The month of October is traditionally the best time of the year to load up on culture, with an overabundance of interesting events to choose from. Try to catch one of the four remaining performances of the Bangkok International Festival of Dance and Music, the undisputed highlight of Thailand’s cultural calendar. Also this month is the immensely popular Creativities Unfold symposium, organised each year by Thailand Creative & Design Centre, with top international speakers flying in to Bangkok to give talks. On a lighter note, there’s a magicians and illusionists convention at The Promenade shopping mall, featuring stage shows by top magicians as well as young-and-upcoming local talent. Here are six events you don’t want to miss this month.
Thailand International Magic Extravaganza
A welcome change from heavier cultural fare, this four-day extravaganza is a fun and free event for the entire family to enjoy. Organized by famous Thai magician Mamada and Tony Hassini, world president of the International Magicians Society, the event features stage shows by top magicians from around the globe including Chris Randall (USA), Double Fantasy (Ukraine), Soma (Hungary), Shawn Farquhar (USA) and Joaquinn Ayala (Mexico); and a competition with 55 of the best up-and-coming magicians and illusionists vying for a Merlin Award.
The Merlin Award is the industry’s equivalent of an Oscar, given to those magicians or illusionists who have achieved the highest level in their craft. One of this year’s highlights is a special lifetime achievement Merlin Award which will be presented on Saturday afternoon October 15 to Jack Monshouwer and his company Hanky Panky Toys from Thailand, the world’s largest manufacturer of magic sets. The other Merlin Awards will be presented to magicians with the best performances in a variety of different categories.
When: 13–16 October
The Promenade at Fashion Island shopping mall, Ramindra Road, Kannayao, Bangkok, thepromenade.co.th
Bangkok International Festival of Dance & Music
Romeo & Juliet by France’s leading contemporary ballet company, Ballet Preljocaj, is a romantic and contemporary retelling of this universal love story. Choreographed by Angelin Preljocaj, this production sets the story in the totalitarian regime of an East European country. It was not a question of a fight between clans as tradition would have it, but of a confrontation between the militia responsible for keeping social order and the “family” of the homeless living on the fringes of society.
Voces, suite flamenca is a brand-new show from Sara Baras, Spain’s most popular flamenco star. Celebrated for her brilliant footwork and captivating stage presence, she is adored by the international press as “one of those performers you just can’t take your eyes off” (Daily Telegraph). A large-scale production with 15 performers on stage, this tribute to flamenco is expected to be a hugely entertaining, colourful and vibrant show.
Considered one of world’s foremost modern dance companies, the Paul Taylor Dance Company from New York will be performing two different programs at the festival, including ‘Black Tuesday’, ‘Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal)’ and ‘Cascade’ on October 18; and ‘Mercuric Tidings’, ‘Beloved Renegade’ and ‘Promethean Fire’ on October 19. The dance company is one of the early touring companies of American modern dance, and has performed in more than 500 cities in 62 countries.
When: Through 19 October
Thailand Cultural Centre, Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok, bangkokfestivals.com
Since 2006, Thailand Creative & Design Center has hosted the Creativities Unfold symposium to give the local community the opportunity to learn from international creative professionals and thinkers whose inventions have led to global success. Each year, the annual symposium presents three days filled with lectures, workshops and panel discussions.
Confirmed to speak at the international symposium this year include acclaimed artists, filmmakers and entrepreneurs, such as Khailee Ng (500 Startups), Kyle McDonald (media artist), Dr. Stefan Wess (computer expert), Jessica Brillhart (filmmaker) and Yuri Suzuki (artist/designer).
The symposium is a hugely popular event, so make sure to hurry up and purchase tickets online if you’re interested in attending.
When: 28–30 October
Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC), The Emporium shopping complex, Bangkok, cu-tcdc.com
The exhibition Prostration presents paintings, drawings and prints with mixed techniques by Thavorn Ko-udomvit. (The artist was born in Bangkok and graduated from Silpakorn University with a BFA and MFA. He has received many awards for his art and exhibitions.) The concept of this show is to express the gratitude and respect toward nature and the surrounding such as tree branches, flowers, leaves, rocks, water containers, rice grains or odds and ends found in natural surroundings. These things can mean a lot to those who appreciate the delicacy of life through the Buddhism philosophy about the possible change and impermanence. ]
When: Through 6 November
ARDEL Gallery of Modern Art, 99 / 45-46 among 18 Borommaratchachonnani. Hall Road Thammasop Thawi Wattana, Bangkok, ardelgallery.com
‘Unseen Siam Early Photography’
Many pictures of Siam are currently owned and kept by foreigners abroad and have never been shown in Thailand — until now. This exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse at Siamese ways of life of more than a century ago. A total of 150 rare photographs, developed from foreign collectors and institutes’ original photo prints and collodion, record the development of Siam and are on view at the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre.
The two-month exhibition showcases portraits of royals, commoners and foreigners in Siam, and photos of the Siamese ways of life, architecture, performance art, royal ceremonies and major incidents during the reigns of King Rama IV and King Rama V. The photos were selected from 700 photos shown in Joachim K. Bautze’s book Unseen Siam – Early Photography 1860-1910, which was launched at the opening of the exhibition.
When: Through 7 November
Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC), Pathumwan Intersection, facing MBK and Siam Discovery Centres, bacc.or.th
The white-cube gallery space of 100 Tonson Gallery has been transformed into the alternate universe of Japanese-Thai artist Yuree Kensaku, who took four months to finish up her largest mural on its wall.
Titled Atmosfear, this site-specific painting installation is inspired by a special place oozing with malicious energy, where the protagonist battles a villain called Makuu Space, who appeared in Japanese superhero TV series Space Sheriff Gavan.
When: Through 27 November
100 Tonson Gallery, 100 Soi Tonson, Ploenchit Road, Bangkok, 100tonsongallery.com