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12:16 Toke - a TV comedy for our time?

If ever there was an idea whose time had come it may be a TV movie called Toke.

When the country is getting ready to make a decision about marijuana - to legalize it or not - what better time for a comedy drama about the demon weed?  

The big surprise about a comedy like Toke is where it's come from.  Production house Screentime is best known for reality crime shows like Police Ten 7 and gritty serious drama like Siege and Underbelly.  

And writer-creator Kewana Duncan may be a new kid on the block, but it's very much his baby - and so is the series Toke that he plans to follow it with.  Simon Morris talks with Kewana and Philly De Lacey, CEO of Screentime.  

Toke plays on TV3 on September 14, and a following series is about to go into production. 


12:30 Finalists for Best Original Music in a New Zealand film

Three in-demand Kiwi composers who've worked on three very different movies- a drama, a horror and a comedy - have made it to the shortlist for this year's APRA Best Original Music In A Film Award.
Claire Cowan is there for the real-life TV drama Runaway Millionaires about the couple who accidentally ended up with 10-million dollars deposited in their bank account.  She was also nominated for Best Original Music In A Series for her work on One Lane Bridge.

Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper made the list for his soundtrack to the  wrestling comedy The Legend of Baron To'a, while Karl Steven is a finalist for his atmospheric score for the horror thriller Come to Daddy.

Lynn Freeman asked them how they approached such contrasting films, and if they tried new things when working on the soundtracks.

The winner of the APRA Best Original Music In A Series Award will be announced on the 14th of October.


12:48 Arts galleries in Auckland and Christchurch join forces

Facing precarious times thanks to Covid-19, contemporary art galleries in Christchurch and Auckland have joined forces to work together on exhibitions they can share.

Objectspace and the Centre of Contemporary Art - better known as CoCA - have agreed to share their resources, knowledge and expertise.   This looks like a win for them as well as for artists, curators and visitors.

CoCA is the oldest arts organisation in Canterbury - a public gallery that's celebrating its 140th birthday this year.

Auckland-based Objectspace concentrates on the fields of design, craft and architecture.

This is the start of an 18-month partnership.  And in the first few months they'll be working on exhibitions that will swap between the two galleries over the course of a year. 

Lynn Freeman speaks with Kim Paton from Objectspace and Anna Ryan from CoCA.   Kim explains that the pandemic and its impact on public art galleries accelerated talks about collaboration.


1:10 At The Movies

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Photo: supplied

Simon Morris reviews New Zealand gang drama Savage, the latest X Men film, The New Mutants, and 30 years on, Bill And Ted Face The Music. 


1:31 Compose Aotearoa offers the chance to write for a full choir

Composing for a large choir and a maximum of three instruments - that's the challenge Choirs Aotearoa NZ is issuing to some adventurous Kiwi composers.

It's a perfect time for composers to try something new.   Concert plans are in disarray, thanks to the pandemic.  And they're likely to continue to face disruptions for the foreseeable future.

This is New Zealand's first national competition specifically for choral song-writing - Compose Aotearoa.

Trinity Roots' Warren Maxwell knows all about it.   Last year he composed "Te Tai Uka a Pia", a stunning piece about the Antarctic for the Voices New Zealand choir to perform. 

Lynn Freeman reunites Warren with Karen Grylls, who worked with him on the composition as the artistic director and conductor for Voices New Zealand, the country's nationally selected choir. Karen explains the brief given to composers interested in entering the competition.

1:46  Alexander Turnbull Library celebrates 100 years of treasures

The Alexander Turnbull Library's 100th birthday celebrations may have been scuttled by Covid-19, but the treasure trove of New Zealand archives still gets to mark this milestone.

An exhibition of artists' work that speaks to taonga in the library's archives is about to open at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.

Everything old is New Again: The Turnball Library at 100 matches artists with items from the archives, and it's co-curated by Fiona Oliver.

Gisborne-based Melanie Tangarere Baldwin is one of the artists who signed up for the show.  She created three pieces, each featuring a controversial figure in our history.  One of them is a reproduced Mokomokai or mummified head of the former New Zealand Governor George Gray.

Lynn Freeman talks with Melanie on the line from Gisborne and Fiona Oliver in our Wellington studio. 

Everything old is New Again:The Turnball Library at 100 opens on September 17 at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington.

2:06 The Laugh Track - Joanna Prendergast aka "Jo Ghastly"

Joanna Prendergast

Joanna Prendergast Photo: supplied

We expect a lot from our comedians these days.  They now have to be political analysts, social historians, pioneers in gender and cultural politics.  What do they think they are - psychiatrists or something?

