Arts Show asks . . . Festival Fever or Fatigue? The Arts Show


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Arts Show asks . . . Festival Fever or Fatigue?

In this programme, classical maestro Andre Rieu shares the art that blew his mind, and film-maker John Waters talks about his life and career. Presented by Marie-Louise Muir.


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We're back in a brand-new cultural destination.

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Not in Belfast, London or Dublin, but Bellaghy in County Derry.

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It may not trip off the tongue as easily as a Heaney poem,

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but the brand-new arts centre, the Seamus Heaney HomePlace,

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has now opened rural mid-Ulster to the world.

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On the site of a former RUC barracks,

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it cost £4.25 million to build,

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with the Heaney family at the heart and soul of it.

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The centre covers two floors with the theatre and a permanent display

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of previously unseen family archive,

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and a recreation of Heaney's study,

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in which he wrote so much of his Nobel Prize-winning poetry.

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But it is more than a museum to the man.

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There is an emotional pull that Seamus would have delighted in.

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Coming up, festival fever or fatigue?

0:53:590:54:02

With the big daddy of festivals

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on right now, is there just too many?

0:54:040:54:07

Singer-songwriter, and now add extreme weather performer,

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Lisa Hannigan.

0:54:100:54:12

Put the bins out, the Pope of trash

0:54:120:54:14

John Waters is en route.

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And Stephen Connolly waxes poetic

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about his hero Seamus Heaney.

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But first, ahead of his flying visit in December,

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the wizard of the waltz, Andre Rieu,

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on the art that first blew his mind.

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# The hills are alive with the sound of music... #

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The Sound Of Music, the number one movie, film, in the world.

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I was so in love with Julie Andrews. I'll never forget it.

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I couldn't sleep the whole night.

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And still I look at it very, very often.

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Oh, let's see if I can make it easier.

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My mother tells me I must have been three years old.

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I was sitting in a concert with my father

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and I saw all these bows of the strings go up and down.

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And that was...

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That made such an impression on me and there was a violinist,

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a girl, playing and I was sure I wanted to do that too.

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It's not one book, it's a whole series of books. It's Tintin.

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You know, and the captain and the little dog?

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I was fond of it and I still read that.

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And, in fact, in one of the books the Captain bought a castle

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and when I saw that picture of the captain and Tintin

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walking through the castle, I thought I want to have a castle too.

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I don't know, I never go to the theatre but...

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..I love, for example, Romeo And Juliet from Shakespeare.

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And I saw the movie by Zeffirelli.

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You know, always when I go to the theatre, I want it bigger,

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I want the whole thing.

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And in the theatre, you know, it's only onstage, so that's...

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why I never go to the theatre. I want...

0:56:110:56:13

CRESCENDO

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The Pieta by Michelangelo.

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When you really stand in front of that masterpiece

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and you know that he made that when he was 23 years old,

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I mean, that's...

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that's divine, incredible, that a man can make that.

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So, for me, that's art.

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With so many festivals scattered across the calendar year,

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are we now at saturation point?

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Ruth McCarthy is Artistic Director of the Outburst Festival...

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Shona McCarthy is Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe...

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and Mark Phelan is Head Of Drama at Queens University.

0:57:020:57:05

The big festival that's happening at the moment

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is the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival.

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Are the days of that kind of festival gone, Mark?

0:57:130:57:17

I don't think so.

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I mean, one of the most encouraging things in the arts scene

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in the last two decades, I suppose,

0:57:210:57:24

since this putatively post-conflict kind of period

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has been an explosion of arts festivals.

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That's true right throughout the UK.

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And throughout Western Europe you see this as a phenomenon everywhere.

0:57:310:57:35

But has the International Festival suffered

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because of the likes of Outburst or the Cathedral Quarter?

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No, I don't see any competition between arts festivals.

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I see a very complicated and a very diverse

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and a dynamic ecology of festivals.

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And I think there will always be, within, as I say,

0:57:490:57:51

the very varied ecology of festivals in this city,

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there's always going to be a role

0:57:560:57:58

for a major international arts festival,

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and that is the Belfast Festival.

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So, I think it's tremendously important,

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both in terms of importing international work,

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but also providing a platform and a birth for local theatre companies

0:58:050:58:09

and arts organisations and artists to stage their work

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in the context of a larger international festival.

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But surely that was what the Belfast Festival was doing.

