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London gets ready for an autumn of arts and festivals



St Paul's cathedral, London
Warming up: cosy food and drink experiences pack London’s Autumn programme this year | Photo: Anthony Delanoix

From world-class sport and breathtaking art programs, to seasonal celebrations including Halloween and Bonfire Night, autumn in London is bigger than ever in 2022. The crisp temperatures, tree-lined streets painted vibrant shades of red and gold, and the lure of hearty pub meals, make for a magnificent autumn affair.

Unparalleled Gastronomic Goodness

Foodies will leave satisfied after enjoying the London Restaurant Festival (October), celebrating the city’s vibrant cuisine and offering exclusive culinary experiences. London Cocktail Week, the citywide celebration of exquisite cocktails, will also kick off Oct.13-23 in watering holes across the city. Brand-new restaurants opening this autumn include Forno, a pasta and charcuterie production hub that will serve up gourmet pastries, soups and pizza. Akub will offer modern Palestinian cuisine and AngloThai will mix British ingredients with traditional Thai cooking resulting in thrilling “fusion” dishes.

Destination City (Oct. 15) will transform London’s Square Mile from dawn until dusk with immersive theatre featuring over 100 performers, a family-friendly mass treasure hunt, 16 doors into a ‘maze’ of adventures and three carnival-inspired fairs. Nearby pubs and restaurants will host ‘after parties’ to keep the celebration alive into the evening. Nightlife lovers will also be able to visit London’s hotspot club, The Cross, which reopened on 9 September after 15 years of closure. The Cross 2.0 spans six floors including a rooftop terrace, an underground basement club and ample space to drink, dine and dance.

World Class Art & Culture

With two major art fairs and countless exhibitions this autumn, now is the time for art lovers to book

that trip to London. Frieze London and Frieze Masters (Oct. 12-16) will take over Regent’s Park, bringing together galleries from 42 countries to celebrate the creative spirit of the city. London regulars have heard of the world-famous Tate, the V&A and the National Gallery, but intimate and experimental art galleries are also well worth adding to a London itinerary this season.

Art lovers should look out for exhibitions like “The World We Make” by contemporary portraitist Amy Sherald, best known for her creation of Michelle Obama’s official portrait. More of her bold, super-colourful portraits of Black people will be on view Oct. 12 through Dec. 23 at Hauser & Wirth GalleryLondon Ely House will host “Sturtevant: Dialectic of Distance”, retracing the performance and disconcerting replicas of American artist Sturetevant (1924-2014) (on view Sept. 8 through Oct. 3). Gabriel Orozco’s work using plant printing techniques showcasing indigenous plant life in Acapulco, Mexico City and Tokyo, will be on view at White Cube Oct. 12-Nov. 12.

Between gallery visits, visitors can discover the world’s best new films at the London Film Festival (Oct. 5-16). October also kicks off Black History Month in London, where travellers can join in the citywide celebration of Black communities with epic events across the city.

Get Prepared for Spooky Season

Those in the mood to be spooked can find the freakiest Halloween events, from ghost tours to costume parties, on and around Oct. 31. Unmissable, The London Dungeon will undergo a Halloween takeover 15-31 Oct, as will the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Thrill-seekers can’t miss the spine-tingling London Bridge Ghost Walking Tour and The Ghost Bus Tour London. For a magical night out, Adventure Cinema will transform into a haunted wonderland Oct. 29-31 for spooktacular screenings of Hocus Pocus, The Lost Boys and The Shining.

Enjoy a Truly British Bonfire Night

The festivities continue into November with Bonfire Night (Nov. 5), marking the historic moment when Guy Fawkes and his crew attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I in the Gunpowder Plot of Nov. 5, 1605. Get involved at The Gunpowder Plot in Tower Vaults, where Guy Fawkes will be played by Harry Potter actor Tom Felton, or enjoy one of many stunning fireworks displays. An essential evening in Brits’ calendars, there are always plenty of locations to choose from, with incredible displays lighting the night sky across the city. Top spots include Alexandra Palace, Wimbledon Park, Battersea Park and Chiswick Park amongst others.

