15 things to do in Belgium this weekend

Group shows in Liège, roundtable debates in Antwerp, and MC battles in Brussels.

Thurs 11th May: Europe’s Fertile Years at Swallowing Helmets, Brussels

Molenbeek’s cutting-edge independent art space Swallowing Helmets is opening its doors to another critical examination by Rémi Lambert. The Brussels-based Swiss artist will be providing his personal social commentary – as is clear with the polemical title Europe’s Fertile Years. Only on display for a short period of time, but sure to be gutsy as ever.

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Thurs 11 May: Festival Massimadi at BRONKS, Brussels

Not so new to the capital’s film scene anymore, Massimadi is proudly celebrating it’s fifth year anniversary of bringing obscure yet exquisite black LGBTQ cinema to Belgium. Back in St. Catherine / St.-Katelijne’s Bronks theatre, Thursday night will see the festival kick off with plenty of films, music, workshops, debates, and voguing. Make sure you don’t miss the screening of the documentary screening of Major!, recounting the life and trials of the legendary trans activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.

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Thurs 11th May: Khareji at M HKA, Antwerp

Reclaimed visual artist Bart Van Dijck is back from his travels and artist residency in Iran’s Paradise Art Centre with a treasure trove of relics and meditations. Van Dijck used this opportunity to reflect on his identity and role as a foreigner and outsider – or khareji – in Iran, and is bringing these gems back to his homeland for a four week-long exhibition at M HKA’s Inbox space. Deep and thoughtful.

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Thurs 11th May: Prutswerk #2 at Minus One, Ghent

Prutswerk is all about the constructive practice of overlapping, interdisciplinary collaborations between artists of all realms – it’s easy to recluse yourself in your own little creative world, and Prutswerk are doing their bit to break down these barriers. For their second edition they’ve invited an exhaustive list of Belgium’s finest new talents in music production and beat-making, visual arts and textile designers, encouraged to explore other directions. There’s power in numbers.

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Thurs 11th May: TRANSFORMERS at Gourvernement, Ghent

Gouvernement is spoiling us this weekend with a double whammy jam-packed with music and art, showcasing some of the local and European scene’s rising stars. Dutch Lysandre Begijn’s bright paintings heavy on contrast, and visual artist Fia Cielen’s enchantingly sinister oeuvres will be on display over the weekend. The vernissage opening will also see Yorgos Tsakiridis and Mathias MU delivering the sonic ambiance. Don’t sleep.

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Thurs 11th May: BANG!#2 at Begijnhofkerk, Brussels

Another year, another BANG! festival month – and to celebrate entering its fifth year, this round is curated by the incessantly active contemporary artist and musician Joris Van De Moortel. True to his style, Van De Moortel has prepared a highly conceptual series of soirées for KultuurKaffee: based off of Bruegel the Elder’s Twelve Proverbs, each night will be inspired by said proverbs. This Thursday will see the fruits of “to carry fire in one hand and water in the other”, with the likes of Gerard Herman, Peter Fengler, Ria Pacquée. Art for the roamers.

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Fri 12th May: Puur Belge at VK, Brussels

Belgium’s rising hip-hop scene has been receiving a lot of love and attention these last few years, and rightfully so. Whether they be from Brussels, Flanders or Wallonia; our new superstars have been putting in loads of hard work in their craft – and it shows. The night will start off with the final round of the MC battle “End of the Weak”. Zwangere Guy will also be presenting his most recent mixtape Zwangerschapsverlof Vol. 3, and bring along a truly ecletic crew of some of the finest lyricists for the occasion. Can’t make it anymore belge even if you tried.

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Fri 12th May: Crev001 Release Party at Fuse, Brussels

Brussel’s hottest new record store Crevette are not skipping a beat in placing their mark on the capital’s music scene – form selling and distributing carefully selected discs, to hosting local events, to now even releasing their own music. Fuse this Friday will see the official release of their first ever pressing by Vitesse, a tropical disco house treat. Go show some love.

