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November 21, 2016

News in brief: Chris Scott, the Rees Hotel win international awards; Barceló announces new brands

Lucire staff/11.18




Above, from top: The Rees Hotel Queenstown’s Executive Lake View Penthouse. The Barceló Bavaro Grand Resort. Church Road Winery winemaker Chris Scott.

Church Road Winery winemaker Chris Scott, whom Lucire had the pleasure to meet earlier this year as he introduced his Tom vintages, has been named New Zealand Winemaker of the Year 2016 by Winestate magazine. Scott also won the title in 2013. Winestate also awarded Scott’s Church Road McDonald Series Syrah 2014 with the Syrah/Shiraz of the Year trophy and New Zealand Wine of the Year trophy.
   The Winestate New Zealand Winemaker of the Year award is given to the individual who achieves the highest score from the top 10 different wines judged throughout the year.
   Another international win was scored by the Rees Hotel Queenstown, which was judged Best New Zealand Ski Hotel at the 2016 World Ski Awards in Kitzbühel, Tirol, Austria. The awards are considered ski tourism’s most coveted prizes. The Rees Hotel is within easy reach of Coronet Peak, the Remarkables, Treble Cone and Cardona, while its complimentary ski concierge services cater to the most demanding of skiers. The Rees team can help with arranging skiing or snowboarding packages, gear hire, lessons and heli-skiing.
   Barceló Hotel Group will create new brands to complement the parent one: Royal Hideaway Luxury Hotels & Resorts, Occidental Hotels & Resorts, and Allegro Hotels. After acquiring Occidental, which brought the Spanish-HQed company into Aruba and Colombia, Barceló has had to rethink its structure. Royal Hideaway (seven per cent of its portfolio) is the top brand, with luxury resorts; Barceló Hotels and Resorts represents affordable but upscale resorts, with U-Spa Health and Wellness Centres, and includes its flagship Barceló Emperatriz; Occidental Hotels & Resorts is for families, friends and couples with adventure inclusions; and Allegro Hotels (five per cent) is aimed at budget travellers.

November 20, 2016

Celebrity Connected: a platform for the “green party”

Elyse Glickman/6.20




Elyse Glickman

After an intense, divisive US presidential season, and its controversial aftermath, Californians were ready to kick off award show season. Celebrity Connected not only got the party started, but provided some much needed pre-Christmas comfort and joy to greet the Hollywood creative community. The W Hollywood became a Garden of Eden, filled with a bumper crop of organic vegan goodies, non-dairy frozen treats, comfy weekend wear, interesting vaping inventions, yoga goods, and plants that could be planted in yards to further green up one’s neighboUrhood.

The Children’s Hour
Bears for Humanity founder Vijay Prathap spread a little early Yuletide cheer, distributing US-made Santa Bears to get his point across about the company’s multi-tiered charitable efforts. The 100 per cent certified organic, global Fair Trade elements of the bear are brought together by at-risk women looking to expand their career opportunities through the welfare-to-work programme. With every bear purchased, another bear is given to a child in need in communities throughout the country.
   There were also all-ages fashion and skin care (with lots of mother-and-daughter teamwork) served up by Royal & Reese, Swag-Eez and Sistah Buttah, as well as yoga hear from Karma and Soul. Pre-teen entrepreneurs Angels & Tomboys showed off their Shark Tank-winning, rock-inspired body sprays (including Purple Rain, a tribute to Prince reminding one of the grape soda we all loved as kids).

Green days
Although the overall progressive agenda now hangs in the balance with a conservative government coming to power in 2017, the fight to make cannabis legal in several states—including California—has moved in the right direction. Adults over 18 could sign up with MediCann doctors on the spot for paperwork that provided three months of access to dispensaries. In the immediate, they could sample several innovative products incorporating medical marijuana, cannabis, and hemp.
   Hemp Kitchen offered a Medicine Chest package through their delivery service with a variety of foods and treatment products addressing pain relief, headaches and other ailments. Chef Mike was on hand to explain how enjoy the products and the nutritional components of the goods. The Art of Edibles Cannabis Collective and To Whom It May provided chocolate aficionados with gorgeously wrapped gourmet truffles, and generous gifts from VQase and Hawaiian Vape provided extra flavour and fun for those partaking in the popular cigarette alternative.
   Souly Vegan of Oakland served substantial sustenance, while Justin’s nutty goodies added sweet relief to mid-day hunger pangs and Cocorilla had coconut water as nature intended—in its original shell. Pure indulgence was doled out by Street Churos (a food truck with a charitable element), Kokolato gelato and Yoga-urt.

