Wednesday, January 31, 2007

New Gig

Two new plays.

I wrote Marley & Rachel the first few weeks back in New York in July, 2006 after living in New Zealand for a year. A 9/11 play about the homeless. From the media release:
Double amputee War Vet Marley and the newly homeless New Zealander Rachel experience the moments just before and after Tower One is attacked in a memorable dramatic situation. Performed by New Zealand actors Kazz Funky Blue and Paulette McIndoe. Directed by Neil Furby. There was a staged reading of this play in November, 2006 in New York at Tribes Gallery. The actors were Dawn D'Arcy, Sean St. James and Marilyn Beck.

"In the Cellar of My Heart" I wrote the first draft in Kentucky, staying with my sister Karen. After a traumatic month of taking care of my cousin Billy Haines' funeral in Canada. Billy died from an overdose under mysterious circumstances. I wanted to write about death since it wouldn't leave me alone. In the Cellar is about a woman who isolates to the point of despair.

From the media release:
A woman’s dead son walks into her room as she takes an over dose of pills. Will she slip off the mortal coil and be seduced by pills and booze, or will she keep the promise she made to her son when he was born. Solo performance by Canadian American artist Diane Spodarek. Directed by Diane Spodarek.

To review and get comp tickets:

Sunday, January 28, 2007

work out or get out

From the public billboard's FILES, Newtown.

in the cartoon fine art tradition of roy lictenstein a gym: woman to man: Shape up Brad or I'm leaving you.
What looks like a beard is graffiti.

rose bordello

from the public billboard signs File

Advertisement for the Rose Bordello, Vivian Street,Wellington
The ad says:

Want a new car?
Want a holiday?
Sick of no money?

The photo is a young woman sitting at a desk looking bored, dreaming about things money can buy that a desk job cannot provide.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

His Mother's Son - A Review

His Mother’s Son by Leilani Unasa, Directed by Katrina Chandra, Chickenhead Productions. BATS Theatre
Set Design: Peter King. Actors: Aleni Tufugo, Helen Jones, Shadon Meredit, Fiona Truelove (aka Ona). 24 January – 3 February, 07.
Reviewed: 25 January, 07

Not just another dysfunctional family story His Mother’s Son is a powerful theatrical experience of the consequences of a father’s drinking. And it’s funny. We laugh because the acting is so good, the direction is unpredictable and multi layered, and the story is true to life. A well-crafted and clever set design by Peter King provides changing locations for past, present and future scenarios with a fast-paced, tight direction by Katrina Chandra. We witness this family’s history: the first flirtation of the mother and father; the birth of a wanted son; the son doing his homework in his room and later drinking there; mother and son moments; and father and son confrontations with other domestic events in this family of three. To read more click on

Thursday, January 25, 2007

One Crime Judging Another

Bathroom Stall Wellington Library

Adelaide Again!

photos: Kelly, Alfred & John, Burning Embers, Fate, Pay Dirt Poney, Kazz Funky Blue & Friend, Terry Shaw.

Wed night at the Adelaide in Newtown is becoming a local favorite and must as the crowds get bigger each week, as performers try their hand in front of live and supporitng audiences. This Wednesday we saw a comedian riffing on the haka from a wheelchair perspective and we had many great musicians, some are my friends and here they are. Of course, no one took my pic, but Wed was my debut there with two songs and the debut of a new song I wrote called "You're Gone" which is about coming to New Zealand for an adventure! Also I did an old DangeorusDianeBand fav, "I Don't Care" with JC (from Pay Dirt Pony) on drums. A spontaneous moment when I said, "this song needs a drummer!) Thanks JC.

Lobby RNZ

From the "Public Messages" File, or "Who's Propaganda?" Advertising in the Lobby in the Radio New Zealand Building. The small handwritten note above the woman's hand says: LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH MINDLESS SLOGANS.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

War Is Over if you want it

Photo: Hudson Street, Manhattan, November, 2006

This Saturday, (Jan 27th) hundreds of thousands of Americans will march on Washington
DC to demand peace and justice in Iraq and the Middle East. We can be there
too, raising a global voice of solidarity -- through our own worldwide
virtual march. Time is short, so add your voice and join the march today!


