Pursued by a Bear »

  • If you only do one thing this weekend … get down to the ‘Batter

    April 26, 2012 @ 8:41 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    This week’s selection comes from Roisin Agnew.

    Fundraiser:The lovely people of The Joinery kick off a celebration this Friday to raise some well-deserved mullah for the small joint with a big heart that keeps the faith going among the really-very-good creative souls out there. Set to Hector Castells’s visuals, the line-up seems likely to catapult one into the wee small hours, featuring Donal Dineen and Niwell Tsumbu, Patrick Kelleher and His Cold Dead Hands, Legion of Two and with a Skinny Wolves DJSet to boot.

    But if you still feel you haven’t had enough of the indefatigable Monsieur le Dineen, crawl out from your rock on Sunday and come to Listen at Lilliput for a night of new composition and music. The BYOB set up will include compositions and performances by delicious Michael Fleming, Donal MacErlaine, Laura Hyland, Arun Rao and storytelling by Oh-aisseaux. Taking place in the cosiness of Lilliput Press andy likely to feature some of the Stoneybatterites who survived Friday’s boogie, this could be the perfect soulful wind-down to the weekend. It’s all happening in the Batter this weekend. (more…)

  • Louis le Brocquy: Fragments from an extraordinary life

    @ 3:07 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Yesterday, while putting together our arts coverage of Louis le Brocquy’s life and work, there were a number of elements we couldn’t fit on the page, purely for space reasons.

    The items that made it into print were: a tribute on today’s news pages; an appreciation of his life and work by our art critic Aidan Dunne, which also features a slideshow of le Brocquy’s work; and, if you scroll down through Aidan’s piece, there is a lovely snapshot of the man himself, written by the poet John Montague. (more…)

  • Book review: Best European Fiction 2012

    April 24, 2012 @ 6:21 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Best European Fiction 2012 Edited by Aleksandar Hemon, with a preface by Nicole Krauss Dalkey Archive Press, 459pp. €11.50

    TRANSLATED BOOKS ARE a hard sell for publishers. In the same way that subtitled films rarely achieve mainstream success, it’s a challenge to overcome a general wariness towards translated novels. There is the obvious fear that cultural and linguistic differences might work against readers and conspire to keep them locked out of the heart of a book. A good translator, though, will open most doors, and if sometimes a little linguistic or cultural mystery remains, what harm is there in not knowing everything? (more…)

  • Levon Helm: An appreciation

    April 20, 2012 @ 6:09 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Last night, I wrote a short piece for The Irish Times about Levon Helm. Here is an extended version for those who will have a hard time letting Levon go.

    Levon Helm playing during The Band’s final concert, at Winterland Auditorium in San Francisco, in 1976. Photograph: John Storey/AP

    Levon Helm, drummer and vocalist with The Band, has died at the age of 71. American music has lost one of its last true veterans.

    Helm was a musicians’ musician, a drummer who would lay out a groove with punch, control and refinement. Then there was his voice, one of the most distinctive in music. To hear him play and sing was to here generations of American music, across all styles and genres, from folk mountain tunes to the dark swamp rock of the Mississippi, distilled and refined through a lifetime of playing with the best musicians of his generation. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend … celebrate with a book

    @ 10:39 am | by Laurence Mackin

    Read: Save yourself a little over the weekend and celebrate World Book Day in style. Young Hearts Run Free, who specialise in creating small, arty events in aid of the Simon Community, will be literally spreading some good word on April 23rd, when they will be giving out free copies of Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle at various locations around Dublin city. Then they are inviting you, dear and not so dear readers, to head to the Parlour in Whelan’s for music, song and shenanigans – on the night, you can expect performances from Groom, Margie Lewis, Aidan Wall, Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh, Ian Maleney, followed by DJ sets Joss Moorkens, Peter Toomey, and Niall McCormack into the wee hours. Entry is free, there will be cake, and don’t forget to be generous towards the donations box. In the words of the heart of Young Hearts, Siobhan Kane: “It is only right to dance on a Monday evening, where the chance is given.” We couldn’t agree more.


  • Culture shots: Spacey films, why David Bowie hates spelling, and a little Levon Helm

    April 18, 2012 @ 7:14 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    It’s been a little light of late on the arts blog, mainly because we’ve been doing other things such as this and this. But here’s a mixum-gatherum of arty nuggets to get us back into the groove and back into your good books.

    KEVIN BARRY is one of Irish fiction’s most adventurous writers, and his latest book, a collection of short stories called Dark Lies the Island, is no exception. You can read one of the pieces, in his typically economical and quietly brutal fashion, over here, in case you missed it on our Arts pages in recent weeks. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend … play with A Doll House

    April 12, 2012 @ 11:39 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Theatre: Pan Pan has a reputation for ripping classics apart at the seams and stitching them back together with a fresh, internal logic, and A Doll House, the Henrik Ibsen classic now playing at the Smock Alley Theatre, is no exception. The production eschews the easy narrative parallels of dodgy bankers, unpaid debts and the like to focus on the human edge of the story, and the facets that made it such a shocking production when it barrelled its way into 19th-century life. The production is perhaps most famous for its iconic slamming-door scene, as Nora, the lead character, abandons her family and easy life of domesticity, and heads out into the unknown. Does Pan Pan keep the iconic scene or strip it out in favour of something even more controversial? You could watch this video interview with Pan Pan director Gavin Quinn for a few clues.

