You must surely have noticed this year’s mightily improved poster design and realised Culture Night is almost upon us again. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s getting there. It’s spreading to more and more towns and counties around the country this year and if you’re unfortunate enough to live in one of those places, you can find out about what’s happening in your local parish hall here. For Dublin, this year should really set a new benchmark in terms of organisation, variety and numbers. Coming, as it did last year, the day after the pointless hooliganism of Arthur’s Day, Culture Night isn’t about being snobbish and high-brow for the sake of it. It’s about demonstrating what this city can be like with a little bit of effort. The feeling around town last year was incredible and made our grimey streets seem magical like no other holiday or public event I can remember has ever done. It’s not just about getting people excited and mobilised to see art galleries, poetry readings and historical buildings, it shows that there are a huge number of people in Dublin who care about these things and can peacefully take over the city for an evening of fun with food and drink on the streets and there is no need for extra Gardaí to be drafted in or for barriers and ticket checks to be set up left, right and centre. On this most shocking day of the year, Irish people band together to create a Friday night of diverse, free entertainment and people enjoy it responsibly. There’s a ton of stuff happening around the city which you can find out about on the Culture Night site, but I’ll list a few things that I think could be worth dropping in on if you have time.
Douglas Hyde – As I mentioned in a post already, they’re opening a show to celebrate 50 years of Trinity’s modern art collection. It features some big names of the 20th century and some great young artists of the 21st.
TBG&S – There’s a series of Finnish video art on at the moment which changes each week. I haven’t seen this week’s one yet, but I’ll be in there on Friday morning, so I’ll let you know if it’s shite. Ah but it won’t be, c’mon, drop in.
Monster Truck – The new(-ish) home for the Truck next door to TBG&S will have a show by Daniel Eatock where “A man on a high performance motorbike will attempt to draw a perfect circle in burnt rubber directly on the gallery floor.” Sure, that’ll be fierce deadly.
Ormond Studios – These young whippersnappers have been doing great work in their lair on Ormond Quay, gazing out on people crossing Capel St bridge and taking clever photos using the shadows cast by their signs on the window. They also make top notch art. Call up and check it out.
Exchange Dublin – Not strictly a gallery but I’ll list them here anyway. Exchange will attempting a daring science experiment in which a month’s worth of activities will be crammed into the one night. It’s the perfect time to drop in and see what the place is all about if you haven’t been in. (Hint: it’s about everything)
Kevin Kavanagh – Judging by that photo of mine on the Kevin Kavanagh page, Amanda Coogan will be strapping a few kilos of Ireland’s finest rooster potatoes to herself for a performance piece as part of her solo show in the gallery which opens tonight. One of Ireland’s most respected contemporary artists, her performances are always worth catching if you get the chance.
Centre For Creative Practices – I’ve never been to CFCP down on Pembroke Street, but I might make the trip down there to check out the place and see Shane McKenna’s excellent animated graphic music scores. Fun, interactive and noisy, this is recommended to all.
Photography heads might like to head down to Camden St to see the Dublin Camera Club‘s members show, while for other tastes there’s a free goo at the Metsu show in the National Gallery, Stephen McKenna’s stylish townscape paintings in the Kerlin while IMMA might be worth a visit at some point, if only to check out their party with free food for hungry wanderers as well as a bar and live music. If you’re down that way, there’ll be some great artists involved in [pause], a multiple site art event which is part of the Ranelagh Arts Festival, starting at the Ranelagh food market at either 5 or 7pm depening who you ask.
This is, of course, a perfect night for going to touristy places that you wouldn’t pay into normally.
Guinness Storehouse – The Storehouse tour, “Ireland’s number 1 attraction”, is free from 5-10pm and you still get your free pint up in the Gravity Bar. Win.
Wax Museum Plus – Re-live your youth and check out some of the crazy new features without funding the nutjob that runs the place.
Leprechaun Museum – Re-live your Darby O’Gill fantasies and check out the tackiest place in Dublin without funding the nutjob that runs the place.
Custom House – Possibly one for the architecture fans, but the headquarters of the Department of the Enivornment, Heritage & Local Government is a great building on nice grouds that deserve to have people wander through them more often.
The Gutter Bookshop – Dublin’s nicest, newest bookshop is hosting a kind of open mic night of music and poetry, but there’s a schedule of good performers too so if you’re about Cow’s Lane or Temple Bar, this is a good option.
IFI – I have no idea if this is sold out already or not, but the IFI will be screening one of the best Irish films ever made about magic horses. “Into The West” will be on sometime about 6:50pm. Ruadhrí Conway, Tito himself, will be there to introduce the film. Free tickets are available over the phone or in person.
IMRO – Last but not least, those loveable rogues at IMRO are hosting a night of public discussions and live performances in their offices down on Pembroke Row. State.ie are involved too and our glorious leader Phil Udel will be quizzing a few bands. Taking part on the night are the one who isn’t Neil Hannon in the Duckworth Lewis Method (lovely fella), James Vincent McMorrow, Fight Like Apes and crap people like Codes and Luan Parle. From 6:30pm, free tickets can be reserved by saying hello to firstname.lastname@example.org