Among the events going on this weekend, London’s arts scene offers up two gems – a musical piece in a cemetery and a collection of classic Marilyn Monroe portraits.
Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair at National Portrait Gallery
Opening on Saturday, this free exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery explores the most iconic pin-up of the 20th century, Marilyn Monroe, seen through the lenses of British photographers. The photos on show include Monroe’s favourite image of herself holding a rose in bed, taken by Cecil Beaton in 1956 in his Ambassador Hotel suite in New York. Other pictures cover the actress’s four month visit to Britain to film The Prince and The Showgirl with Laurence Olivier, a shot of Monroe meeting the Queen and selection of rare British magazine covers taken by André de Dienes and Milton Greene.
Until 24 Mar
Big Draw, Big Make at the Victoria and Albert Museum
One man’s scribble is another man’s masterpiece, and Roald Dahl illustrator Quentin Blake will be at the V&A on Sunday to inspire us at the launch of The Big Draw, a worldwide festival dedicated to drawing. CBeebies TV character Mister Maker will also make an appearance along with pop-up studios, drawing games, portfolio advice for older drawers and a battle between seven top cartoonists. All events are free but some need to be booked in advance.
30 Sep (The Big Draw runs from 1-31 Oct)
Pearly Kings & Queens Harvest Festival Parade
You’re guaranteed to spot royalty in London on Sunday, as the pearly kings and queens of the capital don their signature pearl-button-covered outfits or “smother suits” to march through East London. Each borough has a king and queen, thanks to groups who continue a working-class tradition started in Queen Victoria’s reign. Their annual parade starts at Guildhall Yard on Gresham Street at 1pm, and will include donkeys and carts. The day rounds off with a church service at 3pm at St Mary-le-Bow Church.
The London Requiem at Abney Park Cemetery
Abney Park Cemetery is the venue for the first performance of a new choral work by English composer Benjamin Till. It’s a fitting location as The London Requiem was written after Till spent time in London’s majestic cemeteries, and the story is inspired by Londoners who have passed away. Organisers plan to create an “avenue of remembrance” using white balloons which each visitor can dedicate to the memory of someone for a donation. Tickets are from £15 and guests are advised to bring a torch and note that reaching the cemetery involves a 200m walk down a woodland path.
What are you up to this weekend? Post any events we’ve missed below.