Everyone moans about not having enough time. And with the volume of events, festivals, exhibitions and openings in Manchester every week, there really isn’t time for us to cover them all in depth on the site. So, to make up for that, we’ve decided to use the blog to run a fortnightly round-up of some of the things that pop into our in-box that we think look promising (and probably are) – the interesting press releases, nuggets of news and other cultural titbits we think you might find intriguing. This week’s event radar has picked up:
Beards of Manchester. Sometimes I love Manchester. Where else would you get a charity calendar, featuring ‘the city and some of its hairiest inhabitants’? ‘It’s a very Manchester phenomenon,’ says organiser Chris Horkan (who himself sports what can best be described as a luxurious beard). ‘I’ve been to a lot of different cities and it doesn’t seem to exist in the same way as it does here.’ Chris is looking for 12 volunteers for the 2011 Beards of Manchester calendar. If you fancy your chances as Mr. March, send a snap of your beard to firstname.lastname@example.org by 24 September. The follically-blessed will then feature in the calendar, which goes on sale on 21 October (there’s also a corresponding exhibition at Common). All proﬁts go to Lifeshare, which supports homeless people in Manchester and Salford.
John Cage Uncaged. RNCM celebrates the life of John Cage on the 24th, that arch mid-century modernist composer who inspired countless artists, musicians and choreographers. John Cage Uncaged promises to be ‘a one off music-theatre extravaganza using Cage’s extraordinary Song Books as raw material’ (and yes, I was reading from the press release). Over 200 students and staff are working on the two-hour performance and, as chance informed much of Cage’s work, the only thing you can really expect is the unexpected. RNCM reckon the event will include food and drink (such as ‘songs requiring eating and cooking’), weird props, random timings, big name performers and ‘several Thoreau lookalikes’. It sounds odd and slightly unsettling – which is exactly why you should go. RNCM, Oxford Road M13 9RD. Friday 24 September, 5pm-7pm, free
Latitude – call for artists. I admit I have a soft spot for Manchester Modernist Society, a group dedicated to celebrating and preserving our unloved 20th Century buildings, monuments and general cityscape. The group has put a call out for submissions for its upcoming artists’ map-making exhibition, Latitude. The Society is after ‘artists, designers and makers to submit work that responds to the theme of mapmaking. 2D or 3D work of any medium will be considered’. Submissions deadline: 30 September 2010. Email email@example.com for details.
Telling Fortunes: New work by Alice Kettle at the Gallery of Costume. This little gallery, tucked away in Platt Fields Park and not long re-opened after a £1m re-fit, is worth a visit on its own. In this new show, textile artist Alice Kettle has produced a series of artworks inspired by the gallery’s collection of gloves and photos – an interesting exhibition for fashion students and anyone interested in clothing-as-social-history (or if you simply fancy an afternoon in the park and gallery). Gallery of Costume, Platt Hall, Wilmslow Road, Rusholme M14 5LL. Until 31 December, free. Open Weds-Sat, 1.30pm-4.30pm.
Jonathan Franzen adulation reaches fever pitch. And finally, we got an email from DJ-turned-raconteur Dave Haslam who is busily preparing for an event with American author Jonathan Franzen on 3 October (part of The Manchester Weekender). Franzen’s latest novel, Freedom, has just been released and, it seems, everyone loves it. The notoriously hard to please Jonathan Jones, writing in the Guardian, described Franzen as ‘a literary genius for our time’. Not to be left out, the Financial Times went on to pronounce the book ‘the cultural sensation of the autumn – and not just a novel but a hefty, profound and beautifully-written novel’. As Dave Haslam put in his email: ‘wow’. Get your tickets for the reading and Q&A quickly. Sunday 3 October, 7pm, The Whitworth Art Gallery. £8.
Words: Susie Stubbs. Images (top to bottom): Justin Moorhouse, courtesy Justin & Beards of Manchester; artwork by Alice Kettle, courtesy Manchester Art Gallery/Gallery of Costume.