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Archive for February 2020

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Kaws, Retna and Hirst at 'XXI'

LONDON Banksy, Jeff Koons and Damian Hirst are just some of the luminaries showing at ‘XXI’, a landmark contemporary art exhibition launched at the new HOFA Gallery in London’s Mayfair.

UPDATE - The Covid crisis has seen the HOFA Gallery take this exhibition online.

Ground-breaking digital art investments platform, ARTCELS, in partnership with HOFA Gallery, is launching a new virtual contemporary art exhibition, titled 'XXI' on Monday 4th May at 6pm (BST) / 1pm (EST).

ARTCELS is set to create a new art experience which their investors and the global art community can enjoy from the comfort of their homes.  Press can access the exhibition three days earlier for a special preview from Friday 1st May from 3pm.

It will be the first-of-its-kind to feature blue-chip contemporary artists—Banksy, George Condo, Kaws, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons— together in a virtual art exhibition, and other leading international artists, including Ilhwa Kim, Retna, Daniel Arsham, Anthony James and Joseph Klibansky, in a 3-dimensional, HD virtual show designed to be immersive, interactive and realistic.

Kaws

At ‘XXI’ rare and unseen works by contemporary artists such as Kaws, RETNA and Damian Hirst are set to cause a stir. These include the Blame Game Portfolio, a set of 10 prints by Kaws which has been shrouded in mystery since its shadow début in 2016. Its sprightly colours have the intrigue of a jigsaw puzzle, both playful and ominous. Blame Game is poised to be a favourite and is the most valuable artwork on display at ‘XXI’.

RETNA’s Los Ne El Barrio (headline image) also brings rarity to the exhibition with its abstract lettered painting, finished with rare blue diamond dust in the abstract art sought so many art connoisseurs.

Heart Spin Painting

The radial symmetry of Heart Spin Painting by Damian Hirst evokes the large reproduction spin painting which covered the floor of the stadium for the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games of 2012. 

 ‘XXI’ features a portfolio of carefully sourced artworks collectively worth more than $1M and other participating artists include Joseph Klibansky, George Condo, Zhuang Hong Yi and Ilhwa Kim.

HOFA co-founder, Elio D'Anna, said "We are proud to unveil this project which has been over 12 months in the making. It’s going to be an extravaganza of contemporary art. We are bringing the crème of contemporary art together for a ground-breaking show which we know viewers will enjoy.”

HOFA’s new gallery is at 11 Bruton St in Mayfair.

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BRIT Awards

LONDON The BRIT Awards 2020 with Mastercard hit the O2 Arena with its 40th show last night with three stages and a carousel of lively performances. Sat Bal

Broadcast exclusively on ITV and YouTube worldwide, host Jack Whitehall took us through nine awards presentations and nine performances.

Mabel got the show off to a lively start and went on to win Best Female Solo Artist - for her gold-certified hit single ‘Don’t Call Me Up’ performed alongside 100 dancers.

The exclusive live debut of ‘No Time To Die’, the new James Bond official theme song, performed by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas, Hans Zimmer and Johnny Marr. She later picked up International Female Solo Artist.

In a first, The BRITs gave the artists performing on the night creative control over their performances leading to some memorable performances.

The Mastercard Album of the Year award went to Dave, for his critically acclaimed and chart-topping debut Psychodrama. He performed the album’s first single ‘Black’ earlier in the show, a politically-charged, stripped down version accompanied by just a pianist.

Lewis Capaldi - who performed his breakout No. 1 single ‘Someone You Loved’ - followed last year’s Critics’ Choice nomination with a double win, for Best New Artist and Song of the Year. Ahead of the main show, the Scottish singer-songwriter was the first artist to ever perform on The BRITs’ red carpet with an exclusive performance for the ITV2 Red Carpet show broadcast and as part of TikTok’s exclusive red carpet live-stream.

Head of music operations UK, Paul Hourican, said it was about ‘taking advantage of TikTok's unique creativity to engage with their fans and connect with a new global audience to get their music discovered and build a strong, highly engaged fanbase.'

The Rising Star award (formerly Critics’ Choice) was presented as part of the main show, which also saw winner Celeste perform her single ‘Strange’ - both BRITs firsts.

Stormzy was honoured with Male Solo Artist, following his win in the same category in 2018, ahead of a show-stopping medley performance featuring hundreds of dancers, a choir and guest appearance from Burna Boy.

The show also saw spirited performances from Lizzo, and Sir Rod Stewart was back to perform solo as well as being joined by Faces bandmates Ronnie Wood and Kenny Jones to close the show with their hit song ’Stay With Me’.

Towards the start of the show, Whitehall addressed the audience to pay tribute to presenter and broadcaster Caroline Flack whose tragic suicide, again, raises issues of stress and mental health in the industry and at large.

Earlier in the day, Fred again.. was presented with Producer of the Year on the red carpet; the youngest ever recipient of the award.

On the event production side, Neptunus provided the temporary overlay and MD Ben Keast said: 'We're delighted to once again have been asked to provide the support facilities to The BRIT awards which is always one of the great nights for the British music industry.'

Amazon Music were digital music partner and event hosts of the Official BRIT Awards 2020 playlist, making music available to stream post-event on Amazon Music Unlimited.

The Winners (in order presented on the night)...

