On Culture: the progressive new intersection of VR and promenade performance

The intersection of art and technology is one of the most interesting creative spaces – so great to hear about progressive new performance WHIST coming to London this month and then touring the UK.

‘WHIST’, created by dance company AΦE, is a new production combining VR with interactive promenade theatre. WHIST incorporates 360˚ interactive film, soundscapes and an architectural art installation to create an environment that blurs all boundaries – between consciousness and unconsciousness, reality and fiction, the physical and the virtual.

Inspired by Sigmund Freud’s dream theory, WHIST invites audiences on a journey into the unconscious mind, where instincts will be the guide through a narrative of surreal dreams and fears. And you, or your subconscious, choose your own path.

The performance incorporates 360˚ interactive film, soundscapes and an architectural art installation to create an environment that blurs all boundaries – between consciousness and unconsciousness, reality and fiction, the physical and the virtual.

Using interactive ‘triggers’ positioned in the virtual world by its makers, WHIST allows for a total of 76 narrative possibilities to exist, creating a unique experience for each viewer. No simple ‘red pill vs. blue pill’ format, WHIST implements interactive elements, subtly woven into the film to effect unconscious decision making.

According to the team behind the show, this puts the production at the very forefront of immersive storytelling innovation – leaving the strings that bind and pull at all times invisible. You, or your subconscious, choose your own path.

So, what are the upcoming dates?

  • Ugly Duck – London
    • 23-25 June 2017
  • Pavilion Dance South West – Bournemouth
    • 3-4 July 2017
  • Colours International Dance Festival – Stuttgart, Germany
    • 6 – 15 July 2017
  • Festival Theatre – Edinburgh
    • 21st July – 3rd August 2017
  • The Old Market – Brighton
    • 19-20 September 2017
  • (further dates to be confirmed)

Check the website for more information: http://www.aoiesteban.com/whist/

 

On Culture: HighTide Festival comes to Walthamstow

Fantastic news for East Londoners who love progressive new writing and theatre – HighTide Festival is coming to our capital.

The Suffolk festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2016, and later this year makes its debut in Walthamstow in a temporary theatre space in partnership with Waltham Forest Council.

Kanye the First: Photography by Helen Maybanks and Rebecca Pitt

HighTide Theatre will present two world premiere productions in 2017, Heroine by Nessah Muthy (Host) directed by the Festival’s Artistic Director Steven Atkinson and comic dramaKanye The First by Sam Steiner (Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons) directed by HighTide Theatre Associate Director Andrew Twyman. A co-production with Theatre Clwyd, Muthy’s devastating exploration of patriotism and nativism in modern Britain follows young ex-soldier Grace as she struggles to reassimilate into society following a medical discharge from the army. Steiner’s first commissioned, and highly original, play will chart the second coming of global pop icon Kanye West. The play takes a timely look at identity and guilt in contemporary culture. Kanye The First is a co-production between HighTide Theatre and Paul Jellis in association with The Marlowe and The North Wall. Alongside these productions Theresa Ikoko’s Girls, joint winner of the George Devine Award (2016), the Alfred Fagon Award (2015), is set to return. Telling the tale of three young friends who are kidnapped in Nigeria, Ikoko wrote Girls to highlight the stories behind the headlines that quickly become yesterday’s news. Girls is a co-production between HighTide Theatre, Talawa Theatre Company and Martha Rose Wilson.

New work: Heroine, Photography by Helen Maybanks and Rebecca Pitt  

This year we’re focused on what HighTide Theatre is renowned for: commissioning bold and timely plays from the best new writers. We look forward to developing and previewing these world premiere productions in our beautiful home of Aldeburgh, and then for the first time bringing the whole festival to Walthamstow, alongside showcasing work by local artists. This new producing model for HighTide Theatre of two festivals allows us to take risks and continue to develop our productions with the input of our audiences in Aldeburgh. And then our new partnership with Waltham Forest Council and the National Theatre enables us to bring our fully formed productions all together to Greater London, where they can be seen by a wider and diverse community who would like a greater cultural provision in their area.” ~ Steven Atkinson, Artistic Director of HighTide Theatre 

It will be in Walthamstow town centre for 12 days after its Aldeburgh season, bringing an eclectic arts programme to an area of London. The programmes in both locations will include three headline plays (two of which are world premieres) and a programme of comedy, cabaret, talks and music.

