Brilliant Things To Do in July

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Visible GirlsPhotography by Anita Corbin

Whether you're venturing abroad or becoming a tourist in your own city, here are plenty of cultural happenings with which to while away the month ahead


Visible Girls: Revisited at Artlink, Hull: July 7 – August 11, 2017
British photographer Anita Corbin’s Visible Girls, a study of women from a variety of subcultures shot in double portraits, was first produced in 1981. This year sees Corbin revisit and re-shoot the same women she first photographed 36 years ago, and the resulting set of images forms a travelling exhibition which lands in Hull this month. An exploration of cultural identities expressed through fashion, music and surroundings, Visible Girls remains as insightful and fascinating today as it was in the 1980s.

Isabelle Wenzel: Unernstes Unterfangen at Galerie Bart, Amsterdam: until July 29, 2017
Photography, film performance and installations make up the work exhibited at Amsterdam’s Galerie Bart by Isabelle Wenzel. Wenzel often plays both artist and subject in her work – the performative elements of which are enhanced by the fact that she is also a trained acrobat. With her own body inserted into her images, surrounded by bright swathes of paint and texture, Wenzel’s work is nothing short of mesmeric.

Plant Scenery of the World at Inverleith House, Edinburgh: July 29 – October 29, 2017
Bringing together a wide range of artists and disciplines, Edinburgh-based exhibition Plant Scenery of the World coincides with the 50th anniversary of the city’s Botanical Gardens Front Range Glasshouses and sees artists reflect on the buildings’ singular functions and designs to create new work. As well as paintings, installations and films by contemporary artists, previously unseen watercolours by 19th-century artist and botanist R.K. Greville will be on display.

Howard Hodgkin: Painting India at the Hepworth Wakefield: July 1 – October 8, 2017
For British painter Howard Hodgkin, India was a source of endless inspiration for much of his career, following a first trip to the country in 1964 and many returns throughout his life. “It proved a revelation. It changed my way of thinking and, probably, the way I paint,” the artist said in 2016. Hodgkin himself worked on the Hepworth Wakefield’s exhibition, Painting India, which explores the impact the country had on the artist and his work, until his death in March of this year. The show is exhibiting over 35 of Hodgkin’s pieces, as well as personal photographs and Indian art from his collection.   

True to Life: British Realist Painting 1920s and 1930s at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh: July 1 – October 29, 2017
While you’re in Edinburgh at the Botanical Gardens’ exhibition, be sure to visit the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art for an extensive look at major works of British Realism from the first half of the 20th century. The art on display is a fascinating look at the British strand of a worldwide movement, by artists including James Cowie, Winifred Knights and Meredith Frampton, during a period of immense cultural and political shift.

Magnum Live Lab at Magnum Print Room, London: until July 28, 2017
2017 marks 70 years of Magnum Photos, and part of the lauded co-operative’s celebrations is an exhibition at its London Print Room of work by Olivia Arthur, Carl de Keyzer and Mark Power, who have each created a body of work in response to Clerkenwell. The three photographers took part in a two-week residency in the area in May of this year, and the resulting images are a captivating look at the geographical and cultural codes of the area, taking the architecture, local residents and history of the London locale as their subjects.

Bill Viola: A Retrospective at Guggenheim Bilbao: until November 9, 2017
2017 seems to be the year of anniversary celebrations, with the Guggenheim Bilbao marking its 20th year. Part of the celebratory programme of exhibitions and events includes Bill Viola: A Retrospective, which documents the 40-year career of the video artist, looking at his signature use of developing technologies in film and sound through an immersive exhibition.

