Lucire: News


November 11, 2015

Sponsored video: Dublin, second best means first in experiences

Lucire staff/1.51

A Lucire special promotion

Elyse Glickman

The World Travel Awards are the “Oscars” of tourism, and leading the honours for Europe’s leading city break destination was Genève. Meanwhile, Sydney was named the World’s Friendliest City.
   But trust the Irish to heavily promote the fact that Dublin came second on both counts. Dublin is home to a lot of seconds, including the country’s second most important river, and apparently it’s the second best place for Americans to live. It’s second in terms of property investment and partying, too, according to the cheeky Visit Dublin promotion, but all of this just makes it more appealing—because it’s all there, in a compact form, so close to the mountains and the sea. It mightn’t have come first, but it does have an awful lot of things that some of the winners of these separate categories can’t boast, all in one spot.
   There are, after all, firsts: Dublin’s incredibly walkable, with great museums and landmarks all within walking distance of St Stephen’s Green, Dublin Castle and Trinity College. The food is fantastic, with world-class restaurants, and if you want to shop, Grafton and Nassau Streets in town are destinations for the savvy fashionista. Louise Kennedy, Fran and Jane, and some impeccable tailors can be found in Dublin.
   It all ties in with Dublin’s tagline, ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’, and a fresh new logo promoting the city. A €1 million push sees Dublin go from a party city to one where there’s everything for everyone, a place that’s spontaneous, and, as the latest promo underlines, just a little distinct and irreverent.

Post sponsored by Visit Dublin

Filed under: travel, Volante
October 10, 2015

Classic and Sports Car—the London Show to celebrate Aston Martin with seven landmark models

Lucire staff/10.28

Aston Martin might not have the freshest range out there as it readies its next generation of supercars, but its marketing machine is at the top of its game this quarter, with a celebration at Classic & Sports Car—the London Show from October 30 to November 1 at Alexandra Palace—days after its bespoke DB10 gets its screen début in the 24th EON James Bond feature, Spectre.
   The show will feature the oldest surviving Aston Martin, the 1921 A3, joined by the DB Mk III, DB5, V8, DB7, V12 Vanquish and DB9 GT in a display sponsored by EFG International. The cars have been supplied by the Aston Martin Heritage Trust, Desmond J. Smail, Aston Service London, Aston Sales Kensington and Aston Martin.
   Complementing the Aston Martins will be 300 of the world’s most prestigious classic cars from collectors and retailers, including a collection of Sir Stirling Moss’s British single-seat racing cars.
   The A3 was the fourth prototype by Aston Martin founders Robert Bamford and Lionel Martin, and the only survivor.
   The DB Mk III, which appeared in the Ian Fleming James Bond novel Goldfinger, is one of 500 built between 1957 and 1959. The DB5, perhaps the most famed Aston Martin of them all thanks to its appearance in the film adaptation of Goldfinger, appears in the show in silver birch, matching the colour of the cars from the Bond films.
   The William Towns-styled V8, derived from the DBS V8, had a very long-running production, from 1972 to 1989. The DB7 marked Aston Martin’s renaissance, with its beautiful Ian Callum styling over a Jaguar XJS base: 7,000 were built between 1994 and 2004.
   The V12 Vanquish, which also made a James Bond appearance (in the film Die Another Day), was a more muscular grand tourer, débuting in 2001 and ran till 2007. The DB9 GT, the ultimate DB9, is the one current Aston Martin on display.
   James Elliott, Classic & Sports Car magazine group editor, said in a release, ‘We’re thrilled that the inaugural Classic & Sports Car—the London Show is able to celebrate Aston Martin’s position as one of the greatest British manufacturers with seven important cars from its glorious production history. From the 1921 A3, kindly loaned to us by Aston Martin Heritage Trust, to the latest DB9 GT, these seven automotive icons are sure to represent a star attraction for visitors to our inaugural Alexandra Palace event.’
   The show will also announce the results of a worldwide poll to find the Best British Car Ever, and feature a Live Stage in partnership with Smooth Radio. Tickets are available via or 44 844 581-1275.

