September 09, 2018
With the summer over the streets are getting a little easier to walk, and you’re more likely to get a good seat at the cafés. But Ljubljana isn’t a beach town that closes at the end of the season, and although the number of festivals has declined there’s still plenty going on this week – including the Festival Spider 2018 from September 12 to 15, with a “selection of ground-breaking European and Slovene productions in the field of dance and performance"… see the OPERA, THEATRE, DANCE section in this guide. Ljubljana also has a world class puppet theatre, and this week it has a festival, running from September 12 to 16, with details here.
If puppets and dance leave you cold then don’t worry, as there’s lots of movies, shows and music to suite all tastes going on this week, with enough variety for anyone to find something interesting, amusing, educational or plain entertaining. Details of some of these are listed after the general information below, while even more can be found by keeping your eyes open and looking at the posters stuck up around town.
As ever, clicking on the venue names in the list below should get you more details with regard to the time, price and location, as well as other events on this week in the same place.
If you want to get a Ljubljana Tourist Card, which gives you travel on the city buses and entry to a lot of attractions, then you can read more about that here, and if you want to use the bike share system, as useful for visitors as it is for residents, then you can learn more by clicking this. Visitors with reduced mobility will be pleased to find that downtown Ljubljana is generally rated as good with regard to accessibility, and that there’s a free, city-sponsored app called Ljubljana by Wheelchair highlighting cafés, attractions and so on with ramps, disabled bathrooms and Eurokey facilities, which you can read about and download here.
Want / need cigarettes but the stores have closed? Here's an incomplete list of bars downtown that will satisfy your craving for the demon weed.
Ljubljana is a small and relatively safe city, but if need to contact the police then there’s a special number for foreigners, and that’s 113.
Finally, if there's something you want to promote in a future edition of What's on... please get in touch with me at flanner(at)total-slovenia-news.com
You can read about all the cinemas in town here, while a selection of what’s playing this week is below, and note that kid’s movies tend to be shown in dubbed versions, so do check before driving out to a multiplex and dropping off the young ones. (And if you like watching trailers with subtitles as a way of learning Slovene, then catch up on some from earlier this year here and here).
Kinodvor – The arts cinema not far from the train station, but still rather tucked away, showing, among other features, BlacKkKlansman, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot, the Swedish Language Sameblod, and the English, German and Slovene language Codelli.
Kinoteka – The revival house at one end of Miklošičeva is showing Hitchock’s Vertigo, Lubitsch’s Angel, and Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise. There are also three Miloš Forman movies: Man on the Moon, Goya’s Ghosts and Ragtime.
Kolosej – The multiplex out at BTC City Mall is playing all the big movies, which this week include Mission Impossible: Fallout, Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again, Adrift, a dubbed version of Hotel Transylvania 3: A Monster Vacation, The Meg, The Spy Who Dumped Me, Equalizer 2, BlacKkKlansman and The Nun. New releases this week include A Simple Favour, from Thursday on, while Friday sees the start of The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir.
Komuna – The cinema in a basement behind Nama department store is showing Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again
A study conducted earlier this year found that Ljubljana is the 28th most affordable city in the world to get drunk and high in, as reported here. However, note that all the usual drugs remain illegal in Slovenia. We've also heard increasing reports - albeit anecdotal - of women's drinks being spiked in the city, so take care and let friends know where you're going. If you get a hangover then find out where to get paracetamol (and prescription drugs) in Ljubljana here, while details on emergency birth control can be found here.
Channel Zero – Monday night is Dub Lab, this week with Bramma Jatta Shanti and a team from Massive! Friday the 14th you can then get down with an all-nighter called Basolovka, featuring Roots In Session, DJ Verso, Spencah, DJ L.T., and Ibro, which is being promoted as offering “drum & bass, breaks, dancehall, jungle, breaks, dub, and all related genres coinciding with the environment in which the event takes place." A knicker-twisting drum & bass mix by Spencah can be heard below, after the dub. The week then peaks on Saturday with another all-nighter, Everything GOES, with DJs Sunneh, Rope, Jerry and Fogy promising varied mixes under the heading of “dance”.
