10 November 2009
The Guests

Novelist and journalist Peter Murphy, columnist Brenda Power and theatre critic Peter Crawley.

The Film: The Men Who Stare at Goats

Directed by Grant Heslov, 'The Men Who Stare at Goats' stars Ewan McGregor as a reporter who meets a story if ever there was one in the person of Lyn Cassady - a member of a secret US military unit on active service in Iraq. Cassady, played by George Clooney, turns out to be involved in some quite bizarre activities - even by the normal standards of secret operatives - because his unit is charged with defeating the enemy by using not military but psychic power. Hence the title. These guys can kill goats simply by staring at them. The movie is based on Jon Ronson's book of the same name - a book which you'll be interested to know is to be found in the non-fiction category. That's right, non-fiction. 'The Men Who Stare at Goats' is running at selected cinemas nationwide.

The Play: Johnny Patterson, the Singing Irish Clown

Now on at the Project in Dublin, 'Johnny Patterson, the Singing Irish Clown' is the latest offering from Barabbas theatre company. Directed by Raymond Keane, it's written by Little John Nee, who also stars in what is a tribute to a 19th century Irish circus star. Orphaned and raised in Co Clare, Johnny Patterson was already famous in Ireland when he was lured to the brighter lights of America as a part of Cooper and Bailey's Circus. Known for his songs such as 'The Garden Where the Praties Grow', he became one of America's best known and highest paid entertainers. But he had demons aplenty and just about every triumph seemed to be followed by almost unbelievable tragedy. The final tragedy was his own - a return to Ireland and one performance too many. 'Johnny Patterson, the Singing Irish Clown' is on at the Project until 14 November.

The Film: Amelia

We've already seen Ewan McGregor this week in 'The Men Who Stare at Goats'. Well, he's been a busy boy because he's also in this next movie, 'Amelia'. It's the story of the American pilot Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic and who in 1937 disappeared over the Pacific in an attempt to circumnavigate the world. You'll be glad to hear that McGregor has left the role of Amelia to Hilary Swank in a cast which also includes Richard Gere and Christopher Eccleston.The movie is directed by Mira Nair, best known for 'Salaam Bombay!' and 'Mississippi Masala'. 'Amelia' opens this Friday at cinemas nationwide.

The Book: Presence, Collected Stories

It's perhaps not all that well known that the playwright Arthur Miller also had two short story collections to his name. They have now been published together as the bulk of a book entitled 'Presence; Collected Stories'. The first of these stories was published in 1967 and the last of them appeared some 40 years later - published posthumously and only in the United States. In fact, of the 16 stories seven of them have not been published here before. 'Presence; Collected Stories' by Arthur Miller is published by Bloomsbury.

The Performance: O Emperor

We leave you with music from a band hailing from Waterford and Cork. They're called O Emperor and on 5 December they'll be at the Opera House in Cork along with The Magic Numbers and Lisa Hannigan, as part of the Murphy's 'Little Big Night Out' before being part of the line-up for the 'Word of Mouth' national tour. They perform for us the single 'Po'.

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