Filed under: Lucire
August 20, 2015

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream: where talent surpasses itself

Jack Yan/16.19

Stephen A’Court

Top Dancers Tonia Looker and MacLean Hopper in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Above Tonia Looker and Harry Skinner.

If you ever wish to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet when everyone has reached beyond what you knew was their peak, then A Midsummer Night’s Dream presents that very opportunity: a ballet where the quality is jaw-droppingly magnificent, where choreographer, designer, lighting designer, and musical director have surpassed themselves, and where the dancers have revelled in bringing a production to life.
   In tonight’s (August 20) world première, Tracy Grant Lord’s designs are the first thing you notice, a galactic image of the night sky projected on to the curtain before the action is revealed, then a set that can only be described as her best work reviewed by Lucire to date. Set in a fairy dell in the wood, Lord’s imagination takes us into a world of cabanas and fungi, with electric blue shades offsetting the dark, night sky. It is the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s largest set, complete with bridges, multiple staircases, even a pole from which Puck slides down. Lord notes that her design ‘includes particular structural, decorative and technical elements that exist only for this production, and have all been developed and manufactured in the company workshops.’ This is a unique interpretation, a master-class in ballet set design, all the more impressive when one considers that Lord had a budget to work to. She envelopes us with her world even before the dancers take their first step.
   Kendall Smith’s lighting design comes into its own with Lord’s set, keeping the cabanas’ interiors dark when unused and lighting them subtly when dancers appear. His moon, in Act II, appears as a round, fluorescent ring, emerging from behind the mesh. With Lord employing a single set for the entire ballet, Smith’s lighting gave the production a sense of variety and change throughout. We noted earlier that Smith employed 4,000 LEDs and 2,000 m of fibreoptic cable, and we can certainly say they were put to excellent use. Smith, whose résumé includes lighting for Andrea Boccelli and Luciano Pavarotti, and some of the most respected companies in the US, was flown out with the support of the US Embassy, giving another world-class aspect to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
   Lord also stretched her imagination with the costumes, giving the initial illusion that the fairies were petite; it was only when Oberon and Titania appeared that you began realizing their true scale. Oberon’s and Puck’s costumes had a more cinematic, modern bent than seen in other interpretations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with the former having a plunging neckline and a science-fiction feel to it. The fairies’ wings and headgear had metallic detailing, again taking us beyond the typical dell and going past the usual, traditional elements that earlier productions tend to rely on.
   Rising star Liam Scarlett did not disappoint, either, with choreography that expresses a witty yet respectful take on the Shakespeare play. Whether it was transforming Bottom into a donkey, and his subsequent comical pas de deux with Titania, having Puck swing down à la the cinematic Tarzan to commence his antics in the second act, or the strongly romantic pas de deux between Oberon and Titania, Scarlett’s interpretation brought the Mendelssohn score to life, matching movement masterfully to music.
   The music, too, saw RNZB musical director Nigel Gaynor go further than he typically has. Mendelssohn’s score was insufficient for a full-length ballet. Gaynor and Scarlett collaborated, choosing additional Mendelssohn pieces to give the characters greater depth and the story more completeness. Various opuses have been added along with incidental music, and Mendelssohn fans will recognize them and marvel at just how well they have been incorporated, not least how fittingly the choreography has been applied. It’s this characterization which marks out Scarlett’s work. The interactions between the characters—Oberon and Puck, Titania and Bottom, Hermia and Lysander, Helena and Demetrius, and the comical pursuit by both Lysander and Demetrius toward Helena—gives the RNZB’s production exceptional entertainment value. Like its The Nutcracker of 2010, the dance techniques are rich enough for the adult ballet-goer to appreciate, while the structure and comical elements give children plenty to enjoy.
   Adding incidental music from Mendelssohn is not new—Balanchine did the same in his version—but the level of dedication is apparent.
   And all this before commenting on the dancing itself, which was exquisite.
   MacLean Hopper had the commanding nature of Oberon on opening night. Tonia Looker’s Titania had a beauty and elegance that never diminished even when dancing with a donkey, thanks to her control. However, Kohei Iwamoto arguably stole the show as Puck, with an irreverence that the audience loved. Harry Skinner’s Bottom may have had a relatively minor role but his transformation, complete with tail, ensured he was remembered. Lori Gilchrist (Hermia), Joseph Skelton (Lysander), Abigail Boyle (Helena) and Demetrius (Paul Mathews) contrasted each other’s emotions through simple movements; when both men are entranced by Helena, Boyle’s movements conveyed her shock at the energetic pursuit—accompanied by an equally energetic rejection of Hermia. Scarlett was never too clever for his own good: he kept to the story and the score, and delivered through the characters in subtle ways, a sign of a choreographer who works in close collaboration with his dancers.
   It was a privilege to see A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Wellington as a world première; after its New Zealand tour (which runs till September 20), it will next be performed by the Queensland Ballet, with whom the RNZB co-produced, in 2016.
   The Vodafone season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs through August 23 in Wellington; Christchurch sees the ballet from August 27 to 29; it opens in Auckland on September 2, running to September 6. It reaches Rotorua for a single performance on September 10, Palmerston North on September 16, and Napier on September 19 and 20. Full details can be found at—Jack Yan, Publisher

