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What's on this week: 21-27 April
This year celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Brussels Short Film Festival brings together the best in new short films from Belgium and abroad, along with themed programmes on music, fairy tales and getting naked.
27 April to 7 May, across Brussels
If it’s April, it must be time for Balkan Trafik. It’s become a firm tradition in recent years for the musical culture of southeast Europe to take centre stage during this four-day festival that welcomes some 250 artists to the capital. This year, the Bosnian Goran Bregović opens proceedings. He’s known for his soundtracks for director Emir Kusturica (Underground), though he’s much more than just a composer of film scores. His Wedding & Funeral Orchestra epitomises contemporary Balkan music: firmly rooted in tradition, without shying away from new influences. As the name of his band implies, they play music that can set a wedding party on fire, but that is also able to soothe a mourning soul. But Balkan Trafik is more than a music festival. You can also see films from the Balkan region, learn how to make hats (with an Albanian student union), taste local wine and food and, on the Grand-Place in the open air, participate in the Giant Horo, a huge dance party accompanied by troupes from Bulgaria, Romania and Albania.
20-23 April at Bozar, Brussels
Saturday is open door day at Brussels Airport, where you can meet the people who get passengers and cargo where they need to go, and learn all about what goes on behind the scenes. Register online for one of three guided tours around the airport.
22 April 9.00-18.00, Brussels Airport, Zaventem; free
With the UK’s decision to leave the EU and critical elections in Europe dominating headlines across the continent, Full Circle invites British philosopher AC Grayling and Dutch historian Luuk van Middelaar to have an in-depth discussion on Brexit, European Identity and the future of the EU. The Brussels networking club stages the reception and talk at Bozar arts centre. Tickets for the talk only €7; reception and talk €15-35.
27 April 20.00-21.30, Bozar, Brussels
Mixity is the theme for Brussels for 2017 - a celebration of the 183 nationalities that make up Brussels. The choral event for the event is MIXITY SINGS: unity in diversity: 34 choirs, 32 concerts, 900 artists in 27 venues. It all gets launched on Saturday - in different metro stations choirs will present their musical world to the public. And at 16.00 the different choirs will come together in the Galerie Ravenstein for a preview of the year's offerings.
22 April, 15.00-16.00, various Brussels metro stations
The sixth edition of the Brussels International Guitar Festival & Competition (BIGuitar Festival) is presenting 12 concerts over five days. The concerts will cover classical, latin, contemporary, tango and flamenco for an overview of the world's most played instrument. Additionally there will be movies, masterclasses, meetings, a children's show, the finals of the national guitar competition and a guitar maker's show.
21-25 April, around Brussels
Frunch is back for the summer - that's Friday lunch on the courtyard of the BIP building with deck chairs, games, food trucks and live DJs. Last year 10,000 people took advantage of this fun and delicious way to start the weekend, enjoying three different food trucks each week. This year a total of 24 trucks (on rotation) will be offering African, Vietnamese, Californian, international wraps, Italian, Breton, Greek, French (Île de Ré), Burgers, Lebanese, Mexican, Thai, Japanese, Vegetarian, ice-cream, and last but not least, the food of La Réunion. New this year is the Royal Terrace, a weekend version of Frunch each Saturday and Sunday.
Fridays 12.00-14.30, BIP building, Place Royale, Brussels
The Art Brussels contemporary art fair returns to Tour & Taxis for the second year, and its 35th edition. The 145 galleries attending are encouraged to surprise visitors by presenting either new work or undervalued work from the recent past. Flemish names appearing range from veterans such as Wim Delvoye, Jan Fabre and Hans Op de Beeck, through to rising stars such as Lieven De Boeck and Maarten Vanden Eynde. There is also a presentation of work by Dirk Braeckman, who represents Belgium at this year’s Venice Biennale, and Mementos, a collection of personal objects from the private collections of 73 artists.
21-23 April, Tour & Taxis, Brussels
Turkish-born theatre director Mesut Arslan makes his debut at KVS with Nachtelijk Symposium (Nocturnal Symposium), a 1994 play by Flemish writer Eric De Volder about a family finally letting loose its secrets. Three sons and a mother spar over the “family business” and “him upstairs” on a stage designed like an arena, sharing the space with spinning tops. The aim, Arsan says, is to set the inner identity of a family and the surrounding audience in motion. After Brussels, the production tours to Mechelen, Hasselt, Antwerp and Ghent. (in Dutch with French and English surtitles)
19-26 April, KVS, Brussels
The Way She Dies is a co-production between Flemish theatre group Stan and Portugal’s Teatro Nacional about how a book like Anna Karenina has the power to change lives, for better or for worse. (In English and French with surtitles in Dutch and French)
20-22 April 20.30, Kaaitheater, Place Sainctelette 20, Brussels
The Festival Courants d'Airs features 180 actors and 110 musicians participating in 50 performances mixing theatre, circus arts, music and opera with an emphasis on new stage technologies and taking place, as usual, at the Royal Conservatory but also at City Hall, the Grand-Place, the Brussels Parliament, the ULB, the Music Village and the Bruegel Centre. Organised by the Brussels Royal Conservatory with the participation of the conservatories of Mons and Liège, the INSAS, the ENSAV, La Cambre and the Centre of Scenic Arts, of the 50 shows, 30 are theatre and 20 are music. This year the theme of the annual parade from the conservatory to the Grand-Place (Saturday 15.00) is circus and will be comprised of solo, duo and trio circus performances. The festival, now in its 12th edition, has as mission to break the barriers between different creative disciplines and showcase the high talents of the students.
19-23 April, various venues
Bruxelles Nature, a federation of associations and neighbourhood groups dedicated to protecting nature in urban areas, is holding Brussels Nature Week during which you can discover more than 20 green areas in Brussels you may not know about. They will also be screening (in various locations across Brussels) the five feature films and 15 short films that were the award-winners at Namur's International Nature Film Festival. Plus, at the BEL at Tour & Taxis they will showing the 130-photo exhibition from the Namur festival.
22 April-1 May, around Brussels
Once a year, the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra makes a point to step outside the world of classical music with a high-profile pop collaboration. The prestigious ensemble has invited American jazz diva Dianne Reeves and her backing band. Guest conductor Wayne Marshall, a master of the classical-pop crossover in his own right, is on board for this special collaboration. Together they will perform songbook standards and select numbers from Reeves’ Grammy Award-winning 2015 album Beautiful Life. After premiering the set in the Grand Duchy, the show hits the road for this Brussels date.
23 April, 20.30 at Bozar, Brussels
Enjoy soul and swing from French act Ben l’Oncle Soul, whose new album, Under My Skin, revisits Frank Sinatra’s repertoire. It’s Friday, so let him fly you to the moon.
21 April, Ancienne Belgique, Boulevard Anspach 110, Brussels
Heine Avdal and Yukiko Shinozaki explore the fragmentation of time and sudden changes of perspective in Fieldworks: Unannounced, a new performance for six dancers.
21-22 April, Kaaistudio’s, Rue Notre Dame du Sommeil 81, Brussels