Stromae – First he takes SXSW, then he takes America …

Tipped by CBS, listed next to Seinabo Sey and Chance the Rapper by SPIN, and a major hit on the SXSW Instagram reports. Stromae (aka Paul van Haver) has definitely not set foot in America unnoticed.

Even though his French lyrics may not be very accessible to his mainly American audience at SXSW, this didn’t really seem to be an issue. His music, his beat, his act, they are all universal enough to concoct a comprehensible international symphony. By successfully blending hip-hop, indie, pop and electronic dance music, and infusing that melange with ethnic rhythms, Stromae (French slang – verlan – for Maestro) holds the recipe for international hit chart domination.

April 5th Stromae will kick off his North American tour. He will end the Spring tour 19th of April, when he’ll be playing at Coachella Music Festival (!). He will however be touring again in the Fall, and playing at Madison Square Garden (!!!). Yes, I’m liberal with the exclamation marks, but I think these are pretty WOW moments in a musical career.

More information about his tour dates, can be found here.

In the meantime, the Maestro has time to manage his music label, fashion label and attend all sorts of events. He was – for example – a noted guest at Paris Fashion Week. Making a stylish appearance at the Louis Vuitton and Valentino fashion shows.

And at SXSW he also had some time to set the record straight by explaining that French fries aren’t actually French at all. They are Belgian, and could they please stop lying about it…

And on that note/truth bomb, let’s all just agree with The New York Times:

A pop-star embodiment of a contemporary Europe that’s smart, increasingly heterogeneous, historically aware, anxious about the future, sleekly charming and unfailingly stylish.”

Merci for your beat, Stromae!

Anima 2015 : Best of Shorts – Editor’s pick

A while ago a friend invited me to Anima 2015 in Flagey. For some reason I started a post about it, but never finished it. So here it goes, though somewhat later as scheduled…

For those of you who do not know Anima, it’s the annual Animation Film Festival in Brussels. It’s impossible to review all highly original and inspired entries, so I picked my favorites from the selected professional shorts. Beware some are highly disturbing…

Small note : Not all short films are online available in their uncut, full-length versions. So some will only feature their trailers or behind the scenes footage. It will hopefully spark your interest and make you want to see more of the artists who created the film.

1. La Chair de ma chère, Calvin Antoine Blandin, FR, 2014, 12’40’’ – FULL

2. Beach Flags, Sarah Saidan, FR, 2014, 13’39’’ – TRAILER

Vida, a young Iranian lifeguard, is determined to fight and go the extra mile in order to be the one to participate in an international competition in Australia. However, when Sareh who is as fast and talented as her, joins the team, her luck changes. Vida will have to face an unexpected situation when ambition, opportunity, solidarity and being a woman in Iran come together.

3. The Dam Keeper, Dice Tsutsumi, Robert Kondo, US, 2013, 18’05’’ – Nominated for an Oscar!

Introduction to The Dam Keeper by the directors and thoughts on their Acadamy Award nomination.

For more behind the scenes footage go here and here to check their YouTube channel and their website.

4. Juste de l’eau, Carlos De Carvalho, FR, 2014, 4’42’’ – FULL

For the making of, go here.

Supposedly set in Lisbon, more specific during the time of the great maritime discoveries. The Great Explorers arrive in the harbor after a long voyage across the oceans. Greeted by loved ones, friends and family, joyous events spontaneously erupt in every corner of the town. Everyone and everything seems to be caught in a celebratory frenzy. Meanwhile, a young pig doesn’t quite feel included in the whole flurry of things and has the strange feeling of being completely isolated from the others in his own native city.

5. Rulletrappen, Christopher Nielsen, NO, 2014, 9’47’’ – TRAILER

I was lucky enough to see the whole thing. Too bad it’s not yet available online, or in English…

People(/trolls) are struggling upward on an escalator that is going down. Some run, some just keep going, some have worked out a specific step strategy… Until one of them starts to wonder why. The inevitable question that they refuse to ask themselves. Is the goal to fight their way to the top, or is it to relax and just go with the flow of the stairs to the bottom? Because nobody knows what’s at either end of the escalator.

Nielsen managed to create some kind of endless hell of not knowing, doubt, peer pressure, philosophy and mind tricks.

#TPIA : Café d’Anvers Turning People Into Animals since 1989

Today I’m actually posting a pretty special post. A birthday post. Yes, mine, but also of Café d’Anvers. We are both turning 25 today. Being born in the night of 18 and 19 October, 12.00 precisely, I actually feel entitled to celebrate the entire weekend. Because who is to decide whether I’m an 18 October girl or a 19 October girl… Well, actually my mom was, and she decided 19 October would be the day, but I’m 25 now and I feel old enough to disagree.

