Inspired By The East | London Literature Festival | The Laundromat | Excellent Essex | SicilyFest...
This week our cultural highlights blog heads east - first to Brick Lane to sample some Sicilian delights, then further afield to Essex as a new book gives us a much-needed reality check, and then much further east as we get truly Inspired by the East at the British Museum's new Islamic exhibit. We also check out what's hot at the London Literature Festival and cozy up to the new Netflix movie about the Panama Papers scandal, starring Meryl Streep.
SEE Inspired by the East. The British Museum’s latest exhibition organised in collaboration with the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia charts the fascinating journey of the artistic and cultural interactions between the East and West. From Islamic arches and patterns in architecture and richly decorated objects in ceramics and glass to paintings of harems, hookah smokers, dice players and snake charmers, this exhibition highlights centuries of art inspired by the Islamic world right from the medieval era. From Europe to North America, and the Middle East to North Africa, it traces the rise of Orientalism and reminds us all of the long-standing western fascinations with the Islamic world. Showcasing its positive contributions to art, culture, science and technology, it returns to some of the best moments in history, reignites an appreciation for Islam and the East and could not come at a better time.
Inspired by the East: how the Islamic world influenced art is now open at The British Museum until January. For more information, visit https://www.britishmuseum.org and follow @britishmuseum for updates on Twitter.
VISIT the London Literature Festival. The iconic South Bank Centre will be hosting the 13th annual London Literature Festival, which kicks off this week with 11 days of literary treats for all ages and tastes with daily talks from leading writers, poets and performers. Exploring themes such as fairy tales and why they are relevant, plus offering the chance to hear speakers such as Elizabeth Day, Armistead Maupin, Brett Anderson, Heather Morris, Lemn Sissay, Anthony Daniels, Nikki Giovanni, Fatima Bhutto and Jung Chang, the festival is set to bring together vibrant ideas and lively discussion. With a programme that reflects all ages and backgrounds, guests can immerse themselves with spoken word artists, music and family-friendly events such as Young Adult Literature Day, in which the best YA writers will present new work.
The London Literature Festival runs from 17 to 27 October. For more information, visit https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/london-literature-festival#events
WATCH The Laundromat. It has been three years since the world was rocked by the largest ever data leak known to mankind, as 11.5 million files belonging to offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca laid bare the unscrupulous activities and dodgy dealings of the super-rich. Almost in the immediate aftermath of the Panama Papers revelations, it was announced that prolific filmmaker Steven Soderbergh was to produce a film on the debacle, and this Friday we will finally witness the fruits of his labour. The biographical comedy-drama follows Ellen Martin (Meryl Streep), who, while investigating insurance fraud, is lead to a charismatic pair of Panama City lawyers (Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas) whose rogue practice helps the world’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals to exploit offshore havens, avoid paying tax and get around the law. Familiar faces, such as Sharon Stone and David Shwimmer, also star in this long-awaited exposé which shines a light on one of most controversial conspiracies of our time.
The Laundromat releases on 18 October on Netflix and in selected cinemas.
READ Excellent Essex. Dogged by degrading and pejorative stereotypes, Essex is without doubt Britain’s most misunderstood county. The sad truth is that when you mention the word “Essex” many Brits can only conjure up clichéd images of boy racers, lairy lads in white vans and promiscuous ladies fake tanned to the nines, and television shows like TOWIE and Birds of a Feather have only served to further reaffirm these stereotypes in the collective public imagination. Recent efforts have been undertaken by Visit Essex and the Radical Essex campaign to cast aside these worn-out cultural pigeonholes and showcase Essex in a different light, and Gillian Darley’s new book Excellent Essex is very much plugged into this fresh vision and debate. This positive, educational and highly entertaining biography of Essex is the perfect antidote. Throughout its pages, Darley’s passion for her homeland shines through as she depicts her beloved Essex as a diverse, rebellious, vibrant and unique land with colourful landscapes, architecture, history and people to boot. This is an important publication that will not only force readers to reassess how they feel about Essex, but will also hopefully make them think twice before they apply ill-informed and inaccurate generalisations as a whole.
DINE at SicilyFest. Foodies around London have become increasingly familiar with the wonders of Sicilian cuisine, as a range of high profile Sicilian eateries have opened up in the capital in recent years. Celebrating the culinary and cultural traditions which make this stunning island so unique, SicilyFest welcomes visitors once again to the Boiler House at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane for a weekend jam-packed with gastronomic delights, and so much more. Transport yourself to the cobbled streets of Catania or the balmy Mediterranean coastline with tasty samples of classic dishes such as cannoli, arancini, pasta alla norma and caponata, then wash it all down with a sweet wine, craft Sicilian beer, infused liqueur or gin, imported especially from the island. The pop-up market also features demos from high profile chefs, exhibitions of traditional arts and crafts and live music performances, which all combine to form a real Sicilian feast for the senses.
SicilyFest runs from 18 to 20 October at the Boiler House, the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/sicilyfestlondon/ and follow the #Sicilyfestlondon hashtag on Twitter.
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