Monday, April 14, 2008

Manchester spring festivals

Yep, it's spring, and you know what that means... the Manc festival frenzy is officially beginning and it won't end until late Autumn. Here's your tear-and-save guide:

22-26 April
venues around Manc, and a bit in Lancaster too.

Moves celebrates movement on screen via a shitload of experimental short films, award-winning animation and enough talks n' workshops to keep all the flickheads and aspiring filmmakers in Manchester happy. The biggest event is probably the UK Premiere of the animated short film "I met the Walrus" which was nominated for an Oscar (pictured). But it's really all good. There should be some screenings outdoors, too, so if you walk by the big screen in Exchange Square and it's showing something more interesting than usual, that's probably what's going on. For a taster, check out these "ArtCast" podcasts that Folly has cooked up with Moves, featuring some of the best of the fest.


1-5 May

This year the theme of our technogeek extravaganza is social networking. In fact, Futuresonic promise us "a city centre overrun with 'unplugged' social networking." So, that's a city full of people talking to each other in the flesh? Hmmm. Not sure about that one. Seriously, though, some of these art projects are kind of cool, conceptually at least. On the music side we've got hip hop with RZA of Wu Tang Clan, old art-punkers Wire, mind-bending electroweirdlet Luke Vibert aka Wagon Christ, and a whole bunch of artists of the electronic persuasion that I'm probably not hip enough to have heard of.

Sounds From the Other City

Sunday May 4
venues around Salford, the Brooklyn of Manchester

The fourth chapter of this one-day blowout sees local bands descend on Salford Rock City, playing churches, random places, and some freaky old man pubs you'd never otherwise enter. Having each venue booked by a different promoter ensures a really bewildering mix of stuff, and this year the venue count has grown to 8. I like the sound of Hey! Manchester's gigs at the Salford Arms, and the eclectic lineup in the arty environs of Salford Restoration Office. Oh, and local heroes Performance and Lonelady are playing at Egerton Arms. But, really, it's best to just pick a venue that sounds good, park there for a while, and then maybe stumble over to another one, and then another one, in an increasingly beer-fuddled haze. You'll see some good bands, you'll see some bad bands. That's how it goes.

Queer up North
9-25 May, venues around Manc

Yeah, remember that whole fiasco this winter in which the Arts Council almost axed Queer up North's funding? But it was saved by a heartswelling groundswell of support and general outcry from the good people of Manchester, who said it was essential to the city's cultural well being? Well now's the time to put your money where your mouth is and book some tickets. We have: the slightly scary Sandra Bernhard revisiting her superfamous one-woman show, Without You I'm Nothing. Marisa Carnesky and Ivo Dimchev bringing the performance art, Justin Bond of Kiki and Herb, the awesome Club Brenda, Lesbian Pulp Fiction, a Scottish jazz singer and a film about a zombie named Otto. And that's just a sample...

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