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Norval Foundation - An Art Museum and Cultural Centre


The Norval Foundation is an art museum and centre for cultural expression in Steenberg, Cape Town. Exhibiting a wide variety of art, their focus is on local and international visual art from the 20th and 21st century. Adjacent to the Table Mountain National Park and next door to the Steenberg Golf Club, the museum's architectural lines blend into nature with many great windows and spectacular views. Breaking free from structure, it spills into nature through the beautifully tranquil Sculpture Garden and outdoor amphitheatre.

 

Through versatile exhibition spaces and a dedicated research library, the centre seeks to expose guests to some of the greatest artists at home and abroad. Currently exhibiting the work of William Kentridge, the museum has an extensive tour of his Dada-inspired creations. Using found objects and a touch of surreal whimsy, the celebrated art and theatre legend has an unbridled passion for creating. Mechanical pieces with a musical affinity, stereoscopic art for added depth as well as massive sculptures adorn most of the ground level displays.

Kentridge has a playful yet poetic approach to his work with many recurring motifs. Taking on an interactive element, his pieces come alive through wonder and imagination. While an outright original, there are hints of David Lynch's fascination with movement and technology with a dab of Monty Python's experimental energy and humour.

Norval Foundation

Another highlight is the visual exhibition 'in Pursuit of Venus [infected]' by Lisa Reihana. The eclectic video against a painted backdrop restages historical events, both real and imagined, as the first contact between the British and Pacific people plays out. A wide projected image across an entire gallery, the New Zealand artist's piece plays out inviting viewers to immerse themselves in the ancient world. Authentic and even harrowing at times, the series of encounters create a sense of being there, interspersed and happening simultaneously with traveling audio. At 64 minutes, it's a surreal and haunting display that will resonate quite strongly with South Africa's history, echoing the story of Krotoa, which was recently adapted to film.

While the museum is laden with information, joining a tour will help you excavate the inside stories, adding another layer of context to the artwork. Upstairs a collection of artwork has been cleverly curated to sit alongside each other and serve as contrasts. Adding further nuance and counterbalancing each other to offer new dimensions, each piece is further enriched.

The Skotnes restaurant is now a favourite. Allowing plenty of natural light in through window walls, exhibiting nature in its glory and set against manicured gardens from the mind of Keith Kirsten, the exterior makes it a beautiful space. The interior's stylish furniture and decorative ceiling complement the museum's desire to create a space for art and people to co-exist. Serving up good coffee and sporting a versatile menu, it could be your new favourite meeting spot.

Norval Foundation Sculpture Garden

With musical performances and are ever-evolving art display, the Norval Foundation is a wonderous place with a fixed gaze on celebrating art and culture in our country. Whether you're visiting the museum, restaurant or staying over in the apartment, there's always a way for you to connect with what's happening at the Norval Foundation.

General admission tickets are R180 for adults and under 18s get in free. They have membership options and if you visit on first Thursdays, it's free for everyone. Open every day of the week from 10am - 6pm, except Tuesdays, there's really no excuse for you not to enjoy what the museum and centre has on offer. Even if you're not even in Cape Town you can get a sense of the place from their virtual tour.

 
Review: The Hilarious Mark Banks on Ice Comedy - 60 Years of Madness


Mark Banks on Ice is a one-man stand-up comedy show now playing at Pieter Toerien's Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay, Cape Town. Legendary South African comedian, Mark Banks, has made a name for himself with his outrageous brand of comedy. While the poster and title are flamboyant and over-the-top, the show as you may have guessed is much more pared down with scenes of snowfall.

Banks has a very dry sense of humour, not afraid to poke fun at politicians, making him probably well-suited to leading a comedy roast. While the show is "on ice", there isn't really a theme holding everything together as Banks allows his repertoire to cover flights, sharks, school and a range of popular go-to stand up topics.

Wheezing at some of his own jokes, his facial expressions are quite priceless, able to say so much with the roll of his eyes or a grimace. Teasing out some of the local Cape Town news of the day and things you'll notice, he takes a few potshots with the click of his heels.

Comfortable on stage, freewheeling through his set and maintaining good patter with the audience, he managed to keep the laughs coming through regularly with some clever wordplay, repetition, stereotyping, accents and great inflection. While some bits of his show have been played before, there is enough fresh material to keep things upbeat and funny.

While his audience front row picks were unfortunately a little bit bland with Judy and a Calitzdorpian, he still managed to add some spice, admittedly returning to pick up some of the pieces later on in the act. Planning his standing ovation early into the show, after the 82 minute run time, he did get a semi-ovation which probably summed up the night. While Banks is sharp-witted, he managed to operate without profanity, refraining from going there possibly playing into the show poster's satirical Disney edge. This didn't stop him from being lewd and lascivious from time to time, but it probably wouldn't be a Mark Banks show without some depravity.

Being one of the best BS artists in the game, his outlandish tall stories constantly verged on the point of becoming hysterical with some tipping over. Picking on soft targets such as the disabled, aged and homeless, his bold brand of comedy was adventurous and he managed to be risqué, flirting with shock value as if he was fishing for gasps. All in all, it was a great night out with Banks injecting energy and sizzle the whole way through.

 
Zog Nominated for an International Emmy


South Africa is having a good year at the International Emmys: first The River was nominated as best Telenovela and now Zog, animated in Cape Town by Triggerfish for the UK’s Magic Light Pictures, is up for Best Kids’ Animation. The short film is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning and beloved 2010 picture book, which sold over 1.5 million copies. You may remember this interview with co-director Daniel Snaddon.

