A Flying Visit to a Folly

I finally made it down the Folly for a Flyover on Sunday afternoon. Lured by rumors of tasty bagels and the chance to hire a row boat on the emerald green canal. The Folly is situated under the A12 flyover – they’ve taken a disused space and created something of a buzzing summer event. As well as the cute café with cuter staff, there is a theatre with plenty of film and theatrical events for kids and adults; mainly showing a gay sci-fi film selection, but also workshops and other intriguing events.

The space has been put to good use- the café and cinema are made up of light wooden bricks balancing on one another around scaffolding creating in what can truly be called a ‘pop-up’.

On Sunday, the bagels were delicious, the coffee good (served through strange cylindrical glass filters) and the boats were great fun. £2 gets you half an hour to slowly paddle down the canal in a wobbly boat with heavy oars. The ear splitting drum n bass sounds of a left over canal-side warehouse party merging with the industrial canal sides viewed from a twee little rowing boat was quite surreal for a Sunday in Hackney!

The 6 week long folly is run by Assemble CIC, the people behind the cinema on Clerkenwell Road’s ugly abandoned garage last year. Get down there for one of their viewings or events, or just have a couple of hours to enjoy the scenery (and bagels, it’s all about the bagels for me).

Photography by Keith Allen / Olenka Gibbs


Culture: Films from the Chapel

A simple idea, but a good one…

Each month a crowd turns up at the Gallery Café with a particular film theme in mind. They wait, pensive, having voted for the film they want to watch beforehand on the website. It’s a really nice way of enjoying the film experience before the experience. Building up some excitement!

Previous screenings have included ‘The Towering Inferno’, ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ and ‘Coming to America’.

The next ‘Films from the Chapel’ event will be on Tuesday 26 July at The Gallery Cafe Chapel in Bethnal Green, and the theme is ‘The Summer of Love’.

You can vote for the film YOU want to watch here

Eastern Culture: Picturehouse Cinema on Mare Street

The Ocean Rooms has long been empty after huge venue potential gave way to crime ridden club.  I went to see Buene Vista Social Club there back in 2003, but that was it, which is a shame as Hackney is lacking a bigger venue for bands to play at.

But this autumn sees a new era of regeneration for the building and hint of the “gentrification” of central Hackney.

Picturehouse cinemas show both the spectacular blockbusters we all love as well as culturally more savvy delights from around the world. They fuse live screening, film events and satellite Q&As with the whole cinematic experience feeling a lot more personal than your average multiplex.

The Ritzy in Brixton is a great example of how the terrace café and bar have made the area feel safer and more cosmopolitan.

Lyn Goleby, managing director of Picturehouse, said: “Cinemas have a huge regenerative ability and we’ve seen area after area change and improve, including Brixton and Stratford. Cinemas can give a heart to a place.”

Hopefully the same can be said for Picturehouse Hackney this time next year!

You can sign up to be a “founding member” of the cinema here.

Weekend: Sex Worker Film Festival


Rio cinema in Dalston usually shows a variety of double bills or family matinees on Sunday, but this week, the offering is of an entirely different nature.

London’s first sex worker festival brings together “ethically produced” documentaries and films from Europe as well as panel discussions and debate. There is an after party at Dalston Superstore in the evening.

The event is organised by the Sex Worker Open University:

“Through presenting London’s first ever Sex Worker Film Festival, our collective wants to show living, fighting, whole sex workers; representations that abandon flat, one dimensional characters and stereotypes. The choice of films focus on the diverse realities of sex workers – often very different from the classic “victim” image. Themes include self determination, migration, identity, intimacy and the international struggle for sex workers’ rights.”

You can read an interesting interview with the organisers HERE


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