Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Olympic Hights - Inspiring Days Ahead for Rotherham Arts

The games are over, almost, given the politics behind the high gloss finish to the event, begrudgingly I have to say “WOW” on every level. 

We actually got it right, with the exception of G4 Security of course.  

Besides some inspiring sporting performances, for me Murray’s complete demolition of Federer was the stand out individual performance just making it ahead of Mo, Rudisha and Bolt and all our other fantastic medal winners. 

But as the dust starts to settle on the Olympic Park, the financial cost of it all is cringing, £9Billion for the design and build of the Park, 35,000 people displaced from their homes, businesses wiped out overnight, and around £5m per medal paid into the elite sport funders. 

Artistically the most amazing thing for me was the Olympic Cauldron which I hope will find a home somewhere where it can go on display for all time.  For concept, design and pure fantastic good looks it did everything for me.   Thomas Heatherwick  the designer should be knighted for his contribution for showing British art and design at it’s very best, unlike that thing outside Stadium (I think it was called the Orbit) that I never worked out.  BEST OF ALL IT WAS MADE AND BUILT IN YORKSHIRE!   Go HERE to see how it was built.

But there was some great Art on display throughout the Park, details HERE

We’ll not comment upon the Opening and Closing Ceremony.  Great fun with a few stand out moments.  The sight of Eric Idle singing “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” complete with roller blading nuns, and Bollywood Characters, will stick with me for ever.

So here are words that I did not think I would ever write, well done Seb., BUT I hope that you will surprise me as much with what you do in the so called “legacy” period as you have in delivering the Games. 

And it’s been a bubbling under week as far as my own activity has been concerned.  A round of meetings reviewing and getting reaction to Slamfest. See previous Blogs.  The great thing has been that the comments have been 100% positive; a few marks have been knocked off for one or two organisational things, and a few points knocked off for financial balancing of the books and in some cases advertising / publicity.  So around 85% has been awarded. 

Loads of things have been identified that could be polished up for 2013 and yes, we’ve taken it all on board.  But RAE need more volunteers, and yes it’s hard work at times, but to achieve the sort of Festival people are talking about we need PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED ON THE ORGANISATIONAL SIDE, and deliver as well as make promises.  Email us HERE

The firm planning for The Fringe Festival has started.  The Fringe will be running throughout the Festival Exhibition 1st – 31st October .  

I hope that the Web Site will be up soon, but we can say that RAE will be bringing the founder of Creation Records, producer of the early Oasis recordings and  Manager of the Libertines and now Internationally recognised DJ Alan McGee to Rotherham for one night only.  More details to come once we have sorted the right venue for this but the date is 30th October.   Warming the evening up will be International singer song writer John McCullagh on tour from Australia (Of Dance on the Grave of Mrs Thatcher fame) with support from a young John Bhoy McCullagh and Rotherham’s own Philip  Sinclaire.

We’ll also be running the popular Saturday Brunch Club Acoustic Sessions at the Gallery, this year hosted by David Kidman and on Wednesday evenings Paul Pearson will be hosting a series of Paul Pearson and Friends at The Gallery venue.   Unfortunately we will have to put a small cover charge on the Wednesday evening Concerts.

ACOUSTIC ARTISTS – if you would like to take part during the Saturday sessions or at one of Paul Pearson’s evenings please contact us now HERE

We are also hoping to put on a series of four Acoustic Evening s around the Townships, e.g. Maltby, Wath, Rawmarsh, Kiverton, Anston, Thorpe Hesley, Dinnington etc.  if we can find the right venues………….  We’ll need three acts for each concert, and my preference would be to try and maintain the same three performers.

The same concept applies to the boys from Rock, and the FOF Theatre will be performing the same series of dates.

We really hope that the Performing poets will also join the project.

If your Band or a Performing Poet who might like to contribute to this part of the Fringe Festival then please Email HERE

The purpose of these evenings is to take a range of popular arts out into the Borough and introduce the whole Borough as to what is available.  We hope we can attract young people and adults to show how they might be able to access the Arts even though they live out of the main Town.

6th October we’ve a Punk Night at The Bridge in Rotherham, with The Sons of El Roacho headlining with full support.  Entry is free but donations will be collected for RAE and there will be the good old raffle.

The Red Choir will be performing a special Festival Concert, 15th October with the venue likely to be the Rugby Club, other guests to be confirmed.

And of course we will be holding the 2nd Rotherham Busking Day, the date to be confirmed with the Council this week.  We are hoping to include many more surprise elements to this.

We also hope that the Fringe will also include something in recognition of National Poetry Day and the International Celebration of Poetry Day, both of which fall within the Festival period.  I’ve asked the powers that be, but so far no answer.

We also have a number other special events in the final stages of planning.

