Weekend Events: truth in fiction, light amidst darkness, old but not grown up

Take note – story published 8 years ago

This weekend, a dazzling array of cultural events will take over Rīga and the regions of Latvia. There's no way of seeing everything, even though the capital will be illuminated both with very real light as well as the spark of the written word (in spoken form), while theater performances will bring back vitality to the bodies worn out from traversing across Rīga's bridges and cobblestone streets.

Without further ado, let's look at what's in store for the weekend in Rīga.

1. Shine bright, White Night

The White Night offers the best reason this weekend to not go to sleep as there'll be plenty of culture to keep you awake throughout the night from September 5th to September 6th.

The somewhat Francophile festival will host numerous culture and art projects of various genres, including cinema, performances, exhibitions, music, and poetry as well as interdisciplinary projects. Most of the events are conveniently located in or near the center of Rīga.

As the event’s website explains, the White Night is “one night in the year when citizens are encouraged to experience a state of creative wakefulness, which will alter archaic notions of the environment and its cultural life.” Last year, some 42,000 people attended White Night events.

Most events open at 18:00, and many of them will be open until 3 in the morning. Entrance is free everywhere. Program (English)

2. Truth on film

The Baltic Sea Docs festival brings truth that relates to all of us to movie screens across Latvia, but mostly to one quite atmospheric little movie theater on Elizabetes street in Rīga. The festival takes place from Wednesday to Sunday, screening 9 documentaries with authors present for discussion.

The topics discussed in the documentaries are quite diverse, as is the program, which includes, for example, a documentary about love in times of civil war (A Syrian Love Story), the diverse social life of a landfill near Moscow (Something Better to Come), and how western VHS tapes helped to raise the Iron Curtain (Chuck Norris vs Communism).

A ticket to a single movie costs €3, while students, schoolchildren, industry professionals, and retired people can come gratis. The movies are shown in the original language with subtitles in English.

The movies are shown in the K. Suns movie gallery in Rīga, while three of them will also be shown in Cēsis, Ventspils, Valmiera, Jēkabpils, Rēzekne and Liepāja.

3. Theater will never grow up

The 20th annual Homo Novus theater festival will be dedicated to the often challenging experience of putting on years. Foreign guests will be able to experience the festival too, as many of the events transcend linguistic barriers. 

This year's program features a number of installations, theater performances and the likes, all dedicated to growing up, though organizers say that Homo Novus is far from becoming a conforming adult.

Find out more on the festival website.

4. Truth in words

Though this is less for those of you who don't speak Latvian, if you know some Russian or Kazakh or Croatian, you'll probably find something to soothe mind and soul in the annual Poetry Days. In events where poetry meets other media you'll be perfectly fine even if you don't speak any language known to man.

This year, the motto of the Poetry Days is "Poetry never lies", and it'll be up to you to see whether that's true.

September has been the month of poetry for some 50 years already, as the annual Poetry Days, which started as a homage to Rainis' 100th birthday, will take hold of the capital and the rest of Latvia from September 3 to September 15.

Here's our take on what could be interesting to foreigners in the Poetry Days.

Oh, and if you're interested in how Latvian poetry sounds like when sung by very talented musicians, listen to the poetry concert 'Dzejkoncerts' where the band Sigma performs poetry by seven distinguished Latvian wordsmiths in Liepāja, Ventspils, Rēzekne, and Cēsis. Tickets.

5. Knitting for survival

The international contemporary art festival Survival K(n)it 7 will take place in Riga from 4 to 20 September with over 40 artists and artist collectives participating. Set in the former building of the National Library of Latvia, it will consist of an exhibition and a program of performative events and discussions.

As we could not add much to the excellent English-language version of the website, you can refer to the organizers' own look at the festival

The White Night program (September 5) of the festival will feature an embroidery workshop, an ironmurring (from "ironing" and "murmuring") performance and much more.

Check out LSM's interview with the refugee artist Dzamil Kamanger, who is also participating in the Survival K(n)it.

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