Top Promotional image for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Above Forget retro: the sketch for Oberon’s costume.

August 9, 2015

Footnote New Zealand Dance celebrates its 30th anniversary this August with première and events

Lucire staff/14.02

Above Footnote at its home at 125 Cuba Street.

Footnote New Zealand Dance celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and on August 28–9, it will première 30Forward at the Wellington Opera House to mark the anniversary.
   The première will take place in Wellington, before heading to the Christchurch Arts Festival, Auckland’s Tempo Dance Festival, then to Gisborne, the Kokomai Creative Festival in Carterton, and the Tauranga Arts Festival.
   The production features highlights from past works, as curated by founding director Deirdre Tarrant, and a new commission from choreographer Malia Johnston.
   Footnote will begin its celebrations on August 21 with The Art of Footnote, at a venue on Cuba Street to be announced during August. This exhibition shows posters, programmes and concept designs from Footnote over the last three decades, and runs till August 30.
   A Pecha Kucha event at the Wellington City Gallery, focusing on the culture of movement (covering dance, music, visual art and performance) takes place on August 27. The Tarrant Dance Studios at 125 Cuba Street, Wellington welcomes visitors on August 29 to an open house, while the August 29 performance of 30Forward will be followed by a function.
   The Christchurch dates are August 31–September 1; Auckland on October 15 and 17; Gisborne on October 21; Carterton on October 24; and Tauranga on October 30.
   Tickets are on sale now—visit for ticketing information.

Above Rehearsing in 2012.

July 29, 2015

Classic & Sports Car London Show gets an iconic poster by artist Tim Layzell

Lucire staff/13.55

Motoring artist Tim Layzell was commissioned to create an artwork for Classic & Sports Car magazine’s inaugural London Show, featuring a Jaguar E-type, Bentley Speed Six and McLaren F1 at Alexandra Palace.
   The iconic sports cars are among those in a public poll for the magazine, where readers are invited to name the ‘Best British Car Ever’. Other cars in the running include the Mini Cooper S, the Range Rover, and Jaguar XKSS. The winner will be revealed at the Show at Alexandra Palace, from October 30 to November 1.
   The Show will also feature over 300 classic cars from world-famous collectors and retailers.
   â€˜It’s a real honour to be asked to produce a one-off piece for this amazing new event,’ said Layzell. ‘With such an incredible line-up of icons on the shortlist for the Best British Car Ever and such a stunning location as Alexandra Palace, this commission has been a motoring artist’s dream. I’m so looking forward to the event; with the experts from Classic & Sports Car behind it, it’s going to be a must-attend show.’
   Layzell’s image will be used on all marketing and promotional material for the event.
   Tickets are available from

