Hiphop in Rome

piotta-hiphop You might associate Rome with many things, but hip-hop probably isn’t one of them. So it’ll probably come as something of a surprise to hear that the Eternal City actually has a relatively well-developed rap and hip-hop scene.

Beginning around the early 80s, hip-hop and rap styles from African American culture crossed the borders across to Italy, where they found home in the left-wing “Centri Sociali”, or Social Centres, and were appropriated towards largely socialist ends.

rhhp The hip-hop style that finally emerged in Rome has tended to be softer than styles found further south, although the city has spawned hardcore hip-hop artist Colle der Fomento. Other hip-hop artists from Rome include Piotta, famous for his parody of the Italian “Coatto” (or chav).

Today, with Rome holding events such as the RHHP festival of hip-hop culture, the capital has become one of the main centres of hip-hop in Europe. This festival is one of Rome’s top events, and features everything from music to breakdancing and street art. It’s held in various locations throughout the city in September.

Hip-hop clubs in Rome

Clubs known for their hip-hop nights in Rome include:

  • Saponeria (Via degli Argonauti 20, Saturday nights) – one of the city’s classic hip-hop venues.
  • Gilda (Piazza di Spagna, Fridays) – a large club, that originated in the late 80s.
  • La Maison (Via del Governo Vecchio 46-47, nights vary: please check website) – an elegant venue that plays more downbeat hip-hop and lounge music.
  • Caruso Caffè de Oriente (Via di Monte Testaccio 36, Saturdays) – packed full of people dancing, offers salsa on other nights.la-maison-rome

London’s Secret Cinema

A secret cinema in London, 2012

secret-cinema-London Secret Cinema is a travelling cinema in London. It can be set up in a tunnel, a square, a parking lot or the roof of a building. This alternative to traditional cinema venues, with their staid rows of plush red seats and the crush of boxes of popcorn, came about in 2007, and is celebrated every month.

As to everything else, all the details which surround Secret Cinema are a London-Cinema-Secretcomplete mystery: which film you’ll see, where the projection will be or how the event will pan out, because in this curious cinema you won’t just be going to see a film. Projections are combined with other activities: picnics, parties, tourist visits, concerts… or whatever the organisers can dream up. In any case, the clothes, costumes and food and drink that might be present, as well as everything else, are always related to the theme of the film.

The mysteries of Secret Cinema will be revealed as soon as we receive an email with all the necessary instructions for the next film.

secret-cinema The success of Secret Cinema, London, has been so great that the idea has already been exported to other cities such as Berlin, Sydney and New York. And I might have told you… but don’t let anyone else know. It’s a secret!

If you want to participate in and discover this experience during your holidays in London, you just have to register on the webpage. Further more, now that the London 2012 Olympics are coming up, various sessions are being prepared to surprise those travelling to the British capital.

In Bloom, Nirvana exhibition in London

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To some, like me, it seems like time is flying by and it can’t be so, but it is. Twenty years have passed since Nevermind, one of the most successful albums in the history of music, came out on the market. To commemorate this anniversary, The Loading Bay Gallery in London, has opened a new exhibition dedicated to this album and the group who made it, Nirvana.

Nevermind consists of Nirvana’s second studio album and is a fundamental element in the history of rock and contemporary music. With more than 30 million copies sold worldwide, it introduced grunge to the public, stirred up the critics and had a great impact on this generation.

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The exhibition “In Bloom: the Nirvana Nevermind Exhibition” aims to celebrate Nirvana’s music and explore the relationship that the band had with its fans in the UK. Therefore, numerous objects related to this band from Seattle will be on display such as the sweater Kurt Cobain wore to promote the album, many unpublished photographs, replicas of the instruments that the band used when they recorded the album, tour posters and all kinds of memorabilia.

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On the 26th of September, the anniversary date of Nevermind, the classic album will be reissued but with different configurations. It will comprise a super-deluxe edition with 4 CD’s and 1 DVD, featuring unreleased tracks, alternative mixes and other rare performances, such as the concert on Halloween in 1991 in the Seattle Paramount Theatre.

The exhibition will be open to the public from the 25th of September and entrance is free, so if you happen to be in London around this date and you are a music lover then make sure you don’t miss out.

Watercolour exhibition in Tate Britain, London

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Currently showing in Tate Britain, London is the exhibition entitled “Watercolour”. It will be on display up until the 21st of August meaning that there’s very little time left if you want to see it.

The exhibition “Watercolour” aims to challenge your preconceptions of what watercolour is and it is no coincidence that it is being held in Great Britain, the British producing being some of the greatest exponents of watercolour. The art is considered a great part of British cultural heritage and is associated with masters such as Turner, Blake and Gritin.

