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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester music reviews

Elfair Dyer

Lunchtime recitals: The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool

Reviewed by Denis Joe March 2011

One of the best things about lunchtime recitals is that you get to hear pieces that are new to you, and this recital at The Capstone Theatre did just that. Whilst the music of Fantasie and Etude No.2 is familiar, performed on the harp they take on a new life.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

School Bus New York by Liam Spencer

Liam Spencer: Painting from Life

at Salford Museum and Art Gallery

Reviewed by Mark Iddon March 2011

 

The retrospective exhibition of the artist Liam Spencer now on at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery, is a wonderful opportunity to see a range of vibrant impressionistic painting of views which will be familiar to many people living around Manchester and Salford.

 

The exhibition has been at the Rochdale Touchstones Gallery for the last four months and will be moving to Oldham in June. The collection is of his work, over the last 20 years or so, and features his Manchester paintings, and work from visits to Andaluci, Beijing, Istanbul and New York. There are many paintings from his private collection (earlier in his career), and key works on loan from private collectors along with new work including views of Chapel Street, Blackfriars, Salford Cathedral, Kings Head in Salford, and the Bridgewater Canal at Worsley.

 

On entering the gallery there are two similar views of Salford Quays, one from 2000, with The Lowry Theatre and Imperial War Museum prominent with a fading industrial backdrop, alongside a recent (2011) view where the above buildings sit beside the rising new Media City building complex with a civilised canal side walkway. The first was painted for an opening exhibition at The Lowry Theatre which brought Liam to the attention of a wider audience as a Manchester artist. Although he would tend to refrain from commissioned work, he was selected to produce paintings of the City of Manchester Stadium for the Commonwealth games in 2002 and the distinctive style of Liam’s work was used in the marketing of the event. Although important in establishing Liam’s status as an artist, they do not feature in this collection and the work shown is of a quality that there is no void where this work should have been.

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Manchester book reviews

Phantom of the Apple

Phantom of the Apple by John Kay

Reviewed by Denis Joe February 2011

One of the greatest challenges for any poet is finding a form which they are comfortable with; one in which they can compose freely and without a feeling of "sameness". It is also a challenge for the reader/listener who is faced with the prospect of becoming too familiar with a work too quickly and could easily get bored.

 

The history of poetry is full of collections in forms. Sonnets are usually the poem of choice. But there have been other forms used.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Anish Kapoor: Flashback

at Manchester Art Gallery until June 5

Reviewed by Dave Porter March 2011

Billed as the first ever major show of Kapoor’s work outside London in more than a decade, this collection does not disappoint. It is not so much the number of sculptures which is impressive – you can scoot round the entire exhibition pretty swiftly – but the sheer scale and breadth of his work which leaves you breathless.

 

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Manchester theatre reviews

The Capstone

Capstone Theatre Weekly Community Series

Reviewed by Denis Joe March 2011

 

A lunchtime recital provided by year two music students from Livepool Hope University as part of the Capstone Theatre weekly community series.

 

Alison Jones opened the recital with the first two movements of Bach's Flute sonata No.4. The opening was done confidently and although there were a coupe of slip-ups at the presto, the performance was executed well.

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Manchester film reviews

Inside Job

Inside Job at Cornerhouse

Reviewed by Anne Ryan March 2011

In praise of the documentary

Documentaries did not begin with Michael Moore – he is only the most high profile of a growing number of predominantly American film-makers, who are tackling the big issues of today, in an incisive and even entertaining way.

 

Despite the success of Moore's work and Morgan Spurlock's 'Supersize Me' – it is not always easy to get access to these films. In Manchester we are fortunate to have the Cornerhouse, though even these documentaries do not always get a long run. 'Inside Job', is the second film by former academic Charles Ferguson, and deals with the collapse of the US financial system and its subsequent 'rescue'.

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Manchester lifestyle reviews

Communicative Capitalism: this is what democracy looks like

'Communicative Capitalism:

this is what democracy looks like'

Public Lecture by Professor Jodi Dean

At International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Reviewed by Simon Belt March 2011

Professor Jodi Dean of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, New York had been invited by Professor Berthold Schoene and The Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences Research (IHSSR) at Manchester Metropolitan University for a week of discussions and a headline Public Lecture entitled 'Communicative Captialism: this is what democracy looks like'. Prior to this lecture, I managed to join Jodi when she led a research workshop on the chapter entitled 'Technology: The Promises of Communicative Capitalism' from her book 'Democracy and other Neoliberal Fantasies: Communicative Capitalism and Left Politics'.

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Manchester film reviews

Howl Film Poster

Howl - on general release

Reviewed by Denis Joe March 2011

Starring: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Jeff Daniels and Treat Williams. Director(s) and Writers: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Animation: Eric Drooker.


Mary Murphy;  “What are you rebelling against ?
Johnny:  “Waddiya got?”
    [The Wild One László Benedek 1954]

Art doesn’t change society it can only reflect it. If Whitman gave voice to the American Dream in Leaves of Grass, then Ginsberg’s Howl! announced the nightmare.

 

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness" is the most famous opening line of any 20th Century poem. It was delivered by Allen Ginffsberg, during a now-legendary group reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco on Oct. 7, 1955, to an audience of around fifty people.

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Manchester music reviews

James Greer - Tenor

School of Music recitals, University of Liverpool

Reviewed by Denis Joe March 2011

James Greer (tenor)
Ronald Woodley (piano)

Henri Duparc Trois Mélodies
Francis Poulenc Tel Jour, telle nuit: neuf melodies sur des poems de Paul Eluard
Henri Duparc Trois Mélodies


There was something ingenious about the programming of this concert - 2nd March. Sandwiching Poulenc between the dark art songs of Duparc worked very well. Duparc composed little and published less. Writing around the time of the Franco-Prussian wars, his Mélodies  found little favour with the public, who did not appreciate the ‘Wagner influences’ of his work. His 17 art songs have a more sombre depth to them than those of most French composers; at times sounding more like lieder.

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Manchester theatre reviews

Private Lives at The Royal Exchange Theatre

Directed by Michael Buffong

Reviewed by Anne Ryan March 2011

At times one wants to spend an evening in the theatre pondering the deepest truths of life, wrestling with contemporary problems or questioning one's beliefs – at other times it is preferable to pass a couple of hours in the company of attractive, witty, articulate people who entertain with a confection of bitingly amusing quips. For that go along to the Royal Exchange's revival of Noel Coward's 'Private Lives'.

 

From Michael Buffong, the director who brought us last season's award winning 'A Raisin in the Sun', this is another – although very different – modern classic.

 

A divorced couple Amanda (Imogen Stubbs) and Elyot (Simon Robson) accidentally find themselves honeymooning in the same hotel with their new spouses. Old passions are reignited and quarrels and chemistry abound.

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