It has been quite some time since I last blogged here and I’m now ready to get back into it! So, what have I been doing since August 2014?!
Well, quite a lot has happily happened in my personal and professional life. So lets take a look at it all chronologically.
In the first week of September 2014, I went on a course run by the Independent Cinema Office in Cambridge for a few days, to work on strategic audience development in my role as film programmer at JW3 Cinema. I learnt so much from this experience and am still implementing the successful project that was a result of this course.
In the second week of September, I went to California for 3 weeks. I was working remotely from there for the first part, so that I could join my husband who was there for work and we stayed in Palo Alto during that time. We then took a holiday as we were in the area already and did a brilliant road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles on the famous Route 1, Pacific drive.
A couple of days after arriving back in London from California, I sang with Minim Singers at a special event to mark preparation for the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur at New North London Synagogue with a panel of speakers sharing their musings on the subject of sin.
In September, I also took on another role at JW3 and have been working as Music Programmer since then, until July 2015, programming and managing music events across a range of genres.
The next few months involved me doing a lot of wedding planning, as we decided to get married in the spring. I also sang a lot during that time including at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea with English Chamber Choir and in November with the Chelsea Arts Club Choir.
December saw all the regular seasonal festivities and a lot of singing in my other two choirs as is usual at that time of year.
My nephew was also born at the end of December which was the best gift ever!
February was taken up with wedding planning full steam ahead as our wedding took place on 8th March.
We went on honeymoon to the stunning Italian region of South Tyrol and on returning to London I sang at Chelsea Arts Club in another weekend of concerts.
In April things were busy at my workplace, as JW3 merged with LJCC – the London Jewish Cultural Centre so there were new programmes to integrate and new staff to get to know and in May I was back in Israel to see family and to go to a wedding.
Back to now in June 2015, I’ve had a bit of a ‘life makeover’ and changed my hairdo, glasses and (sur)name.
Of course a lot more has happened over these months than some of the highlights I picked out above but it gives you a taste.
Here’s to everything that’ll be happening next, including hopefully more blogging!
Last month I was lucky enough to be in Verona, Italy for a few days city break. I used to live in Italy and have visited a lot of the county, self-confessed Italophile as I am! However, nothing could have prepared me for the picture postcard perfect beauty of Verona which I had never been to before.
The river runs through the centre of the city, the banks of which are lined with prettily coloured buildings while green trees provide shade to the hilly landscape above which stunning views can be found. Verona is the perfect sized city to explore in a few days on foot, whether you’re walking up its many hills to take in the panoramic vistas or if you’re walking along the river or in and out of cobbled streets and piazzas stopping off at a gelateria for ice cream.
We all know the city as ‘fair Verona’, the setting of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet where the play’s star-crossed lovers meet. Verona certainly makes the most out of the story and it was fun to be a tourist and visit ‘Juliet’s house’ – the house which belonged to the “Dal Cappello” or “Cappelletti” – Capulet family. The building, dates back to the 13th and was renovated in the last century. Inside the palazzo there are works of art by various Veronese artists and some costumes from the 1936 film of Romeo and Juliet. Italians have a strange modern custom of attaching padlocks often inscribed with couples’ names on them, to various romantic monuments and this has certainly happened in full force by Juliet’s house!
On one of our days exploring the city, we discovered the beautiful Giardino Giusti described by Lonely Planet as follows:
Across the river from the historic centre, these sculpted gardens, considered a masterpiece of Renaissance landscaping, are well worth seeking out. Named after the noble family that has tended them since opening them to the public in 1591, they have lost none of their charm. The vegetation is an Italianate mix of the manicured and natural, graced by soaring cypresses, one of which the German poet Goethe immortalised in his travel writings.
Although close to a busy road, once we got into the garden we were in a tranquil and peaceful setting. Happily there weren’t many visitors around and we enjoyed walking up the windy path instead of the main route to reach the top. On the way we found a lovely spot which was a pagoda with a stunning look out view. My boyfriend of 4 years Itay, chose this moment to get down on one knee and propose! Of course I said yes and it made our visit to the garden and our whole trip to Verona even more memorable and special!
Afterwards, in a heads in the clouds daze, walking on air happy feeling we went and had a celebratory lunch in a great traditional restaurant which was full of Italians so we knew it was a good one …
The main reason we had decided to visit Verona in the first place, was to go and see an opera in the open air arena. So as the grand finale to our stay, we had for months had tickets booked to see the opera Aida at the arena. We go to the opera in London quite often but seeing an opera at the arena in Verona is something else! We chose to reserve seats and to be near to the stage for an up close experience with the glitterati rather than queuing to sit in the Gods. The whole experience was so magical, to be watching opera in an ancient site in Italy – I felt that I couldn’t have more of a super Italian experience if I tried! We saw a modern interpretation production of Aida and the use of shadow puppets, fire displays and innovative props made for an amazing spectacle! It was a really fantastic end to a great to the perfect Italian city – Verona – città dell’amore (city of love).
