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Zappa Tribute, Acid-Trip Art, Cezanne’s Players: London Weekend

Frank Zappa
The late Frank Zappa who would have turned 70 this year. The London Roundhouse holds a weekend festival devoted to the U.S. creator of more than 60 albums, including “We’re Only in It for the Money,” “Hot Rats” and “Joe’s Garage.” Source: Columbia University Miller Theater via Bloomberg

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Fans of Frank Zappa are descending on London for a celebration of the rock musician, who would have turned 70 this year.

The Roundhouse holds a weekend festival devoted to the U.S. creator of more than 60 albums, including “We’re Only in It for the Money,” “Hot Rats” and “Joe’s Garage.”

On Friday evening, the London Contemporary Orchestra performs Zappa’s last album “The Yellow Shark,” released in 1993, shortly before he died of cancer aged 53. On Saturday, Zappa’s son Dweezil performs songs from the CD “Apostrophe.”

Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden, NW1 8EH. Information: +44-844-482-8008 or http://www.roundhouse.org.uk

Saturday

A 67-year-old American artist is subjecting Londoners to a near-hallucinogenic experience.

James Turrell’s “Bindu Shards” requires you to take off your shoes, lie on a spotless white bed, and enter a sealed enclosure as if for an MRI scan. There, you’ll be hit in the face with light beams and multicolored patterns. Turrell has likened the effect to taking mescaline; I wouldn’t know.

For more low-key entertainment, pull on plastic socks and step inside Turrell’s temple of light: a space-age room where you’ll be enveloped in gently shifting sheets of color.

While the by-appointment-only “Bindu Shards” is sold out on the Web, there are occasional dropouts, so non-claustrophobes can show up and try their luck.

The exhibition is at the Gagosian Gallery, 8-24 Britannia Street, London WC1X 9JD, and ends Dec. 10. Information: http://www.gagosian.com or +44-20-7841-9960.

Saturday Night

Men should weep.

At least that’s how Ena Lamont Stewart saw it when she gave her play that title in 1947. It’s about an impoverished family with seven children crammed into a Glasgow tenement during the Depression.

The household is run by a resilient mom named Maggie and her husband John, who is out of work most of the time.

“Men Should Weep,” directed by Josie Rourke, is at the National Theatre (the Lyttelton). Information: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk or call +44-20-7452-3000.

Sunday

No one knows for sure what game Cezanne’s “Card Players” were so focused on. Was it rummy? Was it belote? Yet the works unquestionably rank among his finest paintings.

You can see three -- of a total of five -- in an exquisite one-room show at London’s Courtauld Gallery. There’s the Courtauld’s own; the Musee d’Orsay’s (considered the strongest); and the one on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The players were farm workers on Cezanne’s family estate in Provence. One named Paulin Paulet, who was paid 5 francs to sit for the master, is in all card paintings, and in three very different standalone portraits that hang side by side for the first time. Cezanne’s sharply linear strokes and angular treatment of his sitters are a foretaste of Cubism.

The show runs through Jan. 16, 2011. The Courtauld Institute is at Somerset House on the Strand, London WC2R 0RN. Information: http://www.courtauld.ac.uk or call 7848-2526.

Food Picks: Oliver

If you like Jamie Oliver, you can expect to see even more of “the Naked Chef” after this weekend. Oliver opens his Barbecoa barbecue restaurant at One New Change in the City of London tomorrow night.

For theatergoers, there’s a new branch of his reasonably priced chain, Jamie’s Italian, on Upper St. Martin’s Lane. If you are in a hurry, beware: There are no bookings and the line can be long.

Alternatively, there’s always Fifteen in Westland Place, Oliver’s original eatery, where disadvantaged young people can gain a training. The ground-floor trattoria offers better value than the basement fine-dining restaurant.

(Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in London at farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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