Candlelight and the 20’s

Shh! Let me tell you about The Candlelight Club, a lover of all things of the 1920s jazz era, they pop-up in secret London venues and promise a peek into a world of decadence and damn right good fun! If you’d like a night out away from the bar crowds then we think the Candlelight Club could be your haven.

This speak easy style club doesn’t have loud promotions or glossy adverts, its merely via word of mouth. It holds events throughout the year in tucked-away dens with a 1920s swing band flavour, completely lit by candles of course. Each event offers a one-off bespoke cocktail menu and a theme, the event we attended was Shanghai, so I readied my folding fan and awaited the secret location to be announced…

We tiptoed our way into the secret location which was revealed via emial two days before. The pathway entirely lit by candles – as was the room – felt tucked away but in the heart of central London which was very handy when leaving.

The setting for Shanghai 20s adventure...

Drink Me

We sipped on Singapore Slings and Opium Dream cocktails, both very punchy and deserved their £7 price tag. The cocktails also came with a very friendly bar service with plenty of flaring skills on show despite the candlelit setting.

An Opium Dream

Eat Me

If all the glow of the candle light left us feeling worn out then our needs were met as outside a stall served Chinese food in cute takeaway boxes. Maybe not strictly prohibition era but tasty and plentiful none the less, and just £5 a portion!

Move to the 20s

Music from a laptop, not necessarily authentic, but the band Benoit Viellefon and his Orchestra entertained later with their punchy 1920s sing band sounds.

Held in a gallery space with high ceilings, white walls and wooden floors, it gave a prohibition shabby chic feel. Once the band kicked off the slither of a dance floor space quickly filled and no one could resist testing out their 20s moves. Getting squashed several times didn’t matter as everyone was trying hard with their Charleston dancing. I was surprised how everyone made an effort no pathetic attempts; guys in tails, with canes; girls in sequined flapper dresses with perfectly pin curled hair, it was a change from the high street fashion slaves.

So we stepped back into the 20s..

We’re already getting ready to apply our red lipstick and pin curls for their future events!

For more about the Candlelight Club and their clandestine events see here but shhh!

A Foggy Sunday Stroll

Seems winter may have finally shown its face, and in a nice way. On Sunday I spent the afternoon in my favourite part of South West London, Richmond Park observing the mad joggers (wearing next to nothing) and cyclists and also trying to see through the fog.

The fog was so dense after about an hours walk my hair was soaked, it was like slow motion rain!

Despite the weather it was perfect for walking, crisp and fresh! Horses riders were still cantering through as well.

Spooky horse riders pass by.

Richmond Park is a National Nature Reserve and was originally a Royal hunting ground, and was enclosed by Charles I in 1637, so deer have been roaming the park for hundreds of years. In fact the park contains an astonishing amount of wildlife from woodpeckers, squirrels, rabbits, stag beetles and parakeets and more, not that I could spot any of them through the fog…

To explore more (professional!) photographs of the park see the Richmond Park, London website by Steve Morgan follow him here @richmondparkuk

Hello winter!

Boombox Art

The boombox shall be taking centre stage at Whisper Gallery and XOYO this December thanks to The Boombox Project by Lyle Owerko.

Music listening today has changed from a collective aspect to a very personal and private one, thanks to the iPod some may say. We plug into our phones, iPods etc., and shut out anyone else.  The boombox was as much a social object, where everyone could gather round, listen and share, as well as a music device. You may think of boomboxes as cumbersome, ugly 80s icons, that we’re paraded around on peoples shoulder in music videos. This exhibition of prints may make you think differently.

Lyle Owerko, a New York based filmmaker and photographer, has given boomboxes a contemporary art edge and a new lease of life. This display is the output of an obession of Owerko’s; he’s spent years collecting and photographing vintage boomboxes, resulting in a photo series of these cult objects, all of which have been documented in his book, The Boombox Project: The Machines, The Music, and The Urban Underground.

Lyle Owerko's Boombox prints

The display took form when he was in Japan and found a mint condition late-seventies Victor JVC at an outdoor market. Already a collector, his hunt began for more rare and obscure models.

Owerko has directed music videos for artists such as, Rufus Wainwright and American HI-FI. He also shot the cover for the September 11, 2001 issue of Time Magazine, which was ranked as one of the most important magazine covers in the past 40 years by the American Society Of Magazine Editors.

Owerko’s works go on show at XOYO from 2 December – 7 December and at Whisper from 9 December – 14 January. Find out more about Lyle Owerko’s works here.

Leonardo Da Vinci at the National Gallery

The much hyped Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition is now open at the National Gallery with a seven room exhibition. The display is ideal for those who adore the technicality of the line and the workings of an artist , with many preparatory drawings and paintings by Leonardo and his pupils on display.

The build up for this exhibition has been felt for months, ever since its advance booking opened in May 2011 – a long seven months before its actual opening day.

With its future opening announced came capped visitor numbers and the gallery saying it would restrict visitors due to ‘unprecedented demand’. The Evening Standard has reported how the tickets have now sold out until mid-December. The pressure for this display to deliver to its global audience is now immense.