HighTide 2017 Walthamstow Artist’s Impression, by SKA

The Walthamstow Festival will run 26 September – 8 October with Press Nights on 26 & 27 September.

“Waltham Forest Council is delighted to be partnering with HighTide Theatre for the first time this year.  Whilst the borough has a thriving cultural scene we do not have any bespoke theatres and a recent survey of residents showed that this was the cultural provision they felt was most lacking.  By bringing the Festival to Walthamstow Town Centre we are able to provide theatre right on residents’ doorsteps. Some of our talented local artists are included in the programme and a number of our young people will have the chance to gain first-hand experience of a professional theatre. We’re proud that our borough is home to one of the most diverse populations in the country and it’s of the utmost importance to us that our cultural programme reflects this diversity. We’re sure that the range of shows on offer will appeal to a wide cross-section of our residents. We also look forward to welcoming visitors from far and wide to experience Waltham Forest’s creative buzz.” ~ Lorna Lee, Head of Culture & Heritage, Waltham Forest Council

Free or discounted tickets will be available to those with a Waltham Forest postcode and HighTide Theatre will be working to help young people find routes into creative roles, in collaboration with local organisation Big Creative Training, hosting a traineeship and work experience placements. The full programme in Walthamstow will include a late night comedy and cabaret strand, a series of talks, a site-specific production,Mobile, and a strand of work showcasing and supporting local creative talent. The comedy line-up is set to include: Phil Wang, Suzi Ruffell, Dane Baptiste, Tez Ilyas and Jayde Adams. Cabaret and music artists include Joe Stilgoe who will perform Songs on Film, The Beatbox Collective and an exclusive preview of new music from Arthur Darvill.

More information is online.

On Beer: East London’s Burgeoning Beer Mile (and a bit)

The CultureJukebox team are fond of a real ale or two (or three or four…)  So, it’s great to hear about some awesome new breweries opening up close to our home in East London.

In fact, the team here thrilled that some of these new breweries are putting purpose before profit too. Opening up near each other, this new brewing scene is top tribute to a fantastic beer culture that is brewing in our corner of the capital.

So, what’s new?

The Magic Spells Brewery, Leyton

The newest and latest independent Craft Brewery in East London currently produces three bottled beers:  A Craft Lager, a Pale Ale (called Hackney Hare) and an IPA.

Magic Spells’ beers are a somewhere between modern brewing techniques and old styles and methods; taking inspiration from classics and adding a modern twist. The brewery creates distinct flavour profiles for the beers – an up front and bold hoppy flavour, a satisfying bite to the beer, smoothly balanced due to a nice malty body and warming alcohol.

The brewery sources most of the malt used in its beers from the UK plus British hops boosted by punchy flavoured hops from New Zealand and America.

It was founded by Jas Hare, an Eastender born-and-bred, who has a fantastic track record in the drinks industry as well as being a craft beer enthusiast.

Magic Spells Beers are available in both 330ml and 500ml bottles with an RRP of £2.49 and £2.99 respectively. They’re all available online, and in venues around London too.

 

Nirvana Brewery, Leyton

Another new brewery for 2017, Nirvana does something completely different. A low / no-alcohol brewery – sure a great idea for our increasingly health-conscious times.

It’s the UK’s only micro brewery dedicated to zero and low ABV craft beers. Beers on offer include Mantra (an IPA at 0.7% ABV), Kosmic (a stout at 0% ABV), and Chakra (a stout at 1% ABV). The team at Nirvana promise “no compromises” on flavour, so we’re excited about our first visit!

Pretty Decent Beer

Opening up just down the road in Forest Gate, Pretty Decent Beer Co has just opened its doors.

On Sheridan Road in Forest Gate, near Cann Hall Road, this brewery looks like one to watch. The team promise: “We make decent beer and do decent things with the money you spend drinking it. We brew our beer in London and every bottle helps to fund sustainable water projects around the world.”

