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The top 10 things to do in Edinburgh this week

Inés de Castro
Ken Dundas Inés de Castro

This week's best events include a sneaky post-Burns Night Burns Night gig and the latest film from American auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, plus a chance to catch one of Scotland's fastest rising music acts in a very intimate setting. 

Burns Night Poetry Grand Slam, National Library of Scotland, Mon Jan 26
Burns Night is officially over for this year, but that’s never stopped people throwing celebrations after the fact. The NLS welcomes Scottish slam champ Graeme Hawley to host a night of head-to-head verse in the Bard’s honour.

Astral Black at Witness, Sneaky Pete’s, Wed Jan 28
DJ Milktray, Dressin Red and Jaisu join label head Jon Phonics for an Astral Black takeover of Sneaky’s free midweek electronica night.

New Writers Awards Showcase, The Jam House, Thu Jan 29
Playwright Cora Bissett hosts this spoken word showcase of Scottish writing talent, tied in with the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writer Awards. Orla Broderick, Alison Gray, Martin MacInnes, Malachy Tallack and Philip Murnin are among the performers’ names you may not be familiar with now, but are worth keeping an eye on.

Scottish Opera: Ines de Castro, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Thu Jan 29–Sat Jan 31
Composer James MacMillan conducts his debut 1996 score for the first time in this new production (pictured above), telling the story of the titular Spanish mistress to Prince Pedro of Portugal. War, sex, love and torture – all the right ingredients for a proper opera, in other words.

Inherent Vice, general release from Fri Jan 30
The release of a new movie from Paul Thomas Anderson ('There Will Be Blood', 'Boogie Nights', 'The Master') is always cause for excitement in the film-loving community. This latest release – a 1970s-set crime comedy caper starring Joaquin Phoenix and Owen Wilson – is no exception.

Three’s a Crowd, Traverse Theatre, Sat Jan 31
The Manipulate visual theatre festival kicks off with this world premiere from the All or Nothing aerial dance theatre company, exploring forgotten friendships, reunions and human connection.

Half Man Half Biscuit, Liquid Room, Sat Jan 31
One of those bands who earned the coveted ‘John Peel-approved’ badge, sardonic post-punk outfit HMHB take their latest album ‘Urge for Offal’ on tour. 

Honeyblood, Sneaky Pete’s, Sun Feb 1
Glasgow’s premier grungy-slacker-garage pop duo Honeyblood round off Independent Venue Week with an intimate show at Sneaky’s, ably supported by Tuff Love and C Duncan. We’ve picked out some other IVW highlights too, should you care to have a look.

Wendelien van Oldenborgh: Beauty and the Right to Ugly, Collective Gallery, until Sun Mar 29
Visit the old observatory dome atop Calton Hill to catch this experimental film piece from Dutch artist van Oldenborgh, which investigates both the failure of utopian architecture and the power of a films’ subjects to own their performance.

Game Masters, National Museum of Scotland, until Mon Apr 20
Still rumbling on over at the Museum on Chambers Street, the 'Game Masters' exhibition celebrates 30 years of video gaming history with over 100 playable arcades, consoles, handheld devices and what-have-you.