© Princes Czartoryski Foundation

The exhibition brings together an impressive collection of international loans never before seen in the UK, from the Queen, America, Poland, France, Scotland and donations from Art Fund acquisitions. One difference with this exhibition from others is it the first to be dedicated to Leonardo’s aims and techniques as a painter. Don’t expect reams of glorious huge paintings, though there are a few of some pretty ladies, curly haired men and angels.

‘If the painter wishes to see beauties that enamour him, he is the master of their production, and if he wishes to see monsterous things.. he is there lord and god’

For my full review head to Art Pie here

The exhibition is open now:  09 Nov 2011 – 05 Feb 2012 Mon – Thu, Sat, Sun 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Fri 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM Closed Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, Christmas Day.

Mexico mmmm…

On Friday I took two friends to La Perla part of the Cafe Pacifico chain of bars and restaurants. Top of our most wanted list for the evening was tasty Mexican food, scrummy cocktails and a gossip.

I’ve been to the bar before in Charlotte Street for post drink happy hours but not for dinner. I already knew it offered a perfect mix of a friendly, lively and most importantly cocktail happy hours. Now it was time to discover the Mexican food (hurrah!).

I prepared for dinner by having a light lunch and, of course, by perusing the cocktail menu before going. The cocktail list is big but not too much, there’s enough variety for even the most cocktail know it all’s out there.

We decided to start with Margarita’s and went for a Vanilla Margarita. This is a great drink for those not so keen on the sourness of the original margarita, it’s a short drink but you should sip slowly to get the most out of it. Another choice was the Waterfall Margarita, a fusion of tequila, Cointreau and lime juice, shaken, and topped with cranberry juice. Looks like fruit juice but was a refreshing long drink. It has a kick that we wanted to order two at a time!

Service could of been a tad faster, however we didn’t notice as we worked our way through our cocktails. We sat in the downstairs area where there was reserved seating in most places and it was packed out with passers by 6:45pm. Waiters were friendly, attending to our every cocktail need, especially when our glasses looked sad and empty – perfect!

Food was a no brainer – Chimichanga was top of our list – it didn’t disappoint and I didn’t want it to end. Crammed onto a small oval plate, it didn’t look like much but we were stuffed by the end, but determined to polish off the beans, fresh guacamole, cocktails and after dinner chocolates still though….

Enchaladas we’d recommend, two rolls of perfect meat, tomato and cheese heaven and for a great price, with plenty of rice and beans. We didn’t dare look at the desserts, though the cheesecake looked tempting, we plummed for another cocktail this time the Horny Berry (mainly as it made us giggle the children that we are). This was a heady combination of tequila, lime juice agav nectar, marinated berries, and the dash of delight that made this drink was the apricot liqueur. It’s one for the sweet toothed drinker! The mojito had to be tried and it came in a large generous glass with not too much ice. It had a fresh taste that wasn’t overpowered by mint as you find in some bars when you feel like you’ve been served a salad, rather than a drink.

La Perla is a great night for a tour through Mexican tequila cocktails or for a night to feast on great value Mexican dishes. With music and decor that’s eclectic it’s appealing to everyone and makes a nice change from Pizza Express 2 for 1 nights out.. ..

My night of Mexican was thanks to the guys at RTC Drinks Team and Bitters and Twisted for choosing me as the winner of the Tequila Tweet Off as part of London Cocktail Week 2011.

To find your slice of Mexicana see here for La Perla and Cafe Pacifico‘s other locations!

Inside the Warhol Machine

Last night I headed to the preview of David McCabe’s photographs for the exhibition The Factory: Warhol and His Circle at Proud Chelsea for Art Pie..

Warhol – just the name conjures up an instant image of a whole catalogue of works that transcend generations – the Campbell’s Soup tins, the Jackie Kennedy prints- and define the pop art movement.

This exhibition gives viewers a glimpse into something other than the primary colours and consumerism images of Andy Warhol. Proud Chelsea is exhibiting a photographic memoir of a year at the Factory Warhols working world of creativity and notoriety. The images were taken by David McCabe who was a rising star on the New York photography scene when he was contacted by Warhol and asked to collaborate with him in documenting life at the Factory between 1964 and 1965.

This is McCabe’s first UK exhibition and highlights this world that Warhol created the exhibition features snap shots of other artists Warhol knew, such as Salvador Dali. Who in one image is explaining one of his paintings to Warhol, almost in a teacher/professor like manor.

 For the full review including images head to Art Pie

The exhibition opens today at Proud Chelsea and runs till the 4th December Mon, Tue, Thu – Sun 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM; Wed 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM.

Just a quick one..

Call for artists
Ahoy there painters, film makers, sculptors photographers, animators, printers! This is a call for artists for an exhibition by the pop up gallery network- Open Doors London – who are seeking artistic talents for their SW4 exhibition in December.

You don’t have to live in the area but use SW4 as your springboard for creativity for the exhibition! To help you along Opens Doors London will be updating their very own digital scrapbook with reference points from around the borough.

To enter this pop up exhibition simply submit 3 examples of your work and a short bit about yourself to this email –

For more about Open Doors London and their previous exhibition W12 see our previous posting here

Stay up to date on their latest news and twitterings @OpenDoorsLondon