Having reached the half point in our autumnal A-Z, it’s hard to believe that we still have a jam-packed list of things for you to do during the darker days of 2012. Today, we’ve got action, laughs, tears and the return of a certain lady from the block as we cover the J’s, K’s and L’s.
J-Lo, live music
Have you been fooled by the rocks that she’s got? Yes? Then be informed: the artist born Jennifer Lynn Lopez is still very much from the block. Her most recent hit single, ‘Dance Again’, is a thumping techno monster that revisits her ‘Waiting for Tonight’ heyday. Who cares that it features Pitbull? Not the legions of fans who are anticipating her return to the UK. When it comes to big shows, the 43-year-old former ‘American Idol’ judge’s still got the pop chops to keep thousands of people gyrating in their seats.
Joan Rivers, comedy tour
The grande dame of stand-up is a true living comedy legend. At 79 years old (she doesn’t look it, does she? Do you think she’s had some work done?), Rivers is showing no sign of old age and her bitchy machine-gun-paced attacks on celebrity culture are as biting as ever. Who does she have locked in her sights this year? Whoever they are, they might as well throw in the towel right now…
‘Julius Caesar’, opera
Will the all-powerful Roman emperor really give it all up for the love of Cleopatra? Handel’s baroque tragedy sees American superstar countertenor Lawrence Zazzo in the title role and soprano Anna Christie as the Egyptian queen. With Christian Curnyn conducting and Michael Keegan-Dolan directing his Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre, it promises to be a sparkling affair.
Kings Place Festival, 100s of things to do
As the venue enters its fifth year, its autumn season kicks off once again with 100 events over three days. Featuring mostly classical performers (such as cellist Matthew Barley, The Chillingirian Quartet and London Sinfonietta), the 45-minute concerts mix it up with contemporary, jazz, folk, comedy and talks. Not forgetting fun for kids and even a boat trip. And all for just £4.50 a pop.
Bruce Willis has done some dumb stuff in the past (releasing records, offering to fight in Iraq, starring in ‘The Fifth Element’) but if he carries on like this, he’s going to wipe his slate clean. Following his lovable turn in ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, he’s taking on his most unsettling role to date as a back-from-the-future version of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s hitman in sci-fi headspinner ‘Looper’.
‘Love and Information’, theatre
Royal Court artistic director Dominic Cooke looks intent on going out with a bang with an eye-popping penultimate season. It gets under way with the return of the Court’s totemic playwright, ‘Top Girls’ and ‘Serious Money’ author Caryl Churchill. With a typically high-concept premise, ‘Love and Information’ features a cast of 16 playing more than a hundred characters who are trying ‘to make sense of what they know’. Royal Court Downstairs.
London Film Festival
The London Film Festival is coming to more cinemas than ever this autumn, having had a top-to-bottom overhaul by new artistic director Clare Stewart, who arrives from the Sydney Film Festival. The event opens on October 10 with the European premiere of ‘Frankenweenie’, the new animation from Tim Burton (‘Sweeney Todd’). The closing film on October 21 is ‘Great Expectations’, a brilliant adaptation of Dickens’s novel from director Mike Newell (‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’), starring Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham. Other major premieres include Paul Thomas Anderson’s hugely anticipated ‘The Master’, which chronicles the birth of a spiritual movement in postwar America (any resemblance to Scientology is entirely coincidental apparently). There’s also an adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’ and Mira Nair’s new film ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’.
Regular visitors to the festival will spot some significant changes this year. Clare Stewart is shaking things up with two major innovations. Programme-wise, she has replaced strands organised by country and region with themes such as ‘Dare’, ‘Thrill’, ‘Laughter’ and ‘Debate’. Time Out is sponsoring ‘Debate’, whose highlights include Thomas Vinterberg’s paedophile-witchhunt drama ‘The Hunt’ and the Italian ‘Big Brother’ satire ‘Reality’ (from ‘Gomorrah’ director Matteo Garrone).
For the first time, as well as screening more than 150 films in West End venues, the LFF will take over cinemas across London – including the Hackney Picturehouse, the Renoir, the Screen on the Green in Islington and the Rich Mix – for the entire festival. They will also be cramming more screenings into less time – this year’s event will run for 12 days rather than the usual 16.
The full schedule is announced this week. And whatever the structural tweaks, we can expect a selection of the most-talked-about films from the summer’s big festivals (many of them months ahead of their release dates) and a generous handful of swanky gala premieres. Not to mention experimental work, restored classics (the Archive Gala is Alfred Hitchcock’s 1929 film ‘The Manxman’) and plenty of talks, workshops and Q&As. Be warned, the festival’s hottest tickets sell out fast, so early-bird booking is recommended – already open for BFI members, while the rest of us get a chance from September 24.
See yesterday’s guide to autumn’s E’s, F’s, G’s, H’s and I’s.
Join us throughout the week for the rest of autumn’s alphabet… or have a look at our major events calendar.