Travel: Global Agenda

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The Independent Culture
Berlin

A perfect way to escape the biting February wind in (pictured) is to retire to a warm cinema and savour some of the choice celluloid offerings of the 49th International Film Festival. Although a less glitzy affair than Cannes or Venice, there's no doubting the quality and eclecticism of the programme: this year's retrospective will feature the complete works of Otto Preminger and the homage is devoted to Shirley MacLaine, while is the only mainstream film festival to have an awards ceremony dedicated solely to gay and lesbian film - the Teddies.

Running at various cinemas in (00 49 3025 4890) to 21 Feb, DM12- DM18 per film.

Washington DC

Former members of London's D'Oyly Carte Opera company are staging The Best of Gilbert and Sullivan, a lighthearted show featuring melodies from some of the duo's most famous operas, including The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance and HMS Pinafore. The singers - Deborah Clague, Patricia Leonard, John Ayldon, David Mackie and Geoffrey Shovelton - will also be airing pieces from some less well-known works, such as Ruddigore, The Sorcerer and Princess Ida, as well as interspersing the music with anecdotes about performances in London, and stories about Gilbert and Sullivan and Richard D'Oyly Carte himself.

Baird Auditorium, National Museum of Natural History, Tenth & Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC, USA (00 1 202 357 3030) tomorrow 3pm and 7pm, $21 per performance.

Madrid

You're always spoilt for choice for parties in Spain's capital, but some events have better locations than others and the beautiful Bellas Artes building takes some beating. The subtitle of Esto se acaba... (This is coming to an end...) reflects the fact that this year's baile de mscaras (masked ball) is the last of this millennium, so you can be sure that the costumes, music and performances will be superb.

Crculo de Bellas Artes, 42 Calle Alcal, Madrid (00 34 91 360 5400) today 11pm-7am, Pts6,500.

San Francisco

One of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art, San Francisco's Asian Art Museum is an apt venue for celebrating the Tibetan new year.

A traditional festival will be led by the Chaksam-Pa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company, which was formed in 1989 to preserve the traditional performing arts of Tibet. Alongside the singing and dancing, there will be a ceremonial offering to the gods, and activities such as the telling of folk tales, a treasure hunt and the making of prayer flags.

The audience - swelled, no doubt, by locals who attended Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's very successful Tibetan Freedom concert two years ago - will be encouraged to participate.

Gruhn Court, Asian Art Museum, Kennedy Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, USA (00 1 415 379 8801) today, noon-3pm, $4-$7.

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