Pursued by a Bear »

  • If you only do one thing this weekend: make a mixtape

    January 31, 2013 @ 8:39 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Old school dance: We love to see a bit of ambition in a show, taking on a mammoth project with a slim chance of success and requiring the kind of production values that would have Sisyphus calling his union representatives. So hats off to the Loose Collective who, on Saturday night for one night only, will attempt to adapt the entire Old Testament (that’s the good one with all the fire and brimstone bits – speaking of which, when’s the last time you came across a bit of brimstone) into one dance show.

    Oh, and the show will also use text-sampling, beat-boxing and choir singing to keep things moving and bring those Bible verses to life. Go along dressed as your favourite Old Testament character or as one of Noah’s animals. There’s no reason to, I’d just like to see the look on their faces if they turned up to a room full of Moses. Click here for more information.

    Dig it: Martin McDonagh has half of Hollywood eating out of his hand, and the divisive Seven Psychopaths means he’s now being talked about more than ever. But the true measure of his cloth is to be found in the theatre, and here’s a timely reminder why. A Skull in Connemara is the second play in his Lennane trilogy, falling between The Beauty Queen of Leenane and The Lonesome West, and focuses on a gravedigger doing the grisly task of digging up his wife (who he may have helped put in the ground in the first place, in more ways than one). Decadent Theatre have put together a rich cast, with John Olohan, Frankie McCafferty and Brid Ni Neachtain. It previews in the Town Hall Theatre, Galway from tomorrow (Friday). (more…)

  • A music and video reminder of Body and Soul’s brilliant Upstage

    January 30, 2013 @ 6:56 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    February is almost here (hurrah!) and while plenty of other people have been erroneously celebrating the end of winter, I’ve been keeping myself warm by sitting close to the soothing glow of my laptop screen and looking at what’s coming up at this year’s festivals. Despite Jim Carroll’s reservations, I reckon Primavera Sound’s line-up is stellar, and after Sunday night’s shenanigans it would be nearly worth the ticket price alone to see Matthew E White again.

    While having a root down the back of the festival couch, I noticed that Body and Soul’s early-bird tickets have sold out – not bad considering the festival has yet to announce a line-up. But giving how much fun last year’s masked spectacular in Ballinlough Castle was, I can’t imagine there won’t be hundreds of repeat offenders making the trip to Meath. (more…)

  • Live review: Matthew E White

    @ 11:41 am | by Laurence Mackin

    Whelan’s, Dublin

    The next time you’re having an argument with, say, your father, and he says “They don’t make music like they used to,” send him Matthew E White’s way.

    White’s bewildering debut has been getting glorious reviews and it’s little wonder – he recorded it in just seven days but it sounds like an album that was a lifetime in the making. Big Inner is seven gorgeously textured, intricate songs, crafted with the kind of fire in the belly that any fine Virginian preacher would be proud of. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . go traditional

    January 24, 2013 @ 6:54 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Tradition edition: Temple Bar Trad Fest is preparing to sign off in fine, raucous style this weekend. Tonight, the highlight is at the Button Factory where Teada, featuring Seamus Begley, headlines a roster of acts that includes Aoife Scott, Perfect Friction and Truancy. Tomorrow night, Stephen Rea will launch the West Ocean String Quartet’s new album, An Indigo Sky, with Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill also on the roster to perform Neil Martin’s song cycle Oileán na Marbh, at St Werburgh’s Church. On Sunday, the inimitable Sharon Shannon will be celebrating her 21st anniversary with Irish music (no, we can’t make head nor tail of that one either), with a concert at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Expect her to call in more than a few favours for guest appearances to get the party properly rolling. (And if you do find yourself in that part of town, make sure to spare some time for a pint in Fallon’s, one of the finest pubs in all of Dublin town.)

    Well all White then: He’s big dude with a big beard and an album on Domino that is picking up more stars than a black hole on tour. And on Sunday, Matthew E White will be bringing his country soul shadings to Whelan’s in Dublin. He recorded his debut in seven days, and it’s got the kind of texture and depth that usually takes years to perfect, so there’s little doubt that Mr White is the real deal. He’ll soon be playing much bigger venues than this, so take this rare opportunity to see the man on his way up, and experience a little bit of special Americana soul of a Sunday.

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  • 12 Points line-up and a playlist to get you started

    January 23, 2013 @ 5:14 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    The 12 Points festival for young European jazz artists is back in Dublin this year, after last year’s stint in Porto, and the organisers have just announced the line-up.

    It takes place from February 13th to 16th, with a concert each night in the Project Arts Centre, Dublin, featuring three of the selected artists from 12 European cities. Each night also ends with a free jam session (that’s also free in), which can sometimes turn into the best concert of the evening.

    Tickets are €12-15 per night, or there are a limited number of festival passes for €40 – that’s less than €3.33 a band for a line-up with one local act. Is this the best value small festival there is?

