1. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Popin’ Pete’s Pop Shop, Box Park


    Somewhere you should go… Popin’ Pete’s Pop Shop, Box Park

    If you’re from a gen’ of hip-hoppers who attempted to bust a move while watching Wild Style or Beat Street (on repeat, of course), here’s the sort of  rare homage to the good ‘ol days that should be in your diary. The Popin’ Pete Pop Shop has dropped into town courtesy of the legendary Electric Boogaloos dancer, who’ll be bringing back the old school at the Box Park through a week-long series of daily workshops, performances, DJing, Q&As, stuff for the kiddies,  live art and parties.


    Pic: BigWanPro

    It’ll be the chance to perfect your P&L’s (poppin’ and lockin’) and learn a bit of dance history before putting it all into practice at the Get Down Social Dance Party at Rich Mix with DJ Biznizz on Sunday, March 31st. Can’t wait to sign up!

    For more info, visit: www.boxpark.co.uk/popinpete

    Check out  Popin’ Pete in action: 

  2. Breakfast at The Diner - a great way to spend your 9am. 


  3. New Post: Something you should see… Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Laure Prouvost at Whitechapel Gallery


    Something you should see… Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Laure Prouvost at Whitechapel Gallery

    Last year, Laure Prouvost was awarded the Max Mara Art Prize for Women and sent on a six-month residency in Italy, where she busied herself distilling the particular atmosphere of the small rural North Italian town of Biella into drawings and film. Now returned to London, she delivers to us the fruits of her labours in a wonderful, sun-soaked installation at the Whitechapel Gallery.

    Prouvost captures her new environment by reaching out to all of our senses. Her ten-minute digital projection Swallow will have youimagine the taste of fresh, wet, pulpy fruit and the feeling of its flesh between your fingers; hear the hubbub of the street overlaid with chirruping birdsong; remember the feeling of clear, cold ankle-lapping water on your skin. Gleaming silver-grey fish press against velvety raspberries and a coterie of nymph-like women relax and play in a natural pool. There is a real eroticism to Prouvost’s work but the tone is playful, light and clean. It is a film about seduction, but seduction by fruit, running water and the warmth of the sun.


    Prouvost is mindful of how her artistic journey to Italy fits historically, and her installation contains visual references to classical antiquity in allusion to the Grand Tour of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The film is shown within a freestanding construction which fills the main space of the Gallery, a vast pastel panorama collaged with photocopied material, photographic prints and swaths of paint. Its circular form mirrors the open, gasping soft lips that provide the breathy soundscape to Swallow and embraces the viewer with its world of imagery.

    Laure Prouvost’s installation at the Whitechapel Gallery offers a welcome refuge from this miserable weather (and the deep feeling of injustice in being forced to trudge through thick snow in late March). Her new immersive installation is a celebration of sensual pleasure which transports you to paradise and nourishes the soul. Oh – and the fresh raspberries which sit on upturned car mirrors around the gallery walls are replenished every day. Eat as many as you like. (Words: Florence Ritter) 

    On until April 7th.  For more info, visit: http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/exhibitions/max-mara-art-prize-for-women-laure-prouvost


  4. New Post: Something you should see… David Bowie is at V&A


    Something you should see… David Bowie is at V&A

    Ziggy Stardust, the man who fell to earth, a musical genius, a style icon, father to Duncan, husband to Iman, or Jareth (for female Labyrinth fans of a certain age); yes, David Bowie is many things to many people. His 40-year plus career has evolved and developed over the generations, constantly reinventing the man born David Robert Jones along the way. It’s no surprise then that his first retrospective at the V&A is set to draw record crowds.

    The curating team at the V&A have been given unlimited access to his archive and will be exhibiting those things that make Bowie one of the coolest and most radical performers of modern times. Everything from fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art and film will feature and exemplify the astonishing character and icon that Bowie created for himself.


    There will be 300 items on display including costumes from his out-there period as Ziggy Stardust, handwritten song lyrics, his own artwork and even a mug shot from when he was arrested. Despite Bowie’s advancing years he’s still considered by many as Mr. Cool. Smooth and stylish, the aging rocker even managed to shake off some warped far right sympathising during his ‘Berlin-era’ to remain a much-loved British musician.

