Friday, October 19, 2012

Wine, Photography and Jazz

I'm surprisingly not too hung over, giving the amount of wine I consumed over dinner last night and then at the Jamboree Venue where we heard old time jazz. More on that below.

Thursday was my day to take in art and good company with my friend Judy.  Just as last year, we met up in the morning at Tate Modern. We looked at the installation -- not sure that's what you'd call it, as it was more of randomly choreographed event (is that an oxymoron?) -- in the Turbine Hall, some of the rolling exhibitions in the Tate Tanks (the best of which was Suzanne Lacy's The Crystal Quilt, which my quilter friends Shawn and Allie would enjoy), and a new exhibition of photography by William Klein and Daido Moriyama

We then walked across the river and through the City to the Barbican for an exhibition of photography from the 60s and 70s called Everything Was Moving. This had to be one of the most amazing and powerful photography exhibitions I've ever seen.  It brought together something like 400 photos by 12 photographers (none was anyone I'd heard of other than William Eggleston) from around the world, who each documented their unique eye-view of some aspect of these two tumultuous and world-altering decades -- from the Freedom Ride for voter registration in the southern states of the US, to the war in Vietnam, Chinese society under Mao, the brutality of apartheid in South Africa, the vivid color of India, and the expressive youth culture of Mali. Uniting them all were the threads of life under oppression and of the creativity, hope and human spirit that can emerge from/despite those conditions. Roger was so blown away by the exhibition when he saw it that he bought the book -- I'm going to have to leaf through it to revisit the images before I leave. 

After saying goodbye to Judy on the tube, I took a long, rambling walk -- turning south and then east, south and east -- from Whitechapel station to the DLR station in Limehouse. Some of my walk took me through the noise and traffic of the modern Commercial and Whitechapel roads, and other times I turned into quiet residential side streets of Georgian terrace houses that looked like scenes of Whitechapel over 100 years ago. And I found a little street next to St Mary's Cable Street where a scene from To Sir With Love was filmed nearly 50 years ago in 1967. Walking these streets, you can easily imagine yourself in another decade or another century. 

I met up with Roger, Greg and Esther under the arches of the DLR station. Note to self: if meeting someone at Limehouse station, be sure to specify which entrance to meet at. Esther and I saw a gorgeous sunset behind the Shard as we waited at one entrance while Roger and Greg tried to find each other at other entrance. On the map, the route to Narrow Street to the restaurant looked like just a doodle. Turns out it involved crossing the Rotherhithe Tunnel Approach at rush hour, which was just a little frightening. But having survived it once, we bravely did it again to get to Jamboree Venue to hear Dakota Jim and (part of) his orchestra playing old ragtime jazz (American and Romani) from the 20s and 30s. The venue is wonderful -- it's a small section of an old brick factory in Cable Street. The concrete walls are decorated with musical instruments and some large, odd paintings. Only about 8 tables, with utterly mismatched chairs. There's a little bar in the back, and up front a small stage with velvet curtains. The music was perfect.

Now I'm getting a really late start, and trying to work out where I'm going today. It's my catch-up day, one to work in things I've missed earlier in the week. I know I'm going to see Bedlam in the Old Vic Tunnels, but not sure where else the day will take me. It's lates at many of the museums, so I might just hop for one to another into the evening. Stay tuned.

25,295 steps (9.98 miles)
£12 for Barbican Art Gallery
£1.80 for tea
£20 for pizza, wine, and more wine

1 comment:

  1. After reading the post M.J I also went to the Barbican to see the photo exhibition. It was amazing. A very powerful and shocking way to realise how bad things were in the deep south and Soweto. A shame the book of the show was so expensive.