Shaun Curnow is Time Out's former Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds Community Manager.
Love live music? Host a gig in your living room
While there is undoubtedly something special about watching a live music performance, there can be the occasional drawback. This could be an unruly crowd, unpleasant venue, shoddy sound system or simply an endless queue for an overpriced beer. If only there was some way to enjoy the music without these distractions. Perhaps, say, by getting the band to play in your house? Rather than a flight of fancy, that is exactly what gig organisers Sofar Sounds offer. The company was first established in London in 2009, when a group of friends decided they were fed up with going to gigs, only for audiences to talk throughout performances. So, instead of telling others to be quiet, the friends brought the musicians and music-lovers into their homes, hosting living room gigs for family, friends and other enthusiasts in order to establish 'an ethos of quiet and respect' for performers. In 2012, Joe Lawrenson, Joe Montague and David Henshaw from band Dancing Years launched Sofar Sounds Leeds, helping to build the group's community not just across the UK but in 179 cities globally. Every month, Sofar Leeds organises secretive gigs in a whole host of interesting and intimate venues in and around the city, providing music fans in the city a great opportunity to discover new talent. To attend a Sofar gig, simply choose a city, sign up to the mailing list and you will be notified of the date of the gig. The venue remains a secret until the night before the gig and the line-up is revealed upon ar
Bristol fashion show gets ready to strut in 2016
First launched in 1997 by reputed Clifton hair salon Hobbs, the Hobbs Show is both the second largest fashion event outside London and Bristol's longest-running fashion show. On February 6, 2016, the Hobbs Show: Born and Raised in Bristol will be making a welcome return to the city, back to its original home at the Passenger Shed. The exciting evening of fashion, performance, music and (of course) spectacular hair will take place on a specially installed catwalk, featuring Bristol's freshest fashion talent alongside national brands, who'll be showcasing their ranges for Spring and Summer 2016. The models taking to the stage will be styled by the Hobbs team, sporting Vivienne Westwood designs from Bristol’s Garment Quarter, wedding dresses from Heartfelt Vintage and other vintage designs from Recession Clothing. Bag maker Katcha Bilek will be showcasing her wares, while Clic Sargent will have its own collection, featuring upcycled streetwear. House of Waladeen will also parade its handmade street clothing, designed and made in Bristol. Alongside the fashion will be plenty of music, with performances from jazz artists Kizzy Morell, rockers Flowerpot and choir group Rif Raf, along with circus acts, dancers and more. Tickets for the 2016 Hobbs Show are available now, priced £40 (£65 for VIP tickets), with all profits going to the Meningitis Research Foundation. Tickets can be collected from the Hobbs Salon on Park Street, or purchased here. The Hobbs Show: Born and Raised in B
Battle your winter blues at a SAD party
This time of year can make you proper glum: weeks of commuting to and from work in the dark, with many of us brooding away in a windowless corner of an office with barely a glimpse of daylight. So, with the shortest day of the year (December 22) yet to pass, perhaps you should cheer yourselves up with at a SAD party? On January 9, 2016, the Cube Microplex is hosting an afternoon party that aims to bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as 'winter depression'. At this get together, the Cube promises 'bright lights, a cosy den and healthy snacks and cocktails'. You'll have your serotonin levels boosted by SAD lamps, listen to heart-lifting music and get to enjoy the tropical decor, in a bid to remind you of sunnier, happier seasons. What should improve your mood even more is the fact that entry is just £1 – or free if you bring a SAD lamp with you. SAD Party. Saturday January 9, midday. Cube Microplex, 4 Princess Row, Bristol, BS2 8NQ. More details here. Still feeling blue? Plan a great night out at one of Bristol's awesome NYE parties.
