Culture news: 25 May 2010

Summary

Birthday cake for Kai-Mook, Flemish film gets standing ovation at Cannes, Jeroen Theunissen get Halma network residency grant    

Happy first birthday

How does a birthday cake made from lettuce, leek and hay sound? Kai-Mook didn’t seem at all bothered by the fruit-and-veg concoction put together by the Antwerp Zoo to celebrate the little elephant’s first birthday last week. The day was celebrated with a birthday song by schoolchildren for the baby animal that caused a sensation last year as the first elephant ever born in Belgium. Kai-Mook may be only one year old, but she now clocks in at 600 kilos.    

The one Flemish film selected to screen at Cannes this year was well received, earning a standing ovation of 10 minutes that brought its filmmaking team to tears. Little Baby Jesus of Flandr is an odd little auteur film by Gust Van den Berghe, who in fact made it as his final year student project at Brussels film school RITS. The story involves three friends who find a woman and her new baby in the woods and decide to become wise men to announce the arrival of the child. It is shot in black and white, and the lead characters are played by actors who have Down’s Syndrome. The film will open in Brussels and Flanders in December.

Novelist and poet Jeroen Theunissen has become the first Flemish writer to be selected by the Halma Network in its threeand- a-half-year history to receive a residence grant. Made up of 27 European literary organisations, Halma selects a few authors every year to spend two months in residency abroad. Theunissen is currently in Slovenia, where he this week gave a reading. In October the 32-year-old, Ghent-based writer and language teacher will head to Poland. He will also be at work on his new novel, which, appropriately enough, is set in different parts of Europe.

Night of the Proms has signed on Boy George to perform at this autumn’s series of concerts that fuse pop and classical. The annual concerts are a sell-out at Antwerp’s Sportpaleis and also travel to Germany and the Netherlands. Boy George will perform with the Netherlands’ Il Novecento symphony orchestra under conductor Robert Groslot.