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Culture beat – 6 March
The biggest party in Brussels this weekend, as well as the quirkiest, is Museum Night Fever on Saturday evening with 23 cultural institutions opening their doors from 19.00-1.00. In addition to exhibitions, they all offer offbeat programming. Brussels Royal Military Museum in Cinquantenaire Park is but one example. As well as the WW1 centenary exhibition, ’14-18. This is Our History’, our arts correspondent Georgio Valentino and his band La Société des Mélancoliques are performing a set exploring art and war in postmodern society. Partygoers in search of further exhilaration can head to the museum’s aviation hall where they can enjoy a fighter pilot experience buzzing over vast deserts and tropical coastlines in a Hawker Hunter (until midnight). The Museum Night Fever pass costs €10 in advance booking; €14 on day (includes late-night Noctis bus) and the after party is an extra €7. Shuttle buses link all the museums.
Hip-hop culture is at the centre of the Lezarts Urbains Festival in cultural venues across the city until 28 March with concerts, performances, talks and open stages for rising artists. The second edition of the event maintains an international flavour with artists from the UK, US, France, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands as well as Belgium.
English-language culture continues to mushroom in Brussels, and the monthly comedy evenings at Théâtre de la Toison d’Or, Fun Food & ACTing, invites Gili the Mentalist on 10 March. The mind-bending magician delves into the mysterious world of psychics and hypnotists with a healthy dose of humour. Dinner is an optional extra.
Brussels hosts the fifth edition of the European Blues Challenge at Ancienne Belgique from 12 to 14 March. The opening night on Thursday sees performances by Fred and the Healers, Lightnin’ Guy, Howlin’ Bill and Hideaway, the four Belgian candidates of previous editions. Organised by the Brussels Blues Society, combi-tickets are available for three-day event.
Discover the creative process behind the work of pioneering Belgian designer Dries Van Noten in the exhibition Inspirations at Antwerp’s fashion museum MoMu. The artistic project brings together costumes, video, art works as well as pieces from the museum’s collection. First initiated by Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, this second exhibition also shows the parallels between the designer’s work and decorative and fine arts. Van Noten is one of the Antwerp Six, the 1980s’ fashion collective that propelled Belgian design onto the international stage. He has forged a career that is both commercially and creatively successful. Until 19 July.
The theme of Mons 2015, t Where technology meets culture, showcases the region’s identity as a digital hub. One of the European capital of culture’s events exploring this theme, is the Festival VIA, opening on Friday 13 March. For two weeks the international festival of performance arts and new technology presents the latest in filmmaking, urban installations, choreography, and exhibitions, plus an interactive family weekend. One highlight is Café Europa in the Mundaneum, a 21st-century cafe, training centre, lab and video wall of screens connected to 10 European cities. Another is the Mons Street reView project which explores the presence of Google in Mons. Named after Google’s Street View application, it allows internet users see ground-level images of streets, property, businesses and tourist attractions.
The symbol of Namur may be a snail, but it’s a giant turtle that has been airlifted on to the city’s citadel. The 10-tonne bronze sculpture, Searching for Utopia by Jan Fabre, is gracing the capital of Wallonia for the duration of Facing Time: Rops/Fabre, a series of exhibitions, theatre and outdoor sculpture. Under the umbrella of Mons 2015 European Capital of Culture, the city is staging a dialogue between the two visionaries. Namur-born Félicien Rops was an influential 19th-century artist and his many satirical, erotic and Satan-inspired drawings, prints and paintings can be seen in the Félicien Rops Museum in the city’s pedestrian quarter. Fabre is a contemporary artist and writer with a prolific output over the past 35 years. Two of his plays are being performed at the Théâtre Royal, in addition to talks, screenings and workshops. Don’t miss a city tour that presents the worlds of these two confrontational artists.