Art: Chris Ofili (ongoing at Tate Britain, London until May 16th, 2010) is an excellent chronological study of the artist's work to date, although the elephantdungophobe who saw it with me would beg to differ. The centrepiece installation is The Upper Room, which is effectively The Last Supper With Monkeys. It marks the high point of Ofili's original notorious style, and it's interesting to see how his subsequent move to Trinidad has broadened his choice of themes and materials. (Or as the elephantdungophobe suggested, "he's grown up.")
Movies: A belated kung hei fat choi to all our Chinese readers. All's Well Ends Well Too 2010 was one of the big Chinese New Year movies this year, and had a short London run at the Prince Charles cinema. The usual fluffy nonsense that's released in Hong Kong for the holidays, with anachronistic gags, old people rapping, gratuitous kung fu tournaments, and women disguising themselves as men by drawing on a moustache. Not that any of that's a bad thing, of course. Also seen in February: the British Animation Awards Public Choice selections, to be covered here in great and tedious detail shortly.
Music: Gil Scott-Heron's I'm New Here, his first new album in fifteen bloody years or so. Nice to hear that he's still got it, marrying his old school poetic sensibility to a surprisingly modern backing. Check out the video for Me And The Devil / Your Soul And Mine to hear the proof. My only gripe is that the whole album's only 29 minutes long. We need more of this, and soon, dammit.
Radio: Save 6Music! Scrap BBC1 instead, nobody I know watches that shit.
Telly: The Ricky Gervais Show - currently on HBO in the US, appearing in the UK on Channel 4 from April 23rd. This simply takes the audio podcasts starring (in decreasing order of funniness) Karl Pilkington, Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais, and slaps animation on top to turn them into telly. All well and good as far as they go, until you discover that amateur animators have been doing this with the Gervais podcasts for a couple of years now, and they've been doing it better too.
In the meantime, your Simian Substitute Site for March 2010 is Fourth Monkey Theatre Company. They're the youth wing of the Wise Monkey Theatre School in Muswell Hill, That London. The name comes from those three wise 'hear/see/speak no evil' monkeys that everyone knows about: FMTC claim that in fact, there was a fourth monkey called Shizaru, whose brief was to 'do nothing other than good.' Which struck me as bollocks when I read it, but it turns out that Shizaru is mentioned all over the place on the web, so either I'm just plain ignorant or we've come across the most convincing fake Wikipedia entry ever.
Fourth Monkey TC get a mention this month because they've got a new production: an adaptation of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange, running at Theatro Technis in Camden on March 9th-13th. It takes a lot of nerve to redo such an iconic story, but it looks like they're willing to take some serious risks with it - for a start, if their Twatfeed is to be believed, they're going to ignore the common assumption that Alex is a boy's name. Book through TicketWeb now, or do what I'm doing and hold out for their Edinburgh Fringe run in August.
Everyone else calls it a Twatfeed, don't they? Feel free to disagree with me on that (or anything else) in the comments.