While it may be glum and dreary elsewhere, here in Dubai February is one of the best months around. Our fair weather and blue skies attract the best in terms of pro-sporting events this time of year – golf's Omega Desert Classic, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship; the Dubai Cycling Tour; and the cricket Masters Champions League.
But apart from spectator sports, there is so much going on this festive February (literally, almost everything is a 'festival') in terms of food, music, art, performances, workshops and amateur athletic events over the next four weeks that your diary will be crammed no matter what it is you happen to be into.
Without further ado, a quick briefing of some of the fun things you should check out this month:
BECAUSE WE CAN - A hiphop club night
Do you like to boogie down to the sounds of Grandmaster Flash; sing along to Run-D.M.C.; and bump and grind to Ginuwine? Then this is the dance party for you. This old-skool cool night will be spearheaded by East London legend DJ Janeen Beanz with sets by two of Dubai's finest party-starters: DJ MoCity and Kev Fresh. So lace up your trainers and get ready to dance, dance, and dance some mo.
10pm - 3am, Friday February 5th; Spirito, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City; free entry and 50% off selected drinks and bottles
Then first Friday of every month after that.
French Ciné Days
Foreign cinephiles ought to be informed that every month the Alliance Française screens two French flicks. Apropos of the upcoming Women's Forum in Dubai (on the 23rd and 24th, FYI) Alliance will be showing female-focused films in Feb. Ciné Day Vintage will feature Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 classic Le Mépris (‘Contempt’), starring Brigitte Bardot; and Ciné Day La Nouveauté will show Fidélio, l’Odyssée d’Alice (‘Fidelio, Alice’s Journey’) a 2014 Lucie Borleteau feature.
Le Mépris is showing on Tuesday, February 9th at 8pm; Alliance Française Auditorium, Oud Metha; free entry.
Fidélio, l’Odyssée d’Alice is showing on Tuesday, February 23rd at 8pm; Alliance Française Auditorium, Oud Metha; free entry.
We were psyched to find out that this awesome outdoor electronic dance music party has made its way back to Dubai for another season. Fans of EDM should check out at least one of two sessions on this month: Feb 6th features the talents of Amsterdam's Miss Melera, Berlin-based Jan Blomqvist and Blue Marlin UAE's Jixo and Danz. The next instalment has the classically trained DJ/Vocalist Francesco Lombardo and superstar techno producer Sébastien Léger. Spinning alongside these heavyweights are local talents Rami Chami and Kay Tek.
Saturday, February 6th and Saturday, February 20th, party starts at 1:00pm; The Address Montgomerie Hotel, Emirates Hills; tickets start at AED 150, get them off Platinum List
Themed hot dogs at CLAW and more importantly, the Super Bowl
So someone at this crab shack came up with the genius idea of monthly themed hot dogs – or 'hatdawgs' as they like to call them. Feb's 'dawg' is 'The Mexican Connection', a beef 'dawg' spiced with smokey beef bacon and flamed with jalapeno, served on a brioche roll with Chipotle mayo and fries.
More importantly, they'll also be showing the Super Bowl live – yes, LIVE – at 3 am on Monday Feb 8th whilst serving breakfast (no booze). There'll be a repeat showing at the more humane hour 7pm (with booze), but the game results will be spoiled by then...
Tex-Mex dawgs are available throughout February at CLAW in Souk al Bahar, Downtown Dubai; or be insane and watch the Super Bowl live on Monday, February 8th at 3am, repeat at 7pm; 04 432 2300
The pop up 'Flow Piano' at Barsha Pond Park
This interactive installation (last spotted next to the Park House Cafe but who knows where it'll pop up next) invites passersby to take turns at the piano and share their experiences online (#PopUpPianoUAE). A project by the curatorial platform Banafsajeel and designed by Dubai-based artist Majid Alyousef, the piano is covered in Mondrian-inspired colour-blocked calligraphy. If you're utterly lacking in musical talent and happen to be at the park on a Saturday afternoon, grab some grub from one of the vendors at the Ripe Night Market and settle down on the grass to watch randoms pound the keys. Some of them are actually rather good.
The Flow Piano will be at the Al Barsha Pond Park all month long – make sure not to miss it! Check it out what the deal is here.
The Pretty Chic Boutique market
This Feb The Reform Social and Grill's lakeside grounds will host Pretty Chic Boutique's market day. The bazaar will feature an exclusive range of fashion, jewellery and home accessories from local brands with boho flair like 2 Birds and Child of the Tropics. To grease the wheels of commerce, the afternoon will be fuelled by bubbles: buy two glasses of the sparkly stuff and get the rest of the bottle for free.
