Issue 257
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ANYTHING BUT FLAT

At 7pm yesterday, eight strangers walked into a flat in central Birmingham to eat supper. You'll be forgiven for never having heard of this particular space — they're calling it Flat 8 Gallery — what with it being an apartment where two people live. But it also happens to be an extraordinary art gallery. Fancy it?
Young Salvadorian artist Mauricios ("Mau") Samayoa moved to Birmingham in May, having studied in Buenos Aires, and backpacked around Columbia. Finding a vibrant, active art scene in Brum — a city he hadn't heard of before moving continents to join partner, Alex — and a love of having people for supper and conversation, Mau decided to arrange a weekly meal including artists, friends, and people who had shown an interest in Flat 8 on Instagram. Between Alex's private art collection, Mau's work and pieces their creative contacts were keen to show, the pair's flat has quickly become a living gallery, with plenty of cause for discussion. And based on the brownies Mau was taking out of the oven when we went for coffee, the vegan cooking of the super-approachable 29-year-old is another major plus.
"There were ten of us at the first supper," say Mau. "We quickly found that the intimate, different space allowed guests that thought they knew very little about art to experience work in a new way, sharing their thoughts rather than wandering around a more traditional gallery, solo. And wine always helps." As well as its permanent collection, Flat 8 is currently showing work from Black Country Type by local artist, Tom Hicks. A number of the artists displayed, including Hicks, have been a guest at a supper to chat through the inspiration behind their art, even passing their pieces around the table where possible. Flat 8 shows works of artists from America to Italy to Wolverhampton, including photography from Attilio Fiumarella, whose work was previously hanging next to a Picasso and a Matisse at The Barber. And if that feels intimidating, try not to let it, Mau makes sure there's a real mix of people at each supper, from artists to people who just want to try something new. Just don't ask him for the guestlist in advance: "What would a person's name or job title really even tell you about them?"
Spending his life running away from winters, Mau's ducking the cold British months by heading back to Columbia to look for artists interested in crossing continents for a 2019 art supper. Being handed the keys to Flat 8, creator of other-realmly food-based art experiences, Kaye Winwood. Her first supper is a super-sensual five-course tasting sort of deal, happening on November 21. The BYOB evening asks for a cost-covering suggested donation of just £15, with further dinners planned before Mau returns. Which he really will by the way. "I love Birmingham — I love the accent, I love how people underestimate the city and what it's achieving. In London, the art scene is all about money; in Birmingham, I have been so well supported and I'm excited about everything we're going to do with Flat 8." 
Follow Flat 8 Gallery to hear about all its events. Or email info.flatgallery@gmail.com to come for supper, or if you're an emerging artist interested in getting involved.

WIN A HOLIDAY TO MOROCCO


Sunny with a moderate breeze, that's the forecast in Agadir today, Morocco's largest seaside hangout. And if you're wondering what that's got to do with Birmingham, enter left, Air Arabia Maroc, who have launched twice-weekly, direct flights from BHX to Agadir and its 10 kilometres of Atlantic coastline. As a hello to the sparklingly perfect subscribers of I Choose Birmingham (yes, YOU!), Air Arabia Maroc is giving away a pair of return flights to Agadir, and a hotel stay for four nights. If you're already a subscriber, you automatically get a shot at the prize. If you're not, you can sign up right here. And ask your pals/loved ones to enter too, because there's two seats on that plane! Subscribe by midday on 19 November 2018 to be in with a chance at the prize. The winner will be picked at random and notified by email. T&C
Forward to a pal (who'll presumably have to take you if they win)

SPICE'N'NICE


Seasonal Markets is going all Scotch Bonnet for its winter fest, with chilli and spice the rule of the day (which is Dec 1). On street food, Peel & Stone Pizza, Habaneros and Middle Feast are among those confirmed to be heating you up. Moving indoors to the festive-fixer of a market hall, there'll also be spice from Pip's Hot Sauce and Queen Cleo Rum, plus all sorts of nice from Brum brands like Rad Bab and Punks and Chancers. The badly behaved cousins of Midlands' merch have just dropped this year's Chrimbo jumper essential (pictured), and will be bringing it and some other naughties to the Winter Market. From 12pm, Dig Brew Co's on beers. Tickets are £6.50.

