You’ll find the low-down on this year’s New Arts West Midlands artists, Northern Soul portraits project, the 100 Masters project from Creative Black Country calling for your ‘Master’ nominations, Home of Metal’s call for archive materials, photographer Kris Askey’s Split Second City images, The University of Birmingham’s Arts & Science Festival, the Garage series of talks by Meadow Arts, an extract from a piece by Matt Price on artist Idris Khan, and a whole list of cultural happenings coming up in the next few months.
Pick up a copy of Area Guide from the area’s best coffee shops, bars, galleries and independent stores.
We’ve packed this edition with over 90 summer festival competitions. Read inside to find out how to enter. ALL of the festivals listed are up for grabs.
When you just want to eat some comforting, tasty food then finding decent venues that will make all guests happy can be difficult. Trying to cater for different food tastes, a venue with atmosphere that looks good, and offers decent value too – well you may be hard pushed, until now.
The recently refurbished Manor House of Whittington on the A449, just outside of Stourbridge, is a worthy edition to the list of several such venues to pop up in the area over the past six months.
A fond watering hole for Black Country families looking for a drive out in the country, or for a pleasant amble on a sunny day from nearby picturesque Kinver, The Whittington (as it was) served up bland Sunday lunches and uninspired sandwich snacks. A recent major refurbishment has certainly changed that. Now a buzzing restaurant offering Josper charcoal oven made steaks, wood fired pizzas, and a comprehensive range of gastro foods as well as an extensive cocktail and wine list, the transformation is worthy of its £1.8m refurbishment by the Revere Pub Company (Owned by Marston’s). Continue reading
“If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” intoned Dave Gorman at Birmingham Symphony Hall on Thursday night. In normal circumstances this may have seemed presumptuous as this was the opening gambit of his two hour set. However, and as many of the Gorman devotees in attendance may have suspected, this was merely a preamble to an in-depth statistical analysis of the popular song in graph form via the Stafford funnyman’s weapon of choice, the Powerpoint presentation.
It is a gross understatement to say that this is a man with an inquisitive nature. Previous undertakings have included an expedition to track down 54 namesakes and a globetrotting Googlewhack Adventure. Viewers of “Modern Life is Goodish”, who no-doubt swelled Thursday’s crowd will have been pleased to see many of the elements that make that show so successful in full effect as over the course of a consistently engaging two-hour set Gorman repeatedly challenged the accepted norms and the mundane. In doing so he turned a spotlight on subjects as diverse as Paul Hollywood, selfies and Mrs. Gorman’s knees with a seasoned confidence that enabled him to hold the audience’s interest without the need for scattergun one-liners and the self-assuredness to occasionally let Powerpoint deliver his punchlines.
Gorman demonstrated his love of the lower reaches of the internet in what for many were the highlights of the show, two “Found Poems” lovingly compiled from the comments sections of website news stories. Lacking the usual string quartet, Dave was accompanied firstly by a somewhat reluctant CD and for the conclusion of the show by support act for the evening, Nick Doody. The Yorkshireman had earlier performed an excellent half-hour set of incisive, topical satire and proved himself to be an equally accomplished pianist as the show was bought to a hilarious denouement.
It’s fair to say that when the Symphony Hall crowd spilled out into the cold Birmingham night they certainly were happy, and boy did they know it.
Words: Ian Thomas
For those who crave an alternative to the hectic markets and fairs circuit, Gemma Corden investigates the best the West Midlands has to offer in our round up of festive days out. Continue reading
WELL DONE to the second Birmingham SOUP winners Soul City Arts who won the most votes on Saturday taking the £474 door takings for their new venue.
The project with the most votes was presented by Emily Jones from Soul City Arts, raising funds to re-open Mohammed Aerosol Ali’s alternative arts centre in the heart of Sparkbrook in Birmingham. This important community venue is called The Hubb, which means love in Arabic.
SOUP was visited be the first winner Elliot Lord whose cardboard beds for the homeless project is going from strength to strength with more partners and important exposure in national press.
SOUP is a great way to raise money, build community support and get connections to local resources that can help you carry out your project. See the website for more information.
The BFI are sharing love stories with the nation and hoping to rekindle our passion for some of film and television’s most enduring love stories.
They’ll be heading to Birmingham during December as part of their UK-wide season that includes 1,000 screenings at 100s of cinemas, special one-off events, new and rare releases on DVD and the BFI Player. David Lean’s British Classic, Brief Encounter will bring 1940s railway romance to the city with a high-impact pop-up screening in historic Moor Street train station providing a perfect chance for film fans to meet their stranger in a railway station.
This will be the fitting finale in a series of events screening the rereleased classic film across the UK throughout the season to celebrate the films 60th anniversary.