Recovering from the weekend
As I mentioned earlier, it's an event-tastic summer here in Wellington, and I'll need a bit of time to recover from seeing from just a fragment of this weekend's events. Friday night's Jazz Rugby wasn't quite as interesting as I'd hoped: the band pretty much just played, and apart from some of the kicks for goal, there was very little response to the events on screen. Then again, with an eight-piece band playing very rhythmic, melodic msuic, it would have been quite an achievement to improvise like that. Perhaps a duo or trio playing free jazz could have produced something much more like the "musical commentary" that we were promised. Never mind: the jazz was pretty good, and the rugby wasn't bad either. The podcasting Dropkicks may have an excerpt soon.
After a quick break for some Martini reviewing (coming soon, I promise!) it was on to the Paramount for the Fringe opening party to join a lot of sweaty arty types. The humidity of the night contributed to the steamy atmosphere, but Recloose's disco-funk DJ set raised the temperature even further. Now, if they played that sort of stuff at Boogie Wonderland then I'd be there in a flash. But rather than playing the sort of rare cuts and lost funk classics that you might have found in an underground New York nightclub circa 1978, Boogie Wonderland seems content to play the same old tired top-40 cheesefest that conjures up all the decadent glamour of a Form 2 disco in Timaru circa 1982.
Back to daylight, and the Chinese New Year parade on Saturday would have left no hangover intact after its drums and firecrackers.
We missed the Asian market at the Events Centre, so I can't report on the relative merits of Chow and Monsoon Poon vs real Asian food vendors. The sparkling weather made a drink by the water de rigeur however, and I have to report that Dockside (purportedly hot staff notwithstanding) could really do with some competition. Report on bizzare Martini to follow (eventually).
It's not an event as such, but I had to put this in. While it's still not officially open, on Sunday the playground at Waitangi Park was full of kids (and parents, testing out the swings for safety purposes no doubt):
There were a few contractors still frantically working on the skate park, but they seem to have given up on shooing people away. There's been a lot of attention to detail in parts of the park that looked quite simple from a distance, with the "shadows of waka" looking much more interesting than I first thought. I overheard one of the contractors telling someone that part of the promenade will be opening this weekend, meaning that (finally!) we'll be able to walk around the front of Te Papa again.
On to the biggie: The Bluebridge Hula Laguna and the Late Night Luau. Though the weather wasn't quite as friendly as I'd have liked, the crowd slowly built up throughout the day, reaching its peak in the evening for Fat Freddy's Drop (click for a much larger panorama):
As well as Freddy's, the crowd loved the synchronised swimmers, clothes stalls, galley food (damn, that lamb was good!) and the WSNZ-defying antics of the waterborne revellers. The one big disappointment for me was the bar: when the council website promises "exotic cocktails", I expect something marginally more exciting than RTD rum & coke! I should have gone with my original idea of filling Longest Drink in Town cups with Piña Colada. This must have been the least-effectively enforced liquor ban I've ever seen, but somehow the crowd managed to handle a few drinks without turning into booze-fuelled beasts.
I didn't stay around to watch Creature from the Black Lagoon, but speaking of creatures, I wonder how enthusiastic all the swimmers would have been if they'd known that this friendly little guy (snapped in the lagoon near the Albatross fountain this lunchtime) was hanging around?