Camden Council and burlesque dancers across London have got their frilly knickers in a twist over the licensing of burlesque performaces. The Council requires any establishment which shows nudity on stage, and has entertainment of an adult nature, to hold the same licence held by the borough’s lap dancing venues. But burlesque dancers are arguing the nature of their performance is an art form, and oppose being categorised with strippers and lap dancers.

The story came about this week when the Evening Standard reported how regular burlesque nights held at popular music venues such as Koko and Roundhouse may be under threat if they do not acquire the appropriate licence, Striptease or art? The question for burlesque taste police.

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Aneurin Barnard as Melchior

Aneurin Barnard as Melchio Gabor (Photo by Tristram Kenton courtesy of Cornershop PR)

Believe the hype; Spring Awakening is a youthful tonic for young and old, making no apologies for being angst ridden, volatile and touching all at the same time,  just like its teenage characters. The musical is deftly punctuated by catchy rock ditties and ballads to convey pivitol moments, the youths expressing through song what they daren’t utter in conversation, with power and humour.

For a play so steeped in controversy, it’s hard to believe one could come away so invigorated. This is in part due to the verve and energy of the cast, but also a skilled adaptation of Frank Wedekind’s orginal 1891 play which was initially banned in Germany and not performed in English for nealy a 100 years thereafter, due to its (then) shocked reception.

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Goldie‘s latest art exhibtion at Shoreditch’s Maverik Showroom packs a punch…

Arresting: Goldie greets visitors to Maverik Showroom              (All photos by Saadeya Shamsuddin)

Arresting: Goldie greets visitors to Maverik Showroom (Photos by Saadeya Shamsuddin)

A reaction to society’s ASBO nation created by the government or a great excuse to jump on the anti-establishment graffiti bandwagon? Perhaps a little bit of both, but judging by the price tags at Goldie’s latest exhibition at Maverik in Shoreditch, only the minted will be buying, be they the likes of former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown or City slickers wanting to feel street because they’re anything but.

Click below to view slideshow

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Miss Lotte von Muller

This free exhibition adorning the foyer of the National‘s Lyttelton Theatre derives its name from the German ‘tingel-tangel’, the title given to third rate theatrical variety shows during the heyday of the Weimar.  The prize winning contemporary artist Roxana Halls explores her fascination with the culture of Cabaret over the last century in a series of paintings inspired by her time spent in Berlin and her former studio, the saloon bar of a defunct 1930s London theatre, now a Bingo Hall.

Halls’ paintings are impressive to behold, giving visitors the feeling they are the sole audience in the surreal realm of cabaret entertainers, where nothing is quite what it seems…

Tingle-Tangle, until May 30. Admisssion: Free. National Theatre, South Bank, SE1

Film: Two Lovers

(Photos courtesy of Lionsgate Films)

(Photos courtesy of Lionsgate Films)

Joaquin Phoenix has become something of an enigma. Following his renunciation of acting, along with the sparkly trappings of Hollywood for the more humble profession of lyrical wordsmith, his film fans and music critics are united in hoping he doesn’t give up the day job.

But judging from the current hobo look he sports, his aloof stare and incoherent mumblings (its rapping apparently), immortalised by his infamous appearance on David Letterman earlier this year, it looks as if Two Lovers may well be his swan song.

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With Mothering Sunday upon us, I speak to an artist who has dedicated his latest exhibition his greatest inspiration – click continue below to watch the video.

Upon entering the third floor of Sadler’s Wells Theatre,  I am confronted by a series of defiant women.  It is obvious that they are from different walks of life, but they share a united stance: ‘Us against the world’.  Among them are suffragette Emily Davison and Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole.

Welcome to Mother, an exhibition dedicated to the mother of celebrated British artist and Islington resident Vaughan Grylls. Comprising ten life-size representations of historic female figures who changed the socio-political face of Britain from the late 18th century onwards, the women encapsulate the spirit and character of Grylls’s mother Muriel.  A former political campaigner and women’s rights activist, she died three years ago, aged 92. “She was fearless, and when she looked into the mirror before leaving the house it was like she was getting ready to take on the world”, explains Grylls.  “I wanted the photographs to reflect the same sort of immediacy.”

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the-class-2This superb film about a year in the life of students in a rough inner-city school in Paris takes the genre of social realism to a new level. Based on François Bégaudeau’s semi-autobiographical novel of the same name, The Class is the first French film in 21 years to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year. And deservedly so.

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