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Showing posts from 2020

Alberta Whittle Announced for Venice 2022

    Alberta Whittle is announced today as Scotland’s official representation at the 2022 La Biennale di Venezia. Whittle’s Glasgow International curated exhibition is set to take place at the Arsenale Docks, S. Pietro di Castello as part of the 59 th  Venice Biennale.   The announcement by Creative Scotland on behalf of the National Lottery and Scottish Government backed Scotland + Venice partnership comes at the end of a remarkable year for the Glasgow based artist. During 2020, Whittle was one of ten artists to be awarded a Turner Bursary. The Glasgow School of Art graduate also received this year’s Frieze Artist Award and a Henry Moore Artist Foundation Award.   Born in Barbados in 1980, Whittle’s work in film, sculpture, print, performance and installation is often made in response to current events, and frequently draws on her research into the African diaspora and the decolonisation of Western histories.   Whittle’s work has been shown in group and solo shows around the world. In

Diane di Prima - An Obituary

Diane di Prima – Poet, writer, artist   Born August 6, 1934; died October 25, 2020      Diane di Prima, who has died aged 86, was a poet who was at the centre of the Beat Generation, who roared their way into the post-war American literary world with freeform libertine abandon. Di Prima may not have received as much attention as male contemporaries such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, but her presence was vital, both as an enabler of other writers and for her own candid and fearlessly provocative work. The latter appeared in more than forty volumes of poetry and prose, beginning with This Kind of Bird Flies Backwards (1958), published when she was in her early twenties.    Di Prima decided to devote herself to being a poet aged fourteen, after she starting writing aged six. Dropping out of college to chase her muse, Di Prima landed in Greenwich Village in the midst of a jazz-soundracked cultural revolution. It was an era documented in a fantastical manner in the knowingly titled Me

John Fraser - An Obituary

John Fraser – actor, writer Born March 18, 1931; died November 7, 2020     John Fraser, who has died aged 89, was an actor who transcended his working class Glasgow roots to become a matinee idol, before taking a sidestep out of the limelight. In a colourful career, he showed star quality in a stream of top-flight films following his breakout role in The Dam Busters (1955), and rubbed shoulders with the showbiz cognoscenti of his day.    At his most famous, Fraser was dubbed the most handsome man in Britain. In truth, he was something of a renaissance man. As well as receiving a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor in The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960), Fraser published several books, and a brief brush with pop stardom ran parallel with his early acting career.   Fraser laid bare the ups and downs of his life with flamboyant abandon in his hugely entertaining memoir, Close Up (2004). It was ‘A Supa-candid-gossip-expo-valid-dose-worth of Dirk, Sophia, Bette and Rudy in the sixties’ according t

Craigmillar Now – F UK* 2022, WTF?

The launch this week of a major new grassroots arts initiative in Edinburgh comes at a very interesting moment. Craigmillar Now has announced a programme of local-based international arts that aims to rekindle the spirit of the old Craigmillar Festival Society. This has been brought to fruition as a labour of love by people living locally.   Entirely separately to this, the event once dubbed the ‘Festival of Brexit’ last week announced a shortlist of teams bidding to take part in the high profile multi-million pound initiative in 2022. With the event now branded Festival UK* 2022, teams feature several major institutions from Scotland. The announcement comes at a time when theatres and music venues are closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. With many freelance workers struggling to survive, Festival UK* 2022 has been criticised by some, with questions asked over whether it should go ahead at all.     Craigmillar Now and Then   Away from all that, Craigmillar Now has begun

Cabaret Voltaire - This is Entertainment

Shadow of Fear   When Richard H. Kirk decided to reclaim the name of his old band Cabaret Voltaire forty years after he co-founded the original trio in Sheffield with Stephen Mallinder and Christopher R. Watson, things seemed to have come full circle. Here was a band whose mesh of multi-media electronic experiments had been sired in the midst of northern English inner city post-industrial decline. Taking their name from the Dadaists nightclub in Zurich, over their original twenty year existence, their cut-up sonic constructions fused dub-kosmiche propulsion and fuzzed-up punk garage moved from underground paranoia to clubland mind-melding for the techno age.   Six years since a now solo Kirk performed under the Cabaret Voltaire name for the first time since 1992, the release of the Shadow of Fear album this month seems to chime dangerously with the times. Arriving in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic, the aftermath of the American election and the UK’s looming departure from the E