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INTERNAL BEAUTY: Pig stomach lining might not seem the most obvious of art materials but artist Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva has managed to create surprisingly beautiful works from animal organs. Gut wrenching stuff. Grant Museum of Zoology, free, just turn up, until 28 March
BATS AND SALAMANDERS: Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, the artist formerly known as Spartacus Chetwynd, is back with a collection of paintings with creatures protruding from the walls — including a giant bat, spotted salamanders and a lengthy caterpillar. Add in a creepy hand operated jack in the box and we have the artist back at her eccentric best. 62 Kingly Street, free, just turn up, until 7 April
RIDE A MODEL RAILWAY: A woodland adventure awaits inside Watford's Cassiobury Park. Within this 190-acre green space is the Watford Miniature Railway, a charming railway full of huff and puff and ready to take you through the woods, over level crossings and next to the River Gade. Cassiobury Park (Watford), £2, just turn up, weekends and school holidays
VISIT HAMPSTEAD HEATH: With Spring here (sort of), why not make the most of it and visit one of London's loveliest parks. Here's what you're missing.
Monday 26 March
To celebrate Napping Day, DoubleTree by Hilton are offering a limited number of napping rooms across the UK.
FREE NAP: The clocks have gone forward (yay), which means we lost an hour of sleep last night (boo!), luckily the Hilton are on hand to get you some shut-eye with pop up free napping stations across the UK, including at DoubleTree Hilton properties in Kingston and Westminster. DoubleTree by Hilton properties in Kingston and Westminster, free, just turn up, noon-2pm
PIMP YOUR HIP FLASK: Make your hip flask the envy of all hip flasks at this creative workshop. There will be gems, sequins and lots of glitter. Drink Shop & Do (King's Cross), £5, book ahead, 6pm
Tuesday 27 March
SHAKESPEARE'S ANCIENT GHOSTS: Whether you're studying Shakespeare or just a life long fan of the ol' bard, you should find this talk about the origins of many of the play's ghosts a fascinating one. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 6pm-7pm
KIZOMBA DANCE CLASS: Pick up some new moves, burn some calories and shake the stress of the day away at this fun, informal dance class, inspired by the Angolan style of dance, Kizomba, which translates as 'party'. Loop Bar, £3 for social dancing, book ahead, 6pm-11pm
THE TURN OF WOMEN ARTISTS: Shockingly, only two of the founding members of the Royal Academy were women. Thankfully things have changed a bit since 1768 and this exhibition rightly celebrates the work of female artists active between 1837 and 2018. Chris Beetles Gallery, free, just turn up, until 14 April
Wednesday 28 March
Spaces relating to suffrage in London are varied and, in some cases, no longer standing.
LOCATING LONDON'S SUFFRAGE LEGACY:This talk conjures up the people and places crucial to the suffragette campaign in London – some of which have been lost to the march of time. The National Archives (Kew), free, book ahead,2pm-3pm
SCIENCE MUSEUM LATE: Visit the Science Museum tonight and immerse yourself in the world of Dr. Frankenstein. Listen to illustrated talks on the science behind Mary Shelley's gothic novel, join a battery making workshop and hear from author Marcus Chown, who will be discussing the Big Bang. Science Museum, free entry, book ahead (for ticketed events), 6.45pm-10pm
JAZZ JAM: This former sausage factory is now a lovely spot for canal-side drinking and tonight there's the added bonus of live jazz and late night DJs spinning vinyl. Plus stay for dinner and you can nab 10% off Slow Fire London's freshly prepared seasonal menu. Grow, Hackney Wick, free entry, just turn up 7pm-11pm
DRAGPROV: A selection of improv’s most fabulous kings and queens will drag themselves up on stage for a hilarious evening of gender-bending fun. Glitter up and raise the roof for London's finest LGBTQ+ acts. The Nursery Theatre (Liverpool Street), £5, book ahead, 8pm-10pm
WANDSWORTH COMMON BEER & CIDER FEST: This annual beer festival is throwing an extravagant six-day sesh to mark its tenth anniversary. Glug more than 150 top notch brews, munch street food, listen to DJs and nab some freebies. Le Gothique, Wandsworth Common, from £5, book ahead, until 2 April
Thursday 29 March
With crates deeper than you care to imagine DJ Tappa will be playing the finest selections of funk, classics and Hi-Life to more hard hitting Disco and House at NT's.
