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Monday, 2 September 2013

ALMAGEST! , with guests Andrew Poppy and Othon Mataragas and more... @ Cafe Oto. 7 September. London E8. 8pm, £8/£10.


Theatrical-cabaret-extravaganza-post-rock-operaesque quartet with Ernesto Tomasini, Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, Paul Beauchamp and Evor Ameisie.

Ernesto Tomasini e-writes me he will be wearing trousers that look like those of a builder, all dirty with cement (by Jean-Paul Gaultier) and I e-write back that I am über-bright with some wit, will be waiting @ one of Bethnal Green station corners... if he spots me... he’s a winner! He probably e-smiled wondering if he had much time to waste...
We waved at each others and kissed as if we hadn’t seen for a long time.
So you live in Chelsea?
In the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, of course! Does it show? You know, when I moved to London in 1987 from Italy, I was severely beaten up in Bethnal Green. 30 guys with snooker canes came out of nowhere and attacked myself and my 3 friends. One of them went into coma. Just for being gay. This area was really rough in those days”.

Ernesto Tomasini has toured the world as a performer/actor using his operatic voice. He sang in a choir @ 10 in his home town in Sicily and started to wear make-up and dress up in his teens. At 16, his mama woke him up throwing a newspaper at his face, opening the curtains abruptly and talking in high speed. She had no idea he was getting famous. After a couple of days of swinging moods, his parents, became highly supportive and, now in their 80s, they still are.

What can we expect of this new project from you?
We are a four piece band: Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, Paul Beauchamp, Evor Ameisie and myself. Three Italians and a North American artist. The other three live in Italy and come from various experiences of electronic music and I sing over it. We've been working together since 2008 but we didn't have a name. We came up with the name of Almagest! in May this year. We put together the world of theatre with ambient, prog rock and electronica. A critic called it "a cabaret of the unconscious". When I am on stage, I feel like an ingénue, even when what comes out of me is downright devilish! We have toured many countries with this project, but it will be our first time in London. The show @ Café Oto will be more dramatised. We have, for example, six guests on one song. The show will have Andrew Poppy as special guest”.

During the 1970s Andrew Poppy developed a strong interest in contemporary American composers like Cage, Feldman, Riley, Glass and Reich, and attended a summer school with John Cage and Merce Cunningham and played in an ensemble with Christian Wolff. In the early 1980’s he was an accompanist at the Laban Centre for Dance and pianist and composer with The Lost Jockey, a large ensemble playing pulse based music that became known as Minimalism.

Ernesto tells me that he has been involved in film projects with Bruce LaBruce, in music projects with Othon Mataragas and Marc Almond. He is constantly on tour and spends 40% of his time in London. “When I am in London, I have no time to complain about the weather. This is the best city in the world and I couldn’t live without London. I am very fussy about my tea and I often have it in the V&A’s cafeteria with my special friends. Otherwise, I love being on my own in Old Brompton Cemetery. I go there by any weather: I learn my lines, write, create and meditate there. I am very romantic and I love being on rooftops and observe the forest of chimneys. West London is best for its architecture, that’s why I live there. Oh, and I love clubbing.

As he puts his jacket back on top of his JPG, I asked Ernesto if it is a Recycle from off Brick Lane. It is. He owns a few pieces and I do too. We are both sad that the creator has left Brick Lane after nearly 20 years of fine clothing. We hugged each other and Ernesto goes “Don’t rush after the show. I’ll say hello to friends, but you stay with us

Almagest! Andrew Poppy, Othon Mataragas @ Cafe Oto, 18-22 Ashwin St, E8 3DL. £8 in advance. £10 at the door.

More info on the show =

More info on Almagest! =

More info on Andrew Poppy

Xtra video = Othon – Tomasini = pure gem =

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