Five things to do or see this month

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An event at the Partisan Coffee House

Partisan Coffee House

Four Corners gallery, Bethnal Green, London, 5-27 May

The Partisan Coffee House was founded by radical historian Raphael Samuel and cultural theorist Stuart Hall in 1958 in Soho. It was the spiritual home of the New Left and among its clientele were activists, writers, artists and intellectuals. In its short existence it staged debates, film screenings, exhibitions, skiffle and folk music nights. The Four Corners exhibition includes photographs by documentary photographer Roger Mayne, alongside printed materials, film clips and oral histories.


Podcast out now

The makers of 2014’s landmark podcast Serial again look set to redefine the medium. Over seven beautifully constructed episodes, we get a portrait of climate change fanatic, clock restorer and conspiracy theorist John B Maclemore from “Shit-town”, Alabama. There are revelations, devastating events and elegiac moments. Layers of Maclemore’s life are peeled away to reveal an extraordinary individual contending with the alienation and repressive attitudes of the rural deep south.

Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths

British Library, London, until September

Another major institution contends with the centenary of the Russian Revolution. On display is a first edition of the Communist Manifesto; Lenin’s handwritten application for a Reader Pass; a draft of a Trotsky speech; propaganda materials both revolutionary and anti-Bolshevik; and the personal diary of Tsar Nicholas II. The BL promises to present the tales of ordinary people living through extraordinary times.

Brighton Festival

Various venues, 6-28 May

This year’s guest director is poet, musician and theatre maker Kate Tempest. The programme celebrates what Tempest calls the “Everyday Epic” — art that helps us connect to ourselves and others, explores our individual stories and differences, and encourages audiences to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. The eclectic line-up spans theatre, dance, music, visual art, film, debate and spoken word.


Cardiff, various venues, 1-31 May

This year’s Cardiff International Festival of Photography looks at “revolution”, investigating moments of social change in pursuit of utopias, human rights and identity. The festival aims to examine the dramatic changes over the last 100 years to the way we live. Highlights include a commissioned piece by Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps entitled “State of the Nation”. Also featured are a number of younger artists documenting life in contemporary Russia.