Friday, June 29, 2012

Dublin Pride

So Dublin Pride has been on for the past week, and we've been very remiss to not mention it before now.  But do not fear, there's still a whole weekend to drape yourself in a rainbow flag and participate.  All the major gay venue are hosting a pile of events, so you could just show up at any one of them but here's a selection of interesting events over the weekend.

The flagship event is tomorrow.  The Pride parade is always worth watching, and taking part in it even more so.  Assembly starts at noon for at 14:00 beginning at the Garden of Remembrance.  Panti is the grand marshal.

Bressie is playing at The George tonight.
They're also doing their usual bingo with Shirley Temple Bar on Sunday.

Pussy Cat Club, also tonight, at the Button Factory.  Ireland's top female DJs will be there.  Dancing seems essential.

The official closing party is at Sauce in The Kitchen and Boy George is Djing.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Centre for Creative Practices Artists Survey 2012

Monika Sapielak of the Centre for Creative Practices has asked me to publicise their 2012 Artists Survey.  If you are an artist, or know some, please pass on this link and ask them to complete the survey.  They are especially interested to hear from any migrant or niche artists.

As a nice carrot, two artists who complete the survey will have the chance to exhibit their work for a week in the gallery (if their medium is visual) or perform twice at the gallery (if their field is music/film, etc).  Also, everyone who does the survey will get a free membership to the CfCP, which gives discounts for all their workshops.  So it's well worth your time filling it out!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

UCD Imagine Science Film Festival

The first UCD Imagine Science Film Festival runs from 5th to 14th July across several venues in Dublin including Lighthouse Cinema, the Sugar Club and Science Gallery. It's part of Dublin City of Science 2012 and aims to celebrate science through cinema, digital media and art. Films shown during the festival will include Fermat's Room, the Russian/Soviet 1972 classic Solaris (right), and short films for children (Science for Nanos).

You can also follow the festival on twitter (@UCDImagineSci / #UCDSci) and at

Friday, June 22, 2012

Odeon: Null Points

Last night I went to the (relatively new) Odeon cinema at the Point with some companions to see the UK National Theatre production of Frankenstein directed by Danny Boyle and starring Johnny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch.  Originally produced in the spring of 2011, it was so successful a production that it was filmed and hence we can all see it.  The filming doesn't take away from the play, and you still hear and see the audience.  The two lead actors alternated roles each night playing the creature and Frankenstein.  I'd never read Mary Shelley's book or seen other adaptation, so I was truly impressed by the horror of it all, especially when you know that an 18 year old woman thought of the idea, and was just 21 when it was published.  I've often heard comments like "Frankenstein is the original horror story" and presumed it was a bit of a cliché, but wow.  There were parts of the story I did not see coming.  For something written almost 200 years ago, it still has a lot of resonance today, especially as scientists get ever closer to Frankenstein's aims of creating life in a non-traditional way.  It was a very physical play - a lot of jumping around and running and violence.  The set was awesome.  (I know - I always go on about sets).  It had this circular turn-style thing which at first appeared to just go around but then later rose and suck into the ground for different scenes.  What looked like a track of real grass was on the stage for a portion of the play, and the stage also rained.  I love it when they make stages rain!  The ceiling was hung with hundreds of light bulbs which were used to great effect.  All the acting was superb and intense, the cast support cast was excellent and the two leads both really deserve the Laurence Oliver award they shared for the roles.  I'm considering whether I might like to see them in the reversed roles but it was a hard watch, and somewhat soured by the experience I shall now relate.

However, the Odeon deserves no points.  They are, if you will, the Norway of cinemas.  I booked the tickets in advance.  The showing was for 19:15, and we duly arrived about 19:00. We made our way through a monument to the Celtic Tiger, a giant empty shopping centre.  I got the tickets from the machine and we proceeded straight in.  Our tickets were checked and went into a small but shiny, clean and new cinema.  There was a whole 2 other people in the cinema with us and we started to chat as we waited for the lights to dim.  And we waited.  And waited.  Then one of the group said "hey Claire, these tickets say 8pm, not 7.15" so I got out my phone and checked my original booking confirmation, which did indeed say the earlier time.  Not being known for shyness, I went straight out to ask what the story was.  A lady with an English accent said oh yes the time had changed, she'd just found out herself, very sorry.  She didn't look terribly sorry.  I asked could an email not have been sent out but she just repeated "all I can I say is I'm very sorry" and that she would pass it on to the manager.  She acted like I was being difficult in complaining about this, when surely getting the time right is a fundamental requirement for a cinema.  So I went back in and informed everyone of this one else knew.  Since we were already there, we stayed and waited but were seriously not impressed.  Surely the people checking tickets could have informed us?  About 19:40, the same woman came into the screening room accompanied by another woman.  In a loud voice she announced "Does everyone know the screening time has been changed from 7.15 to 8 o'clock?  Is everyone ok with that?"  Some people actually said they were, but we all said no.  Spectacular customer service training there.  The other lady came up to us and said they would give us a free ticket each as an apology and hoped that we would come back.  We might but I don't think it'll be soon.  How could we be sure this wouldn't happen again?  By the time it was all over, it was nearly 10:30, easily the longest I've been at the cinema since Schindler's List - an entirely different kind of horror.

