Browsing articles in "Entertainment"
Jul 24, 2012

World Street Performance Championship 2012

Saturday morning – my fave part of the week! There was already plenty of action on my doorstep by midday, with the World Street Performance Championship cranking up in Merrion Square. I’d been out dancing all night at the Back to the Future Enchantment Under the Sea Dance in the Sugar Club and was lolling in my PJs when my mate rang, on her way. I was dressed and out the door in zero to ninety.

First stop the Kilkenny Shop and their newly refurbished restaurant – it’s not just for tourists y’know! We scored delicious goats cheese tartlets with rainbow salads for a bargain tenner each. Why can’t all food people do top scran at this price? Dessert was Butlers coffee and a free sweetie which we ferried over to the park. The place was jammers and my girlfriend grimaced as I removed my take away lid as usual…

A sense of fun filled the air with a real Alice in Wonderland feel – umbrellas and lanterns hung from the trees, kids swung in hammocks and there were performers dotted around everywhere. The big acts were scheduled at three main areas in the park and there was plenty of ice cream, hot dogs and fizzy pop to munch while watching. I must say I was very impressed with whole set up. The sunshine helped too!

It was a real family day out with lots of children’s activities – we sat down on a handy sofa while a gang of sugar crazed little boys dived on top. Coffee meet dress – oops… That got me back with the programme, so we checked out our first act – Kamikaze Fireflies. A guy ‘n’ gal duo who impressed us with their circus skills. Cube twirling, stilt walking, fire dancing, juggling and lashings of Yankee banter.

The piece de resistance was when they coaxed a punter to step up onto the chick’s pelvis while she bent over backwards into a crab. Bravo! I’d heard this pair on the wireless during the week, and poor Ray D’Arcy wouldn’t step up. Next we found a couple more pals, who had a nice picnic rug laid out front near the mound. Time for a sit down and 2 On 1 – a couple of all dancing acrobatic cool dudes from NYC.

These lads were seriously funny, while doing a brilliant line in beatbox, bin drumming, break dancing and back flips and of course getting the audience involved. One game Dad was stripped of his shirt – fair play to him standing next to the super buff pair, whose topless efforts certainly put a smile on our faces. Once we’d cooled down, we moved on to Jonathan Burns – the human pretzel. One bendy fella…

A cross between Napoleon Dynamite and Pee Wee Herman this chap had us in stitches with his saucy talk while wincing at his double jointed antics. The kids loved him and he had a bunch of little helpers joining in, twisting himself through everything from a tennis racquet to a toilet seat. It was time for another munch and we tucked into dinner from Crepes in the City. Crunchy Nut Cornflakes for afters.

Australian acrobat Reuben Dot Dot Dot and his twenty foot pole – ooh er Missus! – were a sight to behold. Like a bird, he took to the sky atop the pole, spinning on one hand. It was a masterclass in strength and discipline. Our last show was husband and wife duo Cirque No Problem, who brought a vibe of old school vaudeville circus to their trapeze act. Silly but smart, they built up to a swinging finale.

They proved to be a talented family, when their baby wrapped the show with her very own balancing act. A star in the making! We were well and truly flaked out, so it was back to the ranch for tea and maybe a drop of something stronger… The World Street Performance Championship was a fantastic day out, bigger and bolder than ever before. They can all come back and play in my back yard anytime!

Jul 17, 2012

Dara O’Briain – Craic Dealer

I was up with the lark last Saturday and on my bike before breakfast, ready for a bit of Famous Five action. Me and my mates tucked into a hearty fry up at the start of a long day of driving, hiking, eating and laughing. So when one of my pals asked if I’d like to round off the good times at Dara O’Briain’s Vicar Street show I said sign me up. When life throws lemonade, might as well get sticky!

Of course I’m aware of Dara O’Briain, as his star continues to rise across the pond, but I must admit a lack of familiarity with his work. My thoughts on him are thus – vague memory of Echo Island, shades of a young George Hook and that wonderful London Paddy slant on life back home. Vicar Street was packed to the rafters for his last night in a string of gigs on the sell out Craic Dealer tour.

