Monday, October 19, 2009

On Saturday night RAG hosted a film screening at Seomra Spraoi: two documentary films concerning the subject of abortion. The first, "Abortion Democracy: Poland-South Africa" was a comparison of Poland taking away the right to legal abortion and South Africa's granting it. Yet, paradoxically, it is actually easier to obtain an illegal abortion in Poland than it is to get a legal one in South Africa, since the proper infrastructures have not been put in place in South Africa.

The second film, "The Coat Hanger Project" was about what's happening in the US since Roe vs. Wade is now 36 years old. Essentially the Anti-Choice movement has been growing and gaining strength due to people's complacency -- especially since anyone roughly 40 or younger has no memory of the US before legal abortion.

The film makers, Sarah and Angie, were lovely lovely people. We took a group photo after the event:

After the films we all went to a housewarming party at a place quite near our house, which was very convenient. I announced that this was my first real party since coming to Ireland, much to everyone's surprise and dismay! I received many heartfelt apologies, which was very sweet. The wine was flowing and everyone was in a grand old mood. I had a fantastic time, and even danced to a few songs, thus unveiling the "video ho" to my friends here. I also took a short film of people dancing. You can't see much, but I find it incredibly telling of the good time had by all nevertheless:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Remember that first time I was an extra on my favorite soap opera, Fair City?? Well, the two scenes I was in aired! I didn't think they would be on until Sunday, so naturally I started yelling, "That's me! That's meeee!" when I suddenly appeared on my own television screen.

Then I made dorky animated gifs of myself. (in the background, of course!)

Yesterday we had a nice fun-filled day. First, when we woke up, we did some much needed strength training. As the weather gets a little nippier, my waist is getting a little bigger. I mean, my pants still fit, but they aren't as loose as they were this summer after I came back from Florida, that's for sure! Then we went up to Uncle Billy's house to check on him and help him do some things around the house. After all that was done, we figured we had earned a visit to the Paulaner Oktoberfest that was going on at the IFSC, in the Docklands. Since it was a free event, we figured we should check it out!

Our steins are proportioned to our body size! Inside the big tent:

The band:

Sadly there was no free beer, and even the soft pretzels cost 2 euro each, We still managed to sample the delicious Paulaner on tap for not too much money, and enjoy people watching and the band, which cost nothing. A lot of the long tables were reserved, but we scored a couple of seats on a table right up next to the band, and miraculously we didn't get kicked off either!

I asked a woman next to us to take our photo, but as you can tell from the quality of the picture, she may have had a couple of steins of beer:

I took a little video of the band, for your amusement:

Then we headed over to the Dublin to Gaza benefit gig at Tripod. The idea was that in addition to being a fundraiser, the concert would also be shown live on a large screen in Gaza. However, apparently they were experiencing power outages, so that sadly didn't happen.

When we first walked in, Liam Ó Maonlaí from the Hothouse Flowers was playing. It wasn't really our thing, so we hung out in the bar area, where I got the tiniest whiskey I've ever had in my life. I actually complained, which I've never done in my 15 years of being legal drinking age. I said to the guy that it was the smallest whiskey I'd ever seen and he said it was a full "Irish measure," holding up a measuring cup, and if I wanted more, I'd "pay more." It seemed so crappy to me that a barman would measure out a shot and not throw in a little extra. Not for 5.50, anyways!! So needless to say I didn't order another drink.

We strolled back into the venue as MC Lowkey was performing. He was really good! It's nice to see rap that isn't all about bling and commercialism.

I took a little video of him rapping down the alphabet:

Then the Irish band Kíla came on. The crowd was really pumped. Kíla definitely have a very Irish sound, using traditional instruments like the Bodhrán, whistle, and fiddle. Apparently last night's show was low-key for them, and usually it's like a gigantic mosh pit with people jumping up and down in excitement. To most of the audience, their music stirred up something old within, but for me the music was exotic, and so the entire experience was fascinating. My eyes flitted back and forth from the performers to the audience, many of whom were jumping up and down with excitement through much of the show.

We biked home, having had a long day full of things to think about!
Well, as you may or may not know, Hillary Clinton was in Ireland recently for a couple of days. Her visit engendered one of the most wacky newspaper headlines I've ever seen, mostly because I have no freaking idea what it means. Here it is:
Hillary does the power trip and then the glad-handing love-in

Without consulting anyone, I just can't fathom what a "glad-handing love-in" means. I hope it's a good thing, though. Because it sounds a little PG-13 if you ask me!
The other day I saw something new. I was at the bus stop, waiting in front of somewhat heavy traffic when an ambulance went by. I noticed that the young woman standing next to me was giving herself the sign of the cross. Then another ambulance went by and she did it again. That's when I looked up and saw a guy in the van on the street in front of me crossing himself too, and then another person in another car too. To me, this is such an emblem of how religious people in Ireland can be. But also, maybe, how superstitious.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My first autumn in Dublin. It's getting chilly out and the smell of burning peat is in the air (and I'm sure it's no coincidence that my asthma is flaring up too). This is my first autumn in my life away from the Northeast of the US. Now, the leaves are falling here just as they do back home. But oh do I miss the foliage!

