Last night we went to our second World of Wearable Art show. It was as fantastic as lastt year. We paid a bit more to get closer seats, which was totally worth it so we had a better view of the costumes. It was like they heard our unsubmitted comments from last year, and kept the various peices on stage for much longer.

What is Wow, you ask? Well you can check out

The show can be descibed as 2.5 hour modern/avante garde dance show mixed in with a parade of mind-blowing art-fashion peices. Many of the sections are themed, so the opening “Pacifica” bit was to the pounding music of Oceanea while dacers did a haka-like dance, and garments made of feathers, flax, paua and other native/natural products were on display.

And for the Bizzare Bra section they had a couple of the performers from the Heavenly Burlesque show providing entertainment. Not that the chorus-line of men and women in over the top bra-art doing a huge dance number wasn’t entertainment enough! Massive overstimulation, with way to much to look at.

Like Cirque to Soleil on acid mixed in with a fashion show.

And this year there were some books on sale that provided good pictures of pieces from this and previous years. The program was a disappointment again, due to the lack of photos of this years entrants.

It is very cool that Wellington has such a one-of-a-kind show. WoW is becoming more international, 54 or the entrants were form overseas this year. There is some talk about trying to take it on the road, which could be cool if they could figure a way to move all those costumes safely.

Interesting people

One nice thing about The Two Sisters is it gave us a chance to get to know some of the people who we would see in Bellydance class, but otherwise never really talked to.

MJ, who played one of the Mermaids, is a fellow North American. She is here on a 9 month contract (though we can hope she will fall in love with the place and decide to stay) working as a vet at the Wellingon zoo. Beingt a zoo vet is quite a challenge, as most of the critters you deal with a complete medical mysteries. Fun!

Janjo, who played the younger sister, is also quite a cool person. As we had a dance duet, I got to spend plenty of time with her (picture the two of us standing there going “well, now what?” “I don’t know…”). I was quite surprised to find out English was not her first language. Her first language (note that I don’t say native language) was– wait for it– Esperanto. Apparently she is a third generation speaker. Now that is a seriously wacky family!

Cooling down, warming up

So, we survived. Last Saturday we had the sole performance of The Two Sisters. It went well. The technical dress rehersal was a bit of a dogs breakfast, but the show itself went with only a few minor glitches. And only one glitch, a missed “start the music now cue” would have been easily noticed by the audience.

We only had 85 people in the audience, which was a bit of a disappointment. I think it did not help that we were competing against WoW which had just started. Nor did it help that we were all so busy getting ready for the performance, that we didn’t really get to market it as much as we woud have liked.

We are talking about doing it again, and maybe taking it on the road to the nearby cities of Palmerston North and Masterton, both of which are about 2 hours away. That could be fun. I do think it is a much better piece than our first version, 2.5 years ago. Really great costumes, a tighter story, more logical stage directions, and some very helpful cast changes.

With that major project now behind us we are enjoy the warming weather of spring. Cria should start dropping in only 3 weeks. We are very excited, and more than a bit impatient!

When we get digital photos from our friends of the performance and costumes, we will post them. The evil trees were my favorite.

Crazy September

The mad month continues to march forward.

On Saturday we spent all day in a dress rehersal for the Two Sisters, which plays next Saturday. The day was chaotic and noisy, but I think good progress was made. The technical/stage directions were finalized, so that can now get passed onto the sound and light people.

Sunday we had a SCA day-o-fun. This had been scheduled some months ago, before we realized what a madhouse September would be. The weather was perfect, and about 18 people attended. While no heavy list fighting happened (few people brought armor), there was archery, some test combat archery, and fencing. We also played with a sword. Steve had discovered the joy of doing test-cuts with a sharp steel sword on plastic coke and milk bottles full of water. I am very glad I had not taken away the recycling for many weeks. I dug out my steel katana, and the fun began. When we were done 10 bags of plastic bottle had been choped into small pieces, small enough that the “corpses” could be repacked into 5 plastic bags. Almost everyone got a chance to take a swing, it was very fun. You learn a great deal more about technique when using a real sword. I will have to start accumulating more bottles in time for our next event.

Now a new week begins. More rhododendrons to move, more gorse to spray. And in the evenings more rehersals for the Two Sisters, of course. We will be very glad to get through the play and get some free time back.

Just for fun

September has turned into the uber-busy month of doom. Tam has a bit of software that “goes live” later this week. I have lots of seasonal farm work that needs to be done now that spring has arrived. And on top of all of that we have a performance of the Two Sisters coming up in 10 days. Which means most evenings and weekends have been sucked away practicing dances, writing the script, working on stage/technical directions, and a myriad of other tasks.

But thankfully there is still time for the occasional diversion. On Saturday Tawa had its “town day”, where all sorts of civic groups and shops set up along the main street. There were plenty of fundraiser bake sales and sausage sizzles for local schools and social clubs. Beauty salons were doing free face painting on children. The local pipe&drum corps was out there in their kilts, making a musical avalanche of noise. The local fire brigade had fire engines for the kids to climb on. So what would go well at such an event? Well, a few alpaca of course!

