If you only do one thing this weekend . . . take in the Vue
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.
Birthday bash: The Grand Social in Dublin is celebrating its second birthday, and it’s a venue that perhaps doesn’t get the credit its lovely, warm loft space deserves. First to blow out the birthday-cake candles will be circus swing act Gabby Young and Other Animals, who pick up the theatrical, flamboyant trail blazed by the likes of Oi Va Voi and Go Go Bordello. On Saturday, homecrowd favourite Jape will be playing his 1,365th gig of the year, with deep house DJ and Retrofit label boss Jay Sheperd flying in from NYC to fill out the bill.
Soul sister: Mavis Staples is playing on Saturday night at the National Concert Hall. We love Mavis Staples. And it gives us our 1,365th excuse of the year to use this video. Just listen to those handclaps – like the soulful thunder of the gospel gods.
Treated like royalty: The prodigious and ambitious Queens Festival in Belfast is winding to a close, and it’s going out in style. There’s a chance to catch Van Morrison’s Supper Club, which we’re unfortunately assured is not a Come Dine With Me-style evening of japes with the famously cheerful singer – and now that we think of it, that man has gone from almost recluse to playing enough gigs this year to give Richie Egan a run for this money.
Ian Rankin is shaking the dust off Rebus and sending him out into the grim, Scottish world again, and he’s giving a reading with John Gordon Sinclair. The Michael Clark Dance Company is also in action, as is John Cooper Clarke (dancing not a guarantee). And there’s also a chance to see Lynne Parker’s take on Macbeth before it travels south to the Project Arts Centre and onwards (that show is reviewed in full in tomorrow’s Irish Times, along with Dermot Bolger’s Ulysses, and Jack White at the 02). There’s enough there to keep even the pickiest culture vulture sated.