IT'S a bit of a quiet weekend in Limerick this week, with most venues hedging their bets on a big St Patrick's weekend hooley next week. That's fine - it's a chance to highlight some of the more niche events that Limerick has to offer. Theatre, two great free gigs, magic for the kids, a weekend of gaming and a full day of celebration for International Women's Day!
Thursday (March 5)
Limerick Youth Theatre are in the Belltable this Wednesday and Thursday with What Just Happened, a journey through some of Shakespeare's most famous scenes, with some songs and dances to keep you on your toes.
It's set in a classroom, with two students complaining that they have to study Shakespeare at all, before Avonian Willie magically appears and reminds them that he wrote a lot of plays about blood-spilling.
There are two shows each day - 2pm and 7pm on Wednesday and 11am and 2pm on Thursday. Tickets are €10 for adults and €5 for students.
Fans of electro music: not only is your ship coming in this Thursday night, you get to pick from multiple ships. PX Music artists, including Hazey Haze, Citris Fresh and Gavin da Vinci, are in the Record Room from 8pm till close.
It's a free show. Meanwhile, just up the street and around the corner, Prima Volta selectors Bill Baramus and Peter Curtin are in the Wickham Tap for their regular monthly residency. That's also free.
Closing out Thursday, DIE Night takes over Dolans for their last gig until September, with sets from Sully, ITOA and Room Two DJs. That kicks off at 10pm and tickets are €15, or €12 if you book early.
Friday (March 6)
Junk Kouture is a national competition and fashion show that encourages second-level students to create fashion from junk. It's marvellous preparation for the future dystopia where we all kill one another over clean water.
The southern regional final of the competition is at the University Concert Hall this Friday at 7pm and there are a tiny number of €25 tickets still available if you feel like seeing the latest in Mad Max fashion.
Cork singer Lyra brings her dark electropop sound to Dolans Warehouse this Friday night. Sounding like the inky fusion of Lykke Li and Florence Welch, she's played at Electric Picnic, Latitude and The Great Escape and her star is very much on the rise.
The €14 tickets went like hot cakes, causing the gig to be upgraded from the upstairs venue to the warehouse, and if you can still get your grubby paws on one this is the show you shouldn't miss this week. Doors at 8pm.
There's a free Flag Listeners gig in the Record Room this Friday night. The Limerick rock foursome picked up deserved plaudits for their debut album And Other Short Stories two years ago and are almost ready to unleash their second album on the Irish music scene. Friday night is your best chance to hear some of those new tunes a little early. Doors at 9:30pm.
Saturday (March 7)
Gamers will be descending on Thomond Park this Saturday and Sunday for Gamerfest 2020. It's a two-day celebration of gaming and cosplay with live entertainment, exhibition gaming and plenty of consoles for you to take on other players.
You can also take part in tournament competitions of Fortnite, FIFA and Tekken 7. The show will feature a RetroZone, where you can experience Atari and Megadrive gaming from the days of yore. It runs from 10am to 5pm both days. Tickets for each day on Eventbrite are €22 for adults and €17 for students and under-16s.
You probably already know magician Joe Daly from hosting RTEJr's magic show abraKIDabra. If you don't, your children certainly do. He's at the Belltable this Saturday afternoon with his new live show of high-energy magic and comedy.
It's aimed at children between 4 and 12 and will feature lots of audience participation to keep the little tykes on the edges of their seats. There are two shows - at 2:30pm and 4:30pm - and tickets are €8.
Mike Denver is at the University Concert Hall this Saturday night. The country & Irish singer has knocked out 10 studio albums in the past 15 years and is at the forefront of the movement to persuade Irish people to buy pickup trucks and write songs about them.
Country music remains miraculously popular in this land and if you're going to choose a live middle of the road show to see, it might as well be a Mike Denver night. 8pm, tickets are €32.50
Newcastle West native Emmet Scanlan returns to the laneways of his youth this Saturday night with a free gig in Clearys Bar. These days he and his band What The Good Thought are based in London, where the streets are reportedly paved with gold, and his new single Superstore Flowers is a rather gloriously-peppy blend of Hispanic guitar and straightforward rock. It's already one of my favourite songs of 2020. You're being handed a gift to see him playing for free. Kicks off at 9:30pm.
Sunday (March 8)
Sunday is International Women's Day, the annual celebration of the social, cultural and political achievements of women. It's also an annual call for people who aren't women to recognise that women are people too.
There are three events at Ormston House this Sunday to mark the day - a live Limerick Lady podcast recording at 11:30am featuring interviews with author Helena Close and RTE correspondent Petula Martyn, a talk by historian Sharon Slater at 2:30pm about three Limerick women (Kate O'Brien, Constance Smith and Mary Heath) who pushed the boundaries of what was expected of women in their era and a trad music performance by the Rú Beag collective at 4pm.
The talk and performance are free; the podcast recording will cost you a tenner as it also comes with a light lunch from The Grove.
Elliptical Affinities is at Limerick City Gallery until March 22, joined by extended exhibitions of State Of Print and the Hollander Workshop until the same date. All free to see. Best Costume Goes To is at the Hunt Museum until April 14 and will cost you €7.50.
That's your lot for this weekend and, as always, if you go to things, there will be more things!