THIS WEEK: A SELECTIVE GUIDE

BOOKS, MODERN SHAPES AND A TRANSATLANTIC TUNNEL | May 20th 2008

Opera
Norwegian Opera & Ballet

Special to MORE INTELLIGENT LIFE

Our guide to what's on around the world, compiled by Ariel Ramchandani and Jessica Gallucci

"HAY FEVER"

The bucolic Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye is an ideal place for a literary festival, counting some 30 bookshops for its not-quite 2,000 residents. Now in its 21st year, the Hay Festival descends on this "town of books" from May 22nd to June 1st, luring plenty of authors, readers and bibliophiles. This year's programme features 80 green-centric events, as well as chef Jamie Oliver talking produce, a lecture on global capitalism from Howard Davies, director of the LSE, and new fiction from China and Latin America. Children may enjoy storytime with Katharine Holabird, creator of the "Angelina Ballerina" series. -A.R.

HAY FESTIVAL, through June 1st, Hay-on-Wye

 

DANCING ABOUT ARCHITECTURE

When the newly redesigned Oslo Opera House opened last month, it was touted as Norway's grandest cultural happening since the completion of the Nidaros cathedral in 1300. The structure is crisply modern on the outside--a formidable glass facade rising from sloping marble planes--but with a warm and traditional interior (details include woodwork by Norwegian boat-builders, cloakroom screens by Olafur Eliasson and, as the Guardian put it, 'extraordinarily beautiful lavatories'). The Czech choreographer Jirí Kylián couldn't have found a more suitable home for his work. It is as if his dancers have exoskeletons, the shapes they make are so angular, but every movement is couched firmly in classical ballet technique. Kylián opens his programme with a tour through the theatre's 'secret passages', which ends when visitors wander across the stage and take their seats in the audience. -J.G.

Worlds Beyond, through June 13th, Oslo Opera House, Oslo

 

LIVE THE DREAM

America's roads tend to belong to that oil-guzzling, noisy villain: the car. But cities across the country are trying to encourage more residents to abandon their vehicles for greener alternatives. In Chicago this Sunday, the city is closing the beautiful Lakeshore Drive (along Lake Michigan) to traffic from 5.30am to 9.45am, inviting cyclists of all levels to imagine a city without cars. Sponsored by Bank of America and the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the 15-mile ride is sure to bring two-wheeled zealots of all ages (rain or shine). An outdoor festival at Butler Field in Grant Park (8am-noon) includes breakfast, beer and a concert from American English, a Beatles tribute band (yeesh). -A.R.

BIKE THE DRIVE, May 25th, Chicago

 

LITTLE GIANTS

826NYC, a non-profit organisation dedicated to literacy and creative writing among students aged 6 to 18 (and founded by Dave Eggers, an author), is holding an art auction fundraiser at the swanky David Zwirner Gallery in Chelsea on Thursday at 8pm. Among the new pieces by 21 contemporary artists, standout items include a delicate, pornographic work on paper by Lisa Uskavage, a spaceship rendering of LAX by Enoc Perez and a precise, carnivalesque-meets-cabaret ink drawing by Marcel Dzama. A limited edition catalogue is for sale, and John Flansburgh from the quirky band They Might Be Giants is officiating as auctioneer. The work is on display from May 20th to 22nd. -A.R.

826 NYC ART SHOW, May 22nd, David Zwirner, New York

 

FROM ACROSS THE ATLANTIC, A NEW YORK HELLO

Naturally many people think it's a hoax: a British artist announced that he found a secret tunnel running between London and New York, and has plans to equip both terminals--London's South Bank and New York's Brooklyn Bridge--with a newly discovered turn-of-the-century optical device that will allow Britons and Americans at each end to pull faces at each other, in real-time. The news broke on April Fool's Day. The project's website and blog are fact-poor and illustrated with cartoonish 'old' maps and phoney-looking artefacts. The artist, who is also a professor of animation, told his university's press department that the project will use 'the best of modern technology': clues that we may be in for nothing more miraculous than a large-scale webcam linkup. But promisingly, the project is backed by Artichoke, a firm known for producing spectacular live events (it sent a 42-ton mechanical elephant rambling through London in 2006). If the 'telectroscope' succeeds, it could become New York's most crowd-pleasing work of public art since Christo's 'Gates'. -J.G.

The Telectroscope, May 22nd through June 15th, London and New York