Enjoy the London West End on a Leeds big screen
Do you love the theatre and other live performances that you find at London's West End – but can't be arsed with a lengthy journey to the capital? Cinema group Vue can offer a great compromise for a festive night out. Both Vue Kirkstall Road and Vue The Light is offering customers the chance to watch some of the best live events taking place this month, either live streamed or screened to the big screen. In December this includes shows from the Royal Opera House, Metropolitan Opera House, National Theatre and Kenneth Branagh's Theatre Company. So, if you couldn't get a ticket to watch Benedict Cumberbatch's performance of 'Hamlet' or would feel self-conscious munching on nachos during 'The Nutcracker', this might just be the next best thing. The following performances will screened at either one of the two cinemas in Leeds this December: December 10 – Royal Opera House Live: 'Cavalleria/Pagliacci' December 12 - Metropolitan Opera: 'The Magic Flute' (encore) December 13 – Royal Opera House Live: 'Cavalleria/Pagliacci' (encore) December 14 – Florence and the Uffizi Gallery December 15 – National Theatre: 'Macbeth' December 16 – Royal Opera House Live: 'The Nutcracker' December 24 - Kenneth Branagh's Theatre Company: 'The Winter's Tale' (encore) December 27 – Royal Opera House Live: 'The Nutcracker' (encore) Find more details about the screenings and tickets here. Vue The Light, No.22, The Light, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 8TL. Vue Kirkstall Road, Cardigan Fields, Kirkstall Road,
Grab a unique gift at The Great Art Jumble
If you're looking for an opportunity to buy a unique gift for a loved one this Christmas, you should head to Cafe Kino on Saturday December 12 for The 2015 Great Art Jumble. The Great Art Jumble is a charity fundraising event that has been running since 2010, where a wide range of artworks, pictures, photos, music, films and thrift will be available to purchase. This year, an impressive number of artists, musicians and other creatives have contributed works to the sale. This includes work from photographer Esther May Campbell, illustrations from Joe Magee and Yoshino Shigihara, and art from the likes of Aaron Sewards, Suzanne Pickering, Frannie Williams, Sepr and many others. If you're after something more unusual, you might get your hands on an instrument from My Two Toms, a poster from Jacknife or even a 'golden ticket' from The Island, which allows entry to every event it holds in 2016. Proceeds from The Great Art Jumble will go to the Kids Kino Project (KKP), an initiative led by folk from the Cube microplex, with the aim of offering 'illumination, entertainment, solidarity and cinema for displaced children after the earthquakes of Haiti and Nepal'. KKP does this with a mobile cinema it uses to project films on buildings and screens in camps and schools, while also making films with the young people out there for them to later see on the big screen. The 2015 Great Art Jumble. Saturday December 12, midday-6pm. Cafe Kino, 108 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3RU. Read more abou
Turtle Bay opening day will be a 'pay as you feel' fundraiser
Highly anticipated Caribbean restaurant and bar Turtle Bay has revealed it will be making its grand opening a charitable affair, by asking diners to pay what they think for their meal. This opening day fundraiser aims to raise money for the Leeds West Indian Centre Charitable Trust, with diners on the first day of trading being asked to make a 'pay as you feel' donation, rather than their bill. Turtle Bay has then pledged to match the amount contributed by customers with its own donation. The proceeds will be put towards one of the Leeds West Indian Centre Charitable Trust's community projects, to help ensure the continuation of its Friday Luncheon Club for the elderly for at least another year. The 'pay as you feel' event will take place on December 15 (bringing forward the restaurant's original plan to open on December 21), from 11am until 9pm. The minimum donation is £1, with the maximum being the usual price of the meal. Drinks will not be included in the fundraiser and must be paid for separately. Turtle Bay is accepting bookings for the evening, but is also encouraging people to turn up on the day, too. The new Leeds restaurant is the result of a £1m investment and has seating for 150 people within the 4,200 sq ft venue in shopping centre The Light. Turtle Bay 'Pay as you feel' fundraiser. December 15, 11am-9pm.Turtle Bay Leeds, 14 The Light, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 8TL. Book your table here. Enjoy more guilt-free eating in Leeds.
Guz Khan talks comedy
Not too long ago Guz Khan was a school teacher. However, after some of his comedy YouTube clips went viral it has not only helped propel him into a new career as a stand up comedian, he's recently landed the position as a presenter for the BBC Asian Network's Saturday morning breakfast radio show. We asked Guzzy a few questions about performing comedy in the West Midlands and what other exciting plans he has planned for the future: Where do you think are the best places to perform stand-up comedy in the West Midlands?My uncle’s shed in Alum Rock is by far the best comedy venue I have performed at. It had a really intimate vibe with the crowd, who were my auntie and this guy who sells DVDs out of a plastic bag. It's a place where a comedian can really hone their craft, and their ability to do 10 minutes standing on a tin of creosote. You've got all of the mainstream places, and the Rep theatre which is amazing… but they are a bit posh in there innit? Honestly, I am new to the scene. Having made my name in comedy through my YouTube sketches, I have only done stand-up a handful of times, and am looking forward to gracing the legendary spots around the West Mids. It's hometown baby! We hear you'll soon be making another appearance on TV?I recently filmed an episode of Birmingham soap ‘Doctors’ and found it really enjoyable. I was initially worried that my style of comedy wouldn't suit the programme; however the cast and crew were so nice and open to the performance that it should
Meow about that: a Bristol cat cafe is opening soon
After the worldwide attention received by Hotwells 'cat pub' the Bag 'O Nails, it's clear that Bristol is no stranger to feline-filled establishments. And now it appears that the city could soon to get its first cat cafe. With a plan to open near the city centre next year, You & Meow is setting out to offer a 'unique experience where customers can enjoy the company of our cats whilst savouring our selection of teas, coffees and delicious cakes'. With the concept first finding success in Japan – where cat cafes have existed for at least the last decade – it makes sense that You & Meow will take inspiration from Japanese Zen Gardens, to create a 'relaxing environment for both cats and customers'. They don't mention anything about the possibility of scratched up sofas, finding hairs in your coffee and dead mice under the table, but cat lovers are likely already prepared to overlook these potential kitty transgressions... Flickr: Takahiro Kurebayashi This is not the first time somebody has tried to bring a cat cafe to the city. Late in 2013, Minerva's Moggies (now known as House of Meow) attempted a crowdfund campaign to open what would have been the first cat cafe in the UK, but sadly failed to hit the investment target the campaign required. You can keep up to date with You & Meow developments by following them on Twitter or Facebook. Read more about Bristol's cat pub.
