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Theatre Festival Boulevard provided a stage for the stories we hear too little. #tfboulevard

According to Linde van Schuppen, philosopher and linguist, medics do not really listen to people with psychosis. At least, they do listen to someone suffering from obvious delusions, but that is to establish that the person is indeed off the track. 'But, how then?" is the question a psychiatrist or neurologist is not trained to answer, she argues. That is why she is doing her PhD. 

Why laughter is best left to us more often: Joseph Toonga teaches theatre rage #tfboulevard

Think Pussy Riot, think Rammstein, maybe think Nina Hagen before she found Jesus and mix that up nice and fierce. Then you get something that is basically an insane festival act. Raging female punk in a beer- and smoke-soaked nightclub, ferocious moshpits full of people who really have something to dance out of their souls. It's all in there... 

Unaccustomedness was to be expected at this rare summer festival #TFBoulevard

For a year and a half, there was hardly any playing, festival tents remained in mothballs and artists were busy doing living room concerts or attic sessions on Zoom. Now everything is allowed out again and the discharge is just barely there. Unaccustomedness characterises the fresh start of Theatre Festival Boulevard, which has moved to a park south of downtown Bossche for the next few years,... 

A dangerously hurt little bird. Writer Caroline De Mulder delved into the world of girl gangs and sugardating

Girl gangs and sugar dating - these are the themes of Bambi likes you raw. Caroline De Mulder (44) wanted to talk about the violence of women rather than against women. 'I could work out the dark, aggressive sides in myself without bashing someone's head in.' Bambi's protagonist, 16-year-old Hilda, or Bambi, as her... 

Theatre festival Boulevard changed the DNA of Den Bosch, even the Netherlands

Whether we want to speak only of 's-Hertogenbosch from now on. Apparently, a last vestige of decency has bravely survived in the provincial capital of Brabant. Nazmiye Oral, master of ceremonies at a party at Den Bosch's citadel on 9 June, forgot right the first time. City marketers and old nobility fight hand in hand for a respected name to trump the vernacular.... 

'If you touch just one person, it can change the world' "Desperate optimist" Adriaan van Dis wrote a book full of joyful anger

It is a fresh and lively book, the new novel by Adriaan van Dis (74). In his characteristic humorous tone, Van Dis broaches the big themes of our time in KliFi: climate change, the refugee crisis, political populism, (im)freedom. When in the republic of the Netherlands a crushingly hot summer turns into a hurricane and a village of refugees is wiped out, silence... 

'I tried to turn something terrible into something beautiful.' Douglas Stuart wrote a gripping novel about his alcohol-addicted mother

Last year, he became the second Scot ever to win the prestigious Booker Prize, and that too with a debut novel. The unexpected success of Shuggie Bain has a bittersweet edge for Douglas Stuart (44). For the story of maverick Shuggie, who loses his hapless, single mother Agnes to drink, is based on his own childhood. Shuggie grows up... 

Snow

It is almost Christmas. Miss Kate and Miss Julia are giving their annual ball. One by one the guests appear, there is dancing, eating (greasy brown goose, marinated rib eye, pudding), there is apprehension about Freddy Malins who is bound to appear drunk again, and Gabriel gives a short table speech as usual. Gabriel fears his speech will be too pompous. He... 

The stuffiness from Maeve Brennan's stories is easy to spot at the moment

It is no coincidence that I am rereading The Twelve Year Wedding just now. Because the tightness in the story resembles the tightness of our own time. Like Delia and Martin Bagot, we are trapped in a suffocating existence. Shun contact with fellow human beings. Miss the fresh air of visits to cafés, museums, film houses and theatres. Dublin 1917 is the Netherlands 2021.

JUST

It is stupid and pointless to start comparing suffering. There is always someone who had it shittier than you, usually even closer than you thought. But reinforcing the delusion that writers and poets can live off their royalties, when that is literally true for less than one per cent of professional literary authors, shows little empathy.

Guilt helps no one. Philosopher and writer Jannah Loontjens took a closer look at her gnawing conscience

I have come to realise that guilt creates a distance. To others, I sometimes come across as cool and reserved; this is because I unconsciously shut down to suppress my feelings and desires. I don't want to get in the way of others with my emotions. But that also means I rarely let the other person get close.

'There was a lot that was great about Joost, but this was him too.' Arielle Veerman on her tumultuous marriage to Joost Zwagerman

An ambitious young writer turned Dutch celebrity - Joost Zwagerman's life was turbulent, as was his character. That his marriage ended in divorce after almost twenty years, he could not bear. A year later, on 8 September 2015 - so exactly five years ago today - he ended his life. In her book The Longest Breath, his ex-wife Arielle Veerman looks back. There appears to be no resentment, only sadness.

