Going out: Cinema

The Iron Claw
Out now
This drama is based on the true story of the Von Erich brothers , competitive wrestlers in the 1980s, whose domineering dad (Holt McCallany) was aslo a former wrestler keen to live out his dreams through his sons. Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson and newcomer Stanley Simons play the brothers, in as delicious a bit of casting as we’ll see all year.

Occupied City
Out now
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) reminds us here that he started out in galleries, with a four-hour non-narrative portrait of the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, set alongside impressions of the city during the pandemic. The film is informed by a book by McQueen’s partner Bianca Stigter.

Your Fat Friend
Out now
Documentary maker Jeanie Finlay is known for showcasing people whose perspectives from outside of the mainstream. This time, it’s the turn of fat activist Aubrey Gordon, who over the course of six years goes from anonymous blogger to New York Times bestselling author, challenging the ways that fat is rejected or embraced by society.

Gassed Up
Out now
London teen Ash (Stephen Odubola) is trying to raise money to send mum to rehab and support his 14-year-old sister. Soon enough, he’s caught up in a world of mobile phone street theft, spiralling into jewellery store robberies, in documentary-maker George Amponsah’s feature debut. Catherine Bray

Going out: Gigs

Laufey. Photograph: Gemma Warren

10 to 17 February; tour starts Dublin
The Icelandic TikTok favourite arrives in the UK on the back of critical acclaim and a Grammy nomination for her second album Bewitched, which pairs Norah Jones-esque classicism with modern lyrical topics to devastating effect. Michael Cragg

New piano concertos
Royal Festival Hall, London, 15 & 16 February
The Festival Hall premieres two piano concertos this week. First, Alice Sara Ott is the soloist, before the following night Javier Perianes joins the London Philharmonic to introduce Francisco Coll’s fantasy for piano and orchestra, Ciudad sin Sueño. Andrew Clements

15 to 25 February; tour starts London
While work continues on her debut album – there was a mixtape in 2022 – Natasha Woods, AKA Dylan, road-tests new songs. Expect last year’s OTT rock opus, Rebel Child, and new single, the Taylor Swift-esque The Alibi, to be added to the setlist. MC

John Etheridge’s Blue Spirits
Fleece Jazz, Colchester, 14 February
Etheridge, one of the most stylistically versatile and entertaining guitarists in the UK, has worked with French violin legend Stéphane Grappelli, jazz-fusionists Soft Machine and classical virtuoso John Williams among others. This funky trio with organ and drums vivaciously confirms Etheridge’s enduringly deep roots in the blues. John Fordham

Going out: Art

Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s Cassava Garden. Photograph: Robert Glowacki/Courtesy the artist/ Victoria Miro/ David Zwirner

Dulwich Picture Gallery, London, 14 February to 2 June
Michael Armitage’s sultry, Gauguin-like paintings of African forests and Alberta Whittle’s explorations of places marked by the history of enslavement are among the contemporary takes on landscape art here. Hurvin Anderson, Isaac Julien and Njideka Akunyili Crosby also take part in a show that brings questioning eyes to a traditional genre.

Barbican Art Gallery, London, 13 February to 26 May
Tracey Emin is among the artists whose radical uses of fabrics are celebrated here. Ever since artists began experimenting with everyday materials in the 1960s, textiles have been part of modern art’s language. Judy Chicago, Cecilia Vicuña and many more help spin out a compelling argument.

Outi Pieski
Tate St Ives, 10 February to 6 May
Shards of colour like sun-kissed icicles or glimpses of the northern lights evoke the Arctic region in Pieski’s beautiful installations. This Sami artist, who lives and works in Finland, uses and reinvents traditional crafts, including tassel-making, to keep her history and culture kicking while crying out against northern nature’s death.

Habib Hajallie
Pallant House, Chichester, 10 February to 21 April
Hajallie does tough yet sensitive drawings with a steady hand. That sounds safe but his self-portraits are sharply political as he questions and singlehandedly corrects the colonial legacy and bias he sees in British art, replacing white male portraits with his own image in a show called Penned Into History. Jonathan Jones

Going out: Stage

A scene from Nelken. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch: Nelken
Sadler’s Wells, London, 14 to 22 February
One of the most striking works of the late choreographer Pina Bausch – and for someone who created so many eye-popping moments in the theatre, that’s saying something. Nelken means carnations, and there are 8,000 of them (made of silk) carpeting the stage. A piece of great beauty and pathos. Lyndsey Winship

Dear Octopus
National Theatre: Lyttelton, London, to 27 March
Fresh from captivating TV audiences in the brilliant crime drama Truelove, Lindsay Duncan stars in a revival of Dodie Smith’s moving comedy, which first opened in 1938. The play depicts three generations of a family, all brought together at a golden wedding anniversary.

