Nov, 2010 26

culture, know how Follow Me into the Tunnels of London for Art & Theater

London’s venerable theater institution, The Old Vic made an intriguing purchase in the winter of 2010. Nestled beneath Waterloo Train Station and aptly named the Old Vic Tunnels, it is one of London’s newest and most eclectic performance spaces.

Imagine seeing a play, attending an exhibit of interactive art, or hearing a band perform in the tunnels previously owned by British Rail and now showcasing some of London’s finest, most provocative talent.

A fascinating sounding  performance runs from 4. December until the 22. December 2010. Called Cart Macabre, it is described as a “nightmare fairground ride through a dream-like landscape”.  Billed as a “restless exploration of isolation and disorientation”, Cart Macabre is part theater and part installation.

There is a “Volunteer Scheme” at The Old Vic Tunnels aimed at 16-25 year olds who are hungry for hands-on theater experience. There is need for help in the areas of marketing, front of house, production and behind the scenes technical assistance, as well as set creation, etc.  What a great experience for a budding thespian. The web-site below further explains the volunteering opportunities.

A steady stream of events occurs now in this new venue. Find out what happens next here:

TO GET THERE: Take the Jubilee, Bakerloo or Northern tube lines to the Waterloo stop. Then, follow the directions from Waterloo to the tunnels as provided by the Old Vic, here:

Come along with me…London Calling….

Nov, 2010 20

culture, know how Have Potential, Will Travel…

…If your London trip allows some time for feeding your mind with a one day course, or a multi-day course, think about this fantastic mind and soul nourishment as provided by the London newspaper, The Guardian. They have formed an international group of “Master Classes” covering everything from “poetry to food writing” taught by luminaries such as Carol Ann Duffy, the English Poet Laurete or Food Writing by Tom Parker Bowles, son of the Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles’ wife), who is a food writer for Tattler magazine and the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

What could be better than being taught cocktail making, garden design, fashion photography, food writing or film appreciation by those in the trenches who are working in those fields everyday? Theory is one thing, but to learn the nit and the grit from those who are actually practising their art or skill currently surely offers a level of inspiration worth exploring.

To make a reservation for upcoming classes, you can phone Patrick at the Master Class office. From the US you would dial:

01144 203 353 2616, or email them @

Their web-site is here:  or the recent article about the courses from the Guardian newspaper here:

Come along with me….London calling….

May, 2010 16

culture A Museum Dedicated to the City of London..and it’s FREE

Another revamp for another wonderful place: the Museum of London, one of the world’s largest urban museums. Located in the part of London known as “the City”, this is the perfect place for an afternoon, perhaps taking along children from ages 5 and up, I would think .

Explore the decorative arts, prints, maps, dress and fashion, oral histories, archaeological finds from along the Thames River, etc…. all London-centric, representing ancient times to the present. All there for the observing and interacting with every day of the week.

20 million pounds later, and in May 2010, the museum is ready to show off it’s treasures and revitalized exhibits that include a mock up of  a prison from the time of Dickens and  the Lord Mayor of London’s gilded coach.

OPENING TIMES: Everyday (except Christmas Eve day and Christmas) 10:00 am until 6pm, with the last entry allowed at 5:30. It is free, but like most London museums, free it is, but a donation of your pocket change is most appreciated.

TO GET THERE:  St Paul’s Tube stop on the Central Line or Barbican or Moorgate Tube stops on the Hammersmith and City or Circle line. The museum’s website offers a map to the museum from these Tube stops, which can be enlarged:

Free culture. You have to love it.

Come along with me….London calling….

Mar, 2010 12

culture Stitch and Bitch!?~ in London Town

As a huge fan of public art and participatory art, I have found a group in London that seems to bring a tiny bit of both to the table. It’s called Stitch and Bitch; a knitting group with a twist. And a fab sense of humor. Their website: gives the flavor of their playful spirit and tells of their intention: to Stitch and Bitch in public and to…LAUGH. They even give FREE knitting lessons. They meet once a week in public places around London. Why not join them and cross “knitting in a foreign land” off your bucket-list ?!

Bring your needles and yarn, check the schedule on their site and go along for the companionship of  English women while you knit- or for your first time lesson. What a great idea. I intend to do it soon and maybe learn to be 1/10 the knitter that my mother is. (Do put your needles in your checked luggage. Recently I saw security at Heathrow take knitting needles away from a passenger. Sad but true).

Ladies…start your (knitting) engines….

Come along with me…London calling….

Mar, 2010 11

culture Back to School in London:Theater, Music or Cooking?

It’s many people’s dream to study in another country. It’s possible to do in London without enrolling for a year or more and sometimes it’s more affordable than you might think. Here are three options that might appeal to you, or your college-age child:

The Poor School (why, oh why is it named this?!) is an acting school that has been operating since 1986 which offers, along with full term acting lessons, a four day course for 295 pounds, offered 6 times a years,plus a summer course that runs for 3 weeks in July and August for 695 pounds.

The school is in North London and has an excellent web-site : . is the London Center of Contemprary Music offering classes as short as one week in guitar, voice, etc.

Cooking classes for the novice to the expert are offered 6 days a week, several times a day at: Their classes must be booked 28 days in advance, but they do offer some classes (at lunch time) for only 15 pounds, so it may be well worth the advance planning.

Come along with me…..London calling….

Jan, 2010 20

culture Artistic London: It’s All the Window You Look Out Of

Every way you turn, there is an artistic view of London if you just look out the  “window”.  It can be a “window” of your own choosing through which you can find the  beauty in the curve of a doorway’s arch or the black and white tiled steps leading to a residence. It’s easy to take inspiration from the small and large details of London architecture and signs. A casual study of London signs alone could take you hours on end.

