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What’s on this week: 9-15 July

15:09 08/07/2021
Our top picks of events and activities in and around Brussels

You know it’s summer when the Roller Bike Parade trundles by! Everyone is invited to take part in this procession of people on wheels – roller and inline skates, bicycles, scooters, skateboards, or perhaps you prefer a unicycle? If it’s on wheels and not motorised, it’s welcome in this fun family-friendly procession. DJs are on hand to get you in the groove, and the parade takes place weekly in cities across Belgium. The agenda on the website hasn’t quite been updated yet, so keep your eye on the Facebook event page for dates and places. Brussels, in any case, is on Friday nights, starting at 20.00 on Place Poelaert. Until 1 October, across Belgium

Seven centuries of organ repertoire bring some of the biggest names in the genre to Brussels for the Ars In Cathedrali Festival. St Michael and St Gudula Cathedral has two exquisite Baroque organs, the inspiration for this festival that includes pieces written for symphonies, chorale melodies and even folk dances. Come hear why Balzac described the organ as “the grandest, the most daring, the most magnificent of all instruments invented by human genius”. 13 July to 31 August, Rue du Bois Sauvage 15

Poster from The ABC of porn cinema

Check your bashfulness at the door as you enter The ABC of Porn Cinema, the latest exhibition at Mima. It’s a collaboration with Cinema Nova, which holds the archives of the ABC, the last porn cinema in Belgium – and probably in Europe – that showed only original 35mm films reels until its demise in 2013. The exhibition is a history of the ABC and simultaneously of the art of cinema and of Brussels itself. A co-exhibition highlights the work of Belgian illustrator Laurent Durieux, who creates new posters for old movies, to great international acclaim. Until 9 January, Quai du Hainaut 39 (Molenbeek)

It only makes sense to perform something called Birds in the open air, and so it is with choreographer and dance Seppe Baeyens’ new piece. In search of community, dancers and musicians mingle with the audience – and with passers-by – in this social choreography built on connection and imagination. 7-11 July, Circus Space, Rue Osseghem 50 (Molenbeek)

Performance from Inside Out festival

A collaboration between Citylab and Kaaitheater, the new Inside Out Festival features performing and audiovisual arts by a group of young creators. It’s a reflection of the artistic and political dynamics, opportunities and challenges that lie at the heart of Brussels and where art bring about encounters and, hence, community. 9-11 July, Kaaitheater, Sainctelettesquare 20

Music festivals are not the only big, open-air events in a Belgian summer: Bruxellons! Presents French-language theatre – both original and translated productions – at the lovely Karreveld Castle in Molenbeek. There are all kinds of shows, from monologues to dramas to comedies, but the big event this year is a new production of Blood Brothers, one of the most successful musicals ever produced. Other new productions for Bruxellons! include Shirley Valentine and the cabaret Ceci n’est pas une Framboise Frivole. 10 July to 13 September, Avenue Jean de la Hoese 32 (Molenbeek)

Scene from Hands Do Not Touch Your Precious Me

Finally, Wim Vandekeybus and his dance company Ultima Vez get to premiere Hands Do Not Touch Your Precious Me in front of a live audience. After being cancelled last autumn during the second lockdown, it was livestreamed just once in January. But there’s nothing like seeing Vandekeybus’s writhing, falling, leaping and kicking dancers in the flesh. And there’s a lot of flesh here. 15-21 July, KVS, Quai aux Pierres de Taille
Read an
interview with Vandekeybus and enter to win tickets to this new production

The international fitness gurus of Friskis & Svettis are offering free indoor and outdoor fitness sessions all summer long. There are classes for different fitness levels and plenty of space for distancing in Cinquantenaire Park. Until 31 August

DJ at Afropolitan

Bozar’s Afropolitan Weekend takes a look at the local African diaspora via film, dance, debates, slam and DJ parties. Check out a new documentary on the black LGBTQI community in Belgium, see storytelling performances in multiple languages and lots more. 9-11 July, Rue Ravenstein 23

Billed as ‘the biggest photo exhibition in Europe’, Photocity puts the work of more than 100 photographers on display. Series, themes and three shows sponsored by National Geographic – including wildlife and a century of women’s rights – are staged in shipping containers sourced straight from Antwerp and Rotterdam. Until 12 September, Tour & Taxis, Avenue de Port 86

Work from the Congoville exhibition


Both the Middelheim Museum and the University of Antwerp are situated where the Colonial College was founded in 1920. More than 100 years later, Middelheim confronts and examines the site’s traces of (post) colonial history. Fifteen internationally renowned artists take visitor on a walk in the museum’s outdoor and indoor spaces, in a quest to revisit the past and transform the public space into a truly shared one. Until 3 October, Middelheimlaan 61, Antwerp

Villers Abbey’s big open-air theatrical performance this year is Le Petit Prince, the classic story of the child who visits earth from his home on asteroid B 612. Tickets are going fast for this atmospheric production, good for the whole family. (In French) 13 July to 8 August, Rue de l’Abbaye 55, Villers-la-Ville (Walloon Brabant)

Find theatre and concerts in the open-air all summer long during Summer Nights Fever in Lessines. In the gardens of the old Notre Dame de la Rose Hospital, the events also include locally and fair-trade sources crafts for sale and food cooked by the Summer Nights staff themselves. Until 29 August, Rue des Moulins 1, Lessines (Hainaut)

And finally … don’t forget to check The Bulletin’s ultimate guide to summer music festivals!

Photos, from top: Courtesy Roller Bike Parade; ‘The Satifiers of Alpha Blue’ (cropped), ©Nova Cinema archives; ©Alex Cepile; ©Wim Vandekeybus; ©Rokia Bamba; ‘Justice, Peace, Work (Stolen Sword Punctum)’ by Hank Willis Thomas, 2019, ©The artist & Maruani Mercier, photo by Léonard Pongo

Written by Lisa Bradshaw