All photographs in this post are by Itay Greenspon.
People often exclaim to me ‘oh you’re so dressed up!’ … which leads me to think, um am I – you ain’t seen nothing yet! Or rather, well, its all relative! I much prefer the attitude of one of the New Yorker ladies featured in Advanced Style the film (Lynn Dell) who says ‘I’m dressed for the theatre of my life‘! …
Advanced Style examines the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging. Based on Ari Seth Cohen’s famed blog of the same name, this film paints intimate and colourful portraits of independent, stylish women aged 62 to 95 who are challenging conventional ideas about beauty, ageing, and Western’s culture’s increasing obsession with youth.
And here is the trailer, because you need to see these ladies, not just read about them!
I had actually been following Ari Seth Cohen’s blog – Advanced Style for a couple of years and so I was really delighted when I found out that the film was being released. You’ll see that I also love to style myself creatively using clothes and accessories which I have recorded on this blog here so I knew I was going to love this film. I also realised straight away that the film was sure to be a big hit at JW3 Cinema (in fact 4 of the ladies featured in the film – those who were at the Q&A event – are all Jewish) and so I decided to programme a run of screenings which then lead to the Q&A evening.
I was lucky enough to meet four of the ladies featured in the film as well as Ari Seth Cohen and the film’s director Lina Plioplyte who were all at the Q&A. Of course, as soon as I had decided that I would host the Q&A, my main concern was … what will I wear?! I decided to go for a 1970s Jaeger dress and jacket suit that I got from a vintage shop in Aldeburgh, Suffolk in the UK. The outfit felt suitably smart but special and I’m really glad I wore it. I think I fitted in well with the Advanced Style team.
The Invisible Woman (whose work I love reading and have followed for some time) who writes about fashion for older women, wrote a wonderful piece about the film and I absolutely agree with her words that
I’ve seen the film six times now and could happily watch it six more because it truly is that much-abused term life-affirming.
The film really IS absolutely life affirming, uplifting and inspirational and the ladies themselves are all of these things. The film is just as much about a love of style as it is about a love of life. The characters of these strong women is something I admire as much as their unique styles.
What a wonderful and fascinating woman Joyce is, who trained as an opera singer in Milan and told us last night about how she was one of the first women to work in advertising with magazines. A real life Peggy of Mad Men! I so admire Joyce’s elegant style which she makes look so easy and I must say I envy her Chanel bag collection! I love how Joyce practically danced down the steps of the cinema last night when she arrived, singing out ’82, I’m 82!’ – Indeed, go Joyce! She was so friendly to chat to and has a really genuine manner in the way she was telling the audience her beauty and style tips.
Another of my favourite ladies from the film is Ilona Royce Smithkin who is 94 years old. She sings in nightclubs, teaches painting classes, is high spirited and makes her own false eyelashes out of her own fiery orange hair – just, wow!!
In the end, all I can say is that I very much hope that by time I’m their age, I’ll still be singing, dressing up as much as I like and having a wonderful time immersing myself in the cultural life of the best cities in the world just like the Advanced Style ladies do!
I have spent two fun evenings this week singing at London’s magnificent Royal Albert Hall as part of the English Chamber Choir for performances of Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. We were part of a set up including full orchestra – (strings, wind, brass, percussion sections), 2 solo singers, electric guitar, bass guitar, drum kit and Rick Wakeman – the glitteringly cloaked wizard in charge of us all playing on a variety of NINE keyboards! It was a brilliant experience to be part of such a big show with really incredible musicians. There was a great atmosphere at the shows from the audience and the performers too. It also made a nice change to sing different styles of music.
The shows celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of the landmark concept album Journey to the Centre of the Earth and were part of a tour consisting of other show dates around the country.
For the performances I decided to wear my mum’s dress from 1969 (by KATI at Laura Phillips) which I thought was fitting for a 1970s revival show! The photo was taken in the dressing room at the Royal Albert Hall.
Based on the novel by Jules Verne, which also marks its 150th anniversary in 2014, the album is one of the rock era’s landmark achievements – a record that sold 15 million copies and rewrote the rules.
