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Celebrate female talent at Devonshire Square’s International Women in Arts Festival

The International Women in Arts Festival at Devonshire Square
© Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

A month-long festival celebrating female talent has kicked off in the capital this month. Running until 26 July, the International Women in Arts Festival is taking place in Devonshire Square. Hosted by WeWork and with donations going to The Pink Ribbon Foundation, the four-week programme will offer Londoners and visitors free entertainment.

Throughout the month there will all-female bands performing a range of musical genres, including jazz, swing, classical and pop. Meanwhile, an array of professional dancers and students from top dance schools and creative companies will be showcasing their dance skills.

Highlights included dance shows choreographed by Artistic Director, former English National Ballet soloist Jenna Lee; performances by Oriental dancer and school founder Fleur Estelle; and award-winning Samba sensation Gladys Cavalcante. Also performing will be professional Javanese and Balinese dancers Andrea Rutkowski accompanied by Artistic Director Ni Made’ Pujawati, who will perform sacred Rejang Sari and traditional Legong Kuntul dances. Gymnasts from Team GB will showcase their ribbon choreography, followed by a high-energy set from an all-female acrobatic trio.

During the festival, WeWork’s Devonshire Square community with be fundraising for the Pink Ribbon Foundation, or guests can donate online. Located in the City of London, just a short walk from Liverpool Street or Spitalfields Market, Devonshire Square is a historic business, dining and entertainment quarter, dating back to the 18th century.

  • The International Women in Arts Festival takes place from 5 – 26 July 2019. Most performances start at 1pm. Free. At Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

For a guide to what’s on in London in July, click here.

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Gigi’s Hoxton review: Summer cocktails and delicious bites at a versatile new dining, drinking and music venue

Hoxton Square is one of my favourite areas in Shoreditch because it offers what appeals to me about the area (e.g. nightlife), but also avoids the traffic and pollution that venues in Old Street, Great Eastern Street, etc, have to put up with. I’ve been socialising in Hoxton Square since the late ’90s (showing my age here!) and always thought of the area as a little nightlife enclave with great bars and a nice atmosphere.

Gigis Espresso Martini Aperol Spritz © Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2019

An Espresso Martini and an Aperol Spritz

A new addition to the East End foodie and entertainment scene is Gigi’s Hoxton. The versatile venue is an all-day restaurant, bar and music venue with an alfresco terrace and a basement sister space Hoxton Underbelly hosting comedy, live music, DJs and club nights. Taking over the former Zigfrid von Underbelly, Gigi’s Hoxton is the latest venture from Giovanna Hussain, the woman behind some of East London’s favourite venues, including The Corner Shop and The Grapevine in Shoreditch, and The Rocksteady in Dalston. I went along with a friend last week to check it out.

As a previous customer of Zigfrid (although my last visit was some years ago), I couldn’t believe how different the venue looked. The bar had been moved from its original location and the vibrant murals by Kate Philipson had really brightened up the place. The finished look is a mix of industrial and vintage-esque chic, with colourful chairs, zinc tables, a green stone bar and neon lights.

Upon arrival, we headed straight for the bar and mulled over the cocktail list. Being a balmy day, my natural choice was an Aperol Spritz, while my friend couldn’t resist the Espresso Martini (on tap!). As a seasoned Aperol Spritz fan, I’m pleased to say Gigi’s got it spot on with the right mix of bitter and sweetness. I’ve found quite a few bars/pubs don’t get the balance right, so it’s always good to see a venue getting it right.

Mini tomato, basil and garlic bruschetta

The ground floor is essentially a L shape so we headed to the narrower section at the back to grab a table and two leather chairs. Gigi’s menus have been created by Head Chef Antonio Mollo and are influenced by his Italian heritage, as well as classic British dishes. We tried a selection of canapes, derived from the main menu, and were impressed by the creativity and flavour. One particular stand-out was the bruschetta. Although I’ve eaten the dish often over the years, I must praise this one for being so fresh and rich in taste. Other highlights were the crispy polenta, mushroom and taleggio fondue and the tortilla taco with homemade guacamole. I’ve got to mention the pea soup, Grey Goose le citron vodka sour cream shot which was a pretty unique taste for me, but I quite liked it.

Aside from the drinking and food, one of Gigi’s USPs is its music scene. After initially being treated to some soulful house and classic R&B tracks from the DJ, we were entertained with some great live music from the Blue Lion Band.

