Pick of the Line: 06/01/11-12/01/11

Thursday: The Balfron Project @ The Nunnery Gallery

Friday: Frontiers @ The Wapping Project

Saturday: A Bayanihan @ The Arcola Theatre

Sunday: Top Hat Screening @ The Wapping Project

Monday: Egyptian Dance Classes @ SpaceEngineering

Tuesday: The Aquarium @ The Horniman Museum

Wednesday: Chicks On Speed: Happening @ Kate MacGarry Gallery

Thursday: The Balfron Project @ The Nunnery Gallery

Photo: Simon Terrill “The Balfron Project”

Last November, the residents of the Balfron estate took to their balconies and threw some shapes, as artist Simon Terrill made the estate the subject of his latest project. From the roof of a neighbouring building, Terrill photographed Balfron Tower in its totality, as residents and participants posed on the balconies and forecourt.

The tower, a well-worn setting for the dystopic, was transformed for the evening, as lighting rigs and music helped participants fight off the winter chill. Intrepid reporters that we are, ELL braved the icy winds to bring you coverage from this unique event. Now, two months later, the finished piece is ready for exhibition. From the ten photos Terrill took, one has now been chosen, showcasing both the tower and those who adorned it. This mural-sized piece will be exhibited in the Nunnery Gallery, Bow opening tonight from 6.30 until 9.00. Pop along and see if you can spot the freezing journalist!

The Balfron Project remains open until 23rd January: Friday – Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. Free Entry

The Nunnery Gallery, 183 Bow Road, London, E3 2SJ

Telephone: 020 7538 1719

Friday: Frontiers @ The Wapping Project

Photo: Lianna Fowler

Shall we dance? Personally, I’d rather not. And as anyone who’s witnessed my 2am cavorting shall testify, we’re probably all better off that way. These kids can dance though, they even do it for a living. OK, some of them are still at university, but I’m sure they’ll earn a fine wage once they’re finished.

Frontiers is a dance show featuring five alumni from the acclaimed Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, performing alongside some promising young third years. Entitled 15 Happenings in 3 Parts, the students’ work is a re-invention of Allan Kaprow’s similarly titled 1959 piece, first performed in New York. The graduates will each perform a individual piece, one of whom (Alice Tatge) is featured here.

Frontiers shows at 7.30PM, this Friday. Tickets are £6.00

Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, Wapping Wall, E1W 3SG

Tel. 020 76802080

Saturday: A Bayanihan @ The Arcola Theatre

Mural detail by Carlos "Botong" Francisco

The acclaimed Arcola Theatre has spent the last few months readying its new home on Ashwin St, enlisting the help of theatre lovers and downright good samaritans as they strip out the Colourworks building in Dalston and build their new venue there from the ground up. In fact they’re still at it, and still calling for volunteers as they make the final push ahead of next week’s first performance. If you’re free today, why not pop down and lend a hand? No particular skill or strength is required, and it’s a great opportunity to have a snoop around the new premises while the paint’s still wet (on your hands).

Tomorrow, as part of the preparations, they’re having a good old fashioned bayanihan! Hurray! OK. I’d never heard of it either. A bayanihan is a Filipino tradition, where community members volunteer to help a family move home. In the old days of Filipino village culture, this meant literally picking up the house and carrying it to its new location, followed by a small fiesta thrown by the family to express their gratitude. Ever environmentally conscious, Arcola are forgoing the moving van and asking volunteers to join them in a procession, led by a New Orleans style brass band and culminating in complimentary drinks in the new venue. Remember when your friend made you lug ten boxes along the length of the Northern line and didn’t so much as offer you a slice of pizza? You don’t need friends like that, you need friends like the Arcola Theatre.

The new Arcola will be open from 8am to 8pm on Saturday, and glad of any help you can offer. For Sunday’s bayanihan, volunteers are asked to assemble at the Arcola theatre on Arcola street at 2PM. Brute strength is not a necessity as there will items of all sizes and weights that need a lift.

