Sushi Ga Ga on Lisle Street!

July 7th, 2010
Being only a stone’s throw away from KU Bar on Lisle St; the newly opened Sushi Ga Ga is the perfect pre-drinks meal. There is no connection to Lady Gaga except for the fact the food is as addictive as her music! Not going to lie I’m definitely addicted to Sushi Ga Ga…I guess some might say gaga for it!The menu has a wide selection from a strong variety of Sushi, small dishes, specials, soups and ramen. As someone who likes to try lots of different dishes, the small dishes as great! They incude Kimchi, Agedashi Tofu, Squid Tempura with Sea Salt and Scallops in Wasabi sauce. The best by far is the Wasabi Prawns that rivals even Haozhan’s equivalent dish. I’ve been converted to a Wasabi fan!!!

There’s a strong variety of Sushi, most of which are so moreish it’s hard to stop eaing! One to try: the Crispy Duck Maki rolls (wrapped in cucumber and drizzled with plum sauce). However the Soft Shell Crab Maki rolls are a little too salty which might not be to everyone’s liking.

One word of caution is to avoid the iced green tea. It may just be an acquired taste although a green tea drinker and I both agreed it was a little too bitter to take!

Sushi Ga Ga is a clean and comfortable restaurant with good aircon, which is a real plus on hot and humid days.

And when you thought it couldn’t get much better there’s a 50% Opening Discount! So get down there now to enjoy this amazing deal. Although, even without the discount a large meal can work out at about £15 per head which is still a bargain!

Go Ga Ga! You won’t regret it!

Coming Out Review

May 20th, 2010

As someone who had a very easy coming out at a relatively early age I was interested to see how an entire documentary could really be centred on just “coming out”.
I’m Coming Out is a new documentary to be aired on Current TV (Sky Channel 183 and Virgin Media 155) on this Monday and Soho Screening Rooms had a special screening session this week. The basic synopsis is: Two very different men choosing to finally come out to their families. The first, Neil is a middle-aged disabled man who has been in the closet all his life to even his closest friends. The second, Ahmad is a young Muslim who has lived his life as an open gay man but has never told his family.
Neil was born with a condition that prevents him fully opening up his fists and walking comfortably which has made him inhibited. He was raised in a religious household in Aberdeen and because of this kept his sexuality a secret in fear of being sent away for therapy. It was as though this was a story from decades ago simply because he felt it was such a terrible secret, which would destroy all relationships and ties. Neil has a very emotional and moving journey during this documentary with a real sense of acceptance and liberation. I noticed I was not the only one welling up in the audience.
Ahmad was born in Egypt with a father in the military and raised Muslim. He now works in a fetish shop close to Soho and lives openly as a sociable homosexual. However, Ahmad’s family have been kept in the dark about his sexuality. Although I found Ahmad’s story more relevant and relatable to our times his story seemed incomplete. Without giving too much away there was a strong sense of Ahmad’s journey being unresolved. There is also an eerie and spine-chilling scene to watch out for involving a disgusted voice warning him against revealing his sexuality to his family.
The documentary approached this topic with a real sensitivity and understanding. It was a chance for Neil and Ahmad to share their lives with their families and the audience. Their worlds and their emotional journey through their eyes.
When the documentary started I was slightly worried I was going to be watching an hour of jolty, handheld camera work but it soon picked up and there were some quite beautiful and artistic shots. The format was simple and quite conventional but that’s really all it needed to be as the narrative was so moving. This documentary definitely has a lot of potential to be developed further. There are so many different “coming out” stories to tell with a diverse variety of reasons as to why people feel the need to keep it a secret. This would be a great format to share those stories.
Acceptance is something we all strive for and I’m Coming Out captured the feeling of these people finally feeling some sense of acceptance from their loved ones. The film carried the touching message: we can be loved for who we are and not for who people want us to be.
The channel which produced this documentary and is broadcasting it is called Current TV. Don’t know it? Neither did I until this week. I was shocked to learn they’ve been a channel in the UK for about 3 years now and are still widely unknown. So Ahmad need not worry that anyone who still doesn’t know his secret will be in anyway likely to see this documentary being on this channel. Yet it sounds all very exciting – giving the chance for young filmmakers to break into the business with many going onto work for Channel 4. However, besides these new screening sessions there is no real way to find out about them which I think is a real shame. Hopefully Current TV gets some attention especially with interesting and relevant films such as this one. I’m Coming Out is part of a series of hard-hitting documentaries shown on Mondays and the best one from each month is given a special screening in Soho.
Check out I’m Coming Out on Current TV (Sky Channel 183 and Virgin Media 155) Monday 24th May, 10pm