Other things that rocked
Stand-out items included hand-crafted natural stone statement jewellery and minaudière handbags from Ann Ong, Rocking the Clock’s repurposed musical instrument home décor clocks and accents, and Cordcruncher, which promises to eliminate tangled earbuds once and for all. A great travel essential I look forward to trying is MAI Couture’s passport case, which can be filled with easy to use, unbreakable, and mess-proof papers with blush, bronzer, and foundation.

Finds beyond the suite
Around the same time as this suite, we found some other good products worth noting. Eufora Curl ’N is one of the best curl-defining sprays for finer hair texture going. All the definition and spring without sticky stuff weighing down hair.
   EC/BC recently rolled out its TSA-friendly backpacks and briefcases. Though the designs are unisex, these carry-on items make a statement in terms of fuss-free travel that help sort out (literally) anything that may stop a law-abiding citizen in the security line. The Barceló Hotel Group (known for its Caribbean and Mexican resorts) is also expanding its reach into Cuba, Costa Rica and other hot destinations, figuratively and literally.—Elyse Glickman, US West Coast Editor
















Elyse Glickman

November 16, 2016

Skilful execution by tomorrow’s stars at New Zealand School of Dance’s 2016 Graduation Season

Jack Yan/11.39




Stephen A’Court

Above, from top: Meistens Mozart. An excerpt from Political Mother. Pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty.

The New Zealand School of Dance’s Graduation Season once again brings an expertly executed programme, mixing genres from classical to modern to experimental. Among the programme tonight were three premières: Helgi Tomasson’s Meistens Mozart was performed for the first time in New Zealand, while Amber Haines’s Incant and Jiři Bubeniček’s Dance Gallantries received their world premières on opening night of the season at Te Whaea.
   Meistens Mozart started the evening and showed that, with the right arrangement and choreography, the German language could be made cheerful. Songs by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Bernhard Flies and Jakob Haibel, sung by the Tölzer Boys’ Choir, accompanied the six dancers, the standout of whom was George Liang. Liang had previously been at Canada’s National Ballet School, and we had seen him perform last month at the Republic of China’s National Day celebration. There were no opening-night jitters from any of the six, who instantly transported us to an alpine society, celebrating springtime love, courtship and playfulness.
   The all-male He Taonga—a Gift was an energetic and intense performance where drumbeats from Whirimako Black’s ‘Torete te Kiore’ soundtrack sparked sudden moves, a demonstration of control and strength from the 14 dancers. Choreographed by Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete, He Taonga was created for the School in 2009 and reprised tonight.
   Opening the second section, Laura Crawford and Yuri Marques were like delicate dolls in their pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, Act III, with the choreography after Marius Petipa. Marilyn Rowe, OBE staged and coached, while Qi Huan was répétiteur. This was a tough ballet piece to get right and the pair got stronger as they performed, gaining confidence and drawing us into their romance.
   Taking a complete tangent into modern dance was the solo performance of Glitch, a new work from NZSD tutor Victoria Columbus, whose talents we most recently saw at the World of Wearable Art, where she serves as director of choreography. The movements themselves were created by graduate Connor Masseurs, who performed the dance, playing the part of a “glitching” robotic man short-circuiting on stage with skilful, shuddering movements. Masseurs completely absorbed us with his solo: it wasn’t just his limbs that Masseurs controlled, he extended the idea to facial movements, inventively finding new ways to glitch. Masseurs first performed the dance at the Grand Théâtre at the Maison de la Culture de Tahiti as part of a gala at the Académie de Danse Annie Fayn.
   Incant was mysterious, brooding, and ethereal: this all-female work saw dancers come together to generate new shapes, conveying to us notions of clouds, trees in a forest, or tunnels, at times passing a lit sphere between them. Haines’s choreography was meant to question traditional notions of beauty and got us successfully focusing on the collective moves of the dancers. ‘This world,’ she notes in the programme, ‘invokes a mesmerizing state of collective consciousness and celebrates the power and luminous beauty of shared intention.’ A captivating work, it ended the second set of dances.
   Dance Gallantries was another more traditional work, with 10 dancers telling more playful stories of romance, complemented by Otto Bubeniček’s colourful costume design and solo violin music by J. S. Bach.
   A group of 12 performed an extract from Political Mother, the evening’s one political work with jarring music and clever choreography by Hofesh Shechter. A couple merrily folk-dances in a town square, happy to be part of their society, but are they genuinely happy or manipulated by the state? Their expressions seem to suggest the latter, fooled into believing that all is well and happy in their naïveté. The action moves on to a prison, where the music is muffled and dancers ape being restrained by either arms or ankles. The final scene, with a large group of dancers back in the town, show that the entire society has succumbed to the illusion, raising their arms in acceptance. It makes you question about the times we live in, and whether intellectual discourse is suppressed in favour of simpler ideas, a population told to be happy without really knowing why.
   Finally, Tchaikovsky’s music from The Nutcracker was excerpted for the upbeat Tempo di Valse, with the NZSD returning to a ballet to finish the evening. The ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ was instantly recognizable, the 15 dancers showing classical movements. Nadine Tyson choreographed, while the colourful traditional costumes were designed by Donna Jefferis.
   Depending on the show, the pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty may be replaced by Jack Carter’s Pas de deux romantique, with music by Rossini; while Glitch may give way to The Wanderer, choreographed by Columbus and perforned by Liang.
   The season runs from November 16 to 26 at Te Whaea in Wellington, New Zealand, with prices ranging from NZ$18 to NZ$33. Tickets can be booked at the New Zealand School of Dance, or online at nzschoolofdance.ac.nz/book-tickets. We’d rate it another must-see, especially to catch some rising stars—we understand that some are off overseas, already snatched up by dance companies.—Jack Yan, Publisher

