Cultural Events up North this July

This July there are plenty of cultural events to enjoy this summer outside of London, starting with celebrating the 4th July with an American Beer Festival in Manchester. Theodor Roosevelt is, to some, the defining American president – a bear-wrestling, trust-busting all-action answer to today’s effete career politician, with their chauffeur-driven cars and legions of bodyguards stopping them from so much as sneezing.

Incredible, then, that the popular corporate American beers so often rejects this bold, pioneering spirit, going instead for a broadly unpleasant invisibility. Budweiser tastes like a child might imagine a beer tastes; Coors feels like being punched in the face by a ghost. PBR, despite it’s ’08 hipster pretensions, is what happens to the water when somebody accidentally sits in a bath for too long.

The times, though, they are a changing. As part of it’s American Beer Festival, (running until July 6th) Manchester’s Port Street Beer House is welcoming a delightful selection of beers to our shores from a selection of craft brewers with an increasing pull. The popular Brooklyn Brewery, Sierra Nevada and Flying Dog will get a showing, as will the less-commonly-known Uncommon and Heretic, among many, many more. Particular suggestions: the wonderfully-named Hipster Ale from Evil Twin Brewing (a Danish-American collaboration) and old favourite Brooklyn Lager, which if you haven’t tried already you really ought to.

I’m not sure this resurgence in American brewing can be put down to a single factor, but surely it’s no coincidence that the quality of both their football and their beer has improved immeasurably since the re-emergence of old Teddy – in a bit of a different guise. Happy 4th July, y’all!

In other News from the North, Liverpool is hosting it’s bi-annual Biennial, curated by Mai Abu ElDahab and Anthony Huberman. As well as the usual selections of terminally hip contributions from international artists (of note: American Sharon Lockhart’s documentary photography of childhood in Poland at FACT), the curatorial team are also bringing a selection of paintings from the Tate Collection to Tate Liverpool for the first time. Famous names like David Hockney, Francis Bacon, RB Kitaj, and Andy Warhol, among others, are having works displayed in Albert Dock. Domesticity is the theme – “what if everything about a home was filtered through an artist’s vision?”

(Here’s hoping my kettle isn’t a Dali. I could murder a cuppa and to have steaming water leak out of the plug socket wouldn’t do much good.)

Over in Leeds, Yorkshire pride at hosting Le Grande Departe couldn’t have spirits any higher. The Tour de France kicks off on Saturday, with East Street Arts putting on a pedal-powered parade of talent. Tour de Sausage Sarnies, screening of the world’s premier cycling event, and dancing until the early hours, all accompanied by some of the most exciting names in the Yorkshire art scene and powered by a couple of blokes on a generator attached to a bicycle.

Are you planning on going to any of these events? Let us know how they go!

Article Written by Dominic White

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