Below you'll find fifteen more great things to do in Manchester this month; including a massive paint party, an art battle and a queer festival. After even more inspiration? You can also find our monthly Top 10 gigs, concerts, exhibitions and stage shows here.
THE LAND IS | PAPER Gallery | 7 January - 18 February
Part exhibition, part performance, Ruby Tingle’s solo show combines new artwork and a ‘living portrait’ with a new album of original music. Also an amateur naturalist, Tingle’s 3D collage installations transform earthly specimens into otherworldly creatures: flamingos become crushed pink sheets, shoes peep from beneath a bracken-wreathed adder and flowers become heads in the manner of Archimboldo.
PAPER, Unit 12, Mirabel Studios, 14-20 Mirabel Street, M3 1PJ (11am-5pm Sat; free).
HIDDEN | The Horsfall | 31 January - 11 February
In an age where people are living longer, putting ever more strain on the healthcare system and those that care for them, Hidden asks - “What can be automated and what needs a human touch? What is the future of 21st century care?” An immersive promenade performance set over three floors, Hidden marks the first project in The Horsfall’s ambitious arts programme (photo by Lee Baxter).
The Horsfall, 87-91 Great Ancoats Street, M4 5AG (various times; tickets £9.08 at eventbrite.co.uk, under 25s free).
RITE | Islington Mill | Friday 3 February
After a successful debut last year, RITE returns to Islington Mill for a night of live art, dancing and good vibes; with over 40 artists performing across several disciplines. Organisers describe it as ‘a fluorescent cabaret where people gather to rejoice in colourful abandon’ amidst a grey February night. Boost the saturation, sharpen the contrast and join in what is certain to be a magical event.
Islington Mill, 1 James Street, Salford, M3 5HW (10pm-4am; tickets £8 from skiddle.com).
CLUB BIG | HOME | 3 February - 17 March
We’ve had Ruby Tingle’s live portraits in The Land Is, now punk musician and artist John Hyatt takes the exhibition definition a step further - with a full-blown music club. Part of Hyatt’s exhibition Rock Art, Club Big takes place every Friday until 17 March; hosting bands, soloists, the supernatural and the dramatic. It even has its own Club Big House Band and a fully licensed bar.
HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, First Street, M15 4FN (6-9pm Fri; free).
LIFE IN COLOUR | Victoria Warehouse | Saturday 4 February
Talking of multihued happenings, Life in Colour most certainly qualifies. The world’s largest paint party hits the 5000-capacity Victoria Warehouse this February; promising paint cannons, aerialists, circus performers and a line-up headlined by Nicky Romero. Tickets are selling fast so best get in there quick.
Victoria Warehouse, Trafford Wharf Road, Stretford, M17 1AB (from 9pm; tickets at victoriawarehouse.com).
QUEER CONTACT FESTIVAL | Contact | 10-18 February
Queer Contact Festival returns for its ninth - and perhaps most significant - year, as 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of the Wolfenden Report, as well as the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality. A typically diverse programme spans mother’s ruin to scary monsters and Prince; with highlights including Le Gateau Chocolat’s Black and Word of Warning’s FK Alexander.
Contact, Oxford Road, M15 6JA (various times and prices, check the website).
MOSCOW STATE CIRCUS | EventCity | 10-26 February
Manchester will play host to one of the most spectacular circus displays in the world this February when the Moscow State Circus pitches up at EventCity for a show that’s been two years in the making. Whimsical clown Nicolino guides audiences through this famous show of Miracles - featuring acts like the Alikhanov Troupe, who ‘perform on two ten-metre poles balanced on a man’s shoulder, with three girls climbing to the top of said pole and five people walking the high wire.’ Yes, they lost us there too but we get the gist - it’s impressive stuff.
EventCity, Phoenix Way, Stretford, M41 7TB (various times; tickets from £18.75 at moscowstatecircus.com).
TRANSFIGURED NIGHT | Islington Mill | Saturday 11 February
Genre-bending new orchestral group, Manchester Collective, launch their thrilling opening programme with 400 years of western composition in this very unique gig: starting with Biber’s riotous sixteenth century depiction of drunks singing folk songs in a pub, through John Cage’s seasonal Baroque odyssey and Henry Purcell’s The Fairy Queen - finishing with Arnold Schoenberg’s seminal string sextet, Transfigured Night.
Islington Mill, 1 James Street, Salford, M3 5HW (7.30-11pm; tickets £12 at manchestercollective.co.uk).
