The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 20 February 2016

Image: Bollmann

Good stuff

The Japanese fad for zakka took off about 15 years ago and has gone from strength to strength ever since. It’s an elusive concept and even the Japanese struggle to give a simple translation for the word but it roughly means “miscellaneous things” and has gradually come to signify a specific category of lifestyle goods. These days there are countless zakka shops around Tokyo selling tasteful bits and pieces that you could probably live without: perhaps a rustic linen dishtowel or a crocheted pot stand; embroidered house slippers or a wooden butter knife. Japan’s zakka boom has spawned shops and books and has now spread across Asia. A new exhibition at 21_21 Design Sight in Tokyo Midtown explores the zakka phenomenon, from its postwar roots in the humdrum tools of daily life to its current, more precious incarnation. The show is on until 5 June.

Image: Jeff Green

Show house

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) has acquired its very first piece of architecture. The Sheats-Goldstein House, sat in the hills of Beverley Crest, was designed by John Lautner and built in 1963 for university professor Paul Sheats, his artist wife Helen and their five children. The striking property, a combination of concrete and wood with floor-to-ceiling windows, has been in the care of James Goldstein since 1972; Goldstein made alterations with Lautner until the architect's death in 1994. The angular design of the structure itself means the interior has been customised with built-in leather and concrete furniture. Though the house is Lacma’s first piece of architecture – donated by Goldstein – it’s already an established work of art that appears in photographs by the likes of Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, Mario Testino and Ellen von Unwerth.

Image: Wilkinson Gallery and The Estateof Jimmy De Sana

Happy snappers

Performing for the Camera is a vastly wide-ranging exhibition for the very broad church that is Tate Modern. This is no mere slim survey show; this is an elephant gun loaded with imagery and shot at the power station’s walls. Most of it sticks. Using “the relationship between photography and performance” as its kicker, we’re shown dawn-of-the-medium 19th-century stuff and then sped towards the laudable contemporary trend of photo-bombing and the lamentable one of selfie-stick wielding. But that’s ok because we’re exploring what cameras do to people and how they change the way we behave. Roland Barthes wrote about the face you make when you’re being photographed and thousands of those faces are in evidence here. Funny, charming, human and foolish; this is a show about you, folks. On until 12 June.

Image: Getty Images

Revelry revolution

Around 10,000 Sydneysiders will descend on Belmore Park on Sunday. Far from rallying for a summery festival or faddy food pop-up, the assembled masses will be appealing against the city's forceful lockout laws as part of the Keep Sydney Open campaign. A spate of alcohol-related incidents fired a clampdown on nightlife here in 2012 but today the heavy-handed strictures are slowly strangling the city's pubs, nightclubs and music venues. Lockout laws currently prevent admittance into bars and clubs after 01.00, re-entry after 01.30 and drinks after 03.00. Considering the city’s reputation for fun and frivolity, the outdated and overzealous nannying has reached fever pitch. It’s time Sydney authorities recognised that a glass of wine on a street-side table and an occasional late night are all part of the charm of urban life.

From Monocle 24

Image: Berlinale

The Berlin Film Festival

Rubbing shoulders at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, we hear from director Aaron Brookner about his new documentary ‘Uncle Howard’ and Retrospective curator Rainer Rother, as well as the co-ordinator of the festival’s refugee programme, Adrienne Boros. Plus: classic Golden Bear winners ‘Wild Strawberries’ from 1957 and 1998’s ‘Central Station’.

From Monocle Films

Boosting Houston

The Texan energy capital has a huge oil-driven economy and business infrastructure. We document this changing city as it welcomes a growing number of entrepreneurs.

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