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Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: March 2010

Posted in Books, Combat Sports, Films, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 27 February, 2010

The theme of the month definitely seems to be “motion pictures” – not only is it time again for the renowned Flatpack Festival, March also sees this year’s Film Dash 48 hour challenge (see that link if you style yourself an auteur) and a few other filmy things besides.

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

Monday the 1st – Dizzee Rascal @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Sold out already though. I doubt that’ll surprise anybody.

Monday the 1st – Los Campesinos @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – No, really, it’s definitely “maths” and not “math”.

Tuesday the 2nd – “Lotty’s War” (Giddy Ox Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Lotty finds herself torn between loyalty and survival during the (nowadays often forgotten) German occupation of the Channel Islands.

Wednesday the 3rd till Thursday the 18th – “Behna” (Black Country Touring/Kali Theatre) @ somewhere on Weoley Park Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham – A site-specific play in a house, the precise address of which will be revealed on the booking of tickets. The secrets of two generations are observed through the kitchen.

Wednesday the 3rd and Thursday the 4th – “Meeting Joe Strummer” (The Future Is Unwritten) @ The Studio, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – Saw this a couple of years ago and thought it was great. Two blokes grow up, with and without the Clash in the background.

Wednesday the 3rd – “The World’s Wife” with Linda Marlowe @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – A stage adaptation (somehow) of the Carol Ann Duffy poems.

Thursday the 4th till Saturday the 6th – “The Women Of Troy” (Young REP) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – Euripedes trousers, you buya dese trousers.

Thursday the 4th – Angie Stone @ The Academy, Birmingham – Several years on I still think that “I’d rather be picking up bottles and cans if you can’t be my man” consists of two completely unrelated clauses, but she’s ace nevertheless.

Thursday the 4th – Woodenbox With The Fistful Of Fivers @ The Victoria, Birmingham – Very well-named Scottish folk sorts, playing a Colour do.

Wednesday the 4th – Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra @ Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – Fresh from not participating in The Specials reunion, here’s Jerry Dammers with his jazz big band.

Saturday the 6th – Fairport Convention @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – A holiday, a holiday, the first one of the year.

Sunday the 7th – Obituary @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – The best death metal band, when I (as I often for some reason do) forget about the existence of Entombed. Otherwise second place. That’s still very good though, obviously.

Wednesday the 10th – David Benson’s “Doctor Whom? My Search For Samuel Johnson” @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – I haven’t been to see David Benson for ages. A-typically (as he acknowledges) this one isn’t about a dead camp comedian, but I bet it’s very funny.

Wednesday the 10th – Atsuhiro Ito @ Vivid, Digbeth, Birmingham – A Japanese artiste who has created his own optical/sound instrument, the Optron.

Thursday the 11th till Sunday the 14th – Crufts @ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – HOUNDS, everyone’s fond of how-wunds, except for… no, wait, I’ve got the wrong song.

Thursday the 11th – “Film Dash” screening @ The Electric Cinema, Birmingham – A selection of the entries and the announcement of the winner.

Friday the 12th till Wednesday the 17th – St Patrick’s Day Festival @ all over Digbeth, Birmingham – The parade is on the Saturday, this year. The “St Patrocks” bands bit is in the college on the same day (hopefully it won’t suffer from being a complete pain in the arse like last year), and Irish literature night at The Old Crown on the 16th sounds interesting too.

Friday the 12th – “Blue Remembered Hills” (New Century Theatre Company) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – Dennis Potter’s famous play-for-whichever-day.

Friday the 12th – Autechre @ The Rainbow Warehouse, Digbeth, Birmingham – More groovy than they were glitchy, two years ago. Oh my god that gig was two years ago.

Friday the 12th – Killa Kela @ The Academy 3, Birmingham – This would be where I attempt beatboxing like some embarrassing family member.

Saturday the 13th – The Stranglers @ The Academy, Birmingham – Walking in The Academy looking at the old men (doo-doo-doo, do-do do doo doo).

Saturday the 13th – AMMA @ Banks’ Stadium, Bescott, Walsall – The always great amateur MMA cards, partially courtesy of Yoo-Eff-Cee Ref-Er-Ee Marc Goddard. Latest card here.

Saturday the 13th – “Eat My Shorts” @ The Edge, Digbeth, Birmingham – Short fillums then a disco, to raise money for Haiti.

Sunday the 14th – Boxing (First Team) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Afternoon card rescheduled from last month, headlined by Dean Harrison vs Ben Lawler. It’s also going to be streamed on BrandHatton.tv for three quid, if that suits you better.