Well, today's guest isn't an "or something".  

Joanna Prendergast's day-job is an actual psychiatrist.  Though her act, as self-proclaimed Cool Mum "Jo Ghastly" mostly pulls the plug on the celebrity expert and influencer. 

She talks to Lynn Freeman about her two jobs, and her late start in comedy.

Joanna's choices include Hannah Gadsby, Sindhu Vee, Sarah Millican and Michael McIntyre.



2:27 Poet James Brown's anthology of 25 years of writing.

James Brown

James Brown Photo: Robert Cross

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Photo: supplied by publisher

Poems about poetry and cycling are two of the themes James Brown has often reflected on during his quarter of a century of writing.

He's been going back over his previous six collections for his latest publication, James Brown Selected Poems.

His first book came out in 1995, Go Round Power Please, which took out the Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award.

James Brown reads from his anthology, and explains to Lynn Freeman how he made his selection.

James Brown Selected Poems is published by .Victoria University Press




2:40  Airini Beautrais uses insects as a metaphor in her short stories

Airini Beautrais

Airini Beautrais Photo: Tracy Grant

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Photo: supplied by publisher

Whanganui-based poet Airini Beautrais has channelled her ability to say a lot in a few words into her first collection of short stories called Bug Week.

Airini's four poetry collections include Flow that was shortlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Award for Poetry.

Bug Week has stories that roam from New Zealand to Europe, from the weird and grotesque to the sharply comical and pointedly feminist.

A seabird rocks up to perform at an open mic night in Southland, while in a German housing block there is a pervasive smell seeping through the walls.  Lynn Freeman talks with Airini about the wide range of stories in Bug Week.

Bug Week by Airini Beautrais is published by Victoria University Press.

2:49 Photographer Mickey Smith remembers "bound periodicals"

For more than 15 years, photographer Mickey Smith has prowled through libraries around the world  in search of bound periodicals - like popular contemporary magazines - to snap the book spines.

The result is striking in its own right.  But it's also about documenting something that's on its way out, with the advent of digitisation.

These photographs have been exhibited overseas, but this is the first time Mickey is showing them in New Zealand.

The exhibition's called Matters of Time.  And it's not just a selection of the hundreds of photographs Mickey Smith has taken over the years.   There are also examples of her unique jewellery, which includes pills and Daily Reminder cases cast in sterling silver, commenting on the pervasive presence of pharmaceuticals in everyday life

Lynn Freeman talks with Mickey Smith, first asking her about the kind of books she's documenting:

Matters of Time an exhibition by Mickey Smith has just opened at the Sanderson Gallery in Auckland.

3:06 Drama at 3 - Despatch by Angie Farrow

Angie Farrow

Angie Farrow Photo: Supplied

Hannah Danson is a hedonistic, go-getting young New Zealand foreign correspondent, filing stories from a ‘third world’ war zone. 

Genocide, rape and refugee camps provide the backdrop to this story, but when Hannah’s quest to interview Sister Mala ( a nun sheltering children caught between the warring parties ) brings her face to face with a psychopath, she is forced to question her values, both personal and professional. 

Sexy, gripping and disturbing, Angie Farrow’s radio play Despatch is a dream like tale exploring love and personal commitment set against a backdrop of war.  And a warning: this play contains adult themes and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Music played in this show

Artist: Altered Images
Song: Insects
Composer: Altered Images
Album: Destiny The Hits
Label:  Epic
Played at: 12.12

Artist: Mary Black
Song: Fifi the flea
Composer:  Ransford
Album: Stories from the steeples
Label: Planet
Played at: 12.45

Artist: Belle and Sebastian
Song: Mayfly
Composer: Belle and Sebastian
Album: If you're feeling sinister
Label: Matador
Played at: 12.58

Artist: The Cramps
Song: Human fly
Composer: Interior-Rorschach
Album: Psychedelic jungle
Label: A&M
Played at:  1.07

Artist: Clare Torry
Song: Love is like a butterfly
Composer: Parton
Album: Heaven in the sky
Label: RPM
Played at:  1.45

Artist:  Adam & the Ants
Song: Antmusic
Composer: Ahtr-Pirroni
Album: The Essential
Label: Epic
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Ella Fitzgerald
Song: The cricket song
Composer: Fitzgerald
Album: Ella at Juan-Les Pins (Live)
Label: Verve
Played at:  2.04

Artist:  Billie Piper
Song: Honey to the bee
Composer: Marr-Page
Album: Honey to the B
Label: EMI
Played at: 2.58

Artist:  Dire Straits
Song: The bug
Composer: Knopfler
Album: Encores
Label: Vertigo
Played at: 1.58