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Nerd podcast on Marijn Lems' (NRC) annual list: Mental trauma and struggling with loss and grief.

Marijn Lems has a hobby that coincides nicely with his work as a reviewer for NRC Handelsblad, Theaterkrant and Cultuurpers. After all, he plays countless games, sees bizarre amounts of television series and also goes to the theatre more than many colleagues can afford. Every year, he creates a top list, which he posts on Facebook. Once it was the... 

illustration accompanying article Animation31 interview with Stephane Kaas

Animation & Stephane Kaas: 'I like to give animators a certain freedom.'

We asked him a few questions about his experiences and influences. What is your experience with animation so far? 'As a child, I liked drawing comics. I made the comic Kaas-Trek with a friend, a kind of persiflage on Star-Trek, and we would sell it to classmates and buy sweets from them. Who framed Roger Rabbit I remember as... 

Marijn Lems: 'I write for people who don't shy away from the adventurous in art.'

More than 1,500 hours were spent by theatre critic Marijn Lems last year in theatres, in front of TV and, most importantly, with games. That's a lot of time and it raises questions. Questions especially about how you organise your time as a journalist, and how you divide it between watching art for work and what we will call 'normal life'. That's what this podcast is about, for just under three quarters of an hour.

Games - culture or not?

That gaming plays an important role in contemporary, Dutch youth culture is obvious. Yet during exhibitions and in museums, attention to this extremely popular phenomenon is usually lacking. Why does gaming remain so underexposed here? Art is such a broad concept that we can include just about anything between rock drawings and graffiti. That breadth then also matches the... 


From 4 to 28 June 2020, Amsterdam will host the 73rd edition of the Holland Festival. Associate Artist this year is American choreographer, director, writer and dancer Bill T. Jones. His work will include the new show Deep Blue Sea, in which Jones himself dances and, assisted by a hundred mostly local... 

Netflix's The Witcher is having an identity crisis. But if you make it to episode five, you'll want to know how it ends.

With much fanfare, Netflix's The Witcher was announced. Except for some comments about Superman in a white wig, there was and is a lot of interest in the film adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski's fantasy book series. Successor to Game of Thrones. With the way that one ended? No thanks! I'm not familiar with the books or the games myself, but Netflix's description... 

Ready or not: Forum Groningen is open, but is it for everyone?

Controversial and an eyesore for many: Forum Groningen. It has occupied minds considerably over the past few years. On Friday 29 November, the cultural centre in Groningen was finally opened to the general public. Interest in Forum is certainly there, as the counter already stood at 50,000 visitors on Tuesday morning. The prestige project that has cost the Groninger quite a few taxpayers' pennies... 

NS presents the first train thriller on WhatsApp. Authors Jowi Schmitz and Louis Stiller test the experience

'The first Dutch WhatsApp thriller' was launched at the end of January. For five days, a select group of screen readers could follow this 'real time' story. Writers Jowi Schmitz and Louis Stiller were among them, app'ing with each other about this new form of storytelling. Sunday Louis > Suddenly a whole pile of names in my whatsapp (including 'paps' and 'mums'). Jowi > I give them... 

Geeks and mouse arms at the Muziekgebouw. The bar is high for @hollandfestival's new bosses

Then suddenly there is a very different audience in Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw aan het IJ. Gamers. Or rather developers. And hardcore new-music aficionados. 'I only come for Maze,' said my neighbour petulantly. He came for the music ensemble. Not for the games, that is, not for the computer graphics. And maybe not even for Claron McFadden. That famous, hyper-pliable opera singer who appeared in... 

Swinging parachutes and twitching muscles at Playful Arts Festival: 'If the visitor does nothing, the work does not exist'

Occasionally it chafes at Playful Arts, an intimate festival that brings play and art together. It's all about interaction, doing it yourself, experiencing it. Some visitors have to cross a threshold. But then something does happen. Those dancers must be in really good shape," I hear someone behind me mutter reverently. On the other side of the street, a man points to... 

We spend less time reading, but the bookseller doesn't notice. Is the government doing enough to promote reading, or too much? (Why e-books are still far too expensive)

'Good literacy is a prerequisite for functioning - now and in the future - in our information society and knowledge economy.' This was stated in the press release sent out by KVB Boekwerk last week. The occasion was a SCP study which showed that we in the Netherlands are again spending less time reading than a decade ago. It listed impressive percentages. 'Over... 

Amsterdam Sinfonietta shines in shadow play with Kurtág and baroque

The Great Hall of the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ is pitch dark. Then a spotlight flashes on the first side balcony on the right. There, Alexander Sitkovetsky, Maria Milstein, Rosanne Philippens and Jacobien Rozemond play three movements from Telemann's Concert for four violins. They end in a freeze, after which the whisper-soft, fragile tones sound from Treasures by György Kurtág. We only see... 

Rito de Primavera, José Vidal & Cía., Festival de Marseille. Photo: Fabian Cambero.

Rito de Primavera: spectacular, but also a mountain of kitsch, unworthy of the Holland Festival

Rito de Primavera, on show at the Holland Festival early this week, is a group choreography for fifty young dancers. Choreographer José Vidal has loosely based himself on Sacre du printemps, Stravinsky and Nijinsky's 1913 piece for the Ballet Russes. Fragments of Stravinsky's music have been turned into 4-quarter beetz by DJ Jim Hast, while Vidal has minimised the ritual aspect of the sacrifice, essential to the many versions made throughout the 20th century (besides Nijinsky's primal version, Massine, Béjart and Bausch, among others).

