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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: August 18, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend: get a touch of Stendhal syndrome

    Laurence Mackin

    Argue: I haven’t quite figured out what My Bloody Sunday Valentine is all about but it sounds intriguing. The event is coordinated by SHE-D, an experimental group and archive centre, and comes across like an open-mic night for ideas, performances or well-argued point-of-views. The meetings take place on the third Sunday of each month, so assemble at 7pm at 43 Gardiner Lane in Dublin 1, and at this edition expect to be arguing into the small hours over the life and work of German poet, novelist and painter Herman Hesse. The plan is to record and archive each event, and participation is key to the whole fandango. For more information click here.

    Youth theatre: In general, few phrases send a chill down the spine quicker than “amateur theatre” – throw “musical” in there, and most of us start scrabbling for the exit doors. However, there are some seriously classy exceptions, including the recent production of Angels in America in the Peacock by Silken Thomas. Now the theatre is hosting a similarly adventurous production by part-timers, but of a different hue. The National Youth Theatre is bringing a wholly new work to the stage with It Only Ever Happens in the Movies. This is a company with some serious theatrical chops. The chaos of last year’s production, A Dream Play, was brilliant fun to watch, and this year, director Mikel Murfi has been recruited to put manners on a script devised by 16 of the cast’s members. Expect a very clever, knowing production, packed with pop culture and energy. Click here for more information.

    Go: If you find yourself in northern parts this weekend, then the Roe Valley is a great proposition, thanks to the Stendhal Festival of Art at Ballymully Cottage Farm on Saturday. The one-day arts festival features Turin Brakes, Gorgeous Colours, Rainy Boy Sleep and an an acoustic performance by Andy Irvine. And it has to be brilliant because it’s named after a psychosomatic illness that causes rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and even hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art. Colin Geddis, the man behind the internet “I am fighter” meme will be doing his abrasive stand-up routine, while Echo Echo dance company will be present and correct. The ticket pricing beggars belief: £15 gets you a day pass, or £20 for two nights’ camping. But the Stendhal Forever scheme means that anyone who buys tickets in two of the first three years of the festival will get a free ticket for life. Colour us impressed. Click here for more.

    Listen: In January, I was lucky enough to get some tickets to a Kristin Hersh reading in the sadly departed Waterstones bookshop. She sang songs from her huge back catalogue and read several passages from her startlingly brilliant and honest book, Paradoxical Undressing (if you haven’t read it yet, here’s a post on why you should). Happily, Hersh had such a great time (I’m speculating) that she’s decided to come back for some solo slots, ahead of a November gig with Throwing Muses. You can catch her in the small and perfectly formed Spirit Store in Dundalk on Saturday, and Cyprus Avenue in Cork on Tuesday, before she winds her way to Dublin in the middle of next week.

    Listen: Lastly, there’s a bunch of jazz gigs on this weekend that are well worth catching. The Linley Hamilton Quartet featuring Hamilton on trumpet, Johnny Taylor (piano), Dan Bodwell (bass) and Dominic Mullen (drums) are launching their new CD, Taylor Made, at JJ Smyth’s on Aungier Street on Sunday. Not strictly jazz (in fairness, I don’t think it’s strictly anything) is the Joinery Chamber Concert series, which tomorrow night has I Ate Mercury (featuring Claire Fitch on cello), Raven Aflakete and CAH 44 in a concert featuring spoken word and instrumental improvisation. It’s at the Joinery Gallery in Stoneybatter, Dublin from 8pm.

    Lastly, here’s a bit of a long video (but it’s almost the weekend, and sure what else would you be doing, working? Oh.) In it, cellist Maya Beiser plays an eight-part modern etude with seven copies of herself, and segues into a meditative music/video hybrid. Proof that technology can be a beautiful thing.

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