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Oct 12, 2012

Mantel could make history with Booker Prize double

LONDON (Reuters) – Hilary Mantel is favored to become the first woman to win the coveted Man Booker Prize for fiction twice, with her historical novel “Bring Up the Bodies” ahead of Will Self’s “Umbrella” in the bookmakers’ rankings.

The annual award, one of the world’s most prominent literary prizes, will be handed out at a glitzy dinner in London on Tuesday, and the build-up this year has been dominated by 60-year-old Mantel.

Oct 10, 2012

London film festival opens, Rolling Stones to star

LONDON (Reuters) – The London film festival opens on Wednesday with the European premiere of Tim Burton’s stop-motion 3D animation drama “Frankenweenie”, kicking off the 12-day cinema showcase where more than 220 movies and documentaries will be screened.

It closes on October 21 with another European premiere, Mike Newell’s adaptation of the classic Dickens novel “Great Expectations” starring Ralph Fiennes as Abel Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham.

Oct 9, 2012

London art bonanza looks to past to bolster future

LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) – The most surprising thing about
this year’s Frieze art week, which puts London at the cutting
edge of the contemporary art world every October, is that there
is so much old art around.

The annual Frieze Art Fair will go ahead as usual in a giant
marquee in Regent’s Park, a grid of 175 galleries teeming with
potential buyers and thousands of contemporary art lovers keen
to keep up with the latest trends in a fast-moving world.

Oct 8, 2012

U.S. collector slams “trophy hunters” inflating art

LONDON (Reuters) – A U.S. art collector whose 20th century paintings from Germany and Austria are valued at more than 100 million pounds ($160 million) has attacked what he called “trophy hunters” who have driven prices higher and created a bubble in the market.

Benedict Silverman, a property developer and philanthropist, has decided to put his collection of works by artists including Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Otto Dix up for sale to raise funds for an education fund called Reading Rescue.

Oct 8, 2012

“I’m no vandal,” says man who defaced Rothko art

LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) – A man who claims to have defaced a
major painting by Mark Rothko over the weekend in London said on
Monday that Marcel Duchamp, the French artist most famous for
his 1917 urinal that shocked the art establishment, would be
“happy” at what he had done.

Police are investigating the incident on Sunday at Tate
Modern gallery on the River Thames, where witnesses saw a man
approach Rothko’s 1958 canvas “Black on Maroon” and inscribe it
with black ink in the lower right-hand corner.

Oct 5, 2012

Bond films turn 50 with Adele song and documentary

LONDON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – The James Bond film franchise
turns 50 on Friday with the release of a revealing new
documentary about its turbulent past and the first listen of the
new theme tune performed by Adele.

The premiere of the first Bond film, “Dr. No”, was held in
London on October 5, 1962 and starred Scottish actor Sean
Connery as the suave and brutal super-spy working for British
intelligence to thwart the plans of an evil megalomaniac.

Oct 4, 2012

James Bond films’ history as dramatic as the movies

LONDON (Reuters) – As a new documentary shows, the real story behind the James Bond film franchise is almost as dramatic as the 007 fantasies themselves, full of twists and turns, personality clashes, heroes, villains, beautiful women and narrow escapes.

“Everything or Nothing” is released in theatres on Friday, branded “Global James Bond Day” to mark 50 years since the world premiere of “Dr. No” which introduced author Ian Fleming’s suave, sophisticated secret agent to the masses.

Oct 3, 2012

Damon Albarn backs drive to find younger opera fans

LONDON (Reuters) – The English National Opera launched a fresh initiative on Wednesday to attract new and younger audiences to an art form it acknowledged was still seen by many as the preserve of old and wealthy patrons.

“Undress for the Opera” has the backing of former Blur frontman Damon Albarn, whose operatic work “Dr. Dee” was part of the ENO’s 2011/12 season and attracted 60 percent of new ticket buyers.

Oct 2, 2012

“Deadhouse” art show unites paintings, headstones

LONDON (Reuters) – Above ground Somerset House boasts one of London’s most famous courtyards, a neo-classical gem used for film sets, fashion shows and a glamorous skating venue in the winter.

Beneath the spectacular square are little-known underground passageways called the “Deadhouse”, which this week open to the public for the first exhibition of paintings ever to be held there.

Sep 28, 2012

Rushdie says writers losing influence in West

LONDON (Reuters) – Salman Rushdie believes literature has lost much of its influence in the West, and movie stars like George Clooney and Angelina Jolie have taken the place of Susan Sontag and Norman Mailer when it comes to addressing the big issues.

The British author, who has just released his account of 10 years in hiding after an Iranian fatwa was declared against him in 1989, believes the “Arab Spring” uprisings have failed but that there is hope for freer Muslim societies in the future.

    • About Mike

      "I cover arts and entertainment across Europe, Middle East and Africa, ranging from film festivals like Cannes and awards shows like the BRITs and from books and theatre to art, opera and industry stories. My previous postings include Moscow, senior correspondent in Central Asia and deputy bureau chief in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I also covered the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq."
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