Hirst Billboards, Food Fest, Vermeer: London Weeekend

Damien Hirst billboards, a foodie festival, Vermeer, and jazz in Canary Wharf are our choices for London this weekend.


As many as 80,000 young people end up homeless in the U.K. each year. The National Theatre is giving voice to a few.

“Home” is a patchwork of interviews that director Nadia Fall conducted at a real-life foyer in East London. Her gritty production is staged inside the National’s temporary Shed space (the red four-legged structure parked outside the theater).

What makes “Home” stand out are the movement and music -- especially by beat-boxer Grace Savage, who mimics a newborn baby one minute, an ear-splitting drum machine the next.

Ends Sept. 7 at the Shed, National Theatre, SE1 9PX: http://www.theshed.nationaltheatre.org.uk or +44-20-7452-3244.


The new Foodies Festival at Battersea Park this weekend brings together chefs such as Ian Pengelley of Gilgamesh or Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution. There are pop-up restaurants, drinks master classes, a producers’ market and a children’s cookery theater. The event runs all weekend, with tickets starting at 12 pounds. Information: http://foodiesfestival.com/.

Izakayas are popular in Japan: They’re informal bars with inexpensive food. Flesh & Buns brings the formula to Covent Garden. It’s the new venue of Ross Shonhan, whose menu includes tataki, sashimi and California rolls, as well as steaks and fish: +44-20-7632-9500 or http://www.fleshandbuns.com/.


There are no more than three dozen known works by Vermeer. Five are currently hanging in the National Gallery’s niche exhibition devoted to the theme of music, how it was used as a seduction tool and even an aphrodisiac.

Vermeer’s “Young Woman Seated at a Virginal” (1670-2) looks innocent enough. Yet the picture on the wall behind her shows a prostitute charming a client by playing a lute while the procuress demands payment.

Don’t overlook the other Dutch masters and period instruments in the show. “Vermeer and Music: The Art of Love and Leisure” ends Sept. 8 at the National Gallery. Information: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk or +44-20-7747-2885.


As London rock music fans make the 40-minute journey to Chelmsford this weekend for the V Festival starring Beyonce and the Kings of Leon, jazz enthusiasts will have less far to go. The Canary Wharf Jazz Festival is free and features Soweto Kinch, YolanDa Brown and Zoe Rahman.

Information: http://bit.ly/pmBgKG


Some 22,000 commercial poster sites nationwide are letting themselves be overtaken by art during the August lull. The 57 works chosen by the public are mostly modern and contemporary -- think Hirst and David Hockney -- though Holbein and Whistler have also made the cut. Nice change from the usual ads for underwear and energy drinks.

Information: http://www.arteverywhere.org.uk.

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

Muse highlights include the New York and London weekend guides, Lewis Lapham on history, Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater and Greg Evans and Craig Seligman on film.

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