We lined up our pints on little roundy tables, designed to look like a pub back room, as O’Briain took to the stage. Larger than life, he belted out his opening gambit, telling us about the hazards of touring with a sore throat. Hide the Lockets… But, worry not, he was on fine form as he rallied us with a bit of audience participation, showcasing his natural talent for ad-libbing. His off the cuff gags were spot on!

O’Briain proved to be a slick showman as well as a funny bastard, as he worked sore subjects like religion into everyday hilarious incidents. Relaying stories from his own life, the English / Irish crossover was obvious and I could see his appeal to the neighbours. O’Briain can tap into both audiences with his bloke-ish observations but the key is in his fine tuning of a punchline to cultural nuance.

Setting the world to rights was something he excelled at too, and with that booming voice who better? Bawling out celebrity astrologers and Twitter trolls, O’Briain had a great knack of making us feel we were down the local with him shooting the shitake. Very chucklesome also were his random musings mid-gag. Quick wit and emotional intelligence make O’Briain that best mate you wish you had.

While I was new to this guy (I know, what planet?) my mate, who’s a rookie comedian, was seriously impressed, claiming O’Briain to be a stand up maestro. Indeed he knows his punter – lots of Dad jokes and boy talk – but lets everyone in the room in on the laugh, with killer timing and well placed callbacks. O’Briain has been on the scene a long time but he seems to be on top of game right now.

I must say our gills were hurting with laughter by the time he got to his encore. It was a sweet touch to hand out chocolate bars to his front row buddies – O’Briain does have that level of success where fans want to touch his hem, but he doesn’t act the rock star. In fact, when we moved next door to the local pizza shop afterwards, we were told he gets his munchies there too. A man of the people! / / Vicar Street, 58 – 59 Thomas Street, Dublin 8

Jul 6, 2012

Your Sister’s Sister – Love, Friendship & Family

One of the joys of this city is walking through town at night, under a mild inky blue sky. I think I fall a little bit in love with Dublin every day – that’s how the relationship works. Tonight when I came out of the pictures, there was people everywhere. In Temple Bar, up George’s Street, down Dame Street. Stepping into the slipstream of Irish life in all it’s day dreamy glory is the best reason to get up in the morning.

So what has me talking all rose-mantic then? Well, I went to see one of those art house movies – at the IFI, natch. “Your Sister’s Sister”, written and directed by Lynne Shelton, is the story of a guy and his friend and her sister. Having lost his brother, and as a result himself, Jack (Mark Duplass) steals away to an island for some alone time. Only to encounter the two sisters, who turn his life upside down.

Beautifully filmed, the pace of the story matches that of island life with the personal struggles of the three characters intertwining to create something bigger than them. The mystery of life, if you like. The beating heart of the movie is the bond between Iris (Emily Blunt) and Hannah (Rosemarie DeWitt). I’ve sometimes wondered what it’s like to have a sister and here was the feeling I imagined, all lit up.

Shelton deals in emotions, working with touches and looks and silences as much as words. Watching the sisters go through the rough and the smooth together, reminds us of enduring sibling love  – exactly what Jack misses so desperately. But the beauty of “Your Sister’s Sister” is its ability, as a modern fable, to portray friendship, family and love as aspects of varying importance, fully rounding its players.

The performances by the trio are just brilliant – Duplass is bumbling yet lovable, DeWitt is feisty but soft. But it’s Emily Blunt who steals the show with her hopeful and fragile edge. Indeed her career is going from strength to strength, and looking past the Hollywood teeth, it’s character roles like this that will mark her out from the crowd. I’d love to see her do as many independent films as blockbusters.

Despite the tears and the sulks and the mess everyone ends up happy. But a surprise ending leaves us in the dark, just wishing them all the best in life. And that, mes amis, is the moral of the tale – we never know what’s ’round the corner. Listen to your heart and nothing else. That’s why, strolling home through the town I love so well, I felt like everything made total sense. I should watch movies more often…

Irish Film Institute, 6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Jun 28, 2012

John Colleary – Savage Show!

