Comic Con, South Korean art installations, an escape from death in Asia and more as Getintothis’ Rick Leach picks the cream of the crop for this months Arts Diary.
To purloin a phrase from David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, ‘It’s a strange world.’
And it doesn’t get more stranger than it is now at the beginning of March 2019.
This came to me as I was compiling this month’s Arts Diary, which is lovingly laid out for you below and contains what we feel are the most vital and interesting events happening across Merseyside from March onwards.
Strange? Why are we living in a strange world and in through strange times? Why did that cross my mind? Surely this month is no stranger than any other that has gone before it? What prompted these Lynchian thoughts? Had I just found a dismembered ear?
No, it was nothing so surreal, but in many ways just as terrifying.
Because as I tuck the Arts Diary to bed and ready for publication, I always look forward to the next one. I wonder what delights await us, what we have a few weeks away, what excitingly new and fresh happening in the world of the arts are just around the corner.
And then it struck me.
Next month things may all be different. Very different indeed. This column you are reading may be the very last one that I write before the drawbridge is pulled up and we retreat, cowering behind the false premise that we’ve taken back control of our border. Whatever that means.
The last EU Arts Diary.
Next month I may be writing this, not out of choice or because I’ve designated myself as such, with a label forced on my head marking me out as “English.”
Next month Brexit, and don’t you just hate that word, doesn’t it make you shudder and feel ashamed and embarrassed, could well have happened. We, as a nation, may have decided to do the most stupid, reckless and ridiculous thing you could dream of.
Yet many warm words of malevolent and paternalistic kindness have been expressed. We’ll be alright. Everything will be rosy. There’ll be trade deals galore and the rest of the world will be queueing up to do business with us.
We’ll still have our medicines, we can still fly to where we want to and no-one will stop us buying bananas, bendy or otherwise, we’ll have taken back control.
But we all know. Everybody knows. No-one has a clue. Not about bananas, holidays, medicines, the car industry; nothing. We’re staring into an abyss.
And this is where it gets me thinking about the Arts Diary. Or more specifically, the arts. Generally.
Because the debate seems to have been all about bananas and the rest.
Where does it leave us in respect of art? Not just the practical aspects, the movement of artists and musicians and actors and filmmakers in and out of the UK, but the wider, longer-term implications.
How it may affect what we see as art and what we see the role of an artist to be? How art is made and who it is for? Will we become insular producers and consumers of art, not just standing on the sidelines but looking ever inwards?
We need to do more than simply wish and hope that will not happen. Both as producers of art and especially as consumers of art, we need to actively resist any movement towards that.
Art, in whatever shape or form. should have no barriers, boundaries or borders.
Next month may well be different. But we’ll not be drawn into that closed mind-set. We’ll still keep bringing the best and most inspirational things we can.
It might be a strange world for now, but it’s not one we’re going to turn our backs on.
Rick Leach, Arts Editor.
Little Malcolm and His Struggle Against the Eunuchs
Bluecoat, Liverpool March 7
In a rare screening of the first film produced by George Harrison, John Hurt plays art student Malcolm, expelled from Oldham Art School and at war with ‘the Eunarchy’ of social conformists and sexual timidity.
This 1974 comedy-drama film, directed by Stuart Cooper, won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. It offers unexpected glimpses into art school life as well as featuring incidental music by Harrison.
The film links into a continuing exhibition at the Bluecoat, The Art Schools of North West England by John Beck and Matthew Cornford.
Liverpool Comic Con 2019
Exhibition Centre, Liverpool March 8-10
Ticking all the boxes in all the right places for Sci-Fi fans, anime enthusiasts, cosplay devotees and lovers of comic books, Liverpool Comic Con is back once again for 2019.
With a plethora of guest appearances, including Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher (Superman), Bill Duke (Predator, X Men:The Last Stand and Commanado), Burt Young (Rocky), Eric Roberts (Dark Knight), wrestling legend Sting, Sean Maher and Adam Baldwin (Firefly), John Challis (Only Fools and Horses) and more, there’s a chance for all ages to catch up with their favourites.
