Culture Diary w/c 17-01-2022

The Man Who Fell to Earth

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 – Quentin Blake @ Kirkby Gallery – FREE

2022 marks Knowsley Borough of Culture, a year-long programme of events and activities, which will include art and theatre, comedy, dance, food, sport and more. An early marker for expectations is today’s opening of Quentin Blake at Kirkby Gallery, a beloved figure synonymous with his creations for Roald Dahl – from George’s Marvellous Medicine to The BFG. Expect 120 works, including Blake’s roughs, preliminary sketches and finished artworks for Dahl and more besides.

The Man Who Fell to Earth 14.30 today and 18.10, Sunday @ BFI Southbank, London – £8 – £8.80

“I know all things begin and end in eternity…” A fitting quote from David Bowie’s best film, given extra poignance by the recent anniversary of his passing. Adapted from the excellent novel by Walter Tevis, and directed by Nicolas Roeg (whose work on the exceptional Don’t Look Now had gripped audiences three years earlier), this was Bowie’s first starring role; a tale of an alien seeking help from another planet he doesn’t understand. The Man Who Fell to Earth (top) is part of the BFI’s David Bowie season: Starman and the Silver Screen.


Tuesday – Dracula: The Untold Story  via Liverpool & Everyman Playhouse (until 31 Jan)  £10

While the world has largely opened up, it remains a relief to know that a diverse breadth of online entertainment continues to be offered for those nights when we just don’t fancy being part of a crowd. And, until the end of the month, we can turn to Dracula: The Untold story, from Imitating the Dog and Leeds Playhouse, where it was filmed on location with home-streaming in mind. This new take on Stoker’s gothic classic finds Mina Harker at its centre. Transported to New Year’s Eve 1965, Mina tells of how she has used her preternatural precognition to wage a war on history’s would be murderers.

Wednesday – Wang Gongxin: In-Between @ White Cube Mason’s Yard, London – FREE

What is our relationship to light, and is it different depending on which part of the world we live in? These are fascinating questions, posed by Japanese writer Tanizaki Junichiro’s 1933 essay ‘In Praise of Shadows’, in which the author argued that Western cultures look for illumination and clarity while East Asian cultures embrace shadow and subtlety. This thesis is the departure point for Chinese multimedia artist Wang Gongxin’s exhibition In-Between (above), which includes kinetic video installation among other things, to interrogate this fascinating idea.

Thursday – Memoria + Recorded Q&A @ FACT Liverpool – £12.20

Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul remains best known (in the UK, at least) for his 2010 Palme d’Or winner, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. This could all be about to change with Memoria (see trailer, above), Weerasethakul’s English-language debut, starring Tilda Swinton as Jessica, an Englishwoman living in Colombia. One night, Jessica is awoken by a mysterious noise that, apparently, only she can hear. What was it? What’s going on here? Doppelgangers, recovered memories and strange frequencies abound in this enigmatic outing. Perhaps all will be revealed with a post-screening Q&A? Or, perhaps not.

Friday – Part Chimp @ Future Yard, Birkenhead  £12

Emerging from the embers of Ligament at the turn of the century, Part Chimp will blow any residual January cobwebs away. South London’s rock noise-smiths are back on the road in support of well-received fifth album, Drool. Expect a cathartic mix of sonic booms and drone throughout.    

Saturday – FREAKSCENE: The story of Dinosaur Jr. @ Future Yard, Birkenhead – £7

Another run-out for the film documenting the now and then of the brilliant Dinosaur Jr. Featuring contributions from leader J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph (as well as a slew of faces from said scene), we track a nascent Dinosaur (the Jr. was added later) through the trials and tribulations of a working band – egos, misunderstandings, and all that entails. What it lacks in extensive analysis or criticality it more than makes up for in blistering footage of a band fully deserving of all the praise – and more – heaped on them.

Sunday – Christen Sveaas Art Foundation: The Travel Bureau, Selected by Paulina Olowska @ the Whitechapel Gallery – FREE

Promoting Norwegian and international art, last year the Christen Sveaas Art Foundation was put to very good use by artist Ida Ekblad for the exhibition This is the Night Mail. Featuring prominently in that show was Paulina Olowska, who now has her own opportunity to curate from the same collection with The Travel Bureau. Inspired by Polish travel agent, Orbis, here, works of art are portals to a myriad of destinations. Returning the favour, Olowska has included work by Norwegian artist Ekblad, alongside the likes of Marina Abramović, Hurvin Anderson, Rodney Graham, Ed Ruscha, and Charline Von Heyl. Booking now.

Mike Pinnington

Home page image: Rosson Crow, Relics of the truth tellers, 2017, Acrylic, spray-paint, photo transfer, oil and enamel on canvas, 274 x 365.8 cm. © Rosson Crow. Courtesy the artist and Honor Fraser Gallery. Photo: Joshua White. From The Travel Bureau.

Posted on 17/01/2022 by thedoublenegative