Elvis - aliens - a dinosaur - surprise!

A few weeks ago, I had to visit talented theatre director, Princess Zinzi Mhlongo for a magazine interview at her studio in Frere road, Bez Valley. I was a bit early, so I decided to walk around with the camera - just in case. I was peering around corners, looking in doorways, checking out walls for interesting sign-writing and generally acting pretty dodge, I guess.

When Princess saw me, she wanted to know what I was doing. "Looking for something interesting," I admitted (while thinking: "'Blog' what have you done to me?!"). She smiled and said: "Come!" Here's basically what I could see at that point…

I could feel my knees starting to shake when I saw what she wanted to show me. Yes, I was thinking photos-photos-PHOTOS, blog-blog-BLOG. Yes, my inner-kid was about to force my more grown-up self into a happy dance too. Yes, I wanted to hug Princess. She let me.

It was a warehouse full of stuff. I saw Elvis, aliens, an Indian chief - and we were still just standing in the entrance. I could smell that dusty, warehousy smell of display stuff and props which reminded me of visiting similar (though not so awesome) places as a kid with my dad who used to work as a window dresser. How totally vintage does that job sound now? And I just realised that this is how Joburg surprises you - when you least expect it!

The warehouse belongs to themeXperience, a party design company. It's one of the initiatives of Janet Landey who has over 33 years of experience in this industry. For the past 10 years, she has been focusing on skills and community development. Janet mentions that she's been on a mission to create "a place - a 'head office'  an event platform for local economic development for small business and co-operatives … where events can create decent livelihoods." This place is called Skills Village 2030 and it's located at 88 to 108 Frere road.

On 29 June 2013, this street will be alive with tasty food, talented buskers and cool arts and crafts. themeXperience will have walkabouts around different themed experiences and Princess' Plat4orm will also be involved in the event. Hope to see you there! For more info, look at the event poster here.

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