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It was bringing in international art,

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it was bringing in local people.

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I kind of feel that it now has had to cede, in some way,

0:58:220:58:26

to the other festivals coming in.

0:58:260:58:29

There are audiences who will naturally go to something

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like the Belfast International Festival and there are audiences

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who come to Outburst,

0:58:340:58:35

who come to Outburst because they might be LGBT

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or they might want to see something a bit different,

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and those people... We're growing audiences.

0:58:400:58:43

The smaller festivals actually expand what bigger festivals can do.

0:58:430:58:48

-So you're not rivals then? You wouldn't see...?

-I don't...

0:58:480:58:51

I don't think so at all.

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Practically every festival that happened in Belfast

0:58:520:58:55

has a very different remit and can have very different audiences.

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Edinburgh did this massive piece of work across all of the festivals

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to look at the economic impact,

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because that's what the Government wanted to know.

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So there's at least 280 million back into the economy of the city

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-just from the 12 festivals, just from those 12 festivals.

-Right.

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Now it's all, "Well, what about the social impact, guys?"

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You know, "How are you impacting on poverty?"

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You play so hard to gather one piece of evidence,

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and just at the minute you provide all that,

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it's, "Well, what's your economic impact, Ruth?"

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I mean, and they keep changing the goalposts that way.

0:59:250:59:27

I think it is a mistake to simply look at the arts

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in relation to how much economic

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return they can generate because, you know,

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you think of the role theatre played in apartheid South Africa,

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in the liberation struggle there.

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Czechoslovakia, where you have a playwright

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that becomes president of a new democratic society.

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So, the arts matter in ways that aren't simply materialistic

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but in terms of a healthy, civic, democratic culture.

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Well, as we've been hearing, there's a lot of events happening now,

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not least the daddy of them all,

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the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival.

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Do check out the darling of the New York arts scene, Taylor Mac,

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and check out our series of short films about the fest online.

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The Scissor Sisters' Ana Matronic rocked it two years ago

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and now voice of an angel Charlotte Church gives it some Welsh welly

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as she hosts the largest art prize in Ireland,

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the MAC International Ulster Bank Prize.

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Northern Irish artist Mairead McClean won the biennial prize

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in 2014 with her show, No More.

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And the ever-popular RUA exhibition at the Ulster Museum

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proves that you can still be well hung at 135.

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The great playwright Brian Friel did it

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and now Belfast writer Lucy Caldwell steps up to the plate

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to rework Chekhov's masterpiece Three Sisters.

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1900s Russia does the time warp to 1990s Belfast,

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rocking the Lyric main stage till November.

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There's a new literature festival in town...well, city - Armagh city.

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The first-ever John O'Connor writing school being championed

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by the boy from the Moy, Paul Muldoon.

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And, with six decades under his rhinestone-studded belt,

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Kenny Rogers claims this is his last tour,

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but we may just call that gambler's bluff.

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Finally, Lisa Hannigan has a new album out

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and plays Londonderry and Belfast early December,

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which is as good an excuse as any

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for us to catch up with her in Dublin.

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This song is called Snow.

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# Heading from city to sea

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# Just you and me

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# Our boots creaking quietly

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# We would never be here again

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# Watching the snow falling down

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# Watching the city lose colour and sound

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# And we were looking

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# To find in the feather sky

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# The contour line from summer

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# To Christmas time

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# For the what

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# For the when

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# When you were the snow falling down

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# And I was the city losing colour and sound

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# And we were

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# Sunk like treasure

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# Sunk like treasure

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# Sunk like treasure

1:02:451:02:50

# Sunk like treasure

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# Heading from city to sea

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# One facing east

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# One looking westerly

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# We would never be here again

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# Watching the snow falling down

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# Watching the city lose colour and sound

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# And we were

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# Sunk like treasure

1:03:181:03:23

# Sunk like treasure

1:03:231:03:28

# Sunk like treasure

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# Sunk like treasure. #

1:03:331:03:38

We've got the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival

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happening in October, then you've got Outburst in November.

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Nothing, maybe, in December, then you've got Out To Lunch,

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the boutique festival from the Cathedral Quarter happening.

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So, is there a way of marrying those all together?

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Is that something that could happen?

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There are a dozen festivals in Edinburgh in a year,

1:04:151:04:17

one for every month - that's not a bad metric.

