Last February I launched my first arts & culture wrap-up of the month summarising all art-related events I attended. It was my intention to write such posts on a monthly basis, but I figured that even die-hard fans of my blog weren’t necessarily interested in reading every month what I do in my spare time and the endless list of films I watch. So, to keep it exciting for both my readers and myself, I changed the formula and will share with you the highlights of the past quarter instead.
Before I look back in my diary for the last months, let’s briefly fast forward to some new projects and events.
In February I wrote a travel guide to London for Tix.nl, a Dutch plane ticket comparison website. Tix.nl customers will be able to read my personal tips for London in the near future.
From April I will be guest blogging on travel blog Paper Travels on a regular basis. I highly recommend this website to (Dutch) readers who are interested in travel, food and photography.
On 17 April we’ll find out who the winners are of the UK Blog Awards 2015! I will be attending the ‘Oscars for bloggers’ thanks to Genesis Cinema who kindly sponsored my ticket. Like all good things the category I’m shortlisted for, Arts & Culture, goes to 11 so I’m competing 10 other great blogs. Keep crossing those fingers for me for just a few more days! You can read my interview with Genesis Cinema owner Tyrone Walker-Hebborn from last year here.
Although I missed quite some exhibitions on my must-see list due to work deadlines and holidays (oh poor me) including the highly anticipated shows by street artists Snik and Borondo, I still managed to see some great shows such as Mapping the City at Somerset House that exhibited the interpretations of city maps by street artists and graffiti writers who use the city as their canvas.
During my holiday in Spain in February, I saw a great show by Adrian Ghenie at CAC Málaga. I was unfamiliar with the work of this Romanian painter but was struck by his rather ‘raw’ work. When you look at his paintings from up close you might think someone had too much fun splashing paint on the canvas, but once you take a few steps back Ghenie’s collage-style paintings unfold a dark scene with often an element of comic relief and criticism. Take his painting Darwin and the Satyr (2014) for instance.
Also in Málaga I followed the street art route MAUS around the area dubbed as Soho Málaga. I came across some epic murals from renowned artists such as Faith47, ROA and Dal East. I’ll be posting photos from these works on my social media and this blog soon so keep an eye out for this!
Back in London I saw the impressive show Conflict Time Photography at Tate Modern. In this show you could see photos taken at the time, shortly after or decades after catastrophic wartime events took place, such as the bombing of Hiroshima or inhumane actions in Lebanon. Definitely not a ‘feel good’ exhibition, but shows like these are important though, as we must never close our eyes to the effects of war and conflict. Hopefully one day we will all learn it’s much better to be kind to each other and be less greedy (wishful thinking, eh?).
The highlight of the playful show Slow Movement by Roman Signer at the Barbican (till 31 May) is a red kayak that trails from one end to the other of the Curve gallery, leaving behind red marks on the floor whilst being followed by hypnotised visitors as if the kayak is the Pied Piper. An eager photographer snapped me and Mr Dutch Girl whilst being chased by the kayak.
Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector at the Barbican shows visitors an intimate view into artists’ private art collections. You can read my review of this exhibition on the MasterCard Priceless Cities website. This show is on till 25 May 2015.
After a successful first edition of the all-female street art extravaganza, Femme Fierce returned to the Leake Street Tunnel to celebrate International Women’s Day. You can read my post on the biggest female street art festival here.
In March the exhibition Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty opened at the V&A. This is THE blockbuster show of the year! I saw the same show in New York in 2011 and was really impressed then, but the show in London is supposed to be even bigger and more comprehensive. This exhibition is on till 2 August 2015.
I picked up Flowers in the Attic (1979) by Virgina Andrews from the ‘recommended by staff’ section in the library. This book is supposedly based on a true story, but I doubt this is true. Despite this, the book was well written and I finished it in just a few days time. The book, the first one in a series of five, tells about the Dollangangers, your perfect American family. That all changes when the father dies in a car crash on his 35th birthday and the mother isn’t able to support her family financially. The solution is simple, mum takes her four children to live with her wealthy parents. There is just one little problem, the children have to live in the attic till the mother has made peace again with her father who disinherited her. One night in the attic ends up in years for the children.
After devouring the first book, I immediately read the follow-up Petals on the Wind (1980). This was a big disappointment as it was actually more of a gothic romance that might appeal to teenagers and housewives, but not that much to me. Despite this I still read the third book If there be thorns (1981) which was a bit better, but I decided to stop here and won’t be reading the last two books in the series.
FILM & TV
These last months were all about Kevin Spacey for us! We binge-watched season three of House of Cards and re-watched the films 21, American Beauty and The Usual Suspects.