Zog is the keenest but clumsiest pupil in his class at Dragon School, where he longs to win a gold star as he learns how to fly, roar and breathe fire. He keeps meeting a kindly young girl who patches up his bumps and bruises, but can she help him with his trickiest school assignment yet: capturing a princess?

Co-directed by two-time Oscar nominee Max Lang (The Gruffalo and Room On The Broom) and multi-award-winning South African Daniel Snaddon (Stick Man), Zog is competing against Grizzy and the Lemmings (France), Jorel's Brother (Brazil), and Lamput (India).

“We’re delighted,” says Stuart Forrest, CEO of Triggerfish. “Congratulations to Magic Light, Max, Daniel and everyone who helped bring Zog to life. We hope this latest nomination encourages more South Africans to try out animation, using our free digital learning platform and upcoming 10-second animation competition.”

Zog is the fourth in a string of BBC Christmas adaptations animated by Triggerfish for Magic Light, following the multi-award-winning Donaldson-Scheffler adaptations Stick Man and The Highway Rat as well as the Oscar-nominated Roald Dahl adaptation Revolting Rhymes, which also won the International Emmy in 2018.

Before teaming up with Triggerfish, Magic Light also made three previous Donaldson-Scheffler adaptations: the Oscar-nominated The Gruffalo and Room On The Broom and Annecy winner The Gruffalo’s Child. All seven family classics are now streaming on Showmax.

 
Three of the Best Road Trip Movies


With Identity Thief, Mad Max: Fury Road and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip grossing between R12-18 million at the box office, road trip movies have done big business over the last few years. However, these represent a small percentage of the genre. Some of the greatest South African films in history have been about road trips. The following are three such movies that every cinephile should check out.

Easy Rider: A Movie About The New American Dream

This 1969 film stars Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda as two bikers who travel across the American South. Along the way they meet a wide variety of people, including an alcoholic lawyer played by a young Jack Nicholson. Easy Rider changed cinema in several ways. It is considered one of the catalysts for the New Hollywood era, a period in the late '60s and '70s when American cinema took a counter-cultural shift. Films began to poke and prod the establishment in which they used to comfortably sit. This tale of two hippies made road trip movies a symbol of more than just freedom and fun.

Nebraska: A Film About Family

Now for a movie that is both freewheeling and fun. Nebraska is a comedy-drama from 2013 about a son who takes his father on a road trip to claim a million-dollar prize that he thinks he won. Spoiler alert: he hasn’t, but the movie isn't about the prize; it’s about the cross-country bonding experience between father and son. In the end, when the father realises that the prize is a sham, the son trades in his Subaru for a late-model truck, the kind that the father wished to buy when he received the money. This gesture is prize enough.

The Straight Story: A Literal And Figurative Straight Story

The Straight Story is not your typical road trip movie. It’s directed by David Lynch, and based on the true story of an elderly man named Alvin Straight, who traveled 390 kilometers on a riding lawnmower to visit his ailing brother. Since the lawnmower had a top speed of eight kilometres an hour, the trip took six weeks. Alvin Straight is portrayed by Richard Farnsworth in an Academy Award-nominated performance. Farnsworth was suffering from cancer during production; The Straight Story was his final film.

There is a wealth of road trip movies worth watching. Though Easy Rider, Nebraska, and The Straight Story are some of the best the genre has to offer, they are the tip of the iceberg. Just as the open road symbolises so much in real life, it symbolises so much in film.

 
'Space Ninjas'... 'The Breakfast Club' meets 'Alien', 'A Quiet Place' and 'Power Rangers', sorta.


Space Ninjas is a "comedy slash horror slash sci-fi B movie" from writer-director Scott McQuaid. Set in a confidential location in Asia, during detention at a high school, a group of teens discover they're trapped in a school with space ninja assassins. This goofy low budget movie starring Yi Jane and Damien Zachary follows a ragtag crew of teens as they get picked off one-by-one. Playing off stereotypes and relying on intentionally cheesy dialogue, the blend of goofy comedy and horror action blends into a mix of entertainment that pokes fun at itself.

You could describe the b-movie as a blend of Alien, The Breakfast Club, A Quiet Place and Power Rangers. Featuring The A-Team legend Dirk Benedict, as Jack Strange, the host of the 'Stranger Than Fiction' show that bookends the film... this just sets the tone for the zany film that shifts from character-building one-liners to self-referencing the film-making process itself. While it has many clever ideas and toys with genre, it's all a little underwhelming and alienating. The cast are game and try to find rhythm in the nuttiness of the story, but the irreverent mix of genres and fourth wall breaking routine distance the cast as much as the audience.

There are plenty of wink-wink moments and you get the impression the film-makers have a vast array of film influences coming through. Unfortunately, the screenplay is superficial, the performances are generally impervious and the visual effects don't have enough clout to take on the shortfall. While it's admittedly aiming for b-movie cult status, it's not in the so-bad-it's-good category and doesn't have enough magic to warrant cult status.

Space Ninjas is made by people who love film and you get the impression that they had a great deal of fun bringing their nutty teen slasher to life, embracing their influences and making some good use of the film location. Space Ninjas isn't aggressively bad, demonstrating the film-makers do have the chops to put a movie together. It just struggles to establish a real connection. Perhaps redressing the film by seeing it through the lens of memories, imagination as well as external sources would be more inspired, help anchor the drama and serve the characters better.

As a lightweight yarn, you could do a lot worse. The cast are cute and sassy, although the snarky remarks and flat delivery of lines keeps everything in a bubble, insincere and out of reach. Watching a movie called Space Ninjas, you should already have your expectations in check, but it's just disappointing that they weren't able to make more of the film's The Faculty aspirations.

 
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