Leeds today: Japan, Beacons, Canvas, and Varieties.

Good morning, it’s nearly the weekend and time for a news round up!

South Leeds Life reports on a meeting of the Friends and Relatives of Hunslet Cemetery group, in which they passionately complained about the continued vandalism of the cemetery. They have created a petition for Leeds City Council to try and produce a maintenance programme for the cemetery and to encourage better security. Some of the group’s ideas include tidy-up and re-planting sessions at the cemetery.

The people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were remembered earlier in the week in a ceremony that took place in Park Square in Leeds, the YEP reports. The Lord Mayor of Leeds laid a wreath at the same site as the memorial tree, planted in 2003 by the mayors of the Japanese cities, and origami cranes (created as part of the ‘Fold for Japan’ event by @gazpachodragon) were scattered around the site. A two minute silence was observed in remembrance.

Due to wet weather reports and the unfortunate situation of having a flooded field, Beacons Festival this weekend has been cancelled. The organisers of  the boutique festival, held near Skipton, is urging all attendees to hold on to tickets and receipts and wait for further announcements. A fundraiser for the festival is being organised by Nathan from the Brudenell Social Club, while you can catch one of the bands, Golua Glau and their music/art piece HENRY, at Test Space in November.

The Guardian Northerner blog asks why so many northern cities have been ‘spared’ violence and rioting this week. Putting it down to a variety of reasons such as geographical layout of the city (good one), community spirit, prepared citizens, and the like, the Guardian is asking for your ideas. I have some qualms with Leeds apparently being ‘spared’, as if the violence came from without rather than within existing ruptures in a community. Maybe Leeds’ strong sense of local identity (both as a city and as a series of suburbs) has helped? What do you think?

Eight Leeds arts and culture organisations have won a bid for Cultural Olympiad funding, securing half a million pounds to create Leeds Canvas, an art project that hopes to involve 5,000 local people. Leeds Canvas is a commissioning project, creating new artwork in Yorkshire every 4 years, starting with the Quay Brothers (that I originally read as the Kray brothers). The usual culprits are involved, including Opera North, who have an interesting press release of the event on their blog.

If you fancy some culture this Saturday that also coincides with being indoors and away from the horrible weather, Leeds Art Gallery is hosting a free talk at 3pm. The talk, with the gallery team, will be a brief introduction to the Damien Hirst exhibition and discuss the key concepts behind the pieces. It only lasts 20 minutes too! Meet at 3pm at the front of the Main Hall. If you prefer outside activities, although potentially madness, an outing has been planned to walk in Hackfall Woods this Saturday, meeting at 10.30am. Looks like a beautiful spot but keep checking the site to see whether it will be going ahead.

Harewood House is hosting a networking event on the evening of 1st September, where you can view the latest Anthony Gormley exhibition, Two States. There will probably be nibbles and maybe wine (unconfirmed).

The work on City Varieties has finally finished, transforming the Music Hall into a bright, light, beautiful space. The £9.9 million refurbishment includes better access, better public spaces, and a fancy new glass lift, funded through several streams including donations from Friends of the City Varieties (who used to run an excellent charity shop that has since shut!) City Varieties is only one of three music halls in the style surviving nationally, the number having declined from over 300 in the late 19th century.

This Sunday 14th is Wakefield Pride, another in a line of Northern events celebrating LGBT life. The march will start and end at the New Union pub, and features a range of activities, events, and entertainment. If it’s anything like Leeds Pride it should be a great way to spend a Sunday.

Finally, don’t forget it’s the opening of Cafe 164 and the new Leeds Gallery in Munro House on Monday – hopefully someone from BGL should be attending so let us know if you’ll be there and say hi! That’s all for today kids, have a great weekend and don’t catch cold.

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