Critics' guide to going out: 26/02/2010
30 Seconds To Mars, O2
For some of us, or possibly just me, he will always be the beautiful rebel who stole geeky Claire Danes' heart in My So Called Life, but that was 15 years ago and Jared Leto is a full-blown rock'n'roller now. He still does the odd film, the last major splash was his method acting approach to playing the decidedly pudgy Mark Chapman in a film about that murder of a Beatle, but the heartthrob now spends most of his days on tour with the band that he formed with his brother Shannon more than a decade ago.
The band made a soft entry into the music world with their eponymous album, but created more of a splash with its successor, A Beautiful Lie, which went platinum and garnered them a healthy handful of awards. And they're back on Irish soil to promote their third album, This is War, which was released at the end of the year, and for that all the Irish ladies who appreciate any opportunity to ogle the pretty Leto boys are most grateful.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27
Capitalism: A Love Story, On General Release
In a lean week for quality releases, Michael Moore's assault on the capitalist system is probably the most interesting film on show. Using his familiar mix of jokes, hard facts and trite cultural references, Moore tilts his lance at the system that crashed so dramatically in 2008 and is now struggling to recover. He traces the roots of the subprime fiasco and subsequent banking crisis, and goes back even further to examine what he believes are the inherent flaws in the capitalist system. As usual, there's neither depth nor any particular originality to his arguments, but his movie does raise some interesting questions and it is certainly the most entertaining film on the subject you're likely to come across.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28
Declan O'Rourke, Cyprus Avenue, Cork
How better to gently wend your way back to ground from the frenetic rollercoaster that is a Saturday night than with a gentle acoustic session in the company of troubadour Declan O'Rourke?
He broke into music consciousness with his first album, Since Kyabram, which spawned popular the hit single Galileo. In fact, when Paul Weller was interviewed by Q magazine and asked what song in the past 20 years he wish he'd written, he chose Galileo. Eddi Reader also paid O'Rourke the ultimate compliment of covering it on one of her albums. His second album, Big Bad Beautiful World was released back in 2007, so a new one is beginning to look a tad overdue. Expect plenty of new tracks to be sprinkled among the old favourites for this unplugged night.
MONDAY, MARCH 1
Girls, Whelan's, Dublin
Christopher Owens, the heroically bedraggled frontman of Girls, has a back story straight out of a low-rent Hollywood biopic. Raised in the notorious Children of God cult, he spent his childhood schlepping around the globe with his proselytising mother, eventually pitching up in Japan.
As a teenager, he fled the cult, ending up as live-in personal assistant to a Texas multi-millionaire. Now based in San Francisco, he has spoken frankly about his use of prescription drugs and their influence on Girls' droney, disembodied debut, Album. Steeped in end-of -summer melancholy, the record has been acclaimed a minor masterpiece (the notoriously snarky Pitchfork rated it one of the 10 best LPs of 2009), though the unconverted may have issues with Owen's Elvis Costello drawl.
TUESDAY, MARCH 2
Return to Irelantis, Alliance Francaise, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
Gondolas floating down the Liffey, pyramids at Carlingford Lough, the Colosseum of Cork, a glacier parting the shopping crowds in Henry Street, the shrine to the Goddess of Temple Bar -- this is just a fragment of the creative imagination of Irish artist Sean Hillen.
In his most successful exhibition, Irelantis, Hillen has taken elements of those iconic images of this fair land captured in the enduring John Hinde postcards and turned them on their head. With a splash of wit, a sprinkling of irony and a large dash of fantasy, he has woven our recent brush with that Celtic Tiger in with our fading traditional values and the resulting scalpel and glue montages speak volumes about the current malaise. He's showing the exhibition again in Dublin for the first time in a number of years and it is never more pertinent. And in this outing for Irelantis, there is also the rare opportunity to see some of the delicate original miniature collages. Maybe it is time to laugh at ourselves before everyone else does.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3
Balkan Bohemia, Crane Lane Theatre, Cork
It's all going a bit Balkan in the Crane Theatre this Wednesday with the return of Balkan Bohemia. They are, as they explain themselves in the press release, "for those of you not familiar with the Balkan theme - think fortune tellers, freaks of nature, camaraderie, wild dancing music, clapping hands and stomping feet. We're talking about the stuff that makes you dance like you're a kid again!"
Sounds like quite the shindig and joining the party on the night are Txutxukan, all the way from France. Named after a Basque phrase for "pottering about", these talented Frenchies bring a lively fusion of Balkan and Gypsy music with influences from all over the world. Expect more than a few dents in the dance floor by the time they finish.
There will also be gypsy and belly dancing with the Akasha Dancers, tarot fortune-telling with Madame Mann, Aziz the Contortionist, Ms Vera Dramatique in Transylvanian Temptations and lots more.
THURSDAY, MARCH 4
Una Santa Oscura, Project Arts Centre
This Thursday sees an intriguing show open at the Project Arts Centre, a multi-sensory, multi-disciplinary collaboration between music and theatre artists, which has been composed by Ian Wilson, whom Gramophone magazine has described as "a composer of imaginative resource and a sure formal sense", with "the gift of making even the barest ideas interesting".
Directed by one of our most talented young theatre makers, Tom Creed, Una Santa Oscura is inspired by the life of the 12th century abbess, composer and mystic, Hildgegard of Bingen, and is performed by acclaimed violinist Ioana Petcu-Colan. It is described as being like an opera without singers. It runs just until tomorrow in the Project's main theatre.