7 days + nights: 3rd December - 9th December
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3
Belle and Sebastian, Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin 2
It's been four long years since one Belle and her friend Sebastian last took to the Irish stage. Yes, yes, we do know that there is no one actually called Belle or even Sebastian in this Scottish indie rock band. This is instead the band formed in Glasgow in 1996 by two Stuarts, Murdoch and David, when they were in Stow College. They soon put out their debut album Tigermilk and the band was properly born. They crashed into international consciousness with their third album, the rather glorious The Boy with the Arab Strap. There followed musical highs, lows and even silences, but now they are fully back with a bang and their eighth studio album, Write About Love. Expect new tracks to be sprinkled among the golden oldies.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 4
The Pipe, Limited Release
It is a sad truth that big energy corporations tend to get what they want. When Shell discovered an undersea natural gas field off our west coast, they swung into action. The plan was to build a giant, high-pressure pipe to transport raw gas through the town of Rossport to an inland refinery. Unfortunately, no one asked the residents of Rossport, who feared the risks of explosions and environmental hazards. In The Pipe, director Risteard O'Domhnaill spent four years chronicling the crusade of Irish farmers and fishermen who rose up against Shell as their own local community was plunged into turmoil and division. For locals, the pipe isn't a sign of prosperity, but a threat to their way of life.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 5
Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, The O2
For a band whose epic sound has remained more or less unchanged over the past five years, Arcade Fire are getting to be surprisingly difficult to pin down. On their 2005 debut they were the stadium rock Broken Social Scene. Then, with Neon Bible, we were encouraged to look upon them as Springsteen's heirs. Now, with The Suburbs, they've morphed into the Amish U2. This, it turns out, is no bad thing. While Win Butler sounds as heroically grumpy as ever, the album sees the band taking the biggest risks of their career, with songs that dip and weave just as you think you've got them pinned down. By all accounts, their Oxegen slot was somewhat of a letdown, with a fair chunk of the punters opting for David Guetta in the dance tent. Two nights at The O2 is the perfect opportunity for them to show us what we were missing. Support from Vampire Weekend and Devendra Banhart.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 6
Monsters, On General Release
Made for less than half a million dollars, Gareth Edwards' Monsters makes a virtue of its slender resources by creating a tense extraterrestrial thriller that requires your imagination to do a lot of the work. A human space probe has crashed in northern Mexico, unleashing a plague of giant amphibian-like aliens that have been contained in a quarantined zone. Scott McNairy and Whitney Able play two Americans who've been thrown together as they try to cross the zone and get back to the safety of US soil. Edwards, a special effects expert, gives us just enough glimpses of the aliens and their power to keep us interested, and Monsters is an ingenious and original little film.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 7
Mainie Jellett, Peppercanister Gallery, Dublin 2
Mary Harriet Jellett was born in Dublin in 1897 and quickly became known as Mainie. It was a nickname that stuck throughout one of the most important Irish artistic careers. She studied first at the National College of Art in Dublin before moving to the Westminster Art School in London, where she crucially met fellow Irish artist Evie Hone. In 1923, Jellett and Hone staged one of the first abstract painting exhibitions seen in Ireland. The critics were horrified, but this feisty pair didn't capitulate and continued to paint in the abstract Cubist style. WB Yeats opened a Jellett exhibition in the Dublin Radical Club in 1926. And one of Jellett's greatest attributes was her ability to eloquently defend her artistic ideas. She helped found the Irish Exhibition of Living Art in 1943, but died the following year aged just 47. A unique exhibition of Jellett drawings and gouaches is on display at the Peppercanister until December 17.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8
Moving Worlds: Cinemas of Migration Film Festival, IFI
The IFI is certainly making sure we're not short of film festivals to get us through the cold winter nights. Hot on the heels of the celebration of French film comes this cinematic spotlight on migration. It opens tonight with Neukolln Unlimited, which tells the story of three young Lebanese siblings living in Berlin and their passion for hip-hop and streetdance, and the festival continues until Saturday night, with a selection of masterclasses, workshops, panel discussions and important screenings. Other highlights include Once Upon a Time Proletariat, a portrait of contemporary China in the post-Marxist era, and Les Arrivants, which presents a highly charged encounter between social workers in Paris and newly arrived asylum seekers.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9
Songs of Praise, The Village, Dublin 2
Terrifying as it is to believe, Christmas Day is now just a fortnight away, so you better start getting yourself into the true seasonal spirit. And how better to fight the consumer blitz than by gathering a gang of mates and shattering some glass with your best bombastic vocals? Yes, it's karaoke time. Every Wednesday and Thursday until Christmas, you can have an unconventional Christmas outing at The Village. Promising cheap booze and rocking tunes, as well as free platters of food for groups, they will be augmenting their bespoke karaoke song book to include the cheesiest Christmas anthems. All together now, 'So here it is, merry Christmas, everybody's having fun.'