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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: January 21, 2011 @ 12:01 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend . . .

    Laurence Mackin

    Listen: Gigs are few and far between on the ground this weekend – damn you January and your lethargy, but there are two intriguing nights out. Feminist icon, folk firebrand and radical thinker Ani DiFranco will be on unfamiliar territory on Saturday night, when she takes to the National Concert Hall stage. Expect this to be slightly less, ahem, polite than the average recital (or at least that’s what we are hoping for). And tonight, Nouvelle Vague will be bringing their Frenchy arty explosive-y live show to Tripod. Reconditioned covers with a twist? Mais bien sûr.

    Read: Last week we wrote here about how good Kristin Hersh’s diary of her teenage years is. This evening she’ll be reading from it at Waterstones on Dublin’s Dawson Street, as well as playing a few tunes, maybe from her Throwing Muses back catalogue, although sadly the very limited number of tickets is sold out. Who knows though, you might be able to cadge one at the door, eh? If not, then settle yourself in of an evening with said book, Paradoxical Undressing. Teenagers have never seemed so smart and innocent (although we don’t believe for a moment that a decent bit of editing and rewriting didn’t go into this one. Sorry Kristin.)

    See: Miroslaw Balka is a formidable artist. His key work is full of the meditative quality that comes with the territory of Central and Eastern Europe – his work has been featured here in Imma and the Douglas Hyde, but in recent years he may be more familiar to readers as the man who built a terrifying black hole at the heart of the Tate Modern in London, as part of the Unilever series. Balka put a giant steel structure on stilts into the enormous Turbine Hall, which was filled with utter darkness. Beautifully though out, elegantly executed, and terrifying in its all-encompassing, bleak simplicity – vintage Balka then. This exhibition at the Douglas Hyde in Trinity College Dublin consists of video work and a selection of other pieces by SI Witkiewicz, who died on the day that Russia invaded Poland in 1939. The works are photographs, focusing on self portraits and landscapes, and reflect Witkiewicz’s deeply troubled mindset. And just in case you can’t get the thought of that Tate commission out of your head, here’s a rather good video all about it. That ought to cheer you up.

    That’s our little selection for the weekend. We’re off for a week so normal service will resume at the same bat time, same bat blog in about a quarter of a month.

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