Email screeningsessions@current.com or go to http://current.com/shows/monday/ and join the group for updates on Screenings.

Chaz Royal’s London Burlesque Week

April 27th, 2010

“Roll Out the Red Carpet”

In association with Secrets in Lace

 Café De Paris

One of my first thoughts when I was asked to review this Show were “What should I expect?” I had never been to a Burlesque Show before. I knew there would be some naked flesh, raunchy music and lots of feathers and fans but that was as far as my knowledge went.

A visit to the website at www.londonburlesquefest.com/ offered a host of information detailing who, where and when. We are told we will see performers from all over the globe promising more glitz, glam and sizzling striptease than any other Burlesque Show in 2010. A look at their promotional video confirms this! I feel we are in safe hands with Chaz Royal. A man, who has been responsible for the production of over 500 shows since 2001 in a bid to revive this glamorous and raunchy art. This production looks to be a big undertaking as you look through the “Show Time” page of the website. Performing at eight different venues over five days, with over 150 performers, there must be a little something here for everyone.

You soon come to realize they couldn’t have chosen a better venue for this burlesque soiree!! Red carpet with golden chairs juxtaposition either side, the wonderful set included a D.J. booth on the balcony hosting two sexy female stewards playing great tunes like “Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby”, “Fly Me To The Moon” and the wonderful Nina Simone’s “Sugar In My Bowl”, the best jazz and blues artist of this era. The atmosphere was smokin’; stunning models sashaying back and forth, unveiling Secrets in Lace authentic stockings and the audiences’ great effort set the scene and matched to perfection the fashion of the 1940s era with felt hats, finger waved hair and flowing vintage swing dresses it certainly made you feel you were on the Set of a 1940s movie!!

                  Ivy page took to the stage presenting herself, with great humour and sarcasm, cutting one heckler down to size with the line “It looks like your trousers are doing the talking for themselves sir!”  It has to be said, after a couple of glasses of wine, who would not succumb to her sharp but, none the less cute charms.  Ivy introduced the charming Agent Lynch who seduced our eyes with the models wearing jungle seductions from the Bettie Page Leopard Group and Dita Von Teese stocking range, all available for your late night viewing at www.secretsinlace.com. What followed was an introduction to all the girls that were performing during the evening, a perfect opportunity for them to strut, cavort and pose on the red carpet for all the wandering eyes and camera lenses to devour.

Ivy Page took to the stage once again, to perform a wonderful rendition of the song “Burlesque and Blues” belting out her talents, you could almost taste the plush velvet and rising smoke of the jazz and blues bars from the days of old.

The first burlesque performer of the night was the lovely BB Rose displaying what seemed to be a Spanish theme, with the beautiful hues of the Mediterranean, in her performance. BB concealed her modesty with a bird like fan, resembling the colours of the Spanish flag. The climax of her act drew breath, as she set her nipple tassels alight!

Next up was a complete surprise Charlie Chaplin? Well he turned out to be Betty Bottom Dollar and worth every dollar she was. Humorous from the outset with her trousers falling fowl to the forces of gravity she gets raucous applause from her backing track. This clearly does nothing for Charlie’s coyness but just as her backing track audience boos Charlie off, the amazing transformation occurs. Unleashing, her rupunzian golden locks as the bowler hat is made history and we are overwhelmed by the blossoming young girl.

