EXHIBITION REVIEW: Vanley Burke ‘By The Rivers Of Birminam’ (mac Arts, Birmingham)

Since the mid-1960s, Vanley Burke has photographed the Jamaican community in the Handsworth area of Birmingham. ‘By the Rivers of Birminam’ brings together 100 new and existing images for the first time, which explore the history of the Caribbean community in the city from 1967 to present day. Curated by Lynda Morris, the exhibition charts Vanley Burke‟s practice over the last 45 years, during which time he has produced what is considered to be the greatest photographic document of Caribbean people in post-war Britain, detailing the experience of Black people in  the UK and their community identity.

Not only photographs but also press cuttings telling the story of Jamaican immigration to Birmingham, tracking the story of a community that bring such a rich culture to our city. As a more recent migration to the U.K. this contemporary collection is both eye opening and meaningful that takes the viewer through a journey of the unknown migrant looking for a better life by allowing us to see part of their lives through their own eyes but in an environment that’s familiar to the a local Brummie.

Definitely a must see exhibition and best of as with all MAC exhibitions … it’s free! A piece of our history to help us understand the history of the people with live and work with more.

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Eleni Kypridemos

NEWS: Chris Tucker Announce UK Stand Up Shows

Superstar actor and stand up comedian Chris Tucker has today announced that he will be coming to the UK in November to perform 3 very special stand up shows in London, Birmingham and Manchester. Chris Tucker tickets will go on sale 9am Friday 7th September from www.ticketmaster.co.uk or www.livenation.co.uk
The American actor and comedian is best known for playing the role of Detective James Carter in the Rush Hour film series. Tucker became a frequent stand up performer on Def Comedy Jam in the 1990s. He came to prominence in 1995 film Friday alongside Ice Cube, and then appeared in Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element before beginning work on the highly commercially successful Rush Hour films.
In 2006 he negotiated an unprecedented $25 million salary to appear in Rush Hour 3, which at the time made him the highest paid actor in Hollywood. Tucker is also a humanitarian and spends much of his spare time traveling and working with his foundation. He has recently completed a film project entitled “Silver Lining Playbook” with Robert DeNiro and Bradley Cooper due out later this year.
Tickets are sure to fly out the door for these rare shows, so don’t miss your chance.
November 2012
SATURDAY                   24         LONDON HAMMERSMITH APOLLO
MONDAY                      26         BIRMINGHAM SYMPHONY HALL
WEDNESDAY                28         02 APOLLO MANCHESTER
Tickets go on sale 9am Friday 7th September priced at London £38.50 &£35.00 adv / Regional £32.50 adv (subject to booking fee) and are available from www.livenation.co.uk

THEATRE REVIEW: Dancy Dick, New Alexandra Theatre (Birmingham), 21.08.2012

“Dandy Dick”, presented by Theatre Royal Brighton, is easily the greatest theatrical staging I have seen in 2012. It is so good that before I tell you anymore, I urge you to see if you can get tickets to the production, even if you have to travel halfway across the country in order to see it.

“Dandy Dick”, which features well-known stars of the stage and screen, Patricia Hodge and Nicholas Prevost, was written in 1887 and centres around the Very Reverend Augustin Jedd. Jedd has always preached to his community about the perils of gambling, but after his deliciously naughty sister Georgiana pays him a visit, he throws all caution to the wind. The drama that ensues is edge of the seat gripping.

“Dandy Dick” is simply hilarious! There is nothing better than clean, light hearted dramatic comedy. A wonderful night was had by all, though our bellies ached with laughter. It’s not just the words that make this performance but the marvellous acting and wonderfully Victorian back drops.

A super night, that was truly funny – I would definitely go again, in fact I’m thinking of booking myself a set of tickets and see it in it’s home town of Brighton!

