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Wexford Literary Festival Live 2020 July 2nd – 3rd

Wexford Literary Festival 3rd-5th July, taking place via zoom this year. This is the only festival taking part this summer in Wexford during a time when there is usually an abundance festival taking place.

It is quite a unique festival featuring awards programmes such as Colm Tóibín International Short Story Award, Anthony Cronin International Poetry Award, Billy Roche International Short Play Award and most recent Cursed Murphy  Spoken Word Award.

This years programme outreaches globally via Zoom in partnership with Wexford Arts Centre with award-winning Colum McCann in conversation with Peter Murphy about his critically acclaimed new novel Apeirogon with participation in the conversation from Bassam Aramin (Palestine) and Rami Elhanan (Israel), the fathers united in grief from the loss of their young daughters in the conflict between two nations are central to the storyline with Apeirogon.

“It seems that the Wexford Literary Festival is really beginning to come into its own. Not only does it provide some really fascinating talks and workshops with authors and people in the publishing industry, but it has also spawned its own community. People return to Enniscorthy each year especially for the event, joining new festival-goers and meeting even more new people. In fact, at the Literary Festival, it’s entirely possible that you could find yourself chatting over a cup of coffee to a multi-award winning, multi-million selling author without even realising it! “.  Independent.ie

Our on-line Festival demonstrates our core values of being: Ambitious, Quality, Engaging, Inspiring, Inclusive, Collaborative, Supporting and Encouraging, Passionate for Literature.

We are delighted to build on last years expansion into Wexford Town with Wexford Arts Centre, our Box Office and host of our ’Zoom events’ to include: The Cáca Milis Cabaret Wexlit Cabaret hosted by Helena Mulkerns includes an eclecticupWexford literartiTóibín and Eoin Colfer, music by The Man Whom and Tango with Hernán Catvin.

A new addition to this years programme it the event ‘Litmania, Readings Live from Wexford Authors’ broadcast from Red Books Wexford.

Programme of Events:

Also featuring in the festival is an exploration of ‘What’s in a Name’ with Fintan MurphyDr Conchubhar Ó Crualaoich, Michael Fortune and Nicky Rossiter, discussing the origins of the names of Wexford Townlands and personal names: Old Irish meanings, Norse foundations and more making history a live experience, through words.

As the festival crosses over 4th July Independence day in USRose Thornton, from Chicago, a spoken word artist, culture journalist, event organiser, RTÉ radio and television broadcaster founder of the inaugural Black History Month Irelanddiscusses the current threat to independence and the current rise of #blacklivesmatters demonstrations in the US and across the world.

Spoken Word performers participating includeCursed Murphy, Stephen James Smith, Elizabeth McGeown, John Cummins, Cormac Lally. Younger tweens/teens can join a virtual comic bookwithRoche highly acclaimed Marvel comic book writer and artist.

Internationally Bestselling author Carmel Harrington in Conversation & Cocktails with Sheila Forsey and Maria Nolan, or learn about crime writing with Andrea Mara and Jane Ryan. Louis de Paor leads a poetry workshop and Eamonn Wall joins from the US a panel of Wexford poets for readings.

For the first time, we are including 24/7 running literary works, featuring Film, Poetry, Short Story and Plays in partnership with SETV.IE.

Our festival has given a voice and a forum to new and emerging literary talents and we are pleased with the success many of them have achieved particularly past committee members – Carmel Harrington, Shane Dunphy, Caroline Busher, Cat Hogan, Adele O`Neill, Tina O Callaghan, and Sheila Forsey. A new voice we are including will be Ali Stewart and Caroline O’Leary, ISL interpreters for our Awards Event.

This is an exciting dynamic “virtual live literature” experience not to be missed.

For more information on the terrific line up of events visit: www.wexfordliteraryfestival.com,

http://www.wexfordliteraryfestival.com/

 

@WexfordLiteraryFestival

 

@WexfordLitFest

Terminator Dark Fate

When he first utter that now famous line ‘’I’ll be back’’, I doubt that neither the Austrian Oak nor the director James Cameron, could see so far into the future to see the movie he created spawn a half dozen sequels, prequels and pre-sequels. But as technology has made strides into the future, the science of Terminator has become less and less fantasy or fiction. And as the future draws closer every day, it shouldn’t surprise to revisit this franchise and ask if the future can indeed be changed.

