The Monocle Minute

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The week ahead, opportunities and observations
Saturday 29 July 2017

Entertainment

All the world is a stage

A Latvian-designed wooden stage bringing together architecture, science and light is a hit.

A music stage at Glastonbury or Coachella tends to be nothing short of a metal monstrosity. How else does one build a more fetching concert stand? Well, as Latvian architecture firm DJA has shown, wood may be the answer. The Riga-based studio’s podium is a portable wooden disk placed against a wooden scaffold; it acts as a projection screen while artists perform in three window-like openings that can comfortably hold a 20-piece orchestra. It worked well at a recent outdoor concert in Dviete, near the Belarus boarder, before heading 200km north for another outing at Burtnieku near Estonia. The wooden stage is on a temporary break for now but we’ve got our fingers crossed for an international tour.  

Music

Play it again, Mark

A zingy collection from the crossroads of British pop and jazz for your playlist.

Mark Springer is one of musicians: a virtuoso pianist, a collaborator with untouchably cool talent – Nico, Neneh Cherry, among others – and a man who regards genre with a haughty stare. His latest album out yesterday, Circa Rip Rig and Panic, is a boiling whirlpool that’ll be filed under “jazz” but strains at the leash like a mixture of the Neil Cowley Trio and Miles Davis’s ESP. So far, so far out. Springer will be taking the LP out on the road this summer, most photogenically at the Morellino Classica Festival.

Culture

Playing up

The annual festival celebrates Penang’s passion for music, culture and performing arts.

George Town Festival, which kicked off this week on the tropical island of Penang, is a strong showing for Malaysia’s aspirations to be a crossroads of culture for the region. The month-long festival brings together artists and performers from across Asia Pacific, with acts such as Hakanai, a French Japanese performing arts ensemble drawing an international crowd. The event also shines a positive light on a nation typically perceived as politically unstable. George Town Festival may go some way to bolster the nation’s cultural clout but Malaysia’s creative community still faces problems: rigid censorship laws have recently seen Luis Fonsi’s chart-topping song Despacito banned due to its steamy lyrics.

Books

Palms up

These familiar fixtures on the LA horizon have been captured in a new tome of fetching photographs.

Tinseltown’s swaying palms were first etched onto the global imagination as symbols of LA’s promise and opportunity, both through advertising and the silver screen. Today’s trees – some hale and healthy, others blighted and hemmed in – have been charmingly captured by Amsterdam-based photographer Marie-José Jongerius in her new book Los Angeles Palms. Many palms were planted before the Olympics in the 1930s, seen as a menace and fire-hazard in the 1940s and plastered onto tourist tat throughout, yet this collection is a snapshot of the city today. Growing out of gated communities, peering over parking lots and creeping up condos, trees captured in these images also say something about privacy, the environment and urbanism in the city. 

From Monocle 24

Watching the city

The Cinema Show

Join us on a city-watching tour from Istanbul to Western Australia. Ceyda Torun guides us through her delightful documentary ‘Kedi’, which tells the story of Istanbul from the perspective of its feline fanciers. Plus: ‘Hounds of Love’ writer and director Ben Young explains why he steered away from Australia’s fascination with true crime and we pay tribute zombie-genre pioneer George A Romero

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