Sunday, July 08, 2012

'Facebook' Frome is actually nothing to do with IT: ceramic artist Hans Borgonjon has cast local faces for display throughout Frome festival in the beautiful space of Silk Mill gallery. Hans has created both convex and concave versions of each face, and paradoxically its the latter which have most animation, their blind gaze seeming by some quirk of shadowing to follow us around while the 3-D ones are more like death masks. I found my mask eventually: it's the wincing one, although in fact I enjoyed the meditative experience of the casting.

The Parlour, Marian Bruce's art space in Paul Street, is showing works by Alastair Crawford on the theme of Conflict. 'Killing without the possibility of being killed is nothing new' says Alastair, writing of drones: 'Nothing changes except the uniform.'Personal experiences from Africa predominate in this visceral and passionate imagery ranging from 3D heads and figures to bold charcoals inspired by photojournalism as well as by monochrome artists like Goya and Picasso.

There's open-air art in festival week too, and desultry rain added a lonely lustre to the sculpture gardens on Friday. Natural imagery seems the primary influence in some lovely pieces at both the Blue House and Bastion Garden.

And as Frome Festival opened officially on Friday night with a plethora of creativity ~ Equus at the Merlin, fabulous (free) live music at The Griffin and The Olive Tree, and Festival Club at the Granary ~ only a total recluse or a Fromie with flaky diary skills would be anywhere else. I fell in the latter category, having arranged to perform in Bath at the Curfew Inn Story Friday event organised by Clare Reddaway who runs A Word In Your Ear. Immensely high standard and slick organisation made this a thoroughly enjoyable event well worth a visit and, writers note! submission is open for future themes.

Alison & I spent Saturday in Bristol with the Complete Reworks of Shakespeare day at Colston Hall, where our installation PlayText, the Living Bard was projected on screens in the foyer and box office areas. Very gratifying to watch people stopping to look and staying to laugh as they read our scripts of text messages between characters showing core action of the play in comic dialogue. What might Bottom say to Titania if he had a Blackberry? Imagine the Macbeths texting away between murders. Lol.
Unusual takes on Shakespeare's themes and characters abounded throughout the day: I particularly enjoyed the Taoist philosopher's take on Richard II's downfall, and contemporary cameos around classic moments like Kate's wedding to Petruchio, Juliet's teenage balcony-euphoria ("I think that's a Maria Carey lyric") and Ophelia's madness. There was small robotic cat reciting random bardic phrases, too, and pictures of the man from Stratford to decorate. An ambitious project, so congratulations to artistic director Emma Henry & her team and thanks to Eva Martino.

The famous Festival Food Feast was underway by the time we got back to Frome, the marketplace looking like a more colourful version of Renoir's Les Parapluies as families queued at stalls serving up dishes from round the world while the fabulous Frome Street Bandits showed everyone how to cheerfully disdain the rain. Inside the Cheese & Grain steamed and bopped to sets from fantastic musicians like Isis and brilliant Phil King as once again Frome shows the world how to party... great night - and more to come!

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