Overall, I think Gigi’s Hoxton is a great addition to east London’s nightlife. The food and drinks were equally good. The venue had a great ambiance and the DJs and live music really completed the evening. I’ll be back.

  • Gigi’s Hoxton, 11 Hoxton Square, N1 6NU. Nearest stations: Hoxton or Old Street. Open Mon–Thu: 12pm–1am, Fri: 12pm–3am, Sat: 10am–3am, Sun: 10am–12am. For more information, visit the Gigi’s Hoxton website.

For more of Metro Girl’s restaurant reviews, click here.

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Soho Music Month 2019: Alfresco gigs, in-store DJs, panel talks and more

Highlights of this year’s Soho Music Month.

Soho Music Month © Carnaby London

Soho Music Months returns to the West End in June

Soho is the capital of London’s nightlife, dating back to the 1950s and beyond. So where better to celebrate the district’s rich musical heritage with a month long series of events and gigs. Soho Music Month 2019 runs throughtout June, bringing a mix of established and rising artists to various venues across W1.

Throughout the month, visitors will be entertained by a range of musical genres, as well as collections, promotions and exclusive activations in shops and restaurants. There will be live sets by indie king Baxter Dury at Moscot eyewear; Lilllördag music evenings at Swedish café Söderberg; and DJ Trey Rodriguez hitting the decks at menswear brand Oi Polloi. Underground drinking destination Cahoots will be taking guests back in time with Auntie Maureen and her 1930s gramophone, theatrical DJ duo The Roustabouts and Tom Carradine’s Cockney sing-along. There will also be live music at stores such as Paul Smith (Beak Street), Dr Martens (Carnaby Street) and Levi’s Vintage Clothing and Laurel Wreath by Fred Perry (Newburgh Street).

On Saturday 8 June (12pm-6pm), ocean conservation organisation Project 0 will co-host a joint celebration of World Oceans’ Day. Pull up a bean bag on the pop-up lawn on Ganton Street and listen to the sounds of world music collective Lokkhi Terra, Delilah Holliday, St Martiins and Ese & The Vooduu People, Vista Kicks and Allthingsmata.

During Soho Music Month, there will be a Platform LDN hub and exhibition space at 3 Carnaby Street, run by the Creative Media Network. Music aficionados can enjoy DJ residencies, live music broadcasts, creative workshops and panel talks. The space will play host to hip-hop duo Run The Jewels with their first ever UK gallery exhibition, RTJ UK, to showcase UK artists and creatives. Panellists appearing at the hub include Not For The Radio presenter Duane Jones (AA Vis) and actor and filmmaker Femi Oyeniran. There will also be curated events hosted by Beats 1 radio presenter Julie Adenuga, TV and radio personality Maya Jama and DIY Generation presenter Jamz Supernova.

Meanwhile, Londoners will be able to delve deeper in Soho’s music history with free music-themed walking tours, visiting sites linked to Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, Kanye West and Mos Def. The tours takes place at 6.15pm on 4, 6, 11 and 13 June and start at Cahoots for a complimentary cocktail. Register here for a place on one of the tours.

  • Soho Music Month takes place from 1 – 30 June 2019. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square or Tottenham Court Road. For more information, visit Carnaby website.

To find out what else is on in London in June 2019, click here.

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Live At The Savoy: American jazz singer Judi Jackson launches live music series

© Judi Jackson Live At The Savoy

Judi Jackson will be performing Live At The Savoy

Few would disagree that The Savoy is one of London’s most iconic hotels. It’s been standing on Strand for 130 years. A byword for luxury, the five-star hotel isn’t just for visitors to the capital, it also has a host of dining, drinking and entertainment options for Londoners. When it comes to The Savoy’s relationship with music, it goes way back. A host of musical legends, including Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne and George Gershwin have performed in the hotel, while a more contemporary act Duran Duran have shot a music video in its hallowed halls.

Today, music is still very much part of The Savoy experience. Launching this spring is a new evening entertainment series. Live At The Savoy will kick off on 24 May 2019 in the hotel’s Thames Foyer nightly.

American singer Judi Jackson is launching the series as The Savoy’s Musician in Residence. The acclaimed jazz vocalist will begin on Wednesday 24 April and three further dates. The Virginia-born performer has recently released her debut album Live In London and tours internationally. Jackson has collaborated with Warner Music’s George Moore and Michael League, member of Grammy award-winning band Snarky Puppy, and credits Wynton Marsalis and Mavis Staples among her influences.

