Pursued by a Bear »

  • Ripping open pink bears in the name of science

    October 31, 2012 @ 12:10 am | by Laurence Mackin

    Last week, I spent several hours building a video-game monster bear – and this time, the damn thing will work.

    And that’s because I got help from an adult – well, several adults, in the form of staff at Dublin’s Science Gallery and two men from New York, Syed Salahuddin and Kunal Gupta, who are part of the Babycastles collective.

    The monster mash-up was part of a workshop that is building up to the gallery’s next exhibition, Game: The Future of Play, which opens on November 16th. It will look at what happens when the boundaries between the real world and a computer game are pulled down, why we play games, and how you can create a successful game for the future.

    One part of the show will be video-console installations built by Babycastles, with some help from a group of volunteers. Some are coders, some are enthusiastic gamers, and some are people stuck in a video-game time when the Amiga was king, and The Secret of Monkey Island was the only gig in town (that would be me).

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  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . get stoked

    October 25, 2012 @ 5:57 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Music: November and December are shaping up to be terrific months as far as live music is concerned, but first there is the small matter of the October bank-holiday weekend to get out of the way. If you’re anywhere near Cork, it’s got to be jazz, or this weekend you should also make an effort to track down the mercurial Tigran Hamasyan.

    Whichever part of the country you happen to wash up in this weekend, you are spoiled for choice. In Dublin, Kildare electro head Mmoths is delivering a rare headline show in Dublin, with guests Regal Safari Young Wonder. His spare beats and subtle grooves are winning an international fanbase – head over here for a cracking mix he did recently for The Fader. And there’s also his magic take on Villagers’ latest track The Waves. (more…)

  • The people’s republic of jazz, and other fine things

    October 24, 2012 @ 10:07 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    It’s a busy weekend ahead if you’re of a jazz persuasion. This weekend, the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival gets into full swing. In recent years, it hasn’t delivered a musical line-up in step with its heritage, but things have taken a turn for the better. There’s plenty of crowd pleasers among the line-up (and there’s nothing wrong with that), with the likes of De La Soul and Beach House finding an unusual home among the jazzers.

    For those of a more purist persuasion, there’s plenty of interest on the bill, from hot property Phronesis to more old-school style with Roy Hargrove and Gregory Porter.

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    Click. Listen. Be happy (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . do a few soundchecks

    October 18, 2012 @ 5:13 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Music documentary: It’s such a good idea, we can’t believe it hasn’t been done here before: this weekend the One Two One Two music documentary festival will be bossing the Lighthouse Cinema in Dublin. Among the delights on offer are, In Bed With Madonna, Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense, Blur’s No Distance Left To Run, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, Searching For Sugar Man, Hit So Hard (following Hole drummer Patty Schemel) and A Joyful Slog, a documentary examining Ireland’s DIY scene. No Meeting People Is Easy then? No. Oh, you’ve seen it then so.

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    Theatre: Like a Hollywood villain, just when you think it’s gone, Theatre Upstairs reappears looking for more – and what’s not to love about a nice Hollywood villain? The venue is now above Lanigan’s bar on Eden Quay, and its current production is a double-header by Gary Duggan (his play Shibari is currently at the Peacock), which sits at either end of 9/11 in New York. Throw a subway set into the mix and you’ve got an intriguing mix. There is only a New York minute to catch it though – it ends tomorrow.

    Music: JLo is here! That’s right, J-Lo. Remember her? With songs that had perfect pop hooks married with a searing social conscience? Who encouraged us to look beyond her wealth and remember that, beneath it all she was still underprivileged? No? Good then. No brain bleach needed here. (more…)

  • Irish animation that’s worth shouting about

    @ 4:18 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    There’s a lovely piece over here by John Byrne on the Quin family (no, not that lot), who pioneered Irish animation. People of a certain vintage will be very familiar with their work, from Gregory Gráinneog to the Tongue Twisting dolls from Bosco. Part of the piece is a list of David Quin’s favourite Irish animations. I’ve reproduced it here, with a few clips embedded, to save you having to get all clickface. The quotes below are David’s.

    David Quin’s favourite Irish animations
    Give Up Yer Auld Sins
    Dir: Darragh O’Connell. Brown Bag Films, 2001
    “I’ve great affection for this short film and for the subsequent series, having worked as part of the production team. It features some great Alan Shannon character animation and was nominated for an Oscar.”

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    Secret of Kells
    Dir: Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey. Cartoon Saloon, 2009
    “A tour de force. Ireland’s first full-length animated feature, showcasing the artistic skills and the filmmaking potential of the Cartoon Saloon.”

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  • We’re back – and we have the theatrical scars to prove it

    October 16, 2012 @ 5:29 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    The arts blog has been on hiatus for the past few weeks, while dealing with the Absolut Fringe and, more recently, the Dublin Theatre Festival, over on the Festival Hub blog. We’re now wrapping the Hub up in its velvet curtains and carefully storing it for future use, but before we do, here’s one last look at the past few weeks’ activity.

    I finished my festival season with the DruidMurphy cycle – and what a way to end more than a month of productions. This was a superlative series of shows, with hardly a chink in its armour, and proved again that Druid and Tom Murphy are in a class of their own. (more…)


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