Best of the week's arts and culture news, covering books, art, film, architecture and more.
Lauren Laverne presents highlights from the opening weekend that launches Liverpool's year as the European Capital of Culture. Awarded the title in 2004, the city will put on musicians, singers, dancers and special effects. Friday's artists include Ringo Starr and indie band the Wombats. Saturday's events come from the city's Liverpool Echo Arena and feature the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic with Dave Stewart, No Fakin DJs, Echo and The Bunnymen and Ian Brodie.
Superstar comic Chris Rock gives a rare interview to Lauren Laverne. Mark Kermode gets another coup: an equally rare interview with Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton about their film version of Sweeney Todd. The Coen brothers talk about their acclaimed new film No Country for Old Men, a modern Western. Andrew Graham-Dixon spends a night at the House of the Future, with a talking fridge, mood-based lighting and robotic furniture.
The Oscar nominees have been announced. Mark Kermode talks to Tom Hanks about his many Oscars and his latest film, Charlie Wilson's War. Cult actress Laura Linney talks about her new film, The Savages, released in the UK this week. Radio 1 DJ Nihal travels to Ghent in Belgium to meet Soulwax. They've re-worked songs by Kylie, Robbie Williams and the Klaxons for their new album. Best-selling author Conn Iggulden performs at the Galway story-telling festival.
Lauren Laverne meets 20 year-old Ellen Page, star of the surprise US box office hit Juno. The Hayward Gallery is staging an exhibition of 'funny' art works. Karl Pilkington and Noel Fielding visit to see if it will make them laugh. Director Julian Schnabel's talks to Mark Kermode about his film the Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Tim Samuels meets songwriter Jeffrey Lewis. Includes music from !!!, the Moldy Peaches and Canadian singer Feist.
JG Ballard gives a rare interview to Mark Kermode about his autobiography, Miracles of Life. Sebastian Horsley visits the Dulwich picture gallery to see Guido Reni's paintings of St Sebastian. We review the show The Magic Flute-Impempe Yomlingo: a South African version of the opera using drums and township percussion. Tim Samuels meets his childhood hero, Morrissey. Verity Sharp interviews KD Lang.
Mark Kermode wants to set up a movie premiere at Britain's smallest cinema before it closes down after 54 years. We meet Giles Deacon, a designer at his own label Giles, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Mulberry and creator of a sell-out range at New Look. A new series of That Mitchell and Webb Look is about to start, so we quiz the double act on their friendship. Moby takes the Culture Show busking challenge: how much can he make in 15 minutes?
Mark Kermode announces who he thinks deserves an Oscar. Cycle couriers have the highest insurance rates in the UK, is it because of their secret drag races? Andrew Graham-Dixon meets designer Moritz Waldemeyer, whose musical curtains and mood sensitive chairs are making him a big name. Fashion designer Henry Holland does his first catwalk show. Features music from cellist Josephine Knight, Frank Black and Duffy.
Mark Kermode delivers a happy ending to a tiny cinema by giving their last opening a red carpet world premiere. New Orleans brass ten piece Hot 8 do the busking challenge. Andrew Graham-Dixon learns more about the late Marcel Duchamp, Godfather of conceptual art. Brighton rockers British Sea Power perform a secret gig on Canvey Island. Architecture critic Tom Dyckhoff visits Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008. With music from the Eels
Lauren Laverne steers us through another packed Culture Show, which covers poetry, architecture, film, music and TV. The work of Scotland's greatest living poet Edwin Morgan is celebrated, while Tom Dyckhoff travels to Basel for an exclusive interview with superstar architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron - the brains behind the conversion of Bankside Power Station into Tate Modern. Meanwhile, Grace Dent goes on a pilgrimage back home to Carlisle to look at the past, present and future of regional news and Mark Kermode gets to meet his secret crush, Eric Bana, star of Hulk, Munich and Troy. Music in the Culture Show bar come from Brit Nominated band, Editors.