Sunday: Top Hat Screening @ The Wapping Project

Photo: m kasahara on Flickr

New Year’s resolutions. Don’t they make fools of us all? For January, I decided to stop drinking anything that was constituted primarily of caffeine or alcohol. Accordingly, I fall asleep at my desk on the hour, am tucked up in bed before Corrie, and wake up early enough to see weekend pavements from the wrong side of the dawn chorus.

If you trying this too (or are one of those who naturally wakes up early), then no doubt you’ve been trying to figure out what to do with those extra morning hours. How about a film? Not your contemporary Jim Carrey ‘if he doesn’t stop gurning I’ll gouge out my eyes with these nachos’ fare, but a real classic. From 1935, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers doing what they do best, in Top Hat.

The Wapping Project are running a season of films as part of their tenth anniversary, showing each at noon on Sundays in the old coal bunker. With the restaurant open for brunch at 10am, there’s plenty of time to fill your belly before feasting your eyes on one of the greatest of the old musical comedies. Bring your friends, but warn them to wrap up warm, the good folk at the Wapping Project have hinted that a hot water bottle wouldn’t hurt!

For video see here.

Top Hat is being shown at 12 noon, this Sunday. Tickets are £7.50, but £5.00 for members and diners.

Wapping Hydraulic Power Station, Wapping Wall, E1W 3SG;

Tel. 020 76802080;

Monday:  Egyptian Dance Classes @ SpaceEngineering

Agyptischer Maler via WikiCommons

Remember when the Bangles had us all bobbing our heads and making pointy hand shapes as we crossed the roads. Didn’t we look well, walking like Egyptians. Racial profiling and hideous 80s fads aside however, the Bangles were undoubtedly in great shape. Maybe walking like North Africans truly is the key to a solid cardio workout…

Or maybe not. What probably does work though, is dancing like an Egyptian. Which is exactly what you can do down in Hither Green’s SpaceEngineering, an award winning experimental dance company. Offering lessons in Egyptian Dance, Raqs Sharqi and Belly Dancing, the evening is doubtless a fun way to keep fit and meet new people, as well as learning a skill that you won’t be mortified about in twenty years time.

Space Engineering Dance Studio, 174 Hither Green Lane, SE13 6QB.

Further information 07830 212040. £28 for 4 lessons £8 pay as you go.

Tuesday: The Aquarium @ The Horniman Museum

Photo: Fernando de Sousa on Flickr

Kids still not back at school? Screaming for something to do, but the change is your wallet has been swallowed up by VAT hikes? Well, what I’m going to suggest isn’t free, but it’s wonderfully cheap. Astoundingly cheap.

Nestled in the basement of the Horniman Museum, the aquarium charges only £2 for adult entry, and £1 for under 16s.

Cheap rates don’t mean a cheap experience though, as the aquarium takes you from the humble British pond, through Pacific Coral reefs and up through the Amazonian rainforest. There’s even activity sheets (which you can preprint from their website) to keep the little ones nice and quiet, while you enjoy the first bit of peace and quiet since Boxing Day’s sugar coma.

For video of the aquarium see here.

Horniman Museum & Gardens, 100 London Rd, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3PQ

020 8699 1872

Don’t forget to pre-print your activity sheets

Wednesday: Chicks On Speed: Happening @ Kate MacGarry Gallery

Photo: Gilmar Ribeiro

I once saw a wheelie bin that had been accidentally set on fire and had melted, rubbish and all, into a bubbling plastic puddle on the pavement. Chicks on Speed take something of a similar approach in their art, but I mean that in the nicest, nicest possible way.

Taking art, music, fashion and whatever else they can find in the pot, these artists create multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary objects, where the innovation is as essential as the aesthetic. With a stylish hand in the art of fusion, Chicks on Speed take found objects and engineer some new life into them. For Happening, the collective have taken old cigar boxes and adapted them into functioning synthesizers, as well as showing off their recently invented E-Shoes. These are wearable guitars with sensory strings that produce amplified wireless sound. Music lovers with a foot fetish are bound to be impressed.

Happening runs until 30 January 2011, at the Kate MacGarry Gallery. The gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday 12.00 – 18.00 or by appointment

7a Vyner Street, London E2 9DG

020 8981 9100

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