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What’s on this week: 10-16 December
An awesome initiative by performing arts training centre Cifas, the Mobile Light Poem sees riders of electric scooters decked out in Christmas lights. They ride through every municipality in Brussels, a parade of bright, blinking colours. The idea is just to happen upon them, but they will take off at the same time and place every day from 15 to 21 December, and the public is invited to come along for a warm drink and see them on their way. Find the schedule on the Cifas website.
Check out the rich programme of artists, musicians, speakers, storytellers and workshops that make up Bruxelles Africapitales #3. It’s the third edition of a festival that works to establish a dialogue between Brussels’ hyper-diverse population and Africa and the diaspora. 14-22 December, Halles de Schaerbeek, Rue de la Constitution 20
Lebanese artists from all generations come together in How Will It End?, an exhibition and programme of readings, concerts and family activities at Villa Empain. Produced in recent years or following last year’s tragic explosion in Beirut, the works consider possible paths forward, physically, emotionally and psychologically. Until 6 February, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)
Sample the cultural wealth of south-eastern Europe during the See Festival, five days of music, discussions and cinema devoted to the contemporary cultures of countries such as Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Off the beaten track and without the clichés. 15-19 December, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23
The first winter edition of Brussels Jazz Weekend, the annual free festival that takes place in late spring. This December version sees singers and ensembles moving from the clubs and bars into a traditional spielgeltent, a nomadic art deco dance hall surrounded by mirrors. It will be smack dab on the Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains, hosting musicians and the Brussels Swing Dance Club (pictured). Entry is completely free, but advance reservation is required. 10-12 December
Lezarts Urbains has been discovering, training and otherwise support hip-hip artists since before most of us had even heard of hip-hop. It selects promising new talent every year to put through a training programme called Level Up! This year’s rappers, slammers and dancers put on a collective show that will knock your socks off. 14 December 20.00, Jacques Franck CC, Chaussée de Waterloo 94 (Saint-Gilles)
Botanique opens two exhibitions this week by artistic duo Mira Sanders and Cédric Noël. A Voyage Into the Moon is based on their travels through Japan on an exploration of its anime and manga culture, with a special focus on The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, considered one of the greatest animated films of all time. Phenomenal Park, meanwhile, uses all kinds of installations to question the look and feel of public space and its effect on our bodies and souls. Until 6 February, Rue Royale 236
The Full Circle international club invites everyone to its Local Design Christmas Market, where you can find one-of-a-kind gifts by jewellery, object, fashion, furniture and stationery designers. You’ll also find books, art, toys and locally produced food and drinks for sale, in the spacious rooms of the Full Circle House, where you can also nibble mince pies, drink a little mulled wine and even hear live music on Friday evening. 10-12 December, Chaussée de Vleurgat 89 (Ixelles)
In 1993, Opera Vlaanderen debuted Canadian opera director Robert Carsen’s new version of La Bohème. The opera world went wild, lavishing praise on the fresh take on Puccini’s character study of young Bohemians in 19th-century Paris. It has toured the world ever since, returning to Belgium several times – and now again. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t hesitate. Due to current Covid regulations, the Antwerp performances are sold out. Tickets to Ghent in January are being sold as normal. (In the original Italian with English and Dutch surtitles) Antwerp: 10-31 December, Ghent: 8-18 January
Namur hosts the second edition of its immersive light trail, Lumos Namura. Making the most of the new Confluence public space between the Meuse and Sambre rivers, its thematic ‘Between magic and technology’ also shines a light on other emblematic places in the city, including the Cathédrale Saint-Aubain and the Louise-Marie park. A mobile app maps out all of the giant installations and laser shows. Until 9 January 17.00-midnight, across Namur
The people behind Art Brussels are expanding into Antwerp for one of Europe’s most prestigious and adventurous contemporary art fairs. The original Brussels edition had to be cancelled both in 2020 and this year, and this port city version will be scaled down a bit due to the pandemic as well. Still, some 60 galleries from Belgium and neighbouring countries will bring along work from the best and brightest artists they represent. Art Antwerp will also include an online version in co-operation with Artsy. 16-19 December, Antwerp Expo, Jan van Rijswijcklaan 191
Photos, from top: Courtesy Cifas; ©Christian Sleiman, ‘A City Guide for Treehuggers’; courtesy Brussels Jazz Weekend; Courtesy Botanique; ©Annemie Augustijns. Sorry! Our prize giveaway has now closed and the winners have been notified.