October 24, 2016

Travel editor’s diary: a day at the recolta

Lucire staff/22.34




Paula Sweet

Yesterday, 10.15 a.m., reading on my tablet online the latest insult to democracy from the Republican nominee, words uttered hours earlier across the sea, and the phone rings. It’s the Principessa Zaramella asking if we can be ready in ten minutes to drive out to the country for the recolta, the annual olive-picking at a friend’s estate. I cannot refuse. The harvest happens at the last minute every year on a date which can’t be predicted, when family and friends are summoned to the orchards for a decidedly ancient experience rendered in real time. It’s a one-hour ride into a forgotten age, leaving the industrial neighbourhoods which surround Vicenza, venturing into the rolling landscapes and alluvial valleys nestled between extinct volcanoes, rambling through mediæval villages and vineyards of orange and purple leaves, into the zone of two-lane roads and ill-marked switchbacks until all we see are storybook vistas punctuated by red roofs and the occasional lofty campanile. A hard left onto a gravel road, up a wooded hill and we find ourselves surrounded by terraces of olive trees thick with ripe black fruit, an excellent harvest this year.
   Nets have been spread below the trees and people of all ages are releasing the olives from the trees, picking by hand, or raking the boughs, green and yellow and black projectiles raining down on us, the pleasurable thud-thud-thud. The Italian language surrounds us—there’s no rushing the process, and people take the time to converse, opine, joke as bins are filled.
   Unlike berry-picking, you can’t eat what you retrieve. One is made to wait: the olives won’t be pressed today, though in a month the principessa will call us (no doubt at the last minute) to say that a litre of the production is waiting for us when we can come fetch it. For the moment we exist in the present, outside the bounds of our hand-held devices, breathing the fresh air, communing with the branches, listening to the children singing folk songs among the trees.
   At no particular moment comes the call ‘A mangiare!’ Everyone drops what they are doing and trudges up the hill, where a table has been set with everything delectable in the world: local cheeses, breads, pomegranates and mandarins and apples in baskets, sausages, bottles of Nero d’Avola and Cannonau di Sardegna and wine I dare not touch from the local production in unlabelled bottles which will surely deliver the Hangover of the Century to the uninitiated. This followed by huge plates of food, pasta fagioli garlanded with fresh olive oil, an enormous salad of garden greens, pepperoncinis, radicchio di Terviso tarte, fritelli of Mozzarella, penne al sugo. The children retire to the chairs on the lawn, while the adults repair to impromptu seating under the arbor, which delivers a view of the pristine valley below. Cross-talk, teasing, the constant discussion of food, familiar faces coming and going, the casual discovery that some of these people actually speak English, at least a tolerable version of it peppered with como-se-dices and the occasional attempt at French. There is no attendant traffic noise, no recorded music, no phone sounds, no sirens, no voices of madness or conflict, only the murmur of conversation, mostly about food. Thence the dessert. Local rosegota, a hard hand-made flat cake, rum-laced crema di mascarpone, apricot tart, local thick cakes with fluffy insides, chocolate biscotti, after which a tray of espresso appears. A kind of drunken dizziness surrounds us, visions of shepherds napping under trees or vague trysts among the vines. But our host knows the rhythms need to return and with a sharp ‘A lavoro!’ we are back to the trees, back to our rakes and bins, for more time with the harvest. The light fades, we decelerate, and a languid pace for the last hours among the trees.
   Paulina, who chauffeured us out to the recolta, mentions that Arqua is not far away, a perfectly preserved mediæval village where Petrarch lived out his last days. Would we like to visit on our way home, see his house? A half-hour later we find ourselves wandering the ancient hillside streets, happening upon the Casa del Petrarca, then taking coffees at a typical enoteca. It is night when we exit the cafe and climb the old lanes back to the car. A night ride to Vicenza, back to the flat.
   As I close my eyes at home last night, I dream of the Greeks and their amphoræ, of the Romans at the harvest, and of Petrarch. I dream of compelling Donald Trump to pick olives for an afternoon, away from his Twitter feed and the screaming masses. I make him listen to other people’s conversations, rake the boughs and collect the olives and I tell him he must wait a month for his litre of olive oil.—Stanley Moss, Travel Editor












