Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Lady Gaga lead 2019 Grammy nominations

 

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Kendrick Lamar received eight nominations. (Credit: Batiste Safont)

Some of the biggest names in music will be gathering in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 10th for the 61st Grammy Awards.

The annual ceremony will see the last year’s chart toppers come together over 80 different categories including record of the year, album of the year, best new artist and best rock album.

Hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar has had a big year and leads the pack with eight nominations, including the coveted album of the year award.

He is closely followed by Drake who had a successful year with his album, Scorpions, and received seven nominations.

Lady Gaga is also expected to win big for the song Shallow from last year’s movie hit A Star is Born.

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This year’s show will be hosted by singer Alicia Keys and will feature performances from previous Grammy winners Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson, as well as nominees Travis Scott, Due Lipa and Shawn Mendes.

Former Lifetime Achievement award winner Diana Ross will also be taking to the stage to perform some of her greatest hits.

The lineup has been announced following news that nominees Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino all turned down the invitation to perform at the awards.

The awards will take place at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 10th. The show will not be televised in the UK but British music enthusiasts will be able to watch the ceremony on Monday, February 11th at 1am on CBS.

Rare pieces displayed at Mary Queen of Scot’s exhibition

 

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The exhibition has a copy of the 2019 movie script. (Credit: Daisy Smith)

Rare treasures are being displayed for two days only at a Mary Queen of Scot’s exhibition in Edinburgh.

The exhibition showcases pieces from throughout the ages from childhood letters, to copies of movie scripts, including that of the 2019 release starring Saoirse Ronan.

The film has catapulted Mary Queen of Scot’s back into popularity since its release into cinemas.

Visitors will be able to cast their eyes on Mary’s Great Seal, a childhood book and engravings of her execution.

The display will run today and tomorrow at the National Library marking the anniversary of her execution on February 8, 1587.

Dr Annette Hagen, curator at the National Museum, said of the exhibition:

“One of the highlights is the sequence of engravings we have of her execution because today is the actual anniversary of the execution.

“The big thing about today is that we are showing them in one place and people can come and get some interpretation from them. The rarest pieces are obviously the unique items and that is the letters.

“We have a letter she wrote at the age of 11 to her mother Mary of Guise and we are showing the very last letter she wrote six hours before her beheading her brother in northern France.”

An array of historic sites from across the country with links to Mary Queen of Scots will be showcased in a tourism campaign following the popularity of the 2019 film.

An interactive map has been created featuring 19 different locations which were either visited by Mary, or by the moviemakers. This includes her birthplace of Linlithgow and Holyrood House, where she lived in the 1560s.

The exhibition is free to the public and is open today and Saturday, February 9th at the National Museum of Scotland from 10 am until 4 pm.

The BRIT Awards: A brief history and a look at 2019’s nominees

The 2019 BRIT Awards are set to take place on Wednesday 20th February. The BRIT Awards, run by the British Phonographic Industry, have taken place every February since the second awards ceremony in 1982.

The first BRIT Awards Ceremony took place in 1977 to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee and covered the previous 25 years of music.

In the run-up to the biggest annual pop music awards in the UK, here’s a look at the most notable BRIT Awards moments over the years:

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This year’s events kick off next week as some of the nominees are set to perform in small venues as part of BRITs week in partnership with War Child.

Since 2014, The BRITs have become a bigger event, consisting of a number of concerts in the run-up to the awards ceremony.

BRITs Week 2019 starts on Monday. The week-long event will give fans the opportunity to see some of the biggest names in music in intimate venues across London in order to raise money for War Child. Last year, the BRITs Week shows raised around £650,000 for children whose lives have been torn apart by war.

The year’s BRITs Week bill includes chart-toppers The 1975, Bristol rock band IDLES, Critic’s Choice 2018 nominee Mabel.

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This years BRITs Week Line Up (Credit: www.brits.co.uk)

BRIT AWARDS (4)This year’s prestigious Critic’s Choice Award goes to indie-rocker Sam Fender. The Geordie singer-songwriter has charmed the nation with his powerful social justice anthems this year. Sam is the first nominee to receive this year’s BRIT Award, designed by Sir David Adjaye OBE.

