It’s always a good idea to hang by the Filmoteca’s amazing building, at the Raval, drinking a cold beer at La Monroe’s terrace and enjoying an always interesting film schedule. One of the year’s great cycles is the International Women’s Film Festival of Barcelona, that fosters cinema made by women and that, in its 2016 edition, reserves an important part of its programme to movies about feminist activism, from the suffragettes’ years to contemporary trends. There will also be parallel activities, such as the always popular outdoor projections at Plaça de la Virreina, Plaça de Sant Pere or the Plaça Salvador Seguí itself. Besides, the campus of Ciutadella will accomodate the Radically Feminist Workshops. The programme is completed with a tribute to the Belgian director Chantal Akerman.
From 8 to 12 June.
Filmoteca de Catalunya. Pl. Salvador Seguí, 9.
This biannual event reaches its 18th edition in excellent shape, with 38 brands and designers that will exhibit their collections for Spring/Summer 2017, from Antonio Miró and Sita Murt’s functionality to the characteristic, Made in Barcelona designs by Custo, Krizia Robustella’s avant-garde, Yerse’s delicately feminine style or Eline Van Rose’s eclecticism. These are just some of the local designers that will cope this year’s catwalks at the see of the Physical Education National Institute (INEFC) at Montjuïc, a place chosen with the aim of fostering the sport culture associated to fashion, as well as bringing this event, a can’t miss one for fashion lovers, to the general public.
From 27 June to 1 July.
Institut Nacional d'Educació Física de Catalunya (INEFC). Carrer de l'Estadi, 12-22.
Czech-born, German-raised filmmaker Harun Farocki was one of those unique, uncomfortable – for almost everybody- figures that, nonetheless, based a great part of his creations on the concept of empathy. The Tàpies Foundation accommodates one of his most ambitious exhibitions, centred around Farocki’s early and latest years. Writer, filmmaker and artist, Farocki had harsh words toward directors such as Wim Wenders and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, whom he accused of being incapable of departing from conventional cinema. He also pondered, mainly in the last years of his career, on the demands of Capitalist production. The exhibition shows a considerable number of the video-installations he made from 1995 on, as well as some of his early work from the 1960s, and 'Labour in a Single Shot', a long-term project filmed together with Antje Ehmann, never before projected in Spain.
Until 16 October.
Fundació Tàpies. Aragó, 255.
This documentary photography and photojournalism festival reaches its fourth edition with more than 30 free exhibitions in several sites around the city. Its themes encompass from the situation of teenagers in Moldavia ('Behind the Absence', Biblioteca Sant Gervasi) to the consequences of migration ('Recuerdos desplazados', Pati de les Lletres, University of Barcelona) or the Somorrostro, an extinct neighbourhood of Barcelona, in the 1960s ('Somorrostro, imágenes de una época', Galeria Ilmondo). Besides, every Thursday in June –except 23rd- there will be outdoor projections, under the theme 'Europe: Lost in Translation'. For children of 7 and older there will be several photography workshops about the construction of contemporary Europe.
Until 19 July.
Catching the Barcelona undergound during June can be a frantic an adventure, more than ever, as the stairs of some of the main stations have become works of art. This makeover is the work of Swab Stairs, an activity included in the Swab contemporary art festival, which invites various local and international art schools to perform interventions in the urban landscape by decorating the underground stairs. Ten Catalan schools, and for the first time five, international schools from the United Kingdom, Algeria, Argentina, Canada, and Hong Kong, are participating this year. The outcome of these art interventions is a delirium of colours and creativity in underground stations such as Passeig de Gràcia, Sagrada Família, Diagonal, Jaume I or Liceu.
Until 22 June.
For many people, summer begins with the Primavera Sound. Some others choose the Sónar Festival, Midsummer’s night or, as is the case of many, El Grec’s inaugural show. This international theatre, ballet, music and circus event is a staple in Barcelona’s cultural life. It takes place in different sites of the city, although it has its focal point at the impressive Teatre Grec of Montjuïc. This 40th edition accommodates 130 shows – of which 45 are co-productions- and it will start in July, 1 with Arthur Miller’s 'The Crucible,' directed by Andrés Lima. The festival will have illustrious names such as Ivo van Hove, Italians Motus, Orquestra Plateria, Estrella Morente and Jorge Drexler.
From 1 to 31 July.
