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On today's Standing Room Only, crime is to the fore - the winners of  Ngaio Marsh Award for crime writing talk about their dark art, while a new book of essays looks at the connections between crime and food.  Playwright Dean Parker turns from political matters for a sweet play about a beloved teacher, while film-maker Emma Schranz is inspired by a brush with breast cancer to follow her passion. Nuiean-New Zealand artist John Pule is one of the contributors to the Royal Academy of Arts' celebration of Captain James Cook in London, and closer to home an Asian Arts Hui encourages cultures to talk to each other.  A novel by arts commentator Thomasin Sleigh looks back on the rather shaky start to our own Art Gallery, Steve Carr sends drones into a fireworks display, and on the Laugh Track, young playwright Grace-Amelia Vernal is passionate in her defence of antique sitcom Are you being served?

All this and the Three O'Clock Drama featuring two generations of theatrical Harcourts (the third features on At The Movies) and an assortment of musical crimes all afternoon.


12:16  Winners of the Ngaio Marsh Crime Writing Awards

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The prestigious Ngaio Marsh Awards for crime writing were announced on Saturday night at the Word Festival in Christchurch.  And two novels where children are put at risk - in Havelock North and in rural Australia -  took out both major awards..

Alan Carter  took out the Best Crime Novel award for Marlborough Man

And the Best First Novel has gone to Jennifer Lane for All Our Secrets.

Lynn Freeman talks to Alan and Jennifer, as well as to judge - and crime writer herself - Dr Vanda Symon.

The finalists for Best Crime Novel are:

Marlborough Man by Alan Carter (Fremantle Press) (WINNER)
See You in September by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin)
Tess by Kirsten McDougall (VUP)
The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell (Mary Egan Publishing)
A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)
The Hidden Room by Stella Duffy (Virago)

The finalists for Best First Novel are:

All Our Secrets by Jennifer Lane (Rosa Mira Books) (WINNER)
The Floating Basin by Carolyn Hawes
Broken Silence by Helen Vivienne Fletcher (HVF Publishing)
The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell (Mary Egan Publishing)
Nothing Bad Happens Here by Nikki Crutchley (Oak House Press)

12:33 Wonderful by Dean Parker

Dean Parker

Dean Parker Photo: supplied

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Since the early 1970s Dean Parker has written thought-provoking plays like Baghdad, Baby! and Midnight in Moscow, as well as screen work - Dean co-wrote the screenplay for the classic comedy Came a Hot Friday.

It's more than 40 years since Dean's first play, Smack.  His latest, the one-person play Wonderful, is based on an inspiring Marist brother and teacher from his school years in 1950s Napier.

Brother Vianney teaches the lads in his class the life lessons he's discovered from watching films and romantic musicals.  Lynn Freeman talks to Dean Parker about Wonderful, which premieres at Wellington's Bats Theatre on September 4th as part of the inaugural New Zealand Theatre Month.

12:45 Breast cancer survival inspires a new film

Emma Schranz

Emma Schranz Photo: supplied

By day she's the Otago Regional Council's Senior Media Advisor - but outside of work hours Emma Schranz is producing a film a year.

The University of Otago's Centre for Science Communication graduate's latest short film is called I'm Still Here EXPINKT.  It's about people - like her - who've been diagnosed with breast cancer, and survived.  Emma Schranz tells Lynn Freeman that being diagnosed with breast cancer was the catalyst for following her dream to make films.

She's been producing a short film a year since 2014 and is currently working on a TV series after co-winning the 2017 South Pacific Pictures Big Pitch.

I'm Still Here EXPINKT follows a group of people in a university gym-based programme to help with their physical and emotional health. 

The film premieres at the Young Writers Festival in Dunedin later this month, where Emma will also talk about her approach to filmmaking and offer practical advice as part of a Screenplay Storytelling forum.  It takes place at Dunedin's Metro Cinema.

1:08 At The Movies

Simon Morris reviews two films from the International Film Festival - Argentina's Zama, and Leave No Trace, starring young New Zealand actress Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie - and the R-rated puppet show The Happytime Murders.

1.32 Artist John Pule's contribution to the James Cook 250th anniversary

New Zealand artists are taking over London as the city's Royal Academy of Arts prepares to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Captain James Cook's first voyage to the Pacific.

It's a double celebration because the Academy was founded the same year, 1768.

It's invited artists from Aotearoa, Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia to contribute to its Oceania exhibition of historic and contemporary items.

Creative New Zealand's invested 170-thousand dollars so that 10 of our contemporary visual artists can show their work and attend the exhibition.

Expat artist Frances Upritchard is presenting a show at the Barbican, and Luke Willis Thompson is competing for the Turner Prize at the Tate Britain in London.

And Niuean-New Zealand artist and poet John Pule is proud to be representing New Zealand at the Oceania exhibition.  Lynn Freeman talks to him about the series of five paintings he created in 2007, and also about his upcoming show in South Korea..

1:47 Cultural discussions at the Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui

There's a lot to celebrate, as well as frustrations to express and issues to discuss, during this month's Asian arts hui in Wellington.

It's the third Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui since it was established back in 2013, and one of its primary goals is to make Asian New Zealand art and culture more visible and accessible.

Established and aspiring Asian artists - including multi-media artist Yuk King Tan, Maori-Asian painter Simon Kaan and Maori activist and artist Tame Iti -have joined forces for a three-week programme that will end with several symposia over two days at Te Papa.

As part of the hui, Te Papa is showing some of its Asian arts collection and the curator is Emma Ng.  Lynn Freeman talks to Emma about what the main talking points are likely to be at the Asian Aotearoa Arts Hui.

