T.S. Eliot wrote that “April is the cruelest month,” but we're officially endorsing Birthday Boy Bard’s more optimistic quote instead: “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” Feel young and sprightly in the warmer weather as you sample the Shakespeare-themed week ahead in honor of his “official” 444th birthday (his actual date of birth remains a mystery).Monday: And wilt thou be the school where Lust shall learn? One of London’s best kept secrets, the independent Calder Bookshop regularly hosts book talks, poetry readings, and theatre performances. On Monday, Royal Shakespeare Company actor Gerard Logan performs Shakespeare’s narrative poem Rape of Lucrece at 7pm. Tickets £8, £6 concessions.Tuesday: Youth like the summer morn, youth like summer brave. Amnesty International will be showing the outstanding film Born into Brothels. This Academy Award-winning documentary follows the lives of a group of children who live in the red light district of Calcutta once photojournalist Zana Briski gives them cameras and teaches them how to shoot the world they know. Londonist highly recommends this one. Human Rights Action Centre at 6.30 pm, £5 donation requested.Wednesday: Tis a naughty night to swim in. Happy Birthday to the Bard! Get thee to the iconic Globe Theatre to help celebrate with a special birthday event on the Thames, where a mini Elizabethan theatre will be transported from Butler’s Wharf to the Globe with musicians entertaining the gatherers along the way. Then at 7, head inside the Globe for its inaugural performance of the 20008 theatre season with King Lear. Birthday event free, King Lear tickets £5-33.
Shakespeare’s birthday also happens to coincide with St. George’s Day. This year, Borough Market relocates to Trafalgar Square for the day and a festival of merriment and celebration of English food ensues.Thursday: Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human kindness. The Grant Museum of Zoology is hosting an exhibition called Human / Nature: Natural by Design, which examines the ways that natural history can teach us about human history. Did we mention the free glass of wine accompanying the private museum tour? 6 pm, free.Friday: If music be the food of love, play on. Free acoustic set in the gorgeous Nash Room is on at the ICA every Friday night in April. This week, catch Fanfarlo, Orphans & Vandals, and Serafina Steer at 6.30. Free, but be sure to reserve them in advance. We want to see this if at the very least because the ICA likens listening to the Orphans & Vandals to the weepy frustration you get from “fancying the person bullying you.” Colour us intrigued! See you there.Saturday: O thou invisible spirit of wine, if you has no name to be known by, let us call thee devil. The V&A is currently hosting a free exhibition on the Art of Drinking. Although no free booze is provided (see Thursday’s event for that particular brand of generosity), the exhibit explores the sundry designs of our most hallowed drinking vessels, which may just get you thirsty enough to seek out the pub where the Bard himself drank and from which Samuel Pepys watched the Great fire of London rage over the city.Sunday: So you walk softly and look sweetly and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and especially when I walk away. Only 10% chance of rain for Sunday, which means it’s a perfect day for a stroll. Podtours' downloadable audio tour, priced at an easy £5, takes visitors on an audio tour of Shakespeare’s Southwark, where the Bard lived, worked, and played in his heyday. From London Bridge to Bankside and through Borough Market, the tour will take you and your Ipod around Southwark, the pleasure den borough where poets and playwrights hobnobbed with sailors and ragamuffins.Or, you could just stay in and leaf through Shakespeare’s greatest hits whilst eating birthday cake in your pyjamas. (Actually, that doesn’t sound half-bad.)
Image courtesy of Yelnoc’s Flickrstream.