Pursued by a Bear »

  • Books you read when you were a lad

    September 30, 2009 @ 10:45 am | by Fiona McCann

    I remember Tom’s Midnight Garden. The magic of night-time and half-lights and a friendship that bridges genders and generations. I remember Ballet Shoes, as a middle child of three girls, each one identifying with a Fossil, and how pleased and proud I was to find in Petrova the tomboy I felt. I remember Little House on the Prairie, The Hobbit, Little Women, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Peter was my first crush, sigh), the five findouters, the faraway tree and a story about two girls who swapped identities in a train station, and another about a secret garden behind an overgrown wall. I remember sneaking to the window to read by the light of the streetlamp oustide after my mother had turned the light off. I loved books as a child, still do. Which is why the Children’s Book Festival, kicking off tomorrow, makes me at once nostalgic and excited about the wealth of stories in store for young imaginations today. the festival, launched tomorrow by Philip Ardagh at Cork City Library, will run for the full month of October, and offers young readers all over the country plenty of bookish goodies, including readings, poetry performances and creative writing workshops. (More information about events near you at www.childrensbooksireland.ie). So what were the books that marked your childhood, the stories recalled, read and reread, and the ones you still remember from being young?  
     

  • Once And For All We’re Going to Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up And Listen

    September 28, 2009 @ 10:05 am | by Fiona McCann

    If you’ve been sapped of all energy just reading its title, then the above play (can’t bring myself to retype) could have been the end of you altogether. Depending on your take, it was either an enervating if voyeuristic insight into what it is to be a 21st century teenager, or a draining reminder of the distance between you and them. (more…)

  • The Manganiyar Seduction

    September 25, 2009 @ 11:57 am | by Fiona McCann

    The Dublin Theatre Festival kicked off last night with 42 Indian musicians performing a spine-tingling spectacle that brought the audience to its feet. The stage was like an Advent calendar of curtained cubicles, each one opened and lit to reveal a singer or musician as they joined in the show. Strings, percussion, reed and voice were expertly layered in this highly choreographed concert, building to a crescendo that had even the most circumspect on the edge of their seats. The Manganiyars, a community of travelling Muslim musicians, traditionally sang before the kings of Rajasthan though on Dublin Theatre Festival opening night they performed instead for an audience that included many of the honorary royals of Irish arts. Those in attendance included writer Colm Toibin, Arts Council Chair Pat Moylan, Eugene Downes of Culture Ireland and all manner of actors, producers, directors and luvvies.   Kudos to Festival Director Loughlin Deegan for a risky but rewarding opening night gambit – bringing 42 Indian musicians to a Dublin stage is no small feat, but the result is a show that will lift an audience to new places and resound for some time to come. Go and be seduced.  For more information, click here.

  • Campaigning for arts

    September 23, 2009 @ 1:01 pm | by Fiona McCann

    The National Campaign for the Arts is up and running, folks, with a brand new website: www.ncfa.ie, and a very real agenda – to assert the importance of the arts to economic recovery. The campaign also calls for the retention of Culture Ireland, the retention of the Irish Film Board, the maintenance of funding to the Arts Council, the retention of the artists’ income tax exemption scheme, and a commitment to retain the arts portfolio at cabinet as part of a senior ministerial portfolio. And why? Because those involved – producers, festivals, venues and organisations involved in all manner of arts – believe the arts are central to economic and social recovery. Here’s what Gerry Godley, director of Improvised Music Co, thinks . What do you think?

  • Final Fringe round-up

    September 22, 2009 @ 9:34 am | by Fiona McCann

    Sixteen days have gone in a flash of burlesque and Borges, of backwards fairytales and manic vegetables, of ping pong pub quizzing and shopping centre shenanigans, and this year’s Absolut Fringe festival has come to a close. But the city that has hosted it, whose street corners, parks, windowsills and bushes have all been colonised by this artistic escapade, is still recovering.

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  • And the winners are . . .

