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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 10, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend … dance

    Laurence Mackin

    Listen: It is 35 years since Andy Irvine and Paul Brady released their collaborative album, and their live shows are spoken of in hushed terms. Both are consummate musicians and songwriters who work hard on their craft, and it’s a combination that works – in Irvine you have a musician versed in creating pulsing energy and rhythms, while Brady’s honed lyricism needs no introduction. Their two dates this weekend in Dublin’s Vicar Street have all the makings of some very special evenings.

    Box: Aonghus Óg McAnally’s solo show Fight Night is breathtaking for a number of reasons. The physicality involved is deeply impressive–you try delivering a monologue with anger and bite while skipping rope. McAnally says he trained as hard as a pro boxer to prepare for the show, but this is about more than an impressive hard slog – it’s an insightful, genuinely moving peice of theatre that punches well above its weight and is almost as good as Rocky (my favourite film). It’s in the Mill Theatre, Dundrum, on Friday night and in Sligo later next week.

    Dance: In Dublin, the Project Arts Centre has a fine pair of dance projects to choose from. In The Smell of Want, New York dancers Fitzgerald and Stapleton use short, sharp shocks of speech and dance to test an audience, who can choose from a number of differently priced seating options – anyone for the Lovers’ Swing?

    Meanwhile, David Bolger of CoisCéim is bringing his new work to the stage. Touch Me is a coda to Reel Luck, the company’s acclaimed show from 1995 that dealt with an Ireland on the cusp of affluence. Don’t expect a depressing affair though – there is always promise to be found in the future.

    Jazz: Last night I had the unalloyed pleasure of seeing Dave Holland and Pepe Habichuela commander the National Concert Hall, but the week is far from over for jazz fans. On Saturday night, the Robert Glasper Experiment takes a much more leftfield approach, marrying Glasper’s prolific jazz chops with some serious hip hop sensibilities – well, if he’s good enough for the likes of Kanye West, Bilal, Erykah Badu and Mos Def to work with, then he is good enough for the likes of your earholes. Experience the experiment for yourself in the Workmans Club, and here’s an interview I did with Glasper earlier in the week.

    And to send us out on a classy, jazzy note, here are a few videos worth giving a bit of time to. You may have seen the news the Eddie Murphy has stepped down from hosting the Oscars, after his best bud lost the directing job because he made a few homophobic jibes (the bud that is, not Murphy. Calm down, libel lawyers, calm down.) What you may not have seen is that there is a growing online movement to have the event hosted by the greatest TV presenters in the history of the shiny box – The Muppets (and let’s face it, the frog looks damn fine in a suit). For me, the beauty about the TV show was always how it refused to patronise or pander to assumptions about its audience, so it would happily throw on some of the most cutting-edge musicians in the business beside more familiar, celebrity figures and everyone got the same manic treatment. Few videos made me want to play an instrument more than the first one – a drum-off between Animal, the finest creature (answers on a postcard) ever to pick up the sticks, and perhaps the best jazz drummer to ever put sticks to a snare – Buddy Rich.

    And for something much closer to home – there were more than a few raised eyebrows when it emerged Dublin’s Meeting House Square was getting a makeover. The erection of large umbrellas to cover the square was greeted with disappointment in some quarters, given the distinct lack of open spaces in the city centre, and delays in the construction, owing to the discovery of archaeological remains, didn’t do much to help matters. However, now that the umbrellas are taking shape, this is promising to be one of the most dynamic and exciting spaces in the city, and this video, shot by Conor Steenson, beautifully demonstrates what is a fantastic evolution of a a critical space.

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