1. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Sundance London Film and Music Festival 2013


    Somewhere you should go… Sundance London Film and Music Festival 2013

    The appearance of a great variety of extinguished guests, from trip hop pioneer Tricky to HRH The Prince of Wales was one of the many things that made last year’s Sundance London such an absolute joy. Now as the film and music festival returns to the O2, will it be able to offer once again a highly eclectic and diverse audio-visual experience?

    The film section of the festival does include a stellar line up of films (fiction, documentaries and short films) that left the best of impressions at the latest Sundance film festival. A case in point is Mud. It’s directed by Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter), a filmmaker who may be the most interesting new voice in the American independent cinema, and stars Matthew McConaughey, who had a brilliant year ever since he decided to move away from romcoms and prove his acting chops in more demanding projects.  The story has the unparalleled enchantment of a fable as two teenage boys try to reunite a charismatic outlaw with his true love, so  it’s no wonder the film has received high praise by the critics. Another critics’ darling, Michael Winterbottom, will be present at the festival to present his latest film The Look of Love, a flamboyant biopic of the notorious “king of Soho” Paul Raymond. The fact that Raymond is played by Steve Coogan should be worth the admission fee alone.
    Moving on to the documentaries, Blood Brother presents the inspiring story of Rocky Braat who after meeting a group of children with HIV in India,  decides to stay there and restart his life dedicating himself to the  well-being of those children. Having won both the audience award and the grand jury prize at Sundance, the film will undoubtedly be a life affirming experience. For thrill seekers, there is The Summit that uses found footage as well as realistic re-enactments to convey to the viewer the breath taking experience of climbing K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth. In August 2008, 18 out of 24 climbers reached the summit of K2. 28 hours later, 11 people were dead. Up to this day we do not know what exactly happened on that fateful date.

    The music section of this year’s festival offers a far more joyful but equally electrifying experience. History Of The Eagles Part One showcases not only the defining tunes but also the stormy conflicts between the members of this classic band. Members of The Eagles will do an extended Q&A session after the screening of the film to shine more light on their fascinating story. Another American legend, Gregg Allman (of The Allman Brothers Band), will be joined by John Paul White (of The Civil Wars), to present Muscle Shoals, a documentary about the glorious “Muscle Shoals sound”, featuring interviews with Mick Jagger, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Alicia Keys. They’ll also be performing an intimate acoustic 45 minute live performance. Last but certainly not least, the sui-generis Merrill Beth Nisker aka Peaches will grace the festival with her presence not just delivering one of her characteristic ferocious gigs but also presenting her first feature, aptly entitled Peaches Does Herself, an electro rock opera about her affair with a beautiful she-male.

    With a programme then that includes a bit of everything, it’s clear the second ever Sundance London will surpass the already high expectations. (Words: Apostolos Kostoulas)
    Sundance London Film and Music Festival 2013 will take place at the O2 from April 25-28. For further information visit: www.sundance-london.com


  2. New Post: Something you should see… Rebecca Ward at Ronchini Gallery


    Something you should see… Rebecca Ward at Ronchini Gallery

    Rebecca Ward’s canvasses have been through a lot. Scrunched up, kicked around and soaked in bleach for so long that they are burnt through with holes, they are then stretched taut across wooden frames to bare the scars of their abuse history. ‘I treat the materials as I would sculpture,’ the young Texan artist tells TCé.  But in mounting the canvasses and hanging them on the walls of Ronchini Gallery we see Ward checking her violently expressive acts, reigning the work in with regulatory lines and angles. The hysterically marbled fabric is given architectural structure by Ward’s ruler straight bands painted onto the surface, and their frenetic patterning is cut short by rectilinear gauze-like panels, which she creates by pulling threads one by one from the canvas.