The beautiful Chris Columbine was up next; wooing us with her piano artistry. Looking pretty in pink, pink rose in her hair to suit she dazzled us, amazed us then turned on her charms, toyed with us, revealing a bra full of rose petals and climaxing in a shower of champagne.

Still breathless from Betty, we were presented with the raunchy and sophisticated Honey Lu Lu. Looked dashing in her blue velvet, the curiosity was working overtime! What will this young fox be wearing under this elegant outfit. We wouldn’t have to wait too long!  Teased off first were the arm length gloves and then…….. This lady was clearly hot stuff! Out came the fire, running her sticks of fire over her beautiful curves to a Pulp Fiction sound track, Honey took us to the climax by means of oral extinguish!  So the evening continued with some very entertaining and humorous performances by Lola Labelle, Ben flaunting his big 10 inch, the only male on the bill, Ecuador the Wizard who can certainly be described as entertaining as well as very brave, funny and daring. The blonde bombshell sailor girl Slinky Sparkle, with underwear as sweet as cherries quite literally and dressed in red the Sugar Blue Review. Our finale left us “Wishing on a Star” for a Magic Mermaid. This was Venus Vuna’s final performance before retiring, swimming away to her island in the sun.

All that is left to be said is this was a wonderful evening of humour, glamour, sophistication and titillation. I would see this again as I found it simply entertaining in so many ways!!                                            

Simon Stone at www.simonstone.bandzoogle.com

Nina Vanns at www.myspace.com/carpetloungelizards

Nation

March 15th, 2010

Patrick Cash

Nation at the National Theatre has all the surface trappings of a successful stage production: it’s big, bold, vivid and full to the brim with stunning imagery. A lot of bucks have clearly been thrown at the awesome set which more than successfully meets the challenge of depicting the giant waves, tropical storms and underwater sequences littering the adaption of Terry Pratchett’s novel. Developed by the team behind the seminally successful Warhorse (still running at the New London Theatre) the show displays the same dazzling use of technical effects and puppetry to create an ethereally magical realm in which the disparate group of characters operate. Director Melly Still displays some inventive staging as in this netherworld of the imagination sheets of material become oceans, bunches of rags attached to bones flutter convincingly as carrion-feeding birds and the spectator is transported effortlessly across a spectrum of environments, from the land of the dead to the bottom of the ocean floor itself.

Undoubtedly a play for which to book tickets immediately then, one might safely assume? Not quite. Through the glittering haze of exhilarating visuals one big problem stands out: it just doesn’t believe in itself. This isn’t a comment on the source material which admirably seeks to deal with issues of race, colonialism and equality in a thoughtful manner, but specifically related to the actual theatrical show. Mark Ravenhill’s script seems to be aiming for the endearing charm of a Disney cartoon but unfortunately there emerges a plodding beast peppered with clichés, several leagues away from his recent poignant and funny collaboration with Bette Bourne at the Soho Theatre. The cast certainly don’t believe in what they’re saying; when an actor is given a line such as ‘I have the silver dream fish’ his conviction must be wholeheartedly behind it otherwise the note of falsity will ring clear and spread like a bushfire through the audience. At this point the exotic noble savages in the midst of a fierce tribal dance upon the stage become simply a bunch of Western actors dressed up in condescending costumes and engaging in behaviour which seems at best silly and at worst genuinely patronising to the cultures they are pertaining to represent.

Remembering that it was meant to be a predominately family show, this reviewer tried to temper his reactions to include this fact as a possible set of mitigating circumstances, but to make a piece child-friendly shouldn’t involve talking down to its audience, and the striking number of newly empty seats as the second half began confirmed that a large number of other spectators harboured similar negative opinions. With a running time of two hours and forty-five minutes, the entire performance is in drastic need of a rigorous cutting also. Flamboyant and expensive sets can wow one’s optical senses temporarily but after viewing Nation you may leave the National contemplating the old truth that style, however beautiful, can never adequately replace the sad absence of substance.