Take a Stroll Through the Autumn Leaves

There’s no better way to appreciate London as the leaves turn to gold than in one of London’s plentiful parks. The iconic eight Royal Parks each provide their own unique charm, with Bushy Park and Richmond Park promising wild deer, and St James’s Park and Green Park granting unparalleled views of Buckingham Palace. Don’t miss Battersea Park either, which is packed with foliage for perfect autumnal colours and long strolls along the River Thames.

Witness the Best of International Sports

Autumn is jam-packed with unrivalled options for sport lovers making a trip to England’s capital city. Marathon runners will take to the streets of London during the London Marathon on Oct. 2 while American football fanatics can watch their favourite teams (Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and more) duke it out at London’s famous stadiums during the NFL 2022 London Games (Oct. 2, 9 and 30). Rugby fans won’t want to miss the union autumn internationals in November as well.

“London is glowing and awash with fantastic colours in Autumn. With Autumnal walks and Halloween festivities to an exciting range of cultural exhibitions and cosy pubs, our capital lends itself beautifully to the crisper days and nights. From Frieze London, London Restaurant Festival and London Cocktail Week, to Destination City, Black History Month and the NFL London series, there’s truly something for everyone to see, do, and eat in London over the next few months. We look forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to enjoy London’s magical Autumn season.”, says Laura Citron, CEO at London & Partners, which runs Visit London.

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Cannes opens with French comedy and honorary award for Meryl Streep



Actress Juliette Binoche hands an award to Meryl Steep
Meryl Streep receives a honorary Palme D’Or from Juliette Binoche | Photo: Andrea Rentz

The 77th edition of the Cannes Film Festival officially opened last night with Quentin Dupieux’s Le Deuxième Acte (The Second Act), and an honorary Palme d’Or awarded to American actress Meryl Streep.

Presented Out of Competition as a world premiere on the Croisette last night, May 14, this four-part comedy was also released in all French cinemas on the same day. The film stars Lea Seydoux, Vincent Lindon, Louis Garrel and Raphaël Quenard playing squabbling actors filming a movie produced and directed by artificial intelligence.

The opening ceremony of the 77th Festival de Cannes, hosted at the  Grand Théâtre Lumière, also had American actress Meryl Streep as a guest of honour.

Streep received the Festival’s Honorary Palme d’or, 35 years after winning the Best Actress award for Evil Angels, her only appearance in Cannes until last night.

“My mother, who is usually right about everything, said to me: ’Meryl, my darling, you’ll see. It all goes so fast. So fast,″ added Streep. “And it has, and it does. Except for my speech, which is too long,” said the three time Oscar award-winning actress.

Last year French Film director Justine Triet won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or for her murder mystery film “Anatomy of a Fall” becoming the third female filmmaker ever to win the prize, which was first awarded in 1955. 

The 77th Cannes Film Festival is set to run until May 25th, when the Palme d’Or winners will be revealed, 2024.

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Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films



Exhibition in Madrid reveals science and technology behind Pixar’s films
The Science Behind Pixar can be seen at CaixaForum Madrid until 8 September.

CaixaForum Madrid is currently hosting The Science Behind Pixar exhibition, created by the Museum of Science, Boston, in collaboration with Pixar Animation Studios. The exhibition is divided into eight sections, corresponding to the steps in the process Pixar uses to transform an idea into a film. With specific examples from some of their most famous films, the public will be able to experiment with the techniques behind the modelling, rigging, surfaces, sets and cameras, animation, simulation, lighting and rendering of animated films.

This is the third collaboration between the ”la Caixa” Foundation and Pixar Studios. In 2015, Pixar: 25 Years of Animation, represented a thorough review of this pioneering company’s work in computer animation in its 25 years of history. Subsequently, Pixar, Building Characters (which has travelled to five CaixaForums since 2020) focused on the visual design of the Pixar characters to best transmit the story and fit in with the other elements of the film. Now, the eight sections of The Science Behind Pixar will give visitors an insight into every stage of the technical process used by Pixar’s artists and computer scientists

The aim of the new exhibition is to peel away, layer by layer and in a way that is attractive for all audiences, the scientific, computer and mathematical concepts that lie behind our favourite Pixar characters. To do this, the exhibition is organised into eight sections, each of which explains in depth one specific step of Pixar’s technical process: Modelling, which allows characters to be created in 3D; Rigging, in which the virtual bones, muscles and joints are developed; design of Surfaces and Sets; Animation, which brings the story to life; Simulation, which provides automated movements; Lighting, which enhances the emotional impact, and Rendering, which turns 3D scenes into 2D images.

