City Art Centre celebrates history of female artists

A lecture on the history of women artists in Edinburgh was held yesterday afternoon at the City Art Centre in the lead-up to International Women’s Day.

Breaching the Glass Ceiling: Women Artists and Professionalism, part of a series of talks discussing female artists, shed light on the status of women artists in the late nineteenth century, their struggle to study their craft and their hope to be recognised as professionals.

Dr Joanna Soden, a Scottish Art specialist and speaker of the event, spoke to EN4 News about the importance of discussing female art:

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity doing such an event and being part of it. Women’s History Month is a continuation of the themes I was talking about through my talk which is about taking whatever opportunity you can and running with it. I think the higher the profile these women have is proof that they can have successful careers worth celebrating.”

The lecture discussed various female Edinburgh artists including Amelia Hill, the main female contributor to the statues seen on the Scott Monument and Mary Rose Hill Burton, a founding member of the Edinburgh Lady Artists’ Club.

Learning and programmes manager Margaret Findlay, who introduced the event, spoke about the success of this series of lectures thus far:

“I think talks like this are really important because art history is quite male dominated so its very important to highlight all the fantastic female artists there have been. This series of lectures we have had in the lead-up to International [Women’s Day] have been phenomenally successful, so that shows that there is an appetite for it.”

The lecture series will conclude this weekend with a talk on the works of artist Mary Cameron on Sunday, complementing the exhibition of her work currently on display.

A Completely Normal Comedy Night

The Edinburgh Revue is hosting a comedy event tonight fronted entirely by female acts in honour of Women’s History Month.

Hosted at the Bedlam Theatre and organised by Edinburgh University Student Alliance, ‘A Completely Normal Comedy Night’ is described as a celebration of Edinburgh’s best and brightest female and non-binary comedians, in aid of Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre and Scottish Women’s Aid.

Some of the performers rehearse their act
(Photo credit: EN4News)

The show has no male input or organisation whatsoever, with Creative Director of the event, Amy Yeo, explaining that “the point of it isn’t to be weird. Women in comedy isn’t meant to be an anomaly, it’s just meant to be normal and for decades, lineups have been entirely men.”

The number of male comedians far outnumbers female, with the website Chortle having 2,119 registered comedians, and only 347, a meagre 16%, are listed as identifying as female.

Tonight’s event will be headlined by Amy Matthews, winner of the Scottish Comedy Awards’ Best Newcomer in 2019, as well as being featured on the BBC’s ‘The Comedy Underground’.

Amy Yeo, Creative Director (Photo credit: EN4News)

It will feature a whole host of female and non-binary comedians, including sketch work from Alice Roberts.

A Completely Normal Comedy Night‘ is set to “smash through comedy’s glass ceiling and end sexism forever in a single hilarious night”.

The gig is primarily aimed at the ladies, but “lads are welcome to come along too”.

“You need something to spend that extra 30% wage on,” Yeo joked.

Tickets are £6, and can be purchased from the EUSA website.

Doors are at 7:30pm.

Record Store Day 2020 Releases Announced

List party at Assai Records (Credit: EN4 News)

The list of exclusive releases for this year’s Record Store Day was announced yesterday at 6pm.

The event, which celebrates independent records shops up and down the country, is happening on the April 18. We now know what records vinyl fans will be queuing round the corner for in the hopes of getting their hands on. Here’s a rundown of some of the releases we are most excited for this year:

Warmduscher – European Cowboy
Warmduscher offer up a set of “legitimate bangers” for the first time on vinyl. European Cowboy features previously unreleased remixes from the likes of Soulwax and Savage Gary.

Christine and the Queens – La Vita Nuova: Sequences 2 et 3
French singer Chris a.k.a Christine and the Queens is bringing out new music for the event. The record also features cover art of Chris in an almost Stooges-era Iggy Pop pose, arching her back to sing into the mic.

The Murder Capital – Live From London: The Dome, Tufnell Park

Hot on the heels of the release of their debut album last year, The Murder Capital are capitalising on their momentum and getting in on the action this Record Store Day. The band are putting out two lovely live recordings from their live show in London at The Dome.

