Joburg is host to several major expos during the year some of which are listed below. The Dome is a very popular exhibition venue and while there are many accommodation establishments in that area, many exhibitors and visitors choose to stay in the Parks Region to be close to the Rosebank neighbourhood and restaurant life in the evenings. Northgate is 13km away from Liz at Lancaster along Jan Smuts Ave, Republic Rd and then Malibongwe Drive.
The Wedding Expo will be at the Northgate on 6 and 7 April 2013 and 24 – 25 August 2013 www.wedding-expo.co.za , this is followed not long after: 30 Aug-1 Sept, by the the Getaway Show also at the Dome Northgate. This is Africa’s leading travel and outdoor show. www.getawayshow.co.za
Arts Alive month is September and this sees the FNB Joburg Art Fair at the Sandton Convention Centre. This fair brings together the best galleries from South Africa and the rest of Africa. The dates Sunday 22 September to Tuesday 24 September still have to be confirmed.
The Good Food & Wine Show, runs at the Dome, Northgate from 21 – 24 September. www.goodfoodandwineshow.co.za and in October (23rd – 25th) Winex will be on at the Sandton Convention Centre.
If one of your goals in 2013 is to take more time off and get fit while also getting into nature, then we have lots right on our doorstep in Joburg. I was sent the Friends of Kloofendal newsletter and was amazed by the range of activities and events on offer.
Run by Joburg City Parks, Kloofendal is a nature reserve some 20 km from Liz at Lancaster in Roodepoort at Cnr Galena Ave & Amphitheatre (also called Veronica) Str. (just over an half hour drive). It was founded on the site of the first payable gold mining operation of 1884 (this was prior to the main reefs being discovered) and the old shafts have been restored and are national monuments, open to view. The wildlife is generally of the smaller variety, the main attraction being the pristine vegetation contained by the reserve. Walking trails criss-cross the area and there is a bird hide at the small dam on the reserve. The reserve also is home to the geological site of Confidence Reef.
To find out more contact Friends of Kloofendal (FroK) www.kloofendalfriends.org.za
On the last Sunday every month from 2 – 4pm Rod Kruger a gold mining historian leads a walk in reserve exploring the Confidence Reef Goldmine in Kloofendal. Here he introduces you to the gold mining characters involved in Johannesburg’s early gold mining history as well as to the functioning of the stamp mill. Fee R50 per adult, R25 per child.
And these are but some of the upcoming events for Jan, Feb and early March:
Sat 12th Jan 4.30-8.30pm Bats
Sat 19th Jan 6-8pm Nocturnal Creatures with Grant Egen
Sat 26th Jan 6-8pm & Sat 9th Feb 6-8pm Frogs 6-8pm with Warren Schmidt Author of “Reptiles & Amphibians of Southern Africa”
Sat 2nd Feb 6-8pm Nocturnal spiders with Astri Leroy Co-author with John Leroy Spiders of Southern Africa
19th Jan 9-12 Grass course Karin Spottiswoode
Sat 26th Jan 9-12 & Sun 24th Feb 9-12 Bushfood & drink walk Guided walk, picking & tasting various edible fruits, collecting leaves for various teas, coffee beans, collecting fruits in preparation for making mampoer to be consumed at a later date. Walk is followed by tasting the “harvest” and some previously prepared produce (jam) from the reserve. Cost: R60 per adult, R30 per child with Clr Tim Truluck from Slow Foods+ Karin Spottiswoode
Sun 27 Jan 8-12 Spiders and Scorpions with Jonathon Leeming
Sat 2nd Feb 9-12 Trees with Karin Spottiswoode
Sun 3rd Feb 9-12 Mushrooms and Fungi with Bernice Porter Mycologist
Sat 9th Feb 9-12 Water Insects with Bernice Aspoas Entomologist
Sat 23rd Feb 9-11 & Sun 3rd March Spider walk with Astri Leroy
Sun 2nd March 9-11 Geology with Tony Jamison
So combine taking time out with getting into the outdoors and learning more about Joburg’s natural environment.
