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Global arts and culture events: October 2013 preview

  • BFI London Film Festival

    With screenings of more than 300 features, shorts, and documentaries from around 50 countries, this is a huge public film event. Based largely around the South Bank, the LFF always makes for a stimulating event due to strong curating and serious red-carpet glamour. Since the 1950s the festival has been aimed at the public, giving people the opportunity to view films they would not normally have access to in the UK. The opening and closing galas are premieres and a big deal for film-industry types – as well as star magnets.

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  • Abu Dhabi Film Festival

    Created in 2007, this festival is held every October in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Aiming to encourage filmmaking in Arab countries, it also shows movies from the rest of the world. Past festivals have attracted some glamorous figures – Uma Thurman, Adrien Brody, Joseph Fiennes and Eva Green, along with some of the Arab world’s best known stars, including well-known actress and UN goodwill ambassador, Muna Wassef. Focussing on new Arab cinema, as well as emphasising Abu Dhabi’s role as a burgeoning cultural capital in the region, this festival is a vibrant arrival on the circuit.

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  • Conservation: Franz Hals

    This small exhibition at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, North Holland, is a gem. Looking in detail at the three-year restoration of a single painting, The Banquet of Members of the Haarlem Calivermen Civic Guard (1583) by Cornelis van Haarlem, it gives new insight into the painstaking process of art conservation. The painting had hung for many years in the guards’ HQ where it had become damaged, probably by the swords and lances of the men. Van Haarlem was one of the artists who inspired portrait painter Frans Hals, after whom this gallery is named.

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  • Bebe Dom and the City Planet

    After four years of painstaking restoration work, the historic Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires re-opened in 2010. It is widely considered to have been worth the wait, not to mention the $100m and 1,500 workers (including 130 architects and engineers). The venue has been returned to its full, vast glory, including the breathtaking stained-glass ceiling. The Teatro’s resident composer undertakes a new opera, marked by Utopian themes, based on a text by Horacio Ferrer. Catch the world premiere in its birthplace, and enjoy the astonishing beauty and acoustics of this legendary venue while you’re there.

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  • Mesopotamia

    From Sumer and Assyria to Babylonia, the civilisations of 3,000 years ago are brought to life at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum. Around 170 artefacts on loan from the British Museum, many of them the result of recent excavation at the cities of Ur, Nineveh and Babylon, are accompanied by other pieces drawn from several North American museums. Also on offer at ROM is an extensive programme of talks, courses and workshops.

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  • CBGB Music Festival

    During its heyday, CBGB, the legendary music club in Manhattan’s Bowery, was a major force in music. Founded in 1973, its initials stood for Country, Bluegrass and Blues. However, it soon became a gathering place for ground-breaking US punk and New Wave bands, among them the Ramones, Blondie, Television, Patti Smith, the Cramps, and Talking Heads. The club closed in 2006, but its spirit lives on in the CBGB music festival, large free concerts in Times Square, Central Park, and more. This year, 700 performers will play more than 150 venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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  • Light Stream Jenny Holzer

    Queen of the pithy slogan (“Protect me from what I want” and “Abuse of power comes as no surprise”), influential American artist Jenny Holzer shows her LED work at the Pearl Lam Galleries, in her first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. The show’s centrepiece is her light sculpture Light Stream, which incorporates a selection of classic Holzer phrases – in Chinese and English – from her historic series of the 1970s and 1980s, Truisms, Living and Survival. Alongside the LED works are a series of white marble benches carved with poignant statements.

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  • Canterbury Festival

    The historic English cathedral city of Canterbury is the home of this annual festival that includes events in the magnificent cathedral, along with other venues. With a strong classical music programme, the event this year includes the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra with cellist Fedor Zemlerub and the acclaimed British vocal ensemble Tallis Scholars. Also featured are pianist Yevgeny Sudbin, cellist Matthew Barley, and opera singer Lesley Garrett with clarinetist Emma Johnson and pianist Andrew West. In addition, there is a special performance by Russian-born French pianist Mikhail Rudy.

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  • Singapore Biennale

    The Singapore Biennale has become the country’s premier art show. The title of the fourth edition is If the World Changed, and a number of art spaces in the Bras Basah-Bugis precinct will be taking part, including the Singapore Art Museum. Already architecturally and historically rich and fast becoming a cultural hub, Bras Basah-Bugis is a smart choice of location for the event. This year’s biennale sees a new, more collaborative approach to curating, with a diverse team pulling together their ideas.

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  • Velázquez: Late Portraits

    Diego Velázquez was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV of Spain and a master of the portrait. His magnum opus, Las Meninas, is an outstanding example of European baroque, and his influence has been far-reaching – Manet, Picasso, Dalí and Bacon have all paid tribute to him. Along with 14 works by the man himself, portraits created by his circle of peers are also being shown at Madrid’s Prado Museum, casting further light on the intricate process behind the making of the royal image.

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