This early in the snow year it’s easy to fool yourself into thinking you’re more adventurous than you are.

When the slopes are pristine and the lifts are freshly polished Val Thorens is sublime

Lady Gaga performs on the Dive Bar tour this month to promote her new album Joanne. Photograph  Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Joanne, the new album by one of pop’s reigning queens, has a head full of big ideas fighting with a heart full of simpler charms (...)

Whatever you’re having yourself:  Some retro advertising featuring at the  the Little Museum of Dublin exhibition

Little Museum of Dublin’s latest show reveals "a pre-internet Ireland, another world where men had unfeasibly thick heads of hair (...)

Ruth Fitzmaurice at Ladies’ Cove in Greystones, Co Wicklow

Fitzmaurice got the book deal after a series of articles in The Irish Times

A new tool makes playlists of festival line-ups, and makes a few bold claims

Plan to leave for your journey to Electric Picnic. Rosa Walsh (3) and Cillian Bowe (4) from Errill, Co Laois arrive in style last year. Photograph: Dave Meehan

The Stradbally festival has a new traffic plan, based on what type of ticket you have. Here’s everything you need to know to make (...)

Stradbally fields forever: an aerial view of the Electric Picnic. Photograph: Sky Tec Ireland

There's more to the picnic than the main stage

 James Murphy from  LCD Soundsystem would like to cordially invite you to the Electric Picnic main stage at just after midnight on Saturday. Photograph: Estela Silva/EPA

Here’s the first stage times for the Main, Rankin’s Wood, Other Voices and Body and Soul stages. We'll have more for you tomorrow

 Aerial Footage of last year’s Electric Picnic festival in Stradbally, Co Laois. Photograph: Inpho/Red Bull/Niall Bouzon

With one week to go, here’s a sneak preview of the Stradbally site so you can pick out your camping spot

David Bowie’s final album Blackstar has been nominated for this year’s Mercury Music Prize. Photograph: Larry Busacca/WireImage

Twelve acts are up for this year’s prize, which picks the best album by a UK or Irish act

Outside view of the Château de St Pierre de Serjac, in Puissalicon, France, run by Karl and Anita Hanlon

A short distance from Beziers, the Château St Pierre de Serjac offers great opulence and beauty

Stranger Things: a TV show that took shape in your childhood

The Off Topic podcast discusses media built on nostalgia, and the strange case of Marina Joyce

A bird’s eye view of Electric Picnic 2015 in Stradbally, Co Laois. Photograph: Niall Bouzon/Inpho/Red Bull

The music and arts festival will also feature a closing parade through the Stradbally site on its Sunday night

The department will also look again at how to promote further investment in the cultural sector from businesses. Photograph: The Irish Times

Minister Heather Humphreys to hold annual consultation day with arts community members

Kate Maher, Emma Keeley-Kawesha, Kenya Dempsey and Kevin Byrne at the Longitude Festival in Marlay Park, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Armenian chef’s hip-hop perfect tee-up for Kendrick Lamar after Chvrches disappoint

After BuzzFeed featured shots from Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2013, a member of her team asked that ‘unflattering photos’ be removed. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times

A recent trend among stars is to restrict press photographers at concerts to control every aspect their image

Kendrick Lamar performs at the Orange Stage, Roskilde Festival. He’ll be showing Longitude who is boss on Friday evening.  Photograph: Simon Laessoee/Scanpix Denmark/Reuters

Longitude takes over Marlay Park this weekend. Here’s all the details

A jogger passes a street vendor outside Croke Park, where Beyoncé is playing. Press photographers were not permitted to work at the concert. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Politics takes a back seat as spectacle rules the world during Beyoncé’s only Irish date on the Formation tour

Beyoncé onstage during the Formation World Tour at the Rose Bowl in May in  Pasadena, California. Photograph:  Kevin Mazur/WireImage

What time is Beyoncé on at Croke Park? What tunes will she play? Is it sold out? Here’s what you need to know

I’ll take it: Daenerys makes her move in the season finale of Game of Thrones

A longer, final episode in season six puts the pieces in place for the last days of the Seven Kingdoms. Here’s what we learned

 Rory O’Neill (Ms Panti Bliss) being interviewed at the launch of “KnowNow”, a national free rapid HIV testing programme. His bar  is offering free HIV tests to patrons. Photograph: Eric Luke

Off Topic: Has the attack in Orlando shattered the sense of nigthclubs as a safe place for the LGBT community? And how much homop(...)