On top of this there’s a Power Rangers special with enough of the actors from the incredibly popular TV series turning up to make up a full football team including a packed bench.
There’ll be props galore, stages with Q & A sessions, retro arcade cabs and a whole lot more.
Comic Con is invariably a massive draw to the city and if it’s something you’ve never been to then you’ve really missed out on a completely different experience. You should make 2019 the year to try something new!
Epstein Theatre, Liverpool March 7- March 16
Set in the aftermath of a ruinous civil war in Scotland, Shakespeare’s Macbeth deals with the damaging psychological effects of war, betrayal and destructive political ambition by those who seek power for its own sake.
The themes in one of the bloodiest tales by the Bard ring just as true in 2019 as they did hundreds of years ago.
Following two critically acclaimed seasons of Shakespeare, Daniel Taylor returns as both producer and director with Sean Jones and Warwick Evans playing play Macbeth and King Duncan respectively.
Arts Centre, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk March 8
Strange Lands and How to Survive
Arts Centre, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk March 1- March 30
The moment a fall into the sea nearly ended a cultural adventure is brought into focus in a multi-media installation, The Fall at the Arts Centre at Edge Hill University in March.
Liverpool-based artist and writer Roger Hill was nearing the end of a journey along the great Silk Road route across Asia in 2017 when a safety failure on a ferry in Baku led him to near-drowning in the Caspian Sea.
Hill had garnered a wealth of cultural material along a trans-continental journey from China to the Caspian and in association with sound-artist Andrew PM Hunt and video producer Danny Kilbride, uses it to give some meaning to his experience in a specially installed space at The Arts Centre.
The story of his progress, and eventual rescue, is the main strand of the presentation, but audiences to The Fall will find themselves surrounded by the sights and sounds of Asia as the story unfolds.
The installation will be in the Arts Centre until March 8 alongside a photographic exhibition by Hill’s transgender “other”, Mandy Romero, called Strange Lands and How to Survive (until March 30) which is a record of her transgender progress through the often illiberal republics of Central Asia.
Tate Liverpool until March 17
South Korean artists Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho’s new film commission Anomaly Strolls 2018 was shot in-part in Liverpool. In their first UK exhibition, they use science fiction to question the role and importance of art to our present-day society.
Considering sci-fi to always be the fable of the present, they looked to the future instead of the present and wanted to address current issues, especially in relation to what art is and what art could be. Filmed in deserted alleyways and pubs across the city, Anomaly Strolls reflects on the experience of being human today.
The exhibition also includes Moon and Jeon’s 2012 film El Fin del Mundo (The End of the World).
Something definitely to catch up on before March 17.
David Ogle: The Last Light
The Atkinson, Southport until March 23
Over several years, artist David Ogle has produced a series of artistic interventions into the landscape of the Sefton coast.
These ephemeral works have responded to the shifting environmental conditions of this location, utilised the climatic forces that continually re-shape it and produced fleeting encounters for passers-by; witnessing the coastline as temporarily transformed and interacting with the site in unexpected ways.
Ogle has captured these stray moments through photography and video, akin to ‘postcards’ of singular occurrences that happen in a remote location within a narrow window of time.
The legacy of artistic responses to this coastline is reflected upon within this exhibition, presenting works from The Atkinson’s collection to depict a landscape in continual, unpredictable change and the impacts of this upon successive populations.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Making the Glasgow Style
Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool March 15 – August 26
The Walker Art Gallery is holding a major exhibition exploring the life and work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) and his contemporaries, presenting many objects which have never before been displayed outside of Scotland. The Walker will be the only English gallery to host the exhibition.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Making the Glasgow Style, a Glasgow Museums touring exhibition, runs from March 15 to August 26.
The exhibition takes place during what would have been Mackintosh’s 150th year (b. 7 June 1868) and features more than 250 objects, ranging from ceramics and embroidery to stained glass, metalwork and architectural drawings.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Making the Glasgow Style presents the very best of Glasgow’s internationally important civic collections as well important loans from The Hunterian, University of Glasgow, Glasgow School of Art and from private collections.