Cycling is becoming an increasingly popular way of seeing local Joburg sites and sights. Lebo of Sowetobicycle tours has for many years offered cycling tours. There are various options on offer starting from a 2 hour tour which includes a visit to a worker’s hostel, the Hector Pieterson Museum as well as the route of the student march, the Mandela Museum and a local shebeen. The 4 hour tour includes additional sites and for the more energetic there is a full day tour. You can either meet at 10823A Pooe Street Orlando West (thank heavens for GPS/Garmins/Tom Toms) or they will collect you from where you are staying (if it’s a relatively central location). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 011 936 3444 or cell phone number 084 851 8681
More recently the worldwide citizen initiative of ‘taking to the streets’ in the form of Critical Mass has taken off. As they say on their Facebook page: “Critical Mass is not about taking back the city. That’s Nike’s line. The city already belongs to everyone.” The first ride was in September 2007 and consisted of about 20 people who met in Newtown went through the CBD and ended in Braamfontein. Now there are over 2,500 riders who meet on the last Friday of the month. Haven’t managed to do a ride but 2013 I will! The more enthusiastic and fitter meet in Dunkeld and ride into Braamfontein. For the less fit, you can meet in Braamfontein at 19h15 cnr De Beer and Juta Sts. You’re advised to take food and drinks as the shops en-route can’t cope with the demand. A great atmosphere and fun evening by all accounts. For more see http://www.jhblive.com/kultcha/features/critical_white/124609
And then there is Alex. Traditionally this tiny township on the edge of Sandton has had a reputation of being overcrowded, squalid and dangerous. However 2 young energetic local entrepreneurs have started overturning these perceptions by taking bicycle tours through this under-resourced part of Joburg. In 2010 when Jeffrey Muluadzi was playing hockey, his coach asked Jeffrey to show him around Alex. There were 2 bikes in Jeffrey’s home and so off they went. Small things led to bigger things and having enjoyed it so much, when the coach had visitors during the 2010 World Cup, he asked Jeffrey to take them all on a tour of Alex. From 2 bikes Jeffrey has gradually built up to 22. Now he works with Antony Mmatli (23) – Jeffrey is only 20 - and they are passionate about bringing people to experience a little bit of life in Alex. A 2 hour tour costs R300 and a 4 hour tour costs R400. To arrange a tour : www.alexandratours.co.za Email email@example.com or phone Antony Mmatli 071 546 8927
We had guests who stayed last here last week who had dinner at one of the Parks new drinking-eateries – the Griffin in Illovo Junction, about 4 km from Liz at Lancaster at the top of Corlett Drive. They said it was really fun – lots of young people, with a great vibe and atmosphere. The owners Thom Hughes and Martin Jakoby are no strangers to restaurants in the north of Jozi as they owned The Office in Greenside, The Attic on 4th Ave Parkhurst, and The Loft in Melville. Here at The Griffin, Hughes and Jakoby have gone for the popular new eating style of ‘gastro-pub’ with a special twist of offering ‘craft beer’ – with at least 20 types on offer. A great veranda adds to the appeal of this venue. Booking is essential 011 447-9842 And the really great news is that there’s a parking lot available opposite the Junction. Their website is still under construction. (For another popular new gastro-pub The Foundry see http://lizatlancaster.co.za/blog/new-restaurant-at-the-steakhouse-corner-in-parktown-north)Also at Illovo Junction is Trabella, still THE BEST pizza place in Joburg. I went to Trabella when Tracy first opened her very small,very basic, low key pizzeria in the early 2000’s. But her fabulous cooking skills, generous salads and great pizzas soon made here a firm favourite neigbourhood restaurant. Now that Illovo Junction has been revamped Trabella has a newly styled home, but Tracy continues to serve up simple food with great taste sensations and particularly fabulous pizzas. Highly recommended. 011 442- 0413
Next door to Trabella, Oliva Bar and Kitchen is also a small and intimate venue. I celebrated a friend’s birthday there a couple of years back with a great lunch of tapas starters followed by mains such as line fish, paella and other suitable Mediterranean dishes. It has a nice ambience and the tapas were particularly good. Like Trabella it’s advisable to book: 011 025 5225
And finally another for ‘coffee, cake and stuff’ meet at Wolves the brain child of Shane and Angie Durrant Described in the Blog: (http://blog.sa-venues.com/provinces/gauteng/the-cutest-little-indie-coffee-shop-in-africa-wolves/ ) as ‘fun, artsy and welcoming’ cupcakes seem to be one of their particular trademarks. To get more of a feel for their funky zaniness visit their website www.wolves.co.za. Shane and Angie also own the adjacent Good Luck Club next door which specializes in South East Asian fare like Dim Sum, Thai curries and noodle dishes. Dinner Tuesday to Saturday and lunch only Saturday 011 447 – 3816
So the newly revamped Illovo Junction is another great addition to Joburg’s wining, dining and meeting hubs.