Paula Sweet

October 17, 2016

Royal New Zealand Ballet’s ’17 line-up: triple Academy Award winner James Acheson designs for Romeo and Juliet

Lucire staff/0.01



Ross Brown

Top: The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Carmen, premièring on February 16, 2017. Above: A new version of Romeo and Juliet, premièring on August 16.

Royal New Zealand Ballet artistic director Francesco Ventriglia has announced his second full season for the company, kicking off 2017 with Two Ballets by Roland Petit: Carmen with L’Arlésienne, premièring in Christchurch. Both have scores by Georges Bizet: Carmen was composed for the opéra comique in 1875 before Petit adapted it into a ballet in 1949; Petit created the ballet for L’Arlésienne in 1974, using the score originally composed for the play. They have been performed internationally, though not in New Zealand till the RNZB performances running from February 16 to April 1 in eight centres.
   The RNZB will perform three of Alexander Ekman’s works—Cacti, Tuplet and Episode 31—in a full programme from May 17 to June 15, in Wellington, Auckland, Napier, Christchurch, and Dunedin. For Cacti, the RNZB will be joined by the New Zealand String Quartet.
   The pièce de résistance for 2017 will be the Ryman Healthcare Season of Romeo and Juliet, in a new version by Ventriglia. Using the score by Sergei Prokofiev from 1935, the new work features set and costume design by three-time Academy Award winner James Acheson (The Last Emperor, Dangerous Liaisons, Restoration) working on his first ballet. Working with Auckland Live, the RNZB will offer a live audio description of this ballet for blind and visually impaired patrons on September 3. The season kicks off August 16 and runs till September 24, reaching nine centres.
   Ventriglia said in a release, ‘Not only does this bold programme celebrate international talents like France’s greatest-ever choreographer Roland Petit and the contemporary genius of Alexander Ekman, it’s also about creating great art here in New Zealand with a new version of Romeo and Juliet. The talented dancers of the RNZB and I look forward to bringing you another year of world class productions. See you at the theatre.’
   Executive director Frances Turner added, ‘It’s a big and beautiful year which will take the incredible artists of the RNZB around New Zealand for 70 performances in 16 cities and towns. We are proud to be taking the highest quality art to the widest possible audience.’
   The RNZB will help the New Zealand School of Dance, its official school, celebrate its 50th anniversary with a season in Wellington on November 24–5, while Tutus on Tour with Ballet in a Box return to the regions through the year.
   More information can be found at the RNZB website.

October 12, 2016

With clear night skies, Tekapo Springs to offer Star-Gazing package from early ’17

Lucire staff/2.46


Astrophotographer Mark Gee (@theartofnight)

The summer is a perfect time for stargazers to head to the South Island of New Zealand, with its clear night sky within the world’s largest dark-sky reserve (of 4,144 km²), and Tekapo Springs is the ideal place for travellers.
   Known for its pools and spas, Tekapo Springs in the MacKenzie Country will offer a Tekapo Star-Gazing package from early 2017 to complement its existing offerings.
   Tekapo Star Gazing is a unique tour, which allows guests to see the stars and constellations from Tekapo Springs’ hot pools from 9.30 p.m.
   Relaxing music plays in the background while qualified ‘star guides’ point out the night sky’s features and answer questions from guests. The sessions will run between 1¼ and 1½ hours long.
   Tekapo Springs has added two new 9·25 aperture Celestron telescopes at its Tahr Bar & Café for guests to check out after their hot pools’ experience.
   Its location by Lake Tekapo means some of the country’s most stunning views, often seen in photographs promoting New Zealand tourism.
   Bookings can be made via its website at www.tekaposprings.co.nz/book-now, or call 0800 2353-8283 within New Zealand, 64 3 680-6550 internationally.

