Browsing articles in "Events"
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

Jun 4, 2012

Forever Fabulous – Bling Launch Party!

Ireland’s latest online boutique Forever Fabulous celebrated their official website launch in style last week. The venue was smart Blackrock bar Suite 54, suitably glamorous with it’s contrasting chandelier lit black and white rooms. I was handed a nice cool vino on arrival – let the fun begin! First stop the VIP area where an array of delicious Forever Fabulous goodies were on display. Heaven on earth…

There were gorgeous crystal studded clutch bags, sparkling shamballa bracelets and seriously bling bangles, in a variety of colours. I also checked out the crystal phone covers, cute flower hairbands and beautiful diamante earrings. Oooh – what to choose? While I had my larks trying on the jewellery, a couple of girlfriends went for makeovers with stunning results. One even discovered red lipstick!

Forever Fabulous really is the go to place to sort out your whole look. Owner Rachel O’Riordan, who is a professional make up artist, told me that her bespoke make up service is ideal for bridal parties and girly get togethers. She does a range of beauty treatments perfect for a big event or a luxury pick me up. And you can book yourself a handbag and jewellery party to accessorise your look!

Rachel had arranged a glamorous photo shoot with top model Michelle McGrath earlier in the day but there were also some famous faces at the launch party. Well known beauty blogger Joanne Larby, The Make Up Fairy and model Jessica Gallagher, face of Forever Fabulous, rubbed shoulders with uber cool Cars Love Girls singer, Orla Breslin. We talked make up and fashion all night, natch!

The star of the night though was Rachel herself. She really is something else! Rachel came up with her business concept, creating a unique online boutique and is steadily building up her brand name. And she’s a beauty columnist too! Rachel’s elegant style is the hallmark of Forever Fabulous, as she personally buys her exclusive lines and produces dazzling looks. Watch this space Darlings!

May 29, 2012

MayFly Clothes Swap – Exchange Dublin

Moving house, who’d do it eh? Me! As it turns out, it was a good chance to detox my life of unwanted furniture, books and clothes. Ah, my wardrobe – no matter how many times I clean it out there’s still some lovely things I’ll never part with. I like to tell my friends that I don’t buy clothes, I collect them… But there were a few nice things lingering that I hadn’t yet brought to the charity shop.

So when I heard about the MayFly Clothes Swap at the Exchange I packed my bag of goodies and headed on over to Temple Bar. Cruising through Dublin on a sunny evening reminds me of everything I love about this city! When I rocked up to the Exchange I could see lots of ladies through the window, scouring the jam packed rails. Good work my fellow bargainistas!

Five quid on the door and the idea is that you offload your gear and can then bag yourself whatever you fancy from the rails. There was dresses, jeans, coats, shoes, handbags and jewellery. Some absolute gems and a few ropey bits too… Most of the good stuff went early tonight, girls making off with their bags bursting. I got some cool bounty but was happy to leave with less!

My best find was a pair Katherine Hamnett rose tinted glasses. Sure don’t I always see the sunny side up? By the end of the night the place was scant of threads and MayFly’s Courtney Tyler told me the event had been a success as usual. She runs the Clothes Swap every two months and it’s gained a cult following among Dublin’s fashion savvy. People love something a bit different, Courtney told me.

MayFly of course if well known for it’s quirky recycled accessories, which I’ve seen at various markets over the years. Now they’re sharing a hidden shop inside Se Si and Lucy’s Lounge on Fownes Street Upper. It’s a unique boutique selling artisan jewellery, handcrafted clothes and original gifts. I promised Courtney I’ll check it out as I’m sure MayFly is a great new addition to Temple Bar.

MayFly, Se Si, Fownes Street Upper, Temple Bar, 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 17, 2012

General Practice – Gallery of Photography

Tuesday was jam packed in a good way! First stop was Rathmines to run a couple of errands, followed by a zip across to Ranelagh for lunch. I had a lovely munch in Cinnamon, a sprawling New York style deli cafe on the main drag. My charming Yankee waiter brought me a yumsters goats cheese and Portobello mushies sandwich on rye bread. This buzzy place is clearly a hit with the locals.

Since I’d managed to keep out of The 3rd Policeman and Green With Envy in Rathmines (self imposed retail embargo), a little window shopping satisfied my fashion tooth. Cup Cakes gave me a nice frill – a gorgeous lingerie boutique which stocks delicate European labels. Bow And Pearl allowed me to channel my inner French girl – filmy dresses, capri pants and chic tops. Delicieux!

