Pantimonium: Dublin Selected *292


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The Queen of Ireland is dedicated to Oliver Stanley (1954-1995). As the credits roll his name is there. This is a shout out to someone great whose gone. We never knew Oliver. We do know that the director Conor Horgan knew him and took his portrait for an exhibition in the Little Museum held last year. We know many others do too because he was there before equality, before grindr, before gay politicians and sportspeople. He was one of the designers on the first edition of Out magazine which was published here in December 1984. Its 36-page edition cost "IR60p (almost €1, without inflation) and lead with a 5-page feature on UK pop act Bronski Beat".

We know that one of our all time heroes Tonie Walsh references him in GCN in their celebration of The George turning 30 this month. "One of my fondest memories, was going into the loft while I was working on a FAS scheme at Out magazine, and Oliver Stanley, a wonderful guy, had painted the most wonderful trompe l'oeil on the ceiling, of all of these fit homoerotic blokes playing pool."

Being fortunate enough to be at the premiere of The Queen of Ireland in the Lighthouse Cinema last night, we felt blessed. Surrounded by spectacular people – people who have fuelled countless ideas, shared and realised dreams, sparked moments of magic, failed miserably yet spectacularly, shouldered each other through tough times and most importantly survived. Survived to celebrate what it means to be different, to think differently, to aspire to greater things and celebrate us, our friends and all the Oliver Stanleys we may have known, wish we'd known and hope we will know because they live on. Because we are all Queens in our own right.

Who's waving from their imaginary open top bus this week? Michael or Stephanie?

Mrs. Shakespeare

by Amelia O'Mahony-Brady

IFI Horrothon

by Zara Hedderman

A Reception for Time Travellers

by Zara Hedderman

Bram Stoker Festival Opening Party

by Stephanie Kelly

Mercedes Ruiz in 'Baile de Palabra'

by Nathalie Moyano González


by Stephanie Kelly

Jeremy Underground & Soundstream

by Aidan Kelly-Murphy

New Blood

by Michael McDermott

Lower Dens

by Zara Hedderman


by Stephanie Kelly

Tales from the Woods

by Amelia O'Mahony-Brady

The Queen of Ireland

by Michael McDermott


by Olen Bajarias

Mississippi Grind

by Olen Bajarias

The Design House

by Amelia O'Mahony Brady

With The Queen of Ireland being showered with 5 star reviews, Le Cool spoke to Katie Holly, its co-producer (along with Ailish Bracken) from Blinder Films ahead of its release this week.

Photo credit: Conor Horgan (Director of the Queen of Ireland)

Can you tell us about your involvement in the Queen of Ireland and how it came about? 
It started years ago, in early 2010. (Director) Conor Horgan and I were kicking around ideas for new projects just after we came back from Slamdance where our first film One Hundred Mornings premiered, and we decided to approach Rory about making a documentary. Rory knew Conor's work and trusted him and thankfully agreed. So we have been following him around ever since…

What are the biggest challenges faced in bringing a documentary like this to screen?
In documentary, because you don't start out with a script, finding a compelling narrative can take time. We always knew we had a really entertaining and inspiring character to follow, and that the marriage equality issue would have to come to a head at some point. However, it was only really when Pantigate and the Noble call happened, and the referendum date was set, that we knew we had a satisfying resolution to the story. Funding can always also be an issue but the good thing about docs is you can shoot with very little, and we took the approach with this film from the get-go that we were making it no matter what, and would go out and shoot whenever we needed. We were lucky to have great support from the Irish Film Board, our crowd-funders, and later, RTE, as well as of course from our crew.

You are part of the recently established Women in Film and TV group? What are your key priorities? 
The under representation of women in the film & television industry is woeful – not just in Ireland, but worldwide. Our key priorities are to get the data on gender representation in the industry so we can see where the blocks are and lobby to make changes, as well as to provide networking and mentorship opportunities for women and celebrate their professional achievements. It's also about inspiring change for future generations and bringing a more diverse range of stories to audiences. I snuck off at a film festival years ago to see the first three episodes of GIRLS premiere and remember feeling so happy to see messy female lives that were relatable to me and my friends on screen. I love Irish film but I remember being at a festival a few years ago and feeling that none of the new crop of Irish films I was watching were from the female perspective or were written or directed by women – it really motivated me to act. I'm glad there seems to be a growing movement in Hollywood and internationally on the issue, it's long overdue.

You are also involved in a forthcoming documentary on Grace Jones. When did you pull up to her bumper? 
I am and I am so excited about this one! I worked with Sophie Fiennes on her last feature, The Pervert's Guide to Ideology, and during that production she mentioned she has been filming Grace for a number of years and was going to make a documentary about her. So I basically locked her in her edit suite until she agreed to let me produce… We had a great collaboration, Sophie is a singular filmmaker, and the access she has is unparalleled, so I think it's going to be something really special.