PhotoChop: The Art of Collage
Thistle Hall Gallery
23 – 30 January 2007
Everything under $100

Kazz and Neil

Two too cool guys: Markus McIntyre & Craig Ireson,Thistle Hall Gallery

There were a few red dots on the art works with cheap prices and no names opening night. Markus McIntyre, Craig Ireson (The Word Collective - and put their collective heads together and gave birth to an exhibition without a catalog with the philosophy: if you like the art, you will buy it, regardless of who made it. The four walls were filled with various collages. The artists were asked to recycle: images from print using photo chop, real scissors and glue because photo shop is already getting boring. The exhibition (from the non catalog, hand out paper...”....salutes the dawn of photolithography, the 120 years old tradition of processing images for the mass print medium... give the new images a montage of new meaning.”

I walked around the room looking for political art, making judgments deciding which was good, which was not good, what would look good over my sofa, or over the toilet. I saw the word dada here and there and looked for Duchamp imitators, maybe a Man Ray there and there, but nada. Then suddenly, political art!! I saw two from about 100 images or more. Then I looked for the artists, not to buy but to get their names and was told by McIntyre and Ireson that it’s not about the artists. It turned out one of the pieces was by McIntyre: Three Santas sitting in front of a graffiti wall with the words: “Les Incorruptibles” above the jolly old men and a Brazilian-looking child of about six smoking a cigar in the foreground. The second collage had various men including Idi Amin, Osama Bin Ladin and an unidentified shirtless man with no arms with a t-shirt that read: “Faggots did this to me.” It was made by Ruby Nekk. Both were strong political statements that really brought issues to the front. There was something there for everyone, or not. Some of the work put any image with another without much thought, such as a standard porn image of a woman's genitals, spread eagle, coming out of (or going into) a woman's nose.... and other places....Okay, it may sound interesting, but I wouldn’t put it over my toilet.

There's plenty of time to check it out. Since I attended the opening after rehearsal of my two new short plays (Marley & Rachel and In the Cellar of My Heart) with N and K, we missed out on the finger food, so we chatted with the artists and then went to Fidel’s on Cuba Street where we had political tea and coffee while looking at Che Guevara’s photo in the back room.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Case of Katherine Mansfield Review

The Case of Katherine Mansfield. Downstage Theatre 18 Jan – 3 Feb 2007.
Opening Night, 18th January.

Solo performances are amazing theatre. Women solo performers can be traced back to Ruth Draper who perfected the art with her various women characters. Draper was born in 1884 in New York, a few years before Katherine Mansfield’s birth of 1888. Draper devoted her acting career to the monologue, writing them herself and touring all over the world. She died in 1950 hours after a solo performance in New York.

To read full review go to Lumiere Reader:

Sunday, January 21, 2007


The Fringe Goddesses & Mayor

Fringe 2007 is here and opening night I took lots of pics. Stay tuned. What other city in the world could I get this close to the Mayor of Wellington?

Iris - A Review

“Iris” BATS 12 Jan 07. Runs 11-20 January. Created by Amanda Jelicich-Kane and Vaughan Slinn. Written and performed by Vaughan Slinn. Set Design: Amanda Jelicich-Kane and Vaughan Slinn. No director listed.

