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Cultural events worth travelling for

Citrus chimps at a Riviera festival

From fruity celebrations in France to male tutus in Boston, our pick of the season’s cultural highlights

From fruity celebrations in France to male tutus in Boston, our pick of the season’s cultural highlights

February/March 2019

MENTON PUCKER UP
February 16th–March 3rd
Doctors often prescribe sunshine, fresh air and vitamin C to counter midwinter blues. All three will be on tap at the Fête du Citron when Menton celebrates its citrus crop with a Gallic zest for life. Nearly 250,000 spectators squeeze into the Riviera town for three weeks of colourful parades, light shows and sculpture gardens, featuring exotic animals and famous buildings constructed from lemons and oranges. This year, artisans will turn their paring knives to fantasy worlds – a zingy display sure to cure any seasonal sourness.

WELLINGTON KNEES UP, TONGUES OUT
February 20th–24th
Kapa haka, the Māori term for performing arts, literally means “to form a line” and “dance”, but anyone who has witnessed New Zealand’s All Blacks rugby players perform their formidable pre-game haka knows that there is more involved. In February, the Te Matatini festival will showcase kapa haka in all its melodic, tongue-poking, thigh-slapping glory. More than 3,000 performers will converge on Wellington for five days of competitive performance and cultural celebration. This year’s show forms part of the nationwide “Tuia – Encounters 250” programme, which commemorates 250 years since the first meetings between Māori and pakeha (European settlers) and organisers are expecting a record-busting scrum.

LONDON DEFYING CONVENTION
February 27th–June 9th
During a career that spanned seven decades and multiple artistic disciplines, Dorothea Tanning aspired to portray “unknown but knowable states” – the space between reality and dreams. This corresponded well with the trippy aesthetics of Surrealism and resulted in some psyche-probing works, such as the uncanny self-portrait, “Birthday” (pictured). But Tanning’s kinetic creativity and fascination with female psychology sets her apart from the male Surrealists (including her husband, Max Ernst). Her imagination darted from stuffed sculptures resembling contorted women to dreamy poetry: she published her second collection at the age of 101. With this retrospective at the Tate Modern, Tanning may finally gain wider recognition as an artist who defied categorisation. As she once retorted: “Women artists. There is no such thing – or person. It’s just as much a contradiction in terms as ‘man artist’ or ‘elephant artist’.”

NEW YORK FAMILY MISFORTUNES
March 22nd–April 20th
Eleven years ago, the lights went out at Lehman Brothers. The financial services firm had gone bankrupt, precipitating the global crash, and its headquarters in Times Square were sold off. This March, the spotlights at the Park Avenue Armory theatre will illuminate the drama of the firm’s rise and fall. Transferring to New York after a rapturous reception in London, “The Lehman Trilogy” tells the rags-to-riches-to-rags tale of the family members. Directed by Sam Mendes, with star turns from Simon Russell Beale and other cast members.


BOSTON SKIRTING THE ISSUE
March 21st–August 25th
Young Thug, an American rapper, is as likely to wear a tulle tutu by Molly Goddard as he is to sport a tracksuit. Marlene Dietrich cut a dapper figure in a tuxedo. David Bowie made glitter de rigueur for glam-rockstars. They weren’t the only ones: a new show at the Museum of Fine Arts celebrates the fashionable types who have spent the past century flipping the norms of who gets to wear the jackboots and who the skirts. More than 60 gender-blurring pieces will go on display, including a sculptural Rei Kawakubo tailcoat, a Donna Karan suit dress (pictured), and a 1930s Lanvin jumpsuit.