Contemporary art comes to the big screen at this multifaceted film festival. Active in Florence since 2008, Lo Schermo dell’Arte spotlights films old and new, promotes training projects and artist residencies and collaborates with local, regional and international institutions to bring exciting installations and performances to the city. The 10th edition opens with the inauguration of Directing the Real: Artists’ Films and Video in the 2010s, an exhibition featuring 20 video works by young, emerging artists (6pm, November 14, Galleria delle Carrozze, Palazzo Medici Riccardi). Buzzworthy guest of honor is Egyptian visual artist and musician Hassan Khan, recipient of the Silver Lion at the 2017 Venice Biennale. Khan will give a lecture on his creative process (3.45pm, November 16, Cango Cantieri Goldonetta) and will be present for screenings of two of his key works, Jewel and Muslimgauze RIP (6pm, November 16, La Compagnia). For festival details, see the website.
“Is it possible to rid ourselves of the force which engulfs us daily and constitutes a redirecting of our destiny? Can we alter a plan nature has etched within us, and deviate from the habitual to uncover that which exists within, as if already defined, yet which remains until now unlived?” These are the types of questions posed by The Underground: a Response to Dostoevsky, which recently debuted in Edinburgh and will make its Italian premiere in Florence, performed by Pontedera-based group, the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards. The show zeroes in on the existential themes central to Notes from Underground and moral dilemmas like those of The Brothers Karamazov. Fragments of both texts will be intermingled and brought to the stage for a boundary-pushing theatrical production with elusive narrative lines. Tickets are 15 euro (12 euro for over 60 and under 26); language is English with Italian supertitles. More information here.
Teatro Verdi | Ph. via ORT
The Orchestra della Toscana teams up with young students from various Tuscan conservatories to usher in a new season at its inaugural concert. Conducted by Daniele Rustioni with Ukraine-born Roman Simović as violin soloist, the first show of the new season will feature a high-impact lineup of music from Prokofiev, Ravel, Stravinsky and Borodin (9pm, October 27). The cello takes center stage at the second concert, conducted by Enrico Dindo and spanning Strauss to Schumann. But a surefire early-season highlight will be the November 30 concert for Festa della Toscana, a celebration of peace and justice in light of the 1786 abolition of the death penalty in Tuscany. For the full calendar of concerts and ticketing information, see the ORT website.
Last month’s devastating earthquakes in central Mexico (September 7 and 19) continue to take a toll on communities. In the lead up to the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), “Florentine Tex-Mex” institution Tijuana has stepped up to host a charity dinner in the presence of the Honorary Consul of Mexico and members of the local Mexican community. All proceeds will be donated to organizations directly involved in recovery efforts and supporting those affected. Live Mexican music will add a celebratory and hopeful message to the otherwise somber occasion, and a donation of at least 40 euro per person is requested. Reservations are encouraged; see the Facebook event or call 055 287247 for more information.
The Florence Tattoo Convention is a niche-y November fixture, rounding up international ink experts for a major showcase of the best in body and face art. Now in its tenth edition, the event closes its first decade by expanding its scope: in addition to customary workshops and conferences with leading artists, there will be musical events, including Friday night festivities with the Rap Pirata Crew and a set by DJ Gruff (November 3, 10pm); Saturday night fever with the Asian Dub Foundation (November 4, 11.45pm) and a “neorockabilly” night with the Di Maggio Connection (November 5, 10pm). Some 330 tattoo artists will be in town, including industry star Bill Loika of Tattoo Peter in Amsterdam. Expect a needle-sharp focus on specific techniques and the artists who excel in them, such as Indonesian tukul kayu (Hendra Folk and Albar Tikam); Mexican hand-poke (Samuel Olman) and Japanese Irezumi (Ryugen and Tenkiyru). For the full program, see the website.
Albanian artist Adrian Paci makes his Tuscan debut with Lights to Serve the Night (Di queste luci si servirà la notte), a solo exhibition exploring the concepts of migration, identity and ebbs and flows of populations. For Paci, mobility is an ontological condition of the human race. The Museo Novecento is the main hub of Lights to Serve the Night, exhibiting 15 works—three of which have never before been displayed—while clustered work at Le Murate and satellite sites in Pelago and Montelupo Fiorentino will expand the show’s reach. Paci’s central themes are highlighted through rather esoteric means: a highlight of this show will be the “skeleton” of a tentacled boat that was recently sent down the Arno, digging a groove in the river floor to reveal its depths. A video of the installation’s findings and artistic statement will be on display in the Museo Novecento’s Sala Grande. For more information, see the Museo Novecento website.
Up, up and away! The first edition of the Festival delle Mongolfiere, highlighting hot air balloons and all things flight-related, will color the Florentine sky for two weekends of full-blown fun. Apart from the many chances to “ride high” over the city, there will be children’s activities, including a LEGO area, plus a kite-making workshop and the opportunity to watch their creations take flight. A must-see for all ages will be the illuminated hot air-balloon shows, set to music and scheduled for every night during the festival around 6.30pm. Finally, because we’re in Tuscany, a food component rounds out the program, of course: a risotto marketplace will run concurrently with the balloon festival, with various dishes and salumi sampler platters available for purchase at lunch and dinnertime. Tickets are 6 euro (5 euro if pre-purchased online) or 3 euro for children up to age 12. For more information, see the website.
“I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.” If you haven’t yet been initiated in to the fellowship of Rocky Horror fans, the Mandela Forum will afford you six raucous occasions to join. The Jim Sharman-Richard O’Brien classic comes to Florence for back-to-back performances in original language, of the original version, first staged at London’s Royal Court Theatre in June 1973. A kitschy show paying homage to corny sci-fi and “scary” flicks, the play begins with a couple caught in a storm, who eventually make their way to the home of mad scientist Dr. Frank N. Furter, a transvestite with a peculiar creation he’s eager to show off. It’s hard to believe, but the show’s first Broadway run closed after just 45 performances, a small price to pay for the cult fame that would come later. For tickets and more information, see the Mandela Forum website.
However you may feel about the holiday season, even cynics can hardly resist “cin cin”-ing and cavorting against the backdrop of piazza Santa Croce when the German-style Weihnachtsmarkt comes to town each winter. With your mulled wine in hand and a friend or two in tow, meander through the market stalls—generally set up to look like tiny wooden houses—while you shop for jams, sauces and other kitchen goodies, or just catch up on your people-watching. Street foods galore dot the marketplace, but pretzels, wurstel and sauerkrauts are three of the standouts. While this market is far from your best bet for artisanal gifts and local products, it’s atmospheric and a surefire way to get yourself in the spirit. For additional information, see the Facebook page or call 055 2705233.
What’s in a name? In the case of this particular one, pretty much all you need to know. If wine and Florence are involved, we’ll be there. But some details for posterity: Florence Wine Event will toast to its tenth year in a little-known location in the Bellosguardo area, not far from piazza Tasso, the hidden Conventino di via Giano della Bella. It won’t be just wine on the menu: sake and spirits, truffles and torte, cold cuts and cookies will all be up for tasting (and for sale). Producers hail overwhelmingly from Tuscany, with a few outliers from Friuli, Sardinia and Piedmont thrown in for fair play. Entrance is 15 euro, which includes a drink card, a glass and (handy) carrying case, and a catalog of featured producers. For more information, see the website.