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Issue , 2014

The Food Issue

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News

  • Salient Exclusive: Labour’s Tertiary Education Policy

  • VUWSA bios

  • R and R

  • #VUWSAVOTES

  • Salient Exclusive: Labour’s Tertiary Education Policy

  • VUWSA bios

  • R and R

  • #VUWSAVOTES

  • Double Down Takes Over

  • Features

  • Potato elections and why student democracy is dying

    The annual VUWSA elections are well and truly upon us. Wherever you look there are posters, banners and chalk advertisements blaring candidates’ names and often what position they hope to win our vote for….

    by

  • brosilin brothers

    The Bresolin Brothers

    Last week, Duncan and Cam sat down with a couple of young kings of the Wellington food scene. The Bresolin brothers, Leonardo and Lorenzo, are the owners of Scopa, Duke Carvell’s, Tommy Millions, Crazy Horse Steak House and Gentlemen’s Beans Coffee.

    by

  • campus digestion

    Campus Digest(ion)

    Salient reporter Philip McSweeney checked out some of the places who offer kai around Kelburn Campus. Here are the results.

    by

  • changing tack

    Changing Tack

    Wilson Cain is a 21-year-old Wellingtonian who runs Whitecaps along with his brother Jo, and soon with the help of Rhys Stannard.

    by

  • Global Gastro Guide to Wellington

    There’s a whole world of food waiting to be discovered here in little old Wellington, so pick a country, and go explore.

    by

  • Potato elections and why student democracy is dying

    The annual VUWSA elections are well and truly upon us. Wherever you look there are posters, banners and chalk advertisements blaring candidates’ names and often what position they hope to win our vote for….

    by

  • brosilin brothers

    The Bresolin Brothers

    Last week, Duncan and Cam sat down with a couple of young kings of the Wellington food scene. The Bresolin brothers, Leonardo and Lorenzo, are the owners of Scopa, Duke Carvell’s, Tommy Millions, Crazy Horse Steak House and Gentlemen’s Beans Coffee.

    by

  • campus digestion

    Campus Digest(ion)

    Salient reporter Philip McSweeney checked out some of the places who offer kai around Kelburn Campus. Here are the results.

    by

  • changing tack

    Changing Tack

    Wilson Cain is a 21-year-old Wellingtonian who runs Whitecaps along with his brother Jo, and soon with the help of Rhys Stannard.

    by

  • Global Gastro Guide to Wellington

    There’s a whole world of food waiting to be discovered here in little old Wellington, so pick a country, and go explore.

    by

  • A Foodie By Any Other Name

    Regardless of what we call them, we should all be foodies: people who care about what they eat.

    by

  • Veganism – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mushroom

    – SPONSORED – When I made the switch from casual vegetarian into strict vegan (which was prompted by the finishing of a fantastic book, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals), I was born again. For you see, it was just so darned easy to be a vegetarian. I could load my plate at adult dinner parties, […]

    by

  • Catering Chaos

    – SPONSORED – A quick report into the future of food on campus There are a lot of things more delicious than an overpriced tepid meat pie on a cold Wednesday afternoon. One would be a hot meat pie. Another would be a reasonably priced meat pie, at any temperature. That’s a big ask. Finding […]

    by

  • Potato elections and why student democracy is dying

    The annual VUWSA elections are well and truly upon us. Wherever you look there are posters, banners and chalk advertisements blaring candidates’ names and often what position they hope to win our vote for….

    by

  • brosilin brothers

    The Bresolin Brothers

    Last week, Duncan and Cam sat down with a couple of young kings of the Wellington food scene. The Bresolin brothers, Leonardo and Lorenzo, are the owners of Scopa, Duke Carvell’s, Tommy Millions, Crazy Horse Steak House and Gentlemen’s Beans Coffee.

    by

  • campus digestion

    Campus Digest(ion)

    Salient reporter Philip McSweeney checked out some of the places who offer kai around Kelburn Campus. Here are the results.

    by

  • changing tack

    Changing Tack

    Wilson Cain is a 21-year-old Wellingtonian who runs Whitecaps along with his brother Jo, and soon with the help of Rhys Stannard.

    by

  • Global Gastro Guide to Wellington

    There’s a whole world of food waiting to be discovered here in little old Wellington, so pick a country, and go explore.

    by

  • Potato elections and why student democracy is dying

    The annual VUWSA elections are well and truly upon us. Wherever you look there are posters, banners and chalk advertisements blaring candidates’ names and often what position they hope to win our vote for….

    by

  • brosilin brothers

    The Bresolin Brothers

    Last week, Duncan and Cam sat down with a couple of young kings of the Wellington food scene. The Bresolin brothers, Leonardo and Lorenzo, are the owners of Scopa, Duke Carvell’s, Tommy Millions, Crazy Horse Steak House and Gentlemen’s Beans Coffee.

    by

  • campus digestion

    Campus Digest(ion)

    Salient reporter Philip McSweeney checked out some of the places who offer kai around Kelburn Campus. Here are the results.

    by

  • changing tack

    Changing Tack

    Wilson Cain is a 21-year-old Wellingtonian who runs Whitecaps along with his brother Jo, and soon with the help of Rhys Stannard.

    by

  • Global Gastro Guide to Wellington

    There’s a whole world of food waiting to be discovered here in little old Wellington, so pick a country, and go explore.

    by

  • A Foodie By Any Other Name

    Regardless of what we call them, we should all be foodies: people who care about what they eat.