Back home the leaves are turning bright yellow, orange, and red. Here they just seem to turn a yellowish brown and fall off. It's kind of a let down! But maybe there is foliage to be found outside of the city. Still, I can't believe it would ever match the spectacular views of New England!
A week ago Monday I had another turn at being on the small screen. This time, I got to work on the outdoor set of Fair City! On the RTE grounds there stands a little fake street in a little fake town called Carrigstown. Apparently they used to film on an actual street, but after a while that became too complicated, so they recreated the street on the RTE grounds. When we stepped on set, the crew wasn't around yet, so naturally I whipped out my camera:

These buildings might look real, but they are all made of some kind of heavy duty plaster or something. When you knock on what you think is a cement block, it sounds hallow or something. Even the houses to the right are fake. I must admit, they got it dead on.

My day was mostly spent strolling up and down this "street" in circles while various scenes were performed. Once I got to walk out of Vinos while a scene was being filmed on the table in front. But my key scene was the courthouse scene. I got to come out of the "courthouse" after the actors and be fake interviewed on the courthouse steps while the actors had a conversation down on stage left. I can't wait to see what that looks like!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rag are hosting a film screening and discussion in Seomra Spraoi on October 17th, at 8pm.

Two film makers are on tour with films they have made on the subject of abortion. The first one is called The Coat Hanger Project
and the second is Abortion Democracy: Poland/South Africa
The film makers will be there to talk about the films so there should be some great discussion afterward.
Because both of us are out of work, we don't do a whole lot of things that aren't free or nearly free, but we did splurge just a little recently -- Mark surprised me with tickets to see the band Jesus Lizard at the Button Factory. I hadn't seen them play live since before they broke up. They played with Boys vs. Girls in Providence, Rhode Island and the show was incredible. Mark and I actually saw a Jesus Lizard cover band play in Boston two years ago, and even that was fantastic.

When it was time to leave for the show, I wasn't sure if I was in the mood for a show that night, but when we got there I started to get psyched. But then when they played those first few notes, I was screaming like a Beetles fan. I tried to take photos, but without a flash they didn't come out like much.

The crowd was extremely enthusiastic, and people were crowd surfing like it was 1993 all over again. ha ha! Since I may not get the chance to ever see them play live again, I was pretty pumped about having tickets to this show.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I really felt like seeing a movie, so Mark and I went to The Lighthouse Cinema over in Smithfield to see the one movie we could agree on. Holy moly, the Lighthouse has got to be the fanciest movie theater I've ever been to. When you walk in, you feel like you're walking into a museum. Then you walk down the stairs to where the movies are, and it's like an Escher drawing. It didn't feel like a movie theater at all. There's even a little museum-style cafe in it. But they do give discounts for people on the dole, so that was cool. And the snacks didn't seem to be any more than at a regular theater.

We saw this British movie called "Fish Tank." I read the description at home, and once again proved the master of predicting plot lines. Unfortunately, the movie included a kind of disturbing statutory rape scene, which I totally called from the description, but otherwise I thought it was a really good film. But I will definitely try to go back to the Lighthouse Cinema again!
Jeezum I guess it's been a while! I still feel busy, even though of course I haven't gotten a job. I've been doing layout for the annual magazine that RAG puts out, which entailed teaching myself how to use InDesign. If I had known how relatively straightforward it is, I would have taught myself a long time ago and would have probably been able to get a better job back in Boston. Anyhoo - I think it's going to look fantastic, and I hope that the women in my group thinks so too. It's the fourth issue of the magazine, and they seem to get just a little better each time.

So, catching up, back on the 19th, Mark and I went to the art space called The Joinery to see a documentary about Bow Street. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was part of the Fringe Fest. Here's the description of the movie, aptly named Bow Street, by Tadhg O'Sullivan: "Shot and recorded over a month on a narrow Dublin street of bustling barristers, bowed street-drinkers, box-ticking tourists, proud and shamed seekers-of-a-free-lunch at the Capuchin day centre, Bow St. is a film and exhibition that hurries and slows to the criss-crossing paces of a hundred passers-by. The camera traces the movements and pauses of everyday lives; voices drift in and out with personal stories, musings on life and love, fuck ups and forgiveness, holding on and letting go. A unique look past the assumed anonymity of our urban lives."

It was a voyeuristic view of the street, at times funny, but mostly sad. I guess I felt odd watching this documentary in an artist gallery, being all hoity toity while the people on the screen were in such rough shape. I liked the way it didn't have a voice-over the way a traditional documentary does, but at the same time, sometimes they would put captions on the screen to highlight what people were saying, yet they didn't caption every word. This meant that only certain phrases came up on the screen, taken, in some cases, out of context. On one hand, it drew your attention in an interesting way to things you might not have taken notice of, but on the other hand, I sort of resented the fact that my attention was handed to me on a plate like that. Visually, there was never a dull moment in the film.

I had never been to the Joinery before, and I really enjoyed the space. Out front was a photography exhibition, which consisted of stills from the movie along with headphones for each photograph. When you put the headphones on, you felt suddenly like you weren't looking at a still, but a moving picture. The movie was shown in a back room lined with couches and chairs. We brought a couple of beers and drank them while we watched the movie. It was quite comfortable (though maybe would have been more so if we'd have gotten seats!).