22 Years after the events of Judgement Day, a familiar scene unfolds in Mexico City. A naked woman (Mackenzie Davis) appears in a flash of electricity and goes off in search for a young woman, Danielle Ramos (Natalia Reyes). As Dani and her brother go to work, a second sphere emerges and a machine disguised as a man (Gabriel Luna) goes on the hunt for Dani. The woman- Grace- saves Dani before the machine can terminate her, but they are pursued relentlessly. Grace and Dani are cornered on the motorway, when they are saved by the arrival of a heavily armed woman who dispatches the machine swiftly- Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton).

After regrouping, Sarah and Grace compare notes (after some headbutting). Sarah explains how she was targeted for termination by Skynet , but the future Resistance sent a reprogrammed Terminator to protect her and her son John. But while Sarah changed the future, the fate of the human race was largely unchanged. Grace explains that she comes from a future where a new A.I. called Legion wiped out humanity and built killer robots called Rev-9’s to hunt the survivors. Sarah reveals she been receiving advanced information about where and when Terminators would appear so she can destroy them. After a near-miss at a detention centre at the border, the three make it to Texas, where they find the man who had been giving Sarah her information- ‘’Carl’’… the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

‘’Carl’’ explains that after he killed John Connor, his programming was complete and there were no further orders, so for the last 20 years he’s been living as and among humans, learning and evolving. Now understanding what he took from Sarah, Carl seeks to help Grace protect Dani and swears to help them abort the future of Legion.

With Cameron in the executive chair and Hamilton back on screen, Dark Fate appears to be the true sequel to the original movies (although with the time travel plot device one could argue that all the Terminator movies in their respective timelines are canon). Hamilton is back in top form and newcomers Reyes and Davis keep up with the established veterans. Top tier action of course is to be expected, with some suitably impressive special effects. What the future holds for Terminator next, it yet to be seen.

(My only gripe is nobody ever says ‘’Come with me if you want to live’’. That phrase is a constant in Terminator timelines)

(I reckon the Terminator chose his name from a hat-wearing llama who was also a mass murderer).

By Daniel Murphy

 

 

The Informer  

The Rolling Stones once sang in Sympathy for the Devil that ‘’every cop is a criminal’’, which is true in the case of undercover operatives. Tensions are high as they establish trust and navigate their way through the criminal fraternity, a source of real-life drama that translates well into police movies and TV series. The Informer was based on the novel Three Seconds by Rosland and Hellstrom.

Piotr Koslow (Joel Kinnaman) was a decorated veteran of the Gulf War; before he was he was arrested for manslaughter and sentenced to 15 years in Bale Hill prison before the Feds approached him with an offer. They recruit him to infiltrate the Polish mafia and collect enough evidence to bring down their whole operation. But a routine deal goes awry when the buyer is revealed to be an undercover agent for the NYPD, who is shot dead.

The ‘’General’’ of the Polish mafia orders Koslow to break his parole and get sentenced back to Bale Hill, and working from the inside to smuggle synthetic heroin into the prison to the inmates, getting them hooked and giving the General his army. Consulting with his handler Wilcox (Rosamund Pike), Koslow is ordered to go along with the Generals plan, providing the FBI with the proof to bury the mafia. Wilcox reassures Koslow that his wife Sofia (Ana de Armas) and their daughter will be safe while he’s on the inside.

Explaining the plan to Sofia, Koslow is arrested and sent back to Bale Hill. Complicating things is NYPD Detective Gren (Common) investigating the death of his undercover operative and role Koslow played in it. Making matters worse, when the plan begins to show cracks, Wilcox’s superior Montgomery (Clive Owen) orders her to burn Koslow and leave him out to dry. With his options running out, Koslow must survive and find his own escape plan.

The Informer is a gritty undercover drama that gets into the layers of deception that goes into operations like these, without forgetting the human cost both physical and emotional.

By Daniel Murphy

Rocketman

With the success and critical reception of Bohemian Rhapsody and A Star is Born, musical movies are back and on the rise, especially if they’re also serves as an autobiography of the artist’s life. Such is the case here with Rocketman detailing the life of Elton John.

Beginning in medias res with Elton John (Taron Egerton) storming into an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in full costume to seek help, as he details his life story.

Born Reggie Dwight, he grew up with his distant mother, aloof father and a loving grandmother. When Reggie shows talent playing the piano, his mother gets him a tutor, who recommends a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. Breaking out with a band of friends playing at the local pub when Reggie is approached by a talent scout. After playing backup for touring singers, Reggie decides to break out on his own, taking on the stage name Elton John.