Gala Hala – The aftershow for live performances by Naked and Šlagwerk is an all-nighter in Metelkova called Green Sun # 117: Steam Heat!, with the sounds provided by DJs Woo-D and Udo Brenner. Google translates the offering, better than we ever could, as follows: “expect a fairly versatile set, in which there will be no shortage of old funerary delicacies, seasoned with a large measure of breaks, progressive, yugo pearls, rare groves and afro beats. Because the cats are a great fan of Latino rhythms, we can also count on a pack of this type of music. The prospect is, in short, a rather abstract evening, which should not be overlooked, and we recommend that you prepare for it accordingly!”
Klub Cirkus – Friday night is being promoted as a UV blacklight friendly event, which sounds fun. The tunes will be provided by LVN and Tim Black, and the music is said be “party” stuff. Saturday then presents a house music all-nighter, with Franky Rizardo.
Klub K4 – Friday night the klub 4 kool kids sees a very special guest, with a visit by Luke Vibert, plus support from Nitz, Terranigma, Borka, Dulash, and Stascha, and visuals by 5237. Saturday it’s time for the classics, with K4 Techno Oldies Goldies, with techno and house from Alenia, Dojaja, Organon, Splinterhouse, and Le Berg.
Please note that most public galleries and museums are closed on Mondays, although not the National Museum.
Ljubljana Castle has an exhibition on the history of dragons that runs until November 11, and there's plenty more to see and do when up there, including some nice walks in nature. Note that the bathroom is in the basement and rather difficult to find.
Plečnik's desk. Photo: JL Flanner
Plečnik’s House is worth a visit if you want to learn more about the architect who gave Ljubljana much of its character. Read about our guided tour here.
The Balassi Institute (The Cultural Centre of the Embassy of Hungary) – This is at Barvarska steza 8, Ljubljana, not far from Dragon Bridge, and until November you can see a show with works from Igor Andjelic (1961) from Slovenia, Dénesa Farkasa (1974) from Estonia and Hungary and Pétra Mátyásija (1982) from Hungary.
Marc Riboud Beijing, 1965. Da Sha La street in old Bejing, as seen through an antique dealer’s window. Private citizens come here to sell family jewels or other objects. The prices are fixed by the government. ©Marc Riboud – all rights reserved.
Cankerjev dom – Running until the end of February 2019 is an exhibition titled Ivan Cankar and Europe: Between Shakespeare and Kafka. This is “An examination of Cankar’s art through an analysis of influences and interpretations, and juxtaposition with contemporary European writers. The visually elaborate architectural and graphic layout, supported by audio-visual media, installation art and diverse visual highlights, offers a vivid account of Cankar’s excellence, his comprehensively exquisite aesthetic and artistic vision.”
City Museum – The Museum in French Revolution Square has an exhibition on the writer Ivan Cankar that’s on until the end of February 2019, with pictures, books and manuscripts, all presented in Slovene and English. It also has a very interesting permanent exhibition on the history of Ljubljana, from prehistoric times to the present day, with many artefacts, models and so on that bring the story alive.You can read about my recent visit here.
The Faces of Ljubljana in the City Museum. Photo: JL Flanner
Galerija Kresija – Last change to see: There’s a fun show at this gallery between the Triple Bridge and Robba Fountain, showing Tina Kolenik wearing watermelons on her head. This runs until September 14, and is being promoted with the following image.
International Centre of Graphic Arts – Running until November 11 is an exhibition of works by Riko Debenjak, including prints, drawings, paintings and illustrations.
MAO – The Museum of Architecture and Design is showcasing Slovenian designers in a show called Made in Slovenia, lasting until the end of 2018: “The selling exhibition aims to present good practices of Slovenian designers and companies in the creative sector.” The same venue has an exhibition based on Slovenia’s Pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, called “Living with Water”, and on until November 25.