    An added bonus of the show is you get first dibs on the newly renovated Smock Alley, a small intimate space that lets you get within breathing distance of the actors. This is a terrific addition to the Dublin theatrical scene and a wonderful fresh lease of life for Ireland’s oldest theatre.

    Collect: A few weeks ago I found myself in a jazz club in Porto that had a shop selling all manner of odd books, comics and small bits of furniture and curios. It was a dangerous combination at 2am when that weird bit of woodwork suddenly became a must-have item. (Cheap cocktails may have played a part.) Whelan’s could give it a run for its money this Saturday when the bar and venue opens its doors during the day for its regular Record Fair. Have a pint, browse the CDs, cassettes (for the love of Jesus, why?), vinyl and who knows, cartridges on offer. Let the (tipsy) buyer beware.

    Music: check out the album launch of The Brutal Here and Now, by the excellent Spook of the 13th Lock tomorrow (Friday) in Whelan’s. This fine, slightly enigmatic band of cracking musicians are back on the road, and they keep the show rolling in the Bridge Brook Arms in Kilkenny on Saturday night.

    Jazz: A band with a difference, you say? Then head for the People’s Republic on Sunday for the Neil Cowley Trio, who will be ripping it up in the Triskel Arts centre. The band play dynamic off-kilter sets, somewhat in the vein of The Bad Plus, and Cowley has a reputation for entertaining as much with his banter as with his tunes. But this isn’t purely all show and no chops – in 2007, Cowley won the BBC Jazz Award for his album Displaced and as a teenager he was cutting his teeth on big-name tours with the likes of Zero 7, Gabrielle and Brand New Heavies. Oh, and he’s also the chap behind the keys on Rolling in the Deep by Adele. Mechanical royalties, you say? Don’t mind if I do.

    Here’s a sampler of what to expect.

  • If you only do one thing this weekend … give Funderland a whirl

    April 5, 2012 @ 5:48 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Musical: It is the most eagerly anticipated show of the year, the first musical produced in the Abbey for more than 20 years, a production of ambition, techno-colour, cutting wit, with a standout cast and a chorusful of complex musical numbers, running on the pure, glittery fumes of Thisispopbaby, perhaps the most creative theatrical company in the business. And just because everyone says Alice in Funderland is superb, that doesn’t mean it isn’t. This is sublime nonsense played with total commitment in a show that it is impossible to be un-entertained by. Just go. And bring your mother. I think I’ve used up this week’s quota of double-negatives already.

    Where is it, love? Funderland, ye? Sound.

    Theatre: Game of Thrones is some of the best television currently on our screens, thanks, in no small part, to Jack Gleeson, who plays Joffrey Baratheon, a character with absolutely no redeeming characteristics whatsoever. Sadistic, whiny and with a sneer you would never get tired of punching, Baratheon is there purely to be hated. But keep your ire for the small screen, as Jack Gleeson is currently playing a very different character in Monster/Clock at Smock Alley Theatre. This musical comedy (there’s a few of them knocking about) tells the story of Toby, a castigated monster and apprentice watchmaker driven out of his beloved workshop and into the wild steampunk world. Una Mullally reckons the production is “wise beyond its years. Brisk, smart and immersive, Monster/Clock could travel as far as the adventures that lie within it.” She reviews it in tomorrow’s arts pages.

    Punch. Me.

    Puppets: Okay, one more show and then we’re done. Avenue Q is one of the funniest and most obscene puppet shows there is. It’s hilariously clever (and again, there are songs involved) and taps up its precursor Sesame Street for inspiration with all the respect it deserves, while Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx take on sexuality, racism and pointless university education with style and bite. It’s at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre until Saturday.

    Film: This weekend is as good as any to get your foreign film on, with a particularly rich offering in our smaller cinemas. The IFI has both Headhunters and Le Havre on screens. The latter comes from Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki, and takes the drab French port town as its setting, but you can reasonably expect this to be as charming as a Frenchman playing the piano.

    If you like your films more on the thriller side, check out Headhunters, a Norwegian production, based on a Jo Nesbo novel that follows the story of Roger, who works in recruitment and has a nice sideline in art theft. Don’t we all, sir, don’t we all. Check tomorrow’s Ticket for full reviews of these films from people who, unlike me, actually know what they are talking about.

    Both these films are at the Light House in Dublin’s Smithfield, which is also still showing Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, which I’ve mentioned before and is as sublime a film experience as you are likely to have this year.

    Tiny festival: A micro music festival in a tiny space? Sign us up. This weekend you can go Beyond the Bookshelf to a new independent music mini festival in Temple Bar’s New Theatre, which is hiding at the back of Connolly’s bookshop. On the roster tonight is Duke Special, with the Restless Consumers and Niall Thomas. On Friday, Si Schroeder and mates will be wrecking the gaff, before musical stalwarts The Pale show it who is boss on Saturday. €12 a night. What more could you want. Click here for more info.

    Now that’s your lot so sling your hook. The sun is probably shining outside.

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