Things to do this week is sponsored by Museum of London.
HEINZ BEANS: Celebrate all things beans at Selfridges. A pop-up is opening to mark the 50th anniversary of Heinz Meanz Beanz. Buy yourself a limited edition can for £2, or tuck into dishes including Beanz with scrambled egg or crispy bacon for £3. Selfridges Foodhall, just turn up, 27 March-23 April
WALKING FESTIVAL: Walking is a form of exercise and also a way of exploring a new area. Do both in this week long walking festival from CoolTan Arts. Various places and prices, book ahead, 28 March-2 April
FREE FILM FESTIVAL: West Norwood Free Film Festival takes place this week, with screenings of films including Finding Dory, The Goonies and I, Daniel Blake. Various locations around the area, free, book ahead, 24 March-1 April
Art review: portraits get abstract
Howard Hodgkin died just before this exhibition opened, so it acts as a fitting tribute to his varied career. Abstract portraiture seems like an oxymoron and many of these paintings are not obviously portraits, with bold colours that are so bright they leap off the canvas and often spread onto the frames.
The artist's aunt's head is not visible at the edges of the painting, leaving us to guess what she looks like — it sums up many of the paintings on display here and their sense of mystery. After a while the show does feel a little same-y but that doesn't detract from the brilliance of many of Hodgkin's works. Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends at National Portrait Gallery, until 18 June, £12 ★★★★☆ (open every day) Tabish Khan
Monday 27 March
TERRARIUM: A terrarium is an ecosystem unto itself. Learn about their history and how to care for them, and build your own at this creative workshop in Camberwell. The Tiger, £30, book ahead, 7pm-8.15pm
CLASSICAL MUSIC: Hear two of London's most popular choirs — Hackney Singers and Lewisham Choral Society — join forces to perform Bach's B Minor. Royal Festival Hall, £12-£32, book ahead, 7.30pm
INTEGRITY: Canadian turned Londoner John Hastings is bringing some much needed Integrity to this city, in the form of his new comedy show. The Soho Theatre, from £12, book ahead, 9pm, until 29 March
Video games and music: from 8-bit beeps to modern music
Have you ever sat back and listened to the background music of your computer game? Find out how popular music has influenced the gaming world at this Museum of London event.
From early 8-bit beeps to today’s sophisticated soundtracks, explore the changing landscape of video games’ sounds, and discover how the music and games industries affect each other. To bring your knowledge up a level, book now for Video Games and Music (part of the museum's City | Space | Video Games programme) on 27 March from 7pm.
Tuesday 28 March
WIRING UP THE BRAIN: Head to this Royal Society neuroscience lecture to find out how the eye sends messages to the brain using nerve cells. The Royal Society, free, just turn up, 6.30pm-7.30pm
SWANS ON THE THAMES: You may associate the Thames more with sewage than with swans, but this talk at Chiswick Pier Trust covers the history of swans on the Thames, including their Royal connections. Chiswick Pier Trust, £3, 7pm
FILM SCREENING: Serpentine Cinema ventures to Peckham for a screening of short films by artists Laura Provost and John Latham. Peckhamplex, £4,99, book ahead, 8.30pm
Wednesday 29 March
BEER FESTIVAL: The Wandsworth Common Spring Beer Festival brings 100 cask ales and 25 craft ciders to Le Gothique restaurant and bar, along with live music and festival food. Wandsworth Common, £4/£3, book ahead, 29-31 March
MICROHOUSING DEBATE: Is microhousing — the act of building smaller homes — an appropriate and effective way of dealing with London's housing crisis and ensuring that people aren't priced out of the city? This Centre for London debate brings expert panelists together to discuss the pros and cons of this solution. 7A Howick Place, Victoria, free, book ahead, 6pm-8.30pm
SCIENCE MUSEUM LATE: Get your geek on at Science Museum's monthly late opening. Go hunting for meteorites, watch your heart pump, or dance at the silent disco. 18+, Science Museum, free, just turn up (be prepared to queue), 6.45pm-10pm
