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Klimt by Stefania Ianne
Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka in Vienna
Living in London we are spoilt for choice as far as art and museums are concerned. Just one problem, they
Read more.
The York Realist by Stefania Ianne
The York Realist by Peter Gill
Going to the Donmar Warehouse is an intimate experience. The action happens so up close and personal, it is like
Read more.
Charlie Parr by Stefania Ianne
Charlie Parr Live
A joyful evening, stripped down of all the hat tricks of the music business, the show business. The location, the
Read more.
Bausch - Viktor by Stefania Ianne
Viktor – Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
I came across Pina Bausch’s work after her death in 2009 and thanks to Wim Wenders’ 3D tribute. Her world
Read more.
Comfort Blanket by Grayson Perry
Grayson Perry – Let Them Eat Conceptual Art
There was a time when it was normal to see Grayson Perry cycling around east London in a frock, turning
Read more.
SI Network
Network – National Theatre London
I’m mad as hell and I cannot take it anymore! The stage becomes a screen where hundreds of faces are
Read more.

Manuela Monari’s Poetry

Manuela Monari

Hi, I’m Manuela Monari, a teacher and writer from Modena, Italy. This crowdfunding campaign is about financing the publication and distribution of 2 volumes of intense, intimate and lyrical poems that I have written over the last decade.

Thanks to the support from my wonderful friends and artists who have contributed some of their work as rewards for this crowdfunding project this crowdfunding campaign has now flourished beyond its initial aim. Therefore first and foremost, I would like to thank my artist friends: the Italian hyperrealist artist, Massimo Pedrazzi; the illustrator Evelyn Daviddi, Stillarte artist Chiara Criniti and the creator of jewellery from Trieste, Susanna Martini whose artwork you can find featured as rewards for this campaign together with the main feature of this crowdfunding campaign, my poetries.

I would like to reach out to all poetry-lovers out there to help me make this long-awaited dream come true. The full description of the campaign and the wonderful artwork offered as rewards can be viewed on my page on Produzioni dal Basso, the official crowdfunding site I have chosen to host my campaign. Videos will also be made available on the campaign site in the original Italian language throughout the campaign. Currently my books of poems are available only in the original Italian version. Do state your interest if you wish to purchase the English version by sending an email to manuela@stillarte.com and we will update you as soon as this becomes available. Unfortunately the presentation video is only available in Italian, but both in the presentation video and in the written presentation that follows, I aim to throw more light on what writing and poetry, in particular, means to me.

One day in April, whilst going through some of my notes, thinking about how I could get this project off the ground, as I sat in my favourite spot surrounded by mountains, I came across this aphorism…

“I am a child of travellers. My home is wherever I am and my life is full of surprising adventures.” Amin Maalouf, “Leo Africanus”

Somehow, this aphorism fired my imagination for this project and I immediately jotted down the following words, which seemed to encapsulate what my relationship with poetry is.

Since when I was a teenager, I have always loved writing poetry and this has followed me through to my teaching career, where I try to share my passion with my students. My notes are bursting with hand-written poems, some in my shaky handwriting of when I was only twelve.

My outlook on life hasn’t changed much. I have always been the curious type. I was already asking the same questions that I still ask now.

With age and experience, some of my questions have found answers but others are still out there… Poetry gives me an insight into things, like nothing else can and that is probably why I have never stopped writing poetry.

What do I write? So far mainly children’s books that have been published for years, in Italy and abroad. I also write songs, aphorisms and poems reflecting on a myriad of life experiences.

Why do I write? Here is what I wrote a short time ago in my little house up in the Apennine mountains, an intimate, remote place, where I find peace and tranquillity, the same place is the location for the presentation video. 

Going back to Amin Maalouf, he says that…

Poems represent journeys, a caravan, home, adventure and surprise.
Journeys… Because poems are the fragments of beauty that you collect in your daily journey. They are the micro or macro awareness that meaningful experiences leave within you; the subtle layers of feelings and emotions that have accumulated over time. They are unique, because they are the fruit of your life experiences.

Reading my poems in sequence after many years for this project, I realize that each poem is like a small landmark on the journey of life. 

Poems represent the caravan of my life. You write them on your hands, arms, in your soul, on crumpled paper and now on your cell phone, computer, on paper napkins, whilst sitting on a rock, on the subway, in the street, in bed weeping – everywhere. They are part of your itinerant world, as you seek answers to your questions, as you seek the truth.

They are your HOME. Because when you hear, when you write, you cross a threshold and enter a remote and sacred place, where only you have access to. Sometimes you will find peace and harmony and feel a warm glow of safety. At other times, it will be like walking in a vast meadow full of blinding light. And yet, you may also feel an emptiness and the need to curl up in the stillness of time. They are all one and the same place.

You. Your house. What you really are and where you can reboot your life and try and find answers to your questions.

Poems are ADVENTURE. Yes, because every step we take is an adventure into the unknown, the unexpected. The changing scenario of events and thoughts.

You don’t write when everything is ordinary or peaceful. You write when you are moved through pain and anguish or when confronted with the beauty of breath-taking landscapes, flowers, sunrises. They move you to open up to the world.

Poems are SURPRISES. Because it is only through the eyes of wonder and innocence that, in your frenetic world, you can escape. A poem can be humble, like a simple daisy and be just part of a true and wonderful continuum. It is not for everyone.

It hides under the surface and you sometimes need to dig deep to uncover it, to uncover that unity that is the spirit of the universe, ready to reveal itself only to those who are ready to climb to the top of life and feeling. It takes courage or, maybe, only the will to remain childlike at heart; to continue to believe in playing, beauty and innocence.

This is what poetry and writing mean to me; discovering yourself and the world. For me. In my experience. This is what I tried to do.

This is why I want to share this experience with you and anyone who wishes to join me on this journey.

On my journey through life, I listened, saw, felt, investigated, suffered, climbed, laughed, fell, probed, rejoiced, scrutinised, screamed, remained silent, sank, flew, let myself go, gave, received, understood and learnt. 

A journey lasting 55 years.

A two-volume poetic journey that I hope will like and find useful.

Please help me realize this dream.

Manuela

Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition 23 August 2019

Pictures from the exhibition by Stefania Ianne

How much we are missing intelligent, creative directors such as Stanley Kubrick in the new millennium? Twenty years after his death, the Design Museum in London stages an exhibition centering on the creative directive process of Kubrick’s very distinctive filmmaking. He possessed the eye of a photographer, the narrative mind of a novelist and the technological curiosity of a child born in the second millennium all qualities that put him miles ahead of his own time and of his peers in the film industry. London became his home in the sixties of the last millennium, in search of creative freedom. He never left. He just recreated the world in his own back garden. Elstree Studios and extremely well researched locations in London became in turn Oregon for the Shining, the battered Vietnam of Full Metal Jackets, even New York as depicted in Eyes Wide Shut. We are given exclusive access to original letters from people criticizing or distancing themselves from the director toxic brand throughout his career. Including the hotel depicted in The Shining requesting Kubrick to use a non-existent room number as the association with the thriller would clearly discourage their potential customers. Amazing to hear how much business they are currently generating through the association with The Shining with tourists boasting they slept in the room that was the set of the film. Sorry to break the news, it actually wasn’t.

It is both magical and terrifying to view film props, production drawings by Saul Bass and Ken Adams and costumes. Walking from room to room and travelling chronologically into different film sets and historical periods, I feel like taking a chilling, lysergic trip not only into Kubrick’s methodical, obsessive, analogue mind, but being allowed a universal insight into the scary nature of the human mind.

Nick Cave in conversation 19 June 2019

Can I call you Nicholas?

No.

Let’s suspend judgement of each other, of each other’s questions…

And the questions were probably the same, repeated over and over in venues across the world.

Does Nick Cave ever stop being Nick Cave in his life? Is Nick Cave always the stage persona? I wanted to ask. But I didn’t.

I suppose most of the people were fans. I love Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, but I am not a fanatic. I do not have a song I share with my significant other. I do not have songs I would play at my funeral.

The people in the audience did. So many just wanted to express their love with nothing much to ask. And Nick Cave indulged them nonchalantly, he was gracious, appeared sincere, non-judgmental. Just a normal person sharing his experience.

This is what I do – he said repeatedly – No, this is who I am. Writing. Incessantly.

Getting up, I wear a suit, I kiss my wife and step into the room where I work not getting out of it until 5. No day is a bad day. Maybe for weeks you do not get anywhere but then words, combinations of words, sentences get together and they shimmer… that is what I live for.

This is what I do. This is who I am.

I imagine Cave writing with a pencil on thousands of annotated notebooks. Arranging and rearranging words, obsessing over an adjective.

I am writing a lot. I never stop.

Is it ok if I play a couple of songs and then we say goodbye?

After almost 3 hours taking in his audience nervous silliness, smug remarks and transcendental experiences, Nick Cave is ready to go.

This is an excerpt of my review originally written in English soon to be published in Italy on Rumore magazine.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Ai Weiwei – Circle of Animals / Zodiac heads

There is something unique and liberating walking in nature surrounded by sculptures that challenge your perception of reality. It can be exhilarating and deeply unsettling, it can be sheerly majestic. Viewing people respectfully interacting with each sculpture can also be quite an uplifting experience, especially when children irreverently remind us of the absurdity of the set-up and of the absurdity of life.   

I could have chosen any of the masterpieces on display in the 18th century country park but the sheer size of Circle of Animals by the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was impossible to resist. Ai Weiwei reinterpreted a water clock-fountain portraying the Chinese Zodiac heads that adorned the European style gardens of the Yuanmingyuan. French and British soldiers pillaged the sculptures and in his larger than life reproduction Ai Weiwei brings to the fore themes of looting and repatriation, so very relevant in our day and age, while at the same time exploring the concept of ‘fake’ in relation to the original artwork.

