Friday, September 15, 2006

The proverbial elephant

For once we wish we were in the La La land that is LA. Not because we are pining after some real celeb spottings now that the 'silly season' is over, and it's nearly time for the A-list to return from Pacha to the front rows of London's Fashion Week. Rather, because our icon of all things really cutting edge, Banksy, is opening his weekend-only exhibition entitled, Barely Legal, amongst his usual hype and secrecy, in a downtown Los Angeles warehouse.

As if our favourite guerrilla artist hasn't done enough for us lately. We were only recently reminded of his genius with the 500 Paris Hilton CDs he tampered with and then splattered across UK HMVs. And then he raised his self-set, high bar further when he took the Mickey with his stunt at Disneyland.

And so it goes that this week he has made his way across the southern states of Bush Country to the industrial wastelands of LA, painted the flesh of a live elephant in pink and white flowers, and left it to stand in a makeshift living room. Which in classic Banksy style must be a metaphor for the proverbial global elephants - the big issues, like poverty (sorry Al Gore, but some things do come first), that nobody is prepared to take on.

But we have no doubt that, if anybody can elicit a reaction, Banksy can. Which takes us to the 7th edition of City Slicker's "Week's Action, Weekend Reaction."

1) Aware that it is Open House London this weekend, but not sure which buildings participate or which are worth queuing for? React by heading to the hidden gem, 19 Princelet Street, for the last chance this year to get inside the Grade II listed building that houses the Museum of Immigration and Diversity. It is an unrestored 1719 Huguenot silk merchant's home that pays homage to the refugee experience in Spitalfields, including a concealed synagogue (if only Anne Frank had been so lucky). Last public visit for 2006 this Sat & Sun (10AM-6PM). Admission free.

2) Has this week's brouhaha surrounding tighter controls on alcohol advertising imposed any guilt induced limitations on your consumption levels? React by ditching the chorizo sandwich at Borough Market for a liquid diet and head to Rake, the first bar to open within the precincts of the market for over 100 years. It also claims to be the capital's smallest drinking hole (which after visiting you wouldn't contest). And with over 100 brews on offer, it shouldn't need any advertising. Rake, 14 Winchester Walk, SE1 - turn right after Vinopolis on the way to Southwark Cathedral.

3) Jealous of Banksy's graffiti chic? React by checking out up-and-coming South African born, Hackney living, furniture designer Ryan Frank. Captivated by east London graffiti, Frank has taken to making rugged furniture and interior accessories that are good and functional, whilst also being sustainable. Urban deterioration turned decoration. Banksy would definitely approve. Available at Homestead, 148 St.John's Street, EC2 (020 7420 3333) or direct through the man himself (0798 414 6383).


Anonymous max said...

I love Banksy, and I particularly like the fact that there's a kidnapped Banksy statue in my next-door garden. And no, I'm not going to tell you where that is.

The only thing I don't like about Banksy is that he's so close to Barley ...

4:28 pm  
Anonymous Bill said...

So jealous now City Slicker. If we leave now we can make it there in time. C'mon tempted?

4:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate Paris Hilton
but I hate Banksy too. Him and his 'artistic stunts' don't actually
do anything positive whatsoever....he's basically like the jerky boys,
which isn't really good.

Paris Hilton is useless though.

4:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And a link here for anybody not knowing
Jerky Boys

4:34 pm  
Anonymous Sandra said...

Agree that poverty should come before Al Gore' quick melting of Arctic ice worries. He is not going to run for prez again is he?

4:38 pm  
Anonymous Tanya said...

Max, could this be your little secret?
Banksy in next door garden

4:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cool so wherabouts is that statue then?

5:04 pm  
Anonymous Dave, a script writer said...

Bradgelina and Keanu have shown up today at the Banksy exhibit so says my friend from LA TIMES.

5:09 pm  
Blogger ems said...

I first discovered 19 Princelet Street through Rodinsky's Room by Rachel Lichenstien and Iain Sinclair. I really like it - just a shame you cannot go up to the attic.

As for the chorizo sandwich at Borough - it's nice but not as nice as the pork and stilton burger from the farm whose name I have temporarily forgotten. It begins with a W I think.

7:35 pm  
Blogger Shep said...

Banksy's Wall & Piece book is our best selling item in the Art section of the bookshop. They can't get enough of it.

And as to global-type serious issues - worth a mention is tomorrow/today's Day For Darfur demonstration. I'm a cynical non protesty armchair nihilist, but if I could I'd be either at the Sudanese embassy, at the Old Vic Theatre, or at Downing Street.

6:07 am  
Blogger Monica said...

Rake must be tiny, because I was on a self-imposed booze cruise around London Bridge last night and I missed it!

10:50 am  
Anonymous max said...

Tanya - that's the same picture as the one I posted. So yes, it's still my little secret :)

5:44 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very provacative. I think this is a bit of a first for Banksy, too. Disneyland is kind of a weird venue for a guy who normally does his works out on public streets. This might be his first artistic commentary on a non-artistic subject in a corporate venue.

All that aside though, I'm really just surprised he managed to get that thing through the turnstiles.

9:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The good thing about drinking in a small pub is that you can get drunk and not fall over.

An effect also achieved, through different means, with monumental success at East Slope bar, University of Sussex, where the floor, and walls for that matter, are so sticky that it is impossible TO fall over. It is also impossible to get to the bar in under 30 minutes or, indeed, dance. Which is a blessing.

1:51 pm  

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