A little more notice this time (only just) for this Sunday's Rockpreneurs Competition

10 Pool Valley
Brighton, BN1 1NJ

This Sunday 5th June, the day after the Kemptown festival (when the sun always shines), Mybandtv are hosting the semi-final of their Rockpreneurs competition at The Haunt.

Created to provide new bands with a showcase for their talent, the top ten semi-finalists nominated via public voting will be given the opportunity to perform three tracks live, which will be filmed for further voting after the event. Once the final three have been chosen they will be taken on a lemon bus to meet the Rockpreneurs who will decide on the winner. 

The winners will receive an amazing prize, consisting of the chance to produce a single professionally, digital distribution, production of a promo video, radio play and interviews with Juice FM, Brighton and Hove Community radio and Radio Reverb, a professional photo shoot from Studio 27 and free specialist business and legal advice from Independent Label Scheme.

The bands that have made it through to this Sunday are: Birdeatsbaby, Echo Rain, Liquid Fuse, The Beautiful Word, Justice Force Five, The Doppler Shift, ImmaSubliminals, The Rumours, Killing Vegas.
The show will be presented by the Juice FM breakfast team Guy and Andrea while the DJ collective Soul Casserole will be bringing their brand of modern and classic soul and funk to the decks to keep the party buzzing.

Watch out for the videos of the bands, which will be posted on mybandtv website for public voting from Mon 20th June – Sun 7th August 2011.   The final three will be announced Mon 8th Aug.

Door entry £4

Doors open 6.30pm til late


Short Notice I know but worth a mention, FRINGE FESTIVAL SHARING EVENT

There's a great free sharing event happening today from midday til three, if you can make it

64 Edward Street
Brighton, BN2 0JR
Phone: 01273 681368

Thanks to an email I’ve just opened from Cat at GreenCycleSussex, the free cycle service for Brighton and surrounding area (including Hove), I’ve just found out about a FRINGE FESTIVAL SHARING EVENT happening today.

Created to celebrate and encourage the ways in which a local community can share talents, produce, clothes and anything else you can think of, there’s a whole host of options:

Food Share – bring something vegetarian to contribute to the Crowdshare Carnival picnic that will be available today.

Clothes Swap – bring up to 5 items of women's, men's, children's clothing or accessories of good quality and condition and swap or exchange them for free in the clothes swish area run by MySwish.

Song Share – bring your mp3 player to hit the decks at the DJ workshop sessions (kid and adult friendly).

Art Share - artists who have previous experience of spray painting are invited to work with the spray paint artist on an exciting project. Or, if not you can still take part in Same Sky's BIG ART SHARE, just wear suitable clothing.

Circus Share – try your hand at aerial circus skills (trapeze etc), again maxi dress not suitable.

Stuff Share – bring an item that is in good condition that you no longer need or use. This can be a toy that is no longer played with, a DVD that you don't watch or something else once loved but no longer needed.

Recipe Share - Please bring a homespun, family or tried-and-true recipe to share with others, preferably one that uses up leftovers or not-so-fresh food in a fun and interesting way.

It all sounds great, just wish I could make it.


Going Out for a Pop-up Restaurant

Whitecross Street BN1 4FA
Tel: 07553 819342

There's nothing like falling out with the person you were planning to have a jolly evening with to start the night on a wrong footing.  So with a begrudging companion, slightly late, a little harassed and regretting my choice of £7 fuchsia wedges from New Look (my own nod to the seventies), the pair of us arrive.

The Pop-up restaurant has set up shop in City College, Whitecross Street where Euan and Chris have teamed up with the catering students for the second year running.  Assisted by professional chefs and front of house the Pop-up is a great opportunity to provide the kids with invaluable real life experience of working in a restaurant.

Transforming the dining room into a paean of all things seventies from the drapes on the windows, the projected pictures on the wall to the sound track and bar seating area, despite sucking lemons we could not help but admit that the overall effect was really fun.  The bar seating area in itself is worthy of note comprising of a set of brown leather sofas with coffee table and overhanging lamp, all provided by Jennie of Retrospect, Kemptown, making us feel like we had well and truly returned to our youth.

