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What's on this week: 12-18 January
The 17th-century facade of the Bellone, one of the most beautiful in Brussels, is hidden away down a narrow alley for the adventurous to discover. The Maison du Spectacle, which inhabits the space, started a tradition two years ago called La Face B Side to give an artist free rein to use the buiding's courtyard as he or she sees fit. Last year we had Nazanin Fakoor's entrancing petroleum-reflecting pool, for instance. This year, artist Simon Siegmann has chosen to accentuate the horrors of war motif that is the heart of the facade's depiction of Bellone, the goddess of the worst aspects of war, as opposed to Mars and the heroic aspects of war. With a number of sculptures/models he has created a purely emotional visual experience.
Free, ends this Saturday
As part of Europalia Indonesia, the Vendôme Theatre is screening 51 films in its Indonesian Film Festival. This is an Asian movie industry that is much less well-known in the west than say Thai, Japanese, Chinese or Korean, and the selection is filled with award-winners so you can expect some amazing cinema on a very wide variety of topics. Most of the films are recent, a product of the liberalisation that occurred after the downfall of the Suharto régime but there are also three completely restored classic Indonesian films being screened.
Until 23 January
For a completely different type of cinema, check out the Brussels Independent Short Film Festival: Courts mais Trash (pictured). The 14th edition is bigger and grosser than ever with two After Trash Parties (one DJ-ed by Eva Braun), national and international competitions, a new selection the “Courts mais Super WTF?”, a new prize the “Born 2 Be Cheap” prize, a “Hyperconcert,” the “Super Sex” screening and the “Super TRASH” screening with complementary vomit bag (no children allowed for those last two).
17-21 January at Les Riches-Claires
Philosopher and economist Philippe Van Parijs, professor emeritus at the UCL, is presenting Belgium, A Utopia for our Times as part of Bozar’s Agora series. The last multilingual vestige of the Hapsburg Empire, is the Belgian federation capable of showing to Europe and the world that democracy and solidarity are viable within irreversibly multilingual entities? And if so, how?
18 January 18.30. Free entrance upon registration
Edgard Tytgat, a painter born in Brussels in 1879, was a master storyteller using a superabundance of motifs to retell myths and legends but in a very modern, adult and personal style. He is difficult to characterise, being sometimes impressionistic, sometimes expressionistic and sometimes naïve, but every picture is rich in narrative. The M Museum in Leuven is currently putting on a show presenting a large selection of his oils and never-before exhibited archival material including videos, diaries and short stories. If you’re not familiar with his work you will be converted.
The Belvue! Museum has a wonderful show called Belgium Art Cetera which is a look at the history of visual art in Belgium over the centuries since Burgundian times as seen by 25 well-known Belgian press cartoonists, all presented with a great big helping of Belgian humour. Irreverent and fun.
Free, until 28 January
The Beursschouwburg is holding a Ritual Burning Party this Friday from 22.00-3.00 in the Beurscafé. “Burn burn burn the terrible year 2017 and head on to the new one,” the organisers say, with “a whole spectrum of flavours” from (afro)-jazz through disco to house.
Also on Friday the Cinematek is screening the original Gaslight. Most people know the MGM version with Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer and Angela Lansbury that was made four years later but those who have seen the original British film by Thorold Dickinson think it cuts much closer to the bone. In fact Louis B. Mayer tried to buy up and burn all the prints of the British film because he didn’t want anyone comparing them. Luckily for us he failed.
12 January 18.00
Saturday lunchtime, there’s a cooking workshop at Refresh: Get Creative with Belgian Endive. With its bittersweet flavour the Belgian endive is the perfect foil for everything from blue cheese to grey shrimp. During the workshop you will create (and devour) a three-course all endive-meal including Brussels chutney.
11.00-13.00, registration €25
A one-woman show for one night only. Author/actress Matilda Ancora presents "La jungle de Rachel la sexologue belge" at the newly restored and renovated Mercelis Theatre in Ixelles. What happens when a therapist loses her sense of ethics? Sex, power, lots of laughs and maybe a few tears.
Wednesday 17 January 20.00. In French.
Since it’s the beginning of the year it’s a good time to remember Visit Brussels’ Arsène 50 service, which provides you with 50% off tickets for many shows and concerts. The way it works is that the tickets are for the evening of the day in which you purchase them. From 12.30-17.00 you can go to the counter at the BIP seven days a week and see what is available that day, or from 14.00-17.00 you can go online to www.arsene50.be and make your choice. To get the most out of the service you can sign up for their newsletter which is published on Tuesdays and gives you the week’s choices, though these can change daily.