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This weekend

FRI 23 - SUN 24 MAR 2018

America’s Cool Modernism: O’Keefe to Hopper, Asmolean, 23 Mar-22 Jul

Showcasing significant examples of American art produced during the roaring 1920s and Depression-era 1930s, some for the very first time in the UK. I have to admit I don’t know much about this era art, but they’re described as sharing a smooth, crisp, clean appearance and a cool, impersonal treatment, an apparent detachment –  evoking a world in which humans have been removed or substituted. Sounds fascinating.


The Great British Dog Walk, Culden Faw Estate, Henley, 24 Mar

black dog on skateboard wearing green sunglasses pink headphones trees background

Off that skateboard and get walking! The Great British Dog Walk is a great way to get you, your family and your pooch out into the Spring air, while raising funds for the charity Hearing Dogs For Deaf People. The Great British Dog Walk takes in a 4km family route or an 11k scenic one around the stunning Culden Faw private estate, where you might just spot deer or wallabies. There are also various stalls, activities and refreshments. It’s £10 for an advance adult ticket, with children under the age of 16 free, and a free doggie bandanna to jazz up Rover.


Norman Jay MBE at Clayton’s Marlow, 24 Mar

Ahhh Norman! Fond memories of nights in London in days gone by (though Mr M came across you asleep at an Idris Elba gig in Pikes Hotel s a few summer’s ago – naughty!). Anyway, the co-founder of the legendary Good Times Sound System and KISS FM is bringing his hat and vinyl collection to Clayton’s Marlow for one night only. Tickets £20.


Opera Anywhere: The Magic Flute, St Hilda’s College, 10 Mar & Steeple Aston Village Hall, 24 Mar 

You have to admire Opera Anywhere – they really do move around and bring the arias to the people! The Magic Flute is one of my favourite operas, probably because I studied it for my A levels so kind of know what’s going on and also I’m more inclined to comedy (I figure it’s as easy to laugh as cry). This production celebrates the birth of ‘teen culture’ in this coming-of-age story and explores the other-worldliness that glamorous Hollywood brought to post ‘Blitz’ London.


Earth Trust Lambing Weekend, Little Wittenham, 24 & 25 Mar 

The Earth Trust’s annual lambing weekend looks like kiddie-heaven. Go behind the scenes of a working farm, visiting new spring lambs, with bale climbing, tractor rides and food on offer at Poem Tree Cafe (including, er, lamb burgers – I’m not kidding!). Don’t forget your wellies.


Oxford Literary Festival, various venues around Oxford, 17-25 Mar 

One of the big beast literary events, the 22nd FT Weekend Oxford Literary Festival packs some real beef, boasting over 100 events where you can meet a stellar mix of literary figures like Anthony Horowitz and Boyd Tonkin, the best childrens authors – Charlie & Lola‘s Lauren Childs talks here – and also a smattering of celebs – Gary Kemp is talking about his life, Hermione Norris from Cold Feet too and Nicholas Parsons is popping up with comedians Miles Jupp and Tony Hawks, poet Pam Ayres and thriller writer Felix Francis for an outing for Just A Minute. The list of alumni goes on and on, and all in magnificent settings, from the Sheldonian theatre to various colleges and onto the Blackwell’s Marquee.


Alexandra Buckle Exhibit, The Stables at Claydon Estate Courtyard, Bucks  10 – 25 Mar

Alexandra buckle forest painting big tree

Bicester-based Alexandra Buckle is the first artist of 2018 to exhibit at The Stables in the beautiful Claydon Estate near Buckingham, and what a fab choice. Even better this is the linocut artist’s first major solo exhibition so snap up a classic while you can.


Biagio Spring Wedding Event, Bicester & Thame, 19-24 Mar

Put a ring on it (and, er, quietly save 20% while you’re at it). The mega-popular annual event from Biagio the Jeweller is back for anyone looking for a simple band, a bespoke design or just some inspo. Expect champers, strawberry truffles, bridal goody bags plus a chance to win your weddings rings for free if you book a consultation between 19-24 March at either the Bicester or Thame stores. Make sure you let your eyes slide to the divine diamond section – the engagement rings are to-die-for as well.


