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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

'Cock' at The Royal Court

An hour and a half of laughs, irritation and few tears.

The Jerwood Theatre upstairs looked like it had shrunk when I walked in. An mdf intimate circular bandstand had been constructed for about 50 people, to create a theatre in the round. Even though I bitch about the West End theatre-goers for seeing a play just because it has denise van-outen in it! I am not ashamed in saying that I was attracted to the play for one reason. The ever so gorgeous and talented Ben Wishaw. Also the Royal Court has never disappointed me yet with a production.

The play is about John (Wishaw), and his struggle to know himself. John lives with his long term boyfriend (Andrew Scott) , who he argues with and eventually splits up with, temporarily. During the split he sleeps with a woman (Katherine Parkinson). This is when the real confusion starts with John, with both parties asking him to choose and define who he is.

The acting was completely believable which established the characters very quickly. I was mentally involved in the relationships between them all. The small stage and close environment made the play seem really personal, as did the emotional performances and content. The characters were expressing love and being in relationships and all the emotions that go with that. John's selfish actions caused upset and this was acted so passionately by Scott and Wishaw that spit was flying across the stage. I love it when that happens!

The writer of the play Mike Barlett did a really good job! The lines were very witty and intelligent with running comparisons and jokes getting bigger in each scene. It is the best piece of writing that i have seen onstage in a long time. There was no set and barely any physical action. And at one point there was a sex scene with only words and panting, letting the writing really shine out. Actions were not really needed for this brilliant script.

John's character started to get a little irritating towards the penultimate scene with his constant indecision about who he wants to be with whether he is straight or gay. Then came a moment of clarity for this weak character gave a long speech which spelled about the main messages of the play; it does not matter if you are straight or gay so don't try and define yourself and it showed the difficulty of knowing oneself.

The final scene of 'Cock' left me with tears in my eyes. The bright lighting and circular stage also meant that I could see the range of emotions that the rest of audience were put through, which was really delightful! Even if they were balling their eyes out!

If I could see it again I would, but I think it may be sold out. My night was finished off nicely with Wishaw and cast out in the Royal Court bar, but me and my mates got a little star struck and jittery so we had to leave before making fools of ourselves!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Could art help to change the world at the copehagen summit?

Protest has always required a creative streak, from the varied tactics of the suffragettes to the fancy dress antics of fathers for justice, but in recent times the nature of it has changed significantly, bring much of it closer to art. For me this new creativity has brought new life to many movements and given me hope that they can affect real change.

But with the possibly world saving (or destroying), Copenhagen summit looming, i wonder wether this fresh breeze will be enough to push for the creation of meaningful treaty. The newspapers give us a constant stream of reporting that trys to prepare us for the worst, but i can't help feel a rush of optimism when i hear whispers of plans from groups like Climate justice action and Climate camp.

In light of these inspiring movements, projects and people i will be traveling to copenhagen in december with my own little project brewing. I've been amazed by the increasing amount of passion there is around the issue of climate change, over the last few years i have seen more and more people (as well as myself), wake up to the realities of what is going on. What is even more amazing to me is the passion with which it is talked about and the obvious urge to do something about it.

I have realised however, that the very place where this passion is needed (in Copenhagen), is a logistical impossibility to many people, due to the amount of time, money and organisation needed to get there. This has really pushed me to try to give these views a platform and to try to stop people becoming alienated from what is going on at the conference.

To do this i will travel to Copenhagen over the weekend of the 11th, armed with an iphone connected to a recently started blog (, full of your messages to the world leaders, i will then get your messages seen, heard or even felt by a method of your choosing (i've had a good few ideas as well).

So.... go along to to give me your messages and ideas, or to find out more about the project.


Friday, 30 October 2009

Pick Of The Week 30.10.09

Today I was going to go with the predictable Halloween picks but there is too much good non witchy related stuff taking place this week so we scrapped that.
A quick survey around the office revealed that people will be mostly dressing up as pirates/ bears/ wicked witches/ gold futuristic soothsayers/ jack from Lord of the Flies and dead soldiers, look after the jump to see where we are heading of too...

Talk - Chosen by Nikki
Raimund Hoghe and Franko B in conversation
Siobhan Davies Studios
Tuesday 3rd November 19.00
Choreographer Raimund Hoghe has a chin wag with Franko.
Independent Dance presents a series of conversations with artists from within and outside dance, whose particular practice has led them in interesting directions beyond geographic or artform boundaries.

Film - Chosen by Joanne
Fantastic Mr Fox
everywhere (including Gap window Displays!)

