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The best things to do in Beijing this week

Your weekly guide to amazing events around Beijing

Nathan East plays Blue Note on Thu & Fri. Image: Kharen Hill. 
There's a whole lot going on this week, Beijing. From film screenings to stage shows, Lantern Festival celebrations to international DJs, this week has it all. Get planning now and make the most out of your weekdays in Beijing.

As well as these highlights, there are many more things to do in Beijing this week: explore, enjoy and don't forget to Instagram us your snaps with #timeoutbeijing or let us know on Facebook what you really enjoyed.

China National Traditional Orchestra: Lantern Festival Concert

Critics' pick

The China National Traditional Orchestra, founded in 1960, is regarded as the standard-setter, model and benchmark for China's folk music performance. The Orchestra not only performs typical traditional music in various forms but dabbles in contemporary Chinese music, western classical music and other genres. Hear them play this Lantern Festival with conductor Hu Bingxu leading the way.

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NCPA , 2 Xi Chang'an Jie 19 Feb Buy tickets

The Imitation Game

Critics' pick

Hidden codes, secret meanings and mixed messages pulse through the reliable, old-fashioned, buzzing copper wires of true-life British period drama The Imitation Game. Snappy and not too solemn, but perhaps not as much of a psychological puzzle as it could have been, the film gives us key episodes in the tragic life of Alan Turing.

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Cinker Pictures , North Taikooli 20 Feb , 21 Feb

Film Meet: Screenwriting for Chinese Audiences

Critics' pick

With the world’s second-largest film market and having shows with the highest amount of viewers on earth, one wouldn’t be mistaken for thinking it’s a good time to work as a scriptwriter in China. But there are a lot of questions to consider. For its first public recording, Middle Earth-China’s cultural industry podcast hosts a panel discussion to answer those questions with three scriptwriters: Cai Jinru, Joey Wang and Jordan DeFazio. 

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The SLab , 7 Xinzhong Lu 21 Feb

Lillies and Remains

Critics' pick

Just over ten years ago, Lillies and Remains burst onto the post-punk, new wave scene in Japan. Blending unforgettable hooks with metallic guitar riffs and a nihilistic take on the world, frontman Kent and guitarist Kazuya have created a rather unique sound that captured attentions both in Japan and abroad.

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Yue Space , 7 Banqiaonanxiang 21 Feb Buy tickets

Nathan East

Critics' pick

East's genre-crossing groove has earned him both the recognition – a Congressional Record for his contributions to the worldwide music community, for one – and the boundary-busting respect of his peers, illustrated by his current appearances on two hit records as diverse as Andrea Bocelli's Passione and Daft Punk's Random Access Memories.

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Blue Note , 23 Qianmen Dong Dajie 21-22 Feb Buy tickets

Alita: Battle Angel

Critics' pick

Visionary filmmakers James Cameron (Avatar) and Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) create a groundbreaking new heroine in Alita: Battle Angel, an action-packed story of hope, love and empowerment. Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita (Rosa Salazar) is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido (Christoph Waltz), a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic. 

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Cinemas around Beijing 22 Feb - 19 Apr

The Beijing Postcards Historical Pub Quiz

Critics' pick

When did the last emperor leave the Forbidden City? When were girls first allowed to attend university? Where is the birthplace of Erguotou? The Beijing Postcards Historical Pub quiz is back. Test your knowledge about the city you live in. This quiz is partly a talk, partly a game show. All questions relate to the history of Beijing.

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The Bookworm (书虫) , Gongti Bei Lu 22 Feb

Red Lantern Party

Critics' pick

If you want to overcome your post-holidays blues and dance under red lanterns to underground beats of some of Beijing's well-known DJs instead, then join Zarah's Red Lantern Party with baozza (a baozi-pizza hybrid) and Jing-A.

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Café Zarah , 46 Gulou Dong Dajie 22 Feb Free

Sunsiaré

Critics' pick

Sunsiaré, the brains behind one of Asia’s most exciting new clubs, heads to Zhao Dai this Friday. Sunsiaré has been living in Asia for more than a decade and has become a key part of the regional scene since playing the opening night of Korner in Taipei back in 2012. Now based in Hong Kong, he is the music director of 宀 (Mihn) Club.

