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Top Ten things to do in (and around) West Hampstead in August

One of joys of living in London is the wide variety of events (from high to low culture) but how often do you miss them? Yet somehow summer seems more complete if you have one or two of these experiences under your belt to bring some lasting memories. Oh the summer of ’69, the boys of summer, summertime etc.  So here is WHL’s top ten for August 2017!

(And if you are wondering about the order they get further and further away from NW6 (but stay within NW London)).

1. An outdoor film screening? They are on all over London but very locally the Friends of Fortune Green put them on right on our doorstep. Next up ‘Toy Story‘ on Saturday August 12th, which starts at sundown (8:30pm ish). It’s FREE but donations appreciated.

2. The following weekend, on Saturday 19th August. 12 – 7pm. The Friends of Kilburn Grange are organising the Kilburn Grange Festival, it’s less polished than the Jester but it has a raffish charm and a more urban vibe.

3. Which way to the beach? No need to go further than JW3 and the Hampstead Beach – it’s free and there until the 2nd September Sunday to Friday.

Thursday nights have 2-1 cocktails from 5 – 8pm and music; 10th is 60s beach vibes (round, round get around), 17th is 80s pop, 24th is accoustic classics and on the 31st they are going out Jamaican style with reggae rhythms. A private party on the 24th means it won’t be open and they won’t be open on the 31st either.  Sod’s law – forecast for the 24th is quite good and for the 31st as well.  Oh well, there is always the Roundhouse…

Hampstead Beach - actually, West Hampstead Beach! Image: JW3

Hampstead Beach – actually, (ahem) West Hampstead Beach! Image: JW3

A little further afield there are two other beaches; a hip one at the Roundhouse and a family friendly one at Brent Cross .

4. Is it art you are after? On our doorstep there is the Camden Arts Centre currently showing is Daniel Richter  and Jennifer Tee . Both these exhibitions are showing until mid-September with late night opening on Wednesdays. CAC is always (well mostly) worth a visit.

Rather smaller scale is the Kingsgate Project Space. Currently they are showing CATS, its very small with only two works but they are good. Worth a wonder and something for both adults and young kids to enjoy (perhaps on their way to nearby Kilburn Grange). Two works is often enough for the attention span of young kids! The show is open Thursday to Saturday 12 – 6pm and ends on 19 Aug.

5. Music on the cards? The Kingsgate centre (opposite the Kingsgate workshops/project space) are running their monthly Jazz sessions, next up August 31st

Want something more rocky? then on Fridays there is house band at One Bourbon ‘the sound of NW6’ no less. Or it’s the Kilburn Ironworks 3rd birthday coming up on bank holiday weekend (25th and 26th Aug)… there is lots on offer including a resident DJ from 9pm.

For a slightly different vibe (e.g. 70’s original vinyl) Bobby F has a resident DJ on Fridays and Saturdays.

6. You’re having a laugh?  It’s no joke – there is quite a lot of comedy right here in NW6.  Near Finchley Road tube station is the London Improv Theatre which for most of August is taken up by the Camden Fringe.

Reliably good with loads of Edinburgh previews is Good Ship Comedy on Monday nights.  Previews over now and normal service has been resumed. A little further up KHR at the NLT on the last Sunday of the month (but not sure if it will be on Bank Holiday Sunday) is Abigail’s Party, emceed by local Abigail Burdess. I think she will be up in Edinburgh, but her show got a ringing endorsement from this local.

7. A really nice hot summer’s day just isn’t complete without a dip in an outdoor pool. NW London’s favorite is the Hampstead ponds.  Probably one to hold off for a really hot day.  We had them earlier in the summer, so hopefully they will be back… Or there is the Parliament Hill Lido.  And if the water is a bit chilly then a short ride on the Overgound is the (heated) 50m London Fields Lido.

8. Summer just isn’t summer without outdoor theatre.  If you haven’t been, do visit the Globe theatre (OK, OK it isn’t in NW London…) It’s only £5 for a groundling (standing) ticket but top tip (especially if going with others) is to get one cheap seat as well, so you can sit down from time to time, although standing for the whole performance is fine.   Closer to home is …

The Open Air theatre.  (Re) opening next week is a return visit of last summer’s sold out Jesus Christ Superstar.  It opens on August 11th and runs until 23rd Sept.

They also have comedy nights and outdoor film screenings, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind (tickets from £16.50 vs free for Toy Story on Fortune Green, just saying).

What's the Buzz? It's the sold out Jesus Christ Superstar back! Image: Open Air Theatre

What’s the Buzz? It’s the sold out Jesus Christ Superstar back! Image: Open Air Theatre

9.  Before the show (or on any nice day) why not have a picnic in Regent’s Park (actually the Regent’s Park).  You can visit the Queen Mary’s Rose garden, the hidden (St. John’s) garden, the Italian garden or, top tip for this summer, the Frieze sculpture park  until the autumn.  Normally it is installed with the show in October and stays for a few weeks after, this year they have installed it running up to the show.

10. Sticking with cutting edge then Random International’s show at the Roundhouse looks like being worth a visit.  They are working with regular collaborator Wayne McGregor on +-Human. They worked together on Rain Room at the Barbican two years ago, which was excellent.