 

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I'm truly humbled to win the BRITS critics choice award, being nominated was already crazy enough never mind winning. I want to say a few thank yous, firstly to everyone that voted for me, I'm gobsmacked. To my manager and brother Owain for taking a punt on an 18 year old kid who screwed school up and had no direction. How the hell you saw this in me back then still baffles me. To my band for your relentless work ethic, we've played literally hundreds of shows this year, we've worked bloody hard and we're gonna work even harder next year. Lastly, and most importantly, to my fans, I've met a lot of you over the course of this mental year, and I have to say it has truly been an honour to get up and play night after night to such a wonderful collective of people. Here's to next year! ❤️

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BRIT Award nominees are selected and voted for by music industry professionals, but the public have a say on who walks away with the British Artist Video award and British Breakthrough Act.

Voting is open for another week for both British Artist Video of the Year and British Breakthrough Act here.

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A look at this years BRIT Award nominees. (Credit: Tumblr)

Another Country exhibition: a topical subject meets remarkable artwork

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The installation by Toby Peterson at Another Country. (Credit: Rachel Lee)

 

“You come in and it’s quite confrontational. It blocks off a large part of the gallery and on a very literal physical level acts as a barrier,” says artist and curator Euan Gray. “But it’s permeable, he left spaces – as if no borders or barrier is impossible to get through.”

Euan is describing the luminescent orange, capacious fence that is powerfully situated as the exhibition’s centrepiece. The towering instalment is startling yet not distressing. The artist behind it, Toby Paterson, has purposely used ‘safety’ orange. This particular shade of orange stimulates images of life jackets and rescue boats – much like those an immigrant may encounter on their journey.

Contemporary immigration to Scotland, integration and identity are the topics that this exhibition, Another Country, explores through the work of 11 artists. Euan has collaboratively curated the exhibition alongside Alberta Whittle, which is currently displayed at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre.

Each piece in the exhibition is thought-provoking and visually arresting without having to resort to shockingly pervasive imagery. The artists – all of who are either living in Scotland or were born here – address a period of cultural movement or geographical and political unrest through various mediums.

“We’re trying to look at migration from as many different angles as possible,” says Euan. And this is undoubtedly apparent.

Julie Roberts offers a historical reflection of migration with her stained glass like oil painting series on the migration of 10,000 Jewish children in 1938, known as the Kindertransport. Euan refers to it as a ‘positive forced migration’ as the operation rescued the children from the clutches of the Nazis and allowed them to start a new life. Julie perfectly captures the sense of tentative excitement and a new beginning.

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Julie Robert’s oil paintings. (Credit: Rachel Lee)

More up to date, The Brexit Beast is a reaction piece by Andrew Gilbert especially made for this exhibition. The Scottish artist’s grotesquely caricatured Loch Ness monster-like creature sits on the banks overlooking a sea of boats overturned and flailing people drowning. At the enormous monster’s claws, there is a swarm of soldiers, a burning Grenfell Tower and traffic lights. A spiked, menacing medieval morning star weapon and a defiant, waving Union Jack makes up the Brexit beast’s two-pronged tail. Observing the sketch provokes a wry smile before a sense of foreboding reality sets in.

“I’m not wanting to change anybody’s views,” says Euan. “If they just think about migration, then we’ve achieved something. I think it’s important that people just consider both sides of the argument.”

“I just think it’s a very, very important topic that’s only going to get more significant and more heated in the future because of all the tensions that are in the world at the moment.”

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Inside the Another Country exhibition. (Credit: Rachel Lee)

The exhibition took three years of planning after the idea was sparked from Euan visiting Canada and the USA. While there, realised that over 25 million people claim Scottish heritage yet the Scots cultural identity remains prominent. Another Country has previously toured a university in Minnesota and galleries in England.