And don’t forget the Myke Barritt song writing Competition,  all the details are HERE

Sad news this week, strong rumours suggest that one of Rotherham’s live music venues might well be being sold on or worse closed at SNAFU.  It demonstrates just how difficult it is these days to make venues pay at all levels.  Yes there might be some fantastic music nights, but these alone do not keep a Venue alive, these days you need a regular cash flow. 

And I was at the very last night of opening for the Red Lion at Braithwell, where the Folk Club sent the building into it’s new life with a few well-chosen songs.   Closing pubs on their last night are very sad;  only the expensive stuff is left………

I should say that John is working hard to find an alternative venue for the Folk Club, which appears not to be having a lot of luck having already lost that pub which was in the middle of nowhere and I can’t remember the name of.

But there is some good news.  On Sundays there is a new Open Mic / Jam Session at the Park View in Swinton.  Good luck lads I wish it all the best and when able to will pay it a visit.

The same applies to the newish Thursday Night at The Haynook, Kimberworth Park Road and run by those local men of blues and Rock the two Ms – they are due a Mashering to.

There are a lot of good things coming up.

Opus Hatch, devised and written in Rotherham by Karen Mulcahey and T. Rafiq (yes he makes the exceedingly good cakes) has it’s World Premiere on the 1st September – Helmsley Art Centre – Box Office 01439 771700.

It then goes on tour with dates at
13th Spetember – Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax – Box Office 01422 349422
22nd September – Montgomery Hall, Wath – Box Office, visit
27th September – Barnsley Civic Theatre – Box Office 01226 327000
4th October – Sheffield Library Theatre – Box Office, visit
6th October – Old Market Gallery, Rotherham – Box Office, visit
10th October – Rotherham College of Arts and Technology – Box Office, visit

The later two performances making up part of the main core of the Rotherham Open Arts Festival. 

A reminder that top American Poet Buddy Wakefield will be at The Bridge on 24th August.

Which brings me to report about a changing of the guard at The Bridge.

So farewell Ben and Olivia.  It’s hard to explain just what this couple have done for Rotherham.  They came to the Bridge just after the great floods, and were welcomed by a cold damp environment and with a non-existent customer base. 

Sheer hard work painting decorating, market testing, and the rest began to have it’s rewards, yes the Mashers started to use the upstairs room every Monday for their rehearsals, in fact, so regular were we that our attendance was taken for granted and one great night Myke and I got locked in and were saved from the dogs by the skin of our teeth.   

The hard work and marketing worked well.  Soon The Bridge became the Meeting Pub of choice with Trade Unions, left groups spanning the spectrum of Trots and Marxism, domino teams, Jazz Sessions, Folk Clubs, Acoustic Open Mics, a great Saturday night live music venue, a Performance Poetry Open Mic and  Let’s face it a venue where generally  the very best brains in Rotherham meet. 

Indeed through their marketing and OK maybe by accident the Bridge has become a hub for much of the art and music community as well as special interest groups in the Rotherham, a much needed resource given the closure of so many pubs and Clubs. 

And of course, those who have been carved up on the Rotherham Roundabouts by Ben have me to thank, as I taught him to drive, or rather, how to pass the driving test. 

Thanks guys.  You may not have realised it but you have created something special at The Bridge, you’re a very hard act to follow, so I hope the selectors have got it right. 

All good wishes to you both for the future in whatever you do and thanks for all your efforts. 

This weekend we’ve the usual Summer gatherings as the Festival season continues at full throttle.  Top of the list, the start of Whitby Folk Week on Saturday, and it means that there will be few Folkies spotted around and about these parts for the next week.  Those who know the Masher will appreciate that Whitby week is not one of his most favourite venues, overcrowded, overpriced, expensive fish and chips etc, and overpriced beer.  But those that fight the masses always seem to have a good time.  So if you’re heading East have a super time.

I had to go to a meeting at the Corn Law Rhymer last Saturday afternoon, really pleased to see that a number of people had joined Chris Slater for his Oils Workshop at The Imperial Building.  Remember that they continue every Saturday until September and are FREE.  So if you’re looking for inspiration, or a few tips that might help you progress your painting then pop along.

This Saturday also sees the Dirty Dylan Concert in the Clifton Park Wall Garden.   It promises to be a fantastic night with Steve Gascoigne and Philip Sinclaire in support.  Bar – BBQ and loads more to make for a great Summer Breezes evening.   This is a RMBC Clifton Park Promotion, in Association with Rotherham Art Events as part of the Summer Breezes weekend.  Tickets available from the Town Centre Information Centre or on the door for a bit extra or why not try and win a couple via RotherFM

 All the listings can be found HERE

That’s it, so, whatever you are doing this week have great fun, support local artists and KEEP IT LIVE.

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