Listings: Oct 2011

From London Cocktail Week to amazing astronomy, mask-making to magic lanterns, via festivals, balls and live literature, there's plenty of sexy and spooky stuff to get up to this October: so make the most of Autumn in London with Litro's pick of this month's events, compiled by Alex James.

Until 31st December, 10pm Wed/Thu only, £15 – Recipe for a Perfect Wife @ Charing Cross Theatre, Villiers Street

50s-themed comedy stage show in which five ladies compete to become Britain’s best housewife on live TV. Hosted by husband and wife duo Betty and Bertie and  singing trio ‘Kitty and Her Cats’, no stone is left unturned as the contestants fight it out to be the most beautiful, obedient cake-baking spouses the world has ever seen … Includes post-show 50s-themed party in the theatre bar, with free cake and dancing until late. See:

Daily until 31st October, various times, £6.50 – The Secret Lives of Stars @ Peter Harrison Planetarium, Royal Observatory, Greenwich

This spectacular new show, narrated by Patrick Stewart, explores the fascinating life history of the stars, from the smallest red dwarf to the largest blue giant. Using state-of-the art digital simulation, it charts the life of a star from birth through to death and beyond, and looks at what impact this has on the universe around us. See:

3rd to 17th October, various venues, times & prices – London Restaurant Festival

From street food to gourmet, the London Restaurant Festival is a citywide celebration of eating out, designed to acknowledge and celebrate the pleasure and sustenance given to all by London’s extraordinarily diverse and exciting range of restaurants. For two weeks in October, the city’s restaurateurs will work together to enable food lovers to explore some of the capital’s finest cooking – from its Michelin stars to coveted neighbourhood bistros. See:

7th October, 7.30pm, £7.50 – YARN/The Special Relationship @ The Nursery, Light Industrial Theatre, Arch 61, Ewer Street, SE1 0NR

With not one, but two shows in one night, this is an extra special double bill to welcome you to a season of dark nights and cockle-warming wine-drinking evenings. Part 1 is Duet, poems about twisted love by Richard Marsh and Katie Bonna, and Part 2 is a literary variety night featuring regulars Sam Taradash and Tom Basden, plus guest Barry Walsh, whose first novel The Pimlico Kid is out soon. See:

7th to 16th October, various venues, times & prices – London Cocktail Week

London Cocktail Week is designed to encourage people to try new things – taste different cocktails, visit bars they’ve never heard of, or try their hand at mixology. The Cocktail Tours incorporate over 200 London bars, each one serving a bespoke drink for just £4 to those who have registered. London Cocktail Week will also be providing Bacardi-sponsored Routemaster buses for free transportation around the capital, dropping revellers at the doorstep of a different location each night. There’s also more than 130  tastings, masterclasses and parties happening through the week. See:

11th October, 7.30pm, £5 – Liars’ League: Fear & Loathing @ The Phoenix, 37 Cavendish Square, W1G 0PP

Short fiction event Liars’ League celebrates its 51st event with a night of stories to chill and thrill you in the run-up to Hallowe’en, including a brand new story by horrormeister Stephen King, courtesy of Granta. See:

12th October, 7pm, £7/4 – Cruel Deeds and Dreadful Calamities with Linda Stratmann @ 11 Mare Street, Hackney E8 4RP

Victorian publication The Illustrated Police News infamously thrilled the public with gruesome pictures and melodramatic headlines. Crude content describing lewd and terrible crimes (including Jack the Ripper’s murders) in great detail, with images to match, meant it acquired a sensationalist reputation not unlike tabloids of today. Historian Linda Stratmann delves deeper into the crimes themselves, and defends the publication’s reputation, insisting it was a landmark in journalism. See:

14th to 16th October, various times, venues & prices – The UK Rum Festival

Rum was a favourite tipple of literary greats such as Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Dickens. The UK RumFest is the ultimate rum experience for rum drinkers, rum aficionados and rum lovers who have travelled to the tropics to sample the music, the food, the partying and people associated with drinking rum, with over 400 rums to sip, savour and buy. You can try cocktails mixed by the UK’s best mixologists. See:

18th October, 7.30pm & 9pm, £2 on the door – Scratch & Sniff @ The Book Club Basement, 100-106 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4RH

Join Odette Toilette for a scented journey around the world. With guest ‘nose’, Columbia Road’s own Angela Flanders, we’ll be discovering East London’s hidden perfumery heritage before jetting off to exotic locations from the comfort of our seats, sampling Angela’s perfumes to take us there. Prepare to have your nostrils tickled, and to leave smelling delicious. See:

19th October, 6.30pm, £2 on the door – Life Drawing: 7 Deadly Sins @ The Book Club Basement, 100-106 Leonard Street, London EC2A 4RH

The Book Club’s week-long birthday celebrations sees the return of the Life Drawing Extravaganza. Host Morris invites you to challenge your objectionable vices and confront humanity’s inclination to sin. Take a ‘Dante’ style journey through the ‘Inferno’ and witness depictions of the human body representing all of the cardinal sins. Morris’s concept of Hell will present wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. Witness, draw, drink and discuss. See:

20th October, 7pm, £12 – Halloween Mask Making Workshop, 11 Mare Street, Hackney E8 4RP

The Cabinet of Curious Creatures Mask Making workshop will focus on creating individual Halloween based creatures encouraging you to delve into the darkest corners of your soul. You will be making 3D bespoke structures that you will then decorate using a wide variety of sumptuous material to help facilitate the birth of your foreboding creature. All materials are included. See:

22nd October, secret location and time to be revealed on the 21st, £38 – Secret Vampire Club

Secret Vampire Club follows on from the hugely successful ‘Secret Safari Club’ which was held in August. Expect a hauntingly delectable four-course supper served up by chef Mama Paxos, live music by the up and coming new band ‘In Zanadu’, walking dead dancers serving bloody cocktails and DJ Jack Dexter hitting the decks. To book, see Vegetarian options are available to those who email

29th October, 8pm, £20, Belle Epoque Halloween Special @ The Grand Hall, Shoreditch Studios, 29 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EY

Indulge in the seductive side of partying at Belle Epoque. Featuring jawdropping acrobatic feats, showstopping music acts and eye-popping outfits, the ball will enrapture your soul, trick your mind, and release your inner exhibitionist. Step into a fantasy world where masked villains melt into the crowd as corseted courtesans drape themselves over gilded balconies. For this Halloween Special, guests can dress up and delve into a dark, dreamy and depraved world, with absinthe fountains, a make-up boudoir and live bands and DJs playing an eclectic mix of music throughout the night. See:

30th October: 3pm, FREE – Storytails @ The Drop, Stoke Newington,

The Sunday afternoon literary event returns in October with readings of short stories and novel extracts from up and coming London authors you’ll wonder why you haven’t heard of. The vibe is relaxed and entry is free, so just turn up and enjoy. See:

31st October, 7pm & 9pm, £10 – Halloween Gothic Magic Lantern Show with Mervyn Heard, 11 Mare Street, Hackney E8 4RP

“Astonishment seized me. My bones shivered within me. My flesh trembled over me. My lips quaked. My mouth opened. My hands expanded. My knees knocked together. My blood grew chilly, and I froze with terror.” Such is the might of the shadow lantern, and on Halloween, Professor Mervyn Heard will conjure up the black art of Phantasmagoria with his 19th Century Magic Lantern. Shudder as skeletons waltz across the wall and nuns bleed to death despite a life of virtue! See:

Events compiled by Alex James and Robin Stevens

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