1:04:171:04:20

I think we should aim for something like that.

1:04:201:04:22

Again, I don't know what a city looks like

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that has too many festivals.

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But I do know what a city looks like that has too little.

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-Because that's what this place was like 20 years ago.

-Yes.

1:04:291:04:32

But how many different audiences do we need? Belfast isn't that big.

1:04:321:04:35

Well, can you have too much culture?

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I don't actually understand the question.

1:04:371:04:39

What is the society that has too many arts events,

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too many cultural activities?

1:04:411:04:44

I think the hallmark of a healthy society

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is a diverse and dynamic arts scene.

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And I think one of the most encouraging things

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with life in the city, and I speak as a generation,

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a large number of us, my generation, who grew up hating the city,

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and wanted to escape from it,

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one of the things that has helped me learn to love this place

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has been the work of Outburst and the International Festival

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and the Cathedral Quarter Festival and the East Belfast Festival...

1:05:051:05:08

But are there too many, Shona?

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Well, if you look at Edinburgh,

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people have been asking this question for 70 years!

1:05:121:05:14

I know, but they...

1:05:141:05:15

The Edinburgh Fringe and the International Festival,

1:05:151:05:18

the Film Festival, the Book Festival,

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they celebrate their 70th anniversary next year.

1:05:201:05:22

But while you are there, I really want to get your experience.

1:05:221:05:25

It all happens in one month.

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Is there something about it being concentrated into one month

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as opposed to what I feel sometimes are little empires of festivals

1:05:281:05:34

happening right throughout the 12 months?

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You see, that isn't strictly true. That is just perception.

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There are actually 12 major festivals in Edinburgh

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that happen right across the year.

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There are only four of them that will all happen at the one time.

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But the perception is that they all happen at the one time

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because it happens to be two of the biggest happen right in August.

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Is that not a more successful strategy to have?

1:05:531:05:55

Even in Edinburgh, the question is asked all the time, too.

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Should we be more supportive of the wider cultural sector all year round

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and not put the emphasis on funding into these festivals?

1:06:031:06:06

And for me, it's kind of back to your point, Mark.

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It should be both and both.

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It shouldn't be either/or.

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And if the festivals can provide an incredible platform,

1:06:131:06:16

that place where people just see something that inspires them,

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that wows them,

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and it provides a platform for local people to be able to showcase

1:06:221:06:25

their work to external audiences as well as internal,

1:06:251:06:29

then, to me, you kind of can't have too many.

1:06:291:06:33

Outburst Festival, ten years old this year.

1:06:331:06:36

What is the DNA of the festival? What is it?

1:06:361:06:40

Outburst started very much as a community festival,

1:06:401:06:43

as a space where people could share stories.

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We use the word "queer" deliberately

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because queer is very much on the outskirts,

1:06:471:06:50

it is the scout for the future, it is the fringes of things.

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So while the work is LGBT work or LGBT themed work for the most part,

1:06:531:06:59

it is also about not doing the obvious.

1:06:591:07:03

I think that's why we love the word queer.

1:07:031:07:06

It is about developing local work

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but also developing work with people from other parts of the world.

1:07:081:07:11

But provoking, as well.

1:07:111:07:12

-Absolutely.

-You must have known what you were doing,

1:07:121:07:16

starting up a festival like yours in Northern Ireland?

1:07:161:07:19

Absolutely, and I think that's why it's vital here.

1:07:191:07:22

Socially, things aren't probably the way they are in

1:07:221:07:25

a lot of bigger cosmopolitan cities.

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You've got kind of raw material to play with,

1:07:261:07:29

something that is not set in stone.

1:07:291:07:31

And to me, that's what queer is, queer is always about the fringes.

1:07:311:07:34

So, the likes of John Waters coming over,

1:07:341:07:36

his only European appearance this year will be here in Belfast.

1:07:361:07:40

Yes, at the Outburst Festival.

1:07:401:07:41

I mean, if you are looking at somebody to embody

1:07:411:07:44

what queer culture is about, look no further than John Waters.

1:07:441:07:47

We sent one of his biggest fans to Baltimore to meet him.

1:07:471:07:51

Joe Lindsay.

1:07:511:07:53

Nowadays, Baltimore may be most famous as the backdrop

1:08:011:08:04

for the iconic series The Wire,

1:08:041:08:06

but before then, in more shocking and stranger ways,

1:08:061:08:09

it was the setting for the films

1:08:091:08:11

of the Pope of Trash himself, John Waters.

