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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 7, 2012 @ 6:08 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend … treat yourself royally

    Laurence Mackin

    Music: In order to live up to the hype, the mind boggles as to what Jay-Z and Kanye West are going to have to pull out of the bag at the O2 this weekend. Perhaps they will arrive clad in 20-foot-tall robot suits, fire assorted weapons at each other and destroy the venue around them while never missing a beat? Maybe they’ll go the opposite end of the spectrum and stroll on stage, sit on two high stools and swap wry stories of summer days spent as cheeky scamps, mucking around on the ol’ riverbank, while breaking into occasional song and – gasp – standing up for the odd key change?

    Either way, the best gig I have seen to date at the O2 is AC/DC. The Australian rockers, not known for their subtlety, began the show with a hilariously teenage semi-pornographic cartoon and then drove a full-size train on to the stage, before parking a battery of cannons that were pointed out to the audience. In a move that showed the band’s fondness for Chekhov, they refrained from firing them until the final song. Consider the gig gauntlet thrown down, Messrs Watch and Throne, so start your hip hop engines.

    However, if hip hop on a galactic scale isn’t your thing, why not try the Shakespeare festival? It is currently calling Trinity College home, and over the weekend you can choose from a Shakespearian walking tour of Dublin, a dystopian take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream that puts the action in the wake of a Cold War gone hot, monologues from Hamlet, Anthony and Cleopatra in Christchurch Cathedral, or the festival’s main event – An Indian Tempest by Footsbarn, which transfers one of Shakespeare’s most fantastical plays to the Indian subcontinent, and moves between three languages in a stylish production that borrows from Indian theatrical traditions (you can read Peter Crawley’s review of this production in Friday’s newspaper). An intriguing proposition for those who know the play inside out and those who wouldn’t know a sonnet from a soliloquy. Click here for more information.

    Books: It’s very literary in the capital city this weekend. Not only do you have to contend with the presence of perhaps the greatest wordsmith in the English language (good man yourself, Kanye) there is also the Dublin Writers’ Festival winding to a close. Tomorrow (Friday) Mark Haddon is in conversation, and there is a strong line-up at the Best European Fiction event, featuring Arno Camenisch, Maritta Lintunen and Donal McLaughlin, all of whose work appeared in the recent Best European Fiction anthology published by Dalkey Press. On Saturday, Tim Parks and Ed Vuillamy are in town, but Sunday is the heavyweight event – Mario Vargas Llosa is in conversation in the Gate Theatre. Rumours he is planning a Watch the Throne light and sound extravaganza are said to be slightly wide of the mark.

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    Festival: Outside of the capital, the Eigse Carlow Arts Festival has a strong lineup. Two aspects of this one stand out immediately. The first is Brian Duggan’s Everything can be done, in principle, which takes viewers into a timber and canvas barn in the American 19th century where they are asked to skate through a set-up inspired by Michael Cimino’s 1980 film Heaven’s Gate. Yes, really.

    The second is something of a coup for Carlow, which has convinced the Hay Festival – it has a series of international franchise festivals – to set up home in Borris House for the weekend. Among those taking part in its salon-like programme in the salubrious surroundings of the grand old house are Lionel Shriver, Craig Brown, John Lloyd, Sean Hardie, AC Grayling and Stephen Frears. Impressive pulling power by the Carlow arts organisation. You can read more about it in tomorrow’s paper as you make your way there.

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