Africa Oye at 25, The Selector, Craft Beer Expo, Fiddler on The Roof and Mucha much more
Wide Open Launch Party | Kazimier Garden | Sat June 3
It’s a remarkable fact that while the Kazimier club was pulverized long ago and now resides, we can only imagine, in venue Valhalla, its open-air offspring somehow managed to dodge the diggers and remains in situ for our drinking pleasure.
Constructed from imagination and love, the Kazimier Garden is an amazing place to while away a Saturday afternoon at the best of times. But new Liverpool party collective Wide Open is promising to expand the garden’s musical horizon at its launch party on June 3, flooding the ever-evolving space with “afro, latin, jazz and world music” – the kind of soundtrack that suits blazing summer sunshine perfectly.
And torrential June downpours? Well, we’ll see.
DJs include Pete from record label On The Corner, Tim Garcia of Música Macondo, and the suspiciously well-named Roger Conga from Liverpool’s Brazilica festival. Entry is free.
Immix Ensemble | Bluecoat | Thursday June 8
With their collection of conventional instruments – violins, cellos, oboes and the like – Immix Ensemble might look like purveyors of polite classical music, but their output is far more Eno than ENO.
As a “new music ensemble”, they aim to work with some of the region’s most forward-thinking composers, bands and electronic artists, with an emphasis on “artists whose work slips between the cracks of style and genre”.
This Bluecoat gig is the first performance of their 2017-18 concert series, and sees them collaborating with experimental electronic musician Luke Abbott and Immix’s own founder Daniel Thorne. The world premiere will feature the ensemble’s instruments being electronically mangled by Abbott, while the piece itself will “explore themes of texture, density, time and space”.
Doesn’t sound much like Hooked on Classics does it?
Bluecoat, School Lane, L1 3BX.
Everyman rep season climax | Everyman Theatre | Thurs June 8- Sat July 1
The return of the Everyman rep company was big news back in January, and since then, the team has worked impressively hard to deliver five very different shows: Fiddler on the Roof, The Conquest of the South Pole, The Story Giant, The Sum and Romeo and Juliet.
In an age of co-productions and touring drama, it has been a treat to see the Everyman doing what it always did best – creating its own work for its own audience, with actors who have their feet under the table.
With all five productions now having had a run out, it’s time for the most hectic part of the season as they all come back in rep for a three-week run. With a different show every night – and sometimes two different shows in a day – this is a final chance to catch what has been the most interesting Everyman season for years.
Everyman Theatre, 5-11 Hope St, Liverpool L1 9BH
Positive Vibration Festival of Reggae | Baltic Triangle | Sat-Sun June 10-11
Positive Vibration may be a relative newcomer to the Baltic Triangle’s festival calendar, but last year’s inaugural event won the Best New Festival gong at the UK Festival Awards and expectations are high for another dubwise delight.
It would be ruder than rude not to mention headliners The Selecter, who will no doubt tear up Hangar 34 on the Saturday night, but Positive Vibration also features impressive strength in depth.
With near-mythical sound systems in attendance including Saxon, Trojan, Sir Coxsone Outernational and Jah Shaka, along with panel discussions, a record fair and the associated Art of Reggae exhibition (which runs at Constellations from June 7 until July 9), the festival promises to give party-goers a brilliant bass-heavy boost.
Liverpool Craft Beer Expo | Constellations | Thurs-Fri June 15-18
While the Campaign for Real Ale’s militant wing still occasionally gets a bit over-carbonated about the concept of craft beer – especially when dispensed via keg rather than cask – most beer lovers now seem to be simply enjoying Britain’s biggest ever beer boom without worrying too much about definitions.
Liverpool Craft Beer Expo is one of the new breed of festivals that have flourished in this golden age of ale, and this fifth instalment promises over 300 beers from around 80 breweries, along with “sumptuous street food” and some half decent tunes.
Whether you’re on the hunt for one of the sought-after festival favourites – eager punters were lucky to get a sniff of Cloudwater Brewery’s Custard Porter last year – or you don’t know much about beer but you know what you like, the hop-happy party atmosphere is hard to resist.
Constellations, 35-39 Greenland St, L1 0BS
Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty | Walker Art Gallery | From Fri June 16
Art Nouveau may have been supplanted on the 20th century’s art timeline by the hard edges and unfussy forms of Modernism, but it wreaked its curlicued revenge in the 1960s by becoming the go-to style for hippiedom, psychedelia and the counter-culture. By the 1970s, no hip home was complete without an Art Nouveau print alongside the spider plants and Clothkits dungarees.