”This is the start of a new Journey” says Rick Wakeman, “the original score for the album had been lost for so many years, making any new performances impossible. but after it turned up without warning , we managed to restore it and add previously missing music that was not included in the original performances. It has taken another half decade to develop it into this tour, but I can’t wait to take Jules Verne’s magnificent story on tour again.”
Rick Wakeman’s 15 million selling Journey To The Centre Of The Earth sits alongside the most successful concept albums of the rock era including The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell. Its release in 1974 was arguably the high watermark of the progressive rock genre.
Rick’s original album featured the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Choir, conducted by David Measham.
Journey To The Centre Of The Earth was first performed and recorded live at London’s Royal Festival Hall in January 1974. Issued three months later, its success defied everyone’s expectations, including those of Wakeman’s label. The album went on to enjoy gold and platinum sales across the globe. Journey To The Centre Of The Earth was also nominated for an Ivor Novello Award.
For many years, the original conductor’s score for Journey To The Centre Of The Earth was thought
to have been lost, making any attempt to revive this seminal work impossible. However, in 2008,
Wakeman took delivery of a box that arrived out of the blue from Australia. At the bottom, he
found the original Journey To The Centre Of The Earth conductor’s score that had suffered severe
water damage. With the help of conductor Guy Protheroe, (musical director of English Chamber Choir) he repaired and revisited the
compositions and put them in a form that enabled him to celebrate its anniversary in an appropriate manner.
Engaging the Orion Symphony Orchestra (whose members comprise The New
World Symphony Orchestra for the UK tour) and The English Chamber Choir as well as actor Peter
Egan (best known for both his Shakespearean work as well as his role as Paul in the British sitcom
Ever Decreasing Circles) he recorded a new studio version of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth at
London’s famed Abbey Road Studios. In November 2012, the expanded work was published as a
limited edition in a fan-pack, together with a copy of the 1974 Royal Festival Hall concert
programme, and has since became a collector’s item.
The other weekend I had the pleasure of being in Devon to celebrate the wedding of friends. We stayed in Kingsbridge, a market town in the South Hams district of Devon situated in the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Kingsbridge sits on its own estuary and is surrounded by green rolling countryside.
We discovered an absolute gem in Kingsbridge which is the town’s cinema. The Reel Cinema is the only independent cinema in the South Hams area of Devon, situated under the unusual three-sided town clock. The listed building was built in 1875 and was formerly the Town Hall housing the Town Council, Library, Police Station and Magistrates Court. The old prison cells can still be seen off the lower corridor.
There are three screens offering a wide range of films in Dolby stereo sound and each screen has an individual character.
The Premier Screen seats 54, is fitted with multiplex style seating and has luxurious fully curtained decor.
The Classic Screen seats 165 and is the original auditorium with proscenium arch and traditional features.
The Paradiso Screen seats 48 and is a cosy intimate space ideal for screening art-house films.
We had the auditorium practically to ourselves on a Friday evening, where the box office doesn’t open until 15mins before the screening. Tickets were £6.80, popcorn was a couple of quid and a bottle of water was just 80p! Going to such a unique local cinema was a real treat. If a cinema like that was in my local area, I’d be there twice a week I think!
my new role managing & programming for London’s newest independent cinema at JW3 – Jewish Cultural Community Centre for LondonPosted: January 23, 2014
As it’s a new year and 2014 has just started, I thought it was about time I got back into blogging and wrote about what I’ve been up to over the end of last year and from when I last posted.
I completed my fellowship tenure working at CHELSEA space thanks to the Chelsea Arts Club Trust at the end of the summer and was then busy as curator at Notting Hill Arts Club, having curated a successful event in August. Whilst taking a short summer break, happily it didn’t take me long to secure a new role as an Arts & Culture Programmer at JW3, specifically as film programmer also managing London’s newest independent cinema there.
The centre has been around 10 years in the making and it is thanks to Dame Vivien Duffield’s foundation – the Clore Duffield Foundation that JW3 has a stunning multi floor venue on the Finchley Road in London. The organisation JCC (Jewish Community Centre London) operated for many years on a smaller level without its own building, offering a range of cultural events in a range of venues throughout London. In the United States, Jewish Community Centres are very common and can be found in most major cities as well as in other cities in Europe. So it was about time we had one in London! JW3 is not a religious centre, it is cultural – summed up by the CEO Raymond Simonson’s words
– JW3’s CEO Raymond Simonson
So JW3 (a play on the centre’s postcode NW3, which has the tagline the new postcode for Jewish life) opened on the last weekend of September and so far, thousands and thousands have visited for a range of activities. The centre houses the critically acclaimed restaurant Zest, has a demonstration kitchen, fitness/ dance and drama studios and classrooms offering an impressive programme of classes and courses from languages to art studio sessions to krav maga and more. The multi purpose hall has been used for specially commissioned theatre productions, music concerts and gigs as well as in conversation talks from leading cultural figures such as Kevin Spacey.