During these years Euan worked on his own magnum opus for the exhibition. His standout piece is the most interactive of the exhibition, which boasts an extensive variety of art forms including sculpture, photography and film.

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Artist Euan Gray beside his work. (Photo Credit: Rachel Lee)

Although his roots are in painting, he challenged himself to design a functioning pinball machine called ‘The Immigration Game’. The picture etched on the retro machine’s backboard is of a life-jacketed immigrant clutching a young boy in his arms, reminiscent of the images commonly splashed across the front pages of newspapers. The nod to the media is deliberate.

“The game is made to be played for three minutes, which is the average time people spend reading the news.” Euan explained, “I saw the parallel between the entertainment side of playing the game and the media’s involvement with migration from the side of trying to get ratings.”

Inspired by the UKIP poster used in the run-up to Brexit, the motherboard of the machine is a sea filled with the boats full of immigrants.

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The pinball machine’s promotional poster, a painting by Euan. (Credit: Rachel Lee)

“So it was called the Immigration Game as it’s obviously a very ironic title because it’s not a game for the people trying to cross Europe in boats. We’ll play this game, we walk off and forget about it.”

A visitor is unlikely to forget this exhibition, however. Euan says the aim of the exhibition was to open a political dialogue with the audience by being playfully interactive and inclusive, which it certainly has achieved.

You can visit the free exhibition at the City Art Centre before it comes to a close on Sunday the March 17th, a mere 11 days before the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union.

There is a workshop Saturday the February 9th, titled The Legacy of Colonialism that is led by the Another Country team. The workshop will run 10 am – 4 pm at the gallery.

Find out more about the gallery, exhibition and workshop here.

Queer Artists’ Exhibition

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The Queer Arts Collective Exhibition launched this Tuesday. Queer artists have contributed through several different mediums to celebrate the Queerness of art and lives.

In light of LGBT History month, the newly founded Queer Arts Collective and the LGBT+ Liberation Officer at the student association of the University of Edinburgh have come together for this month-long celebration of queer culture.

Natasha Ion, the LGBT+ Liberation Officer, and Fiona Grey, Co-founder of the Queer Arts Collective, put together an opening night party for their exhibition, that aims not only to promote queer art but also to establish a queer arts collective, as they are looking for further engagement in Queer arts exhibitions and performances.

“This exhibition is really to establish ourselves as a collective, so it’s about promoting queer art and artists,” Natasha says.

“We feel like the event fit well into LGBT History Month. What I think is really nice about this is that it’s a really positive exhibition, and really all about celebrating queer life and queer arts, focusing on that side of the LGBT+ community.”

Almost 20 artists contributed pieces to the exhibition and all the artists that contributed were or were assumed to be queer.

“We didn’t make it explicit saying that you absolutely had to be queer to exhibit to us, but it’s done with the assumption that queer artists submit pieces.”

Fiona Grey explains how the exhibition was without any overhead budget, and that it was a group effort of people coming together more than anything.

“It’s more like a thing where I brought some nails and some blue-tack, and I already had a hammer, and the ECA provided us with a white wall to hang things up on,” Fiona explains.

All the white wall pieces will be up for viewing in ECA until February 15th.

On opening night, the show included spoken word, music, performance art and animation. The organisers are ‘chuffed’ with the results and number of contributions to the exhibition.

“We’ve had a whole bunch of artists contribute and we’re really happy to have the event tonight because we only have a certain amount of wall space,” Natasha continues.

“Having the event means we can also include music, spoken word, performance art and animation, whereas all the other contributions have to be flat.”

UncoverED: Exhibition showcases global alumni in Edinburgh

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Some of the student researchers who helped with the project. (Photo credit: Daisy Smith)

Students from the University of Edinburgh are shining a light on former graduates whose stories have been untold… until now.

For over 150 years students from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas have come to Scotland’s capital to study, however many have done so unrecognised for their work and achievements.

From William Fergusson, the first known black student at the University of Edinburgh to Kadambini Ganguly, one of the earliest female physicians from South Asia, the university has played a part in educating many world-leading figures.

