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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: August 30, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    If you only do one thing this weekend … get your Stradbally on

    Laurence Mackin

    Festival? What festival? Stuck for something to do this weekend? Feel like something is on but it might have slipped under your radar? Not quite sure, but think you are supposed to be doing something but can’t remember what? Of course not, because like anyone in the country with any sense, you’re heading to Stradbally for the greatest show in Laois. Click here for a quick rundown of some slightly off-the-beat acts worth checking out. Click here for Jim Carroll’s On the Record EP jukebox. Click here if you are one of those people who has to dress up in an outfit at a music festival. You know who you are.

    Is the protest song dead? Not if Arlo Guthrie has anything to do with it. Rumour has it that if you cut Arlo Guthrie, he bleeds agitation – and little wonder given that his father, Woody Guthrie, is one of the greatest protest songwriters of all time, and the original person to gig with the message “This Machine Kills Fascists” on his guitar. Arlo’s coming back to these shores to stir up a little social justice with a tour that takes him from Tipperary tomorrow, to Wexford on Saturday and Galway on Sunday before heading to Cork next week.

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    Lap of honour: Sonya Kelly’s play The Wheelchair on my Face was born from Fishamble’s Show in a Bag series, performed to acclaim at last year’s Fringe festival, and now it’s hit the Edinburgh heights and scooped a Fringe First award. This weekend, there’s a chance to see the play when it winds its way back to Dublin for a performance at Phizzfest in Phibsborough. Not a bad way to celebrate a fine theatrical coup.

    Make a prodigy: Look at your child. Sitting there, soaking up your resources without earning its keep, and the thought doesn’t ever cross its mind that the crayons it is using cost a small fortune. It’s time to start improving its mind and living your life vicariously through it. Channel all your thwarted ambitions through little Ronald and have him pursue the dreams you never had the bravery or mustered the effort to. Get started this weekend by signing him up for the National Gallery workshop (ages four to 10) on Saturday at 3pm, which this week focuses on Harvest. Then, on Sunday, he can work on his sketching at the Dublin City Gallery – Hugh Lane workshops for ages seven and over. Unleash his/your inner Picasso before it’s too late. Draw, little Ronald, draw like the wind. Or you’re out on your ear. Those canvasses don’t pay for themselves, you know.

    Praise be:
    Can I get an amen from the left aisle? Can I get a hallelujah from the right? Can I get a gospel music festival from the cool cats in Kilkenny? Praise be brothers and sisters, the Kilkenny International Gospel Choir Festival will be packing them into the aisles and rocking them in the galleries this weekend. There are a series of workshops on gospel and rap, praise performances and a grand festival finale concert on Sunday. Clap your hands click here for more.

    Box on the big screen: Just the other week, in the wake of you-know-who’s Olympic heroics, we were browsing the boxing books that fill up our shelves. We couldn’t punch to save our or indeed anyone else’s lives, but we can sure talk a good game. And now is the chance to see one of the great boxing films of all time on the big screen, with a screening of When We Were Kings, the peerless documentary on Muhammad Ali’s fight against George Foreman in Zaire in 1974, in the IFI on Monday. Soul-stirring stuff.

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