Somewhere you should go...Free Free Fringe Festival at the Scoop
I am terribly ashamed.
Last summer, I worked near London Bridge and was completely unaware that perched neatly between Tower Bridge and the former was an amphitheatre inspired by those of ancient Rome, with seating for 800 hosting a range of free events from morning exercise classes to live theatre, music and film. Had I known, I have no doubt I would have popped down there on an eve after work and had a very pleasant time: free and outdoors is - after all - my favourite combo.
Well I won’t let it happen to you and so I feel it is my duty to inform you about The Scoop, a modern day amphitheatre in the heart of London. Their upcoming offering is a fringe festival, taking place Wednesdays to Fridays in June and featuring a variety of offbeat performances with an alternative approach. There is comedy from Palladini Productions with their play ‘Citiest of Cities’ about a bunch of mischievous city tour guides, an updated take on Offenbach’s opera La Belle Hélène called ‘Troy Boy’ from The Merry Opera Company as well as darker and more intense drama from Chickenshed with ‘Crime of the Century’, dealing with the UK’s escalating knife crime problem amongst the younger generation.
Nothing better than a night at the theatre, daahling. (Words: Aoife Moriarty)
More London’s Fringe Festival runs until June 24th. Click here for more info.
Something you should do...Badaude’s London Walks
As long as the weather’s behaving itself, a walk around London is a wonderful way to take in the city’s nooks and crannies. It ticks off the exercise quota, gives you a bit of fresh-ish air, and saves you money when you’re feeling particularly hard done by TFL’s premium tariffs (and all the other stuff that’s a nightmare in the morning - like that person under the train *who IS that?!*)
Anywho - a new guide’s arrived to show us how to explore the capital, penned by artist and writer Badaude (aka Joanna Walsh). Not only has she outlined 21 walks, 3 bus routes - AND a boat trip! - but the good lady’s included charming hand-drawn illustrations to bring to life London’s many colourful characters and traits.
The release of the book is being marked by a series of events, starting with Badaude’s How To Be A Tourist lecture at The Idler Academy on June 1st (£20, including wine, games and nibbles), an alternative walking tour at Foyles Charing Cross Road (June 4th: Free) and finally Drawing London at Tate Modern on June 11th (Free). The final gig sees Badaude graffiti the walls of the galleries’ bookshop with her quirky drawings before signing copies of her book, which is certain to put walking back into fashion. Go get it. (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)
Somewhere you should go...SupperClub
I’ve had some experiences in my time, but never one as indulgent - and mildly unnerving - than my experience of SupperClub. It’s the flashy franchise which started in Amsterdam 20 years ago, and combines risque entertainment, DJ sets and late night dining like a glorious cocktail you blindly knock back without quite knowing the rest of the ingredients. Once inside, I meet a red bar area, dotted with colourful-looking characters who waltz around like the cast of Narnia. A red-bearded fella smiles at me like we’ve met before, and later turns out to be the evening’s compere, and one of the club’s super-friendly and attentive staff members. Dramatically, two massive doors slide open to reveal the club itself; pristine-white and massive, with a mezzanine level and beds (yes, beds!) along the sides, as an optional spot to dine. It’s recently been refurbished and there’s space in the centre which you presume will be turned into a dancefloor post supper (which, by the way, comes from a secret menu; but these folks aren’t so crazy as to not do a respectful allergy/vegan/vegetarian check, as fascinating an allergic reaction might be to watch).
