GAZE 25 Poster

25 years of GAZE International LGBT Film Festival

GAZE International LGBT Film Festival turns 25 years old this year. I decided to take a look back at the origins of the festival and also see how things have changed, both for the GAZE Festival and for the LGBT community in Ireland.

There have always been those among us that have been persecuted. These persecutions are based on many different factors, where you were born, the colour of your skin, what religion you practice and your sexual orientation and what gender you feel you are, even if you may have been born into another. Over the years many of these prejudices have been done away with , or at the very least pushed down by most of society. However, there are still many challenges facing the LGBT community around the world.

25 years ago in Dublin, Yvonne Kelly and Kevin Sexton founded a film festival that would help advance the LGBT community in Ireland. The festival was also created to raise awareness of the issues that face the LGBT community, many of which are simply human issues, like trying to find love or figuring out where you belong in this crazy world. So in 1992, the very first Lesbian and Gay Film Festival was held in the Irish Film Centre in Dublin.

GAZE 25 Same Sax Marriage

Same Sex Marriage Referendum Victory

Things have changed a lot in the 25 years since the festival was set up. When the first festival was running it was still illegal for people to engage in homosexual acts. While many people did attend the festival’s year, they were technically criminals in the eyes of the law. Thankfully in 1993 those archaic laws were gotten rid of. In 2015 a major event occurred for the LGBT community and for Ireland as a whole. In May of 2015 the Irish public voted to legalise same sex marriage by referendum, and Ireland became the first country to do so.

In 2007, the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival changed too. The festival was re-branded to include how the community had changed and was re-named GAZE International LGBT Film Festival. GAZE has become a fixture in the Dublin and Irish arts scene, hosting dozens of movies every year that are either made by, starring, or dealing with the issues affecting the LGBT community.

The GAZE festival has expanded too, it now takes over the 2 main screens of the Light House Cinema in Dublin’s Smithfield. The festival runs over 5 days leading up to the August Bank Holiday, with the Opening Gala on Thursday night and 4 days chocked full of great movies and short films from around the world, as well as some from our own shores.

1st GAZE logo

The very first GAZE logo

In the 25 years since the Dublin Lesbian and Gay Film Festival was founded and renamed the GAZE International LGBT Film Festival, a lot has happened. Life has gotten better for the LGBT community in Ireland, but that isn’t to say everything is perfect, there is still a lot of work to be done, both in Ireland and around the globe. GAZE Festival will keep running as long as people love good movies. Hopefully, some people will see these movies and feel a sense of community and belonging and maybe others might learn a thing or two about their fellow people.

GAZE International LGBT Film Festival 2017 will run from Thursday 3rd of August until Monday 7th of August in Smithfield’s Light House Cinema. You can buy tickets on the GAZE website or directly from the Light House Cinema website.

Adam West Passes away at 88 Years Old

Adam West

Adam West – Warner Bros & DC

Adam West passed away yesterday at the age of 88. West is probably best known for his role in the first live-action TV series based on DC Comics’ character Batman.

Adam West passed away surrounded by his friends and family in Los Angeles after a short battle with Leukaemia. He is survived by his wife Marcelle, his six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

His family made a statement after West’s passing:

Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero.

Adam West started acting on TV back in the late 50’s, but became widely known for his title role of Bruce Wayne and the Caped Crusader in 1966’s TV series Batman. The series was different to the Batman we currently know, the show had a much lighter feel and was more colourful and bright than the comics and later adaptations, but was still hugely successful. However, the show’s success didn’t last and it was cancelled in 1968 after 3 seasons, 120 episodes and a made for TV movie.

He struggled to find steady work after Batman ended in 1968 and held mostly cameo roles in TV series and B-Movies. It wasn’t until the year 2000 and a role in Family Guy, in which he played a fictionalised version of himself, where he found new success and was introduced to a whole new generation of fans.

Adam West always had a love for Batman, over the years he attended conventions, voiced characters in Batman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Brave and the Bold. In 2015, after some campaigning, he, Burt Ward and Julie Newmar reprised their roles in an animated film titled Batman: The Caped Crusader that was released for home media.

Adam West will always have a special place in our hearts for bringing Batman to life for the first time and we have never quite seen a portrayal like it since.

My sincerest sympathies goes out to his friends and family. May he Rest in Peace.