    by

  • Veganism – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mushroom

    – SPONSORED – When I made the switch from casual vegetarian into strict vegan (which was prompted by the finishing of a fantastic book, Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals), I was born again. For you see, it was just so darned easy to be a vegetarian. I could load my plate at adult dinner parties, […]

    by

  • Catering Chaos

    – SPONSORED – A quick report into the future of food on campus There are a lot of things more delicious than an overpriced tepid meat pie on a cold Wednesday afternoon. One would be a hot meat pie. Another would be a reasonably priced meat pie, at any temperature. That’s a big ask. Finding […]

    by

  • Opinion

  • History That Hasn’t Happened Yet


    An Historical Sauce

  • History That Hasn’t Happened Yet


    An Historical Sauce

  • Opinion


    Food

  • Arts and Science

  • Feast Your Eyes

    The combination of a lack of TV in my flat and lack of desire means the phenomenon of My Kitchen Rules has not infiltrated my digital life. I don’t even know how it differs from Masterchef, Cupcake Wars, Chelsea NZ’s Hottest Home Baker, Hell’s Kitchen, or The Great Food Race to which I could never understand my family’s obsession. Yet this widespread fanaticism for voyeuristic reality TV shows demonstrates that food fuels not only the body but also the mind, and below are some films which provide you with some cinematic nutritional value.

    Big Macs aren’t all they seem

    The raspberry yoghurt from an ‘organic’ supermarket in a wealthy area of Los Angeles was the colour of Barney the dinosaur. Upon examination of the ingredients, it was revealed that ‘carrot juice’ was the only apparently non-chemical ‘organic’ thing about it. At least in New Zealand, the main problem you encounter with a similar product are awkwardly stuck seeds in your teeth. The food industry in the United States has been an intense subject matter for filmmakers who aspire to enlighten their populations on the reasons why their chicken nuggets truly do taste a little too remarkably and consistently flavourful. Below are suggestions of films which make the packaging in our Kiwi supermarkets seem relatively tame (NOT to suggest there should be a consequent sense of satisfied consumer apathy among resourceful New Zealanders).

    Food, Inc. – In sum, this film reveals how the food industry in the US is twisted by corporate control, with the best resistance to these abominable, unsympathetic corporate forces lying in the power of consumers to change their consumption habits. A film which provides a critical and revealing insight into excessively efficient food production and the economic and legal control wielded by an elite few over the diets of everyday Americans, you begin to consider how your individual choices contribute to a seemingly undefeatable economic hierarchy. Directed by Robert Kenner, it’s not the most flattering snapshot into the American Dream.

    King Corn – It turns out everything in the United States is made out of corn. This film directed by Aaron Woolf follows two college friends in their investigation of the subsidised maize.

    Super Size Me – In the land that defined freedom of choice, consumers have the generous liberty of being able to buy coffees with six shots and burgers that dwarf your face.

    Ingredients – Prominent American chefs examine the importance of buying local food, i.e. “you shouldn’t be buying garlic that’s shipped from miles away on huge ships between sex toys and flip flops”, as it was eloquently put by an interviewee.

    Food porn

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi – This documentary has generated an almost cult following with the fascinating insight it provides into the life of Jiro Ono, who is often described as the world’s greatest sushi master. His restaurant is tucked inconspicuously in a Japanese subway station; however, with three Michelin stars and chefs who have spent ten years mastering Tamagoyaki (egg sushi), it provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience (if you manage to book six months in advance). It’s a poignant and intimate documentary with lessons about the importance of attention to detail, compassion, recognition and hard work.

    Vice Munchies – Not a film but a YouTube channel that will enlighten everyone, providing digital content on the lives of brilliant chefs, insights into global culinary politics and a general celebration of diversity. For example, if you have ever been intrigued as to “How to make Cock cakes”, Munchies provides you with the answer. These short and sharp videos are addictive.

    Food x passion

    Eat Drink Man Woman – Comedy directed by Ang Lee about a father’s passion to protect his daughters and the role sharing food plays in sharing lives.

    Ratatouille – A Pixar beauty, which successfully generates a passionate desire to snack, what with that rich illustration, and possibly a softening of a hatred towards rodents.

    Like Water for Chocolate – Based on the novel by Laura Esquivel, this story delves into magical realism where food becomes a dangerous and powerful tool to manipulate the emotions of others.

    by

  • Seeing Through: an interview with Ava Seymour

    In 2002, Peter McLeavey was excited. “The tectonic plates are shifting here,” he said in conversation with Brent Hansen, “and a younger (hungrier and gifted) group [of artists] are now claiming their birthright.” Among these artists was Ava Seymour.

    In the 1990s, Seymour gained notoriety for a series of collages that traced the state house’s trajectory from symbol of postwar egalitarianism to its contemporary uses as a means to disempower and demonise communities. Since then, Seymour’s work has adopted more formal concerns. Seymour has drawn from collage’s bringing together of disparate elements, layering various materials on top of each other to examine abstraction and incongruity in seeing.

    Seymour will be exhibiting at the Peter McLeavey Pop Up later this month, alongside Yvonne Todd, Barbara Kruger and Sherrie Levine. I recently emailed Seymour to discuss her recent work, her relationship with McLeavey, and the role of politics in her work.

    “Two of my larger works will be in the show. Triptych Lumiere, which was produced during my 2010 McCahon House residency and is perhaps best described as a work made in response to McCahon’s French Bay paintings of the 1950s. The second work is titled Tablet: it is a hybrid form of photography and sculpture; it is freestanding and leans against the wall.”

    After spending a year at Prahran College in Melbourne in the late 1980s, Seymour travelled to Europe. It was here she began producing art. Her early work was influenced by artists such as Diane Arbus, Henri Matisse and Edvard Munch. She places emphasis, however, on the musical influences that informed her artistic direction.

    “I was listening to bands such as Pere Ubu, The Fall, Throbbing Gristle, Einstürzende Neubauten… I saw The Birthday Party perform in Auckland in 1982: the gig was legendary, they were a complete shambles, glorious in every sense; it was a real awakening. It is worth noting that the art that was intrinsic to many of these bands (their slogans, album covers, posters etc), borrowed a lot from Dada’s more political strand.”

