Friday, September 22, 2006

Things are not what they seem

For starters, I am not just using today's title as an excuse to showcase Kate Moss, again. Rather, I am fresh from an evening at the National Theatre where I watched The Alchemist: a brilliant production of Ben Jonson's 17th century play that rings true with much that defines 21st century city life. (Incidentally, Nick Hytner, artistic director of the National and the genius behind £10 Travelex tickets, should be knighted as London's cultural hero.) The play was largely about greed, gullibility and scams. No, remember Jonson was around in the Jacobean Era not our Bush-Blair one. But, therein lies the point.

Ruses choreographed to trick the willing date back to the forbidden apple. Whether it be Kate Moss 'blacked up' on the cover of the Indie yesterday, Penelope Cruz's prosthetic ass in Volver, or a fabricated nude pic of Tiger Wood's WAB (Wives and Birdies, what a term to induce nausea, bring back the WAGs) images are constantly construed to purposefully mislead.

Just look to the exploding, billion pound industry of plastic surgeons nipping and tucking our way to concealment, frontage, and fabrication. Which reminds us what has been really bothering us this week: why is it so dangerous for size 00 girls to project an unrealistic image, but nobody cries out about the size EE ones? Especially considering it was just proven (again) that choosing to have a boob job is highly correlated with crisis of self esteem and confidence often leading to suicide. But you don't see anyone over reacting to the promotion of titillation that is Page 3.

All of which gets us ready for some realistic provocation with the 8th edition of City Slicker's "Week's Action, Weekend Reaction:"

1) Interested in transmutation, gullibility and con artists but the hype surrounding The Alchemist means it is sold out for the weekend? React by heading to The Tricycle Theatre for Fabulation: a funny, enjoyable play about the rise and fall of a successful female publicist living in Brooklyn. The backbone of the story being about a woman, Undine, who must, like Voltaire's Candide, learn to tend her garden - in this case the garden of the humanity she neglected in her climb up the ladder of African-American Yuppiedom. Last year the buzz made it a hit before it opened. Until 21 Oct. £7.50-£18/ticket.

2) Always been meaning to see stand-up comedian and TV film star, Omid Djalili, or just seen his face plastered on Tube adverts? React by heckling him in a rare circuit appearance at the intimate Hampstead Comedy Club (which is actually in Primrose Hill) this Saturday night where he will be presenting a set of old and new material, along with music and comedy from Earl Okin and Swedish stand-up comic Henrik Elmer. Book after 2PM on Saturday by calling 020 7633 9539. £8.50/ticket. Reservations a must.

3) Half interested in the London Design Festival, but will never make it to Little Australia (formerly known as Earl's Court)? React by stumbling through Spitalfields Market en route to the nearby Geffrye Museum for Ceramics in the City. An annual weekend long showcase of work by 50 ceramicists (yes, that is a word) that is as much an exhibition as a sale. C'mon, you know that barren bookcase shelf could use a little Shoreditch inspired funk.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Alchemist was truly magical. Alex Jennings and Simon Beale are inspired. Brilliant and brilliance throughout.
Glad you enjoyed it City Slicker!

1:42 pm  
Anonymous Ben said...

Fabulation is great. In theme and structure, at least, it has similarities with David Mamet's Edmond, which depicts a white, middle-class man crashing down to the bottom of the heap, but there is more optimism, humour and compassion in Nottage's writing than Mamet could ever muster.

1:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool blog will be back

2:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good blog cs,I was inspired by The Alchemist, as you must have been,Your blogs just get better,and better!!! P.S i bet you Love the "simpson".

3:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry i ment the simpsons!!! im still brain dead from the Alchemist.

3:11 pm  
Anonymous Tanya said...

I don’t know what they’re smoking over at The Independent. Why on earth would they think it’s a good idea to illustrate “the Africa issue” with a picture of a white model in blackface?

I've got very little to add, save to say that putting Kate Moss in blackface makes it much easier to see the coke you’re cutting on the cover.

3:31 pm  
Anonymous Dave, a script writer said...

Were there absolutely NO models of African descent (ethnic or otherwise) available? The hell?

Now, the question is, is the black makeup itself offensive or is it the fact that the model is a white American (I think) or both?

I’m wondering if this “counts” as blackface as we have usually seen it in the US - i.e. there are no red lips, no outlining of the eyes, etc. This photo really makes it seem more like an ebony-colored statue, than “blackface.”

But that may have been a deliberate choice on the part of the magazine or the photographer/artistic director, in order to deflect immediate criticism or create “plausible deniability”…

3:33 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Birdies???

Is that a rock band or a group of golf widows?

3:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fabulation - Like a black version of Tom Wolfe’s The Bonfire of the Vanities, sounds fab

5:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

CS - you need an I Love Kate mug me thinks

5:16 pm  
Blogger City Slicker said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:25 pm  
Anonymous Doug said...

Go see Omid. He is just plain hilarious. And I hate stand up usually but not this guy. Stayed up on BBC AMerica a few weeks back rolling on the sofa
Dont miss him Londoners

5:26 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool photo but wht in gods name was the indie playing at?

6:13 pm  
Anonymous Ella said...

ohhhhh ceramics in the city sounds fun
may just head over there with my hungover head on sunday

12:37 am  
Blogger Shep said...

Ben Johnson has always been waaay cooler than Shakespeare. His plays are ruder, more satirical, more fun. Hang around for the inevitable Volpone revival off the back of the Alchemist's success. (Alex Jennings can be found in a gazillion audiobooks by the way, doing a fine job).

RE: The Indie. Would there have been a different reaction if it would have been a feature on black comedy with David Walliams done up like a Black & White Minstrel? Actually, probably not, these days ironic rascism is very 'de rigeur'.

And then I had more clever stuff to say, but was distracted by thoughts of EE boobs. I'm not sure that young impressionable girls looked at pictures of Anna Nicole Smith/Lolo Ferrari and thought - I better get me some o' them. Is the fashion not still Keira Knightley rather than...Jordan? Or am I too old to second guess these things?

6:41 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hit Fabulation at the Tricycle last night.
Jenny Jules is hilarious in bullying PR mode, and so funny as she narrates the story of her own downfall, while the supporting cast plays a wide variety of roles with sharp, cartoon-like energy. A real treat.
Go everyone

11:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kate Moss black is cool
they would never be able to get away with an image like that here in the US

11:27 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Using Kate Moss was just a ploy to sell more newspapers and raise funds - which is when it's acceptable to join the minstrel show, non?
I'm still speechless about it :(

11:12 am  
Blogger Sunniva said...

The photo of Kate Moss is so powerful! Love your blog...will definitely be back!

4:44 pm  

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