PICK OF THE WEEK
Levon Vincent’s debut album last year is a good place to go to find out more about the New York native and Berlin resident. A powerful blend of moody underground techno and dramatic minimalism, the album was a vivid snapshot of Vincent’s skill as a producer and musician in creating distinctive work. It also shows you why his various releases for labels such as Nouvel Sound, Deconstruct and Ostgut Ton have been so enthusiastically welcomed far and wide. Support from This Greedy Pig DJs. LITTLE MONSTERS Monster Music Improv THE ULSTER BANK BELFAST INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL Now in its second year under a new title, the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival is again in full swing. That certainly suggest a point of stability, but this year’s programme recognises a world that is anything but secure.
The Lyric Theatre premieres Lucy Caldwell’s new play, Three Sisters, adapted from Chekhov’s classic and given a whole new set of troubles in 1990s Belfast, where Orla, Marianne and Erin now dream of escaping to America. More positive signs come from last year’s artist in residence Amanda Coogan, whose new live art performance is a collaboration with deaf communities and creates choreography, music and visuals from Shakespeare through sign language.
Several more performances open this weekend in an intense cluster, bringing David Greig’s hotly anticipated new take on Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women to provide clear parallels between the mythical escape of 50 daughters and the global refugee crisis. From the same team that made the astonishing The Events, it also find notes of community spirit and feminist protest.
Prime Cut slip in neatly among such politics with a double bill of Stacey Gregg’s probing monologue play Scorch, about gender fluidity in an inflexible world, and Sarah Gordon’s wry mystery two-hander A Sinkhole in Guatemala. Meanwhile, Kabosh deliver two perspectives of the NI border, Green and Blue, about the forces that patrolled each side.
There are many more talks, events, dance, exhibitions and marauding street performers, but the festival’s real coup may be in its music programme. Here the stunning New York performance artist Taylor Mac (above) appears with an instalment of his dazzling 24-Decade History of Popular Music project, and a cabaret focusing on the first World War years and his own take on Irish history. If anyone can put such turbulent, divisive past to rest, with appropriate audacity and glitter eruptions, it’s Taylor.