Small Island

Small Island – National Theatre

Reading a book gives you access to new worlds. A world of joy can give way to a world of terror, a world of indifference can sometimes take over. A world of hate, an exotic world, greyness. The book this time around is Small Island, the concept is escaping Jamaica, the small island to make a better life in the empire, the motherland, Wind Rushing it to a better life where people are not so narrow minded, where talent and hard work can be recognized. How to explain the sense of powerlessness that hits you when you are speaking the language that has been imposed on you by the fact that your country belongs to the British empire to be confronted by an empty stare in the person in front of you, giving away the fact that they are politely pretending to listen but they are not getting a word you are saying. That is the best-case scenario, emptiness, migrants from the Caribbean were confronted with open hostility, a confrontational attitude a mistrust at best. Curiosity, the same type shown to an exotic animal behind bars in a zoo. No human connection. Never. Do you get used to lack of human interaction? Do you get used to restricting your life to not ever crossing path with the other, “superior” culture because, this is just the way it is? You just do, you avoid trouble, because trouble will ensue. You are stealing their work; you are stealing their women or in some rare cases their men. In any case you are stealing full stop. Go back where you belong. Maybe on stage the characters did not push their accents too far towards their Jamaican core, they needed us to follow what was being said on stage after all, but the play was a joy to watch. Mostly. Sometimes it was heart wrenchingly painful to witness rejection, hostility, derision being inflicted on fellow human beings. How does it feel to have your dreams crushed? The Jamaicans arriving in England really felt part of the empire, they felt deeply inside they belonged, religion played a big role in perpetrating a sheer lie. The British folks in the street felt superior and they had no trouble showing it, ramming it down the migrants’ throats. Even when battered by war and in desperate need of manpower, the British arrogance had no limits. And we are talking the arrogance of the common people in the street towards what they felt were inferior beings. Even when in the gutter you still kick who is lower down, rather you need somebody to kick. The experience of the migrant is masterly recorded in Small Island, it is just horrendous Andrea Levy, the author, passed away a few months before the play hit the National Theatre in London. The actors would have made her proud.

Klimt by Stefania Ianne
Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka in Vienna
Living in London we are spoilt for choice as far as art and museums are concerned. Just one problem, they
Read more.
The York Realist by Stefania Ianne
The York Realist by Peter Gill
Going to the Donmar Warehouse is an intimate experience. The action happens so up close and personal, it is like
Read more.
Charlie Parr by Stefania Ianne
Charlie Parr Live
A joyful evening, stripped down of all the hat tricks of the music business, the show business. The location, the
Read more.
Bausch - Viktor by Stefania Ianne
Viktor – Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch
I came across Pina Bausch’s work after her death in 2009 and thanks to Wim Wenders’ 3D tribute. Her world
Read more.
Comfort Blanket by Grayson Perry
Grayson Perry – Let Them Eat Conceptual Art
There was a time when it was normal to see Grayson Perry cycling around east London in a frock, turning
Read more.
SI Network
Network – National Theatre London
I’m mad as hell and I cannot take it anymore! The stage becomes a screen where hundreds of faces are
Read more.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers

Grief is the Thing with Feathers
Grief is the Thing with Feathers

I had not read the book by Max Porter, I did not know the premises behind this theatre piece, just tickets became suddenly available at the Barbican Theatre for this sold-out play adapted by Enda Walsh and I had just watched Cillian Murphy’s excellent, nervous performance in Sally Porter’s The Party. The plot sounded crazy enough to awaken my attention buried under layers of monotonous daily work. So, I told myself, why not?

Grief materializes in the shape and behaviour of a crow in a house where 3 lost boys set out to survive and overcome the sudden death of a wife and mother. I say 3 boys because the adult in the room, the father, is the most boyish character in the play, the most irrational, the one that is hit the most by the absurdity of loss, the absurdity of life. He is the one changing into an animalesque, dystopian character, fluttering and hopping about as the Crow in a physical and mental tour de force. Teho Teardo’s obsessive music sets the mood and mental chaos is wildly depicted on stage with words, written hastily while the Crow speaks, Murphy raps with a distorted voice in a microphone, the word materialize and overlap on the white walls, obsessively crowding the perimeter of the stage, black over white, and more black over white, and more black over white, until every single centimetre of whiteness on stage is covered in black words, black feathers, black mood, black crows… Chaos reign supreme, humans transform into crows, drawings take over the stage, words dematerialize and fall, crashing down to the bottom of the stage.

Grief is messy, grief is incomprehensible, we become unrecognizable with grief. It is
never fully resolved, just life takes
over, the empty father goes through the rest of his
life because he has to, as a spectator, nothing makes sense
as it used to.

New girlfriends come and go, his children go on to live their own lives, grandchildren come into the picture. Life just keeps
on going leaving you behind leaving your emotions behind. Does it make
sense? The simple answer is, no.

Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath keep on popping up throughout the play. The father is a fan and a scholar, supposedly writing a book on Ted Hughes. The Crow is Ted Hughes’s creature after all.

Pictures and sound play a character on stage,
the deceased appears blond
and radiant in the sun. The play is centred around loss, if it were
my choice, I would have stripped any
idealised visual memory of the mother from actually being represented on stage. I would have chosen to keep just the presence of her soothing
voice, beautifully recounting the father’s student
days fleeting encounter with his
idol, a Q&A with
Ted Hughes at Oxford University.

I will
keep a confused, puzzling memory in
my mind, the athletic performance by
Murphy, the messiness and
indulgence of pain, three boys without their guiding light.

A Fortnight of Tears – Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin

A huge former warehouse south of the river Thames, lit by an
infinite amount of neon lights is the perfect location for Emin’s new artwork.
Emin is her own muse and her current work is born out of pain and longing: longing
for love, longing for friendship, yearning for human touch. The pieces are
minimal but heart-breaking, her paintings are oozing pain. I find her artwork a
very uncomfortable, heart-wrenching sight, it felt like I was being admitted
into the artist’s mind, I felt like I was watching Emin tearing her own body to
pieces. It feels like cannibalistic viewing, each canvas dripping blood and
pain. I was expecting the trendy crowd walking the gallery to burst out crying
at any time. I pictured people walking around with tears dripping down their
cheeks, mascara streaming from everybody’s eyes. The 3 oversized, wringing human
sculptures wallowing in pain were particularly poignant though during my visit I
was upset by one particular viewer posing for a photo mimicking the mother’s
tormented stance with a cheeky smile on his face, totally unmoved. I could not
believe the lack of empathy, the cynicism I was witnessing,

I could not face the full video on abortion featuring Tracey Emin’s younger, tormented self but I was moved by the silent stark video centred around Emin’s mother’s ashes. Just recently Emin lost her mother, her partner in crime, her accomplice, Emin and her mother a couple of outsiders and impostors in a stuffy, rich, fake art world. The video revolves around the ashes urn and it is frank and direct in its simplicity, sombre and moving, I felt the loss as if it was mine. It is intense, voyeuristic viewing, I just felt like I was intruding on a very painful, very private affair.

White Cube Gallery 2 March 2019

Oceania exhibition

Canoes by Stefania Ianne
Canoes by Stefania Ianne

I had a magical visit at the Royal Academy of Arts giving access to a whole new world, known to us in avery piecemeal manner, normally through the filter of other artists’ perception, the originals being the spontaneous artwork created by the people of Oceania for no financial gain, reproduced and pillaged through the eyes of the commercially savvy modernists of the XXth century. Oceania first and Africa afterwards, the creative output of native cultures alien to the civilized Western world, have inspired a cultural revolution but have remained largely unknown and beyond comprehension. What is just a pretty picture worth loads of money to us is a vital part of a people’s identity and culture. What was sold as a curiosity and exhibited to amaze, is a visceral part of a whole we cannot belong to, let alone understand. Statues are spiritual beings, foreign cultures feel we have captured their ancestral spirit and kept it captive thousands of nautical miles from the place where they belong. What is just entertainment for us, is vital on the opposite site of the globe.

Oceania is a wonderful exhibition, opening the doors of perception into a world alien to us, a world made of water and populated by fantastical creatures. Only those fantastical creatures are simply part of nature, it is a world deeply steeped into nature, living in harmony with its surroundings, a total opposite to our artificial way of life, devoid of any contact with nature, animals, the cycle of life and death. Nature has become a mystery being appreciated maybe one hour a week in a documentary, any other living creature has been neutralized, be-gone. Deer are cartoons, frogs are princes, meat does not belong to an animal.

Oceania the exhibition offers a glimpse into a paradisiac world, no wonder Gaugin never returned from his haunts in the French Polynesia, captain Cook’s crew mutinied, and Robert Louis Stevenson chose to die in Samoa.

In the many rooms of the exhibition I could observe the silent presence of modern-day islanders, offering floral gifts, paying their respects to the soulful sculptures being exhibited. It was moving, witnessing a love and respect for a way of life probably contaminated forever by the poisonous Western influence, but still longed for so painfully.

Oceania Royal Academy of Arts London 10 December 2018

Low live Brighton Music Hall, Boston

Low glow effect by Stefania Ianne
Low glow effect by Stefania Ianne

A freezing rainy night in Boston, a fast ride in the total darkness through silent skyscrapers, all I remember is fuzziness, the city torn in half by spaghetti junction style highways, greyness all around, distorted by the water, the city is flooded, the spray is horrendous, we are deposited in a daze outside the unassuming venue, I almost step on a policeman rushing by behind my back.

In through the double doors we get searched for the first time in our month long stay in the US, understandably, we are just a few days away from the carnage at the Borderline club in California.

I wish I had liked the opening act In/via more, but this solo venture voice and synthesiser felt way too monotonous, relying heavily on keyboard effects and the obsessive singing voice felt a tad too high for her range. It could have been magical, but it felt uneventful.

Low are unassuming professionals, while waiting in the darkness for the show to go on, I spot Alan Sparhawk walking by slight and with purpose. He seems even slimmer than usual in his dark clothes and dark cap. He looks like he has just stepped out of their latest video Always Trying to Work It Out.

Once the opening act packs up her synch, Low the band take over the stage almost immediately, taking care each of their own instruments, a minimalist guitar, bass and drums combination. The strangeness pervading their latest release Double-Negative hits the audience in the face starting from the first synthesized notes. It is a dark, fuzzy night, electricity is in the air. Soon Sparhawk excuses himself while working on his equipment. He claims the knobs are moving by themselves, he has never seen anything like that in his life. Is there a ghost in the house? Are there ghosts raining in on us? He uses gaffer tape to keep the controls in position… This is a weird night and Low’s music fits the mood, it fizzles, the distortion takes over. Compared to Double-Negative the album, the distortion live is toned down and Mimi Parker’s beautiful voice is as crisp and strong as ever, while Alan Sparhawk’s voice feels smoky, musky, with a hint of sea foam, the roughness of the sea. His guitar, mainly responsible for the band’s unique sound, emits a broken scream, it is painful, pungent… and eerie at the same time.

Technology makes Low’s music even more ghostly, at times I hear the sound of arctic winds and breaking glaciers, sometimes it is the scream of an animal dying in atrocious pain or could it simply be the sound of the breaking point reached by civilization as we know it?

Low’s sound is intense, their music is deadly serious. No time for fancy shows, the spotlight is on their sound. Their performance enhances the sense of fuzziness accompanying me tonight. It rings in my ears, it is reflected and expanded in the droplets on the window of the car taking us home. The rain is unrelentingly falling down, violent, definite, digging patterns in my brain. Patterns filled by ethereal music filling the gaps between the drops hitting the roof of the car, hitting the skylight, drowning the rest of the noise.