September 3, 2016

Tania Dawson crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 in front of sold-out audience

Lucire staff/15.41




Alan Raga

Above: The moment: Tania Dawson hears the news that she’s been working toward for most of 2016, that she is the new Miss Universe New Zealand. Centre: After the announcement, Samantha McClung crowns her successor, Tania Dawson, Miss Universe New Zealand 2016. Above: Second runner-up Larissa Allen (left) and runner-up Seresa Lapaz (right) flank Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 Tania Dawson.

Secondary school drama and music studies’ teacher Tania Dawson, 23, was crowned Miss Universe New Zealand 2016 Saturday night at Skycity Theatre, taking home prizes including a stay at Plantation Bay Resort & Spa in Cebu, Philippines and the use of a Honda Jazz RS Sport Limited for the duration of her reign.
   Dawson, who is of half-Filipina extraction, was also the crowd favourite, with a large group of supporters in the live theatre audience.
   The event proved to be a Filipina one-two, with Seresa Lapaz, who was born in the Philippines but is a naturalized New Zealander, coming runner-up.
   Both ladies hail from Auckland, while second runner-up Larissa Allen comes from Tauranga.
   Dawson was crowned by her predecessor, Samantha McClung, who flew from Christchurch to join 2013 titleholder Holly Cassidy in a special parade featuring the exclusive designs of Ankia van der Berg of Golden Gowns.
   The sold-out audience enjoyed entertainment from special guest performers Stan Walker, Frankie Stevens, and Ali Walker, as well as the cast of Oh What a Night!, who appeared in a recorded segment filmed earlier on Saturday.
   The destination for Dawson, as well as the other national titleholders, is uncertain, but there have been suggestions it could be the Philippines, and already Lapaz has vowed to support her former competitor should she venture there.
   Dawson says she sees herself as an advocate for education, and entered the competition because she wanted to practise what she preached: to challenge herself and overcome any self-doubt.
   Repeating their roles from last year, Stephen McIvor and Sonia Gray hosted. Stevens was also on the judging panel (particularly appropriate given his similar role in NZ Idol), alongside motivational speaker and social practitioner Areena Deshpande, director of Head2Heels and former Miss Universe New Zealand director Evana Patterson, AJPR boss and BRCA cancer gene awareness champion Anna Jobsz, and arguably the top make-up practitioner and educator in New Zealand, Samala Robinson.
   Thanks to the support of Miss Universe New Zealand’s sponsors, including platinum partners Honda New Zealand, Bench, Skycity, the Quadrant Hotels and Suites, Golden Gowns and Beau Joie, and the fund-raising efforts of each year’s finalists, Miss Universe New Zealand cracked the $100,000 barrier with its donations to Variety, the Children’s Charity, this year.
   The stream was carried on Lucire, The New Zealand Herald and Stuff, and a delayed version will appear on 3Now.

August 31, 2016

Mumm showcases Grand Cordon, delivering by drone; Anna White launches; Karl Lagerfeld débuts autumn campaign

Bhavana Bhim/19.24




Karl Lagerfeld

On August 30 and 31, the new Mumm Grand Cordon champagne was exhibited at Croatia’s Hula Hula Beach Club. For each order of champagne at the Club, a bottle was flown over the sea by a drone. Music accompanied the delivery—those receiving the champagne would get a particularly special experience, emphasizing Mumm’s current ‘celebrate’ theme, and its taste for daring innovation.
   The new bottle was created by Ross Lovegrove and has no front label. The G. H. Mumm signature and emblem are printed directly on to the glass, while the Cordon Rouge sash is actually a real red ribbon indented in the glass. The new design meant changes to the traditional champagne production process.
   Karl Lagerfeld Paris has launched its autumn 2016 advertising campaign, Love from Paris, Karl ××, coinciding with the label’s launch in North America. Lagerfeld himself art-directed and photographed the campaign, which was styled by Charlotte Stockdale, and modelled by Joan Smalls and Hailey Baldwin. It’s a predominantly black-and-white collection with colour splashes, featuring prêt-à-porter clothes and accessories.
   Also on the theme of new and luxury: a new leathergoods label, Anna White, has launched in New Zealand, with a contemporary line consisting of the AW1 tote, Liberty shoulder bag and Protagonist clutch. Right now, Anna White is also offering a limited-edition Classique tote, retailing at NZ$650. The range has simple lines with a quality look. It’s the ideal chance to own stylish bags before others jump on board—Anna White’s off to a good start.—Bhavana Bhim with Lucire staff



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