What is the greatest pleasure and impediment in being a producer? 
Pleasure – nights like the premiere on Wednesday. I am so excited to sit and watch a film that me and our whole team are incredibly proud of amongst the crew, contributors, campaigners, friends and family as the The Queen of Ireland premieres. Working with great creative collaborators and helping realize a vision is really rewarding. Also the travel and the people you meet – I have a whole other festival family around the world who love the same things I do. Impediments: I'm not a brilliant morning person so very early starts (and late nights) can be wearing! And taking uninterrupted holidays is a challenge.

Any advice for someone considering becoming a producer? 
Make stuff – find people whose ideas you like and make stuff. Watch and read all you can – there are brilliant books on script development out there but also on producing. Develop your own taste and then be really rigorous about the projects you pursue. But really best experience is on the job – I started my career working for Rob Walpole in Treasure and learnt so much about producing and running a company during my time there.

If you had a wildcard to work with one person who would this be?
I would love to get in amongst that Amy Schumer / Jennifer Lawrence team-up. Also Paolo Sorrentino – the way he uses music in his films and the images he conjures up is just magic.

You may have noticed a resplendent glow emanating from the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios over the last few weeks. This is the work of Irish artist Rhona Byrne and her wonderful Huddle tests. Huddle round as she tells us more.

Photo credit: Malcolm McGettigan

Huddle tests is a fun creative concept. Where did the idea come from?
The idea came from thinking about vulnerbility, longing and the precarious structures we create to support a feeling of comfort, shelter, connection and belonging whether that's psychological, social or physical.

Alot of my projects explore interactions between people and also their habitat, inviting people to participate with the work and become part of it. 'Huddlewear' the social clothing/ wearable artworks are made for groups to inhabit and are part of an Art installation 'Huddle tests' in Temple Bar Gallery that acts like a kind of lab for Huddlewear. The bright yellow does seem warm and inviting but I see it as quite an anxious charged space too that almost vibrates and lures you in. I'ts like a big room of oxytocin. I've also been looking at Proxemics – studies on personal distance comfort zones and arrangements of personal and shared space which has informed the work. It is quite interesting to see how comfort levels might change with different cultures. It's this threshold, slippage and vulnerability between our private thoughts and public behaviours that I find interesting to explore through my work.

A prototype of this project was devised during a residency at Facebook. Can you tell us more about this?
I was invited to spend three months in the European headquarters of Facebook here in Dublin as part of the AIR (Artist in Residence) program earlier this year. It was a really fun and productive time with lots of support, openness, access to lots of equipment and nourished daily with Urban Picnics incredible food. With all that support then you can focus on the process of developing and making new artwork. It's an unusual set up to get free reign, with no limits or fixed expectations, uninterrupted time and lots of support like that. I've made group wearable sculptures before out of recycled tents left behind at Electric Picnic but spending time in Facebook and thinking about how we relate in realtime, I developed Huddlewear, there's a wall of it now in Facebook for employees to use. I also made another large installation there, a soft landscape of brightly coloured carpet called 'Huddlehood'.

Ultimately there's an aim to have huddlewear exist outside of a gallery space. What benefits do you think it could bring to the work place?
I'd like to see Huddlewear travel in different contexts and be used to explore group dynamics and experience a real time presence and connection to each other, with all the nuances and discomfort that might be involved in the experience. I have some ideas for team building workshops while wearing Huddlewear so it could be designed for an event or something more permanent, like in the Facebook offices. The latest garment connects nine people it would be great to make a huge one, It would be interesting to see how this would be negotiated, I guess there's always a leader.

What has surprised you in the reaction of people to the exhibition?
People have been so open and positive about Huddlewear, it really has been a great experience. I love how its bringing in new audiences to the gallery in Temple bar inluding the Hen and stag parties and groups of teenagers from Temple Bar. This is what I was hoping for. I've heard of groups planning to meet up for 'Huddle dates' and inviting in a stranger if they're on their own. Hopefully there's some huddle love stories.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I've just been selected by Fingal County Council for a Public Art Commission for 1916 collaborating with artist Yvonne Mc Guinness. We just bought four rickshaws for the project to make into mobile artworks so you might see us cycling around. I also have my interactive project Bolthole in 'Visual' Carlow until January 2016 and a piece in Tulca Galway that opens next month. I'm also finishing a children's activity kit and working on a series of wearable 'intelligent blankets' in a care home for people with Dementia.

Huddle tests runs at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios until November 7th.

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.

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