Irish actor Chris O’Dowd to make Broadway debut

Credit Chris O'Dowd official twitter page

Credit Chris O’Dowd’s official twitter page

The play, which will be an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, will star O’Dowd as the dim-witted Lennie in the tragic tale of two labourers in 1930s California.

The play will run April through June at the Longacre Theatre in New York, with the opening night on April 16th.

Franco, star of 127 Hours, will play his wiser sidekick George.

It has been almost forty years since the tale appeared on Broadway in 1974.

O’Dowd, who won last night the Comedy Award at the International Emmy Awards, happily tweeted: “We may have won”, accompanied by the above image.

He picked up the award with his fellow Moone Boy writer Nick Vincent Murphy, who O’Dowd said “was the best writer working in the UK.” Reacting to the win, Murphy said: “It’s insane we won this thing.”

In a recent interview with the Irish Independent, O’Dowd admitted that before he got cast in Bridesmaids, he was struggling financially.

“I was just really broke so we got our cable turned off and all that kind of stuff. It was weird. I was more broke than I have ever been in a way, because I was in so much debt. It was really scary.”

Hannah Popham

 

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International men’s day

Credit International Men's Day

Credit International Men’s Day

Today is International Men’s Day, a day designed to promote ‘a focus on men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models.’ In Ireland, it would seem that the former concern about men’s health is a significant one. The average life expectancy of Irish men is five years less than that of Irish women, and Ireland has the highest rate of prostate cancer in Europe. The National Men’s Health Policy report for 2008-2013 makes for uneasy reading. Apparently ‘men have tended to be more reticent in terms of advocating or speaking out about their own health.’ Not only are men apparently less willing to face their own mortality, but ‘the burden of ill health and mortality is borne, in particular, by men from the lower socio-economic groups’.

Some progressive measures have been introduced to try and combat male apathy towards their own health. One exceptionally successful initiative has been ‘Movember’. This organisation, independent from International Men’s Day, encourages people to raise money for charity by getting sponsored for their moustache growth. A cursory glance at your Facebook feed will likely bring the shocking sight of many of your male friends sporting dashing ‘stashes, and indeed women doing their part with assorted brushes/combs. The novel manner with which the organisation has tackled men’s reticence to address their own health seems to have found an inroad to apparent male squeamishness. The sacrifice of one month’s appearance (depending on growth ability) is apparently a price many are willing to pay to support those who suffer from many of the debilitating cancers in Ireland.

Conor Campbell

Man’s eye sliced in Love/Hate style burglary

Love/hate's Facebook page

Love/Hate’s Facebook page

A man was awoken in his Tallaght home by burglars who proceeded to viciously attack him, stabbing him eight times and ultimately leaving him blinded in one eye, a court heard today.

According to the Irish Independent, the burglars kicked in the victim’s bedroom door, demanding to be told where his money was, before stabbing the man in his side and stealing his car keys. Before leaving the room one of the intruders warned him: ‘If you’re thinking of calling the gardai I’ll f**kng kill you.’

When the men returned unable to open the car, they became angry to find the victim Paul Leavy on the phone, who said he was ringing for medical assistance because he had been stabbed. In retaliation, one of the men used a hunting knife to slice the man’s eye, ultimately blinding him. He also suffered from a punctured lung, according to Breakingnews.ie.

Judge Gerard Griffin imposed a ten-year sentence on the two men, one of whom was Mark Farrelly (19) of Newbridge, who pleaded guilty. Judge Griffin referred to the ‘gratuitous degradation’ of the victim in the case.

One of the Gardaí involved in the case, Sinead McCormack, detailed how the victim had not been able to return to work since the incident, and needed a series of facial surgeries.

Colm Fitzgerald, SC, who defended Farrelly in the trial, said that his client had an “extraordinarily difficult start to life”.

Hannah Popham

Animal welfare issues come to the fore in Cork

MINISTER for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, announced a major animal welfare operation took place earlier today in Cork City, in conjunction with the Gardaí and Cork City Council.

Over 3,000 horses have been seized nationwide so far this year, with 247 impounded in the Cork area. The Minister was prompted to act after a number of incidents in the region, including dead horses scattered across sites and stray horses roaming public streets.

Horses will only be released back to owners if they have a passport, can prove they have paid the appropriate fees and have access to lands registered under the equine regulations.

Since May 2012, it has been a legal requirement that premises where equines are kept be registered with the Department. Registration is free and once-off

‘The purpose of registration is simply to enable the Department to have information on locations of horses and their contacts with other horses in order that in the event of a disease outbreak, owners can be alerted and advised of any necessary precautions,’ according to Association of Irish Riding Establishments.

The Minister reminded all horse owners of the importance of complying with legislation on horse welfare, identification and the registration of equine premises.

Simon Maguire

Très bien – IFI’s French Film Festival starts tomorrow night

Credit IFI.ie

Credit IFI.ie

THE Carte Noir IFI French Film Festival takes place in the Irish Film Institute in Dublin beginning tomorrow night and will run all the way until December 1st.

The programme features 21 premieres, including films by Bruno Dumont (Camille Claudel 1915), Abdellatif Kechiche (Blue is the Warmest Colour, winner of the Palme d’Or, Cannes 2013), François Ozon (Jeune & Jolie), Xavier Dolan (Tom at the Farm) and Claude Lanzmann (The Last of the Unjust).

Many of the films in this year’s festival feature themes of identity, and an examination of complex behaviours and emotions.

