Unfringed Festival 2012 starts tonight, Oct 16

The Limerick Unfringed Festival 2012 kicks off tonight (October 16) with a specially commissioned play, Siege.

The festival will run until October 28 and will include new and established theatre, music, dance, cinema and literary events. This year’s festival is curated by Duncan Molloy and the theme is ‘Darkness on the edge of town’.

The Unfringed used to take place in January but I think the new timeslot is a good move and spreading the festival events over 12 days will hopefully encourage audiences. There are a few ticket bundles available too, which might soften the financial outlay for some. The prices for events range from €7 to €22.50. The programme is a heady mix, with a lot of local input, so I would encourage people to support the festival by attending at least one event if they can at all. I’ll get to (and review if possible) a few things myself.

Siege is a local affair—written by Ciarda Tobin, directed by Marie Boylan and starring Aidan Crowe, Erica Murray and Joanne Ryan. The plot outline is as follows: “Pa is missing, Mouse is on the warpath and the houses are burning. This new short play, set in Limerick and inspired by the Trojan war, follows the exploits of Helena and her daughter as they discover Mouse’s secret and are forced to escape his fury. This is a highly charged urban play, which swings from karaoke to chaos and comedy to tragedy. It is rough and ready; it is savage and familiar. The production will be fast paced and physical.” The venue is the Belltable and it runs until Thursday.

Thursday lunchtime marks the first of three shows tying in with Lunchtime Theatre at the Savoy. Bandit—fresh from the Dublin Fringe—is on at 1pm on Thursday and Friday this week. On Friday (October 19) and Saturday nights, the multi award winning, Silent, by Pat Kinevane, is on at the Belltable. Act Without Words II by Samuel Beckett is on this Saturday and Sunday (two shows a night). The venue is site-specific but audiences meet at the Belltable.

Also on Sunday, Molloy’s own work—Mass—is on in the afternoon in the Limerick City Gallery of Art. Mass is on again on Sunday October 28. Interactive dance performance, Chimaera, by Angie Smalis is on Sunday and Monday night. On Tuesday October 23, there is a screening of the George Romero classic, Night of the Living Dead.

Mimic by Raymond Scannell is on Wednesday and Thursday night (October 25). Also on Thursday and Friday, Payback and The Wheelchair on my Face will feature at Lunchtime and Teatime Theatre at the Savoy respectively. On Thursday, The Loft will host Under the Influence where comedian/actor Pat Shortt and playwright, Mike Finn, will discuss their inspirations. Later that same evening, there will be a celebration of Richard Harris presented by Bottom Dog Theatre Company and The Little Apple.

On Friday night, French jazz musician, Tigran will perform and on Saturday, band Scullion will perform. Unique live game, Day Zero, is taking place, every 20 minutes from 1-4pm on Saturday. The idea is that the city has been overrun by zombies and you have to find a way to survive. The venue is site-specific but audiences meet at the Belltable. On Sunday, the festival will conclude with a production of David Mamet’s Oleanna.

Find out more about the Unfringed programme at www.belltable.ie or download it here.

Limerick City Gallery of Art reopens with two exhibitions

Limerick City Gallery of Art (LCGA)has officially reopened after 18 months and a €1.7m refurbishment.
Minister for fun, Jimmy Deenihan,did the ribbon cutting yesterday (January 16). I was going to go but then Iremembered that I don’t like art exhibition openings. D’oh! I did, however,have a look around today and the Carnegie Building looked beautiful—inside andout. 
The works include the addition of a new wing and a café space looking onto People’s Park. The expansive windows give the gallery a light and airy feel.I also noticed new bathroom facilities; general modernisation/fixtures and newsignage with a revamped logo. Behind the scenes, there is an educational spaceand a purpose built storage facility to ensure the collection if preserved. The work respected or restored a lot of the amazing period features of the building too.  
The entrance with the new signage.
The building dates back to 1906 andit was a library and museum before it became a home to the city’s municipal artcollection in 1948. The permanent collection now has 800 pieces. The ministersaid LCGA was “one of the key galleries in the country” and play a part in Limerick’smarketing as a city of culture, as well as sport.