Something by Drago Tršar
Moderna galerija – The main branch of this gallery, to be found near the entrance to Tivoli Park, has a good collection of modern art, as well a nice café in the basement, and, until September 30th, a retrospective on the monumental sculptures of Drago Tršar, which you’ll recognise from around town (see more here). For even more contemporary work you can take a trip to the Metelkova branch, where there’s currently a show on the relationship between humans and animals.
Photo: JL Flanner
Museum of Contemporary History – The museum in Tivoli Park has two new shows. One is called Museum's (R)evolution 1948-2018, marking the place's 70th anniversary with an exhibition tracing its evolution through artefacts, photographs and personal stories and running until January 6 2019 (details here). There's also In Search of Freedom: 1968-2018, looking at the 1968 student protests.
National Gallery – The country’s main gallery has “the best” of what’s on offer from the Middle Ages to non-contemporary modern visual arts, and is in a great location for exploring other areas, just by Tivoli Park and opposite the main branch of the Moderna galerija. Running until February 10 2019 is a show called Ivana Kobilca (1861-1926): But Of Course, Painting Is Something Beautiful!, featuring works like the one below. You can read about our visit to the room containing scared art from the Middle Ages here, and see a picture from our trip after the two girls.
National Museum of Slovenia – There’s plenty to see in the permanent collection here, from Roman times, Egypt and more, with the big draw this season being the exhibition of over 140 items of gold from Ming Dyntasy China, as reported here, and with an example below.
Photo: Wang Wei Chang
Meanwhile, at the museum's Metelkova branch, located between one branch of the Moderna galerija and the Ethnographic Museum is the International Ceramic Triennial UNICUM 2018, which runs until September 30. It's being promoted with the following image. This branch also has some rooms on Church art, funiture and weapons, with the latter including more guns than you'll see anywhere else in town, and quite a thrill if coming from a nation where such objects are not household objects.
Slovene Ethnographic Museum – The museum currently has a temporary show on Bees and Beekeeping, as well two permanent exhibitions. One of these is called Between Nature and Culture, and has a great collection of objects from Slovenia and around the world, well worth the trip up to the third floor to see it (as recounted here). This place is located near the newer branch of the Moderna galerija and Metelkova.
Photo: JL Flanner
Union Experience – The Ljubljana-based brewer has a museum showing the history of the company, with the ticket also including access to part of the factory and a few samples of the product. You can read about our visit here.
It's not a formal museum, but if you're interested in "Yugo-stalgia" then you'll enjoy a trip to Verba, a small, privately run space that's crammed with objects and pop culture items from the era, and is conveniently located at the start of one of the short walks to the castle. It's also a great place to take pictures, if you leave a donation, and you can read more about it here.
Verba. Photo: JL Flanner
Alternative Ljubljana isn't a museum or gallery, as such, but instead turns the city streets into a museum and gallery. Learn more about their tours of street art, history and LGBT Ljubljana here.
FAMILIES & KIDS
You can find our Top 12 list of things to do with kids in Ljubljana here. If want to read more about the philosophy behind the wonderful House of Experiments look here, while our trip to the Museum of Illusions is documented here, and there’s always riverside walks, ice cream and pizza.
Museum of Illusions. Photo: JL Flanner
Photo: JL Flanner
If you want to learn more about Ljubljana Pride, then take a look at our interview with its president here. If you're looking for more general links on "gay Slovenia", including a history of the scene and various projects, then you can find that here. This week we also published an interview with the LGBT activist and writer Suzana Tratnik.
– In addition to its regular Friday night opening, this week the lesbian bar in Metelkova has an all-nighter on Saturday headlined by Object Blue, a lesser-known techno icon who’s “an experimental sound producer and music producer who grew up in Beijing, and currently lives and works in London”, with entertainment also being provided by the other acts on the bill: NinaBelle, Nulla, Nina Hudej, Esther, Wolf, Commercial Break (possibly not an act), Mass and BLN. This appears to be a joint event with Klub Tiffany.