Retrospect, Kemptown

Retrospect, Kemptown

On the wall a projector rotated images from Euan's mother's 70s recipe book with suggested recipe ideas like sauerkraut with coleslaw and grey-tinted salmon, fascinating how times have changed.  My companion, still not fully back in favour at this point quips, Well, if it's really going to be authentic does that mean I can smoke?

Seated at a table for two we realise that ordering just a main isn't an option, it's a three course set menu for £17 each and another £12 each for a selection of four wines to accompany the meal.  This is of course not bad at all, but as I've offered to pay I'm doubling these costs in my head and feeling as begrudging as my begrudged companion.  Rats.  So I plumb for a single glass of Sancerre, which tastes awful!

We order from the kids and the starter of smoked salmon is trolleyed out and sliced off the fish by one of the students while training two others.  By this stage the infectious light-hearted mood has started to rub off on us as we share in the delight of the experience only to be then completely won over by the main of chicken kiev and cheese mash.  In fact it tastes so good that if this pop-up turned into a permanent fixture I would definitely come back solely on this basis.

Pop-up restaurant, chicken kiev and cheese mash
Our evening now totally transformed our only concern left was our choice of dessert and that's a no-brainer, a 70s night can only be fully complete with a bit of crepe suzette flambe razzmatazz.  Again trolley-service-tastic, the pancakes are cooked up on portable heaters and the Cointreau set alight in front of us.

The weekends are even better with artists Jan Irvine, Geo Parkin, and Bridget Davies creating original pieces of art on site, which will be auctioned for the local Alzheimer’s Association charity at the end of the Festival. Alongside this the students are receiving such great practice that last year those involved achieved the best passing-out results in the history of the faculty.

With the Pop-up Restaurant ticking so many boxes, this is the perfect Fringe event and definitely worth getting involved in, the more so the better.  Turns out my £7 shoes were perfect after all.


Brighton Festival Guide

Hurrah! the Brighton Festival and Fringe are only days away. This is definitely the best month of the year in Brighton and has provided me with some of the funniest, weirdest and most spectacular nights out.  And that's only a few reasons why the Festivals in May are so great.

Some of the quirkiest highlights for me have included watching a kooky woman on stage, dressed and singing like a soprano while baking a cake interspersed with funny anecdotes (she was such an amazing singer she made the man in front of us cry).

Then there was a play written and performed by sixth formers on the edge of an enormous fish tank with live sharks swimming about in the waters below.

Attending a talk and evening walk through woodland to hear nightingale birdsong.

Following a group of performers crouching, hanging and holding on to buildings in urban spaces around Brighton.......seriously the list goes on.

But what I don't like is missing out and with the amount of different Festivals all taking place in the month of May the options become a bit bewildering.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Brighton Festival
So, to help you navigate your way through, please have a look at my guide of what's on offer.

The Brighton Festival 2011

Dates  7 – 29 May

What’s that about?
A cultural festival, this year guest directed by Aung San Suu Kyi the Burmese Human Rights campaigner and Nobel Prize winner, covering visual & physical art, film, books, theatre, music and debate. The programmed events are carefully chosen, including many one-off events and worth booking in advance.

What’s the deal?
Billed as Three weeks of unrivalled arts celebration, the themes for this year are freedom and exile, explored in various ways.  Most poignantly expressed by Aung San Suu Kyi, 'we all think of the Brighton Festival as an occasion, a time for festivity, for diversity, for creativity, for expression, for freedom of expression. This is especially important to us in Burma who have been deprived of this right of freedom for very many years'.

Thanks to a number of street performances, art exhibitions, live music and a children’s parade there are opportunities throughout the three weeks to join in the jollity, challenge your perception or be stimulated and inspired without paying a penny. In addition to that, there are also over 100 performances for £10 or less, standby tickets and other deals to look out for.

What’s not to miss?
Last year the outdoor performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Globe on Tour was the best Shakespearean production I’d ever seen, which means this year we’re back for more of the bard, hoping As You Like It will be just as impressive.  Due to many others having the same idea the performance we are attending is already sold out but get in there if you can.

Brighton Festival Fringe
Brighton Fringe Festival 2011

Dates  7 – 30 May

What’s that about?
Whereas you could say the Brighton Festival came up with a good idea, you could add the Fringe has well and truly run with it. And if festivals were members of a family, then the Brighton Festival would be the older brother, doing everything right, sensible, successful, ordered. By contrast the Fringe would be the youngest, sometimes funny, sometimes annoying, a bit of an upstart but refreshingly new. Enough of the analogies, I’m not even going there with the middle child, can of worms, can of worms.

