Ster-Kinekor is opening an Imax Theatre at The Grove mall in Pretoria

ImaxIt has been announced that Southern Africa’s leading cinema chain Ster-Kinekor is opening an Imax theatre at The Grove Mall in Pretoria.

Ster-Kinekor has signed an agreement with IMAX Corporation to install a second IMAX® theatre, following the successful opening of its first theatre at Gateway in Durban, in November 2013. The site for the second cinema will be at the recently opened Ster-Kinekor cinema complex at The Grove Mall in Pretoria East. The installation of The IMAX Experience®, including IMAX® 3D, will commence shortly, with the doors expected to open to the public in June this year.

Says Fiaz Mahomed, CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres: “Our promise to our audiences is to continue bringing them great cinema moments at their greatest, and we are achieving this by introducing new cinema viewing experiences, upgrading existing sites, opening new sites, installing the latest technology and staying in touch with our customers through a variety of communication platforms. On that note, it is difficult to envisage a greater moment than watching a blockbuster movie on a massive screen within the world’s most immersive cinematic experience. That is what we as Ster-Kinekor and The IMAX Experience® offer you.

“The Grove Mall has been selected as our second preferred site for an IMAX theatre. Our new cinema complex in the upgraded entertainment area of this iconic mall is performing exceptionally well and is a promising site for us. The public reaction to the IMAX theatre at Gateway has been extremely positive, and it is proving to be a popular choice for an immersive cinema experience. With a number of big blockbuster films releasing in the IMAX format this year and a strong cinema-going culture in this part of the country, we are confident that our second IMAX theatre at The Grove will perform equally well,” comments Mahomed.

“Internationally, IMAX theatres are enjoying renewed success and have become a popular viewing option. We are confident that our local audiences in Pretoria, and further afield, will also welcome and support this exciting new development.” Says Andrew Cripps, President, IMAX EMEA: “We entered into the initial partnership with Ster-Kinekor last year with the belief that it would not only raise our visibility in South Africa, but also set the stage for mutual growth opportunities in the region. It is encouraging to see that this is already bearing fruit, with the opening of the second IMAX theatre in June this year – a mere seven months later.”

As with the roll-out to convert all cinemas to digital projection that was completed towards the end of last year at all Ster-Kinekor sites, the return of IMAX to the country reinforces the company’s position as the industry market leader.

Construction on the IMAX theatre at The Grove Mall in Pretoria will commence during April 2014. The expected completion date is June this year, to coincide with the much-anticipated international release of Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction at the end of June. This film is being partially filmed with IMAX’s new
3D digital cameras. These specific sequences, which will expand to fill more of the screen exclusively in IMAX, will deliver unprecedented crispness and clarity and a truly immersive experience for moviegoers.

“With more than 25 full-length feature films scheduled for an IMAX or IMAX 3D release in 2014, we are confident that this is going to be a big year to watch the best films on the Ster-Kinekor IMAX screens,” concludes Mahomed.

Exclusive Interview with a Sensual Masseuse in Johannesburg

sophia

Sophia, a masseuse who offers sensual massage in Johannesburg

Most people have seen those adverts on the back page of the classifieds section of the newspaper offering erotic massage and sensual massage. Most of these adverts feature scantily clad women promising a “body to body massage” with a “happy ending”. An entire industry has developed around sensual massage in South Africa, with sensual massage parlors being frequented by the local (mostly male) population. We held an exclusive interview with a sensual masseuse in Johannesburg, Sophia, to get some perspectives from a sensual masseuse regarding the sensual massage business, clients, and life in general.

According to Sophia’s website, she offers “a deeply sensual and loving touch massage… using long slow and full body strokes [to] bring you to a point of  relaxation and arousal.

Sophia was down-to-earth, candid and open in the interview – here’s how it went…

What did you do before becoming a sensual masseuse?

I was a pattern maker. I still do make the occasional pattern and design and make clothing. However, I have massaged for the last 10 years or so in the Kahuna Style of Massage (the Hawaiian style) which lends itself very well to sensual massage.

How did you learn to give sensual massages – are you self-taught or did you receive any training?