Hip-hop of the very first order: Ho99o9, Midnight Circus, Friday, 9.45pm

Away from the obvious favourites, here’s our selection of insider tips for the weekend

Martin Hayes,  Stephen Rea and  performers from Loosysmokes, Elaine McCague and Deirdre Griffin, at the Kilkenny Arts Festival 2016 programme launch. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Stephen Rea, Loudon Wainwright III and Christian Blackshaw are among the highlights

Action Bronson: peerless rapping chops paired with emotion

The Barcelona festival is an excellent primer for what’s coming to Ireland this summer and beyond. Here’s what we caught and where(...)

The  Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin. Conor Gallagher says that trials can often  become a “revictimisation for a lot of people and they find it absolutely horrendous”. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Off Topic podcast: Sarah Maria Griffin, Roe McDermott and Conor Gallagher discuss what the Stanford case tells us about everyday s(...)

Thom Yorke on stage at Primavera Sound 2016 during their two-hour Friday night set. Photograph: EPA/Marta Perez

Radiohead deliver a masterclass in crowd control, before Kiasmos unload both electro barrels

LCD Soundsystem lead singer James Murphy performing on stage during the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, Spain. Photograph: Marta Perez/EPA

The three-day Barcelona festival also raises the bar with strong sets from Kamasi Washington and Floating Points

New York queer hip-hop artist Zebra Katz at the Halla Scoile. Photograph: Doreen Kilfeather

The Aran island culture festival blends its seamless mix of art and talks, food and music with the idyllic landscape

 Bruce Springsteen performs on stage during The River Tour at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain this week. Photo:  EPA/JP Gandul

From chance encounters in speedos and chats about Stillorgan bowling to playing support to the E Street Band, some of the Boss’s (...)

RCSI president Declan Magee (right) , takes a close look at the sculpture “Random Access Memory V” by Remco de Fouw (centre) winner of the 2016 RCSI Art Award, with RHA president Mick O’Dea, at the presentation in the Royal Hibernian Academy. Photograph: Eric Luke

Remco de Fouw wins €5,000 and €10,000 commission for ‘Random Access Memory V’

Award winning artist Katie Paterson: Previous projects include mapping all the Universe’s dead stars, compiling a slide archive of the history of darkness across the ages and sending a re-cast meteorite back into space. (Photo by David M Benett/Getty Images)

An intriguing literary project by visual artist Katie Paterson called Future Library is putting novelists’ work in storage for a c(...)

Game Of Thrones: Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen. Photograph:  HBO Enterprises

In this compelling and superlative drama, the audience watches a ghastly truth emerge

The artist Hugh O’Donoghue  in front of an epic new painting The Wasteland (8ft x 24ft), which features in a major new exhibition of work commissioned by the Galway International Arts Festival. Photograph: Colin Crisford

Suede, a new work inspired by Eileen Gray and US model Cameron Russell are also on the July arts festival bill

Simon Fujiwara’s  The Humanizer, which is at the Irish Museum of Modern Art until August 28th.  Photograph: Ruth Medjber/Ruthless Imagery

We discuss Simon Fujiwara’s Imma installation The Humanizer, here about perhaps the biggest game-to-film adaptation to date, and d(...)

