15 things to do this weekend in London from a Brexit-inspired Halloween party in the City to Plosive Comedy in Dulwich, Chelsea Rare Book Fair and, of course, loads of fireworks!
Lead image: Backyard Cinema launches The Winter Night Garden & The Snow Kingdom
Guy Fawkes, bonfires, toffee apples, fun fairs – Bonfire Night comes with many traditions, but to many of us it’s all about the fireworks. London’s big four fireworks displays – Alexandra Palace, Blackheath, Battersea Park and Crystal Palace – are back in full swing this year, so wrap up warm and head on out. Ally Pally is hosting its usual two day Fireworks Festival, taking place on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd November with music, cabaret, bars, a new pagan-inspired fire-lighting ritual culminating in the lighting of a 30ft effigy, and a huge fireworks display soundtracked by Bestival founder Rob da Bank (from 7.30pm Friday and 6.30pm Saturday; tickets £12.50 adults, £10 kids (under 10s £2.50). Blackheath Fireworks is the biggest free and unticketed display in London (although it requires donations to stay that way), kicking off with a funfair from 12pm, food and bars from 5pm and fireworks from 8pm on Saturday 2 November. Battersea Park Fireworks also takes place on 2 November with award-winning pyro-technicians Jubilee Fireworks. Gates open at 6pm, the pre-show entertainment begins at 7pm, the bonfire will be lit at 7.30pm and the fireworks beginning at 8pm (tickets £10). Crystal Palace Fireworks also takes place on 2 November, but this year there’s a new operator in town and they’re pulling out all the stops with an incredible ‘musical lightning’ show from Arcadia’s Lords of Lightning, fairgrounds, tented entertainment, food, a bonfire and fireworks accompanied by a laser show (tickets from £10 for adults, £8.50 for kids and £2 for under 10s).
2 Day of the Dead at Brixton Village
Brixton Village is hosting an evening of Day of the Dead festivities with traditional food and drink from the village’s Latin American dining outlets, Jalisco and Casa Morita, and a special live performance by the Mariachi band Las Guadalupes, a female-fronted Mexican duo on a mission to share their love of traditional Mexican music. Co-founders Ingrid Rueda, a Colombian singer-songwriter, and DeAnna Avis, who was raised in a mariachi family, will also host a talk exploring the folklore behind the Day of the Dead in between songs. Jalisco will be running buzzing taco and margarita bars, while Casa Morita will be offering signature dishes and their special chill rum hot chocolate to warm up revellers, as well as churros and tacos outside their restaurant in Brixton Market, with next-door neighbour Seven cocktail bar offering up £5 margaritas and a piñata for all ages. 6.30pm till late. Free entry.
Brixton Village Courtyard, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8LD; brixtonvillage.com
3 BBC Music Introducing LIVE at Tobacco Dock
31 October-2 November
BBC Music Introducing LIVE returns to Tobacco Dock this weekend with an essential three days of discovery with talks, panels, performances, masterclasses and more. One of the UK’s biggest industry events, BBC Music Introducing LIVE supports and inspires the next generation of industry leaders, artists and creatives. The headline Catfish and the Bottlemen gig has sold out, but you can still catch a series of intimate daytime gigs from the likes of Celeste, Easy Life, JC Stewart, Lily Moore, Maisie Peters, Olivia Nelson and Rachel Chinouriri. Other highlights include Jo Whiley in conversation with Emily Eavis, and an Abbey Road Studios Songwriting Masterclass with Maverick Sabre, Novelist and Rachel Furner on Thursday 31 October, as well as Trevor Nelson talking about his incredible journey From Pirate Radio To Black Music Pioneer on Friday 1 November, Gilles Peterson will host the Futuresounds session, introducing some of the hottest developing artists in the UK. Tickets from £12.50.
4 Backyard Cinema launches The Winter Night Garden & The Snow Kingdom
From 1 November
Backyard Cinema at Capital Studios in Wandsworth has launched its Christmas programme with not one but two new festive cinematic adventures: The Snow Kingdom and The Winter Night Garden. Both indoors and fully heated, the two Christmas adventures offer giant beanbags, festive snacks and a programme of films including Elf, The Holiday, Love Actually, The Lion King (2019), Home Alone, The Greatest Showman, Die Hard and more. The Winter Night Garden, entered via a magical wardrobe, is a lost theatre within an enchanted forest, while, to find The Snow Kingdom, you must navigate a ball pit river, find the password to the hidden door and make your way through a secret underground passage.
