Tag Archives: London

McQueen — Trailer

Alexander McQueen, four-time winner of the British Designer of the Year award, didn’t look like one of the most important and influential designers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

But, like Bowie, like Warhol, he seemed to be living not in the present, but in some vastly more exciting, colourful, and, yes, dangerous future. Like them, his life and vision helped bring that future into being.

A new documentary, titled simply McQueen, went into limited release last week.


McQueen’s October 2009 “Plato’s Atlantis” presentation, featuring his Spring/Summer 2010 collection, showed him at his peak.

Just breathtaking. Other than that, I’ve got no words.

The song at the end of the show, btw, was the surprise début of “Bad Romance”, by McQueen’s friend, Lady Gaga.


Back in 2015, I visited the V&A’s “Savage Beauty” exhibition in London. Here are some of the clothes from that show:

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“No One Does Feasting Like the Tudors” — Discover Henry VIII’s Kitchens

This summer, Hampton Court Palace is inviting the public to travel back to 1538, when the Palace hosted 800 courtiers and ambassadors celebrating the birth of Edward, Henry’s son and heir.  Those guests had to be fed, and it was up to the 200 cooks and dining staff to make it happen.

“Feeding the court was a complex business all done without modern conveniences as 1.3 million logs burned in the hellish fires every year. From boiling cauldrons to roasting spits, join the day-to-day grind of Henry’s cooks as you pass through this labyrinth of kitchen spaces.”

The palace’s website promises—or maybe warns—there is even a chance to lend a hand turning the spit!

Along the way, you’ll meet kitchen staff like John Edlyn the purveyor, William Chester the yeoman butcher, and John Dale the master cook, presumably played by actors, since they’ve all been dead for 400 years, although the website is a little vague about that.

If you time things right, Hampton Court is an easy 45-minute trip by Tube and train from central London. It’s a delightful place to spend a day, and there’s always something special happening on the grounds. Here are my notes from a 2015 visit.


You might want to combine your kitchen visit with the Hampton Court Palace Food Festival, which runs from 25 August 2018 through 27 August 2018. The Festival, in the East Front Gardens of the Palace, features more than 100 artisan producers and companies, and offers “everything from oysters to sausages, and brownies to crepes.”

The Breathtaking Brilliance of David Bowie is at the Brooklyn Museum

David Bowie is at the Brooklyn Museum is the most exciting, dynamic, and fascinating show you’ll see this year.

Here are some of the things you can see or hear at the exhibition:

“Highlights of the exhibition include more than 60 custom-made performance costumes…85 handwritten lyric sheets, including those from “Fame” and “Fashion”… drawings, including a sketch for the Young Americans album cover; and oil paintings, including two of musician Iggy Pop, all by Bowie…more than 40 pioneering music videos, television clips, and filmed roles as well as a multimedia presentation of international tour footage…custom audio mix made up of snippets of Bowie’s songs…”

—from the exhibition’s web page

 

The show originated at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, in 2013. Since then, it has been on a tour that took it to 10 cities on five continents. David Bowie is has been seen by more people than any other show in the V&A’s 166-year history.

These reviews, from Vogue (“Go. Just go.”) and Rolling Stone (“Stunning”), describe parts of the show, and explain why it’s the Must See exhibition of 2018.

It runs through 15 July 2018. This is the last stop of the tour, so once it’s gone, it’s gone.


Souvenirs

Even if you can’t get to the exhibition itself, you can buy the David Bowie cotton tote bag ($10) or the lavishly illustrated David Bowie is exhibition catalogue ($45 softcover, $55 hardcover). All available at the Brooklyn Museum’s shop.


(Photography wasn’t allowed, so all these pictures are from the museum’s website.)

Return to Haversham Manor

“She’s Having One of Her Episodes.”

