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Bath Abbey: A church in gothic style shot from below under a clear blue sky.

As I mentioned before, last weekend, I visited the Marina Abramović Institute Takeover at Southbank Arts Center for one of my classes: London Performance Now. Queen Mary University of London provided us with tickets to the performance, which otherwise would have been too expensive for a student worker like me. The event, according to my lecturer, was one of the hottest events of the season, and for a good reason. Abramovic is among the most popular and controversial performance artists in contemporary history. Even though she was not performing herself for some of the event dates, the performance art exhibition attracted widespread attention, as evident by the huge queue of people waiting at the gates of Queen Elizabeth Hall at Southbank Center. Even though it was much more sanitized and "tame" than most performance art exhibitions are, it was still among the most thought-provoking and interesting performances I have seen. This week, I also watched The Flea by Yard Theater, a local theater built inside an old warehouse, for my London Performance Now class. The play was a historical drama about the Cleveland Street Scandal in Victorian England. I sat next to an elderly queer couple, and it was wonderful to hear their views on the show!

I do not have classes on Mondays and Tuesdays, so I usually set off on my solo excursions to local, independent bookstores. Last Tuesday, I visited Word on Water, which is, as the name suggests, a bookstore on a boat on the Regent's Canal. It was possibly the most unique bookstore I have been to. Not only that but despite the constrictions of the space, they had a good range of books to choose from. I also visited Housmans, a radical bookseller near the British Library. I have found many books hard to find in other bookstores and cool items, but this one certainly takes the first place. They are selling the original copies of Spare Rib, a feminist magazine in the UK. I have sent the pictures of the copies to my friends in Spare Rib Dartmouth, a feminist zine we publish online.

Spare Rib magazine covers.
Spare Rib magazine collection at Housmans.

One of the employer's picks of the month at Housmans was How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee, the English & creative writing professor at Dartmouth who is working as the faculty director for our program and is currently with us in London.

A blue book with the title "How to Write An Autobiographical Novel" by Alexander Chee.
Professor Chee's book as a staff pick at Housmans!

Last but not least, on Saturday, we had a trip to Bath as the London English study abroad cohort. We had a walking tour of the city to see many of its landmarks, including the Abbey, the Royal Crescent, and small, historical sites with literary importance. We also visited the Jane Austen Center, where we could dress up in 18th-century clothing, write letters with a quill, and learn more about Austen's life. Afterwards, we had free time to discover Bath. The highlight of the trip for me was visiting Persephone Books, which prints rare and out-of-print female authors' books.

A shop window: A woman in red browsing books, two posters, some flowers, and miscellaneous other items.
Persephone Books!

Thank you for reading about my favorite week in London so far. Stay tuned for more adventures!

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