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Culture beat – October 31
It’s the witching hour with Halloween parties across the country. Belgium may have been slow to adopt the pagan custom, but now likes to join in the revelry. AmCham Belgium and the American Club of Brussels come together for a costume party at the Renaissance Hotel this evening, while there’s fun for all the family at a Halloween party at Georges-Henri Park in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, tonight between 19.00-21.00. Alternatively head downtown to Saint-Géry where Le Roi des Belges, Mappa Mundo and Zebra Bar are all ready to welcome you for a ghoulish evening, Friday and Saturday from 20.00.
The annual Skoda Jazz festival kicks off this weekend with a month-long programme of concerts around the country. Naturally it joins in the 200th anniversary celebrations of Adolphe Sax with performances by virtuoso sax players, Branford Marsalis, Charles Lloyd, Colin Stetson and Rudresh Mahanthappa, among others. The 29th edition also features singers Stacy Kent and Tutu Puoane, guitarists Philip Catherine and John Scofield and groups Le Peuple de l’Herbe, Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club and Youngblood Brass Band. The festival is characterised by its depth and diversity of talent. Concerts are selling out fast so check out the full programme here.
It’s the final weekend of Filem’on, the international film festival for children at independent cinemas around the capital and the Museum of Natural Sciences. This year’s edition is themed ‘Wild’ and features fierce animals and the wonders of nature. Organised by Cinema Nova, the programme includes screenings for children and teenagers, aged 1 to 14 plus.
Another event for kids is the musical adventure, the Big Bang Festival at Bozar on Sunday (November 2). In the fifth edition, musicians from Belgium and abroad feature in concerts (many interactive), installations and workshops. Among them are Tuur Florizoone, Ictus, Joana Sá and Slagwerk Den Haag. For all the family from five years of age.
After Filem’on, cinemas Nova and Aventure remain in festival mode to host the Pink Screens Film Festival, from November 6 to 15. The alternative gender cinema event is organised by Genres d’à côté, which runs a monthly film club in Brussels as well as other activities. In addition to screenings of features, documentaries and shorts, there are exhibitions and parties, culminating in a closing night bash on November 15 at La Madeleine in Rue Duqesnoy, from 23.00.
The Irish Theatre Group is staging A Night in November at De Lijsterbes in Kraainem from November 12 to 14. The one-man show by Marie Jones is performed by FEATS best actor Caraigh McGregor. He adopts a multitude of characters as a Protestant dole clerk struggling with his identity during the Troubles and build-up to the 1994 Fifa World Cup.
A fluorescent forest of wooden sticks is currently being installed in the centre of Mons, the first visible sign of the city’s European Culture Capital title that kicks off on January 24. A team of 20 is building the work by Arne Quinze, the renowned Ghent artist. It is the latest in a sequence of timber tree-like structures that have already been displayed in Brussels (Cityscape, Flemish Parliament – The Sequence, pictured), the US and France. The installation in Rue de Nimy will be on public display from the end of the month. Quinze has said that the structure was influenced by the work of British painter JMW Turner in creating a nature scene of both violence and fragility by playing around with wood of different colours. It is one of numerous displays of urban art that will grace the historic city next year. Mons is the third Belgian city to adopt the title, after Brussels and Bruges, but the first city in Wallonia. The installation is just one project that aims to bring culture and art to a wider public.