Now a stalwart in the North East’s cultural calendar, The Late Shows, in its eighth year (and still free – yippee) manages to keep things fresh with an exciting mix of exhibitions, music and performance, with plenty of opportunities for you to discover your inner artist. Taking place on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th May, more than 50 cultural venues are opening their doors as the sun goes down and have outdone themselves with their innovative events this year.
We’re getting used to wielding our glow-sticks and running around town late into the night in the middle of May. This year, we’ll be able to squeeze even more in as the Gateshead venues will open at 6pm (an hour before the Newcastle venues) and with fifty spaces scattered around the city, the extra hour will welcomed with open arms. For those suitably excited by everything to stay up past their bedtime – don’t forget the Late Late Shows with the Jazz Café, the Sage, the Cumberland Arms, System Gallery and World HQ all open after 11pm. Check out the Live Theatre and the Tyneside for late night film and theatre antics. Be mindful that some events are one night only – please check online before you head along.
Let’s look at the Gateshead Saturday only offerings (6-11pm)…
Experience the Baltic’s latest exhibitions at night – join an exhibition tour at 7pm, 8pm or 9pm and take in the best views of the city from the White Bar on level 5. See Lorna Simpson’s multimedia exhibition and Simon Bill’s oval shaped works.Fans of dance music should get down to Sanctuary Artspace on Gateshead High Street. Coldcut’s Raj Pannu – one of the UK’s top DJs and famed for his audio-visual collages is featured in War Sanctuary presented by the Ghetto Method Crew.
Samba music. Magical surroundings. Spiral staircases. A glass orchestra. Silent clowns. Tragicomedy. A live choir. Wander through the cultural maze at the Lawnmowers Theatre Company and enjoy tasty treats as you float back to reality. Shows are on the hour every hour from 6pm till 10pm.All you musicians out there should share your talents with the masses at this open mic night – staged in Gateshead Town Hall’s Somethin’s Brewin café hosted by Dave Wood from the Sage. Artists from East Street Arts will be exhibiting work. If you’re a fan of Vamos Latin American festival, then you need to head to Shipley Art Gallery for original Peruvian music from Alx Alfaro, accompanied by a delicious street food menu courtesy of McKennas Restaurant.
Film buffs – make a collage using images from your all-time favourite movies with artist Kate Eccles at St Mary’s Heritage Centre. Christopher Folwell will show you how to turn your favourite movie into a flipbook. And don’t forget to make like Patrick and Demi and recreate the potter’s wheel scene from Ghost – recorded for posterity via photos!
Then cross the river to Newcastle and check these out from 7pm till 11pm…
(Friday and Saturday)
Head to the Biscuit Factory first – expect quirkiness with a pop-up portrait studio where you make the art, which will be displayed in the mini Late Shows gallery. You can also take home a portrait of yourself with a difference as photographer Sean Elliot will be at your service to create innovative shots. Pop across the road to its cool little sister The Holy Biscuit,whose current exhibition Urban Fictions shows the diversity of Tyneside. Friday sees the Paper Jam Comic Collective reciting their anthology of Newcastle themed stories against a backdrop of beats by a local DJ. You can meet the exhibition curators and artists on Saturday night. Then make your way to the Toffee Factory – you providing the Late Shows with a touch of glamour. Get grooving to sounds of swing with the Swung Eight at the Speakeasy. Expect prohibition cocktails, vintage stalls and capture the moment with the Moon Booth vintage photo booth.
We’ve all been affected by cancer so it makes sense to address it through art. Inhibitor, by Ed Carter is an audio-visual piece which combines fluorescent cancer cell images with music based on the amino acid sequence of PARP inhibitors – a new cancer treatment discovered in the city. It’s innovative and so is its location – the Northern tower of the Tyne Bridge. Those with international tastes should head across to the Side Gallery, where the new exhibition, Legacy, features work by Russian, Ukrainian, Canadian and British documentary photographers. Then head up to the town centre for more fun and games. Baltic’s little sister, Baltic 39, plays host to group space-themed exhibition They Used to Call it the Moon, complete with sci-fi board games played against the backdrop of a space age soundtrack.
Sci-fi and art enthusiasts alike will see Mars as they’ve never seen it before at The Laing in Mariner 9, a panoramic vista of the Red Planet set in the future. The artist, Kelly Richardson is on hand for a Q & A. You can also use space junk floating around to make your own art. Then finish off the night at Commercial Union House – a multi-art creative hub in the city centre. With performance art on Floor 1, Scalextric on Floor 2, artists’ studios on Floor 3, a 1940’s tea and taxidermy extravaganza on Floor 4, there’s a chance that you may get comfortable and decide to move in.
For more information and the full 2014 line-up lateshows.org.uk
This article is featured in the May issue of Narc magazine – https://www.facebook.com/NARC.magazine