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Dylan Haley – Far Out! Film Night

Who: Dylan Haley
What: Far Out Film Night
Where: Dome Cinema
When: Last Tuesday of the month, 6:30pm
Cost: $10 on the door, bookings essential 027 590 2117

Meet Dylan Haley, a guy with an infectious laugh and the organiser of the monthly Far Out Film Nights at the Dome Cinema.

Dylan grew up in Berkeley, California, a city well-known for its liberalism. An epicentre of the anti-Vietnam war and Free Speech movements of the 60’s in the US, Berkeley has kept that tradition of radical politics and challenging the status quo to this day. “It’s a pretty groovy place” says Dylan and he reckons that most people born there never leave. But Dylan did leave, initially to go to art school in New York and then to Los Angeles to “surround himself with artists”. 

It was while he was living in L.A. that Dylan met Sarah, a Kiwi lass who had ended up immersed in the music industry, starting out DJing in bars and moving into music licencing, with a role placing music in film and Television.

Whilst Dylan still sometimes feels as if being here in Gisborne is some kind of happy accident, the pair made a conscious decision to ditch the rat race and find a place to raise a family of their own. With Sarah’s family all living here, Gisborne was that perfect place and Dylan reckons that Gisborne and Berkeley share a similar vibe in some ways; a special kind of soul that you don’t just find anywhere.

Since moving to Gisborne five years ago Dylan says he’s been educated on all sorts of things from beekeeping to growing vegetables to fence building, and he’s enjoyed growing friendships built upon shared interests in music and art. However he’d been here for a while when he started to realise how much he was missing chewing the fat about film with other people who were as excited about it as he was.

For Dylan it was time living next to some excellent video stores, first in NY and then LA that really got him into watching movies. It was always something of a solitary endeavour until the company Dylan did graphic design for opened a film distribution wing; restoring old films, repackaging them and redistributing them. Dylan started doing the poster design for the films – something he continues doing to this day – and finding himself surrounded by film nerds, his appreciation for film and talking about it with others, was thoroughly entrenched.

In his early days of Gisborne living Dylan would wander over to the Ballance Street Village to grab some lunch from the bakery. He’d often stop by at Retro, to yarn with Ro Darrall. When Sally from the Dome Cinema also showed up at the shop on one of those occasions, Ro prompted Dylan to share his idea for a regular film night showing classic films with her. Sally was sold, and in true Gizzy-styles, Far Out Film Night was born.

So what is Far Out Film Night? Each month Dylan chooses a film from his own personal catalogue of favourites. He goes for films that have stood the test of time but that are also somehow a little fringe-y, left of centre, usually with some kind of anti-hero theme, and always with substance.

Getting the rights to screen any particular film is an exercise which can have Dylan communicating directly with the family of deceased filmmakers or the original film producers and it’s a part of the process he enjoys. 

On the night Dylan introduces the film, touching on anything from the social or political history which may have shaped the film, to the backgrounds of particular actors, fun facts about the director or the likes. He is passionate about the films he shows, as an intentional curation of some of the best films that have ever been made. He especially relishes seeing old films on the big screen, likening the experience to time machine travel into the past. 

For Dylan the Far Out Film Nights have achieved his own personal goal in finding people to talk film with, with some of the regulars soon becoming firm friends, and for Gisborne people, it’s an opportunity to enrich both our cultural and social lives; an opportunity to step out of our own lives for a couple of hours to experience someone else’s reality, in another time and place.

Far Out Film Night is on the last Tuesday of the month (that’s tonight!) at the Dome Bar and Cinema. The doors open for pizza and toasty hang outs from 5pm and the film starts at 6:30pm. Bookings are essential because these nights are pretty popular!

Tonight’s film is a documentary about the life of pianist and jazz great, Thelonious Sphere Monk. Featuring live performances by Monk and his band, and interviews with friends and family about the offbeat genius, Dylan reckons this is another banger of a film!

Bonus Hot Tips from Dylan: 

#1 If you are searching for something quality to watch on Netflix right now, look for the film Crip Camp. Not only does it prominently feature Dylan’s hometown, he reckons it will have you remembering what we are all here for. 