James Corden and Ruth Jones, acclaimed actors and writers of Gavin and Stacey, put their friendship to the test by answering questions about each others' foibles. Louis de Bernieres finds out what people really think of his latest book, A Partisan's Daughter, by secretly eavesdropping on as a Norfolk book group dissect and discuss it. Will they be as opinionated when introduced to the man himself? We join Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella on the set of his latest film, an adaptation of best-selling novel The No. 1 Ladies Agency and the first film to be made in Botswana. New Orleans brass band Hot 8 swap steamy Louisiana for cool Hoxton to undertake the busking challenge. Plus music from Laura Marling, the 18-year-old singer whose debut album Alas, I Cannot Swim looks certain to make a huge splash.
Verity Sharp talks to Goldfrapp about their new album. We staged and filmed a series of flash mob dance events in Liverpool to celebrate its year as capital of culture: including a shopping-mall waltz, hip hop street sweepers and commuter dancing in the station. Mark Kermode meets Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith, who made movie Son of Rambow. Tim Samuels goes to the world's biggest music industry festival. With music from Roisin Murphy and the Cave Singers.
100th edition of the arts magazine with Lauren Laverne. Naomi Watts talks about her role in Michael Haneke's new film Funny Games. Mark Kermode talks to playwright Martin McDonagh about his first feature film, In Bruges. Verity Sharp meets Hofesh Schechter, the choreographer of the dance in Skins. Photographer Ari Versluis and stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek try to prove that we all conform to certian style tribes. Supergrass perform a track from their new album Diamond Hoo Ha.
Lauren Laverne and co-presenter Mark Kermode are back with a summer run of The Culture Show. This week The Culture Show is on set in America with Ricky Gervais as he directs his first ever feature film - This Side of the Truth. Cult podcaster and thinker, Karl Pilkington, finds out what it's like to play an extra in such a metaphysically profound film. Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon goes to Vienna to attempt a Freudian analysis of the work of Gustav Klimt. The Kiss adorns millions of bedroom walls and the biggest show of Klimt's works ever staged in the UK opens at Tate Liverpool on May 30th. Simon Armitage is one of our most acclaimed contemporary poets, but in his new book, Gig he's come out as a frustrated rock star. Mark Kermode accompanies Simon to the ordeal of his first ever gig as the lead singer of the Scaremongers, in super cool Shoreditch. Find out what happens when a 40-something poet tries to become a pop star.
Lauren Laverne and Mark Kermode present an edition of The Culture Show which tonight includes classical music, land art in Scotland, Ricky Gervais's first feature film as director, plus a review of the week's biggest films and music from Elbow and Richard Hawley. Verity Sharp meets the 27-year-old Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Like his fellow members of the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, Dudamel is the product of El Sistem - free musical education for some of the poorest young people in Venezuela. Plus, Andrew Graham-Dixon takes to the Scottish skies in a helicopter to look at beautiful and baffling land art; Karl Pilkington continues his American adventure on the set of Ricky Gervais's directorial debut This Side of the Truth; and Mark Kermode gives his view on the week's cinema releases including The Incredible Hulk starring Ed Norton, and The Happening directed by M Night Shyamalan.
