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Decca Aitkenhead on clubs

Legends is one of those clubs which have been been running successfully for so long now that there's a danger of assuming you know all there is to know about it. Tucked in the heart of Mayfair, it already, rightly, enjoys a reputation as a sophisticated venue for a slightly older crowd - but the past few months have seen some major developments.

4-10 October day planner

Today

Richard Ingleby on exhibitions

It is 200 years since the birth of David Roberts, an anniversary that is being celebrated in a small, mainly biographical, exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. At the centre of the show is a portrait of Roberts painted by his friend Robert Scott Lauder in 1840 (detail shown right), the year of Robert's return from his only trip to the Near and Middle East. He strikes the swaggering pose of a romantic hero: an Oriental traveller in the mould of Lord Byron or Burton; beturbanned and swathed in silks; his hand rests on his hip, his fingers on the hilt of his sword.

Liese Spencer on film

Orson Welles (below) ballooning around with swollen malevolence, Marlene Dietrich in gypsy trinkets and Chuck Heston playing Latino. Touch of Evil is Hollywood class dressed-down as fly-blown melodrama. Based on Whit Masterson's paperback thriller, the film landed in Welles's lap at the dog end of his career. After 10 years in Europe, the great director had returned to Hollywood, only to wind up doing magic tricks on TV. Welles rewrote the script, slapped on a new title and set about directing what has become a cult classic.

David Benedict on theatre

Are all American theatrefolk Catholic? Confession is big news across the pond. Give 'em a stage, and they'll tell all. Dim the lights and express your pain (preferably from the perspective of an oppressed minority), and hey presto! you've got a show. Call me a racist, sexist git if you will, but I thought there was more to theatre than spilling your guts.

Decca Aitkenhead on clubs

Legends is one of those clubs which have been been running successfully for so long now that there's a danger of assuming you know all there is to know about it. Tucked in the heart of Mayfair, it already, rightly, enjoys a reputation as a sophisticated venue for a slightly older crowd - but the past few months have seen some major developments.

David Benedict on theatre

Are all American theatrefolk Catholic? Confession is big news across the pond. Give 'em a stage, and they'll tell all. Dim the lights and express your pain (preferably from the perspective of an oppressed minority), and hey presto! you've got a show. Call me a racist, sexist git if you will, but I thought there was more to theatre than spilling your guts.

Liese Spencer on film

Orson Welles (below) ballooning around with swollen malevolence, Marlene Dietrich in gypsy trinkets and Chuck Heston playing Latino. Touch of Evil is Hollywood class dressed-down as fly-blown melodrama. Based on Whit Masterson's paperback thriller, the film landed in Welles's lap at the dog end of his career. After 10 years in Europe, the great director had returned to Hollywood, only to wind up doing magic tricks on TV. Welles rewrote the script, slapped on a new title and set about directing what has become a cult classic.

SOMETHING FOR THE MILLENNIUM, SIR?

A new contraceptive device went on sale this week. The Persona measures female hormone levels in the urine and gives `traffic light' signals as to whether it's safe to proceed or not

Richard Ingleby on exhibitions

It is 200 years since the birth of David Roberts, an anniversary that is being celebrated in a small, mainly biographical, exhibition at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. At the centre of the show is a portrait of Roberts painted by his friend Robert Scott Lauder in 1840 (detail shown right), the year of Robert's return from his only trip to the Near and Middle East. He strikes the swaggering pose of a romantic hero: an Oriental traveller in the mould of Lord Byron or Burton; beturbanned and swathed in silks; his hand rests on his hip, his fingers on the hilt of his sword.

13 - 19 September day planner

Today

Iain Gale on exhibitions

Gerald Laing is a much maligned man. In their reviews of his retrospective exhibition at Edinburgh Fruit Market Gallery three years ago, the critics seemed united in their disapproval and 30 years work was dismissed out of hand as they condemned his recent stylistic developments towards an increasingly smooth figuration. But a look at the current show of his prints at Whitford Fine Art reveals an artist who does not deserve such summary treatment.

Ryan Gilbey on film

The film festival season is upon us. Cambridge and Edinburgh have both been terrific successes. (Quick update on the latter: 31,000 people attended this year; were they all at Pulp's "Scene By Scene" event? No, it just felt that way.) And before London gets what it deserves in November, it's time for one of the smaller but more interesting digressions from normal programming. The Latin American Film Festival (which began last week and runs until next Thursday) has grown this year, and attracted some prestigious work. You may already have heard of Lone Star, the second film by underdog auteur John Sayles to be released this year (after the more disappointing The Secret of Roan Inish). It's the story of a revelatory murder investigation near the Rio Grande, and features brilliant performances by Frances McDormand and the underused Kris Kristofferson.

David Benedict on theatre

"Good Lord... the man's from Taiwan!" In a collective burst of xenophobia, vast swathes of the British press gasped at the ability of Ang Lee to penetrate the heart of "dear Jane" in his film of Sense and Sensibility.

Angela Lewis on pop

Scud Mountain Boys' music flows with the sort of laid-back, country rock gentleness that lulled America into MOR wonderland in the early 1970s. Which makes it strange that they should be on scruff rock label Sub Pop, or such current faves among indie types usually satisfied by noisier Yank arrivals. Probably it's because Scud Mountain Boys' lyrics are fascinatingly intense, owing more to The Carter Family than Crosby, Stills & Nash. On their album Massachusetts, softly sung lyrics of personal destruction are etched into every song, as if giving stories to the world helps the wounds heal better. "At the time we started the band, I had just come out of a bad relationship that blew up in an ugly fashion," recalls bassist Bruce. "We in the band were all going through a similar thing, and we thought it would be a fun thing to do, sit around and play heartbreak songs. We were definitely indirectly influenced by the Carter Family, old traditional music which had this really bleak and sad streak to it."
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