Shopping for old clothes. That doesn’t sound right, but it feels right. I love vintage fairs. There’s something so satisfying about finding a diamond in the rough. I get the same feeling in TK Maxx! My romantic view is thus – that special dress will find me, if only I’m in the right place at the right time. And this time I was at the Davenport Hotel on Merrion Square, a stone’s throw from I Love Saturday HQ.
It was a boiling hot day in the city but still there was time for a mooch. There always is! First I browsed Vintage Belle, who had a lovely collection of old skool summer dresses. Just the ticket for floating around Dublin Town. Great accessories too – leather satchels, satin clutches and some cool sandals. Then a scan of the jewellery merchants, who’d laid out their stalls like bling sweet shops. Magpie love…
My hit list included a Great Gatsby style black velvet feathered headband with jet detail, emerald set silver earrings and a cream silk chiffon 1950s gown (yes, I know what you’re thinking…). But I struck gold, literally, with a stunning pair of Rupert Sanderson heels. Gold t-bars with bottle green velvet detail – Cinderella shall go to the ball. Super stylist Maria Fusco was delighted to re-home these beauties.
Fashion glamour puss Maria and I happily chatted away about clothes and creative style. Her ethos is to have fun with fashion. And always look fabulous, even when buying a pint of milk. Maria’s eclectic array of designer threads and objets d’art captured my imagination. VintageIreland is all about fantasy and I often daydream the history of a garment. Perhaps it was worn to a Royal wedding or Studio 54…
vintageireland.eu / mariafuscofashion.blogspot.com
Dublin’s a little town with a lot of people. Getting out and about is easy, so why not meet more of your neighbours? Social-Life Dublin is the city’s newest meet-up. It’s a monthly gathering offering various talks and performances, followed by music and chat. Your Girl Friday, ever the social butterfly, found it fun and informative. Good times! The latest event was a top evening at Boteco Brazil on Ormond Quay.
Caipirinha in hand, I made my way to the cellar bar where plenty of folk were already chattering away. First up was Miller Anthony and his talk “How Enthusiasm Saved My Life!”. Certainly an upbeat topic, life coach Miller talked us through how to channel one’s thought process in a positive direction. Miller explained how enthusiasm in everyday life is the key to happiness. It’s all about mental attitude!
We paused for deliciously authentic Brazilian tapas. Melty mozzarella balls & hot veggie skewers… Nomsters! The stage was set for the inimitable Rose Lawless – cabaret artiste & enfant terrible. The eternally glamorous Rose was her usual mixture of mirth and mischief, regaling us with song and story. She graced us with her comedy numbers including “Up Da Pole” and “Man With a Moustache”.
Social-Life Dublin is run by local bon viveur Jerry O’Brien, whose aim is to showcase a host of interests under the one roof. The idea is to bring positive people together to discuss and take part in hobbies and personal development. The events include talks, entertainment, hobbies, activities, networking and clubbing. Not only is it a great way to meet new friends, but a good opportunity to make connections.
I’ve caught Conor Lynch from Social Media talking personal branding, world traveler Chris Riggs on African safari and Mo Levy on improv comedy, among others. Social-Life Dublin’s next meet-up is Friday June 14th at Boteco Brazil. The line-up includes comedian Marcus O’Laoire, memory master Kevin Redmond and Patricia Tiernan of LEAP Coaching on “How to Find a Job You Love”. See y’all there!
www.facebook.com/Sociallifedublin / Boteca Brazil, 6 Ormond Quay Upper, Dublin 7
“It’s like a Recession party” mused the inimitable Rose Lawless. Our favourite cabaret girl was describing Dublin’s creative renaissance. It’s something she’s grasped with relish as her personality, though influenced by Paris and Prague, was born of this great city. Living as she is these days in Georgian Parnell Square, Rose is delighted to find such grand quarters teeming with fellow artists.
“Moore Street is the Montmartre of Dublin” Rose declared “The spirit, the characters, the comedy. It’s all there”. Since the untimely demise of the sorry Tiger, this town is thriving. Dublin has shifted into another gear. The right one, says Rose. “People like us are allowed to go to the party now. The hurt and anger is over and we’re developing a new relationship with ourselves” she paused “It really is la dolce vita”.
We met in the seaside haven of Monkstown and Rose brought me to the delightful Cafe Du Journal. “I love this place” she told me “It’s a real community hub”. A notorious good girl gone wrong, bohemian Rose is naturally attracted to such boltholes. She was found flaunting her gorgeous self at The Hot Spot in Greystones last week, causing her audience to both blush and marvel at her daring darling show.
Rose, of course, was delighted with the reaction. “If we can’t shock, then what can we do?” she asked, wide eyed. Sipping her Americano, Rose filled me in on her upcoming Christmas show in the New Theatre. “The Dazzling Cabaret Revolution!” she beamed “I am fabulously down at heel but still scandalising the masses… And now I’ve got a band and an album on the way too!” She winked boldly.
