Good morning sandwich relishes! I’ll just leave you with this half hour video of the Bauhaus Ballet, or Triadic Ballet as it was more commonly known. It’s truly weird and wonderful!
There’s something about the idea of a live, or even filmed, artistic portrait which excites my brain. Is it the blend of real and unreal? Is it the idea of a human being as an art piece? Clearly it’s something that’s interested artists for quite some time too from Piero Manzoni, who signed a live girl in the sixties, to Gilbert and George (see video below).
Let’s have a quick look at Warhol’s portraits, filmed in the 60s, also known as screen tests although they weren’t being tested for any films. Screentest.warhol.org says “Many of Warhol’s Screen Tests fit the standard formula—the subject and the camera almost motionless for the duration of the film, with the result as close to a “living portrait” as possible.
However, within this format, there are subtle variations. Starkly lit with a single lamp, a glowering Paul America and the intense Susan Bottomly are sharply contrasted by the dark background, while Ann Buchanan and Edie Sedgwick’s Screen Tests were fully lit, allowing the viewer to notice every subtle change in their almost unmoving faces.”
In a way, by candidly filming his followers, Warhol created not only the first reality stars but turned their often crazy and turbulent existences into lifelong portraits.
Also in the sixties playful British and German artists Gilbert and George, who have never quite been accepted by the establishment, became living, singing sculptures. Whitecube.com says “in their films and ‘living sculpture’ they appeared as figures in their own work. The artists believe that everything is a potential subject matter for their work, and they have always addressed social issues, taboos and artistic conventions.”
Avant garde artist and theatre director Robert Wilson, who has worked the likes of Tom Waits and Willem Dafoe (and now Lady Gaga), filmed his Voom Portraits in 2007. The actors used, including Steve Buscemi, Johnny Depp, Winona Rider and Isabella Rossellini, were told to “think of nothing and move slowly and steadily to collaborate in Wilson’s vision of who they might be.”
Winona Rider apparently appeared as “Winnie, the main female character in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days, buried up to her neck in sand” while Robert Downey Jr was “a dreaming corpse in a Rembrandt painting.”
William Pope L:
In 2009 Antony Gormley was to create something for the fourth plinth, a stand in Trafalgar Square, London, which sports a different sculpture each year. He decided to make his piece us, to “see through a lens what the UK is really like.”
One and Other was a project which saw the public apply to stand at the top of the plinth for an hour each, for “100 consecutive days, 24 hours a day.” We became the artwork. One lady threw affirmations down as paper airplanes, another did science experiments, another blew bubbles, others made art while another did a burlesque routine. The possibilities were endless and apparently 2,400 people took part.
Man booing BNP:
This lady…wore pink and drank pink champagne. And why not?
Here’s a dancer and choreographer:
Ekow Eshun is the artistic director of the ICA and chairman of the Fourth Plinth commissioning group. He’s also quite hot (apologies for my objectifying eyes). Here he talks about why he chose the project:
Which brings us up to the Pageant of the Masters, which I only heard about the other day. Sounds like my cup of tea though. Apparently paintings have been re-created for two months each summer in Laguna Beach, California, since 1933.
The Festival of Arts website says “Over 500 volunteers from Laguna Beach and surrounding communities are transformed into life-sized re-creations of some of the world’s most famous paintings, sculptures, and other works of art.” Have a look at the video:
Right, I’m off to paint myself green and stand nude in the garden. Bye!
Seeing as Ghost Stories (written by author and invisible League of Gentlemen member Jeremy Dyson and actor and mentalist Andy Nyman) is returning early next year (2014) to the West End I thought I’d write a belated post on how much I think you should see both of these plays.
Ghost Stories: OK I’ll keep it fairly brief because anything approaching a review will spoil them for you. I saw Ghost Stories a few years ago and had a panic attack in the toilets afterwards. To be fair, I have quite a bad anxiety disorder, plus I believe horror is a two way street.
Anyone going in knowing they won’t be frightened is going to be disappointed with it. Whenever I watch horror I do all I can to let myself to be scared, which is why I get so cross if the film/play/book doesn’t do it’s part. I hope I’m explaining myself properly. Basically I went in and allowed them take me into their creepy minds, and freaked out in the loos after. It was great. Here’s the trailer for Ghost Stories and follow the link here to get theatre information:
Woman in Black: So popular it’s had a continuous run for years at the Fortune Theatre, the play is completely faithful to the book in a very inventive way. I love a good Victorian/Edwardian spooky story and there were some good unexpected comedy moments. Follow the link here to get tickets and here’s the trailer:
Although based in Colchester, Essex (come to the Slack Space gallery and learn audio production if you’re in the area) Frequency Theatre are looking for scripts from all across the UK. Visit their website here to learn more. Plus here’s what they say to those with a script or thinking of writing one:
“Frequency Theatre puts new, engaging stories at the heart of our work. We want new plays by writers of all ages and levels of experience. We are looking for a refreshing voice, with a play delivered with verve and/ or wit. Plays that we’ll take notice of will utilise the medium, focusing on building atmosphere through the relationship of dialogue, sound effects and silence.
