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The Warsaw Voice » Other » May 7, 2008
The £ód¼ Voice
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£ÓD¬ - Center of Poland, Center of Action
May 7, 2008   
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£ód¼, once a center of the textile industry, has now become a city of festivals, film and art. In 2016, it aspires to become European Culture Capital. The city stages over 60 festivals and attracts visitors all year round.

The festival season starts in winter with the International Festival of Pleasant and Unpleasant Plays (www.powszechny.pl). Spring is the time of the Mediatravel International Festival of Explorers, Travelers and Active People (www.mediatravel.pl) and the Reanimacja Animated Film Festival (www.reanimacjafestival.com). In the summer, lovers of jazz, film music and independent cinema flock to the city to attend the Jazz Oscars, Film Music (www.kinomuzeum.pl) and OFF It's Hot (www.offjakgoraco.pl) festivals. In autumn, £ód¼ hosts the Dialogue of Four Cultures Festival (www.miasto-dialogu.pl), which shows the city's multicultural past, while the Fluo-Session (www.ldk.lodz.pl), Design (www.lodzdesign.com) and Cartoon (www.festiwalkomiksu.prv.pl) Festivals show the £ód¼ of today and of the future. Every year ends in a grand style in the city. The Explorers Festival (www.festiwalgor.pl), Camerimage International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography (www.camerimage.pl) and Tansman International Competition of Musical Personalities (www.tansman.lodz.pl) attract crowds of enthusiasts.

May celebrations

May is a month rich in artistic and cultural events, the most important of which are the annual £ód¼ Day celebrations (www.swietolodzi.pl). This year May will also be very eventful. The varied program will provide something for everyone who comes to Piotrkowska Street on the final weekend, May 17-18, irrespective of their age and interests. For a few days the street will turn into a stage, racing track and fair grounds.

Dancing £ód¼ is the motto of the £ód¼ Day celebrations this year. Dance shows, courses and workshops, the Samba Parade, £ód¼ Rock Stage shows, and concerts by the Bracia and Budka Suflera bands are only some of the attractions prepared for the thousands of people who will come to the events. Participants in the popular Dancing with Stars TV show have promised to turn up.

The city's 16 museums will open to visitors in the night of May 17 as part of the European Night of Museums. Admission will be free and visitors will be invited to take part in additional attractions.

On the crest of a wave
For over 20 years £ód¼ has hosted the Kubryk Shanty Festival (www.kubryk.szanty.pl), one of the most popular folk events in Poland. The festival will be a perfect match this year for Laurent Ballesta and Pierre Descamp's outdoor exhibition entitled Planet Ocean-Discovering the World of Marine Biodiversity. Like last year's The Earth from the Air exhibition, which was seen by 1.5 million Poles, Planet Ocean will be displayed in Staromiejski Park and will be open to visitors round the clock free of charge. For several months, from May 15 to Sept. 28, the exhibition will be accompanied by an educational program, an online contest and weekly outdoor film screenings. The work of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Nicolas Hulot, Laurent Ballesta, Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Luc Besson will enhance environmental awareness and sensitivity to the fragile beauty of the world's seas and oceans (www.centrumziemi.eu).

It is worth mentioning that £ód¼ has Poland's largest water park, Aqua Park Fala (www.aquapark.lodz.pl).

Zooming in
It is a must to pop into the 19th-century factory interiors of the £ód¼ Art Center (www.lodzartcenter.com) and to come to the Fotofestiwal-International Festival of Photography (www.fotofestiwal.com). This year, visitors will have an opportunity to look at the world through the lenses of outstanding photographers for the seventh time. The focus will be on the Far East. The main program, Made in China, will be dominated by contemporary photography to be shown at two exhibitions: China New Photo, highlighting the work of Chinese photographers, and Western Eye on the East, with the work of Western photographers.

The program of the festival includes workshops, meetings and lectures with well-known photographers, an auction, slide shows, portfolio reviews and the contest for the Fotofestiwal Grand Prix (main prize).

The Open Exhibition (www.otwartawystawa.com) is a multimedia event designed to bring together the city's artistic community. It is a review of the work of professionals and amateurs in fine arts, music, film and dance.

The city's textile tradition is reflected in Golden Thread (www.mtl.lodz.pl), the most prestigious competition for young designers. The final show will feature pret-a-porter collections of casual clothes and "premiere vision" collections of fancy clothes.

£ód¼, once a textile city, is now showing a new side to the world. It has become a promised land for artists, lovers of film, theater and photography, travelers and musicians-for everyone interested in culture and art. It is for these people that £ód¼ adds something new to its artistic events every year. And it is with these people's help that the city has made a bid to become European Culture Capital in 2016 (www.lodz2016.com).
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