Capital Studios, 13 Wandsworth Plain SW18 1ET; backyardcinema.co.uk
5 Plosive Comedy, Dulwich
Plosive Comedy in Dulwich – south east London’s all-headline comedy show – returns this month with Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo star Milton Jones headlining. Fellow Live at the Apollo comedian Laura Lexx will also be taking to the stage, as well as 2019 Edinburgh Comedy Awards Best Newcomer nominees Huge Davies and Janines Harouni. Ages 18+. 8pm. Tickets £17. Plosive Comedy takes places at the MCT at Alleyn’s, a state-of-the-art theatre near North Dulwich station.
Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, Dulwich SE22 8SU; plosive.co.uk
6 The End of The World Brexit Party at Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds: The Immersive Experience
31 October-2 November
Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds: The Immersive Experience is one of the hottest tickets in town, and now, in celebration of Halloween and our impending departure from the EU (definitely maybe?), you can get a taste of the experience without going the whole hog at The End of The World Brexit Party. Toasting our political armageddon, celebrations begin on Thursday 31 October in the venue’s the steampunk-themed bar and restaurant, followed by a weekend of Apocalypse After-parties with cheeky Tequila May and Bo-jito cocktails, DJs and even a special guest appearance from BoJo himself (well, sort of!). EU-themed costumes are encouraged – there are drinks prizes for best dressed. 7pm till late. Tickets start from £12 (plus £29.99 for a bottomless punch bowl and four tokens for any draught beer and house wine).
56 Leadenhall Street EC3A 2BJ; dotdot.london/TWOTW
7 Rugby World Cup Final at Twickenham Stadium
Head to the Home of England Rugby stadium to watch England in the Rugby World Cup Final, beamed live from Yokohama on Saturday 2 November. After a welcome breakfast cocktail or mocktail on arrival (doors open at 7.45am and the bar opens at 8am) in The Lock or the British Airways Rose Garden, you’ll be able to enjoy a breakfast bap, with unlimited tea and coffee and a match-day atmosphere. Kick off is at 9am, the bar closes at 12.30pm and the event finishes at 1pm. Tickets are £30 (kids under 12, £5).
200 Whitton Road, Twickenham TW2 7BA; twickenhamstadium.com
8 The Chelsea Rare Book Fair, Chelsea Old Town Hall
Lose yourself in the printed word at the Chelsea Rare Book Fair, where dealers from around the world converge to showcase rare and collectable items from maps and manuscripts to first editions and ephemera from all over the world. Taking place at Chelsea Old Town Hall, the event, presented by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association, is ideal for everyone who loves a good book, from experienced collectors to those seeking out a childhood favourite, or those simply looking for an extra special Christmas gift. With more than 80 exhibitors, there’s something for every interest, including poetry, children’s classics, modern fiction, gardening, cookery, sport, military, crime, art, architecture and travel. You can also enjoy book fair tours by experts.
Chelsea Old Town Hall, Kings Road SW3 5EE. To register for free tickets see chelseabookfair.com
9 Riley Studio Pop-Up Concept Store, Notting Hill
Until 2 November
Eco-innovative fashion brand Riley Studio is hosting its very first Concept Store to celebrate a new eco-innovative collection, From Waste to Wardrobe. Riley Studio will also be showcasing a number of its favourite sustainable brands, including By Sarah, The Ocean Bottle, Guppyfriend Bags and many more during the two week pop-up, and will also be hosting a number of events, panels and workshops to help us live more sustainably. Speakers include Lucy Siegle, Tamsin Blanchard, Wilson Oryema and brands such as Hurr Collective, The Restory and Frank Green. The Concept Store installations have been created from reclaimed and recycled materials, and plastic collection points have been set up at their London WeWork in partnership with TerraCycle to repurpose them responsibly. The Concept Store also offers a Clothes Drop in partnership with Stories Behind Things, so that customers can donate old clothes to their Clothes Switching Events.
79-81 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill W11 2AD; riley.studio
10 You Can’t Tell By Looking at Tension Fine Art, Penge
Until 2 November
How do you finish a painting? As an artist do you merely abandon a painting or do you wait and carry on working until the painting ‘looks right’? What is the most significant factor when finishing a painting – the rightness, the importance of the mark, the painting ‘facility’ or the rightness of what the painting might be ‘of’? Are you looking at the subject of the painting, or are you looking at the paint itself? Are you looking for both or neither? You cannot always say for certain what you are looking at – ‘you can’t tell by looking’. This exhibition, curated by Kate Love, has taught critical theory in art schools for 34 years, brings together three artists – Stuart Elliot, Julian Lowe and Mark Wallinger – to explore this ‘capability’. If ‘you can’t tell by looking’, what other ways of ‘telling’ do we use? Open Thursday to Saturday 11am-5pm or by prior appointment.