I find myself thinking that watching Low live tonight was a much more cerebral experience compared to my previous Low experiences, I find myself drawing patterns with my feet on the dark floor, a marked up path in front of me, bodies endlessly moving to and fro, apparently aimlessly, absurdly like life.

Low Brighton Music Hall, Boston 9 November 2018

Beyond Georgia O’Keeffe

SI Jaume Plensa NCMA
SI Jaume Plensa NCMA

I find myself visiting the North Carolina museum of Art. I witness a fresh approach to what a museum should be and how exhibitions should be organized. Comprising a huge sculpture park featuring a community beehive, built with public money and corporate donations, the NCMA in Raleigh feels fresh, vast and complete both as far as the space is concerned and for the richness of its offer. The reason for visiting was an exhibition centred around Georgia O’Keeffe, Beyond, which included a few of her paintings on display compared with current work by emerging artists. The result is interesting; some of the new work on display is quite naive and unengaging but the approach is fresh and most importantly the exhibition convey how inspiring a character O’Keeffe actually was.

Through the different sections we feel her presence not only through her artwork, but through her thoughts, her statements printed in large characters throughout, her voice. My personal highlight is a vast room displaying a 180 degree footage of her beloved, terracotta coloured home in New Mexico, and of the desert surrounding it, while the voice of O’Keefe herself tells us her story, her love for the desert and how she should not really talk about it as that might make more people interested in the area and that is not really her purpose, she wants it to herself!

She explains her love for the bones found in the desert, they are the only object that can be picked in the desert, there are no flowers, she tells us how to her they feel so alive and alive they become, immortal in her paintings. The room was magical and didactic at the same time demonstrating where her inspiration came from, pinpointing the exact spot in the desert that she has painted. A simple but effective way to bring new life to art by exploiting a multimedia approach, whereby most museums just put a tablet at the guest’s disposal and pat each other on the back.

My visit to the NCMA continues through so many artefact in the permanent collection, definitely acquired and organized so as to teach the local students about ancient civilizations without having to board a plane to Europe, but I was particularly impressed by the many unusual contemporary artists on display, hailing from Cuba, Jamaica, Ethiopia, so much more exciting, vibrating with colours and life and death. Particularly poignant Isla (Tierra Prometida) by Yoan Capote a painting depicting the sea from the Cubans’ point of view. A three dimensional sea full of fishhooks and nails, depicting the greyness of the sea, the danger, dividing and uniting, a sea of promise, a sea of death…

Just as fresh and playful and amazing appears to be a walk in the large sculpture park. Though I could not cover it all, it was wonderful to see kids interacting with the sculptures, namely the popular Gyre by local artist Thomas Sayre, 3 huge rings rising from the sand and made from the soil in the park, dug on the spot, and concrete, creating a wonderful game of shadows in the scorching Indian summer sun. And the British Nigerian Yinka Shonibare’s colourful Wind Sculpture II, an elephant trunk, a hand pointing to mother earth, a pattern imagined in Nigeria, created in the Netherlands, ending up as a sculpture in North Carolina addressing our global interconnecting selves, inviting us to see beyond barriers and fully embrace our mongrel true status: we are all the children of different cultures mingling and mixing to create our complex selves.

Finally I couldn’t but mention Jaume Plensa’s Awilda & Irma, a mother and a daughter gigantic heads nested at the side of the museum, frowning in important conversations. Immediately the features, the shapes of the head made me think of Mandela and De Klerk negotiating the end of apartheid. When reading  about the actual inspiration about the artwork, I felt slightly disappointed at first, but then again it made so much sense, after all interpretation is free, this is what I saw Mr Plensa.

Pity I was so enthralled by the park and its sculptures and the autumn colours that I missed the Mariachi band’s playing in the amphitheatre…

North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, November 2018

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up

Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo

Traditional museum exhibitions have run their course. We are a multimedia 24/7 society, museums are stale institutions. Including a psychedelically lit corridor does not do it. There is more to life and art than meets the eye, writing snippets of a story on a wall is not it. Fighting for space to read that tiny piece of storytelling, in a sold-out exhibition, is definitely not it. The didactical approach has run its course. Frida Kahlo is more than her eyebrows. Bringing just a handful of her paintings to London is a poor excuse for an exhibition on Frida Kahlo. Screaming that she is very influential means nothing to most. Why is she such a revered figure? Where is her art? Her art is herself, this is what we are told. But that feels like selling Frida Kahlo unibrow costumes for carnival, (incidentally this is what you find online when you type her name). We have strived so hard to democratise knowledge just to trivialise it. We just want to sell more rubbish, how many arty fridge magnets do we need? How many arty bags do we need? How many arty shawls do we need?

All in all I found the exhibition superficial. You can’t reduce a complex, hurt human being to selected biographical facts printed on a wall and a collection of rings.

How many operations are needed to repair a broken body? What do you need to repair a broken soul?

I found very moving the presence of one corset only – they looked like instruments of torture, the amount of drugs Frida Kahlo must have taken just to endure pain is impossible to quantify – I was saying that I found very moving the presence of a corset where a detailed foetus, more than a foetus, a baby had been painted in the space where it would have developed in her body if the only baby she was able to conceive were born. An impossible dream for a very sick person, a woman whose life was marred and eventually cut short by a fateful crash.

The rest of the exhibition was showcasing the handsome Kahlo through endless photographs and her colourful clothes. “I am my own muse” read the t-shirts on sale in the museum shop. She was one of a kind, but the self- advertising exhibition at the V&A in London, just doesn’t tell her tale, it certainly doesn’t portray her art.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, V&A museum London 16 October 2018

 

 

Keren Ann and Quatour Debussy Live

Keren Ann by Stefania Ianne
Keren Ann by Stefania Ianne

A minimalist concert, a string quartet accompanying Karen Ann and her guitar mainly electrified, sometimes acoustic. Sheer class and intense emotions. Sometimes the strings were trying to scream louder but soon the guitar would tell them who is boss. A tiny, figure dressed in black, a powerful smile, smooth melancholy melodies, lulling us safely towards our destination like a sailboat on a smooth, unsettling sea. Liquid music poured into our ears like honey poured from a smooth precious chalice. So many cultures connect in the creative mind of Keren Ann, she seems to make them universal through her art, smoothening differences, distilling them into what is a universal human experience. Her re-appropriation of her own Strange Weather, covered majestically by Anna Calvi together with an inspired David Byrne, brings goosebumps to my body.

Her twangy guitar courts and duels with the strings, it plays and dances an ironical battle, her voice dominates her emotions and commands our attention, sweetly but firmly. The experience is understated but magical, the perfect acoustic of the intimate Milton Court Hall enhances every breath Keren Ann takes, every words she says.

A touch of Bowie towards the end, mainly to show off the bravura of the Quatuor Debussy, Bowie’s range slightly too high for Keren’s range. She ends up a cappella, with the rendition of what appears an old fashioned love song, unidentified, she leaves us whispering:

When I fall in love it is always with you…

Keren Ann, Milton Court Hall, 14 October 2018

Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra
Antony and Cleopatra

Cleopatra is a modern hero and a drama queen. Shakespeare is claimed to be universal but many a times it just sounds anachronistic. The theatre, being a male dominated world throughout the centuries, rarely manages to portray a female character realistically, so it is no surprise that a play could never be conceived as the hagiography of any woman.

Cleopatra is viewed as a highly volatile queen, who brings about Antony’s – her lover but most importantly one of the Roman triumvirate – inglorious defeat and eventual suicide.

The story unfolding onstage is a tragedy, valiant people run into swords or die of broken heart, the majestic drama queen commits suicide offering her neck to a live snake on stage, the same snake claims the life of one of her ladies in waiting as well, by design, not by chance. To modern audiences this sounds like farce material. Despite or maybe because of the play’s shortcomings, I loved the ironically nuanced performance. We witness a masterclass in acting while veteran actors, Fiennes and Okonedo, enchant us with their hilarious performance. I genuinely enjoyed their humorous, irreverent rendition. I heard many tutting amongst the audience, while I was totally gripped by the action on stage. And genuinely had a good time, as I was so close to the action, I felt I could smile with the characters, I could cry when they cried, I could share in the dramatic desperation and longing, no matter how foreign and remote the story unfolding was compared to my background and historical moment.

I felt the war action could easily be done away with, I can’t take any more combat boots and fake battles on stage, all totally dispensable. The waving of the Italian flag during a drunken party, should also be discarded, this was Rome 1800 years before Italy was even conceived.

But these are minor details, though really I had enough of western 3 piece suits and military attire, bring back the Roman toga, the flowing and glowing robes. Moreover indulging some serious wine and involving the audience should be a must. I could not help myself thinking of the audiences in Shakespeare’s times. There would be no tutting, there would not be any stuck-up intellectual demanding respect for the purity of the play. A three-hour drama could not be a serious affair, I believe this ironic performance led by the wonderfully dramatic Sophie Okonedo has brought back some life into Shakespeare, new life, new blood. It could be more in your face, it could really challenge the perfectly rigid intelligentsia, just one further push and it would be perfect.

Antony and Cleopatra, National Theatre, 22 September 2018

Anna Calvi Live

Anna Calvi and Mally Harpaz by Stefania Ianne
Anna Calvi and Mally Harpaz by Stefania Ianne

I had the privilege of meeting Anna Calvi at the end of her fiery performance in Paris, during the Rock en Seine festival. We had a nice chat centred around her new release Hunter and touching on a few hot topics, including but not exclusively, gender identity.

Hunter is a sensual, exciting, wild, intriguing, operatic record. Calvi’s performance on stage is mind-blowing. She uses her guitar as a shield and a weapon. She smoothly pours a powerful sonic attack all over us, enchanting us with her nuanced, powerful voice. It is a cathartic experience both for the musicians on stage and the enraptured audience. When I meet her, one hour after her performance, she has left her powerful stage persona behind and is wrapped in a warm white coat, matching her white boots, cuddled on a sofa, in the cool Parisian evening. I envy her for a minute, as I am freezing in my light summer clothes…

The interview was published on the Italian independent magazine, Rumore. The original transcript in English will be available on this website soon.

Anna Calvi live at Rock en Seine, Paris, 25 August 2018

Monumental

Monumental
Monumental

Monumental is not new. It was created by Dana Gingras & Noam Gagnon with Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s music in mind. Ideally the musicians would be performing live but when it premiered in 2005 the dancers were moving to a recording of the monumental music of alternative Canadian band Godspeed.

