Posts Tagged ‘ Summerhall ’

Cock, Cock…Who’s There?

Cock, Cock…Who’s There?

An ambitious outing, Cock, Cock…Who’s There? is Samira Elagoz’s personal documentation on the complex relationship between violence and intimacy after being raped by a partner she had previously trusted.
It is an experimental audacious piece which uses social media and video documentation as Elagoz embarks on her own brand of catharsis and discovery to try to endeavour how men actually see her but putting herself in situations where she has set them up to be observed. Recording their reactions to her femininity and whether they see her as strong or vulnerable and whether she can only ever view from subjective rather than objective perspective.
It is an intense production which resonates after the show as it puts a lot of energy into trying to understand how men view women and how the male gaze is still prominent within society.
Elagoz does a good job of seemingly being simultaneously involved and detached from her findings and the videoed events unfolding on the screen behind her as she watches impassively. It is not ‘entertainment’ in any traditional sense nor does it even masquerade as such but it is a deeply personal experimental piece that has some resonance with a sympathetic- or even empathetic- audience.
****
Cock, Cock Who’s There? is on at Summerhall until August 26th (not 20th) at 6,45pm

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Bottom

Bottom

This one man show performed and conceived by Willy Hudson is a humorous and insightful look into the gay community and how its internalized homophobia is as restricting as any other form of homophobia.
Beginning with Hudson rushing onstage clad only in a pink towel and asking an audience member to pass him his dinosaur print underwear once he is decent the show proper can begin.
What follows is an exploration as to how as he has defined himself as a ‘bottom’ in the bedroom whether this transfers to him being a bottom in the rest of his life also-ie is he always going to be the one who gets screwed.
Certainly there is a vulnerability about Hudson’s character which suggests this might be so and when he finds himself on a third date which takes a strange turn when he discovers that his paramour is also a bottom he ponders whether such restrictions are binding and how often do they get in the way of any real relationship development.
The show is fast paced with slower moments of introspection and there is a lot of referencing Beyonce including an over-extended dance work out to her Love on Top which frankly I felt overstayed its welcome somewhat.
Despite this the show is an amiable expose of the restrictions the gay community imposes on itself and how once labeled as one thing it is hard to be taken seriously as another. Hudson does a good job of drawing attention to just how ridiculous this is and showing there is no point of coming out if you are prepared to jump straight back into another box.
Definitely a show worth seeing and Hudson is a confident stage presence who uses his vulnerability to great effect.
****
Bottom is at Summerhall until August 26th(not 13th and 20th) at 4.25pm

LOVE SONG TO LAVENDER MENACE

Love Song to Lavender Menace

It is hard to envision in these times of gay marriage, civil partnerships, Pride marches in so many major cities and a whole new level of understanding that at some point in our recent history a bookshop which sold gay themed literature could cause such a stir in its local community especially considering that community was Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh.
But we need look back no further than 1982 when Bob Orr and Sigrid Nielsen rose to the challenge of taking their makeshift bookstall in the cloakroom of the legendary gay club Fire Island to new premises in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town and in the process naming it Lavender Menace.
Written by James Ley and directed by Ros Phillips the witty and well observed script centres around two main protagonists Lewis (Pierce Reed) and Glen (Matthew McVarrish) as they prepare to celebrate the shop’s 5th birthday and pay homage to Sigrid and Bob. It is a celebration tinged with conflicting emotions however as the shop is closing and moving onto new premises under the name West and Wilde.
Alongside this change Lewis and Glen have some unresolved issues between each other that have been lurking beneath the surface since their very first encounter –which incidentally is acted out brilliantly with skill, wit and verve.
Juxtaposed alongside the main storyline are several others including a closeted married man who can’t quite cross the threshold of the shop to explore his desires he believes lies in the literature held within until it is too late; the shop has closed and its owners and stock have moved on.
Several flashback scenes capture the energy, excitement and new freedoms of being gay that started to emerge in the eighties. The soundtrack includes many anthems and favourites of the era and they work brilliantly in the context of the stories as they unravel.
Definitely a Fringe highlight for me this year Love Song to lavender Menace captures not only an era but for me personally brings back so many evocative memories of the times, the bookshop itself and even some of the characters mentioned in the play. You do not have to have a personal interest in the story however as the emotions- happy, sad, proud and defiant- it captures are universal and the story is likely to touch anyone who sees it due to its great performances, fast-paced drama, tight direction and cleverly written dialogue.
A must see!
*****
Love Song to Lavender Menace is on at Summerhall at 12.55pm daily (except Mondays) until August 27th