The first two stylish courses are kinda “ooh la la” - and not just because the lady who serves us looks like Lady Gaga, either. There’s a creamy risotto for starters, followed by a tender loin of beef served with a potato cake, and a decoration of mushy peas and greens. In between courses, we’re given performances from the legendary Crazy Horse Paris dancers – and if you look beyond the frequent of display of T&A, these women are remarkable. The avant-garde collective have celebrity fans in Kanye West, Beyonce and Sting, and such is their appeal, the 3rd course - an okay-ish frozen-cream something - is practically ignored by everyone in the house. The contortionist is something else (wow); the upside-down leg display, clever. And although my inner-conservative wants to start hissing at the excited men who’ve suddenly crowded my perfect-view table once things border on erotic, it’s hard to deny this is creative cabaret - and they’ll be at the Club until June 26th. Otherwise, expect a wild array of events and fine dining, determined to whip you out of your comfort zone (!) (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)
Dinner is usually £45, but £69.50 for a three-course meal and The Crazy Horse cabaret. For more info visit www.supperclub.com.
Somewhere you should go...Guernsey Photographic Festival, June 1st-30th
As much as we may love London, even the most hardy, concrete-loving, city dwellers have to admit, you need a break from the big smoke occasionally. So why not make a date in the diary to take a trip to one of the Channel Islands for a cream tea and a good helping of world-class photography?
Jean Christophe Godet started the Guernsey Photography festival only a year ago, and it was such a success that they are back at it again. This year the festival theme is Identity and all the immediate photographer heavyweights that spring to mind are going to be there; Martin Parr, Richard Billingham, Samuel Fosso (pictured), and Tony Ray-Jones are amongst the many taking part. In total, there will be around 20 exhibitions and over 30 recreational and educational events. Also, the exhibitions won’t be confined to just a white space but will be found in various locations around the town. They’re all free and open to everyone which only adds to the countryside, community feel that you could only get outside the capital. Could this be proof that London doesn’t hold the monopoly on cultural events in the UK? I guess we’ll have to go to find out! (Words: Laura Thornley)
Visit www.guernseyphotographyfestival.com for more info.
Somewhere you should go...Free Range 2011
If you go down to the Old Truman Brewery, look out! Not for roaming chickens (ha ha! that’d be hilarious…), but a showcase of new British art and design talent. It wont cost you a penny, it’s in its eleventh year and it’s only the UK’s bloody largest to date!
Free Range gives us eight whole weeks of fashion and design, graphics, photography, art, interiors and moving and still image – each get their own week, mmm hmm, in that order too.
The moving image exhibition is a newcomer to the visually imaginative line-up and the fashion and design category returns after its flourishing debut last year. ‘New Blood’ also sees the collaboration between Free Range and D&AD to present the annual showcase of the best art grads.
Hosted in East London’s innovative creative district, Free Range attracted more than 100,000 visitors in 2010 and they’re likely to top that this year; so let’s welcome summer, grab ourselves a bagel and something chilled from Brick Lane and catch the bonanza between May 31st to July 25th. (Words: Syriah Bailey)
For more info, visit www.free-range.org.uk.
Something you should see...Apocalypse Now (remastered)
Before you throw your hands up in disgust at the thought of another remake; relax! Apocalypse Now is being re-released back into cinemas and no, it’s not even in 3D. In fact, it doesn’t need it; the re-mastered 1979 war drama is more epic than ever. Under Francis Ford Coppola’s direction you sweat in the stressful action of the Vietnam War and fear senseless death with Captain Benjamin Lillard (Martin Sheen). He leads his crew on a secret mission to kill an ‘insane’ renegade - Green Beret Walter Kurtz (Marlon Brando) who has lost sight of his duties and become a tribal God in Cambodia. It’s a story questioning the honour of war and so the images of death and destruction are still relevant to what’s on the news today and the acting is so superb that it transports you into the horror of the scorching war zone yourself. (Words: Selina Ditta)
In cinemas from May 27th.
Somewhere you should go...Pop Up Screens Outdoor Cinema, Ravenscourt Park May 27th to 29th
The early onset of summer has us all running frantically to the supermarket to buy large quantities of red meat and disposable BBQs, lathering on the sun tan lotion like crazies in the park and in general, wondering how best and most creatively to utilise the amazing weather before it’s pulled like a rug from under our feet.