ART BATTLE IX | Gorilla | Friday 17 February
It’s rare you get to see an artist create a 30 minute masterpiece from scratch. Add in an element of competition, with ten talented artists battling it out in rounds to be crowned Art Battle champion - a result that’s decided by the 300-strong audience - and it’s little wonder this live art show has become such a popular event. Thrilla in Gorilla promises even more added to the mix; with DJs, exhibitions and some ‘surprise new twists.’
Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, M1 5WW (7pm; tickets £11 from gorilla.seetickets.com).
VINTAGE KILO FAIR | Old Granada Studios | Saturday 18 February
With six tonnes of retro and vintage clothing, all at just £15 a kilo, the weigh ‘n’ pay Kilo is a bargain-lover’s heaven. Quality stock is sourced from around the world, including everything from branded sportswear to accessories and ‘funky patter shirts’ (whatever they are). Simply pay £1.50 entry, grab a bag, get rummaging - there’ll be scales dotted around so you can keep track - and pay up when you’ve finished.
Old Granada Studios, Quay Street, M3 3JE (10am-5pm; tickets £1.50 from Skiddle or on the door).
DAN & ROM SUPPERCLUB | North Star Deli, Chorlton | Friday 24 February
Currently taking the Northern Quarter by storm at their culinary residency at West Corner, Dan Barber (Odd Bar/Blue Pig) and Romin Farahani (ex-Hawksmoor, CAU and Jamie's) will be moonlighting at a special one off supperclub. They’ll be bringing their full-flavoured style of cooking to a pop up restaurant in the kitchens of Chorlton’s much loved North Star Delicatessen; macerating blood oranges, salt baking beets and devilling broccoli to make sure every ingredient is given their special trademark treatment. It’s seven courses, at just £35 per head.
418 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, M21 0SD (7.30pm; £10 deposit at eventbrite.co.uk).
BURGESS CENTENARY | International Anthony Burgess Foundation |Saturday 25 February
Best known for his dystopian satire A Clockwork Orange, now regarded as a twentieth century classic, Anthony Burgess is one of Manchester’s most prominent literary talents. The writer and composer would have celebrated his 100th birthday on 25 February 2017; to celebrate, his namesake centre is hosting a special live performance exploring Burgess’s life through his unpublished letters, in which he corresponded with everyone - friend and foe - from Angela Carter to Hunter S. Thompson. Prepare for a night of typewriters, music, rough cider and poison-pen letters.
International Anthony Burgess Foundation, 3 Cambridge Street, M1 5BY (7pm; tickets £5.70 from eventbrite or £7 on the door).
SIDEWINDER FESTIVAL | Bowlers Exhibition Centre | Saturday 25 February
As if Clubland Arena Live wasn’t enough to be going on with for one month, February also sees Bowlers host Sidewinder - a mega fest featuring more than 60 artists, six arenas spanning indoor and outdoor, extreme rides and a funfair. After a successful stint last year, numbering 10000 people, Sidewinder returns with a line-up including the likes of Lady Leshurr, Big Narstie and So Solid Crew.
Bowlers Exhibition Centre, Longbridge Road, M17 1SN (4pm-5am; tickets from £32.50 at sidewinderfestival.eventcube.io).
NEVER GOING UNDERGROUND | People’s History Museum | 25 February - 3 September
2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexual acts in England and Wales, which signified a gradual shift in attitudes towards LGBT+ rights in 1967. PHM’s visionary exhibition comes after almost two years of intensive research into the tumultuous tale of ‘pride and prejudice’ - whose latest milestone was the passing of the Alan Turing law this year - and will be accompanied by a full season of events; starting with Stuart Milk’s launch of OUTing the Past on Sunday 26.
People’s History Museum, Left Bank, Spinningfields, M3 3ER (10am-5pm; free).
THE CHRISTIE TOWER RUN | Beetham Tower | Sunday 26 February
Forget running on the flat, the real challenge is uphill - and there are few steeper gradients than a 47-storey building. There is one consolation, however: after a thigh-burning, 798-stair dash to the top of Beetham Tower, you’ll be invited into the iconic skyscraper’s Cloud 23 bar, where you can enjoy a glass of bubbly and breathtaking views across the city. Can you beat record holder Alex Cooke’s five minutes, nineteen seconds? There are fantastic prizes up for grabs if so. Prefer your runs a bit more linear? This month also sees the Cancer Research Winter Run.
Beetham Tower, 301 Deansgate, M3 4LQ (10am-2pm; min sponsorship £175, registration £20 at christies.org).