Iris. What does the title mean? Since program notes were not available, I can only speculate. What is in a name? Is it the flower? Or, the membrane around the pupil of the eye? Iris the messenger of the gods from Iliad? The device on a camera that allows in light to form an aperture? Or, is Iris a woman?

to read more see Lumiere website:

Monday, January 15, 2007

Reveal: A Night of Monologues

Photo from postcard promoting show: REVEAL.
My monologue "Are You Insane?" from "The Drunk Monologues" has been chosen to be part of a night of monologues about what we reveal by what is hidden or denied. Please check out this show in New York. Here are the details for the show from their promotional postcard.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


fantasorgasmic man
at the san francisco bathhouse, Cuba Mall. I felt right at home with this american man who's fingers move so fast and his voice takes you so deep you don't mind standing on your feet feeling the floor pulsate and friends smile and nod and we become one with this man from oregon...

in this photo you can actually see the six fingers on his right hand...


Oh My....
how tempting....
so near and so far
poppies poppies grow everywhere
where my love should grow

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wairaka Rock with Red Tears

This beautiful rock as seen from a high cliff behind her. It's hard to see but there are red lines under her eye, must be tears from so many lies,so many sighs of what could have been, or even more sad what she sees for all eternity.

Also on the high cliff were young lads camping out in a blue tent, eating candy bars who were startled to see N and I emerge from the bush.
How did you get here?
Climbed up.
But it's steep.

Auditions for Marley & Rachel

As part of the Paekakariki Fringe, which is part of the Wellington Fringe 07, auditions will be held for a new and exciting play, "Marley & Rachel & a Body Part.

Email Diane at for details. Auditions Monday 08 Jan at Wellington Arts Centre, 4 pm.

I was inspired to write a play about the homeless and 9/11 when I returned to New York this past July after living in New Zealand for a year. In New York I had a fabulous staged reading of the play at Tribes Gallery. The audience either loved it or hated it. So, I'm going to give it a go, with some minor changes and with Kiwi actors as part of the Fringe Festival in NZ. This production will be accompanied by another short I wrote in Kentucky, this past September, entitled "In the Cellar of My Heart", a comedic look at a woman's dilemma at the appearance of her dead son at the moment she takes an overdose of pills. This will be a fun evening of drama and reflection on death by some characters we just may recognize as those we love.

Paydirt Pony

Paydirt Pony, Bar Bodega 06 December. First public performance in Wellington by the newly formed group Paydirt Pony with front woman Tyree Robertson. The drummer and bass player switch during the set, which makes this band visually and aurally unpredictable and fun. They opened for another band but they could headline any time, any place. Tyree is known for her kick ass blues style, with lots of power and her fabulous voice. This new group adds another dimension of girl punk power to their original tunes. You can see Paydirt Pony every Wednesday at the Adelaide in Newtown.

Tyree is making a wonderful contribution to the arts community by hosting an open mic every Wednesday from 7:30 to 11 pm at the Adelaide in Newtown. (A few weeks ago, she held a raffle and gave away a free guitar to one of the performers!!) It’s an open mic for anything, music, performance, poetry, rants and raves. Everyone gets a shot with each performance limited to three songs, or it’s equivalent for you poets. Even if a particular performer is not your cup of tea, it will be over by the time you come back from the bathroom. But I guarantee this won’t happen often or at all. Each time I have gone, I have had a great time. There is some amazing talent on that stage.

Adelaide, Newtown. No cover. Support the bar. Even if you don’t drink, get a juice. This Wednesday yours truly will do her three songs, or two, maybe one. I’m shy but there is someone inside me, who wrote a song about one of the worst things I can think of that can happen to someone when they drink. It’s called “I Miss You.” Anyone else miss drinking? Check out Tyree’s website: http://www.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Turbine at BATS Theatre

I saw the production “Turbine” at BATS theatre on it’s closing night, 16th December, 2006. The show was written and performed by the New Zealand award-winning ensemble SEEyD Theatre Company. It was a thrill to witness a great ensemble at work. They also wrote the script together and ensemble member Tim Spite directed it.

“Turbine” promoted itself as a political play by promising to present two sides to the controversial issue of wind farming. Is this not a done deal? Is not wind farming good? I lived in Brooklyn for four months and every morning I opened my drapes to a view of the giant white wind turbine, what I perceived as a symbol of pride for New Zealand. Doesn’t it make sense to use the wind? Isn’t this a great way to solve our polluting energy crises? It’s already here.