INTERNATIONAL PIANO DAY: Give the pianos at St Pancras International Station a whirl today with the help of a professional player or just listen out for live performances marking International Piano Day. St. Pancras International, free, just turn up, lessons 10am-noon, performances 11am-5.30pm
HEAVENLY JUKEBOX: Unusually, there's no online presence for the headline band audiobooks, so you'll just have to go out on a whim and get down to the Heavenly Jukebox to make your own judgment. The Social, free entry, just turn up, 6pm-late
XENOFEMINISM: How will the feminist agenda fare in an era of automation, globalisation and the digital revolution? Authors Helen Hester and Joanna Walsh discuss. Pages of Hackney (Clapton), £4, book ahead, 7pm-9pm
THE SOUL CELLAR 1ST BIRTHDAY: DJs from London's finest independent radio stations, NTS Radio, Reprezent and Netil Radio are taking over the decks for this late night birthday bash. NT's (London Fields), free, just turn up, 8pm-4am
Friday 30 March
Featuring realistic scenes and a heart moving crucifixion and resurrection, The Passion of Jesus is an unforgettable Easter experience.
THE PASSION OF JESUS: If Easter means more to you than chocolate eggs and time off work, make sure you're in the audience for The Passion of Jesus. More than 100 actors will reenact the day Jesus was arrested, tried and crucified by the Romans, two days before miraculously rising from the dead on Easter Sunday. We had a chat with Jesus a couple of weeks ago, actually. Trafalgar Square, free, just turn up, noon and 3.15pm (you'll want to get there early though — it gets busy)
Saturday 31 March
On the last Saturday of every month the William Morris Gallery is packed full of fun activities for families to make and do together.
FOREST CYANOTYPES: Get down to the William Morris Gallery today for a family collaging session using light-sensitive paper to create pictures that remind you of Epping Forest. William Morris Gallery (Walthamstow), free, just turn up, 1pm-4pm
LONDON X4 SEASONAL FILM FESTIVAL: From heartwrenching documentaries from Iraq and experimental films from India to outrageous shorts on male strippers there'll be something for all viewing habits at this short film festival. The Archivist's Gallery, £5, book ahead, 7pm-9.30pm
Sunday 1 April
Fast Fusion is a live pop-up music installation bringing artists from jazz and ‘world’ music genres together to write ten minutes of new work in just five hours.
FAST FUSION: What do you get when you put jazz and world music artists in a room for five hours? Find out at 5.15pm when the fruits of their labor will be revealed on stage. Or drop in throughout the day to see the creative process in action. Poplar Union, free, book ahead, noon-5pm
RAW COMEDY: Hold back on your Simon Cowell comments if you're planning on being in the audience for this night of fresh faces and experienced stand up acts. The Camden Head, Islington, pay what you want, book ahead, 8pm-10pm
Tucked away beneath Spitalfields is Bar Three. Atmospheric, low-level lighting abounds in this intimate setting. Bar Three is the third venture from the team behind Three Sheets and Blixen (which is just upstairs).
The cocktail menu is divided up into four sections relating to how much alcohol they contain: free, light, medium, full. Diving in at the deep end, we pick something from the full section, the Whiskey + Milk. It's the perfect cocktail, not trying to mask the alcohol's flavour, while making sure it's still palatable. Everything else we try lives up to that same high bar — the Pisco + Black and the Tequila Highball were other standouts.
Snacks are also on offer — you can get any of the starters from Blixen upstairs. The Taramasalata and Crisp Bread are fantastic, and the Pecan Salad with a mustard dressing impresses too. The side of fries is similarly solid, though there's not much that can be said about good fries, apart from the fact they were good.
The layout is one of the bar's biggest selling points. It feels very exclusive and only needs a couple of punters to make the place feel buzzy. However, it's slightly odd layout does lead to some strange situations. We spend our night facing a wall — a chic wall, but a wall nonetheless. To that point, this is an excellent bar if it's just you and a friend or two. But don't try and fit your whole office down here for post-work drinks. They simply won't fit.
