A Question of Culture, August 20th Irish Independent
What they said I said:
What I actually said (unedited version):
Photo by Kyrstan Healy
Correct dates for 'Paperdolls' at ABSOLUT Fringe are 14th - 19th September.
A Question of Culture: Emily Aoibheann
Favourite aerialist/acrobatic performer? (living or dead). Why?
Empress Stah. She's famous for doing a particular thing that I can't tell you because you might not print it. All I'll say is her current project is performing in zero gravity, as in OUTER SPACE!
The best stage production (acrobatic or otherwise) you've ever seen? Why?
Most exciting theater experience I've had: The opening scene of Oedipus Loves You in the Project Arts Centre where the Greek mythological seer Tiresias is a naked blind singer of a techno family band revealed wearing only platforms with tucked away genitals, played by Ned Dennehy. Unforgettable.
Craziest experience so far while performing?
One time, not one person tried to take a photograph. The absence of a lens was like a sudden realisation: they are watching me, they are actually watching me. Ironically, I was showered with photographer business cards afterward.
Favourite band? Why?
For years it was Sonic Youth. I hated them at first but then that turned into a great love. Now, I prefer having my music on shuffle and compilation tapes made for me by friends with people like Leslie Keffer, This Mortal Coil, Eurythmics, John Maus and obscure Kiwi queer bands on.
Best concert/gig you've ever seen? Why?
I like going to see bands in local venues best. I really loved Pissed Jeans when they were in Dublin years ago because they have a very raw but unselfconscious masculinity and physicality and organic, mesmeric way of performing. At least two took off their tops - it was like some sort of sexy, subverted, boy ritual. It was a rare spectacle indeed.
Your desert island discs and why them?
Discs? Compilation tapes or a ukulele. Actually scrap that, I'd bring a harmonium and chant the days away.
Favourite book? Why?
I adore books, but some of my most significant authorial genealogies can be located in just four books, Geek Love by Katherine Dunn, Nights at the Circus and the Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter and most importantly Italian Folktales by Italo Calvino. They are each rich in visual description, all have unforgettable characters and highly expressive writing dense with meaning, wit and inspiration.
Last book you read and loved? Why?
Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde, Oscar's Unusual Niece by Joan Schenkar. This sums it up: "Dolly Wilde made her career in the salons - and in the bedrooms - of some of London and Paris's most interesting women and men... Dorothy Irene Wilde died exactly as she lived: vividly, rather violently, and at a very good address".
The book you could never make it through? Why?
The Heart of Darkness, but come to think of it, I have yet to finish my favourite Geek Love because I was in such a rush to share it I gave away my copy prematurely - so what does it really matter? School is over, I've done my time!
Favourite film? Why?
Labyrinth, 1986: first crush David Bowie in skin tight pants and big hair singing: Your eyes can be so cruel, just as I can be so cruel! Don don don!TOBY!
Last film you saw and loved? Why?
Cat Dancers - Oh wow! It's bizarre and fascinating and touching, a rare look at show biz in the big tops, trashy circuses and animal trainers. The unique relationship between the cats and trainers, the romance between Ron, Joy and Chuck, and then heart-ache and devastation when tragedy befalls them - it's really quite a story.
Last film you saw and hated? Why?
I tend to switch off the visuals pretty quick if it's not happening. Too many good films to watch. Next!
Favourite TV show? Why?
Carnivale: A cult favouite - dark, magical, 1934 America, a time where the kids went on the big wheel while Dad went to see the cooch. Like Geek Love, it inverts concepts of normative and able-bodiedness. Unfortunately it finished after two seasons due to lack of funds. Terrible shame.
Favourite radio show or presenter. Why?
Jonathan McCrea, Future Proof, or Sean Moncrieff on Newstalk. They feature lots of interesting people and questions to pose them. I've noticed it's particularly great to fix your bike to, or cook dinner. Something manual.
My favourite city is probably Dublin, although my perfect city would be a mixture between Dublin and Berlin in a country that does not yet exist - yet. The familiarity, creativity and humour of Dublin with the accessibility of space, diversity and grassroots politics of Berlin.
Favourite food/restaurant. Why?
Kale from my Dad's garden when he grows it, with onions, potatoes and lashings of butter! Or Govindas in Dublin when my Dad is all out of Kale. Or Mam's cooking or Jon's cooking! So many good cooks in my life! Or sushi.
Wine or beer?
Wine and beer, but mostly wine because I'm allergic to beer! Boo, complain! As much as I'd like to deny it, there is no denying what beer does to my gut. Alcohol in general, bit bad for ya.
That's a complicated question. I guess I'm asking myself a lot these days - does my practice fit in with the current culture or challenge it? What springs to mind is a conversation I had with an Irish clown lamenting that he'll never be as good as the French clowns. I thought this was nonsense. I'm interested in how our experiences and culture can offer something unique and unusual, a different perspective. The only requirement is constant openness and receptiveness and perhaps, some quiet humility.