Aroha Bridge - 05, Amcray (Series One, Episode Five)

Web, 2013 (Full Length Episode)

Monty’s crappy administration skills prompt the Hook twins (Jessica Hansell aka musician Coco Solid and Rizvan Tu’itahi) to look for a manager in Hansell’s 10-part animated web comedy about a band dreaming of stardom. At the Aroha Bridge dairy they run into intriguing Scotsman Dougie (Frankie Stevens, also the voice of the twins’ macho dad) who just happens to be carrying all the right management literature under his arm – but Monty is suspicious of his motives. Aroha Bridge is based on Hansell’s comic strip Hook Ups,  for music magazine Volume.

Aroha Bridge - 03, Kiri the Krazy (Series One, Episode Three)

Web, 2013 (Full Length Episode)

Selling out is the theme of the third part of Jessica Hansell’s 10-part animated web series. Cousin Ira offers the twins a gig playing at the grand reopening of the Aroha Bridge dairy on the condition they play a song about the dairy. Kowhai leaps at the chance to play a “festival” crowd, while Monty is dubious about promoting “big business”. Each episode of Aroha Bridge features a track created by a fan on an app accompanying the series. Production company Fumes also makes Super City starring Madeleine Sami, voice of the Hook twins’ spaced out mum. 

Aroha Bridge - 02, Real Job (Series One, Episode Two)

Web, 2013 (Full Length Episode)

Budding musos Kowhai and Monty face the hard facts of economic reality in episode two of Jessica Hansell’s animated satire set in Aroha Bridge, based on her former neighbourhood Mangere Bridge. Though they’re pretty sure working for their wigged out ex-army dad (Frankie Stevens) might involve something illegal, their new jobs as “televisionaries” flogging creepy teddy bears proves just as dubious. Funded by NZ On Air, Aroha Bridge started life as a comic strip in NZ Herald’s Volume magazine before it appeared on the Herald’s website in animated form. 

Aroha Bridge - 01, Benny's 21st (Series One, Episode One)

Web, 2013 (Full Length Episode)

Musician Coco Solid aka Jessica Hansell’s 10-part satirical web series follows a band in the ’burbs dreaming of stardom. In Aroha Bridge, control freak Kowhai and her stoner twin brother Monty (Hansell and Rizvan Tu’itahi) play their debut gig but are upstaged by the precocious Angeline. Madeleine Sami and Frankie Stevens voice the twins’ spacey mum and macho dad. Wellington animators Skyranch include music video director Simon Ward and Luke 'Disasteradio' Rowell. Funded by NZ On Air under the title Hook Ups, Aroha Bridge launched on the NZ Herald website in May 2013.

Lawless: Beyond Justice

Television, 2000 (Excerpts)

In the last of a trilogy of tele-movies, private investigators John Lawless (Kevin Smith) and Jodie Keane (Shortland Street's Angela Dotchin) seek the truth behind an apparent suicide. Their client is visiting mystery woman Lana Vitale (a strong performance by American Jennifer Rubin) who wants to know why her husband is dead. For Lawless, the trial soon leads to romance, intrigue, plus a shady nightclub/ porn operator (singer Frankie Stevens). This Kiwi take on American crime shows includes an appearance by Snakeskin actor Dean O'Gorman. 

Artist

Jon Stevens

Jon Stevens (brother of singer Frankie Stevens) was born in Upper Hutt in 1963 and worked at EMI's record pressing plant as a teen. His own recording career got off to a stellar start when his first two singles ('Jezebel' and 'Montego Bay') were consecutive number ones. After recording an album in LA he moved to Australia in 1981. Since then he has fronted Sydney rock band Noiseworks for six years, played Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and replaced the late Michael Hutchence in INXS from 2000 to 2004. 

Series

Live from Chips

Television, 1981

At a time when TVNZ light entertainment inevitably meant major studio productions complete with dancing girls, Live from Chips presented singers in a live, no frills environment freed from big budget distractions. The venue was Wellington nightclub Chips and each episode focussed on one singer and backing band playing a 25 minute set. Four episodes were made featuring artists from outside the pop/rock orbits of Ready to Roll and Radio with Pictures — Tina Cross, Herb McQuay, Frankie Stevens and Mark Williams (flown in from Sydney to do the show).

Billy T James

Comedian, Actor [Tainui]

Billy T James ranks as a key figure in the development of Kiwi comedy. Billy honed his talents as a singer and comedian on stages worldwide, then brought them to a local TV audience on throwback show Radio Times. His self-titled comedy show was a major ratings hit. His turn as the Tainuia kid in Came a Hot Friday is still fondly remembered — as is Billy T's infectious chuckle, black singlet and yellow towel.

Terry Gray

Composer

Terry Gray composed and arranged music for dramas, variety shows, dance legend Gene Kelly and the Commonwealth Games. Along the way, his work included everything from the iconic 'We are the Boys' Chesdale commercial to a gold-selling CD.  

Culture?

The Knobz, Music Video, 1980

In the tradition of novelty songs, ‘Culture?’ was catchy to the point of contagion. Fuelled by carnival keyboards, it was The Knobz response to Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s refusal to lift a 40% sales tax on recorded music (originally instituted by Labour in 1975), and Muldoon's typically blunt verdict on the cultural merits of pop music (“horrible”). The giddy, hyperactive video comes complete with Muldoon impersonator (Danny Faye), and casts the band as the song’s 'Beehive Boys'. In the backgrounder, Mike Alexander writes about his time as the band's manager.