ON THE HOUSE: "It's certainly a relaxed environment, and it's very family-friendly. It gives people something to do at the gallery other than view the exhibitions," remarks Executive Veerle Poupeye, referring to the National Gallery's increasingly popular Last Sundays special, which monthly brings a healthy dose of arts-based entertainment to its patrons. Most recently, musicians Samuele Vivian and Gabriella Reno took the spotlight. Previous offerings included a screening of Russell Watson's film A Hand Full of Dirt (starring Alwyn Bully) and interactive art shows featuring the likes of Matthew McCarthy. "I think it promotes another level of engagement because people are not just in and out; they stay here for hours." Is the best yet to come? "We hope to turn it into something even bigger," says Poupeye, "and we hope to get sponsors, so we can add to the entertainment."
THE BIG PICTURE: Here's hoping the Liguanea Club in New Kingston hosts its Movie Night with greater regularity. The venue's well-ventilated setting paired with the free-to-the-public showing of tasteful, hugely enjoyable films proves irresistible. I joined a fair-sized crowd at the Club last week to take in the splendid Before Midnight (starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke), an Oscar contender that didn't make it into the Palace Amusement circuit. See, that's already part of the appeal.
STAGE TO SCREEN: Palace Amusement Limited came in for special praise last year when they launched their Met Season coverage (to huge acclaim from local opera enthusiasts like Dr. Brian Heap). The Jamaican film company continues to diversify its entertainment package, announcing that a roster of Shakespearean plays will be added to its Sunday morning programme (for February and March), sure to delight lovers of live theatre, the British military tradition (War Horse), and the best of the Bard (including Hamlet, Coriolanus, King Lear and Othello). Visit palaceamusement.com for details.
MARLEY MANIA: Robert Nesta is being thrown a supersized birthday bash in Negril next month. slated for Feb. 1-6, the 22nd Annual Bob Marley Bash will unfold at the MXIII Lawn, with a veteran-heavy lineup of performers slated to pay tribute to the late great reggae ambassador whose presence is still deeply felt across the globe. Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Marcia Griffiths, Bob Andy, Chronixx and Raging Fyah, to mention just a few of the big names, will deliver performances at the event being sponsored by the Jamaica Tourist Board, with Lennox Lewis as patron.