Zack Snyder Steps Down from Justice League

Zack Snyder Deborah Snyder

Zack Snyder Deborah Snyder – Dave J Hogan

Justice League is set to be released in Irish cinemas in November of this year. The production received some bad news this week, when director Zack Snyder stepped down from the film, which is currently in post-production. He stepped down recently due to a family tragedy. In March of this year, Zack’s 20 year old daughter, Autumn, took her own life. Zack Snyder kept the news private until now, but feels now his family needs him more than the film and has stepped down to spend time with them.

In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter Zack Snyder said:

“I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me.”

Wife of Zack Snyder, Deborah was also serving as a Producer on the film, has also decided to step down from her duties. Leaving the country and their family again would be too much for them.

Zack Snyder had never meant wanted to bring this aspect of his family life into the public eye, but knew that given how the internet could be, rumours would fly after his leaving the production, unless he told the real story.

Joss Whedon, who was brought in to write some new scenes for the re-shoot, has now signed on to take over the place of Zack Snyder in the director’s chair for the re-shoots, as well as the post production duties in London. Roland Emmerich doesn’t think the change of directors will have a negative impact on the film, none of the reshoots will introduce new characters, and Joss Whedon will be sticking to the tone and style set down by Zack in the primary shoots.

I would like to extend my sincerest sympathies and condolences to Zack Snyder and his entire family, in this trying time.

Finally, the First Trailer for The Defenders is Out!

The Defenders kick ass

The Defenders – Marvel & Netflix

The Defenders, a team up of all of the Marvel Netflix TV superheroes, is coming very soon to our computers and TVs. The show which sees Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and the Iron Fist join forces will be released on the 18th of August. Ever since the series was first teased, fans of the shows and comics have been waiting with baited breath for the crossover series to come to life, and that wait is nearly over.

Today, Netflix released the first official trailer for The Defenders, and it is pretty epic. You can check out the trailer below:

The trailer doesn’t really show us much by way of the story, but serves more to show us how the various characters from the different series meet up. They all seem to be investigating the very same thing, and at first don’t take too kindly to the others butting in.

We see the invincible Luke Cage take on the immortal Iron fist, and it looks pretty awesome. Matt Murdock bails Jessica out after getting a police informant killed, and presumably Luke and Jessica bring the others together.

We also get a good look at the villain of the piece, played by the legend Sigourney Weaver. There is still a lot of speculation as to what villain she will be playing in The Defenders. Some people believe she may be the Beast of the Hand. Others think she might be the head of IGH, a secret paramilitary group. IGH previously supplied the drugs that allowed Will Simpson to heal faster and gave him enhanced strength in Jessica Jones.

What we do know, especially from this trailer, is that The Defenders looks like it is going to be awesome.

We have been spoiled by Marvel and Netflix lately, with them releasing a teaser yesterday revealing the resurrection of a dead character.

Half Light – A serious issue told through a fantastical story

Half Light Title

Half Light – Bombinate Theatre

As part of 2016’s Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival, a group of college friends led by Mollie Molumby brought Half Light to the New Theatre in Dublin’s Temple Bar, for a very successful run.

Half Light tells the tale of Robin, a 10 year old boy, whose father has been growing distant over the past days & weeks. One night, when Robin should have been fast asleep, he decides to sneak out to his father working in his office, but doesn’t find what he was expecting. This is where Robin’s adventure begins, when he is swallowed up by his father’s storybook.

Half Light Lost in the woods

Half Light – Bombinate Theatre

On the surface, Half Light is a 10 year old boy’s fantasy journey through the woods to find his father one night. Beneath the surface, it is the story about a man’s struggle with depression and how his 10 year old son reacts to his father’s struggle. Despite it’s serious message, Half Light is a funny & heart-warming story accompanied by original music and songs, plus some very convincing sounds by the cast.

I really enjoyed Half Light, it keeps you interested throughout with the great songs, audience inclusion and a well paced story, that expertly mixes the humour & music with the heavier message.

Half Light is directed by Mollie Molumby and was written as a collaborative effort by Molumby and the majority of the cast. The characters are portrayed by Fionn Foley (Robin), Martha Grant, Richard Durning, Kerill Kelly (various) and Juliette Crosby (Crow). Fionn Foley also composed the original songs for the play, with additional songs and score by Durning.

