Saturday 17 February 2018

7 days and nights: Critic's guide to going out

FRIDAY, JULY 27: Vodafone Comedy Festival, Iveagh Gardens, Dublin

How different our little country could be if the truculent sun would just give us a break. Each summer, more and more fabulous outdoor events fill up the calendar and still, alas, we must celebrate under a cloud. Fear not however, as this little comedy festival has discovered the power of the marquee to vastly improve one's enjoyment of outdoor events in Ireland. Some of the finest and most surreal international and Irish comedians are out in force this weekend at the Iveagh Gardens, one of Dublin's best-kept secret gardens with its Rosarium, archery grounds, grotto and maze.

There are four separate tents -- lovely, dry tents -- and tonight they will house Jason Byrne, Maeve Higgins, Reggie Watts, Reginald D Hunter, David O'Doherty and The Savage Eye stand-ups (including David McSavage) amongst others.

SATURDAY, july 28

Brian Farrell -- The View from Here, King House, Boyle, Co Roscommon

When I was a student, we did a lot of studying of press photography, and we were told of the heroic work these men and women did, risking their lives to capture some of the most important moments in world history. Press photography seems to keep its own company these days and it's rare an opportunity arises to see such work exhibited. Today, however, you can see press photography from the award-winning snapper Brian Farrell, who has been a photographer for more than 30 years, covering the hunger strikes in Northern Ireland, the rock concerts of the 80s and 90s, Veronica Guerin and the Celtic Tiger years. For the last eight years, he has been photographing the changing landscape of the North West of Ireland.

SUNDAY, july 29

Listen at Lilliput, The Lilliput Press, Stoneybatter, Dublin

Everyone knows that independent bookshops, small publishing presses and the book trade in general have had to find new and inventive ways to battle through the recession. Lilliput Press has come up with a novel (ahem), not to mention hugely enjoyable, approach to inspiring readers. Every two months, they host a live music event in their offices in Stoneybatter. The third 'Listen at Lilliput' event takes place today and features singer Natasha Lohan, guitarist Alexis Nealon, sound artist Rachel Ni Chuinn, and improviser Gavin Prior. You bring along a drink of your choice and enjoy the music whilst browsing Lilliput's back catalogue and enjoying a 25pc discount on all books for the night.;

MONDAY, july 30

A Woman of No Importance, The Gate Theatre, Dublin

Oscar Wilde was a man before his time, as borne out in the longevity and continuing relevance of his plays, writings and aphorisms. His plays are always popular and The Gate is currently running its production of A Woman of No Importance. Here, Wilde focuses on the age-old imbalance and injustice of the difference in men and women's sexual behaviour. As always with Wilde, he makes a mockery of the refined manners of the English upper classes and this satirical play jousts with, and ultimately exposes, all of their hypocrisies. This production is directed by the Tony award-winning director Patrick Mason and stars Cathy Belton and Stephen Brennan ... but I would go for the costumes alone, which are designed by Peter O'Brien.

TUESDAY, july 31

Silence, limited release

Part drama, part documentary, Pat Collins' slow-moving but mesmerising feature follows a young man on a Quixotic quest along our western coastline.

Eoghan (Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhride) returns from Germany after a 15-year absence. He's been commissioned to make audio recordings in landscapes free from man-made sounds, and travels the Atlantic coast in search of uninhabited and barely mapped spots. But it soon emerges that his journey has a personal motive as well, and that Eoghan is slowly making his way towards his long abandoned Tory Island home.

Beautifully photographed and at times virtually wordless, Collins' film comes highly recommended.

WEDNESDAY, august 1

Chic, Mandela Hall, Belfast, Co Antrim (and the Button Factory, Dublin, on Thursday)

The award for most influential music producer of the past 40 years surely goes to Chic's Nile Rodgers. As the creative force behind Chic and Sister Sledge (left) he's responsible for some of the catchiest dancefloor smashes of all time (We Are Family, Lost In Music, Le Freak). But that is simply the beginning of his talents. He co wrote and oversaw Madonna's Like A Virgin, still her biggest selling record, then helped David Bowie parlay cult acclaim into dollar-accumulating mainstream bling-a-palooza.

Rodgers remains sought-after as a mixing desk boffin, recently hooking up with the ever-enigmatic Daft Punk (apparently they did, in fact, take their helmets off in the studio). Indeed, Rodgers is to this day perhaps the most plugged-in guy in pop.

Interviewed by an Irish journalist recently, he had to cry off the conversation for an urgent tete-a-tete with The Smith's Johnny Marr. That's how he rolls.

THURSDAY, august 2

Gaze Film Festival, Dublin

Today the 20th Dublin International LGBT Film Festival kicks off and brings you a week of the best in international gay cinema. It's a landmark anniversary as that first GAZE festival in 1993 was also the year homosexuality was decriminalised in Ireland.

As well as features and documentaries, there will be panel discussions, workshops and exhibitions (see Freestyle). Some highlights include two rare Iranian films, the documentary Carol Channing and a 'Teengazers' programme, for adolescents. There are, of course, a ton of parties too, from the 20th birthday party tomorrow to the black-tie (optional) closing gala.

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