Also performing during Live At The Savoy will be American-born and Liverpool based soul singer/songwriter Jalen N’Gonda. He was hailed as ‘a voice full of nuances and golden songs’ at the 2018 Montreux Jazz Talent Awards and opened for Motown legends Martha And The Vandellas in Liverpool in 2015.

  • Live At The Savoy with Judi Jackson: 24 April, 24 May, 20 June and 25 July.
  • Live At The Savoy with Jalen N’Gonda: 9 May, 16 May (and further dates).

During the entertainment, guests can feast on the new Thames Foyer evening menu, available from 7pm. It has been inspired by The Savoy’s famous 19th century chef Auguste Escoffer, who invented the Peach Melba. The menu is divided into three sections: Prolgue (7pm-8.30pm); Story (8.30pm-10.30pm) and Epilogue (conclusion). An extensive drinks list will also be on offer.

  • Live At The Savoy takes place in the Thames Foyer. At The Savoy, Strand, Westminster, WC2R 0EZ. Nearest stations: Embankment, Charing Cross or Temple. Tickets: £25pp with additional minimum spend on food and drinks at £20pp. Tel: 020 7420 2111 or email. For more information, visit The Savoy website.

To find out what else is on in London in July, click here.

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Latin grooves, Afro beats, brass band remix and more at the London Remixed Festival 2019

London Remixed Festival

The London Remixed Festival returns to Rich Mix

Returning to East London to brighten up gloomy February is the eclectic London Remixed Festival. Over two days, 25 musical acts and DJs will be taking over four stages at Richmix in Shoreditch. Promising all of the fun and sounds of a festival without the mud and cold, the London Remixed Festival will feature Latin Grooves, Afro beats, Tropical Bass, Vintage-Remix, Desert Remix, Balkan Beats, Urban Roots, Acoustic Soundclash and Brass Band Remix.

Among the fabulous names performing are Sam And The Womp with their soundsystem show of Balkan-influenced heavy dance beats. London Remixed Festival’s very own new UK Garage Orchestra will be performing UK garage classics with the Blue Lion Band and special guests MCs. Meanwhile, The True Stays will be playing vintage rock ‘n’ roll in the Folk Ghetto.

On Friday night, the Brass Off stage curated by Continental Drifts features Deadbeat Brass vs Das Brass. On Saturday, revellers will be spoiled for choice with severals stages to choose from, including Tropicarnival curated by Wormfood + Movimientos; Polka Club curated by Continental Drifts + MARSM; and the Folk Ghetto curated by Fire in the Mountain + Woodburner. There will also be the popular Silent Disco, with music from PantherPanther, DJ Hiphoppapotamus, Ecklectic Mick and Madame Electrifie.

  • The London Remixed Festival takes place from 1-2 February 2019. Open: Fri 8pm-1am, Sat 8pm-4am. Tickets: £11.19–£21.79. Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, E1 6LA. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Old Street. For tickets, visit the London Remixed Festival website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in Febuary, click here.

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Kylie and Madonna as you’ve never heard them before: Cabaret sensation Michael Griffiths comes to Live at Zedel

Michael Griffiths Kylie show Live at Zedel

Award-winning cabaret star Michael Griffiths brings his ‘Lucky: Songs By Kylie’ show to Live at Zedel

The songs of Kylie, Madonna and Cole Porter as you’ve never heard them before! Coming to London this summer is award-winning cabaret star Michael Griffiths. Following his sold-out performances at the Royal Albert Hall’s Elgar Room and this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the talented Aussie will be premiering his new show ‘Lucky: Songs by Kylie’ at Live at Zedel. From 30 August to 5 September, Michael will be performing ‘Lucky’, along with his two previously critically acclaimed shows, ‘In Vogue: Songs by Madonna’ and ‘Cole: Songs by Cole Porter’ at the intimate Crazy Coqs club.

His three shows are inspired by each artist, with songs and stories. Michael will showcase his Broadway voice while tinkling the ivories and regaling the audience with some classic tunes and funny anecdotes. Michael has already wowed audiences and critics across his native Australia, along with New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Hong Kong, Auckland and the Edinburgh Fringe. Broadway Baby has hailed Michael as ‘obscenely talented’, while the Scotsman described his show as ‘a fittingly debonair tribute to an artist of grace and style’.

