Fervid freedom-lovers get long weekend!

This weekend’s extended entertainment guide is under the spell of significant civic anniversaries as Friday, May 1 is the 95th anniversary of the Constitutional (Satversme) Assembly in 1920 and Monday, May 4 will mark the 25th year since independence was restored. Indeed, virtually any town in Latvia you might visit will be hosting its own special May 4 events on Monday and the days off leading up to it. But LSM’s culture editors have once again picked the best of the bunch for you!

National holiday allure

Holiday celebrations in Riga

On Monday the masses are sure to be flowing to various cultural events, in some cases to spillover scale. One can try to start by attending the ecumenical service at the scaffold-bound Riga Dom Cathedral and then head over to the Freedom Monument at 11am for the brass band parade and concert representing Latvia’s many educational institutions.

On Dom Square there’s a mixed genre show featuring everything from post-folk to ethno-rock for some springtime musical energy “Spring Songs”, while in the evening the “Freedom Songs” line-up will feature patriotic and national significant numbers sung by vocalists to symphony orchestra accompaniment.

The Ķīpsala Expo Hall will host a grand dance performance of Rīga’s best ensembles, the Vērmane Gardens awaits families with kids for a show called “All roads lead to Rīga”, culture centers in the neighborhood of Ziemeļblāzma will show animated films and a concert program, Imanta offers late 80’s-era vocal-instrumental pop group Menuets and at Iļģuciems a theatre production.

Finally, holiday concerts are scheduled to take place in St.Peter’s Church, the Great Guild concert hall and the Riga Latvian Society House, while at the Splendid Palace cinema hall at 11:30 one can watch a marathon of Latvian films, including a number of premiere screenings.

out of town

The Turaida Castle Museum Reserve hosts a special program devoted to the craft of illumination in honor of UNESCO’s Year of Light and Lighting Technology starting at 12 Monday.

In Valmiera legendary rock group Pērkons will roll like thunder for the Independence Day crowd, while in northern Kurzeme a kokle cavalcade will descend upon the churches of Dundaga, Ģipka, Kolka, Mazirbe and Roja from 1pm, all gathering together for a final concert in Kolka at 18:00.

But the main attraction this year is Latvian Radio’s two-day extravaganza in Rēzekne, beginning already Sunday, May 3 and featuring an open-mike and concert performances by this year’s Eurovision entry Aminata and a host of other musical guests. And it will all will be on view via livestream here on the LSM portal!

Imants Ziedonis events

Friday night the Daile Theatre visits Rēzekne’s Gors flagship concert venue and Saturday will be at Cēsis’ new Vidzeme Concert Hall with the concert program of poet Imants Ziedonis’ collaborations with composer Kārlis Lācis and featuring female vocalists from the acting stage and guest musicians of Latvia’s highest caliber.

The Allure of Provence

Opening Friday at the Riga Bourse is a first-of-its-kind exhibit of masterworks by prominent French artists spanning the end of the 19th and top of the 20th centuries.

If names like Renoir, Matisse, van Gogh, Gaugin, Chagall and Picasso ring a bell, then you might not want to pass this up. But rest easy, you have until July 5 to check out this exhibit as often as you like.

 Kaņepe Culture Center

This fringe culture center celebrates its third anniversary of juxtaposing Latvian cultural event traditions within new multicultural frameworks. On Friday evening film critic and scholar Viktors Freibergs will open the film club Horizonts at 18:00 with an Indian cinema cycle to warm up for the Jakob Noiman Festival Band’s Balkan beats at 20:00. Later poet and DJ Sergejs Timofejevs will move the crowd with his selected mix of sounds.

On Saturday a festival to celebrate bicycle culture from 12-16:00 will feature an underground music theme with a discussion of 90’s festival history and a concert with hard-core patriot punks Inokentijs Mārpls.

Sunday at Kaņepes Culture Center will be devoted to a literary therapy session with “First Time” author Daina Tabūna. But Monday the courtyard will host a mini-market for organic farmers.

The Allure of Space

One can whet one’s appetite for all things cosmic now that the European Space Expo has opened at Rīga’s Esplanade Park. Open until May 10, the exhibit interactively shows Europe’s citizens how its space and geo-satellite programs impact their everyday lives in so many ways.

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