Storyhouse, Chester March 19-23
A new theatrical performance of Angela Carter’s last great novel Wise Children arrives at the Storyhouse in Chester this March.
Directed by visionary director Emma Rice and transferred from a West End run where it received effusive reviews, Wise Children is a celebration of show business, family, forgiveness and hope.
There are showgirls and Shakespeare, sex and scandal, music, mischief and mistaken identity- and thousands of butterflies.
Beethoven, Elgar, Rachmaninov
Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool March 21 & 22
In a very apt and appropriate turn of phrase, this concert has been given the title of The Best of Petrenko.
There are three parts to th3 concert; all of which will show why Chief Conductor of the RLPO, Vasily Petrenko has won not only critical plaudits and awards from around the world but also become such an integral part of Liverpool’s musical scene.
There’s deep and dark Russian romanticism in Rachmaninov’s Isle of the Dead, something which seems to come naturally to Petrenko.
Since he joined the Phil he’s also managed to produce startling performances of Elgar and no doubt he’ll do the same again with a repeat performance of the English composer’s Sea Pictures.
Rounding the concerts off is Beethoven’s revolutionary Symphony No. 3 Eroica.
If you’ve never heard this in a live setting before, and especially if you’ve never heard Petrenko and the RLPO perform this explosive masterpiece, then please get yourself down to Hope Street. We guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Under the Umbrella
Unity Theatre, Liverpool March 21
This new play by Amy Ng, set both in Coventry and Guangzhou, looks at tradition, trauma and triumph in the act of finding love.
Wei has turned 27 and suddenly her grandmother is worried. 27 brings with it the label of ‘shengnu,’ or ‘leftover woman’ so a husband needs to be found before she’s missed her chance.
Unbeknownst to Wei, her grandmother pushes her mother into helping the search. Affixing Wei’s dating profile onto an umbrella, they join the hundreds of parents at the Marriage Market of Guangzhou. Here there’s only one successful transaction: a first date for your child.
When Wei learns of her family’s interventions, and her housemate Lucy also begins to meddle, she finds herself asking whether being single is just too much hassle.
Met Opera Live: Die Walkure
Picturehouse at FACT March 30
Live from the Metropolitan Opera, FACT are screening the most epic music you’ll possibly ever hear.
Wagner’s Die Walkure, just one of the four operas that make his Ring cycle, including of course the Ride of the Valkyries, tells the story of monsters, gods, and humans on a superhuman scale.
In a nutshell, and get this, when twins Siegmund and Sieglinde find each other at last, Siegmund promises to release Sieglinde from her forced marriage by killing her husband, Hunding.
The God Wotan then instructs Valkyrie warrior Brünnhilde to defend Hunding.
But, moved by the twins’ mutual devotion, Brünnhilde refuses to obey, forging an alliance with Sieglinde that has far-reaching consequences for them both.
This is glorious, far-reaching art and music and something to immerse yourself in for the best part of five hours. Give it a chance; this is immense and life-changing.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year
Liverpool World Museum May 3 – September 1
A half-century on from the moon landing, Liverpool’s World Museum are giving visitors this year the chance to experience an Earth’s-eye-view of the universe in the exhibition, Astronomy Photographer of the Year.
The competition is organised by the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
In 2018, more than 4,200 entries from amateur and professional photographers from 91 countries were received.
Images selected for the exhibition feature a mesmerising mosaic of the Great Orion and the Running Man Nebula; a magical scene of an Aurora Borealis exploding over the south coast of Iceland and a solar transit of the International Space Station between the massive sunspots AR 12674 and AR 12673.
Senior Curator, Dr Geraldine Reid says, ‘The Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition is hugely popular. The exhibition celebrates the very best in astrophotography from around the world. Each year it produces images that broaden our perception of the universe and year on year, shows its diverse and wonderful beauty.
“During the run of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing on 20 July 1969. Its timing couldn’t be more perfect, and where else, but World Museum to enjoy such dazzling images?’
As well as Astronomy Photographer of the Year there will be a free programme of events and activities for visitors to enjoy at World Museum, including the Space gallery where they can get up close to rockets, telescopes, meteorites and moon rocks.