Crazy Coqs is an intimate vintage cabaret club in the Zédel building in Piccadilly. It serves a wide selection of drinks and small plates to fuel you while you’re entertained. The building encompasses Crazy Coqs, the Brasserie Zedel and Bar Américain, featuring the original Art Deco interiors designed by Oliver Percy Bernard in the 1930s.

  • Michael Griffiths will perform ‘Lucky: Songs by Kylie’ from 30 August – 2 September, ‘In Vogue: Songs By Madonna’ on 30 – 31 August and ‘Cole: Songs By Cole Porter’ on 4 – 5 September 2018. Live At Zedel takes place at Crazy Coqs, 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Brasserie Zedel website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.

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Music, dance and giving back at the ‘Art for Love’ Christmas festival at Devonshire Square

Devonshire Square © Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

Help those less fortunate at Devonshire Square’s Giving Tree during the ‘Art for Love’ festival
© Patrizia Ilaria Sechi

December is finally here so the Christmas countdown can really begin. This month, Londoners will be entertained with a festive extravaganza with music, dance, ice skating and more. The ‘Art for Love’ festival will take place in Devonshire Square’s historic Western Courtyard, with lunchtime and after-work performances.

The events are:

Of course, Christmas is all about the spirit of giving so Devonshire Square will be teaming up with homeless charity The Connection to grant Christmas wishes and raise money for an important cause. Taking centre stage will be the Christmas Giving Tree, featuring wishes written on paper hearts. You can help them come true by writing ‘honoured’ on them and pledging to make that special request a reality. Surrounding the trees will be the stunning ‘Twilight Trees’ installation by artist Susie Reid, featuring sparkling cherry trees covered in illuminated blossom.

Amidst all the entertainment and festive fun will be plenty of restaurant and bars in the square if you’re feeling peckish, including Mac & Wild, Cinnamon Kitchen and Pitt Cue. Located in the City of London, just a short walk from Liverpool Street or Spitalfields Market, Devonshire Square is a historic business and entertainment quarter, dating back to the 18th century.

  • Art For Love Christmas Festival takes place from 1-19 December 2017. At Devonshire Square (Western Courtyard), City of London, EC2M. Nearest stations: Liverpool Street or Aldgate. For more information, visit the Devonshire Square website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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Brixton Beach: The spirit of Cuba comes to South London with cocktails, food, music and more

© Brixton Beach

The spirit of Cuba comes to South London at the Brixton Beach this summer

As the weather gets warmer and the nights get brighter, there’s not much better places to be in London than a rooftop bar. This summer, city slickers will be able to enjoy a slice of Cuba at Brixton Beach. The open-air hotspot comes from the award-winning team behind South Pole Saloon, Big Apple Brixton and last year’s popular Brixton Beach Boulevard. Londoners can step away from city life for a few hours as they are transported to a tropical paradise with plenty of food, drink and entertainment.

Revellers will be entertained by a series of events and experiences, including day or night parties, DJs, film and beach barbeques. As you would expect, the bar will be serving up a plethora of tropical concotions with a Cuban-inspired menu. Expect to sip on classics including Rum Daiquiris, Piña Coladas, Cubanitos and Mojitos from Bacardi while you inhale the scents of mint and other hanging, fresh and fruity foliage. While fans of Jamaican beer will be able to visit the dedicated Red Stripe bar, others can quaff Argentine sparkling wine from Moët Hennessy at their exclusive beach side lounge bar. As the nights draw in, guests can dance the night away at The Clubhouse – a covered area inspired by iconic venues such as La Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio, which will play host to live music, dancers and cabaret performers.

When revellers are feeling peckish, there will be a choice of street food stalls, including Mac and Cheese experts, Mac to the Future, Nanban’s Japanese soul food, Del 74’s Mexican tacos and STAKEhaus. There will also be weekly BBQ pop-up residencies from some of the capital’s most smoking venues every Thursday, such as Mama’s Jerk and Negril.

Every weekend there will be a beach party with entertainment from a range of genres by live DJs, traditional Latin American brass bands and exciting cabaret performances. This summer’s line-up includes Ben Pearce, Norman Jay MBE, Late Nite Tuff Guy, Maxxi Soundsystem, Paul Woolford and PBR Streetgang. Meanwhile, Sunday Sessions will be hosted by the likes of SolidGrooves, Metalheadz, Midnight Riot and Supa Dupa Fly. In July, the Brixton Beach will be hosting Cuba’s biggest holiday, Carnival de Cuba, with their Beach Carnival, featuring Cuban dancers and afro-Cuban drum music.

