New ideas for the New Year!

Nyepi’s silent curtain between the old and the new, is a time of reflection and renewal. Bask in the gentle technology-free transition following the noise of Ogoh-ogoh events. Take a ritual cleansing dip in the sea on the morning of March 26 and then emerge that evening for Indigenous Film Night’s premiere as outdoor cinema! 7 pm until 10 pm, at the lovely Museum Njana Tilem in Mas, just south of Ubud, gated parking. In case of rain, there’s a beautiful protected hall right there where everything will be shifted.

Moving from its longtime base at Ubud’s Cinema Paradiso, this near-monthly series of films is a great armchair trip around the world. For March’s cultural offering, audiences will be treated to speakers and a guest musician, as well as the feature-length movie and two documentary shorts.

Catered by Simon of Zest Ubud, various drinks including champagne and wine will be for sale, so pull up a big beanbag, sit back and enjoy the evening’s offerings in style and comfort. And if you don’t yet know Zest, you’d better put that destination eatery on your short list.

Matua Louis Kereopa, a Maori elder, is the subject of one of two short films presented in person by filmmakers Kirsty Ka and Jeffrey Wium.

Be enthralled by special guest Natty Dolaisi from the Solomon Islands, performing live sacred chants, warrior songs, and mystical lyrics sure to charm and awe even the most stolid and jaded amongst us.

The main film, New Zealand’s Boy, arrives fresh from Sundance and other international film festivals, with its Grand Prix Best Feature from Berlin’s Generation K, the world’s most prestigious young audiences’ category. It’s a madcap coming-of-age story set in 1984, written and directed by Taika Waititi, called “zany, sentimental and remarkably insightful” by Indie Wire, and “genuinely heartwarming and hilarious” by Vanity Fair.

Tickets available at the door for Rp150,000, with proceeds supporting indigenous filmmakers in Borneo.

Admit it, dear expat readers, that sort of event is a good part of what you moved to Bali to enjoy.




Professional and amateur designers, plan now! Seminyak Design Week, each September, is the local event to put into your long range calendar. Don’t leave town if you want to participate. Master designers and architects introduce their philosophy and creations, offer workshops, and offer unique sourcing and networking opportunities. Shop owners, decorators, home builders, or anyone interested in ingenious style and function will be delighted with what is being produced by the island’s cutting edge designers.

Keep monitoring social media for #seminyakdesignweek2020 and #seminyakdw2020. Organizers will be casting for applicants and new names in creative design.

Bali Style, whether in architecture, furniture, or textiles, is constantly evolving, with young creatives focusing on its organic properties and refining sustainable practices. Until Design Week, get inspiration from Indonesian motifs and construction techniques at such stellar design houses as CushCush (Central Denpasar), Craft District Bali (Kerobokan), Vivere (Denpasar), and Warisan (Jimbaran).




One local furnishings designer gets my spotlight this month: Veny Lydiawati, of Sanur’s V Studio. One of the best home design outfits for ceramic accessories, V Design also shows style and artistry in linen and banana paper creations, and her lighting design betrays a sensitivity and skill sometimes lacking in the lamp shops around town. Check out Veny’s showroom, if you’re sourcing lamps, high quality fabrics, bathroom amenities, and furniture accessories.

I met Veny at a green architecture event held inside the sustainable building mecca Little Tree Green Building Center (Sunset Road) 4 or 5 years ago. I was very impressed when she offered her services to copy my architect’s original custom lampshades, which were showing significant seaside rust. Her team produced brand new copies, perfect down to every detail, and for a very reasonable price. I have been back to her place on Jl Danau Tondano to snap up one-of-a-kind extras impossible to find at art markets or the usual furniture stores. I adore her love of organic shapes and patterns, in quintessential Bali motifs. Small wonder she once designed for Jenggala! Contact Veny for a consultation at and 0361 285137.

Let’s go from lighting to delighting… It’s time to get to know style-and-comfort alchemist Friska Aldilla, a clothing designer and a renaissance woman: filmmaker, photo and wardrobe stylist, actress, and vocalist. This busy mom’s Âme line of intimate apparel and swimwear is downright gorgeous. Her collection encompasses resort wear and unmentionables with highly feminine touches like frills and eyelet lace, but also quite a few really racy sheer numbers you wouldn’t expect to find outside of Europe or Hollywood.

Do you own a boutique that needs a new dimension? Just plain tired of the same old undergarments? Get her latest lookbook from and WA +62 878 2421 0699


By Renee Melchert Thorpe


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