The exhibition also features an array of doctors, writers, scientists, artists and more.

A group of student researchers, led by PhD candidates Henry Mitchell and Tom Cunningham, started the project last September and have spent hours reading through old student newspapers, reading biographies and talking to families of the alumni to create a database of successful former students.

Henry Mitchell who led the project said:

“Edinburgh has got this really long and diverse history which hasn’t really been looked at and it has got world thinkers who came to Edinburgh who haven’t been recognised.

“These are people who are famous and are recognised elsewhere, and a lot are in history books but haven’t been recognised in Edinburgh’s history.

“We  went through the archives of the Student which is this really old newspaper. So that starts in 1886 and goes up to the 1980’s. So we read 100 years of the student newspaper in a week.  It’s been really good collaborative research.”

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The exhibition will run from February 1, until June at the University of Edinburgh. (Photo credit: Daisy Smith)

There are two phases of the exhibition. The first, and current, features students from the 1940’s to the 1980’s, and will run until mid-April. The second phase will showcase students from the period between 1800 and 1940, which will run from mid-April until June.

During the research, the team found out more than just the careers of these people but also the lives they lived while in Edinburgh and the experiences they had. They found out what nights out were like, where they lived, what student fees they paid and more.

During the project, the team also found that many of the students did not complete their full degree due to a variety of factors.

Hannah McGurk, a second year German and English student, was part of the research team. She said:

“We found people who are really, really famous in their home countries  that the university just doesn’t really recognise.

“For me, Edinburgh is not a very diverse place and the university does not have a very diverse curriculum. I study English and we were doing all white male writers so for me this is really a way for me to connect with some of those histories.

“It’s an important exhibition because so many students and staff at the university are just unaware of the history, as well as people who just live in the city.

“People of colour have always been a part of the story of Edinburgh, and they still are. This is a really important way to uncover those histories and talk about it and have those conversations.”

Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Scotland’s first black professor, is featured in the exhibition. Born in Jamaica in 1940, he moved to London with his mother at the age of 14 as part of the Windrush generation. He did his PhD in Grain Science and Technology in Edinburgh in 1964.

Natasha Ruwona, an Intermedia student, was part of the team of researchers and wrote the biography of Sir Palmer. She said:

“I was so excited to be part of the project because it was branded as an imperial and colonial project and I am quite interested in the relationship between Scotland and black people.

“I think they are important to be told, because for people of colour like myself, it’s important to see people went to this university so long ago and compare their experience to ours now and how things have changed.”

The project aims to encourage the University of Edinburgh’s community to reflect on its imperial past and how it played a part in the university’s global status.

The free exhibition opens today, and will run until June at the Chrystal Macmillan Building at the University of Edinburgh.

Artist Zac Hughson on gender norms, working in retail and haircuts

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Zac Hughson. (Photo credit: Rachel Lee)

Displacement. It means something different to everyone. It connotes a different feeling. But it is something we have all felt, experienced, fought against or thrived within at one point in our lives.

Displacement is the theme for Edinburgh College of Art’s newest Canvas exhibition. The theme allows artists to explore the limitations they face within their creative fields and themselves as artists and individuals. Not only does the exhibition allow artists to showcase their personally explorative works, it invites varied art forms and artists to merge and inspire discussions. The Canvas collective hope to do more than inspire discussions. The Canvas collective hope to do more than inspire, but rather challenge the artist and the viewer.

ECA’s Firehouse Building opened its doors for the exhibition’s launch night on Thursday 31st January. The mood of the room was serene and thoughtful. Under dimmed lighting, a huge installations stood out in a darkened corner. A hilly mound of structured wool topped grey masses of concrete – one ball and one cube. The piece was untitled, and the artist behind the work – Zac Hughson – admitted he has never named any of his work. Ever. Although, he did give the two pieces of concrete various pet names.

Zac is a third year Sculpture student at ECA. He’s engaging, open and eloquent. The more you speak with Zac, the more the apparent how perfect the use of concrete is. He believes it’s a misunderstood material. It begins as something to be freely shaped but it doesn’t have to remain in any set form.

