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Culture beat - September 12
Brussels is showing off this weekend when the fanciest cafés, parks, theatres and cinemas all open their doors to the public in the annual Heritage Days event. For the 25th edition the theme is Brussels m’as-tu vu?, which literally translates as ‘Have you seen me?’. Don’t miss this opportunity to see some of the best entertainment spots in the city. They include the popular watering holes Le Greenwich, Le Cirio and L’Archiduc. As ever, the programme includes plenty of themed activities across the city.
One such venue joining in the heritage bash is Théâtre Molière, in the Porte de Namur area. It is open on Sunday with backstage visits of the theatre which has been re-built at least three times in its illustrious history. The current version dates from the late 1960s and boasts a charming interior with perfect acoustics. It is run by non-profit Muziekpublique, who stage lively world music concerts. There is also an exhibition, video clips and a jam session in the foyer.
Another theatre open this Sunday is English-langauge community hub The Warehouse. To launch the new season an Open Day is staging short performances by a clutch of amateur theatre troupes (ATC, BSS, ECC, ETC and ITG). If you are interested in getting involved, take advantage of presentations of various theatre production skills, an info stand and backstage tours. Refreshments available.
Is there such a thing as ‘retro overload’? Not as far as The Jacquelines are concerned, there isn’t. The Antwerp sextet consists of three male jazz musicians acting as backing band to a female vocal trio modelling themselves on the Andrews Sisters, both vocally and aesthetically. But heaven forbid they could be mistaken for yet another tribute act: their blurb informs us that they are “infinitely more than a nostalgic act aimed at veterans pining for [their] lost loves”. In fact they have “taken swing-jazz into the 21st century”, no less. Whether there’s a hint of hyperbole in the claim or not takes nothing away from the fact that, as the band’s relentless touring schedule testifies, they put on a cracking show. Catch it at the Candelaershuys in Uccle this Sunday.
Brussels’ Royal Flemish Theatre (KVS) is known for its international collaborations that focus on artistic development rather than professional networking. The new production Badke is the fruit of one such programme. Back in 2006, KVS joined forces with Les ballets C de la B and the AM Qattan Foundation to organise a series of workshops with young Palestinian performers, most of them autodidacts from the Occupied Territories. The first show to result was last year’s Keffiyeh/Made in China. This season it’s Badke, which debuted last month in Zurich. The piece’s title, like the performance itself, is derived from the Palestinian folk dance dabke. Although Badke’s 10 dancers start out on a traditional note, the choreography is gradually embellished with contemporary elements expressing Palestine’s desire to join the world community. Later this year, Badke will be staged in Genk and Antwerp. September 13-21.
How did Converse trainers become so fashionable? Was it thanks to the Ramones’ effortless cool? Maybe it had to do with The Strokes’ altogether more contrived bohemian attitude? Or with Alexa Chung’s ‘postmodern it-girl’ faux-nonchalance? As further proof of the brand’s everlasting chic, Converse has now announced an all-new collection with avant-garde French fashion house Maison Martin Margiela (which, confusingly, Belgian founder Martin Margiela left in 2009). The collaboration features the Chuck Taylor All Star and Jack Purcell models, each completely hand-painted in Maison Martin Margiela’s iconic white paint covering all canvas, eyelets, laces and soles. They naturally crack and shed their outer coat of paint to reveal the original colours beneath. The more the trainers are worn, the more their colour is revealed: red, black, navy, or Margiela-exclusive vintage yellow. How much for these paint-splattered trainers, then? Oh you know, only €200. Discover them exclusively this Friday at the cocktail party at the Brussels branch of Maison Martin Margiela.
Yes, it’s a folklore festival, but for the majority of southerners, the Fêtes de Wallonie is one long weekend of merrymaking, live music and men on stilts. The streets of Namur city centre are already in party mode – with non-stop free concerts, colourful parades, and an endless supply of regional food and drink. For the uninitiated, the alcohol of the ‘Wallos’ is the Pèkèt, a juniper-distilled liqueur which comes in every flavour imaginable and is pretty lethal. On the music programme: Hooverphonic, BB Brunes, Nolwenn Leroy, Arno, Vismets, Soldout and undoubtedly a few renderings of Li Bia Bouquet, the Walloon language Namur anthem. Songbooks are distributed as a prompt for those who don’t know all the words.... Festivities continue until Monday evening.