I can't wait to see this film! The story was put on stage when I was a little kid and it was amazing.
A story of one Mr.Fox and his wild-ways of hen heckling, turkey taking and cider sipping, nocturnal, instinctive adventures. He has to put his wild days behind him and do what fathers do best: be responsible. He is too rebellious. He is too wild. He is going to try "just one more raid" on the three nastiest, meanest farmers that are Boggis, Bunce and Bean. It is a tale of crossing the line of family responsibilities and midnight adventure and the friendships and awakenings of this country life that is inhabited by Fantastic Mr. Fox and his friends.

Event - Chosen by Carly
Tate Modern
31st October
The Raw Canvas/DIY Womp Halloween Tate Takeover this Saturday, full of the best and most exciting creative minds bringing you some spooky and art-y type fun. Sculpture, live music, new work, live illustration, films to scare and inspire and my pick of this pick - The Roundhouse Experimental Choir! These guys are amazing, I've seen them perform on many occasions and they continue to astound me - not your average choir, full of fun, intrigue and the coolest conductor this side of a cool thing... So come on, it's on earlier in the evening, so you can pop your 'well-thought-out' costume on and head down there for loads of fun before you go and drink yourself silly at some tacky Halloween-decoration-soaked-sticky-floored-girls-in-barely-there-costumes bar! Hooray! Happy All Hallows Eve...

Event - Chosen by Lisa
Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)
31st October - 2nd November
British Museum on the 1st of November
between 11am and 5pm
I first found out about this Mexican tradition whilst playing a Day of the Dead themed computer game called Grim Fandago set in a world inhabited by skeletons with large Aztec style skulls. Good game, by the way, check it out if you're into that sort of thing.
Now integrated into Catholic traditions and celebrated around All Saint's Day, this ancient holiday celebrates the memories of dead relatives by dancing in funny masks and eating sugar skulls that represent their dead loved ones' faces. It's a fun and colourful way to remember those who have passed away, but you may look a bit silly if you decide to celebrate it by yourself.
If you're in London this weekend, pop into the British Museum on the 1st of November between 11am and 5pm for their Day of the Dead events. Find out more about that here:

Website and Project Launch - Chosen by Sam
Fun With Cancer Patients
The wonderful Brian Lobel's new project supported by the Wellcome Trust is about action with Cancer patients, actions can be anything which involves you — the cancer patient — taking the lead. “If I could only…” “Oh, I so want to…” “I wish I could just...” might be three ways of starting to think of an action.

Cabaret - Chosen by Lindsey
Every Friday for the run of the Sacred Festival at Chelsea Theatre Friday nights are Cabaret Nights. Tonight expect Frank Chickens and with BOURGEOIS & MAURICE and MISS HIGH LEG KICK to come what better way to spend you Friday nights!

Dance - Chosen by Nicky
Rosemary Lee
Common Dance
Greenwich Dance Agency

The premiere was last night and the rumors around the office is that it is totally breath taking. It is sold out but there is always a good chance of returns and no shows so call GDA and put your name on the list. Informed by notions of shared experience, Common Dance is a large-scale work by one of Britain’s leading choreographers, Rosemary Lee. This bold production involves 50 professional and non-professional dancers aged 8 to 80, a choir of 70 young people from Finchley Children’s Music Group.

Michael Clark Company
28 October 2009 - 7 November 2009
Barbican Theatre
Tickets: £10-35
This new work evolves from Clark’s admiration for the music of rock’s holy trinity, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed, who worked in close proximity during the 1970s. The production includes Bowie’s iconic song "Heroes".

‘Rock is my rock. It has been vital to me at a personal level, it has shaped me as an individual as well as an artist’ Michael Clark.


Monday, 26 October 2009

Just a quicky if you don't know what your doing in 2010!

If you are in the market for a 2010 diary then get your greasy mitts on this one!

The Art Not Oil Diary 2010 is a beautiful, stirring 365 day reminder of the extraordinary art that is being made in the struggle for a safer, more just future, and the crucial role that our creativity will need to play if we’re to have a chance of
reaching that place.
The diary will be launched in October at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol as part of PLATFORM's 'C Words' series of events;
Thanks for the heads up Cat

Friday, 23 October 2009

Pick Of The Week 24.10.09

It's 1am on a Friday evening/ Saturday morning and having spent a wonderful night at the Live Art Development Agency (which I shamefully revealed to my friends and colleagues today I thought was in Cockfosters!)listening to the feedback from the DIY 6 programme and playing Miser - a - Ball (a game of keepy uppy where you are told to stand on one leg if "daddy payed for your education" - it was an amazing part of Camp Live Art)I am still immersing myself in culture for your weekly pleasure. Here's what we are getting up to this week, come and join us...

Dancey Times - Chosen by Richard
The nabokov Arts Club
Village Underground - Shoreditch
Jump up and down it's! The undisputed heavyweight champion of artistic happenings anywhere, ever!
Yes, The nabokov Arts Club is back with an all new extravaganza of theatre, music, comedy, poetry and lots more in a vast Victorian warehouse in the heart of Shoreditch. Also booze, food, dancing and general tomfoolery till 2am.

