Backyard Cinema – LA Nights review: Frozen cocktails and palm trees as you watch your favourite movie at the beach
After returning from my holiday to Italy last month and being well and truly back in the daily grind of work and commuting, a little bit of beach action would be lovely right now. I was especially tempted by Backyard Cinema’s latest immersive film experience so went along to check it out this week. Having launched at the Camden Roundhouse last month, Backyard Cinema’s LA Nights is running for a limited time only.
If you’re unaware, Backyard Cinema is a themed, pop-up cinema company which hosts immersive screenings at special locations around London. They have given film fans the chance to roam the Lost World, get lost in a Labyrinth, be roused by a live choir in a church and fly with the Snowman, among their many other creative themes. For five weeks only, the BC posse have transformed the roof of iconic north London venue Roundhouse into a slice of sunny Venice Beach.
Guests enter through the Roundhouse itself and climb the stairs to the roof. It isn’t long before you are taken on a trail, with lots of neon, weatherboard beach signs, fairy lights and a pair of Instagrammable angel wings to pose against. The screening room is ‘the beach’, with golden sand, palm trees and plenty of comfortable beanbags. The space is fortunately covered over so you don’t need to worry about the temperamental British summer.
After selecting our seats, my sister and I headed straight to the bar to sort out our refreshments. A special drinks menu has been curated to complement the theme, with adults-only Slush Puppie cocktails, tropical cocktails and its own beer created by the Gipsy Hill Brewing Company. We were particularly drawn to the palm tree glasses so started with some Passion Fruit Martini, which were very fruity, but a little boozy. After collecting our drinks and snacks (there is a vegan ice cream stand, which proved popular), we were suitably put in the retro mood with lots of classic Californian and retro tracks keeping us entertained before the movie kicked off. Read the rest of this entry
The Greatest Show of Lucha Libre returns to London on 11 May.
Returning to the capital this May for one day only is the spectacular Greatest Show Of Lucha Libre. Turning Camden’s Roundhouse into a sports arena, superstars of Mexican wrestling will battle it out on Saturday 11 May 2019.
Lucha Libre has been a popular cultural phenomenon since the early 20th century and is known for its vibrant fashions, creative techniques and high-flying moves. Spectators can watch in awe as Good battles Evil in a series of fierce and fabulous wrestling matches. The Luchadores will be wearing their signature outrageous costumes and colourful masks as they showcase their acrobatic skills. Lucha Libre translates as ‘free fighting’ and sees wrestlers either be ‘Rudos’ (using underhanded tactics and breaking the rules) or ‘Técnicos’ (using more spectacular and complex rules and playing by the rules).
This year’s line-up includes firm favourites, such as El Hijo del Santo, El Hijo del Fantasma, former WWE rebel Juventud ‘Juvi’ Guerrera, Cassandro El Exótico, Silver King, Laredo Kid, and Nacho Libre star Ramses and the rookie, El Charro del Mysterio.
In the spirit of equality, there will be plenty of female wrestlers too, including the Wrestling Cholitas of Bolivia making their debut. They will be joined by Elizabeth La Roba Corazones and Juanita La Cariñosa.
Meanwhile, representing the UK from the Lucha Brittania posse will be Cassius the Neon Explosion, Pavo Real and Metallico. Guests on the day will also be able to enjoy live mariachi music, DJs and referee Black Terry taking charge.
- Lucha Libre takes place on Saturday 11 May 2019. Matinee: 2pm (family-friendly) or Evening: 7pm. Tickets: £20-£50. At the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town, NW1 8EH. Nearest station: Chalk Farm. For tickets and more information, visit Lucha Libre World or the Roundhouse websites.
For the latest what’s on guide in London, click here.
Backyard Cinema Film Festival @ Camden Market: Watch classic, new and indie films in alfresco surroundings
Returning to Camden Market this summer is the brilliant pop-up film club Backyard Cinema. Having already checked out their screening of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet earlier this year with a live choir, I was looking forward to their next alfresco venture.
For six weeks, Backyard Cinema are hosting not one, but two pop-up movie theatres on two nearby sites in Camden Market. The main stage in Camden Lock Place will be screening new and classic mainstream movies, while the intimate Cuban Screen will feature indie flicks, documentaries and foreign language movies.
Last week, I was invited to the launch of BC’s season at Camden with a screening of this year’s blockbuster Kingsmen: The Secret Service. There’s different ticket packages available, but we had the ‘Full Monty’ (£29), which included the screening, a drink and a burger. Screening only tickets – including seating – start from £14 (Cuban screen)/£16.50 (main stage) .