Heather Humphreys at the Dáil in April.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Move comes after changes to the department viewed as a demotion by the sector

Inisheer is one of several islands hosting cultural happenings this summer. Photograph: Chris Hill

The Drop Everything cultural biennial will soon take over Inisheer with art, music, and a specially built sauna

Nicky Byrne signs for Ireland with Sunlight during the second semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 in Stockholm. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images

Patrick Freyne argues we have only ourselves to blame for Nicky Byrne’s early bath in Stockholm

 Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs, Arts and the Gaeltacht: Heather Humphreys  with President Michael D Higgins and Taoiseach Enda Kenny after receiving her seal of office. Photograph:  Colin Keegan, Collins

More than 5,000 sign online petition protesting new ministerial brief

Jona Bechtolt and Claire Evans from Yacht

This week’s faking of an act of revenge porn by the Portland band ranks as one of the most ill-conceived music PR stunts ever

 Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs at the Barclays Center in New York, the US. File photograph: Chad Batka/The New York Times

The Oxford band’s first album in five years is out now. Here’s our initial impressions

Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Varys (Conleth Hill) go on a wander round Braavos

Opener failed to live up to hype but was busy laying foundations for season to come

Struck blind: Will Arya (Maisie Williams)  still be able to read that death list? Photograph: HBO

The wildly popular fantasy series returns on Monday. Here’s the story so far

Laurence Mackin after completing his Swim for a Mile challenge: ‘Fitness is all well and good (and my word will you feel good after that mile is done). But it’s technique more than anything that will have you flying over that finish line in fine time. Photograph: Courtesy of Swim Ireland

They took on the challenge and they swam for a mile. Find out how two of The Irish Times team got on . . .

A design by Tado studio, inspired by London

Retain creative control and don’t be afraid of the dark: these were among the nuggets of wisdom at the annual design conference

‘You build up a visual language that people can use’: The  design fonts and features that accompany David Bowie's final album Blackstar

“We talked about black stars as a force that drives you out and drags you back in” - Designer Jonathan Barnbrook on the mysteries(...)

Jack Garratt: part of the new breed of musicians willing to go it alone live, with technology as their bandmate

Even big name acts are replacing musicians with technology and players with samples and software. Where is there left for live mus(...)

Coach Peter Conway  reckons once you find your perfect pace, you can swim all day. Photograph: Getty Images

It’s almost race day for our ‘Swim for a Mile’ challengers . . . and they are feeling a little nervous, but ready

Lisa Dwan on stage at the NCH. Photograph: Frances Marshall

The NCH’s centenary celebrations continue with a night of high calibre one-off performances

A screengrab of the video demonstrating Microsoft’s holoportation technology. The girl and toys in the centre are holographic projections

Microsoft’s has released details of its new Holoportation tech which aims to capture the 3D home music market

Soft-Kin  by Richard Gorman, which has been shortlisted for the inaugural RCSI Art Award. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Five artworks selected from 186th Annual Exhibition for new award

Orna Mulcahy: talks too much to avoid swimming too much. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘Pretend there’s an eye in each hip and it wants look up’. I do. It works . . . a bit’

Missing home? Not feeling your Irishness? Here come Luke Kelly, Christy Moore and The Blades to the rescue

Singer Grimes aka Claire Boucher performing in Germany last month. Photograph: Stefan Hoederath/Redferns

The Canadian singer’s set crackled with energy and invention, until technical faults brought the show down

The winners at the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards 2015 in The National Concert Hall, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

The event also featured video tributes to Waking the Feminists and the year in theatre

Returning champions: James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem

This year’s line-up reveals a strong mix of old-school and new

Interskalatic members Tim Higgins, Shane Clear, Kevin Foran, Alison Reynolds and Mason McMinnville at the Electric Picnic launch in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Other acts include LCD Soundsystem, New Order and The Chemical Brothers

Musician James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem performs at   Coachella in 2010. He’s coming back to Stradbally and this time he’s bringing the band with him. Photograph: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Lana Del Rey, New Order, Haim, Jack Garratt and Super Furry Animals also make the September bill

Preparations continue in the red carpet arrivals area for the 88th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. Photograph: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Here are the Oscar basics: when is it on; where can I see it; and what are our Irish odds

