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The Insider

BRITISH pop beauty Alesha Dixon is flying into Ireland tomorrow morning for a glam-filled occasion. The former Strictly Come Dancing judge will be turning on the smiles for the cameras as she helps officially launch the new Shoe Garden at Arnotts.

Described as the country's largest shoes department as part of the store's revamp, she'll be doing the honours at the 10,000 sq ft department. The will have an invite-only opening tomorrow evening which will see familiar faces in attendance with the aftershow party taking place in No 37 Dawson Street.



•VOTING is now closed for this year's Arthur's Day celebrations, which will see hosts of big-name acts taking to the stage to perform in venues all over Ireland.

More than 55,000 music fans have cast their vote for their favourite pub to stage one of the chart-toping acts.

Other acts taking part in the September 27 event, which is free of charge and sees 500 events in venues around the country, include Mumford & Sons, Primal Scream, the Fun Lovin' Criminals and Amy McDonald. For more information, see www.Guinness.com.

•FANCY a night out while helping to raise funds for a good cause? The International Music Bazaar is a concert aimed at raising funds for a number of Irish charities and will take place at the Gaiety Theatre on Sunday, September 23. A one-off concert featuring a unique medley of different performers, among the nine different causes benefiting from the gig are the Marie Keating Foundation and the St Francis Hospice.

Among those confirmed to take to the stage on the night are Brian Kennedy, The 4 Of Us, the Alliance Francaise Choir, South African rock and American tap dancing. Tickets are €17.15 and are available at the Gaiety Theatre.

•BEST wishes to celeb chef Andrew Rudd, who has just opened up his new studio premises in the city centre.

The strapping TV personality recently launched the aptly-titled restaurant 'Medley', with no shortage of support on the night as his pals thronged to the Drury Street venue to raise a glass to his venture. The well-known chef, whose Tipperary family originally founded Rudd Sausages, has been working in the industry for the past 20 years and is a regular on shows like TV3's Ireland AM.

Now he has decided to branch out and go it alone with his business, which he describes as a "new concept in dining". He'll be hosting cookery classes and demonstrations along with pop-up restaurants and private dining experiences.

•ABSOLUT Fringe -- Ireland's largest multi-disciplinary arts festival -- continues its city-wide run throughout Dublin this week showcasing the newest and best theatre, circus, comedy, dance, performance, art and live gigs featuring Irish and international productions.

Some of the highlights include Funk -- a dance act featuring six of Europe's best funk dancers -- at the Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, while on Saturday Rubberbandits -- with support from Pop Ceili -- make their return to the Fringe.

Following a string of sold- out shows from New York to Newcastle, Blindboy Boatclub and Mr Chrome are back on Irish soil and ready to party at their very first outdoor event at Meeting House Square in Dublin City Centre.




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