Tuesday, September 08, 2009
To Do: Hobopop, Mixed Up North, Umbro Industries
This summer is officially OVER. Don't know about you, but I am so over it. (Glances out window, shivers.)
So what happens now? Now we get overrun with students, overloaded with festivals, and overwhelmed by tasty offerings from cultural venues freshly awakened from their summer siestas. Happens every Autumn.
One interesting recent discovery of mine is Kirsty McGee (that's her above) and the Manchester-based Hobopop Collective. I'm really digging their rootsy, old-timey stomps, rags and torch songs. McGee has the kind of voice you can expect great things from. And it turns out they're recording a live album over at Contact (This is October 10, not Thursday as I wrote before, sorry peeps! But hey - more time to get tickets.)
Thursday night Bolton Octagon raises the curtain on Mixed Up North, a provocative play that revisits the Burnley race riots. Director Max Stafford-Clark and the wonderful Out of Joint theatre based the play on interviews with Burnley residents. Some blistering comments in the Burnley Citizen suggest there is strong resistance to the idea of reopening any kind of discussion about the riots there. Seems to me that's just what this kind of theatre is for - making it possible for us to talk about and think about difficult things, and consider different people's perspectives on the past. Kudos to the Octagon for having the chutzpah to mount this production, which runs from Thursday to Sept 26.
Umbro Industries is a pretty impressive new project from the Manchester-based manufacturers of athletic gear: a rolling fund of bursaries to support Manchester-based creative industries. If you have an idea for a club night or an art exhibition, want to make a book or record an album or create a pop-up fashion line, or want to do something else creative that will cost less than £10,000, go to the site and submit it and you could get the money. While people who view the site can give ideas a thumbs up, their votes have no impact on who gets the dosh. That's decided by a somewhat Hacienda and football-heavy judging panel.
Speaking of soccer, there's been some interesting news about Urbis today. The Football Museum is moving in, and Urbis' programme of changing exhibitions is moving out, or at least into much smaller quarters (I'm sure if I've got the wrong end of the stick on any of this one of Urbis' team of eagle-eyed blog readers will write in to correct me...) This might be great news if you're very enthusiastic about football, but not such great news if you're more excited about art and popular culture exhibitions, and like me were enjoying Urbis' new wide-ranging programme of events. Times are tough and needs must, I suppose. But for me, it's Art 0, Football 1. And the goths are NOT going to be amused.
(Photo Graham Smith)