– In addition to co-hosting the Object Blue night, this gay bar is offering an hour of free Argentinean tango on Monday night, 18:00
če. The fun starts at 18:00.– This is the closest Ljubljana comes to a "gay bar" so it's a good thing this LGBT-friendly cafe / bar / events space is such a good one, and open from morning to night. You can read more about it . This week, on Friday, it has a party marking 10 years since Café Open opened. This was the city’s first LGBT café, and while it closed in 2013 it was partially reborn as….Pritlji
– From 20:00 onwards, on Friday, there’s music in Metelkova from Naked (Serbia) and Šlagwerk (Slovenia). The former offer a “unique blend of a global urban group spiced up with Balkan and African visions, swing, funk and free jazz”, while the latter are a mix of hip-hop, breakbeat and jungle. There’ll also an aftershow, see CLUBS.
– Monday there’s a mini-festival here in Metelkova, with Chadbourne / Schroeder, Massimo De Mattia Suonomadre, and Pupillo / Buck. Tuesday then seen Lvmen, with support from Tomáš Palucha, with a night of post-metal. Saturday night you can then see two bands from the US, Woolen Men and Honey Bucket. The week ends on Sunday with a show by Tragedy and Shiv, with the former offering music described as “loud, fast, heavy and dark”. A video them playing in this venue can be found after the others below.
– Monday night there’s sound works with Re_Humanizacija III. Per the Google translated Facebook page: “At the third of the five events this year, Tilen Lebar's work will be co-created and performed by renowned Slovenian artists Mina Fina, Irena Tomažin, Maja Osojnik and Primož Sukič under the artistic direction of Dré Hočevar.” Thursday night there’s live music from Svemirko, with support from Pseća Plaža.
– Friday there’s a show by Nera.
– Thursday night there’ll be dancing and musical surprises from Kamizdat Rentgen: Image Snatchers 2.
Tivoli Hall / Divorna Tivoli – Friday night there’s a show by one of the big names on the Slovene scene, Siddharta. It’s sold out, but you can see what you’re missing below.
Festival Spider 2018 is on this week, running from September 12 to 15, with a “selection of ground-breaking European and Slovene productions in the field of dance and performance… In five days several extraordinary and experimental productions will question prevailing social structures and the generation of meaning at the intersection between music, speech and dance, while relentlessly celebrating our limitless freedoms of expression in search of different forms of co-existence.” The official website is here, and just scroll down after the Slovene programme for the schedule in English. If that’s is a little confusing, then the Facebook page simplifies things.
– Saturday there’s an improv workshop with Jim Libby, while Sunday there’s the same with Lena Försch, while Sunday night these two performers and the regular IGLU team will be putting on an improv show.
– Saturday you can enjoy Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.
Every Friday through the warmer months there’s the Open Kitchen in Ljubljana Market, where you can try food and drink from some the biggest names in town, and you can read more about it here.
Breg Embankment, just opposite the Old Town and by the river, has a small flea market open every Sunday morning. Learn more about it here.
If you’re in town and want to go jogging or walking in nature, why not take another look at the Castle, with a brief guide to the trails here. If you want something bigger, head to Tivoli Park.
If you want to get wet and work on your tan then consider going to one of the outdoor pools in town, which you can read about here, and that will be closing at the end of September until late Spring 2019.
Laguna, but there are also pools for swimming in town.
And if you're bored with the Old Town, why not take a walk, cycle or boat ride to nearby Špica and enjoy the riverside life. Learn more about that here.
Flickr - Dave Rosenbaum CC by 2.0
Want to stretch and breath? Then check out our list of drop-in yoga classes for tourists, visitors and the uncommitted. If you're heading to the coast, check out our interview with a yoga teacher who offers breakfast sessions there, while if you're staying in town (or nearby) and want to try some "family yoga" then you can learn more about that here and maybe get your kids to calm down a moment or two.
One of the best photo spots in town is a small bridge that does its job so well it's easy to overlook how good the design is. Learn more about the quietly charming Fishmarket Footbridge here.
Jože Plečnik may be the biggest name in local architecture, but Edvard Ravnikar is another one to note, the man responsible for Republic Square, its two towers and Maximarket. We took a closer look last week, and you can see the pictures and learn more about the space here.