Leeds Diary Dates: March 2016

Here we are again with my event wishlist for March! It barely seems 2 minutes since my February rundown, but I admit I’ve had a slow and slightly absent month in terms of blogging. I’ve had a lot on this month, and between feeling rundown/overwhelmed and struggling to find inspiration or motivation for writing it felt like the right decision to stop beating myself up for missing self-imposed deadlines and take a bit of a break.

Luckily March is set to be much more rosy. I feel like my writing mojo is returning, I’ve got a 2-week adventure in Guatemala and Belize approaching that will be filling my Twitter and Instagram feed for the whole fortnight and probably quite some time after I come home, and when I am in Leeds there’s some really exciting stuff on to keep me busy. Let’s take a look at what I’m looking forward to!

29th Feb-22nd: Headingley LitFest

LitFest is  a Headingley stalwart celebrating the wealth of literary genius that has lived in Headingley over the years, and it’s back this year hosting a wide range of events, many of which are free. I’m going to be away on holiday for most of the time LitFest is on, but a few of the events that have caught my eye are ‘The Beat Goes On’, paying tribute to the writers of the Beat Generation; ‘Cinema Stories’, on Leeds’ old picture-houses; and ‘The Ten Thousand Hoops’, in which award-winning author John Spurling talks about the difficulties of getting published.

1st-20th: The Weather Cafe

I can’t even describe how intrigued I am by this. The details of this cafe-slash-art installation are being kept very much under wraps, but its being described as an immersive experience that takes inspiration from the physical weather and the people of Leeds to create, as the website pus it, ‘a barometer to reflect the emotional climate of the city’. Put together by artist David Shearing, the cafe will use sound and lighting to respond to the weather in real-time, creating a digital climate within the cafe, and there’ll be curated events from Leeds community groups throughout its residency.

2nd: Is Rape Culture a Dangerous Myth?

Hmm. This will be an interesting one. Leeds Salon are hosting this debate at the Carriageworks, led by Luke Gittos off the back of his book ‘Why Rape Culture is a Dangerous Myth: From Steubenville to Ched Evans’. He’ll be introducing the book before taking questions from the respondents, Kate Brown and Hannah Bows, after which the audience will also be invited to join in the discussion. My knee-jerk reaction was to cringe away from the horrendous title, but whatever their stance all three speakers have a wealth and knowledge in their fields, so this should be a really interesting and enlightening event.

8th: International Women’s Day

Leeds has a lot of good stuff lined up for International Women’s Day. On the 5th March Leeds City Museum are hosting a day of talks, activities, films and stalls that include a Zine in a Day event, a Q&A with Leeds Animation Workshop and a collection of films curated by Leeds Queer Film Festival. Over at Trinity Leeds on the 8th you can find a Women in Music photography exhibition, live music, sports classes and talks by Olympic diver Rebecca Gallantree and Rio 2016 hopeful Alicia Blagg on the barriers women face in sport. There are also a lot of events lined up as part of Festival of the Body running throughout March, so keep an eye out for those!

25th-26th: The Shawshank Redemption Sneaky Experience

The Sneaky Experience are doing some seriously cool shit around Leeds this year with Lord of the Rings, Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, Night at the Museum and Labyrinth to name a few, but my event of choice is the epic Shawshank Redemption. Sneaky Experience are teaming up with Leeds International Film Festival to create an interactive screening of Shawshank, in which Leeds Town Hall is transformed into Ohio State Reformatory and guests get a glimpse of prison life, before enjoying a screening of the classic film. I’m not sure exactly what to expect, but I guess that’s half the point.

27th: Merrion Street Festival

Leeds’ favourite Sunday day-drinking festival returns for Easter Weekend! There’s not a lot of news about it yet other than a Facebook event, but it’s likely to be the same set-up a always – the bars of Merrion Street teaming up and providing outdoor seating, live music and good food and drink. Old familiars Mojo and Verve are there along with more recent additions Manahatta, The Pit and Bar Soba, and new kid on the block Mean-Eyed Cat Bar will be making its Merrion Street Fest debut after replacing The Reform last autumn. The drink starts flowing at noon, and basically carries on until everyone calls it a day and staggers off home.

What is everyone else up to in March? Let me know if I’m in danger of missing anything awesome!

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