    September 21, 2009 @ 10:36 am | by Fiona McCann

    It was glamorama at the Spiegeltent’s last night (sob) in Dublin’s docklands for the 2009 Fringe Awards. Hosted by La Clique’s Mario Queen of the Circus and with performances by Ponydance, Shane Byrne, The Candidates and The Amazing Few, it was a fitting send-off for a beloved venue and a fun finale to a fabulous festival. For those of you who missed the mayhem, here’s a list of the winners…

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  • The Legend of Zocorro

    September 18, 2009 @ 10:20 am | by Fiona McCann

    The lights go down. A masked, dark-haired woman in a black dress strides on to the stage, where a single microphone awaits. This is Zocorro, avenger of myriad injustices and self-described epitome of a modern Irish woman. She comes charged with an extra helping of testosterone and ready to sacrifice love or bare whatever is necessary to achieve her goal: to be crowned the Rose of Tralee. (more…)

  • Apocalypse when?

    @ 7:33 am | by Fiona McCann

    In a big-windowed building on the corner of Cow’s Lane and Essex Street West, three artists – namely Sinead McGeeney, Aideen Darcy and Veronica Forsgren – are surrounded by black balloons. Watch them pull them into artistic shape if you happen to trundle by, or catch the grand unveiling in Cow’s Lane at 4 p.m. where the audience can get involved. . . .

  • Jesus Has My Mom In There And Has Beat Her Up Real Bad

    September 17, 2009 @ 11:52 am | by Fiona McCann

    It’s taken me so long to type out the title, I’m not sure how much energy I have for the rest of this post, but suffice to say that this Loose Canon piece is a thought-provoking, if at times unthreaded, exploration of movement, migration, memory and love. An excellent cast – Simon Coury and Caitríona Ní Mhurchú are particularly magnetic – give presence and pace to this entertaining and diffuse piece of experimental theatre, all the more impressive considering the same cast had been simultaneously rehearsing Anatomy of a Seagull, which also went up in the Absolut Fringe festival last week. One to watch.

  • On the Fringe: Wondermart

    September 15, 2009 @ 2:35 pm | by Fiona McCann

    Supermarket interactions are not often artistic endeavours. Unless, that is, they come courtesy of Rotozaza, the folks behind last year’s Fringe hit Etiquette . This year, they’re arming the willing with an MP3 player and sending them into supermarkets, skewing this everyday retail experience through the simple mechanism of a voice in the ear. As you, the sole audience member, wander through the aisles and follow instructions, you are commanded to engage with packaging, labels, the bright lights, your fellow shoppers, and the shelves of clamouring products, on a whole new level. (more…)

  • Nobody puts Baby in the corner

    @ 9:46 am | by Fiona McCann

    For the day that’s in it, a tribute to the twinkle-toed Mr Swayze. What can I tell you? Still sends shivers up my spine.

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  • Fits over arts: cultural catch up

    September 11, 2009 @ 12:13 pm | by Fiona McCann

    So. The Fringe Festival continues apace, with plenty of goodies including the haunting and beautiful The Enemies at the Joinery ,  a visual and audio treat based loosely on a Borges story, which finishes tonight. Catch it if you can. If that’s not your bag, Paul Auster is reading with his wife Siri Hustvedt at the Mountains to Sea book festival which kicked off in Dun Laoghaire yesterday. The festival continues over the weekend with readings from Sebastian Faulks, John Carey, John Boyne, Claire Kilroy and Douglas Kennedy. More information here.

     Meanwhile, it’s only two weeks away to Culture Night, now a nationwide event with eleven participating towns and cities around the country. There’s plenty planned, including a ceili trail in Roscommon, a secret city tour of Limerick, an Artmobile in Waterford and a Guinness world record attempt for the largest Irish dance ever in Tralee. And then we’ll be into the Dublin Theatre Festival. Culture is, like, totally constant these days.

  • Is this thing on?

    @ 11:04 am | by Fiona McCann

    Twenty comedians tell us their favourite jokes in today’s paper. Mine is a whale joke that is impossible to transcribe (clue: it involves whalish noises and is very, VERY loud), so I’ll substitute with an old classic to get the ball rolling: “Woman walks into the bar and asks the barman for a Double Entendre” Pause.  ”So he gives her one.” HAHAHA. OK, fair enough. But which ones from today’s selection made you laugh? And what are your (printable) favourites? Over to you lot. . . .