It’s £5 for the installation alone and £15 (Fridays and Saturdays) for the associated dance performance. The show runs for two weeks from the 11th to the 26th of August.

If any of you manage to do all 10 of these – with photographic proof – then it’s a free pint from WHL at the next Whampgather – and a very memorable summer for you!

( 11. Finally slipping in at number 11 (because it is actually on 2nd September, taking place at Kenwood) is the FT Weekend Festival . I know, I know most of you read the Guardian (and WHL, obvs) but there are also some FT readers in West Hampstead. Actually, it has  a really wide and varied list of participants. Would even appeal to Guardian readers.  It’s £75 a ticket, so not cheap, but another interesting event on our doorstep).

 

Godzilla in Hampstead

If you’ve been to Camden Arts Centre over the past few weeks then you’ll have seen the rather amazing T-Rex/Godzilla sculpture by Serena Korda. If you’ve looked more closely you’ll have spotted a couple of harnesses inside it – yes, it’s designed to move!

This Saturday, the 9ft-tall latex beast will embark on a procession from the Arts Centre on the corner of Arkwright Road and Finchley Road up to Hampstead Heath where the performance will culminate with a re-enactment of The Battle of the River Plate in Whitestone Pond, where the monster will be waiting. This one took a while to get council approval but it promise to be one of the local events of the spring.

The excitement kicks off at 3pm at the Arts Centre and they’d like you to let them know if you plan to participate.

Korda’s beast in Blackpool

Big Bamboozle promises great afternoon out

Looking for something different to do on Saturday? Want to keep the kids entertained or try out some great food? Don’t want to stray too far from home? The Camden Arts Centre’s special open day may be the place to go. The Big Bamboozle runs from 2-5pm and there’s an amazing range of things to do, see and eat.

In case you’ve not been paying attention of late, the Camden Arts Centre isn’t in Camden Town it’s right here in our own bit of north-west London on the corner of Finchley Road and Arkwright Road. It’s a five minute walk from Tesco in fact.

The day is built around the “overlooked” artist Finchley Arkwright-Keslake-Esssendine (work with me here people), and the centre is going to be transformed into her home while the garden (weather permitting) will be where Street Feast traders will set up stall. Although there is a fundraising element to the day, it also offers a great opportunity to see the centre and perhaps get involved in activities – almost all of which are free and many are open to all ages. So if you want to decorate a clock, learn about the art and craft of diary keeping or immortalise your index finger in plaster you know where to come.

The galleries themselves will also be open if you want to look at the latest exhibitions.

There’s also a special evening event, which is not free. Tickets are £99 each for that, which gets you more food, and all manner of entertainment.

WhampArt: Guided tour at Camden Arts Centre

STOP PRESS: This event is now full. If you’d like to go on the waiting list then by all means contact me, and leave a mobile number.

We’re a cultured bunch in West Hampstead, right? We know our Matisse from our Magritte, our Monet from our Manet, and even our Munch from our Munk if we’re very cutting edge.

So it’s time to push the boat out a little. Time to expand those artistic horizons. All you need to do is come along to #whampart at the Camden Arts Centre on the evening of Wednesday, February 6th.

This is our first collaboration with the Camden Arts Centre (but hopefully not last, so behave yourselves!). We’re getting a special guided tour of the Film in Space exhibition, and then we can retire to the rather nice café/bar for some wine and incredibly intellectual discussions about what we’ve seen. Or we might talk about the weather or kittens or US foreign policy in Obama’s second term.

Here’s a bit about the exhibition from the Camden Arts Centre’s website:

Film in Space is a group exhibition selected by British artist-filmmaker Guy Sherwin. The exhibition focuses on expanded cinema, a film movement which came to prominence in Britain in the early 1970s, at the time Sherwin started making films. The movement was closely associated with the London Filmmakers’ Co-operative, an organisation set up in 1966 by artist-filmmakers to exhibit and produce experimental film work which challenged mainstream cinema. Sherwin worked at the LFMC in its early years and was highly influenced by his experience. For Camden Arts Centre he has selected a number of key works from this period and is showing them along with works by younger artists who are continuing to experiment with the versatility of analogue media, as well as others who have started to take on board the advent of digital technologies. Throughout the exhibition there is an emphasis on film, light, and sound as material to be constantly re-worked, manipulated and experimented with.

I’ve seen the exhibition and it’s interesting but I think having the guided tour will really make it much more accessible. So even if you’re not sure that 1970s expanded cinema is your sort of thing, why not come along and learn a bit more about it. The Camden Arts Centre is such a great local resource but it’s underused by locals; here’s an opportunity to get to know it.

Sounds great! What do I do now?
We’ll need to meet in the reception area at 7.30pm promptly on Wednesday February 6th. The tour will be about 30 minutes and then we’ll head to the bar, which stays open until about 9pm.

We have 15 places and you’ll need to reserve your spot. It’s going to be first-come/first-served. As always, if you sign up then please don’t pull out at the last minute. It might be hard to get late replacements, and it’s not fair on the Arts Centre staff who are doing this especially for us.

To book your place you must with your name and mobile number. Max 2 places per person.

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