Elton meets songwriter Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) and together the two product enough songs for an album and gets a slot for the Troubadour in L.A. There Elton’s performance attracts the attention of record manager John Reid (Richard Madden), with whom he enters into a secret relationship. As Elton’s fame and fortune rises to new heights, he becomes absorbed by the rock star lifestyle of sex and drugs, not helped by John’s financial abuse, and his mother’s cold rebuttal when he comes out to her. After a depressed suicide attempt, Bernie returns back to England which only drives Elton further into a downward spiral, ultimately culminates with Elton walking out of one of his concerts and heading straight to rehab.

As Elton gets himself better, Bernie returns and they reconcile their friendship and gives Elton some songs to work on for his big comeback I’m Still Standing.

Rocketman is a warts and all biopic of one of the biggest names in music, showing the highs and lows of Elton’s life, spliced with his greatest hits at key moments of his life. Egerton’s performance is true to form, capturing the turmoil hiding beneath the flashy costumes, and the costume designer nails recreating Elton’s eccentric wardrobe. Recommended for music lovers everywhere.

By Daniel Murphy

Avengers: Endgame

Now this is it. Ten years, twenty one movies, and the most ambitious undertaking in cinema history, as Marvel studios raises the bar ever higher in the definitive chapter of their universe. Infinity War was dubbed the ‘’biggest crossover ever’’, but it was just clearing the tables for Endgame, less ‘’hold my beer’’ and more ‘’hold my keg’’.

SERIOUS, SERIOUS SPOILERS. SERIOUSLY.

Tony (Robert Downey Jr.) is adrift is space, following the fight against Thanos on Titan. He is Nebula (Karen Gillan) onboard the Guardians spaceship trying to make their way back to Earth, but they won’t make it before Tony dies. They’re saved by the arrival of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), who returns them to the Avengers compound. The surviving Avengers- Steve (Chris Evans), Nat (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Bruce (Mark Ruffalo), Rhodey (Don Chedale) and Rocket (Bradley Cooper) – resolve to find Thanos and take the Infinity stones.

The find Thanos alone on a garden planet and easily subdue him, only to find the Infinity stones are gone. Thanos (Josh Brolin) destroyed the stones after using them to kill half the universe. Thor kills Thanos as the rest of the Avengers believe there is no way to bring back the dead.

Five years later, the Avengers are still dealing with the fallout of the snap when Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) shows up. Scott disappeared five years ago when he was stranded in the Quantum Realm, but for him it was only five hours. Realising hat the Quantum Realm might hold the secret to time travel and with it the possibility to reclaim the stones and undo what Thanos did. While Tony and Steve bury the hatchet, Nat goes to find Clint (Jeremy Renner) who’s become the vigilante Ronin following the deaths of his family. Rocket and Bruce go to New Asgard to convince Thor to rejoin the team. With the Avengers re-assembled they form a plan- travelling back through time at various points in their history and claim the Infinity stones in the present- whatever it takes.

Endgame is nothing short of epic in its ambitions and the way it executes its premise. You really must see it yourself to appreciate all it has to offer, from the quips and one liners to the interpersonal stakes and the sheer amount of fan service on display, revealing in its own history complete with cameos and reappearances from past entries. Without doubt, one of the best films you’ll see this year, and sure to be remembered as one of biggest blockbusters of all time.

By Daniel Murphy

Hellboy

Superhero movies are big business these days, but while Marvel and DC, the Big Two, battle over who’s shared universe will reign supreme, independent comics are their characters are looking for a slice of that pie. The most successful indie comic title, with multiple TV series, movies and toy lines is the Ninja Turtles, but back in the early 2000’s Guillermo Del Toro adapted Mike Mignola’s fan favourite character onto the silver screen. And now their trying again.

Hellboy (David Harbour) is a demon fighting for humanity against the forces of darkness, as an agent of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence. He is called to England to join the Osiris club as they hunt a trio of giants. However, the Osiris club instead betrays Hellboy, intent to kill him before he can fulfil a prophecy of ending the world. Surviving the ambush and killing the giants, Hellboy is taken into the care Alice (Sasha Lane), a medium that Hellboy saved as a child.

Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), Hellboy’s adoptive human father and B.P.R.D. founder picks them up and pairs them up with Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim). Returning to the Osiris club to find them slaughtered by agents of the Blood Queen Nimue (Mila Jovovich).  During the Dark Ages, Nimue unleashed a plague on mankind until she was stopped by King Arthur and Merlin. She was cut into six pieces and sealed away, but now the monsters have reunited her body and resurrected her to complete her work.

As the B.P.R.D. begins tracking down Nimue, Hellboy has a crisis of faith, a combination of daddy issues and general mistrust by humans whose first response to the supernatural is shoot on sight. Not helped by the prophecy that says he’s destined to cause the apocalypse.

