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Miss Ntertainment

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I usually like to run to street art pieces but I found myself in London visiting my Dad and brother, and having a post-lunch walk around Shoreditch. I used the time as an opportunity to go exploring with them, looking for pieces that are all over the area, especially Brick Lane and Hanbury Street. From looking at Instagram accounts, I’ve seen some really great pieces online but it’s always better to see them in person.
For one, this collaboration between South American artists Mateus Bailon and Rafael Sliks with Australia’s Jimmy C is a sight to behold. It’s called Spring Offering and brings nature and worlds-beyond together in a striking image.
 
ROA is all over London – from giant rats to squirrels and other kinds of animals. His pieces are ubiquitous there, as they are here in New York. Yet to turn a corner and be faced with one still elicits a gasp from me every time. I didn’t get the chance to go to Hackney where his 3.5m high rabbit was once threatened with being white-washed by the local council, before a committee came together to save it, but I did see these:
 
There is a Pixel Pancho collab I loved seeing in Bushwick so I was delighted to see another Pixel work, this time with Evoca1. Pixel’s robotic imagery is brought together with Evoca’s roosters and it’s marvelous.
 
Some of my other favourites seen along the walk…which I happened to end up running past the next day when I took in a run with London’s Run.Dem.Crew, so there you go!
Pyramid Oracle  
0707art
Gary MSK x Lilly Lou  
Einesigns
Stik
  
Paul Don Smith
Bambi
…and Fanakapan in Star Alley.
The image at the top of the Joker is by Syd the stencil artist going over a Mymo face. Oh, the layers!
Follow @streetartisnotacrime and @globalstreetart on IG if you want to see more London work. 

Athol Fugard has long been a cultural hero of mine, and any South African who has appreciated his story-telling abilities knows the role he’s played in spurring discussions around race and our country’s difficult past. But seeing his most recent play, The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek, in New York City made me realize just how important his work is to be seen here too – not just to create an understanding of how Apartheid played out in a South African context, but to help this country through its own struggle in dealing with race and the need to uphold civil rights.
I’ve followed along and reported on many of the protests and uprisings around issues of race and criminal justice that have taken place in Baltimore, Ferguson and here in NYC, for Eyewitness News back at home. It’s a situation that has reached a point of urgency over and over, and anything that can help foster a discussion or help create some semblance of understanding of another person’s point of view, especially across the colour line, is a vital part of re-building past the hurt.
Fugard’s had a long and storied history with Broadway and the theatre world in New York, not least of all picking up a Lifetime Achievement Tony in 2011 for his long-standing career, when I got to sit down with him in his friend’s Hells Kitchen apartment and talk about the accolade. The South African playwright has brought on some sterling talent for this production – Sahr Ngaujah, who I had the fortune of seeing play Fela Anikulapo Kuti in the Broadway production of Fela! and Bianca Amato, an accomplished actress who moved to New York some 13 years ago. Unfortunately Sahr was hurt in a bike accident so a new actor had to be cast in the production.
It’s a story about a South African painter, based loosely on the life of Nukain Mabuza, who spent years during the late ’60s and ’70s painting vivid patterns on the rocks of the eastern province of Mpumalanga, and the influence this has on a young boy who watches him. It’s a South African story, with peculiarities specific to the country, but the issues of race and dialogue and understanding that it illuminates are important and just as valuable in a US context, especially given the growing protests over race and criminal justice. The dialogue that takes place between Ngaujah’s character and Amato’s in the second half is deeply moving.
The play has been extended for two weeks, and I highly urge you to go see it if you can. You’ll walk away a little more empathetic to the lives that share these streets with you.
The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek is on until June 14th at the Signature Theatre.

Just before I left New York for this year’s Cannes Film Festival, I had Valerie, the Amy Winehouse track by Mark Ronson stuck in my head. It stayed there throughout my time on the French Riviera thanks to seeing a film that became one of my best at the fest.
The Amy Winehouse documentary, simply titled Amy, earned heaps of praise when it debuted early on in the fest. There’s a quote in it that also stayed with me, uttered by the inimitable Tony Bennett: “Life teaches you how to live it, if you live long enough.” Words that could probably only be said by someone like him who has been there and done that when it comes to the music industry, and life itself. Mr Bennett is one of the people filmmaker Asif Kapadia interviews in his documentary, giving us a thorough look at how the singer tried to live hers before she died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27.
Just as he did in the excellent Bafta-winning Senna, Kapadia uses these interviews, from her best friends, music producers and her ex-husband (“my Blake incarcerated”), over home video and early gig footage so that the emphasis falls on the words and stories being told about who Amy Winehouse was, beyond the hit singles and headlines. How she – at the very heart of it all – just wanted to be loved. It’s a heartbreaking story, and Kapadia has done an excellent job of showing just how her voice was both her gift and her curse. Oh, but what a voice. Hearing her voice in intimate jazz club settings raises goosebumps.
Paparazzi footage is turned on its head to show just how much the photogs and tabloids intruded in on her life, as her art became her struggle. Even though it was a documentary and not in competition, Amy was made with such style and heart and vision that it deserves to stand alongside any of the other works, fiction or not, offered this year.

Paulo Sorrentino’s second English-language left another quote floating around in my mind, long after I watched it. The film divided the audience I watched it with – it’s quite disappointing to bound out of a theatre, ready to share with great gusto what you loved about the film, only to discover your friends didn’t feel the same way. But others did share my passion for the film, so I found a few kindred spirits to marvel at Sorrentino’s idiosyncrasies.
The thing is, I can’t even really explain all the reasons why I loved the film. Michael Caine is the star of Youth, and he is joined by Harvey Keitel and they play two friends, in the dusk of their lives, on their annual holiday in a Swiss resort, where they have conversations about life, love and everything else. But as it goes with Sorrentino, the film is not just as straight forward as this. “Emotions are over-rated,” Caine’s Fred Ballinger tells Keitel’s Mick Boyle. But it’s through an array of elements – sound, sights, music, details that seem to be out-of-place and then revealed not to be – that the film shows how very not true his words turn out to be. Watching Youth brought me through an assortment of emotions – and I came out the other side feeling the best kind of emotion, deeply and utterly invigorated with life.

Like many other festival-goers, I also thoroughly enjoyed The Lobster and Carol. Even though the latter felt like watching a Vivian Maier photograph take a slow, long brooding time to develop. Director Todd Haynes used the late nanny-turned-photographer’s pics as inspiration for the period piece, set in the ‘50s, about a love story between two women, the older played by Cate Blanchett and the younger by Rooney Mara, who won the Best Actress prize at the end of the fest (shared with Emmanuelle Bercot). Their hair, their outfits, their restrained performances – impeccable.
Add Mad Max: Fury Road and Inside Out to the list, and my Cannes 2015 is done. Unfortunately, I left early and without seeing the Palme d’Or winning film. Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan scored the top prize, after his previous film, Rust & Bone competed in 2012, and A Prophet picked up the Grand Prix in 2009.

It’s been a major attraction at this year’s festival – the return of Australian director George Miller to the dystopian world he created in Mad Max, one he left behind some 30 years. Seeing the film premiere at Cannes, with whoops and cheers, has been a highlight of the fest so far. Sitting down with Tom Hardy, Nicholas Hoult, Miller and of course, Charlize Theron, my fellow Benoni-born South African, has been another.

Mad Max: Fury Road is currently on the big screen.