May 12, 2015

David Gandy and Jodie Kidd lead Jaguar’s Mille Miglia line-up; Bentley fields 1930 Blower

Lucire staff/12.09

Top The nine Jaguars taking place in this year’s Mille Miglia. Above Almost Bondian: the 1930 Bentley 4½-litre with a Vanden Plas Open Sports four-seat body and a supercharger by Amherst Villiers competing in the 2015 Mille Miglia.

British car makers are taking this year’s Mille Miglia seriously. Jaguar is taking part with a large heritage line-up, and has enlisted, once again, the help of model and motorhead David Gandy, who competes in an XK120 as he did two years ago along with Jodie Kidd, who must equal Gandy both in the modelling and motorhead stakes. Bentley will field an original 1930 4½-litre Blower, in an attempt to complete what it could not do back then: complete the race.
   Jaguar’s fleet consists of nine, including three C-types, three D-types, an XK120, an XK140, and, the most unusual of this group, a Mark VII—although one had won the Monte Carlo Rally in 1956. One of the C-types is NDU 289, which competed in the original Mille Miglia in 1953, driven that time by Mario Tadini and Franco Cortese. Jaguar engineer Mike Cross drives the car in the 2015 event.
   Other C-types are PUG 676, which was raced by Ian Appleyard, Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons’s son-in-law, this time driven by RAC motoring committee chairman Ben Cussons; and KSF 182, formerly raced by Jimmy Stewart and Jackie Stewart between 1953 and 1955, and owned now by Adam Lindemann, driven this time by five-time Le Mans winner, Derek Bell. The D-types are the ex-Ralph Lauren NCV 260, which had competed in the original Mille Miglias, driven by current owner Simon Kidston; RSF 303, the Ecurie Ecosse car that was second in Le Mans in 1957 and competed in the Mille Miglia in 1957 and 1958, driven by Jaguar design director Ian Callum and enthusiast Clive Beecham; 393 RW, the Reims winner for 1956 and the sixth-place-getter at Le Mans that year, setting the lap record, will be driven by Saturday Kitchen’s James Martin.
   One XK120, nicknamed Betsey, will be driven by Jodie Kidd and David Gandy, as noted: she had driven the car in the 2014 trial. The XK140, TAC 743, was once raced by David Hobbs; it will be driven by Elliot Gleave, a.k.a. Example, and his father Michael. The Mark VII will be driven by Charley Boorman.
   Bentley, meanwhile, will field a 1930 British racing green 4½-litre Blower with a Vanden Plas Open Sports four-seat body and a supercharger by Amherst Villiers—not unlike the one driven by James Bond. The Bentley Boys, the Hon Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin and Bentley chairman Woolf Barnato (right, at Le Mans in 1929), were the first British drivers to compete in the Mille Miglia, using the No. 2 Birkin Blower, a 4½-litre supercharged model. However, they were unable to complete the race.
   Bentley is aiming to do what it could not 85 years ago, using an equivalent model and seeing if its director of royal and VIP relations, Richard Charlesworth can complete the race in the 2015 event. It is the Blower’s fifth entry.
   Between May 14 and 17, 2015, racers will depart from Brescia and drive 1,000 miles, including through Roma, and return to Brescia.

Top The XK120 to be driven by Jodie Kidd and David Gandy. Above The famed 393 RW Jaguar D-type, which set the lap record at Le Mans in 1956.