Sunday the 14th – Speech DeBelle @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – Go then go then. Bye.

Monday the 15th – The Four Tops / The Temptations @ The NIA, Birmingham – Any resemblance to any original band members live or dead is purely co-incidental.

Tuesday the 16th – Mono @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – The “heavy like Beethoven” tagline always seemed a bit cheap, but the few tracks I’ve just listened to on TheirSpace seem pleasing enough in that usual “getting louder then quieter again” sort of way. The first part of The Asylum’s two days o’ post rock, courtesy of Capsule.

Wednesday the 17th – Thee Silver Mt. Zion (or whatever the current version of their name is) @ The Asylum, Hockley, Birmingham – The second part of The Asylum’s two days o’ post rock. I’m given to understand that they don’t like being described as post-rock, but then again I don’t like seeing bands get precious over that sort of thing so I suppose we’re all even.

Wednesday the 17th – The Dubliners @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – I cannot even begin to imagine how great it would be to see The Dubliners on St Patrick’s Day, but it’s already long-since sold out. Blast.

Friday the 19th – Four Tet @ The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – Folk-dance-electronica sorts. I can’t find precisely where in the Custard Factory they’re meant to be playing, but I’d be willing to guess at Space 2.

Friday the 19th – “Beating Berlusconi” (Turf love Theatre) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – Based on the true story of a demoralised Liverpool fan who ended up meeting Silvio Berlusconi in Turkey.

Friday the 19th – Marlena Shaw @ The Hare And Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – The actual real one, ladies and gentlemen.

Saturday the 20th – Postman Pat’s “A Very Royal Mission” @ The town hall/library theatre, Stourbridge – Accompanied as ever by his black-and-white cat.

Sunday the 21st – “Identity Of The Soul” @ The Drum, Newtown, Birmingham – A five (count ‘em) screen series of filmed poems, involving Ibsen and concerning matters of “war, retaliation and the consequences of choice”. Possibly an interesting adjunct to all of your Flatpack filmeramarama.

Sunday the 21st – Midlands Amateur Boxing Association finals @ The Tower Ballroom, Edgbaston, Birmingham – I’m not going to pretend I know the slightest tiny thing about amateur boxing, but the finals of the Midlands ABAs are here and apparently there will be 13 title-deciding fights across the various weightclasses.

Tuesday the 23rd till Sunday the 28th – Flatpack Film Festival @ various venues in Birmingham – Tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of filmic goodness. Highlights abound – there’s that black metal documentary, a thing about what is supposedly the worst film ever, a seminar that teaches you how to animate vegetables, and a whole pile more.

Wednesday the 24th till Saturday the 27th – “Ghost Boy” (20 Stories High Theatre) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – A play with hip-hop, grime, ska, puppetry, and a bloke declaring himself to be the superhero “Fly Man”.

Wednesday the 24th – Jethro Tull @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – One-legged flute etc etc etc.

Tuesday the 30th and Wednesday the 31st – “Fawlty Towers” (Central Youth Theatre) @ Newhampton Arts Centre, Wolverhampton – There’s something really quite surreal about the idea of young’uns doing “Fawlty Towers”.

Tuesday the 30th – Editors @ The Academy, Birmingham – Formerly Echo & The Bunnymen, now Depeche Mode.

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Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: March 2008

Posted in Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Modern Living, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 26 February, 2008

There’s usually another annual event this month, but it’s been cancelled this year.

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

Tuesday the 26th of Feb till Saturday the 1st of March – ‘Metamorphosis’ (Vesturport Theatre/Lyric Hammersmith) @ The Rep, Birmingham – Kafka with a score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. I can barely express how much I’m looking forward to this.

Friday the 29th of Feb and Saturday the 1st of March – ‘Family Snaps’ double-bill: ‘Tidy’ and ‘Forgive Us Our Trespasses’ (MDCC Theatre Company) @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – “Two plays about guilt, forgiveness and love. Two plays about New Labour, model airplanes and Barry Manilow” they say, by local writers Martin Drury and Elizabeth Parkes.

Monday the 3rd – Autechre @ The Medicine Bar, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – Beep beep beep squiggle-scronk vroom vroom blettum blettum vroom vroom blettum blettum.

Thursday the 6th – Capsule @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Finger-lickin’ finger-pickin’ guitar from Jack Rose, psychedelia from Hush Arbors, and post-rock from Cellar Door.

