Leeds today: PCC, 10k, gallery, Birds, beer, Lento, arts in sports, dance and panto.

Happy Monday Readers; Naziya here. It’s Thanksgiving week, and whilst I was finishing off my first turkey dinner of the year courtesy of my generous hosts, thousands were recovering from completing the 10Km Headrow- Kirkstall, Abbey Dash. This year Age UK were the beneficiaries of the charity race and on the back of one of the coldest weekends of the year thus far, keeping an eye on our elderly friends and neighbours will make a vital difference.

Only 13.3% of you will be interested and I have no idea whether you are BGL fans but I’ll go ahead and mention it anyway, Mark Burns-Williamson of the Labour Party was elected as police and crime commissioner for West Yorkshire. He promises to be ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’. Let us know what you think. Did you vote for him, register a protest or did it all go over your head?

Leeds Love Affair has a lovely piece about Bird’s Yard, a department store on Kirkgate filled with independent, unique designers for your home and fashions. If you’re looking for quirky, one off -presents or to treat yourself to tea, cakes and quality browsing it seems well worth your time. As too, is The Craft Centre and Design Gallery which is celebrated by the YEP. The gallery, which is located underneath Leeds City Art Gallery has become ‘one of the leading craft centres of the country’ to feature up and coming designers from Yorkshire as well as established names. This week the Craft Centre celebrates its 30th birthday by exhibiting ‘seven showcases, including jewellery, paintings, sculptures and ceramics.’

After six successful years Saltaire Brewery have launched ‘Cask, Keg and Bottle’, a trio of new beers featuring the latest branding. They’re available in pubs but as ever, at Saltaire’s Beer clubs. The winter beer clubs, held on the last Friday of the month, are ticketed; November’s beer club has sold out but Decembers are available from the 30th of the month.

Another great hang out is Café Lento on Headingley’s North Lane. I’ve always loved it as part of perfecting my café lifestyle but a recent conversation with the proprietor has confirmed that this gem has aspirations beyond that of serving us a bacon sandwich with our coffee. There is a newly acquired bar license designed to complement its burgeoning Friday jazz nights. Supporting music students and local performers, Lento is a very decent answer to the question of what to do in Headingley after the sun goes down.

You may have been aware of ‘Fields of Vision – the arts in sports’ conference held at Headingley Carnegie Stadium in September. Following on from that platform for arts practitioners to showcase dance, drama poetry and song with a sports theme is ‘On your Marks’, an evening of contemporary performance on the same theme at St Chad’s Parish Hall on the evening of Tuesday 27th November (Tickets from Heart). The extraordinary Phoenix dance theatre will be there with two routines produced and performed by young community dancers and sports fans alongside work by Teresa Brayshaw, Leeds Met’s Head of performing arts.

If dance is your thing then you’ll appreciate advance warning of U.Dance 2013 arriving in Leeds next summer. The decision to base the national youth dance festival outside of London was supported by Yorkshire dance and is in recognition of the excellent dance venues, companies and organisations based here in Leeds. Performers will take part in master classes and workshops and for those interested in participating, both Yorkshire dance and U.Dance have applications  open for youth dance groups whilst tickets can be purchased in the spring for spectators. There’s plenty to catch before then, Paco Peña’s Flamenco dance troupe are at Leeds Town Hall this evening, ‘mixing thrilling Flamenco and African dance, song and music with intimate story telling’ and why not have a browse through the Dance in Leeds and Yorkshire’s online autumn/winter brochure for an alternative to your Christmas panto?

However, if it’s panto you want and I’m a huge fan of happy endings, then look to the Leeds-List to narrow down your selection. From the straight up traditional offering of RocknRoll Cinderella at The City Varieties to WYP’s alternative Sleeping Beauty, there’s a précis and Z-list celeb spot of the region’s best.
Other opportunities for entertainment tonight include sketch comedy act ‘The Leeds Tealights’, revamped after Edinburgh fringe success, at the Library pub on Woodhouse Lane or electronic dance your way into Tuesday with Chimp at Wire club.

Correction: an earlier version of this article didn’t make it quite clear that the On your Marks performances are produced and performed by young community dancers and sports fans, not Phoenix (who are presenting). Apologies for any confusion.

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