    ‘Bleach and I are acquaintances now’ laughs Ward. ‘You have to get to know your materials’. She is experimental in her studio; the burn holes for one were not originally intentional, but appeared after she left the canvas in bleach for three hours. ‘It’s interesting how mistakes can actually be rewards’. She engages imperfections without suffocating them with her abstract interventions,  masterfully administering dialogues between shape and colour, clarity and disorder, spontaneity and regulation.

    The ghostly lines you see on the floor of Ronchini Gallery are a visual memory of Ward’s previous exhibition at the gallery, when she divided the stone floor with gaudy adhesive tape. Both shows were organised by Artnesia, a curatorial body set on staying ahead of the game when it comes to identifying relatively unexplored areas of art production. Following exhibitions on emerging artists from Turkey and Iran, their most recent fascination has been the abstract works conceived in the hot bed of talent that is the young New York art scene.


    Shoppers, take a break from Oxford Street’s flashing phone-unlockers and floor full of fast food wrappers and escape down a side street to Ward’s sanctuary of abstraction at Ronchini Gallery. Dealers, dig deep. This girl’s gonna be big. (Words: Florence Ritter) 

    On until May 18th.  For more info, visit: www.ronchinigallery.com


  3. New Post: Somewhere you should eat… Zoilo


    Somewhere you should eat… Zoilo

    You may have noticed that South America is enjoying a foodie makeover at the moment. Every week in London and beyond, new Peruvian, Paraguayan, Argentinean restaurants are popping up in a resurgence of culinary interest in this lesser-known tasty continent. Couple that with the meat revolution that has taken hold of the capital recently and you can see why chef Diego Lacquet could be onto a winner with his new Argentinean cocina.


    This slick restaurant is behind Bond Street tube on the way up to Marylebone. The entrance is cloaked in a thick black curtain, beyond which stylish black and white tiles dot the floor and a long bar hosts clientele for food and drinks. We are led downstairs to the kitchen seating; front row seats at the Parilla. The chefs busy around the kitchen, tending the grill, building the plates; all with expert timing and professionalism. The wine list is chalked on a board and not surprisingly, features an extensive range of Malbec – both by the glass or carafe. But, we opt for house cocktails, Sweet Fernando and Chamame.


    Although Argentinean rarely calls to mind anything other than beef, the menu is a healthy mix, rich in seafood and some less thoughtful vegetarian dishes. It’s a small plates place, which means you get to try a few different things. We order some homemade bread, provoletta and empanadas – which form our starter round. The bread comes in three kinds and makes the perfect accompaniment to the chewy rich proveletta, laced with honey and almonds. The empanadas are a little disappointing but the beef filling rich and delicious.


    Next our Sous-vide pork belly arrives; a modern take on an ancient cooking technique (originally it would have been cooked in a stomach but now it’s more sealed plastic and stainless steel bain maries). It’s topped with chorizo and charred king prawn. The pork is utterly melt-in-the-mouth with the smoky oil of the chorizo matching the caramel flavours of the fat to a tee. It’s impossible not to try the beef – we order the flank steak with celeriac and bone marrow. Neither the bone marrow nor the celeriac were particularly noticeable but the beef was cooked to perfection; caramelised on the outside and blood pink on the inside. We also sample the garrapinada and beetroot, which is okay but pales into insignificance next to the meat dishes. Other orders flying out of the kitchen include the octopus and the chips provencal.


    Zoilo is a great addition to the South American food craze: classy and delicious. Diego Lacquet has attempted to broaden our understanding of Argentinean, and he has, but only to the extent of highlighting the food from the coast. And for that reason, best to leave the vegetarians at home.

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    For more info, visit: www.zoilo.co.uk


  4. New Post: Somewhere you should go… SLAM Last Fridays


    Somewhere you should go… SLAM Last Fridays

    SLAM Last Fridays, the fresh naughty little sister of the monthly late night openings, will be coming around again at the end of the month. Compared with East London’s well-established First Thursdays and Fitzrovia’s well-heeled Lates on every last Thursday, South London’s offering to the mix is more diverse and widespread, and is an important fixture for your art diaries. Galleries and studios in Bankside, Peckham, Deptford and Bermondsey open their doors into the evening and welcome those who want to kick off the weekend with a good hit of culture, and maybe a cheeky beer or two.


