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What’s on this week: 28 February to 5 March

14:11 27/02/2020
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

The word ‘flamenco’ instantly conjures up images of flaring skirts, clapping hands and stamping heels. All that is true, but the diversity of this quintessential Spanish dance is also endless. See some of the best dancers and musicians in the genre at the Bruselas Flamenco Festival in Bozar. ¡Olé! 4-8 March, Rue Ravenstein 23

A boundless array of mostly French-language books come together at the annual Foire du Livre de Bruxelles. It’s a market where you can browse and buy to your heart’s content, but there are also 1,000 authors on hand to sign and discuss their books, talks on all manner of topics and special activities for kids. 5-8 March, Tour & Taxis, Avenue du Port 86

Brussels has a few Carnival parades and celebrations this week, but one to look out for is the Venise dans les Marolles. A parade of characters in extravagant costumes based on Italy’s famous carnival will head from Rue Haute near the Justice Palace to the Grand Place and back. Stroll around the Marolles in the lead up to the parade to soak up a little carnival atmosphere during this 10th anniversary of the event. 29 February, from 11.00, parade starts at 14.30

Squirm

Put away your aversion to bad taste, it’s time for Cinema Nova’s Offscreen film festival! Specialised in grindhouse, sci-fi, horror and cult classics of all sorts, Offscreen serves up both old and new cinema at its most idiosyncratic. Will it be Creature from the Haunted Sea, Sex and Zen or Dogs Don’t Wear Pants? Sections such as ‘party beach’ and ‘time travel’ help you narrow your viewing focus. But there is also cultural and societal import in all these fun and games. Special guest Jeff Lieberman, for instance, will present several of his films (Squirm, Blue Sunshine, Just Before Dawn), heralded as offering a razor-sharp portrait of 1970s America. 4-22 March, across Brussels-City

Belgium’s largest fair dedicated to renovation and building is back at Brussels Expo. The offering at Batibouw is too extensive to do it justice in a simple agenda entry, but here goes: test products in person, fully designed rooms for inspiration, personal advice, demonstrations, focus on ecological issues, workshops, talks, a DIY zone, compare hardwood floors (or toilets or paint colours or 80 different kinds of bricks), renovation fashion, practical use of space. And more. 29 February to 8 March, Place de Belgique 1

In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, Kaaitheater presents WowMen, a series of performances, talks, workshops and film that analyse the state of gender, art and society. Does voice have a gender? Does skin have a race? Can masculinity be defined? All this and more up for debate. 2-8 March, across Brussels

Twist sofa

A refreshing change from the warehouse-sized spaces and divider walls of art markets, the Collectible Design Fair takes place inside the multiple stories of the striking Espace Vanderborght. Wander from room to room to find contemporary design to buy, or to simply provide inspiration. Should you be in the market for a throw rug, lighting, a settee or anything else for your home or office, rest assured you won’t see your friends with the same piece. Everything here is either one-of-a-kind or part of a limited edition. 5-8 March, Rue de l’Ecuyer 50

Brussels’ Goethe Institute presents the new film Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit (Heimat is a Space in Time) in the presence of the director, Thomas Heise. The award-winning documentary follows Heise on journey back through four-generations of his family – and hence through German history. It clocks in at more than three-and-a-half hours, and a conversation with the director follows the screening. (Film and discussion in German, with subtitles and simultaneous translation into French) 4 March 18.00-22.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Antarctica exhibition

The Museum of Natural Sciences has an incredibly cool (as in hip, not cold) exhibition on Antarctica at the moment, and every month it offers a nocturnes programme of activities. So besides being enveloped by the southern seas and all their wondrous creatures, you’ll find talks and tours to learn even more about this endlessly interesting part of the world. During the next nocturnes, marine biologist Claude De Broyer will show you the documentary Hunt for the Giant Squid, sharing tales from his expeditions to the frozen continent. (In French, film in English) 5 March (and every first Thursday until 4 June) 17.00-21.00, Rue Vautier 29

It’s a big week for iMAL, the centre for digital and technological art. Moving from the centre of town to a much larger space in Molenbeek requires a party, and this one will last a few days, with activities focused around the new exhibition Quantum: In Search of the Invisible. Ten international artists worked together with scientists at Cern to develop work that questions our perceptions of the physical world. 5-8 March (exhibition until 31 May), Quai des Charbonnages 30 (Molenbeek)

The Great Fire of Bouges

OUTSIDE BRUSSELS

One thousand hours of work bundling branches goes into the Bouge Bonfire, which is only appropriate for this thousand-year-old activity. As six bonfires are lit across Namur province, the seventh – the Great Fire of Bouge – is where crowds gather to take part in a tradition that sees a snowman burned in effigy and the ushering in of spring. The seven fires are visible from the Bouge hilltop, and it’s said that lovers who can see them all are destined to marry the following year. Aside from that, there is special lighting at Namur’s famous citadel (from where there is also a great view of the Bouge bonfire), folklore processions at the bonfire itself and refreshments aplenty. 1 March from 17.00, fire at 19.00, Point de vue sur Namur, Rue de l’Institut 47, Bouge (Namur)

Bone up on your knowledge of local composers at Belgian Music Days in Mons. The festival of classical, jazz and electronic hybrids features music written by Belgians after 1830. There is a special focus on contemporary composers, so you’ll find, for instance, Luc Van Hove’s Sonata for violoncello and piano and an evening of electro-acoustic numbers by Julien Guillamat. 4-7 March, Conservatoire de Mons, Rue de Nimy 7

Photos, from top: Patricia Guerrero courtesy Bozar; Squirm ©Metro Goldwyn Mayer; ©Nina Edwards/Galerie Phylia, Paris; courtesy Museum of Natural Sciences; courtesy Wikipedia

Written by Lisa Bradshaw