The new Parkhurst Square has opened. Designed by Sheldon Bakos of Integrale Architects, it is set to revitalize the northern end of 4th Ave. Although it is a three storey building which is a little out of keeping with the single storey converted houses along the rest of the street, the building is aesthetically pleasing with its sensitive use of materials: timber, face-brick and a wonderful stone clad clock tower. According to Bakos it is designed with ‘green’ principles in mind which is an added bonus – appealing and functional. Melissa’s has been a major draw-card since it opened last week, and there are several other restaurants which will add further choice to 4th Ave as a meeting, eating and dining destination. Also located at Parkhurst Square is Simply Asia (074 870 2506), Coobs Bistro (011 447 0710) and a chain steak house restaurant from the past – Squires Loft, (011 025 8725) so popular in the late 1970s and early 80s. Also great news – there is underground basement parking which should help alleviate the demand for street parking and avoid City Council’s paid parking bays (arising from an unpopular and flawed decision taken without any consultation.)
Joburg Theatre never has a huge number of shows on offer as there is only a limited number of theatres, but as always what is available, promises not only a wide range of productions (although mostly in the comedic vein) but also excellent quality theatre.
The wonderful holiday fare starts with Janice Honeyman’s annual festive season pantomime – Jack and the Beanstalk at the Joburg Theatre. Great review including http://www.iol.co.za/tonight/what-s-on/gauteng/review-jack-the-beanstalk-1.1418289#.UKddlWfCaSo
Potted Potter opens on 23rd Nov at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre. It is a very funny parody by Dan & Jeff (double Olivier Award Best Entertainment nominees Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner) – Starring Gary Trainor and Jesse Briton & condensing all seven Harry Potter books and a game of Quidditch into 70 minutes. It is billed as brilliant family entertainment – perfect for ages six to Dumbledore (who is very old indeed). The show is a must-see for Potter addicts and a great introduction to the series for anyone who’s ever wondered what all the fuss is about. Runs until 6th January.
Jonathan Roxmouth & Taryn Sudding play Noel and Gertie in the musical revue by Sheridan Morley based on the words and music of Noel Coward and showing at Pieter Toerien’s Studio Theatre at Monte Casino. The production, which tells the story of Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence, is directed by Alan Swerdlow. Lukewarm review from Lesley Stones: http://www.artlink.co.za/news_article.htm?contentID=31629 Also finishes on 6th January.
Another festive season show, just right to lift the spirits with a supremely funny, talented and energetic cast, is Greg Homann’s Pirates of Penzance at the Old Mutual Theatre on the Square. I saw it last year and loved every minute – it’s the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta done by five men and a piano- very very funny and very very clever and NTBM – Not To Be Missed. You have until 22nd Dec to see it.
A completely different genre of comedy is showing at The Market Theatre in a Music and Comedy Festival. Comedians include – Mark Banks, Alan Committie, Siv Ngesi, Eugene Khoza, Trevor Gumbi & Tumi Morake while music stars include Lira, Thandiswa Mazwai, Zahara, Oliver Mtukudzi, Trompies, Rebecca Malope. And this is not all – in the theatre’s intimate setting, audiences can experience wonderful opera and classical music from the likes of Opera Africa, Soweto Quadro and Inferno Opera. For details of the line-up see http://markettheatre.co.za/shows/watch/comedy-and-music-extravaganza. Finishes 9th December.
Pieter Toerien’s current big stage show at the Teatro Monte Casino is Dirty Dancing (l’m looking forward to seeing it in early December) which has had good reviews http://www.citypress.co.za/Entertainment/News/Review-A-down-and-dirty-classic-20121109 It shows until 13th January and after that we have Tap Dogs to look forward to (opening on 12th March until 10th March) and then Jersey Boys from 3rd to 28th April.
And keeping to the comedy vein is The Miser, Sylvaine Strike’s Fortune Cookie Theatre Company contemporary interpretation of Moliere’s 1668 classic, showing at the Market Theatre. Lesley Stones in The Daily Maverick of 29th October http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-10-29-the-miser-the-characters-cheap-but-the-storys-pure-riches writes: ‘The script is witty, barbed and insightful, the acting is outstanding, the comic touches of movement and expressions are superb and the costumes are amazing. It all comes together to create a deliciously over-the-top show bubbling with humour and satire’ And : ‘The Miser is Commedia dell’Arte in style … [featuring] stock characters like foolish old men and devious servants. …. It’s almost a precursor to farce or pantomime, with flamboyant characters, innuendos, misunderstandings and plenty of exits and entrances. … It’s delightfully ludicrous and ludicrously delightful’. I’m looking forward to seeing it before it closes on 9th December.