They call it Sala (hall) but don’t picture a conventional theatre hall – it’s actually a castle, Montjuïc Castle, that every summer becomes a huge outdoor cinema theatre in which to have a picnic and enjoy a concert or a movie, out of a selection combining, with discerning judgement, classics with indie hits and good quality blockbusters. Climbing up to the Foso de Santa Eulàlia, at the Montjuïc Castle, with your picnic basket and sitting on the lawn is quite like running away from the city bustle for a while to enjoy movies that this year range from Interstellar to Birdman, Amy, Casablanca, Tangerines, Inside Out or Pride. You don’t have your picnic basket? Don’t worry: you can buy a magnificent eco-picnic from the Chiringuito Seco, along with a DO Catalunya wine.
From 1 July to 5 August.
Castell de Montjuïc. Ctra. Montjuïc, 66.
Whoever complains that dramatic and musical activities decrease in summer –Grec apart– doesn’t know yet that the Gran Teatre del Liceu offers, from 8 to 28 July, a version of Mozart’s 'The Magic Flute'. It lands in Barcelona after great accolades from international critics. Directed by Suzanne Andrade and Barry Kosky, and with the musical department under command of the Komische Oper Berlin, 'Die Zauberflöte' is a great reason to sit in the luxurious hall of the Liceu and be seduced by a play that constitutes “a perfect combination of all things worth loving: silent movies, Weimar cabaret, David Lynch and the Brothers Grim”, quoting The Guardian. In fact, due to the interest shown by the audience, this show will open the theatre season of 2016-17.
From 18 to 28 July.
Gran Teatre del Liceu. Les Rambles, 51-59.
'Interstellar', 'Her', 'Eva', 'La Guerre du Feu', and '2001: A Space Oddysey' are the titles selected to be shown on the popular CosmoNights, the outdoors cinema cycle held every July at the CosmoCaixa patio. No doubt this is one of the great events of the warm July in Barcelona, not only because climbing the Tibidabo is a good way of escaping from high temperatures, but because for a mere 6 euros we can enjoy a concert, a film, and, if we feel like it, a visit to the most interesting facilities of Barcelona’s Science Museum. Since the CosmoCaixa collection is focused on the origins of humans, the CosmoNights aim at emphasizing the other side of the coin: the future of humankind.
From 7 July to 4 August
CosmoCaixa. Isaac Newton, 26.
Philippe Halsman’s photographs are part of those good news that summer in Barcelona sometimes offers to us. This Latvian photographer settled in the United States gained celebrity thanks to his peculiar portraits of popular characters – from Alfred Hitchcock to Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Jean Cocteau and his close friend Salvador Dalí. CaixaForum hosts an amusing retrospective exhibition of Halsman’s work, with a total 150 samples from the artist’s family collection, which includes a section called 'Jumpology' that delves on the portraits of such popular persons as the duke and duchess of Windsor and once again Marilyn. A show designed to make us smile while not using a great deal of our nerve cells. Furthermore, and here let us be somewhat superficial, we can avoid for a while the high external temperatures and enjoy the coolness of the pleasant enclosure of CaixaForum in Montjuïc.
Starting on 15 July.
CaixaForum. Avda. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8.
Barcelona is full of charismatic places, but should we elaborate a ranking, probably one of its first positions would be for the amazing La Pedrera terrace. An emblematic, beautiful space, a suggestive Art Nouveau architectural jewel that becomes a summer scenery for live jazz music. Enjoy it with a wine glass in your hand after a guided visit to the Espai Gaudí, an interesting visual walk through the famous architect’s creation. Whoever wants to have a deeper knowledge of Gaudí’s universe can buy a combined ticket to enjoy the initiative 'Gaudí Pedrera: The Origins', with a visit by the most singular parts of the building, projections in the patio of Passeig de Gràcia and an audiovisual show at the terrace.
Fridays and Saturdays, 20.30.
La Pedrera. Provença, 261-265.
Every year, the CCCB (Barcelona’s Contemporary Culture Centre) schedules a cycle of outdoor cinema that comes as a gust of fresh air in the usually oppressive August in Barcelona. During the whole month, the beautiful interior courtyard of one of the culturally most active venues in the city hosts every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, a series of interesting films to enjoy happily stretched on the deck chairs displayed. Even though we are not aware yet of this year’s thematic focus, what we do know is that the programmers’ criterion is outstanding, that the sessions are free –a reason to hurry up in order to get a good seat-, and that enjoying this magical event, in that sort of ghost city that Barcelona turns into in August, is an unforgettable experience.
CCCB. Montalegre, 5.
