Monday, 21 May 2012

Overworlds Underworlds

Over the next few months I'll be writing about the Olympics a lot. I'm one of the people who is totally over-excited about them being held in my country. When we were awarded them years ago I swore I'd do everything I could to take my son. What I didn't realise is just how great the Olympics will be culturally and for communities.

Yesterday, my son and I went to Overworlds Underworlds which is an art installation festival funded via the Cultural Olympiad. It was on all weekend but I only got to attend the final day. It was a really absorbing and engaging mixture of music, dance and visual art.

Recently the first exhibit has caused some controversy in Leeds with one lady on the local news memorably saying she might like it when it was finished. It is finished. It's meant to look like that.

I was far less convinced by the statue than by the brilliant street dance that this company presented without warning in Leeds' main shopping street

The highlight of the afternoon for me was Harrogate Brass band doing a flash mob performance of Lionel Ritchie's 'Dancing on the Ceiling' outside WH Smith before leading a huge smiling crowd through the shopping streets like a modern day set of Pied Pipers

And we were corralled by a bunch of steam punk types:

The feeling of marching through a town full of confused Sunday shoppers was great as we were led from the Overworld of Leeds city centre to the Underworld of the Dark Arches.

There were a variety of art installations and performance pieces in the suitably gloomy Dark Arches including a ghostly cabaret

And some sculptures that were very reminiscent of scary mid-80s dark stop animation cartoons

One of the most visually arresting pieces was a lighting show which illuminated the River Aire as it surged under the Victorian railway arches. My son felt it represented the River Styx and it was certainly a new perspective on a familiar sight

Outside in the sun was a gothic band of skeletal musicians and some fire breathers adding spectacle and entertaining the slightly freaked kiddies.

A great afternoon out for my son and I and, as I noted on my timeline, for practically the entire twitterati of Leeds.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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