The Best of Film

July is awash with excellent film offerings to cheer up any unwelcome rainy days. There’s Song to Song, the new Terrence Malick movie, set amid the heady music scene in Austin, Texas and exploring two intersecting love triangles and the tangled web of betrayal they result in. Don't miss The Midwife, the exceptional new drama from French director Martin Provost. Catherine Frot plays the titular, uptight midwife, who forms an unlikely friendship with the liberated mistress of her late father (played by the inimitable Catherine Deneuve) when the latter is diagnosed with cancer. Sofia Coppola makes her anticipated return with psychosexual thriller The Beguiled, a tantalisingly atmospheric affair set in the American south during the Civil War, where a pupil at an all-girls boarding school stumbles across a wounded soldier in the nearby forest and brings him to the school to recuperate. Tensions soon mount, to climatic effect, as both pupils and teachers fall under his spell.

For those in search of further chills, there’s Hounds of Love, the accomplished debut from Australian director Ben Young, which has widely been hailed as the most terrifying film of the year. Set in Young’s native Perth it follows a serial killer couple who kidnap a school girl and keep her prisoner in their suburban home. On the other end of the spectrum there’s the The Big Sick, the wonderfully funny story of a Pakistani-born comic (Kamail Nanjiani) and his one night stand with self-deprecating grad student Emily, which quickly blossoms into something more profound, punctuated by extreme highs and devastating lows in a cross-cultural rom-com that bends all the rules. Plus, Lynch fans, rejoice! Long-awaited documentary David Lynch: The Art Life, featuring over 20 conversations with the visionary auteur, has arrived offering unprecedented insight into the great man’s life and career to date. Finally, there’s City of Ghosts from documentary-maker Matthew Heineman, a gripping investigation into the efforts of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”, a group of anonymous media activists who came together following the ISIS invasion of Syria.

The Events & Festivals Edit

Fashion in Motion: Molly Goddard at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London: July 7, 2017
As part of the V&A’s REVEAL Festival, which celebrates the opening of the museum’s new Exhibition Road Quarter, Molly Goddard will be presenting four fashion shows throughout the day this Friday. This unique opportunity to see Goddard’s signature vibrant and voluminous designs is not to be missed; expect plenty of frothy tulle on the runway in a start to the weekend like no other.

Somerset House: Summer Series
Somerset House’s annual Summer Series returns this month with a slew of brilliant acts playing to its sun-soaked square. This year the line-up includes the likes of Damian Marley (July 7), The Cinematic Orchestra (July 8), Warpaint (July 10) and Birdy (July 12) – and with extraordinary support acts, a seemingly bottomless bar and (with a bit of luck) a positive weather forecast, it promises to create many a glorious summer memory for all those who attend.

Lovebox Festival at Victoria park, London: July 14 & 15
Solange; Frank Ocean; Jamie xx; Tender; the line-up at this year’s Lovebox festival might be the best it has ever been – and given that this edition marks the 15th anniversary, that’s no small feat. Taking place over the course of Friday and Saturday July 14-15 in east London’s Victoria Park, this is one of the summer’s sweetest festivals; it’ll make you feel like you’ve crammed a whole week’s worth of revelry into your weekend.

Latitude Festival at Henham Park, Suffolk: July 13 – 16, 2017
Festival season is well underway, and next week sees the return of Latitude, the Suffolk-held event that last year celebrated its tenth anniversary. Days are spent swimming in Henham Park’s lake and getting lost in the Faraway Forest, with evenings soundtracked by the likes of The 1975 and Fleet Foxes, plus performances from emerging names in music.

Standon Calling, Hertfordshire: July 27 – 30, 2017
The Hertfordshire village of Standon plays host to festival Standon Calling this month, and 2017 is the year of Tales of the Enchanted Valley. With Grace Jones, Clean Bandit and Orbital headlining, as well as the annual dog show and costume competition (plan outfits with zeal to be in with a chance of winning), this is sure to be an unforgettable weekend.

Egg Archive Pop-Up at Sydney Street, Chelsea: July 21 – August 5, 2017
Fans of Egg, the Chelsea and Dover Street Market favourite and pioneer of radically slow retail, will be pleased to learn of its first archive and sample sale happening over two weeks this month. These are timeless clothes to cherish – the brand boasts of selling “the most beautiful everyday things” – and we’d be willing to bet that purchases made in this inaugural sale will be wardrobe staples for years to come.  