  • Chris de Burgh sees red

    @ 9:36 am | by Fiona McCann

    You’ve seen it by now, haven’t you? Chris de Burgh’s response to Peter Crawley’s review of his gig? If not, read it here. And here. My favourite line: “how you must have cringed at every call of “Chris, we love you””. But that’s just me. What do you all think? And, vitriol,  self-aggrandisement and  vicious sideswipe at Joe Breen aside, does he have a point in there? Discuss, with use of relevant quotation and reference. . .

  • Please look after these plants

    September 10, 2009 @ 10:06 am | by Fiona McCann

    Phase four of the colonisation project has kicked off as part of this year’s Absolut Fringe, with 19 window boxes placed in various locations around the city, containing assorted flowers and herbs. The idea is for Dublin citizens to take charge, minding the boxes’ growing contents and even relocating them if they deem fit. Carts to help in said relocation process are available from the Fringe Headquarters on Sackville street. More information on www.colonisation.ie – let us know if you spot ‘em.

  • More fringe reviews . . .

    @ 10:01 am | by Fiona McCann

    More fringe reviews in today’s paper: Ponydance’s Where did it all go right? gets the full five stars.

  • Battersby on the Booker

    September 9, 2009 @ 10:54 am | by Fiona McCann

    Eileen Battersby gives her verdict on the shortlist here. I had the misfortune to begin working my way through the longlist starting with books that didn’t end up on the shortlist, so now I’m way behind (and still have to finish Me Cheeta). “Yesterday, and not for the first time, the Booker Prize looked in serious need of rescuing – from itself,” says Battersby. Y’all agree? What’s your take on the shortlist, and on past winners ? Personal favourite from the past ten years? I’ll go for Vernon God Little. You?

  • Booker shortlist and no Paddies

    September 8, 2009 @ 11:15 am | by Fiona McCann

    The Man Booker shortlist is out and none of our compatriots have made it through to the final six. So hard luck Trevor, Colm and Ed, but kudos to AS Byatt, JM Coetzee, Adam Foulds, Hilary Mantel, Simon Mawer and Sarah Waters. Full shortlist details here.

  • Fringe: Round 1

    @ 10:31 am | by Fiona McCann

    The first reviews are in of Absolut Fringe shows from over the weekend: Have a gander. And feel free to air all disagreements here.

  • Missing the picnic

    September 4, 2009 @ 3:41 pm | by Fiona McCann

    A very inconsiderate friend has decided to get married in Oxford this weekend, depriving me of my annual Electric Picnic fix. It’s a dangerous game, on his part, though I sense he won’t even notice if I wear my wellies and carry my tent to his wedding. Meanwhile, those of you heading to Stradbally have so many treats in store, and you must fly my pretties, fly to the gigs I need to attend vicariously through you lot. So try fitting this lot in and reporting back at your leisure: Bat for Lashes, Brian Wilson, Billy Bragg, David Kitt, Fleet Foxes, Lykke Li, Lisa Hannigan, Bell X1, Flaming Lips, Florence and the Machine, Jape, J. Tillman, Seasick Steve, Villagers and Zero 7. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t miss Donal Dineen in Body and Soul or DJ Sally at Thisispopbaby. Thanking you all.

  • On the fringe (again)

    September 2, 2009 @ 9:35 am | by Fiona McCann

    It’s three days to kick-off for this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival – oops, we mean Absolut Fringe – which means this blog is coming up to its one year anniversary. But more of that anon. First off – who’s going to what? I’ve got my eye on the Loose Canon piggyback project (two shows, one cast), Gerardo Naumann’s Useful Play, Rotozaza’s Wondermart and a host of other goodies, but am definitely taking recommendations given the size of the programme. It’s also worth noting this is your last Fringe chance to see La Clique and to attend shows at the Spiegeltent, which this year retires as an annual festival fixture. Ah, the memories . . . So, who’s going to what, and why?


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