  • Brixton Beach, Pope’s Road, Brixton, SW9 8JH. Nearest station: Brixton. Brixton Beach opens for the summer from 26 May to 1 October 2017. Open Thu: 6pm-11pm, Fri: 6pm-12am, Sat 2pm-12am, Sun 2pm-11pm. For more information, visit the Brixton Rooftop website.

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Foodie talks, music, comedy and more as Live At Zédel launches

Live At Zédel

Gizzi Erskine and Grace Dent will be among the names appearing at Live At Zédel

The Zédel building in Piccadilly is a pretty special place. It comprises of the Brasserie, Crazy Coqs and Bar Américain – located in the former basement of the Regent Palace Hotel, which stood on the site until 2016. The three venues feature the stunning, original Art Deco interiors designed by Oliver Percy Bernard in the 1930s, making you feel like you have stepped into an Agatha Christie novel set on a luxurious cruise liner. While many people know of the Zédel building as a place to eat or drink, it’s soon to be a new hotspot for West End arts events.

Launching this month, ‘Live At Zédel’ will host a series of events, featuring music, theatre, comedy and literature. Londoners of all ages will find a place to whet their cultural appetite – whatever their interests – at evenings in the Brasserie and Crazy Coqs spaces. The bill will include a diverse range of established and upcoming talent, with names such as Doc Brown, Grayson Perry and the Philharmonia Orchestra.

This week (21-24 September 2016) will be themed Food Week, with Gizzi Erskine, Grace Dent, Levi Roots and Jay Rayner sharing their foodie knowledge.

Acclaimed songwriter Scott Alan has been appointed Artistic Director in Residence for the Autumn season. He will bring a host of musical theatre talent to Zédel, including Shoshana Bean, Rachel Tucker, Mark Shenton and Julie Atherton. Meanwhile, a host of music acts from across the genres will also perform, such as Maria Friedman, Sam Smith’s pianist Reuben James, singer-songwriter Jono McCleery, X Factor winner Matt Cardle, drag super-group DENIM, La Voix and Crazy Coqs’ favourite Miss Hope Springs.

Diners at the Brasserie can head upstairs to the Crazy Coqs for some post-meal jazz at the ‘After Hours’ and ‘The Early Late Show’. However, if comedy floats your boat, Girl power troupe Birthday Girls, Theatre With Legs, the Althea Theatre’s new show Double Trouble, and Dolls Eye Theatre’s Might Never Happen will also be performing.

  • Live At Zedel takes place at Crazy Coqs or Brasserie Zédel, 20 Sherwood Street, Soho, W1F 7ED. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. Matinee times: 3-6pm, early evening: 7pm, evening: 9pm, late night: 11pm. For more information, visit the Brasserie Zedel website.

For a guide to what else is on in London, click here.

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Spotlight Festival: Music, performances, shopping and more at the West End’s one day festival

© Matt Alexander/PA Wire

The Spotlight festival returns to Seven Dials, a one-day festival of comedy, music and arts.
© Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Many festivals can be rather tough on the wallet. However, this weekend, you can get your festival fever fix for free as Spotlight returns to Seven Dials. The iconic West End shopping and dining destination will be closed to traffic for one day for a festival of music, comedy and arts.

An open-air stage will feature a host of performances, including the cast of Motown The Musical and Treasure Island, comedy from Nathan Caton and magic from Britain’s youngest illusionist Ben Hart. The stage, hosted by George Lamb, will also feature music from Sample Answer, Old Dirty Brasstards and King Charles.

Among the activities on offer include pop-up tea garden, crazy golf, giant chess, giant Connect 4, Airstream photo booth, design your own flower crown and watch Margaux Carpentier’s live art mural unfold. The surrounding shops and restaurants will be taking part with discounts and special events, such as complimentary drinks, goodie bags, competitions and more.

  • The Spotlight Festival is on 13 August 2016. 12-7pm. Free entry. Seven Dials, Covent Garden, WC2H 9HD. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square. Register for free on the website for your free glass of Prosecco from the Prosecco truck on Earlham Street. For more information, visit the Seven Dials website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.

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