Thursday the 6th to Sunday the 9th – Crufts@ The NEC, Marston Green, Birmingham – Dang hounds.

Thursday the 6th to Tuesday the 12th – International Women’s Week events @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – It doesn’t mention it on the website, but apparently there’s an exhibition showcasing work done by various women’s (and possibly LBGT) community groups on the 6th and 7th. Sundry of the plays and events around happening this time are attached to IWW (according to the printed programme, Nowhere To Belong on the 6th, In No Particular Order on the 7th, and the “Mixed Bill Of Dance” on the 12th. The website doesn’t seem to attach any of those to it, but does mention that “It’s My Life” on the afternoon of the 7th is part). I hate to be cynical about anything like this, but it doesn’t bode well for a consciousness-raising exercise to prove unable to make basic information about itself clear and accessible.

Saturday the 8th – ‘An Evening Of Russian And British Romance’ @ St Mary’s Church, Selly Oak, Birmingham – Russian and English songs, music, poetry and food. All proceeds go to St Mary’s Hospice.

Saturday the 8th – Last Night Of The Spring Proms @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – With all the usual LNOTP favourites.

Saturday the 8th – ‘Young Storyteller Of The Year’ @ The Library Theatre, Birmingham – Still looking for entrants, apparently.

Saturday the 8th & Sunday the 9th – BEAST @ The CBSO Centre, Birmingham – Birmingham Electro-Acoustic Sound Theatre. 30 channels of speakers with different characteristics are arranged into pairs and placed at chosen points across the room, “to sculpt the spatial and dynamic implications of the music.”

Sunday the 9th – ‘Doomsday’ @ The Barfly, Digbeth, Birmingham – Dooooom metal alldayer, headlined by the awesome Lazarus Blackstar. (EDIT: Or perhaps not – apparently they’re not playing).

Wednesday the 12th – ‘Tangle’ (Unlimited Theatre) @ The Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry – I saw this at The Rep Door just over a year ago and it was fan-flipping-tastic. Entangled particles, entangled lives, pet grooming, and Great Uncle Bulgaria. There’s a Flash intro to the plot here.

Wednesday the 12th till Saturday the 15th – The Cleansing Of Constance Brown (Stan’s Café) @ 38 Floodgate Street, Digbeth, Birmingham – Themes of power, a corridor where it all happens, and limited audience numbers. Tickets via The MAC. (EDIT: Turns out that this is happening at 38 Floodgate Street. See the comments below for more details).

Friday the 14th – Sophie Ellis-Bextor @ The Academy, Birmingham – Here is Throughsilver on the subject of an SEB song that I don’t think I actually know.

Saturday the 15th – Gallhammer @ The Barfly, Digbeth, Birmingham – Sludgy doom metal with strange vocals (a common result of having your bandmembers made up of tiny Japanese girls) and unexpected New-Wave-y bits (possibly also result of same). One of them calls herself Vivian “Depressive” Slaughter. I love that. The surname wasn’t enough, she needed a nickname in the middle too… (EDIT: It appears that they’re supported by The Sontaran Experiment. Between having Paul Catten for vocals and a Dr Who reference for a name, they cannot be anything less than Pure Win).

Saturday the 15th – ‘Road’ (BSS Showbiz Group) @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – The Jim Cartwright play in which a drunken tour is given of a derelict Lancashire street. It’s won awards, don’tchaknow.

Sunday the 16th – St Patrick’s Day Parade @ Digbeth, Birmingham – They say the Birmingham one is the biggest in the world outside of New York, but (as has been noted elsewhere) that may be another ‘more cut than Venice’ claim. It’ll be huge, anyway. To be sure.

Thursday the 20th – An Evening With Tony Benn @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – What a man.

Friday the 20th – St Matthew’s Passion (Birmingham Bach Choir) @ The Symphony Hall, Birmingham – The Birmingham Bach Choir’s annual Good Friday performance.

Saturday the 22nd – The Detroit Spinners @ The Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham – They’ve been working their way back to you. Babe.

Sunday the 23rd – Enablers @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – This’ll probably (like Thomas Dolby and Pram/MTO/Shady Bard) be another one of those that’ll enable you to wipe out a good chunk of West Mids blogging with one well-placed bomb. (EDIT: Now with added Courteousness).

