Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The Minister launched the next productions in the ‘Elements: A Season of Theatre’ series, an Arts Council funded initiative that has, in the absence of a professional theatre company in Limerick, seen four productions funded and developed locally, featuring local performers. Despite recommendations in the Government commissioned ‘McCarthy Report’ that funding for the arts be dramatically scaled back, Minister O’Dea told the Limerick Chronicle that he was “reasonably hopeful” that a certain level of funding can be maintained to this area.
“I would be reasonably hopeful we would be able to maintain a reasonable level of funding for the arts, it is very important,” said Minister O’Dea.
The ‘Elements’ series has already seen two professional productions staged in the Belltable, with two more to come in October and November - ‘Don Juan in Hell’ directed by Duncan Molloy and ‘The Revenger’s Tragedy’ adapted by Mike Finn.
All four productions received a total funding of €90,000 from the Arts Council, a far cry short of the usual cost of producing professional theatre.
“This is a classic example of how to get the best value for money - they have got so much for so little here, it shows the money can be spent to great effect,” said Minister O’Dea.
“The arts are very important and are even more important in a recession, because the country is not just about an economy, it is about society as well.
The Minister added: “Good local theatre certainly fosters community spirit and there is a lot of potential ability out there that can be tapped by having access to good local theatre, and that is what this is about essentially”.
Joanne Beirne, artistic director with the Belltable, said that audience support is essential to the continuing success of the initiative.
“You can't have pieces without an audience and we value our patrons very much and hope to engage them a lot more,” said Joanne.
“The audiences are really important to us and we hope to produce more work like this, but we are going to need their support in order to do that.
“We are on a really tight budget - a normal theatre production can be anywhere from €50,000-150,000 - we are doing four for €90,000, so it is certainly a huge feat and all the artists involved and performers have worked their socks off.”
Don Juan in Hell, adapted from a George Bernard Shaw play, will premiere and run in the Belltable from October 14-24.
(pictured l-r Joanne Beirne, Minister Willie O'Dea and John Gleeson, courtesy Owen South)
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Over 20 artists from across Europe will gather in Limerick’s Skatepark for the “Just Writing My Name” graffiti jam, hosted by the O’Connell Street-based graffiti shop South Central LK and Montana Cans, a European spray-paint supplier.
Two of the world’s most famous graffiti artists, Klark Kent and Cantwo, will be among those travelling to the city for the event.
“This is world standard art, the artists that are attending are world class and world renowned,” explained Nick Bromfield, local musician and artist, who is involved with the event.
“There are 20 plus artists attending and we are going to put up boards around the skate park that they will use.
It will all be very bright, very colourful. In graffiti terms it is called writing - a lot of letter styles that would be very distinctive, every artist has a different style,” added Nick.
The Montana sponsored “Just Writing My Name” festival is a major one that travels the world and it is a significant coup for Limerick that it has secured such an event.
The graffiti festival will begin at 10am this Saturday in Limerick Skatepark and is a family-friendly event. Admission is free and there will be music, street performances, skateboard demonstrations and much more.
For more see today's Limerick Chronicle.
(pic (c) Emma Jervis/Press 22)
Monday, September 28, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
This is going to be a monster post, because there is literally tons of fun stuff happening on Friday night in the city - who ever said there was nothing to do? WAKE UP!
As it is Culture Night 2009 - when arts and cultural venues throw open their doors for free to punters - we are celebrating all things 'culture', but the one thing we are EXTREMELY excited about is the arrival of the 'Digital Slaves' for their very first appearance in Ireland. These innovative multimedia DJs/VJs/artists will be performing their brand of amazing visuals and accompanying tunes - with full projections (like the one above) on the front walls of the Hunt Museum.
This performance is part of the excellent Tweak festival, an interactive art and live electronic music shindig that has been going on all week, courtesy of Nora O'Murchu, a UL Phd student, see piece that follows:
ONE of the most intriguing and innovative festivals ever to grace Limerick returns this week with a wild variety of events.
The second ‘Tweak’ festival - an interactive art and live electronic music festival -began this Monday night with the opening of a quirky exhibition in Church Gallery, Clare Street.
The international electronic arts exhibition will run for five days and feature some renowned Irish and international artists, while a number of workshops and live music events will take place throughout the week.
The festival is the brainchild of Nora O’Murchu, who did an MA in Interactive Media in UL and is currently studying for her PHd. ‘Interactive’ is a watchword for the festival, it seems.
