Dubai in a Day

On our current trip to Sydney (to visit family and friends there), we had a 30-hour stop-over in Dubai. It was great fun, even though a bit short, of course. However, with limited time off work and our priority being on Sydney, 30 hours was about as much time as we could reasonably afford. Our Emirates Airbus 380 landed at about half eight in the evening at Dubai International Airport (DXB, the world’s third biggest airport) and an hour later we were at our hotel, which was two minutes’ drive (by taxi) from the airport. We just dropped our luggage and freshened up a bit, and were in another cab just a few minutes later, this time headed for nearby old town, also called Al Fahidi quarter, just 4km away from the airport, more or less on the way to downtown Dubai and the rest of Dubai (Jumeirah, Marina, etc.). […]

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‘Art’, the Play, Old Vic

We just watched ‘Art‘, the third play by Yasmina Reza, the 57 year old French writer and actress, who has been collecting many prestigious awards over the years (Molière, Tony, and Laurence Olivier Awards for ‘Art’ alone) and who is known for her satirical plays about the middle classes, the two best-known of which are, you guessed it, ‘Art’, and ‘God of Carnage’. ‘Art’ premiered in Paris in 1994 and in London two years later. The play was translated into more than 40 languages. I saw the German version in Munich with my parents and my sister in early 1997 and didn’t like it that much, mainly because my Mom was so uber-enthusiastically ecstatic about it that it put me off (it’s simply not cool to like what your parents like when you’re very young). The English-language adaptation, translated by Christopher Hampton, opened in London’s West End in 1996 and […]

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Manhattan Swing at the Royal Academy

We love the Royal Academy of Art and we try to do as many RA Lates as we can, this one not being the first one. It was called “Manhattan Swing” and aimed to emulate the 1940s and 1950s Manhattan of “abstract artists and beatniks in downtown Manhattan, Peggy Guggenheim and her new gallery Art of this Century, cocktail parties on the Upper East Side, Pollock’s drip paintings, jazz, beat poetry, dancing the jitterbug and sipping Martinis at the Savoy as we celebrate the era when New York overtook Paris as the capital of the art world.” The programme reads absolutely fabulous, ranging from intellectual talks and discussions about relevant topics such as “The Bohemia Incubator: Greenwich Village & Manhattan Post-War Culture” to Beat Poetry readings, live jazz music, DJs, free face painting, dance classes and painting workshops.       The lobby was turned into a dance floor, two bars, […]

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Watch a king have Posh ‘n’ Becks and an ingénue make it big

We watched The Libertine starring Dominic Cooper yesterday at the Haymarket Theatre Royal, Stephen Jefferys’ 1994 play portraying the life of John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, a real-life historic figure who would make Russell Brand blush, and who was previously portrayed by Johnny Depp (with John Malkovich and Rosamund Pike) in the homonymous 2004 movie.    We hadn’t been back to the Her Majesty’s (its former name) in a while, not since watching Waiting for Godot with Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen a while back. As always, it’s such a beautiful atmosphere and we loved the stage design, so stylish, and none of that abstract indulgence in geometric forms, patterns, and light effects, we’ve seen too often in recent years.    You watch the Earl sleep with a myriad of women or enjoy blow-jobs, on one occasion while his friend the king has sex on a balcony next […]

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Beyond Caravaggio – An Explosion of Light and Darkness

After our visit to Picasso’s Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, we thought, might as well, and despite us both not being very much into Renaissance art (we’re more into the late 19th, 20th and 21st century), we enjoyed the ‘Beyond Caravaggio’ exhibition at the National Gallery very much.      As one would expect form the National Gallery, the exhibition is beautifully curated and instead of focussing on Caravaggio’s work itself, it shows how he influenced his art in Europe for the two or three decades following his death, how other painters were influenced by him and – starting out from his work – created great art in their own right, in many cases greater than his art.      It was inspiring to see how Caravaggio (among others, of course, but this was not the point of the exhibition in question) purged the flatness and one-dimensionality, the awkward false […]

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