Party on: Clowning around under the big top

THERE'S A BIT of a circus theme coming through today. While I'm not a huge clowning fan (slight problems with horrifying images of Bozo turning into a pathological nutter and torching the big top, for example) my experiences this week have been strangely cathartic. Went to an early preview of Charles Kriel's installation Presenting The Amazing Kriels (June 24 - July 10), showing from Wednesday at chic ad/design collective Tomato (Lexington St, Soho) which was, in fact, amazing. American artist Kriel was born on the road and into a family of circus performers who travelled through smalltown America with their act. Kriel's installation is a homage to his family and his nomadic past. Gaudy, flashing circus lights announcing "CC Kriel" in the window beg for your attention while an array of family snaps - blown up, computer manipulated and laminated digichrome images - make an arresting collage of tribal circus life. Snaps include a candid picture of Kriel's aunt, in sparkly conical bra and fishnets, chatting flirtatiously to her future husband with an elephant smiling at her side; and yes, Bozo himself, Kriel's grandfather, standing with placard, advertising his hoolahoop act. Kriel himself was a child acrobat/ clown and still has the showman about him; as this column went to print, he was threatening to stand outside the gallery on a chair, drumming up business.

Staying with the circus, it was with raging hangover and zero good will that I went to the premiere this week of Que-Cir-Que, the French acrobatics/theatrics threesome who have been wowing Europe with their intense, inventive show. Part of the Islington International Festival (runs until June 27, Que- Cir-Que runs until July 5) at Highbury and Islington fields, Que-Cir-Que is a hybrid of music, street theatre, dance and acrobatics in which a skinheaded "Fool" vies with the "Strongman" for the affections of the aggressively sexual female trapese artist, who rather disconcertingly keeps poking her tongue out like she's trying to stick it her own nose. The two-hour show uses see-saws, pedal-less bikes, even the lighting rig as props for its radical performers. Seeing is believing but be warned: if you take your kids along they'll be bored out their brains (no Bozo) and will whine until you go. So leave them at home and enjoy yourself in peace.

You might not have heard of Ape. It's a quarterly, A3 newspaper stock mag, into its fourth issue ("Summer"), and currently selling for a pound a pop in Tower Records. To celebrate the new issue, the Apers recently threw their second "exotic cabaret" night called Gibber at Spitz Bar (Spitalfields Market) where an glowing array of poets, musicians and total oddballs took to the stage, did their thing and mostly got booed off again. The mag is "creatively yours", full of strange illustrations, stories and poetry, and it's bonkers. I like it. Worth a peek for a mere quid, and at least it's aiming for amusement value, which is more than you can say of most street mags these days.

Musically, congrats firstly to trip hop king Howie B and his Head-on Collision night which went off earlier this week at Crossbar (Pentonville Rd, Islington), the first in Howie's first monthly London residency. An ace night, with Derek Dahlarge along for the ride and a friendly, if somewhat sparse, crowd (not enough PR apparently). A welcome return planned for July 16. Also, great to see Detroit's darling Kevin Saunderson back on UK shores on Friday at The Complex for Quadrafunk. As far as today goes, if you're feeling in the mood for some music, check out Lazy Dog at Notting Hill Arts Club, a fortnightly gig from Everything But the Girls' Benn Watt and Black Market's chief buyer Jay Hannan which started up a few months back. NHAC pulls in a dedicated local crowd and Watt and Hannan's soulful, funky dance has been going down a treat.

On to film, and usually I wouldn't write about something I couldn't recommend, but last night I saw a movie which was so bad it deserves to be harangued from the hilltops. A sense of fairness forbids an all-out attack, so I'll just offer some clues to its name: nucleur mutation, big, ugly mother of a reptile, New York City, Matthew Broderick, special FX, Hollywood tripe. Work it out for yourself. The great unmentionable opens on July 17.

Finally, on a chirpier note, I went to the opening of an awesome new exhibition in Berry House, St John St, Clerkenwell, called Solo x 9: Artists in Clerkenwell (runs until August 8). The warehouse space - a former brewery - has only been in use since April and it's absolutely fantastic. Three huge floors of space, perfect to display the nine young, urban artists. While I am stubbornly hostile to Clem Crosby's single-coloured canvases (eg. a completely black painting, costs a completely daft pounds 8,000. Outrageous, Clem!), I loved Neil Cummings' witty, politicised work. His display cabinets were all made from discarded cardboard and elegantly designed to look like wood, with a collection of various plastic bottles set out inside as if they were precious jewels. Also impressive were Liz Rideal's "photobooth" shots, and Susan Hiller, perhaps the best known of the exhibiting artists, with her Wild Talents video installation. Two complementing programmes played on two separate vast screens, with a small angled television playing a third programme on a chair in the middle. Using clips from horror films, and including stars like Carrie Fisher, Drew Barrymore, the installation was creepy but effective in its celebration of the power of the mind, and the evil possibility. Spooky.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive + incentives + uncapped comms: SThree:...

    Ashdown Group: Reporting & Analytics Supervisor - Buckinghamshire - £36,000

    £34000 - £36000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Analytics & Reporting Tea...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Developer

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a world leader ...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

    £13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future