    Dada’s legacy hung around Seymour. Hannah Hoch is often used as a reference point in descriptions of her early work. Seymour described being cognisant of Dada’s influence, while never straying so far as to identify with the term explicitly.

    “I lived in Berlin in the early 1990s and I’ve always assumed this is why people have been so quick to make that connection… The political history of Berlin always fascinated me, I ended up there in January of 1992; it was a tough place back then, the scars of war were still visible because I lived in the former East.

    “I saw large exhibitions on both Munch and Grosz while I was in Berlin at the National Gallery; I went to St Petersburg and visited the Hermitage Museum; then after my bleak European experience, I went to New York, where the mood was much lighter. I remember being quite confused: everywhere I looked, there was big advertising saying ‘.com’; I didn’t know what it meant, I was really out of touch.”

    Seymour met Peter McLeavey in 2000, after moving to Wellington.

    “I used to drop in to see his shows. One day, he suggested a visit to my studio to look at some work… I always found Peter to be warm, quirky and interesting. Our relationship strengthened over time, and I was even asked to dinner one night at his home, but it wasn’t until about a year-and-a-half after that I received a letter inviting me to join the gallery.

    “The change in my artistic direction came about because I got older. My focus changed; I was looking at more art, and reading about it, and I worked out that the key to survival as a contemporary artist is to stay relevant. I started to learn how to work with computer software, and this resulted in a new approach to art-making.”

    The intersection between Kruger, Levine and Todd may seem more immediate. All three artists have spent decades employing languages, both visual and oral, to provoke, to unsettle, to unearth the means by which representation (especially female representation) is discursively assembled. In spite of Seymour’s insistence that her work is no longer political, an unearthing does take place. The kauri was a figure in New Zealand’s cultural mythology long before McCahon, and her layering of discordant shapes, the dark yellows and browns and blues in response to him, seem to act to upset the notion of landscape as site of spiritual renewal. Tablet might be considered complementary to the more polemical work in the show, for in its perpendicular relation to the gallery space, in the deliberate positioning of the clamps as a means of preventing the work from disintegration, the work might perhaps serve as a monument to the precariousness of representation itself.

    Ava Seymour’s work will be on display as part of I Like Girls at the Peter McLeavey Pop Up, from 26 August.

    by

  • waha | mouth [Review]

    waha | mouth by Hinemoana Baker
    Victoria University Press

    A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of hearing Hinemoana Baker read a few poems at the Wellington book launch of Essential New Zealand Poems. Her poems suit being read aloud. Not only is she a terrific reader, but you are struck first of all by the sound of the poem – and then, a second later, the feel of the poem. And Hinemoana Baker’s poems are full of sound. You can hear the sound of her words bumping up next to each other, or gliding smoothly round sharp corners, or shifts in pitch and tone.

    waha | mouth is Baker’s third poetry collection. True to its title, it’s full of sounds and spoken words and stories passed from mouth to mouth. Reading these poems on the page is different from listening to them, but one word springs to mind: texture. These are poems you can feel under your fingers and hear ringing very clearly in your mind. Often you can taste and smell them, too – some of my favourite moments are when Baker turns to familiar foods and smells: “toasting marshmallows on birthday candles”, or “woodsmoke lifts from my pillow”.

    She has an eye for an image that will make you smile and shut your eyes for a second. And she uses words so well that they always clash bewilderingly and beautifully on the page.

    But waha | mouth makes up far more than sounds and tingly sensations (though these alone are so good that they’re just about enough to make me love the book). The poems trace themes of grief, death, family histories, memory, love and illness with precision, quiet confidence, and dark humour. They also span large distances, from Paekakariki Beach to Lake Michigan.

    This collection will please any poetry reader who isn’t too bewildered by being soothed and startled at the same time. It’s impossible to be bored by Baker’s poems. They are always doing something slightly different or looking in a slightly different direction. She can work with small poems; she can work with huge ones. She often looks to concrete details, but sometimes she looks past them. It seems like she could make something beautiful and strange out of any form at all.

    Long poems like ‘candle’, ‘part 1’ and ‘magnet bay farm’ pull us deep into the speaker’s mind, while others, like the series of short vignettes in the middle of the book, take us to all sorts of places and pinpoint many voices.

    Two of my favourites are ‘manifesto’ and ‘what the whale said’. “‘Come on Poetry,’ I sigh, my breath/ whitening the dark. ‘The moon is sick of you.’” reads the first, while in the second, “I swallow/ the volume of a lagoon.” At a glance, these two poems couldn’t be more different. And yet they sit side by side in this book, which is part of what makes waha | mouth so special and memorable. There’s that same awareness of the sound of the words and the exactness of the image. These are two of the most beautiful things I’ve read in a while.

    If you like poetry, especially New Zealand poetry, waha | mouth won’t just give you something to think about; it’ll make you notice sharp, textural details in the world around you. It’ll alert you to the way words and letters work on the page. There are few poetry books containing as much variety, humour, precision and ordinary beauty as this one. I’m excited about whatever Hinemoana Baker comes up with next. You should be, too.

    ____

    NZ Twitter Poetry Night is “a thing that sometimes happens.” Every few months or so, people on Twitter get together and record themselves reading poems – it can be a poem they’ve written, or a poem they especially like. When everyone’s sent their recordings in, you get to sit in the comfort of your home and listen to loads of people reading lovely and weird and excellent poems. It’s happening on Sunday 24 August at 8 pm. Have a look at http://twitterpoetrynightnz.tumblr.com to see how it all works.

    by

  • Interview with Georgia Nott of Broods

    Nelson duo Broods are blowing up, but you already know that from the Spotify ads. We talked to Georgia Nott ahead of their debut-album release on 22 August. They are also playing a show at James Cabaret that night; come.

