7 days + nights: 12th - 18th November
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 12
MIA, Tripod,Dublin 2
How the mouthy have fallen. Three years ago, MIA was the coolest, most provocative pop star on the planet, with lashings of attitude and a sound that suggested The Clash cutting lose at an Indian wedding.
The wheels started coming off, though, with this summer's Maya (stylised as /\/\/\Y/\) album, which didn't so much flirt with the mainstream as try to stick a tongue down its throat (in places MIA's sugary vocals are a dead ringer for Britney Spears'). But what really sank her, you suspect, was a disastrous interview with The New York Time's hatchet-wielding celebrity profiler Lynn Hirschberg, in which Maya, with her millionaire fiancé and comfortable Beverly Hills existence, came off as a bratty madam playing at being a pop rebel (in one cringeful scene, she is depicted holding forth on the plight of the oppressed of the third world while munching truffle fries at a chi-chi eatery). Here's hoping this surprise club tour -- in 2008 MIA hinted she was giving up live performances for good -- is the start of a comeback.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13
Jape, And So I Watch You From Afar, Fionn Regan, Dolans, Limerick
Oh, we do like a bit of a bumper bargain in this here parish. And you can't really get much more value out of €20 than three headline acts and you'll still have enough change to buy yourself a bag of chips on the way home. The First Music Contact (FMC) tour is rolling into Limerick tonight as part of its impressive nationwide tour. And if this trio of cracking bands isn't enough to tempt you out on these brutal winter nights, one of the central aspects of this tour is that a specially selected local band will open the show each night and tonight's very special support will be provided by Limerick's very own Last Days of Death Country. The tour will be rocking on to Dundalk's Spirit Store next Thursday, then The Dew Drop Inn in Kildare and ending up in Dublin's Whelan's on Saturday. Bring it on.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14
Mundo Capoeira Cork, Crane Lane Theatre, Cork
It may be cold outside, but you'll soon be sweltering at the third Brazilian Rhythms Night in the Crane Lane. Dublin's Happy City Samba will get the pulses going with their sambareggae, sambafunk and batucada, with a sprinkling of contemporary western beats and Celtic fusion thrown in. And this will be your chance to shake off the stresses of the week as dancer Nina will lead you in a samba workshop. There will also be plenty of dramatic capoeira, the Brazilian art form that blends dance with martial arts and acrobatics. An instructor named Popeye will lead you through the unique dance with sticks called maculate -- not to be attempted after too many Babychams. And DJ Tony promises to have you flinging yourself about the dance floor, practising all your newly learnt skills.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15
Howard Marks, Button Factory, Dublin 2
Although it's been barely a wet weekend since Howard Marks last visited Dublin for the premiere of his film Mr Nice, we really can't get enough of this surprisingly nice man. Marks' life story does read like a work of utterly unbelievable fiction, but all the crazy twists and turns seem bizarrely credible when you meet the man himself and see the endearing twinkle in his eyes. You soon find yourself believing he could charm his way into and out of all sorts of divilment. Forget about the film, with all its odd green screen scenes and Rhys Ifans' shallow imitation. Come and meet the real deal, the man who, in the mid-80s, had 43 aliases, 89 phone lines and 25 companies trading.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16
Paul Weller, Olympia Theatre, Dublin 2
Is it just our imagination or is one John William Weller (or Paul to you and me) just getting better with the passing years? It may have been a year or 10 since The Style Council topped the charts and even more decades since The Jam made much of an impact, but recent performances at the likes of the Mercury Prize award ceremony have seen Weller provide musical masterclasses to all the young upshots forever chasing his heels. Now Dublin is set for quite the treat as the original Modfather will be setting up shop for a string of five dates starting tonight in the reasonably intimate confines of the Olympia. Expect triumphs from the past and the present to make an appearance.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17
Whole World Round, Abbey Theatre
The latest in a series of novel, non-drama projects at the Abbey, Whole World Round sees author Joseph O'Connor and musician and broadcaster Philip King take to the Peacock stage nightly for a week of conversation, music and readings. O'Connor's radio essays, Drivetime Diaries, have established him as an accomplished performer in his own right, and there's a certain synchronicity in seeing the author of a novel on John Millington Synge (Ghost Light) take to the Abbey's second stage. Philip King, meanwhile, was a founder member of Scullion and presents the weekly music programme The South Wind Blows on Radio 1. The series is billed as an exploration of the influence of Irish-American ballads on O'Connor's fiction, with chat, readings, reflections, some songs and a nightly special guest.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18
We are What We Are, Limited Release
The best horror films tend to have grander aims than mere shock value, and Jorge Michel Grau's impressive debut feature manages to turn the story of a family of suburban cannibals into a dissection of Mexican society. When an elderly man dies in the middle of a Mexico City shopping mall, his family goes into crisis. He was the father and provider, and after his untimely death a power struggle ensues among his wife and children as they desperately search for meat. Though necessarily gory at times, Grau's film is never needlessly so, and the director skilfully creates an atmosphere of mounting dread. The killings are cleverly handled, and there's a bleak wit at play that helps make this an enjoyable and satisfying little film.