What happened to the protester who stepped in front of the Tiananmen Square tanks in 1989?
That’s the central question in Lucy Kirkwood’s “Chimerica,” a fast-paced portrait of China in the last quarter-century. Benedict Wong (who plays a demoralized ex-demonstrator) is excellent, and so is Es Devlin’s set -- a revolving cube that serves as a Beijing apartment, strip joint, or torture chamber.
Too bad the female characters feel forced, especially the British executive bent on cracking the Chinese market. Ends Oct. 19 at the Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton Street, SW1 4DY. Information: http://www.chimerica.co.uk or +44-844-871-7627.
The Cheese & Wine Festival takes place this weekend at two locations: The South Bank Centre and Old Spitalfields Market. It’s a chance to sample cheeses from around the world, as well as bread and wine. Entry is free. Information: http://www.cheesewinefestival.com/.
Drakes Tabanco is a new tavern serving sherry straight from the barrel as well as an Andalusian-inspired menu, with dishes such as roasted piquillo Pepper Salad with flaked almonds, and white bean & wild mushroom stew. This is the new Fitzrovia venue from the owners of Copita and Barrica. Information: http://www.drakestabanco.com/ or +44-20-7637-9388.
Van Gogh couldn’t afford models when he settled in Paris in 1886. He painted himself, bunches of flowers, and a pair of lace-up boots he picked up at a flea market.
Some stunning examples are on view in a small but absorbing exhibition at the Eykyn MacLean Gallery that attempts to show how two years in Paris led Van Gogh to trade dark tones for a bright palette. Eight works (including five oils) are coupled with 21 by contemporaries he admired, including a fine early Gauguin.
“Van Gogh in Paris” (through Nov. 29) is at Eykyn Maclean, 30 St. George Street, W1S 2FH: http://www.eykynmaclean.com.
Or see Emin’s bed before Charles Saatchi has it auctioned off at Christie’s on Oct. 17 to help fund his gallery. Unlike her stained “My Bed” (1998), this is a tame four-poster with a quilt and ’Weird Sex’ marked above the headboard. Also on sale: works by the Chapman Brothers and Kader Attia. The preview show runs Oct. 12-18 at the Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford Street: http://www.christies.com.
Close your eyes and Crosby, Stills & Nash sound much the same in 2013 as they did in 1969. Songs like “Marrakesh Express” and “Long Time Gone” have their harmonies and acoustic solos intact.
The trio return to the Royal Albert Hall tonight for a show that draws on a repertoire that they figure contains 900 songs. Information: http://www.crosbystillsnash.com.
Rising U.K. star Kate Nash is at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire to showcase her album “Girl Talk” as she moves to a more punky style of music from pop. Meanwhile that music mogul, husband of Beyonce and friend of presidents, Jay-Z, will be at the O2 both Friday and Saturday. http://www.theo2.co.uk/
OTHER LONDON OUTINGS
Prince Charles’s first portrait by a Chinese artist is on view this weekend before going under the hammer next week.
Proceeds from the sale of the Yan Pei-Ming portrait and of works by Antony Gormley, Andreas Gursky and Emin will support the Prince’s Drawing School and the Mimi Foundation cancer charity founded by Myriam Ullens (wife of collector Guy Ullens).
(Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are their own.)
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