Here’s a video made over the launch weekend of the centre to give you an idea what its all about and you’ll even see me for a few seconds, introducing the opening night for JW3’s cinema.
JW3 is an exciting, creative, innovative and fresh place to work. I feel very lucky to be part of something which is changing London’s cultural and Jewish landscape and to be here right at the start of the centre’s life is a great opportunity. It has been a steep learning curve for me, jumping in at the deep end of discovering everything about running an independent cinema and I love it! I’ve certainly been kept busy with the day to day organisation – dealing with film distributors and setting up bonds with them, working with our projectionist team and the wonderful organisation that is the Independent Cinema Office who JW3 cinema is a client of.
JW3 Cinema which is a boutique, intimate 60 seater cinema has around 19 screenings a week which range from indie new releases to 6 screenings a week of Jewish and Israeli film with our partner UK Jewish Film as well as family films and our Monday evening film clubs plus other special screenings. I organise everything from the programming of which films to screen, with assistance from ICO (Independent Cinema Office) for the new releases for example, to timetabling the screenings as well as organising Q&As, in conversations and other events in the cinema and hall for the film programme. I’ve also had to learn a lot about the technicalities of projection and so on for the technical side of the cinema operation! You can see my profile on the ICO website here and a page on JW3 Cinema here as well as my top 10 films.
One of my favourite parts of the JW3 Cinema programme that I work on are the film club evenings on Monday nights. We have a Foodies Film Club which involves screening a film all about food (we’ve had Babette’s Feast, I Am Love, What’s Cooking) and the team at Zest restaurant prepare a relevant edible item connected to the film that the audience can eat whilst watching the foodies film. I run our Comedy Film Club in partnership with the wonderful LOCO – London Comedy Film Festival. Each film is introduced by a comedy / film expert who is passionate about that film. I love having a laugh on those evenings and happily the list of excellent comedy films, many with Jewish connections seems to be never ending! In our first season we screened Harold and Maude, Coming To America and Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Our Misogynist Film Club (the only one in the UK!) is an opportunity for a feminist celebration of the terrible portrayal of women in film and we have had speakers including Isy Suttie, Caroline Quentin and Henrietta Foster talk about these films they love to hate. In 2014 our film clubs have been re imagined and we will have an Edible Cinema experience as a Foodies Film Club special, more great comedy films and excellent speakers as well as a new film club – the Artists’ Film Salon for filmmakers and film fans. I’ll be sharing more about these soon.
I’ve also organised some very exciting crossover special events taking place in the JW3 hall which unite film and music. I’ve invited Kasper Holten, director of opera at the Royal Opera House, London and cultural commentator Norman Lebrecht for an in conversation and Q&A after a screening of the feature film Don Giovanni (JUAN) directed by Kasper Holten. You can find out more about the event here . I’m also organising an Oscars™ Warm-Up Night and screening of Searching For Sugar Man introduced by the producer Simon Chinn complete with red carpet, cocktails and real statuette from the awards! To add to the excellent events of the season, I have organised for my choir the English Chamber Choir to perform at JW3 and I will be singing Handel’s Israel In Egypt with them plus the English Players on period instruments in concert! You can see more information about the concert here.
The coming weeks are hard work for artist and educator Victoria Trinder who is officially launching IKTA (which stands for I Keep Thinking About) the creative, collaborative experimental sound network she founded in 2012. Victoria has been busy all year while on her MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Art & Design where she has been exploring her sound art practice through collaborating with other creatives including designers, musicians, curators and technicians. Victoria will launch IKTA at a VIP party during the private view for the Chelsea College of Art & Design end of course show on 6th September. Below is an introductory film documentary, during which IKTA members including myself talk about the organisation.
Victoria has been building interactive sound objects, sound sculptures, listening posts and instruments to use in recording and manipulating sound ranging from an underwater microphone to a percussive mechanism housed inside an emptied food jar! Victoria uses traditional modes of composition together with experimental improvisation and she also hosts IKTA as an Internet Radio station that acts as a platform for emerging creative voices regardless of age, gender and cultural backgrounds.
IKTA frequently broadcasts experimental sound sessions online and IKTA is active across all the online social media platforms as well as Sound Cloud where tracks are posted for listeners around the world to comment on.
