Top image: Still, ‘Hail, Caesar!’ 2016 © Universal Pictures
We bring you our guide to living well in the world’s capitals, from exhibitions to cinema, food, drink, fashion, music and beyond. Just call it culture and take it, it’s yours.
LONDON, FRIDAY 4th MARCH – SUNDAY 6th March 2016
“Squint against the grandeur”
Hail, the Coen brothers! If there’s one filmmaking partnership you can rely on for 100 per cent value, it’s Joel and Ethan.
Firing off witty humour and ingenius narrative subplots in rat-a-tat speed, the brothers’ latest flick, Hail Caesar!, can be counted among their finest. Set in 1951 Hollywood – a time when films were produced like one of Henry Ford’s assembly lines – the film follows Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), a studio cop who can’t let the paps and gossips catch wind of which star is secretly cheating/pregnant/gay/mental/or a Commie bastard.
And his job becomes that bit more difficult when uber superstar actor Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) gets kidnapped during production of a biblical epic called Hail, Caesar!.
Boasting a cast list that runs like a who’s who of Hollywood creme de la creme – Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum and Tilda Swinton are all in the mix – the Coen brothers have rummaged around in their top draw and come out with another belter.
Hail, Caesar! out now
Italian artist Sandro Botticelli is one of the defining names of the Early Renaissance. Recognise these masterpieces? The Primavera and the Birth of Venus – according to popular belief, the model for The Birth of Venus was Simonetta Vespucci, a married noblewoman, Botticelli suffered an unrequited love for.
The V&A’s latest exhibition, Botticelli Reimagined, traces the great artist’s wide influence throughout the decades. From a Dolce and Gabbana dress covered with prints of Birth of Venus, to a Lady Gaga album cover, through a clip of Uma Thurman emerging from a shell in The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen, and on to a Bulgari car wheel that quotes a Botticelli brooch, Botticelli tropes pop up in the most unusual of places.
Translating classical to contemporary is a skill in itself, sampling from the past and creating anew.
Botticelli Reimagined runs from 5th Marc – 3rd July
Queen of slam
She’s the No Wave queen; a true iconoclast who chewed up the rulebook and ripped it a new one. Lydia Lunch – who got her name because she used to steal food for her friends, American punks the Dead Boys – first wandered into New York aged just 14. From there she swiftly transformed herself into the punk, skank symbol. By fronting revolutionary – and criminally underrated – bands such as Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and 8-Eyed Spy Lunch created a whole new epoch, an aesthetic that resonates to this day.
Well, for one night only this icon of debauchery is in Dalston to perform as Retro Virus –joined by Herculean guitarist Weasel Walter (Flying Luttenbachers), fret-destroying bassist Tim Dahl (Child Abuse) and legendary skins-basher Bob Bert (Sonic Youth/Pussy Galore).
Become emerged in the sound of New York’s No Wave, here are its creators.
Lydia Lunch plays at Cafe OTO on Sunday 6th March, tickets here
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”
“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologise.” Not many people can get away with being so brash, but then again, boxer and political activist, Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr (a.k.a. Muhammad Ali) isn’t like other people.
In terms of boxing, Ali was the best, the only three-time lineal world heavyweight champion, he’d knock you for six and drop you a dry cleaning bill for his blood stained gloves on the way down. But away from the ring he also delivered knockout blows. His passionate political stances are equally documented – in 1967, he refused to serve in the US army with the memorable words: “Man, I ain’t got no quarrel with them Vietcong.”
A new retrospective exhibition at the O2 traces the life of the Kentucky-born icon. There will be never-before-seen video footage, photographs and more than 100 artefacts including medals, champion rings and gloves.
Not to be missed, this is a heavyweight exhibition fit for The Greatest.
I Am The Greatest runs from Friday 4th March – August 31st at O2.
I Am the Greatest: Muhammad Ali at the O2, 4 March-31 August.
Pills washed down with champagne, a diet we can get behind
In 1990s London there was only place to go for your regular prescription of food and art, and that was Pharmacy.
The ultra concept Notting Hill restaurant opened by Damien Hirst and Matthew Freud, among others, stood out as one of the first venues to blend art and food into one holistic vision, providing you with a hefty dose of each.
Now Hirst is having pop at the London restaurant scene. His new Vauxhall art space – the Newport Street Gallery – opened last year, and this week the artist announces a new revamped version of Pharmacy opening inside the gallery, with Mark Hix behind the food.
Whilst pills for all ills line the bar (less like a scene from Shameless, more a scene from Shame – drinks don’t come cheap here), mirrors above the bar reflect red and blue DNA atoms in coloured glass double helixes through which trains from Waterloo can be glimpsed rumbling by. Art never tasted so good.
Pharmacy is located at Newport Street Gallery, SE11