When you’re driving from Whanganui to Ohakune, through the village of Upokangaro, you can’t help but notice the Avoca hotel, thanks in part to its picturesque setting but primarily because of its magnificent Art Nouveau exterior.
Originally built in 1866 as a two-storey wooden bar called Kennedys, the brick building that stands today was a few days from completion in 1929, when in their infinite wisdom, the then owners decided to set fire to the old pub next door. The heat was so intense that it set fire to Avoca and gutted it.
It was restored to its present glory by owners Pat and Shelley. They intend to keep it true to the 1930s décor inside and are researching colour schemes of the era. They also want to find oak dressers for the rooms so if you can donate, please let them know!
The accommodation wing is cosy with gorgeous original wood panelling and brass fittings. Each room has a different vintage carpet – all of them Axminster delights, which is wonderful for vintage enthusiasts. It also has a brilliant cafe, with a stunning garden, so it’s easy to have a lazy Sunday breakfast and then enjoy a walk down to the wharf.
And it’s not just the experience, there are a great many stories surrounding the hotel. One of the most intriguing involves a Mexican bushman(?!) and his infatuation with a local guest. This guest agreed to marry the bushman IF he could afford her. He dutifully put his pay check in her bank each month but when the amount she demanded was reached, she spurned him. Furious, he planted dynamite around the hotel and attempted to blow it up. He was then found dead in the river, suicide being the coroner’s verdict. Apparently the chef has seen a woman’s ghost and legend has it that it is the lady who did the spurning, remorseful for all eternity perhaps?
Next time you visit Whanganui make sure you stay at Avoca. You can book by calling (06) 345 6410 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Total eclipse of the art
And just like that, it’s Friday again. As the sun keeps shining, our thoughts naturally turn to entertaining ourselves and today we’ve been casting our eyes over an office copy of the 2015 Auckland Arts Festival program. There's a distinct vintage flavour to many of the acts at this year’s festival (March 4-22). Whether it's jazz, vaudeville, burlesque, acrobatics or pop art that floats your boat, you're bound to find something that tickles your fancy in this year's world-class festival line-up. Read on for Glory Days Magazine's first three top picks of the festival. Next week, we’ll choose three more, stay tuned.
Limbo (Global): March 4 - 22
Offering up a dark, sexy smorgasbord of acrobats, jugglers, contortionists, aerial work, balancing feats and displays of strength, the Colenso BBDO season of Limbo is a saucy circus-cabaret featuring aerial acrobatics, contortion, illusions and fiery flames – all housed within the shabby-chic embrace of the Festivals’ Paradiso Speigeltent. And with music inspired by the spirit of New Orleans courtesy of Sxip Shirley's live band and a top ensemble cast of cabaret and circus artists from around the world, Limbo will leave you gasping for more.
Lady Sings the Blues (New Zealand): March 18
It's been a century since the birth of seminal jazz singer Billie Holiday and to mark the occasion, some of New Zealand's finest vocalists including Annie Crummer, Whiromako Black, Julia Deans and Hollie Smith are performing a tribute to the lady herself.
Jazzamatazz: (Australia) March 6 - 8
Got little ones who like to bust a move? Get them into the good stuff early by taking them to the award-winning Jazzamatazz, which will whip then up into a frenzy of singing, prancing, twisting and dancing. Performed by multi-talented opera singer, actress, jazz singer and mother Ali McGregor, Ali and her band rock 'n' roll, swing and jive along with the little ones, teaching them moves and creating an atmosphere of pure unadulterated fun.
Book tickets at http://ticketmaster.co.nz/
Glory Days has a double pass to see Limbo to give away to a lucky blog reader. Simply comment on this post, telling us why you'd like to go and we will select a winner at random. Competition closes Friday 30th January at midday.
The devil you don't
Devilish Mary & The Holy Rollers - Debut Album
It's Friday and our thoughts naturally turn to entertainment as the weekend closes in. Music is an important part of the way we entertain ourselves and fortunately for us, the debut album of Lyttleton's own Devilish Mary & The Holy Rollers recently crossed our collective desks and we've thrown it on our electronic turntable as the sun shines and the clock ticks down to knock off. Boy are we glad we did.
We love strings and this album had us with the opening bars of Oh Darling, the first track. And then right on the heels of those strings, Devilish Mary started singing and they were going to have to work very hard to lose us after that.
We're told that Devilish Mary And The Holy Rollers started out trying to be a Western swing band. If you're familiar with that genre you'll certainly recognise that influence on their sound but there is a whole let else going on here besides. There's a bit of gypsy swing, a touch of jazz, a splash of country, which is no surprise given their provenance, and a little dash of exotica to keep you on your toes. And if you want to stay on your toes there's plenty here to keep you on the floor, in whatever style you dance.
Mary, or Anita Clark to call her by her real name, can really sing and covers the full range from fiery torch to wistful love songs across the 12 songs on this album. She is ably assisted by the Holy Rollers, one of whom generally sings with a warm croon but who can also deliver some serious growl when required. And though it would be hard to find a track we don't like, the tracks that are most assisting us in our Friday travails are the opener, Oh Darling along with Knife, Istanbul Not Constantinople, Pretty Girls and What Lies Beneath, one of our all time favourites, rendered beautifully here with some sultry brass accompaniment.
And so keen are we on Devilish Mary and her gang that we are now selling their album through our Emporium. Check it out and listen well.
The devil you know
Described as New Zealand's best female rock vocalist and famous for her incredible death growl and vocals as front woman of Devilskin; Jennie Skulander is also well known for her pinup styling and as the face of Straight Cut Clothing. Jennie is a avid fan of rockabilly and 50's culture often incorporating it into her daily look and she takes some time out from the current Devilskin tour to answer some quick fire beauty questions with Melanie of The Sweet Painted Lady.
Don't be afraid to give it a go. Experiment with it a bit! I believe everyone looks good as a pinup!
Probably MAC pro long wear foundation. and the MAC lip pencil in Cherry. Also loving Lime Crime!The Lime Crime Velvetines in Red Velvet are a must have!!
Either hair down with a flower on the side or a quiff :)
Check out more of Jennie's style on the Devilskin website and try and catch them live in a town near you.