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Preview: Manchester Jewish Museum to mark Holocaust Memorial Day with two premiere performances

2020 heralds 75 years since the liberation of the Nazi death-camps.

On Monday 27 January, Manchester Jewish Museum will mark Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD), with two premieres of musical and theatrical performances, staged at Manchester Central Library.

Songs of Arrival

During the afternoon, music by acclaimed Israeli composer Na’ama Zisser,the first to introduce cantorial music into opera, will be performed together with a premiere of brand-new songs in a free pop-up performance installation, entitled Songs of Arrival, from 4pm in the Music Library. 

Pic credit: Manchester Jewish Museum

The Museum’s very own community song-writing group – who have been working with musician and composer Joe Steele to create original compositions – will also perform. These brand new songs will premiere at the Library, and bring to life the Museum’s oral history collection from where stories of arriving in Cheetham Hill in the 1930s and 40s originate. 

Of the four brand new songs written and performed for HMD by the Museum’s community writing group, two are based directly on stories from the museum’s oral history collection. The other two draw on themes of migration and cultural integration more generally; a song created with ESOL students at the Abraham Moss Adult Learning Centre takes as its inspiration the ubiquity of the phrase ‘Thank you, love’, which the students observed after arriving in Manchester, weaving together different translations including Arabic, Portugese and Welsh. Meanwhile, Celebration of Love, written by group member Andy Steele, brings a positive message of ‘making peace, not war’.

Opera Singer Peter Braithwaite, who is also the Museum’s Artist in Residence, concludes this interactive musical installation and line-up with one of Na’ama Zisser’s song Love Sick – performed in Hebrew and based on the Song of Songs (Shir Hashirim) a book in the bible which explores love.

Holocaust Brunch

In the evening of Monday 27th, the Museum’s commemoration of HMD continues with the Northern Premiere of Holocaust Brunch by London based, Canadian theatre makerand performer, Tamara Micner. Fusing and using comedy with beigels, this funny and brave solo show brings to life the true stories of two Holocaust survivors connected to Tamara, and pries open an intergenerational wound to explore why we remember the Holocaust and what it is like to live in the shadows of genocide and displacement.

Pic credit – Holly Revell

Holocaust Brunch tells a remarkable true Holocaust survival story. Micner reflects on her experience of growing up as a descendent of survivors, and explores how communities can heal from ancestral trauma. Holocaust Brunch is a dark comedy, recounting a story not typically told, and Tamara Micner serves up beigels and cream cheese as she pries open an intergenerational wound and asks why we remember, and what it might look like to forget.

Pic credit: Holly Revell

Created with a team of Jewish and non-Jewish artists, Micner’s moving, funny and thoughtful solo performance invites audiences to reflect how, as the next generation, we can keep memories alive. As part of the creation of Holocaust Brunch, Tamara Micner has collaborated with London-based printmaker Yael Roberts, who has made a series of original prints, The Trauma Documents, which respond to parts of the story and appear throughout the show as video projections. These will be on display at Manchester Central Library alongside the performance of Holocaust Brunch.

The Manchester Jewish Museum is currently based at Manchester Central Library until 2021 whilst work is underway to extend its original Cheetham Hill site.

Songs of Arrival is a free drop-in event between 4-5pm – more information is at https://www.manchesterjewishmuseum.com/event/holocaust-memorial-day-songs-of-arrival/

Holocaust Brunch stars at 7.30pm and tickets can be purchased at https://www.manchesterjewishmuseum.com/event/holocaust-brunch-by-tamara-micner/

 The Manchester Jewish Museum is currently based at Manchester Central Library until 2021 whilst work is carried out to extend its original Cheetham Hill site.
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Culture Current affairs Manchester Music News People Popular culture The Arts

More than a building…Chorlton Bee Gee landmark needs your help to stay alive!

The Bee Gees belong to Manchester, well Chorlton to be specific.

Yes, ok, they flirted with being born in the Isle of Man,  emigrating to Australia, living in LA, travelling the world, but it was in Chorlton, Manchester,  that the magic first happened.

These fellow honorary mancs formed their first band, the skiffle/rock and roll group, the Rattlesnakes, whilst living in the family homestead on  Keppell Road.

Whilst fans often pay pilgrimage to the terrace house of The Bee Gees‘ childhood, there is another place which carries a significant place in the history of the siblings – The Gaumont – which was previously their local cinema and played host to The Rattlesnakes’ first ever performance!

gaumont 2-1

Since turned into The Co-op Funeral Care, local volunteer group, Chorlton Community Land Trust (CCLT), are fighting to save the building being sold and turned into flats, with their Stayin’ Alive Campaign.

Member, Chris Peacock, explains

Bee Gees fans from all over the world come to have their pictures taken outside – even though it’s a funeral home!

