London Arts Review Podcast – Food, theatre, film and new music

Episode 19:

This week we cover The Renegade Craft Fair and sample new Amercian diner Joe’s Southern Kitchen. We see Macbeth by Tara Arts and new Brazilian film Futuro Beach. We finish with new music from Ben Hayes, featuring Naomi Banks.

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00:40 The Renegade Craft Fair

05:40 Joe’s Southern Kitchen Review

08:40 Macbeth by Tara Arts 

11:30 Futuro Beach

13:40 Did I? New Music from Ben Hayes, ft Naomi Banks

Total Running time: 18:30

 

Thanks to the contributors Elainor Knight and AN Donaldson.

 

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Bridging The Void – an intelligent and interesting idea at @BETCamberwell

As part of the Elefeet Dance Festival at the Blue Elephant Theatre, Camberwell, ‘Experiential Dance’ performed Bridging The Void, a work created by choreographer and film artist Rachel Johnson. Drawing its inspiration from the Native American saying ‘Every Night is followed by Sunrise’, Bridging The Void aims to recreate the experience of a sunrise, bringing together film, dance and music in an immersive theatre setting.  

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The piece begins in pitch darkness. Without sight, the other senses are awakened, an experience that is at once unsettling and exciting and which creates a tantalising energy in the space. The attention is drawn to the sound of the dancers moving against the floor, accompanied by an amplified sound of heavy breathing – an effect which was a little overdone. Still, it creates an eerie atmosphere, eventually broken by the coming sunrise.  

The gradual progression of the sunrise throughout this piece, portrayed both on film and through the increasing lightness of the space, provides an effective visual accompaniment to the dance and music. The three dancers relish in the glow of an orange light that cleverly echoes the rising sun on the projected film, their movement reflecting something between a welcoming of the sun and god-like worship. There are some interesting connections between the live movement and what is seen on film, and a particularly charming moment when the sunlight moves “off” the screen in the form of hand-held lights in the dancers’ palms. This combination between dance and visuals makes for an enjoyable experience, however the movement is a little repetitive on occasions and generally the piece could have benefited from some further development of its images. 

As an immersive work, there is no seating and the audience are free to wander around the space, close to the dancers who move through and around them. The personal experience this creates is one of the strengths of the performance, although there are times when moments of movement get lost behind larger groups of people. The space at the Blue Elephant Theatre was a little restrictive in this sense but it’s an exciting concept to play with, one which could lend a uniqueness to each performance.  

Bridging The Void presents an intelligent and interesting idea and Johnson’s desire to create an experience for her audience holds the potential for making this a captivating piece. The film work is beautiful and the music, composed for the production by James Welland, is equally moving; a subtle and perfectly balanced accompaniment. Bridging The Void just needs a little more drive in its performance and a greater fluidity in the interplay between dance, lighting and visuals to reach its true potential.

by Rachel Elderkin

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Cosmo Sarson At Pure Evil Gallery

The epitome of East London cool and edginess, Pure Evil is an artist run gallery set up by street artist Charles Uzzell Edwards, AKA Pure Evil, in 2007. The EC2 Gallery now had a sister just a couple of doors away. The stripped, concrete walls and use of basements help maintain that street art vibe where Pure Evil displays his own works alongside that of other artists such as Banksy.

Controversial Cosmo Sarson takes over most of one floor with his works. Previously painting a 28ft mural of a breakdancing Jesus, here we see him explore and take this theme further.

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Most of his works are classified as oil paints and charcoals but Sarson also mixes it up with the obvious street art tool of spray paint, as well as more traditional etchings – then back to the contemporary arts with the sporadic use of pixels and dragged paints. His most striking works are the earthy coloured Breakdancing Jesus oil paintings. With a vivid rusty, simple background Jesus effortlessly holds differing poses. His calm face and statuesque stance is at odds with the movement of breakdancing and the tension in his muscular body. The black and white charcoal images are more fluid and have a real sense of movement created by Sarson sketching extra limbs as if our eyes can’t keep up with the rapidity of dance. Loose marks on the body as well as curved strokes around the figure also help create the sense of speed and ease.