11am to 6pm on Saturday, February 6th; The Reform Social and Grill, The Lakes; 04 4542638
Short+Sweet Dubai 2016 – Acts I, II and III in under 10 minutes
Here's a depressing fact: the average human attention has shrunk to a disconcertingly brief 8.25 seconds. Someone caught on to this and came up with Short+Sweet, an international theatre festival where every play clocks in at 10 minutes or less. The concept has been quite a hit here in Dubai and is now back for its fourth instalment. We're not sure how well-written the scripts are or how good the acting will be (honestly, how much character development can be done in ten mins?), but it's certainly something to check out.
S+S is on all February long at The Junction Theatre in Al Serkal Avenue in Al Quoz; learn more about the productions and get your tickets at shortandsweet.org
London College of Fashion's short course programme at d3
If you're entertaining thoughts of entering the fashion industry, listen up! The London College of Fashion is setting up shop at the Dubai Design District, a.k.a. d3 (all lower case please) from February 1st to the 11th. The programme includes courses like 'Fashion Drawing', 'Visual Merchandising', 'Luxury Fashion Brand Management' and 'Starting Your Own Fashion Label'. If you're an budding designer, fashionista, or just feel like spotting the odd fashion 'influencer', check out the available course offerings and book your place here.
Monday, February 1st to Thursday, February 11th; d3, TECOM; like I said, check the courses out at arts.ac.uk
Charles Aznavour at the Dubai Classics 2016
Now in his 90s, the French-Armenian singer/songwriter Charles Aznavour is still going strong. The crooner oft hailed as France's own Frank Sinatra edged out Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan as CNN's most influential entertainer of the 20th Century. If you love old-timey French romantic tunes and want to see someone who's collaborated with legends like Edith Piaf, Ray Charles and Ol' Blue Eyes himself, then you should definitely book your tickets now.
7:00pm Friday, February 12th; The Dubai World Trade Centre, SZR; tickets starting at AED 295, get them off platinumlist.net
Marine Life Lovin at Atlantis, The Palm
You know how when you live somewhere you never go to visit the place's biggest tourist attractions? Atlantis is trying to change all that by showing some love to UAE residents with amazing day package deals. The Animal Lovers package starts with a behind-the-scenes tour of The Lost Chambers Aquarium, followed by a feeding session with the Cownose Rays. The Dolphin Lovers deal has you swimming with the critters at Dolphin Bay. Both packages are a bargain at AED 550 per person and include a pass to the Aquaventure Waterpark with a complementary meal. The only catch? A valid UAE ID must be presented.
Dayum it feels good to live in Dubai...
Packages valid from now till mid-March, but you should clearly visit during February, because this post is about February. For bookings call 04 42 61698 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The surreal 'UFO: Circus From Another Planet'
If you enjoy the odd night out at The Act or Cirque le Soir, you'll be chuffed to hear that the Moscow State Circus is bringing this unique concept to our doorstep. Picture this: an average dude gets sucked up into a giant alien spaceship and meets a slew of fantastical creatures from another galaxy. They then proceed to trapeze, juggle and perform all sorts of acrobatics around him. A cool 7 million euros have been funnelled into the construction of amazing costumes, bizarre galactic landscapes and intense light and laser installations. Probably not a good idea for anyone with epilepsy, but certainly a wonderful experience for anyone who enjoys a spectacle.
Wednesday, February 10th to Saturday February 13th; Dubai Arena, Dubai World Trade Centre; get your tickets at ufocircus.ae
GPP2016's Dubai Photo Week
Gulf Photo Plus, the organisation at the core of the Middle East's photography community, is putting on its annual photography festival this Feb. There will be workshops. There will be exhibitions. There will be talks and seminars. And there will be a lot of digital SLR cameras floating around. Some big names in the industry will be there and photography enthusiasts will be flying in from all over the world. Whether you've just bought your first proper camera, have been an advanced amateur for years, or are an actual pro photographer, GPP2016 is a great opportunity to pick up skillz and connect with other photo nerds. If anything, it'll up your Insta-game.
Friday, February 5th to Friday, February 12th; Dubai Knowledge Village; register for workshops and the like at gulfphotoplus.com
Fancy photos with Studio Harcourt
Another photography related event series but on a slightly posher note. France's Studio Harcourt, known for its stunning black and white portraits, is coming to town. Head to the exhibition to take in glamorous photographs of celebs across the decades (Harcourt has been around since 1934). If you like what you see, you can book a photoshoot for yourself and your family during the week of February 7th to the 15th, but be warned: it'll cost ya!
Exhibition starts at Sofitel, The Palm on January 31st; your window of opportunity to have your portrait taken by the esteemed studio's photographers runs from Sunday, February 7th to Monday the 15th. Book your spot by emailing email@example.com
RedFest DXB 2016
Dubai's biggest music festival is back this year with a killer lineup that includes Rita Ora, Steve Aoki, Fifth Harmony, Adam Lambert and Trey Songz amongst others. I'm personally most excited about seeing Eva Simons, who sings 'Policeman'. You know, the song about dropping her jigglin down to the floor.