Bristol Film Festival launches in 2016
When it comes to film festivals, Bristol can already boast quite a few: alongside the likes of Encounters and the Slapstick Festival, we can also enjoy the Radical Film Festival, Pride Film Festival and more. Even so, 2016 will see the launch of the inaugural Bristol Film Festival (otherwise known as BriFF), a film-based art festival that will offer attendees a varied mix of activities, including guided studio tours, expert talks, music performances, workshops, pop up screenings and more. Taking place from March 11-13, BriFF has already confirmed several programme highlights. Along with a screening of 'Madagascar' at Bristol Zoo and an interactive screening of 'Sideways' – complete with wine tasting in Averys Wine Cellars – there's also going to be truly eerie screenings of 'Alien' and 'The Descent', underground in Redcliffe Caves. Alien Other events will include a movie cocktail masterclass, soundtrack composing at the Arnolfini and an a cappella concert at St George's which will explore the history of music in film. Further information on programme events and tickets for the festival and individual events will be announced in early 2016. You can keep up to date with news by following @BriFF_Bristol. Bristol Film Festival. March 11-13, 2016. Various locations. Read film reviews and find the latest movie screenings.
Ox Club grill restaurant opens at Headrow House
Earlier this year, a former textile mill on The Headrow was transformed into an exciting mixed use events space. Spread across four floors and 11,000 square feet, Headrow House plays host to a huge beer hall, the Redondo Beach cocktail bar, and a 200-capacity performance space. Come the summer, it's also likely to become a go-to drinking spot, thanks to two huge roof terraces. Launching on Thursday December 3, the latest addition to the Headrow House is Ox Club – a new project from the team behind Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, with the same culinary skills responsible for Patty Smith's Burgers, Dough Boy Pizzas and Fu-Schnikens. Using one of only three Grillworks grills in the UK – a large aluminium grill that cooks over wood and charcoal – Ox Club offers a unique menu of top quality Yorkshire meats and fish cooked in a way that owes a great deal to Spanish and Argentinean culinary traditions. Serving up a nightly menu of small plates and wood fire grilled mains, the Ox Club menu includes delicious sounding dishes including cherry wood smoked ox cheek with bacon jam and flageolet beans; and scallops cooked on coals with grapefruit, coriander and brown butter. On the weekends the restaurant will serve an American-style brunch service from 10am, serving dishes including hanger steak; cheddar eggs and home fries with smoked tomato jam; and corned beef and kale hash with chimichurri. All ingredients will be locally sourced from farms around Yorkshire, with meats and fish pic
Jingle Bell Jog: last chance to join festive fun run
Got any plans for the weekend? How about dusting off your trainers and joining St Mary's Hospice's annual Jingle Bell Jog at Kings Heath Park on Sunday December 6? Last year the event attracted 250 Santa suit-clad runners, helping to raise more than £9,000 for the charity. Although this year's run already has a record number of participants, it's not too late to join in and do your bit for good causes. After a special welcome from Mickey and Minnie Mouse and the chance to limber up at the nearby easyGym, hundreds of joggers of all ages will set off on the 2km run, with the promise of a medal and a mince pie at the finish line. Wannabe Santas can take part in this year’s run by registering at careatchristmas.org or by calling 0121 472 1191. Entry costs £12 for adults, £6 for children aged 6-16, free for under 5s. Registration includes free Santa suit for adults and children, with a Santa hat for under 5s, a mince pie and runner's medal. Find more things to do in Birmingham.
Dance with Peter Kay for charity fundraiser
If you like to shake your money maker (or, in this instance, your fund raiser) while encouraged by one of Britain's best-loved comedians then this is the opportunity for you. On Saturday April 23, 2016, Peter Kay and his Dance For Life team will be hosting a special event at Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena in aid of Cancer Research UK. The three hour dance-a-thon party, with funnyman Kay performing DJ duties, will be just one of seven taking place across the UK at cities including Bournemouth, Aberdeen and Cardiff. Those taking part in the challenge can help raise money for the charity through sponsorship from friends and family, with everything raised going straight to Cancer Research UK. Tickets for Peter's dance-a-thon are on sale now from the website, priced £25. Peter Kay's dance-a-thon. Saturday April 23, 2016. Barclaycard Arena, King Edwards Road, Birmingham, B1 2AA Prefer to sing? Have you seen inside Birmingham's new karaoke bar?