Depression is a serious issue, especially in Ireland. One of the major issues is people feeling embarrassed to open up about it, or feeling like they’re the only one in this situation. Hopefully, shows like this will help feel comfortable enough to come clean and seek help.

Half Light Fly away crow

Half Light – Bombinate Theatre

Half Light had a great initial run during the Tiger Dublin Fringe Festival and is about to start a 5 night run in Smock Alley Theatre as part of the 2017 First Fortnight Festival. There will be one performance every night at 7:30 pm, with an additional matinee performance on Saturday 14th at 2:30pm. There will also be a post performance discussion on Wednesday 11th. Tickets are available through Smock Alley or through the First Fortnight website.

 

Sources:
(1) fundit.ie/project/half-light
(2) tn2magazine.ie/interview-with-mollie-molumby-director-of-half-light/
Images:
(1) gaietyschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Half-Light-Web.jpg
(2) fundit.ie/profiles/1465138559halflight_sm.jpg
(3) i1.irishmirror.ie/whats-on/article8841430.ece/ALTERNATES/s615/Half-Light.jpg

Bram Stoker Festival & Macnas Parade stalking the Dublin Streets 28-31st October 2016

It’s almost that ghoulin’ time of the year again and as has now become customary, Bram Stoker Festival is descending upon the streets of Dublin. As part of the Bram Stoker Festival, there will be lots of different festivities taking place across the city. Some of the events will be fun for all the family, even those who are only kids at heart. But, some of the events are only for those 18 and above. will you be brave enough to step beyond the threshold and into the darkness?

For the kids there are lots of spooky, but fiendishly fun options throughout the festival:

stokerland

Stokerland is a 2 day victorian themed pop-up fun park that will take over the entirety of St Patrick’s Park with the ominous but beautiful silhouette of Patrick’s Cathedral looming over the festivities. There will be a vintage photo booth, face painting (no age restrictions), street performers, food stands and much, much more across the weekend. Entry is completely free, but some activities may require a fee. Oct 29-30th 11:00-16:30

monsters-lh

Monsters @ Light House will introduce you and your kids to the monsters that kept the youth of the ’30s and 50’s jumping at shadows. The Light House as part of the Bram Stoker Festival will be showing a number of classic horror movies across the weekend. These classics include 1954’s “Creature from the Black Lagoon” in 3D and “The Wolfman” from 1941. Tickets start at 6.50. Schedule available at www.lighthousecinema.ie

For the grown ups among you, there are plenty to make you go bump in the night:

bleedin-deadly

Bleedin’ Deadly will be infesting the Pillar Rooms at the Rotunda for the 4 nights of the festival. Bleedin’ Deadly is a victorian themed freak show that will entertain you and disgust you in equal measures. The show will present talents from home & abroad. ‘The Space Cowboy‘ hails from Australia, he holds 44 world records, including the most swords swallowed at once. Kitty Le Roux lives in Greystones and combines her snake charming with her burlesque talents to wow & amaze you. Tickets from €25. 2 shows Friday to Sunday, 1 Show Monday.

dracula_04-01

Dracula Live: Screening with Live Score will be taking place in the Nation Concert hall. The 1931 cinematic version of ‘Dracula’ will be screened in the NCH with the world premiere of the brand new score written and performed live by Seán Mac Erlaine, Sharon Phelan, Matthew Nolan and Eivind Aarset. See Bela Lugosi in one of his most iconic roles live on the silver screen.

Now for one of the biggest events to come to the Bram Stoker Festival, and back for another successful year.

Macnas Parade – Sleep no More

dsc_1344

This year, Macnas are returning to the streets of Dublin, but this time they have created a wholly original piece just for Halloween and the Bram Stoker Festival 2016. “Sleep No More is a restless ballad, a deliriously dark and delicious waltz between love and loss. Hundreds of colourful Macnas volunteer performers will transform and transfix, bringing a birth, a wedding, a funeral and everything in between, to the streets of Dublin.” The parade will take to the streets as the sun begins to set on Monday 31st October, this year it starts on Moore street, heading down Henry & Moore street, turns onto Wolfe Tone street, then onto Little Britain street finishing in a small park off Halston street. If you want to get the best view in the house, take up position along the route, so you can experience the parade in all it’s glory. Check out the map below, to plot your viewing experience. Parade starts at 5:30pm and will last approximately 1hr 15mins.

