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October 30, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performs A Christmas Carol, the feel-good ballet of the season

Jack Yan/14.03

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Ross Brown/RNZB

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s final season for 2014, sponsored by Vodafone, sees Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol brought to life. Created for the Northern Ballet, it’s a true crowd-pleaser and the perfect family outing.
   The RNZB’s Christmas performance has often been a spectacular that audiences of all ages can enjoy, and A Christmas Carol is no exception. The familiar Yuletide tunes and original music by American-born composer Carl Davis, CBE make A Christmas Carol musically accessible. Davis’s work will be familiar to television and film audiences (he scored The French Lieutenant’s Woman, the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and, most recently, an episode of the 2012 continuation of Upstairs, Downstairs), and he brings a similar lyrical, orchestral style to the ballet.
   The familiarity of Dickens’ novel also helps: the characters are well known, especially to children, and this version, created for the Northern Ballet, stays close to the original Victorian setting. The humour is distinctly English: the second act’s dance between Mr and Mrs Fezziwig (played by Rory Fairweather-Neylan and Brontë Kelly on opening night) is Carry on in nature, while the Ghost of Christmas Present’s (MacLean Hopper) tendency to throw glitter made him the least frightening of the trio that visit Ebenezer Scrooge.
   Paul Mathews, in the lead, exuded energy and still yielded surprises despite the well known storyline, but it was the flashback scene with a pas de deux between Young Scrooge (Shane Urton) and Belle Fezziwig (Lucy Green) that was the most touching and graceful in the ballet.
   Belle, knowing the relationship had come to an end, expressed a lifelessness as she moved en pointe away from Young Scrooge, ever focused on finance.
   The loss of love between the two was poignant, and the point at which Scrooge became the miserable character at the beginning of the story. It gave an extra element, almost a humanity, to Scrooge, that was seen in the novel.
   Bob Cratchit, played by Kohei Iwamoto, was perfectly cast.
   Each set was lovingly created, with production design by Lez Brotherston, the backdrops faithful to the emerging industrialization of the Victorian era, and the lighting by Jon Buswell (presumably following the original design by Paul Pyant) was used to eerie effect on two occasions: the emergence of Scrooge’s business partner’s ghost (light streamed up in a ghostly form before the dancer playing Marley appeared) and the Ghost of Christmas Past (who appeared to float as he visited Scrooge). Transitions between sets were cleverly handled, particularly Scrooge’s grave in the last act.
   This is the first performance Lucire attended where the company sings, and young Wilson Jack, as Tiny Tim Cratchit, performs a touching solo of ‘How Far Is It to Bethlehem?’ (and never mind that it was composed outside the Victorian era). Nigel Gaynor, conducting Orchestra Wellington, excelled handling this extra dimension.
   It was the finalé that was the most upbeat of any recent Royal New Zealand Ballet production, something that could be seen not just with the lengthy applause but the smiles on the audience’s faces as members began departing the St James Theatre.
   The Wellington performances began October 30 and run till November 8 inclusive; Dunedin is from November 15 to 16; Christchurch from November 20 to 22. A Christmas Carol then returns to the North Island, in Palmerston North on November 26, Napier on November 29 and 30, Auckland on December 3 to 7, and Takapuna from December 13 to 14. Full details of dates and venues can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet website.
   The late Christopher Gable directed the original production for the Northern Ballet, with choreography by Massimo Moricone; Daniel de Andrade serves as producer. It is the first ballet by the RNZB performed after the appointment of its new artistic director, Francesco Ventriglia, who takes up his new position during the run.
Jack Yan, Publisher


Bill Cooper

Above An image from the Northern Ballet’s production of A Christmas Carol.

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September 29, 2014

The Royal New Zealand Ballet to perform A Christmas Carol for its final 2014 season

