Navigation for Standing Room Only

On Standing Room Only, the Moon is the subject of an exhibition that remembers those astonishing black and white photos back in the 50s, 60s and 70s - our first close-up views of our nearest neighbour.  Singer-songwriter Chris Priestley invites some stellar friends to make an album about unsung heroes and villains from New Zealand's past, while Witi Ihimaera and Whiti Hereaka offer contemporary views of traditional legends. 

Two contrasting exhibitions:  the Hamilton Zinefest proves the fiery "zine" shows no sign of going out of fashion, while Otago University celebrates 150 years of history, science and art with a show called A Garden of Earthly Delights.

All this plus American writer Alexander Chee, UK comedian Alistair Barrie, and regular features At The Movies, My heels are killing me and The 3 O'clock Drama.


12:36  A Festival of Zines

They came with punk back in the Seventies - handmade magazines, or "zines", smudged, often xeroxed, and in your face.

You'd think they'd have gone the way of the audio cassette in today's digital age.  But zines - and apparently audio-cassettes - have not only survived the online era, they're flourishing.

The first of six Zinefests around the country's about to start in Hamilton.

It's the sixth year the city has invited zine-loving artists and writers, poets and printers to a get-together and talkfest.

Simon Morris talks with Craig McClure who's a zine maker, fan and former Zinefest organiser, and with one of New Zealand's top comics creators Dylan Horrocks who's one of the Hamilton event's special guests this year.

The Hamiltoin Zinefest starts on May 11.

12:47 Songs about tall tales and true from NZ's past

One thing the centennial commemorations of World War One have illustrated is how fascinated we are with our own history. It's a shame the budget to make costume-drama movies of New Zealand historical stories is so prohibitive.

Or is it?   Veteran muso Chris Priestley has cornered a growing market in albums of tall tales and true of our own legendary past - albums like Unsung Heroes and Rogues.   

And now he's branching out, inviting some stellar friends to contribute to a more ambitious album, a concert, even maybe a documentary.

Simon Morris chats with Chris Priestley, and to two of his contributors - the pretty legendary Seventies pop star John Hanlon and former TV journo Cameron Bennett.   Chris started his music career as an entrepreneur, as one of the founders of Real Groovy Records, and later Java Jive and Atomic Cafe.

1:10 At The Movies

Dan Slevin reviews The Avengers Endgame, Breaking Habits and Unicorn Store

1:31  The Moon in closeup for the first time

The fuzzy looking gelatin silver photographs NASA used in the 1960s and '70s to publicise its efforts to land men on the moon are in stark contrast to the high definition images we see these days of planets.

But they were the first time anyone had seen the Moon so closeup and personal, and the Space Race captured the attention of the world in a way nothing has done since.

An exhibition of those early black and white images are going on show as part of Wellington's Photival Photography Festival.

Art historian Geoffrey Batchen has curated Live from the Moon selecting from images that were transmitted to Earth from the Moon.

Simon Morris talks to him and to Senior Science Communicator with Wellington's Carter Observatory, Haritina Mogoșanu.

Geoffrey Batchen and Haritina Mogoșanu are in conversation this Thursday May 9 at Suite Gallery in Wellington.

1:44 Maori myths and legends - old and new - retold

Traditional Maori myths and legends have been retold as contemporary stories in a new collection called Purakau.

Whiti Hereaka and Witi Ihimaera are the co-editors who invited emerging and established Maori writers to put their own spin on well known and loved stories.

One of the more than 20 writers invited to write for the collection is novelist, poet and playwright Apirana Taylor.  In his  short story "Hine Tai", he brings together a grandmother and her young grandaughter who's reluctant to embrace te reo:

Meanwhile In Whiti's story, the Earth Mother Papatuanuku becomes a woman who loves and fears her wayward sons and errant boyfriend.

Lynn Freeman speaks with Apirana and Whiti, who explains how Witi Ihimaera asked her to work with him on a project they both believe is important:

Purakau is published by Vintage.

2:06 The Laugh Track - British comedian Alistair Barrie

Alistair Barrie

Alistair Barrie Photo: supplied

Alistair Barrie is one of the headliners at the New Zealand International Comedy Festival.  And there are several good reasons for that.

First, he's one of the top comedians on the world-wide circuit, picking up a coveted five-star review at the Edinburgh Fringe last year.  And second, his show's actually called The International - or as he pronounces it, The Internation-AL.

Alistair Barrie talks to Simon Morris about some comedy favourites, including Blackadder, Eddie Izzard, Stewart Lee and Jen Brister.

2:25   150 years of research and curiosity at Otago University

Hocken Library curator Robyn Notman has spent the past few months ferretting through the university's historic  geology, zoology, anatomy and botany collections for a quirky exhibition to mark Otago University's 150th birthday.

A Garden of Earthly Delights celebrates  teaching, research, exploration, collecting and curiosity at  New Zealand's first university.

Robyn is the Head Curator of Pictorial Collections, and, as she tells Simon Morris, she's been delving into unknown territory for this exhibition of rare, interesting and beautiful artefacts and art.  

Robyn told him she's been working with artist Heather Straka on the exhibition which will be free and open to the public.  A Garden of Earthly Delights is showing at Hocken Collections in Dunedin, from May 11.   

2:38 Korean-American Alexander Chee and the art of the autobiography

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Photo: supplied

In his work American novellist, short story writer and essayist Alexander Chee draws heavily on his early years as a  biracial child in a predominantly white community, and his sexuality - he was the first openly gay Korean American author.

The Associate Professor of English and award-winning writer has produced two thought-provoking novels - Edinburgh and Queen of the Night - and his latest publication is a series of essays called How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.

They range from lists of hints for writers to candid writing about personal memories he'd suppressed for decades.  

Alexander Chee is a guest at the upcoming Auckland Writers Fesitval,  Lynn Freeman asked him how attitudes towards homosexuality have changed since he started writing about it.

2:46 My heels are killing me  - the business of underwear

NZ lingerie designer Chloe Julian says she often makes lingerie so it  can be worn as either underwear or outerwear.

“[On the red carpet] Kim Kardashian wore a slip that I designed and it was designed to be worn in the bedroom,” she says.

Julian’s designs have graced the covers of international fashion magazines and have been worn by celebrities. The Kiwi studied fashion at Massey University, and is now back in the country after living in London and working for the likes of Agent Provocateur and Stella McCartney. Last year, she designed the launch collection for singer Rihanna’s new lingerie label, Savage X Fenti - a project that was a year in the making.

And Julian says these days underwear should be seen.

“We’re not pretending we’re not wearing something,” she says.

“I have always designed something as if you’d want someone to see it and even when I was getting dressed this morning, I thought this isn’t actually working with my bra so I have to change my dress, not my bra. Most people would think the other way.”

Julian says there is a current trend towards a more natural look with a ‘free the nipple’ mentality of not wearing a bra at all. She says  European consumers are opting for bralettes and soft cups, rather than underwire structure and lots of padding, which is popular in the U.S. market.

“I think people just want to feel more free, as opposed to a look where you’re pushed up and pushed in,” Julian says.  

To find out more head to My Heels are Killing Me.

3:06 Drama at 3 - Trick of the light by Ken Duncum

This is a radio version of Ken Duncum's award-winning play exploring of family relationships against the backdrop of the Arthur Alan Thomas murder case.