I find Joburgers amazing – somehow they have an invisible communication system when it comes to trendy new places to meet and mingle. There are some restaurants which are packed from day one – no gradual building up of business and growing through word of mouth. No, … these restaurants open their doors and ‘wham’ on day one, they are serve full houses. The Foundry is one of these restaurants which has added to the choice at the ‘Steak Corner’ in nearby Parktown North (cnr 7th Ave and 3rd Ave). Joining Wombles, The Local Grill and Turn and Tender, The Foundry is described as a gastro pub – where drinking hole meets tapas bar. Like the Griffin at Illovo Junction, it specializes in craft beer with many local brews on tap. While there are steaks and hamburgers on the menu, there is something for everybody. Tantalizing charcuterie and cheese ‘planks’, a great range of salads, risottos, pizzas and pastas, pan-fried line fish, and more. How does this sound: ‘handmade ravioli filled with field mushrooms, feta and spring onions and drizzled with herb-infused truffle olive oil, pine nuts and rocket’ or ‘Linguini with crab claw meat, fresh herbs, lemon zest, red chili, red roasted pepper, garlic and olive oil’ . There’s a cocktail bar as well as the The Parquet coffee bar. The decor is rustic yet slick with wooden ceilings, Swazi glass light fittings and the interior back wall being taken up by Space Alchemy’s cement art work which illusionistically extends the restaurant’s space.
The NY Metropolitan’s Live in HD opera season starting Friday 16th November. The 8 operas will run for about 7 days each at Cinema Nouveau in Rosebank starting on Friday and running through till March next year.
There is also a new season of filmed National Theatre productions. There are only 4 showings each and these often get very booked up so its good to get a seat should you wish to see any of these productions. The Last of the Haussmans by Stephen Beresford and starring Julie Walters shows on Nov 17th, 18th, 21st and 22nd. The Telegraph described the play as a reflection of ‘broken Britain’.
Simon Russell plays Timon in Shakespeare’s Timon and Athens showing on December 8th, 9th, 12th and 13th.
The third screened play is a farce: The Magistrate by Victorian playwright Arthur Wing Pinero. This shows on February 23, 24th 27, 28th
On Saturday 17th November there is a Johannesburg Heritage Foundation walk (2 hours) past 2 homes in Parktown: Brenthurst, & Timewell with a visit to Etunzini. [Unfortunately this tour is for members only but there is still time to join. Phone Eira on (011) 482-3349] Back to the tour .. Brenthurst was designed by Baker in 1903 for Drummond and Marguerite Chaplin and has been home to the Oppenheimer family since 1924, while Timewell was built for Howard Pim and was also designed by Baker. Etunzini was designed by Baker’s star pupil, Gordon Leith. Park in Federation Rd and meet outside the gates of Brenthurst at 14.00 Cost R80 – remember Members only.
On Saturday 8th December also with the Johannesburg Heritage Foudnation at 14.00 you can join a walking tour to explore the beautiful park-like grounds of the Johannesburg Country Club in Auckland Park. Established 106 years ago, it was described at the opening as ‘a leafy country retreat, with a gurgling stream bubbling through its lovely gardens into a tree-lined lake’. Stunning landscaping and amazing grounds make this well worth a visit for those that have never been. Meet at Country Club Napier St at 14.00. R70.00 for members and R100.00 for non-members
The Johannesburg Heritage Foundation is running a particularly interesting walking tour on Saturday 15th December: Main St and Mining Houses. The blurb reads: Main Street in the JHB CBD stretches from the Magistrates Court and Chancellor House where Nelson Mandela practiced law, to Gandhi Square, where Mohandas Gandhi had his legal offices. The street is lined with a variety of building styles. Interspersed, are old mining equipment and artwork, reflecting the gold mining heritage and associated activities. Park in the Nedbank parking lot. Entrance in Marshall Street (one way street) between Loveday and Rissik Streets. Meet in Gandhi Square – in front of Gandhi’s statue at 14.00 R70.00 for members and R100.00 for non-members.