Summer is nearly upon us as we find ourselves outdoors more and more and enjoying the sunshine. This month, this city has a number of interesting events to get you outside and to enjoy the cultural side of Istanbul. The following is a list of events are of particular interest to expats to learn more about their adopted home and to meet some of the like-minded individuals they share it with.
Istanbul has a growing Spoken Word community with regular events held for open microphone performances by poets, singers, stand-up comedians, writers, actors and anyone who wants to take the stage for six minutes, with performances held predominantly in English. On Tuesday, May 31, Spoken Word will be held at Arsen Lupen in Beyoğlu starting at 8:30 p.m. This month, the Spoken Word crew will be getting out of town to Datça for a Writers Retreat held from Monday June 13 to Sunday, June 19. The retreat and accommodation will take place at a hotel sprawled against a hilltop in this picturesque town, allowing writers the opportunity to find their creative flow in nature, sharing the process with other like-minded individuals. Prices vary from TL 110 ($37) to TL 260 per night depending on the type of room and number of people sharing.
Istanbul's very own all-age expat-heavy English-language theater group will be putting on their summer performance of "M@tthild@ the Musical" at Profilo in Mecidiyeköy on Friday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 4 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 3 p.m.. Tickets are TL 40 for adults and TL 20 for children with all proceeds going to charity.
Organized by the arts and culture platform Istanbul '74, the Istanbul International Arts and Culture Festival, aka IST. Festival will take place this weekend from June 3 to June 5, under the theme "The value and experience of Aesthetics in Arts & Culture". Going into its sixth year, this festival brings together leading figures in art, design, fashion, publishing, literature and architecture for a series of talks, exhibitions, signings and screenings that are free and open to the public. The festival starts off on Friday, June 3 with the opening of an exhibition by photographer and music video director Anton Corbjin, known for his striking portraits of many rock and alternative music icons that will take place at the Istanbul '74 Gallery in Galatasaray from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
On Saturday, June 4, the festival continues with a series of talks by a variety of inspiring and innovative speakers including Silvia Venturini Fendi, creative director of accessories and menswear brand Fendi, perfumer Ben Gorham, model and editor-in-chief of 25 magazine Anja Rubik, actor Rupert Friend and actress Belçim Bilgin. The panel will take place from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Vakko Headquarters in Üsküdar and will include a book signing by Dazed Media founder Jefferson Hack. Sunday will also be a full day devoted to speakers including actress Parker Posey, musician Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth, artists JC de Castelbajac, Robert Montgomery, Miroslaw Balka, Seza Paker, author Latife Tekin and music group Konstrukt. The event will take place from 12:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the exclusive Soho House Istanbul's Big Room and will conclude with Jose Parla's film screening.
Istanbul Bike Festival
The third International Istanbul Bike Festival will take place from June 2 to June 5, gathering bicycle-lovers from all over the country in this four-day event that will hold daily rides including a Bosporus tour, a ride through the old City of Sultanahmet and across the Bosporus Bridge. For out-of-towners, a camp area with stands for 300 people will be set up in Yeşilköy. The cost is TL 50 to camp out and early registration is required.
The Istanbul 2. El Festival, will take place from June 11-12 at 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on the grounds of the Kilyos Yeşilçiftlik Restaurant. There will be over 250 stands of recyclable items as well as stands where you can donate and purchase items with proceeds going to charity. The event is free and open to all with hourly shuttle taking off from the Hacıosman metro stop to Sariyer.
Istanbul Music Festival
IKSV will also be hosting their 44th Istanbul Music Festival, running from Wednesday, June 1 to Friday, June 24. This year's theme is the Shakespearean verse "If Music be the Food of Love, Play On." This classical music festival will feature over 600 international and local artists in 26 concerts held at 17 different venues in the city.
Mind Body Festival
"A three-day discovery of the mind, body and soul', from June 3 to 5, the Mind Body Festival, will host dozens of workshops on a variety of holistic healing practices at Santral Istanbul, with tickets available on biletix.
World Yoga Day
In celebration of International Yoga Day: on Sunday June 19, starting at 9:30 a.m., Istanbullu yogis will be gathering at Maçka Park for a full-day of free yoga, including acro and children's yoga as well as a Chi Gong session.
Nordik Film Days
From June 4 to June 29, Akbank Sanat will be hosting a film series of with two films each representing Norwegian, Finnish and Danish cinema. Tickets are 5tll and films are shown in their original language with Turkish subtitles.
Int'l Women of Istanbul
The International Women of Istanbul, a members collective which hosts a variety of interesting events for expats, will be holding a BBQ Brunch at the Marriot in Şişli on June 5, which starts at 10:30 a.m. and is also a cook-and-learn-experience with chefs on hand to teach the intricacies of grilling. On June 8, is their annual members-only summer lunch at the chic Sunset Grill and Bar in Ulus and on Sunday, June 12 the IWI hosts a Family Fun Day from 12 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Bomonti Fransiz Fakirhanesi. Entry will be free at this event that will have lots of activities such as a silent auction, face-painting and bbq all geared towards the kids.
Symposium on Byzantine Identity
For the more intellectual-minded, the Vehbi Koç Foundation and Koç University's Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations will be hosting the Fourth International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium on Thursday, June 23 to Saturday, June 25 under the theme "Byzantine Identity and the Other in Geographical and Ethnic Imagination". This symposium, which is free and open to the public, however registration is required, will have nine sessions with researchers from all over the world presenting on 25 topics.