Simple Minds Return, Outsider Art, Dessay Sings: London Weekend

Jim Kerr
Jim Kerr is leading his band Simple Minds in a concert tour reprising some of his earliest songs. The Scottish musicians, who play London's Roundhouse on March 2, are performing material written before they became stadium-rock stars. Photographer: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Simple Minds is going back to its origins more than three decades ago.

The Scottish band will play five songs from each of its earliest albums at London’s Roundhouse. Jim Kerr’s group debuted with the underrated “Life in a Day” in 1979, and only became worldwide stars of stadium rock after the release of the fifth LP, “New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84).”

Fans will be treated to rare live outings of the tunes that led up to “Glittering Prize” and “Promised You a Miracle.”

At the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London NW1 8EH. Information:, +44-844-482-8008 or


The filmmaker who exposed a Manhattan sex addict in “Shame” has aimed his camera at another New York subject.

In “Static” (2009), Steve McQueen -- seated in a chopper -- shoots the Statue of Liberty from the front, back and side, highlighting her yellowing armpit. The towering icon is part of Tate Britain’s “Migrations” exhibition: about how outsiders, broadly defined, influenced British art.

Also in the video section (the show’s strongest segment) is “Floating Coffins” (2009) by Zineb Sedira. It’s a stark vision of ship carcasses drifting in a Mauritanian port which is the point of departure for many illegal immigrants.

The exhibition’s definition of migrants stretches, somewhat tenuously, to include Canaletto, who lived in England for nine years, and Mondrian, who stopped over from 1938 to 1940 before heading for New York.

“Migrations” is at Tate Britain through Aug. 12. Information: or +44-20-7887-8888.

Saturday Night

Zach Braff -- best known as Dr. John ‘J.D.’ Dorian in the television series “Scrubs” -- can write, too.

His play “All New People” (which just opened in London) is about a 35-year-old named Charlie who’s about to hang himself in a New Jersey beach house when a string of visitors intrude.

The intruders could not be more different. One is a chatty British illegal alien who works as a realtor on the sly. Another is a pot-smoking fireman with a past career in education. The third is a $15,000-a-night blond escort who complains that her clients all look like Soviet ex-leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

After a flat start, the play lifts off with the arrival of Kim the New York escort (the excellent Susannah Fielding), who turns a suicide setting into a source of uninterrupted laughter.

Braff -- who plays Charlie -- can act, too. “All New People” is at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Information: or +44-844-871-7627.

Dishoom is a good place to drop in for an Indian snack before or after the Duke of York’s. It’s inspired by the cafes and street stalls of Mumbai in the early 20th century. The flavors are authentic and the prices low. Information: or +44-20-7420-9320/


France’s most famous soprano Natalie Dessay recently announced that she would take a sabbatical in 2015 to learn yoga and Russian and maybe even go to clown school.

Catch her while you still can at the intimate Wigmore Hall on Sunday, where she sings a Gallic repertoire that includes Debussy and Faure.

Information: or call +44-20-7935-2141.

Alternatively, you can hear the Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin play Beethoven and Chopin at the Barbican Centre Friday night:

L’Autre Pied, near Wigmore Hall, is an informal restaurant serving serious food. It’s a shame the pre-theater menu isn’t served at weekends. The a la carte prices for the establishment’s modern seasonal dishes now reflect the fact that it holds a Michelin star. Information: or +44-20-7486-9696.

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