Culture Diary w/c 29-07-2019


Our pick of this week’s arts, design, film and music events from around the North of England and the rest of the UK – and loads of it’s free!

Monday – The Vinyl Revival + Q&A 8.45pm @ FACT Liverpool – £7.70

Graham Jones’ 2009 book Last Shop Standing: Whatever Happened to Record Shops? saw the author “set off on a journey around the country to interview 50 record stores”. His mission was to document what he thought would be the last shops standing. He feared that record stores would soon be part of our history, and that what he would be doing was writing their obituaries. As he observes in this new film, a decade on and “everybody’s buying records – that’s both sexes and all ages”. With insight from musicians, including Radiohead’s Philip Selway Radiohead and Rock and Roll Historian, Jen Otter Bikerdike, the screening is followed by a Q&A.

Tuesday – Precarity in the Arts 6pm @ FACT Liverpool – FREE

Working in the arts – it’s great, isn’t it? As long as you’re getting paid fairly, of course. And, this is the problem. As many reading this will have no doubt experienced, precarity in the arts isn’t so much the elephant in the room as the foremost thing in their minds, causing sleepless nights into the bargain. This talk takes as its departure point artists’ membership organisation a-n’s Paying Artists Campaign, which “aims to secure payment for artists who exhibit in publicly-funded galleries”. Joining Julie Lomax, CEO of a-n The Artists Information Company, and Emily Speed, Artist and Chair of a-n Artists Council, are a number of Liverpool-based artists (including Joe Cotgrave and Fauziya Johnson) discussing the issues at hand.


Wednesday – RESCHEDULED: Wednesday – Stereolab 7pm @ Albert Hall, Manchester – £22.50

Ever get a recurring earworm? A song that from time to time is just present? Happily, one of mine is Sterelab’s Lo Boob Oscillator, a brilliant driving track (as with so many of theirs of this vintage), it contains ennui, yet is – somehow – also uplifting. Although critically acclaimed, Stereolab rarely threatened true crossover success. After suffering tragedy with the death of guitarist and vocalist Mary Hansen in 2002 (while out riding her bike), extended hiatus followed. Last year (after nearly a decade), with the rerelease of key records followed by whispers and then confirmation of the band’s reforming, a tour was announced. It’s good to have them back.

Thursday – Exhibition Opening: Future Cities: Technopolis & Everyday Life/Jiū Society: Lost in Shenzhen 6pm @ Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Manchester – FREE

Including artists CineMuse Project, Chiawei Hsu, Lawrence Lek, Zheng Mahler and Liam Young, this new group exhibition uses contemporary cities and technology to look beyond present-day realities (somewhere between “speculation and reality”), just as the Futurists were inspired to do by cutting-edge innovations of their time. Neon lights, sculptures, photographs and short films – since its formation in 2015, Jiū Society (artists Fang Di, Ji Hao and Jin Haofan) has been creating works responding to the rapid development of the Pearl River Delta region, which takes in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Zhuhai and Hong Kong. For Future Cities’ partner exhibition, Lost in Shenzhen, they take aim at the realities of such Chinese megacities.


Exhibition Opening: A Portrait Of… 6pm @ Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool – FREE

“Portraiture is a mysterious pursuit,” writes Joshua Turner in his recent review of Craig Easton’s photographic project, Sixteen, which asks: ‘what’s it like to be sixteen years old now?’ This touring exhibition now comes to the Open Eye, shown with portraiture from their archive (selected by local women’s group Vida Creative Learning). Rounding off A Portrait Off… is Katherine Green’s The Olympians, which captures athletes in old age, to highlight “the rich lives that older people have lived”. Read Joshua Turner’s thoughts on Sixteen: Evidence & Empathy

Friday – Do the Right Thing 30th Anniversary Screenings, nationwide – Ticket prices may vary

Did Mookie Do the Right Thing? I first saw Spike Lee’s 1989 film at university. It was pretty formative. As well as the movie itself, I’ve never forgotten that the lecturer who screened it remarked that it was only ever white audience members who questioned the “right thing” of the title in a film that vividly explores rising racial tensions against the backdrop of a sweltering black and Puerto Rican neighbourhood in Brooklyn. While it’s fitting that Lee won his first Oscar (Best Adapted Screenplay, BlacKkKlansman) thirty years after the movie that he’s arguably best known for, many would question its coming so late.


Saturday – Exhibition Closing: Buffer Zones @ Paradise Works, Salford (Gtr. Manchester) – FREE

A new PM, Vote Leave revelations and Netflix data-mining doc, The Great Hack are just some of the things that make Buffer Zones, at Salford’s Paradise Works, so timely. Featuring 13 contemporary artists – James Bridle, Larry Achiampong & David Blandy, Hilary Jack and Yelena Popova included – the exhibition responds to the vexatious questions and occurrences that we are currently faced by – Brexit (obvs), social divisions, hostile environments and the separation of community and physical space among them. Recommended. Read our review; plus, Introducing: Paradise Works

Reclaim The Frame: Vintage – Dance With A Stranger & Smooth Talk 2pm @ Picturehouse Central, London – £18

BFI backed influencer project Reclaim The Frame aims to grow audiences for films told from a female perspective, often showcasing those written and/or directed by women. This afternoon’s RTF double-bill – part of the BFI FAN Film Feels: Obsession season – features the nourish Dance With A Stranger (written by Shelagh Delaney) and Smooth Talk, directed by Joyce Chopra. I confess to not having seen either, which speaks to the importance of the initiative. Excluding and side-lining voices (be they female, POC, or others under-represented by the industry) means reducing access – both theirs and the audience’s. A post-screening discussion includes Oscar-winning producer Mia Bays, director Mike Newell (Dance With A Stranger), critic Sophie Monks Kaufman and more.


The Royal Standard Summer BBQ and Party 4pm @ The Royal Standard – £5

Art auction, music, DJs and performances, and that’s before you even mention the food bit. This weekend sees The Royal Standard Summer BBQ, which takes place (if need be) under cover, meaning it’ll be rad whatever the weather. Drinks (including a freebie on arrival), food, art and music collide for an afternoon of revelling. Organised to help support TRS’s continued delivery of free exhibitions and public programme, get along, sign up for a 30-minute superstar DJ slot and bag yourself an original artwork or two as donated by studio members.

Sunday – Exhibitions Closing: Evolution by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw @ RIBA North, Liverpool

Last chance to see this exhibition of the models, films and drawings of designers of The Eden Project North, Grimshaw Architects. The show includes exclusive examples of their work on Cornwall’s own Eden Project (famous for its biomes, bubble-like structures that house the world’s largest indoor rainforest), Australia’s Southern Cross Station and New York’s Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC).

Mike Pinnington

Images, from top: The Vinyl Revival; Stereolab; Dorothy Tyler (née Odam) (b. 1920), Surrey, 2008, High Jump (silver medal), by Katherine Green; Marco Godoy, The Distance Between Us (film still) © the artist; TRS Summer BBQ flyer

Posted on 29/07/2019 by thedoublenegative