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Cultural events worth travelling for

A sleepless night in Paris

Our pick of the season’s cultural events worth travelling for

Our pick of the season’s cultural events worth travelling for

October/November 2017

PARIS A night of wonder
Paris may be beautiful in springtime but, for one night in autumn, too, it blossoms as the city celebrates a Nuit Blanche (sleepless night). From dusk until dawn Parisians and tourists wander the streets admiring colourful works of art, music and theatre.
The dozens of live pieces commissioned each year for the event are kept secret until a couple of weeks beforehand, when a map is issued showing what’s going to happen, when and where. In previous years, highlights have included a string quartet serenading crowds from a helicopter and a swarm of kaleidoscopic balloons dancing in front of the Hôtel de Ville. Selected museums stay open until dawn, waiving admission charges, and public transport runs all night. October 7th, 7pm-7am

 

NEW YORK Great art of China
It is impossible, today, to imagine contemporary art without Chinese artists. But how did they join the global art world? “Art and China after 1989: Theatre of the World” at the Guggenheim Museum is the most comprehensive attempt to show how two generations of Chinese experimental artists chronicled the explosive changes their country went through between 1989, the year the internet was invented and the Berlin Wall fell, and 2008, when Beijing hosted the Olympic games. Seventy-one artists and collectives, working in film, video, ink, installation and land art, as well as painting (above, by Wang Xingwei), sculpture, photography and performance, will fill the Guggenheim’s rotunda. “Turn It On: China on Film”, a ten-week programme of documentary films, curated by Ai Weiwei and Wang Fen, will accompany the run. October 6th-January 7th 201

 

AMSTERDAM Electronic eclecticism
As the birthplace of some of the most shamelessly exuberant electronic music – namely gabber and happy hardcore – it seems fitting that the Netherlands hosts the world’s largest club festival. Although functionally named, the Amsterdam Dance Event is a passionate celebration of all facets of electronic music. The line-up ranges from the academic to the hedonistic; as night falls, conferences for music professionals melt into strobe-lit club parties at over 140 locations across the city. Performers on the billing this year include disco rompers Hercules & Love Affair, a live set from avant-pop producer Matthew Dear, and the grime veteran Lethal Bizzle. Meanwhile, the “Playground” line-up offers pop-up events, film screenings and galleries to keep festival-goers amused between yesterday’s hangover and the first cocktail of the night. October 18th-22th

TOKYO Mario’s super people
For serious gamers, Japan is a hallowed place. Mario, the moustachioed, damsel-rescuing plumber, was dreamt up in Kyoto in the 1980s by Nintendo. Sony, another local company, created PlayStation, the top-selling games console. Little wonder, then, that the annual Tokyo Game Show draws gamers and game-makers alike, who emerge from dark dens and virtual worlds to reveal, sell or try the new big thing, whatever that may be (last year it was virtual reality). The most committed fans queue overnight with maps of stalls in hand, ready to race to whatever game or gizmo tickles their trigger finger. Visitors who don’t know one end of a joystick from the other can enjoy the spectacle of cosplayers, fans who arrive dressed up as their favourite character. Open to the public September 23th-24th

 

LONDON Harry Potter and the British Library
The History of Magic class at Hogwarts, Potter’s alma mater, is infamous for being taught by the school’s most boring teacher, Professor Binns – or, rather, his ghost (legend has it that he failed to notice he’d died and stood up from his chair, leaving his body behind). Students will be delighted to hear that, for a spin-off of his class being taught in London (the Muggles are calling it an “exhibition”), Binns is entrusting the teaching to a livelier bunch: the curators at the British Library. The theme of their lesson? How classes at Hogwarts, from Potions to Herbology, have been informed by real magical traditions. There’s no need to bring any books – the library will supply its own manuscripts, magical objects and tomes on wizardry – but do come prepared to be spellbound. “Harry Potter: A History of Magic”, October 20th-February 28th 2018

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