Lucire staff/13.15

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Ross Brown/RNZB

The Royal New Zealand Ballet will perform A Christmas Carol for its final season in 2014, in a version created for Northern Ballet in the UK. Northern Ballet’s master, Daniel de Andrade, is in New Zealand to stage the production.
   Based on the Charles Dickens story, the ballet is expected to surprise, with large sets, 650 costume elements, 75 characters and music by television composer Carl Davis that incorporates well known Christmas carols.
   De Andrade said in a release, ‘This evocative production has been a hit in the UK for over 20 years and such was its success that the BBC televised the production. The stunning sets and costumes transport audiences to Victorian England where Dickens’ classic characters are beautifully brought to life by talented dancers who not only dance but sing and act. It’s a narrative masterpiece and you couldn’t find a truer Christmas ballet.’
   Christopher Gable directed the original Northern Ballet version, with choreography by Massimo Moricone, production design by Lez Brotherston, and original lighting by Paul Pyant.
   Nigel Gaynor conducts the New Zealand performances.
   The ballet opens at the St James Theatre in Wellington on October 30 and tours the country, finishing in Takapuna on December 14. Notably, the company will perform at the newly restored Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch for the first time, on November 20.
   The dates are: Wellington, October 30 and 31, and November 1, 2, 6–8; Dunedin, November 15 and 16; Christchurch, November 20–2; Palmerston North, November 26; Napier, November 29 and 30; Auckland, December 3–7; and Takapuna, December 13 and 14. Full details can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website.

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September 26, 2014

The 2014 Brancott Estate World of Wearable Art awards: Supreme Award goes to Hawkes Bay

Lucire staff/11.00

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World of Wearable Art Awards

Top Kate MacKenzie’s winning Poly Nation, which took top honours at the 26th World of Wearable Art Awards; Show tonight in Wellington. Above Runner-up Gothic Habit, by San Francisco designer Lynne Christiansen.

Hawkes Bay designer Kate MacKenzie is the winner of the 2014 Brancott Estate Supreme WOW award, at the 26th World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show held in Wellington tonight.
   MacKenzie’s Poly Nation is an inventive design, telling the story of travel and made from leather and cardboard suitcases. The inspiration centred on the idea of ‘If suitcases could talk, they would carry stories of travel, culture and integration.’ It tells the story of people drawn to New Zealand with new ideas and beliefs.
   The design has netted MacKenzie NZ$30,000 in prizes.
   She also took out the Air New Zealand South Pacific section.
   MacKenzie had come third, along with Deidre Morgan, last year in the American Express Open section.
   Lynne Christiansen of San Francisco, Calif. took second place. She has entered seven times, and has won awards before, including the 2013 International Americas Award. Christiansen’s Gothic Habit was made from laser-etched felt and wood, constructed from 2,300 individually cut pieces to form a gothic cathedral. Christiansen also won the Open Section.
   In the individual categories, My Gradational Body by Zhujun Zhu of China won the Avant-Garde section; Fenced off by Luiz Fernando Sereno Penna of New Zealand won the children’s section.
   The Spark Creative Excellence section, with the Airborne theme this year, was won by Annkathrin Selthofer of Germany with her Waving Gorge design. Sebastian Denize of New Zealand won the Bizarre Bra section with Re-Decked, while Mark Dobson, also of New Zaland, won the Weta Costume and Film section (judged by Weta’s Sir Richard Taylor) with Sakana No Senshi.
   Emily Valentine Bullock of New Zealand took home the WOW Factor Award with her Sulphur Crested Frockatoo; the Shell Sustainability Award was won by Laura van Staveren of the Netherlands with Appearance. Shell also sponsored the Student Innovation Award, which was won by Tess Tavener Hanks of Australia with Baroque Living Room.
   The first-time entrant award was scooped by Ali Khan and Frida Khan of Qatar with Bling Warrior. Pop Cultural by Nicki van Asch of New Zealand won the New Zealand Design Award.
   The four Wellington International Awards, one being awarded to each geographic region, were won by Back to the Future: Chrome Queen, by Joanna Peacock of the UK, for Europe; Girl in Ribbons, by Julian Hartzog of the USA for the Americas; Odette by Lulan Huang of China for Asia; and Fenghuang (phoenix) by Svenja XX of Australia for Australia and the South Pacific.
   Wellington designers (Ross Hardie, Rachel Hardie, Hannah Goldblatt, Dylan Mulder, Kris Eriksen, Ian Loveridge, Liz Ritchie, Paula Rowan, Rénée Louie and Emily Valentine Bullock) netted the lion’s share of prizes this year, taking three section awards, four honourable mentions and one special award.
   Founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff, designer Vicky Taylor, and sculptor Jeff Thomson judged.
   Lucire fashion editor Sopheak Seng will have further thoughts from the designers as he files his report from awards’ night at WOW.














