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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: June 14, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend . . . build a dome of your own

    Laurence Mackin

    Bloomsday: Love it or hate it, just like the Olympics or Euro 2012, you can’t ignore it. And this year, with the copyright expiring on James Joyce’s works, Bloomsday and all its associated paraphernalia is bigger and better than ever. Tomorrow in The Irish Times we have the results of our design a cover for Ulysses competition. The entries were many and of a cracking calibre.

    Event-wise there are heaps to choose from. There’s the world-record reading attempt, Bloomsday breakfast events, street theatrics, a new Ulysses graphic novel, a musical organised by Sweny’s pharmacy, readings, tours, carry-on and shenanigans. Click here for a good overview of events or simply wander into Dublin and follow the people on odd-looking bikes in period dress. They will be everywhere. Dublin isn’t the only city getting in on the act, with events planned for Cork, Limerick and many other locations. Check tomorrow’s Ticket for much more comprehensive listings.

    Book festival: This is not the only book event in town. The Dalkey Book Festival has, as ever, an impressive line-up of speakers including Seamus Heaney, Sinéad Cusack, Robert Fisk, Olivia O’Leary, Marian Finucane, Kevin Barry, Maeve Binchy, Julian Gough, Eoin MacNamee, Fintan O’Toole, Dermot Bolger, Dermot Healy, Joseph O’Connor and Anna Carey, to name but a glittering handful. It takes place at various venues in the south Co Dublin village from Friday to Sunday, so click here for more information.

    Drumming: It is a well-known irrefutable fact that drummers wreck the heads of other musicians. There are many reasons for this. When you try to have a conversation, they start banging harder on their drums. Also, their instruments are usually louder than everyone else’s, meaning that when they decide their genius is not being appreciated enough at gigs, they start banging harder on their drums. Also, when they owe you money and you call around to their house and ring the doorbell, they start banging harder on their drums. But more than all of this is the fact that drummers seem to be able to impress those unfamiliar with their dark arts by playing the simplest beat, throwing in a bit of a solo, and suddenly the whole audience thinks they are watching Buddy Rich.

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    CAN Percussion Trio, though, are a different kettledrum of fish, because they are very fine musicians indeed. Noel Eccles, a seasoned pro, is playing with Alex Petcu and Chris Stynes, both still in their 20s. Their tour takes them to the Riverbank Arts Centre, Co Kildare tonight, (Thursday), and then on to Carrick-on-Shannon on Friday and Castlebar on Saturday. The tour was originally scheduled for February, but had to be postponed after one member injured his hand (while punching one of the others for banging his drums too hard, no doubt). The trio are playing a selection of new and familiar work, including music by Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Minoru Miki. Michael Dungan of this newspaper says live, this music has “energy and character and immediate appeal” – you can read his review in full in tomorrow’s paper.

    Photography: If you find yourself in Dublin’s Filmbase over the weekend, then take note of the excellent pictures adorning its walls. These are the work of Dublin-based Welsh photographer Annie Atkins, and the title of the exhibition tells you all you need to know: We Love You Oakland: Images From One Of America’s Most Dangerous Neighbourhoods. Atkins took the images while there with filmmaker Astrid Edwards to shoot a video for Cornershop’s Milkin’ It single.

    “On our first day we were just trying to shoot footage from the car. We passed a guy loading up his gun on a street corner,” says Atkins. “Desi [their guide] told us nobody would bother us, but we should be careful of crossfire. Crossfire! I’m from Wales – I’d never even seen a gun before. But there was no point in getting blurry footage taken from a moving car. So we parked up and got out. The more I learn about photography the more I realise it isn’t about pointing a camera at something, it’s about talking to people.”

    Atkins has a reputation as a very fine portraitist – hell, she once took a picture of me and managed to make it look good – and her vibrant images cut to the heart of the people depicted. Catch it while you can this weekend.

    Festival: There are so many festivals taking place in Ireland these days, that we’ve even developed alternative festivals, such as Inis Oirr’s Drop Everything. This weekend sees No Place Like Dome pitching up in Sligo with a very individual offering. It began life in 2008, with 40 people in Tipperary. Now, it’s found a home in Temple House Sligo. The idea is that everyone pitches in for a short time and helps create “an arena where people can let themselves go and give love and respect to their fellow man, asking nothing in return other than kindness and a bit of banter (all in fancy dress of course)”. It all centres around a geodesic dome built specially for the weekend, along with bunkers, art installations and the world’s largest guitar. Oh and there’s also a slew of acts playing, including The Hot Sprockets, Blind Yackety, The Amazing Few, Sounds of System Breakdown and many, many more.

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