Also a quick word on the loos. We at Londonist love a quality toilet, and were thoroughly impressed by this one. If you come here on a bad date, it's the ideal place to hide the night away.
Bar Three, 65a Brushfield Street, Spitalfields, E1 6AA.
For those who feel that bog-standard cream tea and scones are far below their station, how does afternoon tea in a Cinderella carriage sound? That's right, The Tea Terrace inside House of Fraser on Oxford Street is offering wannabe princes and princesses the option to scoff like royalty, raised high above all other diners on their very own golden, vintage, rose-adorned carriage. Raised pinkies are optional.
Cinderella Afternoon Tea can be found at The Tea Terrace, 318 Oxford Street, W1C 1HF. Use of the carriage costs £12.95 per person for 75 minutes, with a £21 minimum spend for food and drink on top of that. Advance booking is necessary.
Some carefully crafted advertising meant a lot of people rushed to book this one, thinking it might be a musical — although after the walking disaster that was Barnum, maybe best not. Instead, it's a newly translated version of the Manuel Puig novel and stage play which spawned the 1993 Broadway hit.
If there is a lesson to be learned here, it’s that if Kander and Ebb adapt something into a Broadway musical or a film and win a slew of Tonys and Oscars for it, the original from which they drew their inspiration may leave audiences feeling flat. So don’t attempt I Am a Camera (Cabaret) or the 1926 Play Ball (Chicago) without music any time soon either.
Photo: Nobby Clark
Second, if you have a superb set by Jon Bausor which really makes your bunkerish basement look like a Latin American prison — don’t cast the leads with people who sound like they’re weekending in Sheffield, and don’t cast a tall woman who has to dodge the ceiling lights playing a wholly unconvincing and unthreatening prison governor.
The problem is not that the two actors — Samuel Barnett as Molina, the gay window dresser who may be wrongfully imprisoned, and Declan Bennett as Valentin, the revolutionary who should probably be there — don’t throw themselves wholeheartedly into their roles, but that there’s not sufficient at which to throw themselves. In the stage version, Molina isn’t operatic enough as the gay diva, and Valentin isn’t dangerous enough as the terrorist. The betrayal feels too patently obvious not to arouse Valentin's suspicion. Even when Barnett’s descriptions of the movies — wonderfully shadow-played on the cell walls — lurch into erotic stimulation of his cellmate and full-on sex, it’s hard to stay engaged.
Kiss of the Spider Woman, Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark Street, SE1. Until 5 May 2018. Tickets £40-42.50 plus fees.
Like brightly-coloured sweeties in a box, Primrose Hill's colourful houses are alluring, tempting and difficult to pick between. With film locations and famous poets to their name, these streets don't come cheap. But walking past and enjoying the charming view? That's free.
The blue skies and Union Jack give these seagulls fighting over food an almost cinematic feel. Copyright Martin Parr & Magnum photos.
Now that summer's on the approach (in theory, at least), it'll only take a mildly sunny weekend to send London families racing off to the seaside, crammed into cars inching through traffic just to find a small spot on the sand among thousands of others who had the same idea.
Perhaps it's our changeable weather mixed with our city living that makes spending time on a beach so alluring. This British love of the seaside is the theme of a new photography exhibition at National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
We love the absurdity of this one. Copyright Martin Parr and Magnum Photos.
Four British photographers combine in this show, looking at British beach life from the 1960s to the present day. The older works by Tony Ray-Jones show a antiquated beach life — a man in a suit sits on a deckchair with cloth over his eyes to protect them from the sun. The idea of going to the beach in a suit sounds absurd in today's world, but we imagine it was pretty normal once.
As much as we like the black and white throwbacks, it's the contemporary photography that really shines. Children's faces slathered with ice cream, and seagulls fighting over a portion of chips, almost feel glamourised captured under bright blue skies. We particularly like the absurdity of a face down sunbather next to a parked heavy construction vehicle that looks like it's about to run him over.
