Tag Archives: culture

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.


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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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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Isaac Cordal @ Harlan Levey Projects

Last week I joined an evening hosted by the American Brussels Network at Harlan Levey Projects (HLP), a gallery in the Dansaert area, to see the works of Spanish-born artist Isaac Cordal. I first discovered Isaac’s unique form of sculpture back when I wrote a post about street art in Brussels. Although his miniature installations are set mostly in urban landscapes, they are much more than your average form of street art. Isaac sculpts small statues from clay, mainly businessmen, makes silicone molds of each, and finally casts them in cement. He then positions them alone or in groups to form powerful images he captures on film. The effect is moving, provocative and sad, with a touch of dark humor.

Isaac Cordal

Isaac’s current exhibition at HLP is entitled ‘Prestige’, after the oil spill off the coast of Spain which polluted thousands of kilometers of coastline. The show includes new works and a full look at his project ‘Cement Eclipses: Small Interventions in the Big City’, which has been previously exhibited in public locations and art spaces around Europe. Isaac has recreated one of his installations from the series Waiting for Climate Change that portrays somber-faced men in suits with life preservers on the beach. I find it fascinating the way he manages for the figurines to appear life-size among the landscapes he photographs.

Isaac Cordal

Isaac gave us a brief tour of the exhibition, explaining the concept behind his work and the political and social commentary he hopes to convey. Works include a family sitting on a sofa each individually immersed in a mobile device, a group of stockbrokers on the verge of falling off a cliff and my favorite, a lone man sitting in the corner looking down a hole in the floor (be sure to look for him as he’s easy to miss!). There is also a screen showing several of Isaac’s previous works in cities including Brussels, London, Berlin, Riga, Zagreb, Malaga, Vienna and Barcelona.

Isaac Cordal

The exhibition opened back in November and has been extended to 9 January 2013. Many of the works, including prints of many of Isaac’s previous photos, are for sale at the gallery (priced under €100). You can also purchase a copy of his book Cement Eclipses, a great collection of photos from the series (€20). If you’re interested to check out more of Isaac’s work, see the Street Art Belgium page on him or read this Agenda Magazine article.  

Isaac Cordal

The HLP gallery is run by American Harlan who works with a small selection of contemporary artists to hold solo and group exhibitions, performances and workshops. HLP also participates in other activities including local events like Downtown Gallery Days, lectures and an annual exhibition with The United Nations. See more about upcoming events on the website.

37 Rue Léon Lepage, 1000 Brussels
Open: Wednesday to Sunday, 1-7pm and by appointment 

Images via Street Art London and Agenda Magazine.

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