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Topics - kleines c

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Theatre / Philadelphia, Here I Come!
« on: August 03, 2012, 02:44:59 pm »
“Boy, when that little ole plane gets up into the skies, you’ll stick your head out of the window and spit down on the lot of them”

Tomorrow morning, Gar O’Donnell is leaving Ballybeg and the Ireland of his childhood. Leaving his father and the lads. Leaving Kate. There’s a dream across the ocean, of Cadillacs, Coke floats and girls: a dream of America. On his last night in town a series of visitations, real and imagined, force Gar to confront the choices he's made and the promise of the future. Join us, tonight! Writing in the FT, Ian Shuttleworth reports that Brian Friel’s portrait of small lives in an Irish village is a fine piece of ensemble work. It is a poignant collective portrait of the impossibility of leaving behind one’s own past, nor of living in it.

21st Century / A Symphony of British Music
« on: August 01, 2012, 05:30:31 pm »
The Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games is called 'A Symphony of British Music', although I doubt that it will really be a symphony at all.  Writing in 'The Financial Times', Robert Shrimsley reports that to the pulsing themes of Britpop through the years, the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games will trace a line from Underworld and Dizzee Rascal back to Cliff Richard and Clodagh Rogers, culminating in a singalong featuring Brotherhood of Man and the St Winifred’s Girls School Choir, now reformed to raise money for Age Concern.

To the sound of Vera Lynn singing “We’ll meet again” the flame will be carried from the stadium back to the speedboat, borrowed from a hedge fund manager based in Geneva and carried away by David Beckham on his way back to Los Angeles. Danny Boyle walks into the arena to hand control of British entertainment back to Simon Cowell and the cast of 'The Only Way is Essex'. In the US, NBC cuts away from the event to screen highlights of the opening ceremony.

" .... Finally, the entire audience is co-opted into the show, because as they pour out of the stadium, they will find the free wifi on the tube turned off and the last train cancelled. Normal service has been resumed."

Her Majesty the Queen stages her greatest escape.

Cinema / Strangers on a Train
« on: August 01, 2012, 09:15:12 am »

Welcome Section / All the Bells (08:12)
« on: July 26, 2012, 04:30:06 pm »

Join us tomorrow morning!

Dance / Metamorphosis
« on: July 25, 2012, 02:21:19 pm »
Greetings from kleines c.  Titian’s erotically-charged masterpieces have magically been danced back to life at the Royal Opera House.  In the link below, everyone reading R3OK can watch excerpts of the three new ballets inspired by Titian: ‘Machina’, ‘Trespass’ and ‘Diana and Actaeon’.

This unique collaboration between the Royal Ballet and the National Gallery brings together new choreography, music, poetry and visual arts.

And what a triumph it has turned out to be!

Imagine dancing with Titian!

Or kleines c?

Radio / Them and Us
« on: July 25, 2012, 01:54:33 pm »
The Free Thinking Festival will be returning to the Sage, Gateshead at the beginning of November 2012, with a packed weekend of debate, talks and performance, and three weeks of stimulating broadcasts on BBC Radio 3.  I commend it to everyone reading R3OK.

This year’s opening lecture will be given by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Now in its seventh year, 'Free Thinking' is a platform for today’s innovative and high-profile thinkers from politics, literature, science and the arts, brought together by Radio 3 to debate the ideas shaping our lives.

This year’s theme is 'Them and Us', and the Festival will be asking if the world is becoming a more divided place, discussing social inequality, difference and how we define ourselves in relation to others.  Any thoughts?

Dance / The Tanks
« on: July 21, 2012, 01:14:14 pm »
Greetings from kleines c.  'The Tanks' used to hold five million litres of oil.  Now, the abandoned subterranean tanks at Bankside have been transformed into permanent galleries dedicated to live art and film.  The southern tank is currently hosting a rolling series of projects, starting with the celebrated Belgian choreographer, Anne Teresa, Baroness De Keersmaeker, who has reworked a version of her early masterpiece, 'Fase: Four Movements to the music of Steve Reich' (1982).

Hemmed in by a square of spectators, lit by a single strip of lighting, Anne Teresa and her partner, dressed in schoolgirl frocks, twist, turn, tilt and balance in a merciless marathon of repetitive movements, as if hypnotised by Steve Reich’s unyielding melodies: 'Piano Phase' (1967), 'Come Out' (1966), 'Violin Phase' (1967) and 'Clapping Music' (1972).

