The 2011 Grahamstown National ArtsFest is now in it's 5th day. Almost the halfway point; and I still haven't attended a single Thinkfest lecture, dipped into the film festival, seen any stand-up, gone to a dance perforrmance, done any serious plays or been to any art exhibitions except the Arts Lounge where my sister and I performed today. So I'm a tad panicked. Which is why after this I'm going for cocktails. It happens every half way point festival Monday - the initial panic of "so much still to see; so little time", followed by numbness where I kinda  start making peace with the fact that I now have to seriously plough through a 230 page programme, create a booking grid on a fullscap piece of paper and start booking. The grid's so that I don't double-book the same time slot. Se ri as.

Log onto and check out the full festival programme. It's MASSIVE. So the final week literally turns into a juggle of time slots. So tonight's, the last musical show I'll attend bar any that I'm performing in. It's the Sid Kitchen tribute concert that sounded fabulous in my lounge where its artists rehearsed, but which I think I'd like to see in the 1000 seater Guy Butler Auditorium for the full amplified effect. I'm a little deaf this afternoon you see, after Athina and I performed our little vignette. It entailed me being in a tiny attic with part of my drumkit, smacking the living daylights out of it at given intervals, to drown out her monologue and sounds in the next room, which carried on through both my kit crescendos and silences. It was lovely. We experimented with movement and narrative and noises like turning on a tap, which sounds so loud after a drum bombardment. It was so much fun! And the dozen people who saw it thought it was fab. But drums being clobbered very hard in a tiny space, do leave a tiny imprint on your eardrums, at least for a while. I'm hoping that soon I'll be able to hear high frequencies again. And whispers. I'm definitely gonna have to tap into the whispers in the wind that begin tomorrow. They always materialise every second week of fest - Various names, normally prefixed by "have you seen", "you should see", "don't miss", "if there's one show to catch, it's". So on the grid I have to leave some space for whispers that come in late.

Unfortunately some shows have already ended their fest runs. Normally the big invitees on the Main Festival Programme, either run over the first or second weekend of fest. So the first batch is done; and unfortunately this year a whole lot of great plays are already in my "ah well" box - "Looks so interesting! Must book. Oh it's finished. Ah well". Just like the car guard that I didn't have change for today, 'maybe next time'.

For now, my mate and Elsabe and I are off for cocktails. She's been down for the weekend. Tomorrow she returns to Jozi and I go deep into fest. If I'm not back in 24hours, send a troupe of actors with flyers advertising their show, to find me. Who knows. Hopefully there'll be  gridgap to slot their offering into.

Man I'm already getting the must-get-booking daunted blues.

So an extra strong mojito it's gonna have to be! 



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Comment by Candice James on July 4, 2011 at 18:44
Sounds like a blast!! I feel like I'm there with time I'm coming down.

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