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What’s on this week: 15-21 February

14:28 14/02/2019
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

There’s a saying in Dutch: Doe eens normaal! While it means ‘don’t be so silly’, it literally translates to ‘act normal’. Well, Beursschouwburg would like to point out that one person’s silly is another person’s normal with the three-month festival Normal Schnormal. Everything you hold to be self-evident is thrown into question, from culture to work to sexuality and everything in-between. It’s multi-disciplinary, naturally, with performances, concerts, film screenings, talks, etc. This weekend check out a continually playing short film that tells three distinct stories of Jerusalem and a talk on the normative bodies we usually see in stage performances. Until 25 April, Beursschouwburg, Rue Auguste Orts 20

Looking to create the perfect home office? To narrow down the hundreds of paint colours you like to the right two? To finally rid yourself of mould by tiling the bathroom? Solutions to these questions and more – much, much more – can be found at Batibouw, Belgium’s  number one fair for interior design and home improvement. Massive in every way, its offer of ideas, products and advice cannot be underestimated. 21 February to 3 March, Brussels Expo, Place de Belgique 1

Finding films that accurately represent mental health is difficult. Returning for its annual exploration of society and personal suffering is Images Mentales, a four-day festival of screenings accompanied by discussion and debate. The 11th edition presents short, documentary and features, including a focus on art brut and the 2018 addiction drama Beautiful Boy by Belgian director Felix Van Groeningen. Talks are in French and the event closes with a Théâtre du CODE performance of Etre fou c’est dingue non? 20-23 February, La Vénerie Espace Delvaux, Rue Gratès 3  (Watermael-Boitsfort)

Tradfest

Tradfest is back! After a couple of years’ hiatus, the celebration of traditional Irish music from Ireland and Belgium has returned with a proud, new name: Tradfest Belgica. The locals are clearly grateful: The big closing concert by award-winnings band FourWinds at the Irish College in Leuven is already sold out. But you can still make the Brussels gigs: An Afterwork Ceili during which you will learn Irish dancing from Brussels’ experienced dancers, and an Irish trad jam session – also with dancing – at Scott’s Bar. 21-23 February

In the absence of photography, book illustrators of the past were tasked with conveying all forms of human emotions. Even in fiction, they often tried to make people and activities as realistic as possible. The exhibition Pictura loquens features work from illustrators active in what is now Belgium from the 15th to the 18th centuries. Until 31 March, Bibliotheca Wittockiana, Rue du Bemelstraat 23 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre)

A super cool evening of unique hip-hop awaits at KVS: After Brussels twin sisters Doris and Nathalie Bokongo Nkumu explore the notion of double identities in their dance A travers l’autre, the stage explodes with 11 urban dancers from four European countries in Mind Ur Step. Get a combined ticket for the best price. 20-21 February, KVS, 7 Quai aux Pierres de Taille

Salon du chocolat

Should you have Willy Wonkaesque dreams of cream-filled mushrooms and chocolate rivers, don’t miss the sixth edition of the Salon Du Chocolat. Aside from the never-ending array of merchandise on offer to buy and taste – from all kinds of chocolates to chocolate-imbued drinks, pastries and savoury dishes – there are demonstrations by chocolate-makers and chefs, workshops for young and old and the ever-popular fashion show, where the dresses are made of chocolate. Conferences will introduce you to the cocoa bean and the new ‘bean to bar’ movement. 22-24 February, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86c

Find out just how diverse ‘circus’ can be at the Hors Pistes biennial. Some of the performers have already wowed Brussels audiences at the festival, like the rather bestial Compagnie Bal and Yoann Bourgeois, whose work is poetic and filled with tension. Many performances to choose from for all ages. 16 February to 30 March, Les Halles de Schaerbeek, 22 Rue Royale Sainte-Marie

ETCetera theatre group offers a comedy about love, immigration, adultery and hairdressing. Figaro Gets Divorced, based on the original 1936 play by Croatian playwright Ödön von Horváth, sees our beloved barber of Seville fleeing his home country 20+ years after his titular marriage to Susanne. Insanity ensues. (In English and French, with surtitles in English and French) 19-24 February, Warehouse Studio Theatre, Rue Waelhem 69 (Schaerbeek)

Graindelavoix

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

The Festival of Flanders Kortrijk is celebrating 10 years by setting fire to the city. With fiery music, that is, full of fever, passion and adventure. From its opening show of Spanish Baroque to living room concerts (by the fire) to a big finish with the premier of Saint Anthony’s Fire by the brilliant Antwerp vocal ensemble Graindelavoix. Throw a dart anywhere in this programme; you can’t go wrong. 15-24 February, across Kortrijk

Photos: Ravemachine/Normal Schnormal, Tradfest courtesy event, Salon du Chocolat courtesy event, Graindelavoix/Festival of Flanders Kortrijk/courtesy Wilde Westen

Written by Lisa Bradshaw and Sarah Crew