Grab a rake or hockey stick and sing for a pot of fish soup!

This weekend’s going out guide urges all to grab a rake and trash bags before browsing the entertainment listings as this is the weekend of the annual Big Clean Up.

Grab a rake for the Big Clean Up

There are over 1500 sites around the country that call for an official cleaning up, and this year, as the nation marks 150 years since Rainis and Aspazija were born, organizers of the Big Clean Up want the land to be ready for Latvia’s centennial in 2018. So Saturday, April 25 is the day to learn the truth of the father poet-philosopher’s adage – ‘to persevere you must change’ – so let’s get started making our tiny state more tidy tomorrow!

The official times for the Big Clean Up are from 9:00 to 15:00, and a map of all the sites will help you choose the best location. Later on Latvian Radio’s Channel 2 you can tune in to an all-day Big Clean Up broadcast.

Go to shows

Some of Riga’s finer concert venues are offering a choice this Friday April 23 –

between taking “Steps” with pop diva Aija Andrejeva winding down her tenth anniversary tour at the Palladium Theatre –

or just blocks away to the Daile concert room on Barona street, where Jauno Jāņu Orķestris, the Dzelzs vilks rock band’s foray into Latvian folk verse.

If that’s still too tame for you, head out of downtown to Melnā piektdiena rock club, where the massive friendly battle of metal and electronica performers, led by master of ceremonies, the Estonian drum’n’bass group Digital Digital.

However if you happen to be out on the west coast hanging out in Liepāja Friday night, then by all means charge up your culture battery prior to the Big Clean Up with Triāna Park at the Fontaine Palace. And/or wait until Saturday for the ethno-entrancing beats of Latvian drum’n’pipes group Auļi.

Final pre-test

Hockey fans hoping for a change in the fortunes of Latvia’s national team had better high-tail it to Arena Riga this weekend, where Friday (at 19:30) and Saturday (at 17:00) Slovakia’s formidable squad is looking to keep them to a sole victory (against Belarus) in the spring exhibition series so far. The May 1-17 World Championship in the Czech Republic looms soon on the calendar for our one-win wonders!

Flying fish of Kuldiga

The roaring (or murmuring, depending on your hearing sensitivity) rapids of the Venta at western Kurzeme province’s picturesque town of Kuldīga is where fish fanatics must scrum on Saturday, fins flapping. The best soups by the master chefs from the Kuldīga Museum and the sushi apprentices of Skrunda’s Vocational High School will be offering a taste of their seafood delights, while the marketplace will have plenty available ‘to-go’. All this to the accompaniment of bands and orchestras amongst the outdoor sculptural installations of the workshop-exhibit ‘Fish Cutting Board’ by local arts studio Kuldīgas palate.

With too many other attractions for all ages to list, the activities culminate with a selection of entertainment events starting at 16:00 in the St.Katrīna Church by contratenor Sergejs Jēgers; followed by a rare relaxing set by duo Ieva Akurātere and Aivars Hermanis at the Metropole restaurant later. And after dark, let the kids stay up late for an open-air screening of the popular Estonian cartoon feature film “Lote from the Village of Inventors”.

Cosmic and ceramic arts in Latgale

Already Friday the Mark Rothko Arts Center in Daugavpils is hosting an all-genre all-ages symposium and events cluster complete with clowns and composers.

Meanwhile in not faraway Rēzekne the Latgale Pottery Days 2015 festival comes tinkling out from the kilns of local ceramics artists, a must-see for aficionados of Latvia’s down-to-earth regional crafts. Workshops and hands-on demonstrations of the potters’ craft will be open for the public to try out as anachronistic history club Kroma Kolna Bruoleste reenacts medieval behavior, a bacon-sampling beckons from the local culinary table Latgolys Golds and Gundars Kozlovskis forms a flaming fire sculpture. All that between 17:00-21:00, but you have to wait until Saturday morning at 10:00 when the Ušpelis family kiln has cooled enough to remove the untold ceramic treasures cooked overnight!

The Pottery Days close Saturday at noon with the opening of the newly reconstructed exhibit of the Lūznava Manor house and a display of the best of the participating potters’ works. Also on view there will be the smithcrafts of Rihards Cibla, photography club ARTērija’s show “Miracles of the Earth” and paintings by Gundega Rancāne and the artists’ society V.I.V.A.gleznas

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