There are some things this country doesn't do well (look after its finances, price its property, create its own cuisine, yadda yadda yadda), but there are some things in which we excel on a world-class level and we are leading the field when it comes to crafts.
Wrongly dismissed by some as that St Brigid's cross or the macramé pot holder you made in primary school, the art of Irish craft is rightfully celebrated all over the world. And we have the chance to marvel at this showcase of work by home-grown international superstars, which is also travelling up to Farmleigh in Phoenix Park this June. From the driftwood baskets of Joe Hogan to Mandy Parslow's distinctive salt-glazed stoneware, Sabrina Meyns delicate botanical-inspired jewellery and John Lee's truly exquisite furniture, expect to covet much.
SATURDAY, APRIL 23
Ray Sell, Blueleaf Gallery, Dublin 2
Always better to be the odd one out than the even one in, or at least that's an opinion we share with Ray Sell. Growing up in a rural town outside New York, Sell didn't exactly fit in with his family. While his brothers were "beer-drinking, truck-driving, blue-collar, man's men", Sell was busy developing as an artist. Taking images and magazine clippings from a vast swathe of media over the past 60 years and reappropriating them into absurd landscapes peopled by cowboys, luscious pin-ups and general falseness, Sell is determined to create a forum for self-reflection and debate, and question the very ethos by which our culture rears its male brood. You might just find yourself wondering if it's better to be part of the herd or swim against it (you see, we don't even want to fit in when it comes to clichés).
SUNDAY, APRIL 24
Laurent Garnier, Tripod, Dublin 2
There are certain acts that manage to break through, to reach a public consciousness that makes them instantly identifiable with their work regardless of whether or not you've ever experienced it. Laurent Garnier has just about reached that point. France's most respected (and outspoken) techno ambassador, Garnier has always celebrated variety within his disc-spinning grooves. He was at the crest of the Ibiza clubbing wave and he is one of the few DJ pioneers still causing ripples. He arrives in Dublin with his LBS (Live Booth Sessions) tour, which sees him take to the stage with two live musicians to really mash up the tunes. A good way, indeed, to work off some of the Easter-egg overindulgence with a proper dance-off.
MONDAY, APRIL 25
How I Ended This Summer, Limited Release
Alexei Popogrebsky's outstanding slow thriller is set on a remote and extremely inhospitable eastern Siberian island. There, a grizzled meteorologist called Sergei mans a weather station that transmits climatic data to the mainland. He has been joined for what passes for a summer in those parts by a restless young college graduate called Pavel, and the two men haven't hit it off. Sergei bullies Pavel, who adopts a worryingly slapdash approach to his work, and when a vital message from the mainland becomes a major bone of contention between them, things spiral out of control. Popogrebsky's film builds into a tragedy of misunderstanding, and the director regularly puts his characters' squabble in sobering perspective by pulling back to dwarf them in their brutal and unforgiving environment.
TUESDAY, APRIL 26
Human+, Science Gallery, Trinity College, Dublin 2
From a petunia plant combined with human DNA to a euthanasia rollercoaster, extreme face corsetry and a prosthetic head created by a man with an additional ear inserted in his arm, the Science Gallery's latest exhibition is provocative even by their lofty standards of controversy. Featuring works by some of the world's leading artists exploring the art-science interface, including Australian performance artist Stelarc, American transgenic artist Eduardo Kac and dystopian sculptor John Isaacs, HUMAN+ paints a somewhat ambiguous picture of the future of our species. In addition to the installations and artworks, we the public are invited to donate our own DNA to a major public research experiment to see if there is a high-risk gene. Risky business indeed!
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27
James Vincent McMorrow, Pepper Canister Church, Dublin 2
The bescruffed singer-songwriter, starry of eye, mournful of demeanour and husky of voice, is such a deeply embedded cliché you'd imagine James Vincent McMorrow would have had a job distinguishing himself from a crowded field of also-rans. It's a testament to the sheer, gale-force intensity of his music that, in a world where Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Ray LaMontagne have this segment of the market effectively sewn up, he has nevertheless managed to carve out a career. Initially a cultish figure beloved of the Whelan's set, the Dubliner has, slowly eased himself out of that particular ghetto and started to draw international attention. Released globally earlier this year, his debut LP, Early In The Morning, has basked in a slew of hyperbolic reviews, a turn of events which, in turn, has fueled his popularity at home (it's called the 'Imelda May effect' we believe). Even if you're lukewarm on his slow, feverish sound -- which seems forever on the brink of incorporating electronic influences only to pull back at the last -- these shows afford an all-to-rare opportunity to attend a concert in ridiculously pretty Pepper Canister Church.
THURSDAY, APRIL 28
Peter Kay, O2, Dublin 1
Peter Kay is quite the enigma. Despite the fact that he hasn't been on the road for seven years or even had much of a television presence apart from the odd Comic Relief appearance, he remains one of the most high-profile and successful comedians on this side of the Atlantic. He's the first-ever stand-up comedian to play 15 sold-out nights at London's O2 arena. He still holds the record for the biggest-selling stand-up DVD and autobiography of all time. And now, with over a million tickets sold in more than 100 arenas, his return to the stage has become the biggest stand-up comedy tour in the world. Ever. So what's all the fuss about? Find out for yourself this Thursday, though don't even try to get a ticket at this late stage as this show is, you've guessed it, completely sold out.
Day & Night