Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mega Picasso

We will have Rothko, Bacon, Warhol, Miro and Calder in London, but it seems like the major blockbuster exhibition of this autumn/winter will be Picasso et les maitres in Paris, held by the Louvres, the Musee D'Orsay, the Grand Palais, and the Musee Picasso.

The exhibition will showcase over 200 works from the most pretigious public and private collections, putting Picasso next to his masters: Velasquez, Van Gogh, Goya, Manet and more...

It sounds very impressive. I hope I can make it there.

How it came about: here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Spring Awakening @ Lyric Hammersmith

The Tony award-winning musical Spring Awakening is coming to London next January. I know very little about it except that it won some Tonys and is running at a place I would love to work at.

So I've checked it on youtube and it looks pretty cool. It's based on a 19th-century German play by Frank Wedekin, that got banned many times for openly talking about the sexuality of teenagers. There's rape (though not in the musical version - ha Broadway!) and death and suicide and all sorts of tragic things like that. The music is more rock than showtunes, and what I've heard so far sounds great.

Particular favourite is the first number, Mama who bore me. Just seeing this vid made me want to buy tickets. OK, they're kind of just yelling like loonies at some point, but it's a pretty powerful song no?

Also, the Lyric Hammersmith is doing some £10 nights, where all (ALL!) tickets are only £10. Isn't this the best deal ever? I've got my dress circle tickets booked already. Can't wait.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Elaine Stritch in London!

Wow what a summer! After seeing Mercedes Sosa in concert, I ran into another mega legend, Elaine Stritch. She was taking a walk in town, in the middle of Soho Pride( of all places!)

So exciting! Elaine Stritch is a big Broadway star, and she's been in London doing a show with her biggest successes. I didn't go because the tickets were bleedin' expensive, but hey I saw her on the street!

Went over and said hi and said I loved her work in 30 Rock (she plays Alec Baldwin's mother and she is hilarious) and asked if she would be in the 3rd season and she said she would! Horray! (Is that a scoop?)

Here's a vid of her singing, and another from 30 Rock.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Went on a pretty nice tour of some of the east end of London today, checking out graffitis and galleries along the way. Very interesting, I recommend it!
More info on the Comment Art website.

I might go again, this time with a camera, so I have some pics to show.
Found this video of Mercedes Sosa singing on Mexican television in the 90s.

Lots of things to notice in this video:
- the awful pink and gold ensemble the presenter is wearing
- how Mercedes thinks her mike is not working at the end of song 2, and keeps asking for it to be turned on. She is banging the mike making big gestures - hilarious.
- two awesome songs. The second is my current favourite: Maria Maria by the Brazilian Milton Nascimento. ae -ae-a-ae-ae-ae-e-e-eeee
- La Negra dancing about, moving across the set - a huge difference from her concerts today where she remains sat on a chair. ela she is older now, so it's ok.

Saturday, August 09, 2008


Quite an amazing opening ceremony no? I watched it this morning (up until the entrance of the teams, cause it just gets too boring at that point)

The question now is how will London top that in 2012? We're all a bit worried. Good luck to whoever has to organise it!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Mercedes Sosa!

Shame on me earlier for saying I hadn't seen anything worth blogging about recently.

Of course I saw someone great in concert, and that person was the legendary Mercedes Sosa!
Despite her old age and past health problems, even though she had a folder with the lyrics in front of her and spent the whole show sat on a chair (except right at the end, for a tremendous Luna Llena and Maria Maria) she gave a great concert.

She is a true legend of Latin American music and it was such an awesome experience to be at one of her concerts, surrounded with Argentinian, Brazilians, Cubans etc, all totally in awe of her. She is their sister, mother, best friend, she and her music mean so much to them, it was magical to feel it.

Al Jardin de la Republica, Alfonsina y el mar, Zamba para no morir, Piedra y Camino (great version with a young harmonica player) and of course Gracias a la vida - she sang them all!

Also, I never thought I would see her live, what with her age etc but it has happened. A dream came true that night!

To La Negra, with much much love.

Chus Lampreave!

I love the Spanish actress Chus Lampreave, who appears in many of Pedro Almodovar's movies.

The only movie I've seen with her, by another director, is El Verdugo by Berlanga, and she is in there 2 minutes.

Pedro Almodovar gives her a well-deserved hommage on his blog. When I went to the Almodovar Q&A at the BFI for the release of volver, I wanted to ask him about Chus, but I wasn't picked. His recent post asnwers my question!

"Chus Lampreave is something more than a regular in my films. She’s an adorable person who still has a child’s innocence and capacity for surprise, even though her life hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses. She is the closest thing to the idea of an angel. A person who is naturally good. When someone like her crosses your path the best thing is to hold on to her and not let her get away for a long time. I always have a meeting pending with her, to talk, to feel her marvellous optimism and her enthusiasm at the mere fact of seeing each other and telling each other things (...)
When I offered her the role of Mother Street Rat in “Dark Habits”, her only objection was that she thought it too long, too important, and she should only do little, unimportant roles. Exactly the opposite of what any actress would tell you. Chus belongs to an atypical, wonderful race of actors who gesticulate very little. Or who don’t gesticulate at all, but their faces only reflect truth. I’m talking about geniuses like Buster Keaton, Totò, Bill Murray, Pepe Isbert, Robert Mitchum… Fortunately I managed to persuade her to play the role of the secret writer-nun in “Dark Habits”. Since then she is one of the most important emotional references in my life."

One of her best bits is obviously in The Flower of my secret. Almodovar talks about how they rehearsed it on his blog. Read it!