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Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

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Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby ASmallTurnip » Tue Dec 30, 2008 7:30 am

One of the things I've loved most about getting to know the Conchords is how I've slowly become entranced by Kiwi culture in general, and its wonderfully juicy creative culture in particular. It's been such a joyful experience: when you pick one door to open (like Jemaine's film work, or Bret's music), a whole world of unexpected magic comes tumbling out. And I thought it might be rather nice to have a thread set aside for the stuff that doesn't fit comfortably in anywhere else - a place to natter about new finds that may not be directly related to Bret and Jemaine, but that help make up the puzzle-pieces of their cultural world.

What do you think? Yeah? Maybe? Stupid idea, Turnip, stop wittering on like a parrot on meth? Well, I'll give it a go, and see if there's anyone else out there with raging insomnia and a chronic case of NZ-itis. It's a lonely world out there for a Kiwi culture lover, and I'll take the companionship where I can find it.

First up, I was wondering if anybody had seen Taika Waititi's Oscar-nominated short film, Two Cars, One Night?

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It sounds pretty neat:

"There are a few moments in childhood that have a lasting impact. Not because they change the course of your life, or because they arrive with any great fanfare, in fact quite the opposite. Those are moments where an unexpected joy is found in the everyday, a moment of beauty in the ordinary. TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT captures one of those brief moments."

While waiting for their parents, two boys and a girl meet in the carpark of a rural pub. What at first seems to be a relationship based on rivalry soon develops into a close friendship. We learn that love can be found in the most unlikely of places.


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Lovely, eh?

I'd really, really like to see it, but I'm not sure I'm prepared to pay 14 quid on Amazon for a wee little film I've never seen before. I mean, I'm sure I'd love it to bits, but I have bills to pay and a cat with a serious 'nip habit to keep.

Has anyone else seen it? Any Kiwis out there who can tell us more? I'd love to hear what you guys think of it. I know I'm an idealistic sort, and prone to fanciful imaginings, but I really think Taika's a seriously gifted director, along with so many other talents. It'd really make me happy to see him get more recognition for his films in the future, because the boy is wonderful.

Also, rather foxy. Not that I'm biased. At all. Fox fox fox.

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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby indigo_jones » Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:59 am

I feel like I did eventually see the film, but it's been a while and I have a lousy memory -- but I can see snippets in my head.

I admit that the move to a new country has sort of shoved NZ to the background for me these days, but I used to love learning little bits and bobs about the country. I still check out the Flickr Wellington group, because it's a great way to do some armchair sightseeing.

Napier is an interesting city to learn a bit about. It was destroyed in an earthquake in the 1920s or so and rebuilt, so much of the city is built in the art deco style of the period.
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby SheWolf » Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:29 pm

I saw 2 Cars on YouTube. I don't think it's there anymore though. Honestly, it was cute and sweet and very short (maybe about 15 minutes) but I was quite surprised that it got a Oscar nod. Though he's undoubtably talented, easy on the eyes and has a super cool name, I remain somewhat on the fence about Taika and can't explain exactly why. :hrm:

I'm a fan of the Keep NZ Beautiful campaign and so is Jemaine!:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/shebearess ... 690777819/

I love that they have a best loo competition:
http://www.knzb.org.nz/regions/zone/mor ... 0announced

I have a girl crush on Naomi from maorilanguage.net.:heart: :nod:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCLtglQh-PY
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby ASmallTurnip » Tue Dec 30, 2008 5:41 pm

Awww Wolfie, I like Taika and his mischievous willingness to piss people off. I find it endlessly entertaining. He talks complete bollocks most of the time, and it just makes me laugh. But I can absolutely see why it might be irritating or tiresome - some people just rub you the wrong way, and there ain't no 'splaining it.