    The Chinese may have us believe it is the year of the snake but, with the amount of Bowie dedicated events around at the moment, you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise. This V&A exhibition follows Bowiefest at the ICA, Glam the Performance of Style at Tate Liverpool and of course, the release of his new album, The Next Day. It starting to look a lot like the Year of Bowie, but that’s not a bad thing in our eyes. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    On until August 11th.  For more info visit: www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/david-bowie-is


  5. New Post: Metropolitans: Leo Bedford, DJ


    Metropolitans: Leo Bedford, DJ

    I am… Leo Bedford, DJ & founder of Itchy Feet events. I’ve been in London all my life, and for me, it’s (weather adjusted) the best city in the world.

    The area in London I call home is… Whitechapel. I’ve been here for three years now, but it’s the place that I feel suits me best. I’ve lived in just about every point of the compass at some point, but never settled anywhere before here.

    I’ve got to have a meal at… Stingray Globe Cafe. Epic pizza. Nice and small (not the pizza). Super cheap

    I tend to get my threads from… Oscar Milo in Spitalfields. It’s an independent place (I think) run by tailors, so what you get is really interesting clothes as they don’t have to worry about making lots of them. They’ve got great details on the shirts, but sadly they’re crazy expensive, so I try not to go there too often!

    To enjoy London’s nightlife, you… need to get underground. All the best places are subterranean. Of the places I DJ at, Concrete and the basement of The Book Club are the most fun. Low ceilings, dark, crowded, hot… perfect.


    If I was mayor, I would… get a better bicycle. And get more going on, on the Hackney Marshes. The recent BBC gig was great for the area, so hopefully we can have some more stuff over there for those of us that don’t like Rihanna.

    My favourite spot to check out art is…  Nelly Duff. It’s a print shop I got to a lot. Galleries tend to leave me a little cold, where as in Nelly Duff’s all the stuff is great and (relatively) affordable.

    I’d kindly tell a tourist to… try out Zone 2. Spread your wings and ditch the West End.

    The things I miss when I leave London are… the subtle differences. I’m a big fan of the little things that add up to make something great. It’s the reason why nude espresso is better than Starbucks. Not one big thing – just lots of little things.

    My soundtrack to London would include… Gold by Wake Owl, I Wonder by Rodriguez and Line of Fire by Junip. Or my Itchy Feet radio show of course! www.mixcloud.com/theitchyfeetshow

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  6. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Found Footage Festival


    Somewhere you should go… Found Footage Festival

    As the years roll on and modern technology whizzes past at the speed of too many mega bites a second, many of our favourite media storage devices are falling by the wayside – just look how much dust is on that CD collection (if you even have one anymore?!); is that a mini disc you’re using as a coaster? Yes, new technologies become old almost instantly nowadays – take the VHS tape for instance. Many a good time have I enjoyed a film or two on the beloved tape, complete with snow effect and terrible – yet endearing – sound quality. But alas, it has ended up on the scrapheap as well.


    Thankfully, Nick and Joe from the Found Footage Festival have been big VHS fans since 1991. That year they started scouring garage sales and thrift stores over the vast landscape of the US to pick up those rare and telling VHS tapes others had spent so long creating. In 2004 they decided it was time to make some use out of these magical moments the VHS had so loyally remembered (but others had absentmindedly forgotten). Cue some side splitting homemade films, exercise tapes and public broadcasting videos.

    The Festival is a barrel of laughs – think You’ve been Framed but actually funny. It has been touring the world for some time now, and comes to London on March 27-30th.  Expect classic tapes with titles such as  How to Seduce a Women Through Hypnosis (I’m pretty sure there’s a criminal conviction in there somewhere), Dancing with Frank Pacholski (bottom slapping dance to an OAP crowd!)  Being Berry Safe with Blueberry the Clown (yeah right, about as safe as with that hypnosis guy) and Carnival in Rio with Arnold Schwarzenegger (no words).


    There are all sorts of weird and wonderful characters and this event makes for a comical look at what your average Joe can do with a camera, so  FFF is a great celebration of times and ideas gone by.  Who says VHS is redundant!? (Words: Laura Thornley)

    For more info visit: www.foundfootagefest.com


  7. New Post: Somewhere you should eat… Morena Bakery


    Somewhere you should eat… Morena Bakery

    A Paraguayan Bakery may not be the most standard of faire on the streets of London, but that can only mean that this new café is something of a revelation. If you rurn off Brick Lane and head down Cheshire Street, you can’t miss Morena (the brunette girl or dark brown sugar – which ever translation you fancy) and not least because of its bright yellow exterior. The owner Marianna is herself a Paraguayan morena and is a fountain of knowledge about the cuisine and culture. Her café serves up sweet treats often laced with the outrageously good dulce de leche, a caramelised sugar that is a staple of many South American desserts.