Zac spoke to EN4News on the opening night of the exhibition.

The stem of a lot things I’ve been doing comes from recently getting my haircut. That sounds so banal and minor but it made such a weird, unexpected difference in my life.

When I got my haircut people would speak to me in a different way. I work in retail so I noticed the way people address me behind a till is very different now. Male customers tended not to speak to me that much but now that I’ve had my haircut I get asked so many sports questions. The way people will address me or assume how I’ll speak with them now is quite strange because I’m still the same person. I think when there’s something that isn’t masculine or feminine and instead something that is crossing and merging those boundaries is when people sort of freak out a bit.

I’m documenting the shift in relationships between masculinity and femininity and their place in the world. We can start investigating our own things in third year and it’s resulted in me going against the norm. Experiencing things, experiencing change and then pushing that onto objects, spaces and contexts.

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Untitled by Zac Hughson. (Photo credit: Rachel Lee)

I like to blur things, change them and play with things. I really like looking at and exploring binary – sometimes I go out with make up on and glitter and then some days I just like to look really plain. I think it’s fun express but then taking in response to that is eye opening to the way people work.

A reaction is better than no reaction. I like people to come up with their own meaning and take away from it what they can. I think it has got to a point of looking at relationships between things and then they can take away what sort of relationship between that is. I’m not forcing it, it’s not a very explicit piece, it’s personal in a respect but not so obvious.

Certain people take certain things away from it. It does have quite a masculine look to it and almost a caricature of a formal, bold masculine sculpture.

I’ve never been happy with how an art piece turns out in my life! I think as soon as I’ve produced something than I have a yearning to push it further or to change it.

I like engaging with material, I think that is the primal side of sculpture. I think it’s so much more alive than other forms of art. I feel much more connected to it. I feel like I can manipulate it more than other types of art and then it can live in a different space.

I’m actually really weird about where my work gets exhibited – I must be a picky artist type! But I’m really pleased with the curation of this space. I think my piece works in this space and I’m excited to have my work exhibited with other people and disciplines. It’s really different from what I’ve done so far.

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Zac Hughson. (Photo credit: Rachel Lee)

 

LGBT History Month in Edinburgh

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Edinburgh is honouring LGBT history month with a variety of events, representatives and workshops. Explore queer arts, queer artists, queer history, queer communities and queer representation as it takes over Edinburgh this February.

 

1.February – Intersex Talk: Alex Gardner (LGBTQI+ activist) is having an event about how things are sitting in Scotland, followed by a Q&A session. They are bisexual, trans, intersex, a parent and also a disabled survivor of DV. Their activism encompasses all these elements. They are the current convener for Trans Pride Scotland and also volunteer with the Equality Network working towards intersex rights for Scotland. Location: Leith Community Education Centre, 12A Newkirkgate.

2. February – Queering This Map Of Our City: Community map-making workshop for LGBTQI+ people. Explore and share the places and spaces that matter to you, past and present.  Make new connections and discoveries and be a part of creating a new queer map of Edinburgh. Location: City Art Centre, 2 Market St.

4. February, 11. February, 18. February, 25. February – Drop-In Photo Booth: Check out their display of change-making LGBT+ figures before adding your own portrait in their photo booth. Bring your own camera or smartphone and they will take your photo and provide you with the props. While you are there you will also have the privilege of stocking up on free condoms and lube too. Location: Crew 2000, 32 Cockburn Street.

4. February – Trans Femme Skills & Wellbeing Course: Take part in activities, discussions and information sessions to develop skills and confidence to express your gender identity, and respond to challenges you may be facing. Hosted by LGBT Health and Wellbeing, a peer-led course (6 sessions), designed for trans women and non-binary trans femme people early in transition. Location: LGBT Health and Wellbeing, 9 Howe St.

5. February – LGBTQ+ Art Exhibition Opening Party: The LGBT+ Campaign and Edinburgh College of Art are launching the LGBT+ History Month Queer Arts Collective exhibition. There will be dancing, performances and video installations. Location: Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh College of Art.