I have my own “window” to look out of in London, but love the view from another’s window, too. A view that I have been enjoying frequently is from Jane’s window. She posts frequent, beautifully poetic, photographic essays on London signs, and various architectural details. My favorite posts, thus far, have been the astrological details (in the archives of her site) and the recent photos of letters found around London that spell out Christmas.

Her view is uniquely her own: fresh, inspiring  and London-centric. Have a look at her site:  and revel in the not often noted details of London.

Come along with me….London calling….

Jan, 2010 18

culture Scream Gallery Features Diamond Dusted Art

ScreamScream Gallery is located on Bruton Street in the fashionable area of Mayfair in West London. It is run by Tyrone, a son of Rolling Stone, Ronnie Wood and his former wife, Jo Wood.  The galleryoffers impressive, small, but striking shows of contemporary art of all descriptions.

From 4. February through 13. March. 2010, the gallery will feature a major, solo exhibit of Russell Young’s paintings, that the Los Angeles Times say “pay opulent reverence to the celebrities” that feature in some of his art. However it is noted by an art writer from the UK :

“Don’t be fooled into thinking these are merely a candy-coloured homage to Young’s favourite actors and musicians, there is also a more menacing edge to his oeuvre. The exhibition will also feature the dark side of the high life, with images such as “If you die you’re completely happy and your soul somewhere lives on”, showing the scene of Cobain’s suicide; and the moment in 1974 when heiress turned bank robber Patty Hearst, was caught on camera mid-heist”.

The exhibit at the Scream features a Marilyn Monroe triptych showing the much painted and photgraphed actress looking as vulnerable and sweet as I have ever seen her, plus a triptych of the late, Kurt Cobain, too. Especially for the exhibit at the Scream, 7  unique, limited-edition prints of Mick Jagger entitled: “Dirty Pretty Things” have been produced for sale.

If gallery hopping, or just a gallery visit will be part of your London trip, think of a visit to this one-man show at the Scream before the 13th of March. 2010, to see if it captures your imagination.

To get there:Take the Central or Jubilee Tube line to the Bond Street Tube station. The gallery is on Bruton Street, a three min. walk from the Bond Street Tube station.

For a post gallery drink, lunch or early dinner: think of Mulligans, a cozy, truly Irish restaurant serving authentic Irish fare along with anything from Guiness on tap to champagne. The atmosphere is chic, yet comfortable; leather furniture abounds. Mulligans, on Cork Street is just another three minute walk from the gallery on Bruton Street. Mulligans is open Monday through Friday from 11a.m. until 11 p.m. They serve food from noon until 3:00 p.m. and again from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.  Have a look at the map here: to find your way to Bruton Street. Simply put “Bruton Street, London, UK”  into the search box.

Come along with me…London calling….

Jan, 2010 07



“Culture is the widening of the mind and spirit” Jawaharial Nehru

“Culture is roughly anything we do and the monkeys don’t” Lord Raglan 

An art lover’s wander around the National Portrait Gallery: , or the architecturally stunning interior of the British Museum: can be one’s idea of culture. For the bolder art lover, a morning’s encounter with striking, provocative art at the Tate Modern may appeal: .

The very best part of London is the A to Z scope of culture choices to “widen our mind and spirit”, or to “do what the monkeys don’t”!

Time Out, a weekly publication, available in newsagents in London or on-line here: keeps you fantastically aware about all cultural goings-on in London, at just a glance.

If your culture fix comes by way of theater, head to the West End, near the Strand/ Charing Cross train station for delights for serious theater goers such as War Horse ,or more family-friendly fare such as Wicked or We Will Rock You.  

If it’s music that makes your heart sing, the infamous Ronnie Scott’s: can offer you the coolest of jazz almost nightly. The Royal Albert Hall: for classical to Paul Weller, the Vibe Bar in Brick Lane: for the ultra-indie or “deep club disco, the O2: for large arena shows by such talents as  Dave Mathews, Dizzie Rascall and Lily Allen, or Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton, to KoKo in Camden Town, a smaller music venue whose motto, speaking of monkeys, is “there is no business like monkey business”!

One of the very best things about London is its off-beat options for culture with a healthy dose of quirk and spice. In this genre try:



London Motor Museum:

British Music Experience at the O2 Bubble:

The Sherlock Holmes Museum:

Crafts Council Gallery:

for contemporary, high-quality British crafts.

Fashion and Textile Museum:

Geffrye-Museum: a décor museum.

Experimental/New Theater/Children’s Theater:


Donmar Warehouse: a small excellent theater begun by Sam Mendes, the director.

Little Angel Theater: Puppet shows for children.

Comedy Café:

Unicorn Theater: for children.

Royal Vauxhall Tavern: not for children, experimental theater and music.

Music (Smaller Clubs):

 KOKO in NE London: A theater venue that began 100 years ago, a home to the Clash and Sex Pistols in the 70’s and now a small but vibrant music venue with a full calendar of delights:

The Roundhouse in NW London: Another 100+ year old venue refurbished and renewed in 2006. The famous and infamous have played here for years. Give their schedule a look here:

Half Moon SW London: Brings you funk bands and some comedy:

The Windmill SW London: “An indie outpost” says Time Out, with mostly week-end shows:

The George and Dragon EC London. “Scruffy but stylish” tiny club with DJ’s, Sunday night drag queens and a packed house most nights. They even have a juke box:, (but no web-site of their own):

Come along with me….London calling…