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Started 30 years ago by Annie Snowden – who just wanted to organise a birthday party for her partner at the time – Up the Creek is still the intimate, music-focused and well-planned festival that it has always been. Only now it has growth and maturity.  In spades.

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Johnny Clegg loves little more than interacting with the audience. His years as an anthropology lecturer still shine through strongly, and he took long breaks between songs to relate tales from his past, reminiscing about the people he had met and the things he had learned from them. At one point he caught himself and smiled, admitting to being a talkative guy. And continued talking.

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When I first heard of Conrad Koch I feared he may be an imperfect rip off of the internationally-known Jeff Dunham. I was pleasantly surprised at how wrong I was.

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Ramfest had it all. As well as the main rock stage there was an electro trance area, a beach party and a heavy metal stage. But the real gem of the festival was the Mercury tent.

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Together these two men prepare the ‘perfect pancake’ (which comes off the stove an appetizing grey colour), a fresh ‘fruit smoothie’ made with a rotten, sneezed on banana, and ‘fried ice cream balls’ about which Tops bursts into a rap entitled ‘Wok This Way’.

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This is a play that gets so many things right and a few things wrong. Alan Bennet’s writing is sublime, there is no doubt of that, but it is a tricky play to pull off on stage, and Alan Swerdlow’s production only manages it by a hair’s breadth.

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This exhibition by South African sculptor Dylan Lewis, architect Enrico Daffonchio and author and poet Ian McCallum combines striking and thought-provoking sculptures and prose which fuse human and non-human to convey a raw and unpretentious take on the concept of ‘natural’.

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Revelry, mirth and sport are at the very forefront of this 2013 incarnation of Shakespeare’s capering, captivating and often irreverent comedy. Fred Abrahamse could be mistaken for an artful and mischievous Puck as he weaves an enchanting theatrical spectacle that beguiles the senses and bewitches one’s vision.

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Everard Read is the site of reverie, fantasy and myth as chimeras leap and spin amidst backdrops blooming with colour. Dancing in the Woods is Beezy Bailey’s first solo exhibition in Cape Town in six years and it is a dauntless display of anthropomorphic terrains, baffling sprites and gamboling brush-strokes.

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So mosey on down to Trenchtown this Saturday and give it a try… there is something magical, sacred and infinitely fun about playing with fire. You shouldn’t get burned, but you might just get hooked.

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I hesitate to refer to Afrikaburn as a festival. Or as a party. Sure, it encompasses both those things, but it is so much more than that. It is part social experiment, part hedonistic playground.

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Rabinowitz’s comedy is particularly admirable for being so current. I recognised a story that I had sniggered at in the Daily Maverick just a couple of days before and I felt an immediate bond that he, like me, had found it so funny, even though for some reason no one had laughed when I told it.

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When the passages got more intricate, a blonde bombshell in a gold sequin dress could be seen bobbing her peroxided hair to the beat dictated by the conductor. Primakov’s enjoyment appeared to be less wholehearted.

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Three months shy of his 30th birthday, Guy Buttery has already played at The Clapham Grand in London, The Living Room in New York, the Big Day out festival in Australia and he is about to embark on an international tour to promote his fifth album, the live one everyone has been begging him for.

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As Forrest Gump’s mother said, “Life is like a box of chocolates” – you never know what you are going to get next. The same might be said of the Cape Town Philharmonic’s Winter Symphony Season in which the deliciously rich truffles have been interspersed with the occasional lemon cream. After the genius and precision of the previous week’s performance, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra’s winter of discontent concluded with another mild performance in the City Hall this past Thursday.

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The performance ranged from tunes that had everyone dancing, to songs that had audience members swaying with lighters held aloft and was underlined with a smooth bassline to which you just could not keep your legs still.

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I was very fortunate to see Die Naaimasjien at the Volksblad Kunstefees (now the Vryfees) in 2009. Was it good? Well, it was the first play for which I gave a standing ovation. Sandra Prinsloo’s towering performance as Magdaleen has since become the benchmark for me. Each time I go to the theatre I ask myself, did these actors act even half as well as Prinsloo did? If yes I will happily stand up.

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Dark costumes, dark lighting, dark subject: romance is hollow, love is impermanent and fickle, lust and deception rule. What is a good tenor to do but beat his heart to a sweaty pulp with musical accompaniment? Of course he must rely on his muse, his friend and anchor, to point him back to poetry and the metaphysical.

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An annual skateboarding competition, this year marked the event’s 10th anniversary. The competition is comprised of Downhill Skateboarding, Street Luge and Classic Luge and boasts several divisions, from female skaters to under 14s.

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Despite being utterly besieged by Cape Town’s infamous wind over the weekend, everybody was still more than keen to get in on the action at Hamilton’s Rugby Club for the second annual Cape Town Festival of Beer.

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Whether you know anything about grand jetés, attitudes or leaps, you will walk away with a fuzzy feeling of joy from this beautiful expression of what the youth are capable of achieving. This is a true celebration of dance. Bring the children along. They’ll love this one.

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Passage details the daily external conflicts faced by South African men, examines the stumbling blocks youths encounter as they progress to adulthood, and attempts to dispel the myth of young men being driven solely by their hormones… Passage shifts the viewer between feelings of profound angst, compassion, and exasperation. Crucially, it invokes a response.

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Director Greg Kavellas, together with his violently good lead, former Fleur Du Cap nominee Emily Child, gives us a powerful and fresh twist, as if this is our first time in the ring. Karvellas stresses the timelessness of Dorothy Parker’s literary works, explaining how the internal conflict and drive her characters display are still wholly relevant in our current social structure. Sure enough the audience was unanimous in their rousing applause for what was, patently and proudly, a tale of their own cultural DNA.

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One thing Rossini might not have seen coming was a pan-Latin fusion production of his score in which the barber Figaro, while singing the above piece, combs out Afros and tweezes eyebrows in a Cuban barbershop. In the hands of director Christine Crouse, what began as an idea necessitated by a restrictive budget turned into a visual masterpiece.

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“As we sipped on the gin line, Kleyn’s interactive rendering really cemented some of the topics which included the history of gin segment, what food to pair it with, and the alcohol content.”

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Transforming a renowned but dusty old classic into a flavourful, relevant and gripping production without detracting from the original is a risky undertaking, and Abrahamse’s success in this regard is that much more powerful as a result.

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The possibility of panic buying was assuaged by the sensible ruling that it was ‘looking only’ from 5pm until 7pm, and thereafter people could select their choice to take home by placing their sticker on the chosen piece. Now there’s no way that you can see 8000 artworks in just two hours, and in a way that’s a relief: There was something on offer for everyone – just pick one. I put my sticker onto a beautiful sketch of an orca, of which I am now the proud owner.

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