Culture Diary w/c 02-03-2020

Portrait of a Lady on Fire_NoemieAdeleCeline_Photo by Claire Mathon_Courtesy NEON (1) 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 – Animation: The Write Stuff 6.30pm @ the BFI Southbank, London – £6.5

Looking back to when I was a kid, of all the comic books, magazines and cartoon strips I was reading, the most formative was likely Super Play. Dedicated to the Super Nintendo console, Super Play also had some of the earliest writing in the UK on wider Japanese pop culture. Through those pages I learned about Manga, Anime and Otaku. I was lucky – I came to the magazine as a Super Nintendo owner. Today, post-Internet and amid a slew of blogs and podcasts, where is the best writing on animation to be found? This question serves as the departure point for an evening of discussion by the BFI National Archive’s Curator of Animation Jez Stewart, with a panel of guests.

Tuesday – Portrait of a Lady on Fire @ the Curzon, Sheffield 6.20pm – £9.50

While Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire won the Queer Palm at Cannes last year, in their statement, jurors were quick to point out that “above all,” it is “an incredible film for cinema” full stop. And, it seems, all who have seen it are inclined to agree. Telling the tale of burgeoning desire between a painter and her subject in late 18th century France and described as a “period piece with a distinctly modern feminist sensibility”, tonight’s screening is preceded by a recorded intro from Sciamma herself, pictured above with stars Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel.


Wednesday – Exhibition Opening: Cao Fei: Blueprints @ the Serpentine Galleries, London – FREE

One of my favourite works of contemporary art is Whose Utopia? (2006), by Cao Fei. Set in a factory in China, the twenty minute long video plays with ideas of work, productivity and how we all have dreams – realised or otherwise. For her latest project, Blueprints (above), the artist brings together new and existing works in a site specific installation that has VR at its centre, to further explore her recurring themes of automation, virtuality and technology. “In an age of rapid technology,” she explains, “we need to know that virtuality has changed the way reality works. And to do this we need to be part of it.”

Footsteps Quiet in Shadow 7.30pm @ the Bluecoat, Liverpool – £5/£3

Drawing on J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto, and the poetry of Francesca Kay, Footsteps Quiet in Shadow (which takes its name from Kay’s work) features compositions by British composers responding the metaphors of light, reality, and illusion. Lunn, who has been shortlisted for three awards by The Scottish New Music Awards, will be joined by ‘composer of monochrome music’ Justė Janulytė and Justina Repečkaitė.

AubreyBeardsley The Peacock Skirt 1893 (pubpished 1907). Stephen Calloway

Aubrey Beardsley @ Tate Britain £16/£15

Perhaps best known for illustrating Oscar Wilde’s controversial 1891 play, Salomé, Aubrey Beardsley (above) died seven years later aged just 25. An enfants terribles of fin-de-siècle London, Beardsley’s taste for combining the erotic and grotesque with a splash of dark humour scandalised and delighted audiences in equal measure. Now, Tate are reassessing the illustrator and draughtsman, by bringing together more than 200 works in celebration of his short-lived but prolific career which foreshadowed Art Nouveau.

Juno Calypso Artist Talk 6pm @ Manchester Art Gallery – £8/£4

Following in the trailblazing footsteps of the likes of Lynne Tillman and Lynn Hershman Leeson, artist Juno Calypso’s work is an exploration of performed femininity. She does this through her proxy, Joyce, a character she developed while studying for her BA at London College of Communication. Joyce was last seen in a nuclear bunker in Nevada, putting contemporary obsessions around preserving life, youth and beauty under the lens. Calypso is in Manchester tonight to discuss her ongoing project and her wider career.


Thursday – TRS – GEN: Generator Projects Exchange 6pm @ The Royal Standard, Liverpool – FREE

In January, symposium What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About The Artist-Led sought to address how artist-led ‘practitioners and their collectives, groups and organisations have found themselves routinely co-opted, exploited and appropriated by external actors and institutions’. It’s not all doom and gloom, however: tonight, The Royal Standard hosts Dundee’s Generator Projects as part of an exchange celebrating such organisations, and introduces artists from across the nation to new cities and audiences.

