Rob’s Top 5 Picks For The Weekend
Good day, ghouls and gals and welcome to the All Saint’s weekend – that’s clever-speak for Halloween so by the way. Yes, the 31st is upon us and we (just like we did with television) have properly assimilated the culture of our transatlantic cousins. I remember Halloween as this thing the Americans go crazy for once a year. I had very little understanding of it as a kid; most of my knowledge came from syndicated movies on the haunted fishbowl. So many attempts at organising an event also went awry during my childhood – because Afrikaners grew up quite conservative, you see. Even parents with a more relaxed outlook gazed upon our fliers with stubborn cynicism. “This is the Devil’s work,” I remember one worried mother shouting. Her utterance scared the pants off me; I thought my invite would spontaneously combust.
To this day, I tell you, does it drive me mad if an individual’s imaginative work gets dismissed as evil – Pokémon is a good example. We’ve grown hard, skeptical and rather suspicious as time flew by. It’s a massive shame, I think. I’d give anything to get back a sense of bewildered wanderlust. Man, had I been a strange kid. Amusement is easy enough to come by, but with it, an effort. We do not scare so easily since logic took hold of our mind’s reins. Now taxes terrify us, our child’s welfare or taxi drivers for those who are nervous behind the wheel. Boring, I declare; unacceptable to say the very least! The drudgery runs deep and we do not treat ourselves to a skok every now and again. Please, pretty please. Go out and have tonnes of fun this weekend.
1. Barry Hilton – Evolver, 28 October
What can I say but to declare this man a national treasure, no? Barry Hilton is a man who is inadvertently responsible for a few good memories of mine. There is a charity organisation in the suburb of Berario in Johannesburg called Ry-Ma-In (loosely translated to “just drive along in”). For years had I thought that this place shut its doors. Lo and behold; I passed it in this week on my drive to work. There I found hordes of old VHS tapes for R5 a pop and in and among them were old copies of Mr. Hilton’s Comedy Express. Those shows kept me company for many a lonely Saturday – for years on end. I suspect that the crazy things he experienced while practicing as an electrician geared him properly for comedy. He’s been around for three decades of laughs now and there seems to be no brakes on this train. He truly is South Africa’s king of comedy and his latest production, Evolver is not to be missed. Doors open at 20h00 at Silverstar Casino and tickets are R150 a head available through Computicket.
2. Cape Town International Kite Festival, 29-30 October
“Go and fly a kite” can easily be construed as in insult in our beloved South Africa. Not this time. You’d be amazed at the flying craft people come up with. These are no mere Hello Kitty kites that you can purchase at a traffic light, no sir. Folk go to great lengths to produce marvellous, floating works of art. Regional creativity seems to pour into designs as well – this event is not just for South Africans, but attracts enthusiasts from all over the globe. It’s a full-blown, positive assault on the visual faculties. The sky above the quaint coastal town of Muizenberg turns into the cascading contents of a Smarties box. Colourful dragons, sea beasts, birds and creatures of indeterminate origin reign supreme in the heavens above the village. This is all for a good cause, too. The festival is proudly hosted by Cape Mental Health – an organisation that strives to provide mental health services to both adults and children in the poorer communities. Food and drink will be aplenty, kite-building workshops held and attendees will be treated to displays of the classic art of kite fighting. Tickets are available through the Cape Mental Health website.
3. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Summer Attraction, 28-30 October
There have been many television iterations of the iconic Ripley’s Believe It or Not! brand. Many of us are too young or too six feet under to recall the earlier shows, I suspect. Along came the 2000’s, however; Dean Cain and Kelly Packard’s on screen charisma was but a flutter. The artefacts and daring stunts they ran us through had been the stars of the show – that is what kept us glued to the screen, sated with fascination. I would not go as far as to say that the programme jolted folk into a renewed interest in archaeology, but it was somewhat educational at least. The beauty of this exhibition (just as the TV show did) is that it covers both fact and fiction. A background in the origins of vampires can be just as exciting as the cause of the First World War. We should not so easily dismiss the kooky as pure balderdash. The clock tower at the V&A will host over 170 unique displays trinkets, manuscripts and displays for the entire family to enjoy. These all range from the absurd to the wondrous and should cater to all’s taste. Tickets start at R150 and are available through Webticket.
4. Good Food And Wine Show, 28-30 October
The largest culinary extravaganza on the continent is back for its 12th year. Durban’s edition this time around is somewhat special as it sees the GFWS revamp, relaunch and repurpose itself into something more spectacular. Sustenance may not exactly be an option in life, but the manner you go about it or what you choose to feast on remains your choice. I’m the kind of guy that can’t get myself to moan about food. It therefore truly baffles me as to how we as a species managed to turn the necessary grubs into works of mind-blowing art. Nevertheless, as hard as it may be to eat something so beautiful looking, I’d never turn down sample after sample of delicious paired with a katspoeggie of the finest vino. All of Masterchef Australia’s George Calombaris, Neill Anthony, Sarah Graham, Jenny Morris, Siba Mtongana and Mi Casa’s J’Something will showcase their talents to give the show further credence. Various ticket packages are on offer and all can be purchased through Good Food and Wine Show.
5. Mystery Ghost Bus, 27-31 October
There is but one trick to this delightful treat and his name is Mark Rose-Christie! He is such a charismatic host and it’s truly astounding as to how he manages to keep tens of people enthralled for hours on end with tonnes stimuli around to distract them. The Mystery Ghost Bus is pure theatre; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll genuinely learn something and you’ll beg yourself to save a few rands for a second serving of this magical experience. I’ve had the privilege to attend a tour just last month and I can tell you first hand: your deep-seated skepticism will not impede a good time to be had. One’s cynical convictions about the paranormal will play no part in ruining the experience – whatsoever. The execution is perfect, the content gripping and at some point, no matter how dry you are, you’ll find a tinge of fear creep up your spine. The ghost bus will trawl all of Johannesburg (27 and 28 Oct), Pretoria (29 and 31 Oct) and Cape Town (29 and 31 Oct) this Halloween weekend. Tickets are available through Quicket and I strongly suggest visiting the Mystery Ghost Bus website for a full itinerary.