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22 great things to do in Edinburgh this week

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Band of Skulls

Though be warned: with so many of them overlapping on Hallowe'en, it's only really possible to accomplish 14 of them. We're eager to see you try though.

Things to do

Samhuinn, High Street, Fri Oct 31
Predictably, our round-up of events this week is pretty hocus pocus-focused, so let’s start off with the big daddy of Hallowe’en celebrations. The Beltane Fire Society stage their pyromaniac promenade performance every year, reviving the ancient Celtic tradition of bidding farewell to summer and hello to winter. Expect flames, tribal drumming, puppetry and a whole lot of body paint.

Night in the Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens, Thu Oct 30-Sun Nov 23
Come and experience the Botanics as you’ve never seen them before, with spectacular and eerily beautiful illuminations transforming the park into a psychedelic wonderland.

Fireworks Extravaganza, George Watson’s Rugby Stadium, Sun Nov 2
The fireworks posse at George Watson’s get a head start on the Guy Fawkes celebrations this year with not one but two pyrotechnic displays on Sunday evening, both in aid of Indian children’s charity SLA. Entertainment includes a pipe band, street theatre, a choir and plenty of hot food and drink, not to mention those magnificent explosions in the sky.

Theatre

Smokies, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri Oct 31
Glaswegian physical theatremaker Meyyappan presents a grisly and gruesome little story for Hallowe’en, taking the audience to a remote island where two lonely spinsters smoke fish and make advances on unsuspecting sailors.

Art

Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Scottish Art, Scottish National Galleries, until Sun Jan 25
The nationwide Generation project, which celebrates the last quarter-century of Scottish visual art, rumbles on with exhibitions and installations at all three of Edinburgh’s National Galleries this month. We’re particularly impressed with the fabulous show at Modern Art One, which features works by Ross Sinclair, Graham Fagen, Douglas Gordon, Alison Watt and Charles Avery – the latter of whom also crops up at…

Billboard for Edinburgh: Charles Avery, Inglyby Gallery, Wed Oct 29 & Thu Oct 30
This week presents your last chance to see Avery’s large-scale text-based piece, mounted on the Ingleby Gallery’s external billboard. As is the artist’s style, it’s simultaneously simple and quietly inspiring.

Negritude Republic, Summerhall, until Fri Nov 7
Johannesburg graphic designer Modise BlackDice makes his solo Uk debut with this striking poster exhibition as part of the Afrovibes UK Festival fringe, celebrating 20 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa. It’s a bold and striking exhibition combining pop art, typography and black iconography.

Fifty Comics Exhibition, Edinburgh Playhouse, until Sat Nov 15
London-based portrait photographer Matt Crockett has assembled 50 of his favourite comedian portraits for a forthcoming book. Have a sneak peak at the full-size versions ahead of publication, for free, at one of Edinburgh’s performance institutions.

Music & Nightlife

The Black Lips, Electric Circus, Thu Oct 30
The ‘flower punk’ fourpiece, famed for their early unpredictable live shows, take on one of the city’s more intimate gig spaces in support of latest album ‘Underneath the Rainbow’.

Erol Alkan & JD Twitch at Juice, Sneaky Pete’s, Thu Oct 30
Electro DJ, Phantasy label boss and remixer du jour Alkan joins forces with Twitch (one half of Optimo) for a special slot at Juice, a resident night at 150-capacity sweatbox Sneaky Pete’s.

Lost Map’s Hallowe’en Special, The Mash House, Fri Oct 31
Boutique record label Lost Map (run from the Isle of Eigg by Fence co-founder Johnny Lynch, aka The Pictish Trail) stages a late-night music extravaganza, with live sets from The Archie Bronson Outfit, Our Ladies of Sorrow, Tuff Love, Carbs, River of Slime, Operator and Insect Heroes, with DJ sets from Lost Map, Papi Falso and Irregular Owl Movements. Given that the latter is a Hallowe’en specific pseudonym for local indie stalwarts eagleowl, we reckon there may be a few more alter-egos on the night.

Vitamins, Sneaky Pete’s, Fri Oct 31
The Glasgow party crew return to their semi-regular residency at Sneaky’s for a Hallowe’en special, featuring sets from Klaus (co-founder of 1-800-Dinosaur with James Blake and Airhead), plus Sam and Tanner.

Buck 65, Electric Circus, Sat Nov 1
Check out genre-hopping Canadian alt.hip hop artist. Signed to Sage Francis’s Strange Famous Records, Buck 65 will be performing songs from his 15 albums-strong back catalogue (including most recent release, ‘Neverlove’).

Jackhammer, Wee Red Bar, Sat Nov 1
Another storming night for the much-loved capital techno night, with Glasgow-based DJ/producer Hans Bouffmyhre (Sleaze, Soma) stepping behind the decks.

Band of Skulls, Liquid Room, Sun Nov 2
The English rock trio are touring the UK in support of swaggering third album ‘Himalayan’, which we awarded a strong four stars back in March. Better yet, they’re supported by Aussie thrash-pop two-piece DZ Deathrays.

Comedy

Jeremy Hardy, Traverse Theatre, Fri Oct 31
The lefty comedian and ‘News Quiz’/‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue’ regular takes to the road. We suspect his famously abysmal singing voice won’t be the focal point of his show.

Film

Mr Turner, on general release from Fri Oct 31
Timothy Spall delivers a phenomenal turn (ahem) in Mike Leigh’s biopic of the 19th century British painter JMW Turner. Our reviewer called it ‘an extraordinary film, all at once strange, entertaining, thoughtful and exciting.’

Nightcrawler, on general release from Fri Oct 31
A bug-eyed Jake Gyllenhal channels Christian-Bale-in-‘American Psycho’ levels of creepy insanity in this black satire on the modern news media. He plays entrepreneurially-minded Louis, who sees an opportunity in delivering gory ‘hot content’ to news broadcasters – regardless of the ethics concerned in sourcing it.

Hallowe'en Scary Movie Double Bill: ‘Scanners’ and ‘The Night of the Demon’, Summerhall, Fri Oct 31
David Cronenberg’s head-burstingly good horror gets a rescoring from local horror enthusiasts the Southern Tenant Folk Union, plus a screening of classic 1957 Brit horror 'Night of the Demon'.

The Golem: How He Came Into the World, Usher Hall, Fri Oct 31
The Usher Hall present Paul Wegener’s Jewish folk tale as part of their now-traditional silent film screening and live organ accompaniment format, with Jazz Age entertainments before and after and an additional screening of 1910 short film ‘Frankenstein’.

The Exorcist: Director’s Cut, Cameo Cinema, Fri Oct 31
Enhanced with an extra ten minutes of especially unsettling special effects, William Friedkin’s extended cut of ‘The Exorcist’ is essential viewing for any fan of the film, or indeed the horror genre. Plus, it’s Hallowe’en, innit?

Film4 FrightFest All-Nighter, Cameo Cinema, Sat Nov 1
They’re arriving slightly after the Halowe’en rush, but we’ll forgive ‘em. Starting at 9.30pm and carrying on until dawn, the fearsome line-up includes Italian thriller 'The Editor', anthology sequel 'The ABCs of Death 2', Hammer vampire classic 'Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter', nightmarish sequel 'The Pact II' and demonic horror 'Last Shift'.

 

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