Only Lovers Left Alive 6.10pm @ the BFI Southbank, London – £25/£10.20

Ranked in the top 100 films of the century so far and the fourth greatest of the 10s, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive (above) sees well-adjusted vampire slackers Adam and Eve (played by Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, respectively) catching up. Reviews at the time of its release in 2014 were at pains to point out the film’s superiority to the Twilight franchise, and although this cannot be disputed, the picture has more in common with Jarmusch’s conversation-heavy Coffee and Cigarettes than it does genre cinema. But it’s not all quiet rumination on high-brow culture, as the couple’s urbane reverie is disturbed by Eve’s unpredictable little sister, Ava (played with aplomb by Mia Wasikowska).

Friday – A Winged Victory for the Sullen 7pm @ Ullet Road Unitarian Church, Liverpool – £24.75

When I first heard mention of A Winged Victory for the Sullen I mistakenly assumed that, given their name, they were some kind of Nu-Metal revival act. Fortunately, they’re nothing of the sort. The duo is, in fact, one of the growing cadre of acts attributed with the term ‘neoclassical’. Emerging in 2011 with their self-titled debut, AWVftS returned in late 2019 with The Undivided Five (listen above), their first album since 2014’s Atomos (made for choreographer Wayne McGregor’s performance of the same name). In the vanguard of a movement as welcome as it is unlikely in these times of throwaway pop trivialities, it’s good to have them back.

Cries and Whispers 8pm @ the Invisible Wind Factory, Liverpool – £12/£8

“Heart-breaking intimacy”; “Musical desolation” goes the blurb at the top of the web page for the latest programme of concerts from Manchester Collective, “a new kind of arts organisation, built for a fresh and diverse musical world”. Titled Cries and Whispers, the string quartet will play a set including Britten, Carlo Gesualdo and Shostakovich. For more insight if (like me) you’re fairly new to classical, have a listen to some of what you might expect here. Further down the event listing’s page, we are also told that “there’s real darkness in this programme.” We’ve been warned.

Exhibition Opening: Enough is Definitely Enough 6pm @ OA Studios, Salford – FREE

Artists from Goya to Picasso and beyond have addressed Spanish master Velázquez’s 1656 painting Las Meninas. This week, more than four hundred years after his birth, an exhibition opens which confirming that the – at first glance – traditional portrait continues to fascinate. Curated by Andrew Bracey, the exhibition is expanded from his research “exploring how contemporary artists have used and appropriated existing paintings by other artists, through a position of using the metaphor of the parasite and symbiosis in connection with painting”. Including fifty artists (among them, Bracey, Yelena Popova, Josie Jenkins, Cathy Lomax and Magnus Quaife), it’s safe to assume wide-ranging responses.

Saturday – Chapters of Collage: International Women’s Day 6.30pm @ Chapters Of Us, Liverpool – £30

Ahead of tomorrow’s International Women’s Day, join Cut Out Collage (AKA artist Catherine Rogers) for an evening of cut-and-paste fun intended for those who “identify as a womxn, respect womxn, love womxn” and want to exercise their creative muscles. Included in the £30 fee are: materials; food and drink; tuition (including an intro to more advanced collage skills); and, of course, an opportunity to take time for yourself among like-minded womxn while you channel your inner Linder.  


Sunday – Horror Legends: David Cronenberg 1pm @ The Plaza, Stockport – £23.30/£7.50

Movie-goers coming late to the oeuvre of David Cronenberg might know him best for high concept curiosities Cosmopolis (2012) and 2014’s Maps to the Stars. Thankfully, Manchester-based Grimmfest have programmed a day of screenings in celebration of much earlier body-horror classics with which he made his name. Things get off in fine form with Rabid, Cronenberg’s 1977 take on the zombie flick (recently remade by the Soska sisters). It is followed by the prescient social/tech satire Videodrome. Then comes his own remake, with The Fly and, perhaps most controversial, his adaptation of J. G. Ballard’s novel of car-crash sexual fetishism, Crash.

Queer Zine Library – Talk and Zine Making Workshop 1pm @ Exchange, Bristol – £5

From extremely DIY photocopied examples of the 1970s to today’s renaissance, it’s long been clear that zine culture is here to stay. Illustrating this, and sharing LGBTQIA stories and lived experiences outside of traditional settings, the Queer Zine Library land in Bristol today for a talk on their history and mission, and to deliver a zine-making workshop. Amassing a collection of four hundred + zines as well as a wealth of experience in making and self-publishing, QZL put “queer histories in the hands of queer communities”.

Mike Pinnington

Posted on 02/03/2020 by thedoublenegative