The best upcoming events in Scotland in 2011

Highlights of the 2011 cultural calandar from Film, Music, Comedy, Theatre and Visual Art


Wrestling with the world of a prima ballerina

Director Darren Aronofsky looks set to be en pointe with his follow-up to The Wrestler, starring the hotly tipped Natalie Portman as Nina, an unhinged ballerina striving for perfection, in Black Swan.
General release from 21 Jan.

Brighton Rock reinvention tipped for Oscar glory

It’s no secret that some of Hollywood’s finest filmmakers have been reluctant to touch the The Boulting brothers’ 1947 film version of Graham Greene’s classic text Brighton Rock. Sixty years on, director Rowan Joffe steps up to the plate, taking the action from the 1930s to 1964. Andy Serkis and Helen Mirren star.
General release from 2 Feb.

Scotland’s finest shine of the red carpet

With a new director at the helm, the Edinburgh International Film Festival returns with its silver screen offerings this June. Expect the obligatory visits from patrons Sean Connery and Tilda Swinton and so much more.
Various venues, Edinburgh, 15–26 Jun.

Harry casts his final spell

Is it just us or has this been a long time coming? JK Rowling’s final instalment of the Harry Potter franchise hits the big screen in The Deathly Hallows: Part 2. The end begins …
On general release, 15 Jul.

Stieg Larsson gets US facelift

Few hardcore fans of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were chuffed to hear Hollywood were to capitalise on the success of its art house success on the silver screen. We say, keep the faith.
On general release from 21 Dec.


Edinburgh Comedy Awards winner returns to the fold

Russell Kane came, we saw and he finally conquered the judges to pick up the gong for his comedy gold performance of Smokescreens and Castles at the 2010 Fringe. Prepare to have your ribs suitably tickled.
Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline, 26 Jan.

Record-breaking Glasgow International Comedy laughterfest ups the ante

Among the acts appearing in the spring are the last two Edinburgh Comedy Award winners Russell Kane and Tim Key, 90s Perrier victors Jenny Eclair and Sean Hughes, saucy north Americans Doug Stanhope and Caroline Rhea, the political Marks (Thomas and Steel) and Scottish talents such as Mark Nelson, Susan Calman, Daniel Sloss and sketch gang How Do I Get Up There? It’s just another top-notch GCF, really.
Various venues, Glasgow, 17 Mar–10 Apr.

Basil Fawlty’s alter ego gets up close and personal

From his Monty Python stints and Fawlty Towers’ moments to his more recent, slightly dubious turn in Charlie’s Angels he’s charmed us with his acerbic characterisation and belly laughter inducing wit. Prepare to be amused and bemused as John Cleese brings a heady mix of showbiz anecdotes to Edinburgh for his Alimony Tour.
Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, 10 Jun.


Ferrying in some alt-rock glam

From art-rock rakes to AOR lotharios, Roxy Music blazed a trail of glam-punk invention through the seventies (‘Virginia Plain’, ‘Love is the Drug’, Brian Eno) and cocktail seduction through the eighties (‘Jealous Guy’, ‘Avalon’, ‘More Than This’). Decades on, they remain a delectable prospect, thanks to two words: Bryan Ferry.
SECC, Glasgow, 26 & 27 Jan.

Glaswegian post-rock instrumental heroes play the capital

The List is not a qualified doctor and thus cannot prescribe you culture. But if we could, we’d insist that every soul in the land had frequent intakes of Mogwai. Their new album, Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, is assured to exhilarate, and their gigs will alleviate any malaise.
HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, 21 Feb.

Laid-back rockers return

Elbow’s laid-back voyage to stardom began in Manchester in 1990 and soared on the back of a 2008 Mercury win for The Seldom Seen Kid. That the melancholic-rockers are playing a venue the size of the SECC feels well-deserved, and it’s worth going along for the hair-raising ‘Grounds for Divorce’ alone.
SECC, Glasgow, 15 Mar.

Something to shout about

Almost three decades since their inception, Glasgow rockers Primal Scream have amassed chart and dance-floor success thanks to their raucous deviations through psychedelia, gospel, garage-rock and acid-house. Their pivotal 1991 album, Screamadelica seized the band at their hedonistic, snake-hipped zenith: little wonder they’re revisiting those heady times with Screamadelica live.
SECC, Glasgow, 18 Mar.

Ambient punks bring their psychedelic indie rock

Never, ever confuse Deerhunter with Basshunter. One is a jock-strapped menace to Eurotrash; the other an Atlanta, Georgia quintet operating in the ambit of ‘ambient punk’. Their latest album, Halcyon Digest, fuses indie rock with psychedelia, stringed exotica and garage scuzz. They call themselves ‘ghost rock’; we call them awesome.
Oran Mor, Glasgow, 28 Mar.

