While the 20th installment of North By Northeast (NXNE) can be broken down into film, art, comedy, interactive speeches and music, there is no doubt that music is the festival’s raison d’être. Spread over 10 days across Toronto, NXNE’s lineup this year includes Texas-raised singer-songwriter St Vincent, post-punk band Eagulls from Leeds in the UK and LA-based R&B duo, Rhye – the latter performing at the historic Massey Hall venue this Saturday. Comprising of Toronto-born singer Michael Milosh and Danish instrumentalist Robin Hannibal, the band’s intimate sound is a subtle and calming reprieve from the rest of the festival’s mayhem.
At venues across the city. See website for details.
Close and Far: Russian Photography Now
Calvert 22 Gallery’s Close and Far: Russian Photography Now showcases the works of contemporary photographers such as Alexander Gronsky, Dimitri Venkov, Taus Makhacheva, Olya Ivanova and Max Sher, exploring cultural identity in 21st-century Russia. The exhibition, curated by Kate Bush (not that one), is unique in that this new generation of image makers is being presented alongside the rediscovered works of Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, whose colour photographs of pre-revolutionary Russia have never before been displayed in the UK.
Calvert 22 Gallery, 22 Calvert Avenue. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 12.00-18.00. Until August 17.
Jennie Jieun Lee: Smile Purgatory
In her exhibition Smile Purgatory at Galerie Lefebvre & Fils in Paris, Korean-American artist Jennie Jieun Lee explores the moment that a forced smile attempts to conceal pain. The result: a collection of naïve designs that reveal the darker side of ceramics and feature a deeper, biographical look into the artist’s past. Jieun Lee’s experimental and colourful melting vases, bowls, cups and masks might remind viewers of some of Salvador Dali’s most bold and surreal paintings but ultimately they reflect the fragile nature of life.
Galerie Lefebvre & Fils, 24 rue du Bac. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11.00-19.00. Until 11 October.
FESTIVAL: HONG KONG
The Chinese Opera Festival
Opening this weekend, the Chinese Opera Festival will celebrate and showcase the diversity of Chinese traditional theatre and vernacular music. Over the course of two months, world-class opera troupes and singers will stage 10 performances ranging from well-known works such as The Butterfly Lovers to new Cantonese plays such as Investigation to Redress A Wrong. The performances will showcase the diversity of Chinese opera and highlight the wide range of cultures and characters that hail from the nation’s numerous different regions.
At locations throughout Hong Kong, see website for details. Until 30 August.
Lower: Seek Warmer Climes
After the global success of acts such as Iceage, Denmark appears to be carving out a neat niche of bands who are taking the aggression of punk music and filtering it through a smartly melodic filter with an understated aesthetic. Lower are the latest foursome of disaffected youths from Copenhagen but their sound also borrows a little 1980s bombast not heard since the likes of Adam Ant and Tears for Fears stalked the stage (the first time). Though Lower’s particular version of punk might be brash and abrasive like the rest, mainstream ambition often screams pretty loud, too.
‘Seek Warmer Climes’ is available to buy now.