• Kerris O'Donoghue

A Day at The Arcade

People of Wellington and beyond: The Performance Arcade 2020 is here. After a successful opening this past weekend, our artists are all ready to go full steam ahead and boy oh boy are we ready to put on a show for you!

You know that the Arcade will be running from February 26 - March 1; you know it will be held along the Wellington waterfront; you know it is completely FREE to attend and that there will be entertainment for the whole family. Understandably, you may still be feeling a bit bewildered as to what exactly you’ll do when you get there. Maybe you’re having trouble deciding when you should go - do you pop down on your lunch break in the middle of the day? Do you pick the kids up from school and head down for a nosey before they have to crack on with their homework? Do you spend the whole day there? Should you go in the morning, afternoon or at night? It’s a lot to think about! Here are my tips on how to spend a hassle-free day at the Arcade:

Know your schedule

There’s going to be a lot happening over the next five days, so study the programme and keep it within reach. Take a screenshot, forward it on to the family group chat, print it out and stick it on the fridge. Spread the word as much as possible - we

don’t want anyone missing out! You’ll be able to see that you have a lot to choose from, so keep a note of the acts that tickle your fancy and make sure you allow time to get around to them all.

Familiarise your ears

Before you go, have a listen to our Music Series artists - we all know how much better it is to watch someone perform when you already know them and their tunes! For your convenience, we’ve made a Spotify playlist called Performance Arcade 2020, which I am listening to as I write this, so I can tell you first-hand that it is one groovy playlist! I can guarantee this is a playlist I’ll be listening to far beyond the Arcade. The work of Panthalassa puts me in the best kind of trance, Bad Hagrid bring summer vibes to the city that hasn’t felt much heat this season, relaxation mode is well and truly turned on thanks to the likes of Ben Woods, O & the Mo, Dr. Reknaw and Finn Johansson, I want to sing along with Violet Hirst and SOG makes me want to dance. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - we’ve got something for everyone!

Make a day of it

Once you get to the waterfront, you’ll want to be there for the whole day. So wear a hat and sunglasses, bring some sunblock and water bottles - bring a blanket and some snacks so you can secure the best seat in the house and don’t have to worry about giving it up! No need to stress if you’d rather bring only the bare essentials - there will be plenty of room for you to get a comfortable spot on the grass or seats dotted around the waterfront and there will be plenty of food and beverages for sale nearby to satisfy your needs throughout the day.

Start the day by checking out the Container Series - it’s not hard to miss, just look for the masses of shipping containers, some stacked on top of others. You’ll see a range of different artists from a range of different countries doing a range of different things. We’ve got performers from everywhere between New Zealand and South Korea, Sweden and Portugal, Germany and the USA. Join Kate Walker (USA) in Disaster Karaoke and feel a confusing blend of freedom and horror as you sing about some of the worst things the world has to offer. Become the centre of attention by stepping inside Nicholas Shackleton’s (NZL) Mask, which will display scans of your head to an audience that you won’t be able to see. Or, you can make Katrina Elizabeth Bastian (DEU) run in Zugzwang 2020, where she will be trapped on a treadmill while performing a range of choreographed gestures for the purpose of highlighting the pressures of daily life.

Take a break for lunch at Karaka Café where you can enjoy some of the best Aotearoa cuisine there is, while sitting on a bean bag in the sun - surely Kiwi summer can’t get much better than that, right!? Then, take a stroll towards Oriental Bay where you’ll find The Enormous Crocodile & Shake milk bar. Treat yourself and the kids to an ice cream or one of their iconic freakshakes (which are to-die-for and totally Instagrammable)! Hire one of their crocodile bikes and explore the waterfront in style, and get a work-out while you’re at it!

If you need a break from the sun, jump down the rabbithole at Te Papa’s Wonderland exhibition, or admire the works on display at City Gallery Wellington or the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.

The Waterfront Series contains a variety of interactive and thought-provoking performances. Shave off some of your body hair

and donate it to Sungjae Lee (USA/KOR) in Temporal Chest Hair as he explores the notions of hair-fetish, race, masculinity and femininity. Investigate how people choose to move through spaces with Josie Archer and Kosta Bogoievski (NZL), who will guide the way over and around obstacles using their tensa-barrier constumes in Pedestrian Guiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiidance. Elephants Laugh (KOR) will work with the refugee community to present MULJIL, where four performers will be encased in glass tanks filled with water as a way to highlight feelings of isolation and alienation.

Starting to get peckish again? Head over to St John’s Bar & Eatery for dinner. While you’re there, go to the bar where you can make your very own flavoured gin and tonic from their range of exotic botanicals, proving that you are in fact a gin connoisseur! Then, line up at Gelissimo for the Performance Arcade 2020 special gelato - strawberry and black sesame in a black cone topped with pink marshmallows. Or, for something equally as delicious, put some of Kaffee Eis’ award-winning gelato to the test before winding down (or up, your choice!) with the abundance of live music that we have to offer.

The Live Music Series will kick off each afternoon and continue into the night. This is where you’ll be able to sing, hum, dance, bop, headbang, sway or even just tap your foot along to some of the artists from that Spotify playlist you’ve been listening to on a loop. Allow the music to move you, transform you, and take you places you’ve never been. Appreciate the art of music and feel the magic of that music being performed live and shared with a group of people. What a way to wrap up the night!

There we have it; that’s how I’ll be spending my days at the Arcade! There’s a lot going on so feel free to spread your visit out over a few days - it’s all free so why not? I’m sure I’ll see you around - maybe we can sing a duet in Disaster Karaoke or perhaps I’ll catch you in St John’s creating your own G&T? You can taste mine if I can taste yours?

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