I already had a solid base of massage training. I am a sensual person, I love sensuality and sexuality in general, so it was easy for me to transition to sensual massage. I find the massage itself soothing the sensuality just adds that extra loving touch which I find so many people need, and by that I mean men and women as I offer sensual massage to men, women and couples.

How long have you been giving sensual massages?

Professionally about 9 months

Why did you decide to go into sensual massage?

A growing interest in sensuality and a love of people. Initially it was also for financial reasons, I took a chance and answered an ad, never looked back. Later it became a real and sincere love of the work I do and the fact that is does make a difference to the people I see.

What is the best part of your job?

A few different things. The flexible hours help me to manage my life and see more of my still young child. My clients are the nicest people. I really do meet and enjoy the company of interesting and great clients. The fact that I make someone else’s day better everyday at least once.

What is the worst part of your job?

The very occasional demanding client. I have learned though, not to let a client get control of the massage and to lay down the boundaries very firmly. There are some arrogant people out there, usually they don’t get the best of me.

Have you worked at a sensual massage parlour before starting your own business?

I did, I only lasted for three months.

What are the major differences between working at a sensual massage parlour and running your own business?

I don’t wear lingerie, I am who I am and my clients know me meeting them in comfy clothes and normally no make up. For them and for me it is about the massage and the experience. My clients are my clients, I am not competing with 20 or so other girls for a client. My hours are my own. My fee is my own. I work regular hours, occasionally I may have a late client, but I make more money working alone, for far less time commitment. I give a better quality massage and experience as I’m free to work the way I prefer to. I can develop relationships with my clients as my regular clients are my own and aren’t going to a different girl in the house each time. It is more about the sensuality and less about the sleaze.

On average, how many clients to you see per day?

Generally 2 – 3 but I do have days where I can see up to 5 clients a day.

How often do clients ask for more than a sensual massage?

Almost never happens in the therapy room. I usually filter out any requests for this on the phone/by email/and on my website before they have even made an appointment.

How do you deal with situations where a client asks for more than a sensual massage?

I point out gently and firmly that it is not an option. My clients are not interested in having sex with me, my regular clientele are genuinely interested in having a really good relaxing sensual massage experience. If they want sex they know where to find it.

Do you ever get aroused when giving sensual massages or is it just a “job”?

I’m not a lamp post and like any other relationship, when two people have chemistry it is hard to ignore. I of course enjoy seeing those clients more than others, however, I would still not cross that line. I am a professional.

What are some of the stranger requests you have received from clients?

I had a client (not one of my regular clients) call and ask for breastmilk

Do your friends and family know you are a sensual masseuse, and if so, what is their attitude towards it?

I don’t lie to anyone, not to my family or to the man in my life, it means I can be completely honest and it keeps life simple. They are all fine with it. It depends on how you handle and present it. I do not see what I do as cheap, or sleazy. I don’t see myself as anything less than someone who offers a genuinely heartfelt service to people who need it. I take what I do seriously and so do the people around me.

Would you ever consider dating a client?

I have a very satisfying personal relationship, so no. But even if I was single I wouldn’t. I have had one client who tried to push for that. I learned from that not to let relationships with clients even get to the point where they think that there is a chance of that.

Cape Epic Oakley Opera Singer Video

The Cape Epic is an annual mountain biking event which is held over a period of 8 days in the Western Cape. Two man teams participate in the event, and it is known to be a grueling event which tests the physical and mental capabilities of participants on a route which covers approximately 700 kilometers. In this year’s Cape Epic, participants were treated to a mysterious opera singer perched on a hill towards the end of the track. Unbeknown to them, the opera singer was part of a promotional campaign for Oakley sunglasses. Watch the Oakley opera singer video here:

During the Cape Epic, participants who had been cycling in the heat for days must have wondered whether they were hallucinating or seeing a mirage – they were not aware that it was part of an Oakley advertising campaign aimed at generating a stir and getting people talking. The release of the video marked the unveiling of the identity of the mysterious Oakley opera singer.

Opera in South Africa: Metropolitan Opera at Cinema Nouveau

For all fans of opera in South Africa, the highly successful Season VII of Live in HD from The Metropolitan Opera in New York was launched exclusively at Cinema Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor theaters in November last year. The season runs through to June this year, and features ten magnificent productions.

