Showing posts from 2014

Tamahori set to work Charles V movie

Lee Tamahori doesn't know why people think he lives in Hollywood. He's directed big name actors Morgan Freeman and Sir Anthony Hopkins and is about to work on the Charles V inspired film Emperor with Adrien Brody. But New Zealand is still home. The 64-year-old director of cult 90s film Once Were Warriors splits his time between Auckland and Tologa Bay on the East Coast where his family hails from. "It depends on work, how long I'm here for. But I've been based in New Zealand since 2003. I don't know why everyone thinks I still live in Hollywood." Tamahori is reassuringly chatty. His clear, somewhat-British accent rolls out responses thick and fast. But he keeps to the point. No, he doesn't want everyone knowing what he spent on recladding his luxury Shangri-La tower penthouse in Herne Bay. The complex's multimillion-dollar apartments needed refitting for weather-tightness and there was a squabble over who should foot the b

Out-and-proud Ricky Martin heading to New Zealand

It was rain, not women's underwear, that pelted the stage the previous time Ricky Martin came to visit. The sexy Puerto Rican pop star attracted a legion of female fans when he performed in Auckland at the turn of the century. That fateful weekend at the then-Ericsson Stadium, some 20,000 fans waited 24 hours for their idol, thanks to issues with his production crew not being able to build a stage shelter in time. This time, not only do we have a new stadium, Vector Arena, but we also have a new out-and-proud Martin. With more than 70 million album sales under his belt and a 30-year-strong career, the 42-year-old has been open about his sexuality since coming out in 2010. But it's a banned topic when speaking with New Zealand media. As are other areas of his private life, if he doesn't bring them up first. Today's celebrities are speaking less and less about themselves, with the likes of Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Pink and Beyonce limiting interviews and opti

Kiwi stars forced to go moonlighting

Hip-hop artist Ladi6 waited until the end of our interview to drop the bomb. Before the release of her third studio album Automatic, she was on the benefit. "I'm really busy now but it's better than last year. I was on the dole for a week," the lady, real name Karoline Tamati, admits. After that she came to her senses and got back on with the job. Spilling drinks on unsuspecting diners or forgetting to ask if you want fries with that is all part and parcel of growing up and entering the workforce. But for a chunk of our drama and music professionals, there is no end in sight to the minimum-wage jobs which put bread on the table. Describing herself as ultimately lazy, last year Tamati grew tired of slaving away in the studio, writing lyrics and recording with her producer/partner Brent "Parks" Park. She says she was homesick for their 10-year-old son, Philly, who otherwise has to travel with the pair to Ladi6's Berlin-based studio, to the U

Pregnancy Nuggets of Wisdom

I sit at the kitchen table willing the conversation to move on, a smile fixed to my lips. "Michelle, you're having a homebirth aren't you?" Stares, gasps, silence. It's lucky I'm not a private person. An entertainment journalist, notorious gossip and eternally sanguine, I relish most chances for attention. But though rare, there are moments where I want to cover myself. Days where the lovely, stretchy, figure-hugging outfits I snapped on in a moment of pregnancy-awe are suddenly all too stretchy, a bit too snug and all too revealing. There are the occasional moments I want to smother my burning cheeks with my hands. Glancing up nervously from the seasoned chatter of the mothers around me, now is one of those moments. "My friend had a homebirth and absolutely swore by it but that does not sound like my cup of tea!" One well-meaning mother scoffs. "A blow-up pool in the lounge and all that mess, forget it!" "I just d

She's still Jenny from the block

My iPhone rings on the way to work. The number's American. My heart skips a beat. "Hi," an accented female says. "This rarely ever happens, but Jennifer Lopez is back from an event and running 15 minutes early. I think it's 15 minutes. What's the time there?" We still have a good 45 minutes by my clock. I madly scribble last-minute questions. The subconscious part of my brain doesn't help things as JLo's tunes that I listened to in high school - Love Don't Cost a Thing and I'm Real - come flooding in. Thirteen years on from those songs, JLo's just released her 10th album A.K.A. and I'm interviewing her about it. I'm nervous. "Hello? Hello? Hello!" It sounds like the caller's standing under a waterfall. Then it's quiet. The phone buzzes again. "Oh hello, that sounds better. I have Jennifer Lopez here on speaker phone. You have 15 minutes. Will you keep time?" Ah, sure. Sm

Review: Michael Buble in Auckland

Watching a Michael Buble concert is like being in the theatre. The crowds are hushed and well-behaved - apart from the occasional screeching from a middle-aged fan-girl that gets added to as the lights dim. The drums roll, fire balls burst and the curtain parts teasingly to reveal a silhouette of the Canadian jazz singer. He bursts forth, cord microphone in hand, gesticulating cheekily as he slides about the stage to aptly named Fever. The dramatic entrance is followed with crowd standing for Haven't Met You Yet. "Tonight it's our last night, I want you to let yourselves go," Buble says. "I don't want you to give a s**t about anyone who's sitting next to you." Ma and Pa Buble are in the audience tonight so Buble junior promises not to hold back on the final night of his Australasian tour. "We're going to take it nice and slow like we've just met at a bar," he says. "Maybe we'll slow dance and by the end o

Rose Matafeo - The Thorn Within

Rose Matafeo knows she can't play the cute young thing forever. "I know I can't . . . I'm tall and I have wide shoulders, that's not very cute." The two-time nominated Billy T Award comedian has come a long way from the frizzy haired, nervous ball of energy who cut her teeth in the Auckland standup scene at just 15. Previous stories on the Grey Lynn comedian of Samoan, Dalmatian and Scottish descent have referred to her nervous habit of playing with her hands and her polite, self-effacing manner. Just a couple of years later, her growing confidence is evident but low key. Sitting in her bedroom in the weatherboard Grey Lynn flat she shares with comedians Joseph Moore and Nic Sampson, the now 22-year-old Matafeo isn't sure how she got here. "I don't know why I started out in comedy, I don't know why I'm still doing it and I don't think I'm funny." Instead, she takes her hat off to other girls pursuing comedy.

Possessed by a demon

As he watched her stir her cup of tea, Neville Anderson knew his love of 51 years was back. The Titirangi man had watched helplessly as the life of his once-active, social high school sweetheart ebbed away to Parkinson's disease. Diagnosed 11 years ago, Christine relied on three pills, three hours daily to ease the chronic trembling. But while replenishing the depleted dopamine in her brain, the chemical messenger responsible for movement, there was little for the involuntary jerks or dyskinesia that her body would often make as it reacted to the drugs. At times she could not talk or sit. Sometimes she could barely move, she said. "It's like your body's possessed by a demon." That was last year. Today, Christine Anderson is a completely different woman. The 67-year-old is one of 51 movement disorder patients to have undergone deep-brain stimulation surgery after it became available in New Zealand in 2009. The major surgery allows some patients t