SIX-NIGHT ‘VIRTUAL’ SHOW AT THE EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL – AUG 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22 – 2021!
Dean Friedman, one of the pre-eminent songwriters of his generation, announces the release of his ninth studio album, ‘American Lullaby’ – released August 27th, 2021 on Friedman’s Real Life Records label.
Friedman will be premiering the album with a six-night ‘virtual’ show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival titled, ‘Dean Friedman’s American Lullaby’, running August 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 2021 [8pm].
The crowdfunded album touches on a broad range of topics including: the calamitous pandemic, looming environmental disaster, racism, sexism, our fractured politics, and an intractable culture war. The title track ‘American Lullaby’, a moving account of America’s original sins and 400 year love affair with guns; ‘Halfway Normal World’, a poignant yearning for release from perpetual lockdown; ‘The Russians Are Coming!’, a 100% factual narrative based on the ‘Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election’; ‘Welcome to Stupid Town’ and ‘On a Summer’s Night’. The album also offers up ‘Just Another Birthday Song’, Friedman’s hilarious contender to replace the ubiquitous ‘Happy Birthday’ song, written 125 years ago by the Hill sisters.
“The new album, ‘American Lullaby’,” Friedman explains, “reflects my personal take on all the crazy stuff that’s been happening in America – and around the world – for the last six years. Like all lullabies, it’s filled with tales of dark deeds and disaster, but couched in soft, gentle tones, meant to soothe and comfort the listener, while gently bracing them for the potential terrors that await.”
The album will be available in stores and digitally on all the main streaming/download outlets. Friedman will be promoting the album during his ‘virtual’ Fringe run, via his regular DeanZine ‘LiveStream’ webcasts, plus a 40-city ‘live’ concert tour which kicks off April 2022.
All For You is the stunning new single from Soviet-born singer-songwriter/pianist Valentina Keys.
The song was born in the summer of 2020 during a tricky time for everyone and a period where Valentina had her own life crisis. It slowly evolved as a healing and uplifting ballad, which was then really brought alive with beats and energy added by the acclaimed producer Alex HarDrum in 2021, with whom Valentina was working remotely.
“For me the song is about the perfect relationship I have with music – my faithful friend that I can always turn to no matter what. We have lived through everything together and I can honestly say that this love is forever. Of course the song as a whole is about unconditional love and many people will be able to relate in their own individual way.” – Valentina
Born on the Black Sea in Odessa, USSR, Valentina Keys was a child prodigy. At age six, she was accepted to study the arts of singing, piano, music theory, ballet, painting and composotion. Classes would take place twice a week after normal school and on Saturdays. Add to this her private tuition in English and French, along with tennis lessons and the young Ukranian had little time for play.
Growing up in the shadow of the Chernobyl disaster informed Valentina’s other passion – the environment and the law. She was aware from a young age that the catastrophe could have been prevented if the right checks and risk assessments had been in place. She saw first hand the irreversible damage that environmental and health and safety incidents can cause when laws are either not enforced or observed.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, a 13-year old Valentina moved to St Andrews, Scotland with her parents who gained employment at the University teaching Russian. It was a huge culture shock and she was terribly homesick, struggling to make new friends: –
“I remember that I struggled to make friends at school at first because I could not understand the Scottish accent. Other kids at school would try to talk to me but I could not answer as I didn’t understand them and would ask them to repeat. But they had no patience to repeat so it was frustrating for both sides.”
Valentina poured her emotion into music and writing songs. Her first was in Russian and titled Odessa after her home, but she soon began writing in English and performing her material. It was these songs and performances that broke down the cultural and language barriers and built bridges. She became popular with the other children and known as the talented and musical one, even picking up a Scottish accent!
Coming from a family of academics, musicians and artists, Valentina had seen how they had struggled and was determined to find her own independence. She studied Spanish, Russian and Catalan at Cambridge University and then opted for a career in Law in order to pay off her student debts and gain the financial security she realised she would need in making her musical dreams and aspirations a reality.
