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Exclusive Inclusivity - The Napkin Diaries

The Napkin Diaries

by Paula Pistol

Exclusive Inclusivity


Sarah Barr's father was in town, demanding a circuit of the Capital's cultural delights. Knowing he's a fan of great big abstracts, we escorted him to JS Parker's exhibition opening at Tinakori Gallery.

Then I raced across town to meet Gita Mann, who was taking me as her partner to the "special, exclusive screening" of Lord of the Rings footage at the Embassy. We'd wanted to take Sarah and her tourist dad but the "special, exclusive" bit put us off.

It didn't put off the 1200 people queuing outside the Embassy. Turns out they were only expecting 800. Also turns out the evening was an advertorial for Embassy Trust "memberships" - starting at $2,250 and heading upwards - to raise funds to complete the foyer refurbishment.

The finished theatre will look gorgeous, with art deco mosaics and sweeping staircases. It's great of Peter Jackson to craftily tie his films in with the fund-raising effort. In return for your cold, hard cash, you get a bunch of goodies including a ticket or two to the Fellowship of the Ring Premiere on December 19th. Not to "the" Premiere though, but to the Premiere after the Premiere, the same night. For those still interested in the ancient art of gold digging, it struck me that this was a good place for partner-catching.

Are there really enough people with the ready cash to spend on scalpers'-price tickets to a LOTR Premiere? I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised with the Embassy's confidence in Wellingtonians' wallets. There is the trend that, as the sharemarket goes all wobbly-kneed, more is spent on tangible valuables, such as art.

At that very moment across town, Sarah the art-haggler had been finalising her father's purchase of a Parker, while he placed the red dot under the painting. As she tells it, she turned around and he'd vanished into the night, no doubt to finish his cultural circuit of the city. Naturally, a worse for wear Sarah (they'd both gotten into the sponsors' product...)elicited gasps and sympathy from surrounding revellers as she stumbled around saying "I've lost my father". Until she explained that no, she had literally, physically lost him.

Back at the Embassy, we toyed with hanging around the "rich door", i.e. the door that people interested in memberships were asked to go through. But Gita has a nutty Plan B. It involves getting to the "real" Premiere by hooking up with one of the stars. Since it's the Australasian premiere, we're homing in on David Wenham and Hugo Weaving, though Sean Bean is completely luscious in the ... oops, I forgot. All 1200 of us have been asked to keep quiet about the footage we saw...

We finished the night at the Jazz Club, taking in the last of that festival, and who should we find but Sarah's dad - clicking his fingers, nodding his head, enjoying some more abstract art. With a red dot in the middle of his forehead. One phone call to Sarah, and we had a happy ending.

napkindiaries@hotmail.com

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