We were amazed how well they did. The noise, the crowd, the insanity, and they kept going. The photo is with the “LJ Hooker Bear,” the promotional mascot of a local real estate company. The alpaca were mobbed by children (and adults) much of the time. At one point an intellectually disabled fellow came over and gave each of them a hug. Not for a second or two mind you, he came up, wrapped his arms around their necks, and gave a cheek-to-cheek 30-second hug. And the alpaca stood there and accepted it. Amazing.

We were asked if the alpaca could come and visit various school galas later this spring. We were also asked if they were available for the town Christmas parade. Whee!

road trip

So the big news (more or less) is that we’ve picked up three new alpacas. Woo ! There’s a couple up near Gisborne that is retiring and moving to town, so we bouhg tsome of their original females at very reasonable prices. They may or may not meet our specialized breeding goals, but our theory is that while our specialized plans are coming to furition, we can make at least a *bit* of money selling animals for this other line.

Anyway, so last weekend we hopped in the ute and made the seven hour drive up to Gisborne. Something like driving from Philadelphia to Boston just for the night. We were fortunate with the weather. The drive started with rain, but then that broke up into patches of low cloud mixed with blue and slanting morning sunlight. Spring is well under way just north of us, so in addition to the usual lovely rolling green pasture, snow-capped mountains, and picturesque gorges, the drive featured fields of early veggies, plum orchards in full flower and buckets and buckets of new lambs, some obviously just born that morning, and still wet and wobbly. (Sorry, Mom, still no pictures of the lambs — they tend to run when you get close.) The twins tend to cuddle up and nap together. If you get a pair with one white and one black, the cute rays are devastating.

Anyway, we got to the farm about 3:30. Beautiful big old 1918 house, with orchards, a big garden and a pretty old ivy-covered barn. The alpacas are Chilean decendants of the Ag Research herds, so healthy and strong, if not exactly fashionable-looking. We’d made a deal to take the three blue-eyed whites, and one of the four “fancies” — in this case brown-and whites. Unfortunately, the one we wanted had a cria that was still too young to wean, so we plan to have her shipped down separately in a few months. We shifted the three whites into a set of cattleyards (big, sturdy, knee-deep in mud in some places) for the night, and found a motel.

The next morning, we picked up the girls. It was definitely much much easier to load them using the cattle chute — shoving them out the end of the chute and down the couple of feet to the bed of the ute — than it would have been trying to get the three of them up the ramp. As it was, they were quite stroppy. They all kick if suitable provoked, and Minty especially has no qualms at all about spitting at people, if the people are annoying her. (Leading to comments like, “Ew, I’m all… Minty”, and “I’ve washed my hands three times, but they still smell Minty”.) They’re not too bad, though.

Then the long, long drive back. Got back with enough daylight to drench them (give them an injectable wormer) and put them up in the dog run for the night, with some hay. Oh, their names are Minty, Latte, and Persil (Persil is the name of a brand of laundry detergent).

Here are some pics. Persil in the back of the ute, and Latte and Minty. When they got out, they were all walking stiff and funny, from having been sitting for so many hours.

Meeting the rest of the girls (and Jim):

The three together. They still keep themselves to themselves, but we’re confident they’ll ventually make friends and join in the herd.

Stephen bringing everyone down the race (Stephen put up those fences, by the way !). We’ve been taking them down to the stream paddock to nosh the lush grass.

This is apparently the routine — when they get to the bottom of the driveway, Joy hops up to the little ledge, and then runs to catch up after everyone’s gone past:

And, on the way past, Minty pauses for a portrait:

More on DA

So, as you can see from the menu, the food at DA was plentiful and wonderful. We all ate way too much. But we did more than just eat. There were tournaments (heavy, rapier, arhcery). There were Arts and Sciences classes. And of course there was time to chat with friends from Auckland and Christchurch who had come down for the event.

Saturday morning we have the heavy-fighter championship. This involved 5 local fighters, and one visitor from Hamilton. While I did not win (the weapons I use certainly don’t help my chances), I had fun. Lief’s shield broke part way through the tourney, so when the time came for us to fight, I decided to do the fun and honroable thing, and fight him one-handed as well. The battles were a best-of-three contest, but with both of us weilding single swords, we kept simultaneously killing each other. I don’t know how many rounds that went, but we kept pitching over dead in unison, to the great amusement of the crowd. That evening the Baron of Southern Gaard gave us some small awards for our most amusing antics.

Only one small problem marred the event. Sunday I came down with a killer headache (migrane). In retrospect I know exactly what the cause was- feasting late into the night. I have found a strong correlation between going to bed with a full stomach (especially full of “heavy” food like meat) and a subsequent headache the next day. Usually this vulnerability is not a problem, as we eat early, but feasts like this one start later, and run into the evening with course after course. Sure, I could in theory abstain after the first course, but that is really hard when presented with steaming trays of yummy food!

My head exploding did not help my archery skills Sunday morning, so the championship slipped from my fingers. I knew it would, because the night before I was finally presented with Yanulf’s Arrow, the prize for winning the contest. I had won the previous two years, but nobody knew where the arrow was! The finally found it, presented it to me, and then I lost it 12 hours later! Hopefully next year I can win it back.

Posted in SCA