Christy McCormick exhibition, Jam Factory, Oxford, 13 March – 23 April

This buzzy, boho central Oxford restaurant/bar has an admirably arty bent, hosting life drawing glasses, craft sessions and using the walls as its airy dining room as a gallery for upcoming artists. Their newest exhibition caught our eye – Christy McCormick is a London College of Fashion-trained illustrator who has previously designed prints for Alexander McQueen. This new project sees her focus on the feminine body as a work of art in itself. Go have a gander, and grab yourself a tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner while you’re there.


Julius Caesar: First Encounters, RSC, Stratford, 22 – 24 Mar

yellow red Julius Cesar animation for royal Shakespeare company children's production

Great idea this. A new version of Julius Caesar for 8 -13 year olds. Part of the RSC’s First Encounters with Shakespeare series, these engaging adaptations are 90 minutes long, use Shakespeare’s original language and ask audiences to participate in the story. Beats Lett’s Notes any day (come on admit it, you used them too).


Art on the Hill: Affordable Art Fair with Creative Workshops for Children, Brill 24-25 Mar

Ruth Aslett, Angus

What started as a small school event has come to pack a big local punch. Art on the Hill is set in Brill (hilly, since you asked) and is a very family-friendly event, with affordable art, creative workshops, gifts and café. Brill is absolutely lovely, a pretty mid Bucks village with a famous windmill and The Pointer pub as your lunch spot (book early, they’re brilliant and permanently rammed).


The Chipping Norton Music Festival, 9-24 Mar 

Incredibly the Chipping Norton Music Festival has been going since since 1904, so they’re doing something right. Still quite a bit to come, including the brilliant Adderbury Ensemble who play out the festival on Sunday, but before that there’s a folk evening, festival concert and the intriguing Mindfulness for Musicians on Tuesday.


Barbara Hepworth: Finding Form, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, 9 Feb – 3 June

I love Barbara Hepworth’s work – if you’re ever in St Ives, be sure to visit her gorgeous house/studio, with its striking sculptures dotted all around the pretty garden. So I’m very excited about this – and what a coup for Henley’s little museum. This retrospective covers the sculptor’s work from the 1930s to the 1960s, borrowing pieces from the Tate and National Portrait Gallery. A must-see.


Spring Family Raceday, Ascot Racecourse, 25 Mar

Racecourses are generally kid-free zones – probably due to all-day bubbles and focus on the horses, but the Spring Family Raceday is a brilliant day with loooooads to entertain the kids –the legendary Lamb National, featuring six Herdwick sheep, infamous ‘Red Ram’, ‘Mint Sauce’ and friends will take to the Queen Anne Lawns for a race over mini fences, the Quack Pack, a petting zoo, free pony rides. Plus the Gruffalo and Peter Rabbit dropping by too. Oh and there’s some actual jump racing too, if that floats your boat. Tickets from £24, but under 18s go FREE.


Michelangelo, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 6 Mar – 2 Apr

Nice earring! And, er, the drawing’s not bad either. Your chance to explore a remarkable group of drawings by Michelangelo, recently returned from New York where they were a central feature of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They’re only on show for four weeks so don’t miss your chance.


Dancin’ Oxford, Various dates and venues in Oxford 

Dancin’ Oxford seems to have cranked up a gear – though it offers its festival every year, now there’s an ongoing programme of grooving, moving, locking and popping across the theatre space and public spaces in the city. This month choose from taster classes in Zumba, Charlston or African dance, watch Tango Moderno with Flavia and Vincent or Theatre ad Infinitum at The North Wall. Full listings here.



The EY Exhibition Picasso 1932: Love, Fame, Tragedy, Until 9 Sep 

I can’t wait to see this first ever solo Pablo Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern, focusing on 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings, mixed with family photographs and rare glimpses into his personal life. Three of his extraordinary paintings featuring his lover Marie-Thérèse Walter are shown together for the first time since they were created over a period of just five days in March 1932.


Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography, National Portrait Gallery, London, 1 Mar until 20 May

A major new exhibition brings together, for the first time, the works of four of the most celebrated figures in art photography, Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Clementina Hawarden (1822-65). These four artists would come to embody the very best in photography of the Victorian era and have influenced photographers ever since. Featuring striking portraits of sitters such as Charles Darwin, Alice Liddell, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Thomas Carlyle, George Frederick Watts, Ellen Terry and Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


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