1:08:111:08:13

He filmed in his local community with local actors,

1:08:131:08:16

and he is coming to the Outburst Festival to tell us all about it.

1:08:161:08:19

Yes, folks, this isn't any cheap,

1:08:241:08:27

X-rated movie or any fifth-rate porno play.

1:08:271:08:29

This is the show you want.

1:08:291:08:30

Lady Divine's Cavalcade Of Perversion.

1:08:311:08:34

The sleaziest show on earth.

1:08:341:08:38

Not actors, not paid impostors, but real, actual filth.

1:08:381:08:42

John, we meet you

1:08:421:08:43

as you are about to come to the Outburst Festival in Belfast.

1:08:431:08:46

-Have you been to Belfast before?

-I've never been to Belfast.

1:08:461:08:49

So I'd love to go to a city I've never been to.

1:08:491:08:51

I've been to Ireland, but I've never been to Belfast.

1:08:511:08:53

So I'm looking forward to it.

1:08:531:08:54

You're very aware of the Outburst Festival?

1:08:541:08:56

I know about it, I've read about it.

1:08:561:08:58

-The ten year anniversary, which is good.

-That's right.

1:08:581:09:01

And I think it sounds perfect.

1:09:011:09:02

You made some of the most significant films

1:09:021:09:05

of the '60s, '70s and '80s.

1:09:051:09:06

I want to ask you about Hairspray.

1:09:081:09:10

-Yes?

-It seemed to have just changed everything.

1:09:101:09:13

I mean, all of a sudden, Hairspray was a Broadway musical,

1:09:131:09:16

and a global stage musical.

1:09:161:09:18

Then it was remade.

1:09:181:09:20

# Come on, baby! #

1:09:201:09:21

Yes, it is the gift that keeps on giving,

1:09:211:09:24

and I've seen it, now, in politically correct versions,

1:09:241:09:27

where a skinny black girl plays Tracy

1:09:271:09:29

and it makes no sense, but I kind of like that, too.

1:09:291:09:32

I think it's a Trojan horse that sneaks in.

1:09:321:09:34

Anyone that would dislike me, my values, but they don't notice.

1:09:361:09:41

Oh, my God! There are coloured people in my house!

1:09:411:09:44

I'm going to make a citizen's arrest!

1:09:441:09:46

The same values as all my other movies.

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But it sneaks in and they don't notice.

1:09:491:09:52

So it's the only subversive film I ever made.

1:09:521:09:54

People say, when did you come out? That seems so square.

1:09:571:10:00

I'd never have a...

1:10:001:10:01

That's like a Bar Mitzvah or something! To me, I just figured,

1:10:011:10:05

well, every has to have figured that out. You know?

1:10:051:10:08

And I was the on the cover of Gay Times in like, 1972,

1:10:081:10:12

not because I was so brave,

1:10:121:10:13

it was the only people that asked me to be on the cover!

1:10:131:10:16

# The girl can't help it, she was born to please

1:10:161:10:18

# She can't help it the girl can't help it... #

1:10:181:10:20

There is a great sequence, I think, that sums up your film career

1:10:201:10:23

with Divine going down the street in the cha-cha heels.

1:10:231:10:25

-And you're obviously filming from a moving car.

-Correct.

1:10:251:10:28

And literally, everybody's head turns.

1:10:281:10:30

Everyone.

1:10:301:10:32

No-one just ignores, because he's dancing down the street.

1:10:321:10:35

It's just absolutely incredible.

1:10:351:10:37

Well, I can look at them, they don't see me, either.

1:10:371:10:39

They just see Divine.

1:10:391:10:40

And in Female Trouble, they do it, too.

1:10:401:10:42

But he has scars on his face, so they look away,

1:10:421:10:44

but then they don't want to be rude because he's handicapped.

1:10:441:10:47

Divine was not transgender.

1:10:471:10:49

Divine did not want to be a woman, ever.

1:10:491:10:51

He wanted to be a monster.

1:10:511:10:52

His drag persona of Divine, which obviously you helped create,

1:10:521:10:55

and you helped cultivate, was that very much emancipating for him?

1:10:551:10:58

Certainly it was, because he always said he wanted to be

1:10:581:11:01

a movie star, he wanted be Elizabeth Taylor.