Given her experiences growing up in the USSR, Environmental Law was a clear and obvious path for her passions: –
“Law provides the means to offer the right level of protection. Environmental Law is connected to the nature and health of the planet. The realities of today – climate change, climate emergency, global pandemics and biodiversity loss – are wreaking havoc on human life and our planet and were all preventable had the human race behaved themselves more responsibly. So my job is to educate and advise businesses and people on how to be responsible citizens who take care of the environment and conduct business and operations in an environmentally sustainable manner.”
Along with her Law career, Valentina has independently released two albums Love is.. and Love is Love and is now working on her third album. She loves to mix genres and to cross musical as well as cultural borders. Her love for raw, honest lyrics and stripped back acoustic recordings can be heard throughout her music. Whilst her songs strive to break down convention, lyrical and musical expectations, borders and rules, she always stays true to her Russo-Ukrainian, James Bondesque roots and this will shine through in her much awaited third album (expected 2021/2022).
Valentina is also a regular on the London gigging scene having played at some of the top songwriters’ favourite venues including the Cobden Club, the Luxe, the Old Queens Head, Soho Pizzeria, the AAA, the Water Rats, the 15 Minute Club, Raffles Chelsea, the 100 Club, Sessions 58, the Cellar@ Finborough Arms, The Good Ship, The 229 Club, Nottinghill Arts Club, the Troubadour and the O2 Academy, amongst others. Her music is the stuff of films and takes you on a journey. Be ready to escape.
The Cartoon Museum re-opens (no advance booking required) with an exciting new exhibition which celebrates the cultural impact of V for Vendetta from the classic graphic novel to the cult film classic
The exhibition is now open and will be running until 31st October 2021
V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask will chart the rise from graphic novel, to hit film and now global phenomenon as a symbol of protest.
Securing rare loans from the art department of Warner Bros, The Cartoon Museum will present a history of this modern classic with original artwork and covers,
as well as costumes and designs that have never been seen in the UK before.
“Stunningly executed and movingly relevant”
Radio Times – Film Review
The exhibition comes at an appropriate time when interest in V for Vendetta continues to rise. Original pages of David Lloyd’s work have been sold at auction for over £20,000, while the graphic novel continues to top bestseller lists four decades after its original release. As well as the high-profile loans from Warner Bros, The Cartoon Museum will also display three original V for Vendetta covers from the initial run in Warrior magazine.
Illustrated by David Lloyd and written by Alan Moore, the central character of the masked and mysterious ‘V’ became an iconic symbol of comics, cinema and the hacker group, Anonymous. Its cultural impact, spanning nearly 40 years, is explored through 36 original artworks by David Lloyd, including black and white pages and colour paintings. These will be displayed alongside the original mask worn by Hugo Weaving in Warner Bros.’ blockbuster 2005 movie adaptation, one of only three that were used during production, as well as costume designs and storyboards. V for Vendetta first ran as a black-and-white strip between 1982 and 1985, in Warrior, a British anthology comic published by Quality Communications. It was one of the comic’s most popular strips, but Warrior was soon cancelled after only 26 issues due to low sales. Three years later, DC Comics – famously the publishers of Batman and Superman titles – persuaded Moore and Lloyd to let them give V a new home.
From then, Lloyd’s illustrations and Moore’s storylines – portraying a moody and bleak futuristic vision of Britain, suffering from an almost apocalyptic nuclear destruction and the ravages of a neo-fascist state – became one of the most celebrated graphic novels of all time. It is in this setting where V wages a seemingly solo war against the totalitarian government and is eventually aided by Evey, a young woman who is victimised by the regime and decides to take action.
The exhibition launches at a time when, perhaps inspired by the fears and anxieties of the time in the UK, audiences may see V for Vendetta in a new light, following a pandemic year that recharged debates over rights, Government control and citizenship. Visitors will also be able to get up close to the real mask that Hugo Weaving wore in his role as V in the 2005 film. The mask is one of only three that were made for the film and perhaps was the turning point which transformed the Guy Fawkes-inspired disguise from recognizable pop culture to global phenomenon, seen around the world in all manner of protests from across the political spectrum.
