London, England: Plans For New Open Air Cinemas Has Mixed Reviews in London, England

Open Air Cinema on the Thames in London, EnglandKen Livingstone pledged to build a new open-air cinema beside the Thames as he unveiled his arts manifesto. The Mayor said he wanted to work with the Government to create a permanent big screen facing the river at the redeveloped British Film Centre on the South Bank, offering free performances all year round. The plan, part of a wider move to set up open-air cinemas in parks and other public spaces, was the centrepiece of a string of proposals to improve the capital's cultural life and maximise jobs in the £21 billion-a-year "creative" industries. But he also used the launch of his manifesto at the Institute of Contemporary Arts to join forces with Culture Secretary Andy Burnham to attack rival Boris Johnson's "cultural elitism" and anti-Chinese views. Mr Burnham, the fourth cabinet minister in seven days to back the Mayor on the campaign trail, warned that Mr Johnson would be an "embarrassment" to London. Both he and Mr Livingstone criticised remarks made several years ago by the Tory MP in a Daily Telegraph article, in which he claimed that China had not made a "single" cultural contribution to human civilisation. The minister and the Mayor said it would damage London if Mr Johnson had to take the torch from the mayor of Beijing at the Olympics this summer. Mr Livingstone said that his open-air cinema plan would be practical now that global warming had changed Britain's weather. The Mayor said that he also wanted to expand the current range of free festivals that have been criticised by the Tories as a waste of public money. Mr Livingstone said that with London's Chinese population doubling in the last 15 years, he wanted to "lock-in" the capital's increasing ties with China as it became more important in the global economy and was set to outstrip the United States. Mr Livingstone promised financial backing for the new international film centre on the South Bank. It would replace and modernise the existing British Film Institute. In today's manifesto Mr Livingstone also pledged to: • Supply capital funding for new arts centres. • Change London's planning rules to ensure the protection of live music venues. • Work with the music industry and venues to establish a music "expo", modelled on festivals such as South by Southwest - the series of concerts, conferences, exhibitions, trade fairs and parties that take place in Austin, Texas, every spring. • Expand the current programme of free festivals to celebrate more London communities. • Work with arts organisations to create a major contemporary art event. • Support a bid for the Gay Games, the international sports and cultural event.

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