Inner Visions - The 2023 Culture Hitlist

The Stack World hand picks the places to be, the things to see and the movies you won't want to miss this year

By Larushka Ivan-Zadeh

17 January 2023

here’s a feast of culture for the year ahead and The Stack World has hand-picked the best exhibitions, books, restaurants and cinema that should spark your inner life in 2023.

The who's who of Cinema - The films to see this year

As the New Year gets into full swing so too does Award season. So far, at both the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes Everything, Everywhere All At Once is emerging as the clear awards darling. The BAFTAs are coming up in February and the Oscars in March. Put your money on Cate Blanchett to scoop her third Academy Award for TÁR (20 Jan), which casts the Carol star as the titular world-famous, egotistical conductor whose life is crumbling. Elsewhere Steven Spielberg looks likely to score a Best Director hat trick for his The Fabelmans (27 Jan), childhood memoir extolling the power of cinema – because there’s nothing Oscar voters love more than movies about the movies. Elsewhere, queer indie Blue Jean (10 Feb) may not have the budget to bother the Academy, but it’s still brilliant. A poignant portrait of a closeted lesbian PE teacher (Rosy McEwen) set in Thatcher’s Britain, it marks debut writer/director Georgia Oakley as one to watch.

If there’s a 2023 cinema trend it’s about throwback, women-centric movies. We’re madly looking forward to Margot Robbie in Barbie (July) – talk about casting perfection. Add in that it’s directed by our lady-crush and all-round genius Greta Gerwig (Little Women) and boasts Ryan Gosling as Ken and our anticipation is hitting eight-year-old-unwrapping-a-Barbie- Dreamhouse-at-Christmas levels. There’s more treats your inner child this year with a long-delayed live action remake of The Little Mermaid (May) featuring new songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda, plus a screen adaptation of Judy Blume’s beloved coming-of-age classic Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (April), faithfully including the mantra ‘We must, we must, we must increase our bust’.

Star of 2023? It’s got to be Timothée Chalamet. Hot off playing a dreamy cannibal in Bones and All, we’re hoping for more gender-fluid red carpet fashion choices when he promotes Wonka (March), a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel directed by Paddington visionary Paul King, followed by an extra helping of his science epic Dune: Part II (Nov).

All out art - The Exhibitions to check out

Major galleries continue to champion diversity in 2023 with thrilling results. The Royal Academy have curated Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers, Black Artists from the American South (17 March-18 June) shining a light on the indigenous masterpieces created outside the mainstream art establishment during the infamous Jim Crow era.

Female artists are now, thankfully, finally being seen as just ‘artists’, with big ticket shows for names such as Sarah Lucas at Tate Britain (26 Sep- 14 Jan) and legendary performance artist Marina Abramović at the Royal Academy (23 Sep-10 Dec). While women who were dismissed or underrated in their own lifetimes are finally getting their full due. A recent biopic of Hilma af Klint (born 1862), featuring Lily Cole, whetted our appetites to see the Swedish visionary artist’s vast spiritually- inspired canvasses for ourselves and the Tate Modern’s Hilma af Klint & Piet Mondrian (20 April-3 Sep) is an unmissable chance to examine these two abstract titans side by side. We’re already saving up for the gift shop.

If you’re still hungry for a blockbuster show hop over to Amsterdam where the Van Gogh Museum is celebrating its 50th birthday with Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise: His Final Months (12 May- 3 Sep), a period where the artist completed an astonishing 70 paintings in 70 days before his death.

And the mighty Rijkmuseum are staging their first major retrospective of 17th-century Dutch master Johannes Vermeer (Girl with a Pearl Earring) from Feb-June.

Booked and busy - The novels and non-fiction to add to your reading list

If your New Year’s resolutions include ‘read more proper books’ here’s a stack for you to pre-order. Really Good, Actually, the darkly comic debut by Schitt’s Creek writer Monica Heisey, is (out on 17 Jan) and already being talked about as one of the books of the year. Other must-read debuts to watch out for include Nothing Special (out in March), a novel set against the wild 1960s backdrop of Andy Warhol’s Factory, penned by acclaimed short story writer Nicole Flattery (Sally Rooney is a fan). While Ada’s Realm, the first novel by British award-winner Sharon Dodua Otoo follows four women, all called Ada, across times and countries ranging from 1450s Ghana to present-day Berlin.

The #darkacademia trend on TikTok is re ected in Heather Darwent’s The Things We Do to Our Friends and Katy Hays’ The Cloisters, both gunning to be the next The Secret History. And expect Ukraine to permeate the shelves this year as we all strive to understand more about the conflict and its impact. If you only read one, it’s likely to be Victoria Berezko-Frolova’s Red Sirens. Written well before Putin’s invasion, it tells the story of her family across four Ukranian generations sparked a seven- way publishing bidding war.

Another memoir we’re intrigued by is Transitional by model and trans activist Munroe Bergdorf, which draws on her own experience of gender transitioning to give invaluable insight into this hot button debate. While American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis’s first novel in 13 years, The Shards (17 Jan), looks like a typically provocative and graphic fact/fiction semi-memoir of his life as a 17-year-old. And if you fancy something a little lighter, our guilty pleasure for February is Looking Out For Love, latest fruity romcom by the new Jilly Cooper aka Sophia Money-Coutts - and yes, that is her actual name.

Orders Up - The restaurants to book in 2023

With more than a third of the UK’s pubs, hotels and restaurants expected to be out of business, or operating at a loss, as 2023 begins, due to spiralling energy and food costs, eating out feels positively philanthropic these days. (At least that’s what we tell ourselves.) So what’s on this year’s menu?

Foodie forecasters are predicting Colombian and Kurdish flavours will be on everyone’s lips and the craze for West African food will continue to rage. Ikoyi already boasts two Michelin stars for its sophisticated Sub-Saharan cuisine and is one of only two UK eateries on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. It’s now upping sticks from St James’s Market to 180 The Strand next to current hotspot Toklas (mind-blowing Mediterranean with a scrumptious bakery and huge terrace – just go).

Elsewhere the increased financial risk in opening new ventures explains the surging trend for food halls. Manchester’s Escape To Freight Island is the new model: offering live music, DJs and comedy as well as boundary pushing food and drink choices. Expect BoxHall, the new Boxpark spin-off launching soon in London’s Liverpool Street, to follow suit.

And if you want a tasty London neighbourhood to check out, take a trip to Queen’s Park. Here you’ll find Carmel, the candlelit North African/ East Mediterranean from the team behind East London fire and smoke shop Berber & Q. There’s also chic Aussie eaterie Milk Beach and joining them in 2023 is Lino, the low-waste Farringdon favourite who’ll be relocating to NW6.

And, in general, expect menus bristling with humble (ie cheap) ingredients, as chefs get creative in the cost of living crisis - carrot top and fox spleen stew anyone?

The Short Stack

The Stack World hand picks the places to be, the things to see, and the movies you won't want to miss this year. This article is from the second edition of The Stack World Newspaper

By Larushka Ivan-Zadeh

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