Accompanying all screenings over the festival, are food/drink stands and trucks, including Brooklyn Brewery, Honest Burgers, The Craft Cocktail Co and Chin Chin Labs Ice Cream. The cinema opened two hours ahead of the screening so we were able to chow down on the delicious burger and fries (with rosemary salt… gorgeous!) from Honest Burgers. We also enjoyed some Moscow Mule cocktails from the Craft Cocktail Co which were lovely and refreshing.
The screening couldn’t start until the sun went down so we headed to our seats shortly before. There’s a choice of deckchairs or beanbag loungers – we opted for the latter which were incredibly comfortable. As the night in question was a bit chilly, the usherettes brought out some blankets for us so I was incredibly cosy curled up on my bean bag watching the film. The movie was an action comedy, starring Colin Firth, Sir Michael Caine and newcomer Taron Egerton (my new celebrity crush now actually…), who managed to look incredibly dapper while kicking some major bad guy butts! A really funny film.
Overall, the whole evening was really enjoyable. Although the drizzle during our dinner threatened to ruin the evening, it fortunately stopped in time for the screening. The Backyard crew also have waterproof ponchos available if you’re unprepared. The food, drink, seating, staff and film were all great. I recommend getting down there this summer, as I certainly hope to be making a return visit. With screenings of films including Birdman, The Goonies, Pride, The Babadook, Empire Records, Dirty Dancing, It Follows, Mad Man and Northern Soul, there’s something for everyone.
- The Backyard Cinema Film Festival runs in Camden Market until 4 September 2015. Screenings take place in Camden Lock Place and The Cuban bar’s courtyard, Camden, NW1. Nearest station: Camden Town or Chalk Farm. Tickets start from £14 at the Cuban screen and £16.50 at the main screen. For more information and booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.
For a guide to open air cinemas in London this summer, click here.
2012 has been a year for celebrations – the Queen’s Jubilee, the Olympics and Paralympics… so why not finish 2012 on a high note and party one last time. Although increasing amounts of friends are staying in for New Year because they find it ‘doesn’t live up to the hype’, I personally have always gone out and done something different every year and always had a good time. I try to start the night with moderate to low expectations and keep an open mind… perhaps that’s my secret to having a string of brilliant New Year’s Eves for the past decade.
So obviously there are 100s of New Year’s Eve events on in London and I don’t have the time or inclination to list them all – I do have a full-time job after all! But if you’re looking for some inspiration, here’s a few parties that caught my eye. Whatever you do, hope you have a Happy New Year!
If you’re looking for parties to see in 2015, click here for the latest guide.
- New Year’s Eve firework display over the River Thames
Thousands expected to take to the north and south of the River to watch the free fireworks display near the London Eye. Wrap up warm and bring a flask of mulled wine! There will be a lot of congestion or potential closures of some tube stations around the Southbank so check with TFL before you travel. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.
- NYE Stand -Up Show – The Comedy Store
Start your night off with some comedy from Pete Johansson, Imran Yusuf, Paul Tonkinson, Curtis Walker, Stefano Paolini and The Boy With Tape On His Face. After you’ve laughed yourself silly, there will a DJ spinning tracks after for some dancing. Show starts at 8pm. Tickets: £55. The Comedy Store, 1a Oxendon Street, London SW1Y 4EE. Nearest tube: Piccadilly Circus or Leicester Square. For more information, visit the Comedy Store website.
- Vintage New Year’s Eve Party – Royal Festival Hall
The team behind the Vintage Festival (Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway) put on a glamorous extravaganza of live bands and DJs spread across pop-up nightclubs, bars and beauty parlours. Music and looks from across the decades, including 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Around midnight, some of the action will move to one of the balconies for a great vista of the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the Thames. Tickets: £80 in advance. Starts 7pm onwards. Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Nearest tube: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.
- Winter Prom Party – The Refinery
London Grooves host the Winter Prom Party at this Southwark venue, playing Commercial RnB, 90s Old Skool, Funky House and Club Classics. Tickets: £25 (going up to £30 after 24th Dec). Times: 9.30pm-3am. The Refinery, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0TF. Nearest tube: Southwark. For more information, visit the London Groove website.
