The Diary: Waiting for Godot; Antichrist; Bob and Roberta Smith; Zoo Art Fair; Hawley Arms
Friday 31 July 2009
Beckett folk don’t get toilet humour
One of the most talked-about shows coming up at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a production inspired by "Waiting for Godot" set in a public toilet, just off Edinburgh's Royal Mile. It seems the Beckett estate wasn't too happy about a lavatorial interpretation of the masterpiece and withdrew the performance licence at the last minute. Nothing daunted, the youthful troupe, called nod/nod, and led by 17-year old Harry Michell, son of film director Roger, rewrote the piece. It's called "Still Waiting for Godot". Vladimir and Estragon are punters waiting for the play to start and Pozzo has been reimagined as the "neurotic" guardian of a certain writer's estate. Performances – an intense spectacle for only 15 people at a time – will take place in the last week of the Fringe at 6.30pm (once the toilets have closed for the night). "The toilet is a place where we are all generally waiting", explains Michell. "The council have been just fantastic. It's all free and they're cleaning it for our use every evening." That's a relief.
The Lars straw
We've heard of the Cannes catcalls and read the critics' views, but what did the public make of "Antichrist" on opening weekend? Were there protests, walk-outs, fainting fits, perhaps? Not really. According to a spokesman for Picturehouse cinemas – which averaged 50 per cent occupancy – there was one almost dramatic incident at the Ritzy in South London when half-way through, a man stood up, raised his arms to the heavens and cried, "this is going too far!" before sitting down and quietly watching to the end.
He may have been named the latest Tate trustee, but the artist known as Bob and Roberta Smith isn't about to rein in his attacks on art-world elitism. His latest work, "This Artist is Deeply Dangerous", goes on show at Edinburgh's Grey Gallery – a nomadic space, now pitching up at Georgian bar/hotel Hawke and Hunter – next week. It's critics' turn for a dressing down. "There should be no artists, just people making art, and by the same token, there should be no art critics, just people writing about art", says Smith.
See all the artists in the East End Zoo
It's all change for Zoo Art Fair, Frieze's younger, cooler sister, set up in 2004 to showcase new and non-commercial galleries. First it took place in London Zoo, then moved in behind the Royal Academy. Now, booted out of there to make way for Haunch of Venison, it's moving to Shoreditch. Zoo 2009 (it's no longer an art fair) will be housed in a row of Victorian warehouses on the High Street and will mix commercial stands with curated exhibitions. "It's a bit more credit-crunch than the old days", says director Soraya Rodriguez. "We re-examined whether we needed to be a fair in a shiny space in the west. People aren't selling as much as they used to – hopefully this will be a more interesting adventure. And you can still come and buy."
Big noise at Amy's local
When Amy Winehouse was still normal(ish), her hang-out of choice was Camden's Hawley Arms, where black-and-white pictures of regulars including Winehouse, Razorlight's Johnny Borrell and comedian Noel Fielding adorn the walls. Following a tough year which saw its top customer decamp to the Caribbean, and a fire, the pub is launching a monthly music night, Apocalypstick. Curated by former barmaid Isabella Scarlet, the free gigs kick off on Monday with The Rumble Strips. Could it be Winehouse's return to the scene, and even the stage? "All the usual Hawley gang will be in attendance", I'm told.
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