“All the pieces are based on having some kind of engagement with the audience, every piece you can touch and interact with, it is not like going to some gallery - we very much want people to touch and get involved with the artworks,” explained Nora.
“I wanted to curate an interactive, digital arts festival, because there is a lot of talent in Ireland and I felt it was something we needed. I didn't really know what to expect last year but the reaction, not even just locally, but internationally, has been amazing.”
As a result Nora has put together an exhibition and festival that boast artists from “New York to Thailand”, with the result being a festival she hopes will “amuse or amaze” those who go along to the various events.
The exhibition itself is a unique one, featuring pieces such as ‘Carry On’ by American-based artist Fernando Orellana - essentially a pair of suitcases with LCD screens and cameras that capture the onlooker - and ‘Species Dialogue’ by UK artist Julie Freeman, which features two pieces that communicate with each other. The exhibition must be seen to be believed.
A number of workshops will take place throughout the week in order to show people the application of programming languages and electronics, according to Nora.
Also taking place is a number of live performances and talks, beginning with a talk by influential interactive design outfit ‘This Happened’, a first to take place in Ireland. The infamous ‘Noise Night’ will also return on Wednesday night in St. Munchin’s Church and feature a number of Irish electronic artists. Irish sound art composers and practitioners will also perform in the Church on Thursday night as part of ‘Soundings’, while Culture Night on Friday night will see UK artists Digital Slaves perform a special visual performance show on the front of the Hunt Museum at 8pm.
‘Tweak Cinema’ will take place on Saturday at 3pm on Bedford Row, before the festival comes to an end with an after party in Bentley Barkers on Saturday night.
For full details see here.
As part of Tweak, Ollie Teeba (above), better known as The Herbaliser, will be performing in the Trinity Rooms courtyard on Friday night. Teeba, one of the foremost UK
producers and dj's with releases on Ninja Tune, K7 and more, is actually one half of Herbaliser, a tight-funk duo who like to lavish their tunes with dollops of jazz and electronica. They are responsible for seminal release "Same as it Never Was" - and this performance will also feature live visuals from Digital Slaves, as well as support from Code and Razor. Admission is FREE before 10pm and just a mere 5 bobs afterward, with admission to the club thrown in!
Taking place throughout the evening, from 5pm, is Culture Night 2009, in venues all over town. Full piece below, click on the links for full details of events, times and places, etc.
FOR all those living in Limerick City completely unaware of the depth of culture around them, this Friday is the chance to “see all sorts” as the city throws open the doors of its cultural venues to the public for free.
Culture Night 2009 aims to celebrate the rich arts and cultural life in the city with a vast programme of events that will leave you “spoiled for choice”, in the words of Limerick City Arts Officer Sheila Deegan.
“This year you have five hours to go around the city; you can participate in ‘Dance Chaos’ in Daghdha, print your own T-Shirt in Limerick Printmakers, see Limerick Youth Theatre in Limerick City Gallery of Art, get free tours of the Sean Keating art exhibition in the Hunt Museum - so you are spoiled for choice,” explained Sheila.
This is the second year Culture Night will take place in Limerick, with over 5,000 people turning out last year to visit the various venues located around the city.
Sheila further explained that the night offered an opportunity to “become an ambassador” for the city.
“The idea is that by participating in this you are able to become an ambassador for your own city because you are able to tell people what to go and see,” explained Ms Deegan.
“The idea is that culture, obviously, is made up of all sorts of things - it is from the past, the present and you could possible say it is from the future, for example we have the Tweak festival, which is a digital arts media festival at the Arts College.
“We are encouraging people to come out and experience the past through the museums that are here, as well as the present through the people living and working as artists in Limerick and also the venues that provide culture to us on a daily basis,” she said.
For full information on Culture Night 2009 see here.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
(All pics courtesy of Ken Coleman)
Thursday, September 17, 2009
- Vampire Weekend are to release a follow up to the superb debut xxx on January 8th in Ireland. It's called Contra and will be out on XL Recordings. Track-list:
2. White Sky
4. California English
5. Taxi Cab
8. Giving Up The Gun
9. Diplomat’s Son
10. I Think Ur A Contra
- The mighty Modest Mouse are to play in Dolan's Warehouse on December 5, very very exciting news, as reported by State. More details when I sniff them out.
