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David Bowie: 50 years of Aladdin Sane

Bowie
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Celebrating half a century of the iconic album Aladdin Sane with a season of events at the Southbank Centre

A S C O V E R Copy
Aladdin Sane Cover

ALADDIN SANE:
50 YEARS EXHIBITION

6 April – 28 May. Exhibition Space, Level 1, Royal Festival Hall. Ticketed; £5

Fifty years on from the release of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, this exhibition delves into the creation of its iconic ‘lightning bolt’ cover portrait by Brian Duffy. For the album Aladdin Sane, the creativity of Bowie’s music was matched by an extraordinary image on the cover, photographed by Duffy (1933 – 2010). With a focus on the photo session that gave us Bowie’s ‘lightning bolt’ portrait, this exhibition explores the continuous reshaping of Bowie’s image, and his part, along with Duffy’s, in a reimagining of sexual and gender identity.

NU CIVILISATION ORCHESTRA: DAVID BOWIE’S ALADDIN SANE

21 April, Royal Festival Hall, 8:00pm. Ticketed from £30. 

Nu Civilisation Orchestra leads a 50th anniversary reimagining of Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, with Anna Calvi, Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, Roxanne Tataei, Tawiah and Lynks. In April 1973, David Bowie released his sixth studio album, Aladdin Sane. 50 years later the album remains full of fun, cutting-edge songs that remain classic moments. Featuring some of its greatest songs, including ‘The Jean Genie’ and ‘Drive-In Saturday’, the album is being reimagined by Nu Civilisation Orchestra in a performance featuring an array of guest vocalists.

NATIONAL POETRY LIBRARY PRESENTS: ALADDIN SOUND

21 April, Purcell Room, 7:45pm. Ticketed at £12. 

An explosive evening of Bowie-inspired poetry. Ten of the UK’s most exciting poets reimagine Aladdin Sane on its 50th anniversary. Taking their cue from the poetic language and potent imagination of Bowie’s masterpiece, each poet has been commissioned to write a new poem in response to each track on the album, creating a spoken word version of the album which will be presented live on stage. Poets include Luke Kennard, Keith Jarrett, Golnoosh Nour, Mark Waldron and spoken word legend John Hegley.

ALADDIN SANE @ 50: 

THE MAKING OF AN ICON

22 April, Purcell Room, 1pm. Ticketed at £12.

Delve deeper into Bowie’s album and its unforgettable cover image in a discussion chaired by curator Victoria Broackes. Bowie not only wanted people to be what they wanted to be but also to look like they wanted, whatever the norms of society. Broackes is joined in this conversation by Chris Duffy, the son of Brian Duffy and an established photographer in his own right. Since Duffy’s death, Chris has established the Duffy Archive to preserve his father’s work and legacy. He has recently edited Aladdin Sane 50, a new book exploring the album and the story behind the creation of its famous cover. He has also filmed many musicians and personalities who worked with Bowie over the years.

MAKING A SHOW: THE RISE OF IMMERSIVE MUSIC EXHIBITIONS

22 April, Purcell Room, 3pm. Ticketed at £12.

Follow a discussion charting the rise of immersive music exhibitions, such as the V&A’s David Bowie Is, and where their success might take them. Ten years ago, David Bowie Is opened at the V&A Museum in London and set a new benchmark for immersive music exhibitions. Integrating sound, film and objects into a seamless presentation, it was a hit with critics, fans and the general public alike.

ALADDIN SANE’S QUEER LEGACIES

22 April, Purcell Room, 7:45pm. Ticketed at £12 

David Bowie’s sexual ambiguity, androgyny and subversion of gender identity left a lasting legacy. Writer Paul Burston and Golnoosh Nour discuss ‘David Bowie is a queer icon’. Generations of queer kids growing up in the prevailing homophobic and transphobic culture of the 1970s and 1980s took refuge in his music and found connection to others through a shared love of his open rejection of societal norms.

CONCRETE LATES 

X QUEER BRUK

22 April, Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer, 10.30pm . Ticketed at £18. Age 18+

Dance till late with Queer Bruk, the platform and club collective diversifying queer nightlife through the lens of Black culture and music. London’s liveliest Black Queer night shakes up the brutalist concrete of the Queen Elizabeth Hall Foyer with a late-nighter. Queer Bruk is a club night and platform that aims to celebrate Afro-Caribbean music within queer spaces. Queer Bruk’s network of amazing QTIPOC creatives are instrumental in their movement. They build connectiowns and support, uplift and highlight Black queer people through music. 

Tickets for the exhibition, live music and talks are available at https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/festivals-series/aladdin-sane-50-years

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