Jonathan Trew: ‘He creates live sculptures using his face as a canvas’
MUCH of the arts world is en route to Edinburgh at the moment but Glasgow is also making a noise.
This weekend sees the grand finale of the Merchant City Festival. Now in its 11th year, it has grown to encompass some 300 events across 75 venues. Many of the happenings take place outdoors and one of the easiest to spot will be Big Man Walking, the 26ft blue puppet which will be going walkabout in the Merchant City this afternoon.
Perhaps less visually striking, but almost certainly more thought-provoking, is the audio tour devised by author Louise Welsh and Jude Barber of Collective Architecture. The duo have drawn on the writings of Frederick Douglas, a freed slave and political activist, to examine Glasgow’s tobacco and sugar industries; their involvement in the transatlantic slave trade and the marks it left on the city.
A sort of mini-festival within the Merchant City shindig, Surge is Scotland’s annual celebration of street arts, physical theatre and circus. The Surge events run from the playful, such as the pick your own performance Cabaret Club at The Arches, to more complex performances such as that of Frenchman Olivier de Sagazan, who creates live sculptures using his face as a canvas. If that sounds too highbrow, head for Home bar on Albion Street which, in honour of the Olympics, is hosting a weekend toga party.
In Perth, the Southern Fried Festival of country, blues, bluegrass and soul has pulled on its snappiest duds, checked for bits of sweetcorn stuck between its teeth and got the barn dancing started. From local soul talent such as Niki King to up and coming country stars like Lera Lynn, there are top-notch gigs all weekend. The highlight is likely to be tomorrow’s appearance by John Prine. The veteran singer songwriter was helped in his early career by Kris Kristofferson, who opined that Prine’s songs were so good that “we’ll have to break his thumbs” – a compliment that may have been gleaned from the Al Capone book of musical criticism.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West