Tension Fine Art, 135 Maple Road, Penge SE20 8LP; tensionfineart.co.uk
11 Mix It Pop-Up Cocktail Experience at The Montague on the Gardens, Bloomsbury
Until 2 November
Returning for a second residency, the Mix It Pop-Up Cocktail Experience at The Montague on the Gardens is an interactive bottomless cocktail-making experience. Over two hours on a Friday or Saturday night, or Saturday afternoon, you’ll create your own drinks using the venue’s full and unlimited complement of spirits, mixers and garnishes, or you can enlist the help of your own personal bartender, who will be on hand to provide expert mixology guidance. For a truly indulgent experience, ask your bartender to mix up your personally designed drinks, or order one of the delicious cocktails available from a bespoke menu specially created for Mix It by Pernod Ricard. Tickets from £39.
15 Montague Street, Bloomsbury WC1B 5BJ. To book see designmynight.com
12 Deptford X, across Deptford
Until 3 November
Deptford X, London’s longest running contemporary visual arts festival, celebrates its 21st birthday this year with its largest programme to date. This year’s theme is Stop Making Sense, taken from the Talking Heads’ 1984 concert film of the same name, chosen to reflect surreal, playful and unruly art as a disruption to our current political climate of hostility and division. New director Nathalie Boobis has curated 12 major projects, five of which have been specially commissioned following an open call aimed at BAME applicants, with almost 100 fringe events drawn from the local community. Highlights include a film by Sarah Browne, who co-represented Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennial, a new sculptural installation by Kobby Adi, whose work explores cultural objects associated with Blackness, a major immersive work by American artist Gray Wielebinski that uses sports as an entry point for exploring themes of national identity, desire, myth making, surveillance, hierarchies, race and gender, and a festival procession invoking worldwide carnival traditions on the final day.
13 Handle With Care at Camden People’s Theatre
Until 9 November
Camden People’s Theatre’s Handle With Care festival programme asks if Generation Snowflake is as hyper-sensitive as we’ve been told. Headlined by EUROTRASH’s new show, Trigger Warning (22 October-9 November), the UK’s most exciting theatremakers strike out beyond their safe spaces to explore this timid new world. Presented by two charming hosts, Trigger Warning is a pre-show disclaimer to a show you may never see, an absurdist comedy, exploring the politics behind safe spaces and the culture of offence. Atilla Theatre’s I, Incel (1-2 November) continues to question where healthy self-assertion ends and entitlement begins. Tickets £12.
58-60 Hampstead Road, Camden NW1 2PY; cptheatre.co.uk
14 Japanese Winter Light Festival at Mr Fogg’s Tavern & Gin Parlour, Covent Garden
Until 24 November
Mr Fogg’s Tavern and Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour in Covent Garden has transformed into a magical Japanese-inspired illuminated oasis in celebration of the Winter Light Festival. In partnership with the House of Suntory, the festival experience will welcome the curious to explore super Instagrammable Japanese light installations and cocktails inspired by the riches of Japanese nature. A striking red Torii (gate) frames the entrance to Mr Fogg’s Tavern, with delicate hues of pink Japanese blossom adorning the exterior. The perfect space to soak up Japanese culture this winter, Mr Fogg’s will serve up equally dazzling Japanese-inspired cocktails, made with Roku gin, Haku vodka and Toki whisky, as well as a food menu that will take you on a voyage through Japan, from chicken gyoza to tuna sashimi pizza.
Mr Fogg’s Tavern, 58 St Martin’s Lane WC2N 4EA & Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour, 1 New Row WC2N 4EA; mr-foggs.com
15 Grayson Perry: Super Rich Interior Decoration at Victoria Miro, Mayfair
Until 20 December
For his first solo exhibition at the gallery since 2012 – and first exhibition at Victoria Miro Mayfair – Grayson Perry presents new work including pots, sculpture, large-scale prints, a tapestry and a carpet. Perry casts an anthropological eye on the heady collision of art, money, power and desire, broaching the slippery concepts of meaning and significance. New pots include Shopping for Meaning, adorned with images of the artist – in wig, headscarf and various outfits – standing in front of Mayfair’s designer stores, their logos visible behind him. Searching for Authenticity collects together symbols of rebellion and rites of passage – the leather jacket, the beard, the CND banner – as if they were a catalogue of lifestyle choices. Don’t Look Down is a carpet depicting a homeless person bordered by a frieze containing images of domestic architecture. During the making of the work Perry had in mind Nam June Paik’s famous quote: ‘the artist should always bite the hand that feeds him – but not too hard’.
Victoria Miro Mayfair, 14 St George Street W1S 1FE; victoria-miro.com