    After the jump is the line-up and videos of each act to get a flavour of what to expect, and click here for coverage of last year’s festival. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend … go to war with a professional

    January 17, 2013 @ 9:00 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Conflicting views: There are people in this world who are drawn to war, and I’m not talking about mercenaries. There are those who seek out the world’s hotspots and combat zones, to experience and to report where the rest of us mere mortals would fear to tread. (Photographer Anthony Lloyd captures this perplexing obsession in the brilliant My War Gone By, I Miss It So, where each time he leaves his warzone in the Balkans he slips back into heroin addiction.)

    Don McCullin is one such conflicted soul. He served in the RAF during the Suez Crisis, and it was her that he learned the darkroom arts. From the 1960s on he began working as a foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times, with much of his work capturing the horror and ravages of war, rather than any glorification of it. He claims that it was for this reason that he was refused a press pass to cover the Falklands War. His pictures, from the likes of Biafra, the Lebanon, Cyprus and Vietnam, have in some cases come to be among the defining images for their respective conflicts.

    A shellshocked soldier photographed by Don McCullin in Vietnam

    David and Jacqui Morris have made a documentary about McCullin in which he talks frankly and honestly about his career in the frontlines. Among the contributors are Harold Evans, his former boss at the Sunday Times and a man regarded as perhaps the best editor in the business. The film is at the Lighthouse Cinema this weekend. Judging by the trailer, it’s unmissable.

    Northern sounds: When asked what country is at the cutting edge of music, Norway might not be near the top of your list – but you’d be wrong. The country that gave us A Ha and Royksopp has a musical folk heritage that’s bewildering in its scale, and when it comes to alternative and experimental music, particularly in jazz, there is no finer European pedigree – check out Arve Henriksen and Tord Gustavsen for a taste of something very different indeed.

    Rebekka Karijord is one such individual. Born in Lofoten and raised in Stockholm, Sweden, she’s a relative unknown in Ireland, but happily that might be about tho change. Her vocal has more than a touch of the type of purity you find with a Cocteau Twin, if a little more country in tone, and her songs are shot through with the sort of dark seam familiar to Tori Amos fans. Her recordings themselves also sound beautiful. There’s a gorgeous earthy richness to much of the ensemble’s sound – listen to the percussive string heavy thrum of Undo Love for a particularly effective sample. Tomorrow night, she’s bringing her singular sound to the Workman’s Club. Miss this one, and miss out on something very special indeed.

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  • Theatre Forum’s public vote for the Irish Times Theatre Awards

    January 16, 2013 @ 5:07 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    On Saturday, we revealed the short list for this year’s Irish Times Theatre Awards, and the three judges – Sinéad Mac Aodha, Damian Downes and John Fairleigh – gave a little bit of detail on how they’ve arrived at their final few.

    The smart folk over at Theatre Forum Ireland have put our shortlist up on their site for a public vote – this vote has nothing to do with the awards themselves (this isn’t poX-factor after all), and will not affect the final vote. But it was really interesting last year to see how the final votes tallied up with the judges’ verdict – in the end, Theatre Forum’s public vote matched our judges’ decisions more than 50 per cent of the time. Of the 13 categories, seven of the Theatre Forum picks were the same as the actual winners. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend … do a lot

    January 10, 2013 @ 7:59 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Final first: The First Fortnight festival of mental health and creative arts is drawing to a close, and it’s ending things in fine fashion. The events at this one have been scattered throughout the two weeks rather than packed into a few days, giving people plenty of time to see as much as possible – a nice curatorial touch.

    This weekend, though, there’s a lot to choose from. Pat Kinevane’s excellent play Silent is at Smock Alley Theatre, while the Box of Frogs revue, featuring Mary McEvoy, Dil Wickremasinghe and John Moynes, is at the Mill Theatre, Dundrum. Tomorrow night’s Thearpy session at the Workman’s Club still doesn’t feature Nordie noisemeisters Therapy?, but it does have poetry from Kalle Ryan, Abby Olivera, and John Cummins, and music from Chris Campbell, Root Cellar, The Man Whom and Roisin O. The finale gig on Saturday night has a cracking line-up in We Cut Corners, Kopek and Vann supporting Le Galaxie, whose Christmas shows at the same venue were nothing short of explosive.

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    On Saturday afternoon, you can also catch a screening of Joey Pantoliano’s No Kidding, Me Too documentary, followed by a Q&A session with the man who’s perhaps most famous for playing the thinking gangster’s favourite psychopath, Ralph Cifaretto. (Here’s an interview with Pantoliano that I did earlier in the week, where he talks frankly about his own depression and his mental-health advocacy work.)

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    Theatre junkie: Reckon you’re a bit of a theatrical heavyweight? Is one show just never enough on a given night? Have you got a hunger for enhanced performance that would put Lance Armstrong to shame? Then we have just the shows for you.

    TheatreClub is currently fomenting a revolution in the Project Arts Centre with Theatre Machine Turns You On: Volume III. It’s putting on four shows a night, with talks and parties to boot, that range from lo-fi works in progress to late night long players. It’s a huge amount of work, energy and ambition to squeeze into two five-day bursts, and well worth manning the barricades for. Click here for a breakdown of the playlist.

