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Thursday, July 21, 2011

SA poker player unlucky number 13

A 34-year-old shipping executive from Durban SA, Konstantinos Mamaliadis, came 13th in the World Series of Poker's main event this week. He picked up just over $478 000 for his place at the tournament played by thousands of people.

The only other South African poker player to make the final table of “The Big One” is Raymond Rahme, who did it in 2007, finishing third.

Martin Staszko of the Czech Republic is the chip leader. He stands to win nearly $9m. Players pay $10 000 to take part in the event.

The final table of nine players will finish the tournament in November this year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kylie Minogue Aphrodite - Princess becomes Queen in Sun City

Roll my chariot

Long-time fans of Australia’s pop superstar, Kylie Minogue, would have been wowed by her slick performances this weekend at the Sun City Superbowl. She played nearly all of her hits and wore extravagant costumes designed by Dolce and Gabbana. A slightly weaker voice from over-use, or just too long a tour, was supported by two excellent backup singers. The audience was also transfixed by spectacular dancers and a stage with people swimming under water on it.

Minogue, who is 43-years-old, launched her singing career in 1987, releasing her first album, Kylie, in 1988. Her latest tour was for her 11th album, Aphrodite. In her 24-year career, she had not set foot on a South African stage until last weekend.

I do not want to call time on her career, but chances are slim that she will visit our stages again, at least not in the next few years. This is why it was pleasing to hear strong renditions of her songs covering pop trends in the 1980s, 90s, 2000s and 2010s.

Highlights of her Saturday show included Better The Devil You Know, Love At First Sight, Confide In Me and In My Arms.

Of course, there were plenty of tracks from Aphrodite, including all of the singles released off of the album so far, Put Your Hands Up (If You Feel Love), Better Than Today, Get Outta My Way and All The Lovers, which she closed with. They all worked very well live.

She really likes her audience. During her acoustic, If You Don’t Love Me, she paused for a while, looking overwhelmed by the energy of her performance on the night. The thinness of her voice did hinder her on this song though. She may have been slightly tired. SA’s shows are the last of her 77-show worldwide tour. Nevertheless, the golden circle crowd, especially moved to the vibe of the show, even if the seated folks could have jived a bit more.

Miss Minogue also asked the crowd for a request. She said she heard a call for it and sang her cover of Little Eva’s The Loco-Motion, while wearing hot-pants. Yes, her bum still looks decent, for all those who wanted to know. She also covered the Eurythmics’ There Must Be An Angel (Playing With My Heart), which showed off a decent, slightly waning voice.

Some people will have been turned off by having to travel to Sun City from different parts of Gauteng and other provinces to see her and by ticket prices ranging from around R450 to just under R1800, adding to that cost.

Concert ticket prices pay for all sorts of aspects of as performance, with artists normally receiving about 10-15% of the takings, British studies have shown. In Kylie’s case, much of the takings would have gone to her superstar costume, set designers and dance troupe.

Her dancers, who have become a famous part of her live shows over the last decade, were mostly men scantily dressed in Ancient Greek-inspired outfits, for this tour. She credited them, her band and also two brilliant back-up singers, who often out-sang her, and who, I assume in their twenties, could move onto solo careers too.

Alistair Anderson