January 13, 2017

Unity Culture Club: On Your Radar – 13.01.2017

Unlucky for some? Friday the 13th is upon us, a day some dread from fear of the unlucky superstitions attached. However, the day rarely turns out to be the lightning bolt / Final Destination-esque / hellfire of doom we’re lead to believe it will – so we’re turning the unlucky day on its head by saying Carpe Diem, to encourage people to take on their worries, seize the day, and get out there – despite their fears. So to help, we’ve selected some of things that we might previously have looked at with raised eyebrows, but turned out to be unpredictably and wonderfully different.


We’ll be honest, we aren’t always in the mood for all singing, all dancing escapades. Umbrellas of Cherbourg (and perhaps a *brief* fling with Moulin Rouge) aside, the Hollywood musical probably isn’t up there in the modern consumers’ favourite film genres. Despite those cheesy adverts you might have seen, Damien Chazelle’s picture has received critical acclaim, rousing reviews and seven Golden Globes for its original score and moving, heartfelt performances. We could sit here all day telling how utterly fantastic, heartfelt and moving the performances are, and defend it by describing how the story draws you in, asking the viewer to dream, hope and laugh. However, that’s all subjective – so all we’re asking is to throw off your fear of a sing a long, because this isn’t one. It’s just going to surprise you.


Out in zone 3 South-East London, The Horniman sits, pride of the locals but not so thought of by the hustlers and bustlers in Central. We’ve spent some time here recently and we would recommend this Forest Hill site to anyone who needs inspiration, but doesn’t want to deal with masses of cold commuters and semi-lost tourists. As a cabinet-of-curiosity-convert-museum, this site has it all. (To name a few: an aquarium, an Egyptian sarcophagus, musical instruments, a large garden, fossils, a family of bees and a giant taxidermy Walrus.)


Maybe you don’t expect much from Sundays, or think drag or improv is your thing. This Sunday we will be shaking off our comfortable routines of blankets and cups of tea for Disaster Spectacular: The Improv Drag Show at Shoreditch’s The Book Club. Performers are given one day’s training in improvisational theatre before putting themselves, their glam and their shazam to the test. We’re expecting any preconceived expectations to be covered in glitter, and our eyes to be widened to the different ways situations are taken on by the performers, inspiring us in new ways ahead of any Monday meetings.


A few of us at Unity watched this documentary recently, and were blown away. It follows 13-year-old, Kazakh-Mongolian born Aishol-pan, as she undertakes her journey to become an Eagle Huntress – a tradition in her culture except for one difference – that she is a girl. Being the first of her kind, the adversity that she (plus her father and her grandfather) face from generations of male eagle hunters (and the resilience she has to prove them wrong), is heartwarming and awe inspiring.


Another we almost missed, ‘In Order To Live’ is an autobiographical book following 23-year-old Yeonmi Park. From devoted follower of the North Korean regime, forced to live in squalor because of her families poor Songbun (the North Korean status system), to becoming a secret North Korean defector after her sister goes missing and her father is politically imprisoned, to experiencing human trafficking in China and the resentment she found in people from South Korea, one would assume this would be a truly devastating read if it were not for the power of Yeonmi’s spirit and her desire to live throughout. Now an activist, she spends her time giving speeches on the true North Korea and if her autobiography doesn’t inspire you to make the changes you need in life we’re not sure what will!