    Do you have a set song-writing process? Vocals first? Does it change with every song?

    I guess it depends on who starts the motion of the song. It can kind of start with anything or everything – we kind of want to experiment a lot because otherwise you get into a routine and songs start sounding the same.

    What’s the sibling creative bond like [Broods are a brother–sister duo].

    There’s a lot of familiarity – we’ve always been close siblings. It doesn’t seem out of habit, hanging out with each other 24/7, writing songs together and stuff. It’s pretty easy to work together.

    How was studying music? Obviously leaving uni for Broods was worth it now, but was it scary at the time?

    To be honest I left way before Broods happened.

    Ugh, Wikipedia.

    Caleb left to pursue this, but I left about three weeks into the semester because I was just… I didn’t like it. It was weird because I was studying music and I, um, I don’t like to follow rules with music, so it was pretty hard to do well or to do anything. [Laughs] I just kept getting things wrong, so, I just, I left and did it how I wanted to.

    Seems to have worked out…

    It was okay, you know! I don’t regret it now.

    ‘Bridges’ was huge but it feels like ‘Mother & Father’ is blowing up even more: is this all still quite surreal, or has it been going on long enough to kind of make sense?

    Some things feel normal now. Like, we’re kind of used to touring and we kind of have a routine when it comes to travelling and stuff, but at the end of the day, when we think about what’s going – I don’t think that will ever stop being surreal to be honest. Like, this is something that we’ve wanted to do since we were kids, and the fact that it’s not a very *sensible* career path. To put all your eggs in one basket, like I did at least, I just… I think we were playing a show in Sydney and halfway through the set I’m just like: “Oh my God, I’m a singer and that’s what I’ve always wanted to be”. Everything worked out way beyond any expectations that we had.

    What’s a Broods show like? Dark?

    It’s a lot happier than how it comes across in the music! Our songs on the record sound quite chilled-out: ‘Broody’, I guess. When we play them live it’s a bit more upbeat. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself – it’s hard to look really sad and emotional all the time when you’re on stage cause I’m just having such a blast. I’m usually like jumping around and smiling. I don’t really know how to dance.

    What was touring with Haim and Chvrches like?

    It was just lovely. The craziest thing when you’re touring with someone you look up to is when they start saying that they like your music. Really? You listen to it? Before we did shows with Chvrches, we found out that Martin, one of the guys in the band, was a huge fan of what we’d put out and we’re just all “Oh my goshhh”. That’s probably the most reassuring thing that you can hear when you’re an artist – that other artists like what you’re doing.

    I see you just added an under-18 show in Christchurch, and there’s a lot of discussion around the power that booze has over New Zealand music. Now you’ve done all this overseas touring, do you think too many of our shows are at bars?

    It’s a hard situation, because I guess you just can’t have your under-18 bands at such small shows. It’s kind of a shame because when you’re starting out that’s all you can play. There’s a bit of waiting around for everyone underage; someone needs to open a small venue that’s open for everybody.

    I won’t ask you about the other famous New Zealand singer right now, but does Joel Little ever discuss his Goodnight Nurse days?

    A little bit, he’s got a few stories. He didn’t show us, but we’ve watched some old videos from then; but he more talks about his family, to be honest. That’s his world. His kids are hilarious.

    by

  • Two Theatre-Makers and a Comedian

    For such a small city, Wellington is full of some wonderfully creative people. This week I interviewed comedian Eamonn Marra, and Hannah Banks and Cassandra Tse, two of Wellington’s best young theatre-makers.

    Tell me about what each inspired you to start producing theatre and comedy?

    Cassandra: As a writer, I really enjoy the collaborative nature of theatre; I find it an incredibly rewarding mode of storytelling because it’s built up by a community of people. It’s exciting to work in theatre because you get to deliver your story to a physical, present audience – you get to experience other people experiencing your work, which is quite wonderful.

    Hannah: I don’t know if I ever would have started My Accomplice if I hadn’t been working so closely with Paul and Uther. When the three of us were coming up with a title for our directing season, ‘My Accomplice’ was one of the options. Uther said, “Well we should start a theatre company and call it My Accomplice then.” So we did. And now it’s five years and 13 shows later. At least I think it’s 13… maybe it’s more.

    Eamonn: I was writing a lot of poetry in 2011/2012 and I started focussing on humour in poetry, I entered quite a few poetry slams, and the funny poems got the most attention. One of these slams was organised by the Humorous Arts Trust, and I decided, since my funny poems were getting good responses, I should try comedy.

    Cassandra, is there much of a musical-theatre scene in Wellington outside of the St James and the Opera House?

    Musical theatre in Wellington is in a bit of state of change at the moment – you’ve got the old guard, Wellington Musical Theatre, who tend to produce big-budget shows from overseas. Then you have us, and a couple of other young companies like Fresh Dada, who are writing really interesting original shows but with a tiny budget and smaller casts. I’ve gotten involved with Wellington Footlights, which is a new company hoping to fill in the gap between the huge St James–y offerings and the eight-person-cast shows we write for at Red Scare.

    Hannah, can you tell me something about the creation process within My Accomplice?

    All of our processes are united by what kind of show we want to make. What is the idea? From there, we decide whether it needs to be devised, scripted, or a combination of both. We try to do things that are a bit scary. Work that scares us reveals the most about ourselves in the best possible way. We also always know what the next show is going to be; this allows us to keep growing and challenging ourselves as a company and as individuals.

    Eamonn, how easy do you find it to create something people can laugh at from a subject such as anxiety?

    It comes quite naturally to me. Looking at the funny side of anxiety helps me get through the problems it causes, and because I am doing this quite often just to get through every day, I have quite a huge catalogue of material to work from.

    What do you each of you have planned for Fringe next year?

