FILM

The mesmerising Les Enfants du Paradis (left) begins a short season of Marcel Carne pictures at the Barbican tomorrow, paying tribute to the master of "poetic realism" who died late last year. Made in 1945, the haunting Enfants regularly tops the list of all-time favourites for film-makers and critics alike. Borrowing its title from the punters who holed up in the top gallery of a Paris theatre of the 1940s, it parades the charade of life by following the lives of an actor, a courtesan, a criminal and a mime artist as they slip through the streets and theatres of gas-lit Paris - and become fatally entwined. Also showing in the coming weeks are the lesser known Le Quai Des Brumes (Port of Shadows) and Le Jour Se Leve (Daybreak). The first follows the fate of an army deserter, the latter an ordinary worker (the great Jean Gabin) driven to murder. Epic melodramas, beautifully shot.

The Barbican Centre, Silk St, London (0171-382 7000) from Sun

LITERATURE

Radio 1 scribe Simon Armitage, is a poet of the people - a diversifier, spreading the rhythmic word to all corners of the country. As such, he gets about a bit. At the end of last year, he was dispatched by Faber to Iceland (along with pal Glyn Maxwell) to follow in the footsteps of poet ancestors W H Auden and Louis MacNeice. The result was Moon Country, a diverting description of their stay, which included Armitage's comic discovery that a line of one of his poems, "kipped for an hour in the cash point lobby" had been translated into Macedonian as "smoked fish for 60 minutes in the wage demonstration".

The same winning fusion of adventure and humour inform his performance in Yorkshire tonight, where he recites poetry to the throbbing accompaniment of Simone Rebello.

The Shed, Brawby, Malton Yorkshire (01653 668494) 8pm pounds 7.50

COMEDY

Grand lord of the landlords Al Murray (above) raises a pint and a few laughs in Glasgow on Monday as he continues his national tour. Spiking his drinks with brutish wit and a generous measure of xenophobia, Murray's bilious reflections are pub politics seen through a glass darkly.

Caledonian University, Glasgow (0141-332 0681) 9pm Mon

CLASSICAL

As well as writing hit shows such as the Threepenny Opera and songs like "Mack the Knife", Kurt Weill collaborated with both Ira Gershwin and Ogden Nash to create successful shows in Europe and on Broadway. This weekend, a celebration of his work and life takes place at the University of Sunderland. The festival displays a multi-media thoroughness in its appreciation of its subject, including films, talks (Alan Fearon discusses Weill bodies) and plenty of concerts. A highlight will be the Northern Sinfonia's rendering of his Violin Concerto, while the Northern Lights Gala Orchestra provide a mixed programme featuring everything from Stravinsky's "Ebony Concerto" to Joplin's rags.

University of Sunderland, St Peter's Campus, Sunderland (0191-514 2517) w/e ticket pounds 25

ART

Plundering from film and fable, Portugese painter Paula Rego's acrylic narratives (right) explore areas of ambivalence. Reinventing familiar fairytales, Rego fills them with characteristically chunky figures who breed unease, characters we think we know are invoked and subverted to blur the lines between love and hate, trust and power. A new exhibition of the artist's work opens at Liverpool's Tate Gallery today, featuring more than 80 of her paintings, along with early sketches and drawings, on show for the first time. Tate Gallery, Liverpool (0151-709 3223)

EVENTS

Spuds you like, spuds you don't like, spuds you've never heard of... natty tatties will be centre-stage in Coventry today, as the nation celebrates the humble spud. At Ryton Organic Garden, visitors can choose from 100 varieties of seed potato and find out how to fight blight. Chefs will be on hand to show how to transform your brown-skinned root into a mashed, sauted, baked or chipped delight.

Ryton Gdns, Coventry (01203-303517) 10am-4.30pm pounds 2.50

DANCE

London has Spring Loaded, but Birmingham has Moving Parts. Starting on Friday, the festival features the vibrant Ricochet Dance Company (right), whose programme begins with "Treading the Night Plain". Created by choreographer Rosemary Lee, the piece imagines an eerie, suspended world where dancers are poised to take flight.

MAC, Cannon Hill Park Birmingham (0121-440 3838) 14 Feb 8pm pounds 7

POP

Conscience-stirring anthems such as "Luka" and "Marlene on the Wall" made Suzanne Vega the artist of choice for a whole generation of soulful students. Then she packed up her acoustic guitar and disappeared. Now, after four years, she's back, touring with a splendid new album, which shows she`s lost none of her lyrical skills. A whole new set of quirky narratives prove folk isn't the sole preserve of earnest beards but can be quite playful and quirky, too. Tonight, UEA, Norwich, Norfolk (01603-505 401) 7.30pm pounds 10

THEATRE

Fans of Armistead Maupin's chronicles of swinging San Francisco can see Babycakes, the fourth book in the series, on stage (left) until the end of the month at the Drill Hall, before Clyde Unity's loving adaptation heads north to the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh.

Drill Hall, Chenies St, London (0171-631 5107) to 1 Mar

HYPE ALERT

Busy executives who haven't time to visit galleries to purchase prestige office decor will be pleased to hear about fax art. An offshoot of 1950s "Mail Art", this is the ultimate in mass reproduction, allowing artistic mail-outs from the likes of David Hockney to reach the public at the push of a button. The Hayward's touring show, Networking: Art by Post and Fax (above) explains all. See it at the Spacex Gallery in Exeter next week.

Love Bytes is a Valentine's night at the Museum of the Moving Image aimed at singles searching for their Super Mario. Lovelorn nerds are invited to zap blind dates at Perpetual Ping Pong, the ultimate computer love game.

Less virtual, but more romantic, might be a visit to the orchid festival at Kew - 20,000 wild species of the fleshy flora will be on show from 14 Feb

Comments