A quick pit stop chez moi for tea and cake, and I was off out again to meet a mate for the opening of “General Practice” at the Gallery of Photography. The exhibition is about patients and their GPs in Ireland today and is part of a celebration of Trinity College Medical School’s tercentenary. It illustrates the day to day work of GPs and the relationship with their communities.

The Gallery of Photography hosted a packed house for the exhibition of Fionn McCann’s work. Vino in hand we listened to words from TCD Professor of General Practice Tom O’Dowd and Minister Leo Varadkar, himself an alumni of the Medical School. McCann’s mostly black and white shots capture the confessional quality of the patient / GP encounter with great sensitivity.

Favourite pictures of mine included – a six week baby check, the patient’s first visit to the doctor, a man testing out his two new hip joints and a little girl being examined for meningitis. Happily, she was fine. I also liked a shot of a doctor fixing an old lady’s eye, her ease at his expertise the essence of the exercise. And a woman taking 19 different medications left me intrigued…

“General Practice” is interesting in that we get a glimpse into a world that’s usually a closed door. A GP visit is often an anxious part of life and McCann’s pictures highlight the reassurance, understanding and trust a doctor offers their patient. Particularly touching are the situations of the elderly, many of whom have known their GP a long time or live alone and take home visits.

The place eventually filtered out and we had worked up an appetite, so Ukiyo it was. A couple of bento boxes, helped down with Asahi beer, and we were ready to meet the gang for some school night action. The Blind Pig Speakeasy. This pop up bar was at a secret location for a couple of nights only. Cocktails were the real deal, with top mixer Paul Lambert behind the bar. Nightcap deluxe. / Gallery of Photography, Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, 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! /

May 5, 2012

Having a Laugh – The Ha’penny Bridge Inn

It was lashing rain on Tuesday and I was nice and cosy inside Rainbow Cottage, with the wind whipping the Liffey outside. But I couldn’t miss Battle of the Axe at the Ha’penny Bridge Inn, as one of my pals was a player in the open mic comedy face off. So I bunged on my thermals and stole out into the wet ‘n’ wild first day of Irish summer. Dins at Empty Pockets soon warmed my cockles!

As usual I hit the city using my unique internal sat nav – this place has gotta be near the Ha’penny Bridge, right? Up the stairs I went and into a nice parlour, full of excited cheering mates, tourists and Dubliners who do school nights. Our host for the evening was the quirky and extremely hilarious Aedin Darmody. Her natural comedic talent made for some very giggly interludes.

First up was my buddy Jerry O’Brien. I had a keen ear for Jerry’s material, as I’ve been acting as his joke judge for the last few months. I watched him at the Paddy Laughs Comedy Festival and at Anseo’s Comedy Smack Down, so it’s interesting to see Jerry honing his craft. His gags were getting a good old chuckle and I was proud to be part of the process. Tickle meet funny bone!

Other stand out stand ups included Colm Tyrrell, a down to earth Dub who does a very convincing Cork accent, and Eleanor Tiernan, a tell like it is funny lady who mines her hometown Athlone for comedy gems. New Yorker Aaron, was in Dublin on business and had us howling with his queeny barbs. And there was a fella in a shiny suit who gave a rollicking rundown of his relationship. Brilliant.

The mirth on offer at the Ha’penny Bridge was top class, and it was a tough call but alas a battle it was – the winner was Paul Bartley. He had started his set with a few sharp one liners, Tommy Cooper style, and moved on to his own brand of dry observation. Aedin had a final surprise up her sleeve in the form of Andrew Stanley, who had us laughing out one side of our mouths and squealing with the other! / The Ha’penny Bridge Inn, Wellington Quay, Dublin 2

May 3, 2012

Exchange Dublin – Art In The City

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. / Exchange Dublin, Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2

Apr 7, 2012

Oliver Callan Live – Hardcore Comedy

Say the name Oliver Callan, and I know what you’re thinking. And yes, he did go there! Nobody in the public eye, be it politics, celebrity or sport, is safe from Callan’s satirical tongue. Sunday night, April Fool’s and all, was the kickstart to the Harcourt Hotel’s Hardcore Comedy series. The ground floor bar of Dtwo was packed out the door. I even spied a few famous faces, including a certain national treasure.

