Lady Gaga rocks Jozi

I have so much to tell you I don’t even know where to start. Lady Gaga came to South Africa last week and played her first show in Johannesburg on Friday 30 November, 2012. Let me just start by saying I was absolutely blown away. I wasn’t the biggest or the most passionate fan, but I was keen to see the spectacular that I’ve heard so much about – The Born This Way Ball.

Let me just tell you that the standing section is not for the faint hearted. If you’re short, small, young, or have any issues with people in your personal space, breathing on you, or resting their armpits on your shoulder, bare this all in mind when you rush for your spot. And rush we did. After arriving at Soccer City and grabbing the quickest beer of my life, we went to go and stand in the queue. This was at about 3.30, with the gates only being opened at 5pm. Off we went, through the first check point, to stand behind several hundred people who were already waiting at the gates. We then did the worst thing, which would have irritated me, and I felt terrible doing it, but we found a friend much nearer to the front and made our way through the heaving throng of irritated fans making comments like “no really, we weren’t here first, don’t you worry”, which, to be fair, is probably what I would have been saying had I not been dragged through the mass hand in hand with the more uber of the fans in our little group :|

From that point, as soon as the gates opened it was utter chaos. Hand in hand, we ran like mad things, sprinting from one check point to the next where were stopped by the fact that we had to get through a narrowing space, or scan our tickets at the gate. Once inside the actual stadium, no one would let us down onto the field to the standing area, re-directing us from one entry point to another, and back again. And I was running, let me tell you. The fear of potentially losing the people I was with to that crazy crowd was enough to keep my legs pumping and my chest open in spite of being sick, having no voice and having coughed at least one of lungs up in the past week.

Anyway, having finally arrived in the standing section, we found ourselves about 4 or 5 rows of people back from a ramp-type looking thing separating us general standers to the super uber fans who had been in the queue since god-knows-what time that morning, or the day before. Apparently 250 people were let into the “Monster Pit”, and those were the first 250 people in the queue, as far as I understand it. The rest of us, as I mentioned, ran for our spots. I never thought I’d run like that for a pozzie at a concert, let alone a  Lady Gaga concert, but let me tell you it was worth it. In spite of the mouth breathing, drugged up retards who seemed to be incapable of not invading my personal space.

For a bunch of people who were at a concert of a woman who basically preaches tolerance of everyone, in all shapes and forms, whatever their life choices or preferences may be, there was a hell of a lot of nastiness going on around us. A couple of girls just behind us almost got into fisticuffs with some pushing and shoving, followed by a few choice words out of one of them. The guy in front of me had a go at me for keeping my arm in front of me to protect my boobs, because it was digging into his back – yes that’s how close he was, A guy to our right full on shoved one of our friends out of his way and proceeded to stand with his sweaty armpit resting on my shoulder. The amount of times my toes got trodden on, and the amount of people who’s sweaty bodies rubbed up against me at one point or another, doesn’t bear reminiscing about.

And, in spite of all of that, this was by far the best concert I’ve been to. Sure it was expensive, but no more than Linkin Park golden Circle. And considering the show that we got out of it, the value for money was so much more with Gaga. The set alone was absolutely awesome, like a doll’s house that folded out in the form of a castle, let alone the 20 odd back up dancers, all the costume changes, additional props such as the ‘unicorn’ that she came out on, and the motorbike that she was practically a part of. The whole thing was a show, with a story behind it, narrated by a hologram on the right hand side of the stage. The choreography was pretty awesome – made me think how incredible it must be to be a back up dancer for someone of that stature, and all of the back up dancers also had several costume changes as well.

Anyway, enough of my waffling, check out the Edge of Glory – don’t worry about the picture, rather listen to the crowd taking over her voice.

MasterChef SA dinner at MondoVino Restaurant

Last Wednesday I headed down to MondoVino Restaurant at SunSquare, MonteCasino for their MasterChef-inspired Wednesday night dinner. The restaurant was buzzing when we got there, and we stood at the bar for a drink, taking in the vibe while we watched all the front of house staff walking around in their chef’s hats, and kept our eyes open for a sighting of Judge Benny Masekwameng, who we had heard would be hosting the dinner that evening.

Thabo in his chef's hat

It wasn’t long before he came over to say hello and have a chat. Never ones to miss a photo opp, we all whipped our cameras out and posed with the local celebrity.