    C: I’m just about to start writing a non-musical play which I hope will be ready for Fringe as well; as of four hours ago, it’s going to be about a woman obsessed with categorising folklore and the Aarne–Thompson index, so we’ll see where that goes.
    H: Well, we will be coming straight off the back of our STAB show Watch, which is reopening BATS Theatre at their Kent Tce home. But we do still have a couple of things planned. They’re a slightly different direction for us.
    E: I have a concept line-up show in the planning stages about getting various interesting people to talk about obsessions they have. It was inspired by Jonathan Franzen’s collection of essays, Farther Away, which was two-thirds essays about birds and birdwatching.

    Any advice for people wanting to get involved in theatre or comedy in Wellington?

    C: Audition for as much as possible, volunteer to help out with front-of-house or stage-handing… If you’re really keen, just email the production company and we’ll probably find some kind of job for you to do.
    H: See as much theatre as you can. Talk to people in shows, ask questions, put yourself out there and intern on big productions. If an idea comes to you, share it. You may think your ideas are stupid or boring, but everyone thinks that. Every story is interesting. It’s just about how well they are told.
    E: Talk about what you love and are passionate about rather than what you think is going to get the best response.

    by

  • Feast Your Eyes

    The combination of a lack of TV in my flat and lack of desire means the phenomenon of My Kitchen Rules has not infiltrated my digital life. I don’t even know how it differs from Masterchef, Cupcake Wars, Chelsea NZ’s Hottest Home Baker, Hell’s Kitchen, or The Great Food Race to which I could never understand my family’s obsession. Yet this widespread fanaticism for voyeuristic reality TV shows demonstrates that food fuels not only the body but also the mind, and below are some films which provide you with some cinematic nutritional value.

    Big Macs aren’t all they seem

    The raspberry yoghurt from an ‘organic’ supermarket in a wealthy area of Los Angeles was the colour of Barney the dinosaur. Upon examination of the ingredients, it was revealed that ‘carrot juice’ was the only apparently non-chemical ‘organic’ thing about it. At least in New Zealand, the main problem you encounter with a similar product are awkwardly stuck seeds in your teeth. The food industry in the United States has been an intense subject matter for filmmakers who aspire to enlighten their populations on the reasons why their chicken nuggets truly do taste a little too remarkably and consistently flavourful. Below are suggestions of films which make the packaging in our Kiwi supermarkets seem relatively tame (NOT to suggest there should be a consequent sense of satisfied consumer apathy among resourceful New Zealanders).

    Food, Inc. – In sum, this film reveals how the food industry in the US is twisted by corporate control, with the best resistance to these abominable, unsympathetic corporate forces lying in the power of consumers to change their consumption habits. A film which provides a critical and revealing insight into excessively efficient food production and the economic and legal control wielded by an elite few over the diets of everyday Americans, you begin to consider how your individual choices contribute to a seemingly undefeatable economic hierarchy. Directed by Robert Kenner, it’s not the most flattering snapshot into the American Dream.

    King Corn – It turns out everything in the United States is made out of corn. This film directed by Aaron Woolf follows two college friends in their investigation of the subsidised maize.

    Super Size Me – In the land that defined freedom of choice, consumers have the generous liberty of being able to buy coffees with six shots and burgers that dwarf your face.

    Ingredients – Prominent American chefs examine the importance of buying local food, i.e. “you shouldn’t be buying garlic that’s shipped from miles away on huge ships between sex toys and flip flops”, as it was eloquently put by an interviewee.

    Food porn

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi – This documentary has generated an almost cult following with the fascinating insight it provides into the life of Jiro Ono, who is often described as the world’s greatest sushi master. His restaurant is tucked inconspicuously in a Japanese subway station; however, with three Michelin stars and chefs who have spent ten years mastering Tamagoyaki (egg sushi), it provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience (if you manage to book six months in advance). It’s a poignant and intimate documentary with lessons about the importance of attention to detail, compassion, recognition and hard work.

    Vice Munchies – Not a film but a YouTube channel that will enlighten everyone, providing digital content on the lives of brilliant chefs, insights into global culinary politics and a general celebration of diversity. For example, if you have ever been intrigued as to “How to make Cock cakes”, Munchies provides you with the answer. These short and sharp videos are addictive.

    Food x passion

    Eat Drink Man Woman – Comedy directed by Ang Lee about a father’s passion to protect his daughters and the role sharing food plays in sharing lives.

    Ratatouille – A Pixar beauty, which successfully generates a passionate desire to snack, what with that rich illustration, and possibly a softening of a hatred towards rodents.

    Like Water for Chocolate – Based on the novel by Laura Esquivel, this story delves into magical realism where food becomes a dangerous and powerful tool to manipulate the emotions of others.

    by

  • Seeing Through: an interview with Ava Seymour

    In 2002, Peter McLeavey was excited. “The tectonic plates are shifting here,” he said in conversation with Brent Hansen, “and a younger (hungrier and gifted) group [of artists] are now claiming their birthright.” Among these artists was Ava Seymour.

    In the 1990s, Seymour gained notoriety for a series of collages that traced the state house’s trajectory from symbol of postwar egalitarianism to its contemporary uses as a means to disempower and demonise communities. Since then, Seymour’s work has adopted more formal concerns. Seymour has drawn from collage’s bringing together of disparate elements, layering various materials on top of each other to examine abstraction and incongruity in seeing.

    Seymour will be exhibiting at the Peter McLeavey Pop Up later this month, alongside Yvonne Todd, Barbara Kruger and Sherrie Levine. I recently emailed Seymour to discuss her recent work, her relationship with McLeavey, and the role of politics in her work.

    “Two of my larger works will be in the show. Triptych Lumiere, which was produced during my 2010 McCahon House residency and is perhaps best described as a work made in response to McCahon’s French Bay paintings of the 1950s. The second work is titled Tablet: it is a hybrid form of photography and sculpture; it is freestanding and leans against the wall.”