One thing to note about RedFest: they're prohibiting selfie sticks. I repeat, NO SELFIE STICKS. And for the love of god, don't be that annoying person who sticks their iPhone up in the air the entire time to take videos instead of actually watching the performances. You're ruining it for everyone.
Thursday, February 11th and Friday, February 12th; Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City; buy your tickets at redfestdxb.com
If wellness and inner peace are high on your resolutions list this New Year check out Xyoga. Globally-recognised yogis will be offering classes in the full range of yoga styles as well as meditation workshops. You don't have to be any good at yoga to take part. There will be sessions for practitioners of all levels and kinds: kids, pregnant ladies, aspiring instructors and absolute beginners.
The weekend won't only be focused on yoga, rather the 'full 360 holistic lifestyle.' So expects stalls selling outlandish yoga pants, kale chips, activated charcoal and free-from-whatever personal care products. Also, there'll be live music and performances, so if all you want to do is check it out without committing to doing any vinyasas, go for it.
Friday, February 19th to Saturday, February 20th; Burj Park, Downtown Dubai; book your session(s) at xyogadubai.com
Experience street art by artist Richard Hambleton at La Cantine de Faubourg
La Cantine de Faubourg, possibly the chicest venue on the Dubai dining/drinking/lounging scene, is currently showcasing limited editions of the works of Richard Hambleton. The progenitor of street art as we know it, Hambleton is best known for his Image Mass Murder series (chalk murder vic outlines liberally splashed with blood, done on the streets of 15 major cities in North America) and his Shadowman paintings. Pop by La Cantine for a drink, soak up the bougie atmosphere, and take in the works of the man known as the godfather of street art. If you have spare cash lying around (like, at least AED 500K), you might even get to take one home.
Ongoing until Monday, February 15th; La Cantine de Faubourg, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Trade Centre Area; 04 352 7105
The M1 Run 2016
Do you enjoy a physical challenge?
Is the StairMaster your fave machine at the gym?
Are you a little insane?
Then sign up for the M1 Run!
This vertical run has participants race up all 42 stories of the Media One Hotel. The huge sense of accomplishment you'll feel once you make it to the top comes along with being feted at the finish line with official photos taken. Plus there are all sorts of hefty money prizes to win. Afterwards you can head down to the M1 pool for the "Get Chic Done" lunch at a discount – no need to change, just show up in your sweat-soaked shorts and pit-stained T-shirt.
10am on Saturday, February 20th; Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City; AED 99 for individuals, AED 399 for teams; call 04 427 1000 to enter or register at premieronline.com
The Dubai Jazz Festival
Feb is full of music but the two musical highlights of the month are the above mentioned RedFest and the Dubai Jazz Festival. Now in its 14th year – a very long time by Dubai standards – this music festival draws big names. This year, they've got Carlos Santana, David Gray, James and Chris Botti featuring Sting(!). They've also got youtube phenomenon (phenomena?) Postmodern Jukebox opening for 80s pop-rock band TOTO.
I know what you're thinking: this lineup really isn't all that 'jazzy', is it? Well the organisers have addressed this very issue by giving this year's event the theme 'Much More Than Jazz'.
Show up anyway.
Wednesday, February 24th to Friday, February 26th; The Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai Media City; tickets starting at AED 350, get 'em at ticketmaster.ae
The Dubai Food Festival
Yet another festival, but in my opinion this has to be the best fest of all. DFF is a city-wide event celebrates Dubai's wicked culinary scene: the ever popular Beach Canteen is springing up once again; they've set up the first ever Dubai Restaurant Week; celeb chefs are flying in for meet-and-greets; Fatafeet (The Food Network equivalent in the MidEast) is putting on cooking demos; and a hunt for the hidden food gems of Dubai is on. Most vital of all, there will be lots and lots of food. Scrummy!
The DFF kicks off on Thursday, February 25th and goes on till March 12th. It'll be taking place all over Dubai, so check out what's going on at dubaifoodfestival.com
The X Dubai Reebok Spartan Race
If you're still feeling lively after the M1 Run, you might need to push yourself a little harder by signing up for one of the Spartan races. Held across 21 countries, this insane obstacle course, supposedly the toughest in the world, has come to the UAE to find Spartan warriors amongst our average residents. Dubai will play host to two of the three challenge levels: the Spartan Sprint, a 5K run punctuated by over 15 obstacles; and the Spartan Super, a 13km run with over 25 obstacles. Mud pits, walls and barbed wire are just some of the obstacles listed...the race website also mentions fire. Yes, fire.
Friday, February 26th at the Jebel Ali Racecourse; register for either event at spartanarabia.com