Category Archives: Entertainment

Spotted by Locals

So the nice folks over at Spotted by Locals are sharing the Brussels love this week. Their City of the Week is Brussels and to celebrate they’re offering their iPhone app guide for free until Friday (usually costs $3.99). I downloaded it yesterday and gave it a little test run. Here are the results.

SpottedbyLocals

The app is easy to use, with lists of places around Brussels sorted by categories like bars, restaurants, music, shopping, etc. You can also view the featured locations on a map or by searching nearby. Each entry has a short review from the Spotted by Locals team, address, hours and other useful info.

SpottedbyLocals app             SpottedbyLocals app

The list of bars is pretty decent and includes some popular spots like Bar Beton, Chez Franz and L’Ultime Atome. The restaurant list is okay with reviews of places like Kokuban, Ici and Toukoul but is missing some of my favorites and generally more up-scale eateries.

I like that they have a list dedicated to coffee & tea, as a good cup of coffee isn’t always easy to find. There is also a list of spots to relax around Brussels, including parks, squares and other public spaces. The shopping list is rather limited but they make up for it with the more complete overview of arts, culture and music venues.

SpottedbyLocals app            SpottedbyLocals app

Overall the app is useful and allows you to make a selection of your favorites. This week Spotted by Locals is also offering free city apps for London and Berlin so get’em while they’re hot. If you roll old-school style, you can always download the PDF version of the Brussels city guide for a reduced price of $0.89.

There are several other smartphone apps for Brussels out there, many of them for free, which I posted about here and here a little while back. This latest one is a good addition to the mix!

P.S. and be sure to also check out The Spotted by Locals list of top Brussels blogs posted yesterday. Best of Brussels made the cut!

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Bike Fun

Do you ride a bike in Brussels? If so, I’ve come across a couple of ways to make your daily ride around town a bit more fun.

The street style blog phenomenon has exploded in recent years (think The Sartorialist). So the website Belgium Cycle Chic, which started a couple of years ago, is right on trend. The blog features pictures and stories of interesting and stylish people on bikes around the country as a way to express street style, fashion and bicycle culture. The site was inspired by Copenhagen Cycle Chic, a concept which has spread to several cities and countries around the world, including bicycle capital Amsterdam.

Belgium Cycle Chic

Everyone is welcome to send in their photos of bike street style. So if you’re part of the scene, and maybe need a little motivation to look good on your bike, send your shots and a little description to info[a]cyclechic.be. You never know, you might be featured in the next post!

Belgium Cycle Chic

Another way to have some fun with your bike is to join the Brussels Bike Tag game. Started by Sebastien Pepinster who discovered the idea while living in Paris, the project aims to encourage people to ride bikes a bit more in winter and also discover the city along the way. So how does it work?

Brussels Bike Tag

It’s just like a game of tag. First, head over to the project’s Facebook page to see where the last photo of someone’s bike was taken. Your aim is to find the location in Brussels, take a picture of your bike in the same spot and then take a photo of your bike in a new place in the city (ideally in a different commune). Next upload your two photos to the Facebook page by creating a new album with the tag number and your name. See the page description for more details about how to participate.

Brussels Bike Tag

The goal is to reach 200 tags of different places around Brussels. The game is currently at number 102 (when this was posted), so there’s still plenty of time to play along. The winner will be randomly selected from participants who posted a valid tag. The more times you tag your bike, the more chance you have to win! I couldn’t find any details about the prizes, but I’m sure they will be bike related. And really, the idea is just to have a little fun!

Good luck to all of you on bikes this winter. Stay safe and warm!

And for some more cycling info fun, check out previous posts here and here.

Images via Belgium Cycle Chic and Brussels Bike Tag.

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ProPulse 2013

The second annual ProPulse Festival kicked off last night in Brussels. I wrote about the first edition last year as I thought it was a great way to discover up-and-coming singers and bands from Belgium. Well it must have been a success for the organizers, the Performing Arts Federation of Wallonia-Brussels, as this year it has grown to include over 60 concerts and a wider variety of performances at three locations.

ProPulse Brussels

ProPulse focuses on showcasing local artists and musicians to the professional community (with the hope to boost their careers). Like last year, the festival is featuring rock, electronic, jazz, pop and world music concerts at Botanique on 6, 7 and 8 February. In addition, Flagey is hosting classical music performances and Les Halles de Schaerbeek is showing dance, theatre and other artistic acts during the week.

Day-time events are for professionals only but all of the evening concerts and shows are for the public, with an entrance fee of just €7. Listening to the web radio on the festival’s website, I spotted a couple of good artists that have concerts open to the public.

Sarah Carlier (who I already wrote about last year) – Thursday at 9:40pm

Vegas – Wednesday at 8:50pm

There are a few other performances each evening so it’s worth a look at the full program here. Not a bad line up for such a bargain price!

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Flagey 75

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Flagey, happy birthday to you! (I hope you sang along just now :)) The former radio broadcasting building turned cultural center, Flagey, is marking its 75th anniversary this year, and to celebrate is having a party this week.

Flagey Brussels

Built in 1938 by Belgian architect Joseph Diongre, Flagey was originally the home of the National Institute for Radio Broadcasting and one of the first broadcasting buildings in Europe. It’s an impressive landmark nestled between Place Flagey and the Ixelles Ponds, and if you use your imagination, looks a little bit like a steamboat. The studios, especially Studio 4, have amazing acoustics and have hosted numerous concerts and recordings over the decades. Renovated in 2002, this art deco building now serves as a venue for all types of musical performances, film showings and other cultural events. I’ve been to a few classical and jazz concerts at Flagey over the years and always enjoyed the intimate setting of the studios.

Flagey studio Brussels

Over the next four days, a special “Flagey 75” program will feature classical, jazz and big band music to celebrate this golden anniversary. Things kick off tonight with pianist Till Fellner exploring the 19th century with Robert Schumann and continue tomorrow with a performance by Musiques Nouvelles. On Friday, the Brussels Philharmonic will go back to Gatsby’s roaring twenties with ragtime and jazz from Shostakovich, Gershwin & Stravinksy. Then on Saturday evening the Matthew Herbert Big Band will get things swinging around 8pm, followed by an after party hosted by Radio Modern.

The anniversary year at Flagey continues with the Musiq3 Festival during the last weekend of June, the KlaraFestival in September and finally in December, a series of concerts around the “Voice”. The venue will also host some unique film screenings throughout the coming months, including an original documentary Phantom of Flagey featuring archival audio-visual material on 15 March.

Tickets for the concerts this week range between €20 and €35 (discounts for students) and can be bought online or at the door. If you happen to have a BNP Paribas Fortis card, you get a discount of 30% off all music productions at Flagey (except some of the festivals).

So here’s to you Flagey – happy birthday and many more!

Images via Flagey and Agenda Magazine.

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