During April and May, another glorious production will be screened at Cinema Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor cinemas in the form of the classic love story, La Bohème, from the pen of Puccini, from 26 April, for a limited season.

An exciting young cast stars in Franco Zeffirelli’s breathtaking production of La Bohème, the most-performed opera in Met history. Italian star tenor Vittorio Grigolo makes his Live in HD debut as the passionate poet Rodolfo, and Romanian soprano Anita Hartig makes her highly anticipated Met debut as his fragile lover, Mimì. Susanna Phillips sings the flirtatious Musetta and Massimo Cavalletti is the painter, Marcello, in this performance led by Italian conductor Stefano Ranzani in his first Met performance of Puccini’s beloved opera.

Featuring a cast of hundreds, a glorious onstage snow scene, and a detailed reconstruction of the Latin Quarter in Paris, this broadcast marks 15 million viewers for the Live in HD series, which now reaches 66 countries worldwide.

La Bohème, the passionate, timeless, and indelible story of love among young artists in Paris, can stake its claim as the world’s most popular opera. It has a marvelous ability to make a powerful first impression (even to those new to opera) and to reveal unsuspected treasures after dozens of hearings.

At first glance, La Bohème is the definitive depiction of the joys and sorrows of love and loss; on closer inspection however, it reveals the deep emotional significance hidden in the trivial things (a bonnet, an old overcoat, a chance meeting with a neighbour) that make up our everyday lives.

The opera is written by Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924), who was immensely popular in his own lifetime and whose mature works remain staples in the repertory of most of the world’s opera companies. His operas are celebrated for their mastery of detail, sensitivity to everyday subjects, copious melody, and economy of expression.

Puccini’s librettists for La Bohème, Giuseppe Giacosa (1847-1906) and Luigi Illica (1857-1919), also collaborated with Puccini on his two other most enduringly successful operas, Tosca and Madama Butterfly.

The libretto sets the action in Paris, circa 1830. This is not a random setting, but rather reflects the issues and concerns of a particular time and place. After the upheavals of revolution and war, French artists had lost their traditional support base of aristocracy and church and were desperate for new sources of income. The rising bourgeoisie took up the burden of patronising artists and earned their contempt in return.

The story, then, centres on self-conscious youth at odds with mainstream society, feeling themselves morally superior to the rules of the bourgeois (specifically regarding sexual mores) and expressing their independence with affectations of speech and dress. The Bohemian ambience of this opera is clearly recognisable in any modern urban centre, with La Bohème capturing perfectly this ethos in its earliest days.

La Bohème had its Met premiere while the company was on tour in Los Angeles (the same city where it received its American premiere) in 1900. Nellie Melba sang Mimi and improbably added the mad scene from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lamermoor as an encore after the final curtain (a practice she maintained for several other performances). This production lasted until 1952, when it was replaced by one designed by Rolf Gerard and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who insisted his name be removed after a disagreement with some of the singers.

The current spectacular production by Franco Zeffirelli was unveiled in 1981 with an impressive cast that included Teresa Stratas, José Carreras, Renata Scotto, Richard Stilwell, and James Morris, with James Levine conducting. As the most performed opera in the Met’s history, La Bohème was presented at the Met in 58 consecutive seasons after its first appearance and has been performed in all but six seasons since 1900.

“Hartig was a strong dramatic force, conveying a sense of the vibrant, joyful spirit fighting against the oppressive fatigue of her illness. She brought the sort of glowing, mellifluous sound that makes Puccini’s writing light up. A tight, even vibrato and warm tone, paired with sculpted phrases made Hartig’s performance the one of the standout debuts of the season.” – New York Classical Review

As with La Bohème, these grand opera productions are filmed at the magnificent Metropolitan Opera House in New York, home to some of the most talented singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers and dancers from around the world. Their past productions have received great acclaim and have gained recognition around the world. Now, and as it has done since Live in HD began, Cinema Nouveau continues to provide audiences with the exclusive opportunity to witness these spectacular and award-winning near-live broadcasts in South Africa.