Exhibition - Chosen by Holly
Matt Collishaw at the Freud Museum
New works including sculptures, projections and installations on the theme of hysteria, childhood memory and loss created for Sigmund Freud's house.

Day out - Chosen by Holly
Kettles Yard
If you fancy getting out of town for the day, how about heading to Cambridge - I took some 'gifted and talented' A level students there the other day to 'raise their aspirations' and get them a bit of culture... I've been meaning to go to Kettles yard there for years and finally did - Jim and Helen Ede's home is a real delight - he was the curator at the Tate in the 1920s and the house is full of artworks and good books alongside natural objects... a truly inspirational trip! Helena Almeida is also showing in the gallery with her exhibition 'Inside me'.

Book - chosen by Sam
Live Art Almanac Volume 2
This is your chance to get what you have seen, read, twitted and facebooked about Live Art this year into print. LADA are calling for recommendations and submissions for The Live Art Almanac - Volume 2, An international publication of writing on and around Live Art Deadline: 31 December 2009 so you have a little while, but get thinking and sorting through your archives

Performance - Chosen by Becky
‘Pick and Mix’
Saturday 24 October
Woolworths, Leytonstone
A dance performance inside our old local Woolworths store in Leytonstone curated by Fearghus O’Conchuir who is Associate Artist at Project Arts Centre with the support of East London Dance.

Exhibition - Gustav Metzger
I have just deleted my entry 4 times because it was far to gushing! Everything I hear about Gustav Metzger makes me fall more and more in love with him; from a 3 minute conversation I had with him once, many years ago *swoon* to anecdotes of him listening to bird song in Viccy Park. I guess I can't mention his name without turning into a raving 13 year old Boyzone fan! Go see the show it will be amzing!

Exhibition - Chosen by everyone
Sophie Calle
Whitechapel Gallery
Even if you went last week go again and don't forget to go upstairs!

Festival-Chosen by Nikki
Sacred festival
Chelsea Theatre
shows til 22nd Nov
Now that the champagne corks have stopped popping it's time to read the programme and book your tickets, I'm heading for Paul Granjon and some wonderful Miss High Leg Kick.

& don't forget
Artsadmin's Youth Board are running Scrits on Wednesday and its the final call for film submissions for Dot Dot Dash Dot on Thursday 29th Oct.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Pick Of The Week 16.10.09

Boy do we have a stonking great swag bag of picks this week. Looks like our bloggers are having to think hard and fast about ways to while away the long cold(ish) nights. After the jump are our tasty recommendations for what to do next week...

Live Art Season - Chosen by Mark
21 October – 22 November 2009
West London's live art home comes alive this month with the opening (on Wednesday, see you there) of the Sacred Festival.This years highlights include: Friday night cabaret from Miss High Leg Kick and Bourgeois and Maurice to writing workshops with Lone Twin and some David Hoyle, Gob Squad and Paul Granjon thrown in for good measure.
You can also pick up limited edition oyster card holders designed by the likes of Bobby Baker, Franko B, Stacy Makishi and a few others.

Exhibition - Chosen by Lisa
Pop Life: Art in a Material World
Tate Modern
13th October 2009 - 17th January 2010.
£12.50, concessions £10.50.
Basically if a show has Takashi Murakami in it then I'm likely to recommend it. This show is not for youngsters, though, with three of the rooms being over 18s access only. Pop artists from the last three decades show off their heavily stylized works.

Dance - Chosen by Joanne
In the Spirit of Diaghilev
Sadler's Wells
13-17 October
I am really looking forward to seeing this! Four choreographers pay tribute to the founder of Les Ballets Russes with four new works. Including Wayne McGregor, who I really admire. Each artist, working with all or part of his own company, gives their own original response to the famous challenge that Diaghilev once issued to Jean Cocteau: “Surprise me!”. Each piece is a collaboration of different inspirations, music and dance.

Exhibition - Chosen by pretty much everyone
Sophie Calle at the Whitechapel
Even if you went to the private view last night I bet you missed out on half the show, I hear that although the fruity vodka beverages of the opening night were pretty remarkable, the work is even better.

Hula - las - Chosen by Sam
19 October 2009 - 7 November 2009
Artsadmins very own Heidi will be running hulahoop workshops at the BAC on tuesday evening, join her and don't forget your heels, glitter and falsies. Its worth it just to see the their new LED hoops...awesome!

Exhibition - Chosen by Manick
The Future Can Wait
Trumen Brewery
14- 18 Oct
See Angela's Bartrum's unique videos, Mark McGowens legendary documentation and Jock Mooneys colourful installations and much more all under one roof. A visual treat

Exhibition - Chosen By Frank
Omer Fast
South London Gallery
Oct - Dec 09
This three-part video installation by Omer fast plays beautifully with the conventions of cinema and uses these to examine what is lost, and also gained, when dramatising a true story. Based on extracts from an encounter the artist had with a person seeking asylum in Britain, this piece uses these extracts with further dramatisations of this story to show the disparity between truth and fiction. This work encapsulates all that I love about Omer Fast, a beautifully shot and thought provoking film.

