Arts feature

‘Do black movies really not sell?’

The musical biopic is a staple of the Hollywood economy. Like an Airfix model kit it comes with the necessary parts presupplied: sex, drugs and a soundtrack. All the director need do is glue them together. Actors are keen too, as portraying musicians is like prospecting for Oscars: in recent years the lives of Edith


Deluded continent

Les Blancs had a troubled birth. In 1965 several unfinished drafts of the play were entrusted by its dying author, Lorraine Hansberry, to her ex-husband, Robert Nemiroff, who mounted a debut production in New York in 1970. Nemiroff has created a fresh version with the help of a ‘dramaturg’ (or ‘colleague’, in English) named Drew


There will be blood | 14 April 2016

Lucia di Lammermoor is one of the two or three Donizetti operas that have never fallen out of the repertoire, and the more of his operas it’s possible to see, or at least to hear on CD, the less explicable that becomes. The late and rightly venerated Rodney Milnes called Lucia ‘a blazing masterpiece’, but


An inconvenient truth | 14 April 2016

‘Our findings will shock many people,’ promised Trevor Phillips at the beginning of What British Muslims Really Think (Channel 4, Wednesday). But the depressing thing is that I doubt they will, actually. I think the general British public have known for some time what Phillips’s documentary professed to find surprising: that large numbers of Muslims


A trip down Mammary Lane

The V&A is selling £35 Agent Provocateur pants. This is, of course, a business deal because Agent Provocateur — along with Revlon — is sponsoring the museum’s new exhibition Undressed or, as I would have called it, if I were a curator with a gun to my head: Important Artefacts from the Ancient Kingdom of

In defence of conceptual art

At the tail end of last year, an artist called Peter Goodfellow mounted an exhibition of paintings titled Treason of the Scholars. The works were a garish parody of the signature styles of blue-chip artists including Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Joseph Beuys — not so much satire as aggravated assault. In terms of nuance,


Fresh and wild | 14 April 2016

This Jungle Book is Disney’s remake of its animated classic of 1967, as beloved by all generations thereafter. Warner Bros also has a remake in the pipeline, directed by Andy Serkis, and due for release in 2018, so it looks as though we’ve reached peak Jungle Book remake, although I personally won’t be happy until


Death watch | 14 April 2016

All this week Radio Five Live has been giving us an insight into what it is like not just to confront death every day but also to know that a minor error on your part might end a person’s life. In Junior Doctors’ Diaries on Sunday night, Habiba, Andrew and Jeremy took us inside their