- The Coors Light Peak event takes place this Saturday from 7pm on Limerick Docks, featuring Reverend and the Makers, RSAG, Dark Room Notes and local lads Walter Mitty and the Realists and Brigadier JC. Woop! FREE tickets available here... Previous story with more details here.
- On the Beat favourites The Brad Pitt Light Orchestra have released a delightful new single 'Soon', the second release from their forthcoming album Lowering the Tone, available 'soon' we are told! Available for download here.
- The second Tweak festival starts on Monday and we are very excited about it. Full piece below.
The festival is returning again this year and will run for six days beginning next Monday, with the aim of promoting “understanding of the use of technology within our cultural, social and digital world with a contemporary approach to interactive art and live electronic music performance”.
Nora O’Murchu is director of Tweak and explained that the festival’s “primary focus is on interactive art and audience engagement”.
“Installations and performances are chosen both upon their ability to connect with their environment and viewer inclusion in this exchange,” explained Nora, “and while the template is largely the same as last year, there has been a shift towards evening events and exhibitions this year.”
The festival will host an international array of speakers, performers, designers, exhibitions, films, visual artists, and djs from an eclectic range of backgrounds.
There is also an educational element to Tweak and as such three full-day workshops with leading practitioners in the field of programming, electronics and interactive design will take place over the course of the week.
There will also be a five day international electronic arts exhibition, along with a collection of sound-works from contemporary Irish composers and access will be completely free of charge. Several of the events will take place in the atmospheric surroundings of St. Munchin’s Church, in keeping with the theme of utilising spaces in new and inventive ways.
For full information see www.tweak.ie. Tweak begins on Monday, September 21 with a launch and exhibition in the Church Gallery on Clare Street at 7pm.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
With the picturesque Kilkee bathed in sunshine from early Wednesday until Monday evening, punters arrived in droves but seemed largely unwilling to leave the beach and go and hear the music on offer on St. Senan’s GAA pitch.
Local sources told the Limerick Leader that “around 3,000 tickets” were eventually sold for the third Cois Fharraige festival - far short of the estimated 6,500-7,000 sold last year and the year before. Both previous concerts were billed as sell-out events.
The three day festival was only announced a few short weeks before it took place, and an MCD source agreed that had the event been put on sale at the start of the summer, it would have likely sold out as before, due to the strength of the line-up.
As it was we were greeted by the rather disconcerting sight of heavyweight bands such as Doves and the Zutons playing to a half-empty tent.
Friday afternoon opened to an impressive performance by Joe Echo, the Northern Ireland musician responsible for having written Madonna’s latest single, while a stirring set followed from Laura Izibor.
Perennial favourites the Blizzards followed and received a huge reaction to their uninspiring brand of bubblegum pop, but the gig of the weekend followed from Manchester band Doves, who opened with the excellent ‘Jetstream’ from their latest album Kingdom of Rust and never let the momentum drop throughout their near 20 song set.
“It’s great to be on the West Coast, what a beautiful day eh?” said lead singer Jez Williams, who was earlier seen wandering down main street in Kilkee. Final song There Goes The Fear, from excellent second album The Last Broadcast, was simply stunning and drew a huge reaction from the crowd that stayed to hear it.
Jerry Fish opened proceedings on Saturday with a set that leaned heavily on his latest album The Beautiful Untrue, followed by American ‘rawk’ outfit The Hold Steady and a surprisingly introspective set from the quirky Noah and the Whale.
Englishman Newton Faulkner drew huge cheers from a Saturday crowd who seemed to know every word the dreadlocked musician sang. Faulkner spent the day wandering around Kilkee and surveying the atmosphere of the town, which he remarked was “beautiful” on more than one occasion.
Sunday evening kicked off with Liverpool band Hello... I Love You and local Limerick jazz ensemble Jazz Lite, who included a Beatles medley in their exuberant set, before Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds and the Stereo MCs provided an interesting throwback to the 90s before the Zutons closed out the festival, the latter appearing for the second year in a row.
While crowds at the gig itself were disappointing, huge numbers descended on Kilkee, with O’Curry Street transformed into one large venue of its own for the weekend. There were some problems with rubbish from on-street drinking and Gardai were extremely visible at all times, but there seemed to be little trouble and Mayor of Kilkee Lily Marrinan Sullivan told the Leader that although there were a few “teething problems” it was a successful weekend for the town.
