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Culture beat - October 3

17:19 03/10/2013
An orgy of classical guitar, a satire on office culture, early ska revisited, bookbinding the Bard, accessible photography... and a party with a splash of colour!

It’s fair to say that Norbert Leclercq likes classical guitar. Having trained under the tutelage of the great Nicolas Alfonso, he literally made the guitar his life, his raison d’être, as the myriad works he has produced since the 70s testify. Color 12 Guitares is, as the name suggests, a kind of six-string orgy: twelve guitarists playing solo, as duos or together, playing works by Bach, Saint-Saens, Bartok, Britten, Copland and Leclercq himself. This Saturday’s concert at the Collège St-Pierre in Uccle is a benefit for Enfants du Monde.

Last season Brussels’ contemporary arts complex Beursschouwburg introduced the focus programme, an extended multidisciplinary festival organised around a single theme. The first focus of the new season is (appropriately enough, after a lazy summer and an even lazier half-decade of crisis) Work Hard / Play Hard. Office culture, stuffed suits, corporate poetry and post-capitalism are all explored through a variety of media. The programme’s centrepiece is an exhibition of French artist (and former white-collar worker) Céline Berger’s videos and installations. Best Practices marries the corporate strategies of Berger’s former office-bound life and the artistic processes of her current profession; the two may not be as far removed as most artists fancy. German performance artist Martin Schick takes another approach, exploring alternatives to global capitalism in his absurdist theatre riff Not My Piece (pictured) and ironic corporate workshop-cum-installation San Keller Learning Center.

Few songs come to define a music genre as much as Skinhead Moonstomp. Originally recorded by Derrick Morgan (as Moon Hop) in 1969, the tune was covered a year later by London-based Jamaican ska band Symarip on the Trojan label. But it was especially during the 2-Tone revival that Skinhead Moonstomp became a dancefloor hit, reminding new ska fans that the genre didn’t actually start with Madness or the Specials. Etterbeek’s Atelier 210 welcomes Roy Ellis (aka ‘Mr Symarip’), backed for the occasion by 65 Mines Street. Support comes from The Erin Bardwell Collective, and the gigs are followed by DJ sets from TomSteady and Brussels’ finest vintage selector, DJ Malik. On Saturday.

There’s William Shakespeare who, although universally respected, is hardly read without the stern encouragement of a headmaster. And there’s the art of bookbinding, always a bit of an insider’s game but, with the advent of digital publishing, insiders are getting awfully thin on the ground. Thank London’s International Bookbinding Competition for bringing these two niche tastes together for a little special attention. Thirty bookbinders from all over the world participated by crafting their own editions of the seminal Elizabethan playwright’s works. After the competition, these submissions were catalogued and exhibited, as Shakespeare Bound, first in London and now in Brussels. Next stops are Estonia, Czech Republic and Germany. Until January 5 at Brussels ‘s Bibliotheca Wittockiana.

Photography is often as inaccessible to the average Joe as modernist painting. So photographer Cécile Schall decided to bring the art to the people with last year’s inaugural edition of Fotofever. This year’s fair is bigger and better, thanks to prestigious partners including Brussels’ Bozar and Antwerp’s FoMu. While Fotofever features Hungarian, Japanese, Moroccan, South American, Russian, Dutch, French and British photographers among its 300 participating artists, it also moves to Paris for a weekend in November ( future editions are anticipated to travel as far as the United States and Asia). The weekend also sees panel discussions and lectures with industry professionals and an award ceremony for the Fotoprize contest, which was won by young Ghentbased photographer Saartje Van De Steene. October 4-6 at Brussels’ Tour and Taxis.

We’ve had foam parties, white parties, pool parties. Now the big thing in partyland seems to be to get yourself covered with paint. Those who’ve been to the recent Holi Colors Festivals in Antwerp or Brussels, will know how much fun it is to get coated in coloured dust and confetti. The Neonsplash party this Saturday at Brussels’ Tour & Taxis combines the white party with the colours party. The idea is to arrive dressed in white and let the neon paint sprays take over your outfit. At the end of the night, you’ll be a different person, drenched in (non-toxic) paint. Organisers of Neonsplash believe that a good dose of colour is the antidote to the monotony of everyday life. They’re providing more than a 1,000 litres of paint; consider yourselves warned. Oh, and before we forget, there will be a lot of dancing to electronic music, too. Live performances on stage by dancers and graffiti artists complete the evening. White T-shirts will be for sale on site, and lockers are available to store clean clothes and other personal effects. Tickets are €15.50.

Written by PM Doutreligne, Georgio Valentino and Katrien Lindemans