Anything but Sky News: big screens in public spaces are the perfect opportunity to promote cultural offerings

We need to replace rolling Sky News in public places with magical, unexpected moments

Irish Times swimmer Laurence Mackin is (slowly) getting closer to the one-mile goal.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

‘The trick is to note the lack of air without getting into a blind panic’

Aspiring authors with a book burning a hole in their desk drawer might want to take note of this latest literary event

Yannis Philippakis of Foals at the  3Arena in  Dublin. Photograph: Ruth Medjber

The Oxford band’s latest development sees them turning into heavyweight musical contenders

 Lynn Ruane, president of Trinity College Students’ Union. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Lynn Ruane joins the show to discuss Trinity’s consent workshops, and we look at RTÉ’s hunt for a new boss

RHA president Mick O’Dea, Prof Cathal Kelly, chief executive/registrar RCSI, Kevin O’Sullivan, editor of The Irish Times and Declan Magee, president of the RCSI announcing details of the new award. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Prize funded by Royal College of Surgeons, Royal Hibernian Academy and ‘Irish Times’

Massive Attack have released Ritual Spirit, ahead of two further planned releases of new music this year

The Bristol trip hop kings have played to their musical strengths and released a stunning EP in Ritual Spirit, with fans at the Ol(...)

Gaz Coombes at Other Voices in December 2015. Photograph: Rich Gilligan

The live music series recorded in deepest Dingle returns to RTE on Saturday

Anne Clarke on the set of Once the Musical in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin in 2015. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Landmark founder recognised for her outstanding contribution to the industry

 Irish Times swimmer Laurence Mackin’s tip: Head down and look down your front at your swimming togs. This will immediately streamline your body and you will instantly feel the movement easier in the water. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Trying to teach a 35-year-old (stroppy) dog a new trick is never going to be easy

From left, Caitríona O’Reilly, Medbh McGuckian, John F Deane, Doireann Ní Ghríofa and Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Four women and one man will vie for this year’s €2,000 best Irish collection prize

The Gloaming (Iarla Ó Lionáird, Martin Hayes, Caoimhin Ó Raghallaigh and Dennis Cahill) were last year’s winners of the Choice Music Prize

Girl Band, Villagers and Róisín Murphy among the shortlist for the Irish album of the year prize

Arts Council chair Sheila Pratschke says its latest strategy will focus “on the artist and public engagement”. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Arts organisations see funding mostly held steady, with an increase for writing bursaries and a new scheme for local authorities (...)

Rebellion: Ruth Bradley as Frances who plays the part of a teacher at St Enda’s

Dramatic impetus character driven while Rising’s familiar protagonists on sidelines

So long Don Draper, and thanks for all the fibs

We take a look back at the best audio bits from our podcast this year, from the strange to the sublime

Partying with your friends is all well and good but some prefer the simple comforts of a giant sofa and the embrace of a warm scre(...)

Panti Bliss. The Queen of Ireland. Rory O'Neill. Directed by Conor Horgan

Despite complaints about collaborative art, there have been great examples this year

Tanya Sweeney meets a villager in Malawi. So far about 10,000 women have started saving-and-loan schemes in the country, which work in the same way as credit unions. Photograph: Concern

The Stem subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – are meant to drive our economy into the future. But as Other Voic(...)

You have until midnight on Sunday to pick the best bits, and we’ll print the results in order of merit in next week’s The Ticket

Mahalia performing at the Other Voices music festival in Dingle in Co Kerry

Star turn comes from 17-year-old Mahalia who turns in an “astonishing” set

Eamonn Sinnott, head of Intel Ireland, is taking part in Ireland’s Edge, a new conference about arts and business at this year’s Other Voices festival.  Photograph:  Julien Behal/Maxwells

Ireland’s Edge will bring business, political and creative leaders to Dingle as part of the annual music festival

The Abbey Theatre enjoyed its best profit since 2007 last year. File photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Play featuring ‘Love/Hate’ star Vaughan Lawlor described as ‘sell-out sensation’

All you need are two bats, one ball and a net, to unleash all that pent-up cabin fever that winter brings to family dynamics

It’s getting colder, darker, wintrier. Whether you favour active or stationary pursuits, these suggestions will get you through th(...)

