Cultural Digest: Don’t miss these events in Europe this week

Kitschy glamour at Blackpool's new museum
Kitschy glamour at Blackpool's new museum Copyright Showtown Blackpool
Copyright Showtown Blackpool
By Amber Louise Bryce
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Seaside exhibitions, lesbian crime capers, and new music from Justin Timberlake and Kacey Musgraves.


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to become a chicken nugget?

You just might after consuming this week's cultural recommendations, of which there are plenty. Who says you need to have secured Glastonbury tickets or live on the coolest street in the world to have a good time?


'Showtown', Blackpool, UK

The smell of fish and chips riding on a sea breeze, flickering neon lights and the distant clattering of coin machines. There's something surreal about Britain's seaside towns; kitschy landscapes on the edge of a haunting horizon that now seem frozen in time. But a new museum in Blackpool is reviving the old razzle dazzle from its heyday. From Stan Laurel's hat to a Sooty puppet, sparkly Strictly outfits and the door of a Blackpool police cell that Harry Houdini escaped from - the displays are brimming with characterful tackiness that will take you back to simpler, "oh, I do like the be beside the seaside', times.  

'Speak to the Eye', Paris, France

Widely considered a pioneer of computer-generated art, Hungarian artist Vera Molnár left behind a legacy of fascinatingly futuristic works, paving the way for artists to create alongside technology and utilise its capabilities in shaping ambitious ideas. Molnár sadly passed away in January, but a new retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris celebrates her innovative approach and enduring impact on abstract art. On until 26 August 2024. 

Festivals and events

'Music Pavilion: Atenea Quartet, Barcelona Obertura', Barcelona, Spain

Atenea Quartet at the Pavelló Mies van der Rohe
Atenea Quartet at the Pavelló Mies van der RoheBarcelona Obertura

The sleek, sharp architecture of Barcelona's iconic Mies van der Rohe Pavilion is the perfect host for an intimate string quartet performance by the Atenea Quartet on 17 March. Organised in conjunction with the Ciutat de Clàssica program, a part of the Barcelona Obertura Spring Festival, the event provides a platform for young local musicians. 

Tomorrowland Winter, Alpe d'Huez, France

While festival season is fast approaching (see our European recommendations here), it still feels forever away. Thankfully, there's a winter edition of Tomorrowland, one of Europe's biggest electronic music celebrations, starting this weekend (16-23 March). Located on the spectacular sun-stroked ski-slopes of Alpe d'Huez, the line-up includes superstar DJ's and electro artists like Alesso, Blasterjaxx, Steve Aoki, Henri PFR, Lost Frequencies and more. See you après-rave. 


Drive-Away Dolls

A lesbian road trip gets weird and wild when Jamie (Margaret Qualley) and Marian (Geraldine Viswanathan) discover a suspicious briefcase in the boot of the car they've been tasked with delivering. Cue a classic Coen brothers' crime caper - although Ethan Coen's riding solo this time - filled with oddball characters, kooky Americana and a whole lotta horniness. The cast is stellar, including Pedro Pascal, Matt Damon, Beanie Feldstein and Miley Cyrus. Here's what our resident film critic David Mouriquand had to say about it

'London LGBTQIA+ Film Festival', UK

The biggest queer film festival in the UK, BFI Flare is back for 2024 and the line-up looks better than ever. From highly-anticipated movies like Rose Glass' Love Lies Bleeding to yet-undiscovered voices and shorts, there's a plethora of fantastic LGBTQIA+ cinema to be seen until 24 March. 

TV series

Manhunt (Apple TV+)

This edge-of-your-seat period drama tells the true story of John Wilkes Booth (Anthony Boyle), the stage actor that assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 during a performance at a theatre. Focused on the aftermath, we follow Edwin Stanton (Tobias Menzies) as he leads the 12-day-search for Booth. Even if it's a story many of us are familiar with, watching it unfold in this glossy series still makes for unbelievable viewing. Have Wikipedia at the ready. 

Chicken Nugget (Netflix)

'Chicken Nugget'
'Chicken Nugget'Netflix

"I woke up this morning feeling like a chicken nugget," said internet celebrity Trisha Paytas in a now infamous (amongst the chronically online, at least) YouTube video from 2017. That very concept has been taken to the extreme in this new Korean Netflix series, which sees a woman inexplicably turned into a chicken nugget after stepping inside a weird machine. Her father and boyfriend must band together to try and reverse the curse before anyone nug-hungry turns up, gulp. Silly, deep-fried fun that you probably won't want to watch with a Happy Meal. 



Kacey Musgraves: Deeper Well

The sixth studio album from Grammy award winning country singer Kacey Musgraves is a meditation on life and love, written in the wake of her divorce from fellow singer Ruston Kelly. It centres around the astrological belief of Saturn return, a transit period bringing chaos, as Musgraves swoons to the glimmer of synths through themes of heartbreak and self care in search of a sense of resolve. 

Justin Timberlake: Everything I Thought It Was

Still simmering in the controversy from Britney Spears' damning memoir revelations, noughties heartthrob JT is back with 'Everything I Thought It Was', his first album since 2018's 'Man of the Woods'. The album's first single 'Selfish' was released earlier this year to an underwhelming response, but for fans of Timberlake's back catalogue, this artificial-flavoured fizzy pop is laced with enough nostalgia to still quench your thirst.

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