When I lived in Sydney, a popular social activity (apart from ‘sunbaking’ on the beach and surfing some gnarly waves of course!) was going to the open air cinema in Centennial Park. Now, some enterprising sparks by the name of ‘Pop Up Screens’ are bringing the concept to London for the May bank holiday weekend. For just £7 a screening (or £18 for the whole weekend), you will be able to watch cult movies Anchorman (pictured), The Big Lebowski and Ghostbusters (!) on a big screen while enjoying an exotic meat burger (options include Wildebeest and Springbok) and an alcoholic beverage in the lovely Ravenscourt Park, Hammersmith. All sounds very pleasant to me: grab that picnic basket and let’s roll! (Words: Aoife Moriarty)
For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.popupscreens.co.uk.
Something you should see...Draw Me A Bird @ Rich Mix, May 28th
Ok, so officially this might be directed at a slightly younger audience than you guys (assuming there are no 5-year-old child prodigies amongst you? I could be wrong – kids grow up so quick nowadays!) but you’ll find that this is a gem for all ages. Loosely based on the children’s poem To Paint a Bird’s Portrait by Jacques Prévert, it’s been translated and transformed into the fruit of the award-winning Peut Etre dance-music Theatre Company. Not only this, but it’s fully supported by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) – so rest assured that no birds were harmed in the making of this play.
It combines a mix of dance physicality, French folk music and eye-catching design and four dancers in total take to the stage to describe the story of a little bird who shuns migration for a winter in Paris; all because she falls in love with the songs played by a Parisian street musician, (a nice twist on the way humans and birds interact, no?). The play was commissioned by Brighton Festival but will be spending some time at the Rich Mix, Bethnal Green - a great opportunity to indulge your inner-child. (Words: Laura Thornley)
For more info, visit the Rich Mix site.
Something You Should See...Win Win
New indie flick Win Win - written and directed by Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent) - asks a pertinent question. In these times of economic uncertainty just how far is a person of integrity willing to go in order to stay afloat?
The goal of Win Win’s central character, lawyer Mike - played by Sideways’ Paul Giamatti - is a modest one. An altruist at heart, he owns a practice dealing exclusively with the elderly. With his business capsizing, he desperately seeks to make ends meet. When a sketchy opportunity arises to make some extra cash by acting as legal guardian for one of his clients, he abruptly seizes it. But, rather than allowing the dementia-suffering Leo to live at home – an important part of the deal – he instead chucks him into an old folk’s home whilst simultaneously pocketing the monthly cheque for his care in order to keep his head above water financially. The situation is further complicated - as one would expect - by the arrival of Leo’s runaway grandson, a reticent prodigal wrestler named Kyle.
It may not be the kind of storyline that wins awards for originality. However, the merit of McCarthy’s unusual and softly spoken film lies in the integrity of its message. It’s the type of film that reminds you humanity does, in fact, have some redemptive qualities, despite what you might sometimes suspect. Go see. (Words: Aoife Moriarty)
In cinemas May 20th.
Something you should see...Mike Schreiber: True Hip-Hop, 18 Hewett Street, May 19th-26th
Mike Schreiber’s a self-taught, hip-hop junkie from New York who’s shot some of the genre’s most notable figures and compiled the stunning results into a book and exhibition, which goes on show in London this Thursday (May 19th). Expect to see insightful portraits of Eminem, Mos Def, M.I.A, Wu-Tang Clan, Common Nas et. al. and hear from the good man himself in a live Q&A session, where you’ll probably get the lowdown on his killer CV -Esquire and Rolling Stones are all up in there - and find out if he could very well be one of the greatest, modern-day hip-hop documentarians around (we think so). (Words: Matilda Egere-Cooper)
RSVP to email@example.com to attend the launch on the 19th, or drop in to see the exhibition from May 20-26th.
Something you should see...Tracey Emin's Love Is What You Want exhibition @ Hayward Gallery, May 18th to August 29th
Swear words spelt out in neon, used tampons behind a glass frame, an indecent proposal from a dog…we’d expect nothing less from Tracey Emin.
