Preview of 2013

Preview of 2013

Photo courtesy the artist and Frith Street Gallery, London

We look ahead to some of the hottest events in the next 12 months, including GTA V and Lana Del Rey

Massimo Bartolini

Magical Italian artist set to take over the Fruitmarket
One of the most eagerly anticipated exhibitions to arrive in Scotland in the new year is a show of new sculptural work by the Italian artist, Massimo Bartolini. Bartolini is best known for working outside of the studio, employing teams of specialists to create work that responds to a given space, sometimes subtly and sometimes with startling, transformative results.

The Fruitmarket exhibition is one of a pair the artist is currently working on, the other being at SMAK, the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent in April. While the Belgian audience will get to see Bartolini’s ‘Organi’, an organ made out of scaffolding pipes that plays music by John Cage, Edinburgh art lovers are to be treated to ‘La strada di sotto’ (‘The Street Below’), a sizable field of coloured lights of the kind used during Sicilian street celebrations. The main display will be supported by a selection of smaller sculptures and studioworks, which will provide an insight into Bartolini’s organic and highly experimental working methods.

Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh, Fri 1 Feb–Sun 14 Apr.

Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar North releases ambitious new instalment of game franchise
GTA V: four letters that will bring joy to any gamer’s heart come March 2013. It will have been five years since Grand Theft Auto IV and with every instalment Edinburgh developers Rockstar North push further at the boundaries of what is possible in gaming. GTA V boasts the largest game world they have ever created, saying it will be bigger than GTA IV, Red Dead Redemption and GTA: San Andreas combined, even the ocean floor will be fully textured and explorable.

That alone sounds simply astounding but this is also the first GTA to feature three main protagonists (Michael, Trevor and Franklin) who’s lives intersect Short Cuts-style in the fictional city of Los Santos. While you can swap between this criminal trio at will, the characters will also go about their lives even while you aren’t controlling them. It’s not just the scale of this project but the attention to detail that really sets Rockstar productions apart from their peers, while there are missions to complete that push the narrative on you’ll find yourself spending just as much time simply exploring this complex digital realm. If the level of fanboy drooling that greeted the trailer is any indication, Rockstar will have another world dominating mega hit on their hands.

Grand Theft Auto V is due for release in March 2013 (date TBC).

The Great Gatsby

Australian maverick Baz Luhrmann brings an American classic to the big screen
F Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel has been adapted for cinema three times before. These films – one silent, two sound – had their charms but struggled with the central contradiction of the book: how can hateful decadence and privilege in decay be vulgar and outdated and yet so compulsive? Jack Clayton’s 1974 version starring Robert Redford (and scripted by Francis Ford Coppola) came closest. That’s because Clayton was a Brit and cultural distance is always needed from great novels and their homeland. Largely driven by ambition and box office success the modern American filmmaker is ill-suited to convey a tale of the American dream in decline, upper class ennui and deep psychological shift, to say nothing of the symbols and motifs that shake this book to its devastating endgame.

In many ways Baz Luhrmann is the best man for the job of bringing a new version of Gatsby to the screen. A mildly Gatsby-like figure himself, Luhrmann has always been the filthy new world imposter at the gates of European high culture, whether it’s ballroom dancing (Strictly Ballroom), poetry and cabaret (Moulin Rouge!) or Shakespeare (Romeo + Juliet). Adapted by Luhrmann and shot mostly in Sydney, the film will pivot on Leonardo DiCaprio’s Gatsby and to a lesser extent Carey Mulligan’s Daisy Buchanan and Tobey Maguire’s narrator Nick Carraway. For Luhrmann it’s arguably the biggest gamble of his career. Mess up an adaptation of an American literature classic and the roaring 20s could quickly stumble into the depression era.

The Great Gatsby is on general release from Fri 17 May.

Lana Del Rey on tour

The US sensation aims to win over her critics as she takes to the road
Having overcome at times mean-spirited internet and media enquiry into everything from her moneyed background to the sharpness of her pout to deliver one of the biggest-selling albums of 2012 in Born To Die, retro-noirish pop princess Lana Del Rey has defied the detractors. But the New Yorker embarks on her first proper tour with much still to prove.

Some of Del Rey’s many TV appearances to date – Saturday Night Live being a much pilloried example – explain why she’s been hesitant to hit the road in earnest. Awkwardly unmoving, battling to stay in tune, never seeming sure what to do with her hands, she doesn’t always make for comfortable watching, and admits to stage fright. But such vulnerability rather fits the cleverly constructed Del Rey (real name Lizzy Grant) character – a Twin Peaks- and Nancy Sinatra-referencing riddle of a songstress with a romantic death wish, responsible for an unbroken run of high-calibre, sweeping-yet-sad singles from breakout YouTube smash hit ‘Video Games’ to ‘Ride’.

Artists from Robbie Williams to Adele have confessed to battling serious nerves live, and it hasn’t hindered their blockbuster success. Here’s hoping seeing and hearing tens of thousands of fans root for her on tour drowns out thoughts of comments thread snipers, and puts Del Rey’s jangling nerves at ease long enough to let her finally flourish as a performer.

Lana Del Rey performs at O2 Academy, Glasgow, Wed 15 & Thu 16 May.

50 Years of The Traverse

Preview of 2013

The Traverse Theatre celebrates its half-century with 50 500-word plays
Since its inception in 1963 Scotland’s new writing theatre has provided the backdrop to groundbreaking works by the likes of Liz Lochhead, Peter Arnott, John Byrne and David Greig. Now, to celebrate its first 50 years, the Traverse is teaming up with 50 fledgling playwrights, selected through an international competition launched last September.

The Traverse Fifty Writers, who will be announced on Wednesday 19 December, were selected from among a whopping 630 entries for a series of tailor-made writing events, including panel discussions, workshops and one-to-one dramaturgy. The theatre, under the auspices of artistic director Orla O’Loughlin, will kick off the anniversary year with readings of the 50 winning 500-word Plays For Edinburgh on Saturday 26 January 2013.

The event fires the starting gun on an ambitious year of events and commissions, including an extended run of Manipulate, the annual visual theatre festival, featuring a run of Vox Motus’s acclaimed Slick, and Class Act, in which students from five Edinburgh schools will devise, write and stage their first professional play with the help of some of Scotland’s best writers and directors. The Scottish Society of Playwrights will be holding a three-day conference at the theatre to mark 50 years of Scottish playwriting and there will be two Traverse Theatre Company productions in the spring, details of which will be announced shortly.

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, throughout 2013.