In October 2011, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker publicly accused Beyoncé of plagiarising choreography from two Rosas pieces: 'Rosas Danst Rosas' and 'Achterland' - in the music video for the single 'Countdown'.  In opening with 'Fase', which is rooted in dance rather than visual art, Tate Modern attempts to collapse the boundaries between visual and performance art.  Writing in the FT, Rachel Spence travels 'into the void', arguing that this minimalist 'tour de force' could have been made for the daunting, sooty voids and unforgiving concrete floor of the Tanks’ central hall.  And what a performance!

Is modern art now ready for the granny flash mob, too?

The fifteen-week festival at Tate Modern, 'Art in Action', ends with 'Plato Now', which I commend to everyone reading R3OK.  A row of nine video monitors positioned between the meditators and the audience will allow spectators to view the faces of the performers on closed-circuit television while shadows of the public animate the wall behind. Those participating in meditation are provided with sensors to monitor the alpha waves generated by their brain activity, which transmits pre-recorded quotations from Plato’s 'Dialogues' to headphones worn by each performer.

This complex network of psychic trance, mediated gazes and silent communication reconsiders the allegory of Plato’s cave for the cybernetic age, challenging the hierarchies of the original allegory.  Juan Downey’s phantasmagoria of shadows and feedback, monitors and spectral projections reassesses our enslavement to sensorial experience, anticipating the complexities of global electronic communication in which the image, as one of the quotes from Plato states, ‘ ... is always a moving shadow of something else.

PS  Here is a video of the dance for everyone reading R3OK:

Writing in 'The Observer', Laura Cummings reports that the Tanks at Tate Modern are a tremendous addition to that ever-growing metropolis of art.

" ... Three colossal new spaces beneath the ground, they are the first in the world to be permanently dedicated to the kind of art – to quote Claes Oldenburg – that doesn't just sit on its ass in a museum. This means art that moves, passes through time, comes alive even if only for a few dragonfly moments, that lives in one's memory rather than on the gallery wall or the floor."

The Tanks tank ...

Television / The Secret History of Our Streets - Arnold Circus
« on: July 10, 2012, 08:49:37 am »
Arnold Circus is tucked away in the heart of the East End of London, and it is the site of a Victorian social experiment that changed the United Kingdom (UK) forever.

Arnold Circus is home to the very first council estate, which opened in 1896. The planning of the estate, from its lack of pubs to the pattern of the brickwork, was deliberate in order to make its residents more respectable, as previously the land had played host to a notorious crime-ridden slum, the Old Nichol Street Rookery, which was fictionalised as 'The Jago'. Are you 'A Child of the Jago'?,-0.075106&spn=0.000736,0.002728&t=m&z=19&layer=c&cbll=51.525766,-0.075106&panoid=6hazTrC7jDNtyNwVL2GLkw&cbp=12,10.07,,0,-9.13

Over the course of the last century, much has changed in the East End and beyond, and the proud residents of Arnold Circus even held their very own Olympicnics last Sunday on the site of the notorious 'Jago'.  As reported in the link below, it was a day of discovery and delight for everyone.

Converted from the old School bike shed, Rochelle Canteen looks out on to the grassy playground and the trees of Arnold Circus beyond. Whenever it is warm enough, tables are set outside the canteen for a peaceful sit in the sun.  Today, it is strange to see how a good dinner and feasting reconciles everyone.

If you cannot make it to Arnold Circus in person, the final episode (6/6) of a superb television series, 'The Secret History of Our Streets', will be on BBC Two at 21:00 (BST) on Wednesday 11 July 2012.

Over the past five weeks, 'The Secret History' has been all over London, exploring Deptford High Street, Camberwell Grove, Caledonian Road, Portland Road and Reverdy Road:

" ... Featuring compelling accounts from residents both past and present, this is the story of how Arnold Circus made the difficult journey from feared underclass to a self-respecting community; of how it became and still is a haven in heart of the City."

Minnie Finkelstein lived on the estate with her parents & grandparents.  In the clip below, Minnie opens the door to her former Arnold Circus home:

And as we prepare to welcome the world to the London Olympics later this month, how ‘English’ really are our homes? Perhaps not as English as we think, but can we still be at home with the world?  Why ever not?