14725527_1353953884639617_2464510772068926486_n-1

Laya City Spec adventures continue – onwards to Cork!

This is a follow up to my piece about volunteering at the Laya Healthcare City Spectacular this Summer. If you haven’t had a chance to read the Dublin 2016 piece, you can find it here 😉

Laya City Spec 2016

Originally, because I had applied to volunteer so late, I wasn’t supposed to be 2nd Laya City Spec taking place in Cork. Luckily for me someone dropped out and I was included on the trip. It wasn’t surprising, Considering the job I had to do on Sunday in Dublin and would inevitably have to do all weekend in Cork (YES, I had to deal with the Chipos for all 7 of their shows, but there will be plenty of time to talk about that later).

This year we were leaving a day earlier than last year. So we were leaving on Wednesday, which I kinda liked, but I was a little worried, in case I got called in for a job interview (that never happened). We were meant leave around 11am, but the bus broke down after about a half kilometre, and then after we got a working bus, gear was left behind twice. So, we didn’t actually end up on the road to Cork until about 13:30.

DSC_2718

Around 15:30, we stopped off in Kilkenny so we could stretch our legs and get some food, but primarily so we could visit the Smithwicks Experience. It was a fun tour, if a little cheesy, see for yourself.

Kilkenny

After the tour, myself, Jessica & Aisling went for lunch with Jason (Seb Whipits) & his wife Kaela, they are a seriously nice couple. After our lovely lunch we headed back to the bus and the rest of the trip to Cork was fairly unremarkable. Just as we were pulling into Cork city my phone rang, it was the Department of Social Welfare, I now needed to go into the welfare office first thing on Monday morning to late sign. You see I had been wrongly told by my Social Welfare case worker, that because I was assigned to her, I no longer had to sign on, how wrong she was. This meant, I had to leave Cork early on Sunday night and would miss the closing festivities. I put those thoughts behind me, as we had reached our accommodation for the week, Victoria Lodge.

DSC_2792

That first night in Cork was a quiet one, we got our our rooms, I was in an apartment with Jay & Kaela and Ali (another volunteer). After we got settled in to our rooms, most of us headed down to the local Tescos and did a little shopping. I made a simple dinner, a frozen pizza, and went to bed.

On Thursday, I was free to do whatever I wanted. I decided to head into town for a few hours, so I did a little sightseeing and some shopping. After I was finished in town, I took a bus out to the massive Tesco near our accommodation in the Wilton shopping Centre. Funnily enough, I ran into a group of some of the street performers while I was there.

Cork Town

Later that day, I got a call from Aoife, she asked me to cook dinner for the Dublin volunteers that were already in Cork. I headed back to the little Tesco yet again, I picked up some pizzas and drinks. I had to cook the food in Aisling’s kitchen, because my oven didn’t heat up properly. I cooked some food I had previously bought too, so the volly meal ended up being: 2 pizzas; my sweet potato fries; 2 diced breaded chicken fillets; garlic bread; and a vegetable stir fry with rice noodles and a sweet chili sauce. The vollies were happy for the food, as were Aisling & Jessy, who joined us.

DSC_2812

Luckily, I had enough food left over to feed Aoife, Christina, Shane & Ellie, who arrived later. They seemed very glad for the feed after their long trip down from Dublin. We chatted for a little while and decided to meet up for breakfast in the morning. We also had tentative plans to visit a haunted building in the hills on the other side of the river, near the city.

The next morning we met up in Christina, Ellie & Shane’s apartment for a big Irish breakfast: eggs; sausages; puddings; rashers; mushrooms; beans; tomatoes; and toast! Let’s just say everyone was satisfied and no sausage was left behind. We were determined to get into the haunted building, but a few things needed to be taken care of before. Aoife had to go on a site walk with the organisers and some of the performers, so we agreed to meet back at the apartments around 1 and we would see about discovering what secrets were hidden within the walls of St. Kevin’s Asylum.

We headed off around 13:30 and Christina took us all in her car, and we headed to the area where the asylum was located. When we got to the apartments next door, we were a bit worried because there were fences up around the asylum, we kept going, but unfortunately there were builders all around the grounds, as the school next to the asylum was in the middle of a conversion to apartments. A few of us did manage to get into an abandoned church nearby, but my size stopped me from fitting through the small window.