Beck + St. Vincent – No Distraction / Uneventful Days
This is one of those collaborations that we didn’t know we needed until we had it. The two titans of alternative have come together for a St. Vincent remix of Beck’s Uneventful Days.

Comet Is Coming – Imminent
London doom jazz outfit Comet Is Coming are following up their majorly successful record Trust In The Lifeforce Of Deep Mystery with a new 12″ single, a “pulsating, frenetic number”.

We were at Assai Records to speak to manager Mark Thorne about recycled vinyl, the musical community and what Record Store Day will look like at Assai. Have a listen below:

Female artists who inspire us, new music Friday & our tracks of the week: The EN4 News Music Podcast

A women’s month special!  We talk about our favourite inspirational female artists, as well as our favourite new releases…and everything in between

Gig Review: The 1975 at the SSE Hydro

The 1975 returned to Glasgow on Sunday for the third time in 14 months, this time in support of their upcoming album, ‘Notes on a Conditional Form’.

I saw the band back in January 2019 at the SSE Hydro – and it was truly a magical experience, so it was only right to go back this year to see them at the same venue. This band is typically for everyone; they don’t really fit into a particular genre, so have a varied fanbase.

So, on Sunday, I decided to take my boyfriend along to experience the gig. We don’t really share the same taste in music, but The 1975 are common ground.

What I noticed as soon as we entered was that the whole top tier of seats was curtained off, despite being filled for last year’s show. This may indicate a decline in support of their new music, which is certainly not as popular as their first two albums, however the arena’s emptiness still struck me.

The band bounded onto the stage, and frontman Matty Healy was on top form as always.

They came out with the roaring anthem People, much more punk-rock in style and a very loud way to kick off their show. The crowd seemed to love it, and it really got the energy in the building going.

A couple of unreleased new songs were given airtime, resulting in a rather mellow crowd reaction. If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) was reminiscent of their older music and the crowd seemed to vibe with it too. It also features a catchy chorus that the crowd picked up on very easily. Everyone was singing along by the end.

The band went on to perform Guys, and this was a number that Matty clearly wrote to the rest of the band as a thanks for all that they’ve been through together. However, what struck me was that he seemed to be singing about the band in the past tense, reflecting on their experiences together. The song itself was slow but certainly catchy, and it captured my attention throughout. I didn’t see or hear the rest of the crowd, I was solely focused on the lyrics.

We had an interlude from Greta Thunberg, which has become a regular occurrence, and Matty made it clear that he wanted people to listen. A couple of people in the crowd held up their fingers in peace signs while her speech was on, and others were crying along. It was clear just how much of an impact this collaboration had on not only the band but also their fans. It was incredibly humbling to see that many people listening to such an important message and being moved to tears from it.

The setlist for this tour seems to change almost every night, and overall, it wasn’t best I’ve seen. They did have the typical upbeat songs mixed with some of their slower numbers and performed songs from all four of their albums including their upcoming release.

The crowd didn’t seem to be in love with it either and weren’t as energetic as I thought they would. In fact, it wasn’t until the set’s closing song, The Sound, that they really let loose. The band’s older music definitely got a better reception than the songs from their latest album.

I think it’s very important to mention the stage setup and look of the gig. While most bands and artists have lights coming from various points in the venue, the 1975 opt to have all their lighting come from onstage screens. This doesn’t mean that the room was dull, though! The lights were so bright when I first walked into the arena it was akin to looking at the sun. This is to hide the stage setup, but they were really quite intense.

It didn’t stop there. Throughout the entire gig, the visuals were incredible. Each song was met with an aesthetic that corresponded to its album which I’ve never seen out with a 1975 gig. They may not be the only ones to do this, but it was a great touch nonetheless.

I thoroughly encourage anyone to see them live if they haven’t already. Although the setlist for my specific date wasn’t the best I’ve seen, I loved the gig regardless. Their performances are pleasing to the eye and let’s face it, the music isn’t bad either.

Film Review: ‘Dark Waters’ ★★★★★

Direction: Todd Haynes
Screenplay: Mario Correa, Matthew Michael Carnahan, Nathaniel Rich
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp
Victor Garber, Bill Pullman
Length: 126 minutes
Rating: 12A

A David v Goliath story that concerns all of us. Watch and learn.

