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Will Gompertz, Arts editor

Will Gompertz Arts editor

A view from the wings - from the Strokes and the soaps to Bauhaus and Bach

Funny Women

21 August 2014
Sara Pascoe

The photocall of the shortlisted comedians for this year's Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards - Best Show and Best Newcomer - could be seen as evidence of the sort of political correctness at which most of the selected acts spend their professional lives poking fun.

There, for us all to see, is a wholesome picture of equality between the sexes with an exact 50/50 split between male and female performers. It is an equality that's reflected in the make up of the judging panel, which is also neatly split 50/50 (although the Chair is a man and has the casting vote in the shortlist stage).

Nica Burns, the (female) theatre impresario and driving force behind the awards, is quick to point out these representational facts when I ask her why - the year after Bridget Christie scooped the award with her show A Bic for Her - there is only one woman on a shortlist of seven acts for Best Comedy Show.

"That's just how it's worked out this year," she said, "next year it could be the opposite."

And, you know what, she's right. We all know that sexism abounds in our society but it is becoming a little less evident in stand-up comedy.

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Simon Callow's critical re-appraisal

21 August 2014
Simon Callow

When Simon Callow first presented his one-man show Juvenalia nearly forty years ago at the Bush Theatre in London, the then 27-year old actor found he had a surprise hit on his hands. Critics and audiences loved it, he said yesterday at an event in the BBC's Potterrow tent in Edinburgh.

He has since become a specialist at the theatrical essay-cum-performance lecture, presenting around thirty different productions over the course of his career. Shakespeare, Dickens and Mozart have all been brought enthusiastically back to life by Callow's dramatic storytelling.

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Mackenzie Crook unearths metal detector sitcom

11 August 2014
Mackenzie Crook in The Detectorists
As well as writing and directing, Mackenzie Crook plays amateur treasure-hunter Andy

Mackenzie Crook is best known for his roles in The Office, Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones. He has now written and directed a BBC Four sitcom about metal detector enthusiasts, which was screened in Edinburgh on Monday.

When Mackenzie Crook was filming Almost Human in Vancouver last year, he found he had too much time on his hands.

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Can Malevich's Black Square be considered art?

16 July 2014

The divisive painting Black Square is to go on show at the Tate Modern as part of an exhibition on Russian modernist painter Kazimir Malevich.

The work, a square of black oil paint on a white canvas, was first exhibited in 1915.

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Damien Hirst wallpaper art causes sale dispute

15 July 2014

When Jess Simpson bought a house in London nearly ten years ago she was told that a painting on the wallpaper was by Damian Hirst.

She decided to frame it and now she wants to sell it. She has been talking to me about why Hirst's representatives are now demanding the piece is not sold.

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The life and Work of Nadine Gordimer

15 July 2014

South African Nobel Prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer has died in Johannesburg aged 90.

The writer, who was one of the literary world's most powerful voices against apartheid - died at her home after a short illness, her family said.

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Lindsay Lohan: London's newest resident

15 July 2014

Actress Lindsay Lohan is set to make her West End debut in David Mamet's Speed-The-Plow later this year.

Ahead of rehearsals for the play, Lohan spoke to BBC arts editor Will Gompertz about rehabilitating her image and her "paranoia" around cameras.

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Virginia Woolf inspires new ballet

9 July 2014

A new ballet inspired by the work of Virginia Woolf is being written for the Royal Ballet.

An exhibition of rare images of the writer is also due to open at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

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"Hopper was a bit of a megalomaniac"

4 July 2014

Dennis Hopper was best known as a Hollywood actor and director of classics like Easy Rider.

But the star was also a talented photographer, capturing both the counter culture and the famous faces of the 1960s.

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Celebrating 50 years of Joe Orton

27 June 2014
Mr Sloane poster

"I hope I've never written anything as bad as some of the early Shakespeare's," Joe Orton said shortly before he was murdered by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell, in 1967.

It's a clip from an archive interview with the BBC, which I included in a piece for the Today Programme, marking the 50th anniversary of Orton's first stage play, Entertaining Mr Sloane.

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About Will

Will has been BBC arts editor since 2009.

Before that, he was a director at the Tate Gallery for seven years, where he was responsible for the award-winning Tate Online, the UK's most popular art website, and Tate Etc, the UK's highest circulation art magazine.

He was voted one of the world's top 50 creative thinkers by the New York-based Creativity Magazine.

In 2009 Will wrote and performed Double Art History, a sell-out one-man show at the Edinburgh Fringe.

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