Headphones in, hoody up: people’s behaviour is influenced by the way cities are designed. Photograph: E+/Getty

They’re doing nothing more sinister than trying to feel a bit more relaxed and safer in a place that feels built up against them (...)

 Lea Seydoux,   Daniel Craig and  Monica Bellucci pose on arrival for the world premiere of  ‘Spectre’ at the Royal Albert Hall in London on October 26th, 2015.  Photograph: LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

The marketing juggernaut that is the 007 franchise has swept all before it in the nation’s cinemas this weekend

What would  William Shakespeare have made of modern pop? Erik Didriksen has a few suggestions. Photograph:  Getty Images

A new book recasts some of our favourite modern music in the style of Shakespeare: can you name these tracks or are you a flap-ear(...)

Department of Arts gets hike of 12%, but Arts Council is not happy with modest rise

“I want to ensure that the characters will seem to be singing in Dublin,” says Roddy Doyle of his new version of Don Giovanni. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Dublin Theatre Festival announces one of next year’s highlights as it takes a bow for 2015

Mark Palmer and Thisispopbaby create a rock and roll journey through Matthew’s passion

Laurence Kinlan, Kate Stanley-Brennan and Adrian Dunbar in The Night Alive by Conor McPherson. Photograph: Chris Heaney

Among this year's highlights is the Irish premiere of ‘The Night Alive’ by Conor McPherson in the Gaiety

Don’t play, Misty, for me: Lou Reed attending his photo exhibition at Frank Landau Gallery on November 3, 2012 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (Photo by Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)

First, Ryan Adams reinterprets Taylor Swift’s 1989. Then Fr John Misty reinterprets Adams. Then Lou Reed weighs in from beyond th(...)

Festival clubs: When budgets are tight it’s understandable to be reluctant to spend money on what some might   see as little more than  another drinking den

The festival club is ‘where everyone wants to be and wants to talk about their shows and their dreams for next year’

Culture Night comes to over 1,500 venues around the country on Friday - pictured are Jenni Barkley, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Manager, and Soup Dejour in Belfast. Photograph: Press Eye

3,000 free events taking place across the country in more than 1,500 venues

Scotch and Soda, by Australia’s Company 2

A blend of physical prowess, humour, trapeze and tease in the Spiegeltent

The Walls Have Ears

Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger gives the most virtuosic performance

‘A female dancer crawls out, creature-like, from the shadows’

An ambitious achievement from new dance collective Loosysmokes

Into the music: Van Morrison on stage  in 1973.  Photograph: Ed Caraeff/Getty Images

Influenial, inscrutible Van Morrison gives his most comprehensive interview ever

RM Hubbert: his other main asset – and here X Factor wannabes will break down in jealous tears – is his lacerating wit

RM Hubbert’s music comes from the sort of tragedy that would have an ‘X Factor’ contestant slack-jawed with envy

Artist Mick O’Dea paints a portrait of the American poet Robert Pinsky in his temporary studio in James Stephens Barracks Kilkenny as part of Kilkenny Arts Festival. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

List of speakers included a mixture of locals and walk-ins, festival artists and crew

The Beatyard festival in Dún Laoghaire, August 1st. Photograph:

Dún Laoghaire’s former ferry terminal transformed into excellent small festival

Electric performance: Olwen Fouéré makes Samuel Beckett’s piece open up like a well-cracked nut. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

TheEmergencyRoom’s production is about the Turing test . . . isn’t it?

Philip King at the launch of Other Voices Stage at Electric Picnic 2014. Photograph: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Staves, East India Youth and Stornoway are all heading to Stradbally

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