Throughout 815 square metres in CaixaForum Madrid, visitors will learn about all these steps that Pixar pays passionate attention to in order to bring its worlds and characters to life. Dozens of interactive and audiovisual elements will reveal what is hidden behind Pixar films, from the first-ever computer-animated feature film – Toy Story – which opened over two decades ago, to the release of Turning Red.

To better understand the science and maths that go into creating the worlds and characters of Pixar’s films, visitors will see audiovisuals and hear first-hand from members of the studios’ production teams. They will also be invited to experience different roles within the production pipeline, through screen-based activities and physical interactive elements.

In the Sets & Cameras section, for example, visitors will discover how camera placement and angles created a bug’s-eye view for A Bug’s Life; in Modelling, they will try their hand at creating a digital sculpture from an artist’s sketch and in Lighting they will use lights to solve challenges similar to ones Pixar faced in creating underwater scenes with virtual light in Finding Nemo. The exhibition route also includes human-size recreations of many Pixar film characters, such as Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story), Dory (Finding Nemo), Mike and Sulley (Monsters, Inc.), Edna Mode (The Incredibles) and WALL·E (from the film of the same name).

Throughout the months that the exhibition will remain at CaixaForum Madrid, the ”la Caixa” Foundation will be offering various activities to bring the art and science of Pixar closer to all audiences. In addition, the general public can take a guided tour and families can choose between the family tour and the animated stories workshop-tour, where visitors can make a short, animated clip to understand all the phases of the creative process after visiting the exhibition.

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Switzerland wins Eurovision song contest with non-binary singer



Non-binary singer Nemo, winner of the Eurovision 2024
Singer Nemo performed ‘The Code’ for Switzerland | Photo: Alma Bengtsson

After the very last set of scores had come in, The Code, performed by rapper Neno, was announced as the clear champion of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 with a points tally of 591 and a lead of 44 points. 

Croatia finished in second place with Rim Tim Tagi Dim by Baby Lasagna on 547 points. The other spot on the podium finish went to Ukraine, ending up in third place thanks to alyona alyona & Jerry Heil with their song Teresa & Maria, on 453 points.

Scores on the night were awarded in two stages, as is traditional at the Eurovision Song Contest. The first results to come in were from the juries, followed by the reveal of the public vote.

Once the initial points from 37 juries had come in, Switzerland already had secured the lead on the scoreboard with 365 points.

Nemo is the first nonbinary artist to win Eurovision.

“I’m mostly just really grateful for this experience and all the friends I’ve made along the way. This was one of the most queer representations we’ve seen at Eurovision which was amazing, I want to shout out all the other queer artists this year,” said the artist who was born in Biel, a small bilingual town in Switzerland.

Nemo’s triumph in Malmö is Switzerland’s third win at the Eurovision Song Contest to date, following victory by Lys Assia in 1956 and Céline Dion in 1988.

Switzerland first participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, winning the very first edition of the competition, which it also hosted. 

It has been a controversial year for the song contest festival launched in 1956. For weeks, the question of whether Israel should be allowed to compete or not while engaged in a military conflict in Gaza dominated the media surrounding the event and attracted pro-Palestine activists to the Swedish city of Malmö. Eden Golan, a 20-year old singer representing Israel, was booed during a dress rehearsal; It has been reported that she was confined to her hotel room, while in Malmo to perform at Eurovision, after a series of threats against the Israeli delegation. Hours before the grand final, on May 11th, Dutch rapper Joost Klein, who represented the Netherlands, was disqualified from Eurovision 2024 over what the organisers described as an “incident” involving a female member of the production crew.

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