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

In a week that the news has seen Donald Trump rip families apart and imprison children in cages it is hard to imagine that there is anything good in the world as this personification of evil grabs the headlines. The fact that he backtracked in the face of such adverse publicity shows not a concern for these distraught children or their heartbroken parents but merely an eye on his poll ratings which let’s face it is the only thing Donald Trump actually cares about.
Even his wife Melania spoke out at the inhumane treatment of these families then blew any notion that she may actually be human by wearing a jacket emblazoned with ‘I Really Don’t Care’ emblazoned on the back, whilst visiting said immigrant children at their detention centre, then insisting it was not a message but merely a jacket. Seriously, are these people for real?
It would seem that any form of outrage or sadness at these situations in the US- although we are playing catch up and not far behind them here- is fruitless as there seems little way to get through to these people and their bigotry, hatred and outright contempt for human beings except themselves and their appointed sycophants,
Trying to stay positive there has been a huge support for Scottish independence in the last week and even small sections of the media are opening up to the possibility that it may be more likely even though-excepting the National- they stop short of any real support. Hopefully the smug arrogance of The Tories, ably assisted by Labour, which precipitated last week’s SNP walkout at Westminster will be a lesson they deservedly live to regret.
Out and about in the capital this weekend there is more than plenty to see and do to distract from the abstract reality we seem to inhabit these days- ironically going out seems to provide a reality more real than the supposed real one we live in on a daily basis. How and when did that actually happen?
First up is the Refugee benefit at Leith Depot this evening which has a great line up including The Primevals, Johnny and The Deadbeats and The Normans all for the great price of £7.50. Doors open at 7.30 so get there early as all the acts are worth catching.
Also on at the National Museum of Scotland in Chamber Street is ‘Rip It Up’ a look back at Scotland’s contribution to pop and rock music over the last sixty years. Included are memorabilia, rarities and artefacts by artists such as Lulu, The Rezillos, Midge Ure, Simple Minds, The Skids, Big Country, Garbage, Franz Ferdinand and Young Fathers.
However the big one this weekend is The Rezillos at Summerhall on Sunday at 7pm which is the grand closing gig from a series at the venue over the last week which included The Skids and Big Country on a double bill. The Rezillos however will be a mighty show and with The Trama Dolls opening for them it is bound to be a night to remember.
Oh and if anyone is still interested the Edinburgh International Film Festival is also on, although I must admit I have found my appetite for this waning over the last few years but this year must admit I have lost interest completely.
There is also the matter of some football tournament that is called, I do believe, The World Cup. I must admit that I have found myself quite taken with it much against my natural instincts. Admittedly I am unable to distinguish which team is which as their strips confuse me; however that doesn’t matter as it is quite aesthetically pleasing to watch!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

It has been a while since politics has been a benign area where things run smoothly and in some relative order but this last week has been particularly inventive especially with the midweek SNP walkout during Prime Minister’s Question Time when they made it clear enough was enough.
Of course Donald Trump’s highly publicized visit to North Korea and his ‘summit’ with Kim Jong-un also made headlines with the assertion that North Korea was now a safer place but how much faith I place in that is highly disputable.
Back to the SNP walkout though and it certainly was interesting to see a party actually stand up not just for their constituents but for their country in general. The power-grab that Westminster instigated with less than twenty minutes debating time and not one member from Scotland being allowed to speak due to Tory filibustering- an antiquated method of blocking any serious debate that is a methodology they consistently return to but needs to be seriously reconsidered- was a shocking display of arrogance and contempt. It totally undermined the devolution process which has served Scotland and Wales well for nigh in twenty years.
Well done Ian Blackford and the rest of the SNP representatives for having the balls to stand up to this bullying and hateful attitude –when asked what the SNP could do about the situation a Tory response, to much jeering and laughter was ‘commit suicide’. I’ll just leave that remark there for a second and let it sink in!

