Is there such a thing as the perfect car? No – the specific requirements of individual motorists differ too much. But there are models that offer such an array of features, functions and capabilities so balanced that their appeal embraces a wider audience than most. Audi’s latest-generation A3 Sportback – and the 1.4 TFSI model in particular – represents a near-perfect balancing act. By DEON SCHOEMAN.
Recent weeks have seen a new form of poster take to some of Joburg's walls. They look like advertising posters... They quack like advertising posters... But they sure ain't advertising posters. Instead, they're fakes of the posters you see almost everywhere in Joburg advertising The Star newspaper. Some of their fake headlines are clearly designed to provoke. Like "No Zuma Luxury Plane is Racist", or "2010 ANC Al Qaeda ANC Pact". They're going to get a reaction. And they have. From of course, The Star itself. Now the group responsible is stepping out of the shadows... But only just. By a highly intrigued STEPHEN GROOTES.
This year’s Encounters Documentary Film Festival, which kicks off today, has been whittled down from its previous 17 days to 10. As always, not all the films on offer will be guaranteed delights, but the programme continues to offer varied treats to a South African audience usually a bit starved of the chance to view quality documentaries on the big screen. REBECCA DAVIS previews some of the films to look out for.
Is the electric car really a viable alternative to the growing number of hybrid cars – or even to an emerging generation of small-engined, highly sophisticated and ultra-frugal petrol-powered models? BMW thinks so – and it built more than a thousand ActiveE prototypes to prove the point. DEON SCHOEMAN drives the Bavarian stealth machine.
After five years in the making, Given Mkhari’s Power FM held its media launch in Johannesburg on Wednesday, ahead of its on-air debut on 18 June. The Gauteng station promised to change the country forever, offering a new platform for individuals to be themselves and participate in the country’s future. The critics think it will work, if the execution matches the formula. By JESSICA EATON & GREG NICOLSON.
Vladimir Tretchikoff loved women, and he painted many. His biographer Boris Gorelik was able to track down the identity of two of the real-life muses for iconic Tretchikoff artworks, but one remained elusive: the beautiful woman depicted in the painting “The Hindu Dancer”. As the work was being prepared for auction in Cape Town on Tuesday, however, the riddle of the model’s identity appeared to be solved at the last minute. By REBECCA DAVIS.
F Scott Fitzgerald’s short novel, The Great Gatsby, has been filmed yet again – this time by the Australian now middle-aged, enfant terrible director, Marc Anthony “Baz” Luhrmann. Luhrmann’s previous works as a director include Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge, Strictly Ballroom and Australia. The Luhrmann style has come to be identified with in-your-face, over-bright colours; sharp, fast movements and quick cuts; loud, anachronistic soundtracks; and dizzying, swirling camera angles, all prominent in his bag of tricks. The Great Gatsby is no exception. This can be quite overwhelming, and so a real question is whether or not it ultimately overwhelms Fitzgerald’s story as well. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
Subaru is one of those eclectic brands that enjoys an almost fanatical following, and yet finds itself outside the motoring mainstream. It’s as highly regarded for its STI-badged performance machines as it is for its utilitarian but effective all-terrainers, while all-wheel drive and boxer engines are inherent to the brand’s appeal. So where exactly does the XV fit in? DEON SCHOEMAN drives it to find out.
At the 29 May 1913 Paris premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score, The Rite of Spring, there were fistfights in the audience, some reports say attendees hit each other with chairs, and the loud howls and catcalls from those same patrons sometimes drowned out the music. A hundred years later, however, the work is acclaimed as a true masterwork central to the 20th century’s decisive break with 300 years of musical tradition and ideas. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.
This lively exchange, between Rian Malan, Paul Trewhela and Bill Keller, takes on the image of the SACP in South Africa’s liberation struggle: its role and, of course, its much-debated brand of communism. It was first published in the New York Review of Books, kicked off by Malan’s collection of magazine writings, 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight and Other Stories of Africa'.
The International Film Festival held in Cannes every May is a complex event: on one side, it promotes cinematic projects in their purest artistic form, praising independent films that are usually banished from the blockbusters’ circuit. On the other side, it boasts at the presence of Hollywood stars and devotes its cameras, flashes and grand staircase to celebrities flocking to the Riviera for twelve days of utter glamour. EMILIE GAMBADE looks at yet another French paradox.