“It was very busy and overall a successful weekend, but there are issues that need to be addressed and I hope they will be,” she added.
Unfortunately for MCD, one issue that can’t be helped is the weather and one must wonder if Cois Fharraige will return for a fourth time next year given the disappointing take up on tickets for the actual festival.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
THE sixth Electric Picnic festival was a very different affair this year with wellies a necessity rather than accessory as attendees trouped through mud fields that resembled the
However, although the feted ‘Indian Summer’ failed to materialise, neither did apocalyptic storms and the rain was restricted to showers on Friday and Sunday morning – with those hardy souls that stayed until Monday greeted with the perverse sight of clear blue skies and sunshine.
It hardly mattered for the near 32,500 fans that made their way to Thomas Cosby’s fields on the Stradbally plains, as those that pilgrimage regularly to the ‘Picnic’ were just relieved to be back, and those that were experiencing the music and arts extravaganza for the first time were wide eyed with wonder, some heard to mutter how they were simply “never attending Oxegen again”.
While the age profile may have met somewhere between the stereotypical notion of the Picnic and Oxegen being on opposite ends of the spectrum – certainly the mix of age was more noticeable this year – the fact that the organisers chose to extend the family campsite meant that many more free-running children were on display, a large crowd of whom were seen crafting toy swords in the Soul Kids area on Saturday, with an exciting series of duels taking place afterward.
Oxegen also scooped some of the top-of-bill acts that would have been more at home at Electric Picnic, and Friday’s line-up in particular was a bit hit and miss.
Main stage acts MGMT and a reformed Orbital failed to galvanise the huge crowds that greeted them, while even Zero 7 failed to turn in an impassioned performance. However, the acts on the fringes more than compensated, Villagers performing to a handful of well-rewarded fans on the Body and Soul stage and hip-hop crew Major Lazer turning in one of the gigs of the weekend by welcoming half of the crowd in the Little Big Tent onto the stage for their finale.
On Saturday afternoon Ryan Tubridy made his way to the Leviathan area of the Mind Field – a large area that included the Literary and Theatre stages. Tubridy – fresh from his first Late Late appearance – hosted a festival revue, with a bizarre line-up of guests, including former TV3 presenter Lorraine Keane, and was later seen by the Leader in the VIP area nodding his head to the engaging strains of Madness, performing nearby on the Main Stage.
Ska trio White Cholera – featuring David Blake, from
Back out in the main site, the Tulla Ceili Band played the first of two gigs on the Body and Soul stage, first performing at 4pm and returning almost 12 hours later to close the stage, to the delight of the huge crowd present.
A large crowd gathered to hear fellow
Brian Wilson lit up the arena on Saturday night through the strength of the set-list on offer, a Beach Boys greatest hits collection that almost made one forget they were listening in a muddy field in Laois.
Although campers awoke to rain on Sunday morning – causing some to leave for home – the afternoon stayed dry and the evening boasted some of the best music on offer of the weekend, stellar performances from Florence and the Machine, Fleet Foxes, Bell X1 and Basement Jaxx delighting fans, while electro-pop outfit Passion Pit played what many termed the gig of the weekend.
Another superb year for Electric Picnic, despite the weather, and let us hope that organisers keep with the boutique, quirky nature of this festival for as long as possible.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
“We are really, really looking forward to it, particularly after last year, I wasn't going to be happy until we got a slot at the Picnic,” laughed Nick.
“It is a big deal for us because it is such a great festival to be part of, particularly the Body and Soul area.”
Asked what it is about the festival that makes it such a special one, Nick is philosophical in his reply, noting the Body and Soul area, a natural amphitheatre that is the heartbeat or focal point of the Stradbally music and arts extravaganza.
“The whole festival in general is amazing, but what I love about it is the Body and Soul area, we spent a lot of time there the last couple of years - the whole vibe is very special for a music festival, there is nothing like it in Ireland,” explained Nick.
“The relaxed, chilled out vibe of it feels quite magical and you feel like you are really away from the modern world.
“Relaxing in amongst trees and all the different arts installations that they have, every little detail has something special about it and that is what makes it what it is,” he added.
The Elective Orchestra have secured a prized spot on the innovative Tree Stage, something else they are excited about.
“Apparently this year an artist has carved a stage out of a fallen tree, which is what we are going to be performing on and I'm looking forward to seeing what it is going to be like,” said Nick.
