Travel: Global Agenda

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The Independent Culture

Where can you see a World Heavyweight Championship bout without a blow being thrown? At the Poetry Circus, where Wanda Coleman, from Watts, Los Angeles, will be squaring up to World Champion Sherman Alexie for the title of World Champion Heavyweight Poet. The winner in this war of words will receive the Max Finstein Memorial trophy. This is the 18th year of this 10-day event and in addition to appearances by internationally renowned poets, visitors will be able to enjoy two Poetry Slams, a video festival, masterclasses and free performances for children.

, New Mexico, United States (00 1 505 758 1800) from tomorrow until 13 June, $3-pounds 50


The Chilean architect Roberto Matta turned to painting in 1937 and, inspired by such artists as Mir, Picasso and Dali, was one of the first non-European converts to Surrealism. After flexing his political muscles creating work based around the Cuban revolution and Chile's Allende government, he went on to reintroduce Surrealism into Europe, influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement he had himself helped form. "Roberto Matta" at Madrid's lovely Reina Sofia museum is a collection of more than 100 paintings by Matta, who inspired Jackson Pollock among others.

Reina Sofia Museum, 52 Santa Isabel, Madrid, Spain (00 34 91 467 5062) until 21 June, closed Tuesday, Pts500


The annual Chicago Gospel Festival is the largest outdoor, free event of its kind, and an opportunity to share in some of the beautiful music this city has built its soulful reputation on. This instalment - the 15th - sees three stages in the leafy lakeside Grant Park hosting more than 40 performances, with gospel artists from around the world. The Total Living Network/Gospel Youth Tent will feature open-mic sessions as well as special performances and other activities for children, and the fun kicks off at 6pm on Friday evening.

Various venues, Chicago, United States (00 1 312 744 3370) from Friday until 13 June, free


For Berliners, the new millennium coincides with a new city, rebuilt with an energy fuelled by optimism for its future as the new seat of Germany's government. But it's a new city which acknowledges its past, as shown by Richard Rodgers' sensitive renovation of the Reichstag and Daniel Liebeskind's evocative Holocaust Museum. A whole range of shows and events are lined up for the countdown to 2000, with the city itself being turned into a huge exhibition in "Berlin: open city" from this weekend. Guided tours and signs pointing out sites of interest will be backed up by a book about Berlin, which shares the name of the exhibition, while performance artists will convert the city into a huge stage. Throughout Berlin, Germany (00 49 30 254 890) from tomorrow until 1 January 2001