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Some things for the weekend (Jan 20-22)

Who's the most famous person you ever met? Comedy to keep you smiling grimly and strung out at St George's hall

Written by . Published on January 20th 2012.

Some things for the weekend (Jan 20-22)

The main event: Starry nights
Who is the most famous person you ever met? Have you got any famous mates?

Obsessive celeb hunter Richard Simpkin willl do one better as will the new-ish Open Eye Gallery, on Mann Island.

It is currently hosting the UK premier of two exhibitions containing pictures of the sort of stars that San Carlo restaurant can only dream of having on its walls.

2007-Jack-NicholsonSimpkin and Jack NicholsonMagnum photographer Martin Parr curates Richard & Famous, showcasing an extraordinary collection of images from the personal project of Australian photographer and star-hunter Simpkin, examining our ever-evolving celebrity culture and raising questions about identity, social boundaries and the passage of time.

What began, for Simpkin, as an adolescent urge to photograph himself with celebrities developed into a lifelong project that has resulted in a vast collection of over 1,000 images, a wealth of anecdotes and a unique, multi-faceted self-portrait.

His meticulously collected images chart the fashions and faces of countless stars from the worlds of music, film, sports and politics: From Audrey Hepburn to Michael Jackson, the Dalai Lama to Nelson Mandela.

As the series progresses and Simpkin matures against a backdrop of a changing world, we get to see some of the world’s most recognisable celebrities spontaneously posing, revealing something of what lies behind their highly controlled public images.

The exhibition also includes the work of LA-based photographer Simone Lueck who, for her project, The Once and Future Queens, posted an advert on the website Craigslist, inviting older women to pose for her in the guise of their favourite film star. Each participant did her own hair, makeup and wardrobe, working closely with Lueck on the staging of her portrait.

The resulting images are haunting reflections on gender, self-image and mortality - some playful but others tinged with sadness.

Running concurrently to the main exhibition, Open Eye Gallery also presents archive exhibition Painted Photographs featuring celebrity photographs from the personal collection of Martin Parr.

Parr has spent many years building a collection of objects relating to the popular culture of photography. Found in flea markets and second-hand shops, his 'painted photographs' are press prints and publicity shots of actors, musicians and sports stars from the post-war decades.
The images have been ‘painted’ and edited by newspapers or magazines to improve their reproduction or indicate areas for cropping.

Exhibited for the first time, these pictures of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, John and Yoko show us how images of celebrities were refined and manipulated in a time before Photoshop.

*Richard and Famous and the photographs of Martin Parr, Open Eye Gallery, 19 Mann Island, Liverpool Waterfront, Liverpool L3 1B. Until March 18. Gallery opening times: 10.30am to 5.30pm, Tuesday to Sunday. Closed Monday. Free.

Black-E, Chinatown, Liverpool

Visions of China
And Martin Parr has been busy.

Catch his Chinatown documentary work, taken in 1984 at the Black-E this Sunday.

Plus it's the launch of ‘Radio Chinatown’ by The Sound Agents, an online radio station dedicated to the memories, reminiscences and regeneration of Chinatown Liverpool.

Tai Chi and Qi Gong and calligraphy workshops and young people’s workshops on the year of the dragon theme. Plus ‘Spirit of the Dragon’ dance performance by Fenfen Chinese Art.

*Chinese New Year at the Black-E, Nelson Street, L1. Sunday from 12-4pm Donation £1 for adults

Hot Water

Are you having a laff?
EVERYBODY thinks they are a bloody comedian and, well, even the funny ones had to start somewhere.

Put yourself in the hands of amateur comedians in two of Liverpool's best established weekend open mic nights. At least they only perform for a limited time each.

Hot Water Comedy Club presents Hot Water Comedy: Whose Headline?.

Four comedians each perform 10 minutes of comedy and then you decide who you want to carry on and headline the night. This week the line up is Lee Kyle, Sean Turner and Graham Oakes, supported by Adam Rowe and hosted by Paul Smith.

Then on Sunday there's more with Testing The Water. MC Smith is back with a shedload more new names to warm you up after you've benn standing in the pouring rain and wind, dodging the firecrackers in Chinatown and wondering what went wrong.
*Hot Water Comedy Club, Envi, 17-21 Fleet Street, Friday January 20, from 8pm, tickets from £5. Sunday January 22, tickets £3. £1.50 students.

Belcea Quartet

Belcea Quartet

Rock n roll over Beethoven
At a spontaneous late night performance in a burger bar in New York, the local bikers listened with such gratitude and attentiveness to The Belcea Quartet that they instantly realised the impact classical music has on the casual listener.

Perhaps it is because of this, Beethoven specialists The Belcea Quartet have established themselves as one of the most exciting string quartets in Europe.

With a current residency at the Guildhall, The Belcea Quartet plan to build a trust to support their ongoing mentoring of young string quartets as well as commissioning new works form leading composers. Get them.

*Belcea Quartet, St George's Hall, Friday 20th January, from 7.30 pm, tickets £25

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