The heat is on: Our essential summer arts guide

Where can you find Michael Jackson moonwalking, Rachel Weisz's Blanche Dubois and Nelson Mandela as a gay icon? In our summer arts guide, that's where
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The Independent Culture


'Brüno' Fresh from his bare-bottomed assault on Eminem, Sacha Baron Cohen's fashion reporter sashays on to the big screen. Expect more high-camp high-jinks as he adopts an African baby and learns how to defend himself against dildos. Out 10 July

'Coco Before Chanel' Audrey Tautou's gamine elegance is put to good use in Anne Fontaine's biopic of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel, charting the early life and loves of the French fashion designer. Out 31 July

'Inglourious Basterds' Quentin Tarantino brings his B-movie sensibility to bear on the Second World War, with this blood-soaked tale of a Jewish-American Special Forces unit on a revenge mission in Nazi-occupied France. Out 21 August

'Funny People' This surprisingly grown up-sounding "bromance" from progenitor of the genre Judd Apatow has Adam Sandler as a famous comic facing terminal illness, and Seth Rogen as the aspiring stand-up he takes under his wing. Out 28 August

The one to watch...

Duncan Jones The 38-year-old Brit director Jones is the son of Ziggy Stardust himself, David Bowie, so it's no surprise his debut feature has a cosmic bent. Sci-fi drama Moon was a hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and you can catch it from 17 July.


Blur Prepare for Britpop nostalgia to reach fever pitch as the reformed quartet hit London for two nights of park life, with support from the likes of Vampire Weekend, Foals and Amadou & Mariam. Hyde Park, London (, 2-3 July

Latitude Festival Notable for its cross-cultural line-up, Latitude has carved out an impressive niche at the classy end of the festival spectrum since it began in 2006. This year's draws include Nick Cave, Pet Shop Boys and Radiohead's Thom Yorke. Henham Park Estate, Beccles, Suffolk (, 16-19 July

Michael Jackson With date postponements and lawsuit threats marring the run-up to his 50-concert residency, let's just hope the show goes on for the King of Pop – and that he can muster the energy for a moonwalk or two. 02 Arena, London (, from 13 July

Beachdown Festival Those looking for a quieter alternative to the August Bank Holiday behemoths of Reading and Leeds should head to this boutique gem, offering coastal views and a bill including Grace Jones and The Fall. Devil's Dyke, Brighton ( www.beachdown, 28-31 Aug

The one to watch...

Golden Silvers This London trio released their acclaimed debut True Romance in May, and their infectious blend of funk, electro and Britpop should be just the thing for a spot of pogoing at Secret Garden Party, Latitude, Reading and Leeds or Bestival.


Gay Icons A panel of high-profile gay figures pick 60 portraits of people who have inspired them. The selections – Kylie and Judy are out, Nelson Mandela is in – should bust a few stereotypes. National Portrait Gallery, London (, 2 July-18 Oct

Antony Gormley: One and Other Gormley's latest public-art project gives 2,400 computer-selected volunteers the chance to spend an hour on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. An "act of collective creativity" or the soapbox from hell? Trafalgar Square, London (, 6 July-14 Oct

Turner and the Masters Turner's fiercely competitive streak is revealed in this exhibition placing his works beside those of the artists he was both indebted to and aimed to outshine, including Canaletto and Rubens. Tate Britain, London (, 23 Sep-31 Jan 2010

Anish Kapoor The Mumbai-born sculptor enjoys a blockbuster retrospective, including the first UK showing of Svayambh, a 20m-long block of scarlet wax which will slide across five rooms. Royal Academy, London ( www.royal, 26 Sep-11 Dec

The one to watch...

