Pursued by a Bear »

  • Guess who’s coming to dinner

    March 30, 2009 @ 11:14 am | by Fiona McCann

    None other than Tom Doorley, reachable at his brand spanking new blog on this very website: http://www.irishtimes.com/blogs/megabites/ Raise yizzer glasses . . .

  • Dear Ms Greer

    @ 10:28 am | by Fiona McCann

    Why, asks Germaine Greer in the Guardian today, didn’t more women paint back in the olden days? The answer posited by la Greer goes thusly: “Women, being generally more rational than men, are aware that life is more important than art.” Ahem. And there was I thinking that such gender reductionism was what we’d all been fighting against. Well. She goes on: “This is simple logic: art is a part of life, therefore art cannot be greater than life.” Simple, yes – verily, it trips off the tongue. Logic? Not quite.  Still, she makes a good point about art spilling out of the frame of late “because the museum is not where it’s at” (Tell that to the Taoiseach). “There are plenty of dyspeptic critics who see, in the fading away of the picture frame and the spilling of the artwork into real life, the end of art itself. It seems more likely that art is being transformed from an antisocial preoccupation into something more conscious and committed. In a threatened world, the eternal monument looks increasingly pathetic and ridiculous.” All good stuff, but does that answer the question to anyone’s satisfaction? Why haven’t women been painting for years (or were they drawing, but not being recognised), and why are more women artists emerging now (if Greer’s role call of contemporary female artists – Marina Abramovic´, Silvie Bélanger, Mona Hatoum, Annette Messager, Cornelia Parker – means anything)?

  • Poetry Now

    March 27, 2009 @ 3:40 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Off to Harry Clifton’s reading tonight. He’ll be joined by Tomas Venclova. That is all.

  • The Fate of the Modern

    March 26, 2009 @ 6:07 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Three-time US poet laureate, critic and essayist Robert Pinksy is giving the keynote address at the DLR Poetry Now festival tonight. According to the programme, he’s going to talk about “how what he calls the ‘mighty tide’ of modernism sets an example of poetic commitment and engagement to meet the challenges from a cynical age.” Any takers?

  • Ask my arts

    March 25, 2009 @ 11:16 am | by Fiona McCann


    As you all know by now, some gifted prankster recently placed paintings – caricatures, essentially – of our esteemed Taoiseach in the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) and the National Gallery. RTE reported it. And then the Taoiseach’s office had a quiet word and RTE apologised. Whatever your feelings about the nature of the joke, the work itself, or the manner in which it appeared (and come ON, can anyone really believe that our government representatives are above satire?), the fact that our national broadcaster performed a mincing U-turn is nothing short of shameful. Your thoughts, dear readers?

  • Anseo

    March 24, 2009 @ 10:54 am | by Fiona McCann

    Absence having hopefully made the heart grow fonder, I’m back, anseo in the oifig,  post-Berlin (note to booksellers: please start stocking Christopher Isherwood again) and post-Paris (that part was a surprise), and have missed all sorts of Arts and Culture news. Thankfully, the good John Self has kept me abreast of things like the Orange Prize longlist, where I see names like Marilynne Robinson, Toni Morrison Deirdre Madden, and a lot of other contenders. Anyone care to place bets?

  • Hello to Berlin

    March 15, 2009 @ 1:38 pm | by Fiona McCann

    I am off to Berlin to avoid Dublin on St Patrick’s day. Blogging will be temporarily suspended, and I’ll be attempting instead to just take it all in.  Recommendations for Berlin recordings are most gratefully accepted. In the words of one Mr Isherwood: “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking.”

  • Writers in Association, Residence and other such locations

    March 11, 2009 @ 3:41 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Playwright Phillip McMahon has been named as The Abbey Theatre’s 2009 Writer-in-Association. Which means a bursary for McMahon, the founder of thisispopbaby and writer of Danny and Chantelle (still here) and All Over Town, as well as finding his name in the same sentence as those of former Writers-in-Association Sebastian Barry, Marina Carr, Hilary Fannin, Mark O’Rowe and Enda Walsh.  Good news at last from sponsors Anglo Irish Bank and possible proof that they’re not all bad. Any thoughts on the national theatre’s choice for the award?

  • Status quo

    @ 11:18 am | by Fiona McCann

    Reading: Bright Shiny Morning by James Frey (With Ed O’Loughlin’s Not Untrue and Not Unkind lined up for afters)

    Attending: Ages of the Moon at the Peacock tonight.

    Listening to: Bon Iver. Still.

    Checking out: http://events.artscouncil.ie/ - FINALLY!

  • Outside the black-and-white lines

    March 8, 2009 @ 8:21 pm | by Fiona McCann

    A. A. Gill is not a writer I always admire. But he shone when he wrote on poetry in a piece that appeared in the Sunday Times today. “Most of us are gaffed, flayed, stitched up and stuffed by poems,” he said.  “We’re marked out and buoyed up by them. Even if we haven’t read a new one for a decade, still there are verses that are the most precious and dear cultural amulets we own, hidden in the dead letter boxes of our hearts. Ask anyone what’s right at the centre of their personal culture and it will be poetry. Snatches, lines of verse, we take them to our end. A poem is a thing that transcends its construction.” I don’t know if I agree that asking anyone will reveal that poetry is at the heart of his or her cultural matter,  but I know that’s true if you ask me. And now I’m asking you: what are the snatches, lines of verse that you will take to your end?

  • Good choice surprise for Choice Music Prize

    March 5, 2009 @ 12:56 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Jape won the Choice Music Prize Irish Album of the Year for Ritual in a decision that was surprising for being, for probably the first year in the history of the prize, unsurprising. Hurray for a buzzing, bouncing joy of an artist.

    YouTube Preview Image 

  • Words and women

    March 4, 2009 @ 1:12 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Feminist Open Forum marks International Women’s Day tonight with readings from Catherine Cullen, Claire Kilroy, Medbh McGuckian, Eilis Ni Dhuibhne and Enda Wyley among others at the Central Hotel tonight at 7.30 p.m. Billed as a “celebration of women’s writing”, the event raises the question of whether identifying writers by their gender is even helpful or necessary in this day and age. After all, A.S. Byatt has rejected any identification of herself as a “woman writer”, publicly denouncing the women-only Orange Prize in Britain as sexist, and refusing to have her novels ever submitted for consideration for the prize. “What is it about being a woman that is particularly under threat, in need of attention, or indeed distinctive from being a man when it comes to picking up a pen?”  Alain De Botton famously asked when the prize was first established. Anyone care to answer?

  • Ask the audience

    @ 12:13 pm | by Fiona McCann

    In her recent interview with this paper, Pat Moylan, the new Arts Council Chair made it clear that much of her focus will be to get bums on seats, and paying bums at that. So how does she do that, exactly? Perhaps it’s time to ask the audience. As bums yourselves, what would get you on a seat in one of Ireland’s theatres? What kind of performing arts productions will you pay to see in these penny pinching times?

  • Irish Times Theatre Awards Part Deux (et Trois, et Quatre, etc)

    March 3, 2009 @ 1:10 pm | by Fiona McCann

    I am too tired to post having spent all of yesterday writing this and this, oh and this. That’s it for the Theatre Awards for another year at least, which usually serves as a reminder (to me at least) not to miss all the good stuff this year. Recommendations for plays to watch out for in 2009 will be gratefully received.

  • Irish Times Theatre Awards

    March 2, 2009 @ 10:28 am | by Fiona McCann

    Back in the Burlo after a sojourn in Santry, the Irish Times Theatre Awards had it all last night: liquor,  Lanvin and lots of luvvies. For a full list of winners, see here.

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