A side point: if you are intending to park there - you can get your parking ticket validated in the cinema and you'll only have to pay €5 for up to four hours instead of €2.70 an hour.  My companions were 3 minutes over the 4 hours, having eaten in the Gibson beforehand, so they paid €7.70 for the inconvenience. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Campo Viejo Tapas Trail

I'm quite fond of Spanish food and wine, so this caught my attention. It's more commercial than many of the events and activities we cover on this site but it looks fun - and the price seems pretty reasonable.

Spanish wine brand Campo Viejo, the flagship of Rioja wines, has joined forces with four of Dublin’s top restaurants for the return of the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail. A celebration of the best of Spanish cuisine, participants will have the opportunity to join the trail through Dublin city centre and discover the art and elegance of ‘tapeo’; the art of eating tapas. Guests will sample an array of small epicurean delights bursting with Spanish flavour that will tickle the taste buds and tantalise the senses. The Campo Viejo Tapas Trail runs from 27th June to 19th August.

Each Wednesday and Sunday the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail will visit four top restaurants around Dublin including Salamanca St Andrews Street, Salamanca Fusion, Parliament Street, Havana Tapas Bar and The Market Bar. During the event participants will visit each of the four featured restaurants, where they will be presented with the venue’s best three tapas. Participants will also enjoy a measure of Campo Viejo Reserva in each restaurant. Tapas in each of the restaurants will feature the best of local produce and will be designed to complement the elegance and full flavours associated with Campo Viejo Reserva. To bring the vibrancy of Spain to life, guests will be treated to an eclectic and diverse mix of Spanish-themed entertainment.

Tickets for the Campo Viejo Tapas Trail are priced at €20 with the trail taking place each Wednesday between 6.30pm and 9.00pm and each Sunday between 2.00pm and 4.30pm. 80 people can participate on the trail during each session. They will be split up into four groups of 20 with each group of 20 starting off in a different participating restaurant. Each group of 20 will be assigned a different route and work their way around the trail. Hosts will guide participants on the trail informing them on the importance of the Rioja region and describing Capo Viejo’s unique characteristics.

For further information and to purchase tickets log onto (Tickets are available for purchase from June 20th).

If you don't have a Facebook login, try instead.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Dream - free rehearsed reading

Press release from La Touche Players below, in case you're looking for some cheap fun on Thursday:
Midsummer night - free rehearsed reading in the Teacher's Club

It's midsummer night on Thursday (sob, sob, sob, where did the summer go?)... so come along to a rehearsed reading of a Shakespearean classic comedy!

La Touche Players presents:

William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (abridged)

Directed by Emily Maher

For one midsummer night only… FREE ENTRY!

Thursday 21st June at 8pm

Teacher's Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin 1

Follow us on Twitter @LaTouchePlayers
Full details on

Monday, June 18, 2012


Gallery Zozimus plays host to this year's NCAD 3rd year and MA ceramics students' exhibition.  It will be opened this coming Thursday, 18th June and runs until 1st July.  You can download an invitation with all the details here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Brother Hubbard cafe

Brother Hubbard is a new cafe on Capel Street. Opened about three months ago, it's supported by 3FE and HasBean. They've recently had a big break with a favourable review by the Irish Times.

As fans of 3FE will expect the coffee is excellent. There's some variation in the style of coffee produced by the 3FE-associated cafes; Brother Hubbard's espresso is similar to the typical 3FE espresso, having a wonderfully acidic zing. Brother Hubbard also serves food - my first impressions are positive.