#2 If you’re wanting to break free of Netflix you might want to check out streaming platform mubi.com – comparable in price to other platforms, available in NZ and good for films in particular.

You can follow the Far Out Film Night on Instagram @far.out.film.night

In Tribute to the Tribute Band

An influx of leather and lace hit Gisborne over the weekend. Or should I say a Landslide? Venturing here for the second time, the quintet of Andrea Clarke, Lee Cooper, Taine Ngatai, Gareth Scott and Garin Keane played on Friday and Saturday night to a sold-out crowd at The Dome Bar and Cinema.

The Dome’s velvet-clad cinema room was the perfect venue for an evening of magic melodies and fond nostalgia. An audience of both young and old stood alongside each other, captivated by an assortment of Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks classics such as ‘Little Lies, ‘Rhiannon’ and ‘Edge of Seventeen’. There was barely a single stagnant body in the room when Landslide unleashed their encore of ‘The Chain’. Seasoned vocals were bolstered by playful instrumental performances – Gareth Scott’s dynamic drum solo in ‘Tusk’ being a longstanding “crowd favourite” according to Clarke, and the glockof the cowbell gave ‘Gold Dust Woman’ a psychedelic edge.

An accidental tribute band, Landslide begun in 2012 after increasing requests for songs by Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks from Clarke and husband Lee Cooper’s cover band at the time (Retro Vibe). The people were heard – Clarke and Lee put together a band that exclusively played these. “I started looking for more material and found myself falling totally in love with the songs, especially with Stevie [Nick’s] insightful and poetic style of writing” Clarke says. A full-time performer, Clarke has a generous portfolio in musical performance. For her, Fleetwood Mac are a natural fit, allowing her to draw on her background in rock, country and blues. The genre-ambiguity of Fleetwood Mac also makes it more gratifying for the band to perform; the Landslideset list displaying the transformation of music trends over the 70’s & 80’s. In true Fleetwood Mac style, the group has had different members over their 7 years. Clarke and Cooper are the veterans but their group is spiked by energetic new blood and impressive heads of hair. “We have always strived to find suitable players to keep the band fresh and especially love to bring in young, talented musicians as well as seasoned professionals to the mix”. 

With her spirited locks and honeyed voice, it’s lucky she looks and sounds like Stevie Nicks, but Clarke insists she’s just performing as herself. There are no personas, no playing pretend in this band. Just a group of musicians, transparently playing certain songs as best they can. Their songs aren’t supposed to be note-for-note replicas either. As long as the essence of the song is captured and the recognisable parts are all there, the band members have the creative freedom to impart a bit of their own style into the performance. Part of being a tribute band is going the extra mile to create a sense of occasion. Landslide’s stage decoration, violet lighting, the heavy aroma of burning incense, their bohemian costuming right down to the black gloves adorning Clarke’s hands – all these individual touches are all part of taking their audience away. It can be tough being a tribute band for one of the most loved groups of all time. Clarke admits that funnily the most complimentary thing to hear sometimes is that people didn’t hate the show, because fans can be so fiercely loyal to the originals.   

So what is it that makes Fleetwood Mac so popular even today? Not only are they iconic singalongs found on any road trip playlist or karaoke line-up, but Clarke thinks it’s their relatability and sentimental value makes them timeless. “These songs have literally been the soundtrack to a lot of people’s lives and are deeply intertwined with memories and experiences that have been significant to them”. It is music shared by old acquaintances of the original songs in the 70’ & 80s, but also by their children. 

For Clarke, a memorable performance is a marriage between the technical aspects coming together and an interactive audience. She has too many favourite songs to list, but notes “the most emotional I have felt on stage is when several hundred people sing the song Landslide with me…that’s an incredible experience”. She and her husband are more inspired by ‘old school music’ but also lists modern artists such as Ellie Goulding and Ed Sheeran as some of her favourites for their crafted lyrics and vocal ability. This got me thinking about the Starry Eyed and Thinking Out Loud tribute bands that might emerge 50 years from now…  

A lot of administration is involved in orchestrating a tour away from Auckland, Landslide’s home base, but Clarke reckons they’re keen to make the trip East a regular thing.  I’ve started rehearsing in the shower for Landslide’s next show, but until then, you can stay up to date with the group at www.facebook.com/landslideshow

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