She’s the queen of Britart’s most notorious works - and while Everyone I Have Ever Slept With and My Bed are absent here, this major survey of Emin’s work shows instead the impressive variety of her technique since the 1990s.
Using text, paint, video, neon, monoprint line drawing, sculpture, textiles and memorabilia, Emin draws on personal and often harrowing experiences from her own life to explore female sexuality, family and friendship. In the video How it Feels, she recounts a botched abortion in brutally candid detail, while Trying on Clothes From My Friends is a series of photos of the artist larking about in various states of undress.
Somehow Emin’s work achieves something rare - to be both uncomfortable and accessible - as her gritty subject matter and bouts of narcissism are offset by an undercurrent of warmth and wit. Well worth a visit. (Words: Rachel Segal Hamilton)
Love is What You Want runs until 29 August at the Hayward Gallery. Click here for more info.
COMPETITION: Win a pair of tickets to Streetfest 2011!
Here’s a little Mid-May treat for ya: we’ve partnered with the Streetfest crew to give away a pair of tickets to London’s number one street culture festival, taking place on Bank Holiday Sunday, May 29th. Now in its 4th year, Streetfest brings together music, art, dance and fashion for an East End extravaganza of urban entertainment! This year features over 20 artists and designers taking part in “live” art and battles, and special guests include infamous graffiti writer Inkie, producers The Nextmen and one man-band Thristian bPm – a firm favourite in Gilles Peterson’s camp. Tickets are now on sale, priced at £10 – but if you’d like to cop a free pair, simply ‘like’ our FB page and leave this message on our wall: “Did someone say Streetfest?”. The competition closes on May 20th and the winner will be chosen at random - good luck!
Somewhere you should go...London via Lagos festival, Oval Theatre May 25th to July 10th
It pleases me to say that the remainder of this spring will be an international one. No one’s boarding a plane, but you’ll be happy to know the chance to experience a piece of Africa is within reach.
London via Lagos is a festival of British-Nigerian contemporary plays, presented by the Oval House Theatre and playwrights Arinze Kene and Lydia Adetunji will be offering stories of diaspora to give people the chance to see through the eyes of a Londoner in Nigeria, or a Nigerian in London, and gain an understanding of the two cultures meshed into one.
Whether it’s the troubles of a man caught in the middle of conflict in Lydia Adetunji’s Fixer or the transitions made in the process of growing up in Arinze Kene’s Baby Jesus, you’re bound to be entertained and learn a thing or two - so no doubt, a must-see. (Words: Yusuf Orekan)
For more details and tickets go to www.ovalhouse.com
Something you should see...Kingdom of Earth @ Print Room (until May 28th)
Tennessee Williams would have been 100 years of age on March 26th, and so to celebrate this extraordinary playwright’s centenary, some of his lesser-known pieces are getting a good airing. The Print Room has opted for a production of the bizarre sexual/love triangle between two brothers and a wife; it started life as a short story, was banned for 10 years because of the erotic content, was transformed into a play by Williams in the 60s and has also been made into a film - yet this new production is the first in the UK for 27 years.
Lucy Bailey’s take on the piece is grotesquely funny, in a way that Williams would have been proud. The frail Lot (who’s suffering from tuberculosis and a worrying penchant for his mother’s clothing, ala Norman Bates), arrives to claim his throne in the 1960s crumbling farmhouse with a 2-day old marriage to ex ‘personality kid’ performer Myrtle. His reasons? To cheat Chicken, his mixed-race half brother, out of his inheritance.