This glorious production that will be screened exclusively at Cinema Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor theatres countrywide from Saturday, 26 April: Gateway Nouveau, Durban; V&A Nouveau in Cape Town; Somerset Mall, Cape Town; Blue Route Mall, Cape Town; Garden Route Mall, George; Rosebank Nouveau in Johannesburg; Bedford Centre, Johannesburg and at Brooklyn Nouveau, Pretoria. Their release onto the big digital cinema screen affords South African lovers of opera the unique opportunity to become an integral part of these ‘near-live’ and breathtaking performances.

The running time of La Bohème is approximately 3hrs, 25mins, with two intermissions.

To book tickets and for more information, please visit www.cinemanouveau.co.za or www.sterkinekor.mobi

Here’s a taste of what you can expect:

And Nightclub in Braamfontein – Parody of DA Advert

Earlier this week we brought you a post regarding the DA election advert that was banned by the SABC. And Nightclub in Braamfontein, a newly launched nightclub, has released an advert which is a parody of the DA’s advert – it’s about the lack of good house music in our nightclubs. And it’s pretty funny (especially when it is compared with the DA’s advert).

Here’s the video of the advert:

US Airways Tweets NSFW Tweet

us airways nsfw tweetUS Airways shared an extremely graphic NSFW tweet depicting a picture of a customer with a toy airplane strategically placed in her nether region.

The customer in question was complaining about US Airways’ poor service, and in the tweet, the airline said “We welcome feedback, Elle. If your travel is complete, you can detail here for review and follow up”. Clearly the airline did not notice that the woman had sent the picture with her feedback, and inadvertently shared the picture with its thousands of twitter followers.

The tweet remained online for almost an hour before US Airways noticed the issue, and had already been retweeted and shared on the internet. In a subsequent tweet, the airline apologised for sharing the photo by sending out the following tweet: “We apologize for an inappropriate image recently shared, as a link in one of our responses. We’ve removed the tweet and are investigating.”

Given the inadvertent sharing of the tweet, the customer’s complaint will definitely have come to the attention of senior management at the airline!

If you absolutely have to see the uncensored version of the picture, be warned that it is very NSFW. It can be viewed HERE (don’t say we didn’t warn you!).

New Cycling Routes Planned for Johannesburg

cycling laneCycling has gained momentum in recent years as a popular pastime among Johannesburg’s residents. There are a number of recreational mountain biking routes that have gained popularity, including the Spruit route between Craighall Park and Emmarentia Dam, Northern Farm and routes in Modderfontein. However, a lack of infrastructure has prevented cycling from transforming from a recreational activity to a viable form of daily transport for Johannesburg’s residents. The good news is that there are new cycling routes planned for Johannesburg, with cycling lanes likely to be built in urban areas during the next 6 years.

A feasibility study is reportedly being undertaken for a 20km cycling route to be built from Rosebank to Sandton through Melrose Arch and Parkview. The results of the study are due to be published in around September this year.

If it becomes a reality, the project will involve the building of separate cycling paths along the roads, as well as the installation of signage, lighting and benches. The plan also involves integating the cycling route with existing public transport routes, including installing safe bicycle storage facilities at Gautrain, Metrorail and Rea Vaya stations. This will allow people to travel by bike up to a certain point, and to use public transport from that point to their destinations. From a safety perspective, the plan is for lighting to be upgraded and CCTV surveillance to be installed.

One of the biggest challenges to the viability of the system, is the attitude of drivers – if drivers don’t respect the right of cyclists to share the roads and adjust their driving accordingly, cyclists will be at risk of being injured or killed in accidents. Unless steps are taken to address this, this risk is likely to deter many people from using the system as a daily means of transport. It would therefore be important for the launch of the cycling routes to be accompanied by a campaign to sensitise other road-users to the need to be considerate towards cyclists.

We will bring you more regarding the project as soon as further details become available.

DA Advert Banned by SABC Goes Viral

Advertising on television is a costly business. With the national election drawing near, the larger political parties are reaching deep into their pockets and spending hundreds of thousands of Rands on prime time radio and television adverts. The DA’s advertising campaign includes adverts relating to corruption, e-tolls, the Nkandla scandal and the Marikana massacre, with its adverts aiming to highlight what the DA believes reflects the ANC’s poor leadership. A DA advert banned by SABC has made headlines today, and the Youtube video of the advert has gone viral as a result of the banning.