What remains is an overwhelming visual experience of a gigantic mass of dancers looming out of the darkness. The coordination of the group, at times dancing wildly through each other, at other times circling the stage in long parade, is impressive. It produces a fascinating, eye-opening aesthetic, but the group dance in no way challenges the audience. You could call it a pile of kitsch, or opium for the people. Either way, it is a form of spectacle that I consider unworthy of the Holland Festival.

School trip

The performance begins like a school trip. Near the box office, spectators are prepared in groups for what is to come. They are kindly requested to take off their shoes upon entering the theatre, and then to walk barefoot, hand in hand with fellow spectators, through the dark. Regularly, someone calls loudly for silence, as the performance has already started. There is also something uncomfortable about the nervous manner in which the audience, which is supposed to line up in rows after the instructions, is marched away to the performance space two buildings away.

The initiation of the visitors continues in the Purification Hall, when they pass through the pitch darkness hand in hand with the cool sand at their feet. It provides one of the few ambiguous moments during Rito de Primavera. Where is this going? What fairy tale are we being led into here? From which tourist boat have we fallen off, to now attend the rituals of which people again?


At first, the total experience that so many contemporary theme parks are looking for really takes shape. For half an hour, I stare at a stage in the dark. I see and feel a lot of people there, I think naked because sometimes there is a clever flash of soft light, but the dominant darkness prevents me from getting a grip on it. Ethereal singing composed by Andrés Abarzúa - a single chord sounds gurgling from many throats - accompanies the entrance of all the other spectators for half an hour.

The bleachers surround the playing surface. It is only the red and white bicycle lights of the guides of the many groups of spectators that give you some orientation in the space. It has something of Tintin in Takatukaland. An audience paying to be at a miraculous, never-before-seen, spring nymphing ritual.

Rito de Primavera, José Vidal & Cía. Photo: Fabian Cambero
Rito de Primavera, José Vidal & Cía. Photo: Fabian Cambero


The artificiality of the setting gives a certain tension. In the darkness, as a spectator, you can imagine all sorts of things about what is to come. But at some point, the bicycle lights go out, a sign that all spectators are seated, and the dancers all put on trousers. The light increases and the first beetz cum stravinsky supplants the singing. When, after the uncertain introitus, the actual spectacle begins, its logic becomes all too clear. A perfectly organised group choreography takes over.

In what follows, nothing is left to chance. And that is no luxury with so many dancers in semi-darkness, especially as half of them are also new to the work, because from the Modern Theatre Dance Department of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. The group makes pulsating movements, dialogues with a neighbour, runs in groups, starts singing again, postures and occasionally lifts a single person in the air.


But just as the darkness gets used, so does the group. They are all very young people, fairly relaxed dancing together. The uninhibited attitude with which the complicated group choreographies are performed is touching. A naive kind of surrender or faith speaks from it.

But gradually the effects, of the group choreography, of the light that creates the photographic vistas, the repetitive singing and beetz get boring. The repetition of moves is effect-laden, rhetorical, self-affirming. Nowhere a moment of debacle, of faltering. No one who has a question, can't keep up, is wrong

Why Radio Plastic (and the rest) won't survive the self-driving car

One of the most wonderfully successful programmes on Dutch radio is Radio Kunststof. Every weekday on Radio 1, between seven and eight o'clock, it attracts a bizarre number of listeners, especially for that time of day. And especially for an art programme. On TV then is DWDD, also called art programme on its public channels, but with Matthijs van Nieuwkerk and millions of viewers. How... 

Art is not an exam you can fail. Art is a way of seeing

Op Art (optical art) is less well known than Pop Art. Until you see the works in question. There may be no Op Art stars of Andy Warhol status, but their creations directly resonate with images you know from art history. On Saturday 25 February, a major exhibition[hints]In collaboration with the Louisiana Museum in Denmark[/hints] opened at the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam about these... 

The five shows you must see in May

Toneelschuur, Don Carlos (stage) Nina Spijkers brings Friedrich Schiller's classic play back to its essence. No lavish scenery depicting the Spanish court, but canvases peeled off layer by layer. playlist M31 Foundation, Nederlandse Reisopera, Theater na de Dam, Der Kaiser von Atlantis (opera) Forty years after its world premiere at Theater Bellevue, Victor Ullmann's Der Kaiser von Atlantis will be re... 

New avenues for fantasy and horror: nostalgia, nihilism and quirky malevolence

Imagine has been transforming for several years. When this festival was still going through the world under the name Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival, its main focus was on genre cinema. The Fantatstic genre is an insidious term used as a catch-all for science fiction, fantasy and horror. In these postmodern times, fantatstic is harder to delineate. The festival therefore changed its name back in 2009,... 

Nell Zink: 'Writing is only good when it sounds good and doesn't... hurt'

She came, saw and conquered. Until recently, Nell Zink was almost the embodiment of the cliché image of the poor writer, alone in an attic room. But when American writer Jonathan Frantzen touted her work, she grew into literary hype in no time. Her publisher gave her a six-figure advance. From nobody to 'Her Nellness' -... 

writers gathered in captain Zeppos

Writers together: self-publishing is no longer just for losers.

They still exist. Writers who find it hard enough to write a book, and so are happy to leave all the rest to a publisher. They may complain afterwards about poor marketing, minimal payment and guidance, but have no idea how they could do it differently. Fortunately, it is becoming increasingly easy to do things differently... 

something raw logo

This was Something Raw 2016: less rebellious, more social

The raw in Something Raw can mean all sorts of things. The first thought might be something rough, as in the effect of sandpaper on skin or the havoc left by an elephant in the china shop. But rough is a derivative meaning. Raw first of all means unprocessed and fresh. There is a certain hope in the combination of rough and raw: artists who like... 

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