Turning 100 years young next year, local residents are passionate that this historic building is preserved, given that it is such an important part of Manchester’s music scene, and part of the rich tapestry that is the city’s cultural heritage.

Fellow CCLT member, Simon Hooton, adds

Time is critical to save this landmark building – we have just a few days left to persuade the Co-op to change course. It is an important part of Manchester’s historic music scene, so we want to preserve it and celebrate the world-famous Bee Gees and encourage more visitors to the area.

stayin alive

If the campaign is successful, CCLT plan to show the historic site some love by using it to:

  • celebrate the Bee Gees’ heritage

  • Offer a new destination for food and leisure

  • Attract more spending for local businesses

  • Put the site on Manchester’s music trail for visitors to the city

CLT have been working with developers and local residents to generate a plan that would help make Chorlton a more vibrant place for residents and visitors and retain this unique piece of music history.

The plans are to convert the old cinema building into a market-style food hall with flexible scope to also be a performance space for live music and cinema nights. CCLT are also working with the local community health centre to bring forward a new GP Practice with potentially a gym, community space and some affordable housing on the site too.

The campaigners are also keen to integrate the development with the upcoming re-development of the precinct and to create a new public square outside the building too.

CCLT has been liaising with both Manchester City Council and the Co-op  and been given until this Saturday 9 November by to raise £250k. So far, £55k has been raised in the first few days.

HOW ON EARTH CAN I HELP?!

I hear you passionately cry!

Start by heading over to the Stayin’ Alive website and watching this video where you can find out more information and make a pledge.

You can also follow the campaign and show your support by signing upto the following socials:

Twitter: @CampaignStayin

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/stayinalivecampaign

Do it for Chorlton, do it for The Bee Gees, heck do it for Manchester!

 

 

 

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Current affairs Events Literature Manchester Preview/review The Arts

Review: Jon Sopel – Inside Trump’s White House (Penguin Live)

Politics, eh?

What larks.

I heavily, heavily jest. But if like me, you’re fascinated by the goings on in that big White House across the pond, you can would have been equally fascinated by BBC North America Editor, Jon Sopel, as he talked about his new book A Year at the Circus.

Given a foot in the door to both the book and the Oval Office itself, via Penguin Live’s event, Inside Trump’s White House, at The Dancehouse Theatre, Manchester, we were all enthralled as Jon chatted candidly but never salaciously about what it’s like to be part of the media pack when the POTUS is one Donald John Trump.

And if Alec Baldwin ever falls out with Saturday Night Live, Jon does a mean Trump impersonation.

Touch wood he voices an audio of the book which, if his excerpts and anecdotes at the Penguin Live are anything to go buy, promises to entertain, enthral and indeed educate with what I perceive will be a balanced, fair but candied account of life at the BBC when posted to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Find out why the press require protection at a Trump rally;

Just what it takes to quote the Leader of the Free World on the BBC news, when that quote is,

I’m fucked

and what to do when you’re quietly having dinner in a D.C. restaurant and the Pres’ and his First Lady are at the table next up you having a frosty dinner in the wake of Stormy Daniels…

A Year at the Circus: Inside Trump’s White House is out now at all good book shops and websites, and is published by Penguin Books.

For more Penguin Live events, visit https://www.penguin.co.uk/events/

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Culture Current affairs Events Manchester News People preview Preview/review The Arts

Preview: Jon Sopel – Inside Trump’s White House (Penguin live)

If like me (I do miss Denis Norden – I interviewed him by fax once…) you are obsessed with all things West Wing (including The West Wing), you’ll be fascinated by the upcoming book by BBC North America Editor, Jon Sopel, A Year at the Circus.

Not only that, you’ll be fascinated to get a foot in the door to both the book and the Oval Office itself, via Penguin Live’s event, Inside Trump’s White House, with the man himself (that is, Jon Sopel) on 18 September 2019, at The Dancehouse Theatre.

Taking us through his experiences as a reporter in the infamous Briefing Room, Jon will bring to life what it’s like to be part of the press pack as Trump’s presidency plays out and tensions continue to soar between him and the media.

Jon will also reveal the real-life inner workings of the White House and share moments, conversations and revelations he’s been privy to during his enviable (or should that be unenviable) proximity to the POTUS (yes I watch all of the Washington dramas).

For more details and your ticket to Trump (so to speak), visit https://www.thedancehouse.co.uk/events/2019/251-jon-sopel

See you there…

To read about previous Penguin Live events, see below:

Review: Paul Mason’s Clear Bright Future – Penguin Live

Penguin Pride – less a review, more a tribute

 

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Current affairs film Manchester Popular culture preview The Arts

Pavement – Manchester film about homelessness launches crowdfunder

It’s a topic that is never far from our minds (or sight) in Manchester: homelessness.