Plays should be 10 to 15 minutes long, as a guide this is between 1800 – 2700 words. Only plays around this length will be considered.
- All plays should be in English.
- Plays should ideally be written using the standard BBC Radio Format. For guidance this can be found at BBC Writersroom.
- Plays should be submitted in Word formats only.
- Only plays written for radio will be considered. Screenplays or play texts will be rejected.
- Plays should be complete, self contained works.
- Plays can be written by more than one writer.
- Previously submitted plays will not be considered, only new drafts that we request will be read.
- We are unable to enter into feedback with unsuccessful writers.
- Copies will only be available following the broadcast.
- All successful writers will be notified in advance of broadcast.
- Writers retain copyright in respect of their script. Frequency Theatre retains ownership of copyright for all recorded works produced under the name Frequency Theatre Podcast. All recorded works may be edited for any reason including broadcast or promotional purposes.
If you have a script you would like to send to us, please email it to Rich Chilver at email@example.com
We look forward to reading your work.”
Good luck Pumpkins!
Where can you make things out of clay, or sew your own toy, watch a two person short play and a monologue about the Marquis De Sade before toddling off to the Cabaret tent to watch burlesque? The Chelmsford Fling in Essex, that’s where! Have a look online here. And the best part? No children!
In the cabaret tent Desmond O Connor (who’s popped up as MC for Bizarre Magazine’s Ball more than once) serenaded us with increasingly rude songs on the ukelele and Ginger Blush engaged the crowds in burlesque bingo (like normal bingo but with corsets), all punctuated with lovely ladies dancing about and removing items of clothing. Oh, and one man, he was quite nice too.
Elsewhere in the Make Do And Mend tent you could create your own toy, or watch two professional actors in a short play in the Storytime tent. If that’s not enough you can make things out of clay or your own hat if you don’t mind looking really stupid, or watch experimental films whilst drinking refreshing smoothies in the Psychedelic Film tent. Oh yeah, and somewhere there was some live music playing.
Obviously it’s already happened this year, but make sure you get to the next if you can and buy advance tickets as the price goes up considerably on the door. Now here are some pictures to highlight the experience:
La Belle Epoch (or golden era, roughly 1871 to 1914) of Paris certainly enjoyed life on the dark side. Not only were gory horror plays performed for those looking for late night thrills, a person could chat about philosophy and the meaning of death over a coffin table.
The Grand Guignol was a style of theatre steeped in gore and fear that continued right up until 1962. Rich and poor alike would go to a performance and prepare to be terrified. Read more here.
“Enter and be damned, the Evil One awaits you!” growled a chorus of rough voices as we hesitated before the scene confronting us. Near us was suspended a caldron over a fire, and hopping within it were half a dozen devil musicians, male and female, playing a selection from “Faust” on stringed instruments, while red imps stood by, prodding with red-hot irons those who lagged in their performance.”
After this spectacle patrons would visit the Cabaret of the Sky, a much more divine affair.
The club I find most intriguing, however, is the Cabaret of Nothingness:
“Large, heavy, wooden coffins, resting on biers, were ranged about the room in an order suggesting the recent happening of a frightful catastrophe. The walls were decorated with skulls and bones, skeletons in grotesque attitudes, battle-pictures, and guillotines in action. Death, carnage, assassination were the dominant note, set in black hangings and illuminated with mottoes on death.”
To read more about these fascinating clubs visit here.
Well, there we have it, much more interesting than Euro Disney don’t you think?
Last weekend I went to the circus in the 1930s. I’m clever like that. I had heard that the Roundhouse theatre was having a ‘Circusfest‘ during a previous London jaunt, and when I saw an ad for Professor Vanessa’s Wondershow – where the main stage would be transformed into a travelling circus on a village green – I got a ticket before asking if anyone else was free. I’m always assured of good conversation when I’m alone anyway.
So…after skipping around Brick Lane and Camden Lock, where the colourful clothes live, I found myself in the theatre main space breathing in the sickly smell of candyfloss and popcorn. On the way in I passed penny arcades and lurid posters, and was greeted with a row of tents lining the perimeter. I was excited!
In the middle of the floor was a small stage and here I watched a French, juggling tight-rope walker (I nearly proposed marriage there and then), a girl hula hooping with fire, aero-rope girls up above and… giant wasp taming. Everyone was free to wander and visit whichever tent they wanted, though its a lot to get through in only two hours.
Though I was at first concerned I would be having a ‘genuine’ sideshow experience (blockheads etc I love, but I’m really not sure about ogling a disabled person), I was quickly reassured that most acts were a mirror show. For example, ‘the Mummy’ featured a woman in Egyptian regalia transform into a centuries old mummy ” before our very eyes,” before she chased us out of the tent. Another showed early film clips and, being such a fan, it meant a lot to see them how they would have been at the very start of the twentieth century.
It was good fun; the tent shows were surreal entertainment and some of the stage acts in the middle were beautiful to watch. I always like a trip to the circus and if there are any French, tightrope walking jugglers out there come and find me.