    After spending a year at Prahran College in Melbourne in the late 1980s, Seymour travelled to Europe. It was here she began producing art. Her early work was influenced by artists such as Diane Arbus, Henri Matisse and Edvard Munch. She places emphasis, however, on the musical influences that informed her artistic direction.

    “I was listening to bands such as Pere Ubu, The Fall, Throbbing Gristle, Einstürzende Neubauten… I saw The Birthday Party perform in Auckland in 1982: the gig was legendary, they were a complete shambles, glorious in every sense; it was a real awakening. It is worth noting that the art that was intrinsic to many of these bands (their slogans, album covers, posters etc), borrowed a lot from Dada’s more political strand.”

    Dada’s legacy hung around Seymour. Hannah Hoch is often used as a reference point in descriptions of her early work. Seymour described being cognisant of Dada’s influence, while never straying so far as to identify with the term explicitly.

    “I lived in Berlin in the early 1990s and I’ve always assumed this is why people have been so quick to make that connection… The political history of Berlin always fascinated me, I ended up there in January of 1992; it was a tough place back then, the scars of war were still visible because I lived in the former East.

    “I saw large exhibitions on both Munch and Grosz while I was in Berlin at the National Gallery; I went to St Petersburg and visited the Hermitage Museum; then after my bleak European experience, I went to New York, where the mood was much lighter. I remember being quite confused: everywhere I looked, there was big advertising saying ‘.com’; I didn’t know what it meant, I was really out of touch.”

    Seymour met Peter McLeavey in 2000, after moving to Wellington.

    “I used to drop in to see his shows. One day, he suggested a visit to my studio to look at some work… I always found Peter to be warm, quirky and interesting. Our relationship strengthened over time, and I was even asked to dinner one night at his home, but it wasn’t until about a year-and-a-half after that I received a letter inviting me to join the gallery.

    “The change in my artistic direction came about because I got older. My focus changed; I was looking at more art, and reading about it, and I worked out that the key to survival as a contemporary artist is to stay relevant. I started to learn how to work with computer software, and this resulted in a new approach to art-making.”

    The intersection between Kruger, Levine and Todd may seem more immediate. All three artists have spent decades employing languages, both visual and oral, to provoke, to unsettle, to unearth the means by which representation (especially female representation) is discursively assembled. In spite of Seymour’s insistence that her work is no longer political, an unearthing does take place. The kauri was a figure in New Zealand’s cultural mythology long before McCahon, and her layering of discordant shapes, the dark yellows and browns and blues in response to him, seem to act to upset the notion of landscape as site of spiritual renewal. Tablet might be considered complementary to the more polemical work in the show, for in its perpendicular relation to the gallery space, in the deliberate positioning of the clamps as a means of preventing the work from disintegration, the work might perhaps serve as a monument to the precariousness of representation itself.

    Ava Seymour’s work will be on display as part of I Like Girls at the Peter McLeavey Pop Up, from 26 August.

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  • waha | mouth [Review]

    waha | mouth by Hinemoana Baker
    Victoria University Press

    A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of hearing Hinemoana Baker read a few poems at the Wellington book launch of Essential New Zealand Poems. Her poems suit being read aloud. Not only is she a terrific reader, but you are struck first of all by the sound of the poem – and then, a second later, the feel of the poem. And Hinemoana Baker’s poems are full of sound. You can hear the sound of her words bumping up next to each other, or gliding smoothly round sharp corners, or shifts in pitch and tone.

    waha | mouth is Baker’s third poetry collection. True to its title, it’s full of sounds and spoken words and stories passed from mouth to mouth. Reading these poems on the page is different from listening to them, but one word springs to mind: texture. These are poems you can feel under your fingers and hear ringing very clearly in your mind. Often you can taste and smell them, too – some of my favourite moments are when Baker turns to familiar foods and smells: “toasting marshmallows on birthday candles”, or “woodsmoke lifts from my pillow”.

    She has an eye for an image that will make you smile and shut your eyes for a second. And she uses words so well that they always clash bewilderingly and beautifully on the page.

    But waha | mouth makes up far more than sounds and tingly sensations (though these alone are so good that they’re just about enough to make me love the book). The poems trace themes of grief, death, family histories, memory, love and illness with precision, quiet confidence, and dark humour. They also span large distances, from Paekakariki Beach to Lake Michigan.

    This collection will please any poetry reader who isn’t too bewildered by being soothed and startled at the same time. It’s impossible to be bored by Baker’s poems. They are always doing something slightly different or looking in a slightly different direction. She can work with small poems; she can work with huge ones. She often looks to concrete details, but sometimes she looks past them. It seems like she could make something beautiful and strange out of any form at all.

    Long poems like ‘candle’, ‘part 1’ and ‘magnet bay farm’ pull us deep into the speaker’s mind, while others, like the series of short vignettes in the middle of the book, take us to all sorts of places and pinpoint many voices.

    Two of my favourites are ‘manifesto’ and ‘what the whale said’. “‘Come on Poetry,’ I sigh, my breath/ whitening the dark. ‘The moon is sick of you.’” reads the first, while in the second, “I swallow/ the volume of a lagoon.” At a glance, these two poems couldn’t be more different. And yet they sit side by side in this book, which is part of what makes waha | mouth so special and memorable. There’s that same awareness of the sound of the words and the exactness of the image. These are two of the most beautiful things I’ve read in a while.

    If you like poetry, especially New Zealand poetry, waha | mouth won’t just give you something to think about; it’ll make you notice sharp, textural details in the world around you. It’ll alert you to the way words and letters work on the page. There are few poetry books containing as much variety, humour, precision and ordinary beauty as this one. I’m excited about whatever Hinemoana Baker comes up with next. You should be, too.