With the summer solstice on June 21st, Lauren Laverne and Mark Kermode preside over an edition of The Culture Show, with a special summer, seaside feel. The first ever Folkestone Triennial launched on June 14th, previewing new works by artists like Tracy Emin and Mark Wallinger. For The Culture Show, local Kent resident and contemporary art fan Vic Reeves goes to find out whether this inaugural Triennial can breathe new life into Folkestone. Tom Dyckhoff is in Morecambe for the re-opening of the newly restored modernist gem, The Midland Hotel. Bought by developers Urban Splash in 2003, it's taken five years and 11 million pounds to restore the hotel to its former glory. To celebrate in style, The Culture Show host an evening of music at the hotel with the BBC's Big Band accompanied by 26-year-old blues singer Beth Rowley. John Maybury's film The Edge of Love about Dylan Thomas opens on June 20th. In a special tribute to the poet, residents of Laugharne and Swansea re-create some of Thomas's most iconic poems. The star of the film Matthew Rhys pops into The Culture Show's bar to talk to Mark and Lauren about portraying Dylan Thomas. Plus Mark Kermode previews the upcoming Edinburgh International Film Festival, which runs from 18th to 29th June. Music this week comes from Neon Neon, the electro pop collaboration between Gruff Rhys and Boom Bip, which resulted in the surprise hit album of the year, Stainless Steel
Comedy, cinema, music and possibly the best of the best literature are all in the week's line up of The Culture Show presented by Lauren Laverne and Mark Kermode. Nic Roeg, director of the films Performance, Don't Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth gives a rare inteview to Mark Kermode. The director celebrates his 80th birthday in August and with his new film Puffball (based on the novel by Fay Weldon) due for release on 18th July, he remains as controversial as ever. Starring Kelly Reilly, and with an appearance by Donald Sutherland there are echoes of Don't Look Now, but the film has so far met with a critical roasting. The writing talent behind cult hit Peep Show Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong tell us about the writers and performers who have influenced their own work, from Charlie Kaufman and Woody Allen to Alan Partridge and Terry and June. Tim Samuels floods the village of Comrie in Perthshire with hundreds of copies of the novels shortlisted for the best ever Booker Prize. What happens when locals in the rural community have to decide on who they think deserves the title Best of the Booker, choosing from the likes of Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie and Pat Barker's The Ghost Road? Will their favourite be the same as the actual winner which is announced on 10th July? Music is from Brazilian disco funk band CSS, who are set to blaze a trail at this year's festivals. They'll be playing a track from their new album Donkey, out in July.
Celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of George Orwell's 1984, we form a book group consisting entirely of ex Big Brother contestants to discuss the work, chaired by literary critic and ex Celebrity Big Brother housemate Germaine Greer. The panellists, including 'nasty' Nick Bateman, ex-Tory candidate Derek Laud and Aisleyne Horgan Wallace, discuss the parallels between the Orwellian nightmare and their own experiences in the house. Also, London DJ and musician Bishi, whose unique sound fuses English, Bengali and Bulgarian music, gives us behind -the -scenes access to rehearsals for her most audacious collaboration yet - with the London Symphony Orchestra. Fellow DJ Nihal talks to Bishi and members of the LSO about the collaboration which is part of UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica, a project which brings together artists from vastly different styles and backgrounds. Plus tightrope walker Phillippe Petit joins Mark and Lauren in the studio to discuss the extraordinary new documentary Man on Wire, which tells the story of Petit's audacious wire walk between New York's twin towers back in the 1970s. The gripping tale of how it was planned and carried out won the film the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Festival. Petit himself is an extraordinary autodidact who taught himself magic, drawing, fencing, horseback riding, bullfighting, five languages and finally tightrope walking, after being legally emancipated by his parents while in his teens. Music comes from The Raconteurs, the band formed by Detroit neighbours Jack White and Brendan Benson, who will be in the studio to perform a track from their new album, Consolers Of The Lonely, and to talk to Lauren in the studio.