Chosen to enjoy magisterial Hans Kesting

The restless head in front of the torso, fists nervously searching for grip under the pale blue jumper. His life a relentless affliction of generations of oppression under factory labour, alcoholism and domestic violence. And deep love nonetheless, between this tormented father and son. Until almost the end of the monologue "Who killed my father?", the high bed remains untouched. Only then do they learn... 

Traveling While Black grabs you by the throat

Traveling While Black touches you deeply and that is exactly the intention. The 20-minute or so Virtual reality film immerses you in the history of institutional racism in the US and especially what it does to people. The location is Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington DC*. We sit at a table in a classic diner with people... 

Improper governance? Looks like it. Holland Festival expresses justified anger at Culture Council's arbitrariness (edited to make criticism of Oerol and lobby insightful)

The Council for Culture acted contrary to all policy agreements, its own advice and rules when it reduced the subsidy for the Holland Festival by over five hundred thousand euros. The Holland Festival, which is in serious trouble as a result, is now expressing its anger in a letter that went to the Lower House today. The organisation even speaks of "improper administration": a... 

That's why concert halls need to reopen as soon as possible. By any means necessary.

What an incredible bucket of guts Lucie Horsch has. Twenty years old. Quite world-famous by now, admittedly. But you just have to dare, in your acceptance speech for the prestigious Dutch Music Prize, to throw the minister's just-expressed words back in her face. Because that is what Lucie Horsch did, with a controlled fury that made a deep impression even from 25 metres away. The... 

'I want to leave my children something substantial'. The eventful life of creative jack-of-all-trades Marc de Hond (1977-2020)

It still came as a shock, the sad news that comedian, presenter and theatre-maker Marc de Hond died yesterday. Around the beginning of corona, we were still in touch briefly about his theatre tour Voortrijdend inzicht, which he made as a legacy for his children. How unfortunate it was that most of the performances now had to be postponed indefinitely. His health situation... 

'My dreams were always about death.' Alfred Birney on his new novel 'On hold'

Shortly after Alfred Birney was awarded the Libris Literature Prize in 2017 for The Interpreter of Java, he ended up in hospital with a heart attack. In his new novel On Hold, Birney's alter ego Alan Noland is in hospital waiting for open-heart surgery. He was just starting to feel fit again after his five-way bypass surgery and two years of patching up... 

#Corona-classics I: Le Dernier sorcier Pauline Viardot

When corona measures were declared on Thursday 12 March, it felt surreal at first. The next day, the world premiere of Willem Jeths' opera Ritratto fell through. I had been looking forward to this immensely, just like all the other productions in the Opera Forward Festival. Besides, I was in the midst of preparations for numerous introductions the next... 

What the stream; bring on those dramatic disaster movies!

Hollywood loves disaster movies and frankly, so do I. It's sort of a 'guilty pleasure' of mine. Generally, it is the visual aspect that attracts me the most: the eruption of a volcano, an earthquake tearing the world apart - as a resident of Groningen, I did adjust my opinion somewhat about the entertainment value of earthquakes - or... 

Why I hope to meet those youngsters from that particular reading club here: Olga Neuwirth composes soundtrack to Die Stadt ohne Juden

Emerging fascism is becoming increasingly parlous. Especially among young people, I discovered recently at a concert by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw. A reading club of twenty-somethings said they enjoyed James MacMillan's Second Percussion Concerto. They joined me in denouncing the draconian cuts to culture. But suddenly it sounded carefree: 'We are all voting for Thierry.' When I was dismayed... 

With sound. Honours for Marga Klompé; Action Tomato finally buried during commemoration.

The myth just had to end. Nan van Houte, former director of Amsterdam's small theatre Frascati, has buried Action Tomato. During Requiem for Tomato, on 4 November 2019, she made it crystal clear that this legendary event has been measured too big by our theatre historians. In 1969, when a few tomatoes were sent to the al... 

Music from anger and powerlessness - Extra focus on sensational composer Georg Friedrich Haas in November Music

Last year, Austrian Georg Friedrich Haas caused a stir at the Holland Festival by openly talking about his master-slave relationship with his wife Mollena. If possible, even more startling was their joint production Hyena. Mollena Williams-Haas told a blood-curdling tale of how she rehabbed from her alcohol addiction, her husband providing the hypnotic music. This year, Haas is one of the central... 

Clara Schumann in 1878

Clara Schumann: still in Robert's shadow even after 200 years

Exactly 200 years ago, on 13 September 1819, Clara Schumann was born in Leipzig as Clara Wieck. She is among one of the greatest pianists of the nineteenth century. Against her father's wishes, she married Robert Schumann, whose work she fervently promoted. She also wrote well-received compositions of her own and was more famous than Robert. Yet after her... 

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