An unusual buzz around Gillett Square, N16 tonight- the Barbican had chosen the downstairs bar at the Vortex (above) for the Press Launch its Summer Blaze programme .
It's not often that you get speeches in that bar, far from it. In fact, the last time I can remember was a few years ago, when the Mayor of Dortmund and Oliver Weindling (both speaking German) were addressing a clutch of terribly earnest Kulturpolitiker - cultural policy-makers - over from the Fatherland.
The speech tonight by Sir Nicholas Kenyon. It was to-the-point, in Englis, and it had a straightforward message. What the Barbican is doing in East London is getting out beyond the walls of the City, interacting with and participating in the communities around it, and developing partnerships with the arts organisations working in those communities- Theatre Royal Stratford East, Vortex ... but a shedload of others too.
E.g: there will be free events in Gillett Square on both 27th June (cuban celebration) and 1th July (dancing).
Blaze is part of Create09, an Arts Council England-funded cross-arts festival taking in all five Olympic host boroughs- Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
One Vortex staffer told me that next year's Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra residency at the Vortex had suddenly started to feel much more real tonight. Nice.