Monday the 24th – ‘Think No Evil Of Us’ (David Benson) @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – David Benson’s funny and thoughtful one-man show about the lives of Kenneth Williams and himself. I am, however, aghast at the £18 ticket price, given that he performs his shows fairly regularly in various Black Country theatres for much cheaper.

Tuesday the 25th of March – “Basil Of The Caribbean” @ The Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton – Basil Brush! BOOM BOOM!

Wednesday the 26th – Free Easter Egg Hunt @ Bilston Craft Gallery, Bilston – Free, and all children taking part get a prize. There’s also egg-decoration and storytelling.

Thursday the 27th – Jean Michel Jarre @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Synth Jarre Jarre Synth.

Thursday the 27th – Efterklang @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Their set in November was one of the best of last year. Amazing, beautiful and most of all indescribable.

Thursday the 27th – Whyte & Mackay Premier League Darts @ The NIA, Birmingham – I’m given to understand that Phil Taylor has been losing a few lately. Is there nothing that can be relied on?

Saturday the 29th – Nightwish @ The Academy, Birmingham – I’m still not entirely convinced what the point of them is without Madam there. Sold out, anyway, so I don’t suppose it matters too much.

Saturday the 29th – Angrrr Management’s ‘Octagon Club’ (MMA) @ The Glades Leisure Centre, Kidderminster – Headlined by Marc Goddard vs Jacob Lovstad, which is a really well-matched fight if you ask me. (EDIT: Or perhaps not – apparently Marc Godard is out with injury).

Monday the 31st – ‘Gulls, Gulls And More Gulls’ (Steve McGinnis of the West Midlands Bird Club) @ Birmingham Medical Institute, Edgbaston, Birmingham – Caw! Caw! Gulls!

Lots Of Things To See And Do In The West Midlands: February ’08

Posted in Combat Sports, LOTTSADITWM, Music, Stage, Well, it passes the time by Russ L on 27 January, 2008

More stuff this month, at least. Still mostly gigs, but there seems to be a decent chunk of theatre too.

Standard disclaimers: I can’t ensure that these events will go ahead, that they’ll be good, or that I will be going to them. This is just a list of things I found that looked like they might be interesting, so please do not contact me to ask for your event to be included. That’s not the way it works.

Friday the 1st – “Things That Can’t Be Said” (Re:Volve Theatre) @ The MAC, Edgbaston, Birmingham – A multimedia sort of thing exploring what (supposedly) cannot be said and creating “a visual tapestry of love, life and relationships.” Also at The Arena Theatre in Wolves on Wednesday the 6th.

Saturday the 2nd – Babar Luck @ The Little Civic, Wolverhampton – Completely looney but massively uplifting choons from the ex-King Prawn fella. Gangsta Folk, if you will.

Sunday the 3rd – Municipal Waste @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – Ther-rrraaaassshhh. Possibly the worst venue in which you could ever manage to see The Waste, but still.

Sunday the 3rd – Carmina Burana (CBSO & Choruses) @ Symphony Hall, Birmingham – You can go either as a punter, or you can actually become part of the ensemble and sing. I think that’s fantastic.

Sunday the 3rd – It’s Just Noise Halfdayer @ The Rainbow, Digbeth, Birmingham – Starting at 5:30pm and featuring Blakfish, The Arm, Mills & Boon and many other delights.

Friday the 8th – Dropkick Murphys @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Oi Oi Oirish.

Friday the 8th – KODO @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – Here come the drums here come the drums.

Saturday the 9th – The Move @ J.B.’s, Dudley – Or the current touring version of The Move, anyway. Apparently Bev Bevan and Trevor Burton are amongst their number, but Roy Wood isn’t.

Saturday the 9th – Reanimator metal night @ The Bristol Pear, Selly Oak, Birmingham – Birmingham’s main extreme metal put-er on-ers bring you this night, headlined by German thrashsorts Nocturnal.

Saturday The 9th – Authority To Pay Recordings night @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham – Courtesy o’ Capsule, headlined by Fuck Buttons. It seems strange to get so angry about confectionary.

Monday the 11th – Earth @ The Medicine Bar, The Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham – In the field of drone-rock, it is not cosmologically incorrect to say that the Earth is older than the Sunn O))). Hyuck hyuck hyuck har har har.

Wednesday the 13th – The Twang @ J.B.’s, Dudley – There would have been some sort of trope here based around “Hang the DJ/Twang The J.B.’s”, but I decided I love you all too much to subject you to something quite so feeble.

