Lady Gaga in Wax, Weller Goes Punk, Comic Conti: London Weekend

Nina Conti
Britain's leading ventriloquist Nina Conti with the puppets in her new show, "Talk to the Hand." Conti is at London's Soho Theatre through Dec. 12. Photographer: Claes Gellerbrink/Arthur Leone PR via Bloomberg

Paul Weller is playing Wembley Arena to round off a year in which he released “Wake Up the Nation,” one of his best albums in a three-decade career.

The 52-year-old will perform Jam, Style Council and solo songs right up to “Fast Car/Slow Traffic,” the 2010 recording that reunites him with his former bandmate Bruce Foxton after 20 years -- a punky thrash that sounds like they made it as teenagers in the 1970s.

Wembley Arena, HA9 0DW. Information: +44-20-8782-5566, or


Lady Gaga -- the loopy chanteuse born Stefani Germanotta -- makes her splashy entrance at Madame Tussauds this weekend.

Her wax likeness will be one of eight shown across Tussauds museums from Hong Kong to Las Vegas.

Brave the lines to check out her London look: Will she be wearing the telephone hat, the lace body stocking, or the soaring purple hair piece?

Information: or +44-871-894-3000.

Madame Tussauds is near one of London’s finest brasseries, Galvin Bistrot de Luxe. Chef Chris Galvin is respected among his peers for this reasonably priced venue:

Saturday Night

Nina Conti will make a puppet of you if you let her. The talked-about ventriloquist, 36 and heavily pregnant, hits the stage with bags of folded-up dolls that she riotously brings to life. There’s a swearing monkey, a snooty owl, a Scottish granny, and a New York hag who does accents.

The final dummy in her act could be you, if you sit in the front row. Conti will pull a cartoonish mask over your face, and make you say and do things you never intended.

Conti is at the Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE, through Sunday. Information: or +44-7478-0100.

You’re almost spoiled for choice dining near Soho Theatre. Choose carefully, because there’s dross as well as gastronomic gold. Koya is hard to beat for its inexpensive noodles and friendly service: If you fancy something spicy, the Sichuan cuisine at Bar Shu is hot and authentic:


China’s emperors had a wardrobe to die for. Many of their accoutrements have left China for the first time to be shown in London.

As it turns out, the women in the Forbidden City got the best outfits. Even the imperial concubines dressed well, though they never upstaged the empress.

Look for the cute orange tunic-and-leggings combination in the last window: It was six-year-old Emperor Tongzhi’s summer suit, made in a tiger-skin design for good luck.

“Imperial Chinese Robes from the Forbidden City” is at the Victoria & Albert Museum through Feb. 27, 2011. Information: or + 44-20-7942-2000.

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

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