Tuesday, July 14, 2009

edith happy to be 59 - cos 58 was "kak"

"Age only matters if you are a cheese. And Edith isn't a cheese. She's a biscuit. And she's my biscuit!"

Johnny Schwartz's words about his wife of one year brought the house down at Edith Venter (Schwartz)'s 59th birthday party at boutique hotel Le Chatelat in Sandton last night. Edith had invited all the people who had shown her stalwart support through her brief departure from the social scene after legal wrangles between herself and a former business partner. "Its good to be 59,"she quipped, "cos being 58 was kak!"

Even us media were included on the list of supporters and got mentioned by name. No one could ever remember a bad word or unkind moment from Edth in all the years they had known her, even though some of us sometimes took the mickey. She had been sadly missed at all the occasions that she reigned over and people took a secret vow of loyalty. Karma never was more apparent, but in this case it was of the good variety!

It was a really happy occasion and guests toasted with glasses of elegant Franschhoek sparkles from estate Morena and canapes in the lobby of the hotel. The hotel had had a chequered history too, dating back to its inception. Nina Morris filled us in while we were mingling before dinner. Her children had been friends with the owner's children and often came to the house which was under construction for a long time. Eventually it cost so much to build and maintain the owners wanted to dispose of it but found it difficult so they turned it into a B&B which did tremendously well. Unfortunately the owners were fed up with Joburg and wanted to have a Le Chatelat by the sea in Cape Town instead. It's now a boutique hotel which finds itself transformed into a venure for occasions such as this.

Most of the people there had attended Edith's wedding at Thornybush, including Nic Griffin and his team. Quite a few ex Miss South Africas, from Amy Kleynhans-Curd to Thuli Sithole and her boyfriend Prince Dlamini (maybe the next married couple?). It was almost like being at another wedding. The love was palpable and the food divine. The hotel had outdone itself.

Santana brought the pair together and Santana songs were played, along with croooner Jacques's songs, SA's answer to Michael Buble! But it was the Black Eyed Peas song that really brought th house down, BOOM BOOM BOOM, as this was the song which greeted Edith as she woke up to her 59th birthday.

Bravo EDith for not only celebrating your age but for overcoming all the malice and adversity that the year threw at you. This lady is a survivor ...

Monday, July 13, 2009

footloose and fancy free - dang-de-dang-de-dang-de-dang

Opening nights at The Civic are usually well attended by local celebs and last night's Footloose opening saw its fair share of Isidingoers, Lion players (the SA variety) and the theatre crowd (Des and Dawn, naturally, Samantha Peo), who are I must say huge supporters of local talent. People were talking about Aspects of Love and how they didnt enjoy it very much but the overall consensus was that Footloose was a great little show ("high energy"they called it, and so I should think. The Footloose song was one of the catchiest ones to come out of the 80s and just that catchy dang-de-dang-de-dang-de-dang beat is enough to get anyone's feet tapping and their best 80 dance moves bursting out of the closet). I went with friend Addi Lang, who runs new casting agency Caitlins Castings and we bumped into Elena Argirys, whose husband Lambros is involved in the News Cafes. Not only had Elena signed her kids up with the agency, but we were all sitting in the Civic's News cafe at the time. Hows that for coincidence? Plus I had seen the kids the day before at Mole Cottage at Inanda where the Greek Lycaeum Club had held a breakfast for its members. Both have the cutest little round faces and look adorable, obviously inherited mum and dad's good looks. A pre show coffee was in order just to warm up before the show!

Loved bumping into one of the friendliest new faces around, Isabella de Villiers who is a presenter on Flash, SABC3's new entertainment and celebrity programme. She's a Durban girl originally, which explains the friendliness, and has a TV producer's background. Its tough to be in front of the cameras instead of behind them, she says, as she can now have no say as to the editing process. Fortunately her producer has great ideas. People keep telling me they saw ME on Flash a few weeks ago (looking as large as a house I am sure) laughing my head off. That's better than Top Billing, who relentlessly edit me out even when I am thin.

Speaking of which I decided it was time to bury the hatchet with Lizzie Staunton from TB, who I discovered has had a very tough life, hence her prickly disposition and tendency to rub people up the wrong way. Finally understanding this I greeted her and her companion Stephen Falcke. Stephen has been anti-me for the past six years or so, due to his affiliation with Lizzie and decided to show his claws, despite the olive branch. ""You're not dressed up tonight at ALL," he said. "I thought you got dressed up to go out for a hotdog". When I didnt rise to the bait he tried again. "So what publication do you write for?"he inquired. "I don''t think I've ever read it. There was an interview with me once but I think I missed it. How long have you been working there?" Shame, it was a brave attempt but I was positively glowing with good will to all mankind so it all slid comfortably off me. Pity as Stephen and I used to be the best of friends and he only had fulsome praise.