Jodie Carey Featuring chandeliers and floral arrangements out of vacuum-cleaner fluff and tea-stained newspapers, Carey's sculptures find majesty in the mundane. In the Eyes of Others opens at the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne on 10 July


'Enron' Lucy Prebble's new play charting the scandalous collapse of the US energy giant promises a timely exploration of corporate greed. The ever-prolific Rupert Goold directs. Minerva, Chichester ( www.cft. 11 July-29 Aug, then Royal Court (, 17 Sep-7 Nov

'A Streetcar Named Desire' Hollywood star Rachel Weisz returns to the London stage as fading Southern belle Blanche Dubois in Rob Ashford's revival of Tennessee Williams's landmark play. Donmar Warehouse ( www.donmar, 23 July-3 Oct

'Diaspora' The pick of this year's Edinburgh theatre programme is this multimedia Singaporean production, which will combine video, live theatre and music from the Singapore Chinese Orchestra to reflect on migration and displacement. Edinburgh Playhouse (, 15 and 16 Aug

'Another Door Closed' Showing in the Peter Hall Company's Bath season, dramatist Peter Gill's first play in six years concerns two sisters whose visit to their childhood home is disrupted by a male visitor. Ustinov Studio, Bath ( www.theatreroyal., 4-29 Aug

The one to watch...

Lucy Prebble The aforementioned 22-year-old marked herself out with her 2003 play The Sugar Syndrome, and has since enjoyed success with ITV's Secret Diary of a Call Girl, but "epic tragedy" Enron represents her most ambitious endeavour yet.


'Shall We Dance' Adam Cooper is the brains and feet behind this tribute to composer Richard Rodgers in which he works his way through a classical, tap, and jazz programme, backed by a live orchestra playing excerpts from Rodgers musicals. Sadler's Wells, London ( 23 July-30 Aug

Mariinsky Ballet The St Petersburg company present four programmes, featuring old warhorses Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty alongside a triple-bill Homage to Balanchine. Royal Opera House, London (, 3-15 Aug

Michael Clark: New Work The aging enfant terrible of British dance returns to Edinburgh with a work inspired by the 1970s rock trinity of David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. Edinburgh Playhouse (, 28-31 Aug

Cirque Invisible The cult circus double act of Victoria Chaplin (granddaughter of Charlie) and Jean-Baptiste Thiérrée brings its whimsical melange of magic, dance and acrobatics to the UK for the first time in 15 years. Southbank Centre (www.southbank 4-23 Aug

The one to watch...

Yevgenia Obraztsova A dark beauty and subtly articulate performer, the Mariinsky principal dances Juliet in Romeo and Juliet on 6 Aug, and is the first night Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty on 14 Aug.


lford Arts The Italian cloisters of the Peto gardens of Iford Manor play host to productions of The Coronation of Poppea and Eugene Onegin. Country house opera at its most enchanting. Iford Manor, Wiltshire (, 10 July-1 Aug

BBC Proms From Andriessen to Xenakis, the BBC Proms remains the world's biggest music festival. Highlights this year include a weekend celebrating the 10th birthday of the BBC New Generation Artists scheme. Various venues, London ( proms), 17 July-12 Sep

Presteigne Festival Almost 30 years old and packed with premières, the Presteigne Festival is a gem. This year's programme features new works from Martin Butler, Gabriel Jackson and Steve Martland. Presteigne, Wales ( www.presteigne, 27 Aug-1 Sep

Play the Field Conductor Charles Hazlewood opens the grounds of his Somerset farm for a family-friendly weekend of open rehearsals, local food and concerts. Keinton Mandeville, Somerset (, 29-30 Aug

The one to watch...

Susanna Mälkki The Finnish conductor was a last-minute Proms replacement for Peter Eötvös in 2008. Now she's the main draw on 2 Aug for the BBC Symphony Orchestra's Proms performance of Beethoven's Fourth Symphony and Berlioz's Te Deum.


'You Have Been Watching' Critic and Screenwipe presenter Charlie Brooker vents more spleen about the small screen as the host of this weekly discussion/quiz show. Channel 4, 7 July

'Desperate Romantics' Spicy six-part series on the lives of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, who scandalised 19th-century London. BBC4, 14 July

'Rupert Everett in Search of Lord Byron' Following up last year's Victorian Sex Explorer with another salaciously minded travelogue, Everett retraces the Romantic poet's debauched travels across Europe and the Mediterranean. Channel 4, Aug

'Freefall' Bafta-winner Dominic Savage becomes the first film-maker to tackle the global financial crisis in this ensemble drama, starring Aidan Gillen, Rosamund Pike and Dominic Cooper. BBC2, Aug/Sep

The one to watch...

Sarah Harding The blonde Girls Aloud star makes her acting debut as the girlfriend of a financier in Freefall, with reports hinting that she's a far more natural performer than her pop pedigree would suggest.