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In “Watercolour” visitors will thus see some of the first British watercolour paintings, dating back almost 800 years and celebrating the full variety of ways watercolour has been used with pieces ranging from manuscripts and miniatures to maps and impressive foreign landscapes.

The exhibition is divided into various sections including The Natural World, Intimate Knowledge, Travel and Topography, Watercolour and War, Abstraction and Improvisation and Inner Vision, amongst others.

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In the various sections you can admire watercolours of flower and plant life, as well as paintings of misery, pain and illnesses, pieces featuring animals with sheep and goat skin, watercolours exploring the natural world and finally watercolours used in abstract painting.

Entrance to Tate Britain is free but access to the exhibition costs around 12 pounds. Plus, there is an extra 3 pound fee if you would like an audio guide, however the watercolours are very well explained and you are given a leaflet when you get there.

If you’re in London, make sure you don’t miss out!

Crystal Palace Overground Festival in London

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Taking place on Saturday the 13th of August is the Crystal Palace Overground Festival, an event offering a wide variety of musical shows and entertainment in Crystal Palace, London.

It is fast becoming one of the largest and most exciting musical events in the British capital with a continuously expanding programme and participating venues. Local pubs, restaurants, shops and studios around Crystal Palace Triangle will be hosting the festival events and gigs, and there will be stalls and buskers entertaining lucky visitors and locals alike over the festival dates.

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In addition, this year’s programme will be expanding to Westow Park where there will be sports events and a new playground opening for the kids, as well as the usual activities on offer during the festival including music, arts, workshops, poetry, comedy, film, fashion and a food and shopping village.

To get you in your mood there will also be some events taking place during the week running up to the big day that you can take part in, including live music, poetry and comedy, etc around Crystal Palace Triangle.

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The festival is supported by Crystal Palace, amongst other organisations and relies on funds donated by the public. So, the more money you give the better the programme will be!

You can also join in! If you’re an artist or performer then the festival is offering you the chance to take part. Apart from that, it is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to come together and enjoy the activities on offer. So, if you’re in London this August, make sure you don’t miss out.

Gastromusical in L’Escala, music and food combined on the Costa Brava

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Gastromusical is an unusual event combining gastronomy and music, in their attempt to create the perfect combination so that the notes just melt in your mouth.

The El Molí restaurant, situated in the heart of the Costa Brava in the town of l’Escala, has a lot of history. In the olden days it was a flour mill before it was converted into an electric power station, making L’Escala one of the first Catalan towns to have public lighting on the streets.

Five years ago, during the evenings in August, it also became the setting for Gastromusical, an event aiming to demonstrate that music and food are the perfect combination.

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The chef Jordi Jacas, a talented chef of Catalan cuisine, is in charge of coming up with a menu that is related to each one of the artists participating in the festival.

The first performance will be by Lidia Pujol, specialising in traditional music, on the 2nd of August, and Greek Roman dishes will accompany her act. On the 10th of August, Toti Soler Trío will be dishing up some music accompanied by a menu based on traditional home-made food.

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Mikel Erentxun, former member of Duncan Dhu, will be taking centre stage on the 17th, accompanied by Basque chef Juan María Arzak and finally, Chamorro and Andrea Motis will be performing at the closing party with a menu that will take you back to your childhood.

New in to the 5th edition of this event is the new cocktail area where festival-goers can meet and speak with the artists. It is the perfect way of bringing the crowd closer to the artists, which the festival has always attempted to do.

Festival Quartier d’été, summer culture festival in Paris

 paris_quartiers_ete_200_20070723 Currently taking place in Paris is Festival Quartier d’été, an open air summer culture festival held in the French capital. The aim is to bring high culture down to street level and make it accessible to everyone. Thus, the event features hundreds of arts performance including dance, circus, theatre and music ranging from classical music to Cuban hip hop.

The festival has now been running for 20 years and has consisted of an impressive mix of cultures and performers, with an entertaining combination of avant-garde and popular art from renowned artists and upcoming companies.

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Over the years it can boast of having welcomed artists from 80 different countries and hosted more 2,200 shows in over 300 different venues.

In addition, some events you have to pay for whilst others are absolutely free. And, the festival and artists are continuously coming up with new proposals to break barriers. They have carried out performances in swimming pools, trucks, and in churches, built circuses on the quay and set up open air stages on the canals, put up tents and played in the Parisian theatres.

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Thus, as the locals head off on holiday, visitors to the city can choose from an impressive 200 concerts taking place in parks across Paris including the Parc de Belleville overlooking the city.

