Anne-Marie Duff is seeing oil everywhere. Gesturing around a rehearsal room at the Almeida theatre in north London, where she’s starring in a new play, she points out how every plastic pot in which we buy fruit, every disposable coffee cup out of which we drink and even the laminated surfaces of the table in front of us were made using oil. And we’re running out. Continue reading “Anne-Marie Duff: ‘People want to watch interesting women characters’”
Marilyn Monroe’s face, printed over and over again. Cartoon-strip women, embraced by lovers or crying on the phone. Some of the most famous works of Pop Art certainly make use of the female image – but they were made by the big poster boys of the mid-20th century movement, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. They formed a colourful contingent along with, er, other white, Western men – Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, David Hockney, Allen Jones. Because Pop Art had XY chromosomes, and only spawned in New York, LA and London, right? Continue reading “Giving female Pop artists their due”
When she steps on stage, Anna Calvi is utterly fearless. “It’s the area in my life where I’m the closest to the superhero version of myself,” says the guitarist and singer, currently on tour, with two albums and an EP behind her. “I feel very in control of what I’m doing but at the same time I can really let go… let go of the worry that I have, my anxiety. It’s very cathartic.” Continue reading “Anna Calvi interview”
“We were on tour, and I had really bad death anxiety for about five days, and I hadn’t slept, and I was just going insane – I felt like my brain was spilling out of my head.” Beth Jeans Houghton pauses, and adds: “It was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.” Continue reading “Beth Jeans Houghton on Du Blonde, her nervous breakdown and industry sexism”
“Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” Forty years ago, Patti Smith opened her astonishing debut album Horses with these immortal words. Delivered over piano chords with a slow, deliberate certainty, it was the unmistakable statement of a 28-year-old woman taking complete ownership of her life and sound. Continue reading “Patti Smith’s Horses at 40: Lenny Kaye, Viv Albertine and more pay homage to the iconic album”
One has enjoyed a distinguished career editing women’s magazines including Cosmopolitan and Red, the other is the hip presenter of a long-running Radio 6 Music show. Combine the talents of Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne and the end product was always likely to make a splash.
So it has proved, with the arrival of The Pool. For the uninitiated, it’s a website for women: smart, funny, down to earth, written by a “pool” of female writers providing appealingly varied content. Both Baker and Laverne take it as read that the modern woman is as keen to read about the leadership debates as she is about lipstick. Which shouldn’t exactly be controversial in 2015.… Continue reading “Lauren Laverne and Sam Baker: too busy to surf? Head to The Pool”
Who is Britain’s greatest living playwright? Tom Stoppard has often been bestowed with this honour, as he was, again, in the barrage of press marking his comeback play The Hard Problem earlier this year. But, for many, there’s another clear candidate, Caryl Churchill – and her claim to the title is set to be showcased in the months ahead, with three major revivals of her work.
First, a production of Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, her early play about the English Civil War, opens next week at the National Theatre. Then in July comes Manchester International Festival’s take on her 1994 twisted fable The Skriker, starring Maxine Peake and with music by Antony Hegarty and Nico Muhly, followed by the transfer to the Young Vic of Michael Longhurst’s acclaimed production of cloning drama A Number. Continue reading “In praise of Caryl Churchill”
There has long been an uncomfortable and gendered separation in art history between highbrow “fine art” and “decorative art” – those things deemed feminine and therefore merely pretty.
This prejudice shows clearly in the treatment of Sonia Delaunay. A crucial figure in modernist art, she has nevertheless been relegated over the years to the position of second-most-significant Delaunay – after her husband, abstract painter Robert Delaunay. Sonia also painted bright, bold abstract works, but her oeuvre, to her critical detriment, extended far wider, into fashion, furniture and illustration. Continue reading “Sonia Delaunay retrospective: Tate Modern’s new show gives the genre-busting artist her due”
George Bernard Shaw’s play may be entitled Man and Superman, but I’ve just met its superwoman. A new production of this rarely performed play opens at the National Theatre next week, directed by Simon Godwin, and starring Ralph Fiennes as Shaw’s speechifying philosopher, Jack Tanner. But Indira Varma – who plays his romantic sparring partner Ann – is in no doubt as to the importance of the female lead in this epic play.
“Ann, who does not speak half as much as Tanner, should bear the mantle for women,” the 41-year-old actress says. “He wants to be the superman, philosophical man or whatever, but I feel Ann is that too – she just doesn’t talk as much. She’s practical.” Continue reading “Indira Varma: From Game of Thrones to Man and Superman”