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Eleni Kypridemos

LIVE REVIEW: Madonna, NIA (Birmingham), 20/07/2012

In the eyes of the press Madonna is the devil’s spawn. Having dominated the headlines since the mid 80s it seems that the press have a message which they want her to receive loud and clear – MOVE ON! However, as the sold out NIA proves, Madonna still boasts a dedicated following who hang on her every word and are unwilling to write her off as past it. In amongst them am I, a Madonna latecomer. Not old enough to remember Madonna in her ‘hey-day’, I really discovered Madonna circa “Ray Of Light” and only then fell in love with her diverse back catalogue. With her latest release “MDNA” proving her least accomplished to date, if the reviews are the be believed, the excited audience anticipate how Madonna will structure the evening’s setlist.

As the hungry fans await The Queen of Reinvention, they are treated to the worst opening act ever witnessed. There is no denying that Swedish DJ Alesso is able to mix, but his lack of presence, unimaginative song selection and sheer nonchalance ensure that barely a shoulder is shrugged during his everlasting 45 minute set. Unimpressed many of the crowd opt for the bar, giving the NIA a distinctly empty feel.

Disappointed as Madonna’s choice of support, an unease sets through the patient punters, who opt for an inevitable Mexican Wave as they await the Queen of Pop. In true Madonna style, the set starts 45 minutes late, but as the impressive set is unveiled, a chant of Madonna results in euphoria as Madonna launches into recent single “Girl Gone Wild”, accompanied by sensational choreography, that immediately proves Madonna is far from the fuddy duddy of recent press reports.

Cleverly mixing “MDNA” material with her classic hits, Madonna ticks all the boxes. This is no “Greatest Hits” tour, but fans wanting the classics are far from disappointed. While “One More Chance” is a little shaky, and the over performed, sexually charged ballad version of “Like A Virgin” provide the set lowlight, “Vogue” and “Hung Up”  are performed with clear relish, while “Express Yourself” is fused with Lady Gaga’s copycat track “Born This Way”.

Though the classics provide the clear set highlights, “MDNA” also proves its worth. The Oscar nominated “Masterpiece” is a tender addition to Madonna’s ballads, while the riotous “I Don’t Give A *” prompts chants and applause. Most reminiscent of her sadly overlooked “American Life” phase, “I Don’t Give A *” is an overlooked anthem that warrants celebration. But it is the psychedelic “I’m A Sinner” that easily levels with Madonna’s bigger hits.

With flawless production values, Madonna ensures her audience leave on a high. Stunning set, sensational routines and an energetic star centre stage, Madonna effortlessly silences the critics and wows those that really matter-the fans. Madonna may not be as young as she once was, but who can name one young upstart who can deliver live vocals, dance moves and sheer entertainment in Madonna’s league?

Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jeremy Williams

NEWS: Black Sabbath Announce Initimate Birmingham Show

In preparation for their hugely anticipated headline performance at this year’s Download Festival, Black Sabbath have announced an intimate homecoming show at the O2 Academy in Birmingham on Saturday, 19th May. The show will be the band’s first in Birmingham for thirteen years. A donation to Help for Heroes will be made from the proceeds of the show – ticket details below.

Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler return to their hometown for this exclusive show following November’s momentous announcement that the band are currently working on their first studio album in thirty three years with seven-time Grammy winning producer Rick Rubin. It will be their ninth studio album together and their first since 1978’s Never Say Die!
Black Sabbath is one of the most influential rock bands of all time. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, “The success of their first two albums ‘Black Sabbath’ and ‘Paranoid’ marked a paradigm shift in the world of rock. Not until Black Sabbath upended the music scene did the term ‘heavy metal’ enter the popular vocabulary to describe the denser, more thunderous offshoot of rock over which they presided.”
Following the release of their self-titled debut album in 1970, “The Original” Black Sabbath have gone on to release eight acclaimed studio albums and sell over seventy million albums worldwide. In 2005 the band were inducted into the U.K Music Hall of Fame by Angus Young of AC/DC. This was followed by their induction in 2006 into the U.S Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed on them by Metallica’s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich.
Black Sabbath will headline the legendary Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago this August before returning to the studio to finish recording their long-awaited studio album.
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