 

The CultureJukebox team hasn’t had chance to visit yet, but this brewery promises to be really superb – we like what we’ve seen on Instagram so far.

And Pretty Decent Beer Co is just a few minutes walk from some of Forest Gate’s best independent venues – The Wanstead Tap for an incredible selection of real ale and provocative programming, Burgess & Hall for beautiful wines; and the quirky and delicious Hawkes cider HQ.

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A proper round-up of some of Forest Gate, Leyton and Leytonstone’s best watering holes for this summer is coming soon. Where do you think should be on the list? Send us a Tweet and let us know where we should visit..

 

On Design Ideas: Plain Sailing Seasoning..

The CultureJukebox team are always on the look-out for quirky things to make our East London home look good..

.. So, it was great to hear about with Kikkerland’s Sail Boat Salt & Pepper Shakers.  Stylish, fun and just a great idea.

Time to sail away?
Plain sailing – looking good

 

We love it!

Based on a traditional sail boat design, the table-top seasoner is perfect for salty sea dogs and marinade-mad mariners. The Sail Boat Salt & Pepper Shakers are just adorable abstract stacking shakers.

Finished in a simple blue and white glossed ceramic colourway, the Sail Boat Salt & Pepper Shakers add a nautical twist to tea time. The two triangular sails, separated by the mast line sit together onto of the blue boat base. When separated, the sails reveal the discreet salt and pepper sprinklers.

The Salt & Pepper Shakers offer quick, chic, coastal charm, making them ideal for a sunny summer fish supper. They arrive gift-boxed, providing present inspiration for birthdays, anniversaries and home-movers (and shakers).

There’s some great homeware ideas on Kikkerland’s website, definitely worth exploring.

On Culture: All We Ever Wanted Was Everything – “gig theatre” at Hull 2017

As regular readers will already know, the CultureJukebox team grew up close to Hull – so it’s been great to see the energy of the city be unleashed throughout this year. And a press release about theatre outfit Middle Child piqued our interest further..

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything opens at the wonderful Welly nightclub in Hull on 6 June 2017.  If you’ve never been to the Welly, it’s one of the city’s very best clubs. The home of a lot of indie, alternative culture and the odd lost night out or two.

So, whats the show all about? It’s “gig theatre”, which means it’s a fusion of live music, theatre performance and an immersive experience. It mixes original live music from James Frewer with bold new writing from Luke Barnes.


This three-act anthem, set across three decades, from 1997’s Cool Britannia to 2007’s Broken Britain and today’s Brexit Britain, is a story about the world we inherited and the one we’re leaving behind.

The story follows two young people from Hull over 20 years as they struggle to realise their hopes and ambitions, against the backdrop of an asteroid heading for Earth. Alice Beaumont performs behind a Daft Punk-inspired mask as The Asteroid in the production, using synths and drum machines to give the character a distinct electronic music sound, in contrast to the guitar-based music of the human characters. James Frewer also performs live on stage alongside the actors, playing guitar and keyboard.

The show is from the creative minds of Hull-based theatre company Middle Child. Check out the website for more on the music, the story, and to buy tickets (they start at £8, and there are concessions too).

The All We Ever Wanted Was Everything EP features original electronic music written by James Frewer and arranged with Alice Beaumont. The EP is a great idea, introducing the audience to the characters and themes from the show.

James said: “One of the sole reasons you go to a gig is to hear the band or DJ’s big tunes and so we thought we’d get on it and release some of the tracks from All We Ever Wanted Was Everything before the event. “The character of The Asteroid in this show has her own techno vibe so we thought we would release the majority of her songs as a concept EP, detailing the journey of her view on humanity, from the euphoria of its possibility to her broken hearted execution of the planet. “We want people to play this EP loud, have a dance to it and then come along to hear it live at Welly this June.”

This sounds awesome, check out the show website here.

 

On Food: Zona N16 Opens in Stoke Newington – we try it out

The CultureJukebox team are fond of a delicious morning treat out on occasion, so it was great to hear about a new addition to Stoke Newington’s burgeoning breakfast cafe scene – Zona N16.

