Shut Door : Dublin Selected *291


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The old adage 'you are what you eat' is as easily applied to 'you are where you live'. As we enter into another weekend of snooping and marvelling at what lies behind the doors in Open House, the reality is it is becoming more of a shut door syndrome for some. City centre living aids the commitment and engagement people have with our cultural sector. However, the acute shortage of affordable rented accommodation is a stark reality pushing people out further with domino consequences. The Big Housing Debate in Liberty Hall last night threw up some stark and informative statistics including that 28% of our politicians are landlords and 1/3 of us are likely to rent forever. While the aspersion cast that long-term rental equals some sort of social shaming and failure in Irish society is a fraud, until politicians meaningfully address the current crisis all the palaver surrounding budget windfalls will ring hollow.

Whose resorting to Lego for their dream gaff? Michael or Stephanie?

1815 Magazine Launch

Amelia O'Mahony-Brady

Flavours of Art

by Amelia O'Mahony-Brady

Lingo Festival

by Stephanie Kelly

Please Wait

by Olen Bajarias

Tola Vintage Kilo Sale

by Alison Treacy

The Lobster

By Michael McDermott

Old Hannah

by Zara Hedderman

Talking to my Father

by Zara Hedderman

Sir Hugh Lane (1875-1915), A Century Perspective

by Aidan Kelly-Murphy

Without a Future

by Olen Bajarias

Made You Look

by Zara Hedderman

Shot at Dawn

by Stephanie Kelly

Cloud Cuckoo Land

by Zara Hedderman

Censored Voices

by Stephanie Kelly

Om Diva

by Amelia O'Mahony-Brady

Meet John Leo Gillen & Mary Nally, the western Super Man and Wonder Woman of throwing parties, probing spaces, shaking cocktails and stirring it up. Now they are back in Dublin with New Blood as part of the Bram Stoker Festival.

Photo credit: Emil Hernon

Tell us a little about yourselves. New Blood isn't your first creative collaboration?
J – Our first party together was No Way Back, where we took over a Nama'd bowling alley & arcade, since then we've worked, partied and missed many flights together.

Our approach is to take on unlikely spaces and work with a network of friends and family from the worlds of design, food, drink, art, music, nightlife, architecture, fashion, craft and so on.

What is concept behind New Blood at the Bram Stoker Festival?
J – We've never gone into anything with a defined concept. The only way to make these crazy things happen is to be flexible, serendipitous, opportunistic, get lucky and call in all your favours.

When we did No Way Back we didn't decide to do a party in an arcade. We found the place through a friend of a friend who knew a dodgy receiver. We borrowed 1000 moon rocks from another friend's uncle, a taxidermy lion from the attic of a pub, carousel horses, 70s nightclub furniture, a bar from the rowing club and we called every friend we knew to drive, lift, light, shake cocktails and build this place for one night.

It's about what's going on around you, how you're feeling and who you meet. With New Blood, it's the same process, you make new friends; pole dancers, nail artists, drag performers, fashion designers, visual artists, chefs – and we're making a space where all these elements can come together and buzz off each other.

What is the greatest challenge in creating a Halloween themed party?
J – Getting away from exactly that. It's a challenge any time you're working with something where people already have a very clear idea of what that thing is. Whether that's redefining a Celtic Tiger nightclub or create a contemporary event in a very traditional setting like the Aran Islands.

With New Blood we're thinking a giant PVC box with electronic hip hop and pole dancers in sports underwear. A 'queer-scarface' vanity room with party monster beauticians doing ghetto nails. A shot bar in a warehouse with people that look like 90′s alien baby toys hooked up to tubes and mostly naked cocktail bartenders making 'natural' shots from beetroot and tumeric.

That's our idea of a Halloween party anyway. A party for people that want to be challenged and that want to go a step further than a joke-shop vampire outfit or a hulk mask. The audience creates the vibe by transforming themselves as much as we do in transforming the space.

You both have significant ties with Galway. Does coming from outside a bigger city help inform your approach to projects in anyway?
J - I would say being an outsider in general influences the way you live. Everyone has that and feels those feelings but maybe coming from a smaller town where there's less to distract you gives you a hypersensitivity.

M – Yeah, it definitely made me more inventive, there's less to entertain you so you end up creating ways to be amused, be it throwing clubnights in the local Chinese or an underused bowling alley. Being limited forces you to look around, be resourceful and continuously reinvent, and that stays with you no matter what you work on or where you are in the world.

J – It forces you to want; to go and to get. Maybe if it had been Dublin instead of Galway I would have been kinda grand. It's that bit more isolation that pushes you to go for more and get that life you know exists somewhere cause you can feel it.
Kind of like growing up gay, if you're made to feel like what you love and the way you are doesn't belong or is wrong in some way, you're damn well gonna enjoy it when you get past that!

Where do you tend to source inspiration from for various projects and endeavours?
J – There's so many versions of inspiration and ideas that never transpire – the demented ideas you have with your pals locked, the folders on your computer you never open again, the misguided business ideas in areas you have no business being in.

But it's the things you have to do that actually become reality. Whether that's a feeling inside you or a situation that forces you. On the one hand all I really wanted was to work in both the creative industry and nightlife industry – design, making, parties, drinks – that was kind of the only thing I ever felt drawn to. But there is no route. For both of us what originally would have been perceived negative situations led us into creating something new.