Rose Lawless, the shabby chic Paris Hilton of Dublin, has come a long way. Underground Rose ran away from boarding school aged sixteen. An anarchist she took a Hungarian lover and found the stage as a burlesque dancer with more than an edge. Her songs celebrate love, sex, sorrow and joy. Only Rose can add such glitter and gore to the kitchen sink drama that is life. A lady and a glamorous tramp!
Looking slinky in an Edith Piaf style black dress, from Lulu French Vintage in Monkstown, Rose glanced out the window and sighed. “Though I am a poor artist, I count that as a blessing” she explained “Toulouse-Lautrec, you know? Beauty comes from poverty”. Indeed, Rose is soon to film a video for her controversial rap song “Up Da Pole” in the city centre. “Like a fash mob, but in our best pyjamas!”
Rose and her comrades will be at the mysterious New Theatre, in the back of Connolly Books in Temple Bar from December 17th to 22nd. With Julie Cruickshank on keyboard, Claire Fitch on cello and Shane Atlas on drums it promises to be a spectacular Rose Lawless cabaret experience. Win a prize for your vintage style and enjoy a dinner deal at nearby La Dolce Vita. Let the fun begin, la vie en Rose!
www.roselawless.com / www.the newtheatre.com / The New Theatre, 43 East Esssex Street, Dublin 2
Last Thursday afternoon was spent mooching about Temple Bar – a fave pastime of your whimsical reporter. First stop was Siopaella, my current top fashion hunting ground. Watch out for their charity sale on Sunday 4th November in aid of A Dog’s Life. Next up was a book launch at Connolly Books on East Essex Street, Seamus Bradley’s debut tome “Nothing To Prove”. Welcome refuge from the cold.
Connolly Books is best known as a peddler of radical literature, a treasure trove for lefty readers. It’s also the lobby for the totally alternative New Theatre and I’ve always found it a very creative space to be in. Vino, salty snacks and oatmeal cookies were on hand to celebrate Seamus Bradley’s opus on capitalist culture. In “Nothing To Prove” he explores our wants and needs in a world dominated by profit.
Questioning society’s obsession with material wealth, Bradley goes back to basics by looking at our simple needs – food and shelter, as the bedrock of happiness. Already examining his own relationship with status and career, it was an overheard conversation in the pub that inspired Bradley. “Nothing To Prove” was born of the frustration that many of us feel in the wake of the global economic meltdown.
A sort of “what’s it all about?” Bradley breaks down societal norms, like giant supermarket chains and food exporting. How did such changes in attitude grow from our traditional ideals? He explained how consumer competition has damaged community and on a worldwide level how it has divided nations. Bradley says this has led to an unbalanced world where the natural order of living is consistently defied.
The new order encourages a lack of independence and the adoption of a herd mentality. This was evident in the Celtic Tiger property bubble that brought Ireland to dire financial crisis. Common sense and a responsibility for ourselves was forgotten about in the trample to be upwardly mobile. Now in the aftermath, Bradley says we have an opportunity to redress the situation and explore new possibilities.
I’ve only begun reading “Nothing To Prove” and I’m struck by Bradley’s positivity. He is minus the scaremongering and lamenting of high profile tomes by well known pundits, as he’s not just talking money. But spirit, pride and the freedom to enjoy life. One of the biggest modern killers is stress so it really is in our personal interest to reject lifestyle aspirations, and the mad rush to the so called top.
As far as my own two pence in concerned, I think we’re on the brink of the Age of Aquarius. Upcoming generations are not buying into marketing hype as we did, and the implosion of organised religion in the western world has seen people looking to their inner strengths for sustenance. Bradley joked that he might be preaching to the converted in Connolly’s but “Nothing To Prove” has something to say to all.
Nothing To Prove – Seamus Bradley. Connolly Books, 43 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 1
Last week I joined the Bruv and his mate for a pre-Stone Roses pint and feed. Against the Grain was the venue with the lads looking for some of the best craft beers in town, and pub grub to boot. We each downed a pint of tasty Howling Gale Ale before ordering falafel, beef and chicken burgers, all with lovely big fat chips. It’s proper man food at Against the Grain with a good veggie selection on offer too.
The boys jumped in a joe maxi and made for the Pheonix Park. I mooched back into the belly of town for some culture action. PhotoIreland 2012 is running throughout July so I decided to check out Uproar V Paul Tierney at Designist. Uproar is a summer-long event at Designist featuing a number of cutting edge Pop Up shops. Photographer Paul Tierney’s “Reflected City” project is their latest exhibition.
The series, shot in various shops throughout the city, documents the ordinary shop, its merchandise and its owners. Displayed in the retail setting at Designist, the collection is cleverly juxtaposed within its subject matter. The pictures themselves are charming, with Tierney using his architectural eye to capture the symmetry of the spaces as well as the personality and purpose of the shops.
Tierney talked me through some of the places he had visited. A cosmetic dentist practice featured an all white decor, while its owner was decked out in a white uniform – Tierney noted that the idea was to convey a clinical feel and the pristine colour of well kept teeth. He also pointed to detail, such as the celebrity magazines on display – an aspirational nudge to clients. The retail environment disected.