The program for “Turbine” provided an insight into the script-writing process by the cast members. Before the show a woman standing next to me said, “If I had read this before, I would never have come.” She was referring to the two bits in the program about the director fondling one of the fellow female members. I suppose it was meant to be funny, but it was adolescent and border sexual harassment -- except possibly to thirteen-year-old boys. Let’s turn the table. What if the program notes said that they rehearsed different bits and then “Rachel starts fondling Tim inappropriately.”? If this is funny?

What “Turbine” did portray was a high-energy dysfunctional family. Not just your every day mom and dad and sister and brother, but a whiney bunch of people who could only see their own point of view including the autistic son, my favorite character in the play. “Turbine” is about a family eroding at the edges with each visit by the mean corporate man who tries to convince the family wind farming is good for everyone. Well, isn’t it? What could possibly be the other side? The characters went on and on that they had grown up with this view, it was their memories...and they didn’t like change.

As I write this, I am overwhelmed by the sound of a helicopter over my roof about to land a block away at Metropolitan Hospital in Newtown where I live. The noise is disturbing, but I’m glad it’s there. Doesn’t it benefit everyone?

Not the same as destroying the view you grew up with? Get over it. How many people who complain about loosing their million dollar views with wind turbines, to be installed on an already raped landscape for farming with dotted animals for food, are driving SUV’s and can afford energy at any cost? Tim Spite says in the program, at what point are we willing to compromise? Compromise what? Turbines yes, but not in my backyard?

Back to the story. The autistic son was the most interesting and beautiful part of the play for me. It took a few scenes for me to adjust to the mother character looking younger than the son. Why can young actors play older characters but it doesn’t work the other way around? Is there a play where an “older” actor plays younger? How many are women? Are you ever too old to play Juliet? (Just kidding, I would turn it down.) If we can accept young playing old, why not old playing young? One example that comes to mind is Susan Sarandon in the film, “Anywhere But Here.” Good book, lousy film. Sarandon was 50 when she played the 30-something single mother character. It seemed miscast but maybe this is only true because I read the book before I saw the movie. I once asked Sarandon for advice for women actors over 40 and her answer was insightful (she used the “F” word twice), but that’s another story (I hate it when people say that.)

Tim Spite gave the audience a beautiful portrayal of an autistic person in a realistic and sympathetic fashion with humour. Whenever this character was on the other members of the ensemble, Emma Kinane, Rachel Forman and Nick Dunbar, were at their best. This is a hard working ensemble. They played multiple characters with great talent, with the exception of the mother’s affair. It was not believable that a daughter would get angry with her mother for lying in the past because she shagged someone who wasn’t daddy. (Like I’m going to tell my daughter I’m going out to meet my lover.) But sex is always welcome in a play and the best sex in Turbine was Tim as the autistic man inappropriately pleasing himself in front of others because inappropriate behavior is part of the definition of autism.

My own experience of autism and sex was as a witness to David growing up in my brother’s family. When David’s hormones kicked in, he discovered sexual gratification. He called it ‘frogging’. David liked to frog and when he wanted to do it he called out, “frog frog” and my brother took him to the garage where he frogged and then he would come back to the dinner table and we would all continue our meal, including David who was less disruptive after frogging. Mealtime with an autistic person is never predictable or boring. There is also a story about how David redecorated his bedroom with his own excrement, but you'll just have to imagine it.

“Turbine” created my own dialogue about this issue. I’ve been talking to myself about it for two weeks and we both agree, Seedy is wonderful, the actors brilliant as an ensemble, but I don’t have any further insight into the wind turbine issue. I didn’t grow up in New Zealand, so what I have to say comes from a recent perspective as a new resident, but I do have the deepest respect for an ensemble willing to take a chance to present autism with dignity and truth.