I haven’t watched that many films these months, but did see a few complete series instead. I highly recommend the Danish/Swedish TV police series Bron/Broen (The Bridge) and Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul, which has the best intro ever!
Other series I watched these past months are Twin Peaks (classic David Lynch series), The Walking Dead (zombies!), Elementary (Jonny Lee Miller as Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as Dr Watson, set in NYC) and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (comedy about girls who are rescued from a cult priest who kidnapped them to ‘protect’ them from the Apocalypse).
As for films, I wasn’t really impressed with the recent cinema releases. Focus featuring Will Smith was a big disappointment and the trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson’s film Inherent Vice was more exciting than the actual film.
The latest Neil Blomkamp film Chappie was entertaining and thankfully much better than his previous film Elysium, but it still didn’t come anywhere near his brilliant film debut District 9. Blomkamp’s next film will be the new Alien installment. As a big Alien fan, I am curious to see the result which no doubt will deal with Blomkamp’s characteristic themes of xenophobia and tension between robots and humanity.
I was impressed with Still Alice and how un-Hollywood it actually was. In the film we see Julianne Moore’s character (for which she won an Oscar) slipping away from a rare form of dementia while she’s still only in her fifties. Instead of turning into a real tearjerker, the film shows Alice’s decline in a subtle way, which makes an even bigger impact on the viewer actually.
Also God’s Pocket (Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro, Christina Hendricks), X+Y (Sally Hawkins, Rafe Spall, Asa Butterfield) and Into the Woods (Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine) are worth watching. Other films I (re-)watched were Black Rain (Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Kate Capshaw), Gentlemen Broncos (Jemaine Clement, Michael Angarano, Jennifer Coolidge), I love you, MAN (Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones), The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (yes, really), Stretch (Patrick Wilson, Jessica Alba, Chris Pine) and Suite Française (Michelle Williams, Kristin Scott Thomas, Matthias Schoenaerts).
FOOD & DRINK
This time not a newly opened restaurant in London, but a great new café in my previous hometown Tilburg in the Netherlands. Locals deli serves tasty and filling sourdough sandwiches, homemade salads, soups, naughty cakes and superb coffees and teas.
MUSIC & DANCE
February and March were all about festivals, mostly electronic music festivals. February was kicked off spectacularly with passionate flamenco shows both in Spain and London. In Sevilla, absolutely my favourite city in the world (after London of course), I saw a great show in Casa de la Memoria and saw Dutch guitarist Tino van der Sman play there for the second time now.
At the end of February I ventured to the Southbank Centre for one of the last Harmonic Series sessions, an evening curated by cello player Oliver Coates. It was a wonderful evening with excellent performances by Sarah Angliss, Laura Cannell, Na’ama Zisser, Some Truths and Oliver Coates.
I discovered the fantastic East London venue the Tobacco Dock when I went to see Modeselektor play live at the London Electronic Arts Festival (LEAF). You can see my footage from their exciting set below.
Another LEAF event was LEAF Beats on Film that took place at Genesis Cinema. There I saw a whole bunch of recent electronic music videos followed by an ‘in conversation’ between my husband Scanner, our friend and film director & photographer Chris Turner, director Rollo Jackson and graphic designer and art director Kate Moross about creating these videos.
Next on the programme was music + art + technology festival Convergence. On the opening night I saw Clark, Vessels and Rival Consoles. Two days later I went to see my friends Gazelle Twin opening for Tricky. Tricky wasn’t too great, but Gazelle Twin put on an impressive show after having just arrived from Australia and no sleep for 24 hours! Another highlight of the festival was the collaboration between hubby Scanner and Leafcutter John who set up their modular synthesisers for an improvised set.
A few days after this gig I flew out to the Netherlands to see Underworld play at STRP Festival. You can read my concert review here. I concluded March with a concert of my friend and composer Valgeir Sigurðsson who happened to play in Tilburg with Liam Byrne (7-string bass viol) for Incubated on the day I was there. I only knew about this a few days prior to the concert thanks to Facebook and was happy to meet these awesome guys for a fun afternoon of beautiful music and tasty Belgian beers 😉
In February I spent a week in Andalusia, south of Spain, and visited Málaga where I bumped into American actor Wallace Shawn, saw the famous jaw dropping cliffs of Ronda, ate delicious tapas in Sevilla and explored the majestic palace Alhambra in Granada. More about these adventures will follow in detail on my blog of course!
Last week I spent a week back home in the Netherlands where I caught up with friends and family and ate way too much of my mum’s delicious food (as usual) so it was back to the gym on Easter Sunday immediately!
So far my adventures from the last months. Until next time!