The controversy around the selection of South Africa’s 2011 entry to the Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious and most lavish international art show, divided the arts community. This year’s entry, “Imaginary Fact: Contemporary South African Art and the Archive”, which showcases the work of “a radically diverse group of contemporary artists and their spectrum of experiences”, has received a far better press, although the relative paucity of female artists has drawn some criticism. J BROOKS SPECTOR spoke to Sam Nhlengethwa and David Koloane, two of the “elder statesmen” of the new wave of artists who moved light years beyond the artistic confines of “township art”, starting in the 1960s and 70s.
The measure of a true supercar is not how fast it goes, nor how sophisticated it is, or even how much it costs. No sir, the real proof of the supercar pudding is in its ability to attract attention. When heads turn, when fingers point, when cellphone cameras start clicking – when the blonde in the BeeEm drops her cellphone in her lap and just stares – then you know you’re driving a supercar. Clearly, the Audi R8 Spyder qualifies – even if this one is the so-called “baby” of the R8 clan. By DEON SCHOEMAN.
The newest of the Smithsonian Institution’s great museums in America, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, is planned for completion in 2015. A centrepiece of this building will be an authentic slave cabin from South Carolina. J BROOKS SPECTOR looks at the larger significance of the acquisition.
Despite its German ownership, Bentley remains the epitome of British automotive craftsmanship, inexorably linked to very real dynamic talents. The new-generation Flying Spur may place a greater emphasis on comfort than its predecessor, but the majestic sedan’s athletic prowess remains undiminished – even on China’s twisty, crowded roads, as DEON SCHOEMAN finds out.
Daft Punk’s latest album Random Access Memories is big and lush and eye-poppingly ambitious, and I have only listened to it a few times on iTunes. So this is not a review. What this is, is a gentle appeal for you not to miss what is going to be one of the better albums of our times. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.
Hyundai’s first coupé since the long-defunct and mildly predatory Tiburon is not exactly what one would expect. With its hot hatch styling and oddball 2+1 door configuration, the Veloster is proof that Hyundai wants to add some charisma to the brand. However, is it really a trend-setter? By DEON SCHOEMAN.
A dramatic Haute Couture event with New York City and a red-carpeted grand staircase as a backdrop, the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Gala Benefit is one of the most coveted fashion extravaganzas in America. This year, daring outfits punctuated with fauxhawks, platinum blonde hairdos, cut-out studded leather symbols of ‘punk influence on fashion’, made for a theatrical night. By EMILIE GAMBADE.
Bloemfontein-born Anne Hirsch is one of a growing number of global comedians and entertainers who aren’t sitting around waiting for a TV broadcaster or record label to pull it together to offer them exposure. Instead, they’re using their own YouTube channels to get their material out there. And, in the case of 'The Anne Hirsch Show', it’s far funnier and fresher stuff than the normal content on local TV. By REBECCA DAVIS.
There is a sense of the confessional permeating the new show by Pieter-Dirk Uys. For all that he dresses up as different characters, it feels like his own personality is the character most laid bare. As if, after years of presenting his views through the mouths of others, it’s time to strip off the make-up and tell us more about himself. By LESLEY STONES.
Late last week, it was announced that plans are finally properly underway to turn an old Long Island laboratory into a permanent memorial and museum to the late Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla. For Tesla’s supporters, it’s the culmination of a 70-year battle – since Tesla’s death – to see the appropriate commemoration of the man largely responsible for our modern electricity system, and a host of other scientific advancements for which he never received sufficient credit. By REBECCA DAVIS.
Compact SUVs must count among the most successful and desirable vehicles in South Africa. While European motorists prefer estates (aka station wagons in the local vernacular), gung-ho SA drivers prefer the taller stance and off-road talents that SUVs epitomise. Ford’s new-generation Kuga is the latest arrival in this segment, and despite that silly name, it’s a worthy contender. By DEON SCHOEMAN.
Even for viewers who are well acquainted with Gerard Sekoto’s work and styles, the current exhibition at the Wits Art Museum will come as a revelation. Seeing his paintings arranged in rough chronological order, reflecting where he lived and worked at each point in his life provides compelling insight into Sekoto’s travails and his development as an artist. By J BROOKS SPECTOR.