Monthly Archives: November 2011

Coming Soon in Leeds: December Roundup

If the crowds at Millennium Square’s Christkindelmarkt are anything to go by, it’s certainly going strong after ten years here. Although it’s horrendously busy and drastically overpriced, it’s also the only place in Leeds you can buy honey, a metal wine bottle holder and a snow globe at 9pm, so you’ll just have to suck it up! Seriously though, the chalets and fairy lights and busy-ness all combine for a kitsch and cheesy but super Christmassy atmosphere. It’s worth a stroll through in the early evening for a pretzel and a mulled wine in a vile seventies ‘Christmas’ mug.

For a slightly more local experience, don’t forget our very own Kirkgate Market, which will be staying open until 8pm every Thursday in the run up for Christmas.

Of course it’s pantomime season, and this year Denise Nolan is starring as the villain in Beauty and the Beast over at the Carriageworks (Oh no she isn’t, etc etc). It’s on from 2nd December until 7th January and is fun for all the family. Personally, though, I’ll be holding out for Northern Ballet’s version of Beauty and the Beast, on at Leeds Grand Theatre from the 17th to the 31st December. It’s the world premiere, don’tcha know?

Voluntary Action Leeds is a charity that matches volunteers with third sector organisations in Leeds. They also offer training and advice for both organisations and volunteers. You can support them this month by going to the Lord Mayor’s Carol Concert on the 15th December at the Town Hall.

If you’ve had your fill of festive fun, though, then why not take a stroll down to the Henry Moore Institute? From the 1st December right through until March they have United Enemies – an exhibition dedicated to the sculpture of the 1960s and 1970s, described as a defining period in sculpture’s history. It’s there 7 days a week but on Wednesdays they’re open until 9pm. It looks to be the perfect antidote to frenzied Christmas shoppers.

Alternatively, Adam Ant at the O2 Academy with his new act The Good, The Mad & The Lovely Posse on the 10th December should be pretty season neutral. Likewise if you need some laughs, the Courtyard Comedy Club at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on the 18th December is a steal at just £11.

And if all that isn’t enough, perhaps you need a stiff drink inside you. Headingley Ale Festival is running on the 9th, 10th and 11th of December, with your £4.50 ticket (available on the door only) getting you a free pint. There’s a vegan ale among the 45+ on offer, and award winning Yorkshire business I’s Pies will be serving their gourmet handmade pies.

Also – it’s Christmas, so do enjoy that, chaps, if it’s up your street.


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The Northern Art Prize Exhibition at Leeds Art Gallery


It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, is it?

And that’s fine; if you’ve genuinely given it a go and you just don’t enjoy looking at it then don’t force yourself. But on the other hand, if you’ve never tried it, then don’t deny yourself a great experience and a chance to try something a bit different at lunchtime, or on a Saturday afternoon.

Last night I went to the opening night of the Northern Art Prize exhibition atLeedsArtGallery. It was a lovely night and a great chance to see some works by the nominated artists.

One of the pieces I spent the most time looking at was this one by one of the nominees James Hugonin:

Binary Rhythm (III) 2009-2011, James Hugonin

This work is one of 4 that each took Hugonin a year to prepare. If you look at this close up, you can see that it’s made up of tiny little rectangles, done on a meticulously measured pencil grid.

A close up of a reproduction

Although it’s very intricate in design – the artist planned in impressive detail where each colour would go – the initial impression is that of bathroom tiles. But spend a few minutes looking at it and it’s so soothing. It rests your mind and clears it in a really delightful way.

My favourite piece of the bunch was Horizon (Leeds) by Leo Fitzmaurice. It’s made up of a collection of 19th and early 20th century pieces that were already held by Leeds Art Gallery, that have been lined up so that they look like one long picture, moving across the room from day to night. It looks beautiful, and was really refreshing compared to some of the more modern, abstract contributions to the exhibition. It was like a fresh take on some classic images, and was my absolute highlight of the night.

Horizon (Leeds) 2011, Leo Fitzmaurice

A closer look at the first three pictures

The other two finalists were Richard Rigg, whose work is almost funny in its quirkiness, and Liadin Cooke, who I would say was the least accessible but the most intriguing.

Miserable Object, 2011, Liadin Cooke

The exhibition is on at Leeds Art Galleryuntil February 19th so do go have a look at the artists’ work and let me know what you think!

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