Lauren Laverne and Mark Kermode present a mix of classical music, contemporary art and show the first iconic buildings of the 21st century. Mark Kermode meets with Turner prize winning artist Steve McQueen to discuss his latest exhibition at the Barbican - Queen and Country, a series of facsimile postage stamps commemorating those who have died in the Iraq conflict. He also talks about his new film Hunger which focuses on the last days of Irish Republican hunger striker Bobby Sands and picked up the prestigious Camera d'or at Cannes earlier this year. Verity Sharp marks the 50th anniversary of musician Vaughan Williams's death ahead of the upcoming Proms, which features many of his key works. Verity explores his music and his most famous work, The Lark Ascending. And with the Beijing Olympics just a month away, Tom Dyckhoff is in China to witness the biggest building boom in history. He previews the Beijing National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, which will be hosting many of the Olympic events, and the mammoth CCTV building, the new headquarters of Chinese Central Television. Constructed on an awesome scale, the CCTV tower is set become one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. Mark Kermode will also be giving his views on the week's movie releases, including Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep and directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Plus there is music in the studio from Extra Golden, who have combined rock with Kenyan benga music on their second album, Hera Ma Nono. And in this extended edition, more music when Glasgow band Attic Lights take up the show's Busking Challenge this week performing on the streets of Largs, plus more new animation.
A packed programme this week, presented by Lauren Laverne and Mark Kermode. Lauren Laverne gets an exclusive TV interview with David Simon creator, executive producer and lead writer of HBO's cult TV series The Wire. David has been hailed as "America's great tragedian. Lauren conducts a cop style interrogation about why Simon insists of breaking all the rules of television writing. To mark the 500th anniversary of work beginning on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon is in Rome to marvel at and decode Michelangelo's ultimate Renaissance work of art. Andrew tells the story of Michelangelo's four year long struggle to complete this vast fresco cycle, the battles the artist had with his patron Pope Julius II, and tries to explain the layers of meaning behind the swooping, heavenly, iconic figures. Mark Kermode reviews the week's biggest film releases including the predicted smash of the summer the new Disney Pixar animation Wall E, Nic Roeg's Puffball and City of Men, the follow up to City of God. Comedian Chris Addison, star and writer, of new series Lab Rats joins Mark and Lauren in the studio to talk about his new series, starting on July 10th - "a big, stupid, cartoony new studio sitcom about a bunch of idiots trying to run a lab", according to Chris's website.
Lauren Laverne and Mark Kermode present a mix of cinema, super-size sculpture and great music. Mark takes director Terence Davies back to his native Liverpool. Davies's latest work, Of Time and the City, features his return to the city of his birth to examine its influence on his childhood and work, where he talks about his views on Liverpool past and present and how places shape us all. Lauren meets legendary Nigerian drummer Tony Allen to discuss the power of Afrobeat. Emerging in Nigeria in the late 60s, the heady mix of highlife melodies, jazz and yoruba drumming has influenced artists from James Brown and Brian Eno to more recently, Damon Albarn, Coldplay and Franz Ferdinand. With a contribution too from Tony Allen admirer, Damon Albarn. Andrew Graham Dixon takes to the skies in the second part of his tour of land art in Scotland and the north of England. His tour includes visits to Little Sparta, the garden of the late artist Ian Hamilton Finlay, in the Pentland Hills south of Edinburgh. He also flies by Britain's first permanent off shore sculpture, Couple by Sean Henry, and aerially reviews the Angel of the North. Plus Mark delivers his verdicts on the biggest films of the week, including the new batman film The Dark Knight, and Lauren talks to Bobby Gillespie and Mani of Primal Scream, who provide music in the studio.
Andrew Graham-Dixon and Mark Kermode lock horns over the Cy Twombly exhibition at Tate Modern. Twombly is one of the most highly regarded artists in the world, whose highly distinctive style - scribbles and vibrantly daubed paint - has critics in raptures. To a lot of people though, Twombly's works look like scratchy doodlings on a canvas - the sort of thing a child could do. Can art critic Andrew persuade sceptical Mark to see any merit in these huge, baffling paintings? Mark also talks to controversial theatre director Katie Mitchell, whose new play Some Trace of Her, opens at the National Theatre on July 30th. Focused on a murderous love triangle at the heart of Dostoevsky's The Idiot, this new production adopts an innovative visual style based around screens, cameras and live broadcasting of the dramatic action. Critics will either love or loathe it. Paul Weller, the unlikely statesman of British music, drops by to talk about turning fifty and his acclaimed new album, 22 Dreams.