Another picture featured a shopkeeper behind the counter of his plumbing shop, proudly at the helm of a highly organised treasure trove of hardware. “Reflected City” highlights the place of individual stores in a neighbourhood, each serving its own purpose. The concept of the shops within a shop works well at Designist, given its own quirky stock of home decor and gadgets. Bite sized prints are for sale.
Designist, 68 South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2 / www.photoireland.org / www.paultierney.ie
Rolling out of bed on Sunday morning after two all nighters in a row – I know, didn’t think I still had it in me! – I was all set for Street Feast, hosted by Le Cool at Meeting House Square. By that I mean I was up, washed and dressed. I didn’t quite manage to get my apron on and whip up a basket of homemade fare, so I stuffed some goodies into my bag – Butlers chocolates, crisps and a bottle of bubbly!
Rocking up to Temple Bar, there was music in the air and sunshine peeking through the clouds as I took a seat at one of three long tables. Giant umbrellas overhead are a great addition to Meeting House Square I must say! There was plenty of food going around with plates, cutlery and cups supplied by Le Cool. I poured some fizz for the lovely girls I’d just met at my table and we got ready to tuck in.
Beef Bourgignon, lemon cous cous, rye bread with vintage cheddar, jalepeno hummus, zucchini feta pie – and some rocky road, all in the mix! A couple of my mates joined in the party, one bringing me fresh coffee and another armed with a big bowl of Mamma’s recipe – yummy! The atmosphere was just great as we lounged around feeding each other, chatting to new faces and listening to children’s laughter.
We weren’t the only ones having fun in the sun, as Street Feast is a national event where neighbours all over the country got together to break bread. Organisers Samuel Bishop and Clare Mulvany have really harnessed a community feeling and I enjoyed working with them last Summer at a pop up lunch on Millennium Bridge. Brilliant idea! The sort of thing that brings warm and fuzzy to city life.
I got talking to Temple Bar Cultural Trust’s Lynsey Ni Rainaill, who was delighted with the turnout. She agreed that the buzz in the area is down to locals and retailers putting back into the neighbourhood what they get from it. Sharing flapjacks with Trevor White, former honcho at The Dubliner, it was clear to see that post-Tiger Dublin is coming out of the wilderness and the city is getting it’s mojo back.
www.streetfeast.ie / www.lecool.com
Monday night I was all set to watch the big match when a mate suggested a trip to the Exchange for an art exhibition. Hmmm… Culture or footie? Footie or culture? I decided to hit the Exchange, with a pit stop at the Bruv’s gaff for a bit of match talk. Quick cuppa under my belt, I made a dash through Temple Bar to see Blurred Boundaries and Bara Palcik’s first gallery show.
Exchange Dublin is a unique gallery space at the more sophisticated end of Temple Bar. Billed as a collective arts centre, it provides an outlet for creative discussion, music, visual arts and performance. Run voluntarily by young people, Exchange Dublin aims to support a culture of community in the city, facilitating collaboration and providing a centre for discourse.
We started with a look at Blurred Boundaries, an eye catching textile and multi media installation created by 45 migrant women living and working in private homes throughout Ireland. The hand stitched textile piece is very striking and celebrates the contribution these women make as active citizens in their own right and as active agents of change.
The quilt is made up of three different scenarios. The top depicting workers at rest – playing cards, meeting friends, window shopping. The middle highlighting the exploitation, discrimination and isolation often suffered by these women. The bottom representing clarity and boundaries – how we can better integrate immigrant workers into our society.
Exchange Dublin is a hub of activity – all the while we were there people were working away at their own creations. Also on display were photographs which are part of the Opening Doors project, a collaboration between the Domestic Workers Action Group and artist Susan Gogan. It features some beautiful insights into the everyday work of those employed in the home.
In the adjoining room, Polish artist Bara Palcik is showing her first ever exhibition. Her paintings are exciting and lively, dotted around the room in groups. Palcik’s use of colour and multi media show a playful side to the new artist’s work. She told me that she likes to get her hands dirty and get really involved in each piece, never knowing how it will eventually unfold.
We found common ground, in that Palcik took up painting and I started writing, as we were both made redundant last year. She said that was the moment her inner artist was released, changing her life completely. The work here represents her transformation, experimental in some places and curious in others. Palcik’s love of her craft is inspiring and wholehearted.
In particular, Palcik is full of praise for the Exchange. She explained the importance of this gallery for an emerging artist like herself, as it opens her up to an audience she wouldn’t otherwise have. Part of that is the joy of seeing others appreciation of her paintings. Palcik plans to study art formally and I’m sure we will see more great work from her in the future.
All cultured out, our next stop was Dakota on South William Street for an InterNations meet up. The idea is to connect ex-pats and non nationals and we got chatting to some very interesting folk. Dublin is more culturally diverse than ever and it’s great to mix with some of my city neighbours. We left with an invite for Italian food, new friends and a big smile on our faces.
www.exchangedublin.ie / Exchange Dublin, Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2