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Family Photo

A fantastic morning in the Fred Aldous photostudio with special guests Joseph of Nazareth (Darren Timmai) and Mary, Mother of God (Natalie Dawson), alongside photographer Elle Brotherhood, as we gathered material for the upcoming Nicho Nativity installation and grotto. The pair were surprisingly pliant for such stars of Bible and screen, although Joseph had to take a few business calls, and Mary is fond of a roll-up or three.

Jack-in-the-box


Meet Jack. as in Jack-in-the-box, the method of transport in which he arrived. He’s the prosthetic head standing in for CLARK, a character in our film-within-a-film, Hiker Meat, part of the ROUGH CUT experimental feature film I’m producing with artist Jamie Shovlin.

Less Important Portraits

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I’ve received my augmented portrait from artist Jeremy Bailey as part of his Important Portraits: Less Important Portraits series, and I’m blown away! My living room has been transformed by purple grass, levitating cats and a noble steed awaits me upon a rocky outcrop as geometric shapes detach themselves from the precipice. It will be appearing in exhibition at Devotion Gallery in New York, opening Fri 14 June 2013.

Ready, steady, grab

Never has a shopping experience been so stressful. Along with our wardrobe, hair and make-up supervisor Di Lucille Campbell, I’d negotiated a one-hour ‘supermarket sweep’  inside the extensive Costume Store of The Library Theatre Company; a long-estabished Manchester based performance company (founded 1952) and recent merger under the mega-arts umbrella of the Greater Manchester Arts Centre.

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Sketch-O-Matic at Hebden Bridge Arts Festival 2013

I can now announce that Sketch-O-Matic will be appearing at the Hebden Bridge Arts Festival from Sat 22 – Sun 30 June, featuring a new rosta of community artists and perhaps some familiar faces (or silhouettes, depending on how close you peer to the mirrored screen). Previous artist-participants are welcome to get in touch if they feel inspired to make a trip out to the countryside, and as anyone who has been before will know, it’s a wonderful, picturesque little town by the river, with the festival celebrating its 20th year. The booth will be sited inside the newly renovated and expanded Town Hall, which forms the hub of activity. You know the score – form an orderly queue and empty your pockets of cash!

trixxie carr: Owner of a Lonely Heart (The Right to RULE) from Bren O'Callaghan on Vimeo.

Owner of a Lonely Heart

More footage from videographer Tim Brunsden, not originally intended as a single camera edit, but too good to end up in the digital waste bin. I think this is my favourite part of The Right to RULE… I mean, I loved *all* of it, but excepting the unicorn finale, this number had me grinning from ear to ear. The lambs hearts were actually still part-frozen, having only been procured from the Arndale market hour earlier (no pigs hearts within scrambling distance!), and contrary to our expectations, the wonderful ruff from Volkov Commanders was entirely salvageable! Also featuring Stef and Laura of the Ultra Violets, and of course, Honey Mahogany, currently starring in RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5. I love it when a plan comes together. Wait, which member of the A-Team does that make me? Probably Howlin’ Mad Murdock.

Image: Jamie Alun Price

Cue fugue

Will you look at the state of those fingernails?! In my excuse, the place hadn’t been dusted for years… fifty-odd years to be precise. Much to my surprise I make it into the exhibition poster for Berlin-based artist Rosa Barba‘s forthcoming exhibition at Cornerhouse: Subject To Constant Change. Including a new film commission in partnership with Turner Contemporary, Margate, where I pop up again in ghostly, semi-transparent form… Also starring 84 year-old Sean O’Callaghan, also known as ‘Dad’, as an old timer who can’t play the same giant pipe organ for toffee. No, not even a Werther’s Original.

Harry Hill tour highlights

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Alternative Gallery Tour with Harry Hill

With the current Cornerhouse exhibition – David Shrigley’s HOW ARE YOU FEELING? – being very much focussed upon participation, it was the ideal opportunity to return to last year’s successful format of an alternative gallery tour with someone able to cast a fresh light upon the work on display. Barbara Nice would be a tough act to follow, her seemingly clueless but ultimately sharp-as-a-tack schtick having gone down a storm as she equipped visitors with feather dusters and requested they keep an eye out for mucky pictures taken during her glamour modelling days.

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Digging for worms

A rare day off means I get to play catch-up, so here it is, my full write-up of this year’s incarnation of Sketch-O-Matic.

'Layla' by Gemma Parker

Top Bunk! coming soon

Cornerhouse Projects exhibition featuring limited edition prints and original work from The HammoJohn Powell-JonesGemma ParkerSimon MisraDavid BaileyTasha WhittleAdam Cadwell and Bryony Jackson.

Cornerhouse café-bar, Fri 12 October – Tue 13th November 2012

Artists don’t tumble from moulds in institutions, the innate spark is not taught but fanned to life beneath catalogue-bought duvet sets and candlewick throws. Sprawled across the floor or hunched over a hand-me-down desk, doodles become sketches, words become poems, wild imaginings scurry for shelter at the back of the wardrobe; soft, pink and glistening, yet to form a hard shell to deflect the criticism that awaits.

Top Bunk! is a Cornerhouse Projects exhibition that seeks to capture the spark of enthusiasm before it bends to fit the restrictive moulds that await; from academia to peer review and the cost of living. No subject is unsuited, no method discouraged. A range of responses include wistful juvenilia, rampaging robots, melancholia, psychedelic daydreams, teen-fan adulation, the allure of adulthood and beginning of sexual fruition.

Timed to coincide with Year 2 of our successful Sketch-O-Matic residency (Fri 12 – Sun 21 Oct), the artists are drawn from previous participants and new recruits. Just as this highlights the exchange of coin for the creative act, placing the sitter in the position of both artist and muse, so Top Bunk! has been purposely designed to offer affordable* limited prints. None are guaranteed to increase in value, but you will be supporting local talent.

If our worlds began in our bedroom and have now bled to encompass our homes, then our domiciles call out for totems, talismans and triggers: visual stimuli that extend beyond album choices, fashion picks and furnishings. The wish is that the pictures on display say something unique about both who drew them and who subsequently chooses them, just as we once plastered our dens, gang-huts and boudoirs without thought for the opinion of others.

*around £50 – £100

Curated by Bren O’Callaghan and Gemma Parker

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Afterglow

A selection of images from the closing night performance-party of AND: trixxie carr’s The Right to RULE. And what a night it was! Glorious. Incredible. Stupendous. Flawless. These words don’t even come close. Write-up, video clips and image galleries coming when we recover… all images in this post courtesy of Roshana Rubin-Mayhew.