This is the first time Monumental is performed in London and we are treated to the bonus of having the Canadian band live on stage. They are in the shadows, well at the back of the Barbican’s huge stage. All spotlights are on the dancers. The lighting design by Marc Parent, is dramatic, the action on stage is alienating and aggressive, the dancers mainly constrained to their own footprint, each on a tiny cube, isolated. When they do get in contact with each other, they can only do so by attacking each other, bully each other. Each on their own cube, their existence appears to be marred by obsessions and repetitiveness, they appear restrained by themselves to their own isolated vision of the world.

The video playing at the back by director William Morrison is industrial and alienating. At times surprising statements created by conceptual artist Jenny Holzer are sparsely played in the background. But I find the sensorial attack far too confusing, too much input, the video becomes just wallpaper, the messages are lost. At the back Godspeed erase their presence, make themselves almost invisible, if it weren’t for the unmistakable huge mane of hair of their leader Efrim Menuck. The dancers are powerful and committed. Their choral movements are enthralling. It is a troubling experience, this is not entertainment, this is inspirational, challenging work, exploring the absurdity of our existence.

Monumental, Barbican Centre, London, 13th of July 2018

Red by John Logan

Red Rothko by Stefania Ianne
Red Rothko by Stefania Ianne

Torn between art and making a living, having accepted the biggest commission of his life for a huge upscale hotel chain, Red portrays an imaginary, witty dialogue between the artist, Max Rothko (Alfred Molina), and his apprentice (Alfred Enoch), a fellow would-be artist ready to tear the establishment apart, to create his own groundbreaking artwork.

In real life people, even geniuses do not express themselves in John Logan’s polished banter but somehow Molina and Enoch not only make it credible, they make it real.

We arrive at the theatre and take our seat while Mr. Molina is on stage, sat on an armchair, already staring with puzzlement at his huge, fake Rothko canvases, surrounding him, tilted against the sides of his studio, Rothko’s studio. He is staring at his masterpieces, lost in its shades of red and its symbolism. Red can be life, blood, passion. Red can be engulfed by its opposite, black, by darkness. From then on, it is an exhilarating ride.

Red, Wyndham Theatre London, 20 June 2018

All Points East Festival 2018

Patti Smith by Stefania Ianne
Patti Smith by Stefania Ianne

Nothing compares to seeing Patti Smith live. I never tire of seeing her. I never tire of listening to her. Her passion is stronger than life, her passion is stronger than time, time passing fast, pushing her over the 70-year barrier, making her seemingly fragile. She is human, I remind myself while watching her, she will not be there forever. I will miss her terribly when she will give up performing live, and she will, she will.

She started her performance reading Allen Ginsberg’s verses, “Holy, holy, holy, holy, everything is holy”, she thunders on stage. She fascinates us with her words, she enchants us with her presence, she conquers us with her musical powers. A powerful band surrounds her, including her son Jackson and the faithful Lenny Kaye. Throughout the show they stare at her, for renewed inspiration. They look at her as if something extremely precious and totally unexpected is happening in front of their eyes. She is beyond charismatic and her performances become more otherworldly with the passing of time. What are we going to do when she stops performing? Her shamanism is irreplaceable, I muse with another member of the audience. We have previously viewed Courtney Barnett’s electrifying performance. Maybe she can take a shot, I suggest? But Patti’s mystical energy is irreplaceable, my fellow audience member responds with a wonderful smile, behind her sunglasses. I know she is right. Seeing her live in the golden light of the sun going down on London moved me deeply, her performance was extremely powerful yet fragile. She gives it all. She gives more. She conquers all, even the arrogant youth pushing their way forward at all costs, determined to be part of the party.

Arrogant youth? That does not apply to Courtney Barnett, this is the first time I hear her live and she sounds fresh and fascinating and exciting. I just fell in love with Avant Gardner and Depreston – right? Preston is depressing even in Australia? The reputation follows the name… The festival format just leaves me wanting more. Pity in London everybody sells out so goddamn fast. Maybe next time.

I could not forget to mention Mr Tillman’s concert on the previous All Point East weekender. A bit of a let down by comparison, despite the special effects provided by God in the shape of lightning and thunder. Father John Misty is in and out of the festival too smoothly, He is a slick operator and his lyrics are sharp. The festival might be just a showcase, attempting to reach out a different kind of crowd – full as it is of pretty Scandinavians religiously waiting for Björk, probably the wrong crowd. All in all Misty appears a tad out of place and slightly arrogant. Though he gets most of the laughs from the crowd when he calls out the fake old London look of the shops surrounding the stage. “I keep on imagining Godzilla appearing at the horizon and crashing this amazingly fake shop front. We should have thought about recreating that, we have the budget, right?” My thoughts exactly. He ventures into his own personal eulogy of Björk, she is so high up in the music stardom, that even FJM has never met her.

Björk’s concert was definitely out of place. She concedes a couple of dance hits to the crowd but mostly she is pedalling her new age save the planet philosophy, with a stage made entirely of greeneries and 7 flute pipers, floating about – a DJ is stuck in the corner and a percussionist rarely appears at the opposite side of the stage. The stupendously hi-res pics being projected on the huge screens at the side of the stage are a show of its own, but Björk remains a mystery, hiding behind an orchid mask. It sounds like her, rolling those RRRRS but to be honest it could be anybody behind the orchid mask. Moreover, I can’t compete with the tall Scandinavians, my visual window to view the stage is really tiny and I can’t get over my tiredness after a hot and sticky festival day. The music is not taking me places.

By comparison the headliner the following weekend, the Bad Seeds, out stage all performances over the 2 weekends. Nick Cave at 60 is a power house and throughout the concert I am fascinated by his energy and by Mr Warren Ellis and his shenanigans. The show is a crowd pleaser, even fellow Australian pop superstar Kylie Minogue herself appears on stage to duet with Cave on their only collaboration, the Where the Wild Roses Grow. Minogue is all smiles, diminutive despite her golden dress, tiny against what appears to be the tallest man on earth, tonight, Nick Cave in his elegant suits and new shoes… So much so that, after the first number, Jesus Alone, Cave asks for a knife to cut through the new leather. He moves so swiftly between the stage and a platform over the crowds during the performance I do fear he will fall in the pit or over the adoring crowds in his patent leather brand new shoes. He doesn’t. He pulls it off, the consummate performer that he is.

“I sat and cried… boohoo” he mimics half serious, half exasperated, in case it is not clear, during From Her to Eternity… True, some of the songs are drawn for too long, Stagger Lee for one, but I must confess the performance is definitely worth the wait under the evening sun, amidst the suffocating pushing crowds. “Come on come on come on”, he encourages the audience to follow him on stage after dragging the security with him across the crowds to reach a platform just behind us… It took him ages to cut through the crowd, “That was fucking difficult”, he declares… Tell me about it, Nick, we’ve been fighting for space and air for hours… “Come on, come on, come on” he goes on and on and on until the crowds around us start pushing their way to the front, they climb over the fence. Amused I see the security running like headless chicken around me. Beautiful… The crowd just follows the leader, the security need not panic, the crowd just does what it is told. It sings like the children choir, sits down and jumps up on demand, just like a musician in the hands of a master conductor. Beautiful. We try to move away from the crowds, it’s getting too tight for air. My friend literally gets carried away, her bracelet stuck into somebody’s pullover… In the distance the choir accompany Cave, “You got to just keep on pushing, push the sky away…”. The man can boast magical powers.

Kamasi Washington Live

Kamasi Washington Ensemble by S. Ianne
Kamasi Washington Ensemble by S. Ianne

I heard it on the grapevine that Kamasi Washington was good, but after seeing him and his band live, I can testify that he was better than good, he was magnificent. The whole collective, as he named it, was magnificent. Miles Mosley was magnificent, the wizard behind the double-bass creating sounds and vibes so diverse you would have thought elves were hard at work inside his sound box. Mosley made Les Claypool from Primus sound like an amateur. Miles-voodoo child-Mosley made Jimi Hendrix sound like an amateur. He made his double bass vibrate as tightly as a Sicilian scacciapensieri, or mouth harp, and rock as hard as a metal guitar. And the man has a voice as well. But I digress, each solo performance from each of the musicians on stage was beyond impressive. It struck me that all musicians on stage were fueled by water…

Kamasi made it clear, this is a collective and it is a collective performance of amazingly talented and inventive people. Amongst them Rickey Washington, father and mentor touring with his rising star son, humbly taking the credit for having taught the guy all that he knows. Washington is deadly serious about his music. He has rhythm, he has melody, he has powerful content. He goes beyond genres, he goes beyond cultural influences, he proudly harmonizes diversity, he gives sounds to his daydreams and takes us with him. The Latin influence is as powerful as his blues, coming from the melting pot that is LA, jazz in Washington’s world has no barriers, no borders, no limits. And I shouldnot forget to mention the only lady on stage the singer, Patrice Quinn, who, when she was not charming us with her enchantress voice, would definitely charm us with her dance moves. No embarrassed hands hanging on the side of the body here, just total joy and rapture at the beauty and power of the music. Amongst her best moments, Henrietta Our Hero, a song dedicated to Kamasi’s deceased grandmother sung by the smooth lady in gold, who also sang Fists of Fury, forcefully, beautifully, impersonating the victim who are determined not to be victims anymore, actively seeking retribution.The best collective moment? The multi-layered performance of Truth, without any doubt.

Forget the horrendous hall, which will not be named. Forget about the sound mishaps, microphones suddenly lapsing leaving us to wonder what the music coming out of that transverse flute would sound like. Forget about the light technician not realizing that both drummers, the amazing Tony Austin and Ronald Bruner Jr, were actually playing, starting a percussion dialogue between the two of them as announced by Kamasi and keeping one in total darkness. If I were left to play in the dark, I would have probably stopped and screamed for attention. No drama, the musicians on stage are just too cool and professional to play the trite part of the superstar. Starstruck was the name of the lorries parked outside the venue, probably just carrying the instruments. Well, I could not have put it better myself, I was starstruck tonight.

Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka in Vienna

Klimt by Stefania Ianne
Klimt by Stefania Ianne

Living in London we are spoilt for choice as far as art and museums are concerned. Just one problem, they are so terribly crowded, experiencing an exhibition is experiencing a constant fight for space, juggling for the coveted position that would allow you to see and take the creation and the creative process in. You only get a few precious seconds before your privileged position shifts under your feet like quicksand. The experience is made even more unpleasant by the presence of attendants screaming at people trying to steal a picture, a momentum of their experience. You are made to feel like a criminal for even thinking taking a lousy picture with your mobile phone is conceivable. That is why by comparison a visit at the museum in Vienna appears to be heavenly, precious, valuable. It is not a stolen, unhindered moment of a skewed view of a masterpiece, the time at one’s disposal appears to be eternal, I’ve seen people doing a full photoshoot in front of Klimt’s divine Kiss. Walking through the Belvedere museum, the upper and lower section, and the many layers of the Leopold museum where fulfilling, enriching experiences. You could absorb the beauty, you could take in the desperation, you could study each brushstroke at your leisure and most importantly take a damn picture as many times as you felt like, so that Schiele nervous, skeletal hands can stay impressed in my mind forever; so that the luxurious bodily landscapes so preciously enriched by Klimt will forever live in my picture collection; so that Kokoschka’s disturbed visions of a man at war with himself and surrounded by war can still haunt me; so that I can feel the fear and the desperation and the beauty of their human experience forever. A few enlightened institutions realize that picture taking and spontaneous posting on social media by their punters works as a very powerful advertising tool. A few embrace it, too few to mention, especially where London is concerned. I visited the last night of Modigliani’s very successful exhibition at Tate modern on Easter Monday only to be put off by the security. It felt like I was entering a ghost museum opening late at night just to maximise their income. London’s uptight attitude to art is making me fall out of love with the city 18 years on.

Klimt, Schiele and Kokoschka – Belvedere and Leopold museums in Vienna 27-30 March 2018

The York Realist by Peter Gill

The York Realist by Stefania Ianne
The York Realist by Stefania Ianne

Going to the Donmar Warehouse is an intimate experience. The action happens so up close and personal, it is like being part of the chorus in a Greek tragedy. Moreover, throughout the performance I am extremely conscious of my laboured breath because of a bad cold, as it feels amplified to the extreme in the many moments of silence and staring, while the actors try to gauge each other’s reaction on stage. The York Realist is a very British affair, a country constantly analysing itself as if on an analyst’s sofa, constantly analysing its idiosyncrasies. A country priding itself on its liberalism though still very much divided into social classes, a nation obsessed with its internal division, a country still reeling from its collective denial of LBGT+ rights, same sex relationships were only decriminalised in the UK in 1967, a nation currently intent on creating even more barriers. It is interesting to view this very British play with my foreigner’s eyes. It is a play about northerners, a country apart, a country inside a country. It is a play about a gay relationship blossoming with everybody’s tacit, embarrassed consent. A relationship collapsing not because of it unlawfulness but because of the class divide, the artistic urban type abandoning his counterpart solidly rooted in his rural environment, not out of choice, but out of duty. George, the northerner, knows that all his lovers’ middle class friends who were so nice and polite to him when they met him in London, could only keep up their polite facade for a casual visit not should he move in permanently, certainly not if he ever tried to become serious with his acting ambitions, not with that accent. In the final confrontation, there is sheer fear in his eyes, he is destroyed by the thought of losing his man, but he knows he would be even devastated by the scorn of the middle classes, if he dared even think stepping out of the spot chosen for him in society. It would be a double dare as a northerner and a gay man, stealing the spotlight from people worthier by birth and upbringing. Superficial politeness did not disguise the covert message “you don’t belong here” enough. The protagonist would have been satisfied if they were to keep up a relationship at a distance, having something to look forward to, but John, the urbanite’s approach is all or nothing, “there’s nothing casual about our relationship”, he quips and nothing it is. The end is grim with the hopeful spinster building her silent web around the only bachelor in town, spinning it closer and closer, until the victim cannot see any way out. The final sentence should have been her appropriation of the cottage, planning the removal of the AGA cooker, hard work but a symbol of the protagonist’s forbidden love, the first item admired by his Londoner’s lover. The final statement about the impossibility of finding happiness as human being rings true but is slightly redundant. All in all The York Realist is a passionate, funny, heart-wrenching, brilliantly acted anthropological study.

The York Realist by Peter Gill 14 March 2018 Donmar Warehouse, London

 

Charlie Parr Live

Charlie Parr by Stefania Ianne
Charlie Parr by Stefania Ianne

A joyful evening, stripped down of all the hat tricks of the music business, the show business. The location, the smallest pub in the world, without a stage, a man with a guitar followed by another man with a guitar. Daffodils in vases dotted all over the Alice in Wonderland themed pub. Pretty much the whole of Guildford is themed around Alice in Wonderland, as it was the chosen place of residence and burial of Lewis Carrol, its author. We catch the tail end of the performance of Hope Convention, an acoustic musician hailing from Dartford, telling us he knows he should polish his guitar tuning banter but hey, he’s got nothing to say, you know coming from Dartford and all. I was still recovering from the shock of how tiny the place is, how minimalistic, for the lyrics of Hope Convention to register but his guitar playing is fascinating. It just ends too quickly because of our late arrival, it would need further investigating. Charlie Parr is there all along with his partner, standing near the small table with his merchandising, attentive, silent. An untouched glass of red wine stares at him from the table. He jumps in immediately after Hope Convention, spending the interval tuning his steel guitar, custom-made by a man named Lee. It looks extremely shiny to us but apparently it is smudged by peanut butter somehow, Parr jokes. The guitar strikes me as the most luxurious item in the room, everything else is basic, or is it the power of the music that makes you just feel instantly transported to a wood cabin on the Appalachian mountains with the local wood chopper casually picking up a guitar in front of the log fire. Parr plays a mix of classics from the American folk tradition, Robert Thompson’s Devil stories, and his own ballads of an ordinary man living rough, living off nature, roasting opossums accompanied by imaginary dogs named Blue. Parr’s finger picking technique is not elegant, his hands have been working the land, not spent hours in parlours. His position is not elevated on a stage, he is sitting down on an ordinary chair and only the front rows and the tallest people in the room can actually catch a glance, but, the visual experience of his performance has been described as “a wet rag left to dry on the pavement, we are not missing much”, he reassures us. He is wide-eyed, genuine and hilarious, a true folk singer as they do not exist any longer. Towards the end  of the show, he treats us to a Bob Dylan song, “you know, you’ve got to promote a local guy”, he jokes, as they both hail from Duluth, Minnesota. He’s been travelling up and down the UK during the only snow storm hitting the island this year. Duluth is under snow for most of the winter, you do not survive without a shovel. But he tries to cheer us up, “don’t beat yourself up about it, it happens in Georgia as well, stuck on the motorway for hours because of an inch of snow…”

No space in the pub to pretend to exit and come back for an encore, he sorts of gets up and sits down again saying: “I’ll play another couple of songs if you can spare the time”. He ends with a rendition of Claude Ely’s “Ain’t No Grave (Can Hold My Body Down)” voice only, banging his shoe on the floor. He sings it as high as he can, I sort of feel the ghost of Johnny Cash duetting with him in his grave, velvety tones.

The Keep Guildford 5 March 2018

Viktor – Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch

Bausch - Viktor by Stefania Ianne
Bausch – Viktor by Stefania Ianne

I came across Pina Bausch’s work after her death in 2009 and thanks to Wim Wenders’ 3D tribute. Her world seems drenched in great melancholy and to date I cannot find any other art form that better depicts the absurdity of our lot in life than Bausch’s hybrid choreography. Her creations of theatrical performances created a new vocabulary crossing over between dance and theatre, allowing total freedom of expression to the performers, making each and every one of them the protagonist. Life is a choral performance, there are no solo performances. In Viktor’s case life in all its absurdity dances its way into a huge mass grave, with a gravedigger constantly trying to fill it in. The sound of the detritus falling on stage gently mixes in with the soundtrack of many traditional Italian songs along with classical pieces and Bolivian folk tunes. The effect is soothing and unsettling at the same time. The infinite lines of performers on stage constantly amaze us and challenge our views, our certainties. All is fluid, roles are playfully inverted. On stage we see people being deceived, used, abused, traded. I still feel the chilling cries of the ballerina facing us up close down my spine, I still see the beautiful lines of dancers snaking down the corridors of the theatre in a human dance chain, the rocking waving arms, all movements amplified by the presence of at least 20 dancers on stage, each one at a different stage in their lives, the young alongside the middle aged, the tiny alongside the tall, a multinational lot based in Wuppertal, an industrial northern German city, all brought together by a visionary artist and performer, with a melancholy face. The old guard of performers, her historical companions are still there, carrying the torch. There may be no protagonists but luminous Julie Shanahan’s smiling, graceful performance will be fixed on my retina forever.

Grayson Perry – Let Them Eat Conceptual Art

Comfort Blanket by Grayson Perry
Comfort Blanket by Grayson Perry

There was a time when it was normal to see Grayson Perry cycling around east London in a frock, turning heads, stopping the traffic. He is so busy and in such demand these days that even being in the audience at one of his talks today is quite a steep order, sold out even before it is advertised. Perry is such a master of ceremonies, stunning presence, allergic to stereotypes, he arrives on stage the grand dame of the pantomime, he jokes, this is me. The pretext for the comment is an exchange with the audience, you can always count on the participation of the audience as a member of the cast in the UK. Grayson warns the organizers that he might need some water at some point as he will be talking nonstop for over one hour and the audience goes Behind You!, referencing the pantomime season just over and pointing to the water bottle and glasses on a ledge behind the tall figure cut by Grayson Perry, even taller because of his high heels. He paces the stage gracefully in his grayish miniskirt frock throughout the talk, perfectly at ease in his stage persona, the successful, hard working artist, sharing his knowledge and wit with an audience of supporters of the Art Fund, art fanatics whose presumably impeccably furnished homes full of framed art Perry mocks from minute one. What is good taste, what is art, what is the perfect formula? Hard work transpires as his ethics, not a desire to shock. He is well aware of the public’s need to recognise what we see to be able to empathise and favour an artist or a work of art over another in a world that is flooded with so-called works of art and is run by business people. He has chosen a difficult path, both choosing to appear as he does, perfectly at ease in heavy makeup and frocks while being surrounded by gentlemen in coats and ties is a spectacle in its own right. He has also chosen a difficult path by scorning the traditional medium of art, as a student in the seventies he started challenging the traditional view that canvas is the only accepted and acceptable medium, He started with pottery with critics pigeonholing him as a craftsman.

He has managed to breakthrough with his disturbing political pots and he has moved on to tapestries painstakingly drawing every single detail on huge surfaces himself, mocking the perfect formula dominating the art world today: a half-baked idea, pushed by a greedy dealer, multiplied by a studio full of hundreds of crafts person actually creating the artwork, equals a big catch for investment bankers and nouveau riches… Playful and deadly serious at the same time, having an insight into Grayson Perry’s world was a very enriching experience.