Yesterday was just another normal day – I was at home polishing my halo when a mate called, to see how my bendy arm was getting on. Seconds later I was signed up for John Colleary’s show at The International with a bit of footie thrown in too. I guess I’m just a gal can’t say no… Being a totally tropical night, the dark sanctum of The International seemed an unlikely place to wear a nice guna.

Alas, this was top comedian John Colleary’s warm up for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – well worth the heat. Colleary, best known for his mimics on RTE’s The Savage Eye, was testing our chuckle buttons with his act “Warning: Show Contains Adult”. When he introduced himself to Moi, I asked what his name was! Y’see, having no telly I listen to Colleary’s Last Orders on Today FM – radio ha ha (boom!).

Colleary didn’t take long to get in the zone and has a very natural stage presence, endearing the audience to him without being obvious. He trades in cheeky chappy Irish-isms, avoiding cliches by acting out his own quirky observations. Clearly a keen people watcher, Colleary boils down familiar scenarios into painful truths, but has such a sense of fun about him, it doesn’t hurt too much.

Much of this guy’s material will ring true with anyone of a certain vintage (ahem) with some great stories about middle age and childhood nostalgia. Colleary’s assorted characters and voices punctuate the jokes brilliantly – his baby noises are uncanny… His inner kid is alive and kicking and trying to get out through his mouth! Lots of movement added a slapstick dimension that amplified the mirth.

A comedian who is relevant will always connect well with a crowd and Colleary hit the nail on the head with topics like smart phones and social media. His spin on life is sharp but it’s his warm delivery that lets us know he’s laughing with the world not at it. For a bloke who takes off everyone from politicians to the fella down the local, Colleary doesn’t do cynical cheap shots. He’s a toasty kinda funny…

Finishing up with a spot of potty audio, we got a final insight into Colleary’s mind. He’s tuned into brain soup and isn’t afraid to say the stupid stuff we all think! Apres show, he told me that he’s excited about his first official Edinburgh Fringe gig, playing at Finnegan’s Wake in the city centre. With over a thousand gigs playing at random each day, Colleary says the buzz of the Scots capital is unbeatable.

And like any good man, he was off to see the match – well earned after an hour of non stop madness. So we tipped our hats and slid out into the balmy night. Over to Bia Bar for a burger ‘n’ beer and a ray of Spanish sunshine. Arriba! Strolling home in the Summer rain cooled me down, giggling like an eejit, drunk on good times. I’ll stay home and do my homework tomorrow… Stop laughing at the back! / / The International Bar, 23 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2

Jun 22, 2012

The Grand Social – Vintage Tea Dance!

Last Tuesday night, I found myself footloose and fancy free. Sure aren’t I always, you ask? Anyway I was stuck betwixt footie and beer, England v Ukraine, and a lovely Vintage Tea Dance. A girl and her whims… As it happens I rocked up to The Grand Social just in time for Rooney’s wicked header, so Euro 2012 fix sorted, I wafted upstairs where the main action was. Oooh, what a treat I was in for!

The beer garden / terrace had been transformed into a mini market, with second hand clothes, accessories and a pop up beauty parlour. And a barbie on the go – burger and beer only five euro! I had a giggle with a pretty young thing having a bouffant make over from Hair Through the Ages – suits you Sir! Then to Kate Betts Hats, where the lovely Kate offered a box of her creations for me to try on.

Inside, the vaulted room had been transformed into an Alice in Wonderland delight with circus bunting and candy stripes enveloping a floor of round tables and a bright satin draped stage. Tea and homemade cakes were on hand, each confection numbered and ready to be judged as well as enjoyed, like little butter icing jewels. It really was charming as dressed up boys and girls waltzed away with abandon.

The Dolly Mixture Cabaret turned up the entertainment with a brilliantly silly stage show. Our foxy maestro Kat, fabulous in fishnets and tails, introduced us to The Protectors, a quirky drama act whose childlike simplicity was a tonic to the big bad world outside. Next up was marvelous storyteller, Paul Timoney, who had us enthralled with a highly energetic rendition his urban tale of “Mr Faraway Fox”.