    So print off a map, round up some pals and hit those buzzing cultural seedbeds south of the river. SLAM organisers recommend sticking to one district but the more adventurous can zip between galleries by bus, bike or rollerblades, whatever you fancy. South London Art Tours are organised across each of the areas, on a strictly pay-what-you-can (or -like) basis. Follow one of their specialist tour guides to a selection of art hotspots, wander freestyle, or have a gander at these shows handpicked by your beloved TCé:
    Bankside’s CUL DE SAC Gallery will be exploring misrepresentation, authority and the individual in contemporary China in a series of parodic and absurd works in performance and video.
    • Exhibiting artist Melanie Jackson will be giving a talk in Peckham’s Flat Time House on her weird and wonderful futuristic botanicals, in a recently opened display of ceramic and video work. (April 26th)
    • Over in Bermondsey, a brilliant show at The Drawing Room interrogates the blurred boundaries of media categorisation with a showcase of artists working between drawing and sculpture.

    If all this art gets you in the mood for cheap drinks and dancing don’t forget the official after parties held in each of the different areas – slammin’! (Words: Florence Ritter) 

    For more info, visit www.southlondonartmap.com


  5. New Post: Something You Should See… Screens at Space Studios


    Something You Should See… Screens at Space Studios

    Jacques Monory: the painter who developed his style after systematically destroying all of his early work in pointed rejection of his education at the École de Paris. Jean-François Lyotard: the philosopher who developed pivotal changes in thought across several different disciplines after systematically breaking down traditional notions of reason and knowledge. What would happen if these postmodern power houses found themselves together? In 1982, they did, and the results are documented in film Instantanés et Cinéma. Space Studios is offering the rare opportunity to watch the conversation between the philosopher and the painter in their screening of the (newly translated) film at their space in Bethnal Green.

    Monory’s direct reference to contemporary popular culture in his painting has had some critics align his 1960s work with Pop art of the period. But Monory produces a more pensive and sombre portrait of the modern world than that of his American contemporaries. Juxtaposing images from advertisements, magazines and newspapers, Monory creates cinematic, dreamlike paintings. Each is bathed in his distinctive Monorychrome filter of yellow, magenta or his signature Monorian blue.


    Monory’s unexplained and incomplete narratives suggest that the artist has no intention of uniting his viewers in a shared understanding of the paintings’ content. He creates a narrative climate, but then he stops, and it’s up to us to create our own reality from his ambiguous paintings. No singular truth or meaning to be found? Oh hey Lyotard, the postmodernist theorist who defined contemporary culture by ‘incredulity towards metanarratives’. Lyotard saw something in the paintings of Monory that chimed with his own thinking and sent a letter across the French capital to tell him so. The film’s production follows the exchange of a series of letters between the two.

     Lyotard may now have had to make new celebrity friends in Paris’s Père Lachaise cemetery but Monory is still practicing artist. Space will be showing some of his film work and photography alongside the filmed conversation. (Words: Florence Ritter) 

     On until June 2nd.  For more info, visit: http://www.spacestudios.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/jean-fran-ois-lyotard-and-jacques-monory-screens


  6. New Post: Somewhere You Should Go… Pick Me Up Graphic Arts Festival at Somerset House


    Somewhere You Should Go… Pick Me Up Graphic Arts Festival at Somerset House

    With any luck, for the rest of April, we will finally have broken free of the shackles of this torrid winter and will be in the mood for innovative design in an inspiring and grand location. It’s not too much to ask, is it? Well, though we can’t guarantee the weather what we can guarantee is a pick-me-up, in the form of the, er… Pick Me Up Graphic Arts Festival! Yes, the great and the good of contemporary art, design and illustration are back featuring a smattering of the old guard mixed in with a healthy dollop of the best new creative minds.

