Critics' guide to going out: 18/06/2010
Dalkey Book Festival, Dalkey, Co Dublin
You can never have too many book festivals, as proven by a brand new one cutting its opening ribbon in Dalkey tonight. The inaugural Dalkey Book Festival has assembled a most impressive and wide-ranging gaggle of guests, many with local connections to confirm it has become something of a literary quarter. Local queen Maeve Binchy will be popping in for a chat. Eamon Morrissey will be following the footsteps of Flann O'Brien on the Dalkey Archive Trail. Eamon Dunphy, Des Cahill, Dermot Bolger and Declan Lynch will be remembering Italia 90 on its 20th anniversary.
Tony Award winner Conor McPherson will reveal the secrets of writing for the stage. Dalkey's wideboy Ross O'Carroll Kelly will be faffing about and spinning the discs himself at the disco where all the magic happened. Not to mention Joseph O'Connor, Martin Devlin, Gary Jermyn, Marita Conlon-McKenna, Gordon Snell and the man involved with setting the whole festival up, David McWilliams. Congratulations, Mr McWilliams, you've got yourself quite the festival.
SATURDAY, JUNE 19
Body & Soul Summer Solstice, Ballinlough Castle, Co Westmeath
"Twinkling lights, electronic music, waterside picnics, wood-fired hot tubs, pianos, orchestras, performance, foot soaks, vintage movies, massages, uileann pipes, impromptu parties, workshops, spoken word, fire performance and a masquerade ball" -- these are just some of the elements that will set the inaugural Body & Soul gathering apart.
Branching out from its regular Electric Picnic base to stage its own boutique festival, B&S is of course also offering an interesting music line-up including !!! (chk chk chk), pioneer of folktronica Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet, our very own Jape, and founder of ambient legends The Orb, Dr Alex Paterson.
The party will be kicking off tonight with the impressive Torann Drummers. There will be lots of unusual sideshows to distract between musical stars and this promises to be something a little bit special. You're advised to bring a mask.
SUNDAY, JUNE 20
His & Hers, Limited Release
In his debut feature, Portarlington film-maker Ken Wardrop makes good on the promise of his short documentaries with an absorbing look at Irish womanhood. Filming with a small crew in the heart of the Midlands, he asks females from the age of five or six to 90 to discuss the men in their lives, from brothers and fathers to husbands and sons.
His & Hers builds an extraordinary cumulative power that reaches its climax in the recollections of elderly ladies, including Wardrop's own mother, about coping with the passing of the men they loved.
Funny, profound and lovely to look at, Wardrop's film presents a telling portrait of Irish womanhood that may turn out to be this year's best Irish film.
MONDAY, JUNE 21
Cerys Matthews, National Library, 7.30pm
One William Butler Yeats is getting the rock 'n' roll treatment this week -- well almost. Cerys Matthews, the former lead singer of Welsh rockers Catatonia and I'm a Celebrity ... participant, is coming to town to share her love for the magic found in Celtic song and poetry, particularly that of Yeats, as part of the Library's annual Summer Wreath series, which is full of interesting and free afternoon and evening events. This is not the first time Matthews has explored poetry on stage. She hosted a solo evening centred on the work of Dylan Thomas and then released the album Don't Look Down last year. Her new album, Tir, comes out this month and features a very diverse range of songs, from Victorian numbers to hymns and traditional tunes, all with Celtic connections. Expect a preview at this unique Yeatsian event.
TUESDAY, JUNE 22
Blondie, Vicar Street, Dublin 2
It's been a long time since we've been so spoilt for musical choices on a Tuesday in Dublin, but tonight you will have to choose between Seattle grungers Pearl Jam, minimalist pianist Philip Glass and new wave veterans Debbie Harry, Chris Stein and Clem Burke, aka Blondie. Blondie formed in 1975, but were regarded as something of an underground band in America until the release of their third album in 1978. This was, of course, the glorious Parallel Lines and it was littered with such huge international hits as Hanging on the Telephone, One Way or Another, I'm Gonna Love You Too and the enduring Heart of Glass. They broke up in 1982, but thankfully saw the light and reformed in 1997 and have been on the road ever since. For me, it's a toss-up between Blondie's singalong brilliance and Glass's brilliant stillness. What a dilemma.
WEDNESDAY ,JUNE 23
The Trailer of Bridget Dinnigan, Project Arts Centre, Dublin 2
The Irish connections of the Spanish Civil War-era playwright Federico Garcia Lorca have long been recognised. Lorca was heavily influenced by JM Synge, and the impoverished, Catholic, rural Spain that Lorca celebrates will be familiar to any Irish reader. But director Dylan Tighe finds a whole new parallel in this adaptation of Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba, written with Catherine Joyce. Tighe and Joyce (a Traveller activist) have relocated Lorca's play to an Irish Traveller's trailer. In the process they've unearthed strong cultural affinities, and found a distinctive and evocative language to echo Lorca's own. This is the latest in a series of innovative projects by Tighe, who earlier this year picked up an Irish Theatre Award. It opens tonight and runs for just four nights, performed by a cast of Traveller women.
THURSDAY, JUNE 24
Stevie Wonder, The O2, Dublin 1
What with Paul McCartney last week and the likes of Blondie, Philip Glass, Pearl Jam and Green Day this week, it does seem to be raining musical giants in Dublin. But the arrival of one Stevie Wonder to the O2 has to be one of the most anticipated live shows of the summer.
This gig has a genuine "once in a lifetime" quality stamped all over it. Yes, he may have recorded oodles of dross in the 80s and the over-praise of Songs in the Key of Life can be tiresome. But how many other artists have penned stone-cold classics of the calibre of Higher Ground, Living In the City and Superstition? For once, a "legend" whose music matches his reputation.