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What’s on this week: 22 to 28 April

Toots promoting film Midnight Cowboy (c) KBR
12:03 21/04/2022
Jazz legend Toots, unexpected panoramas of Brussels, dance extravaganzas and other cultural distractions around Belgium, here’s our pick for the coming week

It’s the flagship event of the centenary programme honouring Belgian jazz giant Toots Thielemans. The Toots 100: The Sound of a Belgian Legend exhibition is a unique opportunity to dive into the universe of Belgium’s late famed musician who would have turned 100 on 29 April. Staged in the Royal Library (KBR), the show boasts both a modern scenography while also occupying the sumptuous rooms of the former Palace of Charles Lorraine, a fitting backdrop for the king of the harmonica. An equally acclaimed whistler, guitarist and accordionist, this show traces Toots' journey from playing Marolles cafés to his life in the US performing with all the jazz greats and contributing to film soundtracks such as Midnight Cowboy (pictured, main image). Each visitor is equipped with a headset to complete this informative and foot-tapping musical immersion. 22 April to 31 August, KBR, Mont des Arts 28


The 21st edition of Brussels Museums Nocturnes kicks off with the late and festive opening of four Schaerbeek institutions (Maison des Arts (pictured), Maison Autrique, Musée Schaerbeekois de la Bière, Musée d’Art Spontanée). Every Thursday evening, a handful of museums, among 63 in total, will give visitors an opportunity to discover permanent and temporary exhibitions. In addition, there’s guided tours, behind the scene visits, tailor-made workshops and walks around the city. Thursdays, 1700-22.00, 21 April-9 June, multiple venues across the city


Explore the city-centre in a new light thanks to the Panorama Mont des Arts Kunstberg festival. Seven surprising themed routes – all equipped with Panorama Viewers - have been created with the help of a large number of museums and cultural institutions whose hidden rooftops and secluded passageways offer alternative views of the city. In a unique programme, there’s also a series of performances and workshops. The event is organised by the Mont des Arts association and is designed to help visitors discover the museum district. 23 April-1 May, city centre

Sur l'eau Thomas Boivin

French photographer Thomas Boivin captures daily scenes of life in Paris neighbourhood Belleville; the title of his exhibition now showing in the Belgian capital. He shows the area in its natural messy state, far from the order that the architect Hausmann originally planned for this former town northeast of the French capital. The photographer only shot images within walking distance of his own home, catching complicit private moments in public spaces that reflect the passing of time and seasons; all conveying their own intrinsic beauty. 23 April to 26 June, Fondation A Stichting, Van Volxem 304 (Forest)

Day of Dance (c)Tine Declerck

The new event Danses en fête, spread across Brussels and Wallonia, joins the existing Day of Dance, spread across Brussels and Flanders, for a massive five-day dance extravaganza. Both events take over streets, theatres and museums with performances, open studios and surprise interventions in public space. Workshops and classes also offer ample opportunity to get moving yourself. Danses en fête 20-24 April, Dance Day 23 April, across Belgiumgeorge_packer_c_michael_lionstar

How to fix democracy? That’s the ambitious topic raised by US journalist George Packer in his book Last Best Hope and the subject of Bozar’s latest ‘Writers & Thinkers’ series. Exploring four narratives currently dominating American life, from individualism and the Silicon Valley to white nationalism and oppression, the renowned journalist argues for a new common identity around the long-standing fervour for equality. The English-language talk is moderated by Andrew Keen. 26 April, 19.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Masterclass ULB

Aspiring filmmakers have a unique opportunity to pick up cinematography skills from famous Belgian director Luc Dardennes in a five-day French-language workshop Toi, Moi et l’Autre. Organised by ULB Arts de spectacle and Transe-en-Danse company, it's also possible to sign up for just one of the evening shows. Throughout the course, Dardenne will analyse some of the award-winning films produced with his brother Jean-Pierre, including Le Jeune AhmedLe Silence de Lorna and La promesse. Register by mail before 25 April at: d'alize.loumaye@ulb.be26-30 April, Campus Solbosch, Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 50 (Ixelles)

Martha Argerich (c) ASO

Get tickets now: Martha Argeric There are still a smattering of tickets left to see one of the greatest pianists of all time perform with the Antwerp Symphony in Bozar. Together with Polina Leschenko of Belgium, the Argentinian will play Poulenc’s Double Concerto for Piano as well as Lili Boulanger’s D’un soir triste and the second suite from Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé. There are also a few tickets left to the same concert in Antwerp. 5 May 20.00, Bozar, Rue Ravenstein 23

Outside Brussels

Room by James Thierée

International circus superstar James Thierrée returns to Namur with his latest spectacle Room. Although the show predates the pandemic, its setting in a confined space will resonate with many. Thierée, the grandson of Charlie Chaplin, plays the role of an architect who’s struggling to keep the disobedient room and a cast of musicians in order. As ever, he creates a playful and multilingual show where fantasy and chaos reign. 28 April to 3 May, Théâtre de Namur, Place de la Théâtre 1, Namur

Toerisme Flemish Brabant

Flemish Brabant’s Guided Tours for Internationals is kicking off a new season with a Castle and Brewery Walk in Beersel. Participants will learn how Oud Beersel Brewery makes its famous geuze and take a stroll to the magnificent local castle. The province of Flemish Brabant, which surrounds Brussels, offers English-language tours throughout the spring. Check out the upcoming tour on the culinary history of the endive, for instance, or the wonders of the Tervuren Arboretum. 24 April to 21 May, across Flemish Brabant

Grasshopper film

The excellent Africa Film Festival in Leuven screens recent cinema from the continent, both celebrated and little-known. Some of the films are fully African productions – such as Egyptian director Omar El Zohairy’s award-winning Feathers (pictured), a hilarious send-up of the patriarchy that sees a man turned into a chicken during a party trick gone awry – while others are co-productions, such as L’Empire du Silence by Belgian director Thierry Michel about the ongoing conflict in Congo. Screenings also take place in 14 other cities, including Brussels and Antwerp. 22 April to 7 May, across Belgium

Hear Here (c)Céleste Boursier Mougenot

Also in Leuven this spring is Hear Here, a trip through sound art along various indoor and outdoor locations. Each sound installation interacts with its surroundings, pointing to the relationship between sound, acoustics and perception. The weeks’ long event also includes concerts and other sound-oriented activities, such as Forest Silent Gathering, where you’ll follow a soundtrack in a forest at sunset. 23 April to 6 June, across Leuven

Frans Masereel, 'Mon Livre d'Heures', 1919, collection MSK Gent

Frans Masereel was a genius of woodcut art. He meticulously carved images out of slats of wood, covered the raised image in ink and stamped it onto paper. Born at the Belgian coast and moving from Ghent to Paris to Geneva and Nice during the turbulent first half of the 20th century, his work runs the gamut from fanciful sea creatures to anti-war protestors. The retrospective Frans Masereel in Words and Images is held on the 50th anniversary of his death and is well worth travelling to see. Until 5 June, MSK Gent, Fernand Scribedreef 1, Ghent



Written by Sarah Crew and Lisa Bradshaw