ArtsFest, help us pick the highlights

I was intending to have a shufty through the ArtsFest programme and pick out a few highlights, recommend a few things, but it’s nigh on impossible. There’s so much on, of completely varying quality, ambition, scale, genre and medium (plus very few things that I’ve ever heard of). The programme (as a doccument) for this year is much better than last years A4+ monstrosity at a handy A5 – pocket sized and as clear as it can be – unfortunately the online version is harder to navigate. To try and help I‘ve scanned up a PDF for you to puruse until you get one of the printed ones.

So I’ll only mention a few that I think might be of interest, you don’t want to hear my prejudices against Blues Brothers tribute bands, or worthy-but-not-interesting theatre groups:

Of All The People In All The World – Stan’s Café’s top rice-based experience (although this is on through and after the weekend, so you can still go later on).

You’ll be able to say “hello me old pal, me old beauty” to some of The Archers as they get their own paving slab in Broad St on Friday at 6pm, followed by an acoustic perfomance of “somemenbers of The Beat”.

Stirrer blogger and comedian Laurence Inman will be doing some stand-up at 9.55 (prompt!) at the Prince of Wales on Friday.

If you missed the Birmingham Opera Company in a Warehouse, you can see them singing in the slighly less industrial setting of the BBC (in the Mailbox) on Saturday at 12, followed later at 3 by the RSC and then by “Sissorman”, who might be a rap/poet or might do sillouettes (I’m guessing).

Soweto Kinch is part of the Nu Century Arts Jam Session in Centenary Sq at 4pm on Saturday.

There must be some of you who’ve seen and could point out some good bits? The comments are yours…

  • I’ve been trying to do the same for CiB but you’re right it’s nigh on impossible. Actually, the Friday should take care of itself with Stan’s Cafe, the free stuff at the Town Hall (esp Soweto Kinch and the interesting-looking Maylight) and the general Light Night shenanigans.

    Saturday’s the tricky one. There’s the BRB/CBSO/Opera/fireworks finale in Centenary Square but otherwise I reckon it’ll be a case of stumbling on stuff. Then going to Project X Presents in the evening. Oh, the Between The Lines thing at the Library at 7pm looks nice (on Sunday too).

    On Sunday it might be worth splitting time between the Custard Factory (bit of music and a programme of short films) and the Kerrangfest stages (depending on whether you’re a Levellers fan or not).

  • I find the online programme really hard to navigate too, so made my own version of it at http://www.dracos.co.uk/play/artsfest/ which orders things by time and is searchable.

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  • Annerley

    I want to hear your prejudices on Blues Brothers tribute bands. I saw them in Centenery Square yesterday and thought they were brilliant. The crowd loved it. Did you see them?

  • No I didn’t see the Blues Brothers tribute act, that’s one of the beauties of ArtsFest — it’s so damn big that one can be a couple of miles away from stuff that you wouldn’t like and still be there doing something.

    Tribute bands are on dodgy ground to start with, and along with the Commitments, there’s something depressing about a tribute band to a fictional covers band — like the film version of musical version of The Producers — how much further from the original vision can it get before it disappears up its own arse?

    You’d hope that watching and enjoying a Blues Brothers tribute act would encourage people to check out the RnB originals in the way Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi intended — instead it seems to only create more appetite for soul rendered through paunchy blokes in their forties.

    That and providing the easiest and least imaginative fancy dress competition available.