I also want to know who stole my milk when I was a student, and invite residents of Arnold Circus, Shoreditch, Hoxton and everyone reading R3OK to a giant tea party at the nearby Geffrye Museum between 15:00 and 17:00 on Sunday, 9 September 2012.  Due to unprecedented demand from around the world during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we shall all try to be at home with the world.  'At Home with the World' will highlight domestic objects which have come from overseas or been influenced by other cultures to tell a fascinating story about how many of the designs, decorations, materials and social customs with which we are familiar in our homes today and which we consider to be ‘English’, might have originated elsewhere. Engage in a dialogue about your homes and think about them afresh, exploring how other cultures have shaped our personal spaces, our ideas about what makes a home and about the way we live.  You can also view a permanent display of eleven period rooms which span approximately 400 years from around 1600 to the present day. Behind the buildings, there is a walled herb garden and a series of four period gardens, chronologically arranged to reflect the museum's period rooms. If you cannot make it in person, here is Geffrye's virtual tour.
Join us all!  Cheers (tea)!

Radio / St David's Cathedral Festival
« on: June 10, 2012, 02:23:52 pm »

The weather for the extended 2012 St David's Cathedral Festival was, unfortunately, something of a washout, although much of the music was sublime.

It may be all over, but you can still listen to some of the highlights this Sunday afternoon on BBC Radio 3.

In particular, I commend Choral Evensong to everyone reading R3OK.


Music Through The Ages / Ballgowns, Harmony and Joachim in London
« on: June 06, 2012, 07:55:30 pm »

It has been reported that British glamour did not actually begin in 1950.  Downstairs, in the newly renovated fashion galleries of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the first part of the V&A's latest fashion show on ballgowns is arranged thematically, with New Elizabethans' gowns from different eras displayed side by side.

The ballgown has long been linked with the aristocracy and, as diamond jubilee fever fills the air, it seems only fitting that royalty should show.

Upstairs, where the V&A's musical instruments used to be displayed, the theme of subverting traditional silhouettes is brought up to date.  'The Financial Times' reports that the connection between the gowns of the past and their modern interpretations is fascinating.

" ... The column style favoured by Catherine Walker in the dresses she designed for Princess Diana is reworked and reinterpreted in Atsuko Kudo’s daringly experimental lace-printed latex gown, while Giles Deacon’s “car wash” dress of tiered pleated black silk (inspired by sitting in a car while it was being washed) has a sharp, graphic silhouette, and yet is also informed by the structured look of a 19th-century ballgown. Gareth Pugh, an avant-garde designer, eschews traditional fabrics in favour of parachute silk, rubber and PVC. Here his figure-skimming gown embellished with loops of silver leather resembles armour and could have been designed for a modern-day Joan of Arc."

The V&A may now be full of fashionistas, the belles of the ball, so to speak, but many of its musical instruments have gone elsewhere.  On a high hill in the southern suburbs of London, where the forms and rules of the city unravel to the south of Peckham, stands one of the country's most extraordinary community museums. It was the creation of Frederick Horniman, Victorian tea trader and voracious collector of almost anything, who eventually put it into a purpose-built structure and donated the museum, plus its contents and an adjoining garden, to the public, on condition it would be free to enter. Everyone reading R3OK is cordially invited to the Horniman Museum.  The building was designed by the briefly flowering Charles Harrison Townsend, the nearest England came to an art nouveau architect, whose fame rests mostly on three facades of blazing originality, for the Whitechapel Gallery, the Bishopsgate Institute and – his best – the Horniman. Its contents run from an ophicleide and a tárogató, to Uzbek wedding robes, an over-stuffed walrus, an apostle clock, living frogs and fish, and a statue of Kali dancing on Shiva, made to float on the Ganges. Most museums aim to divide things into categories; here everything comes promiscuously together, human and natural, living and dead.  You can even shake your bells to the beat this summer! Make your own stick dancing bells and get your feet stamping a ball.

Over the past 15 years the museum has been enlarging itself, doing the things necessary for access, education, enhanced exhibition space and retail revenue, with architecture that tries to match Townsend's seriousness but not his ebullience. This process is now essentially complete, with the renovation of the gardens by Land Use Consultants and the building of a pavilion for performances, events and school groups by the architects Walters and Cohen.  The aim is to fulfil Horniman's idea that museum and garden together should be for both pleasure and education. There are areas of plants used to make dye, textiles and medicines, and of different food crops from all over the world. Connections are made with exhibits inside the museum – the reeds in clarinets or the plants used to colour tribal dress. There will be enclosures of animals such as alpacas and llamas and there is a sound garden – not, it must be said, a thing of visual beauty – where you can play large outdoor musical instruments such as a xylophone wall and pipes played with bats.  Over 40 musical instruments from the V&A are currently on loan to the Horniman, and the majority are featured in the 'Art of Harmony' exhibition, which occupies its own display space on the Horniman’s Balcony Gallery.