Chef/MasterChef SA Judge Benny Masekwameng with Alison on the left, and myself on the right

Benny was rushing between MondoVino and The Piazza doing his hosting duties, so he left us to it and off we went to our table. Kenneth Ngubane, Executive Chef at the hotel restaurant, came over to the table to explain to us what his special themed main course of the evening was. With the challenge on the show the previous evening revolving around Harvest time, that was the theme for the evening’s menu, and Kenneth’s special dish was Kingklip with prawns, complemented by citrus and leeks. It certainly looked spectacular, however I’m not a huge fan of fish. Luckily we were allowed to order off the menu as well.

SunSquare Executive Chef Kenneth Ngubane with his personal creation for Harvest Time

I’m not usually one for a 3 course meal, and the sweet chili fried  haloumi was so tempting that I decided I would skip dessert. It was a fantastic choice as the haloumi really was out of this world – beautifully presented and absolutely delicious.

Sweet Chilli Haloumi (Image courtesy Alison Mills)

This was followed swiftly, for me, by the grilled calamari in Lemon Butter Sauce, with mashed potato (my favourite). Some of our table tested out the special Kingklip, which, as I mentioned, did look uite delicious.

Sweet Chili Haloumi (Image courtesy Alison Mills)

And in spite of deciding that I would skip dessert, when it magically appeared on the table in front of me I absolutely could not resist. This plum and berry creation, infused with Amaretto was just too tempting, and was absolutely delicious.

Berry and Plum Amaretto-infused Medley

Benny came back to chat to us during the course of the meal and had plenty to say to keep us entertained. He showed us pictures of his 3 week old treasure, and told us all about the show. In spite of a little bit of prying he kept mum on the topic of the winner, as well as where he might be heading after the show was complete.

Benny showing off his 3-week-old pride and joy

In spite of not gleaning much in the way of gossip, we had a lovely evening, and wow, what a nice guy Benny is! Thanks so much to Tsogo Sun for the dinner invite – the service was impeccable, and dinner was delish!

Find Tsogo Sun on Facebook.

#5GumExperience

I Die!!!

Go Get Goosies at The Teatro

Programme Cover

Programme Cover

Last week saw me missioning across town in the pouring rain, at an average of about 34km/hr on the highway, to get across to The Teatro at Montecasino to watch The Phantom of The Opera. Having seen the London production in 2007, I was very keen to see how the local production would measure up.

The relatively young local talent were a big draw card, and the spectacular set, sparkling costumes and ever wonderful soundtrack were certainly not deterrents. I took my mum to see the show and found myself waiting with trepidation as we sat, waiting for it to begin, for fear that the performance may not measure up to the expectations I must have set with my years of raving about the show.

As the curtain rose on Act One, though, I couldn’t help but smile as the familiar scene unfolded right in front of my eyes. I couldn’t stop myself from humming along, very quietly, to the songs – who doesn’t get “The Phaaaaaantom of the operaaaaaaa is heeeeeeeere…” stuck in their heads after hearing it?

Christine is singing Beyond the Lake

The Phantom, performed by Jonathan Roxmouth, was powerful yet vulnerable, while Christine was performed by Robin Botha the night I saw the show had a spectacular voice, and a nice chemistry with Raoul (Anthony Downing). I think my favourite scene is the one between Raoul and Christine on the roof of the opera house where they perform “All I ask of You”. Perhaps because it’s the calm before the storm, or perhap simply because I love that song.

I thoroughly enjoyed Messieurs Firmin and Andre (James Borthwick and Jason Ralph), the new managers of the opera house who inherit, with their purchase, the drama of The Phantom, and Notes in The Managers’ Office, is another wonderful scene. The two men give a light-hearted touch to the otherwise serious message in the ‘notes’. They perform this role of comic relief throughout the show, and they do it exceptionally well. I also have to give a special mention to Cat Lane, who plays the role of Meg Giry, Christine’s closest (only?) friend. When she was on stage, her performance captivated me – she was fantastic!

The production did not disappoint one iota. My feet tapped throughout the performance and it was all I could do not to physically throw myself into the performance, wishing desperately that I could get up their and dance with them! As many people have mentioned to me, the people behind the scenes most certainly do not get enough credit. All those people who swoop in and remove parts of the set, organise the back drops correctly, change the costumes of the performers, apply and reapply make up, wigs, microphones and so on – props to you (pun intended) as the show was so smooth it was easy to forget about all that process going on behind the scenes – just as it should be.

For a bit of background, the PhantomSA website has pages of fascinating facts, including:

  • There are 130 cast, crew and orchestra members directly involved in each performance.
  • Each performance has 230 costumes, 14 dressers, 120 automated cues, 22 scene changes, 281 candles and uses 250 kg of dry ice and 10 fog and smoke machines.
They certainly know how to put that dry ice to great use!

