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It is very easy to separate the man from the dummy: Dunham’s body language and “genuine” shock at everything that pours out of the dummies’ mouths makes it surprisingly easy to forget that he is the one who literally put those words in their mouths.

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The way in which we listen to classical music has certainly changed. A lot. Today, there is absolutely no reason not to ‘attend’ a performance by world-class musicians, in the most prestigious of concert halls, the world over. And no, you need not be an international jetsetter or a world-class performer yourself in order to achieve this.

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Before Justin Bieber… before Justin Bieber had even been born for that matter… the bedroom walls of many young girls were adorned with the posters of a fresh-faced teenage singer/songwriter by the name of Tevin Campbell.

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Everything was on par, in tip-top shape, and as if no effort was spared, from the carefully selected programme for the evening and the engaged and committed playing of the orchestra, to conductor Arjan Tien’s perfect déshabille and shiny black shoes, the latter only visible as he enthusiastically swayed back and forth on the podium in feverish reverie.

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The dancers were evocative and percussive; shaking their hips, jumping, lifting and reaching in synchronized movement, holding arms open in a crucifixion pose and spinning around like whirling dervishes with their skirts flaring.

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Evans’ comedy is light hearted and drifts from the hypocrisies of the local scooter industry, through the joyful discovery of Afrikaans reality TV, to his time spent in a wheelchair as a ‘lonely bearded hipster’ listening to folk music and making cupcakes flavoured with the salt of his own tears.

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With a houseful of dusty bits of junk and mismatched furniture and a wardrobe that includes my old school skirt (yup – still going strong after nearly two decades) I am not necessarily the best person to judge what is groovy and cool and This Season’s Must-Buy. But believe me – if you weren’t at the Design Indaba last week, you should have been.

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We started with a handmade Pizza Focaccia con Rosmarino e Sale. This we paired with Prosciutto con Gelato di Grana Padano– small cones of Parma ham wrapped with a filling of marscapone and parmesan cheese. It was a delicious taste sensation and I would highly recommend visiting just to taste it.

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One would have thought it would be difficult to empathize with an SS officer responsible for gross crimes against humanity. But Cairns is irresistibly charming as a dry and somewhat clumsy ex-theatre-critic-turned-Nazi-cleric. Equipped with his signature wit and physical comedic ability Cairns creates a character who soulfully reflects on his existence as an “evil, evil German” as he tries to save the life of his love interest, a captive stage actress, by convincing his superiors that “sie weiss alles” (she knows everything).

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The Nederburg Concert Series gives a platform to South African classical musicians of international calibre, and on the programme this particular afternoon were three students recently selected to be part of the Unisa Music Foundation’s Gifted Young Musicians Development Programme.

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With so many impressions to digest, it is hard to pick out highlights, but standing out not just for its size, but also for its scintillating colour pallette is El Marinero, a mixed media painting on canvas by Christiaan Conradie. It shows an elderly man with distinct features and big, masculine hands. The face and the hands are separated by what seems like scribble or doodling until closer examination reveals fascinating detail.

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Away with dreary winter! Hooray for the advent of spring and its dynamic of rejuvenation and relaxation – perfectly encapsulated by the annual Franschhoek Uncorked wine festival. Thanks to some superb planning by the festival organisers, all of the participating wine farms were indicated with bright red signs, with Noble Hill Wine Estate as #1 and Boekenhoutskloof as #19. Any planning by visitors is of course subject to spontaneity, as it is all too easy in any individual vineyard to bump into friends, or to get distracted by a particularly appealing wine, or simply to get caught up with the atmosphere and lose track of time. We did what we could of course, but there was no way we were going to manage all 19 farms!

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On the plate it looks like seared beef fillet sliced carpaccio style, topped with a heavily sesame-oil-infused concoction of soy sauce, fresh ginger, black and white sesame seeds, and green onion. In the mouth it is an unparalleled party of flavours: an explosion of umami, tender in texture and tangy in taste.

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Angela Kilian as Norma Desmond is phenomenal, with a brittle sensuality that oozes pain, desperation and madness. Her powerful voice is beautiful yet razor sharp, and her every gesture commands the stage in a way that makes it poignantly clear why Norma Desmond was such a great star of the silent movies

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Her eyes glistened with passion and the purity of her voice, spoken and sung, sent an awed hush across the audience, adding even more to the sacred scenes in the Abbey. In closing Act One with ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, the crucifix around her neck caught the light in the most unintentional of ways, and danced about reflecting the spellbound expressions of the entire Opera House audience.

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Glasshouse has created a grooming emporium with overtones of a gentlemen’s club. Hot cappuccinos, cold beers and refined whisky can be enjoyed whilst watching the rugby – as a therapist skillfully attends to your toes.
The décor successfully reflects the ethos behind Glasshouse: masculine, comfortable, contemporary and suitably slick, yet not intimidating.

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The wires are purely a technological bridge to an aural end, linked to speakers which deliver a unique sound loop that suddenly elevates the entire setting into a compulsive pilgrimage into an audio-driven world of memory and of delight.

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Mesmerizing and beautifully lit group images are created in which bodies are tangled and only extremities like arms and legs are visible. Elaborate partner work sees dancers shift one another’s weight and pull each other on and off balance.

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And this is exactly why Tuning the Vine is the perfect kind of wine festival for philistines. A new festival on the annual Cape Town calendar, it has a distinct agenda: to remove the perceived snobbery and make wine tasting, wine drinking, and wine making fun and accessible. It does it well.

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Award-winning playwright, Louis Viljoen, has constructed a high-brow psycho drama with harrowing insights that will make you despise the human condition. The sophistication continues throughout the play in the opposition between the idea of something and the reality of it, between what something is on the surface and what it is beneath, between the past and the present. The play is a brilliant confrontation with the darkness of our psych.

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If you’re getting to the “been there, done that” stage of boozy weekend festivaling, then Spiritfest may just be the breath of fresh nicotine-free air that you’ve been looking for.

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Special mention has to be made of the conductor and musical director of the Philharmonia Choir, Richard Haigh, whose evident passion for this masterpiece could be sensed by all, and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, which included an organ as well as a harpsichord player, creating a true baroque atmosphere.

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Once again Artmode proved an excitement for the senses. Sounds rang out from a very energetic drum circle in the foyer, tastebuds watered at the gourmet burgers and other edible treats, the strong scent of spray paint wafted through the exhibition space, and all the while visitors gazed about them at the score of artists, young and old, absorbed in their work.

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The atmosphere was less vibey than expected, due mostly to the lack of live or even piped music. Instead the ears were filled with the disembodied murmurs and munches of fellow binge eaters.
Even less entertaining was the fact that certain “street food” cost as much as R 80. Admittedly, the food was tailored more for the gourmet than the gormless, but expectations were quickly dashed of getting more than one meal to taste and still having change for the bus fare home.

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Few things sound better than drinks, dinner and a movie under the stars; Galileo has the perfect summer activity here. My only major criticism is the movie selection. There’s a glut of romance, and several cheesy blockbusters. The cult classics and art house movies are appealing, but the line-up needs more variety – some science fiction, horror, crime thrillers, and good dramas, That said, the movie is only one part of a quintessentially chilled night out. Even the dreadful Cocktail (1988, starring Tom Cruise) was good for a laugh when paired with the utter pleasure of relaxing in the glorious outdoors on a gorgeously warm evening with a glass of wine and great food. Give me a first-class movie and I could do this all summer.

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“The inaugural Cape Town Flower Show highlighted a remarkable standard of local nurseries, specialist growers and some of the city’s most amazing landscapers.”

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