Ondatje Theatre  February 2018

Network – National Theatre London

SI Network
SI Network

I’m mad as hell and I cannot take it anymore! The stage becomes a screen where hundreds of faces are projected while screaming into their mobile phone, I’m mad as hell and I cannot take it anymore! This is the most powerful scene in a perfectly choreographed and perfectly acted play, a spin off from a cinematic release from the seventies. In Sidney Lumet’s film, Peter Finch landed the role of the anchor-man/ newsreader going mad live on tv, announcing his suicide live on TV. He becomes the news because, in his words, he could not handle the bullshit anymore, the bullshit he was reading while doing his duty as a news reader. On stage Bryan Cranston takes over the role. His performance is up close and personal, he is seeking contact with his audience, literally sitting next to a young member of the audience “I see you have dressed up for the theatre” he quips coming out of character, breaking the barrier between reality and narrated story. Wow, he gets in and out of character in a split second, never loosing his concentration for one second. I am impressed, his performance is powerful and flawless. Having a Hollywood star and such a professional as your lead helps but the play works perfectly because Dutch director Ivo Van Hove has created a perfect mechanism, moving from video to live performance smoothly, conjuring the chaos of the TV world, its cynicism, perfectly telling the story of the divide between old style journalists and the new sensationalist approach to all that is shown on TV, including the news, in the name of ratings, share and eventually profit. The message is powerful, the performance is pyrotechnic, full of surprises and fun visual effects. Moreover Cranston’s presence is a sure hit and such a joy to witness. I can’t help but notice that his mocking eyes are still teaching a lesson to the youngster in t- shirt and baseball cap while bowing for the final applause, as if to say, this is the theatre man, make an effort.

Network, National Theatre, London 23 January 2018

Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing Missouri

There is always an underlining ironical nuance in Frances McDormand’s characters and attitude to acting as if inside she is laughing at the absurdity of the world around us and the pettiness of the individuals that populate it. Her performance in Three Billboards will probably earn her all the top acting prizes and quite rightly so. This is a light hearted, heavy-weight drama and a vehicle for McDormand’s performing skills. She cuts a powerful figure as a mother demanding justice for the rape and murder of her teenage daughter. She acquires status and power with every minute rolling on screen and becomes this holier than thou figure who can almost literally get away with murder because she is the wronged one, she can and feels she has a duty to set the place on fire until justice is done. In her journey on screen she is surrounded by many interesting characters, the reflection of how stereotypical we all become in our perceived individuality. Amongst them all Sam Rockwell’s performance as a textbook violent racist cop, is quite extraordinary. The actor is getting a lot of flak because of the nature of his character, most definitely he will not get any prizes, he is a privileged white American male playing a despicable character, how could he in the current climate of perceived goodness? But this is exactly what makes Mr Martin McDonagh’s film so interesting to watch, the director is determined to remind us that there is nothing that is 100% good or 100% evil, humans are full of contradictions and capable of despicable actions while being surprisingly committed to leading a good life, like textbook boy scouts/girl guides. McDormand’s character is not a saint either, she has a cause to fight for and from her pedestal all means appear legitimate to reach her goal, justice for a daughter she had openly wished would get raped and murdered during a fight too many the day she stepped out of the door never to come back alive.

“A New Light”

THE AUTHOR:

Hi!

My name is Francesca Patton.

I am a writer and journalist and I also teach Italian and history.

I have always liked reading and writing stories since I was a child and, so far, I have published a number of books of fantasy and a few collections of poems and essays.

What prompted me to write this book was a very tragic event that happened in my life in 2014. Following a complicated pregnancy, I was admitted to Santa Chiara hospital in Trento, Italy. After 30 days of hospitalisation, I gave birth to premature twins, Leonardo Domenico and Massimiliano Domenico, who, unfortunately, only survived one month.

Somehow, I knew that the only thing that could help me overcome this devastating experience was to put pen to paper. The book, Lanterna di Luce (A New Light) is the result of this endeavour. The book is part sci-fi, part sentimental, with a huge dose of personal experience weaved into it. However – and this is not a spoiler – it has a positive outcome. A New Light uses a variety of narrative techniques based on the STUDY OF DESIRES.

With Professor Thierry Bonfanti, I am currently undergoing a two-year training course in a new approach to philosophy and psychology focusing on DESIRE and the French psychologist, Michel Lobrot.

WRITING THERAPY

I offer courses on creative writing and writing therapy using a variety of writing techniques to create a feeling of well-being in the reader.

In my creative writing course, I often meet people that have lost the ability to dream or who are unable to set a distance between themselves and external events. To such people, I offer a series of activities to help fire their thoughts. Results obtained so far have been extraordinary; I have been able to restore some degree of reality in their lives, at the end of the course my students feel revitalized and full of energy. This is because they have regained the courage to reach deep down and liberate their desires.

WHERE DID THE IDEA OF LANTERNA DI LUCE (A NEW LIGHT) COME FROM?

Lanterna di Luce - Elisa Algarotti
Lanterna di Luce – Elisa Algarotti

A New Light came from observing that we humans are becoming more and more bogged down by our problems and thoughts. We find it hard to relax and find time for ourselves. We act frenetically and impulsively. By the time we get to the evening, we are worn out. All we want to do is to flop in front of the TV or catch up on the social network. Then we drag ourselves to bed without speaking with anyone. And the next day is just like the previous one, only even more nerve-racking.

That’s why I decided to create a book to help readers bring out their most intimate desires. A book that takes the reader to an ALTERNATIVE WORLD; one that is extraordinary, where you can find the energy and strength to confront your own reality: in short, a book that fulfils your own desires.

This is how A New Light was conceived; it is a book written in such a way as to help bring out your most intimate desires and find the key to achieve them.

 

 

CROWDFUNDING

To get this book published, I have decided to by-pass the editor and appeal directly to the those who share my same interests. I believe this will enable me to reach more people and I hope that the public is ready to appreciate a project aimed at promoting well-being in the form of a book, a book that can act as a catalyst for one’s own desires.

SUMMARY

I don’t want to reveal any spoilers about the book, however, I will say that the story starts aboard a ship. A young lady, a physicist, reveals her scientific discovery to a complete stranger. The book itself is a series of unexpected events that eventually reveal the connection between the two main characters. A set of twins, a magic lamp and a Kingdom made of light and pure magic soon find their way into the story. I can’t say any more but you certainly won’t be disappointed.

To create the kingdom of light, I did some research into the world of colours and light and borrowed a lot from the scientific and philosophical works of Isaac Newton, Goethe and Schopenhauer. The key word in this section of the book is, indeed, LIGHT. A light that leaps out of the pages of the book and into to the heart of the reader.

It’s a special book; it’s a book that was conceived from the desire to bridge the gap between dreams and reality.

COLLABORATION WITH ELISA ALGAROTTI

Lanterna di Luce - Elisa Algarotti
Lanterna di Luce – Elisa Algarotti

Ten watercolour and oil illustrations were also commissioned to complement the book. Elisa, the illustrator, and I hit it off together immediately. Elisa was particularly intrigued by the letters featured in the book. “I was fascinated by the letters because they felt so real!”, she said. I was introduced to Elisa through a close friend of mine and we met up in spring, when she showed me the sort of work she did. I just loved her style. On the surface, her pictures appear to be so simple, yet complex. You are inevitably drawn into them, as if in a sort of trance…

ILLUSTRATIONS

For A New Light we spent a long time studying how to create images that the reader could immediately identify with. As I said before, the pictures are so complex and yet simple. Understanding her images relies on unveiling a hidden detail in each illustration. The illustrations themselves were inspired by images created for the book, The Little Prince, by Saint-Exupéry, only that these have more COLOUR, to help highlight the real protagonist of the picture and, indeed, the main theme of the book, i.e., LIGHT. In hardback copies, the illustrations will be printed on 130 gsm, high-quality, matte paper.

APPEAL

My dream is to complete the book with all its illustrations and to get it translated into a number of languages and distributed worldwide. This is more than just a book; it is a source of energy and strength and helps you to face up to your everyday challenges. I really believe in this project and wish to bring A New Light into everyone’s heart and I really hope I can count on you to help me achieve this dream.

Thank you.

The full crowdfunding campaign is currently available only in Italian and you can support it by clicking on the following link: Lanterna di Luce

Here you can find the full list of the perks currently available for you to support the project:

Free donation

Our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support. Please let your friends and followers know about our crowdfunding campaign. Thanks.

8 Euros
Digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti and our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support.

28 Euros inclusive of postage and packaging
Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of The Magic Lantern created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti and our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support.

40 Euros inclusive of postage and packaging
Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti, signed by the authors and our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support.

150 Euros inclusive of postage and packaging (10 available)
Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti, signed by the authors, our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support and the first 10 subscribers will be offered the right to become characters in the final illustration of the book. They will be required to send a recent photo of themselves to: lanterna@stillarte.com.

150 Euros inclusive of postage and packaging (10 available)
Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti, signed by the authors, our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support and the first 20 subscribers will be able to add a comment to an illustration in the book, by sending a message to: lanterna@stillarte.com.

150 Euros (10 available)
One-hour creative writing introductory lesson + one-hour of creative writing consultancy via Skype (in Italian) with the author Francesca Patton.

 230 Euros
WRITEMOTION CREATIVE WRITING COURSE (14 July 2018 – 10 available) + Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti.

The course is only available in Italian and is divided into two 3-hour parts. The first part starts with a session focusing on observing and listening to nature and one’s inner self before immersing into the world of literature through selected passages by past, modern and contemporary authors. The aim is to record one’s own experience and share it freely with the rest of the group.

Details of the course:
– Saturday 14 July, 09.00 – 12.00 workshop focusing on oneself and creativity
– Saturday 14 July, 15.00 – 18.00 workshop on creative writing with feedback on work.

230 Euros
ARTEMOTION COURSE (15 July 2018 – 10 available) + Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti.

This expressive painting course is divided into two 3-hour parts and is only available in Italian. The aim is to focus on freely expressing one’s emotions through fantasy and colours and on revealing oneself on canvas. The image part of the course will be complemented by a musical element: the brush strokes of the artist will be guided by sounds to help reveal one’s passion.

Details of the course:
– Sunday 15 July, 09.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 18.00

430 Euros
WRITE&ARTEMOTION COURSE (14-15 July 2018 –10 available) + Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti.

The content of the course is identical to what’s covered in the individual courses and are available in Italian only.

Details of the course:
– Saturday 14 July, 09.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 18.00 painting workshop
– Sunday 15 July, 09.00 – 12.00 workshop focusing on oneself and creativity
– Sunday 15 July, 15.00 – 18.00 creative writing workshop with feedback on work.

550 Euros
TOUR OF THE SETTING of A New Light (28-29 July 2018 –10 available) + Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti.  

