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  • From a Catastrophe to a Mistake: Beckett and Havel

    December 22, 2011 @ 11:09 am | by admin

    In a guest post to mark the anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s death, Mary Boland writes on the relationship between the Irish playwright and the man who was in many way’s his Czech counterpart, Václav Havel

    AS SAMUEL BECKETT lay dying in a Paris hospital in December 1989, the news that Václav Havel was to be president of Czechoslovakia brought a weak smile to his lips. The Irish author, who died 22 years ago today, shares a lot more with his Czech counterpart, who is to be buried tomorrow, than a proximate anniversary of death.

    There was much mutual respect between them, and a shared concern that artists should never be silenced. Beckett, who tended not to mix politics with his art, made an exception by writing his most overtly political play, Catastrophe, and dedicating it to the then jailed dissident in 1982. Havel responded in kind after his release the following year by penning the play Mistake for Beckett. (more…)

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

    December 15, 2011 @ 6:11 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Listen: The Joinery Gallery in Stoneybatter is a little haven of experimentalism, and this year has been playing host to Sensoria, an evening of emerging and slightly off the wall performances with music. Tonight sees the last offering for 2012, and it features Catscars (who you may have seen play with Patrick Kelleher), Bantum (“slippery grooves with oodles of southern-fried electronic mojo” according to this parish’s Jim Carroll) and Brian Conniffe with Suzanne Walsh, who look to hypnosis, linguistics and ritual magick for inspiration while trying to figure out how to mend the Cartesian split (look, we just reproduce this stuff). Click here for more information.

    Live: O Emperor must be fierce happy with how their year has gone, as they survey it witheringly from atop their throne built from the skulls of their vanquished enemies (or is that just a rumour we made up). They’ve been quiet enough of late, while working on the follow up to the hugely popular Hither Thither (which also won an award for album with most Ts and Hs in it), but if you can’t wait for its release you can catch a few tracks from the album this weekend. On Friday they are in Christchurch Triskel in Cork, and on Saturday night the band play the Button Factory in Dublin, with support from the excellent Katie Kim, who has a brilliant album of her own due in January 2012. Clickity click here for more. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend … get the giggles

    December 8, 2011 @ 5:26 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Classy: Kaleidoscope is one of our favourite events, pitching contemporary classical music in a salon-like atmosphere in the Odessa Club. It’s a testament to its two curators’ taste that it is now celebrating its second birthday (not to mention their facility for persuading, or intimidating, big names from the classical scene to pitch up and perform – Kate Ellis has a mean left hook and if looks could kill, Cliodhna Ryan would be getting sentenced to 20 to life on a weekly basis). On Sunday, it’s splashing out for a party and moving proceedings temporarily around a corner or three to the Button Factory. The programme includes a world premiere by David Fennessy, New Dublin Voices, works by Brahms and Gershwin as well as the Pulitzer Prize-winning Different Trains by Steve Reich. The After Hours show should be quite special to boot. Click here for more information.

    Spooky: Ethereal tunes in a church with all the Christmas trimmings? Sign us up. Tomorrow night, the Unitarian Church will be a home for Dublin band Halves, in their last gig for quite some time apparently. Support comes from rising star Jennifer Evans, whose new album is imminent. There will also be mince pies and mulled wine. Rumours that the pies are made from actual mince are said to be wide of the mark. Click here for more.

    Christmassy: If that gig gets you feeling festive, and you’re hungry for more come Saturday, the Young Hearts Run Free team are pulling out all the stops from 7.30pm at the Co-op on Newmarket Square in Dublin 8. Performing on the night will be (big breath) Dónal Lunny, Tieranniesaur, Spook of the Thirteenth Lock, Sunken Foal, Melodica Deathship, Hired Hands, Maeve Higgins, NiamhMcCormackSings, Kevin Barry and You Kiss by the Book with a stack of DJ sets to boot. The theme? Yule (or The Winking Glitter of a Frosty Dawn). The cost? €15 and its BYOB. The payoff? Cake, music and one of the best festive nights imaginable in a warehouse. What more could you want?


    Tight trousers and dungarees. Earlier today

    Literary: When the weekend is putting its feet up, those of a literary nature will probably be preparing to head out into the cold, dark night in search of food for the soul (now there’s as overwritten a sentence as you are likely to find. Apart from the convoluted one in paragraph one about Madames Ryan and Ellis). On Monday night, Britain’s poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy will be in the Hayloft, upstairs at The Long Valley, Cork for the final Ó Bhéal event of 2011. Meanwhile in Dublin, literary magazine The Stinging Fly is holding a night of readings and music in the Grand Social as a thank you to its readers and supporters. Both events are free.