Music and public space go hand in hand in this competition that every summer, for the last fifteen years, has brought musical styles classic, jazz - to the Barcelona parks. The moving and free outdoor concerts are designed for all kinds of publics and constitute an awesome way not only to promote all the 27 city parks that participate in this initiative as culture-spreading places where citizens live and enjoy together, but to provide young interpreters of non-mainstream styles with a space. The Creueta del Coll Park, the Clot Park, the Joan Miró Park, the Manuel J. Arnalot and the Tete Montoliu Gardens are some of the stages that will receive the performances of all 19 shows that have been selected for this year’s edition.
Until 31 August
Often overshadowed by the majesty of the Holy Family or the beauty of La Pedrera, Gaudi’s Palau Güell has also something to offer relative to culture for the summer nights. Every Thursday during July and August there is a concert featuring jazz, doo-bop, tango or Jamaican jazz, depending on the week. The concert includes a tour by this awesome palace built in the 1880s, a glass of cava and some delicious snacks. The surroundings are incomparable: the roof of this building, located at the central part of the Rambla, is a profusion of fantasy, that would have delighted Lewis Carroll for his Alice in Wonderland; it is the first space in which Antoni Gaudí resolved to place his very particular chimneys.
One of the most charming, magical and probably unknown treasures of Barcelona is the small Santa Anna church, a peaceful corner in the middle of Ciutat Vella’s swing. Very few people know that intimate and moving flamenco guitar concerts are offered periodically in the cloister of this church, such as the one on Thursday 25 August by guitar playerist Robert Majure. The formula is a foolproof one: peace, silence, a glass of wine, a dreamy atmosphere and, in this case, an acoustic concert by a guitar player whose style moves between flamenco, classic and jazz. And the opportunity for discovering– or re-discovering one of the most beautiful churches in Barcelona.
Santa Anna, 29.
Museu del Disseny’s season starts with an activity that associates ceramics and architecture, and invites us to think of some of the most representative works of art in the city, as Santa Caterina market's multicoloured tiled roof. By means of 300 pieces, the sample will make a tour on the role of ceramics applied to architecture, starting with the ancient Mesopotamia and ending today, using the Museum’s own collection and other collections loaned by various European institutions. With this exhibition, the most hipster museum in Barcelona will organise a series of parallel activities with the cooperation of the Universidad Internacional de Catalunya’s Ceramics Chair.
From 16 September 2016 through 29 January 2017.
Museu del Disseny. Plaça de les Glòries, 37.
Although art activities usually decrease in August, Macba looks after those who stay in the city and maintains one of its most powerful exhibitions until September. 'Punk. Its footprints in contemporary art' reflects on the influence of this movement on contemporary art through the work of different national and international creators, and on how this movement has decisively impacted not only their creations but even their attitude before art. This is a powerful, captivating and passionate exhibition that highlights concepts such as violence, nihilism, sexuality and a merciless criticism of the economic and social system, and at the same time it is enjoyable, shocking, and very funny.
Macba. Plaça dels Àngels, 1.
This music festival, embedded within the festivities of La Mercé (patron saint of the city) takes place every year around the end of September and fills the city with outdoor music. BAM is a good place – indeed, the best place- to discover the surging bands, local and international, many of which will be stadium fillers. It is also the time of the year when Barcelona gets literally flooded with music, from Plaça Sant Jaume to Avinguda de la Catedral, Plaça dels Àngels, Plaça Joan Coromines and the Damm Factory at Poblenou. Figures of international fame share space with new local bands and others already established. Yet, there’s something we must insist on: take pen and paper and plan your venues: the BAM’s big problem is the same year after year: we’ll want to attend more than one venue simultaneously.
The guided tours to the Observatori Fabra, a splendid 19th century astronomic observatory, are a year-round classic, and its Dinners with Stars, a decisive event in Barcelona’s summer. To spend a night watching stars and celestial bodies, paying a visit to the museum, its Art Nouveau hall and its meridian telescope, and to finish with a Mediterranean cuisine dinner, is a tempting experience. The stage is the building’s enclosed balcony, a magnificent place to chat, still in awe, about the night’s views: from elements belonging to far away constellations to stars and a good part of the Solar System. All from its 1904 telescope, one of Europe’s most important still functional.
Tuesday to Sunday, until 9 October
Ctra. De Vallvidrera. Camí de l'Observatori s/n.
Theatre, music, Art, ballet, performance – All these disciplines have a room in Terrats en Cultura, an initiative that transforms Barcelona’s roofs in art stages. It stems from the idea that any urban space can be a cultural stage, and that roofs, traditionally places for conviviality, are ideal to keep culture alive and claim creative freedom. During September different shows, at many city roofs, can be watched, such as the pyrotechnic- musical show of La Mercé, with Adam Gilles Levy concert, or Alessandro Baricco’s 'La leggenda del pianista sull’oceano', as well as cabaret shows.