Pursued by a Bear »

  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . try a little Tender Napalmness

    November 29, 2012 @ 9:59 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Tender is this night: One of my Fringe highlights this year was All Hell Lay Beneath, a preposterously ambitious show that transformed several floors above and below a Dublin pub into the hall of mirrors from Steppenwolf. The fledgling company behind that undertaking, Sugarglass, has just opened its new show at the Project Arts Centre – and it’s a belter.

    Tender Napalm focuses on two people, stranded on a desert island, trapped in a ravaged paradise of their own creation. It’s a clever, intricate and, yes, ambitious show, with just two actors, Aaron Heffernan and Erica Murray, carrying a fairly action-fraught 70 minutes on their young shoulders. The play is by London writer Philip Ridley, and here it becomes a muscular heft of storytelling that contrasts sharply with the devised theatre approach that seems to be the default setting for current young Irish theatre.

    With smartly effective stage design by Colm McNally and taut direction by Marc Atkinson, this show is definitely one to catch, and enhances Sugarglass’s reputation as a theatrical company to watch. More of this sort of thing please.

    Southern accents: It’s that magical time of year when a small church in the Kerry town of Dingle becomes Ireland’s musical capital for the packed weekend of Other Voices. Is there a better way to spend a weekend than trying to get tickets for tiny gigs, while the warm welcomes in every nook and cranny of Dingle melt away the effects of the freezing winds blasting in from the Atlantic? On the roster this year are Villagers, Soak, Aaron Dessner, Local Natives, Kodaline and more. If you haven’t got a ticket, there’s sometimes a few to be had if you hang around the church of St James’s, like old, smoking men dodging a Sunday sermon. This is one special festival and it’s well worth the trip to soak up the atmosphere in Benner’s alone, while the small and perfectly formed gigs are broadcast on screens in the bars and pubs around the town. (more…)

  • Competition: Win Tickets to Quietly

    November 26, 2012 @ 2:58 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    This competition is now closed

    On Friday, we had a competition to win tickets for Quietly, the powerful play by Owen McCafferty that is now at the Peacock Theatre in Dublin. However, some people got in touch to say they couldn’t enter, so in the interests of fairness and to make up for what appeared to be a glitch in the comments system, we’ll try it once more with feeling.

    Quietly focuses on a powerful story about violence and forgiveness in Northern Ireland. In it, two strangers come together in a Belfast pub, and try to get to grips with how the events of a single night 36 years previously have shaped their lives.

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

    November 22, 2012 @ 7:00 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Button bound: It will be very hard to keep ourselves out of Dublin’s Button Factory this weekend, thanks to a pair of gigs that are as tempting as a pair of aces on a last hand of Texas Hold ‘Em before the river.

    First up in this salvo is Australia’s Dirty Three on Friday night. If previous gigs are anything to go by, Jim White, Mick Turner and Warren Ellis will be showing up to tear the place apart, and if you’ve never seen the band live before, grab the opportunity with both hands. However, best sit a row or three back if you are of a nervous disposition. On record, their subtle, sombre music occasionally wrenches itself into electric life, and live Ellis has a habit of upping the ante and whirling about the stage like a demented dervish. Explosive doesn’t do it justice.

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  • Lux capacity to go back to the future

    November 21, 2012 @ 11:08 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    When Brian Eno releases an album it’s usually something of an artistic event, and worth taking notice of – and his latest, Lux, is no exception. He’s taken a leap forward with his generative, ambient music while drawing on his formidable musical knowledge to create something that sounds of and out of its time.

    Eno is, of course, a musical innovator’s innovator. He was in Talking Heads (sort of); he was in Roxy Music. He made the Berlin Trilogy of Low, Heroes and Lodger with David Bowie. He’s probably most famous in these parts for producing U2’s The Joshua Tree, but he’s also worked with Paul Simon, Grace Jones, Devo and Depeche Mode. And he also came up with Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards with cryptic remarks designed to force musicians to work in different ways or break out of their familiar habits.

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  • If you only do one think this weekend . . . pull on a Stetson

    November 15, 2012 @ 4:45 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Book ’em, Dano: The Dublin Book Festival still has a few tricks up its sleeve this weekend. Friday is all about getting the electronic edge, with several discussions on how to make the most out of e-publishing. The lunchtime reading features John Givens, Dave Duggan, Joyce Russell and Garbhan Downey, and that evening there’s a look at Ireland’s Gothic literature, with Jon Kenny.

    On Saturday, Sinéad Gleeson will be in conversation with some of the contributors to her edited collection of short stories, Silver Threads of Hope. Roddy Doyle, Siobhán Mannion and Declan Hughes will be taking questions. It’s all getting a bit historical on Saturday too, with Lorcan Collins, Conor Kostick and Liz Gillis looking at revisionism, and Diarmaid Ferriter is in conversation with John Bowman.

    On Saturday and Sunday there are excellent literary walking tours with Pat Liddy, where he uncovers Temple Bar’s long love affair with the printed page. Click here for more.

    Happy birthday TP: Twisted Pepper is celebrating its fourth birthday this weekend with a fine line-up of club and electro acts, but among all those beats is the bass saxophone of Colin Stetson, who is playing his first solo show in Dublin.

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    Stetson is a touring member of Arcade Fire and was one of the men giving muscle to Bon Iver’s midweek line-up in the 02. He has also played with the likes of Tom Waits, Feist, David Byrne, LCD Soundsystem, The National, Godspeed and Angelique Kidjo – so basically every hip cat going. His own music is intense and melodic – go along. You couldn’t possibly regret it. There – an entire two paragraphs without a massive horn joke. Honk, honk.