It is really quite shocking that such a hateful response can be allowed to pass with no reprimand from the House Speaker whatsoever. Imagine if this took place in a school playground, or on social media, or a workplace or just anywhere else you would like to consider. Would it be considered acceptable? I very much doubt it so why then is it acceptable in the House of Commons by elected MPs? I am seriously baffled by this and am left in no doubt that the Tory party have no respect for Scotland whatsoever and possibly never have done.
The whole situation has obviously galvanized the Scottish electorate however as the SNP increased their membership by 5085 in the 24 hours following this incident which has been rather derogatorily referred to as a stunt and amateur dramatics by the jeering, boorish Tory party who would know more about such things than anyone else I suppose.
Meanwhile Donald Trump continued in his role as world saviour and advocate of peace and harmony- when he’s not tweeting about bombing people that is- when he visited North Korea to meet with Kim Jong-un this week in an apparent bid to persuade the dictator to give up his nuclear arms programme. There are many theories surrounding this and let’s face it when Trump is involved anything is possible. My own personal theory is that he misread his diary and was probably convinced he had a follow-up meeting with another Kim-of the Kardashian variety- and merely wanted to continue their conversation regarding who is versus who has the biggest arse in the world right at this moment.
Sometimes when it all gets too much- most of the time these days- there is very little else to do other than embrace hedonism and this is exactly what I intend on doing today. Or rather I am going to see a film which documents Studio 24 where hedonism was the byword for entry into an exclusive nightclub and world which is still legendary today. Really looking forward to this one and a review will be up as soon as I have seen it.
Also there are a few very worthwhile gigs coming up over the next month in the capital-before The Fringe returns and disrupts our lives for the whole of August- kicking off with The Rezillos at Summerhall on Sunday June 24th, then there is former Cramps bassist Fur Dixon at Opium on Saturday July 14th and last but very much not least there is legendary Sylvain Sylvain of The New York Dolls alongside The Filthy Tongues at the Voodoo Rooms on Friday the 27th.
All in all plenty to be getting on with!

