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What's on this week: 27 December-2 January
Until 30 December, children’s theatre takes over with Noël au Théâtre, a total of 41 performances of 22 plays (of which five are premières) in 10 different locations across Brussels. There are different shows for different age groups - and all the performances are one hour or less.
A lot of people have a few days off at this time of year. If you are one of them, it’s a great time to take advantage of the opportunity of going to a museum or two on weekdays. Among the shows you can catch are Cross Roads at the Art and History Museum, a show about the not so dark ages, Punk Graphics at ADAM Brussels Design Museum, design from those who were Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die, Breugel prints at the KBR, the master’s complete set of prints, very rarely accessible to the public, Breugel at the Porte de Halle, a meeting between ravishing historical objects and virtual reality, Super Heroes Never Die, a look at American comic book superheroes and their Jewish connection at the Jewish Museum, America Doesn’t Exist at the Art & Marges Museum, the US seen from an outsider art perspective, Restless Youth at the House of European History, youth rebellion through the last 80 years, and Dali & Magritte at the Magritte Museum, what happened when the two surrealism icons met.
If you’ve never seen a performance at Toone, the last remaining puppet theatre for grown-ups - a genre that flourished in the 15th century and still counted a number of venues as late as the 1960s - their end of the year offering is a great classic. Belgian avant-garde author Michel de Ghelderode wrote his version of The Massacre of the Innocents in 1926 and he wrote it specifically for puppet theatre. These puppets are three feet tall, and despite being played from above like most marionettes are, they also walk with full legs. Nicolas Géal (or Toone VIII, his stage name) has five or six young puppeteers working with him to animate the marrionettes but he does all the voices which is a remarkable, inspiring tour de force. The theatre is in a 500-year-old building - downstairs is a cafe with garden, upstairs is the theatre, and a small museum/bar. You can choose two different ways of watching. One is to sit close to the stage and be able to see the puppeteers at work or to sit further back where all you see is the perfect illusion. Or you can see both by switching during the interval.
Daily until 31 December (except 30 December)
It’s the last few days of the Winter Wonders - so if you haven’t made it there yet it’s time to check out the ferris wheel, the Ice Monster, the Dream Space, video mapping, the bigger skating rink, the Dome, the light and music show at the Grand-Place, and here only this year Submergence and the celebrations for the Manneken Pis statue’s 400th birthday. And of course, the Christmas Market.
The last movie to be screened in 2019 at the Cinematek is: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. The fabulous Almodovar classic plays at 21.00. If you’d like something more light-hearted the second to last screening at 20.00 is George Sydney’s Anchors Aweigh, a mid-1940s cornucopia of great singing (Frank Sinatra) and great dancing (Gene Kelly and Jerry the Mouse – boffo special effects for 1945). And if you’d rather bask in fresh existential angst and early-1960s hip sexiness, the third to last screening is Jean-Luc Godard’s revolutionary Breathless.
New Year’s Eve starts at the Atomium at 21.30 with dance, music and lights, leading up to the fireworks display at midnight. Stib buses, trams and metros will be on an extended schedule and they are free. But the festivities don’t stop there. Check out Visit.brussels for things to do.
There’s a new temporary club called FFORMATTT on the Chicken Market downtown and with Les Bals #6 they are putting on The End of the World, a NYE party that will feature "unknown and world-famous musical gems" from 1950 to 2019.
If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to eat more healthily and support farmers more directly, here’s a great way to do that: buy your fruit and vegetables from a GASAP. What is a GASAP? It’s an organisation that makes contracts with farmers to purchase their produce over the year and then sells baskets to the public every two weeks. There are four in Brussels city, near the Sablon, in Neder-over-Hembeek, in Laeken and downtown on the Fishmarket.