Pursued by a Bear »

  • Enter Paul, Pursued by an Album Club

    October 22, 2010 @ 7:30 am | by admin

    Daragh Downes here. My thanks to Laurence Mackin for his kind invitation to guest post here on the new Ticket Album Club, which kicks off in today’s issue of The Ticket.

    Each month we will be asking a small group of people from different walks of life to take one key release and really live with it for several weeks. They then come into us and share their first, second and eleventh impressions of the album. Is it a grower? A shrinker? Or just a plain old stinker?

    For our first Album Club we gave copies of the new Interpol record to:

    -Pursued by a Bear’s own Laurence Mackin
    -Dublin student Nike Olumide
    -Recruitment specialist Theresa Black
    -Undertones frontman & top indie/alternative DJ Paul McLoone. (more…)

  • Hibernating bear

    October 14, 2010 @ 5:28 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    This bear is heading off on holidays for two weeks which unfortunately means I’ll miss the end of the Dublin Theatre Festival (sob, sob) but does mean I’ll get to drink cocktails when I would usually be slaving over a hot keyboard (clink, clink). So comments on the various posts will be updated (Fantasy Band continues to cause ructions) but there will be no new posts from me for about 10 days.

    Keep an eye out tomorrow, though, when Darragh Downes will be swooping in with a guest post to coincide with The Ticket’s shiny new Album Club, which I managed to talk my way into before heading for sunnier climes.

    I’ll be leaving this comments thread open for your own discretion. Perhaps you could let me know how things work out at the end of the DTF. See you in a few weeks.

  • The greatest band in the world ever …

    October 12, 2010 @ 9:24 am | by Laurence Mackin

    … is the Fallopian Tubas. That’s right, peeps, the Fallopian Tubas.

    Introducing on vocals, Nina Simone. Drums, Brian Blade. Bass, Reid Anderson. Guitar, Ryan Adams. And trumpet, Miles Davis.

    This is most rock and roll outfit ever to call stage home, and is the product of the Irish Times Fantasy Band challenge. A few weeks ago, I asked a few Irish Times critics to name their ultimate five-a-side musical line-up. The rules were simple. The band had to have one front person, drummer and bass player, and two others; No more than two dead people for the starting five; No more than one person from one band (players in crossover bands are allowed); Each band must have a name and a short explanation as to why this is the best band ever. This is not a list of the best musicians – this is the best band as a unit working effectively together.

    My line up is above, and the other chancers’ two-bit part time bunch of wastrels are below. You can read our justification for picking the players we did here, and we’ll be printing a number of readers’ selections online in the coming days, but know this – you won’t improve on my perfect unit.

    TALKING HEADERS
    Manager Sinéad Gleeson
    Vocals Prince
    Drums Tony Allen
    Bass Tina Weymouth
    Guitar PJ Harvey
    Keys/other Noah Lennox

    BALLYMUN FACELIFT
    Manager Tony Clayton-Lea
    Vocals Nina Persson
    Drums Larry Mullen Jr
    Bass Nicky Wire
    Guitar Tom Verlaine
    Cello Jacqueline du Prè

    VELLA’S CAULIFLOWERS
    Manager Jim Carroll
    Vocals Ella Fitzgerald
    Drums Elvin Jones
    Bass Tina Weymouth
    Guitar Steve Cropper
    Other stuff Flying Lotus

    THE QUOTAS
    Manager Anthea McTeirnan
    Vocals Beth Ditto
    Drums Meg White
    Bass Tessa Pollitt
    Lead guitar Joan Armatrading
    Rhythm guitar/vocals Chrissie Hynde

  • The latest from the DTF, and the greatest band ever

    October 11, 2010 @ 4:44 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Some shows are always going to split an audience in two, and one of the shows guaranteed to be divisive on this year’s Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival programme was Factory 2. Part of the festival’s Polish strand, the 7.5-hour epic is the creation of Krystian Lupa, and is inspired by Andy Warhol.

    Sara Keating writes that the first act is “deliberately confrontational”, with actors hurling insults about place, and what follows is “gratuitous nudity, genital objectification, a lesbian orgy, inane repetition, and little evidence of any joy or passion among the collaborators of one of the most famous artistic collectives”. It seems designed to shock but instead Keating found it simply boring, and a few moments of genuine theatrical insight could not make up for a “deliberately indulgent and maddening performance”. Ouch.

    Sara also went to Watt over the weekend, a condensed adaptation of Beckett’s 1945 novel. There are witty touches, she writes, but the play “remains an exercise in language games”. She adds: “Beckett was foremost a writer for the stage, and this adaptation might have done better to celebrate the theatricality of his novels.”

    You can read these reviews in full, and more arts coverage, here.

    And now with news of a different sort – tomorrow sees the arts pages coming over all rock and roll. A few weeks ago I set a handful of Irish Times critics a simple challenge – pick their ultimate five-piece rock band, with a few rules and regulations thrown in to keep things interesting. You can read their selections on tomorrow’s Arts pages and I’ll be throwing them up in brief here. But in the mean time, come up with your own band, and post them on the blog comments section tomorrow. Be warned though – no band will even get within a guitar solo of my crack musical outfit. Check back tomorrow to learn your lesson.

