Free Fringe – don’t miss ‘Fabulous Abs’ or Adam Crow

There is still a week to catch these two stand-up comedy shows at Edinburgh Fringe which will leave a big grin on your face:Fabulous Abs by New York’s Abigoliah Schamaun andAshton Kutcher’s Dead Girlfriends by Adam Ethan Crow.

Abigoliah let me photograph her in front of the listings board and also during the show.

To be expected from both shows: strong language, political incorrectness, inconspicuously clever ideas sneaked in with the humour.

They are free but the warm contentedness you will feel at the end will make you want to be generous.

Free Fringe – don’t miss Alex Hynes

The last week of Edinburgh Fringe and so much choice. There are some performances you shouldn’t miss, like the one of acoustic singer Alex Hynes. He has talent, a strong voice and knows how to play his guitar well.

His music can be enjoyed from 4-6 p.m. at the Whiski Rooms, the Mound and 9-10 p.m. at the Powderhall Arms in Broughton Road (Edinburgh).

Edinburgh Fringe 2011

As usual, at this time of year, the Royal Mile is full of artists and performers promoting their shows and spectators on the other side. I took my customary festival-time walk with a camera.

Riz Ahmed in Edinburgh

A bit of starlight shone on me yesterday when I met Riz Ahmed, the actor who played Omar in Four Lions, going down the Mound in Edinburgh. I am a big fan of the film and had a chat with Riz, who is here to promote a show by Sabrina Mahfouz called Dry Ice.

Rez Ahmed in Edinburgh (Festival)

Hiroshi Sugimoto in Edinburgh

The first European exhibition of the latest works by Hiroshi Sugimoto opened yesterday, 04 Aug 11, at the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art (Modern 2).

As a prologue to the exhibition opening, the artist gave a talk. The lecture theatre was full, not an empty chair to be grabbed.

Sugimoto talked about his work and underlying philosophy. Seascapes are his signature photographs, in black and white translating into a wide range of grays. I loved them, as well as the almost black pine-tree landscapes embracing the spirit of death. He showed pictures of the Izu Photo Museum he designed – ‘easy  to use’, as he said, with regards to lighting and, consequently, viewing experience. The museum’s collection includes pieces of jade from XIII-XV century amongst which, Sugimoto declares, he put two fake ones – to ‘check the quality of the curator’.

Another one of his architectural projects is a Shinto shrine in Japan. There are steps made from optical glass leading from the shrine to an underground chamber, the lower part of them covered by a 24-ton piece of stone. Only light can travel from ‘over’ to ‘under’ by the steps. The chamber can be entered by visitors from the other end, through a 50 cm wide passage. Walking out you see the sea and a straight line of horizon. To me this whole concept is a strangely emotion-arousing combination, minimalistic and romantic. It needs to be admired.

Sugimoto is not just a photographer – he is a sculptor, architect, philosopher; he also restores pieces of art. (He is also friends with Bono.) His talk was bestudded with humour, e.g. slides abruptly changing from photography to architecture to sculpture were usually commented with calm words ‘All of a sudden this is a different sight’. The talk was exatcly 1 hour long.

The artist’s latest proposal is a 100-metre long single line swimming pool going over a little island, its direction aligned with the equator. It is meant to be an extension to the Shinto shrine. Sagimoto admitted, however: ‘I haven’t got approval, yet.’

He was signing his albums after the talk. Sadly, I was not able to afford to buy an album, as the cheapest were being sold at £45. a piece.