Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Favourites

So, a brief recap of 2011's brighter moments, according to yours truly. This was an unusual year, in that I never left London, and my picks reflect that.

Favourite art exhibit:
Pipilotti Rist: Eyeball Massage
A legal psychedelic trip, with bubbles, knickers, and all manner of visual delights. Running at Hayward Gallery until 8 January.

Favourite film:
Dreams of a Life, dir. Carol Morley
Moving and profound imagining of a life lost in London. Running now in UK.

Favourite gig / live event:
Sound and Silents
Live scoring of four short films from early women directors, which played at Queen Elizabeth Hall in March as part of the Bird's Eye View festival.

Favourite album:
W, Planningtorock
A late spring release that I continued to play into winter. Quite moody, at times disturbing, but also playful conceptual album from Janine Rostron, whose stage get-up resembles one of Buffy's demons.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Shirin Neshat on Winter

This is Shirin Neshat's contribution to the New York Times' Seasons project. Sadly, there is no way to embed it.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Politics, Art and a President

So, farewell to Vaclav Havel, one-time dissident-turned president. I was always impressed that the first president of Czechoslovakia, Masaryk, was a philosopher and the first president of the Czech Republic was a playwright, and one influenced by the Velvet Underground, at that. It says a lot.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

International Human Rights Day

Today is the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. I don't think Hillary Clinton has made an appearance in this blog, but here is her speech this week declaring that LGBT rights are human rights.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Dreams of a Life

My Quietus story on Dreams of a Life is finally live, although I could have written something twice as long, such was my enthusiasm for the film and the abundance of quotes I had from my chat with director Carol Morley. There is so much to say about this documentary on Joyce Carol Vincent and about how people in cities can become strangers to each other.

I reviewed the film briefly when it premiered at the London Film Festival, but only saw it on a preview DVD, so am curious to see how it plays in a cinema with an attentive audience. It's out in the UK on 16 December and also has a preview at the spanking new Hackney Picture House on 9 December, with Morley and star Zawe Ashton conducting a Q&A.

There is also a very strange interactive companion piece, Dreams of Your Life, which I took for a spin a couple of days ago. It's a bit like sitting down with an inquisitive therapist or taking a phone call from a menacing stranger. Not for the easily disturbed.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The pause that refreshes

One of those days. Loads of ideas. Technical hitches. Nothing quite getting finished.