The space is a gastro-cafe by day, serving artisanal hot drinks and light bites brunch menu. Wines, cocktails and craft beers by night.

So, what did we think?

Zona N16 is right at the end of Church Street and about a 15 minute steady meander up from Dalston Kingsland.  Stepping in off the busy Stoke Newington High Street, the first thing that greets you is the sense of space and calmness.

It’s more impressive inside than out; nicely complimented by wonderfully friendly staff, with customers ranging from couples on dates, families enjoy a Sunday brunch out and hipsters-that-should-know-better cooking up something creative on their Macbooks.

 

Zona N16’s decor is superb, boasting clean lines and tasteful furniture with plenty of elbow room. A state-of the-art Kees van der Western coffee machine takes pride of place as you step in.

Q) What do you call a day without coffee? A) Depresso. ~ image c/o Zona N16

After a silky smooth cappuccino, it was time to place our order.

I went for Smoked Salmon Benedict, served on a fragrant croissant with mustard hollandaise and a sliced gherkin. It was served with avocado too. The salmon was full of flavour, the fragrant croissant was a unique twist on the brunch classic – this was a delicious portion of food. After running the Hackney Half Marathon the day before, I was hoping for a bit more carbs on the plate! But it was a truly delicious.

My significant other had the granola bowl and ordered the sourdough toast too. This was a lighter option, but really satisfying. The yoghurt was creamy, the granola had a true luxury crunch and the sourdough toast? Well, you’re in Stoke Newington. It just has to be done.

After lolling about, enjoying the atmosphere and great service we decided to order a dark hot chocolate drink as a pud. This was perhaps a bit too indulgent, but was a decadent finish to a sublime Stokey sustenance.  We’ll definitely be back!

On Cycling: #SpinLDN Returns To The Capital

As regular followers know, the CultureJukebox team are huge fans of having fun on two-wheels..

So, it’s great to hear that #SpinLDN is coming back to the capital.  Visitors to the festival of cycling (which is taking place at London Olympia this year) will find an event that is jam-packed with the best brands, bikes, and the ultimate blend of cycling culture in one location.

Spin is also welcoming a progressive mix of brands to provide food and drink – with a caffeine fix from Volcano Coffee Works, craft beers from Camden Town Brewery and an expertly-curated street food market.

More than 150 of the most forward-thinking cycling brands will be in attendance, presenting must-have products, kit and ideas for seasoned cyclists, biking beginners and everyone in-between. A list of the Spin exhibitors is online here.

A few of the more quirky highlights for this year’s festival includes:

  • The Red Light District – new for 2017, this boundary pushing part of Spin will be an unforgettable showcase of the world’s most beautiful bikes.
  • Day-Night Test Track – a first for any cycling event in the UK – this atmospheric test track offers the chance for cyclists to try out cutting edge new bikes against a backdrop of light installations and music. It also offers a chance for riders to test out a variety of night-time cycling accessories.
  • The Summit – be inspired by the biggest names in cycling, as more than 50 expert speakers take to the stage for an unparalleled programme of expert talks. Chris Boardman, Ned Boulting and CycleHackare among those leading sessions.
  • The Maker’s Lounge– offers a handpicked selection of today’s finest frame and custom bike builders. A chance to see the best work from King Bicycles, Donhou Bicycles, Dear Susan, Mercredi, Hartley Cycles, Quirk Cycles and many more.
  • The Art Hub – featuring printing workshops, saddle art and exhibitions from some of the most creative people showcasing their love of bikes.
  • Giro d’Italia – in association with Eurosport, Spin will be the best place to follow one of the world’s most beautiful races.
  • Cole Coatings Workshop – a chance to learn from the best and really understand the process behind designing and executing an award-wining bespoke bicycle finish.

Spin founder, Alex Daw said: “The whole team here are really excited how Spin 2017 is shaping up, it’s a cycling event for London unlike anything else. The move to Olympia has given us the opportunity to grow the scale and ambition of the show – and get new people into cycling too. It’s an event that‘s for everyone interested in cycling and the culture around it.”

Check out the event online here.

