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What’s on this week: 11-17 September

11:12 10/09/2020
The autumn cultural season has burst wide open, despite limitations related to the coronavirus. Always book early and check guidelines for all events

When the royal Flemish theatre KVS put out a call for short dance solos, they got 110 applications. But only four local and international dancers were chosen for Just as Long as You Are There, an open-air performance that also includes choreographer Nadine Baboy (pictured), a familiar face at KVS. Powerful solos in the theatre’s inner garden, with a nod to the famous line from “Dancing in the Street”. 15 & 17 September, Quai aux Pierres de Taille 7

In lieu of the annual Comic Strip Festival (which would have broken all the corona rules), Brussels is hosting the Comic Strip Experience, an interactive installation of comic worlds. Stroll with the fam through Yakari’s great prairie, Ducoboo’s Saint-Potache classroom or a Star Wars world, complete with a Walker and BB-8 droid. In honour of the also absent Balloon’s Day Parade, 15 of the giant balloons depicting beloved characters like Lucky Luke and Tintin will float above the parcours. Several comic-related exhibitions are going on at the same time, including Together at the Korean Cultural Center (see below) and Kronikas #3 at the Autrique House. 11-20 September, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86

Peaceful Parasites

Have you ever thought of yourself as a parasite on this globe we call Earth? Brussels artist Franck Sarfati doesn’t think of us this way because parasites are committed to not harming their hosts – in fact, they usually give something in return. Sarfati’s simple installation of ceramic ‘parasites’ on the trunks of trees is part of his exploration of human behaviour when it comes to destroying that which sustains us. Peaceful Parasites is an art trail that will also take you into some unknown outdoor spaces. Until 31 December, across Brussels

The new season of Lunch with an Architect begins with the two founders of Polo Architects. With offices in Antwerp and Brussels, they have come a long way since the then 30-somethings were thrust into the big time when they won the competition to build the Belgacom headquarters in Hasselt. Lunch with an Architect is an English-language forum for reflection on the quality of architecture in Brussels and is open to anyone with an interest in the subject. Every edition includes lunch. 14 September 12.00-14.00, Flagey, Place Sainte-Croix (Ixelles)

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s reputation as a real bastard and his untimely death from a drug overdose at 37 have worked to amplify his enfant terrible aura in the decades that followed. But this key member of the New German Cinema movement did indeed give us some of the landmarks of 20th-century European cinema, like Faustrecht der Freiheit (Fox and His Friends) and The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. See them and many more at a retrospective of his works this autumn. Until 29 November, Flagey, Place Sainte-Croix (Ixelles)

Cover of graphic novel Madame Catherine by Guy de Maupassant and Maarten Vande Wiele

In South Korea, self-isolating literally translates to “uncontact”. This was the starting point in putting together this year’s Belgian-Korean Comics Exhibition. Together collects work that gives a context to what it means to be together and what connections do for us – whether personal, community-wide or international. Until 30 October, Korean Cultural Center, Rue de la Régence 4

The Brussels Planetarium Poetry Fest is all about homegrown literary talent: Passionate, creative, often politically charged and always multilingual. The planetarium setting provides an awe-inspiring mix of visuals and spoken word, and there are some notable names here, like superstar author Tom Lanoye and Brussels slam poet Julie Lombe, with new work written especially for the event. Join them under the stars. 11-12 September 19.30, Royal Observatory, Avenue de Bouchout 9

Mobility Week kicks off on Tuesday across Europe, and of course the capital of Europe is central to the initiative. Activities take place across the region, including bike repair workshops, open-air exhibitions and an urban game. The big event is, of course, is Car-Free Sunday on 20 September, when the entire area inside the pentagon is closed to vehicular traffic. 16-20 September, across Brussels and Belgium

Poster for Are You Proud? documentary film

A little bit later than usual but still colourful is this year’s Belgian Pride, a celebration of LGBT+ lives and loves. It opens at Rainbow House with a vernissage of the exhibition Backstages – a behind the scenes look at Brussels’ burlesque and drag cabarets – and closes at Beursschouwburg with a (socially distanced) party. There will be no parade, but there will be more than 20 other events, including performances, film screenings and talks. 12-26 September, across Brussels

It was postponed but not forgotten: Bozar Open Air is back. And it’s even expanded: A rooftop terrace joins the beautifully designed open-air space next to the stalwart arts centre. Coucou Brussels serves the drinks, and a diverse programme of concerts, movies and performances are planned. Those are all free, though one must sign up in advance. Side note: Temperatures are forecast to reach 30°C this week. Until 18 October, Rue Ravenstein 23

The huntswoman and the wanderer by Ben Sledsens


While Belgian painter Ben Sledsens often delivers an image of a fairy-tale world we’d be happy to step into, sometimes it’s rather more mysterious – a little disquieting even. Because fairy tales do not end happily for everyone, do they? Check out the alternate universe of this intriguing Antwerp artist whose reinterpretations of landscape bring to mind great masters like Claude Monet and Pieter Breughel the Elder. Until 10 October, Tim Van Laere Gallery, Jos Smolderenstraat 50, Antwerp

Explore the depths of Luxembourg province and see a marvellous multi-media performance to boot. For La Marche des Philosophes, the company Arts Nomades spend their days walking from village to village in the beautiful Gaume region. They stop in the evening to perform MythWoman, adapting it to each space so no two performances are exactly alike. Check one (or two) out over the 10-day experience or hook up with the troupe to walk along with them. 16-26 September, across Gaume region (Luxembourg province)

Photos, from top: ©Danny Willems/KVS; ©Franck Sarfati; Madame Catherine by Guy de Maupassant and Maarten Vande Wiele/Courtesy Korean Cultural Center; courtesy Belgian Pride; courtesy Tim Van Laere Gallery, Antwerp

Written by Lisa Bradshaw