Exhibition - Chosen by Frank
Anish Kapoor
Royal Acadamy
26 September—11 December 2009

This awe inspiring exhibition from Anish Kapoor showcases many of his major works to date and contrasts his more lighthearted, playful work really well with the more intense and dark pieces. The grand setting of the Royal Academy also serves to exaggerate this raw feeling and although there were a few works that didn't quite hit the button for me, the exhibition as a whole is well worth a visit.

Photography - Chosen by Holly
East London photography festival
"a photographic feast"!
oct/nov 2009
The largest photography festival in the UK with more than 150 exhibitions taking place in over 80 venues in East London.

Check me out in Photo Open curated by Alternative Arts at the Old Truman Brewery F block T4 15 Hanbury St. Opening Thursday 15th October 6-9 on till 4th November.

Shop - Chosen by Carly
3rd Sunday of every month
St Aloysius Social Club, Euston

My pick this week will appeal to anyone who went to those haphazard jumble sales on any given Sunday in their childhood, spent their pocket money on a variety of second hand tat and had the best time doing so. Except this time, rather than well-loved bears and old tapes of Kylie and Jason, the tat is the fabulous clothes, craft and comics found deep in the drawers of the achingly cool 'vin-tage' cats who meander the streets of London. It's still a Sunday though. Well some things never change.

Fun Times - Chosen by Gill
John Hegley
Thursdays at Arts bar and Cafe

also dont miss out on the last week of the beautifully grizzly exhibition at The
Wellcome Collection,Exquisite Bodies

Architectural Punch Bowl: Invitation to invent cocktail so big you can row a boat across it!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Pick of the Week - 25/09/09

A fair bit seems to be kicking off this weekend, with a festival, fair and performance recommended here ending before Monday. Thanks to us, our regular readers won't have to worry about missing it all.

Performance - Chosen by Joanne
Bahok by Akram Khan Company, 25th-26th September
For two days only Akram Khan Company will be dancing their socks off with the National Ballet of China. I saw the company about 4 years ago performing 'Ma 'and I still remember the stylised movements which pushed movement boundaries and the fantastic original atmospheric musical score. It was one of the best pieces of contemporary dance I have ever seen.
This piece explores how the body carries (bahok means carry in Bengali) national identity and a sense of belonging. As usual Khan uses dancer from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Mixing kathak-contemporary (Indian classical meets contemporary) and classically trained dancers I'm sure will create an interesting fusion! I will be seeing this so look out for the review in the blog!

Audio Slideshow Series - Chosen by Priyesh
'Disappearing acts' - Audio Slideshow series on the Guardian website
If you've ever wondered how old wheels are made, or how a book is
bound this is for you. This fantastic series takes you through crafts
across the country that have almost been lost in time. I stumbled
across the latest one on 'Stucco' which is the technique of
hand-modeling plasterwork and I was amazed at what was produced.
Could there be a revival of the Craftsman on the horizon?

Mini-festival - Chosen by Frank
15 minute factory, 25th-27th September, The Rag Factory, 16-18 Heneage St, London, E1 5LJ
A three-day cultural mishmash of live music, performance, art, cabaret, burlesque, stand-up comedy and interactive installations, expect art and music from the fringes.

Performance - Chosen by Rosalie
The Paper Cinema - The Lost World, Stoke Newington International Airport, £5
A cast of hand-drawn marionettes are magically brought to life by the Paper Cinema. In this new show, Arthur Conan Doyle's dinosaur tale is told, accompanied by a live score by Kora. Yes please!

Installation - Chosen by Jennifer
Echoes of Blackburn Meadows.
Transmission begins Friday 25th September.
Sheffield-based oral history and public arts project launches the first of a series of solar powered transmitters broadcasting spoken memories and sounds of the former Blackburn Meadows power station; home of two famed cooling towers, which were demolished last year. Workshops are being held to build FM radio receivers with which to access the artwork.
More info at

Fair - Chosen by Lisa
The London Art Book Fare, Whitechapel Gallery, on until 27th September.
Friday 25 September, 5pm-late
Saturday 26 September, 11am-6pm
Sunday 27 September, 11am-6pm
I'm mainly excited about this because as a student now I'm budgeting ferociously whilst trying to gather in any resources that might possibly be useful to me. In what equates to a giant art book sale, the gallery advertises up to 40% off the RRPs, plus free membership if you spend over £100 at a stall. If you're around East London this weekend it's certainly worth a look to see what you might be able to snap up.