I munched on a pink sprinkles cupcake as Paul read us some of his original poems, and showed us his drawings. Very talented guy! It was time for a bit more singing and dancing as a band of beautiful flappers took the stage for a rousing performance, followed by the honey voiced pirate Bepo. He serenaded us on guitar with his unique songs, while the best dressed lady and gentleman were chosen.

My cheeks were a-glow by the end of the night with fun of it all – an interactive finale story by Paul Timoney brought the house down. The Grand Social is an excellent venue for showcasing such events, with folk seeking out an alternative pub experience nowadays. Rumours reach me that the Ha’penny Flea Market is no more, but in a city crackling with creativity something will surely rise from it’s ashes.

The Grand Social, 35 Lower Liffey Street, Dublin 1 / www.the

Jun 19, 2012

Oscar Verne’s Masque – Ferocious Mingle Market

Hopping from one party to another last Saturday night I must say I was mighty impressed with little ol’ me! Considering I’d been in bed all day battling Friday night’s gin ‘n’ juice, I had plenty of ammunition for Oscar Verne’s Masque at the Ferocious Mingle Market. I pulled a mask down over my cheeky chops and made my way to Thomas Street for a late night speakeasy – this girl was back in the game!

Shimmying under the shutter – this was an invite only do – me and my Cuz knew we were in for some serious fun. The Ferocious Mingle Market does what it says on the tin in daylight hours, selling fab vintage threads, exquisite hand crafts and home baked goodies. Being a stone’s throw from NCAD the place simply buzzes with creativity. We entered the twilight zone that it transformed into after dark.

I found one of my friends among a sea of masked creatures and he brought us into the belly of the beast where the gang were sipping BYOB. We picked up drinkies at the bar and joined in. My thirst wasn’t up to much but in a place like this, a lady doesn’t have to be a lush to have a good time! There were boys dressed as girls, dames spilling out of corsets and pretty faces half hiden with tinsel and glitter.

Part of the charm was wandering around the market chalets, which were like glamour camps containing their own mini gatherings. I swapped style tips with a lovely stall owner who produced a darling handbag that fell in love with me at first sight. Sigh… Meanwhile the stage came alive, with a hot mama singer belting out 80s pop and disco faves in her deliciously wild voice, howling, whistling and all.

Next we shook our tail feathers to alt rock gods Saint John the Gambler, who brought their own brand of class to the party. The dance floor was filled with exotic beautiful people sweating out an amazing Saturday night. We were busting some crazy moves and it was a well earned wind down when a gorgeous young thing floated on stage to serenade us to sweet oblivion. He was just divine…

A finale of Adele’s “Someone Like You” brought a tear to the eye and a promise from my pals to see this guy again. Oscar Verne’s Masque was still in full swing, with groups tucked into corners and cool kids lounging in the theatre seats. We took on the dance floor ’til the death with a killer Bollywood soundtrack and by the time I hit the streets I gotta say I’d got my groove back! Oh what a night! / Ferocious Mingle Market, 72 Thomas Street, Dublin 8

Jun 18, 2012

Taste of Dublin – Dinky Dining!

Last Saturday was a total washout, with your fave reporter hiding under the duvet ’til late afternoon. A pint at the Grand Social on Friday night had turned into a house party at a mate’s gaff on Bachelors Walk. Red Bull gin cocktails… But, I had three parties to go to. Help! And then, like an angel of divine hangover mercy, my mother showed up with toast and Solpadeine. Unconditional love, eh?

So, with my delicate health finally restored I strapped on my cowboy boots and with my Cousin in tow, our first port of call was Taste of Dublin at Iveagh Gardens. I’ve been to Taste before, back in Tiger times, and I was expecting it to somehow be better value for money nowadays. While the prices have come down, there was definitely less bling for my buck… Still, the set up was impressive!