1:11:011:11:03

But that was not going to happen in Lutherville, Maryland,

1:11:031:11:06

where we grew up.

1:11:061:11:07

But it did happen, and, in the end, I met Elizabeth Taylor,

1:11:071:11:11

she looked like Divine!

1:11:111:11:13

A little.

1:11:131:11:14

I don't mean that negatively.

1:11:141:11:15

Like Divine looking good.

1:11:151:11:17

You know. Not like Edna in Hairspray.

1:11:171:11:19

Didn't look like an old housewife.

1:11:191:11:21

But that's amazing, because Divine established this character

1:11:211:11:24

that basically frightened people,

1:11:241:11:26

but then when he did the exact opposite

1:11:261:11:28

and played a frumpy mother in Hairspray,

1:11:281:11:30

is when he got great reviews.

1:11:301:11:32

Wilbur, it's the times.

1:11:321:11:34

They are a-changing.

1:11:341:11:36

Somethin's blowin' in the wind.

1:11:361:11:38

He must have loved pushing that button, as well?

1:11:381:11:41

He did. He was scared, he said, "Can I get away with doing this?"

1:11:411:11:44

When I said, "Jump out of a car," and he was downtown

1:11:441:11:46

having to walk down the street in drag, he was scared.

1:11:461:11:48

It was like, we didn't have protection.

1:11:481:11:50

There were no film office, we didn't have permits.

1:11:501:11:52

We had been arrested for making a movie.

1:11:521:11:55

It was like committing a crime.

1:11:551:11:56

It wasn't like an action, a political action,

1:11:561:11:59

it was like terrorism against good taste.

1:11:591:12:01

And we would jump out and do it and then jump out and run.

1:12:011:12:04

We didn't set off a bomb, but it was...

1:12:041:12:07

it was in the spirit of that without hurting anybody.

1:12:071:12:11

HE LAUGHS

1:12:111:12:14

Obviously you assembled the Dreamlanders around you.

1:12:161:12:19

They were the people that were in my early films since Multiple Maniacs,

1:12:191:12:22

which I think is showing at this festival.

1:12:221:12:24

It's a movie that I made 47 years ago that just came out again

1:12:241:12:28

in America, restored and revived and repulsive!

1:12:281:12:30

They were my friends.

1:12:321:12:34

It's who I took LSD with

1:12:341:12:35

and who we hung around with and we did have

1:12:351:12:37

a definite group of people that was very mixed.

1:12:371:12:41

It was suburban bad kids, that went downtown to be beatniks

1:12:411:12:45

and black people and gay people

1:12:451:12:47

but none of the three of those groups

1:12:471:12:49

never hung around together, but we did.

1:12:491:12:51

And the cops, black cops, white cops, everybody hated us.

1:12:511:12:54

We were outcasts of any neighbourhood.

1:12:541:12:57

We were all looking for bohemia,

1:12:571:12:58

and that was I was looking for and I didn't know anything about it

1:12:581:13:01

until I read about Tennessee Williams in Life magazine.

1:13:011:13:03

So the most popular magazine in America corrupted me every week.

1:13:031:13:08

They told me about beatniks, about junkies, drugs, pot, hippies,

1:13:081:13:12

everything that they covered, I was eagerly reading about.

1:13:121:13:16

-This was your handbook for life?

-Yes.

1:13:161:13:20

Dreamland Studios was a joke,

1:13:201:13:21

because it was a bedroom at my parents' house

1:13:211:13:23

when I first started making eight millimetre movies.

1:13:231:13:26

This isn't one of those sick shows, is it?

1:13:261:13:28

You will see, sir, you will see.

1:13:281:13:29

THEY GRUNT

1:13:291:13:31

My parents were horrified by the movies - but, on Multiple Maniacs,

1:13:311:13:34

that's the front lawn the Cavalcade of Perversion is being shot on,

1:13:341:13:37

on their front lawn!

1:13:371:13:39

So they were supportive enough.

1:13:391:13:41

They didn't like what I was doing but they respected my business sense

1:13:411:13:44

that I could get a film made,

1:13:441:13:46

that I could get it shown, I could get it advertised,

1:13:461:13:49

but, "Can't you make a different kind of movie?"

1:13:491:13:52

That was the problem.