FILM: WIDOWS


Eyebrows were raised when 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen announced his next movie would be a heist flick. Wouldn’t that be like a classical cellist whipping out a Stratocaster for a few dodgy Slayer covers? Well, kind of – but this is exactly as awesome as it sounds. Viola Davis’s husband (Liam goddamn Neeson) dies carrying out a robbery, and the debts incurred by his failure mean she has to enlist the widows of Neeson’s accomplices to carry out a bigger, better, more dangerous job. Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn delivers a bevy of twists and turns, but the real gold star goes to McQueen, who switches to a high-end crowdpleaser effortlessly. Next up: a musical? Times

STREET ROAST


Sunday roast season officially began when those pesky clocks did their pesky thing. See what happens when Digbeth Dining Club gets its traders on the best meal in the world ever. On Nov 18 only, there'll be roast inspired one-offs from traders including Low n Slow, The English Indian and Homeboys, whose menu we've got early eyes on. The Asian-cooking Notts street fooders are bringing rump cap with pomme puree, charred onion hearts and fish sauce sprouts (£10), plus Thai style belly pork, smoked hock and yuzu buttered collards (also £10). Cheese course hard with Grace & James, who are also on vin. Tickets (£1)

FEMINISM AND EXPRESSIONISM


In the 100 years since women’s suffrage, how much has actually changed? New exhibition, Women Power Protest, turns the gaze on female artists who have explored protest, social commentary and identity, attempting to answer this question. Of numerous notable artists, 2017’s Turner Prize-winning Lubaina Himid immediately grabbed our attention, with Cotton.com (2002). The piece tackles themes of slavery, racism and the downturn of industrialisation, using patterns to explore the conversations that may have taken place at the time of the Cotton Famine. It's hard to take your eyes off Angela Kelly (pictured), who captured her journey as a photographer between ’75 and ’79. The artist's series of images documents the coming of age of a feminist through a developing sense of identity and establishing an idea of place. Women, Power, Protest opens this Saturday (Nov 10), with an afternoon of spoken word, music and live body painting on Nov 17. Entry is free.
Venue: Nocturnal Animals, 20 Bennetts Hill, B2 5QJ; website
Choice: Tuna Tartare (part of the £65 taster menu) Chooser: The Kitchen

Nocturnal Animals went from launch to 88mph in a whiplash-prompting 2.3 seconds. The moment the doors opened we were all sent, via a volley of Instagram pics, back to the 80s, without a flux capacitor in sight. There was, mind you, a crazed scientist. Brum's newest restaurant represents the brain of chef-patron Alex Claridge, spilt blood-free across the interior, the drapes, the corridors and the floors. Claridge moonwalks that finest of madman/genius lines, taking this absurd yet outstanding venue flash-dancing with him. At just over a week old, it's not perfect. Pre-meal cocktails needed re-ordering and the wait between courses was irregular. But at times the food was nothing short of exceptional. A run of three back-to-back dishes was the culinary crescendo: duck gyoza is served on a boat-like dish made specifically to aid the pick-up-and-slurp of the aged bone broth in which they bathe. Tuna cured in sugar and salt, followed, and came encircled in a mercurial mix of bonito oil, ponzu dressing, wasabi emulsion and sesame crackers. Hand dived barbecued scallops served with a 'Nduja jam, crispy noodles and yuzu gel finished this mind-blowing hat-trick of gastronomic hits. Look around you. Everyone is smiling. And it's not just because of the madness — it's the genius too.
 
Indie bar and bottle shop, Hop & Scotch is opening on Institute Road in Kings Heath later this year. On the bar side of things there'll be 10 keg taps and 3 cask hand pulls plus a goodly selection of gin and gin's naughty friends.
How truly open to the idea of two-Dad families is our society? No Kids, at the Patrick Studio on Saturday asks just that, as part of Shout Festival. Tickets are £15.
The brilliant looking Attic Brew Co's taproom opens on November 23, pretty much opposite Bournville train station, Mary Vale side if you're asking. The team will be unlatched Fridays from 4pm and Saturdays from 1pm.
Fancy yourself as a bit of a shutterbug? West Mids Photography Collective has hooked up with The Cube and launched a competition for photographers of all skills and ages. You have until midnight on Nov 18 to enter.
Grilled cheese sandwiches and cocktails might sound like insanity but when it's 18/81 hosting, we're all in. The date for your diary is December 5. More


"Roast beef, medium, is not only a food. It is a philosophy. Seated at life's dining table, with the menu of morals before you, your eye wanders a bit over the entrees, the hors d'oeuvres, and the things a la , though you know that roast beef, medium, is safe, and sane, and sure."


Edna Ferber



 
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WORDS: Katy Drohan, Tom CullenRobb Sheppard, Andrew Lowry
PICTURES: Women Power Protest — Untitled (Woman's Identity) © Angela Kelly

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