stardom. From cardboard cutouts of him in a cellphone shop to gossip websites lamenting the fact that he has a girlfriend, Copley’s business is now the stuff of international interest.

“I’m trying really hard not to do anything that’s going to perpetuate that,” he says earnestly. “That’s not a place I’m interested in being. I really want to focus on the work. I’m not interested in this celebrity culture where people create drama out of your life for entertainment. I’d rather just create drama for TV, or movies,” he chuckles.

Listen to the rest of the interview here...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Halle Berry in Cape Town

One of the great things about going to the Cannes Film Festival (because there are just so many horrible things about going to the South of France) is that you get a sneak peak into some of the films that are going to be coming up in the near future - those that are finished and those that are still in early production stages. It was in May that I got wind about two big movie stars heading to South Africa: Oscar-winner Halle Berry and the gorgeous Gerard Butler. They'd both be working on two different films in different locations. Halle was to film Dark Tide in Cape Town, which meant I'd have limited access to finding out more about where she'd be and all of that. So when an opportunity to go to Cape Town came up, I scheduled in some time to find out more about the film and its stunning star.

On Friday I went to Bertha's in Simonstown - a restaurant that became a mini-Hollywood set when the cast and crew of Dark Tide spent the day filming there. Halle, Olivier Martinez and British actor Ralph Brown (Alien; Withnail and Us) together with South African actor Luke Stein were all shooting scenes in the restaurant. I couldn't really hear what was going on but it seemed that father-and-son Ralph and Luke were having lunch when Halle and Olivier come in and sit down to talk.

Halle had a sore throat so when she did come say hello, she was half-whispering. In between takes, she laughed with the crew and hugged the wardrobe designer. Oh, and I don't mean to be starting rumours or anything, but she held onto Olivier quite a lot when the cameras stopped rolling - rubbing his back and hugging him.

Hmmm...perhaps this is a watch-this-space hookup with Kylie's ex in the making.

There was talk that Halle would pop up at the Cape Town Fashion Week Afterparty...but she did not. One can understand why she would choose to spend her 44th birthday with her family after a day of shooting. Halle wraps up filming in Cape Town at the end of this week and then heads to London to finish the movie.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cape Town Fashion Week

Refresh. Revive. Renew.
This has been the theme of Cape Town Fashion Week, showcasing the ready-to-wear collections for Spring and Summer. Thanks to the lovely people at AFI, I have been here in the Mother City, and get to witness the collections and work in the city for a few days. As a former resident, I am a fan of Cape Town, and feel it is good for one's nerves to work from here for a little bit every once in a while. Although, I still seem to bring my Joburg-ness with me - aggravated driving-style and all!

So, the big highlight on opening night was Kluk CGDT celebrating 10 years in the industry. The design duo of Malcolm Kluk and Christiaan Gabriel du Toit reflected over their past decade and looked forward to the future in their collection. It left me wanting to gather all those dresses up off the runway and into my arms so that I could take them back to my Joburg cupboard. Gorgeous materials and even more gorgeous flowing dresses.

These are some of my faves:

Joburg-based label Stoned Cherrie also celebrated a decade in the fashion world at CT Fashion Week. Nkhensani Nkosi was meant to show this collection during the World Cup, but the game between Uruguay and Ghana put a spanner in the works of that so we had the chance to see it here. And it was worth the wait! Nkhensani put a spin on some of the Cherrie classics and gave us some cute new items too.

Some of the items are available through a partnership Stoned Cherrie has done with Foshini called Love Movement, which is fantastic news! Now as for all the rest of the items I covet, a big bank balance is required!

Here are some of my favourites out of the up-and-coming talent...


Black Coal


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Oppikoppi 2010. 

The festival - often referred to as South Africa's Glastonbury - turned sweet sixteen this year. I wasn't able to be there for the whole 3 days, but a year wouldn't be complete without a trip to the Northam farm, even if only for a day and night. And what a night it turned out to be...but more about that later. This year's fest sold out, for the first time in it's teenage history. As Carel Hoffman said: "It's amazing to think that we started this thing in the trenches and now look where we are."