1:13:521:13:53

But I figured they just thought, well, what else could I have done?

1:13:531:13:56

Was there ever a point you thought, "Oh, I've gone too far?"

1:13:561:13:58

Well, what would have been going too far to me, I wouldn't have done.

1:13:581:14:02

I make movies about the grey area,

1:14:021:14:03

about how you far you can go and still be funny.

1:14:031:14:06

But if it wasn't funny, I wouldn't...

1:14:061:14:09

I mean, I'm not a child molester, I don't do a lot of Holocaust jokes.

1:14:091:14:13

Especially not being Jewish.

1:14:131:14:15

I think, if you're Jewish, you can...

1:14:151:14:17

I think it all depends on where you're coming from

1:14:171:14:21

to make the jokes,

1:14:211:14:22

for what you can get away with.

1:14:221:14:25

In this era in America of the Kardashians,

1:14:251:14:27

what is bad taste any more?

1:14:271:14:29

We seem to have gone right past it.

1:14:291:14:30

Well, to me, I don't like reality TV

1:14:301:14:33

because I think it makes the audience feel

1:14:331:14:35

that they should condescend to the people in it.

1:14:351:14:38

I think you're supposed to feel superior to the people in it.

1:14:381:14:42

I like to watch things, even if they're very strange, about things

1:14:421:14:45

I don't understand but I'm amazed at the people that are in it.

1:14:451:14:48

Even if they're hideous, even if they're evil, even if they're crazy.

1:14:481:14:51

Was there ever a point in your life that you thought,

1:14:511:14:53

"You know what, maybe I should stop and go into something else"?

1:14:531:14:57

Oh, I already have done that!

1:14:571:14:59

You know, I probably will never make another movie again,

1:14:591:15:01

-and I'm fine about it.

-Really?

1:15:011:15:03

My last two books were bestsellers,

1:15:031:15:04

my last movie was a financial flop, so...

1:15:041:15:06

I was going to ask, I mean, you've now got this other career

1:15:061:15:09

as a writer, and your books are brilliant.

1:15:091:15:10

Both the books did great.

1:15:101:15:12

So, I always knew a long time ago that you never depend on one career.

1:15:121:15:16

And I just like to tell stories.

1:15:161:15:18

So I have a spoken word show, I have art shows, I have movies -

1:15:181:15:22

I get deals still to write them.

1:15:221:15:23

I write the books. Doesn't matter to me.

1:15:231:15:26

I like them all equally.

1:15:261:15:27

They're equally as important to me.

1:15:271:15:29

-Officer!

-Yes, ma'am, can I help you?

1:15:291:15:31

Oh! Aaargh! Aargh!

1:15:311:15:34

That was Joe in Baltimore, meeting the legend that is John Waters -

1:15:361:15:40

or John Waters meeting the legend that is Joe Lindsay!

1:15:401:15:44

Quality, costs - so, how do you match that?

1:15:441:15:47

It's not always about financial return

1:15:471:15:50

in terms of numbers of hotel rooms for the night, or whatever.

1:15:501:15:53

There really doesn't seem to be an understanding in government,

1:15:531:15:57

a lot of it is short-term thinking

1:15:571:15:59

in terms of return for what they are putting in.

1:15:591:16:02

The social impact of the arts is huge.

1:16:021:16:05

We think of the arts as a business like any other - and it's not.

1:16:051:16:10

It has that element and that's important and tourism is great -

1:16:101:16:13

I love the idea that people want to come from somewhere else

1:16:131:16:16

to see something at Outburst.

1:16:161:16:18

Have funders said to you, "Great, John Waters, great,

1:16:181:16:23

"I Heart Alice, whatever you programmed -

1:16:231:16:25

"how many people came to see your play?"

1:16:251:16:28

-Do you have to go through those kinds of nuts and bolts?

-Absolutely.

1:16:281:16:31

One of the things that takes up a lot of our time in festivals

1:16:311:16:36

is funding reporting and saying how many bums on seats.

1:16:361:16:40

And that's important for us to know.

1:16:401:16:42

It's important to know for audience development,

1:16:421:16:44

who is coming to our shows and who we are missing a trick with.

1:16:441:16:47

And that's important for you, as well,

1:16:471:16:49

when you're programming the festival?

1:16:491:16:51

I mean, have you learned, in the last ten years,

1:16:511:16:54

what has worked and what hasn't worked, even within your own niche?