We did a tour of the various tents, sniffing out what we fancied, while my appetite picked up momentum at last. After a few bites from Danucci Chocolate, Mash Direct and Keogh’s Crisps, my Cuz picked up a nice cool pear cider. Not being a balmy summer’s night like in the ads, we took refuge in the Electrolux theatre for a demo by Kevin Dundon, of Dunbrody House. Front row seats – nice one!

Kevin kept the crowd entertained with his banter, making it all look so easy as he tossed soup – yes, soup! – in a pan. His delicious seasonal menu was made up of potato and lime soup, stuffed salmon en croute, and fresh strawberry pavlova. Dundon’s fine fare was not easy on the waistline, sloshing in butter and cream as he was, but the slice of dessert I snaffled was totes mouth friendly indeed!

With food in my belly, I was ready to look booze in the eye once more. Back on the horse and all that! A pair of mojitos, expertly shaken by the lovely barmen at Havana Club, and we were off to find dinner. There was a host of top Dublin restaurants cooking – Chapter One, Diep Le Shaker, Jaipur, The Unicorn – but we were in a spicy mood and went for Baan Thai, their lovely curry heating us up in the rain.

The party was going strong at Taste of Dublin, in spite of the weather, with a good crowd bopping away to 90s tribute band Smash Hits at the Main Stage. We swayed to a bit of vintage Take That, before another mooch around the stalls to fill our bags with some goodies and then down the road to Toners on Baggot Street. A flying sup for a friend’s birthday and we were off again – the night was but young!

Jun 12, 2012

The Night Town Project – Dublin in Darkness

Who knew poetry could be so cool? Not me! But that was before I went to see The Night Town Project at The Workman’s Club last week. Part of the Dublin Writers Festival, the idea was a meeting of music, photography and poetry – the twist being that much of the recital was as Gaeilge. I parked myself front of stage in the blood red room, not sure what to expect, but excited by the buzz.

First off was a bilingual intro from Liam Carson, Director of the IMRAM Irish Language Literature Festival and the charismatic curator of this event . The multi media project celebrates the city at night, using live music and imagery as inspiration and backdrop to four poets. The photographs by Mark Granier and Jim Berkeley were transformed into beautiful on screen projections by Margaret Lonergan.

Sean Mac Erlaine took to his brass to compliment the reading by Ailbhe Ni Ghearbhuigh, a witty young poet from Tralee. Ailbhe interspersed her work with stories of her love for urban life and gave us an insight into a country girl’s impression of Dublin. Her soft lulling “An Gaeilgeoir Deireanach” was truly enchanting and funny too, a breath of fresh air on a close city night.

I must say I was surprised at my own grasp of the mother tongue and Ailbhe reminded me of what a poetic language Irish is, even for those who only have the cupla focal. Peter Sirr gave a rousing rendition of his work, reading in his matter of fact manner. His description of the city gentle with energy hit a note with me as he spoke of the personality of this great little town of ours.

Gabriel Rosenstock infused mystery to the night by reading from just beyond the stage, and it worked brilliantly in the vaudevillian romance of The Workman’s Club. There’s something wonderfully heady about that room, but filled with the acoustics of his words it was intoxicating… Rosenstock’s Gaelic lilt was the perfect setting for his beautiful poetry, gra weaved into every word.

A solo musical interlude from Sean Mac Erlaine sealed the mood, followed by a single reading from Mark Granier. I really was in my element and so glad to experience the city through all these unique observations. The night finished on a high with Colm Keegan, All Ireland Poetry Slam Champion 2011. An earthy Dub, Keegan brought us the underground dimension to city life.

With his native Clondalkin accent, Keegan was a departure from the other poets and in his gritty words he created a darker Dublin. But Keegan injected his own brand of humour in between his stories of young lads in trouble and nights on the edge. His first collection “Don’t Go There” has just been published. If you haven’t read poetry since school, then buy this book! / The Workman’s Club, 10 Wellington Quay, Dublin 2

May 22, 2012

Rose Lawless – La Belle Chanteuse

When I heard that Rose Lawless, the original rich girl gone wrong, was performing at the Centre For Creative Practices I signed up straight away. I last saw the beautiful and the damned good-time girl at the Matchbox Theatre, this time last year, in her fabulous Cabaret Revolution show. Rose has been busy writing (and getting engaged!) so her return to stage was not to be missed.