What better way to complement an afternoon at Downton Abbey than by spending an evening at another British stately home? I headed to the Lyceum Theatre on 45th Street, where the Cornley University Drama Society was presenting the classic thriller, The Murder at Haversham Manor.

Well, not really. What I actually saw was The Play That Goes Wrong, a British farce about the disaster-plagued production of a ridiculous murder mystery by a hopelessly inept cast and crew. The title says it all.

It won Best New Comedy at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards, and has since become the longest-running play currently on Broadway. Both the London and New York productions are still going strong, with no end in sight. In addition, The Play etc. has been licensed for production in more than 20 countries. A US tour will kick off with a five-week stop in Los Angeles later this year.

What I’m hinting at, in my subtle, understated way, is that this sweet show is a huge hit. It’s also very, very funny.

If you’d like to get a glimpse of the mayhem, here’s a link to the 10-minute excerpt from The Play That Goes Wrong that convulsed the audience at the Royal Variety Show a few years back.



All photos are from the play’s website, except for the picture of that beautiful, trendy baseball cap. That’s one’s mine.

Cute Video of the Day, 16 October 2017 — The Duchess and the Dancing Bear

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are Patrons of the more than over 30 charitable organisations that make up The Charities Forum.

On Monday, they stopped by Paddington Station to wish bon voyage to 130 children who have been helped by several of those charities. The children, and some of their parents, were off to spend a day in the country. Before their train departed, the Royals spent about 45 minutes meeting the group.

Paddington Station may be best known to children for its connection to the Paddington Bear, and, sure enough, he made an appearance. (He was probably in town for a film shoot, since the movie Paddington 2 will be released in the UK in early January 2018.) Hugh Bonneville and several other members of the cast were also in attendance.*


*It has always been my theory that, at any given time, there are only about 100 actors working in the UK, and that they’re all in everything.

The cast of Paddington 2  includes Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw (as the voice of the Bear), Michael Gambon, Hugh Grant, Richard Ayoade, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, and Tom Conti.

Case closed.

The Arab Hall in Lord Leighton’s House

“Of all the Arab Halls in all the towns in all the world…”

…this is my favorite.

I’ve spent hours in this room, in what was once the Holland Park home of Sir Frederic Leighton. The house is a museum now—I’ve posted about the current Alma-Tadema exhibition, which is taking place there—and I visit it whenever I’m in London, which is never often enough.

And now you can visit too, in a way. I’ve just found some gorgeous 360-degrees panoramic views of many of the rooms in the Leighton House Museum.

Clicking this link will take you to the museum’s Reception area.  From there, you can travel directly to the Arab Hall, or take a narrated tour through the rest of the house.

It’s a great place to visit, and I’d really love to live there.

The Vivien Leigh Collection — Movie Auction of the Year

Vivien Leigh won Academy Awards for playing Scarlett O’Hara and Blanche DuBois, two of the all-time great women’s movie roles.

Now, 50 years after her death, what remains of her estate is being offered at auction by Sotheby’s London. The full auction catalogue has not yet been posted, but you can see a small sample at the auction site.

From the press release: “Passed down through Vivien’s family, the collection comprises paintings, jewellery, couture, books, furniture, porcelain, objets d’art and further items celebrating all aspects of her life, from the pre-war years in London, to Hollywood and beyond, up to her death in 1967. Myriad pieces drawn from the city and country homes Vivien shared with her husband Laurence Oliver [sic] will give a new perspective on Vivien, from her appreciation of art and patronage of Modern British artists, to her passion for books and fondness for entertaining and interior design.”

Included in the sale will be Vivien Leigh’s personal copy of Gone with the Wind, given to her by the author Margaret Mitchell.


As Blanche DuBois, Leigh puts her faith in the kindness of strangers in A Streetcar Named Desire.

As Scarlett O’Hara, Leigh rises from despair in Gone with the Wind.


The auction for “Vivien: The Vivien Leigh Collection” will take place on 26 Sep 2017 at Sotheby’s London.