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EASY RIDERS; Legendary bikers' cafe reborn.

Byline: JULIE CHAMBERLAIN

ARTDIARY COVENTRY Coventry Transport Museum: Coming Of Age At The Ace Caf - installation looking back at the history of an iconic caf, until October 2. The Herbert, Jordan Well, city centre: BBC Walking With Beasts exhibition - large scale models and bluescreen technology, until October 30. A Stitch In Time - A story Of Patchwork. Exhibition exploring key moments in UK and US patchwork making, until October 9. Wild Worlds - free summer exhibition and play installation for under eights. Ends Sunday. 024 7683 2386.

WARWICKSHIRE Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford: Sweet Celebrations: Folio. Prints from the Royal College of Art in response to Shakespeare, from 1964 and present, until October 1. A History Of The RSC In 50 Objects - costumes worn by performers, plus posters, designs and prompt books (also in Nash's House and Hall's Croft), until December 31. 14 Lines - portraits and soundscapes inspired by local people's stories, until October 2. Rugby Art Gallery: The 43 Uses Of Drawing - showcasing the work of artists and non artists who use drawing, until October 29. 01788 533201.

The White Room Gallery, Regent Street, Leamington: Exhibition of mixed prints. 01926 888086. Compton Verney Art Gallery, near Wellesbourne: Stanley Spencer And The English Garden - garden views and landscapes from the 1920s-40s.

Capability Brown And The Landscapes Of Modern England. Case studies of his Midlands landscapes. Both until October 2. What The Folk Say - objects from the gallery's folk art collection repositioned by contemporary artists, until December 11. Plus permanent collection. 01926 645500.

Gallery150, Leamington: From Venice To Alexandria And Paintings Along The Way - Diana Archer. Ends Sunday. 07400 258 555.

Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum: Lord Leicester's Warwickshire - The Life And Legacy Of Robert Dudley. Paintings, prints and objects from local collections, until September 18. Plus permanent collection. 01926 742700. Museum& Art Gallery, Nuneaton: Britain's Beautiful Coast - A Midlander's Inspiration. Paintings of the coast by Hilary Morris, until September 18. Talking Textiles - by East Anglian Stitch Textiles, until October 16.024 7635 0720. Our White Room art gallery, Rugby: Ceramics, paintings, textiles and jewellery by Warwickshire artists. 07838 139412.

OTHER AREAS Ikon Gallery, Oozells Square, Birmingham: Atsuko Tanaka - The Art of Connecting. Collages, installations and paintings by acclaimed Japanese artist. Ends Sunday. 0121 248 0708.

MAC, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham: Anticurate - the exhibitions. Series of six week-long exhibitions of work submitted at an open day. Ends Sunday. 0121 446 3232.

The New Art Gallery, Gallery Square, Walsall: Leo Fitzmaurice: You Try To Tell Me But I Never Listen - site specific installation using advertising material, until October 1. 01922 654400.

A COVENTRY exhibition harks back to a previous era by bringing together sounds, fashion and bikes.

The Coventry Transport Museum is hosting temporary exhibition Coming Of Age At The Ace Caf and has recreated the legendary Ace Caf.

The cafe was originally built as a transport caf for lorry drivers on London's Northern Circular in the 1930s.

Fast forward past it being bombed in the war (shortly after the Coventry Blitz), rebuilt in modernist style in 1948 and as more young people bought motorbikes, from 1955-65 it became a great meeting centre for leather-clad bikers often holding mad races on the North Circular.

The Leather Boys was largely filmed there in 1964.

As cars got more popular and biking declined so did the caf, becoming Just Tyres, until a bike and rock fan called Mark Wilsmore asked if he could hold a 25th closure event there in 1994 - and was overwhelmed by the numbers who turned up. He reopened the cafe in 2001 and it's still going.

The caf has been recreated in the museum, though in a much cleaner version than the original, judging from some of the old photos on the wall.

The tables are strangely littered with fake meals and also information about the music from the caf's heyday, and the motorbikes and cultural icons of the 50s and 60s.

There are pinball machines and a jukebox where you can choose the soundtrack to your visit.

There are of course lots of motorbikes and scooters - including a legendary Lambretta, and Triumph machines - plus leather jackets, boots and gloves from the era.

Some musical instruments are also on show and throw up a few surprises - why on earth Syd Barrett's amp is here is anyone's guess, or a guitar owned by the New York Dolls - though one owned by the Shadows (left) could be expected.

An exhibition for bike fans who want to reminisce about the era or learn more.

CAPTION(S):

GOING BACK IN TIME: A Triton Cafe Racer at Coventry Transport Museum's Coming Of Age At The Ace Cafe exhibition.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Sep 9, 2011
Words:770
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