It opens on September 2nd, with various symposia at Te Papa taking place on the weekend of September 22nd and 23rd. Meanwhile the Mareikura: Wahine Beyond Suffrage exhibition, curated by Emma Ng for Pataka in Porirua, also opens on September 2nd.

2:06 The Laugh Track - playwright Grace-Amelia Vernal

There's a scene at the start of the Hollywood satire The Player where screenwriters pitch ideas for their movies.  They're always unlikely combinations, which is why we were reminded of it when we were told about a new comedy coming to Auckland's Basement Theatre.

It's called Retail Therapy and it promises Are You Being Served meets Mean Girls!   Playwright Grace-Amelia Vernal is today's guest on the Laugh Track, and her picks include Ellen De Generes, Iliza Shlesinger, Clueless - and of course Are you being served and Mean girls!

2:25 Food and crime in a collection of essays called Blood on the table

Food's role in crime writing isn't limited to being a deadly weapon in its own right - like Roald Dahl's famous short story Lamb to the slaughter.   The subject's explored in a new book Blood on the Table: Essays on Food in International Crime Fiction.

Authors under discussion in the essays include Stieg Larsson, Sara Paretsky,  Ruth Rendell, Anthony Bourdain and Georges Simenon of Maigret fame.

And questions posed include the role of recipes in crime writing, whether a crime can be committed against food and what food tells us about a character's personality, gender or class.

The book has a Kiwi connection - co-editor and Associate Professor of French at Wellington's Victoria University lecturer Jean Anderson.   Lynn Freeman talked to her about the food-crime link:

Blood on the Table, Essays on Food in International Crime Fiction is published by McFarland.

The other editors are Carolina Miranda and Barbara Pezzotti.

2:37  A rocky start to New Zealand's National Art Gallery

Thomasin Sleigh

Thomasin Sleigh Photo: supplied

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The post Second World War art scene is the canvas for Wellington writer and arts commentator Thomasin Sleigh's new novel, Women in the Field, One and Two.

It's set in the London and Wellington of the early 1950s, where we meet London art curator Ruth Bishops.  She's been invited to recommend European art for New Zealand's fledgling National Art Gallery to buy.

But everything changes is when Ruth meets a woman Russian painter whose work has been overlooked.

This isn't new territory for Thomasin, as she tells Lynn Freeman.   She's written about contemporary art and culture for galleries, magazines and online sites throughout Australasia, and her first novel Ad Lib also delved into the art world.  

Thomasin Sleigh's  novel, Women in the Field, One and Two is published by Lawrence and Gibson

2:48 Steve Carr gets up-close at a fireworks display

Looking up at fireworks displays is magical. But imagine if you could fly through, over and around them.

Footage taken from flying six drones through a fireworks display is allowing artist Steve Carr to offer us that experience, in his new exhibition Chasing Light.  It was a logistical challenge for the crack team of drone operators he brought in to film the half hour long fireworks display.

The edited and synchronised footage will be projected onto what look like old outdoor drive-in movie screens.

Lynn Freeman talks with Steve Carr, a senior lecturer in film at the University of Canterbury,  who aims to make work that presents the impossible to the viewer:

Chasing the Light opens at the Christchurch Art Gallery on September 8th.

3:05 Drama at 3 - Flowers from my mother's garden by Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie

This month, the Dramas at 3 features productions that have succeeded on stage as well as on radio.  

Today's play was originally commissioned by the 1998 NZ International Festival of the Arts.  It was crafted by Miranda Harcourt and her husband Stuart McKenzie out of vignettes from Miranda's own life, and from the life of her mother, Dame Kate Harcourt.

Flowers from my Mother's Garden features the voices of both Miranda and Kate Harcourt..


Music played in this show

Artist: Blondie
Song: Kidnapper
Composer: Destri
Album: Plastic Letters
Label: Chrysalis
Played at: 12.12

Artist: Ricky Skaggs
Song: The drunken driver
Composer: Westmoreland
Album: Bluegrass rules
Label: Rounder
Played at: 12.30

Artist: Bing Crosby
Song: Sweet Leilani
Composer: Owens
Album: The envelope please: Academy Award winning songs
Label: Rhino
Played at: 12.33

Artist: Shona Laing
Song: Cat Burglar
Composer: Laing
Album: Genre
Label: Epic/Pagan
Played at: 12.58

Artist: Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers
Song: Poet and Peasant
Composer: Suppe
Album: Joe Meek: Vampires, Spacemen and Spooks
Label: Castle
Played at: 1.08

Artist: Divine Comedy
Song: The Complete Banker
Composer: Hannan
Album: Bang goes the knighthood
Label: DCR
Played at: 1.43

Artist: Was Not Was
Song: Spy in the house of love
Composer: Was-Was
Album: The collection
Label: Spectrum
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Tom Lehrer
Song:  The old dope peddler
Composer: Lehrer
Album: The remains of
Label: Rhino
Played at:  2.04

Artist: Ron Goodwin
Song: Murder she said
Composer: Goodwin
Album: George Martin: The early works of
Label:  Not now
Played at: 2.35

Artist: Joni Mitchell
Song: Raised on robbery
Composer: Mitchell
Album: Court and spark
Label: Asylum
Played at: 2.58

Artist: Golden Triangle
Song: Arson Wells
Composer: Golden Triangle
Album: Double jointer
Label: Hardlyart
Played at:  3.04

Artist: Kid Creole and the Coconuts
Song: Stool Pigeon
Composer: Darnell
Album: The best of
Label: Island
Played at:  3.58