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I love this shot! It always makes me smile how the rainbow motif is echoed in the boys' shirts and the blanket over the couch. I'm sure there are others that I haven't noticed yet. And I really, really like those T-shirts. I too am a mad fan of keeping New Zealand beautiful (I think that's a cause everyone, even terrible people like Robert Mugabe and Ann Coulter, can get behind), and Bret's Port Vila shirt just makes me think of those blue skies and even bluer seas of the south Pacific:

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SheWolf wrote:I have a girl crush on Naomi from maorilanguage.net.:heart: :nod:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCLtglQh-PY

And............now I do, too. What a great series!

indigo_jones wrote:Napier is an interesting city to learn a bit about. It was destroyed in an earthquake in the 1920s or so and rebuilt, so much of the city is built in the art deco style of the period.

Mmmm, absolutely! There's something about that northern part of the South Island that just gets to me. It looks so beautiful, and it's full of hippies selling fair-trade coffee and hemp socks. Which is awesome. And I'm currently going through a massive 1920's Art Deco/Art Nouveau obsession, so the lure of Napier is strong:

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All I need now is a tortoise-shell cigarette holder and a silk eau-de-nil shift dress, and I'm all set. Oh, and an aeroplane ticket. Details.

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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby SheWolf » Tue Dec 30, 2008 6:03 pm

Damn you're making me really yearn for the kiwi isles.

Thanks for the heads up on Napier. I have a can't look away from a trainwreck fascination with art deco buildings. On one hand they creep the hell out of me (yes I'm weird) yet I am inexplicably drawn to them. This is a perfect example of a house I find totally creepy and ugly and yet I'd kind of want to live there. :rolleyes: http://www.artdeconapier.com/Marewa_34.aspx (first pic).

Now, now I didn't say I disliked Taika. I only said I was somewhat on the fence about him. Perhaps subconsciously he reminds me of someone I know and can't stand. I try to find a reason coz I should have a concrete reason for feeling on the fence as opposed to thinking he's cool. The only thing I can come up with is this vague sense of phoniness I get from him which is the antithesis of what most kiwis are about. I'm probably just reading him wrong though. I'm sure he's lovely coz he certainly keeps lovely company.
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby Sherry » Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:15 pm

SheWolf wrote:I saw 2 Cars on YouTube. I don't think it's there anymore though. Honestly, it was cute and sweet and very short (maybe about 15 minutes) but I was quite surprised that it got a Oscar nod. Though he's undoubtably talented, easy on the eyes and has a super cool name, I remain somewhat on the fence about Taika and can't explain exactly why. :hrm:


It got an Oscar nom as it won a film competition IIRC. Thats how it qualified.

Taika is a bit unsettled I find. He has so many strings to his bow, which is wonderful but I find you never totally get a feel for what it is he is about. Having met him in person I can vouch for him and say he's a lovely guy. With great tattoos (the leg one had me most impressed as did the knee high socks with shorts) :lol: 8) He is an artist with no fixed abode. Thats how I look at him and his work now. I always follow his career with interest as I personally found him to be the most interesting of the three of them (Bret, Jemaine and Taika). Also I adored Humourbeasts and laughed more at that show than I did the Conchords.
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby tvldiva » Wed Dec 31, 2008 1:12 am

Are you saying that he has a tattoo on his leg of socks and shorts?? This- I've got to see. Where can I find a picture of that?!
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby SheWolf » Wed Dec 31, 2008 2:50 pm

Kiwis rock the party! Happy New Year New Zealand.

Auckland, the first major city in the world to ring in 2009!
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby SheWolf » Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:27 pm

Speaking of Taika ..:lol: :purple:

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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby indigo_jones » Fri Jan 02, 2009 10:15 am

:shock:
I thought that was some porn spam for a moment! Hee!
"It was a hilarious, hilarious moment in a very bleak, bleak time of my life."