- 1920s Flapper Glamour New Year’s Eve Party – Dirty Martini
1920s-themed party at the Mayfair branch of Dirty Martini. Fancy dress is encouraged with a complimentary prosecco cocktail on offer for those who arrive before 9pm. Tickets £20. Times: 8pm-3am. Dirty Martini, 10c Hanover Square, London W1S 1JH. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Dirty Martini website.
- New Year’s Eve – Bounce
Food, drink and… ping pong is a great choice for someone looking for something a bit different. Located at the new ping pong bar in Holborn, tickets include stone-baked pizzas, canapes, DJs and free ping pong all night. Tickets: £40. Doors open 8pm. Bounce, 121 Holborn, London EC1N 2TD. Nearest tube: Chanchery Lane. For more information, visit Bounce’s website.
- Belle Epoque’s Circus Party, New Year’s Eve Extravaganza – Village Underground
Be welcomed into the ‘sensational, sequinned and often shady world of the circus’, featuring music, DJs from across the decades, dance routines and acrobatics. Fancy dress encouraged. Tickets: £41.80 (inc booking fee). Times: 9pm-3am (acrobats start @ 10pm). Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, London EC2A 3PQ. Nearest tube: Old Street or Shoreditch High Street (overland). For more information, visit the Belle Epoque website.
- Mat Horne presents Session NYE – Queen of Hoxton
Party featuring a rooftop silent disco with sounds from Mat Horne, Babyshambles, The Milk, Ryan Paul, Maddox and others. Times 8pm-4am. Tickets: £20 (+booking fee). Queen of Hoxton, 1 Curtain Road, Hoxton, London EC2A 3JX. Nearest tube: Shoreditch High Street (overland). For more information, visit the Queen of Hoxton website.
- Defected In The House New Year’s Eve Party – Electric Brixton
Iconic house label Defected will be hosting 10 hours of some of the world’s finest underground house DJs, including Dennis Ferrer, Deetron, Noir, Copyright, Simon Dunmore and Sam Divine. Tickets start from £40 (+booking fee). Time: 9pm-7am. Electric Brixton (formerly The Fridge), 1 Town Hall Parade, Brixton, London SW2 1RJ. Nearest tube: Brixton. For more information, visit Electric Brixton’s website.
- New Year’s Eve Party of comedy and clubbing – Clapham Grand
The Clapham Grand is offering three packages depending on what whets your appetite – comedy or club or both. Early birds wanting a laugh can see the comedy show featuring Live at The Apollo star Sara Pascoe, British Comedy Award nominee John Moloney and brilliant Canadian comic Glenn Wool from 7pm. Alternatively those who just want to dance can arrive from 10pm onwards for the club, featuring club classics and commercial dance all night, and a performance from Robbie Craig with Woman Trouble. At midnight there will be a live link-up with Big Ben, balloon drop and party canons. Tickets start from (club only) £15, (comedy only) £25 or (comedy and club package) £40. Venue closes at 4am. Clapham Grand, 21-25 St John’s Hill, London SW11 1TT. Nearest train: Clapham Junction. For more information, visit the Clapham Grand website.
- Secret Agents’ Ball – The Driver
From the team behind the Bond Ball, the Secret Agents’ Ball will be full of James Bonds, Austin Powers, and Bond girls partying across three rooms. Fancy dress is encouraged. As well as a drinks reception, there is also an option for dinner beforehand. DJs will be spinning house, electro and disco, while guests can try their hand at poker at the casino. Tickets: £20-£30 in advance. Time: 9pm-5am. The Driver, 2-4 Wharfdale Road, King’s Cross, London N1 9RY. Nearest tube: King’s Cross St Pancras. For more information, visit The Driver’s website.
- Shake – The Electric Ballroom
Music: Dance, indie, electro, pop from the 70s, 80s and 90s and feel good anthems. Dress code: Smart and sexy. 9pm-4am. Advance tickets £20 (not inc. booking fee), £25 on the door. Electric Ballroom, 184 Camden High Street, London NW1 8QP. Nearest tube: Camden Town. For more information and tickets visit Electric Ballroom’s website.
- Blagclub NHG New Year’s Eve – Blagclub Notting Hill Gate
Intimate party with DJs playing a mix of party styles and classics. Tickets: £10 in advance (+booking fee). Blagclub, 1st floor, 68 Notting Hill Gate, London W11 3HT. Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate. For more information, visit the Blagclub website.
For daytime activities around London on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, check out the MOAMG blog post on What’s on this Winter: Fun things around London this December.