It seems that the DA has benefited from the banning – they got a huge amount of free advertising: it cost the DA nothing to upload a video on Youtube, and the media attention that the advert received as a result of the SABC’s decision to ban it, drew attention to the Youtube video of the advert and made it go viral, racking up nearly 200 000 views in a period of 5 days.

The SABC claims that its reason for banning the advert was that it has the potential to incite violence. Skeptics believe that there is more to the decision – the SABC is funded by public money channeled from our taxes through the ANC government.

The DA has launched a challenge against the SABC’s decision to ban the advert with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), and the outcome of ASA’s decision will be known shortly.

It seems that the best way to get free advertising is to make a mildly controversial advert and hope that it gets banned – the public can’t resist “forbidden fruit”. Once an advert is banned, that instantly creates intrigue and draws attention to the advert, resulting in the public seeking out ways to watch the advert out to see what the fuss is all about.

You can watch the DA advert banned by SABC here:

Burger King in Durban at The Pavilion Shopping Centre

Yet another exciting feature of the Pavilion Shopping Centre’s upgrade has been revealed when the new food court began serving up a wide variety of culinary treats this month, including burgers and other fast food from the first Burger King in Durban.

The food court has been taking shape behind the scenes in the Cinema Level and forms part of an exciting new entertainment node with a new double volume glass entrance and additional parking bays.

The entertainment node began with the opening of the new Nu Metro Cinema complex late last year. In addition to giving existing cinemas a face lift, Nu Metro launched four new ones, including 2 luxurious Scene cinemas which not only provide comfortable leather recliners but also allow patrons to enjoy a drink or light meal as part of the experience.

Nisha Kemraj, the General Manager of The Pavilion, said the food court caters for both movie goers and shoppers who are looking for a quick bite to eat, a day out with the family or that all important quality time with that special someone.

Aside from the first Burger King in Durban,  new eateries that make up the food court include existing favourites such as Café Gitano, Mimmos, Debonairs Pizza, Steers, Subway, Ocean Basket, KFC, Kansas Spur, Sausage Saloon, as well as newcomers such as Adega, Anat, Coconut Grove, Eatwise, Fishaways, My Diners, Jimmy’s Killer Grill, RJ’s, Galaxy Grill House and Simply Asia.

Sweet treats and a welcome cool drink or ice cream are available from Sweets from Heaven, Brittans Sweets and Milky Lane which are already popular in the mall as well as new comers Cups and Cones, Boost Juice, Filo Yoghurt, and I Drink Bubble Milk Tea.

We are excited about the introduction of the Fun Company to the entertainment offering. The Fun Company specialises in action-packed activities such as Superbowling (tenpin bowling), arcade games and Spin Zone bumper cars and even includes a sports bar.

As Kemraj explains, this is interactive all-round family entertainment at its best with something for everyone, regardless of age, “Value is the most important aspect in today’s retail market remains top of mind for our
customers. We share a common goal with our retailers – to make shopping a fun and fulfilling experience and attract more customers on a continual basis. We’re going all out to completely redefine our customers’ shopping experiences,” she said.

#NotABugSplat Artwork to Convince Drone Pilots Not to Shoot

notabugsplatThere is a project called #NotABugSplat in Northern Pakistan which involves the use of an artwork to convince drone pilots not to shoot in areas where civilians are present. The artwork depicts a giant portrait of a young girl in an open field. The subject of the portrait is a girl who was reportedly orphaned by a drone strike which killed her parents in Pakistan.

Interestingly, the artwork was not installed in an area where drone strikes are common, and did not remain intact after its installation – parts of it were removed by local villages who used it for building material. The portrait was deliberately made using materials that could be used by the villagers for building purposes.

The artwork was therefore not actually aimed at being physically visible to drones flying over Pakistan, but was symbolic – it was aimed at being photographed in order for the #NotABugSplat project to “go viral” on the internet. Ultimately, the aim is to raise awareness regarding civilian casualties resulting from drone strikes.

A dozen further #NotABugSplat artwork installations will be installed around Pakistan in the coming weeks, and while they may not be installed in areas where they are visible to actual drone pilots, the internet has caused the #NotABugSplat message to spread even more widely than this.

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