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What’s on this week: 2-8 November

14:31 01/11/2018
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Close out the autumn holiday on a high note at Bozar’s Big Bang Festival, a family event held in cities across Europe and beloved for its quirky concerts and overall musical madness. See the StrapStrumpets, an ensemble on stilts; make music with PVC pipes; experience Nocturno, where dreams and lullabies put you to sleep, and nightmares and rain pull you out (pictured); and witness a composer trying to convince the King of the Sun to dance a little with his viola da gamba. And that’s just a smidgeon of what you’ll find. If you have kids aged four and older, don’t miss this. 4 November 12.00-18.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Snap up tickets now to the popular American Theater Company’s production of French playwright Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage. The winner of the 2009 Tony award for Best Play, its story of two couples who get together to amicably discuss a playground spat between their children is a sharply funny and critical look at social courtesy and human nature. 8-17 November 20.00, Warehouse Studio Theater, Rue Waelhem 69a (Schaerbeek)

Daniel Kehlmann

It takes a talent to turn the meeting of an obsessive 18th-century mathematician and an explorer into a work of gripping fiction, but Daniel Kehlmann has that talent. The book, Measuring the World, was the first by the Austro-German novelist and playwright to be translated into English, and its worldwide best-seller status meant that every book since has been, too. With subsequent novels like Fame and You Should Have Left (which is getting the Hollywood treatment now), Kehlmann has become one of the most popular German-born novelists of all time and has won many international awards. Hear him talk about his latest novel, Tyll, this weekend, one of his few appearances in Europe since relocating to New York. (In English) 4 November 20.00, Passa Porta, Rue Antoine Dansaert 46

People are fascinated and inspired by bears, but the relationship is tenuous. While they can do great damage to you, they have also been reduced to circus entertainment and embody the world’s most-beloved stuffed toy. Check out the family exhibition Teddy & Bear to learn about the evolution of this wondrous animal and their relationship with humans, from the prehistoric era to today. Until 1 September 2019, Museum of Natural Sciences, Rue Vautier 29

It’s the first Sunday of the month this weekend, and that means Brussels Vintage Market is back at Halles Saint Géry. Vintage and second-hand clothing, jewellery, vinyl, furniture, toys and more. Free entry every time. 4 November 12.00-19.00, Place Saint-Géry 1

Icelandic film Woman at War

What unites Europeans is a question that has been asked on by artists and philosophers, politicians and economists for many years now. In the wake of Brexit, it seems even more crucial to find an answer. The three nominations for the European Union’s Lux Film Prize offer a glimpse of shared humanity. During Lux Film Days, all three will screen simultaneously across Europe, including in Brussels, Ghent and Charleroi. In the documentary The Other Side of Everything, Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic finds both family history and the history of her country in conversations with her octogenarian activist mother. Woman at War sees a mild-mannered Icelandic mum turning eco-warrior, bringing down electrical pylons with her finely tuned bow-and-arrow. And Styx is based on the true story of a German woman on a sailboat coming to the aid of refugees at sea when no one else will. 6-8 November, across Belgium

Fans of Asian pop culture, look no further this weekend than Japan Con, where admirers of manga, anime and cosplay gather. A massive market, special guests, karaoke, origami and a Gundam-building workshop all on the menu. 3-4 November, Tour&Taxis, Avenue du Port 86c

It’s been months since Belgian Pride, so it’s time for a little LGBTI culture. Find it at Brussels’ annual queer film festival, Pink Screens. There are dozens of movies, including docs and shorts, and this year’s guest country is Brazil. 8-17 November, across central Brussels

Julie Campbell

What do you get when you mix a traditional craft with somewhat gruesome subjects? A hit on Instagram. Which came as quite a surprise to Julie Campbell when she began posting images of her needlework depictions of exposed brains, dissected frogs and popping eyeballs. For the exhibition Inside Out, she is showing her work together with fellow Tervuren artist Helen O’Sullivan-Tyrrell, whose soft figurative paintings are a striking contrast. Something for everyone, as it were. Meet the artists on 8 November. 6-11 November, Au Fond Du Bois, Brusselsesteenweg 49, Tervuren

Why does the West differ so much from the East? And can we ever really understand China? If not, how do we solve the world’s problems? Popular British philosopher Julian Baggini is back in Brussels to talk about his compelling new book How the World Thinks. By understanding how others think, we become less certain of the knowledge we think we have. And that, he says, is a step in the right direction. This evening salon is hosted by the Full Circle international club, but non-members can attend. Food and drink included. 8 November 18.30-20.30, Full Circle House (Ixelles)

Ocean Film Festival

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

The wonders that lie beneath the waves are never-ending. The annual Ocean Film Festival, taking place this month in Antwerp, Ghent and Namur, shows how humans can’t get enough of the mysteries, beauty and opportunities the sea provides. The two-hour event pulls together nine short films, and it’s terribly popular, so grab tickets now. Ghent, for instance, is nearly sold out. Antwerp: 14 November, De Roma: Ghent 22 November, Sphinx. Namur: 29 November, Acinapolis

Welcome to Belgium’s largest art parcours, and that’s saying a lot. The annual Fêtes de la Saint-Martin in a district of Beauvechain spreads work by more than 200 contemporary artists across 100 locations, so multiple visits are a must. Plus you need time to catch the classical concerts and the massive musical theatre production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Caucasian Chalk Circle, with 150 actors, choir singers and musicians. 4-25 November, across Tourinnes-la-Grosse (Beauvechain, Walloon Brabant)

Written by Lisa Bradshaw