The last place you may expect to find a pirate is in the middle of the desert, thus Zach McGowan cuts an interesting figure standing in the Karoo. One of the stars of the hit U.S. television series Shameless, he is currently on location in South Africa filming a new show entitled Black Sails. Set 10 years before the events of Treasure Island, he has been immersing himself in swashbuckling and pirate lore to portray Captain Charles Vane – one of the numerous pirates that will be seen in the show. He took the time to visit Inverdoorn recently with his brother Matt McGowan and their friend Eric Litman, visiting from New York City.
Pippa Tshabalala is a bubble of energy and a versatile woman, bouncing from presenting to writing to producing – clearly someone who keeps herself very busy. Not only is she a jack-of-all-trades, but she has plenty of passion too. One of her favourite pursuits is tattoos. She has several adorning her body and the Cape Town Tattoo Convention, Southern Ink Xposure – which has been running annually since 2009 – is something she never misses. “I go every year. I have been since the first year and the only year I didn’t have any work done was when I was pregnant. This year I had two pieces done. One by Jan “Munky” Giebelmann from Fallen Heroes and another by Milo “Mr. Lucky” Marcer, my go-to guy.” She speaks about her tattoos with the excitement of a child telling you what she got for Christmas. She had her first tattoo done when she was 18 and admits that she went for a bit of a cliché, having Chinese writing stamped on the left side of her back – “but it does mean what I thought it meant,” she assures me. Although a bit bashful about it, she says she will never have it removed. It has become a symbol for her, “to remind me to think things through carefully.” You can ask her anything about the art and she will be able to answer with ease and dexterity. The same can be said of gaming, her other passion.
Many South Africans are already familiar with Zach McGowan, who plays Jody Silverman in the wildly popular US TV series Shameless, based on the British show of the same name. Hailing from New York and now residing in Los Angeles, he is currently in Cape Town and has been overwhelmed at the response he’s had in the Mother City. He runs into fans of the show all the time and tells me that “at the Old Biscuit Mill I posed for 63 photos in one hour”. He grins mischievously before stating that, “out of all the cities in the world, Cape Town is the most Shameless”.
The band formerly known as Flat Stanley is back. Renamed Macstanley, they performed in Cape Town last week for the launch of their first album in four years. QV54 was the chosen venue for this long-awaited occasion. The name refers to its location, 54 Queen Victoria Street, and the building is an old bank which has been renovated into an upmarket venue. Considering the band’s blend of mellow vibes and rock ‘n’ roll, it seemed an odd choice; but the disparity was soon forgotten, because as far as the fans are concerned these guys could launch their album in the middle of the street and they’d be there cheering them on.
In all the excitement over the past few months at Inverdoorn with the elephants and baby rhinos, the focus seems to have strayed from the cheetahs. This is, however, not the case and there is a lot of activity at the Western Cape Cheetah Conservation (WCCC). It is always a pleasure to catch up with cheetah handler Leah Brousse and she eagerly recounts developments at the WCCC. The good news is that “Banzi and Nushka will soon be released into the breeding facility.” This is a major step for the siblings, particularly for Banzi. Born with a growth plate deformity, he successfully survived experimental surgery against all odds and is still very much alive and kicking.
Going to Inverdoorn is naturally about the animals and their conservation, but it is equally inspiring to meet the staff and talk to them about what they do. Not only are elephants introduced and baby rhinos rescued, there are often new people as well. Marlene Nieuwoudt is one of the fresh faces at Inverdoorn, joining the Western Cape Cheetah Conservation as a cheetah handler. She has been there for two and a half weeks, but the ease she displays working with the animals and her inherent passion would make anyone think she has been there much longer.
Unless you are well versed in the history of theatre and film, a brief lesson is perhaps required for Noel and Gertie. Noel Coward was an English playwright, director, composer and actor and Gertrude Lawrence (but you can call her Gertie) was an English actress, singer and dancer. She often collaborated with Coward and they had a complex and tempestuous relationship. Noel and Gertie is a reflection of their work, and particularly their collaboration; while their unspoken passion for each other provides an undercurrent of tension. It is a story told through song, dance and drama, highlighting Coward’s play Private Lives, as well as Still Life, which was eventually adapted for the screen and re-titled Brief Encounter.