DOCHEADS: A cinematic exhibition of short documentaries chronicling topics as varied as the far-right in Bradford, to car crashes in Cambodia. The Horse Hospital, £6, book ahead, 7pm
PUNK KINGS OF DYSLEXIA: Housmans bookshop hosts poet and punk-zine writer Stephen Micalef who will be reading from his book The Punk Kings of Dyslexia, a poetry collection about how the punk scene changed his life. Housmans, King's Cross, £3, book ahead,7pm
Thursday 30 March
FALSE SCIENCE: Londonist's own Matt Brown will be telling you why Everything You Know About Science Is Wrong. His new book picks apart some of the most-famous science 'facts' — you might want a word with your school science teacher by the end of the evening. The Bell, Spitalfields, £4, book ahead, 7.45pm
PLAYGROUND ANTICS: Relive your childhood in the Playstation (not the video game console). Dip into a sea of nostalgia for games more including duck, duck goose, Mafia and some new treats. Wac Arts, £10, book ahead, 7.30pm-9pm
NINA SIMONE: Nina Simone's drummer of 18 years, Paul Robinson, supports dramatic and gutsy singer Gill Manly who's performing her classics tonight. Brasserie Zedel, £20, book ahead, 9pm
Friday 31 March
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM: Dippy may be gone but the party goes on at the Natural History Museum's monthly late night opening. The theme this time is food — get your teeth stuck into talks and events on the theme of feasting. Natural History Museum, free, just turn up (be prepared to queue), 6pm-10pm
NINETIES THEATRE: The Skriker is a theatre production telling the story of a shapeshifter tormenting two sisters and the underworld. Styx, £15, book ahead 29 March-1 April
FOUND FOOTAGE: People have a lot of strange things lying about on an old VHS tape. You just never know what's going to turn up and usually it's pretty hilarious at the Found Footage Festival. Soho Theatre, £15, book ahead, 30 March-1 April
Theatre review: Puccini turns pain into poetry
The flower and willow world of 19th century Japan is corrupted by star-spangled selfishness in Puccini's celebrated tragedy. Waltzing effortlessly between seductive and sardonic, Marcelo Puente is easy on the ear (and eye) as the callous American lieutenant who marries and quickly abandons his novelty child bride, and Ermonela Jaho is mesmerisingly masterful as the fatally wronged Butterfly. Although a touch sedate at times, the production is exquisitely sung against a backdrop which reflects the shifting mood with a painterly presence. Madama Butterfly, Royal Opera House, Bow Street, WC2E, £31-190, 27 March-25 April, ★★★★☆ Holli-Mae Johnson
Saturday 1 April
SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: If you've got kids, you'll be well aware that it's the start of the Easter Holidays. Here's a guide to things to do in London over the break.
SEWING MACHINE MUSEUM: It's no April Fool, London has a whole museum dedicated to sewing machines. Take the opportunity to visit it on its monthly opening and see the exhibits, including a sewing machine which was given to Queen Victoria's eldest daughter as a wedding present. Balham High Road, free (donations welcome), just turn up, 2pm-5pm
CHEESE AND WINE FESTIVAL: Two of the finest goods known to mankind come together for a heavenly weekend of cheese and wine, with 25 traders offering up their wares (full list of traders here). East Village, free entry (charge for some events), just turn up, 1-2 April, 12pm-6pm & 11am-4pm
Sunday 2 April
AMERICANS IN MAYFAIR: Americans have had a special relationship with Mayfair since just after the War of Independence. Walk around and discover all the connections. Green Park, £10, book ahead, 11am-12.30pm
BOAT RACE: Today's the day of the annual Oxford-Cambridge river duel. If you're keen to see the action, we recommend settling yourself in somewhere along the course. Otherwise, The Crabtree in Fulham is having a bit of a do, as is the Chiswick Pier Trust. The first race begins at 2.45pm, but get there early for a good view.
FREE FILMS: It's the start of Camberwell Free Film Festival, which turns five this year. Today there's a choice: hit Disney offering Moana, or the slightly heavier documentary They Will Have To Kill Us First. Various locations, free, first come first served, until 10 April