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Sat 13th May: Double vernissage at Galerie Vorn und Oben, Eupen

Eupen’s Galerie Vorn und Oben is kicking off their next double-exhibition this Saturday, which will be on display till the end of July. The gallery will be putting international ladies in the spotlight: the soft-focus paintings of Dutch Anya Janssen’s The Hour of the Wolf in the Land of Milk and Honey, and the calligraphical drawings of Paris/Aachen-based Japanese Mariko Saito’s Baka Tensai (idiot genius). Music will be provided courtesy of Meakusma, with a live show by Lieven Martens Moana. Not to be missed.

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Sat 13th May: Ear to the Ground Festival at Muziekcentrum De Bijloke, Ghent

The guys behind the music label KRAAK truly are innovaters when it comes to hosting cutting-edge music festivals. As if celebrating twenty years of KRAAK Festival isn’t enough, they’re launching a brand new take with their assemblage of 32 “mini-concerts”, lasting no more than half an hour. Using full advantage of the De Bijloke’s space, they’ll be serving us a wide range of experimental jazz, pop, and rock music with art installations, improv and performances. ​Keeping their eyes on the prize, fingers on the triggers, and their ears to the ground.

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Sat 13th May: MÊME TEMPS at Les Brasseurs, Liège

Les Brasseurs’ monographic exhibition series Septième Ciel has impressingly reached it’s eighth rotation, inviting local Peter Morrens this time round. Titled MÊME TEMPS, his artwork will be on display for a month. Accompanying him in the Young Artist Glassbox is Frenchman David Droubaix’s La violence est un langage, and excerpts “Idomeni, frontière gréco-macédonienne, 14 mars 2016″ from a cinematic project by Greek duo Maria Kourkouta and Niki Giannari called Des spectres hantent l’Europe. Don’t sleep.

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Sat 13th May: A City Built On Other Stories at Het Bos, Antwerp

Activist group “Une ville en prise sur d’autres histoires” was initially set up as a reaction against Belgium’s (still) problematic representation of its colonial past, and sets up numerous initiatives designed to reconsider how to make appropriate legacies of Belgium’s historical identities. In collaboration with ERG and De Imagerie, have organised a weekend-long expo; while Saturday will see some of Belgium’s most prominent academics speaking on the matter. Crucial and long overdue.

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Sat 13th May: NOSE JOB at Épicerie Moderne, Brussels

It’s Saturday night in the capital – that means dive bar Épicerie Moderne is living it uppah, live from it’s basement lair. This week’s soirée is hosted by local party-starter Rick Shiver, who’s invited Word regular OFFSHORE§ and Ozzie deep cut wizard Steele Bonus. Notorious for his obscure archive of fine 80s Australian DIY recording archive Oz Wave, Steele Bonus is sure to bring his finest selection to the (turn)table.

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Sat 13th May: MIND OVER MTTR at Het Bos, Antwerp

MIND OVER MTTR is the newest party concept to hit our streets, and they’ve pulled out all the stops for their launch: acclaimed Bala Club’s Endgame, Antwerp darling Hiele, globe-trotting Flora Yin-Wong, and Midlife’s doro are just some of the names on this exhaustive line-up. There will also be a Black Mirror-esque examination on 21st Century technology. Treat yo self.

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Sun 14th May: Fire is Gold at Drie Fonteinen, Vilvoorde

Just in case you weren’t able to get your full hip-hop fix this weekend, fear not since there’s a brand new music festival dedicated to all things beats, hi-hats, and free-flowing lyricism. With two stages manned by the teams behind TRILLERS and BLOODY LOUIS, Fire is Gold will see a full roster of Belgium’s finest rappers, as well as quite a few global stars. Expect the likes of Damso, Hamza, Krisy, Roméo, Myth Syzer, Jarreau Vandal, and most impressively the headlining Godfather of Grime Eskiboy Wiley himself. Make sure to check out artistic director Jon Tyler’s Favourite Releases for the occasion, and win duo tickets.

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