If you only do one thing this weekend
Visit: The Chester Beatty is one of those museums that I don’t visit enough. Its current exhibition, Muraqqa, featuring imperial Mughal albums and folios from its own and other collections, is nearing the end of its run, so this is the perfect excuse to visit one of the best museums in the country. The exhibition features six albums compiled in India between 1600 and 1658 for the Mughal emperors Jahangir and Shah Jahan (the latter built the Taj Mahal as a mausoleum to his wife). These are small in size but bewildering in intricacy – the gallery has magnifying glasses strewn around the room so you can take a closer look and you will need to, to really appreciate the staggering craftsmanship that has gone into these pages. Some of them have been scored and painted with the tiniest marks that pick up the light as you move past them and reveal sudden bursts of colour, even more than 400 years after they were first created. A small and perfectly formed exhibition that is a pleasure for whiling away an afternoon. See it while you still can.
Dublin Castle. Free, until October 3rd
See: There are some fans whose degrees of devotion can only be measured in increments of rabidity. Those who worship The Frames, for example. Or Morrissey. And then there is Wilco. If you’re male and of a certain age, chances are you have involuntarily found yourself shuffling north for no reason you can particularly nail down, like a bearded whale in an ironic T-shirt on its way to a late summer breeding ground, instinctive guitar-based urges pushing you on. And when you find yourself tonight at the Open House festival in Belfast’s Custom House Square, and those first jangling opening chords ring out, as Wilco take to the stage and prove why they have a reputation as being one of the slickest acts at work today, all will be well in your rock and roll heart. And we salute you for it, you magnificent, slightly hirsute comfortable colossus.
Custom House Square, Belfast. Tonight, 7pm, £32.50
Take in: Everything. If you are in the capital over the next two weeks, this is what is on your doorstep, because whether you noticed it or not, the Fringe has rolled into town. Have you spotted the dancers spontaneously breaking into funky grooves at the bus stop? Have you noticed odd Monopoly-esque houses floating on the Liffey? Have you found yourself in strange theatrical spaces struggling to figure out just what the hell has gone wrong and how did I end up here? We love the Fringe. So should you. Check out the catalogue, pick a bunch of shows, and let your imagination run riot. Be prepared to experiment and you’ll have two of the best weeks of arts entertainment that Dublin can muster. No recommendations here, I’m afraid – just go to the website and find out for yourself.
Everywhere, Dublin. Until September 26
Listen: We’re a bit Dublin-centric this week, and for this we do apologise, but if you have your own ideas for what’s going on around the country, let us know below. Within the east coast, Dún Laoghaire seems to be the best area for promoting arts events, and this weekend sees the closing few days in another literary landmark, the Mountains to Sea Book Festival. Tomorrow, among other events, DBC Pierre and Andrew O’Hagan go toe to toe, there’s a tribute to the legendary JG Farrell, and Eoin McNamee and Stuart Neville will be swapping the witty banter. On Sunday, the last day of this literary shindig, Garret FitzGerald will be talking with Olivia O’Leary, Jennifer Johnston will be in conversation with Eileen Battersby, and Alex Miller and John Banville will be sharing a stage. A short selection of events to whet your literary appetite. For more details, click here.
If you have your own ideas, let us know below and declare an interest where you have one, thank thee muchly. Last night, I caught a fascinating night of percussion and experimentation at Trinity College Dublin’s Science Gallery (about which I’ll be writing later), which was topped off by world-class percussionist Evelyn Glennie. Much of the fascination with Glennie – apart from her astonishing ability – lies in the fact that she is deaf, and this raises all sorts of questions about how we listen to music. Here she is giving a speech to a TED conference on how we need to listen to music with our entire bodies. It’s long, but it’s well worth it. Enjoy.