Indeed it was only Sunday that I attended the play ‘Frozen Peas in an Old Tin Can’, about three rough sleepers – Review: Frozen Peas in an Old Tin Can (Greater Manchester Fringe) – raising both money and awareness of the issue.

I’m happy to learn and impart that another creative is using their platform to do the same.

Pavement is a modern-day parable about homelessness, from Manchester based writer/director, Jason Wingard, and featuring Steve Evets (Looking for Eric) and Liz White (Life on Mars), with filming taking place on location at the Manchester Metropolitan University Brooks Building.

After a decade of making award-winning short films and, most recently, two fantastic feature films, In Another Life and Eaten by Lions, Jason Wingard has been tempted back to making shorts with the creation of this new film about a homeless man sinking into the pavement.

The use of the word surreal to describe the film suggests this may be literally as well as perhaps metaphorically.

Whilst an initial injection of funding by The Uncertain Kingdom kick started the project, the challenge for Wingard and his crew is to make the film on a shoestring budget of £10,000 (£20,000 having been spent – the aim being to recoup back half), with all extra funds  being donated to two Manchester charities Barakah Food Aid and The Mustard Tree.

Both organisations support local people in poverty and tackle the issues of homelessness.

Writer/Director, Wingard, says

This was an incredibly humbling experience and resorted our collective belief in human kindness. 320,000 people in Britain are now homeless and numbers keep rising. Our film tackles this dreadful statistic in a unique way.

You can help Wingard and Producer, Hannah Stevenson, smash their crowdfunding target and raise as much money as possible for these local charities by visiting the crowdfunding page in this link: www.indiegogo.com/projects/pavement

Further information about the charities below:

http://www.mustardtree.org.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/BarakahFoodAid/

 

 

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Current affairs LGBT LGBTQ+ Manchester News Popular culture preview Preview/review The Arts Theatre

Crowd-Funder to help take solo show First Time to Edinburgh Fringe

Manchester theatre company, Dibby Theatre, is raising funds to help take their hit show First Time to Edinburgh Fringe.

A funny and frank autobiographical solo-show, First Time is written and performed by theatre-maker and HIV activist, Nathaniel Hall.

Credit: Lee Baxter

Diagnosed just two weeks after his 17th birthday and only months after coming out as gay to his family, Nathaniel kept his HIV status from almost all for over 14 years.

In late 2017, Nathaniel ‘came out again’, as it were, and is now advocating for better contemporary representation of HIV in popular culture. The show is a vehicle to break down HIV stigma and contribute to the UNAIDS aim of ending HIV within a generation.

Nathaniel says,

HIV healthcare and prevention has changed, but people’s attitudes to the disease often lag behind fear and stigma are very much alive and well. We now know people with HIV who are on effective medication CANNOT transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

And you can even take medication after you think you’ve been put at risk, or even pre-emptively to protect yourself and partners. This news, along with the condom and ‘get tested’ messages are the tools we can all now use to help stop HIV for good.

First Time premiered to critical acclaim last World AIDS Day at Waterside Arts in Sale and will preview there again at Refract Festival on 25 July before heading to Edinburgh Fringe.

Now Nathaniel wants to take his message even further, and all the way to Edinburgh Fringe.

Therefore, Dibby Theatre have launched their crowd funding campaign, and need to raise £6000, to help their hit-show become an even greater success in Scotland.

The crowd-funder is supported by former Ceremonial Lord Mayor, Carl Austin-Behan, who was the first openly gay Mayor to hold office in the U.K. urging Mancunians to support the show by donating,

Manchester has a proud history of HIV activism. One of the country’s largest and oldest HIV support charities, George House Trust, was started as Manchester AIDS Line by Mancunians in 1985, and we’re now a ‘HIV Fast Track City’ and have committed to work in partnership across the city region with the goal of ending all new transmissions by 2030.

Chris Hoyle, Artistic Director of Dibby Theatre, adds:

Ending HIV is everyone’s responsibility and we’re proud to be spreadheading the fight against the disease with First Time, and proud to be showcasing to the world that Manchester is a city that works together to get things done.

The crowd funding campaign is live until 24 June 2019 and you can donate by visiting:

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/first-time-at-the-edinburgh-fringe-festival-2019

For more information on U=U, PrEP and how to get tested for HIV visit: www.gmpash.org.uk

First Time at Refract Festival, Waterside Arts, Sale – 25 July – https://www.creativetourist.com/event/first-time-at-waterside/

First Time at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Cairns Lecture Theatre – from 31 July – https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/event/1297899-first-time/

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Culture Current affairs Literature Manchester preview Preview/review The Arts

Review: Paul Mason’s Clear Bright Future – Penguin Live

I’ve been to a few book readings/launches/talks now.

