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The Maids Written by Jean GenetNaach Theatre Company14 and 15 February, MAC Theatre, Birmingham,phone 01214403838<a href="http://www.naachtheatre.com" target = "_blank">www.naachtheatre.com</a> IN THIS unusual and biting perspective on class relations, two maids of a wealthy woman live out a rich fantasy life.

Take a journey to the heart of Turkish culture


FEAR AND hatred of all things Islamic and Middle Eastern is nothing new. Within a relatively short period of time from the 7th century, Islam spread across the Middle East, North Africa and finally into Europe itself, through Spain. Christendom was threatened and outraged. The Eastern Roman Empire faced a new foe — a new "barbarian at the gates".

Capturing the essence of a human being


Schweppes Photographic Portrait Prize 2004National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin’s Place until 20February

In brief


The Return of Jack SplashPlantlifeGut Records PLANTLIFE ARE the missing link between hip-hop and funk, caught somewhere between Sly and the Family Stone, Prince and Outcast.

Scottish poet whose lips could not be sealed


Robert Burns lived in the last third of the 18th century, a time of the most rapid change in Scottish history. The agrarian revolution was squeezing the peasantry, the class into which he had been born, out of existence. The industrial revolution was underway.

An unexciting film that will still knock you sideways


SidewaysDirected by Alexander PayneReleased Friday 28 January

In brief


End of the century — the story of the RamonesDirected by Jim Fields and Michael Gramaglia

A transatlantic history of musical fusion


The British jazz scene has often been overshadowed by its much larger American cousin. But a new series starting on BBC4 next Friday lifts the lid on the development of jazz in this country. In doing so, it offers a fascinating glimpse of Britain’s multicultural history.

Fairy-tale account of horror and beauty in the First World War


A Very Long Engagement Directed by Jean-Pierre JeunetReleased Friday 21 January

in brief


The Rotters’ Club BBC2, starts Wednesday 26 January, 9pm

Children whose lives are caught in a vice


THERE’S A bedroom. A cosy bed, storybooks, toys, pretty curtains, birthday cards. Look closer. The effigy of a little girl on the bed. Is she dead? Unable to move? Above her men’s shoes dangle.

A loud and rebellious compilation dedicated to Joe Strummer


Rock the KasbahVarious artists

In brief


Turtles Can Fly (Lakposhtha ham paraz mikonand) Directed by Bhaman Ghobi

Stamping an identity on the anti-war movement


Many people know you for your stamp designs. How did you first come be involved in that?

A detailed examination of the horror of the Holocaust


Auschwitz: The Nazis and the Final Solution

In brief


Requiem for a Black Soul

Art and culture for 2005


Cinema

Bob Dylan: reluctant hero who spoke for his generation


"A song is like a dream, and you try and make it come true. They’re like strange countries that you have to enter. You can write a song anywhere, in a railroad compartment, on a boat, on horseback &#8211; it helps to be moving" &#8211; Chronicles, p165.

Unexpected impressions from a face to face encounter


Manet Face to Face

In brief


Visions of Zimbabwe: When Words Fail Art Speaks

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