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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: September 16, 2010 @ 7:41 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend . . .

    Laurence Mackin

    Ah Fringe – you get enough PR off me, and besides, my regular weekend brown envelope has yet to arrive. So all our selections here are of a non-Fringe variety.

    Do: Something to support the arts today, on the National Day of Action. Today, 80 TDs around the country, including the Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for the Arts, are meeting with arts representatives to discuss the vital role the arts plays in this country. There are a number of events on around the country, and you can also send a letter to a TD expressing your support for the arts with a a few simple clicks of your mouse, thanks to the very active people over at the National Campaign for the Arts. Click here for more details and to get your angry arts face on.

    Listen: Brendan Benson is doing his solo thing around the country all this week. The singer-songwriter is taking a break from his gigging duties with the Raconteurs to live it up in Cavan, Dundalk, Belfast and Derry over the weekend before heading west and south next week. He’ll be relying on local support for a few of the shows, with SJ McArdle bringing his baritone to the Dundalk proceedings. This is an acoustic show, so don’t expect him to rip it up in his bluesy Raconteurs style, but he is a seriously accomplished musician so do expect a little bit of melodic beauty.
    Various venues, see here for details

    See: There aren’t many people who get their inspiration from underground, but then again Stephen Lawlor isn’t everyone. His latest exhibition, in the Oliver Sears gallery, is inspired by Ireland’s only remaining coppermine in Avoca, which now lies disused and is something of a threat to the landscape. The mine is joined by a seam of copper to Almwch in Wales (it’s astonishing to think of a band or rocky metal burrowing under the Irish Sea and into the Welsh countryside), and Lawlor has travelled to both mines to produces these vivid landscapes.
    29 Molesworth Street, Dublin. Until Oct 14th

    Sierra by Stephen Lawlor

    See: There’s nothing like a bit of blasphemy to cheer you up. So why not join the heathen masses and laugh yourself sick at the greatest religious movie of all time: The Passion of the, no, sorry, I mean Monty Python’s The Life of Brian (yes, yes, we know it’s not really blasphemous as Jesus’s part in the film is all of oh, five seconds at the beginning, but you get the point). The people who brought you Movies in the Park during the summer in Dartmouth Square in Dublin are taking to the capital’s streets and this screening is on tonight in Dublin Castle (weather permitting). So pop along tonight, bring a blanket and maybe an auld flask of tae, and bask in the glory of British comedy at its finest. Incidentally, in an interview I did with Michael Palin a while back (which you can read here if you’re so inclined), he said that in the wake of The Life of Brian there was a thrilling suggestion that they do an Old Testament follow-up, but several members decided it was unwieldy. How good would that have been? Oh well.
    Dublin Castle. Tomorrow, 8pm, €5

    So that’s our two cents, now what about yours? All recommendations are gratefully received, declare an interest where you have one, and if you do decide to check out Brendan Benson, and you decided to pick up his support, then this is what you can expect. Here’s a rather wonderful cover of Annie Lennox’s Why by SJ McArdle, from his forthcoming album.

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