Mayor of Hackney switches on Rio Christmas lights (but festivities leave cinemagoers struggling to hear their film)
PUBLISHED: 13:38 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:48 04 December 2017
Cinemagoers at the Rio were left wishing for a silent night when a Christmas cabaret act overran in the foyer - drowning out the film inside.
It was the one blip in an otherwise joyous evening that saw Hackney mayor Phil Glanville light up a giant tree above the main entrance to the Dalston cinema, while a sprig of mistletoe dangled over the door.
One of the more bizarre moments came when Mr Glanville gamely rolled up the bottom of his shirt and lay on the ground to have his future predicted by a giant fortune teller fish that was too large to fit on his hand but sat nicely on his stomach.
Friday’s festivities also marked World Aids Day, with cash from the evening going to help fight the illness and the stigma that comes with it.
It was part of Pride 365, Hackney’s year-long celebration of the borough’s LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex) culture.
The get-together helped round off what has been a big year for the Rio: it smashed its £125,000 fundraising target to build a new screen in September. The cash also means it can renovate the exterior of the century-old building.
Mr Glanville said ahead of Friday’s switch-on: “As well as lighting up Dalston for Christmas, this World Aids Day themed tree will also help shine a light on HIV stigma, which is sadly still all too prevalent, as well as raising money to support causes which help people living with HIV and to tackle HIV stigma, so it becomes a thing of the past.
“Since the launch of Hackney Pride 365 earlier this year we have celebrated the borough’s creative, radical and diverse LGBTQI+ community, with events across Hackney that brought together people from all walks of life in some of Hackney’s most well-loved venues and outdoor spaces.
“I’m proud to finish the celebrations at one of the borough’s oldest institutions, the Rio, which has a long and proud history of supporting LGBTQI+ films and filmmakers as well as hosting regular events that bring the whole of Hackney’s community together, no matter what sexuality, gender or background.”
The evening was backed by the Terrence Higgins Trust and the council, and the Christmas tree comes from Harringay firm We Tree Kings.