    ____

    NZ Twitter Poetry Night is “a thing that sometimes happens.” Every few months or so, people on Twitter get together and record themselves reading poems – it can be a poem they’ve written, or a poem they especially like. When everyone’s sent their recordings in, you get to sit in the comfort of your home and listen to loads of people reading lovely and weird and excellent poems. It’s happening on Sunday 24 August at 8 pm. Have a look at http://twitterpoetrynightnz.tumblr.com to see how it all works.

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  • Interview with Georgia Nott of Broods

    Nelson duo Broods are blowing up, but you already know that from the Spotify ads. We talked to Georgia Nott ahead of their debut-album release on 22 August. They are also playing a show at James Cabaret that night; come.

    Do you have a set song-writing process? Vocals first? Does it change with every song?

    I guess it depends on who starts the motion of the song. It can kind of start with anything or everything – we kind of want to experiment a lot because otherwise you get into a routine and songs start sounding the same.

    What’s the sibling creative bond like [Broods are a brother–sister duo].

    There’s a lot of familiarity – we’ve always been close siblings. It doesn’t seem out of habit, hanging out with each other 24/7, writing songs together and stuff. It’s pretty easy to work together.

    How was studying music? Obviously leaving uni for Broods was worth it now, but was it scary at the time?

    To be honest I left way before Broods happened.

    Ugh, Wikipedia.

    Caleb left to pursue this, but I left about three weeks into the semester because I was just… I didn’t like it. It was weird because I was studying music and I, um, I don’t like to follow rules with music, so it was pretty hard to do well or to do anything. [Laughs] I just kept getting things wrong, so, I just, I left and did it how I wanted to.

    Seems to have worked out…

    It was okay, you know! I don’t regret it now.

    ‘Bridges’ was huge but it feels like ‘Mother & Father’ is blowing up even more: is this all still quite surreal, or has it been going on long enough to kind of make sense?

    Some things feel normal now. Like, we’re kind of used to touring and we kind of have a routine when it comes to travelling and stuff, but at the end of the day, when we think about what’s going – I don’t think that will ever stop being surreal to be honest. Like, this is something that we’ve wanted to do since we were kids, and the fact that it’s not a very *sensible* career path. To put all your eggs in one basket, like I did at least, I just… I think we were playing a show in Sydney and halfway through the set I’m just like: “Oh my God, I’m a singer and that’s what I’ve always wanted to be”. Everything worked out way beyond any expectations that we had.

    What’s a Broods show like? Dark?

    It’s a lot happier than how it comes across in the music! Our songs on the record sound quite chilled-out: ‘Broody’, I guess. When we play them live it’s a bit more upbeat. It’s hard not to enjoy yourself – it’s hard to look really sad and emotional all the time when you’re on stage cause I’m just having such a blast. I’m usually like jumping around and smiling. I don’t really know how to dance.

    What was touring with Haim and Chvrches like?

    It was just lovely. The craziest thing when you’re touring with someone you look up to is when they start saying that they like your music. Really? You listen to it? Before we did shows with Chvrches, we found out that Martin, one of the guys in the band, was a huge fan of what we’d put out and we’re just all “Oh my goshhh”. That’s probably the most reassuring thing that you can hear when you’re an artist – that other artists like what you’re doing.

    I see you just added an under-18 show in Christchurch, and there’s a lot of discussion around the power that booze has over New Zealand music. Now you’ve done all this overseas touring, do you think too many of our shows are at bars?

    It’s a hard situation, because I guess you just can’t have your under-18 bands at such small shows. It’s kind of a shame because when you’re starting out that’s all you can play. There’s a bit of waiting around for everyone underage; someone needs to open a small venue that’s open for everybody.

    I won’t ask you about the other famous New Zealand singer right now, but does Joel Little ever discuss his Goodnight Nurse days?

    A little bit, he’s got a few stories. He didn’t show us, but we’ve watched some old videos from then; but he more talks about his family, to be honest. That’s his world. His kids are hilarious.

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  • Two Theatre-Makers and a Comedian

    For such a small city, Wellington is full of some wonderfully creative people. This week I interviewed comedian Eamonn Marra, and Hannah Banks and Cassandra Tse, two of Wellington’s best young theatre-makers.

    Tell me about what each inspired you to start producing theatre and comedy?

    Cassandra: As a writer, I really enjoy the collaborative nature of theatre; I find it an incredibly rewarding mode of storytelling because it’s built up by a community of people. It’s exciting to work in theatre because you get to deliver your story to a physical, present audience – you get to experience other people experiencing your work, which is quite wonderful.

    Hannah: I don’t know if I ever would have started My Accomplice if I hadn’t been working so closely with Paul and Uther. When the three of us were coming up with a title for our directing season, ‘My Accomplice’ was one of the options. Uther said, “Well we should start a theatre company and call it My Accomplice then.” So we did. And now it’s five years and 13 shows later. At least I think it’s 13… maybe it’s more.

    Eamonn: I was writing a lot of poetry in 2011/2012 and I started focussing on humour in poetry, I entered quite a few poetry slams, and the funny poems got the most attention. One of these slams was organised by the Humorous Arts Trust, and I decided, since my funny poems were getting good responses, I should try comedy.

    Cassandra, is there much of a musical-theatre scene in Wellington outside of the St James and the Opera House?

    Musical theatre in Wellington is in a bit of state of change at the moment – you’ve got the old guard, Wellington Musical Theatre, who tend to produce big-budget shows from overseas. Then you have us, and a couple of other young companies like Fresh Dada, who are writing really interesting original shows but with a tiny budget and smaller casts. I’ve gotten involved with Wellington Footlights, which is a new company hoping to fill in the gap between the huge St James–y offerings and the eight-person-cast shows we write for at Red Scare.

    Hannah, can you tell me something about the creation process within My Accomplice?