“I really don't know what to expect or how that is going to look, but it sounds right up our street with regard to our acoustic instruments - the cello, violin and acoustic guitar - they all work well with wood, so hopefully we will be getting some good vibrations through the tree,” he laughed. The Limerick band, made up of cellist and violinist Deirdre and Kate Cussen, drummer Bart Kiely, bassist Fergal O’Neill - well known from his stint with Woodstar - and singer Sian Murray, recently went on tour to support the release of second single Oceanview, reminding them of the pleasures of playing to new audiences.
“It was great, it was really good to get out on the road and bring the tunes to a new audience again,” says Nick.
“That is a big part of it, we keep reminding ourselves that that is what it is all about, getting out and playing to people all over the country - you can get carried away with other stuff, but playing live is undoubtedly our favourite part of what we do.”
The band are applying the finishing touches to their debut album and have settled into a steady line-up over the last year, a fact that has seen them grow and become more cohesive, both on stage and in the studio.
“Yeah, the core of our set are songs that we know intimately, inside and out, and they have really taken on a life of their because of all the rehearsal and gigs we have done and that is something we are really proud of,” explained Nick.
“The arrangements and the whole idea of our band has developed really well, we are quite happy with where we are as a group and we want to look forward.
“We still have to finish the album but there is lots more ahead of us and we are eager to build on that,” he added.
Nick Carswell and the Elective Orchestra play on the Tree Stage in the Body and Soul Arena at 7pm on Saturday.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I also spent the afternoon buying a raincoat and wellies for the first time ever going to a festival, and I've been getting calls ever since about how good the weather forecast is shaping up! For the record, this is what Met Eireann have to say about the weekend, so I'm still bringing my wet gear:
"Remaining cool and windy for Thursday and Friday, with the fresh to strong west to northwest winds persisting. There will be sunshine and showers, the showers heavy and possibly thundery in places during Thursday, though there will be fewer showers on Friday. Saturday promises to be mainly dry with lighter winds".
Official stage times being released tomorrow, but Body and Soul times are up now see here.
The Body and Soul is to have its own radio station (they thought of everything!). From the blurb:
A new and exciting addition to this year’s festival is Electric Picnics very own little slice of the airwaves. Body & Soul FM will broadcast live gigs from the main stage, interviews, DJ slots and festival news direct to cars, tents and camper vans on the site. Expect lively interviews with artists, environmentalists and holistic gurus, alongside useful general information and chats with performers and festival-goers. The studio will be located in the Body & Soul village on the festival site on wavelength 104.3fm.
There is also a Laundromat (yes, you read that correctly), loads of foodie type stuff (including Michelin star chef Dylan McGrath - no, I don't know who he is either) and a Powder Room (a chic beauty lounge located in a 50 foot luxury trailer). Wow.
Other blogs (why would you be reading them?!) are reporting that ticket sales have risen past the 30,000 mark, so get cracking if you haven't already bought a ticket!!
Jesus the excitement is killing me!
Subject: europe confusion
i just wanted to clear up some information about some shows that i am not playing but i am listed as playing. i will not be playing in europe in september. unfortunately, some of the possible shows got listed as confirmed and advertised. this has resulted in a major bummer as i cannot make these shows. i hope to make it back to europe again soon, but i do not know when that is. my apologies to everyone who was looking forward these fictional shows. this time, it honestly wasn’t my f*ck up.
Meantime, BACARDI B-LIVE have announced their line-up for Electric Picnic - Toddla T, Streetlife DJ’s, Horse Meat Disco, Krafty Kuts, Jaguar Skills, Beardyman and more are to take to the stage in the swish surroundings of the B-Live tent..
Friday, 4th September
Baz Hickey (17:00-18:00) // Horse Meat Disco (18:00-20:00) // Beardyman (20:00-20:45) // Streetlife DJ’s (20:45-23:00)
Saturday, 5th September
David De Valera (12:00-13:30) // Stephen Manning (13:30-15:00) // Idiot Proof (15:00-17:00) // A Skillz (17:00-19:00) // Filthy Dukes (19:00-21:00) // Toddla T featuring Serocee (21:00-23:00)
Sunday, 6th September
Calvin James (12:00-14:30) // Disco Bloodbath (14:30-17:30) // Jaguar Skills (17:30-19:00) // Unabombers (19:00-21:00) // Krafty Kuts (21:00-23:00)