Park Nights at Serpentine Pavilion, London: from July 14, 2017
Last week saw the opening of this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, and along with it the launch of the Serpentine’s Summer Arts Programme and Park Nights, presented by COS, a series of live performances within the Pavilion over the course of the Summer by a variety of multidisciplinary artists, such as Tamara Henderson, Black Quantum Futurism, Shen Xin, and Eleanor Antin. Next on the calendar is Bouchra Ouizguen’s Corbeaux, put on by 20 women from London and Morocco, which promises “a stirring display of movement and sound”.

Great Performances

This month is a dream for theatre lovers, with a host of brilliant new plays opening across the capital. Mosquitoes, the new offering from celebrated playwright Lucy Kirkwood (Chimerica), arrives at the National Theatre, starring Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams as two sisters with two very different lives, who find themselves unexpectedly reunited in what proves a searing examination of tragedy. For a dose of steamy Southern drama, look no further than the new West End production of Tennessee Williams’ masterful family drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Sienna Miller and Jack O’Connell. Meanwhile the Royal Court presents revival of Jim Cartwright’s seminal 1986 play Road, a darkly humorous depiction of the inhabitants of an unnamed Lancashire road in 80s Britain. Make sure to catch this year’s Manchester International Festival, currently in full-swing until July 16, and promising a breathtaking array of new works across the arts, from Cotton Panic!, a collage of film, drama, live music and spoken word by Jane Horrocks, Nick Vivian and Wrangler, that evokes the devastating Cotton Famine that befell Northern England in 1861 to Available Light, a revival of the mesmerising, 1983 dance production that united “three giants of postwar American culture”: choreographer Lucinda Childs, composers John Adams, and architect Frank Gehry, who designed the set.

The Best of Food & Drink

Summer Menu at Yamagoya
London, Soho favourite Yamagoya is embracing Summer with a new menu of dishes perfect for the months of warmth ahead. Showstoppers include cold ramen, a refreshing spin on the restaurant’s signature offering, and the raindrop cake, an impossibly shiny creation made to look like a droplet of water, its sleek appearance belying the complex medley of flavours (the centre is filled with pink salted cherry blossom).

Madame D: open now
The concept behind new east London restaurant Madame D – that of a women driven out of her home in China, who trades opium all the way from Tibet and through Nepal before being smuggled to London from Calcutta – is a winner before you’ve even tasted the menu, a fabulous tribute to the Himalayas. Founded by Harneet and Devina Baweja, the duo behind neighbouring mainstay Gunpowder, this new arrival to Commercial Street is sure to be a firm favourite of locals and visitors for sure.

Bloody Mary Menu at Rail House Café, Victoria: until September 2017
To complement its array of brunch offerings, Victoria’s Rail House Café has launched a Bloody Mary Menu, a selection of twists on the classic weekend tipple. Traditionalists can enjoy an original Bloody Mary which is seasoned and spiced to perfection, or the more experimental might be tempted by a Basil Mary, which mixes gin with green tobasco, yellow tomato juice, lemon juice and mustard to make an unexpectedly delectable drink.

Magpie, London: opening July 25, 2017
Fans of Hackney restaurant Pidgin will surely be frequenting its sister establishment Magpie once it opens later this month just off Regent Street. The menu promises to be modern British, and dishes are offered up on wheels – the same goes for drinks on arrival, which can be chosen straight from the cocktail trolley. July 25 can’t come soon enough.

Meraki, Fitzrovia: opening July 7, 2017
If escaping to Greece is not on the cards this Summer, fear not – new Greek restaurant Meraki is likely the next best thing. With its focus on the best of Mediterranean ingredients, Greek hospitality and even wines and beers from the region, you’ll soon forget that you’re still in London.