After the crash, my family was really struggling with their Celtic Tiger business, which had always kind of repulsed me. So I got into that tiny crack of an opening in this thing which was everything I hated, and forced my passions into it to turn it into something worth doing. Around the same time Mary had a problem with her visa sponsor for New York and came back and started Drop Everything. Both of those situations landed us back in Galway and are essentially the reasons why we met.

You've worked together on the launch of Electric, the coolest club, in the country and its food off-shoots such as Biteclub. What were you trying to achieve with the space which you feel is missing from so many others?

J – In the beginning I didn't really think about it I just wanted to create something that gave a home to the people and things that I cared about.

As it grew I wanted to make something that challenged the idea of what a nightclub outside the capital city 'should' be and give young people a better experience of growing up in a small town. Why can't the most interesting nightlife space be in Galway?

But I'm at the point where I feel I've taken it as far as I can for now and other opportunities are pulling me to places I've always wanted to go, so I'm on a bit of a hiatus.

On the whole, even if it's not all the way to what I would love it to be, I hope it's a positive thing for the people that work, live and go there and I hope it does play an important role in making young people's experience there better.

Is Drop Everything, the cultural biennial on Inis Oírr (curated by Mary) returning next year and can you offer us any insights into what to expect?
M - Yes it certainly is. I can give you an exclusive on the dates which are May 27th – 29th. As for insights, none whatsoever, soz bbz.

New Blood takes place in the Project Arts Centre, as part of the Bram Stoker Festival, on bank holiday Sunday October 25th from 9pm to 3am.

We spoke to Nathalie Weadick, Director of the Irish Architecture Foundation, ahead of one of the most important design-based events of the year – Open House Dublin. Weadick discloses the evolution of our cityscape, the prospect of future developments in a time of adversity and the crucial need for society to engage with their environment in 'This Place We Call Home.'

Photo credit: Ste Murray

Since The Irish Architecture Foundation began ten years ago, how has it developed? Do you see more people actively engaging and thinking differently about architecture?
The development of audiences for architecture is what we are about. 10 years ago the IAF was a hot desk and laptop. The first Open House achieved a remarkable 3,000 visits, and last year we had 33,000 visits to buildings over the weekend. Its interest just keeps on growing; people are so engaged in their built environment we are limited by our resources to cater for that need. I suppose this a good thing and a positive challenge for the future of the IAF.

How has our cityscape developed/ evolved since 2005?
The IAF was set up at the start of the recession. Someone said to me it was too late for the IAF, all the building is over but for me it was perfect timing. It meant we could focus on building audiences and profile, creating partnership, testing ideas, testing architecture, encouraging many groups to think about where they live and how they live, all of this may not have been possible in the madness and distorted priorities of the Celtic tiger. The shape of the city didn't change much, but the citizens who occupy that cityscape did.

The theme for this year is entitled, This Place We Call Home, can you tell us a little more about this theme and what inspired it?
For our 10th Birthday, we felt the need to tackle an essential issue, one that is very close to us all. This Place We Call Home very simply asks three questions: Where do we live? How do we live? What do we want to live in? The programme is curated by Michael Hayes from the alternative archizine 2ha, who has a particular interest in how cities are formed and believes that sustainable, good quality housing is the way forward for a functioning city. The title refers to a house as a home, and a city as being a collective of many homes.

What is the criteria used for selecting which houses to showcase?
We look at buildings that have impact, from a design, quality, social and political aspect. We like to uncover the unusual as well as revealing something new in the everyday.

There is such an exciting and extensive list of events happening throughout Open House Dublin, do you have any preferences or anything you are pleased to be involved with?
It is impossible to select a preference, each event, each building tour, every screening and exhibition is provided by participants who give their time and energy to the cause. However, I would recommend some of the walking tours, they are a very effective way of experiencing the city.

The exhibition, Dublin Fragments, sounds really interesting, could you tell us a little bit more about that?
It is an installation in No.31 Molesworth Street incorporating memorabilia and art owned by Peter Pearson a noted conservationist and architectural historian, who collected the pieces during the 1970s and 1980s. The artifacts from many Dublin buildings represents a period when Dublin's 18th and 19th century architectural heritage were being torn down for development. On Sunday 18th as part of Open House Dublin, Peter Pearson will give a talk and tour of the collection at 3pm.

Where do you see the future of Dublin's architecture heading, particularly in the face of the ongoing housing crisis?
A challenge is societal perception of what housing is or should be. This inhibits development in reimagining domestic space, prioritising the importance of design and the needs of society. This delay in activating a much-needed revolution is reinforced by people who favour the status quo, who are risk adverse or who see housing as finance, rather than a place to live. Remember life is wonderfully diverse and not standardised.

Le Help

Le Cool is a free weekly magazine distributed every Thursday that features a selection of cultural events and leisure activities, revealing the things you really shouldn't miss. We filter out, among other things, the best art, film, music, and club nights, as well as a careful selection of extraordinary bars, restaurants and other fine places. Le Cool content is chosen because we believe it is worth your time and will never be traded for money.

To contact our editorial team, email Stephanie.
For marketing, advertising and other commercial type stuff, email Michael

Published by: LE COOL GROUP

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