World of Wearable Art Awards

Above, from top My Gradational Body, by Zhujun Zhu. Fenced off, by Luiz Fernando Sereno. Waving Gorge, by Annkathrin Selthofer. Re-Decked, by Sebastian Denize. Sakana No Senshi, by Mark Dobson. Sulphur Crested Frockatoo, by Emily Valentine Bullock. Baroque Living Room, by Tess Tavener Hanks. Bling Warrior, by Ali Khan and Frida Khan. Pop Cultural, by Nicki van Asch. Back to the Future: Chrome Queen, by Joanna Peacock. Girl in Ribbons, by Julian Hartzog. Odette, by Lulan Huang. Fenghuang, by Svenja XX.

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September 18, 2014

Rachel Millns crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2014, in front of a live, global audience

Lucire staff/16.33

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Alan Raga

In front of a live global audience, and a full house at Sky City Theatre in Auckland, Rachel Millns of the Kapiti Coast was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2014 on Thursday night.
   Millns beat out Monique Cooley of Queenstown and Becky Hingston, originally of Dunedin, after a combined judges’ vote (with the panel consisting of Colin Mathura-Jeffree, Megan Alatini, Jo Holley, Stephanie Charles of Starnow, Emma McLachlan of Diamond Entertainment, and special guest judge Chalita Yaemwannang, Miss Universe Thailand 2013), and a public vote (through Miss Universe New Zealand’s online I-vote and SMS voting).
   Alatini did double duty as she and Joe Cotton, Erika Takacs and Keri Harper reformed TrueBliss—the original Popstars band—for one night, performing both one of their earlier hits and a new song.
   Russell Dixon, back from performing lead roles on the British stage, Michelle Varte, and Lavina Williams also entertained the crowd at the Theatre.
   Miss Universe New Zealand executive director Nigel Godfrey announced the Miss New Zealand Consortium Ltd.’s intention to hold a Mrs New Zealand competition in 2015, and registrations of interest are being taken on the nextmissnz.com website.
   He and Lucy Gallaugher MCed the event, which was streamed at nextmissnz.com, livestream.com, virtualticket.co.nz and right here at Lucire. The grand final will air on Face TV in New Zealand as a delayed telecast.
   Both Yaemwannang and Holly Michelle Cassidy, Miss Universe New Zealand 2013, crowned Millns on stage at the conclusion of the show.
   Other awards were given to Alyx Pivac (Miss Congeniality), Monique Cooley (Miss Photogenic) and Brenna Watson-Paul (World Miss University representative for 2014, as judged by Alex Lee).
   Golden Gowns, Antique & Modern Jewellery, Jewels by Aqua, Jucy, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand were platinum sponsors for the evening.
   Millns will head off to Doral, Florida, in December, to participate in Miss Universe 2015 on January 18.

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September 16, 2014

A busy week for Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo

Lucire staff/12.23

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A Lucire exclusive




Paula Sweet

In a whirlwind week, two extraordinary events occurred in northern Italy, both under the stewardship of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.
   On the night of Wednesday, September 10 at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino, a travelling exhibition showcasing the finalists to this year’s Prix Pictet launched. This year’s theme, Consumption, introduced by Pictet’s Stephen Barber at a gala reception, themes the world’s most prestigious annual photography prize. You can visit this important show at the Fondazione’s impressive and expansive space, a converted factory, through October 12.
   The following Sunday, September 14, Divine, an installation focusing on highlights from the 20th century costume jewellery collection of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, opened at Ca’D’oro in Venezia. A gathering of local luminaries and international guests witnessed the official launch of the show. Over 400 objects notable for their history and elegance are displayed in the Galleria Georgio Franchetti, remaining on exhibit through January 11, 2015.
   In her exhibition notes, Sandretto Re Rebaudegno says she first developed interest in accessible costume jewellery designs because they represent a cultural heritage that ‘brings us back to hard times and great social change.’ But you will find they are also remarkable for their craftsmanship and inherent beauty.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo
Via Torino Modane 16
Torino
Telephone 39 011 3797600

Ca d’Oro Galleria Giorgio Franchetti
Cannaregio 3932
Venezia
Tuesday–Sunday, 8.15 a.m. to 7.15 p.m., Monday, 8.15 p.m.–2 p.m.