The level of difficulty of the tour is medium, i.e., it is aimed at experienced walkers, as it involves a good deal of walking up and down hill. Therefore, participants are expected to be in good physical and mental health.
The duration of the course is approximately 5 hours. Participants will be expected to bring along their own packed lunch and liquids to last them for the entire duration of the walk.

Details:
– Saturday 28 July, departure 09.00. Locations: Quaras, Piramidi di Segonzano, Cascata del Lupo and Bedollo. Return in the afternoon. (10 kilometres)
– Sunday 29 July, departure 09.00. Car to Malga Stramaiolo and then on foot to Tonini refuge; packed lunch at refuge and return on foot. Stopover at Malga Pontare and Inferno Waterfall. Return in the afternoon. (10 kilometres approx.).

New: Acquire an original and unique work of art! Only three available at 350 Euros each.

Original illustration measuring 30 x 30 cm, mounted on a white background, in an off-white, wooden frame (measurement including frame: 46×46 cm). Technique: Watercolour and oil, grammage 200g/m2. Price includes packaging and delivery by courier.

Choose an Illustration:

Monti (Mountains)
This illustration depicts the passage from the book: “It was like being surrounded by all my philosopher friends, with their long beards, as we engaged in long conversations…”

Barcaiolo (Boatman)
This illustration depicts the passage from the book: “I just couldn’t get Monet’s paintings out of my head… I was the boatman of tomorrow…”

Luce (Light)
This illustration depicts the passage from the book: “They were so tightly joined together like two cards. I couldn’t see their faces. They just emitted such a pure light…”

Conte, Kauflin, Plant, Giddens

Giddens Plant by Stefania Ianne
Giddens Plant by Stefania Ianne

13 November 2017

A very musical week full of inspiring musicians, starting with the London Jazz festival and ending in Bristol, at the Colston Hall, a historical venue celebrating 150 years of service. We start with the elderly Italian poet and jazz enthusiast Paolo Conte conducting his full band in front of a full house at London’s South Bank Centre. This is not the first time I see Conte live. It is remarkable he still feels the urge to entertain despite his getting weaker with age. The concert is slick and observing his musicians move between instruments onstage is like witnessing a well-choreographed ballet. The music slides smoothly on our tired limbs after a busy working day. Conte’s understated but steadily influential music and rough but velvety voice and rhymes lull us into a sense of false security, transporting us into a world of glamorous, cool musical cats. One just hopes reality never sets in and we can be transported forever in music paradise where the only fight worth having is with a green milonga… where we can dance our way around dreariness, sipping martinis under the jazz stars… yes.

16 November 2017

The change of scene is sudden when by Thursday we find ourselves sat in the plush red seats of the Wigmore Hall for a totally instrumental treat: Justin Kauflin jazz trio bridging the gap between Virginia Beach and Denmark, where the bassist, Thomas Fonnesbæk, hails from. A mixture of jazz classics cleverly executed, original compositions and a couple of unexpected covers brighten our dreary November evening. Amazingly reinvented, the Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever sounds as if it was always meant to be played by a jazz pianist and we also witnessed possibly the most moving rendition of a Sufjan Stevens’ song, Johnny My Beloved. Musical genius.

17 November 2017

The time to blink and we are speeding on the motorway westbound to catch Robert Plant’s latest tour, as a few tickets become suddenly available – the whole tour is obviously sold out. I’m panicking that we might miss it for some stupid reason, Friday the 17th is the worst day in the calendar for people like us hailing from Italy. We don’t miss it, of course, we are well on time, bags of time before Seth Lakeman takes to the stage. A man and a violin/acoustic guitar and percussions under his feet. Powerful, full of life and drenched in the history of the British west coast. Lakeman inscribes himself in the folk tradition and is a terrific fit when he later joins Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters on stage.

Plant is funny, still a very imposing figure, his red locks steadily turning to white. On stage he starts by presenting his latest creation, Carry Fire. Of the new songs he says: “we are not ashamed of them”, making no excuses for concentrating on the new compositions. His voice at times betrays his age but at times shines with the power of his inimitable style, so widely influential. Pigeonholed in the Led Zeppelin as a heavy metal band, despite half of their productions being acoustic, he has had to prove time and again his song writing skills are as powerful, not just wishy washy hippy escapism but poetical and at times political. “I don’t think a solution can come from any political leader”, he quips, “but hey here we are, we have all the answers” he jokes in his introduction to Misty Mountain Hop. The most moving moment is the rendition of Please Read the Letter, written in desperation in London, he says, recorded by chance in Nashville with Alison Krauss. Baby I’m Gonna Leave You is also monumental, showcasing the skills of his lead guitarist Liam Skin Tyson. Credited to Joan Baez, but originally written by Anne Bredon, this version alone is worth the price of the ticket. The energy and the passion of the performance, the fun you could read in the musician’s faces is more than one can ask really, it is a source of continuous inspiration.

18 December 2017

Finally hailing from Greensboro in North Carolina, Rihannon Giddens a powerful voice and a mean banjo and violin player, reinterpreting the history of black musical America and rewriting it with her own ebullient personality. Surrounded by a tightly-knit set of musicians their concert was sheer joy, in the midst of suffering, pearls in the desert, sheer foot stomping joyful release.

 

Basquiat Boom for Real

Basquiat Boom for Real
Basquiat Boom for Real

Was Basquiat just a meteor in the modern art world? He just kept on pushing boundaries by breaking into the modern, contemporary art world scene, a scene dominated by white western males. Breaking the rules was this tiny, elfish being whose inquisitive eyes were crowned by rebellious dreadlocks, questioning the rules of society, questioning the fabric of our civilization. From his puzzling messages tagged SAMO (same old, same old) on the dangerous, dirty streets of New York in the 70ies to becoming Andy Warhol’s protégé, painting ferociously in haute couture suits, his pattern has been meteoric, but his star was only crashed by a heroin overdose, aged just 27. A self-made, very political rock-n-roll star painter shaking the art world at its core. His paintings are uncomfortable statements, starting from his minimalist, painted diploma declaring his qualifications were not gained in conventional schools but on the streets of NY and devouring everything around him, the culture and the trash around him, along seminal books like the illustrated Gray’s Anatomy or Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawings. Underestimated, the school of life explodes in his paintings, its injustices towards black artists exposed at every turn on canvases as large as life.

Basquiat Boom for Real, Barbican Art Gallery 28 October 2017

Lisbeth Gruwez dances Bob Dylan

Lisbeth Gruwez dances Bob Dylan 27 October 2017
Lisbeth Gruwez dances Bob Dylan 27 October 2017

The set up is sparse, a DJ in one corner spinning old Bob Dylan’s songs on a turntable, a dancer in the centre of a stage, her immaculate white shirt the centre of attention surrounded by almost complete darkness. Ms Gruwez moves pulsate with the rhythm, they start minimal, they become ferocious, obsessive, tailored to the music and to our state of mind. Dylan’s voice and acoustic guitar are given life in a minimalistic setting, no need for anything else really, just the expressive, suffering face of the dancer tells many storie The only other visual input is the casual coolness of her DJ, Maarten Van Cauwenberghe, a composer and musician in his own right. He only joins Gruwez on the dance floor for an unusual, poetic pas de deux, he just discreetly follows Gruwez’s body with a soft light, old style spotlight, enhancing the reflection of her body moving in impossible yoga poses on the shiny black surface. Gruwez jokes that her partner is not much of a dancer and that was the only way to have a duet. Visually this was the most captivating moment of the performance, so much so I cannot recall which song was playing in the background. While very vivid in my mind is Dylan’s It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) providing the most complete fusion between music, lyrics and dance. Forever impressed in my mind is the dancer’s tour de force, her moving to the rhythmically challenging guitar, suddenly interrupted in a frozen pose while Bob sings: “Even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked”.

Lisbeth Gruwez dances Bob Dylan, Shoreditch Takeover, Shoreditch Town Hall 27 October 2017

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds live

Bad Seeds by Stefania Ianne
Bad Seeds by Stefania Ianne

I usually avoid large venues for any performance of any kind, venues like the Electric Halle in Düsseldorf are designed for sporting events, not music but the urge to finally see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds live again is too strong and I surrender to it. The location is so wrong for so many reasons, on so many levels. The current tour is promoting one of the most intimate recordings ever issued by the Bad Seeds, Skeleton Tree. It is raw, painful and anything but loud while, in stark contrast to the music being performed, the venue is so terrifyingly huge. Hard-core fans have been queuing since the morning to get the best positions… I find myself relegated to a terrible spot behind many very tall German people. There is only one choice, that is viewing the concert from the sides in what would be the equivalent of a balcony in a theatre but our position is so angled and remote that basically our vision is restricted to Nick Cave’s restless singing and a possessed Warren Ellis dancing around his violin. I miss the rest of the band entirely, though Cave and Ellis are the prime movers and seeing Cave’s interaction with his audience is a show in its own right. Before the concert I was unsure about the performance, listening to Cave’s shattered vocals in the documentary One More Time With Feeling was heart breaking, but I am relieved to see he has found a new powerful voice for his live performances and a renewed sense of humour. While performing, he endlessly jumps from the main stage to a detached slither running along the full length of the stage, where he can be in close proximity to his audience, often totally relying on their support to hold him up, their hands outstretched, in a continuous adoring embrace. I live the concert in fear, I imagine him disappearing in the gap, missing his step, tripped up by one hand too many stretched out at the last moment in the hope to even brush his legs for a brief nanosecond.

The acoustic is magnificent, despite the venue, despite the angled position which would only allow us to imagine the sound of the acoustic guitar played at times by George Vjestica, positioned at the extreme left side of the stage, the sound carried out in the opposite direction by the huge speakers. I can only imagine the percussions producing the sound I can hear, I can only imagine the presence of another multi-layered keyboard apart from the grand piano centre stage, the piano where Nick Cave at times joins in the playing and where he sits to play and sing Into My Arms accompanied only by the audience. Earlier on I mentioned his renewed sense of humour, apparent while he mocks a member of the audience for the lousy smart phone they were using to take his close-up picture, or again teasing the audience to “behave yourselves” when their hands got too close for comfort. I couldn’t even dream I would be smiling at a Bad Seeds concert.

Darkness has permeated the whole history of the Bad Seeds and the gruesome stories of Stagger Lee, the dead man walking in the Mercy Seat receive a new even gloomier lease of life in their elongated live version tonight. Red Right Hand, ever-present in the Bad Seeds’ set list, is updated for the 21st century with a topical reference to the obsessed tweeting of the sleazy red right hands in power right now. The Bad Seeds finish with a chorus of members of the audience led on stage by Nick Cave the piped piper, everybody singing “you got to keep on pushing, push the sky away”, in total enchanted respect of the physical boundaries. It ends up with loads of hugs, mainly for Warren Ellis after Nick Cave leaves the stage. He is not the only one able to hug Ellis, as he had boasted earlier in the concert, a few members of the audience in the chorus share the privilege tonight.