Saturday night really got going with Radio Kalahari Orkes on the James Philips Mane Stage. They make boeremusiek very, very cool. Add a touch of Jack Parow and it all becomes even more so. Valiant Swart, the man whom this year's fest paid tribute to, joined them on stage for a song too, and it was a slice of Oppikoppi music heaven. I loved how everyone sang along to the infectious chorus of Blaas Jou Vuvuzela. 

Saturday night was also perhaps the festival's most "commercial / radio friendly" night, with Flash Republic, Prime Circle and Gang of Instrumentals all performing. Nothing wrong with that though. Flash made its debut at the fest, performing in the dust for the first time. But Tamara Dey - no stranger to the bushveld party - still brought along her trusty stage accessory: a fan. 

Prime Circle started their set with a little bit of an Indian influence - no doubt picked up on their recent tour of the country - and the group also played some new songs, sounding as tight as ever.

Popping over to the Levi's Bushveld Originals Stage, I took in some Voodoo Child and then the infectious sounds of Gang of Instrumentals. Voodoo Child have come a long way from being a cover band and are sounding really good together. GI have a new backing band, made up of various musicians, as their previous band, New Academics, had conflicting schedules with the group. I always love hearing My Number One from them, even if it doesn't quite sound as good live as it does recorded.

Earlier Dutch singer-songwriter Lucky Fonz III performed in a setting perfect for his Afrikaans-sounding folk lyrics. There were snippets of other artists I caught here and there, but I must say, one of the highlights had to be The Narrow making a welcomed return to the South African stage. Lead singer Hanu de Jong has been living in New Zealand for about four years. It was awesome to hear Lonely, Lonely and The Banded again. Plus new music that the group has created, which they'll be performing at a few shows in SA before Hanu is off again.

Sure, there were loads of other artists I really wanted to see - Tumi dropping rhymes in his trademark way, Canadian rockers Billy Talent, the "zef-coolness" of Jack Parow and of course the Valiant Swart tribute show. Thank goodness for Oppikoppi's streaming live feature and more gigs in Joburg!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Post-World Cup Blues

                       Cape Town Stadium 11:02am 1 August 2010


I woke up to what I thought was the sound of a duck quacking on a roof top somewhere nearby. Turns out it was a duck quacking on a roof top somewhere nearby. Gotta love Cape Town. Oh yeah, I’m in Cape Town. Feels a little surreal. One day I am in London, the next in the Mother City. It's been wo-wo-wonderful but now I am so-so-tired! Hence the reason for my two-day-Time-Out in Cape Town. 

 From this... this

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Waiting for Godot

I consider it to be the theatrical event of the year. Sir Ian McKellen - veteran of the stage and screen - is starring in a 2-week run of Waiting for Godot in Cape Town. It's, unfortunately, only in the Mother City and not travelling to Joburg, so I came here for opening night this past weekend. A number of my fellow arts journos also made the trip - all to witness a true talent on the stage.

It was, as I had believed it would be, a trip worth making. Sir Ian McKellen's performance is filled with nuances that breathe life into a character that is essentially waiting to die. Every cough, every clearing of the throat, every hobble onto or off of the stage has been thought out so that it becomes fluid and natural. He brings such comicality to the role of Estragon that lifts the production from what could otherwise be (and sometimes, I'm told, is) quite a sombre mood.

The show, directed by Sean Mathias, has been touring the UK and the West End, then Australia and New Zealand, and now South Africa. It will head out of the Fugard Theatre - a beautiful, historical, four-storey building in the heart of District 6 - to Khayelitsha on Monday evening, for a once-off special show. Sir Ian himself admitted he was somewhat nervous about this move, as it requires a changing of the set design so that it fits into a venue that was last used as a fan park during the World Cup. Acoustic issues aside, Sir Ian says he happy to be able to take the production to the people, in an area he established a relationship with years ago, when he first started to coming to South Africa in 1994.
I think it is an inspired move, one that will help ignite the spark of passion for acting in some youngsters who might otherwise have never had the opportunity to see this particular performance of Samuel Beckett's classic.