It has remained a popular style ever since, and the Walker’s focus on the recurring theme of beauty in Art Nouveau – via the Czech-born artist Alphonse Mucha – is likely to be enjoyed through the eyes of many beholders.
The exhibition will include around 100 Mucha works including drawings, paintings, photographs and posters, including Gismonda featuring the actress Sarah Bernhardt. So if your idea of artistic beauty involves flowing hair and flowers rather than bricks and unmade beds, don’t miss the chance to go weak-kneed at the Walker this summer.
Walker Art Gallery, William Brown Street, L3 8EN
Africa Oyé | Sefton Park | Sat-Sun June 17-18
Can it be true? Africa Oyé is 25 years old this year?
It is true, and, if nothing else, it means Sefton Park’s annual celebration of African music, culture and tripping over disposable barbecues on the way to the toilets has even more reason to make it a memorable party this time round.
A quarter of a century ago it was just a low-key series of city centre gigs, but Africa Oyé is now Britain’s biggest festival of African music (and “the best” according to The Sunday Times). In fact its line-up has always extended beyond the continent’s borders, with representatives from South America and the Caribbean adding to the magical mix.
This year’s artists include Mokoomba from Zimbabwe, Black Prophet from Ghana, the singer Dobet Gnahore from Ivory Coast, and Julian Marley of, you know, that Marley.
Sefton Park, L17
Cartoonopolis | Unity Theatre | Tue-Wed June 20-21
Issue-led theatre has a reputation for being heavy and didactic, but Lewis Bray’s exploration of his brother Jack’s autism is as entertaining a take on the topic as you’re ever going to see.
After packing out the Playhouse Studio a couple of years ago with this devised one-man show, Bray brings the play to the Unity as part of a national tour. Its success is no surprise, as anyone who caught it first time round will remember what a wildly funny and touching tour-de-force it is.
Built around his brother’s imaginary cartoon world of goodies, baddies and dastardly deeds, Cartoonopolis gives Bray plenty of opportunities to cut loose the comedy while also telling the tale of how his family learnt to deal with Jack’s exhausting imagination.
It’s also a homegrown story, as Bray is a graduate of YEP, the Everyman and Playhouse’s youth theatre. Cartoonopolis was one of the first beneficiaries of their Ignition Fund for new artists, and it’s good to see that this hectic, hilarious saga isn’t over yet.
Unity Theatre, Hope Place, L1 9BG
Portraying a Nation: Germany 1919-1933 | Tate Liverpool | From Thurs June 23
If any time and place can be said to have determined the fate of the 20th century, inter-war Germany could be it. And because we know what happened after 1933, those years of cultural experimentation and political extremity make for grimly fascinating examination.
The Tate’s summer show this year zooms in on this crucial period by combining the horror and grotesquery of the painter Otto Dix with the cool-eyed contemplation of photographer August Sander.
Featuring over 300 paintings, drawings, prints and photographs, the exhibition will explore Dix’s harsh depictions of brutality and Weimar bohemia alongside Sander’s portraits of everyday German people – from farm labourers to circus performers to low-level Nazis.
As artefacts in their own right, these works are bound to be worth seeing. But combined with knowledge of Germany’s backstory and immediate destiny, Portraying the Nation is likely to be captivating stuff.
Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, Liverpool L3 4BB
Liverpool Make Fest | Central Library | Sat June 24
Billed as “a friendly one-day festival of all things ‘makey’”, this year’s Liverpool Make Fest compensates for its lightly nauseating crime against language by giving visitors the chance to explore “science, technology, crafts, creations, inventions and gadgets” in the always-inspiring setting of the Central Library.
Featuring over 200 makers, the event features all kinds of activities from the conventionally crafty (jewellery, furniture and book making – no, not that kind of book making) to the gloriously geeky (coding, hacking and robot building for instance).
Among the groups and organisations who will be encouraging everyone to get hands-on and interactive are Liverpool Code Club (coding for kids), Concrete Dog (rocket building for pleasure and profit), Liverpool Girl Geeks (revenge of the nerds) and Girl On Purl Action (“doughnuts made from yarn” it says here).
Entry is free. Specs are recommended.
Central Library, William Brown St, L3 8EW