Where to go and what to see in May
Here is our pick of the best exhibitions, shows, festivals and concerts to see in May. Some are only on for a few days while others go on for a few months so plan your time wisely and don’t forget to squeeze in some time for outdoor fun in the sun.
Talkin’ about a generation
When Top of the Pops launched on new year’s day in 1964 Harry Goodwin was in attendance to snap the opening acts – the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. There he stayed until 1973 as their resident photographer and this month his body of work will be on display.
Despite being a photographer for 67 years, Harry has only now been given his first major exhibition at the age of 80. Not only does this exhibition celebrate the musical revolution of the 60s and 70s, it is also a celebration of a man’s entire lifework.
Bringing together 200 photographs from this period, images on show range from a shocked Bob Dylan to a dramatic shot of Hendrix playing the guitar with his teeth, The Beatles and Dusty Springfield.
Harry photographed some of the most famous and successful stars in the music industry and his work is still very much in demand. The recent Top of the Pops book contains many of Harry’s photographs.
Enjoying his new found fame, Harry finds himself constantly in demand to attend concerts and shows by many of the people he has photographed.
My Generation: the Glory Years of British Rock is on at the Victoria & Albert Museum from April 30 until October 24.
Ten years of the Tate
The Tate Modern celebrates its 10th birthday this month with a free festival that will see artists from all over the world collaborate in a pop-up village of art.
For No Soul For Sale – A Festival of Independents, the London gallery has invited 60 of the world’s most innovative arts collectives – from musicians to poets to artists – to work together in a free-flowing, interactive exhibition that will fill the Turbine Hall from May 14 to 16.
Since it opened its enormous glass doors on 12 May 2000, over 45 million visitors have been shocked, surprised and bemused in equal measure by the cutting-edge works on display. The 10th birthday festival is the product of a collaboration between curators Cecilia Alemani and Massimiliano Gioni and artist Maurizio Cattelan. It will see the gallery staying open until midnight on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 May and will be created without the use of any partitions to separate the diverse works that come from as far afield as Shanghai and Prague.
Poetry will be printed on paper designed to fly as a kite in the cavernous Turbine space. New York’s K48 Kontinuum will cover the floor with a giant slice of pizza and Iceland’s Kling & Bang gallery will fill the hall’s interior with video projections. The Turbine Hall bridge will host a dedicated performance space – to be taken over for talks, screenings and performances by many of the collaborators involved.
The festival is also part of Museums at Night, a nationwide initiative aimed at celebrating UK culture through a series of late-night events, talks and performances.
No Soul For Sale – A Festival of Independents is at the Turbine Hall, Tate Modern between May 14 and 16. Admission is free.
Stand up for British comedy
Next month will be a great opportunity to catch a few of Britain’s up-and-coming comedy stars in London.
Scouse comedian John Bishop will be playing a one-off London gig before setting off on his country-wide tour later in the year. Bishop became a household name on the comedy circuit after first appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and was the first act on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow in 2009.
He has since gained national recognition for his down-to-earth humour, broad accent and honest jokes about football, married life and growing up in Liverpool.
Audiences will find a more politically charged show fronted by the Iranian-born and UK-raised comedienne Shappi Khorsandi.
Khorsandi has become a much-loved regular on a range of comedy shows including Radio 4’s Just a Minute and The Now Show, and featured on the panel of Newsnight at the beginning of the year.
She is known for her easy banter, wittty delivery and astute observations about modern life in Britain.
John Bishop will be at the Hammersmith Apollo on May 5. Shappi Khorsandi is playing at the Soho Theatre from May 4 until May 8.
Night at the museum
If you’re looking for culture this May, spending a night at your local London museum could be just the answer.
A nationwide campaign is inviting people to visit their local museums, galleries, libraries, archives and heritage sites on evenings this month.
This year the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms are putting on live jazz, a glass of wine and instructions on how to dance like they did in the 1940s. Everyone who attends is expected dress in 40’s attire too.
If dancing and jazz doesn’t suit you, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology’s event might be more appealing. Situated near University College London, the institution is screening horror films over the weekend in the creepy mummy surroundings. Demand is high, so booking beforehand is essential.
At the Old Operating Theatre Museum in south east London, experience the fear and emotion of a patient on an operating table in the 19th century. Guests will be able to witness demonstrations of dramatised anaesthetic-free amputations that were carried out during the Victorian era.
For a fresh look and experience of what life was like in other centuries, take a visit to one of London’s museums this May. Be it jazz, horror or the feeling of adrenalin pumping through your body as you witness an amputation in the Victorian times, there are plenty of night-time events to keep you satisfied over the next month.
London in May: Museums at Night Weekend will be taking place between Friday 14 May and Sunday 16 May.
Camden: crawling with new musical talent
Despite taking place over the first weekend in May, the Camden Crawl provides a great warm-up to those summer music festivals and all the sun, fun and music that goes with them.
Known for breaking the next big acts, the Camden Crawl showcases a huge number of new bands and artists who are tipped to make it big over the coming months.
A diverse range of acts have already been announced from mopey folkers Stornoway to the thumping electro sounds of Alex Metric. As well as the music there will be a whole load of theatre, comedy and more alternative entertainment all going on at the same time.
Tickets are available for each individual day by advance booking. For a meagre £57 you get entry into the multiple venues that host this magical mini weekend music festival.
The Crawl is perfect for festival veterans and for anyone who likes the festival vibe without the mud, floods and deplorable toilet facilities!
Camden Crawl takes place on Saturday 1 May and Sunday 2 May across various venues.
For more information go to: www.thecamdencrawl.com
Brick Lane goes Bangla
A celebration of the Bangla New Year is to take place next month.
Baishakhi Mela has become the largest celebration of the Bangla New Year outside of South Asia since its inception in 1997.
Taking place in Banglatown in London’s Brick Lane, the Grand Parage – where women and children dressed in traditional Bengali clothes and masks, musicians, dancers and community leaders lead a precession through the streets – is followed by entertainment across three music stages in Weavers Fields and Allen Gardens.
This year’s programme promises to be an eclectic mix of international and UK stars, alongside the hottest local talent. New for this year, the family Mela Zone will celebrate and showcase the best of traditional and contemporary culture from the streets and stages of Britain and Bangladesh.
The official mela afterparty will continue the Mela celebrations with a full-length concert by the Lalon Band, plus local DJs, MCs and acts.
The Baishakhi Mela takes place on Sunday 23 May between 12-7pm with the after party starting at 7pm. Admittance to all events is free. Go to www.baishakhimela.org.uk and www.richmix.org.uk for more information.