When Oliver Callan bounced onto the stage to a Benny Hill soundtrack, all high octane energy, we knew we were in for a good time! The Nob Nation and Green Tea impressionist first tickled us with his Tommy Tiernan opener. This guy pulls no punches when it comes to taking off the great and the good of Ireland. His mimics are often controversial and always spot on.

Callan continued with the comedians doing Ricky Gervais, Jimmy Carr and Alan Partridge to a tee. Audience participation had us ducking for cover as Callan selected his victims with lightning wit. Needless to say the infamous household charge was the hot topic for his brilliant Joe Duffy, who spotted none other than – you guessed it! – the real Anne Doyle, who played along like a trouper.

Nonstop impressions were bolstered by Callan’s rudely hilarious one liners and unique expressions. “Vagetarians” and “shaved monkeys who’ve been kicked through Topshop” were among plenty of choice comments that had us rolling in the aisles. Callan wasn’t afraid to turn up the heat on himself either, making reference to his recent coming out. A natural segway into Daniel O’Donnell.

Next up were big hitters, Roy Keane and Michael O’Leary with the “ironically named Ryanair Helpdesk”. Too funny! Callan is a flamboyant performer, ever engaging and sharp as a knife in his observations. His sketches were fresh and littered with news of the day – so the Mahon Tribunal didn’t escape mention!   A break allowed Callan to catch his breath and us to enjoy complimentary finger food.

An eye watering David Norris got the second half of the gig rolling, followed by a show-stopping Michael Dee. Roars of laughter went up as talk turned to a well known GAA fashionista, and of course we couldn’t resist Callan’s favourite Kerry man. Say no more! Obama, Clinton and our very own “sexy” Enda were next in the line of fire. Callan was in his element and we were in tears.

After a night of high jinks, games of “guess the impression” and audience mortification the end drew near with Louis Walsh “you could be as big as Mary Byrne!” and Jedward singing us out. But Callan encored with his side splitting swansong to man of the hour, Bertie Ahern. We put on our slightly rusty Celtic Tiger rose tinted glasses and joined him for “Those Were The Bleedin’ Days”.

Dtwo, The Harcourt Hotel, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2

Apr 4, 2012

Film Fatale – North By Northwest

There’s something about the Sugar Club that evokes old school glamour. Going back to it’s cinematic roots, it was the perfect venue to host Film Fatale’s “North By Northwest” screening on Saturday night. The event was a dress up affair, beginning with the Hitchcock classic, followed by a live set from Jaime Nanci and The Blue Boys, finishing with DJs the Andrews Sisters’ Brothers.

Channeling the Mad Men theme, I slipped into a slinky LBD, killer heels and topped off my retro look with a Kate Betts pill box hat. And a feather boa for some OTT glam – why not? The Sugar Club was packed with gorgeous guys and dolls all working different vibes, from Teddy Boy to Va Va Voom. Special house cocktails added extra sophistication to the occasion.

Spiced gin cocktail in hand, I asked a handsome usher if the popcorn was complimentary. As I paid for my snack he winked and said “Fabulous hat”. Ooh sir… North By Northwest is one of Hitch’s best loved films, a clever thriller featuring the suave Cary Grant and an ice cool Eva Marie Saint. The movie is widely regarded as a huge influence on subsequent spy romps.

Everything from the suspense and the innuendo to the fashion and the interiors are a joy to watch. Seamless Hitchcock. And it’s funny too, in that innocent way that a 1950’s production can be. However, the film was made on the cusp of the 1960’s and reflects changing times in the US. Even Cary Grant’s grey suit was revolutionary in it’s tailoring. Debonair indeed.

Apres movie we enjoyed the sounds of Jaime Nanci and The Blue Boys, four piece jazz ensemble who play contemporary as well as vintage tunes. They warmed up the dance floor for the Andrews Sisters’ Brothers, who kept the house a rockin’ and a rollin’ until 3am. I was very impressed by some of the jives my gang were pulling off. Those crazy cats.

Film Fatale organiser Fernanda told me that the night had been a great success. She thinks people just like the fun of it all, something a bit different to your average Saturday night. As we were celebrating a birthday, my mates were in the party mood and suggested a nightcap in Leggs. But, your Girl Friday was done. I flagged the nearest cab and got outta Dodge.

The Sugar Club, 8 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2 /