Anywayz… I’m not the only one turning 25, Café d’Anvers, a nationally and internationally renowned club, opened its doors exactly 25 years ago. Their slogan: Turning People Into Animals!
And doesn’t that happen to be what I’m doing on this blog, right here, right now?

Café d’Anvers is not one to pass a good reason to party, turning a quarter of a century may be one of those times you want to make memorable. So they did and they will. I opted for a birthday weekend, they chose a birthday month… With an entire birthday campaign, filled with art and spectacular music.
They even hired Steven Lemmens to turn famous artists and celebrities into animals. With a stunning result. Sergio Herman, Amélie Lens, Tanguy Ottomer, Nick Bril and Johnny De Mol all got a make over and look absolutely ferocious.

The artwork will be travelling through Antwerp during the entire campaign, but will land in Café d’Anvers during the birthday weekend, 17 and 18 October. The closing event of the campaign.
Afterwards the artwork will be sold on eBay and will serve a worthy animal inspired cause. (If you haven’t gotten me a present yet, you might want to take this hint.)

But the party itself will probably be pretty amazing itself. Café d’Anvers will be fitted with a new and unique decor, just for the birthday weekend. Antwerp based artist, Charlotte De Cock will get an entire wall at her disposal to decorate as she pleases – but in the theme of the slogan, of course. De Cock’s artwork will then stay on the wall until the next birthday.

Tonight the club will host Chicago legend Lil Louis, aka The Godfather of House. A suitable choice because his hit “French kiss” is also a 1989 baby. Lil Louis will be assisted by Reboot, a contemporary Cadenza artist. And of course Café d’Anvers will also be scheduling some of their residents: Compuphonic and Bollen & Fichtner to finish up their line up.

Yesterday the line up consisted of the best and most notorious of the past residents. Café d’Anvers hosted a ‘Best Of’ filled with artists who played at the club during the past 25 years. Former resident artists the likes of Sven Van Hees (1991-1996), Steve Cop (1994-1998), Koenie (1989-1998), Prinz (2000-2014)and Smos (1991 -2014) took the opportunity and the stage to fire up the club for this special occasion.

Hope to see some of you there to join in on the festivities!
More info @ http://www.cafedanvers.com/

Birthday weekend

Festival Madness: Burning Man

With the Summer going into Festival gear, it’s probably time to take a look at one of the more extreme festivals… Burning Man!

Burning Man is an annual art event and a temporary community based on radical self expression and self-reliance in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.

Once a year, in the middle of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, a surreal city arises. Or at least that’s what it looks like. Every year the Burning Man festival becomes the third largest city in Nevada, populated by 50,000 inhabitants from all over the world. All of these festival visitors unite in some kind of tribe, adopting the Burning Man culture and its ideas. They are all under the influence of music, art, love and unbridled self-expression. These creative souls fuel the spark of this bizarre event. Together they construct the city, share food, water and a positive energy to make Burning Man a seven day experience they will never and can never forget.

Burning Man 2012, picture by Verona’s Kym Huynh

For a more personal report on the Burning Man experience, you might want to read photographer Nick Onken’s journal. He visited the Burning Man festival to capture the strange but magnificent wardrobe choices of the festival-goers:

“Hard to describe to anyone who has never been there, but I like to describe it as a magical oasis where Star Wars meets Dr. Seuss in the desert, then a metamorphosis to Tron at night. The art and costumes that people create and bring to the desert are like nothing you’ve seen. Hanging out on the Playa with “art cars” and bizarre costumed people strolling by takes you to an imaginary world you’ve imagined as a kid.”

The result of his experience there is breathtaking. Seriously, kudos to whoever dresses up as a unicorn for a festival without looking fatally ridiculous. A sample of some of his astonishing shots:

Nick Onken: Burning Man Project

Nick Onken: Burning Man Project

Nick Onken: Burning Man project

Nick Onken: Burning Man Project

The concept of the event actually took off by accident during the Summer of 1986. Three friends on a beach in San Francisco decided to burn a doll, which was basically the start of what is now the High Mass of the annual festival madness. The idea took root and its popularity kept on growing exponentially, as did and does the gigantic Burning Man doll. The San Francisco beach got to be too small for the festival and relocated to the Nevada desert. Here, the seven exuberant days of partying manifest in the burning of the giant Burning Man doll.

All in all Burning Man has become a religious experience for most visitors. The festival has been inspiring its visitors for over twenty-five years. Visitors from all over the world… which has lead the Burning Man community to branch out all over the world. Go ahead and look for more attainable events on your continent of preference. And if you plan on going, here are some tips on how and what to pack for a Burning Man event.