Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Yoko Ono at The Serpentine

I went to the ‘Yoko Ono: To The Light’ exhibition when I was at a loose (and poor) end today after a luncheon meet ended an hour or so early. From Lancaster Gate the little walk across Kensington Gardens was very pleasant, and I found The Serpentine with relative ease (not thanks to the labyrinthical trail of maps and signs, that are about as helpful as that stupid scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz).
As someone who thinks, predominantly, of Ono as John Lennon’s wife (I don’t think I am in the minority), I was interested to see her artworks - especially after some pretty scathing reviews. I find that a very interesting prospect; like seeing a film a friend has walked out of. 

The exhibition was interesting. Using a variety of media, Ono tests the boundaries between “the artist and the viewer”, and the interaction between the viewer and the art in the gallery space. This may have been more effective had it not been exhibited in England. The extent of the interaction I witnessed was an old woman walking over a piece of fabric (which I don’t even know if she knew was there); to which a man said: “You are the first person I’ve seen treading on that fabric”. Presumably he was making reference to the title of the piece: “Fabric to be trodden on” (or something similar). I don’t know whether this was just some elderly chat-up line, instigated by her renegade actions, but it did make me aware of how totally un-interactive everyone was being. Maybe this was due to the fact that one isn’t allowed to interact in any tactile way with the works, as was confirmed by Michael Glover of The Independent. 
The much talked-about pieces of performance art, “Cut Piece” (1964 and 2003) - which involved Ono sitting and audience members cutting her dress - were interesting. I, maybe wrongly, assume that the earlier ‘Cut Piece’ were not filmed in England as the concept of sexual domination seems only to be being normalised with the recent publication of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, let alone 1964 which was when the piece was performed. 
The films showing were conceptually interesting and impressive for their time. With subjects varying from kissing, to ‘Bottoms’ and nipples (granted, not a terribly varied selection), they were compelling - mostly due to the fact that John Lennon features in them. The abstract poetry gracing the walls in the same room also made for an interesting read. 
The wish-tree was a nice finishing touch; with predictable things like “world piece” which, for me, emphasised the obviousness of some parts of the exhibition in an irritating way, but with others, for example; ones about ill family members and “I wish for a smaller chin” which evoked warmer emotions towards the writer.

All in all, it was an interesting and thought-provoking exhibition; which I would recommend highly to others, although not one’s that are too artistically snobby. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

26th May - ‘Lonely Hearts Comedy Club’ @ RICHMIX

I didn’t realise when I signed up for a night of comedy in Shoreditch that 1) it was a singles night, and 2) it would be one of the funniest evenings of my life.
The first is surprising, you may think; it being called ‘Lonely Hearts Comedy Club’ (I didn’t know this vital piece of information before I walked in and was met by Julie and Julian, and a choice of coloured stickers representing my level of single-ness. My idea of hell - as I toe the line between lighthearted fun-lover and English prude very gingerly), but the second could not have been predicted. 
Julie and Julian were hilarious comperes and held the evening together perfectly; their comic demeanors and complimentary dynamic was contagious. Even their match-making was impressively unintimidating. 
First on, comedy quad, Oyster Eyes, had me laughing to that point where you know it is not really acceptable but you cant help it. Honed to awkward perfection their sketches were unfathomably random and stomach-hurtingly funny. 
Alp Haydar, in all honesty, was one of the weirdest things I have ever seen (but was trumped by a later act). Covering personal and political issues, in an often grotesque manner depicted in actions and animations, he managed to toe the line between petrifying and hilarious very impressively. 
Frank and likeable drag queen and cabaret sensation, Michael Twaits, was fabulous. Doing Barbara and Donna with glamourous aplomb, and telling stories from the New York heyday, his set and involvement of the unsuspecting audience was intoxicatingly funny.
Dickie Beau’s act was genuinely the strangest thing I have ever seen. Artistically beautiful and creative, he had a beautiful fragility but his set was quite something to stomach - as I think it would be for anyone who had not seen sexual acts performed on a ladder. 

An all round excellent evening; a rollercoaster of humour and emotion, with Kim Noble’s animations provided dark and hilarious stopgaps throughout, washed down by a few “Fat Jan’s Love Lubes”.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Music (not) to watch girls by

An issue has recently come to my attention; once, very offensively; once, embarrassingly; once, amusingly, (actually, there is an overlap between groups) and otherwise, just a normal amount: the music people listen to. 
I have been reading Emma Brockes ‘What Would Barbara Do?’ (incidentally, a hilarious book that I would recommend to anyone whether they like/dislike/loathe musicals) and it got my thinking about peoples music tastes. A lot of people seem to have the same faddy music tastes at the moment ... Dubstep, Techno... What next? Minimal Garage? Liquid pop punk? I am by no means a music buff and as such, have no idea what any of these component parts mean (Give me Dancehall, Classical or some silly pop song and I am a-ok). 
This embarrassing music taste of mine was shown up rather mortifyingly while running. For no explicable reason, 'Call Me Maybe' started playing in tinny chimes out of my phone (I do not mean; why did that specific song start playing, I mean why was it freed from the safe house that are my earphones to inform all passers-by of my incredibly lame running playlist.) I dealt with this nightmare occurrence in the same way one deals with falling over on their own; a failsafe (by failsafe, I mean compromising) casual chuckle to ones self.
I was slowly dealing with the wounds this that slightly traumatising event had inflicted on my ego later that morning on the tube when someone sat in the seat next to me with aggressively loud music, audible from their headphones. Granted I cannot fathom this as I have to listen to my music at a volume which assures not a vibration is audible to any human ear other than my own. I confronted the situation in a classically English manner: I tutted disapprovingly, grimaced, and considered moving to another seat but didn’t want to be dramatic.