Miranda Sawyer and Tom Dyckhoff visit the mega-cities of Shanghai and Beijing to meet the artists, musicians, photographers and architects who are shaping the fastest changing culture in the world. Tom examines the building boom that has changed the face of the two cities. Starting off with Norman Foster's epic Beijing Airport, he previews the Beijing National Stadium, or the Bird's Nest, which will be hosting many of the Olympic events. He also takes a look at the mammoth CCTV building, the new headquarters of Chinese Central Television by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren, which is set to become one of the most recognisable buildings in the world. Tom then looks at how a young but flourishing design sector is taking the country away from its reputation as being the factory of the world and is now producing consumer goods for a population already demanding western designer products. Miranda attends a penthouse dinner party hosted by socialite and gallery owner Pearl Lam. While there she meets some of China's leading contemporary artists, writers and designers, including fashion designer Han Feng, famous for her haute couture and ready-to-wear lines. We sample Chinese music of all types, from Chinese hip-hop and underground DJs, to one of the country's most respected classical composers and conductors, He Zhanhao. China's new wave of young artists and designers are living and working under a regime never far from controversy. We hear from the artists who are relishing working in a country that is in the throes of reinvention
The Culture Show presents an international flavour with reports from Bergen, Florence and Jerusalem. Verity Sharp gets behind the scenes access to rock behemoths Metallica on tour in Norway. Having sold close to 100 million albums, Metallica are probably the biggest and most influential heavy metal band ever, and are now about to release their long-awaited ninth studio album. Verity joins the band in Bergen, sitting in on the late night rehearsals and pre-gig rituals. Featuring interviews with lead singer James Hetfield, the ultimate reformed rocker, and Lars Ulrich, drummer and fellow founder of the band, Verity turns the volume up to 11 in this revealing rockumentary of a unique band. Andrew Graham-Dixon is in Florence for a rare foray into the Vasari Corridor. Normally closed to visitors, this unique corridor, three kilometres in length, provides stunning views across Florence and is home to the world's most important collection of self-portraits by the greatest artists of the 16th to the 20th centuries including Bernini, Guido Reni, Salvator Rosa, Rubens, Canova, Corot, Ingres and Delacroix. The BBC's Middle East correspondent Tim Franks reports on a very special concert in Jerusalem. Tim follows a young Israeli horn player and a Palestinian oboeist as they take part in a unique series of rooftop performances by young musicians from both sides of the city, in an attempt to promote peace. As a metaphor for their hopes and prayers, the concert is intensely moving. Music comes from electro-popstars Goldfrapp, with their song Eat Yourself from the latest album Seventh Tree.
The series kicks off with a mix of classical art and music, a masterpiece of British cinema and a rock diva. Andrew Graham-Dixon is in a campaigning mood as he launches himself into the controversial debate about the future of two works by Titian in the National Gallery of Scotland, currently on loan from the Duke of Sutherland. The Duke has offered the first painting, Diana and Actaeon, to the National Gallery of Scotland for 50 million pounds. If they can't raise the money by the end of this year, the painting may be sold abroad. Mark Kermode celebrates another kind of masterpiece. It is 25 years since the film Local Hero came out, telling the story of a village tempted by millions of dollars from a US oil company in exchange for the development of their idyllic coastline. Mark brings together the cast and crew of one of the best loved British films of all time to examine the enduring appeal of this bitter-sweet, prophetic film. Mark also reviews the pick of the week's new movies including Ridley Scott's Body of Lies starring Russell Crowe, and Waltz with Bashir - an animated documentary into the horrors of the 1982 Lebanon war. Also, Lauren Laverne meets Grace Jones. A style icon, a musical innovator and always a diva, Grace is back with her first new album in 19 years, Hurricane. All that plus a stunning performance of the Revolutionary Etude by Chopin from the virtuouso, maverick organist Cameron Carpenter.