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation
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Do they know it’s Christmas?
Well maybe ‘they’ do but with only two weeks to go I have managed for the second or third year running-I’ve lost count really- to totally avoid the whole debacle so far. This year however it has been entirely unintentional and despite every advert on TV proclaiming the event, every shop in town marketing itself towards it and even the return of the farcical and totally commercial vehicle Winter Wonderland blighting our cityscape I was still genuinely surprised when someone mentioned it was virtually days away.
I must admit my head had been bothered by other more important things recently including our government’s decision to go to war by sanctioning air-strikes on an already destructed and war-torn Syria. Confusion about what good this is actually going to do added to further confusion that MPs cheered this decision in the House of Commons when it was announced, especially as only a few months ago the SNP were admonished for cheering a speech which set out objectives to help the poor, vulnerable and needy. Perhaps cheering is only acceptable when poor, vulnerable and needy people in other countries who have already had their lives ripped apart are being bombed.
There was something particularly disheartening about watching this boorish display of macho bravado which confirmed to me that those making such important decisions are little more than overgrown schoolboys who have little compassion for civilian lives.
On top of this Donald Trump, who is intending to run for government in the US, thought it wise to announce that all Muslims should be banned from entering the country as they are a danger to Americans. It is beyond belief that such outright xenophobia still exists in a supposedly evolved culture but apparently it does and apparently it has support, cue that Hopkins woman leaping onto that bandwagon in her usual ungainly way.
A petition gaining over five hundred thousand signatures- the highest ever handed to this government- banning Trump from entering the UK has been doing the rounds and he has been decried by Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and been stripped off an honorary degree by the Robert Gordon University. Personally I don’t think this in any way goes far enough at all and every dry-cleaner globally should ban him from entering and having his hair cleaned.
Elsewhere although I have been moaning about the rain for weeks wondering just when and if it will ever end I must admit most of our grievances were not so bad when I saw what the poor inhabitants of Cumbria have been going through. My heart went out to them when I saw how their community had been wrecked by flooding but was heartened by their spirit in fighting back by banding together in an attempt to salvage what they could and plan for the future only for a second round of floods destroy all their valiant efforts and my heart sank again.
It makes my whingeing about getting wet every time I leave the house seem slightly irrelevant. It looks pleasant and dry enough out there today however but on recent form I don’t expect it to last and still think this is one of the most miserable winters in recent memory; discounting the snow deep ones of 2009 and 2010 of course.
In a vague attempt to try to raise some of my missing Christmas spirit- raising the Titanic would likely be less of gargantuan task- I am going to go along to Christmas Markets in St. Margaret’s House- London Road- and Summerhall over the weekend. On top of this there is also Neu Reekie’s XmasKracker at Central Hall on the 18th featuring with a bumper festive line up including Irvine Welsh, Liz Lochhead, White, Withered Hand and many others in what promises to be a night not to be missed. On top of all that I am also going to the camp piece of froth that is ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ starring Jason Donovan at the Playhouse next Friday which, by the way, is the real Black Friday and has been for years.I may also take a look at the ‘Street of Light’ on the Royal Mile which looks so impressive every time I pass, although less impressive is the brightest and most prominent lights of all declaring ‘Virgin Money’ which detracts more than a little from the spirit of the whole thing. If that lot doesn’t make me realise that Christmas is here then nothing will!

ALIEN LULLABIES: SONGS FROM A DECAYING FUTURE

Alien Lullabies: Songs From A Decaying Future
Doll Entrance 300dpi
Opening with hurtling images akin to an alien crash landing accompanied by manic, dislocated electronic scratching and whirling sounds this collaborative production between musician and singer Fiona Soe Paing and animator Zennor Alexander sets out its disorientating agenda from the get go.
For the first few minutes the audience is bombarded with sounds and visions creating and unsettling ambience that continues as the music settles itself into a slinky, pulsating electronic throb simultaneously detached in its pristine iciness and warm in an all-encompassing cocooning fashion.
Against the animated background and positioning herself slightly off centre Soe Paing makes her entrance shrouded in a black straw hat and high heels providing a mysterious charismatic figure. Almost straight away she starts singing in a mixture of English and Burmese creating what sound like filtered messages from another world, with lyrics slightly out of reach and beyond our comprehension. Meanwhile the bleeps, whooshes and whirrs of the electronic back beat provide the backbone and erratic heartbeat set against Alexander’s stunning animated responses featuring gliding swans and trains as modes of transport, mutant forms forming and collapsing alongside an arachnoid playing a harp. It becomes clear the vision here of the future ahead is not the shiny white pristine one we are promised in science fiction but instead it is decadent and decaying relying on machinery reminiscent of Fernand Léger’s cubist imagining of the future.
Whispers, screams, seductive cooing and distortion are just some of the many shapes and sounds Soe Paing summons up with her voice. Occasionally she leaves the stage and lets the visuals direct the narrative but it is the moments she is onstage that captivate and compel the most with her bi-lingual lyrics clarifying and confusing in equal measure. New single ‘Heartbeat’ is perhaps the slinkiest and most accessible of the tracks on show here tonight but it is in good company.
Alien Lullabies: Songs From A Decaying Future delivers on its title more than adequately. A stunning meld of sound and vision perfectly synchronised. If this is the future I want it now!
*****
Alien Lullabies: Songs From A Decaying Future is on at Summerhall at 10.35pm until Sunday 23rd August

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