Two of those have been under the Penguin Live moniker (the first being the rather marvellous Penguin Pride – less a review, more a tribute.

As someone who has earned their stripes as a regular book club member to boot, talking about a book retrospectively can have its merits – it can also have its arguments too…(the Snowman was terrible and I stand firm on that – oh Nesbo’s, not Briggs’ – I’m not a monster).

But what is life if not for differing perspectives, opinions and a good old literary ruck.

What’s even more rewarding is bringing a book to life, and certainly a book of non-fiction, by having the author either read their words or discuss their premise/theories/beliefs/hyphotheses.

An amuse bouche to the book, if you like. In some cases, the book’s content and reputation proceeds even this early stage and the literary tour consequently goes away (mentioning no names. Well, I mean, it’s Moby, isn’t it).

Penguin Live events serve as a living, breathing preview to a piece of work that you can immediately own, take home, devour, reflect back on discussions.

You might say it’s a try before you buy. I mean I wouldn’t say that as it sounds a bit basic. Ok, I just have, but it’s so much more.

Writer, film-maker and leading thinker, Paul Mason, gave us ‘so much more’ at the Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester, last month: Penguin Live: Paul Mason’s Clear Bright Future

Interviewed by fellow Wigan-er (Leigh-er?) Stuart Maconie, Paul shared a taster of his new book ‘Clear Bright Future – a radical defence of the human being.

To paraphrase dear old Macca, in this ever-changing world in which we live in, we can give in and cry or we can try and see a future where we have…well a future and still have some say in proceedings.

Just in case you’ve managed to avoid all media outlets and live in a blissful bubble of ignorance and, well probably general happiness as a consequence, the three main threats outlined by the book are:

  • the rise of authoritarian politicians,
  • the possibility of intelligent machines; and
  • a spreading fatalism and irrationality, which has made millions susceptible to the mythologies of the new right.

Yes, I know, but remember that the title of the book is Clear Bright Future and I don’t think it’s weighed down in sarcasm.

Take for instance the prospect of intelligent machines. Man vs Machine.

Now our thoughts can go all 2001’s Hal at this, but that’s not to say the technology will. I mean it might, but we still get a day in this too.

Indeed, Paul (sorry, I always feel awkward with the last name thing, as though I were his headmaster so forgive the perhaps overly familiar use of the first), points out that if driver-less cars take ‘our jobs’, perhaps it frees up those who drive for a living a more ‘interesting’ option.

One main thrust of Clear Bright Future is that humans would all receive a universal income, and the machines would provide a freedom.

Consumerism is placed on the road to extinction and humanity is…reborn?

Understand that I am simplifying this to an incredible extreme. Incredible.

Drawing on early, humanist Marxism, sticking it to Nietzsche along the way, and with more than a soupcon of neoliberalism, Clear Bright Future: a radical defence of the human being, published by Penguin is out in all good bookshops and online outlets (ooh Man vs Machine again…) – visit Penguin for more information.

However of equal note and the point of this post (no, I’m not side-stepping having to discuss neo-liberalism any further) is that Penguin Live is a wonderful way to meet, question, even challenge an author’s view points and text, bear witness to a live preview of your next book, and, indeed, even open your eyes to the book that wasn’t necessarily next on your reading list but soon would be.

Just maybe don’t hold out for Moby.

For more events, visit https://www.penguin.co.uk/events/

 

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Celebrity Culture Current affairs Events Literature Manchester News Popular culture preview Preview/review The Arts

Preview: Writer and film-maker, Paul Mason in conversation with Stuart Maconie – 30 April 2019

Writer, film-maker and leading thinker, Paul Mason, is coming to Manchester on 30 April 2019, to discuss his latest book, Clear Bright Future: A Radical Defence of the Human Being, with BBC 6 Music’s, Stuart Maconie.

On the eve of publication, Penguin Live, will play host, at The Dancehouse, Manchester, to what promises to be a fascinating discussion about Mason’s latest work, which explores just what it is to be human.

The book argues that humans are facing a triple threat:

  • the rise of authoritarian politicians,
  • the possibility of intelligent machines; and
  • a spreading fatalism and irrationality, which has made millions susceptible to the mythologies of the new right.

Depressing times.

However, whilst many will share the view that this spells for a bleak future, Mason’s vision is that we are not merely cogs in the machine, and that we people are still capable of shaping our future.

During political unrest and trying times, such optimism is welcome and timely, but is it realistic?

Join leading thinker, Mason, and broadcaster and journalist, Maconie, for what promises to be an impassioned, through-provoking and lively discussion. See you there…

For more details and tickets, visit https://www.thedancehouse.co.uk/events/2019/227-clear-bright-future

Read about my last experience at a Penguin Live event: Penguin Pride – less a review, more a tribute