There’s much to Lykke

Something in the Swedish water makes for brilliant, original pop stars. There’s indie prince Jens Lekman; electro queen Robyn; and star of our preview show, alt-pop icon Lykke Li: a singer-songwriter who has performed with Kanye West (‘Gifted’), contributed to the Twilight soundtrack (‘Possibility’) and who counts the Kings of Leon among her fans. (NM)
Arches, Glasgow, 18 Apr.

Rock royalty prepare to rock out with Kings of Leon

Our favourite, soft-rocking Tennessee sons of a preacher man, Kings of Leon, come fully armed with harmonic pop bombast and drum-thundering bluster. This is one for fans of the big-league alt-rockers but also for lovers of Big Country: KOL’s latest single, ‘Pyro’, is a dead-ringer for Adamson and co’s 1986 hit, ‘Look Away’.
Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, 26 Jun.

Legendary heavy metallers kick off

Creators of the greatest heavy metal pop song of all time (it is ‘Can I Play With Madness’, like you had to ask), Iron Maiden must be worshipped for their jousting axe-mastery, their lyrical prophecies, and their notorious horror mascot, Eddie – all eight-plus hellish feet of him. A spectacle is guaranteed. (NM)
SECC, Glasgow, 20 Jul.

Beach Boy front man ‘gets around’ to a venue near you

Reverence, please, for a pop music genius: the Beach Boys’ legendary songbird Brian Wilson comes to Glasgow with the songbook of George Gershwin under his wing. Wilson’s latest album, Reimagines Gershwin, saw him complete some unfinished works of the late composer to great acclaim, and now he’s set to play them live.
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 11 Sep.


Masters of manipulation

Puppet Animation Scotland returns with its refreshingly different festival of theatre, film and animation. Now in its fourth year, Manipulate will welcome performers from across the globe and hopefully continue its reputation for providing thought-provoking, poetic and innovative visual theatre.
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 31 Jan–5 Feb.

Diverse film festival that’s shooting for the stars

Here at List Towers we can’t find anything not to love about the increasingly bumper-sized Glasgow Film Festival. Growing year on year, 2011’s line-up welcomes back the rather gallus Music and Film Festival strand of the festival programme, featuring Goblin, Zombie Zombie and Davie Scott. See panel, right.
Various venues, Glasgow, 17–27 Feb.

Something old, something new

Inspired by the long-gone Glasgow theatre of the same age, the Tron’s Mayfesto arts season makes a welcome return hoping to capture some of its namesake’s former glory. (AM)
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, May, dates tbc.

Rocking out in Inverness

Even the threat of Kasabian can’t shake the popularity of dance-rock carnival RockNess. With Paolo Nutini and the Chemical Brothers confirmed, and The Libertines rumoured, the five-year old festival is fast becoming the area’s biggest tourist attraction. Meanwhile, in a nearby body of water, a quiet monster gently weeps.
Dores, near Inverness, 10–12 Jun.

Big old park, lots of action

T in the Park get plenty of big-hitting bands, with Foo Fighters already confirmed for this year – but the jewel in T in the Park’s festival crown is its platform for local talent. The home-grown T Break stage offers an ear-opening experience for fans, and a career boost for artists.
Balado, 8–10 Jul.

New director brings a dash of colour to already blooming festival

The Edinburgh Art Festival welcomes everyone from Scotland’s finest to some of the world’s interesting artists. And this year we’re more chuffed still as Jupiter Artland’s Robert Wilson comes on board.
Various venues, Edinburgh, August, dates tbc.

Greatest show on earth rolls into town

The Fringe takes over the city boasting thousands of comedians, actors, magicians and so much more. Not for nothing is this one of the world’s finest playgrounds come August.
Various venues, Edinburgh, 5–29 Aug.

Asia comes to Edinburgh for EIF’s 2011 programme

We don’t mind telling you we’re more than a little excited about the names already being announced for 2011. Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe and National Ballet of China are just two of the highlights in a programme that promises only the finest artists from China, India, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam.
Various venues, Edinburgh, 12 Aug–4 Sep.

Theatre festival which defies expectation

Arches Live! has become a place to see and be seen for arts lovers, thrusting as it does an impressive two fingers to our expectations about what the arts can achieve. Enjoy.
Arches, Glasgow, Sep, date tbc.

Glasgay! returns for its 18th year

Glasgow’s annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender arts festival always offers a unique combination of notable international names with emerging artists from the UK. Covering theatre, visual art, music, comedy, dance, film, clubbing and literature, it is a must for anybody interested in a celebration of contemporary queer culture.
Various venues, Glasgow, 21 Oct–12 Nov.