With its mix of drama and dark humour, this is trademark Williams stuff. The script is so intelligent and witty at times it seems remarkable this is its centenary. And despite its limited cast (only 3 characters), the play is so well-put together – set wise, sound wise, acting wise – this is barely noticeable; a sign of a truly good production. So if you’re new to Williams, this wildly funny, literary giant of a play might be an impressive introduction. (Words: Laura Thornley)
For more info, visit www.the-print-room.org
Something you should do...Museums at Night 2011
Tired of the usual nights out at bars, clubs, restaurants and err, the multiplex? Looking to do something a bit different on an eve? Well, we may have just the ticket, dear readers.
Between May 13-15th, the annual Museums at Night event takes place across the country. This will see hundreds of museums, galleries and heritage sites all over the UK open their doors after-hours for a wide range of special activities, screenings and talks. We’ve checked out the listings and some of the events at the smaller, lesser-known venues as well as at the bigger ones look quite fun and unusual, to say the least…!
Here’s a sample of the London gigs: ‘surgery by gaslight’ at the Old Operating Theatre Museum featuring a Victorian amputation demonstration (!), a double bill of mummy films at the Egyptian Petrie Museum, Balinese dancing at the Horniman and a Renaissance night with period music and life drawing at the National Gallery.
I am personally visualizing some highly cultured people on some very creative first dates. (suitors, feel free to take me to the Royal Observatory for some stargazing, you’ll definitely get a second.) (Words: Aoife Moriarty)
For more information, visit the website www.museumsatnight.org.uk.
Something you should see...Fire In Babylon
“One people, one nation, one destiny” – a quote that best describes the purpose of the West Indies cricket team, taken from the documentary film, Fire in Babylon. If ever there was a movie that represents the plight and triumph of a sports team, this is it. Legends from the West Indies cricket team of the ‘70s and ‘80s give a personal insight into the vicious rivalries with England and Australia, the rise of cultural pride and the glory of Caribbean-style cricket.
Expect a hard-hitting (literally) look at the journey players such as Viv Richards, Colin Croft and Clive Lloyd took to prove that the Caribbean boys were more than just a laughing stock (something England definitely found out the hard way). The use of a pumping reggae soundtrack to accompany the interviews links in with the Rastafarian teachings about ‘Babylon’ — the negative system holding down the people of the African Diaspora. The fight against colonial oppression, using the power of cricket, is also an underlining theme that runs throughout the movie.
Verdict: A must-see for the younger generation and those in search of a spark of inspiration. (Words: Aaron-Spencer Charles)
Out in Cinemas from May 20th.
Something You Should See…My Dog Tulip
There has been no shortage of CGI, PhotoRealistic RenderMan animations of late… the world’s awash with them. If you, like me, have a yearning for something more old school on occasions, then maybe this flick is for you; a beautifully hand drawn and painted animation from the directing partnership of Sandra and Paul Fierlinger.
The storyline is a British classic – the relationship between man and dog. The film takes its inspiration from a book written back in 1956 that ruminates on the love between the author, JR Ackerley and his unruly Alsatian, Tulip. It’s a gentle and heart warming tale of how a quirky intellectual such as Ackerley makes sense of the ups and downs of man and beast living in close quarters.
At a count of 60,000 drawings in total – it was no mean fete, taking the pair a total of 3 years to produce (7 days a week and no holidays!). Paul Fierlinger has confessed to drawing 12 – 16 hours a day… now that’s dedication. There are some familiar voices in tow, a must for all animations nowadays, expect to hear Christopher Plummer, the late Lynn Redgrave, and Isabella Rossellini. With this production using no paper throughout, its even eco-friendly – need we say more? (Words: Laura Thornley)
In cinemas now.
InterNational: Tina Remiz (Part 3) - Travels tips to Lhasa
1) Choose the right season. While hot summers still attract the majority of tourists, in winter you are guaranteed to have some privacy - but be prepared for the cold. If you are traveling on a tight budget, even your accommodation is not likely to be equipped with a proper heating system. Winter season can be an advantage if you are after a more authentic real-life experience, however, expect many places to be temporarily shut and some remote areas impossible to reach.