Nation at the National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX.

15th March – onwards. Mon – Sat 7.30pm; Thurs & Sat matinee 2pm; Sun matinee 2.30pm.

www.nationaltheatre.org.uk, Box Office 020 7452 3000.

Tickets: £10-£42.50. Various concessions available, see website.

Soap

March 13th, 2010

Patrick Cash

From the moment this intriguing spectacle of a show opens with a rousingly original, opera-tinged rendition of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, the spectator is transported to an ethereal world of sinuous acrobatics and glisteningly beautiful figures. Devised by Markus Pabst, creator of the ‘Bath Boy’ act in last year’s hit London circus show La Clique, Soap builds intricately upon that routine in a remarkable manner, and over and again the audience could be heard to audibly gasp as eight superbly muscled gymnasts contorted themselves magically upon the stage. An innovative set of ceramic bathtubs and burbling pipes provides a suitably fantastical backdrop for this startling odyssey celebrating the beauty, strength and capabilities of the human form.

Although the main emphasis is clearly centred upon the dazzling athletics on display, what tenuous narrative there exists is provided by an initially charming female clown figure, performing a series of comic interludes between the more breathtaking acts. At first this medley of slapstick and physical jokes is greeted with a wave of enjoyment by the chuckling audience, but it would take an excessive amount of good nature not to find her rubber-faced reactions at least a little tedious by the second half. However, the musical set pieces delivered by a seminally glamorous blonde bombshell more than hold one’s attention due to her impressive vocals and onstage charisma; in a bizarre but engaging twist on classical material, Beethoven, Mozart and various other composers are given ‘splash’ cover versions.

But everyone knows the real attraction of this event resides in the mighty flexes of the acrobats themselves. A pair of supple legs juggle a collection of rings on just the soles of the feet; a toned god of a semi-naked boy bends his unimaginably malleable body into jaw-dropping positions all the while splashed with water; a flame-haired fury energetically falls from the sky on her swing to the tune of 60s pop. Dancers perform their choreography dangling from bathtubs attached to the ceiling; handsome gods in tight shorts soar over the audience’s heads on nothing but a couple of taut ropes.  All this builds up to a truly extraordinary finale involving all the performers where the visual feast is heightened to a searingly intense point, as the heavens open to drench the stage with torrents of streaming rain.

Overall this is a surreal concept for a show, with a blend of circus skills, aerialist exhibitions, cabaret and an overlying ‘soap’ theme that verges on the absurd. But it is testament to the ingenuity of the creator and the astounding talents of the formidable cast that the spectator transcends these ostensibly uneasy elements to reach a plane of utter engagement with the sights on stage. In an era of London’s performing arts landscape that can be uncomfortably dominated by big but bland musicals and yet more deadly revivals of old classics, Soap is a strikingly unique flash of lightning through the clouds.

Soap at the Riverside Studios,  Crisp Road, Hammersmith, W6 9RL

5th March – 25th April, 2010. Shows Tues – Sat at 8pm, Sun 6pm. Sat matinees at 3pm from 20th March.

www.riversidestudios.co.uk, Box Office: 020 8237 1111

Tickets: £10-£25.

Satsuma – Japanese with great ‘apeel’

February 4th, 2010

Satsuma is a very popular destination with both locals and tourists alike, and after our lunch there last week myself and Big A found out exactly why that was.  Loving Soho as we do it’s always delightful to discover yet somewhere else that makes it so special, the community  village vibe that emanates around the streets, markets, bars and restaurants  is so very present in Satsuma .  Welcoming and well informed staff are top of the list in today’s competitive market, ironically, the things that cost nothing in life (and we all know there aren’t many of those) always seem so elusive, something I find myself constantly pondering when I go into a bar or restaurant and am often received with no more than a passing glance.  Perhaps the muscles required to lift the mouth and stretch it across the face to expose the teeth have been so botoxed the necessary effort proves just too much for some staff in the service industry.  I guess the other explanation could also be, that being in a recession (or allegedly, the other side of one as some in the gothic tower would have us believe) has limited the number of veneers on the streets, hence the reluctance to expose teeth.