Loved Carlo McFarlane in the leading role, his dance moves took away the desire to see Kevin Bacon on stage. Speaking of which Alan Ford told me of a dinner party game, called 6 degrees away from Kevin Bacon. You have to be a huge movie buff to play it though. You can start off with a character from the Colour Purple for example, like Oprah Winfrey and then mention another actor they played with in another movie. Inevitably the link ups lead to Kevin Bacon, who seems to have acted with everyone in Hollywood at some stage of his career!! Of course Footloose was naturally the movie that tipped him into the limelight

Great idea for my next dinner party...

The role played by Tiaan Rautenbach was a delightful cameo role of Willard Hewitt, the tongue tied cowboy who "can't dance" (you would have thought he would fit in just fine to Bomont, the town where dancing is forbidden by law). Footloose the musical was even more delightful than Footloose the movie, I decided. With all the "boot scooting", it was a delightfully yee-haaa evening and prompted one to rush out and hire the movie immediately. Who knew that the 80s anthems Let's Hear It For the Boy, Holding Out for A Hero. Somebody's Eyes and Almost Paradise were all from this classic movie? Bernard Jay had promised me "all the songs" and we were not disappointed! Now all I have to do is learn to dance like a cowgirl ...

The theatre was full, even if it was a press and celeb night, proving that South Africans are going to the theatre like never before. Addi bumped into her friend Ivor, who had been her director at Sun City when she was still a showgirl in feathers so they had lost to catch up on, and I saw friends Winnie Wong and Melissa Lai who I haven't seen all year. They vowed they had tried to get hold of me but I never answer "no numbers". Theres a great new dim sum spot in town, in Cyrildene they told me, run by a chef who used to work at Melissa's dad restaurant Marco Polo in Montecasino. We have to take 5fm's Jennifer Su there. Jen is a dim sum devotee, as she lived in Hong Kong, the dimmies capital of the world.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

annie lennox SINGS

I loved seeing annie lennox at the teatro at Monte last night. she has always been one of my favourite singers and we were all hoping for a eurhythmics song. She was so nice and down to earth and chatted away to redi direko who was interviewing her. annie had a very uncomfortable chair one of those swivelly ones where you dont know quite where to put your feet. harrowing images of young children with aids brought the message home. annie considers herself african (this should not be confined to the colour of ones skin so hurray for her) and hummed the national anthem, the crowd joined in siging the english and afrikaans verses more lustily than the first verse (probably retribution for the confederations cup). annie even managed to sing in xhosa and get the moves right although she did not have the booty. some of the crowd were eexpecting a concert but actually seeing someone in conversation and seeing them excuse mistakes made on the piano is more intimate than a concert. she had the most magnificent voice but we wondered if the altitude had not affected it a bit?

durban july pix

heres me in gorgeous African mosaique colours and fabrics at the Fashion Lounge with friend carolyn steyn in a Helluva Hat. we had at least 20 photoshoots on my track!!

durban july - with a cold

It was a tough call this year, whether to go down to the July with a roaring cold. The airline nazis at Mango took away my medication and tissues as I was sitting in the emergency exit. Guess people with colds are public enemy number one. which would include the whole of joburg at the moment. Ears blocked up completely while we were flying and didnt return to normal until we hit the ground. a balmy 25 degrees greeted us, hurray for durban. off to our hotel the new quarters hotel in avondale road stone's throw from the track. after getting our accreditation myself and fellow journos rushed off for lunch garlicky calamari at mamas. the most woes chilli in the whole of durban which was wonderful for the sinuses. dammit the oufit from african mosaiquewas so good i had to recover and not be rudolph the rednosed reindeer. after a well deserved two hours in bed and having to circumnavigate the Victorian spiral staircase with my suitcase (which was just for show as i discovered there was a regular style outside one)!!. then it was dinner with designer friend gideon who had redesigned his house. it looked amazing. his partner Gianpaolo had raided the paint shop and painted the furniture in wild colours in lacquer paint. the wall paper was emerald green interspersed with another contrasting floral strip and face-decorated plates over that. the kitchen was voomah orange and Gianpaolo had gone Alezssi -befok. lovely cats and dogs and oscar the cat sat in my lap and made me feel better. visi would have been inspired. kind gids took me to the pharmacy for a cocktail of berocca and corenza c which worked like a bomb. except it kept me awake and the skanks who arrived at 1am at the hotel reception under my room and then roared up and won slamming doors and shouting till 5/6am did not help. No skank was going to spoil my race day and i got up and was off to the hairdresser. had thoughts of going to the birdpark to steal some bright orange pheasant feathers as the 30s vintage hat needed them but gids said there were no feathers to be found in the whole of durban! hairdresser gave me all the dirt on the bad behaviour in the carparks and on the tracks. joburg not alone in its skank quota. It was a fabulous day (read my column in The Citizen Cheek to Chic for all the details). Did NOT want to leave Durban all the love and good weather. Why let a common cold spoil all your fun?