The whole evening is musically, lyrically and emotionally powerful and inspiring, a fully immersive and enriching experience. I am just looking forward to my next Bad Seeds experience. Just making sure I will not have to wait that long, this time around.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Düsseldorf Electric Halle 12 October 2017

News: Crowdfunding success – “A New Light”

Below you can find the full details of our first successful crowdfunding campaign and should you feel inspired by this very touching project, you can order a copy of the book now by contacting us on lanterna@stillarte.com Please note that Lanterna di Luce by our author Francesca Patton is currently available only in the original Italian version. Do state your interest if you wish to purchase the English version and we will update you as soon as this becomes available.

Here is what Lanterna di Luce is all about:

Appeal | Francesca Patton | Elisa Algarotti

THE AUTHOR:

Hi!

My name is Francesca Patton.

I am a writer and journalist and I also teach Italian and history.

I have always liked reading and writing stories since I was a child and, so far, I have published a number of books of fantasy and a few collections of poems and essays.

What prompted me to write this book was a very tragic event that happened in my life in 2014. Following a complicated pregnancy, I was admitted to Santa Chiara hospital in Trento, Italy. After 30 days of hospitalisation, I gave birth to premature twins, Leonardo Domenico and Massimiliano Domenico, who, unfortunately, only survived one month.

Somehow, I knew that the only thing that could help me overcome this devastating experience was to put pen to paper. The book, Lanterna di Luce (A New Light) is the result of this endeavour. The book is part sci-fi, part sentimental, with a huge dose of personal experience weaved into it. However – and this is not a spoiler – it has a positive outcome. A New Light uses a variety of narrative techniques based on the STUDY OF DESIRES.

With Professor Thierry Bonfanti, I am currently undergoing a two-year training course in a new approach to philosophy and psychology focusing on DESIRE and the French psychologist, Michel Lobrot.

Read more

WRITING THERAPY

I offer courses on creative writing and writing therapy using a variety of writing techniques to create a feeling of well-being in the reader.

In my creative writing course, I often meet people that have lost the ability to dream or who are unable to set a distance between themselves and external events. To such people, I offer a series of activities to help fire their thoughts. Results obtained so far have been extraordinary; I have been able to restore some degree of reality in their lives, at the end of the course my students feel revitalized and full of energy. This is because they have regained the courage to reach deep down and liberate their desires.

Read more

WHERE DID THE IDEA OF LANTERNA DI LUCE (A NEW LIGHT) COME FROM?

Lanterna di Luce - Elisa Algarotti
Lanterna di Luce – Elisa Algarotti

A New Light came from observing that we humans are becoming more and more bogged down by our problems and thoughts. We find it hard to relax and find time for ourselves. We act frenetically and impulsively. By the time we get to the evening, we are worn out. All we want to do is to flop in front of the TV or catch up on the social network. Then we drag ourselves to bed without speaking with anyone. And the next day is just like the previous one, only even more nerve-racking.

That’s why I decided to create a book to help readers bring out their most intimate desires. A book that takes the reader to an ALTERNATIVE WORLD; one that is extraordinary, where you can find the energy and strength to confront your own reality: in short, a book that fulfils your own desires.

This is how A New Light was conceived; it is a book written in such a way as to help bring out your most intimate desires and find the key to achieve them.

CROWDFUNDING

To get this book published, I have decided to by-pass the editor and appeal directly to the those who share my same interests. I believe this will enable me to reach more people and I hope that the public is ready to appreciate a project aimed at promoting well-being in the form of a book, a book that can act as a catalyst for one’s own desires.

Read more

SUMMARY

I don’t want to reveal any spoilers about the book, however, I will say that the story starts aboard a ship. A young lady, a physicist, reveals her scientific discovery to a complete stranger. The book itself is a series of unexpected events that eventually reveal the connection between the two main characters. A set of twins, a magic lamp and a Kingdom made of light and pure magic soon find their way into the story. I can’t say any more but you certainly won’t be disappointed.

To create the kingdom of light, I did some research into the world of colours and light and borrowed a lot from the scientific and philosophical works of Isaac Newton, Goethe and Schopenhauer. The key word in this section of the book is, indeed, LIGHT. A light that leaps out of the pages of the book and into to the heart of the reader.

It’s a special book; it’s a book that was conceived from the desire to bridge the gap between dreams and reality.

Read more

COLLABORATION WITH ELISA ALGAROTTI

Lanterna di Luce - Elisa Algarotti
Lanterna di Luce – Elisa Algarotti

Ten watercolour and oil illustrations were also commissioned to complement the book. Elisa, the illustrator, and I hit it off together immediately. Elisa was particularly intrigued by the letters featured in the book. “I was fascinated by the letters because they felt so real!”, she said. I was introduced to Elisa through a close friend of mine and we met up in spring, when she showed me the sort of work she did. I just loved her style. On the surface, her pictures appear to be so simple, yet complex. You are inevitably drawn into them, as if in a sort of trance…

ILLUSTRATIONS

For A New Light we spent a long time studying how to create images that the reader could immediately identify with. As I said before, the pictures are so complex and yet simple. Understanding her images relies on unveiling a hidden detail in each illustration. The illustrations themselves were inspired by images created for the book, The Little Prince, by Saint-Exupéry, only that these have more COLOUR, to help highlight the real protagonist of the picture and, indeed, the main theme of the book, i.e., LIGHT. In hardback copies, the illustrations will be printed on 130 gsm, high-quality, matte paper.

Read more

APPEAL

My dream is to complete the book with all its illustrations and to get it translated into a number of languages and distributed worldwide. This is more than just a book; it is a source of energy and strength and helps you to face up to your everyday challenges. I really believe in this project and wish to bring A New Light into everyone’s heart and I really hope I can count on you to help me achieve this dream.

Thank you.

The full crowdfunding campaign is available in Italian and you can support it by clicking on the following link: Lanterna di Luce

Here you can find the full list of the perks currently available for you to support the project:

Free donation

Our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support. Please let your friends and followers know about our crowdfunding campaign. Thanks.

8 Euros
Digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti and our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support.

28 Euros inclusive of postage and packaging
Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of The Magic Lantern created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti and our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support.

40 Euros inclusive of postage and packaging
Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti, signed by the authors and our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support.

150 Euros inclusive of postage and packaging (10 available)
Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti, signed by the authors, our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support and the first 10 subscribers will be offered the right to become characters in the final illustration of the book. They will be required to send a recent photo of themselves to: lanterna@stillarte.com.

150 Euros inclusive of postage and packaging (10 available)
Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti, signed by the authors, our heart-felt thanks for your interest and support and the first 20 subscribers will be able to add a comment to an illustration in the book, by sending a message to: lanterna@stillarte.com.

150 Euros (10 available)
One-hour creative writing introductory lesson + one-hour of creative writing consultancy via Skype (in Italian) with the author Francesca Patton.

 230 Euros
WRITEMOTION CREATIVE WRITING COURSE (14 July 2018 – 10 available) + Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti.

The course is only available in Italian and is divided into two 3-hour parts. The first part starts with a session focusing on observing and listening to nature and one’s inner self before immersing into the world of literature through selected passages by past, modern and contemporary authors. The aim is to record one’s own experience and share it freely with the rest of the group.

Details of the course:
– Saturday 14 July, 09.00 – 12.00 workshop focusing on oneself and creativity
– Saturday 14 July, 15.00 – 18.00 workshop on creative writing with feedback on work.

230 Euros
ARTEMOTION COURSE (15 July 2018 – 10 available) + Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti.

This expressive painting course is divided into two 3-hour parts and is only available in Italian. The aim is to focus on freely expressing one’s emotions through fantasy and colours and on revealing oneself on canvas. The image part of the course will be complemented by a musical element: the brush strokes of the artist will be guided by sounds to help reveal one’s passion.

Details of the course:
– Sunday 15 July, 09.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 18.00

430 Euros
WRITE&ARTEMOTION COURSE (14-15 July 2018 –10 available) + Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti.

The content of the course is identical to what’s covered in the individual courses and are available in Italian only.

Details of the course:
– Saturday 14 July, 09.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 18.00 painting workshop
– Sunday 15 July, 09.00 – 12.00 workshop focusing on oneself and creativity
– Sunday 15 July, 15.00 – 18.00 creative writing workshop with feedback on work.

550 Euros
TOUR OF THE SETTING of A New Light (28-29 July 2018 –10 available) + Hardback copy and digital version (eBook) of A New Light created by Francesca Patton and illustrated by Elisa Algarotti.  

The level of difficulty of the tour is medium, i.e., it is aimed at experienced walkers, as it involves a good deal of walking up and down hill. Therefore, participants are expected to be in good physical and mental health.
The duration of the course is approximately 5 hours. Participants will be expected to bring along their own packed lunch and liquids to last them for the entire duration of the walk.

Read more

Details:
– Saturday 28 July, departure 09.00. Locations: Quaras, Piramidi di Segonzano, Cascata del Lupo and Bedollo. Return in the afternoon. (10 kilometres)
– Sunday 29 July, departure 09.00. Car to Malga Stramaiolo and then on foot to Tonini refuge; packed lunch at refuge and return on foot. Stopover at Malga Pontare and Inferno Waterfall. Return in the afternoon. (10 kilometres approx.).

New: Acquire an original and unique work of art! Only four available at 350 Euros each.

Original illustration measuring 30 x 30 cm, mounted on a white background, in an off-white, wooden frame (measurement including frame: 46×46 cm). Technique: Watercolour and oil, grammage 200g/m2. Price includes packaging and delivery by courier.

Choose an Illustration:

Monti (Mountains)
This illustration depicts the passage from the book: “It was like being surrounded by all my philosopher friends, with their long beards, as we engaged in long conversations…”

Barcaiolo (Boatman)
This illustration depicts the passage from the book: “I just couldn’t get Monet’s paintings out of my head… I was the boatman of tomorrow…”

Luce (Light)
This illustration depicts the passage from the book: “They were so tightly joined together like two cards. I couldn’t see their faces. They just emitted such a pure light…”

Occhi castani (Brown Eyes)
This illustration depicts the passage from the book: “He had a roaring tiger firing out from his brown eyes”.

Featured Artists

Elisa Algarotti illustrator Manuela Monari, Writer Vittorio Pulli, painter Roberta Ianne, Painter Carla Saracino, poet Janice Anderson, writer Francesca Patton Logo