Some earlier photos show beach life hasn't changed much, though they appear to have been more smartly dressed back then. Copyright Tony Ray-Jones, courtesy National Science and Media Museum.
Including Simon Roberts' photographs in this exhibition is a perfect counterpoint. Unlike the others, he's less interested in the people at the beach, but more the scale of it all. We get the burned out remains of Brighton Pier and a great shot over Saunton Sands where the sand, sea and sky are all different shades of grey — the only black flecks are the outlines of surfers heading to the water, or already in it.
This step back for a broader look at our beaches makes Roberts' work our favourite in this show — we're used to being among the thronging masses when on a beach so a reminder to take the scene in from a distance is always welcome.
Simon Roberts mixes up the show with his expansive beach shots. Here's Brighton's burned out pier. Copyright Simon Roberts, courtesy Flowers Gallery.
The photographs here also show a group of Indian women and a Sikh family at the seaside — the drive to get to the sea and soak in the sun has a universal appeal to everyone in Britain. Yes, the food is over-priced and when the weather is good it's far too busy, but it's what we do.
As Martin Parr, one of the exhibiting photographers, sums it up:
The beach is that rare public space in which all absurdities and quirky national behaviours can be found
We here at Londonist are a sucker for a well designed exhibition and this show gets top marks for making sure all the walls are in the pastel colours we associate with beach huts. The normal gallery benches have been replaced with deck chairs and seafront style benches. To hold the show together there is a seaside cinema in the middle featuring short videos about all four photographers, and the 'now showing' screens outside are a lovely touch.
Don't forget to accessorise and have your picture taken out front of the show. Here's our attempt.
This is the perfect exhibition to roll us into summer. The weather may not yet be good enough to head to the beach, but we're suddenly craving some fish and chips and a 99 flake.
The Great British Seaside is on at National Maritime Museum until 30 September 2018. Tickets are £10.35 for adults, £4.50 for children.
The complexities and horrors of revolution are given a bracing treatment in this version by Sean Holmes of Sean O’Casey’s play about the Easter Rising, with powerful performances from the women at the heart of the drama.
Nora, played brilliantly and with great clarity by Kate Stanley Brennan, is tormented by her new husband’s determination to fight with the Irish Citizen Army as the campaign for Home Rule ramps up between 1915 and 1916, driven by a series of radical speeches by Patrick Pearse. Her portrayal of shattered dreams in the ensuing violence is commanding and gives the play the intensity it deserves.
Photo: Tristram Kenton
The journey of Union-supporting Bessie Burgess shows the play’s liberal credentials in her moving transformation from drunken persecutor of her republican neighbours to Nora’s defender and final self-sacrifice. With a mobile, steel structure for the tenement block, the staging creates a strong impression of a society in freefall. This, with the use of modern-dress, the theft of consumer goods during the uprising and chug of helicopters overhead, all adds to its contemporary relevance.
It is easy to forget that the struggle for Irish independence was as much ideological as sectarian, yet O’Casey’s play reminds us again that revolutionary struggle, irrespective of motives, will always create victims in the living rooms and streets of people’s homes. This riveting version does well to make us reflect on the fate of those often ignored by the sweeping arm of history.
Millennials. They're bloody everywhere in London. Drinking all our flat whites. Not buying any of our houses. But has anyone actually thought to reach out, and speak to a millennial? Londonist tracked down the cast of Tits Up — a new online comedy, based in Putney — and asked them about life in London.
Amy and Tim: two real life millennials, living up to a coffee cliche
Hello. What does being a millennial mean to you?
Gabby: Single, broke, with a range of anxiety issues.
Tim: Never being sure of what path you should be taking. I often feel confused about what I want and what I should want.
Amy: Broke and over-tired. Oh so tired.
We're out of touch. What phrases are millennials using right now?
Amy: Basic. You're so basic.
Gabby: Things like "on fleek" (no idea what it means). Whenever looking at a funny meme online, the phrase "I can't even" seems to be used, along with a row of crying emoji faces. It's very annoying.
Tim: Personally I still use words like "cosmic". I'm not sure that was ever popular.