There will be artists from the United States, India, Catalonia, Egypt, Belgium, Norway, the UK, and of course France, amongst others. They will be bringing theatre, jazz music, ballet, 70’s style rock, singing and cinema etc.

So, if you’re currently in Paris then you shouldn’t miss out on these great performances.

Alternative Village Fête 2011, quirky country style fair in London

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On the 28th and the 29th of August this year, the Alternative Village Fête will be taking place in London. It comprises a live art and performances event that aims to make this arts genre more accessible to the public.

In addition, it attempts to reinterpret the traditional British Village fête but with a slight twist and different take on things. Thus, arts and crafts, games, food and produce stalls, live music and dance with a more artistic touch, await visitors.

It will be taking place at the National Theatre Square and offering a quirky array of family events and unusual antics.

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Visitors and locals alike can expect contemporary barn dancing, hula hopping, craftmaking, dancing, arts and crafts stalls, tips for gents including how to doff your hat, alternative folk music, food and horticultural projects.

Feast on candy floss, sweeties, smoothies, team, cake and all kinds of sweet treats, as well as stock up on vintage products. If this year’s edition is anything like last year’s event then there will also be hill billy dancing, retro comic tunes and a whole array of rural inspired activities.

cake Those artists involved in the Village Fête 2011 include Cut a Shine Collective, Tom Marshman, 815 Agency, Ragroof Theatre, Crafternoon Tea Club, Plunge Boom, Made in China, Sophie Herxheimer, Victoria Moody and Nu Urban Gardeners, amongst many others together with local artists, performers and producers.

To conclude, if you’re in London this August and fancy a taste of authentic British, then heads down to this entertaining fête.

Cloud Dance Festival with Firefly, showcase of the best in new and emerging dance in London

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Taking place on the 22nd to the 24tth of July is the Cloud Dance Festival with Firefly, showcasing some of the best in new and emerging dance in London, and hosted by the Pleasance Theatre, London.

The Pleasance Theatre has been one of the most exciting and popular Fringe theatres since it opened in 1995. It aims to provide a platform for renowned artists and supply a launch pad for the talent of the future. It has housed and produced hundreds of companies, productions and performers, some of which you are sure to recognise including Graham Norton, Al Murray, Harry Enfield, Bill Bailey, Ross Noble, Harry Hill, Mark Thomas and the hilariously funny, The Mighty Boosh. The theatre has also featured in television programmes such as Spaced and episodes of Love Soup.

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Ever popular and with an increasing calibre in performances and artists every year, the Cloud Dance Festival will be bringing to visitors and locals alike shows and performances by Tommy Franzen, indie ballet from soloist Kristen Mcnally from the Royal Ballet, contemporary ballet from Edd Milton and Richard Bermange, appearances by the Exquisite Corpse Dance Theatre and Diciembre Dance Group, Deaf Men Dancing and Tommy Franzén, amongst many others.

Over 20 companies will be involved in the festival and performing over three nights, thus there should be something for everyone. Given that quality of the performances and the great line up, you are guaranteed not to be disappointed.

So, if you’re in London this weekend, and this sounds like your kind of event, make sure you don’t miss out!

Paris Autumn Festival, contemporary arts festival this September

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Taking place from September to December, just like every year, is the Paris Autumn Festival, a contemporary arts celebration in the French capital, which embraces and combines different art forms. Thus, those Parisians who disappeared on holiday during the hot summer months are welcomed back to Paris with this art extravaganza marking the beginning of the city’s cultural season.

This unique contemporary art festival was set up in 1972 and originally incorporated two events, International Music Week and the Festival of International Dance, featuring theatre and art exhibitions.

The Paris Autumn Festival has evolved since then and now offers an eclectic combination of arts related events encompassing film, photography and other contemporary art forms, all experimental in some way.

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Over 40 arts events are on offer every year including world-class operas, classical music concerts, theatrical and dance performances, and film screenings for a programme line up with more high-powered arts events than other cities would see in a whole year.

In addition, the organisers like to focus on a variety of cultures, welcome guest visitors to the event and spot emerging young talents. As a result, many international artists feature, thus festival-goers can expect a combination of Japanese, Russian, French, Spanish and German (subtitled in French where necessary) offerings.

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Furthermore, the various performances will be taking place in different venues across Paris such as the Opéra Comique, the Pompidou Centre, the Théâtre de Chaillot and the Théâtre des Champs Elysées, amongst others.

Finally, the Paris Autumn Festival attracts over 100,000 visitors every year, an indication of the high-quality programme of shows on offer. So, if you’re in Paris this autumn, make sure that you don’t miss out on this unique festival, because that many people can’t be wrong.