BEST NEW ARTIST - Lewis Capaldi

Presented by Clara Amfo and Niall Horan

FEMALE SOLO ARTIST - Mabel

Presented by Jorja Smith and Ellie Goulding

MALE SOLO ARTIST - Stormzy

Presented by Ronnie Wood

INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST - Tyler the Creator

Presented by Kiefer Sutherland and Paloma Faith

GROUP OF THE YEAR - Foals

Presented by Hailee Steinfeld, Courtney Love and Anne-Marie

RISING STAR - Celeste

Presented by Sam Fender and Adwoa Aboah

INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST - Billie Eilish

Presented by Melanie C

SONG OF THE YEAR - Lewis Capaldi ‘Someone You Loved’

Presented by Sir Tom Jones

MASTERCARD ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Dave ‘Psychodrama’

Presented by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

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British Airways Boosts Holiday Flights

LONDON British Airways is to increase its flight frequency for holiday spots from Gatwick. Mick Hyare

Cancun, St Lucia and Cape Town are set for extra flights this winter in a rostering that offers nine weekly flights to St Lucia, with extra services on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

This follows news that Virgin Atlantic is dropping St Lucia from its Gatwick schedule in June after some 20 years.

From December, British Airways will also boost its LGW-Cancun route with an extra weekly Sunday flight, taking the total to six per week.

From 10 January 2021, there will also be two extra flights a week to Cape Town making it a total of 19 from London.

Adam Carson, British Airways’ MD at Gatwick, said: “We know our customers crave some winter warmth as these are incredibly popular destinations. To make it even easier to get there we’re increasing the number of flights to St Lucia, Cancun and Cape Town from London Gatwick and we’ve put them on days that work well to maximise travellers’ time and annual leave.”

Our review: Hard Rock Resort in Cancun
...and Secrets Maroma Beach, Cancun
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Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal

PARIS The change of season and the end of last year's yellow vest protests made Paris a perfect weekend prospect - especially when the stay was at the exclusive Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal.  Sat Bal

The hotel is more intimate than its name suggests: 57 rooms and 11 suites set in imposing 18th-century architecture. Apt too that the hotel is part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group which itself features over 500 small, but perfectly formed, boutique venues around the world.

PURPOSE

A weekend of partying. Where better to disport ourselves than the Panoramic Suite? The most luxurious suite in this maison took up the strain with panache. Its versatility also makes it ideal for business stays and families.

LOCATION

Very Paris, but located away from the noisy bustle thanks to the hotel’s position by the neighbouring gardens of Palais Royal. Yet the Louvre, Place Vendôme and Palais Garner are an easy stroll away.

DESIGN

This elegant five-star hotel was designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon whose design portfolio includes the likes of the Four Seasons Hotel George V and the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris. The artwork is imposing on arrival into the lobby where Hellenistic sculptures add to the guest greeting. Hangings and fabrics come from the expertise of Pierre Frey with furnishings by Philippe Hurel and lighting by Delisle.

PANORAMIC SUITE

This is the best suite in the house, edging past the Royal Suite, and was the perfect venue for our party stay. Its exclusivity was made immediately obvious by our own private elevator which whisked us to the seventh floor.

The first real impression was made on the terrace outside the suite. With the Eiffel Tower clearly visible to the left of us and the Louvre and Palais Royal gardens in our sights, the Panoramic Suite certainly lived up to its name! The Palace of Versailles might have been out of our panorama but the "Sun King" feel prevailed nonetheless.

The usual guest view from the seventh floor - avec Eiffel Tower

We made instant use of the expansive terrace which was flooded by sun and, soon enough, with bottles of France’s best. Nearly 300 sq ft of space and an assortment of loungers, tables and chairs easily held 15 people here. Let the party commence!

Our view from our seventh floor terrace - Vive la France!

The feeling of seclusion and privacy here meant that there we no qualms about plugging in sound systems unintrusively.

The Panoramic Suite also features a private dining room in the lounge area and king beds beyond for when sleep becomes a necessity.

It has to be said that the circa £3,500-plus that secured this suite over the weekend will get you ‘Paris space’ ie. more compact than apex suites in other cities and the Panoramic will thus only sleep two adults and two kids. The rest of the rooms in the hotel follow suit with Paris space and start at around £350. Yet the upside is that all rooms, suites and leisure spaces come with a finesse that is unequivocally…Paris.

As if to emphasise the sunny day, shafts of daylight set the marble bathroom aglow, amply furnished with double sink, bath and shower in the Panoramic.

STAFF AND SERVICE

The lounge bar

Staff joyfully aided and abetted our seventh-floor shenanigans, encouraging us Brits to make merry. The warmth and courtesy percolated down to the lobby. Special mention must also be made of Leon, the French-sounding Englishman, who presided over the intimate hotel lounge bar and swapped tales of Birmingham and tricks with gin.

Le Lulli restaurant is headed by Jean-Baptiste Orieux whose exquisite dishes are made from local and seasonal ingredients.   

Elsewhere, Wi-Fi comes free and accomplished ‘Clefs d’or’ concierge caters for all whims. There’s also a Carita spa, Turkish bath and fitness centre. There are also special services for families and children.

GRAND HÔTEL DU PALAIS ROYAL

4 rue de Valois, Paris, FR, 75001

33-142-961535

www.grandhoteldupalaisroyal.com

www.slh.com