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Gig guide: the gates to festive time

It’s almost fokol it’s festive time with November around the corner, signaling the slow death of this godforsaken year. With cabin fever permeating into our marrow, do we even remember how to socialize and consume art or has lockdown siphoned the levity from our souls? Well, the door to culture is slightly ajar again, thanks to the vaxxed mense. We need to laugh and cry and question and heal and escape again.


For some pure spectacle and escapism, Artscape is showing ‘Journey Returns – Big Band Circus – a collab between the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and Zip Zap Circus on the 29th and 30th of October. It’s a feel-good visual feast with extraordinary vocalists taking on popular songs and movie soundtracks.

If you love yourself some Andrew Lloyd Weber, the big ensemble musical cast is back with Cats at the Baxter running from 24 November. And if you’re in need of some comedy, Marc Lottering’s latest show LOOT! is running until 20 November, with all new material, apparently we’ll hear about his journey with Covid, and he won’t be doing characters so it seems to be interesting step outside of his comfort zone.


The Open Book Festival is happening virtually this year in an eight-part podcast series from 8 -24 November. You can listen to your favourite South African authors talking about their recent creations, touching on a myriad of deep topics including love, queerness, grief, gender-based violence, mental illness – all in a very candid way. Covid didn’t allow for any new book launches, so here’s your chance dive into that fresh literary landscape. Some exciting (both new and familiar) names on the line-up include Efemia Chela, Shana Fife, Damon Galgut, Pumla Gqola, Qarnita Loxton, Nick Mulgrew, Tiffany Mugo and Yewande Omotoso.

In addition, acclaimed playwright and novelist Nadia Davids has just launched ‘The Writers’ Seminar’ from UCT’s Department of English Literary Studies. It starting off with the award-winning Damon Galgut, and they will be hosting monthly salons where you can engage with celebrated South African writers. Next on this agenda is Yewande Omotoso who will be discussing her new novel “An Unusual Grief” on 12 November. Zoom links are available. Keep your eyes peeled as they’ll feature a new, different writer every month, with the aim of connecting a new generation of readers with writers.


The Boombap and Golden Era music event is giving us classic hip-hop vibes, featuring Cape Town DJs Celeste Mitchell, DJ Juice, and DJ Tekneek this Friday, 29 October. Happy hour is from 3PM so pull through early, the DJs start their sets at 6PM. Think old school hip-hop and R&B in the sunset with a Devils Peak view. The Venue is 189 Buitengracht. It’s a chance to bask in that turntablist finesse as the DJs take us back to time when music was on VHS and cassette tapes – a meander down memory lane, for the real hip-hop heads, for the 90s kids, for us all really.

Then on the 4th of November, First Thursday comes back in full force. We will see a full Road Closure on Upper Bree Street, so if you’ve been thirsting for a street jol, here’s your chance. Street markets, art exhibitions, a gin train (not sure wtf that is but I want to be on it), gourmet food trucks, pottery art, oysters, champagne and the big names performing on the main stage include Jimmy Nevis, Goodluck and Pascal & Pearce. R100 if you buy at the door, but maybe buy in advance to be safe.

Sing karaoke while a professional stripper dances! Kicking us off this Friday 29 October is Stripperoke at Zer021 in Woodstock. R100 gets you in with a free beer. This Lingerie Party features Stripperoke dancers who pole-dance while you sing your heart out to the songs of your choice. The dancers will be performing “pro-boner” to raise funds for Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) and provide COVID relief support for sex workers. This is a body-positive, sex work positive, gender inclusive event. No racism, homophobia, or transphobia will be tolerated – so basically don’t be a doos.


Covid has dealt theatre a tragic hand. But honestly performance never really died. It just morphed and it’s literally on your phone right now. Some of the more adaptable performers are still doing their thing online and some brilliant content has emerged. Let’s face it, supreme podcasts and weekly youtube series are gigs during lockdown. Two of my current local faves are: THE REG BOYS PODCAST hosted by comedians Simon Orgill and Yasseen Barnes – they are serving us top-tier kakpraat. Another fave is THE ANDERSONS created by actress Juliette Pauling – this comedy gold went viral as it cured the lockdown blues for many, and the hilariously relatable characters just keep on getting better. You can catch the episodes on Facebook, Insta, Youtube or Tiktok.

Gig guide: the gates to festive time