Shed: Exploded View
Royal Exchange theatre, Manchester, to 2 March
Winner of the prestigious Bruntwood prize, Phoebe Eclair-Powell’s impassioned and powerful play follows three couples over 30 years – with domestic violence running as a startling thread through each story. Miriam Gillinson

Slapstick festival
Various venues, Bristol, 14 to 18 February
Impeccably structured jokes are all very well, but physical buffoonery is still where the belly laughs reside. This annual celebration of visual and silent-screen comedy delves into the archives: Adam Hills sings the praises of Buster Keaton and Hugh Bonneville introduces a trio of 1920s cinema classics. Rachel Aroesti

Staying in: Streaming

From left: Juliette Binoche and Emily Mortimer The New Look. Photograph: Roger Do Minh/Apple

The New Look
Apple TV+, 14 February
The ego-indulging, intensely pressurised world of high fashion has long been a breeding ground for real characters, meaning this series  chronicling the post-second world war rivalry between Christian Dior and Coco Chanel has some cracking raw material to work with. Stars Juliette Binoche, Ben Mendelsohn and John Malkovich will ensure not a scrap goes to waste.

Alice & Jack
Channel 4, 14 February, 9pm
Hot on the heels of the new One Day adaptation comes another tale of cosmically frustrated romance between two almost-soulmates. Andrea Riseborough’s Alice has a one-night stand with Domhnall Gleeson’s Jack: what follows is a messy entanglement eventually concluded by Alice’s disappearance – until years later, when she makes an untimely return.

Bring the Drama
BBC Two & iPlayer, 14 February, 9pm
Between baking, pottery-making, singing, tattooing, hairdressing and painting, at this stage there are few creative skills that haven’t been gamified into a feelgood reality format. Now we can add acting to the list, thanks to this new series presented by Bill Bailey, which tests the talents and the mettle of eight budding thesps.

The Vince Staples Show
Netflix, 15 February
Vince Staples is one of the most restlessly creative rappers working today – now he’s coming to shake up the sitcom. Set in his home town of Long Beach, California, this new comedy riffs on Staples’ cult status: he plays a “kind of famous, kind of rich” musician whose daily life is beset by a string of absurd crises. RA

Staying in: Games

Mario vs Donkey Kong. Photograph: Nintendo

Mario vs Donkey Kong
Out 16 February, Switch
Another remake, this time of the acclaimed 2004 Game Boy Advance puzzler , in which Mario must battle his oversized primate nemesis in a toy factory. Luscious updated visuals and a co-op mode add to the charm.

Tomb Raider Remastered
Out 14 Feburary, Switch, PC, PS, Xbox
A restored collection of the first three titles in the famed action adventure series, complete with expansion packs and secret levels. Surely, the perfect Valentine’s gift for Lara Croft nostalgics. Keith Stuart

Staying in: Albums

Photograph: Bellamy Brewster

Usher – Coming Home
Out now
Timing it to coincide with his Super Bowl halftime performance, enduring R&B loverboy Usher (above) releases his first solo album since 2016’s perfectly titled Hard II Love. Recorded in Atlanta with the likes of Lil Jon, The-Dream and Jermaine Dupri, it features 2023’s immaculate slow jam Good Good.

Zara Larsson – Venus
Out now
The outspoken Swedish pop star follows up 2021’s Poster Girl with this fourth album. Featuring collaborations with heavy hitters such as MNEK and David Guetta, Venus isn’t messing about when it comes to the banger quota, as evidenced by recent single You Love Who You Love.

Declan McKenna – What Happened to the Beach?
Out now
Billed by its creator as less intense than its predecessor, McKenna’s third album dials down the heaviness in favour of experimental indie seemingly influenced by MGMT and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The psych sound of the former weaves in and out of dreamy lead single, Sympathy.

Shygirl – Club Shy
Out now
Honouring her club roots, London sonic experimentalist Shygirl releases this dancefloor-ready EP. Featuring sweat-soaked collaborations with producers SG Lewis, Kingdom and Boys Noize, as well as vocalists Cosha and Empress Of, Club Shy is the perfect stopgap ahead of the follow-up to 2022’s album, Nymph. MC

Going out: Brain food

Law & Disorder podcast.

Law and Disorder
Retired judge Sir Nicholas Mostyn, barrister Baroness Helena Kennedy and former lord chancellor Charlie Falconer front this series that analyses the week’s news through the lens of the law. Expect impassioned disagreements on Prince Harry, privacy and more.

Eddie Woo
Australian secondary school teacher Eddie Woo is a master of making maths accessible. His classroom clips explain everything from basic probability to advanced geometry, via clear instructions and whiteboard demonstrations. Perfect for students and curious adults alike.

Eight Numbers to Understand China
BBC World Service, 11 February, 9.30am
To mark the lunar new year this week, presenter Celia Hatton delves into China’s complex history through the formative numbers that have shaped it. Despite the clunky conceit, Hatton covers vast ground from marriage to the zodiac. Ammar Kalia


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