7. February – Being Trans & Political: Join Edinburgh Labour Students for an LGBT+ History Month event exploring experiences of being trans in politics! The panel will be discussing their own experiences from the student movement and beyond. Location: Balcony Room, Teviot Row House.

7. February – Red Ceilidh With Heriot-Watt LGBTQ+ Society In Aid Of Waverley Care: Heriot-Watt LGBTQ+ Society is inviting to their annual fundraiser ceilidh for Waverley care. The band Bridges will be leading the ceilidh and keeping everyone dancing, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity to meet up with queer students from across the city. Location: Lauriston Hall, Lauriston Street.

8. February – Travis Alabanza On Poetry & Power: The London-based performance artist, theatre maker, poet and writer who is praised as one of the most prominent emerging people in queer arts activism today will be giving a talk on poetry as a source of personal and political power, and perform some of their poetry. Location: David Hume Tower, Lecture Theatre A.

9. February – Old Way Vogue Practice With Bronze Prodigy Old Navy: Dance Base is putting on an introduction to Old Way. This is the original style of voguing, a dance-based form of expression – a culture that grew from the Black and Latino LGBT+ communities in prisons and the Harlem drag balls. Location: Dance Base, 14-16 Grassmarket.

10. February – Open-To-All Kiki At Dance Base: Dance Base is throwing a vogue ball. You don’t need any prior practice with voguing. If you’re a force on the runway, a secret bedroom voguer or just want to learn about the Kiki scene in Scotland and experience a taste of a vogue ball, this is for you. Location: Dance Base, 14-16 Grassmarket.

10. February – 147HZ CAN’T PASS: Examining the intricacies of coming out as trans nonbinary, in the format of a person and not the definition. Reclaiming the power of storyteller for those it is about. Movement, energy, spoken word and slam style poetry are the keywords for this event. Get to know the performers in close proximity as they humanize the marginalized. Location: Dance Base, Scotland’s National Centre for Dance, 14-16 Grassmarket. 

10. February – Introduction To House & Ball Culture: A talk and video presentation with Bronze Old Navy (Prodigy), Cai Tea (Revlon) and Candy Elijah Prince Tea (007) introducing house and ball culture, the Kiki scene and its context in the UK. Location: Dance Base, 14-16 Grassmarket.

12. February – The Rabbit Hole: Local Legends: The Edinburgh drag scene presents, Alice Rabbit, as she showcases her local drag talents in an unforgettable cabaret celebration. Location: CC Blooms, 23-24 Greenside Place.

13. February – LGBT+ History Month Lecture With Nigerian Activist Bisi Alimi: Edinburgh University Student association’s LGBT+ Campaign is hosting a guest lecture by Nigerian gay rights & HIV activist Bisi Alimi. Location: Debating Hall, Teviot Row House.

14. February – Film: Over The Rainbow: Call Me By Your Name: The Filmhouse hosts special Valentine’s Day screening of Luca Guadagnino’s sun-dappled, erudite and sensual 2017 film Call Me By Your Name. Location: Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road.

15. February – VaRIOTy: Queer Women’s Performance: For LGBTQIA women and non-binary people most comfortable in women-centred spaces. In light of LGBT history month, LGBT Health and Wellbeing are hosting an evening of performance and art. Come down to experience stand-up, poetry, movement performance and live music. Location: The Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street.

16 & 17. February – Film: Over The Rainbow: The Wild Boys: The Filmhouse is hosting a special screening of Bertrand Mandico’s audacious LGBT coming of age film. Location: Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road.

18. February & 21. February – Heavier Than Air: A theatre play based on interview data from research conducted with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) teachers working in different educational settings in Australia. Since 2015. The authors and cast will be there to discuss the ways in which qualitative research and performing arts converge to rethink research methodologies and research communication in humanities and social sciences. Location: Lecture theatre 5, Appleton Tower.