The Centre For Creative Practices on Pembroke Street proved an intimate venue for her showcase, with comfy beanbags dotted around the room. BYOB was ideal, the place has a handy kitchen with glasses and bottle openers on hand, and I shared a nice vino with my friends. A clever dash en route to Mao on Baggot Street for a tasty curry ensured plenty of soakage for the night.

I had the chance to catch up with Rose beforehand and she was charming as ever, telling me of her delight at finding the perfect vintage wedding dress. And of her latest antics, which she puts so well into song! With that naughty glint in her eye, Rose warmed up the audience with saucy one liners and cheeky asides, singling out some lucky chaps for her special attention!

Serenading us with “Feather Boa” Rose kicked off the show in style, with Julie Cruickshank on keyboard putting melody to her every move. We were treated to a rousing version of “Man with a Moustache”, one of which there was of course for Rose to playfully tease. The show is unique as only Rose can swing from a flirty and filthy ballad to a heartfelt love song, taking us on the crest of her mood as she does.

Rose’s sense of humour is sharp as a knife with “Philosopher Man” and “The Dan Song” speaking to all of us ladies who’ve ever been in love. And of course we have! But brazen Rose Lawless can pontificate the pitfalls of her heart with such… brutal honesty! While still making it sound like great fun. “Dirty Rotten Love Song” encapsulates her ability to grant her lover a double edged tribute.

Enchanted as we were by her hilarious anecdotes, Rose had a surprise up her vintage silk sleeve. A rap song! “Up Da Pole” saw her dropping the trademark husky tone for an earthy Dublin-ese, as she assumed the role of an inner city Virgin Mary. Priceless… Our siren songstress saw us out on a delicate note, poetry and Cohen, befitting the cosy feel of the evening. Le cabaret c’est magnifique.

We drained our glasses and Rose blew a red lipstick kiss goodnight. But the buzz was still alive at CFCP with singer David Noone taking to the keyboard to play a preview of his Nick Cave set, which is happening this Thursday. Retiring to Matt the Thresher, a smart bar across the street, we had one for the road and inspired by the delectable Rose, a good old gab about wonderful terrible love. / / Centre For Creative Practices, 15 Pembroke Street Lwr, Dublin 2

May 10, 2012

Art in Action – Farmleigh Frolics!

Sunday, Sunday, here again, a walk in the park… Ah, bank holiday Sunday! I’d been out on the razz Saturday nite. Film Fatale showed the brilliant “All About Eve” at the Sugar Club and I chased gin cocktails with pints in Grogan’s and the Exchequer. I brought my sore head out for a morning after bike ride before toasted sambos at The Barge and a nice day out in the Pheonix Park.

Me and a couple of mates spent a lovely afternoon at Art in Action, a sprawling art fair in the grounds of Farmleigh House. The three day showcase was a free event running over the bank holiday weekend and featured art, crafts, music, performance, fun and food. Art in Action celebrates the role of the artist in society and provides a great opportunity to share creativity.

We saw some fabulous art works, which were set up in little studios so we could see the artists in action. It’s inspiring for those with creative leanings and a good place to pick up some skills, for punters who fancy a dabble. Most of the artwork was for sale and there were some very beautiful pieces available at nice prices. And such unusual “where did you get that?” bits too!

There was loads for the kiddies to do – they were high on sunshine, clowns, balloons, art classes and candy floss! We checked out the Blanchardstown Brass Band, had a mooch around the market place where we saw jewellery makers and hand crafters working their magic. Then we wandered over to the Farmer’s Market for some homemade Man of Aran fudge. Mmmn…

I was feeling much better after a good muck around the Pheonix Park and was ready for some dins at last. We came out the other side of the park and took a spin over to The Twelfth Lock on the banks of the Royal Canal in Castleknock Marina. The place was packed and we tucked into burgers and fish and chips. Top nosh. Dessert was “Avengers Assembly” at the flicks – very tasty! /