As for Rosemary MacCabe's assertion that "Capel Street is becoming one of Dublin’s most happening quarters"... well, maybe. The opening of The Black Sheep craft-beer pub was a good sign, but for now (as I hope the photo above illustrates) Capel Street remains rather ugly. Let's hope that Brother Hubbard's arrival is part of a trend.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Taste of Dublin

Taste of Dublin starts this evening at 5:30 pm and runs until Sunday. One of the more unusual events is Dine in the Dark by Kanchi Ireland. Here's a brief description from the press release:

Disability organisation Kanchi will give diners a truly unique culinary experience at this year’s Taste of Dublin. Fittingly entitled ‘Kanchi Dine in the Dark’, this experiential dining event will see festival goers served an exclusive tasting plate by legally blind waiting staff whilst immersed in complete darkness. The delicious culinary delights will be prepared by ten of Ireland’s most award winning chefs, including Ross Lewis, Kevin Thornton and Malcolm Starmer. The event will take place in an atmospheric pitch black dining venue in Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens from 14th – 17th June.

Festival goers will be guided to their tables, where they will be served a taster plate created by Ireland’s most acclaimed culinary experts. Without their sight to guide them, guests will experience the complex tastes, flavours and textures in a completely new and innovative way. In the blacked out dining room, everyone will be immersed in complete darkness, whether they are visually impaired or not. Each sitting will last approximately 30 minutes, after which guests have the opportunity to meet with the award winning chef who prepared their food, and to discuss cooking techniques and the local produce they have sampled.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Student exhibitions - the rising talent of Ireland

Model Hex, from Terry Pratchett's Discworld books,
by Natalie Murphy, BA (Hons) Model Making,
Design & Digital Effects, IADT. (Photo: Sorcha O'Brien)
The next week sees graduate exhibitions of the future big names of the Irish art scene. The Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire opened its graduate showcase on 7 June. It will continue until Thursday 14 June and from the reports I'm hearing is a must for anyone interested in the creative arts. You can find the information about opening times and how to get there on the website.

The National College of Art and Design opened its graduate show on Friday 8 June and this will continue until Sunday 17 June. Visiting information for this show is available on the NCAD's front page.

Dublin Institute of Technology is organising a variety of graduate shows, in a number of venues, with the hours and dates available here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Great Music in Irish Houses Festival 12th - 17th June

You would never guess from looking out the window that it's the summer.  Nevertheless, many planned summer events are going ahead and Great Music in Irish Houses is just one of them, starting next Tuesday.

Chamber music to me seems a perfect fit for big houses.  I like to imagine the same scenes 200 years before with awesome Regency outfits and card parties going on in the background.  Venues featured this year include the newly-refurbished Rathfarnham Castle, the Mansion House, Smock Alley, Killruddery House and Castletown House (the last two technically not in Dublin but we'll overlook it JUST THIS ONCE).  The Doric Quartet, Xuefei Yang, shown below, Carol McGonnell and Henning Ruhe are just some of the performers involved.  Clever cross-marketing means all booking can be done through the National Concert Hall's website.  I like this - no use of evil ticketmaster required and just as well because the actual festival website could be better - it's fiddly and hard to find exactly what you're looking for.
The final event of the festival will actually be held in the National Concert Hall -  a performance of Steve Reich's "Drumming" by the Colin Currie Group, which is about as far away from chamber music as you can get but pretty cool anyway.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Alain de Botton at the Dublin Writers Festival

I knew little about Alain de Botton before his talk yesterday at the Dublin Writers Festival. I knew roughly what kind of stuff he wrote about and that he had a Twitter account with "inspiring" tweets. My husband is a fan, and managed to persuade me to go see the talk. The Liberty Hall Theatre, where the talk was held, turned out to be a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing venue, which was stuffed to the gills with enthusiastic listeners.

De Botton turned out to be an excellent speaker, a pleasure to listen to even if you didn't know his work or didn't always agree with him. He spoke mostly about his latest book, Religion for Atheists, which discusses what dedicated atheists, such as he himself, might have to learn from religions. His main argument was that the secular should not automatically consider religions stupid and childish, but instead appreciate and be inspired by their methods of teaching, creating communities and producing art. He had insights into education and organisation of the humanities as well as such diverse material as the calendar year, functions of art and the necessity of beauty in architecture. Unfortunately he only touched these topics; I would have been interested to hear more about them. I suspect that he could have easily done an entire series of talks. On a number of occasions he directly or indirectly addressed Richard Dawkins (albeit not in a particularly agreeing manner), and it occurred to me that scheduling his talk the day after Dawkins's created a very interesting two-day theme of Atheism Today, or, the Problem of Religion Today, if you prefer.