18. February – Re-Politicising Pride With NUS UK LGBT+ Officer Rob Noon: NUS LGBT+ Officer Rob Noon will be talking about the history and politics of Pride organizing in the UK. He is this year focusing on helping students re-politicise Pride. Location: LG.11, David Hume Tower.

19. February & 22. February – Lavender Menace: The Return: To celebrate LGBT History Month 2019, the iconic Lavender Menace Bookshop will be recreated. The bookshop was opened in Edinburgh in 1982 by Sigrid Nielson and Bob Orr and was Scotland’s only LGBT bookshop. Location: LGBT Youth Scotland, 30 Commercial Street.

20. February – Film: Battle Of The Sexes: Free Schools Screening: Into Film is proudly presenting an educational screening of Battle of Sexes as part of their LGBT History Month Programme showcasing LGBTQ+ cinema. Location: Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road.

20. February (Part 1) & 27. February (Part 2) – Make Your Mark: This LGBT history month, SX – working to improve sex, health and wellbeing of gay and bisexual men, and all men who have sex with men – are delivering a free two-part creative workshop that will look at 50 years of pride. Location: Waverley Care, 3 Mansfield Place.

21. February, 22. February & 23. February – Jock Tamson’s Bairns: Mixing scripted elements of stand up, storytelling, cabaret and drag with a variety of guest performances and audience interaction, music, spoken word, theatre, and the punters take centre stage in this semi-improvised 90-minute show. No topic is taboo, but a respect for your fellow humans is compulsory. Location: Assembly Roxy, 2 Roxburgh Pl.

21. February – Binding: Information, Safety & Diy Workshop: LGBT Health and Wellbeing are hosting an evening for trans men and non-binary transmasculine people where you learn and share information about binders, including where to find binders at a reasonable cost, binder comfort, quality and safety. Location: LifeCare Edinburgh, 2 Cheyne Street.

21. February – 23. February – The Pride Plays: Three evenings of originally written plays by LGBTQI+ writers. Pride Plays are giving the stage to voices of a community who currently feel underrepresented in Scottish theatre. Each play will be performed as a rehearsed reading, with two plays per night followed by a post-show discussion led by the director and playwright. Location: Traverse Theatre, 10 Cambridge Street.

24. February – I Have a Que(e)ry Panel On Bisexual Representation: Join Positive Change Arts Projects with the support of PrideSoc and Non-Binary Edinburgh for a night of poetry, guest speakers, and a panel including Q&A. Location: Underground, Teviot Row House.

26. February – The Rabbit Hole: Battle Of The Club Kids #2: The Rabbit Hole celebrates the club kids in a drag club night filled with insane fashion and unpredictable performance. Location: CC Blooms, 23-24 Greenside Place.

27. February – Film: The Miseducation Of Cameron Post: Into Film is proudly presenting an education screening of The Miseducation of Cameron Post as part of their LGBT history Month program showcasing LGBTQ+ cinema. Location: Filmhouse, 88 Lothian Road.

28 February – Juno Dawson: Edinburgh Univeristy Visiting Writers: Juno Dawson is a multi-award-winning author of novels for young adults. She is regularly contributing in the media on topics concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education. At this event, Juno will read from her work, talk about her writing, and take questions from the floor. She will also have her books available both for sale and signing. Location: Lighthouse – Edinburgh’s Radical Bookshop, 43-45 West Nicolson Street.

Musician Zoe Graham on being Scottish, being female, and being Zoe Graham.

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“Even now if you’re a good female guitarist, people are a bit surprised.” (Photo credit: Cameron Brisbane)

EN4 journalist Bryce Arthur spoke to Zoe Graham before her Celtic Connections show at King Tut’s in Glasgow. Zoe discussed her influences, her shows, and what she has in store for the future.

EN4 News: So let’s start at the beginning. How long have you been doing music? 

Zoe Graham: I picked up my first guitar at about 10 – got it for Christmas – and I just started playing from then on. I did my first gig at 14.

EN4: How old are you now?