  • If you only do one thing this weekend, and the latest from the DTF

    October 8, 2010 @ 12:31 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    See: The reviews are coming at you thick and fast now, with plenty to chew through in today’s Arts pages from the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival. Five-star reviews are still thin on the ground, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t thrills a-plenty on offer. Peter Crawley took in Celebration, Harold Pinter’s final play, and was bowled over by performances from Nick Dunning (“marvellously aggressive”) and Ingrid Craigie and Barbara Brennan, who “wage battles in words that are just as brutal” as Dunning’s performance. Wayne Jordan’s staging is “elegant, funny and intriguing”, and blink and you’ll miss the intrigue and vicious comedy of Pinter’s script. One well worth catching before its run ends on Sunday, then.

    Crawley also made it to Internal, the second instalment of Ontroerend Goed’s “intimate trilogy”. Members of the audience are led into “a private booth, where we are offered a drink, a conversation and that most dangerous thing of all, a chance to get comfortable”. Crawley writes that: “No two participants for this devilish, delicious encounter will have the same experience.” Pop along for your own personal slice of theatre, then.

    Ian Kilroy was similarly effusive in his praise for Acts Without Words II, an “outdoor interpretation of Beckett’s minimalist mime and meditation on the human condition”. This is theatre stripped to its bare, uncomfortable bones, based on two homeless characters. “There can be no unnecessary theatrical flourishes when reality, and drama, are stripped so close to the marrow,” writes Kilroy. “Beckett himself would no doubt have approved.”


    How many Chilean actors does it take to change a lightbulb?

    Finally, Helen Meany was dispatched to Diciembre, a Chilean production set in a near-future vision of a war-torn Santiago, written and directed by Guillermo Calderón. Black humour gives way to even darker diversions, in a controlled production whose tension is broken by the arrival of a drunken aunt. If the full significance of the play might prove elusive for European audiences, Meany says they will certainly recognise the “universal and undeniably powerful themes”.

    You can read all these reviews in full, and plenty more theatrical carry on, here.

    Listen: Last weekend, with the maelstrom of the Theatre Festival at our backs, and Offset plucking at our sleeves, we made something of a passing clerical error and though that we were going to have to try and squeeze in the Hard Working Class Heroes (HWCH) festival as well. Oh the embarrassment. So, here’s what we reckon is worth catching at this most rock’n’roll of festivals. And yes, this time we have got our dates right.

    Last year’s HWCH was an absolute blast and had us wondering why we can’t do this every weekend: one ticket gets you into a slew of venues around town, and unlike every other festival, there’s no mud under your feet, you don’t have to sleep in a tent, and the bar is warm and cosy. Our own version of SXSW? You better believe it. You’re spoiled for choice with this roster of acts, but may we recommend Sweet Jane, The Cast of Cheers, Holy Roman Army and young upstarts Kid Karate? And for the love of jeebus, if you play in a band or want to work in the music business, check out the industry panel discussions being organised by our very own Jim Carroll at On the Record. An illuminating time is guaranteed.

    See: There’s a neat double-hander up at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma) at the moment. One exhibition celebrates 50 years of the work of the Graphic Studio in Dublin. The work of John Kindness is a particularly good example of what has made the studio so popular over the years. Also in Kilmainham is a collection of post-second World War American art, which was recently donated to the museum by art historian Barbara Novak and artist Brian O’Doherty. These should go some way towards whetting your artistic appetite for Imma’s imminent The Moderns exhibition.

    And for something to watch on your small screens, here is the first part of the hilarious and intriguing Helmut by June, where the iconic photographer Helmut Newton discusses a life spent taking astounding pictures of beautiful women with his wife behind the camera. It’s a tough job but someone had to do it, eh?

    YouTube Preview Image
  • DTF – The dog has his day

    October 7, 2010 @ 2:37 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Yesterday, we brought you exciting news of the hottest new acting thing to hit the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival this year – Toby the dog. Today, Sara Keating gives you her verdict on his performance in The Rehearsal, Playing the Dane. (more…)

  • DTF – The dog’s frolics

    October 6, 2010 @ 4:33 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Picture the scene – during the planning stages of a theatrical production, one hanger-on catches the director’s eye. He’s not involved directly in the production, but his demeanour and look are so impressive, he’s asked to audition. Being a game sort, he gives it a shot, and the director is so blown away, the mystery actor is immediately cast. Never mind that their character didn’t exist in the script. Rewrites, darlings, rewrites. How could you resist him? Look at his eyes, his presence, his fur. (more…)

  • Dublin Theatre Festival – Phaedra and Polish family values

    October 5, 2010 @ 5:03 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    After the rough and tumble of the Fringe, it’s something of a shock to roll straight into the Dublin Theatre Festival (DTF), and there is little doubting the difference between the two. Whereas the Fringe is a whirlwind of shows, plucking your sleeve for attention, and half the time you could be forgiven for not being sure what you are going to see, the DTF is that bit more composed and confident. There are less shows, the sense of chaos is a little less potent, and the reviews are longer, which makes our lives a bit easier. (more…)

  • DTF – The first reviews are in …

    October 2, 2010 @ 5:27 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    The Dublin Theatre Festival is well underway at this stage and it’s already proving thrilling and divisive – we’d expect nothing less.

    B for Baby seems to be an early favourite, and is splitting opinion right down the middle. I’ve heard absolute raves about this show, and a few other reliable sources are still wondering what all the fuss is about. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . .

    October 1, 2010 @ 10:22 am | by Laurence Mackin

    Watch: Any amount of plays in the Dublin Theatre Festival. Most of the reports I’ve read of Circa have been more glowing than a bucket of sunshine. Rough Magic will be weaving it’s spell with Phaedra this weekend, and Lynne Parker’s production is already generating plenty of buzz in these here media parts. (more…)


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