Tuesday the 19th – Storytelling Café @ Wednesbury Library, Wednesbury – Tell some stories. Also at the Kitchen Garden Café in Kings Heath the following night, and that one will apparently have an Irish theme.

Tuesday the 19th – “Bacchic” (Actors Of Dionysus) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – ‘The Bacchae’ with aerial theatre (does that mean trapeze?), specially composed music and ‘inspired’ lighting. Sounds interesting at the very least.

Wednesday the 20th – Dillinger Escape Plan @ The Academy 2, Birmingham – This is the one that was originally due to be on the 5th of November and may or may not have been originally due to also feature Meshuggah (it isn’t now). I suppose, as creators of mad fractured music, it seems apt that their gigs have mad fractured arrangements.

Wednesday the 20th to Saturday the 23rd – “Angel House” (Birmingham Rep Theatre Company) @ The Rep Door, Birmingham – How two brothers lives can take very different paths. Written by the highly respected Roy Williams.

Wednesday the 20th to Saturday the 1st of March – Birmingham School Of Acting: Spring 2008 season @ The Crescent Theatre, Birmingham – Four different plays over a week and a bit. Including “Prince Pippin’s quest to find personal significance.”

Thursday the 21st to Saturday the 23rd – “Waitress For Godot” @ The Old Joint Stock Theatre, Birmingham – The Old Joint Stock’s resident theatre company re-lick the obvious Beckett play from a female perspective, involving two women waiting for Estragon and Vladimir. Intriguing.

Friday the 22nd – Megadeth @ The Academy, Birmingham – The ‘Wow, they’re still going! Who knew?’ option for this month.

Sunday the 24th – ISKA International Thaiboxing @ Wombourne Leisure Centre, Wombourne, Wolverhampton – No details or proper link, as ever.

Monday the 25th – Boxing (Pat Cowdell) @ The Burlington Hotel, Birmingham – Usual drill: dinner show, I’ve no idea who might be fighting, etc, etc.

Tuesday the 26th – Mayhem @ The Barfly, Digbeth, BirminghamDon’t approach any of them and ask them if they’re pining for the fjords. Someone I know did this last time they were over here, and they had him ejected from the premises (more things happened but they may be libelous to relate). I’m not joking, this is a true story. Anyway, unholy black metal and so on.

Tuesday the 26th – Eels @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – That recent BBC4 documentary about Mark E Of The Eels’ rediscovery of his grandfather (Hugh Everett III) and his ‘Many Worlds’ interpretation of quantum mechanics was really good. Ben Swizzle writes about it here. On that note, I’m currently reading Quantum – A Guide For The Perplexed by Jim Al-Khalili and would recommend it to all, explaining (as it does) things very well to simpletons like me as well as being beautifully illustrated. I’m off on a bit of a tangent here, but since this gig is already sold out I expect you won’t mind.

Tuesday the 26th – Rolo Tomassi @ The Little Civic, Wolverhampton – Supporting I Was A Cub Scout, who I once saw supporting Rolo Tomassi (funnily enough) but didn’t think were anything particularly special.

Tuesday the 26th to Saturday the 1st of March – ‘Metamorphosis (Vesturport Theatre) @ The Rep, Birmingham – I’m reeeally looking forward to this: a staged version of the Kafka short story with a score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. Get Carina Round and some jalapeno peppers involved somehow and this would include pretty much everything I love in the world.

Wednesday the 27th – “Here Be Monsters” (Rejects Revenge) @ The Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton – The world’s first steam-powered spaceship, and apparently lots of silliness. Sounds like fun to me. I can’t help be thinking of Werewolves and Queen Victoria, though, getahmean?

Thursday the 28th – Alicia Keys @ The NIA, Birmingham – She wasn’t all that great when I saw her a few years back (well… she’s not the sort of artist you want to have to grin and bare onstage skits from, is she?), but I would assume that by now she has enough material to fill a set without arseing about pretending to take phonecalls from a prop phonebox. And that’d be quite good.

Thursday the 28th – Boxing (First Team Promotions) @ The Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Black Country vs Birmingham derby! Matty Hough takes on Max Maxwell for the Midlands area middleweight title, and it will be great. Also featuring some of our other local faves like Lyndsey Scragg, Rob Hunt, Dean Harrison, etc.

Friday the 29th – Editors @ The NIA, Birmingham – And so you’d better not make any spelling mistakes.

Friday the 29th – Fairport Convention @ The Town Hall, Birmingham – It’ll never be said in fair England that I slew a naked man, either.