Writing in 'The Observer', Rowan Moore observes that there is no question of returning the garden to some ideal original state, as it is made up of several additions over the past century, together with a knotted 300-year-old tree left over from when this was farmland. Rather, the idea is to keep the many layers and enhance them and their structures; a rustic Dutch barn imported to the site by Horniman and a Townsend-designed bandstand have been restored.

" ... There is also a view. From here the shards and gherkins of central London look, in the hazy light, as exotic as the totems and ophicleides on show inside the museum. On a closer summit is a twin-peaked stack of 1960s flats known as the castle or the battleship, or (officially) as Dawson Heights, which for some reason is not as famous as its outright remarkable form deserves. The combination of museum and view is fantastical. If city air makes you free, as they said in medieval Germany, here suburban air makes you lightheaded.

Walters and Cohen's pavilion, a well-proportioned, timber-framed glass box, its structure black-clad on the outside, is an instrument for making all this strangeness apparent. It's a considerably more modest version of Mies van der Rohe's Tugendhat House, perched like that work above a city view. At one end, alpacas will come up to the glass; at the other, a balcony opens to the panorama. The pavilion, light-filled and made rhythmic by its repeating beams and pillars, is a foil.

The progressive additions to the Horniman have involved a certain levelling or smoothing over of the outright, undiluted bizarreness of the original building and contents. Townsend's entrance, a ritual ascent up stairs, past a mosaic and through a tower, as if on a route of initiation into a shrine, is no longer in use."

Rowan concludes by observing that what is at the Horniman now is a place of which the various communities who live around it can and do readily take possession, which also offers revelation and insight into the extraordinariness of the works of nature and humanity. The latest works cost £2.3m, which would be the tiniest scraping in the giant Marmite jar of, for example, Olympic funding, but which has a more obvious and immediate local benefit.  Internationally acclaimed violinist and scholar, Peter Sheppard Skærved, has put together a unique programme that brings together a Stradivari violin made in 1698, and music by its celebrated former owner, the composer and musician Joseph Joachim (1831-1907). 'Joachim in London', a concert presented by Peter Sheppard Skærved with the Kreutzer Quartet, recreates the type of chamber evening which Joachim himself gave on his many visits to London.  A freak on the violin?  What the Dickens!

Wherever the ball, join us!

Announcements / The big lunch
« on: May 14, 2012, 07:54:20 pm »

Is the big lunch up your street?  Is it in your hamlet, village, town or city?  Are there other big lunches to be served around the Globe?

Is it not now time to announce a big lunch to everyone reading R3OK?  If you turn up, however, watch what you drink!  Would you all prefer the big lunch to be served before, during or after the Lithuanian 'Hamlet'?  In Shakespeare's day, the most common foodstuffs eaten at the Globe were fruits, nuts and shellfish, but for this particular big lunch, expect something else entirely.   Afterwards, the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will sail past, so there could be a lot of din.

We'll go for an intimate rather than a big dance.

"Buti ar nebuti – štai kur klausimas"


To be, or not to be, that is the question:

To find out, join us, and Hamlet,
At 12:00 noon on Sunday 3 June 2012.

Theatre / Let's talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs
« on: May 05, 2012, 02:40:07 pm »

Due to unprecedented demand from around the world, everyone reading R3OK is cordially invited to 'Richard II' tonight.

If you cannot make it in person, how about 'The Merchant of Venice' later in May, assuming that it still goes ahead?

'If you prick us, do we not bleed?'

If you can make neither, how about tomorrow's 'Tempest' on BBC Radio 3?  According to Prospero, 'The Globe' has received two open letters about the inclusion of Habima, an Israeli national theatre company.  Any thoughts?

Radio / Breakfast
« on: April 28, 2012, 04:00:25 pm »
Greetings from kleines c.  Due to unprecedented demand from around the world, everyone reading R3OK is cordially invited to 'Breakfast' from 07:00 tomorrow morning on BBC Radio 3.