 

Our Neighbourhood: Shake The High Road festival unveiled

Great news for Leytonstone, a new festival has been announced for this summer – Shake The High Road.

It takes place on Saturday May 27th 2017 across several venues all in the vicinity of Leytonstone High Road, E11.

Shake The High Road promises more than 30 live bands and DJs, a pop-up record fair, afternoon funk and soul session. Organiers are also promising a few surprises from East London’s music scene too..

Leytonstone is blessed with some really characterful and unique venues, sure Shake The High Road festival will make good use of these… The Red Lion BallroomAll You Read Is Love, and The Luna Lounge are all signed up already with more to be announced soon.

But what about the tunes you say! Well, Shake The High Road looks to have an awesome programme of familiar faces and new music.  Mystery Jets are doing a DJ set, Woman’s Hour (on uber cool label Secretly Canadian – home of The War On Drugs) are playing their first live show in a year, and if funk is your thing Fela Kuti’s former band member Dele Sosimi is coming to East London for a performance of Nigerian-inspired funk. One half of The 2 Bears Raf Daddy is also coming to the festival for an essential selection of dance tunes. The festival line-up is here (with more acts announced soon!)

Follow the festival on all the usual social media channels, including its Facebook page.

On Running: Following An Epic Adventure – running from Germany to Shanghai

The CultureJukebox team love an epic adventure – so it’s been great to follow @Junki72 on Twitter over the past few days.

He’s trying to do something truly remarkable. Run from Germany to China! Check out his progress here.

The run is ambitious. To say the least! Kai Markus is covering circa 12,000km over 235 days and across eight countries. Remarkable.

Given the craziness (and sheer distance) of his run, you’re probably thinking that Kai is one of those superhuman ultra runners. But Kai says he’s just a “crazy guy” and runner, trying to connect German and Chinese societies. Kai also wants to inspire young people to take up running and fitness. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he says.

Kai interviewed before he starts his adventure (©JuliaSchwendner)

Kai (who is sponsored by sports brand 361°) kicked off his journey earlier this month in Hamburg with a crowd of supporters and press.

Kai, making friends along the way (©JuliaSchwendner)

And he’s already reached Poland! See some amazing images and read about Kai’s story on his blog here.

1. week – 1. country

On Ideas: The Happy List 2017 Nominations Open

The CultureJukebox team are passionate about finding ideas to make the world a better place. So it was great to receive an press release about this year’s Happy List. And there’s never been a time that an idea like this has been quite so important!

The Independent opened the nominations for its annual Happy List this week, on Monday, marking the International Day Of Happiness.

The concept is now in its ninth year and is a celebration of the 50 people across Britain who enrich our lives. The whole idea is a clear counterpoint to the idea that profit should come before purpose.

Charity workers, fundraisers, mentors, entertainers and those who perform small and large acts of kindness form our collection – and what makes it so special is that they are nominated by members of the public.

What The Independent is looking for is anyone whose motive is increasing our happiness, rather than feathering their own nest. Previous years included a teenager who sold his football memorabilia to help an ill friend, a nun who provided shelter for sex workers, and cousins who saved a man’s hand by preserving it in a bag of frozen Brussels sprouts. Who should be on it this year?

“The current climate of fear, mistrust and negativity means it’s arguably more important than ever to celebrate the inspirational people whose kindness, ingenuity and bravery make the UK a better place to live” ~ Christian Broughton, Editor of The Independent

These volunteers, by their nature, are not generally attention-seekers, so The Independent needs your help to publicise the search for those who deserve to be celebrated in your area.

Anyone can send their suggestions – a including their name, a way to contact you (or them), and the reason why you’re putting them forward – by email to happy@independent.co.uk or by writing to: Emma Ledger, Happy List Coordinator, The Independent, Room 121A, First Floor, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry St, London, W8 5HF.

The Happy List is this year sponsored by JustGiving, the social-giving platform. Nominations close at midnight on Friday 28 April 2017. The selected entries will be revealed by The Independent in May. Individuals cannot nominate themselves.

More information is available here.  Enjoy!

 

Reality? It's just a collective hunch