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What’s on this week: 10-16 July

15:01 09/07/2020
Our top picks of events and activities in and around Brussels

Plan B is an initiative in Brussels to point you in the direction of all kinds of cool events – online and off – to fill in your summer agenda in the absence of a holiday abroad. Mega popular Belgian rapper Zwangere G is on board, which is why his concert this week is called Plan B by Zwangere G. Watch it live-streamed from the Ancienne Belgique. There’s also a chance to win tickets to see it on a much bigger screen next door at Palace cinema. So close! 10 July 20.00

St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral’s Festival Ars in Cathedrali is going ahead this year, with three monthly concerts limited to 100 people each. The cathedral is home to three glorious organs, and this annual festival shows off their beautiful sounds. There are still a few tickets left to the first concert on Tuesday, played on the grand Grenzing organ, now celebrating its 20th year in the cathedral. Those attending in person will pay a special rate of €10, but the concerts will also be live-streamed. 14 July, 11 August, 25 September 20.00, Rue du Bois Sauvage 15, Brussels

Woo Kim

Woo Kim did what many people dream of doing but don’t: She abandoned the corporate rat race to become an artist. Educated as an engineer in her native South Korea and in France, she was working in the sector before packing up and moving to Brussels in 2013 to study art. The Solvay Library hosted her first solo exhibition, aptly titled Spontaneous Hesitation. The finissage this week, in the presence of the artist, is a chance to see Woo’s playful, organic work as well as this historical building, which is usually closed to the public. Reserve a spot at 15 July 18.00, Rue Belliard 137 (Etterbeek)

A new rooftop bar and club awaits at the KBR, formerly known as Brussels Royal Library. Albert Summer Rooftop will serve up DJ sets and live concerts along with drinks and snacks twice a week. It opens this weekend, after which it will be open Wednesday through Saturday until the end of the summer. The generous sized roof (with an excellent view) has been renovated to accommodate a new restaurant, which opens in September. Enter at Charles de Lorraine Palace

The Peanut Butter Falcon

Some of the Flemish cultural centres in Brussels are hosting open-air cinema this summer. Cinema Voyage at De Kriekelaar in Schaerbeek is showing Spike Lee’s Blackkklansman this week as well as the wonderful family film The Peanut Butter Falcon (pictured). All films are shown in the original language with both French and Dutch subtitles. The Nekkersdal summer programme in Laken, meanwhile includes concerts and kids’ theatre as well as film screenings. All films for adults here are in the original French with Dutch subtitles, while films for kids are in Dutch. Kriekelaar: Rue Gallait 86; Nekkersdal: Boulevard Emile Bockstael 107

If you’re taking a Staycation, a cruise down a river can feel like a proper holiday. This summer Rivertours is offering both brunch and apertif options and also special evening cruises featuring live music. Themed nights include jazz, folk and country. Cruises leave from either the port of Brussels or the Steenkaai in Vilvoorde.

Martin Margiela, In His Own Words

Anyone interested in fashion or in mysterious personalities or in famous Belgians really needs to see Martin Margiela, in His Own Words. German filmmaker Reiner Holzemer is in Palace this week to introduce his revelatory documentary about one of the most successful fashion designers of all time. Margiela is ruthlessly private, having never given an interview nor allowed anyone to photograph him. This is the first time Margiela has told his story, from his 1960s youth in Genk to his more than 40 collections following his education at the Antwerp fashion department. While you will hear Margiela, however, you won’t see much of him: Only his hands appear on camera. 14 July 20.15, Boulevard Anspach 85

The popular lunchtime concert series Musicorum (previously known as Festival de Minimes) inside the Royal Museums of Fine Arts is going digital this year. Tune in every Tuesday afternoon until the end of the summer for a free classical concert. First up is the Tempus Ensemble, based in Belgium but with musicians from Poland, France, Tunisia and Brazil. Tuesdays 12.15-13.00

Botanique’s next livestreamed concert is highly recommended: Brussels eight-piece collective Yôkaï is known for improvising its unique blend of jazz and rock. No concert is quite like another. 10 July 20.00

Photograph by Margaret Lansink

It takes guts to open a new venue during the corona crisis. But L’Enfant Sauvage is delivering the goods in its opening exhibitions. The new space for photographic art in downtown Brussels features the work of Belgian photographers Christopher de Béthune and Robin Nissen and Dutch photographer Margaret Lansink. They have similar aesthetics, all use black-and-white photography to encourage the contrasts inherent in darkness and light and sink the viewer into an arresting kind of shadowland. Vernissage this weekend. Until 12 September, Rue de l’Enseignement 23


OK, there was no Rock Werchter this year, which sucks. But the Werchter team is giving their all for Zomerbar Live, which has proven so popular that tickets to the first shows sold out in a heartbeat. The concerts at the Werchter festival site this month feature just one artist. A total of 400 concert-goers must sit at a table with their bubble – tickets are sold in packages of four – and no dancing is allowed. But it’s outdoors, there are drinks and food, and the acts are most excellent. You can still pick up tickets to see hip-hop collective blackwave or Dutch singer Eefje de Visser, for instance, or garage rock duo Equal Idiots. And this is nice: Proceeds are going to Live2020, a fundraiser for the music sector decimated by the coronavirus crisis. Until 25 July, Festivalpark, Rotselaar, Flemish Brabant

While the planned production of Lucrèce Borgia has been postponed until next summer, the annual outdoor theatre performance at Villers Abbey has adjusted spectator numbers to safely stage an homage to the Victor Hugo classic Notre-Dame de Paris. Director Eric Staercke brings to life the colourful characters of Quasimodo and Esmerelda, among others, while also recounting episodes from the life of Hugo, who spent time at the abbey during his sojourn in Belgium. The romantic ruins of the Cistercian abbey provide a dramatic backdrop for this summer fixture on the cultural calendar. 15 July to 16 August, Rue de l’Abbaye 55, Villers-la-Ville (Walloon Brabant)

Photos: Zwangere G (c)Ramy Moharam Fouad/AB, Woo Kim courtesy Edificio, ©Margaret Lansink/L’Enfant Sauvage

Written by Lisa Bradshaw, Sarah Crew