Of course, not everyone can get up in time for breakfast, particularly on a Sunday, so let's do lunch, too, and without 'The Financial Times'.

So, if you cannot make breakfast tomorrow, we'll do lunch, too, online and off!

Radio / Shakespeare's Restless World
« on: April 16, 2012, 02:13:28 pm »

England goes global today on BBC Radio 4, courtesy of Neil MacGregor, Sir Francis Drake and William Shakespeare, but for how long?

Until 20:00 on Friday 11 May 2012?


Greetings from kleines c.  Everyone reading R3OK is cordially invited to the Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre in the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) at 19:00 on Tuesday 17 April 2012.

"Listen to award-winning architect Richard Rogers as he discusses his ideas and career.

Rogers is the architect of many of Europe’s most celebrated monuments including the Pompidou Centre and the Millennium Dome.

This event is part of the British Design Season at the V&A."

Richard Rogers is a British architect noted for his modernist and functionalist designs, and in 1995, he delivered five Reith Lectures examining the issues in creating a sustainable city for the future.  You can still listen to them here in the BBC Archive, although it will be interesting to have an update:

There is also an exhibition of modern British design at the V&A, including a selection of music.  If you cannot make it in person, here it is online:

In 1948, London hosted the first Olympic Games after the Second World War. The ‘Austerity Games’ (as they became known) took place at a time of economic crisis in a city devastated by bombing, but they provided a platform for reconciliation and reconstruction. In 2012, Britain welcomes the Olympics once more, and while the spirit remains, the context in which they are taking place has entirely changed. British Design (1948–2012) traces those changes by exploring buildings, objects, images and ideas produced by designers and artists born, trained or based in Britain.  The displays examine the shifting nature of British design over 60 years: three galleries respectively explore the tension between tradition and modernity; the subversive impulse in British culture; and Britain’s leadership in design innovation and creativity. The exhibition reveals how British designers have responded to economic, political and cultural forces that have fundamentally shaped how we live today. They have created some of the most inventive and striking objects, technologies and buildings of the modern world.

The impact of the Second World War on the social, economic and physical fabric of Britain was immense. The task of reconstruction dominated the post-war years. In 1945, a Labour government swept to power, and its radical plan for a comprehensive Welfare State would be broadly supported by all governments for the next 30 years. The drive for modernity in the rebuilding of Britain changed the nation forever. Events such as the Festival of Britain in 1951 presented a progressive view of the future and in the decades after the war Britain’s cities and homes were transformed.  A preoccupation with British traditions was often just below the surface and the grand spectacle of the coronation in 1953 reaffirmed traditional values for a world-wide audience. For many, the heart of British tradition was seen to reside in the land and many artists and designers explored themes that celebrated rural life and the countryside. From the 1950s a new generation of Britons challenged the values of their parents. The focus of design moved from reconstruction to revolution. In the 1960s and 1970s, fashion, music, shopping, interiors and film enjoyed a fresh prominence as expressions of identity or radical intent. To adapt a common phrase of the time, the personal became political – and visible.

In Britain’s cities the shift was particularly powerful. From ‘Swinging London’ in the 1960s, through the nihilism of Punk in the 1970s, to the sharp presentation of ‘Cool Britannia’ in the 1990s, artists, designers and musicians pioneered an irreverent approach that marked the cultural landscape forever. In the studio and on the street, this subversive spirit has come to define British creativity for the past 50 years. Its sources are wide-ranging, from art students demanding reforms in the 1960s to Britain’s unique urban culture and social mix.  Britain has long been a pioneer of new ideas, particularly in the areas of industrial design and technology. Innovation has characterised British design from the introduction of spinning machines in the 1780s and the engineering of ships and bridges in the 1840s to the development of computer codes after the Second World War and the invention of the worldwide web in the 1980s.  Over the last half century, design culture has moved firmly away from traditional manufacturing towards innovative financial, retail and creative services. This radical shift has been accompanied by new attitudes towards commodities and global communication, which have fundamentally altered the way design is produced, consumed and understood. British designers like Richard Rogers have stood at the forefront of change. In so doing, they have created some of the most iconic objects, technologies and buildings of the last 60 years.  If you, rather than Christopher Breward and Ghislaine Wood, were curating 'British Design', is there anything in particular which you would have wanted to put in such an exhibition?

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