Paula Sweet

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September 1, 2014

Miss Universe Thailand 2013, Chalita Yaemwannang, gets guest judge role at Miss Universe New Zealand

Lucire staff/13.40

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Miss Universe Thailand 2013, Chalita Yaemwannang, will be guest judge at the grand final of Miss Universe New Zealand 2014 at the Sky City Theatre in Auckland on the 18th.
   Yaemwannang will join both returning and new judges on the panel, to be publicly announced later this month by the Miss Universe New Zealand organizers.
   The invitation to the Miss Universe Thailand organization was made by executive director Nigel Godfrey during the finalists’ retreat for the top 25, which took place in Bangkok and Pattaya in July.
   Godfrey presented his opposite number in Thailand, Surang Prempree, a framed invitation for a Miss Universe Thailand titleholder to be a special guest at the New Zealand grand final.
   The public vote continues with the online i-vote, and with the text voting—see nextmissnz.com/top25.shtml for voting details.
   Tickets for the final are available through Iticket, through this link, or via the Miss Universe New Zealand Facebook page.

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August 29, 2014

Paws for the cause (of pet adoption)

Elyse Glickman/22.08

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Dogs once again took centre-stage at the Secret Room’s pre-smash bash for the 2014 Emmys, but cats and kids grabbed the spotlight with a flourish.
   In the ballroom at Beverly Hills’ Montage hotel, there were a lot of well dressed children in tow enjoying the latest toy trends from the US and Germany, and a lot of large, beautifully groomed dogs walking their people. Many dogs who came with Emmy-nominated celebrities and top-drawer stylists were treated royally with designer dog food, grooming gear and even doggy first aid. However, as an owner of a rescue cat, I was please that the I Love Pet Head line by Tigi had some special things for my Pepper (a majestic American short-haired cat) as well as Nico, Leyla’s rambunctious Maine coon who delights in getting his fur matted. Inventor Linda Jangula noted her Wiki Wags included variations for cats in development.
   Even better, I was even more delighted to see that the Humane Society of the United States was back with their message as was the Adopt/Shelter Pet Project, encouraging people to look first into their hearts and then into shelters with memorable commercial spots by the Ad Council (an organization producing public service announcements).
   Another thing that was rather quaint was that there were two companies promoting different kinds of shapewear for women (Rago, upscale and ultra-glam v. Skin Eez, practical, comfortable and therapeutic) and two artisanal chocolate companies (US-made Chuao chocolate, and Belgium’s Guylian).
   Some clever chocolate sushi was located right next to the booth of Dr Sam Saleh, who was not only a proponent of the Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush (‘the Porsche of dental care’) but also the founder of the ORA Dentistry Spa, who counts Tyra Banks as a client and whose expertise has been featured on Extra! and turns to the latest dental technology in restorations, bleaching, veneers and cosmetic contouring to address irregularities, dental stains, dental gaps, metal restorations and altering tooth form, tooth shape and tooth colour.
   There were lovely water bottles from Faucet Face to encourage more home filtering and less plastic, emotional wellness aids from Atlanta-based Vanda, mast and beauty drinks from Ashieda and a fantastic smoothie cookbook and products I cannot wait to try out by Healthy Happy Life that’s 100 per cent vegan by food blogger and photographer Kathy Patalsky.
   On the fashion front, celebrities were treated to futuristic sunglass and prescription frames by Yoshinori Aoyama, creator of Factory 900 eyewear. While most of his goods were pure statement, I found myself lusting after the cool and sleekly classic clear Model 208 and will have them on my holiday wish list. Speaking of holidays, the nice folks from the tourist board of St Kitts were on hand to spark interest in winter getaways to spots of endless summers (minus LA pollution and humidity).
   A highlight of the Red Carpet Style Lounge for the élite talent were vacation holiday packages to “trip of a lifetime destinations”. These included Alila Villas, crafted luxury in spectacular locations, served-up stays in oceanfront villas at their Uluwatu and Soori Indonesian properties with personal butler, spa services, dining and more; ITC Hotel Maurya New Delhi India gifted eight nights in a luxury suite, airport transfers, luxury buffet breakfast, dinner each night and spa services; Brewery Gulch Inn in Mendocino, California, Travel & Leisure’s winner of World’s Best Awards 2014, will gift a two-night escape in a suite with breakfast and dinner daily featuring locally sourced ingredients prepared by their executive chef. Riviera Resort and Spa Palm Springs is gifting a two-night stay in a one-bedroom suite, dinner for two at Circa 59 and one 50-minute spa treatment at Spa Terre. Lucky recipients included Lena Dunham, Michael Madsen, Taylor Schilling, Lizzy Caplan, Michelle Dockery, Jeff Daniels, Jon Hamm, Peter Dinklage, Sarah Paulson, Kristen Wiig, Jane Lynch, Mark Ruffalo, Cat Deeley, Paul Giamatti, Jimmy Fallon, Joan Cusack, Robin Wright, Anthony Bourdain, Melissa McCarthy, Jessica Lange, Amy Poehler, and Jeff Bridges. Other celebrities spotted include Ashley Argota, Christian Madsen, Colm Meaney, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Cary Fukunaga, Danny Zuker, Caitlin Carmichael, Jamie Brewer, and Mia Talerico.
   Kudos to Amy Boatwright and Rita Branch for putting animals first and healthy living very close behind (and yes, chocolate is good food—antioxidants)!—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor


