    Expect Modern Toss, Nelly Duff (bringing such street art luminaries as Sweet Toof and Ben Eine) and Bristolian collective SOMA, who will be showcasing new work and hanging around for a little chat with you. That’s nice, isn’t it? You can even be the canvas yourself if you so wish. Check out Puck Collective and you can get a tattoo whacked on you by your fave illustrator. If that’s a little too hands-on, why not pop over and hang out with Day Job? Play with the toys they’ve created while watching a selection of animation. Whatever your desire, whatever your design delectation, Pick Me Up has it. And all the while you get to feel grand as it’s in the superb surrounds of Somerset House.
    The great thing about all this as well is that it’s not only the fruits of creative labours that you will have access to; it’s also witnessing the mechanics of said labours. Seeing how the best operate can only rub off and help with your own creative endeavours. Aesthetically pleasing, diverse, contemporary and inspiring… what more do you need? (Words: Ed Spencer) 

    From April 18-28th. For more info, visit: www.somersethouse.org.uk


  7. New Post: Something you should see… Gaia: Show of Hands at Nelly Duff


    Something you should see… Gaia: Show of Hands at Nelly Duff

    Gone are the days when graffiti artists acted under the cover of darkness and were the bane of every Daily Mail reader’s lives (well, perhaps that’s asking too much). Nowadays the art works are shown in the White Cube and street artists are household names. Their socially and politically astute messages aim to help re-engage communities with public spaces and that certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed around London in recent years. East London is a hotbed for street art talent; the walls are lined with art and even galleries have opened their doors to this once marginalised practice.


    Take American artist Gaia, who at just 24 years old, has risen to international status for his public artwork. Named after the Greek earth goddess, Gaia’s work often aims to unite nature with the urban landscape. But the Nelly Duff gallery in E2 has decided to exhibit a specific section of his oeuvre under the title Show of Hands.

    Whatever it is that fascinates this artist with the human hand, he isn’t the first. Our hands have occupied space as representers of our connection to each other – our own personal imprints but also an outward symbol of our link: not so different from graffiti then? His hand paintings grace buildings in London, Buenos Aires, New York and Baltimore, his hometown. The works on show in the exhibition are original sketches of hands, many those of his fellow Baltimore residents. You may be able to check out his work on London street shutters on Roman and Hackney Road, as well as large-scale paste-ups. But the exhibition will be the first gallery show for the Gaia in the UK and will be a great opportunity to see this young artist’s drawing work up close. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    From April 11th – 18th.  For more info visit: www.nellyduff.com/index.php/art/shows/future


  8. New Post: What we’ve been up to.. La Forchetta, CocoBamboo and Dante Fried Chicken


    What we’ve been up to.. La Forchetta, CocoBamboo and Dante Fried Chicken

    For all our food-filled escapades, it’s rare we’d be indulging three nights in a row – but that’s exactly what happened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as we went Italian, Carribean/Brazilian and finally Soul Food American at a variety of spots in town you might just want to book:

    First stop, Friday : La Forchetta, Bethnal Green

    They’re not your typical Italian outlet and favour authenticity over bougie branding – so eating here on Friday night was a real treat. Portions are extremely generous too, considering the friendly pricing (desserts under £4 are a rarity nowadays) and the ambiance was cosy enough to make a good option for a date.



    Info: www.laforchettabethnalgreenroad.co.uk

    2nd stop, Saturday: Coco Bamboo

    It’s hard to find a quality Caribbean restaurant in London that ticks all the boxes (top service, great food, decent location), but it seems this eclectic spot up North (which fuses Caribbean and Brazilian) wants to earn that title.  As our party exceeded six people Saturday night, our only option was the party menu, which gives you the choice of 2 or 3 courses featuring crab cakes, fritters, jerk chicken,  curry goat and traditional Brazilian dishes. Service was super attentive, and the dishes were beautifully presented but were a bit comme ci, comme ca for the charge (£23.50 got 3 courses) – but definitely worth considering for a night out with friends.