There are also changes at the helm.New director/curator, Helen Carey, will be taking over from actingdirector/curator, Pippa Little. Ms Carey was formerly director of the CentreCulturel Irlandais in Paris. The opening also saw the launchof two exhibitions—both of which will run until early March—in the form of AVivid Imagination and Transitive Relationships (more on them below). There was a large range of artwork on display in a mix of media including paintings, video, photography, sculpture and performance art.


It’s lovely to see the gallery openagain and hopefully its visitor numbers will on the up. For all you Limerick people, when was the last time youwent to LCGA, if ever? It’s free AND now there’s a café, that’s the perfectexcuse to go. I took a few snaps today too. I didn’t take the names in mostcases; the photos are only intended to give an idea of the artwork and thespaces.   

The new wing extension 
A Vivid Imagination is where 40 people were invited to select engagingpieces from the gallery’s collection. Most of the selections are accompanied byexplanatory notes by the likes of artist John Shinnors, Minister JanO’Sullivan; several LCGA MA scholars; city librarian, Dolores Doyle etc. It’san eclectic exhibition which makes a vital local connection. There was atremendous sense of ownership from the pieces chosen.

The main exhibition space for A Vivid Imagination. The gorgeous floor and doors really add character.
Limerick, you’re a lady. Local icons- opera singer, Catherine Hayes, after whom the infamous ‘Opera Centre’ is named and ground-breaking novelist, Kate O’Brien.
Bronze sculpture with her hack to People’s Park.
Another unusual piece, highlighted by the spotlight in the new wing.
Transitive Relationships (upstairs) is a contemporary exhibition where nationallyestablished artists, Bea McMahon and Mark O’Kelly, were invited to presenttheir own work and choose the work of three emerging artists. These artistsare: Lucy Andrews, Kevin Kirwan and Magda Marysia Wieckiewicz and Ramon Kassam,Emmet Kierans and Laura McMorrow. The description reads: “Further relationshipshave emerged between the artworks, with threads of interest involvingabjection, sinister undertones and materials poised on a moment of change and aprocess based interest in gathering, saving and selecting implied in some ofthe artworks. Transitive Relationships considers the artists’ engagement withthe surrounding world and the notion that these interactions and process basedinvestigations have a universal element.In mathematics the term notates aseries of equivalent relationships.”

An example of one of the mixed media pieces in the show.
This was probably my favourite piece of what I saw at LCGA today. It’s called ‘The same thing, again and again’ by Emmett Kierans. It’s placed for maximum impact, facing you across the balcony as you walk onto the first floor. It’s cool. I loved the colours and the contrast between the materials-wax on brushed metal. Along with Ramon Kassam’s work, Kierans had some of the stand-out pieces in the exhibition.
The largest exhibition space upstairs with lovely light coming from all the windows.
There is a definite shift from the traditional with the content in this exhibition. No, this ISN’T a hoodie a workman left hanging on a rad; it’s contemporary art. Several other works in this room flummoxed me too. Maybe I’m just a philistine after all…

MA-Curatorial Studies Shinnors Scholarship/StudentZINE Makers award

Shinnors Scholarship
Applications are being invited for the prestigious MA-CuratorialStudies Shinnors Scholarship at the Limerick City Gallery of Art. Applications can be made to LCGA, Limerick City Council,Limerick School ofArt and Design and Limerick Institute of Technology.
The scholarship isa “unique opportunity for practice based research with Limerick City Gallery ofArt, a leading Irish institution for the curation and celebration of artisticcreativity, past, present and future. The Shinnors Scholarship model has runsuccessfully at Limerick City Gallery of Art for over six years”.
The successfulapplicant will undertake an MA by Research at Limerick School of Art and Designover a two-year period and be based predominantly at LCGA. It provides opportunitieson a day-to-day basis to study and engage with all aspects of the city gallery’score activities including the exhibition programme, the permanent collection,the outreach and education programme. The culmination ofthe scholarship provides for the submission by the student of an MA thesisbased on the development of some aspect of the gallery’s programme by thestudent as a personal project.
Award deadline
The next deadline for theOnline MAKERS Award is November 30. Interested parties can log-on/create anaccount at www.studentszine.com and upload your latestwork to the platform to be in with the opportunity of being the next recipientof the MAKERS Award along with getting a full feature in the next issuealongside some leading international artists. :)