If you haven’t ever seen the show – do it. Now! And even if you have, it is a classic, and so beautifully produced, that it is well worth another visit!

(You’re humming Phantom of the Opera now, aren’t you?)

x

Quick disclaimer – we were hosted by Southern Sun, who is a client, but even if we hadn’t been I would’ve taken my mum to see it!

Girl Guides at Core

Last Thursday the GirlGuides team was truly spoilt by Core at the flagship Sandton iStore. On arrival at the event, we were greeted with champagne (Moet darling) and a chocolate fountain with plenty of treats to dunk in chocolate all around it.

Choccy Fountain (and @cybersass and @ThatNicole)

After a glass of champagne, (or two) everyone piled into the presentation room where there was some excitement about the fact that the Girl Guides logo was the main feature on the screen at Core (ooooh). Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of it. A lovely Nintendo goodie bag awaited us on the seats including a stunning 2012 diary (at which point Jess exclaimed, “It’s such a nice diary but the year’s almost over!” We set her straight on that one), as well as a keyring, pen, SuperMario stuff and Pokemon stickers and trading cards. A quick presentation from Taryn about how many billions of app downloads have happened, and an Angry Birds trailer, was followed by a question and answer session with a cool prize giveaway. The Question: How many news apps are available in the Apple app store? After guesses ranging from the hundreds to the hundreds of thousands, Jess was awarded with two plush Angry Birds for being the nearest to correct with her answer of 15000.

@JessicaMcD and her Angry Birds...

The evening continued with pumpkin fritters dripping with chocolate, several more glasses of champers, handstands on the lawn (yes on the lush green lawns of the iStore) where there was a little over exposure and I will not be posting pics of that… There was a Dermalogica bar inside where all the ladies had their faces mapped by Dermalogica ladies and were provided with samples and then emailed the analysis straight from the iPad app they were using to fill in the info as they went along (I personally was more interested in the app they were using than I was in the face mapping process even though that was cool too).

After a couple of sociable hours catching up with the gals who I tend not to see much otherwise, listening to conversations about SkyRim, The Sims, tablets, laptops, and other review gadgets, and some top secret chatter about the future of Girl Guides, ladies started filtering out, to return home to kiddies being babysat byt reluctant dads, home to read scripts for 7am call times, home to fall into bed (me) and on the way out were the wonders that were the Core Goodie Bags! Each bag being different there was a little rifling going on (which I managed to avoid for the most part) but some of the luck girls found themselves with things like Paul Frank iPad covers, leather laptop cases (in which @Rubyletters found an iPod nano the next day), along with iPhone 4 covers, screen cleaners, iPad docks and the list goes on.

So much of spoilage from Core

 

 

Makia – a showcase of local jewellery designers

Last week I went to the launch of Makia – an online store that showcases South African jewellery designers. The setting was stunning, at Moyo, Zoo Lake, and the eye candy (jewellery) was equally stunning, if not more so!

The website is up and running and there are so many different beautiful items to choose from that I challenge you not to want at least one thing on there. I can see some credit card damage being done in the not too distant future.

Their Facebook page describes the company in the following way:”Makia Lifestyle brings you South Africa’s up and coming contemporary jewellery and fashion designers in a space wear couture fashion meets couture jewellery Feel your personality. Love jewellery.”

I adore their logo just for starters and once you’re on the website, it only gets better!

The range starts from US$14 and goes all the way up to finding that special something for your mother-in-law’s birthday, or after you’ve forgotten your anniversary! Or for anyone who feels like spoiling themselves.

These are some of my favourites, but there is a huge variety and I’m pretty sure there’s something for everyone, so make sure you go and check it out.

You can find the store at www.makia.co.za

Find them on Facebook, and on Twitter

#10ontheroof

Hi guys,

Leigh-Ann Mol and Melissa Attree are hosting a rooftop soiree type event at lunchtime on Sun 9 Oct in Melville – to raise funds for a friend with cancer. Tickets are limited so book asap!

The view is amazing and the event they hosted last Saturday was a lot of fun – you can have a look at some of the pics here

It’s all about great cocktails, canapes and company while they raise money for their friend JP who has cancer and needs surgery and treatment http://teamjp.co.za

Everyone gets a goodie bag at the door and we’ll also auction some cool items and have some prizes to raffle.

The event takes place on a rooftop in Melville which offers fantastic views of JHB.

Please see the invitation below for timings, tickets and additional info.

Forward this to your friends, get a group together and enjoy a chilled Sunday afternoon with them.

It’s all for a great cause – dooo eeeeet!