    Info: www.cocobamboo.co.uk

    3rd stop, Sunday: Dante Fried Chicken at Death by Burrito

    Surprisingly, this was the first time we’ve been to DBB, but we weren’t here for the Mexican – we’d been invited to get a sneak preview of the brunch LA’s Dante Fried Chicken will be throwing this weekend, and we weren’t disappointed. Breakfast tacos, biscuits, grits-styled polenta and of course, the fried chicken were delicious – and topped off with a sweet potato pie, made this the perfect finale to a weekend of good eatin’.






    Info: www.billetto.co.uk/en/events/dfctakeover


  9. New Post: Something you should see… Ty at the Jazz Cafe, April 10th


    Something you should see… Ty at the Jazz Cafe, April 10th

    Bog standard hip hop gigs come and go, but if you are looking for something a little bit different, say an international rap artist, producer and curator who performs killer live shows? Then, we will no doubt see you at the Jazz Café on  April 10th. British Hip-Hop artist Ty is launching his new EP A Kick Snare and An Idea and we reckon it might just go off.


    Ben Chijioke, aka Ty, has been making music for 10 years. He has made three albums and collaborated with fellow musicians from Tony Allen, De La Soul and Damon Albarn to Terri Walker, Scratch Perverts, Afro Reggae and Estelle. His second album Upwards was released on Big Dada records, the label that also works with Roots Manuva and the album’s success earned Ty a Mercury Prize nomination in 2004 alongside Amy Winehouse, The Streets and Franz Ferdinand.

    Despite these years of wall-to-wall musical achievement, Ty has also found time to run workshops in schools and beyond; a practice he has continued since his involvement in the Ghetto Grammar Organisation in the mid-90s. As an artist known for his wise lyrics and engaging mix of articulate wordplay and politics, Ty has also spared some time to appear on the BBC 2’s Daily Politics Show. Need we go on…?

    So cue the Jazz Café turned Hip-Hop Haven, filled with art, culinary delights and a few undisclosed surprises to boot. This party is sure to be something else. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    For More info, visit: www.facebook.com/events/158427924314206


  10. New Post: Something you should see… Project Colony


    Something you should see… Project Colony

    Fourth Monkey appears to specialise in productions that explore the darker side of human nature, or so their Edinburgh Fringe appearances say. Past productions include A Clockwork Orange in 2010 as well as 4.48 Psychosis in 2012, a production that left it audience slavering for the next installment. And, here it is: Project Colony, a new take on  Franza Kafka’s 1914 novel.

    Originally,  In the Penal Colony was written as a short and featured only four characters: The Explorer, The Officer, The Condemned, The Soldier. The story was written from the Explorer’s point of view as he is guided around the prison site, encountering the ‘torture machine’ for the first time. Thankfully, Kafka’s work always lends itself to interpretation and easily resonates with other ages and experiences, like the Fourth Monkey’s production will no doubt do for us.


    Throwing the minimal cast list to the wind, this new production features a 52 strong group and takes place at the Trinity Buoy Wharf,  an East London, regenerated dockland oozing with atmosphere. Hamish MacDougall and James Yeatman direct the production. Their last collaboration took place at the Barbican (nice work if you can get it) on Complicite’s  The Master and Margarita. The company have earned a rep for presenting challenging theatre experiences for both the actors and audience (no hiding at the back then?). The audience will meet at a designated point and from there on in, be transported into the immersive experience. The story is taken to the 1950s and features a travelling salesmen invited to witness the execution of a prisoner.

    This highly-anticipated production will no doubt take the immersive theatre trend to the next level and shock and impress those who visit. It is also a great opportunity to visit one of docklands new creative communities, located across the water from the o2, with stunning views of the river. Plus, it’s the site of London’s only lighthouse. Life just doesn’t get much better, does it? (Words: Laura Thornley)

    On until April 27th.  For more info, visit: www.fourthmonkey.co.uk