    All of our processes are united by what kind of show we want to make. What is the idea? From there, we decide whether it needs to be devised, scripted, or a combination of both. We try to do things that are a bit scary. Work that scares us reveals the most about ourselves in the best possible way. We also always know what the next show is going to be; this allows us to keep growing and challenging ourselves as a company and as individuals.

    Eamonn, how easy do you find it to create something people can laugh at from a subject such as anxiety?

    It comes quite naturally to me. Looking at the funny side of anxiety helps me get through the problems it causes, and because I am doing this quite often just to get through every day, I have quite a huge catalogue of material to work from.

    What do you each of you have planned for Fringe next year?

    C: I’m just about to start writing a non-musical play which I hope will be ready for Fringe as well; as of four hours ago, it’s going to be about a woman obsessed with categorising folklore and the Aarne–Thompson index, so we’ll see where that goes.
    H: Well, we will be coming straight off the back of our STAB show Watch, which is reopening BATS Theatre at their Kent Tce home. But we do still have a couple of things planned. They’re a slightly different direction for us.
    E: I have a concept line-up show in the planning stages about getting various interesting people to talk about obsessions they have. It was inspired by Jonathan Franzen’s collection of essays, Farther Away, which was two-thirds essays about birds and birdwatching.

    Any advice for people wanting to get involved in theatre or comedy in Wellington?

    C: Audition for as much as possible, volunteer to help out with front-of-house or stage-handing… If you’re really keen, just email the production company and we’ll probably find some kind of job for you to do.
    H: See as much theatre as you can. Talk to people in shows, ask questions, put yourself out there and intern on big productions. If an idea comes to you, share it. You may think your ideas are stupid or boring, but everyone thinks that. Every story is interesting. It’s just about how well they are told.
    E: Talk about what you love and are passionate about rather than what you think is going to get the best response.

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  • Recipe: Hot Stuff

    I am not going to sugar coat this: Nigella Lawson gives me the biggest lady-boner, ever. She is a domestic goddess of epic proportions and her cooking shows make me swoon! I love to read her recipes because I hear her sultry voice in my head, dictating the intricacies of her yummy recipes.

    For that very reason, I am going to share with you her hot cross bun recipe this Easter. It’s zesty and delicious. I did share a hot cross bun recipe last year, but this one is pretty great as well. I used my bread maker to knead the dough because I find it to be much more convenient if I have time, but a lot of joy does come from labouring it out and kneading the dough by hand. I like mine quite spicy, but if you don’t, feel free to decrease the amount of ginger/cinnamon and if you don’t like the fruit, swap it for chocolate chips and dried apricots.

    WHAT YOU NEED

    • ▴  2/3 cup milk
    • ▴  50g butter
    • ▴  The zest of 1 orange
    • ▴  1 clove
    • ▴  1⁄4 tsp. ground cardamom (or 2 cardamom pods)
    • ▴  1 tbsp. honey
    • ▴  400g white flour
    • ▴  7g easy bake yeast (about 2 1⁄2 tsp)
    • ▴  80g raisins
    • ▴  30g dried cranberries
    • ▴  2 tsp. cinnamon
    • ▴  1 tsp. ginger
    • ▴  2 eggs (one for egg wash)
    • ▴  2 tbsp. flour, 1⁄2 tbsp. caster sugar and 2 tbsp. boiling water (for the cross)
    • ▴  1 tbsp. caster sugar, mixed with 1 tbsp. boiling water (for the sugar glaze)

    WHAT TO DO

    Heat the milk, butter, orange zest, clove, cardamom and honey in a pot on a low heat. Reduce the heat so it is below boiling and let the flavours infuse for about ten minutes. Remove the clove and cardamom pods from the milk (if you used them), beat in one of the eggs and pour the mixture into your bread maker pan. Build flour, yeast, dried fruit and spices on top and set to dough setting/add to wet ingredients, stir with a knife to bring together then kneed for 10 minutes, let rise then knead again. Divide into 16 balls and score with a cross shape, egg wash the buns and then mark with your cross mixture. Bake in a 200 degree Celsius oven for 15-20 mins, remove and glaze while hot.

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  • Sunday Potato Cakes

    These savoury cakes are an excellent way to use up leftover mashed potato. I had a bowl of leftover mash from a dinner where it accompanied vegetable gratin, along with venison and red wine sausages (surprisingly well priced at Pak n’ Save). The basic idea is, you bind the potato with egg, a little cheese and the flavouring of your choice. I think herbs are nice to add a bit of colour to the cakes—but it really depends on what you have available. I served these up for a Sunday snack with a terribly trashy sauce of Greek yoghurt mixed with sweet chilli… It was quite satisfying.

    -2 1/2 to 3 cups cold mashed potato

    -2 eggs

    -Fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (any fresh herb will do)

    -1/3 cup grated cheese (parmesan is nice if you have it)

    -Splash of vegetable oil

    Turn your oven on to 150°C. Slightly beat the eggs and add the salt, pepper, cheese and herbs. Stir in the mashed potato only until the mixture is the consistency of very thick porridge.

    Heat up a small amount of oil in a saucepan and drop big spoonfuls of the batter into the pan. Wait until they are bubbling on the sides and a little set on the top and then, using a small fish slice, flip them over. This is quite tricky if you are a hasty person—you must be patient and wait until they are cooked enough on one side to withstand the flip. When they are golden brown pop them in a pan in the oven to keep warm while you fry the rest. You may need to add extra oil between batches, and it definitely helps to use any oil but olive oil or butter, as these types burn easily. Serve with whatever sauce takes your fancy.

    I imagine that these cakes would also be good with fish stirred though the batter and a squirt of lemon juice on the top.

    NB If, after you fry the first cake, you find that the mixture isn’t binding, feel free to add a couple of tablespoons of flour. I didn’t have any problems but some people have odd things happen to them in the kitchen.

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  • About the Author ()

    Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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