This Hellboy doesn’t compare to the Del Toro duo starring Ron Pearlman. It hits on a lot of the same beats the original movie did, but it’s more miss than hit, it also substitutes a lot of the nuance for gore and swearing. It touches on the oxymoronic nature of Hellboy, showing his internal conflict, also his supporting are certainly more interesting than the typical redshirts. Ian McShane is phenomenal as usual and in the role once played by his friend the late John Hurt. All in all, an enjoyable romp for any Hellboy virgin but better stick to Del Toro.

By Daniel Murphy

Shazam

Ah, the glorious war of fandoms. Star Trek vs. Star Wars, Pokémon vs. Digimon, and of course the original rivalry that is Marvel vs. DC. So with Captain Marvel flying high, DC decided to embraced that ‘’hold my beer’’ meme and try to one up their distinctive competition, with their own Captain Marvel- even if they can’t legally call him that anymore. (Comics are weird, if you didn’t know)

The story begins with the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou), champion of humanity against the forces of evil. But now he’s all alone and officially too old for this s*it and seeks a worthy successor. Fast forward to present day Philadelphia where Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is searching for his birth mother and ends with him being put into a new foster home. There he meets his foster siblings Darla (Faithe Herman), Mary (Grace Fulton), Eugene (Ian Chen), Pedro (Jovan Armand) and Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer).

Billy is resistant to be part of family but he does come to Freddy’s defence against a pair of bullies who chase him to the subway. On the train, Billy is magically transported to the Rock of Eternity. Billy meets the Wizard, who informs Billy he has been chosen. One of the Wizard’s potential chosen, Thaddeus Sivanna (Mark Strong) broke into the Rock and stole power he used to free the Seven Deadly Sins upon the world. Now Billy must stop Sivanna, the Wizard transfers his power to Billy with the word ‘’Shazam!’’, transforming him into an adult form (Zachery Levi).

Billy, trapped in his adult form, seeks Freddy’s help to understand his new powers. Together they begin testing his powers and foil a mugging and store robbery. With Freddy recording Billy’s exploits, the ‘’Red Cyclone’’ becomes an internet sensation, but Billy quickly becomes self-absorbed in his newfound power and celebrity status and neglects any actual hero work. Sivanna easily finds him and attacks showing him to be equal to Billy. Now Billy must rise to the challenge and be a real hero.

is perhaps the best entry of the DC movie series, it’s light tone and humour fully embraces the feeling of being super, and it appeals to that inner child in all of us. It’s also a family movie that defines what a family is and who is family. Great fun through and through, nuff said.

By Daniel Murphy

Alita: Battle Angel  

Hollywood has a bad track record of adapting Japanese anime and manga into live action films, usually whitewashing the cast or changing from the source material for the sake of making the plot easier to understand often at the expense of the characterisation and larger themes. But veteran director James Cameron and visual effects guru Robert Rodriguez, with their powers combined were able to crank out a blockbuster that sets new ground for Hollywood anime, with the adaption of Yukito Kishiro’s manga series Battle Angel Alita.

 Set in the distant future after a war between Earth and Mars, most of humanity now resides in either the slums of Iron City, or the floating city of Zalem, where the rich and powerful live. Doctor Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz) a cyber surgeon of Iron Cities cyborg population searches through the scrap yard looking for salvage when he comes across the remains of a cyborg girl.

Taking her back to his clinic, Ido rebuilds the girl, whom he names Alita. Alita (Rosa Salazar) has no memory of her life before Ido found her and accompanies him through Iron City where she meets and befriends Hugo (Keenan Johnson) who introduces her to the sport of Motor Ball.

Hugo helps Alita piece her old identity together while Alita discovers that Dr. Ido is also a Hunter Warrior, collecting bounties on criminals. Alita saves Ido from an ambush of cyborg criminals and fights them off, showing off her instinctive combat skills and has a flashback to the war between Earth and Mars. Alita’s victory over the cyborgs draws the attention of Chiren (Jennifer Connolly), Ido’s ex-wife, and her employer Vector (Mahershala Ali). Zalem’s leader Nova commands them to destroy Alita.

Alita: Battle Angel is a visual spectacle, Iron City feels real with its cluttered streets, and all the cyborgs have unique and memorable designs and Alita herself looks very real despite her large eyes and the facial animation is perfect for capturing emotive expressions. The fight scenes are fast paced with fluid choreography. The story is sweet ands simple with an endearing protagonist that you’d certainly want to see more of .