2) Use public transport. The average Londoner is likely to find taxis in Lhasa more affordable to the point of being irresistible, but do make an effort to experience the local public transport. I caught a mini-bus to Drepung Monastery at five in the morning, rode the windowless vehicle for several hours in -15ºC, but was surrounded by a colourful crowd dressed in national clothes, spinning prayer-wheels and murmuring mantras. It was quit the experience!
3) Explore. While Potala Palace and Jokhang monastery are a must, make sure you pay a visit to some of the less touristy places. There is plenty to choose from, and I believe that there isn’t the best one, but only the right one for each individual. I found my place at Gyume College on Beijing Donglu, where I spent several hours in a small chapel on the upper floor, set on a rug side by side with monks, singing mantras (well, trying to), drinking yak-butter tea and feeling in peace with the world.
4) Grab a cuppa. If you can’t imagine your day without a usual cup of hot beverage, I urge you to try Tibetan national drink – yak-butter tea – butter replaces milk – and suggest you remain open-minded about this experience. You will find it everywhere (literally!), but the lively Ani Sangkhung Nunnery definitely is a good place to try it.
5) Think twice before you eat. You will see various dry fruits packed in large carts and sold on every corner. By no means do I want to damage the local economy by encouraging you not to buy those products, but I had a bad experience, so beware.
The Cultural Exposé would like to thank Tina Remiz for sharing her travel photography and experiences - and to see more of her images, visit her website or Flickr page.
InterNational: Tina Remiz
TCé’s Tina Remiz is a London-based multimedia reporter and visual artist from Latvia. Brought up in Riga, she spent two years studying in Bristol before relocating to London, where she’s been developing her documentary-style of photography. She’s a keen traveller, and while abroad, she loves meeting people to be inspired by their traditions, culture and lifestyle.
The Destination: Lhasa, Tibet
“I visited Lhasa as a part of a month-long journey across the South-East of China last winter. From Kowloon Island – the world’s most densely-populated area situated in the heart of Hong Kong – I took a 59-hour (!) train ride to the Roof of the World. It’s hidden in the vastness of the Himalayas, and quite mysterious. I’ve always been a avid support of Tibet (I joined “Free Tibet!” marches at the age of 14 lol) so I finally decided to see the place for myself.”
TOMORROW: See the rest of Tina’s images from Lhasa!
Somewhere you should go...London International Documentary Film Festival, May 13th -28th
It is fair to say the documentary genre has had a nip and tuck in recent years and is creating films that are shaking the whole industry (not just its own corner). This year’s LIDF programme is proof of this; first and foremost, the directing star of the show has to be the mighty Scorsese, who is dipping his toe into the documentary pool once again, this time with his personal profile of Elia Kazan. It is amongst the many docs this year that are being clumped into ‘A Portrait of…’ category. There is also a fascinating look at the notorious playboy Hugh Hefner, who, believe it or not is quite the activist (I suspect some feminists may be in the ‘not’ contingency). Other thematic threads making an appearance are the “The Arab World – Life & Optimism”, “Grandma, A Thousand Times” (pictured), “Privacy & Press Freedom” and “Australia”.
The LIDF may not start until 13th May but with tickets available from now and a killer line up, it’s important the word is out. The festival will take place at various venues across London including Rich Mix, The Tricycle and Curzon Soho as well as smaller more intimates like the Roxy Cinema Bar and the Horse Hospital. (Words: Laura Thornley)
Visit www.lidf.co.uk for more info.
COMPETITION: Win tickets to see Opera De Paris: Children of Paradise!
The Cultural Exposé has teamed up with the Ritzy Cinema Brixton to give away 10 pairs of tickets to see the live screening of José Martinez’s stunning French ballet Children of Paradise on July 9th! For your chance to win, simply ‘like us’ on Facebook and/or leave us the message “Cheers for the tickets - hint, hint!” and your name will be entered into the prize draw! The competition closes May 30th! Good luck!