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Hirst AK-47, Beach Boys, Leonardo Wannabe: London Weekend

The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys will perform at Wembley Arena in London. The band is 50 this year with its members hitting their 70s. Photographer: Richard A. Brooks/AFP/GettyImages via Bloomberg

The Beach Boys’ name is ever more a misnomer as the “Boys” turn 70. London gets a chance to hear that nothing’s changed, however, as the band brings its 50th-anniversary tour to town.

The harmonies in “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” and the catchy riff of “Good Vibrations” still sound fresh as the veterans, led by Brian Wilson, grind out their greatest hits.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP (Sept. 27); Wembley Arena, Empire Way, HA9 0PA (Sept. 28). Information:,,, +44-20-8782-5500, +44-845-401-5045.


Damien Hirst has spin-painted a machine gun that you can bid for in a charity auction.

Hirst is one of two dozen artists to produce art with an AK-47 for the anti-war Peace One Day. Others giving the guns their signature treatment include Sarah Lucas, who sticks an AK-47 between the legs of a soft doll; and Jake & Dinos Chapman, who arm a pair of boys with genitally shaped noses.

More originally, sculptor Antony Gormley fits a machine gun in a wiry, suspended corpse, turning the gun’s barrel into the figure’s nostrils. And Antony Micallef has AK-47’s jutting out of the eye sockets in his painting.

The guns are on show through Sunday at the ICA, The Mall, London SW17 5AH. The Phillips de Pury auction is on Oct. 4.


Many restaurants close to the ICA are aimed at tourists. It’s worth seeking out the Northall, in the very grand Corinthia Hotel. The set lunch is 28 pounds, which might seem expensive until you examine the prices on the main menu. Information: or +44-20-7321-3100.

Saturday Night

Up until fairly recently, a European woman’s options were marriage, motherhood, adultery, and death -- and not necessarily in that order.

Henrik Ibsen lays out the uneven odds in “Hedda Gabler” (revived at the Old Vic). In a luminous interior of verandas and brass chandeliers, feisty Hedda (Sheridan Smith) strives to transcend her predicament and make a difference.

The staging is lively, and the actors solid, especially Adrian Scarborough as Hedda’s dull, slipper-wearing spouse. Smith (“Legally Blonde”) does fine, though her Hedda initially comes across as a 21st-century trophy wife.

The biggest revelation is how “Hedda Gabler” still resonates with women today. Information: or +44-844-871-7628.


David Sedaris once spent a season dressed up as an elf at the Macy’s department store in New York.

The bestselling writer-humorist has gone on to create a comedy acts around that and other topics. He performs Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Cadogan Hall.

Information:, +44-20-7730-4500.

Olivocarne, near Cadogan Hall, is a new Italian restaurant specializing in meat dishes from Sardinia. It’s the latest in a mini-chain of establishments (including Olivomare) known for the quality and authenticity of the food. Information:, +44-20-7730-7997.

If you’re a Leonardo wannabe, sharpen your pencil and head for the V&A instead.

The “Big Draw” is a chance to produce sketches or self-portraits, and design shoes, sofas, buildings, stage sets, or tapestries. Non-practitioners can hear cartoonist Gerald Scarfe look back on “50 Years of Being Rude,” or Nicholas Grimshaw discuss his architectural projects.

“Big Draw, Big Make” is at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Information:

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

Muse highlights include Mark Beech on arts, Jason Harper on cars, Scott Reyburn on the art market, Rich Jaroslovsky on technology and Laurie Muchnick on books.

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