Expect placards to be lined up in front of the Science Gallery today, as this centre of provocation is raising the bar of controversy even higher with its latest exhibition.
Living up to its title, Visceral features live experiments in which segments of DNA, tissue cultures, cell lines, viruses, neurons and breast milk are set to work for artistic purposes. Fifteen works from international artists will challenge visitors to consider the tension between art and science. In Kathy High's Blood Wars, for example, white blood cells from different individuals are sent out to do battle in a Petri dish. In Silent Barrage, a forest of robotic poles are influenced by the audience's movements, as relayed via a computer to a culture dish of neurons -- brain cells -- back in Atlanta. But our favourite might be The Semi-Living Worry Dolls. When these were first shown in 2000, they were the first tissue-engineered sculptures presented alive in a gallery context. Yes, alive.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 29
Swimming With My Mother, Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick
At two years of age, David takes his first swimming lesson from his mother Madge, a most respected swimming coach (who actually taught this very editor how to front crawl). Some years later, Madge takes her first dance lesson from her son David, one of Ireland's most acclaimed choreographers. Now mother and son are blending and merging their two vocations in a beautiful, heartfelt and wonderfully unsentimental performance. David Bolger has brought Irish dance all over the world with his company Coisceim, and he goes from the global to the most intensely personal with this new show, which features the breakthrough stage performance of his rather glorious mother. After this Limerick outing, it will embark on something of an international tour, with performances in France and England, before returning to Roscommon, Laois, Longford and Dublin.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 30
Tangled, General Release
About six years ago Disney seemed a hopelessly dated film-making brand, kept alive only by its acquisition of Pixar. But perhaps spurred on by Pixar's relentless excellence, Disney proper has revived its fortunes in recent times by going back to basics. Last year's Princess and the Frog was a classic Disney animation and all the better for it, and the same can be said of Tangled, which offers a cheerful new slant on the Rapunzel fairytale. A princess whose endless mane of hair has magical properties is trapped in a tower by an evil witch until a dashing thief rescues her. There are songs, lots of comedy, and the film is beautifully, if conservatively, animated. It's delightful stuff and a film Walt Disney himself would be proud of.
MONDAY, JANUARY 31
Imelda May, Vicar Street, Dublin 2
The Vicar Street stage may be barely a stone's thrown from her family home, but Imelda May has come a long way since she grew up the youngest of six children in the Liberties. Platinum albums, superstar fans, sell-out tours ... the local girl has done good, to put it mildly. Mind you, her professional singing career did have a most impressive beginning when a 14-year-old Imelda sang in an advert for Findus fish fingers, cornering the classic line "betcha never put your finger on a crunchier crumb". May will be performing the first of two nights tonight and you can expect it to be rockabillytastic.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1
Funeral Party, Academy, Dublin 1
A band that formed late one night in a park might sound a little dubious, but when you learn that the park is in LA, where the sunshine allows people to linger longer, it becomes slightly less seedy -- slightly. The band in question is this quintet who are described in press releases as underground post-punk dance craze revivalists. Hmmm, so we're not sure exactly what that means either, but apparently they do put on a lively show. Support on the night is provided by London's Flashguns.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2
As you are now so once were we, Abbey Theatre, Dublin 1
We do like it when theatres are a little bit brave, so bualadh bos mór to the Abbey for taking a chance on a young theatre company and an edgy production to launch their 2011 season in the Peacock Theatre. This isn't quite such a punt in the dark, though, as The Company's production of As You Are Now So Once Were We already picked up the best show award at the most recent Dublin Fringe Festival during its inaugural run. Directed by Jose Miguel Jimenez, the basic plan was to "pick up the most important and unread book in Irish history and follow James Joyce as he invents a whole city and its people". Rumour has it, though, that instead of recreating Joyce's Ulysses, they've created their own new world.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 3
Good Charlotte, Academy, Dublin 1
How the mighty have downsized. It seems only yesterday Good Charlotte were vying with My Chemical Romance for the title of world's favourite emo act. But while MCR have reimagined themselves as flame-haired Ziggy Stardust glamsters and continue to bestride the world's arenas, identical twins Joel and Benji Madden have seen their popularity dip even as their renown as tabloid caricatures soars (blame high-profile WTF? relationships with Hilary Duff, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton). Still, new LP Cardiology is a serviceable slab of panto-goth -- though, with their mid-30s looming, the brothers really ought to cut back on the eyeliner and nail paint. In what is somewhat of a step-down, they headline the 2011 Kerrang! Restless Energy tour, with Four Year Strong supporting.
Day & Night