On November 19, 2018, BBC Four broadcast an international documentary under its Storyville strand called ‘Poisoning America: The Devil We Know’. As horrifying as it was infuriating, this film burned itself into my memory due to its exposure of deliberate contamination and abhorrent exploitation by the financially blinded controllers of the DuPont chemical corporation against its own workforce, the state and the country. Not content with knowingly poisoning America, however, DuPont has poisoned every living creature on the planet. ‘Dark Waters’ dramatizes this frightening story to excellent effect.

Robert Billot (Ruffalo) is a corporate defence attorney for chemical companies. Adapted from the 2016 New York Times article ‘The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare’, he enters the story in 1998 Cincinnati where he is approached by farmer Wilbur Tennant (Camp) whose livestock has been almost annihilated. While gesturing to the cow graveyard that was once his farmland, Tennant informs Billot at the scene of the crime that he has lost 190 cows before shooting another twice in the head as it charges them both uncontrollably. 191.

We follow one man as he takes on an empire and its structure in an attempt to break through the silence and subterfuge. If you think exposing the secrets of a corporation you once used to defend would be easy, think again. If DuPont thought that an information dump of thousands of paper files would be enough to put him off, they were wrong. Indeed, the cardboard boxes containing these files fill an entire room at the law firm, evoking the maze of Area 51 as featured in the first and fourth Indiana Jones films. A room with no view.

Mark Ruffalo as Mark Billot and Bill Camp as Wilbur Tennant – © 2020 Focus Features. A Comcast Company.

What Billot discovers is actually unbelievable. According to DuPont themselves, PFOA-C8 is an unregulated forever chemical that the body can’t break down so it can’t leave the bloodstream allowing it to accumulate over time. It causes cancer in people and animals and birth defects in babies, including those of the women that worked there. The chemical is used in the manufacture of Teflon, used on non-stick pans. DuPont conducted experiments on people and animals without their knowledge and all developed cancer, and the corporation disposed of hundreds of gallons of toxic waste upriver from Tennant’s farm.

At one point in ‘Dark Waters’, we learn that complainants have only one year to file suit after learning their water supply has been contaminated. DuPont dispatched letters to West Virginia informing residents that while the water wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t life-threatening 11 months ago, leaving Billot and his colleagues only one month to act. In a scene of striking resemblance, we learn the exact same information from the 2000 film ‘Erin Brockovich’ in which Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) was to blame, exhibiting proof that this evil manipulation of lives is still occurring at the highest level of business two decades on.

Assuredly directed by Todd Haynes, ‘Dark Waters’ is a cerebral exploration that unfolds in chronological order over 40 years. Slow pacing and a limited character count keep this story leisurely and focused, allowing us to process the events taking place. Unsurprisingly, we are confronted with a capitalist culture of greed; profits at all costs with complete disrespect for humanity and the environment. What is surprising is the unfathomable scale of these high crimes and misdemeanours at a corporation which in the very act of poisoning others, would also be poisoning themselves.

Anne Hathaway as Sarah Billot – © 2020 Focus Features. A Comcast Company.

The most impressive (nay, inspiring) aspect is the dedication and resilience of Billot as he relentlessly and restlessly battles Donnelly and Tom Terp (Robbins) at the corporation and the firm respectively. In fact, the stress of such work on his marriage and finances inflicts a minor stroke, landing him in hospital. With the support of his wife Sarah (Hathaway) he continues. It was only five years ago that DuPont finally settled the class action lawsuit for $671million, but only after they attempted to default on their agreement to compensate victims, forcing Billot to fight each case against them one by one. After the first three victims were awarded over $1million each, DuPont reconsidered.

Anchored by Ruffalo (also producer), Camp and Hathaway, all of whom deliver fine performances, ‘Dark Waters’ benefits immensely from its composer Marcelo Zarvos and cinematographer Edward Lachman. Light country music while driving cross-country is interspersed with dark war horns in the multi-storey car park, the de facto location for general foreboding while uncovering conspiracies. In contrast to ‘Erin Brockovich’ with its warm summer tones, the winter setting of ‘Dark Waters’ makes the already bleak subject matter even bleaker creating an atmosphere of near-constant cold monotone that David Fincher would be proud of. So cold. Just like hard cash.