GSA graduate secures CCA residency

Glasgow-based visual artist Kate V Robertson has exhibited in Berlin and Glasgow, from live art projects to guerilla art in public spaces. Having previously worked with audio, video and photography, as well as sculpture, the content of her residency in the CCA’s Creative Lab should be incredibly diverse. (LM)
CCA, Glasgow, 1–28 Feb.

First Scottish exhibition for French conceptual/installation artist

Since his influential ‘Tableux’ collection in the 1970s, French artist, sculptor and photographer Jean-Marc Bustamente has been pushing the boundaries of mixed media work. The Fruitmarket hosts the first major exhibition of his work in Scotland, which will include large-scale photographs, sculpture and paintings on Perspex.
Fruitmarket, Edinburgh, 4 Feb–3 Apr.

Neo-pop pioneer moves in

From crazy dog sculptures to porn star recollections, one of the kings of American cool sets out his stall in Edinburgh.
Artist Rooms: Jeff Koons, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Sat 19 Mar–Sun 3 Jul.

Annual exhibition showcasing some of the best contemporary UK artists
The seventh British Art Show begins in Nottingham before travelling to London, Plymouth and Glasgow. Launched in 1979, the Show is widely regarded as one of the most ambitious and diverse exhibitions of contemporary art. This year’s collection, curated by Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton should be no exception.
CCA, GoMA & Tramway, 28 May–14 Aug.

Ayrshire gallery to host new work by influential US video artist

The largest contemporary gallery space in Scotland south of Glasgow and Edinburgh will showcase work by American visual artist, Bill Viola. Viola uses sound, electronics, time-based new media technology to look at the human condition.
Artist Rooms, Dick Institute, Kilmarnock, 3 Sep–24 Dec.

National Portrait Gallery reopens

Having closed its door in 2009 to make room for a major redevelopment of the space, the Portrait Gallery finally re-opens. Happy days.
1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, October, date tbc.


One of the silver screen’s most iconic figures heads to the theatre

Artistic director Jeremy Raison may have left the building but the Citz’ Marilyn Monroe biog is still set to hit the stage, courtesy of Scottish playwright Sue Glover.
Citizens’ Theatre, Glasgow, 22 Feb–12 Mar; Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, 15 Mar–2 Apr.

When it’s good, it’s very, very good

When it comes to their festival programming, there’s little doubt that the Arches is a tour de force, and Behaviour is just another string to their mighty big bow, as the theatre festival prepares to surprise, entice and allure us with its brilliance once again.
Arches, Glasgow, Mar, dates tbc.

National treasure educates the masses
Liz Lochhead seldom disappoints with her playwriting genius, thwarting our expectations and creating worlds to entice and entertain us, case in point being Educating Agnes. Based on Moliere’s L’ecole des Femmes expect Lochhead’s razor sharp wit and you won’t be disappointed.
Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, 8 Apr–7 May.

David Greig reworks a classic Scottish tale
Macbeth is dead and an English army has swept through the landscape, killed the tyrant and taken the seat of power in David Greig’s stunning play Dunsinane, co-produced by the NTS.
Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, 13 May–4 Jun; Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, 7–11 Jun.


Author and musician of this parish

The Edinburgh-based books and music journo for The List Doug Johnstone delivers his third novel and the first for his shiny new publisher. Smokeheads comes with this tagline: ‘Four friends, one weekend, gallons of whisky. What could go wrong?’ Plenty, we’d imagine.
Faber, 3 Mar.

Invernesian Booker nominee makes welcome return

There but for the is Ali Smith’s first novel since her 2007 Canongate Myths contribution, Girl Meets Boy. It starts with a stranger who comes to dinner and refuses to leave, as Smith explores what it means to live with other people. After Hotel World and The Accidental, will this make it a hat-trick of Booker nominations?
Hamish Hamilton, 2 Jun.

Author and commentator with epic tale

Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men is billed as the author of The Impressionist’s most ambitious and panoramic novel yet, revolving around the mysterious disappearance of a young boy in the Californian desert. The novel flashes back in time, interweaving the stories of the boy and his parents, a British rock star on the run and the members of a UFO-inspired cult.
Hamish Hamilton, 4 Aug.

The world’s finest flock to Charlotte Square

Year on year it seems the Edinburgh International Book Festival just gets stronger and stronger, last year launching a serious of new initiatives, beyond a programme that regularly boasts a treasure trove of politicians, award-winning authors and international stars.
Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, 13–29 Aug.

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