Culture Diary w/c 04-12-2023

Our pick of this week’s arts, design, film and music events from across Liverpool and beyond…

Monday – The Nightmare Before Christmas 6.40pm @ FACT Liverpool – £8

There is but a handful of absolute premium Yuletide movies, and for many, The Nightmare Before Christmas will have a place – like a darkly glittering bauble – near or at the top of the tree. Directed by Henry Selick (from a story conceived by Tim Burton, whose fingerprints are all over it), 2023, scarily, sees the film mark its 30th anniversary. Tis indeed the season – for Jack Skellington.

Tuesday – Anselm 5.30pm @ FACT Liverpool – £12.20/£11.20

Portrait of painter Anselm Kiefer, the chronicler of what filmmaker Werner Herzog calls the “dizzying, dark abyss”. With Anselm, it is another director and countryman, Wim Wenders, who presents the results of his deep dive into the artist’s life and work, excavating what Laura Robertson calls the “ecstatic and unpalatable truths” of his celebrated practice.

From the archive: Staring Into The Abyss: Anselm Kiefer 

Anselm Kiefer, Winter Landscape (1970)

The Woman in Black 7.30pm @ Liverpool Playhouse – From £11

As the nights draw in and refreshing morning dew turns to a bed of crisp, crystalline frost, thoughts turn to that classic of the season, the Christmas ghost story. They don’t come much more nerve-jangling or chilling than Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, a tale of a spirit seeking vengeance from beyond. Terrifyingly perfect stuff.

Wednesday – Viy 6.30pm @ FACT Liverpool – £6.10

I first saw apparently the only Soviet era horror film Viy (top), based on the Nikolai Gogol novella of the same name, with Eureka’s 2021 release. An astonishing tale of the grotesque, it weaves together witchcraft, fear and forbidden desire to great effect. Selected by Uma Breakdown to accompany their current exhibition at FACT, the artist describes Viy as “an unstable folktale made from parts that don’t necessarily fit and told by people who don’t know exactly what has transpired.” I look forward to seeing it on the big screen.

Thursday – Monument 6pm @ Bridewell Studios and Gallery, Liverpool – FREE

Anyone paying attention will have noticed that it’s been a good year of exhibitions at Bridewell Studios and Gallery. Many of them have featured and/or have been curated by Gareth Kemp (below), and this week’s short-run Monument is no exception. Included alongside Kemp on this occasion are Jessica Rae Ecker, Mandy Payne, KJ Pocock and Luke Skiffington.


TYPIST ARTIST PIRATE KING + Carol Morley Q&A @ FACT Liverpool – £12.20/£11.20

In her 2011 documentary Dreams of a Life, Carol Morley sought to explore how a young woman could die forgotten and alone. In TYPIST ARTIST PIRATE KING, Morley brings to our attention another neglected figure, “avant-garde and misunderstood” artist Audrey Amiss. Eschewing realism, this is a good old fashioned road movie in which Amiss (Monica Dolan) travels with fictional social worker (Kelly Macdonald) – and artwork – in tow, in search of redemption and recognition.

Friday – Witchcraft Tour: Pendle to Prescot 11.30am @ the Shakespeare North Playhouse, Prescot – £9.50/£7.60

Taking in local history, this tour examines a dark chapter of history – one born of fear and prejudice – through the lens of a local woman caught up in a frenzy of irrationality and misogyny.

Saturday – Manchester Collective: The End of Time 7.30pm @ The Tung Auditorium, Liverpool – £20/£10

Last outing of the year for innovative and experimental classical programmers par excellence, Manchester Collective. Lending the performance its name, Olivier Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time was written and played during the composer’s internment as a Nazi prisoner of war. Messiaen would later state: ”Never was I listened to with such rapt attention and comprehension.” A solemn reminder that art must not exist only to entertain.

Sunday – Elias Quartet with Jonathan Biss, piano 2.30pm @ The Tung Auditorium, Liverpool – £29

Second visit of the week to the Tung Auditorium, this time for RNCM’s ensemble, the Elias Quartet. Expect works by Fanny Mendelssohn, Pēteris Vasks and Elgar.

Mike Pinnington

Images/media, from top: Viy trailer; Anselm Kiefer, Winter Landscape (1970); Photography from 2022 Gareth Kemp exhibition Light Sensitive Area Ahead @ the Bridewell; Manchester Collective The End of Time promo

Posted on 04/12/2023 by thedoublenegative