Limk City Gallery of Art re-opens with ‘of de Blacam and Meagher’ exhibition

The first exhibition toshow in the newly refurbished Limerick City Gallery of Art will be of De Blacamand Meagher, which opens today (Thursday) Nov 17 at 7pm.
Commissioned by the IrishArchitecture Foundation, the exhibition represented Ireland at the 12th International ArchitectureExhibition 2010 in Veniceand it will be opened by Merritt Bucholz, Professor of Architecture at UL. Ireland’sparticipation at Venice,and the exhibition’s return to Ireland for this national tour, is aninitiative of Culture Ireland in partnership with the Arts Council.This is the last venue in the national tour of Ormeau Baths Gallery in Belfast,Lewis Glucksman Gallery in Cork and Dublin City Gallery: The HughLane.
of de Blacam and Meagher examinesthe built and un-built portfolio of the Irish architecture practice, de Blacamand Meagher, over the last 33 years. It was curated by Tom dePaor, PeterMaybury, Alice Casey and Cian Deegan, and commissioned for the VeniceArchitecture Biennale in 2010. The exhibition takes the form of a book unbound,containing volumes of drawings and photographic reproductions from the archive,contemporary photography and readings of the works with commentaries.
The blurb reads: “As both archive and reading room,the space is furnished with items from the de Blacam and Meagher archive.Members of the public are invited to read the work and take it away. Over time,the stacks of paper are depleted, until finally we are left with only thefurnishings. The archive will, in essence, be consumed. Two short films by RuánMagan, one about the installation in Venice,and the other with interviews from the commissioner and curators, will also bedisplayed during the exhibition.”
The new opening hours are Mon-Wed, 10am-5pm; Thurs-Fri, 10am-7pm; Sat, 10am-5pmand Sun, 12-5pm. For information onthe talks programme see www.gallery.limerick.ie and www.irelandatvenice.ie.LCGA is now on Twitter:  @limerickgallery.

Good show for Culture Night 2011

I want to report back that while I didn’t get to sample everything at Limerick’s Culture Night 2011, it seemed to be a great success. The organisations and venues involved put a lot of effort into it. It was especially popular with families, students and people from other countries living in Limerick so Culture Night was a great PR opportunity—which was mostly capitalised upon.

The Hunt Museum was very busy and had lots of stuff on including workshops/ activities for kids, a live orchestra and guided tours. The excellent music by CoMA (Contemporary Music Making for All) added to the special atmosphere and the museum was as charming as ever. The current photographic exhibition, Changing Ireland, is amazing, incredibly moving and it’s on until October 23. The photos are displayed in advance of the publication of the latest in the series of books by James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury.

We had a sneak peek at the redeveloped Limerick City Gallery of Art in Pery Square. It was bizarre walking around there with no art in the space! The gallery was giving away free ev+a back catalogues among other books, which was a good idea in the absence of the real thing.

There was tango dancing going on beside the Occupy Space gallery, which made for a bit of voyeurism. After a look around the art exhibition space we tipped across to Conradh na Gaeilge, where they were having a old fashioned sing song and trad session in an chistin. That was good craic.

I have minor complaints…well, the blog is called ‘not good for my rage’. The programme for Culturenight.ie advertised that the Georgian House and Gardens were open for the night, which was wrong. It used to be open to the public during the week but due to funding difficulties, Limerick Civic Trust had to close it for the time being with the loss of several jobs. I think the restored Georgian-era building is one of the biggest jewels in LCT’s crown and it should have been open on the most appropriate night of the year! (On closer inspection, that online programme had a litany of mistakes and omissions. The ones in the local papers were more accurate and there were plenty of leaflets available at the venues).

The poetry bus wasn’t running to schedule and after 15 minutes waiting at the stop it was supposed to arrive at, we decided to abandon it and head for the Hunt Museum.

My little brother had never seen King John’s Castle so we went down there for a look first. The history of the place never fails to impress but I have to say some of the exhibits and the visitors’ centre look tired and/or dirty. There was a lot of litter outside the entrance and no stewards/special event for the night. BUT the castle’s courtyard had fantastic exhibits of ye olde bright blue wheelie bins and ye olde pile of broken pallets. It made you wonder what year ye olde traffic cone was excavated. The castle is due for a multi-million euro revamp next year and I hope it’ll be spent in the right areas.

So all in all, Culture Night was well worth a look. Kudos to all involved!