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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: May 17, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend . . . give a Jean-Claude Van Damme

    Laurence Mackin

    Dance: The capital city is still in the grip of the Dublin Dance Festival, and the festival is taking a logical cue from Martha and her Vandellas by taking it out of the theatres and on to the streets. As well as the festival’s regular programme, which includes pieces by the groundbreaking Trisha Brown Dance Company, Luca Silvestrini’s dance company Protein has been performing on Grafton Street all week. Tomorrow (Friday) they will be entertaining unwary pedestrians at 1.30pm and again at 5pm (for about 40 minutes each). Feel free to join in, like one of those films where the lead starts dancing and everyone else knows the moves. You can also learn a few steps if you fancy being a part of the finale performance on Sunday at 4pm, which will feature a troupe of musicians and local dancers performing a full street show. Well it makes a change from being hassled by chuggers and trainee hairdressers, doesn’t it?

    Music: Ah, Franz Ferdinand – the band that launched a thousand art-rock ships and played no small part in introducing a trend that musicians had to sport more than one haircut at any one time. The difference here is that Alex Kapranos and co have real substance to their music, and it’s easy to forget how definitive their sound was for several years after the release of their debut album in 2004. The band are currently on a tour of smaller venues in Ireland, which is a very appetising prospect. They have a habit of taking the tightly controlled aggression of their records and letting it run loose live, and are not afraid to tear through their older chart favourites with muscle and swagger. Go on, take yourself out to Cork, Galway or Limerick this weekend.

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    Classical: We’ve all seen performers who look a million dollars, but in the case of Elizabeth Pitcairn, it has a ring of truth. Not just because she is a violinist of impressive talent, but because of her instrument. Her violin was a gift from her grandfather on her 16th birthday – he bought the Mendelsson Stradivarius for $1.7 million in 1990. The instrument is so famous it even has its own film, The Red Violin, which won an Oscar for best score in 1999. You can hear it for yourself at 1pm on Saturday in the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, when Pitcairn is accompanied by pianist Louise Thomas. The cost? Not a penny.

    Film: The IFI in Dublin has two particularly strong filmic offerings this weekend, should you feel the urge to lock yourself away in a cool, dark room.

    Tomorrow (Friday) the cinema is screening Carl Dreyer’s classic experimental masterpiece Vampyr, which is based on Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla – it seems we have a thing about bloodsuckers. On this occasion, Steven Severin, co-founder of Siouxsie and the Banshees, will be performing a live musical accompaniment so you can scare yourself witless.

    Tomorrow also sees the opening of a film that many are calling the best action film in decades. The Raid went down a storm at this year’s Jameson International Dublin Film Festival, picking up both the audience and critics’ awards. In the film, a massive apartment complex run by crime boss Tama is raided by a crack Swat team, which results in a fight scene or two (hundred). We’re sure there is more to the story than that, but frankly, my dear, we don’t give a Jean-Claude Van Damme. Could this be the film that finally kicks Die Hard off the top of our action pile? Now that’s a notion that borders on heresy.

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