Alongside these, Sarson presents works relating to Greek myth and gods and monsters. The works are predominantly couples in dramatic poses such as in Medusa and Minotaur. As well as the subject matter, his chiaroscuro is reminiscent of the famous Caravaggio style. These works are darker and much more dramatic yet still retain the essence of a choreographed dance and like the Jesus paintings contain a sense of peace among the tension. Sarson unashamedly throws together classical subjects and the contemporary urban world to purposely blur the boundaries. We’re not able to compartmentalise and Sarson forces us to read these works as new urban myths and heroes.

Pure Evil Gallery, 96 – 98 Leonard street, London EC2A 4XS

2 – 23rd April 2015

By Helen Shewry

 

jicks pick

Q & A :: Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks

wig out at jagbags

We know Stephen Malkmus best as the frontman of legendary 90s indie band Pavement, with catchy garage tunes like "Shady Lane" and "Stereo". Not that his latest act, Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks is anything to sniff at - they've just released album number six Wig Out At Jagbags and will soon head down under for their fourth tour. Bernie Burke caught up with the oddball man himself about the new record and all things Jagbags.

BB: It sounds like there’s a huge number of instruments on the new album Wig Out At Jagbags. Did you have to hire lots of musicians or do you play them all?

SM: Not really. We got horn players – I can’t play real horns…I played some fake ones on a previous record. Yeah wind instruments- you can’t really just pick ‘em up, like, the lip thing. I mean, I think you can just kinda pick up drums or piano or at a certain level, and get away with it. Not wind. You gotta get somebody in there. So we got a few people for that, but yeah most of it is just the Jicks and me. If it sounds a little out of tune or off, it’s probably me, the rest is the band.

BB: What’s a fake horn, computer generated?

SM: Yeah you know, simulated instruments, it’s on a couple of the tracks. I played fake strings…most people can’t afford real strings, and it’s hard to make ‘em sound good, to be honest. So people just buy these ones, I mean they’re on all the soundtracks or whatever too…I forget the name of it, it has a proprietary thing where it’s so you can’t crack it and steal it, so you have to buy it. You could almost buy a real string section for the price of these sampled strings..but you know, at least you can keep doing it and getting it wrong by yourself, instead of telling somebody else to get it wrong or right.

BB: You drop some unexpected names in songs on the record (Slim Shady, Condaleeza Rice) – is there a reason behind that?

SM: They pop into my mind, those kind of pop culture things. I mean the names are funny, the way they sound, the image that comes in my head thinking about them…so you know, they’re pregnated in some way, but they’re also “lowest common denominator” kind of thing – stuff everybody knows about, people that we know about, interesting in the context of me and the Jicks and what is going on…like “why is he talking about her?”

I mean the name Conda-l-ee-za Rice… it’s a very cool name. I just like saying it, more than anything. So I guess as a vocalist sometimes you get into the melodic sound of words, rather than the meaning.

I mean it’s a hard c…that c-c-c and eeeee-ee…it’s very rock and roll. The leeee-za…it’s like Mick Jagger…I can hear him saying it, that would be awesome…in his prime, I don’t need to hear him sing it now but…or again, maybe he could date her…anyway. That would be cool.

BB: How would you describe your own style of music?

SM: It’s mine I guess, that’s all I can say. People like it because…it’s not ripping anybody else off, you can say that. It’s just like, somebody’s weird mind.

It’s hard to self examine what it is about it, but I would just assume that’s what’s interesting about it (being weird) …because that’s what I like about the people I like, you know, they’re just critters, they’re like, weird people doing their thing. You know, Bjork or whatever, you know she’s weird, she’s a freak, and we love her…

Of course she’s talented, but there’s plenty of talented people. So you know, what makes her better is her kind of uniqueness and balls…but that’s a different story.

BB: Does your music come really easy to you?

SM: Pretty much. I mean a lot of the best things come the easiest out of you…they just come like a flowing river. You just ride it, ride the wave of it you know, you don’t have to think. Things that are more forced for me don’t work, other people, you know like the sweat, and to hear the struggle of something.

BB: You’ll be touring Australia soon. Are you looking forward to playing anywhere in particular?

SM: Sydney and Melbourne, they’re always nice, something’s kind of cosmopolitan about those cities, and they’re sort of timeless. Of course they change, and they change a lot to you, but not to me. And we’re going to Tasmania, I never been there but we’ve watched documentaries about the forest there. It looks really beautiful.

Check out all the details at Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks’ Facebook page