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August 23, 2014

Summer heat and cool trends, at Doris Bergman’s Emmy Style Lounge at Fig & Olive

Elyse Glickman/0.23

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Top Kate Burton with MD Sun Skin Care. Centre Bling It Hat Designs with Khandi Alexander. Above R. J. Mitte of Breaking Bad with Honest Tea.

With no end to summer in sight, and Labor Day two weeks away, plucky, savvy Doris Bergman was back to work with a flourish, celebrating the coming fall season, with a colourful cast of characters via her Fifth Annual Style Lounge & Party in Celebration of Emmy Season at Fig & Olive in West Hollywood.
   Even in with the arrival of scorching summer heat, Bergman and her team stayed calm and cool directing traffic and making sure her top-tier talent and media were well taken care of as well as introduced to a favourite selection of fashion, accessories and beauty essentials from favourite vendors (Single Dress, Roadkill Boutique, Radar Watches, Telic Footwear, Traveler’s Choice Luggage, Guess Watches, Twisted Silver/Perch, Nature’s Flavors and Honest Tea) and new designers and entrepreneurs on the scene (Unity Vintage Jeans, Clothing Nation, Origami Owl Jewelry, Clothing Nation, Kaya Di Koko and Bling It Hat Designs).
   Wednesday’s Child was front and centre in the charity spotlight, and with local Los Angeles news presenter Christine Devine by her side, Doris was once again in “Auntie Mame” mode with a very targeted gift drive for the 15- to 18-year-olds in foster care. Two foster children got to not only get Doris’ patented VIP treatment but also represent the hundreds of local children benefiting from Wednesday’s Child.
   ‘In Los Angeles County, alone, there are over 30,000 children receiving child welfare services,’ says social worker William Wong in tribute to Bergman’s hard work and the support of the event sponsors. ‘Gift and monetary donations to the Wednesday’s Child Pre-Holiday Gift Drive has been overwhelming and, most importantly, the event sponsors and celebrity guests have provided examples to follow—giving the public permission to embrace our kids. I believe that people are inherently good and want to do good things.’
   Once guests who arrived early enjoyed a Mediterranean feast by Fig & Olive Executive Chef, Pascal Lorange, and got a Traveler’s Choice carry-on bag, they dove into a wave of beauty and style breakthroughs. The fantastic, just-launched MD Sun Skin Care treatment line (offering state-of-the-art treatment of wrinkles, age spots and lost elasticity) joined forces with Gerard Cosmetics and Whitening Lightning to allow guests to put their best faces forward.
   Fashion highlights included the latest covetable costume jewellery from Deborah at Twisted Silver (inviting pieces of copper, turquoise and buttons with a “steampunk” edge), Origami Owl Jewelry, devised by a teenaged girl as a way to save up for her first car), denim shorts from Unity Jeans Company with Roberto Cavalli-esque touches, Bling It Hat Designs’ jaunty cowboy toppers and some delicious candles and body care from Bon Bon Home & Garden, Jones & Rose, Dawn Lee Cosmetics and the Vida Emanuel Day Spa.
   Celebrities helping our beloved Doris celebrate the kick-off of Hollywood’s big social season included Emmy nominees Kate Burton (outstanding guest actress, Scandal), Jon Voight (supporting actor, Ray Donovan) Joey King and Joshua Close (Fargo), Khandi Alexander and Ntare Mwine (Treme), R. J. Mitte (Breaking Bad), Jamie Brewer (American Horror Story), Dot Marie Jones (Glee), Elaine Hendrix (Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll), Eva La Rue, Gregg Daniel (True Blood), Hal Sparks (Lab Rats), Kelsey Scott (12 Years a Slave), Marilu Henner (The Crazy Ones), Rosa Blasi (The Thundermans), Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World), Shanola Hampton (the US version of Shameless), Tiphany Adams (Push Girls) and Toks Olagundoye (The Neighbors).—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor



Top Joey King with Gerard Cosmetics and Whitening Lightning. Above Jon Voight with Traveler’s Choice luggage.









Elyse Glickman

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