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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 10, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend: enjoy some impressive exhibitionism

    Laurence Mackin

    Dance: Last week I was arguing that modern dance has, perhaps out of all the artforms, the toughest sell to a general audience. It’s interesting then that the Dublin Dance Festival has something of a technological or scientific feel to it this year (Michael Seaver takes a look at this aspect in this article). The line-up has plenty to offer first-time dance-goers and enough heft to keep the hardcore dance fans happy – the Liz Roche Company and the Royal Ballet’s Sarah Dowling kick things off this weekend with a double-bill at the Beckett Theatre, while the formidable Trisha Brown Dance Company are making their Irish premiere in the Abbey. Blink and you’ll miss these performances – most are on for just two or three days, so catch this most elusive of artforms being performed by those at the peak of their powers while you can.

    Are ye dancing? Are ye asking?

    Music: It’s all a bit about one-off opportunities this weekend, and Vicar Street on Saturday night is no exception. It will be a long, long time before the Gloaming – in the form of Clare fiddler Martin Hayes, sean nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, Hardanger fiddler Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, guitarist Denis Cahill and pianist Thomas Bartlett – take to an Irish stage again, so grab this one with both hands if you can. Shoring up the bill is Sam Amidon, making for an explosive, enthralling line-up that should figure in a lot of gig-of-the-year lists come December, if their previous shows are anything to go by. Click here for more.

    Join the rabble: We will confess we have a Dublin bias this week, but when the capital is in fine fettle it’s a hard place to beat. This weekend, the Meteor Camden Crawl will be taking over the city centre, and offer a list of bands as long as your arms in a rake of venues. We can’t tell you who is where, as the line-ups are announced on the day, making for a bit of a rock-and-roll free-for-all, as hordes of indie kids charge around the city trying to elbow their way into some of the city’s smaller spaces (expect Dublin Bikes to be in short supply this weekend). Among those bringing the noise are D/R/U/G/S, ASIWYFA, Jape, Angkorwat, Bastille, Dublin Gospel Choir, Le Galaxie, Funeral Suits, Jogging, Duke Special, Lethal Dialect, Polarbear (the comedian, not the jazz band), Trophy Wife and lots of others. Click on the link for more info or just follow the not-so-angry indie mob barrelling around the town.

    Back to the future: How would you like to read the oldest sci-fi story in Japan, that’s been written – well, illustrated – in pure silver and gold, in its oldest incarnation known to civilisation? Intrigued? You should be. The Chester Beatty Library is now showing an exhibition featuring a collection of scrolls that tell The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. The story concerns (sci-fi internet trolls look away now, spoilers ahead!) a poor bamboo cutter who finds a tiny baby that his family then raise as their own. She turns out very beautiful, everyone loves here, including the prince, but she won’t marry anyone, yadda, yadda, yadda, impossible tasks and missions, lots of romance and valour, and then, it turns out she is from the moon. That’s right – the moon. And all of this was written in the ninth century? Outstanding.

    Has anyone seen where I parked my DeLorean?

    The scrolls themselves date from the 17th century and are the oldest illustrations of this classic Japanese story known to exist. How’s that for some impressive exhibitionism? There is an excellent piece by Gemma Tipton in tomorrow’s Irish Times, but in the mean time you can click here for more information.

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