If you only do one thing this weekend, dance at the crossroads
Musical: They will be singing in the aisles at the Gaiety tonight, when Improbable Frequency takes up residency for a fresh run. The Rough Magic show has been something of an international hit although it’s a minor miracle it got made in the first place, according to its author Arthur Riordan – in this piece for The Irish Times he explains why the perceived wisdom is that musicals cannot be made in Ireland, although happily he decided to take the risk anyway. You have until March 24th to find out if it was worth it.
Art: PrettyvacanT Dublin was invited by Dublin City Council Arts Office to enliven one of its vacant units, and the result is Shoot the Tiger, a new exhibition that opens tonight at Unit 3 James Joyce Street, Dublin 1, and runs until March 29th. The show is made up of artwork created since 2008 under the constraints of our new “economically damaged nation” – so expect art fuelled on decline, collapse and failure with glimmers of hope and optimism. Among the work featured are: collages by Aoife Flynn comparing Ireland’s newly-abandoned buildings to Soviet structures and monuments; delicate, divisive watercolours by Amy McGovern; and a series of paper modules by Blaithin Quinn’s that look at how we can reorder and restructure vacant space. Click here for more.
Listen: Given the weekend that’s in it, there’s any amount of live music acts to choose from, whether it’s Chris Rea and his grizzly voice in Belfast and Dublin, recent Choice Prize winners Jape in Dublin, NYC space rock from White Hills in the Button Factory, Louth mouth Jinx Lennon playing a hometown gig in Dundalk or, em, the Presidents of the United State of America (Dune Buggy!) in Vicar Street.
But if were going to go green for a weekend we may as well do it in style, so if it’s something traditional you want, there’s more than a few concerts to choose from. Two of the best are on Saturday night. Ulster Scot accordionist Willie Drennan is leading the No Musical Demarcation concert in Cavan’s Town Hall with lilter Martin Donohoe, Seamus Fay on fiddle, Antóin MacGabhann and others setting the tone. Meanwhile, if you can elbow you way on to the Jeanie Johnston tallship in Dublin, Andy Irvine will be playing a concert to remember from 8pm on Customs House Quay in Dublin.
Opera: For something a world away from dancing at the crossroads, you could take in Giulio Cesare at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre on Friday. Based on Handel’s masterpiece, this opera follows the story of Cleopatra as she attempts to build an alliance with Caesar against her brother Ptolemy. Here’s a sample for good measure.
And to finish, something aggressive. I’ve been a fan of Plan B, or Ben Drew to his mates, for a long time, and lately he has left the soul leaning of his Strickland Banks project to get back on to grittier, more hip hop territory. This latest track, Ill Manors, is being hailed as the best protest song for a generation and it’s very strong stuff indeed. I’m not sure the lyrics are as revelatory as some would have you believe, but the track itself is spectacularly good, full of muscle and swagger, and meshes seamlessly with the video. If parts of it seem familiar, don’t be alarmed. The Prodigy were involved in the production, which explains the sound of the rhythm section, the track is based on a 2008 track from Peter Fox, and the video was directed by Yann Demange, the man responsible for Channel 4’s excellent Top Boy, which if you haven’t watched already, you really should. Click, listen and get your swagger on.