ZG: I’m 21 now (laughs) so I guess I’ve been playing for quite a long time. I started gigging at 14, did tons of tiny local gigs, but I didn’t really know that there was a huge music scene in Glasgow until I was 18. It was weird, music was something I always wanted to do but I wasn’t hugely influenced by the Glasgow music scene since it was something I came upon years afterwards.

EN4: Speaking of music and Glasgow, you’re doing Celtic Connections just now, and you’ve done it a couple times before. You seem to do a lot of festivals and showcases [Zoe’s played at TRNSMT, performed at the Off The Record showcase and did the St. Andrews Sessions last year]. Do you prefer the vibe of a big group of musicians, rather than having all the pressure on you?

ZG: Yeah, these things differ depending on what the specific event is. Sometimes I find it’s nice being a support act because then you can build on the fans of the headliner, but sometimes nobody shows up to see the support. It’s nice to take part in a bigger thing, ’cause sometimes a lot more people are there – sometimes they’re not, though! It depends on a lot of stuff.

EN4: With Celtic Connections in mind, as well as the Scottish references in your back catalogue [Hacket & Knackered, Anniesland Lights], would you say you think of yourself as a Scottish musician? Is it a big influence or your music or more of a background thing?

ZG: It’s kind of the same as how I don’t really think about myself as a female musician, I don’t really think of myself as a Scottish musician. I sometimes think it’s because when your life is filled with tons of other Scottish musician, it very much becomes the norm. It’s a lot to do with the accent, being Scottish in Scotland isn’t a big deal but the minute you go abroad –

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EN4: Suddenly you’re weird.

ZG: Yeah! When I was growing up doing gigs I did this thing called Sounds of the Summers. I supported a lot of American artists there and they all had these really strong American accents, and they could tell any story and it sounded great, but after them I always felt a bit daft getting on stage with my accent. But that’s the only time I’ve ever thought about it, honestly.

EN4: So the Scottishness isn’t a huge influence, but what is? Are there artists that you hear and think “I want to sound like them”?

ZG: All the time, actually. It’s a big thing for me, sometimes it’s a hindrance as much as it is a good thing. Like, I’ll hear something really left field and say “aw yeah I wanna sound like that!” and I’ll get really confused. I’ll forget to stick with what I’m doing and I’ll start doing really weird jazz music or try to create a rock album or something. But what I’m listening to right now: St. Vincent, Christine & The Queens, I’ve always been a huge KT Tunstall fan for a bunch of reasons, Hookworms, The National… there’s this amazing jazz musician Esperanza Spalding that’s absolutely awesome.

EN4: So being a female musician isn’t something you actively think about, but you listen to a lot of female artists, so would you say it’s been kind of an unconscious influence?

ZG: For me, it’s genuinely never really been a thing I thought about until I discovered the Glasgow music scene and I saw bands like The Van T’s or Crystal. Not to discredit all-female bands but I really like a mixture in a band, I love the teamwork there. I’ve never thought of myself of a female artist but other people do. It comes with its burdens sometimes, even now if you’re a good female guitarist, people are a bit surprised.

EN4: Do you still find that? In 2019?

ZG: Yeah. People are like “she’s really good…for a girl.” It’s stupid to hear that but it’s still positive. (Laughs) It’s like people are trying to make me feel better? I dunno.

EN4: We could go on for ages but I guess I’ll wrap up: what does Zoe Graham have coming up?

ZG: I’m gonna release some new music at some point this year, but no dates. That’s all I can really say for now, it’s all a bit mysterious. (Laughs)

We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing from Zoe as much as we enjoyed speaking to her! You can find her tunes on Spotify and Apple Music, and feel free to follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Oscar nominations podcast

EN4 News reporters Bryce Arthur, Jade du Preez, Ross Hempseed and Liam Mackay chat about the 2019 Oscar nominees, announced on January 22 by the Academy Awards Committee.

 

Want more film chat? Listen to Liam talk about Scotland’s top flicks, read our Bohemian Rhapsody review, or read Jade’s Oscars article mentioned in the podcast.

 

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