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What’s on this week: Going out at home
Alas, the super-popular Balkan Trafik! festival is not to be this spring. But the celebration of Balkan music, dance, theatre, film and literature is not cancelled, just postponed to the autumn. In the meantime, check out Balkan Trafik 360°, a fully virtual festival complete with livestreamed performances and debates as well as recorded productions and virtual tours of historical cities. There are some 60 events in total, all of which work to immerse you in south-east European culture. 23-26 April
The museum of Belgian history has put a load of stuff on the Interactive-img website, which allows it to create visual storytelling. Explore the history of local TV, radio and the mop – apparently a Belgian invention – or take a tour detailing the country’s illustrious frites and waffle culture. BELvueMuseumAtHome also offers up Spotify playlists of the best of Belgian, blues and jazz. There’s also one that encapsulates the history of Belgian music, featuring everything played in the museum itself.
Next door at the Coudenberg Palace museum, normally accessible through the BELvue Museum, CoudenbergAtHome offers plenty of activities to download for kids, including cut-and-fold paper scale models of the former palace’s buildings, colouring books and a find-the-differences game in a painting of the once-plush gardens on Coudenberg Hill.
Brussels Imagination Club is holding its second virtual workshop since the corona shutdown started. This time, laughter yoga facilitator Gabriela Spencer leads participants through Laughter, the Remedy for the Lockdown Blues. You’ll create endorphins and serotonin as you learn laughter and breathing exercises. The class is given through Zoom; if you’ve never used it, don’t hesitate. It’s one of the easiest group video chat platforms on the internet. 22 April 19.00
The international Mooov Film Festival, based in Turnhout, puts this spring’s edition online. Mooov 2.0 features 30 of the movies from this year’s programme. Pick your film and click through to the streaming site. Each film costs €8 and is available for 48 hours after purchase. Be sure to check subtitle information before you buy. Mooov features movies focused on social issues. A few highlights this year are Atlantique, a supernatural tale of young love – and reckoning – in Dakar (pictured); Adam, in which a pregnant woman alone in Casablanca must win the trust of her unlikely new employer; and Parasite, the celebrated Oscar winner that sees two very different families dancing around their lies, secrets and social status. 21 April to 4 May
Brussels NGO Liza Bookings, which promotes African-American musical heritage in Europe, has teamed up with the US Embassy in Brussels to livestream weekly concerts by American musicians from their homes. Upcoming performances in the StayHome Festival include North Carolina progressive folk duo Violet Bell and jazz saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin. The series closes with an interview with French-American singer China Moses, who will talk about new generations of artists in the US and Europe, as well as her hopes for culture after Covid-19. After the stream, the videos will be available to view on Liza Bookings’s Facebook page. Until 23 April
Simon Gronowski with children from the UK cast of Push
When British composer Howard Moody met Brussels octogenarian Simon Gronowski, he was so moved by his story that he wrote an opera about it. Gronowski is a local hero as he escaped from a train out of Mechelen that was heading straight to Auschwitz. The 11-year-old Gronowski ran through the woods in the dead of night, eventually taken in by a Flemish constable. Sent back to Brussels, he was hidden by several families for the remainder of the war. The opera Push has been performed in the UK and Belgium, and now 150 members of its four casts are coming together for a virtual performance. Each singer has been recorded in their own homes singing their part of the final aria Ma Vie n’est que Miracles. The result will be released on 19 April – the 77th anniversary of Gronowski’s escape – on Moody’s Facebook page.
Brussels-based choreographer Meg Stuart has put two of her productions on Vimeo. In the very fitting Alibi from 2001, Stuart confronts both a physical and a virtual presence. In Forgeries, Love and Other Matters, she and Canadian choreographer Benoit Lachambre climb about on a hilly landscape of fake fur. Are thy campers, scientists or guinea pigs?
Photos: Balkan Trafik courtesy event, Coudenberg ©Jasmine Van Hevel, Push courtesy Chichester Cathedral