My cultural picks

Maeva Thiebaux, Assistant Project Manager at DPM, picks her cultural highlights.
September 20, 2023
Reading time
3 minutes

Music: Sopwith Camel

When it comes to music, my heart belongs to the psychedelic rock of the 1960s and 1970s. One band that holds a special place in my heart is Sopwith Camel, hailing from the vibrant San Francisco music scene, which also gave rise to many of my favourite bands.

Whenever I need some comfort and a mental escape, they are my go-to choice. I highly recommend immersing yourself in their album The Miraculous Hump Returns from the Moon.

Pay special attention to the tracks ‘Fazon’ and ‘Orange Peel’ to get a taste of their beautifully trippy sound – no psychedelics required.

Film: Taxi Tehran

Back in high school, I stumbled upon Iranian cinema thanks to a film club that encouraged us to explore international movies, and I instantly fell in love.

One film that left a profound impact on me was a beautiful piece entirely shot within the confines of a taxi. This creative choice was a response to the government's ban on the director and lead actor from making films openly. He had to find a way to continue his artistic journey in secret.

I hold a deep affection for this film; it skilfully weaves together humour, surrealism, and tragedy through a diverse array of characters, offering a brief and intimate glimpse into their lives.

Book: Bestiary by Julio Cortázar

Surrealism appears to be a constant presence in my favourite art forms, in this case literature. What I love about Julio Cortázar's work is how it consistently flirts with the strange, the fantastical, and the surreal while maintaining a connection to reality. My favourite short story of his, and the one I recommend, is Letter to a Young Lady in Paris, found in his book Bestiary, and also available online for free. I really do not want to spoil the story, so I will leave you with a quote from it:

‘Do not hold it against me, Andrée, please do not hold it against me. Every now and again I vomit up a rabbit. It’s no reason not to stay in any particular house, it’s nothing to be ashamed of nor cause to remain isolated and withdrawn.’

Play: Blues for an Alabama Sky

I'm a huge theatre fan, and when it comes to my favourite play of 2022, there is no doubt – this one takes the top spot.

Set against the backdrop of the Harlem Revolution, this production follows four characters on their quest to pursue their dreams amid the harsh realities of racism, homophobia, and hardship. Among these characters, I hold a deep admiration for Sam, an overworked doctor determined to establish a Planned Parenthood clinic in Harlem, and Guy, a costume designer with big dreams of working for his idol, Josephine Baker, in Paris. These two roles, brought to life by the exceptional talents of Giles Terera and Sule Rimi, have also graced my list of favourites in other plays from 2022.

I can't recommend this play enough, and the great news is that you can watch it on National Theatre at Home!

Best night out in London: Gin House Burlesque

One of my favourite nightlife experiences in London has to be at the Burlesque, and after exploring various clubs, I can confidently affirm that the best, cosiest, and most glamorous spot is the Gin House Burlesque. Crafted by three of London's top Burlesque performers – Miss Betsy Rose, Miss Jolie Papillon, and Missy Fatale – this venue is nothing short of enchanting.

Begin your adventure by knocking at what appears to be the door of an abandoned pub, only to be welcomed into a stunning space that seamlessly blends prohibition-era decor with huge stuffed animals.

Savour a few cocktails and embark on an evening filled with incredible entertainment. Explore the venue's four levels, where you'll be treated to beautiful artists, magic, captivating performances, dance acts, acrobatics, and soulful songs, all within an intimately vibrant atmosphere.

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