Well, this certainly wasn’t the case at Satsuma, a welcoming smile, attentive and informed staff, all made for a very good start to our lunch.  Answers to customer menu queries extending beyond ‘I’ll ask the chef’ or ‘don’t know, I don’t eat meat’, or one of my personal favourites ‘how would you like your steak tartare cooked’ are always welcome.

 In any restaurant offering a £5 takeaway lunch menu you could be forgiven for expecting fast food served by a primary striped uniform and name badge, however with a choice of a Yaki Soba dishes, 3 different fried rice dishes and a miso soup option this takeout offer tastes anything but fast (I often suspect the term ‘fast food’ is less directly related to the speed of cooking and serving and more to the rate with which it travels through the digestive tract).

Modern, unfussy decor with just the right amount of dark wood panelling, therefore not too suggestive of a Hitchcock thriller, makes it light and bright, it’s also quite deceiving when you glance through the window wall from the street and see the cosy ground floor, additional seating downstairs actually means more than 130 bottoms can be comfortably seated. 

Lightly sea salted endamame beans were the perfect pre lunch nibble, I reluctantly chose the Beef Teriyaki Rice, from the Specials menu, reluctant I say, as I was expecting that at only £12.95 the beef would either be akin to a temporary shoe fix or that I would need my reading glasses to spot it.  I was very pleasantly surprised, buttery soft and perfectly cooked, the man in the apron certainly knows his way round Ermintrude. Big A’s Ocean Bento Box was a Mariners delight of colour, fragrance and succulent flavours, the yellow tail sashimi a particular favourite.  It was Pure gluttony and our need to rebel against the post Christmas desire to reduce body mass, that forced us into convincing ourselves we were still hungry, and not wanting to do things by half, we indulged in the black and white sesame ice-cream (creamy and not too sweet) and the ice-cream tempura – the Japanese equivalent of our beloved northern speciality, the deep fried mars bar, but without the aftershock that makes you think your food’s been spiked with speed.

Wine from £4.50 glass – Beer from £3.30

Soho and Satsuma – Lovin’ it.

India Lake

Satsuma 

56-58 Wardour Street
London, W1D 4JG
020 7437 8338

The Real Van Gogh

February 1st, 2010

The Real Van Gogh

To (brother) Theo (556) – 18th August 1886

It’s a good thing for you to be prepared that the affair, perhaps cannot be ended in the way you suggest, because by rushing her you could simply either provoke her to suicide or send her mad, and the effect of that on you would be tragic of course, and could shatter you forever.

Susan Sontag said, that what was written about a person or an event was just an interpretation as, were handmade visual statements, like paintings and drawings.  What has been supposed and written about Van Gogh, it seems were not only interpretations, but also it transpires, Read the rest of this entry »

Ku Bar

January 14th, 2010

kubigKu Bar

30 Lisle Street

Mon-Sat 12pm-3am

Sun 12pm-1am

Ku bar is one of Londons most popular gay bars. Set across three floors the Bar attracts a mixture of proffesional and good looking younger guys. Famed for having the most attractive bar staff in London the ‘Ku Bar Boys’ serve a wide selction of spirits, wines and draught beers. The club has DJ’s playing every night an attracts a fun loving and friendly crowd.

WEEKLY HIGHLIGHT REVIEW

October 25th, 2009

DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY AT BBC ELECTRIC PROMS: ROUNDHOUSE, LONDON

One of the living legends of British Music, Dame Shirley Bassey, proves that true divas never fade.

After more than fifty years of professional performance she stunned a packed house of young and old, boys and girls, bringing them to their feet and if they were already standing then they jumped in joy and praise. Read the rest of this entry »