Kevins bust

Since we still had plenty of time to burn, we decided to see what else there was to do. The top 2 choices were Cork City Gaol and the Butter Museum. We opted to pay the former a visit. The Gaol was pretty cool, the main buildings and the new central wing were open to us, however, due to the rot & decay the 2 side wings were off limits.

Cork City Gaol

Throughout the Gaol the tour guide told us about the life in the prison, for the prisoners (men, women & children), the guards (who lived in the prison too), and the warden & his family. In certain parts of the Gaol, mannequins are set up to represent well known inmates. Myself and Shane got to try out the one of the cells, not too bad, if a little bumpy. Certain cells had been used to house members of the 1916 Rising and engravings by them have been preserved on the walls.

Cork City Gaol

Later that night, we went to Sober Lane, ate Pizza and played some darts while the Cork volunteers arrived. The balloon guys joined us too and were nice enough to make each of the Dublin volunteers their own balloon Pokemon.

DSC_2957

Later, we joined the performers and organisers in the Electric Bar across the river. Lizardman once again performed for the crowds. This time Lizardman was able to make the condom trick work, and it was hilarious.

We left not long after that, we had a long day and we knew there were 2 more long days yet tom come. Christina dropped us back to the Lodge by car, and then headed off to the train station to pick up the last of the Dublin volunteers. The train goers were Sophie, Emily, Louise and Melody. When I got back I started cooking for the girls arriving soon. They were surprised by the feast and very thankful. We stayed up for a little while chatting, but we were all tired and headed to bed before long.

DSC_3000

We had an even bigger breakfast on Saturday morning, we knew there was a long day ahead of us, and we needed to fuel up. It was nice all of us sitting there chatting and we were all fired up for the day ahead.

Down in Fitzgerald park, I spent most of the day dealing with the Chipos again, but thankfully a guy named Eoin from EQ was there to help me, he was great!. Luckily, the Chipos last show was at 5, so once their equipment was delivered around 4, I could go back to normal volunteering duties, and thank God the Chipos finished on Saturday where they would start on Sunday 🙂

I got back to the volly HQ for the poncho fashion show, the girls were making dresses, skirts and tops from the blue & pink ponchos we had.

Poncho Parade Sat

After helping out for a while, Aoife told us to take a break, Sophie and I went to see Seb Whipits last show of the day over on Rainbow stage. His show was awesome, when we got there, a volunteer from the crowd had a stick of celery in his mouth and Seb whipped it out! For his finale, he needed 2 strong volunteers from the audience, and I GOT TO BE PART OF THE SHOW! He tested us to see how friendly we would get – Handshake, to fistbomb, to hug, to a kiss (on the cheek :p). You can check out the stunt in the video below.

Afterwards, we took a trip around the park with litter pickers and a trash bag to try and clear up the last of the rubbish, so we could all finish up as early as possible. At the end of our trash pick-up, when walking by the cheesy bread stand they stopped us and asked us if we wanted some. It was the perfect thing to hit the spot at the end of the day. As we left the park after day 1, I stopped at some cool graffiti and Sophie took a picture of me as Mario 😀

DSC_3216

That night , we were all exhausted, so we relaxed with some drinks, tasty snacks and a funny movie. After the movie was over, I had to pack up my stuff and leave out clothes for Sunday, because I had to get the train on Sunday night and wouldn’t be returning to Victoria Lodge after Sunday morning.
Of course we started off Sunday morning with yet another fry (probably the largest one!) and my last breakfast in Cork. The fashion show started design and construction started early on Sunday, thanks to the success of the outfits on Saturday, although the dresses didn’t last as long after the heatwave that hit us later.

DSC_3227

I spent most of the day dealing with the Chipos again, I was counting down the shows and the minutes until their last show and I would be free. Unlucky for me, they had an extra show due to a performer drop-out. The heat during the day was oppressive and twice during the day I had to help deliver extra water to tents and stages. It was so hot Ciamh even went to pick up some ice! Near the end of my day Jay showed us a special trick.

Jay Special Trick

Around 6, I had to finish my shift and get changed, I had a train to catch. I said my goodbyes to everyone that I could, the train was 19:20 and I couldn’t be late, or I wouldn’t get home. The train journey was fairly uneventful, if a little lonely. I just relaxed in my seat, watched some TV and listened to some music. I wish I could have stayed to join in the City Spec closing party!

DSC_3300

Onwards to the next adventure!!!