    All her cakes are baked on site by her team – who are not all from Paraguay, but considering there are only 300 Paraguayans in the UK, that’s understandable. Nevertheless, authentic sweets such as alfajores, rogel (a kind of millefeuille with a dulce de leche filling) a dulce de leche cheesecake and carrot cake (with yes, you guessed it dulce de leche) can be found.  It’s all utterly delicious; this is the ultimate sweet tooth heaven. To wash down the treats there is a range of coffees and fruit juices and the very authentic drink Yerba mate. The herb drink is strong and smokey and designed to be shared as a group. Marianna also serves her drinks in traditional cups. The one we share is a polished bulls horn decorated with silver engraving. The dried herb soaks up the first lot of water she adds to the cup – “the first is for Saint Anthony” she tells me, as the liquid disappears. We drink the hot liquor through a cleverly designed silver straw. It’s an unusual and fun addition to the visit but it certainly isn’t for the faint hearted!


    When Mariana is not serving from Cheshire Street she can be found at Brick Lane’s weekend markets, selling her goods from a stall. But, her beautifully designed café is something to behold. Decorated with handmade brightly coloured handmade lace, made by women from Paraguay and patterned leather stools, this is a great place to escape from the hustle and bustle of East London. (Words: Laura Thornley)

    Morena Bakery is located at 40 Cheshire Street, E2 6EH.For more info, visit: www.facebook.com/pages/Morena-Bakery/342434109167888


  8. New Post: What we’ve been up to… Speed Listening by The Note Well


    What we’ve been up to… Speed Listening by The Note Well

    ‘This is not speed dating!’ yells the excitement-inducing message on Facebook. ‘This is about friendship!’
    ‘OK then!’ I yell back at my computer screen, convinced I’m on my way to meeting my next BFF at this unusual music event.  For the last couple of years, the self-described “music friendship project” has encouraged musical exchanges between Londoners as an quirky way to socialise in the city. Intrigued, I arrive at The White House Pub in Shoreditch a few days later, and immediately start to overheat  (I’m wearing too many layers including my thickest T-shirt and my cosiest hoody. It’s a blinkin cold night).


    I am greeted at the door downstairs by a man who offers me splendid homemade Guinness-and-chocolate cake. I comment on its moistness which, as an old friend once said to me, is the highest compliment you can give a cake. So how does this all work then? I ask. H tells me you plug your headphones into each others’ players, listen… and maybe make friends. I’mmarked with a blue cross and told I will be in the inside of the circle. part of the group doing the moving. Alice, la femme in charge, introduces herself, we share a bourbon, then we’re off.

    There are about twenty-five, thirty people – it’s certainly a cosy event, and it all goes off rather nicely in the bijou surrounds and considerate lighting. As for the way it works, each time you form a new pairing you have seven minutes to ascertain your partner’s taste and play something you equally recommend,  like aural sommeliers. As you might expect, each musical tryst varies in its intrigue and compatibility. Sometimes you feel as though you’ve got to endure your partner’s playlist, other times you’re  just getting into it before it’s time to abruptly rotate.


    I turn up with the first iPod ever made,  telling people I like repetitive Kraut-inflected psychedelia – cue a few blank looks. During one of my rounds,  the chap I’m talking to, a composer, takes his ears out. ‘This is awful’, he says.  My next mini-epoch is with a young woman who has no power in her player, so she’s forced to listens to my recommendations. When I speak, she removes her earpiece, yells ‘what was that?’ ‘Never mind’ I say. She seems to like it.

