So ja, the weather came and klapped us. This is what happens, and it’s gonna happen again, and more often, because we’ve taken most of the carbon the planet spent aeons accumulating and storing underground and then just released it back into the atmosphere in the eye blink that is 200 years. Climate gets unstable real quick. Just 15 years ago we were saying ‘keep the CO2 at 350 parts per million’. Ha! We’re well over 400 now, and oil companies are posting their biggest profits in a century. It’s going to get more hectic, mense. But until we’re washed away, or blown away, or burnt to a crisp, we can still celebrate the best thing about being human (no, not sex, dolphins get kinky too) – art, music, dance, theatre, etc. But keep the carbon emissions to an absolute minimum and say no to plastic.
This is a must for lovers of jazz (people with great taste – ahem) but you have to move fast. Multi award-winning artist, acclaimed pianist, composer and producer, Bokani Dyer is launching his new project, Radio Sechaba at The Olympia in Kalk Bay TONIGHT, 28 September. Bokani, who we’ve described on The Critter as playing “sweeping waves of colourful phrases”, is one of a crew of outstanding young (relatively) jazz musos in Mzansi. Bokani has played with the best at the jazz festival in Makhanda (Grahamstown) and having led his own trio, is one of the best. Here he unleashes his singing voice as well. The Olympia, which functions as a bakery during the day, is also an incredible venue, and the trip down south is worth it. Tickets are R250 on Quicket, and take some extra cash because the new album may just be on sale.
Legendary Fuzigish! with Nomadic Orchestra and West Coast Wolves bring you some funky and hard rock at District in Harrington Street on 29 September. Get your Mohican on, or dig some Balkan type threads outta grandpa’s closet. Gig starts from 8pm, tickets cost R100 on Quicket.
Ace guitarist Derek Gripper has immersed himself in the Mali blues and brings the sounds of the desert strings to Parow on 14 October when he plays at the Hugo Lambrecht Auditorium at 7.30pm when he gets back from Dublin. He might be playing in Parow, but this is no zef gig. He’s played Carnegie Hall alongside Mali’s Trio da Kali and this concert promises to be an immersive, intimate experience. Watch concerts.derekgripper.com for booking availability.
Critter Mike Loewe called Aaron McIlroy “a loveable dumbass” when he performed in The Apology at the National Arts Festival in 2021. Durban-hailing McIlroy is certainly hard-working and usually takes a throng of comedic shows to Makhanda every year. This year he won a bronze Ovation Award for A Vegan Killed My Marriage, which is now playing at The Baxter until 7 October. As the red-blooded, braai-loving Saffa male called James, he is shaken out of his comfort zone during a work trip and becomes – you guessed it – a vegetarian. But he has no idea of the shitstorm this will create at home. See him at the Baxter Theatre’s Golden Arrow Studio. Shows are at 7.30pm with matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets cost R185 at full price and you can book through webtickets.
Our great dancer Gregory Maqoma (yes, a direct descendant of that Maqoma) is, after decades of giving us so much joy, retiring from the stage. Exit/Exist is his last work, and his performance at the National Arts Festival was billed to be his last. But somehow, he is performing it at the Baxter before deservedly stepping down sometime soon. Here are extracts of The Critter’s review from NAF: “So this is what full circle feels like. Ululating so hard you can hear young vocal chords, at full stretch, actually vibrate. Masculine yells, hands clapping on and on, arms outstretched, tears … We travel through time on the wings of an incredible African score from Simphiwe Dana, soaring with the operatic voices of Complete, and tuned into the global by fusion guitarist Giuliano Modarelli … Every artistic moment is sublime, even those damn projectors are used magnificently — the entire backstage wall is black backdrop to a huge, grainy, drawing of commander in chief Jongumsobomvu Maqoma, one of the greatest Xhosa commanders in the frontier resistance to the colonialism of the 1800s … This is Gregory Vuyani communing with his ancestors — and us. It floors me how symbolism embedded in great theatre and dance is now being lapped up by the new audiences.” This is probably your last chance to see the great Gregory on stage. Exit/Exist is at the Baxter Pam Golding Theatre from 2 to 7 October. Tickets cost R200 with shows at 7.30pm. Book through webtickets.
What does it mean to be a black man in South Africa today? This is a question Maba Gqeba poses, and presumably makes an attempt at answering, in the play Dear Tata What Makes a Man, a Man? Playing at the Baxter’s Masambe Theatre from 2 to 7 October, it won a bronze Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival. It involves music, dance, “poignant storytelling and a series of letters written to his father” in order to explore themes of identity, self-worth, and sexual liberation. Tickets cost R100 with shows at 7pm and matinees at 2pm. Book through Webtickets.
For musical theatre, there’s Up on the Roof – The Carol King Songbook at Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay from 5 to 21 October. Directed by Elizma Badenhorst “and showcasing some of our industry’s most talented performers and instrumentalists” it promises to move the earth under your feet. Provided you love Carol King, of course, but who doesn’t? Tickets between R200 and R300 via Webtickets.
If Gregory Maqoma gets you wanting to see more dance, there’s two shows this month at Theatre Arts in Observatory (cnr Wesley and Milton Roads) this month. There’s Moffie from 6 to 8 October, which, be warned, is “not a happy production”, as it looks at the everyday life of most people classified as part of the LGBTQI+ community. Then there’s Thrive, a showcase of dance works choreographed for and performed by students of STANZA Dance Company featuring guest choreographers and performances from The Sarah Cookney Academy of Dance. It runs 26 to 28 October. Go to theatrearts.co.za for more details and bookings. Ticket prices are not shown, but likely inexpensive.
The meanest queen in down, the pop-slinging maestro of Death of Glitter, the Dragmother, invites you to dampen your drawers at, wait for it… Trenchtown on Lower Main in Obs this Saturday 30 September. Is the D.O.G losing his/her/they cool, or are they just bringing some bling to the bar? Probably the latter. It’s J-Day ‘23 and there’s all sorts of shit going down, and up, from 2pm. Tickets R60 early bird online but R120 at the door, bebes.
Talking of, Repentance 12 is bringing all the kink to the floor on 6 October, so if you want to get tied up and spanked, you know what to do (wear your dog collar, for a start). At Safehouse, 75 Church Street from 8pm. Tickets from R150 on Quicket.