V for Vendetta, adapted by the Wachowskis fresh from the completion of The Matrix trilogy, became a box office smash and led a new generation to the comic. Original costume designs by Sammy Sheldon Differ, who subsequently worked on Marvel’s Ant-Man and the upcoming Eternals, will also be on display, showing how David Lloyd’s creations were interpreted for the screen. These will also be accompanied by the original storyboards for a scene in which V plans a daring raid on a TV station, designed by long-time Wachowski collaborator Axel Eichhorst. The iconography and themes of V for Vendetta, and how they have spread from the page and screen into people’s lives, will also be a major focus of Behind the Mask. In the movie, the mantle of the mask passes from V to Evey but in the finale we see thousands of ‘ordinary people’ don their own masks. This prompts the exhibition to explore the idea of self-expression through protest – anyone can be V, so where does the line between anarchism and protest sit for the individual? The exhibition explores the voices of protesters in the real world, all under the looming presence of the 21st century’s most recognizable protest art – the mask of V.
Joe Sullivan, Director of The Cartoon Museum says: “We’re delighted to re-open following the lockdown and to do so by inviting people to look behind the mask and explore how a British comic strip became a global phenomenon. The Cartoon Museum’s mission is to celebrate and conserve our British comic tradition and this exhibition will take visitors on a journey beginning with the original 1980s artwork of the masterful David Lloyd, to the early 21st century interpretations of Hollywood, and finally with the effect the comic still has on global culture today. V for Vendetta shows us a near-future world, that is borne out of fear and anger following a potential catastrophic event. That’s why it still speaks to us today and I look forward to welcoming the public back as we continue to celebrate the art, culture and comics that try and make sense of the world we live in.”
· Tickets for V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask are available online from The Cartoon Museum Box Office Ticket Prices: £8.50 adults, £5 concessions, £3 students
· V for Vendetta: Behind the Mask merchandise: can purchased from The Cartoon Museum Shop
· The Cartoon Museum opening times: Mon | Closed, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun 10.30am – 5.30pm Thu | 10.30am – 8pm
· No advance booking is required to visit the Museum or the Exhibition
· The Cartoon Museum address: 63 Wells Street, Fitzovia, London, W1A 3AE- Tel: 020 7580 8155
The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its value to culture and society. Through our programme of exhibitions, events and workshops, we aim to:
· Conserve & provide access to Britain’s cartoon and comic art heritage
· Encourage participation in and raise awareness of a popular art form
· Support new work by cartoonists and comics artists
We are a registered charity, run by a small team of staff and a Board of Trustees.
About The Cartoon Museum:
The Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its importance to culture and society. Since 2006 it has received 420k visitors, and built a nationally important collection of 4,300 cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18k items. It runs a well-attended school programme and sell-out school holiday workshops, and over 50k children and adults have attended cartooning, comics and animation workshops at the museum.
The museum has faced a difficult 12 months, with the doors closed for 10 months and the loss of a beloved, long-term staff member, Alison Brown, to COVID-19 in January 2021. Facing the threat of permanent closure due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Museum started a fundraising appeal, which saw an outpouring of support from Friends, cartoon and comics fans, and the cartooning and comic artist community, raising £127, 000 towards the Museum’s survival. The museum also saw significant funding support, including £98,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, £96,000
from Arts Council England and DCMS. Reopening on 18 May, with two fantastic new exhibitions, the Museum is looking forwards to a brighter 2021 and is excited to welcome visitors back.
About Warner Bros. Consumer Products:
Warner Bros. Consumer Products, part of Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences, extends the Studio’s powerful portfolio of entertainment brands and franchises into the lives of fans around the world. WBCP partners with best-in-class licensees globally on an award-winning range of toys, fashion, home décor, and publishing inspired by franchises and properties such as DC, Wizarding World, Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera, HBO, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. The division’s successful global themed entertainment business includes ground-breaking experiences such as The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. With innovative global licensing and merchandising programs, retail initiatives, promotional partnerships and themed experiences, WBCP is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.