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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby LSully9 » Fri Jan 02, 2009 8:01 pm

SheWolf wrote:Speaking of Taika .. :lol: :purple:


O M G :shock:



:spit: :rolls:
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby Emafer » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:35 am

Yeah, I'm kind of obsessed with New Zealand also. It's so gorgeous. My cousin spent a year there in college nad has some great pics. And there's these beautiful beaches and awesome white water rafting. It's like the best of the South Seas PLUS I don't have to learn a new language and can STILL get a decent cup of tea. Well this is my fantasy at least. However, it would be soooo sooooo far away from our families and I would miss them. But I dream of having a sheep farm where I raise the softest of Merino wool and export it for lots and lots of money. Mind you, I know nothing about farming sheep. :D
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby tvldiva » Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:43 am

SheWolf wrote:Speaking of Taika ..:lol: :purple:

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:shock: :shock: :shock: :waggle:
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby Val2150 » Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:32 am

I'm disturbed by the fact that I'm strangely drawn to those Taika photos. :shock: :shock: :shock:

Anywho...I must say it's been delightful to discover NZ music....at least by way of the Black Seeds and the Phoenix Foundation. Anybody have suggestions as to what I might try out next (or at least what I might be able to get my little hands on in the States?) :hrm:

Oops, I should clarify: I meant suggestions for stuff that's not peripherally related to the Bret/Jemaine/Taika crew (WIUO, Video Kid, etc. - will be checking those out anyway when I actually have some money. :) )
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Re: Call Me Pearl: The NZ Culture Thread

Postby ASmallTurnip » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:42 am

Val2150 wrote:Anywho...I must say it's been delightful to discover NZ music....at least by way of the Black Seeds and the Phoenix Foundation. Anybody have suggestions as to what I might try out next (or at least what I might be able to get my little hands on in the States?) :hrm:

DO I HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS?!? Heeeeeee! Hee hee heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

You hear that noise? That was the sound of my head exploding. Oh Val, you've unleashed the beast. Oh dear. You've said the magic words, and now you'll never manage to shut me up. But hmmmm....... What to recommend, what to recommend.......... I wish Indigo were here so we could have a quick whispered "band meeting" to talk these important things over. She's far cannier than I am about finding the really good stuff. But I'll start, and it should only be a minute or two before her Age Pryor Antenna twitches in her sleep and wakes her up. Stand by for the small blonde missile.

First up are the big three: The Conchords' Folk the world, Bret's Prototype, and his Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra. Picture a small, very fierce-looking turnip giving you the stink eye. These are non-negotiable. You must have them. And you will love them. They may not be available in the US, but they are worth every NZ penny.

Once you've covered the basics, ooooooh! **Turnip gleefully rubs her hands together** You're in for such a treat! Probably the best choices to make are Fat Freddy's Drop and Fly My Pretties. I just checked, and both of those albums are available on US iTunes, if you like the instant gratification of downloading.

I saw Fat Freddy's Drop live here in London last month, and they were just so groovy and mellow and heart-poundingly good. For the full exegesis, see this blabitty blab I wrote in the "What are you listening to?" thread. There are blurry, pretty pictures and links to their videos, so you can get a feel for The Drop's beautiful noise. I cannot possibly recommend this album enough. I love it. I love it so much, I'd like to take it back around the bike shed and give it hickeys.

Fly My Pretties is also ludicrously fantastic. It's less a band, and more.......a way of being. I know that sounds cryptic and unhelpful, but when you hear them, you'll understand. It's a loose, constantly shifting constellation of Wellington's finest musicians who, in the the quiet winter months a few years ago, got together for some jam sessions. Out of those sessions evolved a kind of musical collective, a meeting of musically kindred minds, and they decided to play a handful of live shows and record them for posterity. Their two albums are the result. (See here for a sneak preview.) Fly My Pretties includes lead singer of the Black Seeds, Barnaby Weir, as well as Dan Weetman, Mike Fabulous and Lee Prebble. There's also the lovely Sam Scott from the Phoenix Foundation, and that quiet, eternal, exquisite force of nature, Age Pryor. If that doesn't sell you on Fly My Pretties, then nothing will. And we cannot be friends.

That'll do. It's a beginning. It's enough to get you going. And oh, may you have a fraction of the joy I've had at spending time with such heart-breakingly wonderful musical company. Val, you deserve all the best tunes in the world, my sweet darling - and they're out there, just waiting patiently for you to find them. Go git 'em, girl!

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