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The Endler Hall has arguably the best acoustical features of all concert halls in the Western Cape. It has even been acclaimed as one of the finest concert halls in the world. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Endler Prestige Concert Series has always attracted world-renowned artists.

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Stella, Blanche and Stanley are flawed, fragile and fumbling. The play reveals their vulnerabilities, tragic mistakes and doomed dreams, and the devastating consequences that follow when one chooses to ride ‘a streetcar named desire.’

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Edges is a contemporary take on the classic “coming of age” storyline, covering the usual suspects: romance, finding a purpose in life and Facebook. It is a soundtrack to those feelings you can’t express and those thoughts you can’t vocalise.

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Premium distinguished brandy has conventionally been confined to old men in suits, locked away in ivory tower brandy and cigar lounges. What Fine Brandy. By Design aims for with these events is to steer premium brandy away from its traditional pomposity and give it a fresher, more cosmopolitan edge and image.

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Coals to Newcastle, ice to Eskimos… teaching Capetonians not to take themselves so seriously. Hmmm, someone should have told Ben Zander that his Rule Number 6 is a slam dunk in this neck of the woods.

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The River Stage was moved from a high vantage point on the banks of the Breede River to its own little island smack in the middle. This caused a bit of lilo congestion but there was space for people to dance in front of the stage which added a lot to the party vibe on the river.

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The Constantia Food and Wine Festival was a good reminder of how simple it is to break away from the bustle of the city and the everyday rush in order to eat good food, sample fine wine and take in so much of what the Cape has to offer.

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Rivers of wine flowed from the sample bottles of almost 40 wineries, including not just whites, rosés and reds but sparkling wines and fruit coolers. The established wineries were there with classic vintages and fresh new ranges.

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Two Capetonians who are doing EXTREMELY well for themselves are Dominic Peters and David Poole of electronic jazz duo Goldfish. WhatsoninCapeTown caught up with them just after they’d signed to major international label, EMI.

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With fast-paced Latin techniques of the Samba, the Cha-Cha and the Jive to the sweeping elegance of a yearningly tender Waltz, The Temperature Rises burns rebelliously through the evolvement of dance.

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While these words of wisdom ring so true, attending an Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark concert is the closest I’ve come to seeing such a vast following of happy people, dancing in honour of the decades of their misspent youth. And there is nothing synthesized in being part of that kind of exuberance.

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From experts to amateur tasters, the WineX is a hub of knowledge for everyone. As UCT student Chelsea Wallace said, “I had lots of fun and all the stalls had people who knew what they were talking about.

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His sweat-drenched handkerchief, flung into the audience after a powerful rendition of ‘I’ll Be There for You’, found a happy home in the grappling arms of a euphoric, virtually hysterical young woman. Kenny Wizz reawakens the exuberance of Jackson’s songs so effectively that, as far as the audience is concerned, that IS Michael Jackson up on stage. And it’s infectious, experiencing a crowd so delirious with adoration.

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Liesl Stolz really performed, putting her all into the music so that every note came alive. Her gorgeous sequinned lashes and pert form were very bird-like, and the quality and energy of her playing were a treat, allowing music lovers to sink into the music with eyes closed. Stoltz is a musician who should be performing full time for large international audiences, she is that addictive. ‘The Black Bird’ (Messiaen) in particular gave free rein to our imagination and allowed piano and flute to engage in an airy dance.

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I once had a client, a charming Essex girl, who asked me where she could buy clothes in Zanzibar. I explained that within the nearby villages she may be able to buy the local material, but there were no clothes shops or tailors to be found. She looked at me blankly and said, “No, sweetheart. Cloves. Like the spices, innit?”

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I have been fortunate enough to see some of the best acts in Cape Town this year, including 30 Seconds to Mars, fokofpolisiekar, Goldfish and Feeder. I am not showing off (well, ok, maybe a little) but I want to give some validity to my next statement: Chris Chameleon at the Dorpstraat Theatre was my best gig for this year…

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I was dead centre, just a couple of rows from the front… easy pickings for the self-proclaimed “hilarious” hypnotist. I’d had my misgivings, simply from the name, but the guy who shambled on to stage wasn’t quite the slightly podgy overly-cheerful character I’d pictured. Instead he was tall and skinny with hunched shoulders, a sort of ginger version of Lurch from The Addams Family.

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EFC 13 was an exhilarating experience and the Mother City may well be seeing more of it as EFC seems set to return to The Grand West Casino Arena in September.

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On the outskirts of Shippensburg in Pennsylvania is a small factory that makes plastic bibs expressly for Oktoberfest celebrants. There’s a choice of these accesorio para fiestas (as the label refers to them): a life-size top part of lederhosen or a life-size cleavage bursting from a frilly blouse and dirndl. Needless to say, the female versions were the first to run out last night at the inaugural Newlands Brewery Oktoberfest.

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From the vivid pop art paintings to the funky soundtrack and glossy red logo, it’s obvious that The Chanel Bettison Beauty Concept Store is not your average salon. Daylight streams in through the floor to ceiling windows, and bounces off the whitewashed wooden floors and walls, creating an effect that is both slick and sunny.

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The trouble with the circus is that the sight of anything simpler than a performer hanging from their toe on a piece of rope or balancing with one finger on somebody’s head can become, well, dull. Once the standard has been set, the audience anticipates the extraordinary and lives for the “wow” moments. Happily, with Cirque de la Symphonie, extraordinariness is par for the course.

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Alex Glenday and Jemma Pearce are the founders and the heartbeat of a new rejuvenating detox and yoga retreat, Forage to Feast. The foundation of their philosophy is that by connecting at its source, we deepen our appreciation of our food. Alex is quick to say that this is not strictly a ‘yoga retreat’ or a ‘raw food’ retreat, but rather a combination of healthy eating and relaxation to support a gentle detox. The highlight of each day is undoubtedly the meals.

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Though Parow calls himself a lekker romantiese Afrikaans superster rapper, it’s hard to pigeonhole him into one specific genre. He would jump from heartfelt ballads to Cypress Hill-esque hard rap only to bring in DJ Naaldekoker and fall into a whole different direction by dropping langarm style Afrikaans music – ‘Kaptein span die seile’ – and then override the cheese with eardrum-popping dubstep. Try classify that mix.

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“Cancel all your plans and come – the weather is perfect.” That was the extent of the phone message.

Suddenly the light-hearted idea of a fun activity for the indistinct future had become the dauntingly solid reality of the present.
During the journey my thoughts rollercoastered between abject fear and mounting excitement. All of which could account for the number of times we got lost finding the place. But eventually we were in the halls of Skydive Cape Town.

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The language in The Swell is refined, even eloquent. The imagery is colourful and some interesting devices have been employed to help create a mystical aquatic atmosphere in sharp contrast to the waterlogged squalour of the garage. But there is no rhythm.

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“As a relentless machine of comedy and satire, the seven comedians who make up the gears of Nando’s Mass Hysteria take topical issues and ruthlessly grind them into fodder for ridicule…”

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Just when I thought she’d bewitched our senses enough with Crazy In Love a few days ago, along comes Liezl De Kock with Piet Se Optelgoed, a pernicious yet bittersweet paean to human nature, a magical trance-like dark comedy set against a polluted wasteland.

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