You can see photographs of the talk on the festival website. The festival continues until the weekend.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Comedy Cream: A night of stand up in Little Green Street Gallery

There's a BYOB comedy night on Friday in Little Green Street Gallery. The gallery is on the corner of Little Green Street and Little Britain Street, just off Capel Street.

Here's what they say about the event:
Little Green Street Gallery & Padraic Coffey present... COMEDY CREAM Fancy an evening of delicious entertainment? Well be serving up the cream of the crop in the comedy circuit, in the intimate surrounds of the Little Green Gallery. An alternative night out, Dublin's only BYOB comedy event, so grab a few beers and let the laughs roll out! Featuring outstanding acts: Danny O'Brien ("A quality stand up with a one track mind... enjoy the ride!" - Nighthawks) Trevor Browne ("Hilariously aloof" - Hot Press) and Robbie Bonham (Winner - 98FM Best Comedian) plus guests!! Only 50 seats available so be sure to pre-book a ticket at 6e (with student ID) 8e full price Complimentary drinks on the night (dont forget to bring your own though) Friday, June 8th, 9:00pm. Hope to see you there!

Dublin Biennial POP-UP

There's a new art exhibition due to begin soon, Dublin Biennial POP-UP. Here's the description from their website:
The Dublin Biennial POP-UP, is an International Contemporary Art Exhibition featuring 55 International and National Artists. The Exhibition will be showcased at The Point Village, and will run from June 15th - June 24th, with a Gala opening on Bloomsday, June 16th.

Dublin Shakespeare Festival begins

Beautiful weather for it - and it looks like they've good numbers for the opening performance of their headline production, The Indian Tempest.

Midnight Tango

I was at the Grand Canal TheatreBord Gáis Energy Theatre last night to see the opening performance of Midnight Tango.  You won't be surprised to hear it's a dance show.  Vincent Simone & Flavia Cacace are two of the most popular professional dancers on Strictly Come Dancing and are former Argentine Tango world champions, amongst many other dance accolades.  This is the second year they've toured with a tango show but the first time it has come to Dublin.  It was screened live in the cinema here but I missed it.

The show has a modest story told entirely through dance, with some live singing, and is given some genuinely nice comic touches via an older couple who own the "bar" where all the dancing takes place.  A six piece band provides most of the music.  You won't be surprised to hear that the music of the awesome Astor Piazzolla features heavily, and this is just fine by me.  The music was great, having the band on stage worked very well - just tucked into a corner.  Sometimes the singers stood in the middle and the dancers nicely snaked around.  Costumes were, for the most part, 1940s style and gorgeous.  I'd happily wear a lot of the women's outfits, and all the men's hats.  Tiny quibble about the hats though - it does mean you can't see people's faces, especially if you're not sitting in the flat seating on the ground floor.  Flavia and Vincent's costumes were naturally more elaborate, and her own style was very recognisable, and dare I say it, out of sync with the rest of the cast.

And so to the dancing, which was just fabulous.  Vincent & Flavia are listed as the principle choreographers, though no doubt, renowned West End producer & choreographer, Arlene Philips, had some input, since her production company is backing Midnight Tango.  I also recognised Karen Bruce, the director of this show, from the Strictly stable.  Argentine Tango is a tight, intimate near-battle between partners, with lots of flicking legs, called ganchos, and postures that wouldn't look amiss in a yoga class.  It originated in, shocker now, Buenos Aires at the end of the 19th century and quickly spread to Europe, where it became popular.  At that time, most dancing was choreographed, so the freedom of expression within the A.T. was something of a revolution.  Props such as hats, chairs and tables feature heavily in professional performances.  Vincent & Flavia have been dancing together for about 10 years so they are perfectly in sync: they look like they've just made it all up on the spot.  Flavia gets thrown around so much, she must weigh almost nothing.  Naturally in a show like this, other dance styles come into it (rumba, samba, etc) but it's mostly about the tango.

The show runs for a quite short (understandably) 2 hours including the intermission.  The theatre was mostly full last night and standing ovations were happily given.  I'm actually going to see it again on Saturday, so I'll be interested to see how a Saturday night, final performance compares to an opening night.