    Tricolore film: Everyone has time for a little love in their life, right? Well, in the case of Michael Haneke’s Amour you might have to make more than a little time, as this accomplished piece of work will break you heart. But first do you research, by reading this interview by Donald Clarke with the great director. It’s a laugh a minute. Okay, maybe not every minute. But there’s at least one wry smile in there.

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    Amour is just one of the glittering jewels in this year’s French Film Festival at the IFI. Others on show this weekend include Alain Resnais’s You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet(on tonight only, so hurry, hurry), the punchy A Better Life (on Saturday), and You Will Be My Son starring Niels Arestrup of A Prophet fame. Unfortunately, Beatrice Dalle will not be attending Saturday’s planned Q&A and screenings of Betty Blue and Bye Bye Blondie. Quel dommage.

    Improvise: New music. Live, improvised music. Few rules. Chaos beckons. Class wins out. Terrified? You should be. But don’t let that stop you taking on the Bottlenote Festival headlong. The event is artist-led, and focuses on improvised music, so there is no way to predict how this one is going to run. Those running the show, or attempting to herd the cats, are Shane Latimer, Justin Carroll and Seán Mac Erlaine, and over the next three nights performers will include Roy Carroll, DJackulate, Shane O’Donovan, Justin Carroll, Sarah Buechi, Darragh O’Kelly, Ed Rosenberg III and Christian Skjødt. One worth taking a creative chance on.

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  • In praise of books

    November 13, 2012 @ 7:02 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    After months of reluctance and procrastination, I recently decided to cave in to my more progressive reasoning, and buy an ebook reader. Then I decided to upgrade that as far as a tablet, to take better advantage of the digital editions of various magazines, thereby saving me money on the somewhat more costly print-and-deliver subscriptions that most of them offer.

    This would then give me enough of an excuse to splash the cash on a Google Nexus or some class of an iPad. See? By spending money I am actually saving money. (There are very good reasons why I don’t work in the business section of this newspaper.) (more…)

  • Paul Rand, the man with the brands

    November 12, 2012 @ 5:15 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    One of the major draws at this year’s Offset creative conference, which took place in March, was Paula Scher from design powerhouse Pentagram.

    During her highly entertaining delivery, she gave attendees a brief glimpse at one of her projects, and one of the most high-profile design jobs in the business – the new logo for Microsoft Windows 8, which no doubt has been battering your eyes from all manner of advertising hoardings and formats in recent weeks.

    According to Pentagram, the “logo re-imagines the familiar four-colour symbol as a modern geometric shape that introduces a new perspective on the Microsoft brand”.

    At the time, Scher was more succinct. After giving a blink and you’d have missed it look at the already-familiar four-pane logo, she said: “I know what you’re thinking. You don’t like it. But you will.” (more…)

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

    November 8, 2012 @ 6:54 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Get branded: The name Paul Rand might not mean anything to you, but you will definitely be familiar with his work. Rand was one of the greatest graphic designers ever – in fact, he almost single-handedly invented the business, and his timeless designs and logos for companies are still very much in evidence. Among his clients were UPS, Westinghouse, NeXT (the company Steve Jobs founded when he quite Apple in the 1980s), IBM and ABC. Rand charges around $100,000 per “solution”, which seems reasonable enough when you realise how many of these images have survived today.

    The Ebow collaborative space and gallery is holding an exhibition of Rand’s work, that also features an animation of some of his graphics, and specially commissioned prints by Irish artists Johnny Kelly and James Earley. I’ll have a longer piece on Rand in tomorrow’s paper. (more…)

  • ‘Dogtooth’ director comes to town

    November 6, 2012 @ 9:01 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Those of you with decent foreign film memories will recall Dogtooth, a bizarre Greek offering that saw a group of children being homeschooled via tape-recorded messages in a sprawling estate – and the children in question were well into their 20s.

    Slick and subtle, it screened at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in 2010 and got its director, Yorgos Lanthimos, a best director award from the Dublin Film Critics Circle. The film scooped the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes and was also nominated for an Oscar in 2011.

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  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . take in the Vue

    November 1, 2012 @ 7:22 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    A fine art selection: If the Dublin Contemporary exhibition seemed overwhelming, then Vue at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin might prove much more manageable. The annual art fair brings together the country’s leading commercial galleries to exhibit a selection of their work in one spot. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it shooting gallery of work though – you only have from Friday to Sunday to catch it. Among those parading their wares will the Cross, Molesworth, Green on Red, Hillsboro Fine Art, Kevin Kavanagh, and Taylor Galleries, along with likes of the Graphic Studio Galleries, KT Contemporary and the Fenderesky. Entry is free, and it should give you enough ammunition for a month or two of bluffing in arty conversations. I’d post a link but there doesn’t seem to be a website anywhere for the expo. You’ll just have to go along and find out for yourself. How very old-school adventurous.

    On the road: Tonight sees the First Music Contact tour put in the first of five nights on the road, featuring a triumvirate of acts sharing the headline slot. Squarehead, The Lost Brothers and We Cut Corners will take turns leading the pack in Galway, Cork and Limerick, before taking a week off and then heading for Kildare and Dublin. Local support at each show adds heft to an already solid bill, and all for the princely sum of 11 yo-yos. (No, not literally yo-yos, because that would actually be quite pricey.) One thing to note is that the acts are inveterate liars – Squarehead’s craniums tend towards the spherical, The Lost Brothers are demons for the GPS, and We Cut Corners are notoriously diligent. We’re just saying.


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