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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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“We used to fear our oppressors, but now we fear our own children,” laments the play’s elderly protaganist, Daniel, a reclusive well-read man who is struggling to understand the lack of discipline displayed by the youths in his community.

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It’s a lot like a drive-in, minus the cars. It delivers a night-picnic experience with a good film to watch, where you can actually feel the summer breeze brush against your cheeks and might even have to stuff a serviette at the top of your can of Coke, just in case a six-legged creature decides to take a dive in it. But that all forms part of the tranquil outdoor experience.

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Spears’ style can be described as impressionist, veering towards the abstract, particularly after his visit to America in 1947. Displayed in the Upstairs Gallery of the museum, the works range from colourful still lifes, via religious pictures, to landscapes and portraits. It is an impressive collection – much of it privately owned – and gives the onlooker a rare opportunity to thoroughly peruse Spears’ style.

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With some excellent South African artists included in the lineup, it was still a surprise to feel the energies of some of the lesser known musicians. Former Idols season 6 contestant Lloyd Cele in particular was a real icebreaker, flipping the switch from ‘gentle picnic fest’ to ‘vibey concert fest’.

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In the role of Noach, Lee-Ann van Rooi’s bellowing voice never fails to captivate the audience, its sturdiness resonating with her character’s refusal to give up hope and her will to remain sane and structured. Dannelene is a strong character that is only strengthened by van Rooi’s powerful stage presence. Her failure to falter, her insistence to retain and repeat her memories, and her undying Christian faith all come together as the guiding force that kept her afloat in times of engulfing trauma.

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The audience is treated to Contemporary, Ballet, Flamenco and African Dance pieces, all of which showcase the impressive versatility of the dancers as well as giving credit to the training of the teachers and choreographers at DFA.

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Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what great weekends are made of. Add a dash of good company, a picturesque setting and a beautiful winter’s day to the mix and you have a sure-fire recipe for decadent success.

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‘Exodus’ is the first narrative Hip Hop dance work I’ve seen that maintains the energy and streetwise “cool” synonymous with hip hop while at the same time being gut-wrenchingly moving. The choreography is outstanding, drawing you inexorably into agony and grief before pushing you into the energy of revolution, so much so that the audience was cheering and eventually on its feet before the piece had even ended.

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The band went straight into a driving groove initiated by enthusiastic drummer Bruce Cox, followed by bassist Dwayne Dolphin looking as calm and laid back as if he was relaxing at a seaside resort. Guitarist Reggie Ward and pianist Peter Madsen followed suit. Then Wesley blared into action, shooting off a couple of melodic ideas, which were coupled by the powerhouse horn section. The horns – Wesley, trumpeter Gary Winters, and tenor saxophonist Phillip Whack – created a full body of sound that left a lasting dent on your musical soul. The section had an immense sense of dynamics, control and balance; even the way they bent and scooped notes in unison was impressive.

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CTCB’s Maynardville season presents Night & Day, a ballet set to the music of Cole Porter. Maynardville’s open-air theatre is always a pleasure to experience, and with the stars twinkling above it offers the perfect setting for this glitzy production. As expected, there are lots of colourful, high-energy pieces, with the dancers doing a great job to maintain their bounce and pizzazz throughout.

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“By looking back, Orpheus may have failed to bring his beloved back to life, but Cape Town Opera’s forward-looking Orfeo managed to create a novel and current theatrical experience with a 400 year old soul.”

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“This premiere collaboration provides terrific innovation in its unique rendition of traditional circus legacy. Indeed, it is an evolved and spectacular show with all the razzmatazz trimmings of a bygone era.”

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Find out what ‘artisanal food’ entails from people who are passionate about making and sourcing it on the beautiful Franschhoek Artisan Food Route. It’s all about enjoying the beauty of food in its simplicity, while learning about the ethics, hard work and attention to detail that goes into the creation of natural, top-quality cuisine.

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“Wait is the type of energetic, impassioned musical production suited to a more stupendous setting than a Fringe stage can offer; one on which its subject can be expounded rather than merely imagined.”

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“Perhaps because it deals with these mysteries, or perhaps because it’s just so damn hilarious, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change continues its global runaway success in Camps Bay this season – a mature 20 years since it was written.”

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“Ginja checks all the boxes for a great night out, watching the city lights come up as you enjoy a delectable meal. Though it has to be said, its enviable view of Table Mountain makes it a great spot for any time of day”

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