    Meanwhile, over in the Abbey Theatre, a host of professional actors are self-flagellating for the pleasures of Dublin Youth Theatre. The 24 Hour Plays sees writers, directors, actors and crew conceive, devise and perform six plays in just a day. Among those taking on the challenge are Garry Hynes, Sarah Greene, Michael West, Louise Lowe, Annabelle Comyn, Amy Conroy , Paul Mercier, Eleanor Methven, Aoibhinn McGinnity, Janet Moran, Gina Moxley, Valerie O’Connor and dozens more. And it’s all in aid of Dublin Youth Theatre. There’s a lot of agents getting fired before this one is over. See the fruits of their labour on Sunday night. (more…)

  • Arts funding and bursaries 2013: Deadline time

    January 8, 2013 @ 9:43 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    For many artists, the beginning of the calendar year means organising their funding, so here is a selection of some of the arts grants, funding sources and bursaries available for 2013. If you know of any more please leave them in the comments section below.


    The first major deadline and perhaps the most pertinent one for individual artists, is the Arts Council’s bursary awards, and the deadline for these is January 17th. These are awarded in the following areas: theatre, visual, film, literature, architecture, dance and arts. For most of these, the bursary goes up to €15,000, but for dance and arts this is capped at €10,000.

    These are awards for professional artists to develop their practice and to provide artists with the time and resources to think, to research and to develop what they do, be it with their art in general, a specific piece or a particular body of work.

    To qualify, you have to be a professional artist, and you have to have been born in or resident in the State. The only major restriction is that you can’t be in undergraduate or postgraduate education.

    The award is designed to help an artist develop their practice, and to a limited extent this may mean covering expenses such as living costs, renting studio space or time, materials or paying for third-party expertise. In a nutshell, this is more current than capital costs.

    There are specific guidelines for each individual bursary available on the Arts Council website.

    One particular point that should be borne in mind is that all applications have to go through the Arts Council website, which you have to register on first. Getting that initial registration confirmed can take up to five days, so first-time applicants should register immediately even if their application isn’t completely ready to go. (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend … make a fortnight of it

    January 3, 2013 @ 11:29 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    First festival: After a prolonged Christmas break, we’re back in the artistic saddle and ready to ride out the winter gloom with some live distractions.

    First up at putting a little colour into the pale cheeks of January is the excellent First Fortnight arts and mental health festival. Fringe favourite Solpadeine is my Boyfriend is back for a fresh plink plink fizz in the New Theatre on Friday and Saturday, while Friday night’s Therapy Sessions at the Workman’s Club has as tidy roster of acts that alternates between poetry and music. Among the poets are Eddie Keegan, Sarah Clancy, 
Elaine Feeney and Colm Keegan, while fighting the perfomers’ corner are Drea, Robert Grace, Mumblin’ Deaf and This Club.

    And on Saturday, the IFI is screening Tarnation, in which Jonathan Caouette documents his experience growing up with a mother who has schizophrenia. A powerful festival with many stories to tell.

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    Last of the species: A Betrayal of Penguins are about to go out with a … well, whatever noise it is penguins make. (It’s kind of a throaty “eerk eerk” that smells of fish, actually.) The comedy foursome – or Aaron Heffernan, Matt Smith, Ross Dungan and Eoghan Quinn to their mothers – are calling it a day to pursue projects numerable, and as a parting gift, they are running through their entire oeuvre this weekend at the Project Arts Centre, under the witty title Druid Penguin. That’s Don’t Run with Scissors, Endangered for a Reason and Harmed and Dangerous on Friday and Saturday. Miss it at your penguin peril as you’ll never get the chance to see it again. An endangered species indeed.

    Sunday cooking: Get you groove on this Sunday at Dublin’s Workman’s Club, which is packing in a whip-tight jazz roster from 4pm. Workin’: Jazz and Other Grooves tips its hat to Miles Davis, so expect a jam packed session of solid, slick music. Among the acts playing are Leafzang, Hugh Buckley, The Asteroids of Doom, Shane Latimer, Matt Jacobsen’s Redivider and Laura Hyland’s group Clang Sayne. And all this for just a tenner. Nice work if you can get it.

    Wheely funny: Another product of the Fringe gets a fresh airing this weekend. Sonya Kelly’s hilarious take on her childhood, The Wheelchair on My Face, came up through the Fishamble Show in a Bag ranks to no little acclaim, and it’s on this Friday and Saturday at Tallaght’s Civic Theatre.

    Colour in the darkness: There is one perennial highlight to the drab days of January – and that’s the unveiling of JMW Turner’s watercolours at the National Gallery, which can only be shown this month owing to the conditions of their bequest. This year, the exhibition will include all the Turner watercolours in the Vaughan Bequest, and five other recent acquisitions, as well as a selection of Turner’s Liber Studiorum prints. There’s also a study morning and lecture series taking place throughout the month. Click here for details.

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