By Daniel Murphy

 

 

 

 

Talk to Tom QPR Training

I attended the (QPR) Suicide Prevention course, in Gorey recently and enlightened was an ed shearunderstatement.  I expected more of a conference room, with seated rows and a projector. These were all in place with a more relaxed and welcoming environment with CEO Ray Cullen at the door to meet you. Ray and his volunteers are behind the organisation ‘Talk to Tom’ based in Gorey.  I had heard him speak before of his personal experience with suicide and was inspired.

We were a small group of ten and Ray said we could finish early. I thought to myself, ‘we’ll be taught the basic signs to watch for and sure it’s good to take part’.  Ray began with his personal journey, from being an engineer in the early 90’s, to breaking his back because this is where Ray sees the beginning of how he became teaching QPR, meaning Question, Persuade and Refer.  When Ray got to the point of feeling that something had to be done after the loss of his nephew by suicide along with the discovering there was a huge gap in mental health services in North Wexford.

He got together with his family and within four months they had set up Talk to Tom in July 2012.  Ray travelled to Colorado in the US, to train and qualify in the course QPR, which was created by Paul Quinten.  QPR training was introduced in June 2013 and soon ran programmes for Wexford Marine Watch volunteers, RNLI, Garda Siochána, Coastguard members and various17475173_10154395588985222_1399789633_o sports clubs.  When you attend Ray’s training day, you will witness how his expert advice is sought after by any organisastion; in 2015, Ray was invited to Brussels to present the Talk to Tom model.

He explains in-depth of how your surrounding environment and your everyday belief system effects how you see that the world, based on learned behaviour and associations.  He reveals some shocking statistics of how 2016 was at its highest in completed suicides.  Also that over 500 people die by suicide a year, with 80% being male and 20% are female.

Ray asked us ‘how many we thought attempted suicide a year that end up in hospital’ and our highest guess was 5,000 people.  The truth was frightening, to learn that 12,500 people a year with the majority being 80% female and 20% male.  He further explains that suicide is the most preventative death and with the use of the right language, approach and learning the signs of someone who is in pain and suffering.  We participated in role play with each other and I found it very intense and emotional but extremely beneficiary and illuminating.

You do not just receive a Certificate in QPR, you receive a day of impact talk along with exercises17455212_10154395588980222_1378681251_o and interaction.  I did not expect to learn as much as we did in that one day. Every month they hold QPR classes along with parenting and more programmes to help people in crisis.  They are a community based funded orgainisation, you can find them on Facebook and they have a voluntary shop in Gorey, where you can visit any time Monday to Friday or become a QPR Gatekeeper.

By Róisín Williams

 

Black ‘47

Set during the backdrop of the Great Famine, Black ’47 is not so much a spaghetti western as it is a ‘’potato’’ western. The story chronicles one man’s quest for revenge amidst the darkest hour of Ireland’s history.

With the blight ravaging the crop, many Irish men are forced to swallow their pride and enlist in the British army and fight in their wars overseas to support themselves and their hungry families. Feenay (James Frecheville) an Irish ranger returning from Afghanistan to his sister Ellie (Sarah Greene) and her children, with a plan to immigrate to America. Feenay goes to pay his respects to his mother’s grave, but when he returns the constables and landlord evict Ellie and arrest Feenay when he intervenes, only to watch his nephew gunned down. Escaping his imprisonment, Feenay returns to find Ellie and her children dead of cold and hunger.

With his particular set of skills, Feenay sets off to hunt down all those he holds responsible for his sister’s death, his nephew’s murder, for the famine itself, killing apathetic landlords, heartless judge and ministers who will only feed the starving if they convert.

To curb Feenay’s killing spree, the British army recruits the ‘’Hunter’’ Hannah (Hugo Weaving), a disgraced veteran who served with Feenay, and is sent to find him as a stay of execution. Hannah is accompanied by British officer Pope (Freddie Fox) and private Hobbs (Barry Keoghan). The three track Feenay across the rural bog lands and steep roads, as Feenay closes in on his final target, Lord Kilmichael (Jim Broadbent).

As they close in on Feenay, Hannah must choose between his loyalty to the Crown or his respect of Feenay. The historical setting further empathizes the bleakness of the future and a purveying sense of hopelessness. The final scene is open ended to between the choice of carrying on the fight to the bitter end or the possibility of starting over.

Black ’47 is an important addition in Irish cinema, one that is ripe with the cultural, political ,religious and personal history of the land, and it’s made in honour of all those who died, left or never came back.

By Daniel Murphy