What’s the deal?
There are three dates 7, 21 and 28 where New Road in the centre of Brighton will be buzzing with performances between 1 – 4 pm including an acrobat suspended from a helium balloon, comedians, musicians and dance demonstrations all for free.

What’s not to miss?
So many options, it's difficult to choose.  The local newspaper the Argus awards Argus Angels for the best shows, which is a good way of jumping on a bandwaggon.  Or just go for a category you know you like, for instance comedy or cabaret and head for the one that appeals the most.  If you end up going to a real dud, don't be put off as there will be so many others that will leave you buzzing.
My first foray will be to head to the pop-up restaurant, a 70's themed restaurant with artists at work on the premises, open from 7th -28th.

Artists Open Houses (AOH) May Festival
Artists Open House, Brighton 2011

Dates  Weekends 7- 8, 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29 May

What’s that about?
With over 250 venues taking part, the best way to experience the Open Houses is to pick up a brochure and choose an area, then follow the trail of exhibitions within that area. The trails in the past have led me into mews I didn’t know existed, converted buildings and private homes which have benefited from having an artist’s eye creating stunning hidden gardens and interiors that are as unique as the art exhibited.

What’s the deal?
The brochures are free and can be picked up from various locations listed on their website including The Dome box office, Brighton and Hove libraries and stations, and at all Artists Open Houses.  There are no entry fees and you can often buy tea and cake and sit for a while to enjoy your surroundings.

What’s not to miss?
The Bungeroosh Gallery at 25 Marine Square is always full of a mixture of jewellery, art and crafts as well as a very warm welcome.  In Hove there is a hidden mews called Lansdowne Mews where many artists have studios, viewing art within the space where it is created somehow has the effect of making it feel more raw, adding an extra dimension, which is a delight in itself.

The Great Escape
The Great Escape, Brighton 2011

Dates  12 – 14 May

What’s that about?
Billed as Europe’s leading festival for new music, this is an amazing platform for all the talent that is out there, a fair amount nourished locally and a great chance to see bands on their way up.

What’s the deal?
You can buy a three day ticket for £49.50.  The trick is to be massively organised, with 30 venues and over 300 artists if you don't already know where the venues are then look them up in advance and plan to stay in a couple rather spend your whole night in queues or right at the back.

What’s not to miss?
Honestly, I couldn't tell you.  Never heard of any of them.  I'll have to ask my many knowledgable musos to give me a heads up on this one.

Charleston Festival

Charleston Festival, 2011
Dates  20 – 29 May

What’s that about?
Billed as Where books, ideas and creativity bloom, Charleston covers the most talked about books to emerge in the last year from celebrated writers and personalities.

What’s the deal?
This year two events I would love to be going to are already sold out, Mark Logue, Lionel’s grandson and custodian of the family archive, discusses how true the film is to reality with Peter Conradi, co-author of the book, The King’s Speech.  While the youngest of the Mitford siblings, Deborah Devonshire gives her take on her family's aristocratic life, sisterly gossip, elopements, affairs, extreme politics, a cast of writers, artists and politicians.  That said, I am going to hear Amanda Vickery talk about Behind Closed Doors, At Home in Georgian England, revelling in the details of domestic life and offering a new way of seeing objects and characters.  As I'm pretty fascinated by the 1790s and Vickery is a very intelligent and eloquent speaker, then it's Happy days!


Going Out for some wall art

Going Out for some wall art

With May upon us, how quickly did that happen?  Visitors to Brighton will be bombarded with art and culture literally from every angle, in every form and a great deal of it for free.  This is all good and with so much to look out for I thought I'd bring you some new wall art that has recently sprung up to look upwards at.  The latter I watched develop over a series of days, in part de-mystifying the impressive nature of art on such a large scale, in part further adding to its appeal.

Wentworth Street wall art, off St James' Street, Kemptown

Wentworth Street, off St James' Street, Kemptown

Alice Dreams wall art, Middle Street, Brighton

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:

Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--

And why the sea is boiling hot--

And whether pigs have wings."