Dare you to look this in the eye and not cry
Have you ever cried looking into the window of a Foxtons?
Tim: I would never look into the window of a Foxtons for fear of how I might react in public. It's never pretty being faced with house prices.
Amy: I hate Foxtons. I once rented a flat through them and they charged me a ridiculous fee and were totally rude. They all also have those annoying minis that you want to punch. So yes, probably.
Gabby: No, I deliberately look the other way when walking past an estate agents window. Often resulting into me crashing into a cyclist and/or bin.
Which millennial Londoner do you look up to the most?
Amy: Any millennial adulating enough to prepare homemade falafel and sweet potato salad, and it actually looks like the photo. And the one who starts drinking at Friday lunch and doesn't make it back to the office, and still gets paid. What a hero.
Tim: I look up to any millennial londoner who can own that title.
Amy and Gabby. 'Avin a fag
With the emergence of #MeToo etc, do you feel London as a whole is treating you better than it was this time last year?
Gabby: I am definitely happier in London than I was this time last year. But I think that's down to the introduction of the night tube.
Amy: Absolutely not. London will always be a bitch. And there will always be builders. So catcalling will live on.
Tim: My Y chromosome tells me I may not be the best person to comment on this.
What's the most expensive thing you bought in London?
Gabby: I once ended up on a one night stand near bloody Essex, then got a £60 uber back home the next morning.
Do you think you'll ever own a house?
Amy: When my parents die? I joke, we'll be mortgaging that for their care homes. Healthy buggers.
Gabby: I think there's as much chance of me owning a house as catching a flying pig. I used to joke about 'marrying a millionaire and living in a mansion' but now I'm going to need to marry a millionaire in order to be able to rent a two bed house in Shepherd’s Bush with no back garden and overlooking a chicken shop.
Do you think you're the last generation who'll enjoying going out and getting drunk?
Gabby: Nobody can really afford to go 'out out' anymore. Rather than get tarted up, queue for hours outside a club and spend a small fortune on cocktails, I'd rather get shit faced in my own living room, eat a pound of brie and pass out in front of the television.
Amy: God I hope not. If they all continue to be vegan, yoga bending, ripped men I'll be very disappointed. What else do people do if they don't go out drinking? No, seriously...
The average millennial's breakfast, probably
Do you look down on those fresh-faced Generation Z bastards?
Tim: I look up at them. They will understand technology better than I ever will. I remember when all we had was email and internet (cheaper after six o clock).
Amy: Yes. But only because they're all rich vloggers and I'm annoyed I didn't think of such an easy work from home plan by myself.
You can watch Tits Up, here. Warning: contains millennials.
They think it's all over: it is now. Lewisham has just won the World Cup of London Boroughs.
Absolutely nothing to do with football — or indeed anywhere outside of London — this 'World Cup' was a Twitter poll organised by @Zone1Bracket. All 32 boroughs 'played' in the competition, with Islington, Greenwich and Lambeth joining Lewisham in the final four.
Plenty got involved in the final: 11,857 votes (that's almost half the capacity of Millwall's ground) were cast. The result? Lewisham beat Lambeth by 6630-5227. You won't get scorelines like that in Russia.
At one point, the online competition even got a shout out in the House of Commons, by Labour MP for Lewisham and Deptford, Vicky Foxcroft.
Bar crawls are so last year. Why traipse around for your tipple when you can bring all the capital’s signature serves to you?
Cocktails in the City are masters in the art of throwing epic parties, and they’re bringing a huge cocktail festival to One Marylebone — a stunning, Grade I listed former church — this April. The venue’s grandiose surroundings will host 25 of the world's best bars, all under one roof - giving you the opportunity to get shoulder-to-shoulder with some top bartenders.
It’s pretty much the closest you can get to bar heaven, featuring cocktails from a whole host of London venues, from five-star hotels to secret speakeasies. Delicious food is on the menu too, and with music to soundtrack your drinking, it's already starting to look like a great night out.
Tickets to Cocktails in the City cost just £20, and include a welcome cocktail upon arrival. All additional cocktails cost just £7.50. The event takes place 5-7 April 2018 at One Marylebone. Grab your tickets here.
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