For the IKTA launch, Victoria has been working on creating a special VIP area on the Cookhouse building balcony which will only be accessible to people that IKTA has collaborated with over the past year. It is a celebration of the work of the organisation but the event will also become a performance piece itself, as the VIP party is watched by onlookers in the Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground below at Chelsea College of Art & Design during the MA show private view.
There will be special sound performances and recordings being played on the night by IKTA members and throughout the show run and the lead up to it, the space will operate as an open creative, collaborative sound lab for sound experiments, recordings and rehearsals. Victoria has been preparing the area by doing everything from sewing together sails for a canopy in case of rain, putting together hanging baskets of flowers and even a red carpet!
I was lucky enough yesterday to host a live IKTA broadcast and live sound lab in my home where Victoria and I created a sound scape of the IKTA manifesto using saxophone, clarinet and our voices to interpret the text of the manifesto and you can listen to the results below.
I have found being involved in IKTA to be an extremely rewarding experience as IKTA has an open to all policy, meaning that anyone wherever they are based can be involved online or in person and there is no need for any traditional musical training or previous experience of working with experimental sound. IKTA members range from age 17 to those whose practice is based in spatial and technology design or musical education, but all these skills and different backgrounds are united to experiment with sounds together.
For me, in my own curatorial practice, I have always been fascinated by the alternative side of music, leading to sound art. So when I met Victoria and months later, when I became curator at Notting Hill Arts Club, I was thrilled to be able to invite IKTA to perform a live sound lab session at the launch of my multi arts series at the venue, which you can read about here.
Although I am a classically trained singer, IKTA has allowed me to explore a different side to music making which is less rigid and prescribed. I was even convinced to play clarinet which I haven’t done for years and I have also tried experimenting with spoken word! Click here to see a Vine Video of me rediscovering my clarinet and its thanks to IKTA that I’ve started to use Vine too, which is a mobile app owned by Twitter that enables its users to create and post short video clips.
Here’s to the official launch of IKTA and its future!
As I’m lucky enough to live on Brook Green in West London and I’ve been interested in the artistic history of the area, I was very pleased to discover that an exhibition focussing on Brook Green Artists 1890-1940 would be on show at the local Hammersmith Library.
the exhibition organiser, local resident Gilia Slocock explained her motivation behind the exhibition –
The idea that Brook Green was home to a number of artists and designers at different times, many of whom must have known each other, is a really fascinating one, and one I’ve long been meaning to research further myself. There are other parts of London (such as Holland Park, or Camden) which are better known as artists’ enclaves, but this area was home to a thriving artistic community too.
When I spoke to Gilia at the exhibition, she said that she decided to see her idea through when she was walking around on Cork Street and saw that there was a Cyril Power print in the window of the Redfern Gallery and so she was inspired by seeing that there is interest in Brook Green artists
The exhibition displays prints of work by artists Cyril Power, Sybil Andrews, Leon Underwood and work by Silver Studio. Silver Studio was located at number 84 Brook Green, just a few doors down from where I live and there is a blue plaque up on the wall of the building stating: THE SILVER STUDIO Established here in 1880 ARTHUR SILVER 1853-1896 REX SILVER 1879-1965 HARRY SILVER 1881-1971 Designers lived here.
Silver Studio was an important textile design studio in the UK from 1880 until the middle of the twentieth century. Founded by Arthur Silver, the studio designed some of the most famous fabric, wallpaper, carpet and metalwork designs for companies such as Liberty’s, Turnbull and Stockdale, Sanderson and Warner and Sons Ltd. Below you can see a selection of the Hero design which was designed by Arthur Silver in 1895. It was then sold to Liberty’s of Regent Street who still use it today! These four colourways are for furnishings fabric.
In 1901 Silver’s son Reginald (Rex) Silver took over the studio and ran it until 1963. At its most productive, the studio created more than 800 designs per year. The studio was renowned for its distinctive Art Nouveau style, although over the years they produced a wide variety of different designs and styles, including many of the famous “Liberty”-styles. The Silver Studio collection is now housed at Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (MODA) Middlesex University.
My favourite images from the exhibition are those from the 1930s that depict movement, ranging from tube trains and escalators to dancers and skaters. I was reminded of the portrayals of dynamism by Italian Futurists in the early 1900s such as Umberto Boccioni and Carlo Carrà which I love and enjoy encountering at the Estorick Collection in North London.
I really enjoyed seeing more Silver Studio designs and felt that the artistic feel of the Brook Green neighbourhood came to life in this exhibition.
There are a couple of days left to see the exhibition at Hammersmith Library which I highly recommend
- Friday, July 5 – 11am to 4.30pm
- Saturday, July 6 – 11am to 4.30pm