Tickets are still available for performances which run until the 9th, priced between €35 and €50.  On a side note, it was absolutely lashing last night, so if you're going along, make sure you've got weather protection or punctual friends.  Every time I go to the GCT, I'm annoyed that I can't wait inside if I'm not the person who has the tickets.  It's a stupid system, which is, no doubt, losing them drinks money.  /end rant

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Time Out of Mind at IMMA Earlsfort Terrace

The Irish Museum of Modern Art's new temporary galleries are now open at Earlsfort Terrace, next door to the National Concert Hall. You will remember the venue from Dublin Contemporary. The new exhibition 'Time Out of Mind' opened on 31 May and I recently paid a visit there.

'Time Out of Mind' intends to engage art with science, in celebration with Dublin's status as the City of Science 2012. I was very intrigued by this, as connections between art and science, and one deriving inspiration from the other, are very high on my list of interests. The venue, as the former Medical School, is cited as being particularly appropriate for the theme. However, only a few of the installations directly explored these connections and I felt that there was scope and potential for a great deal more. Perhaps consequently, my favourite works of the exhibition explicitly reached out towards sciences. The initial calm of Cristina Iglesias's Untitled vegetation room shatters when the viewer realises that the apparent solid branches of trees and bushes are tentacles. Marie Foley's cabinets, of all the artworks here the most suited to the history of the building, speak of historical medicine cabinets or the cabinets of curiousities of Victorian gentlefolk. In Dust defying gravity, Grace Weir explores the old rooms and equipment of Dunsink Observatory from the perspective of dust floating and falling in the room. At the end of the video installation, the room and the dust all fade together into the orrery as a reminder that everything is part of the massive galactic dust, eternally swirling in the darkness of the universe.  

The exhibition rooms themselves are well suited for their current purpose with their high ceilings, wooden floors, airiness and tall windows (where desired). However, although the introduction to the exhibition states that the layout follows an 'open composition' to encourage multiple readings and experiences, I found the lack of signage confusing. It was not immediately obvious where to go, and the exhibition rooms are not always very well distinguished from those intended for 'staff only' and the like. In the corridors, the viewer's gaze is drawn to signs advising of 'compressed gas' and 'fire exit only', rather than directions to exhibition rooms, which, in my opinion, interrupts the flow of the artistic experience. There is a balance to be struck between a freeform space and a completely unguided one.

The day I visited I also had a chance to explore the IADT First Year Visual Arts Practice exhibition, which was sadly available only for a few days and ended yesterday, 4 June. This collection of works by future artists was of very high quality and it would have been good to extend its availability to those who had perhaps left the city for the long weekend.

'Time Out of Mind' is joined by a number of talks, listed on the IMMA website. The exhibition and the talks are free.

Three on The Quay

Apparently some international sporting event called the European Championships (not sure of what) is starting this week and Ireland is participating.  Mobile phone company, Three, are sponsoring the events for Ireland supporters on the 10th,14th and 18th of June at The Big Screen at George's Dock, IFSC.  Each event starts at 5pm and is family friendly.  If that's your sort of thing, I'm sure it'll be fun.

Dublin Shakespeare Festival 2012

The Dublin Shakespeare Festival is almost back. It runs from 6th to 16th June in Trinity College and other nearby venues. Based on last year's performances it should be a lot of fun. All the details are on

Friday, June 1, 2012

Forbidden Fruit

As well as Bloom this weekend, the Forbidden Fruit festival is on in the grounds of the stunning Royal Hospital in Kilmainham.  5 stages of music featuring a vast pantheon of music (New Order!  Death Cab for Cutie!  James Vincent McMorrow) as well as comedy stages which will presumably feature the comedians who didn't bother going to the Kilkenny Cat Laughs.  Tickets are €49 for one day and rise to €115 for all three.  Doors (gates?) open at 2pm every day and there is NO PARKING ON SITE, so get on the LUAS.  There's no camping either, so I do wonder how they can even call themselves a festival!

Bloom in the Park

With all the advertising going on for Bloom, you hardly need us to remind you it's on this weekend.  Never the less, if gardening is your thing, then you'll want to get your ass down to the Phoenix Park any day of the long weekend.  It opened yesterday and runs every day from 10am to 18:00.  Tickets are steep enough at €20 per day for a non-senior citizen adult or €12 if you are over 65 but kids are free.  If I were going, I'd be heading straight for the Food Village and artisan (whatever that means!) food market.  The Environmental Zone has some interesting features from the Federation of Irish Beekeepers and the Tree Council of Ireland, amongst others.  Reading through the website brings to mind the fabulous Eden Project in Cornwall.  If Bloom is anything like that, then it's well worth a visit.  I hope they get decent weather, or at least as little rain as possible.