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What’s on this week: 14-20 February

13:13 13/02/2020
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Even serious chocoholics will get their fill at Salon du Chocolat, a massive fair dedicated to one of the things Belgium does best (the other is beer). You will see demonstrations by the country’s top chocolatiers and pastry chefs, you will ogle dresses make of chocolate during a fashion show, you will learn how to pair beer and chocolate (because beer is the other one) and you will taste and buy endless – and we do mean endless – varieties. If you like chocolate, like at all, go. 14-16 February, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86

Mattresses are one of a fly-tipper’s favourite objects, tossed on sidewalks and ditches with reckless abandon. And yet they are very intimate pieces of furniture, supporting us during our most private and vulnerable hours – sex and sleep. This idea fascinates Israeli artist Aviv Szabs, who liberates, dissects and reimagines the lives of Brussels’ old mattresses in Horizontal Mattress, an in situ exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Belgium. Until 26 April, Rue des Minimes 21

Love Bug Parade

It’s Valentine’s weekend, so share the love at the Love Bugs Parade, a procession of vintage Volkswagen Bugs. Though the owners are sometimes even more far out, dressing up in 1960s and ’70s garb, peacing out and beeping the cutest-sounding horns of any car ever produced. All the Bugs – or Beetles if you prefer – are parked for viewing in a very lively atmosphere in front of Autoworld before the parade. 16 February, view 11.00-14.00, parade starts at 14.00, Autoworld, Cinquantenaire 11

Or perhaps you’d like to spend Valentine’s evening hearing about love and loss from the Brussels singer and writer Ghalia Banali. She will not only talk about her book Romeo & Leila – which she also illustrated herself – she will sing songs about love accompanied by a few musical comrades. She both writes and sings in multiple languages, by the way. She’s something else, really. (In English, French and Arabic) 14 February 20.00-21.30, Passa Porta, Rue Antoine Dansaert 46

Résiste

Garage rock meets high wire at Résiste, a death-defying act of skill by French wire acrobat and dancer Johanne Humblet. She jumps, slides, boogies, freefalls and hangs by her feet in a show that sounds as good as it looks. A great deal of fun for the whole family. 20-21 February 20.00, Les Halles, Rue Royale Saint-Marie 22

If you have too much commitment phobia to buy an original work of art but are concerned that your Ikea wall décor might be a bit too recognisable, check out the Limited Edition Art Fair at the lovely Villa Empain. Prints, lithographs,  illustrations, ceramics and photographs are up for sale, with each piece part of a limited series. There are enough of them to keep prices reasonable, but few enough that not everyone will have it. 14-16 February 10.00-20.00, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 67 (Ixelles)

With editions in Brussels, Antwerp and Mechelen, Interlitratour celebrates the literature of the many cultural communities that have found a home in Belgium. Events take place in cafes, libraries and other more unique spaces, like the Fedasil Arrival Centre along the Brussels canal.  The offer is vast, from open mics to exhibitions, music, dance, theatre, slam and more. 19-22 February, across Brussels, Antwerp & Mechelen

Sara Correia

One of the up-and-coming stars of fado, Sara Correia is already well known in Lisbon clubs, having grown up in a family of fadistas and winning the junior section of the Grande Noite do Fado festival when she was just a wee thing of 13. She has just released her first album, which will surely lead to many an international performance. Catch her now in Bozar. 17 February 20.00, Rue Ravenstein 23

Afropean/Human Being is a hot ticket this week at KVS. There are still some tickets left, but don’t dawdle if you want to see a journey through what it means to have African roots in Europe. Five people share their experiences of always being considered an immigrant in their own countries through theatre, music and spoken word. (In English with French and Dutch surtitles) 14-19 February, KVS, Quai aux Pierres de Taille 7

Le Coeur au ventre at Art et Marges

One man’s treasure is another man’s trash, they say, but sometimes these two concepts collide in delightful ways. Outsider art museum Art et Marges presents Le Coeur au ventre, a mish-mash of pieces lovingly collected over the years by Marion Oster. The French artist and gallery owner champions both kitsch and art brut, and her collection is so staggeringly vast it becomes an immersive experience. Until 7 June, Rue Haute 314

Book now: Don’t miss out on Museum Night Fever, which generally sells out before the date. More than 30 museums across the capital-region get jiggy with it after dark, inviting 1,000 young artists of all stripes to stage quirky acts among the art, take visitors on bizarre guided tours, turn the space into a disco – basically create their own frenzied playgrounds. Ticket-holders create their own agendas (the complete programme will be released later) and can choose among five after-parties. Night at the Museum indeed. 14 March from 19.00, across Brussels

Conversation with the Rain

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

Leuven’s city theatre goes English this month with Conversation with the Rain, an original work by Belgian playwright Stijn Devillé. It finds a couple moving to Singapore after the loss of their daughter. While she keeps busy with a demanding job, he strolls through the monsoons seeing his daughter through the sheets of rain. The story is based on Devillé’s real-life experience and is told with the use of a device created specifically for the show. Combining the characteristics of a rain machine and a printer, it literally rains words. 21 February 20.00, Opek, Vaartkom 4, Leuven

Flanders’ big film festival for kids is back. The Jef Festival hub is in Antwerp, but there are festival sites in Ghent, Bruges, Leuven, Kortrijk and Roeselare. Films are programmed for all ages, from the tiny tykes up to 16+. There are competitions with juries made up of children and teens, and many workshops teach kids all kinds of movie-making techniques, from creating animation to video mapping to a visit to a production studio. 15 February to 1 March, across Flanders

Photos, from top: Courtesy Salon du chocolat, courtesy Autoworld, courtesy Les Halles, courtesy Leuven MindGate, courtesy Handelsbeurs, ©Annabel Sougné/Art et marges musée

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw and Richard Harris