Categories
Culture Events LGBT LGBTQ+ Literature Manchester News Popular culture preview The Arts Theatre

Preview: Penguin Pride 2019 (part of Pride at HOME)

Last year I shared my immense joy at what was an evening of entertainment, enlightenment, education and laughter (I couldn’t find a synonym for lolz beginning with ‘e’, ok?):

Penguin Pride – less a review, more a tribute

Well it’s back and I’ll be there and you should be too. And I’ll tell you for why…

This year, Penguin Pride will take place on Wednesday 21 August at my own home from home – erm, HOME.

In this, the year commemorating 50 years since Stonewall, Penguin Pride will be looking back and celebrating how far LGBT rights have come, where we are now and what the future may hold.

This year’s line-up includes a mix of old and new Penguins Live faces:

Multi-award winning poet and playwright, Toby Campion, returns as MC and yes, you may have even seen him outside that photo booth in those adverts with his BFF…

Other writers and performers taking part include award-winning Yorkshire poet Andrew McMillan, arts writer and Attitude columnist Paul Flynn, Glasgow based author, Kirsty Logan, Liverpool based writer, Emma Morgan and LGBTQ+ writer roo

For full details and tickets, head to https://homemcr.org/production/penguin-pride/

To read about last year’s event which included performances from this year’s Toby Campion, Paul Flynn, Kirsty Logan and Andrew McMillan, head here to Penguin Pride – less a review, more a tribute

If it’s half as good as last year’s, I’ll run out of superlatives.

See you there…

Categories
Culture dance Events Gigs Giveaway Manchester News Popular culture preview Preview/review The Arts Theatre

Back with a Bang! Refract festival returns to Sale this Summer

Those who have already discovered this award-winning arts festival will be thrilled to hear that Refract is back for its third edition in and around Sale, this July.

Those who haven’t yet discovered Refract – you’re in for a treat.

Running from Thursday 18 July to Saturday 27 July, this unconventional 10 day festival, curated by Waterside Arts, promises the best in live comedy, music, dance, experiential performance and theatre, with something for everyone.

Highlights at Refract:19 include:

  • Japanese rope art from Lumo Theatre in Wiredo

  • A preview of one-man show First Time, as Nathaniel Hall drops in on the way to Edinburgh Fringe (ironically, the second time Nathaniel has brought his show to Sale – read my preview here)

 And, of course, so so much more…

Competition!

To celebrate the return of this wonderfully different and exciting festival to our very own Greater Manchester, I’m running a competition to win a pair of tickets to see Frisky and Mannish in their Poplab – bringing their wildly popular brand of musical infotainment right from BBC Radio 1, BBC2, BBC3 and ITV3, straight to the streets of Sale (well not strictly the streets – just one – Waterside Plaza.

With two pairs up for grabs, for your chance to to see the Pop PhDs themselves on Saturday 20 July, click the link below and follow the instructions (oh it’s nothing sinister, I promise):

The great Refract:19 giveaway!

Entries close Sunday 7 July and winners will be selected at random.

For the full rundown,dates, tickets and to essentially plan your cultural journey into all that is right in the wonderful world of artistic endeavour, visit the Waterside Arts Refract:19 website now.

Categories
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/

 

Categories
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

Categories
Culture Literature Manchester News preview The Arts Theatre

Preview: Jackie Kay – She’s coming HOME…

Scottish writer, poet and patron of HOME Mcr, Jackie Kay, is heading back to Manchester and bringing with her, the gift of theatre!

September 2019 will see Red Dust Road, Jackie’s memoir of her life growing up as a mixed race adopted Scot, brought to life on stage at HOME, after its premiere at the Edinburgh Internal Festival.

Red Dust Road

Adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta and directed by Dawn Walton, Red Dust Road will bring to life Jackie’s story of self-discovery – from her realisation as a young, adopted little girl, that her skin was a different colour to her peers, to the tracing and finding of her Highland mother and Nigerian father birth parents.

Jackie Kay

Jackie says,

I’m truly delighted that HOME – a place dear to me and close to my heart – is to put on the National Theatre of Scotland’s co-production with HOME of my memoir Red Dust Road.

The book explores belonging and adoption and the many roads that lead us to where we are, and what makes us who we are, genes or porridge, and it seems so fitting to me that it should be on at HOME, a place, as a proud patron, I feel I belong to, and where I always feel entirely at HOME.

Red Dust Road was first published in 2010, winning Scottish Book of the Year and the London Book Award.

A patron of HOME since it opened in 2015 , Jackie has picked up numerous other awards for her novels and story collections throughout her career, including an MBE in 2006. Her connections to the area also extend to her position as Chancellor of the University of Salford.

Tickets and more information can be found at https://homemcr.org/production/red-dust-road/

Check back here in September for a review of what promises to be a moving and adventurous tale of soul-searching and belonging.

Categories
Celebrity Culture Events LGBT Literature Manchester News People Popular culture preview Preview/review The Arts Theatre

*Preview* Penguin Pride comes to Manchester

Penguin Pride is winging its way to Manchester next week, with a wonderful line-up of LGBTQ+ writers, poets and performers to celebrate the city’s incredible diversity.

Taking place at Z-Arts on Thursday 23 August, poet and playwright Toby Campion hosts this special event which will showcase some of the UK’s most exciting queer talent.

img_8198

Presented in partnership with GAY TIMES and Manchester Literature Festival, the line-up includes:

  • Kate O’Donnell, an award-winning, transgender theatre maker, activist and artistic director. She’s currently touring the autobiographical show You’ve Changed.
  • Paul Flynn, an acclaimed arts journalist and columnist for Attitude. His book, Good As You: From Prejudice to Pride, has been praised as ‘one of the most important books about gay culture in recent times.’
  • Kirsty Logan, a Glasgow based writer whose books include The Gloaming, The Gracekeepers and A Portable Shelter. Her short story collection, The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, was awarded the Polari First Book Prize and featured twenty tales of lust and loss, lascivious queens, paper men and island circuses.
  • Andrew McMillan, an award-winning Yorkshire poet. His new collection, Playtime, explores the different ways we grow into our sexual selves and our adult identities.
  • Manchester-based performance poet Ella Otomewo, who is a member of Young Identity and M(.)IST Collective, a collective of queer female artists working across various art-forms. Her work is feminist, personal, powerful and candid.

Each ticket sold will include a £1 donation towards the great work done by The Albert Kennedy Trust, a national LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity.

So what are you waiting for? For further info and to p-p-p-pick up a ticket (I’m really sorry Penguin Pride), visit www.penguin.co.uk/pride

Doors open 6.30pm. The event will run 7.30-10pm including intervals.

If I haven’t been banned for that appalling pun, I’ll see you there!