‘Dark Waters’ is in cinemas now.

Gallery Review: ‘Where I Stand’ by Michael Wildman

Striking, gritty and at times vibrant, Michael Wildman’s collection of photographs provides a visceral viewing experience at the intimate Upright Gallery in Bruntsfield.

Curated from his adventures throughout South America, Wildman shines a spotlight on the continent’s various urban locales, often with a hint of human presence.

Whether it’s the silhouette of a man in a dimly lit station, a woman walking down a darkened street with birds flying overhead or a man sitting by a balcony alone, every subject appears to be in some form of quiet, lonely contemplation. This is especially apparent in his monochrome photography with the darkness surrounding the subject, only further enhancing this feeling of isolation. Even the more colourfully composed pieces retain this sense of solitude.

Mongui, Colombia, one of the pieces currently displayed at the Upright Gallery | © Michael Wildman

This was amplified by the intimacy of the venue itself. The small-scale design of the building makes you feel like you’re there with the person in frame, enabling an easier connection with them as individuals.

Wildman’s focus on the rundown, dilapidated streets of Chile and Colombia are another highlight of his work, providing a lens into the urban decay of these locations. Boarded up buildings, graffiti and discarded heirlooms are powerfully conveyed through his photography, producing emotional yet captivating imagery.

This presence can also be felt in some of the more personal pieces where even the most optimistic images contain a sense of wear and tear in the environment, making the location as much of a character as the person it shares a space with.

Whether it’s Chile or Colombia, deeply personal or purely environmental, Wildman proves himself as an exceptional photographer and a storyteller capable of conveying pure emotion in a stills image.

Gig Review: The Gil Scott Heron’s Songbook at the Edinburgh Jazz Weekend

Equal parts exhilarating and mesmerising, Sunday night at the St Brides Centre proved to be a fitting tribute to a great American jazz poet as well as a tremendous conclusion to a great weekend of Jazz.

Starring acclaimed guitarist and vocalist Aki Remally and piano maestro Fraser Urquhart, the duo paid tribute to Gil Scott Heron in the only way they know how: with a truly fantastical display of jazz pulling from the famed musician’s catalogue of music.

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Remally is a tour de force both vocally and instrumentally. His skill is apparent when he can produce a smooth, silky ballad and switch at the drop of a hat to vocals filled with energy and passion. This vocal talent is only enhanced by his ability with a guitar, providing a harmonising medley of sound.

Urquhart also showcases his sheer skill as a musician throughout, either being a complementary and harmonious element or a dominant force, depending on what is required. A particular highlight of his talent was a fantastic drum solo near the end of the set; his aggressive yet elegant movements producing a performance equal parts mesmerising and intense.

Together, the two musicians complement each other perfectly, forming a must-see act worthy of both the songbook they paid tribute to as well as Scottish jazz fans’ attention.

Gig Review: Lennon Stella at the SWG3

Lennon Stella performing at SWG3 in Glasgow Credit: Erin Kirsop

Lennon Stella made her first appearance on Scottish soil at the intimate SWG3 in Glasgow, performing in her first solo European tour.

Lennon has come a long way since her days as a teenager on the American TV show Nashville. Against all odds, Lennon has chosen to step away from her country music roots, instead dipping into the indie-pop genre.

Performing songs off her debut album, as well as new songs yet to be released, the show was a fantastic mix of music. Despite being her first appearance in Glasgow, the fans were with her all the way, singing along with every lyric.

Her support act, JP Saxe, was also widely popular with the crowd both during his opening gig and when he joined Lennon on stage to sing their co-written song ‘Golf on TV’.

In just under two hours, Lennon played covers, as well as throwing original tracks throughout her discography into the mix, each proving to be an absolute delight.

With more songs in the making, I and the rest of her fans sit tightly for another tour announcement. Until next time, Lennon.

Gorillaz, Carseat Headrest & Lady Gaga: The EN4 News Music Podcast

 

On this week of the EN4News Music Podcast, presenters Sonny Neil, Elise Kennedy & Neil McGlashan discuss some of this weeks hot releases, upcoming local gigs & festivals to keep an eye out for.

Click the player below to tune in.

 

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