May 8, 2015

Two world premières form part of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Salute, ahead of an international tour

Lucire staff/2.36

Ross Brown

Top Neil Ieremia’s Passchendaele with RNZB dancer William Fitzgerald. Above Kirby Selchow dances Andrew Simmons’ Dear Horizon.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has revealed more about Salute, its commemoration of World War I, that premières in Wellington on May 22, with a nationwide tour after its stint there. As revealed in Lucire earlier this month, two of the specially commissioned pieces having their world première in Wellington will also be seen abroad, with the Royal Ballet hosting the RNZB in November 2015 at the Royal Opera House. Leeds, Canterbury and Roma are on the list of stops for the tour, Francesco Ventriglia, the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s artistic director revealed today.
   The two premières, both commissions by the RNZB, are from choreographers Neil Ieremia and Andrew Simmons, set to scores by Dwayne Bloomfield and Gareth Farr, respectively. The world-class New Zealand Army Band will also collaborate on Salute, touring to each of the seven centres on the national tour.
   Ieremia’s Passchendaele, with the Bloomfield score, will also feature works by Auckland artist Geoff Tune, inspired by his artist grandfather’s World War I diaries and recent visits to Gallipoli and Passchendaele.
   Ieremia said in a release, ‘The grotesque and brutal nature of war robs humans of humanity—my intention is to do what little I can to remind us of our own. From the haunting journey through the music, to the refined expression in the dancers’ bodies, encapsulating the very human impact of war—this creative process has already left an indelible mark on my spirit. I feel I have grasped a very, very small insight into something that should never be forgotten.’
   Simmons’ Dear Horizon is a new commission and his fifth for the company, and features a specially commissioned score by Farr, written for the New Zealand Army Band and cellist Rolf Gjelsten of the New Zealand String Quartet.
   Simmons said, ‘It is a very special honour to have been asked to create something for the company as part of this commemorative programme. War cannot really be celebrated and fêted, however the human aspect and participation should always be remembered. I wanted to create a work that reflects upon emotions of those affected by conflict.’
   The set and costumes for Dear Horizon have been designed by Tracy Grant Lord, who also designed the RNZB’s Cinderella (2007) and Romeo and Juliet (2004).
   As detailed last month, the Salute programme also features Johan Kobborg’s Salute and Jiří Kylián’s Soldiers’ Mass.
   Salute has been supported by the Lottery Grants Board, New Zealand Defence Force, Qantas, the Göthe-Institut, the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, national sponsor Vodafone, and Pub Charity.
   Dates for Salute are May 22–4 in Wellington; May 28–30 in Christchurch; June 3 in Dunedin; June 10 in Hamilton; June 13 in Takapuna; June 17–20 in Auckland; and June 24–5 in Napier.
   Further information can be found on the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website at

May 7, 2015

Dakota Johnson, Natalia Tena, Quim Gutiérrez star in Estrella Damm promotional film, directed by Alejandro Amenábar

Lucire staff/12.35

Top Dakota Johnson, as she appeared in 50 Shades of Grey. Above Natalia Tena, in a still from last year’s Black Mirror Christmas special.

Dakota Johnson, who became a household name after her performance in the movie adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey, is set to star in a promotional film for Estrella Damm, the Spanish beer brand.
   Alcohol marketing is big business—Heineken paid US$45 million for its tie-in to Skyfall, the 2012 James Bond blockbuster, and for Daniel Craig and Bérénice Marlohe to appear in its ad. This time, Johnson, along with Natalia Tena (10,000 Km, Black Mirror: White Christmas, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) and Quim Gutiérrez (Cousinhood, The Last Days), appear in the film, to be directed by Academy Award-winning director Alejandro Amenábar (who won for Mar adentro, or The Sea Inside, starring Javier Bardem; Anglophone audiences may know his earlier work, The Others, starring Nicole Kidman). Amenábar has directed Emma Watson and Ethan Hawke in Regression, which is released this October.
   The advertisement film will première in mid-June. Locations are Ibiza and Barcelona. Johnson plays Rachel, a tourist who arrives at Ibiza and establishes friendships with a group from Barcelona.
   Filming commenced April 29.

Filed under: celebrity, film, living, Lucire
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