Angelina Jolie gives a rare interview to the Culture Show. She talks to Mark Kermode about her varied film career and her film Changeling - which some critics say is her best work yet - directed by Clint Eastwood. Photographer and artist Tom Hunter is among the top artists campaigning to raise 50 million pounds to buy Titian's Diana and Actaeon for the nation. To highlight the supreme beauty of this painting, Tom recreates the masterpiece in a modern-day setting with a surprising cast playing Diana, Actaeon and the scantily clad nymphs. There's a surprise starring role for Sex and the City star Kim Cattrall. The actor Martin Freeman - a Motown devotee - travels to Detroit to meet Motown's house band, the Funk Brothers. Althought they played on hundreds of hits and were the heart of the Motown sound, they have only recently received recognition. And Sir Paul McCartney joins Lauren Laverne in the studio in the week his album Electric Arguments is released, a surprising genre-hopping album consisting of thirteen tracks - each one written and recorded in the space of a day.
The Culture Show is host to five very different, high-achieving stars - the actor Michael Sheen; singer Tom Jones; poet Mick Imlah, Oscar winning animator Nick Park and producer, performer Kanye West. Michael Sheen talks about his forthcoming role as David Frost in Ron Howard's film Frost/Nixon. Sheen shot to fame with his uncanny portrayal of Tony Blair in The Deal and The Queen. He's also played Kenneth Williams, HG Wells, Mozart and Emperor Nero. Sheen talks about how he becomes a character and also how he's tackled his next project, becoming football manager Brian Clough for the film version of David Peace's novel The Damned United. We preview Sir Tom Jones takes on The Culture Show's busking challenge. Internationally famous he might be but how much money can he raise on the streets, busking for just 15 minutes? We profile the work of Scottish poet, Mick Imlah. His new volume of poetry The Lost Leader, his first for twenty years, garnered extraordinary critical acclaim, won the Forward Poetry Prize, and is now shortlisted for the prestigious TS Elliot prize. We join controversial and influential music producer and performer Kanye West at the O2 stadium. His fourth studio album, 808s and Heartbreak, has just been released and we join him on the road in Paris to sample life on stage, on tour and on the press and publicity circuit. An outspoken talent, West was also active in the US Presidential election campaigning on behalf of President-elect Barack Obama. In the week he turns 50, we celebrate the work of four times Oscar-winner Nick Park. Nick joins Mark and Lauren in the studio to talk about his new Wallace and Gromit film, A Matter of Loaf and Death.
Lauren Laverne, Mark Kermode and Andrew Graham-Dixon look at back at the highlights of the Culture Show in 2008. It is another chance to see the touching and powerful interview with Anthony Minghella, who died in March. The Culture Show had accompanied the Oscar-winning director to Botswana and been on set with him during the filming of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Verity Sharp meets with the inspirational Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, product of El Sistema - free musical education for some of the poorest young people in Venezuela. Simon Rattle has called Dudamel and El Sistema, 'the most important thing happening in classical music today'. We show again Mark Kermode's one-man campaign to give a special send-off to the tiny 24-seat cinema, La Charrette, in Gorseinon, South Wales. Faced with closure, Mark decides to stage the world premiere of Danny Boyle's film Alien Love Triangle. Star of the film Kenneth Branagh joins the Gorseinon villagers for a red carpet night in the converted rail carriage cinema. In an unusual encounter, Andrew Graham-Dixon 'interviews' French artist Marcel Duchamp. Famed for his influence on modern art and works such as the men's urinal re-named 'Fountain', Duchamp died in 1968. Sir Tom Jones takes on the Culture Show's busking challenge. With a combination of classics and material from his brand new album, 24 hours, can Tom oust the Fron Male Voice Choir, from the current top spot in the busking league table? Music comes from the band of the year, Mercury Prize winners Elbow, accompanied by Richard Hawley.