    Arty: Isabel Nolan has been making waves on the arts scene, so it’s a bit surprising to realise that her show, which opens this weekend in the Model in Sligo, is her first solo museum exhibition. A hole into the future makes its debut on Saturday at 6pm, preceded by a public talk with Nolan and The Model’s director, Séamus Kealy. The show features sculpture, paintings and drawings, and the museum has also commissioned a steel sculpture by Nolan, which will be unveiled in the grounds (we do love a good unveiling). Intriguingly, the show’s title comes from a sci-fi novel by the Strugatsky brothers, which in turn was the inspiration for Stalker, the cult film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Nolan is Dublin-based, represented Ireland at the 2005 Venice Biennale, and has had work exhibited in Imma, Beijing Art Museum, Smart in Amsterdam, Artspace in Auckland, and Le Musée d’Art Moderne de Saint-Étienne Métropole, which will also host this show next year.

    Giggly: Ah look it, your high-brow art is all well and good, but with the apocalyptic weather conditions outside, and the tightened Budget announced this week and its affect on the arts in general, we all need a good rip-roaring laugh, no? And who better to provide it than the Pyjama Men, who are in Vicar Street tonight? The pair’s show is completely off the wall, as they flit seamfully between dozens of characters with humour as black as the sky that is currently squatting outside the window. Theirs was the standout show of the 2010 Fringe festival. But don’t take our word for it: here’s the video evidence.

  • Diminished, but not decimated – Budget 2012

    December 7, 2011 @ 9:54 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    The Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan was beating a familiar drum last night, when he announced the department’s allocations under the 2012 Budget. Job creation and sustainability are the key tenets of his spending plans, with fully 49 per cent of the department’s resources to be allocated to the “Arts, Culture and Film programme area”.

    Gross funding for the department will be €266.997m in 2012 with an allocation for current expenditure of €223.997m and a capital allocation of €43m. €8.558m is also earmarked for the National Gallery.

    The Irish Film Board will be quietly delighted. Although capital allocation has been scaled back, the IFB will see its funding rise by 4 per cent to €2.54m over the 2011 figure. “It is important to remember that for every €1 of IFB investment close to €10 is generated in the economy” the Minister pointed out. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . go to a wake

    December 1, 2011 @ 5:41 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Crash course in theatre: Festivals should be like friends – small, slightly aggressive, completely unmanageable, always full of surprises and preferably with a city centre location. Live Collision’s Bite Size ticks all these boxes (and am I the only one who thinks of Burger Bites every time they read the words bite size – they were like a perfect yardstick by which all other bite-sized objects should be judged). It kicks off tonight in the Project Arts Centre in Dublin, with the first of three double bills of performances never before seen in Ireland. You may have caught previous incarnations of this festival in the Fringe but now it’s standing on its own much-more-than-two feet. Lynette Moran is the curator and tonight she has lined up Holding Nothing by Bruno Humberto – a theatre and sound performance of a broken, circular poem, written in the darkness – and Spectacular Failures by Maurice Joseph Kelliher, which is a performative lecture. On Friday, Raymond Scannell brings Before Talkies to the space, followed by the immersive performative installation Orchid by Adam Fearon. On Saturday, the Live Art Electro Trash Band bring their digital theatre and sound performance to bear, followed by 7 Day Drunk by Bryony Kimmings. Tickets are €15-10 per night, or €40 for a festival pass. Go along with a friend and see how they measure up. Click here for details.

    Scoops, yeah? Tomorrow, the Dublin-based Save Children Out Of Poverty (Scoop) Foundation will be hosting its Better Than Socks Christmas auction at 7.30pm in the Powerscourt Town Centre. What’s artsy about that? Well, up for grabs are some items that could trigger the very niche artistic impulses of your nearest and dearest, including swing lessons (bear with us, it’s a dance apparently), a walk-on part in Fair City (getting warmer), or the chance to ring the bells on New Year’s Eve in Christ Church Cathedral (kaboom). Just remember, if you are going to bid, have the cash ready. Winning the auction and not being able to stump up is almost as socially awkward as a heteropaternal superfecundation. Entry is €10, and gets you a bidding paddle, lot brochure, cloakroom ticket, raffle ticket and a wee bit of booze. For more information besiege Katie at 087-9805440 or Clodagh on 087-9084055 with your demanding phonecalls. (more…)


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