1:16:541:16:58

Absolutely.

1:16:581:17:00

I mean, for every John Waters event with hundreds of people,

1:17:001:17:03

there will be an event where maybe it is a very intimate event

1:17:031:17:06

with 50 people -

1:17:061:17:07

but those 50 people could be impacted hugely

1:17:071:17:10

because of a very intimate experience that they have.

1:17:101:17:13

I think that's a crucial point, that the arts don't exist

1:17:131:17:17

hermetically sealed off from the rest of society.

1:17:171:17:19

It plays a crucial role in the health and education of society.

1:17:191:17:23

But we hear that all the time, and people will say,

1:17:231:17:25

well, we still need hospital beds and we still need...

1:17:251:17:27

I know, but nobody is actually saying some child with meningitis

1:17:271:17:31

cannot get their medication

1:17:311:17:33

because Sinead Morrissey needs to write a poem.

1:17:331:17:36

That kind of logic is a little bit ridiculous

1:17:361:17:39

when you look at the arts budget.

1:17:391:17:40

Within the context of things, it's minuscule,

1:17:401:17:43

but it makes such a huge return to society.

1:17:431:17:45

It wouldn't even run the health service for a single day.

1:17:451:17:48

And yet some of those cuts, proportionately-speaking,

1:17:481:17:50

in relation to the art scene, is affected quite direly.

1:17:501:17:53

And the money that's already spent in the arts scene here,

1:17:531:17:57

it's the smallest dividend of all.

1:17:571:17:59

We're sitting here, talking about festivals.

1:17:591:18:01

Why not scrap festivals completely and fund the artists?

1:18:011:18:05

That's another one of those arguments.

1:18:051:18:07

It's not an either/or

1:18:071:18:08

instead of both and both.

1:18:081:18:10

As much as the artists are at the core of everything,

1:18:101:18:13

the vast majority of artists that I've have worked with in the past

1:18:131:18:16

are not skilled businesspeople.

1:18:161:18:17

They have no idea how to market their work,

1:18:171:18:20

so really good producers, really good programmers,

1:18:201:18:23

really good curators are as important, actually,

1:18:231:18:26

in order to create the right platform, draw audiences,

1:18:261:18:30

do all the research,

1:18:301:18:31

do the report-backs for the funding, all of the rest.

1:18:311:18:34

These two things are interdependent and it's not a kind of either/or.

1:18:341:18:38

And Then The Sun.

1:18:471:18:49

And then the sun came slicing sideways

1:18:491:18:52

Clearwater reflecting it, giving it slant

1:18:521:18:56

A gloss of rain, so quick and light that day, hardly made a sound

1:18:561:19:00

The thought of sheets hung out and drying on the line,

1:19:001:19:03

of seeds in soil and soil itself

1:19:031:19:07

The glutting ends of stems of leaves that will them to let fall

1:19:071:19:10

up and out and through the trees

1:19:101:19:13

The shape that shoots could take, of you and this moment as it happens

1:19:131:19:18

Our echoing hush as we try to hold the close music

1:19:181:19:21

of the blackbird in the bush.

1:19:211:19:22

And then the sun continued on,

1:19:241:19:26

Lough Neagh cooled under the firm keels of fishing boats

1:19:261:19:29

on the water's taut skin,

1:19:291:19:31

their painted hulls in pointed arcs an emblem of balance

1:19:311:19:35

so finely wrought that they could tell the weight of light or air

1:19:351:19:38

Each night, we walk along the shore, expecting still to find

1:19:401:19:44

your sturdy figure waist-deep in waders,

1:19:441:19:46

plumbing darkness, hauling it in,

1:19:461:19:49

but never again your grip on the reel

1:19:491:19:52

and never again the music of the blackbird nesting in your hand.

1:19:521:19:56

And that's it from The Arts Show.

1:20:051:20:07

You can keep up-to-date online and on radio.

1:20:071:20:10

Bye-bye.

1:20:101:20:11

And The Arts Show is on BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle

1:20:111:20:15

Tuesdays to Fridays at 6:30.

1:20:151:20:18

And find us online and on social media.

1:20:181:20:20

Classical maestro Andre Rieu shares the art that blew his mind, film-maker John Waters talks about his life and career and poet Stephen Connolly reads his latest work. Presented by Marie-Louise Muir.