    What I take from the evening is that I should listen to old Fleetwood Mac, most people like music with beats, The Death Grips and Scorn are a bands I now like and I doubt I have converted anyone to my msucial tastes. But I’ve certainly discovered some new music to investigate further, which makes this a fine little foray for a Thursday evening. (Words: Ed Spencer)

    Speed Listening takes place every third Thursday until June.  The next event is on March 21st, but for more info visit: www.thenotewell.com


  9. New Post: Somewhere you should go… Mama Shelter, Paris


    Somewhere you should go… Mama Shelter, Paris

    ‘A hipsters playground’ is probably among the many fitting taglines that have been bestowed upon the remarkable Mama Shelter, located in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. Since 2008, the boutique hotel has earned a rep for being the edgy digs in arty quarters that effortlessly pulls in a likeminded, international crowd – models hang out here for Fashion Week, yuppies come for the pizzeria and cocktails and everyone else hits the bar to nod along to a DJ who knows a thing or two about 90s hip-hop: I loved every bit of it.


    Pic: Francis Amiand


    Pic: Francis Amiand

    A fortnight ago, I popped over to Paris to run their half marathon and stayed in the Shelter for the weekend, quickly discovering why it’s become so popular. Designed by Philippe Starck – whose knack for the unconventional made infamous pitstops in Miami (The Delano) and New York (The Paramount) – the native Frenchman’s hotel combines contemporary styling with heavy doses of graffiti and eclectic finishes that could borders on the kitsch were it not so creative. The first thing I noticed in my cosy single room was the Toy Story Woody mask lit up by a side lamp – quirky – while the Apple Macs offer the in-room entertainment (which is also the source of the free wifi and even more impressively, free films). The room lighting was too dim mind you, and the bathroom a bit small (shower only), but this was made up by the fact it was stocked with Kiehl products, which was just another reminder of the hotel’s quality factor.


    Pic: Francis Amiand


    Pic: Francis Amiand

    As for the restaurant, its fun interiors sees portraits of “mothers” adorn armchairs, children’s swimming rings hang off ceiling lights and chalk drawings decorate the blackboard ceiling – but none of this could take away from their delicious breakfast buffet, which at 15euros, is worth every cent. Dinner’s a tad pricer and the restaurant can get extremely busy in the evenings, so it’s wise to make a reservation, even if you’re a guest. Like most places in Paris, it’s also good to know a tiny bit of French – staff are friendly and know their English, but you’d be surprised how the odd “avez-vous” can go a long way.


    Pic: Francis Amiand


    MS’s only real shortcoming is that it’s quite a walk away from the nearest Metros (roughly a 10 minute walk from Gambetta, Alexandre Dumais or Porte de Bagnolet) – yet it’s a small price to pay for a reasonably-priced hotel that ticks so many boxes, and doing an excellent job thinking outside of them too.

    For more info, visit www.mamashelter.fr


  10. New Post: Something you should see… George Bellows: Modern American Life at the Royal Academy


    Something you should see… George Bellows: Modern American Life at the Royal Academy

    When George Bellows died at the age of 42 from a ruptured appendix, he was acclaimed as one of America’s greatest realist artists. Now British audiences have the chance to see what all the fuss was about this month at the Royal Academy. The exhibition, which is the first UK retrospective of his career, explores the principal themes in Bellows’ work and includes both drawings and paintings, as well as lithographs.


    New York’s urban landscape – its people and places provided the setting for Bellows unflinching portrayal of early 20th century America. From the lawless violence of the boxing ring to gritty scenes of tenement life, to cityscapes and social scenes – he painted them all. Visitors to the Royal Academy can view life in New York and its diversity of inhabitants, as it emerged into the 20th century – from the 71 works on show. Bellows is best known for his boxing paintings and the exhibition includes his most famous work Stag at Sharkey’s (1909). The painting depicts a brutal underground bout at one of New York’s ‘private’ clubs on Broadway. The frenzied energy and raw aggression captured by Bellows in his early fight scenes helped to establish his reputation as a ‘formidable’ painter in New York art circles.


    Thought of as the ‘all-American painter’, the variety of subject matter suggest Bellows was a more complex artist who was attuned to the social and political issues of the day. Lithographs Bellows produced for leftwing publications and paintings showing German atrocities during the First World War – both included in the show, attest to the social conscience for which he is known. Those looking for some light relief from the depressing studies of daily city life should seek out Bellows’ scenic paintings of Manhattan under snow and portraits of summer fetes in Central Park.

    George Bellows left an extensive body of work for what was a short career, so here’s a great opportunity to see some of those works and find out why this American painter was so highly praised. (Words: Eri Otite)

    George Bellows (1882-1925): Modern American Life is on at the Royal Academy from 16 March – 9 June. For more info, visit www.royalacademy.org.uk