Nightowl Cinema shoots a burst of fun and glitz into a cold and windy Tauranga Night as a band of thirties-clad helpers position the red carpet for the arrival of the guests and audience at the Charlie Chaplin silent film showing.
Cherry-red “hair” peeps from beneath the cloche jammed tight on the head of Nightowl doyenne Kimberly Cleland. Putting her between-season cold to one side Kim has organised tonight’s event in collaboration with Baycourt and as I make them open the door to let an early me into the building the last-minute touches are being made to a transformed Baycourt.
The Baycourt forecourt hosts a selection of immaculate and gleaming vintage cars. The foyer is draped in retro hangings – red and silver curtaining falls from ceiling to floor. Prohibition bottles line the piano; the photobooth huddles in the “backroom” of this speakeasy style setting awaits its patrons. And it’s all sitting under a huge chandelier increasingly sparkling against the night. For what?
There are more pearls than Coco could shake a stick at; diamonds galore. Enough feathers and fur (vintage) for an activist to require medication. It’s putting on the Ritz and Glitz Tauranga style evoking those glamorous (but socially hideous) times of the silent movie era.
Many have made a sartorial effort to support the project. Marilyn Cleland, Diana Vreeland style be-turbanned is clothed in silver-grey. Despite carrying enough “jewellery” to require a security guard, this Tauranga creative manages to look contemporary and elegant – her style Auckland evening appropriate!
I laughingly tell Frank Parnwall, one of the vintage car owners, that I could mug him for his beautiful fairisle vest peeping beneath his old suit jacket.
I want to rip the vintage Harris Tweed overcoat off the back of Mr Ian Riddle. I share the story of the Harris Tweed suit brought back for me from England many years ago – abandoned by me as it was too warm for antipodean Auckland and I returned to velvet beatle cap and boots. I adore vintage clothing and it suddenly occurs to me I could have worn my Salvation-sourced big buttoned black and white tweed coat – but I’m supposed to be working!!
Melanie Marshall has won the Nightowl Cinema facebook promotional competition. She’s looking stunning in black – cigarette holder poised. Her hair and makeup are Hollywood immaculate. I’m allowed to get closer and take a really good look – I adore the eyelids sprinkled with glitter – part of her prize package from Nightowl. Her partner Scott Higginson mimics that thirties businessman, Capone.
Megan Peacock-Coyle and Barnaby pose on the red carpet and then I get them again with photobooth owner Anamea Hoskin and daughter Layla – so cool to see the age range at this event.
Viv Quinn and James Redwood vamp it up and pose against the piano.
Scott Higginson is not the only “boy” in that black and white striped suit (so currently corporate fashionable – what a laugh) of the bad boys of the era. There’s a team of them and some have gone to the trouble of creating “co-respondent shoes”. I squeak with delight and explain to one bemused “boy” about my adorable black and white/ tan and white Andre Bianni co-respondent’s of my youth. He then tells me his come from the Blood & Fire Boutique and he painted that bit white!
I ask Melanie Joseph to pose alongside the Baycourt poster for the upcoming International Youth Silent Film Festival finals in Tauranga in October – here she is
Charlie Chaplin and Chaplin the Younger bounce around the foyer and quietly and obligingly pose.
They even venture into the night cold to be photographed with Joe Scott and his vintage Victoria by freelance photographer Richard Robinson.
The crowd swells as Tauranga pianist Leon Gray floats piano tunes over the guests and into the crystals of the chandelier. I ask a “chanteuse” to pose to complete the image. She does – like everyone else, this is a good-natured crowd.
Closer to the start time the era-dressed guests are joined by more usually garbed audience members.
It’s time for the piece d’resistance – Kimberly and fellow Nightowl Limited Board Member Viv Quinn start the pour – the champagne waterfall – deutz flows and flows – brave girls!!!
Then it’s into the Addison Theatre to hear the wonderful Wurlitzer and see Charlie strut and shuffle his stuff. Lots of hard work and organisation has gone into creating the ambiance of the evening despite the relaxed air and laughter. A fabulous later winter/spring evening event.
And a great introduction to the New Zealand finalists of the inaugural International Youth Silent Film competition.
Note: We were planning one of our fabulous photo-essays to support this event but ARTbop Poetry Editor and photographer Sam Woodward suffered a camera malfunction or “hiccup” so the photos were taken by my trusty little Nokia. The redoubtable John Borrin of the Bay of Plenty Times was on hand and next Thursday’s Indulge should have a selection of images. Richard Robinson was on assignment for Baycourt – they’ll have some great images of the evening and Richard “super snapped” all night. Make sure you take a look.
Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.