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Zhao Dai (招待所) , 19 Xinyuanli Xi Lu 22 Feb

If Beale Street Could Talk

Critics' pick

Set in early-1970s Harlem, If Beale Street Could Talk follows the story of a couple dealing with pregnancy while trying to prove the man's innocence of a crime.

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Camera Stylo , 64 Dongsishiyitiao 22 Feb Free

A Crash Course to the Forbidden City

Critics' pick

There's a whole lot of history surrounding the Forbidden City. And for a long time, this history was present in the middle of the city, but concealed behind the tall walls of Imperial China. Now that the Palace is open to us, get a crash course into the secrets of the Forbidden City led by Beijing Postcards. It's a humble attempt to unlock the meaning behind the chambers of the palace, in a brief yet entertaining and accessible way. 

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Street Photography

Critics' pick

Beijing, with its immense history, culture, and scenery, is a great place for one’s photography skills to be refined outside of the studio. In this programme, you will be able to take your camera on a trip around the streets of Beijing’s hidden treasures: undiscovered alleyways, local cultural gems, populated and unpopulated avenues, cityscapes, diversity hot spots, and more.

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The SLab , 7 Xinzhong Lu 23 Feb

Mozart, L'Opera Rock

Critics' pick

Original songs and Mozart classics combine in this dazzling show that follows a dramatisation of Mozart's life, exploring the music and the man that became immortal. Original songs include 'Le bien qui fait mal' ('The good thing that hurts') and 'Tatoue-moi' ('Tattoo me'), using the composer's melodies with a passionate rock twist.

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Tianqiao Performing Arts Centre (天桥艺术中心) , Tianqiao Nandajie 22 Feb , 23-24 Feb Buy tickets

National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra

Critics' pick

Conducted by Zhang Yi, the National Ballet of China Symphony Orchestra returns to the NCPA stage along with incredibly talented young cellist, Xu Xuanhan. This week, they perform classics from Bizet, Tchaikovsky and Balakirev.

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NCPA , 2 Xi Chang'an Jie 23 Feb Buy tickets

A Star Is Born

Critics' pick

Bradley Cooper directs and stars in this well-trodden fable about fame, recruiting a surprisingly unassuming Lady Gaga as his foil and love interest. She delivers one of this year’s most nuanced performances, as well as co-writing the film’s inescapable soundtrack. Oscars will surely follow. Possibly most of them.

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Camera Stylo , 64 Dongsishiyitiao 23 Feb Free

Pezzner

Critics' pick

David Brian Pezzner was born in California, and the American DJ and producer might look about as normal and Dad-like as they come. But when he's not looking after his daughter and wife, he writes music for nightclubs, teaches electronic music and DJs around the world with his techno sounds.

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Aurora Club , Sanlitun Bar Street 23 Feb

Songs To Make Love To

Critics' pick

Continue the celebration of love this weekend with Sugar House's throwback to the lovely days of '90s and '00s R&B tunes. Dance the night away with well-known love (making) songs spun by DJs Larry and Dirty Dishes.

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Modernista , 44 Baochao Hutong 23 Feb

Art Battle International

Critics' pick

Art Battle International is a live art competition that sees 12 artists compete in front of a live audience. Three rounds of 20-minute live painting sessions are watched by the audience, who then vote for the best artists to advance. Although there's only one winner by the end of the night, all of the art is auctioned to the audience.

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Yue Space , 7 Banqiaonanxiang 24 Feb Buy tickets

Craig David

Critics' pick

The one, the only, the man of a generation's dreams. Or some people at least. Craig David finally hits Beijing this week to play a DJ set under his TS5 guise, dropping R&B classics alongside hip-hop, house, dub, reggae and hopefully some of the classic noughties hits he made his name with.

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Beijing Exhibition Center , 135 Xizhimenwai Dajie 24 Feb Buy tickets
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