Patrick Stewart, who works as part of the festival, detailed why the Film Institute celebrates French film every year:

‘French film is Europe’s most accessible cinema scene. It has a rich cultural heritage harking back to the French New Wave. The fact that great actors, directors and critics acknowledge this makes it a no brainer for us to celebrate it. It is a unique cultural treasure and receives great responses from Irish audiences’.

The association between Irish film and French film is also a factor of its celebration:

‘Lots of intellectual things happen between the two. There are directors from France coming over to run master classes for artists over here and there is a deep connection between Irish and French artists’.

The Gala opening begins tomorrow night with ‘Just a Sigh’ at 8pm and finishes on December 1st. Book tickets at www.ifi.ie or call the Box Office on 01-6793477.

Gavin Lacey

Spotify celebrates first Irish birthday

Credit WikiCommons

Credit WikiCommons

FOLLOWING a successful first year in Ireland, Spotify plans to take it up a notch. Kicking off their new Irish specific marketing strategy the music streaming site is hoping to expand their Irish market.

Adam Williams, the managing director of Spotify Ireland, UK and Benelux said in a statement to The Irish Times:  ‘It’s such a great market, with brilliant heritage in music, and it’s one we want to continue to push on and grow.’

Spotify is the largest and fastest growing music site of its kind with over 24 million subscribers. In the past twelve months Irish users of the service have listened to over 1500 years’ worth of music!

Williams also commented: ‘2013 has been a great year for Spotify in Ireland and we are delighted to be celebrating our first birthday in the market. Ireland boasts such a rich music heritage and some of the most passionate music fans in the world. Irish music fans enjoy everything from traditional Irish music to global superstars such as U2, and are also discovering new and breaking Irish artists such as Kodaline and Hudson Taylor. Spotify offers the right music for every moment, so we look forward to welcoming more music fans onto the service.”

To celebrate the anniversary Spotify released some interesting facts surrounding their Irish subscribers. May 1st 2013 emerged as the most musical day of the year for the Irish users. Between 4 – 5pm on weekdays appears as the most popular time Irish users are listening in with Thursday being the day with the most hits.

Image courtesy of Spotify

Image courtesy of Spotify

                                                                                                                                                                                            

Most popular track: Ho Hey by The Lumineers

Most popular Irish artist: Kodaline

Most popular artist: Daft Punk

Most popular female artist: P!nk

Most popular male artist: Calvin Harris

Also users of the service can avail of the Ireland’s Top 40 playlist  now –  http://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/7D7FQlxUW8C2O4R6NHSrhV

Amanda Connolly

RTE’s Monday night comedy – not too much to laugh about

Promo-pic-1

Credit RTE.ie

RTE’s Monday night comedy line-up of ‘The Republic of Telly’ and the new hidden camera show ‘The Fear’ has been on our screens for the last 3 weeks. ‘The Republic of Telly’ welcomes its new presenter Kevin McGahern of Hardy Bucks fame to the latest series of humorous sketches and poking fun at other programmes. The show’s format remains the same as the usual beginning, which consists of the presenter creating humorous observations at other RTE and TV3 programmes, was thoroughly enjoyable. One would suggest that McGahern is a natural in front of the camera, however he certainly has big shoes to fill when it comes to replacing former host Dermot Whelan, who indeed made the show his own. The feature of the episode was of course the ‘Ireland Musical’ in which the cast of the show went around to every county in Ireland and created a pun of other popular songs in the county’s name.

Video Credit RTE’s YouTube

The idea was fantastic and the video has been highly praised in the social media world, which is creating some nice momentum for the show. Last week’s video of ‘the typical Irish wedding’ also proved to be very popular.

The show then featured the usual sketches of McGahern, Jennifer Maguire and Bernard O’ Shea’s antics around the RTE studios which remain quite entertaining. Bernard O’Shea’s stupid frolics prove to be the main humorous source of the outlines. Besides that ‘The Republic of Telly’ does not really offer much else to the imagination. Overall the show is lukewarm, and has certainly lost a little bit of class in the absence of Dermot Whelan, however, if it continues to produce viral videos of Irish life they will certainly hold onto viewers.

‘The Fear’ was next on the bill for RTE’s comedy line-up, presented by the beautiful Jennifer Maguire and the Second Tribe, staffed by the team behind ‘The Republic of Telly’ playing pranks on the general public of Ireland.

Hidden camera shows over the last 5-10 years have been highly regarded and have resulted in some hilarious chapters. ‘The Fear’, however, does not even come close in comparison to the likes of ‘Naked Camera’ or ‘The Annoying Devil’. The sketches are extremely short and they are far too frequent in occurrence also. It’s more enjoyable to watch 5 funny sketches than 12 terrible ones (which is the exact figure of last night’s episode, quite a lot for half an hour). I found it very hard to watch. The sketches included, a nun requesting for the random members of the public to take off a chastely lock, Maguire performing a “rude” knock off act of Meave Higgin’s security guard character in ‘Naked Camera’, Hilary Rose disguised as a polish woman asking for a hamster in a pet shop so she can use it to perform sexual acts with her husband and….do I really need to continue? Hidden camera shows are really not that difficult at all to create and this looks like something a bunch of teenagers with a nice camera would scrape together. A terribly unfunny show which the RTE producers must realize by now, it would be surprising if it was renewed.

Overall the night was not much of a comedic showcase. The previous line up of ‘The Mario Rosenstock Show’ and ‘Damo and Ivor’ was mildly superior but the fact that RTE are still depending on Father Ted to rope in a few viewers before the two shows start is surely a sign of panic. A lot of work to be done, no doubt.

Darragh Collins