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Magazine V 5 Issue 4 - November 2017

Parker Matthews RIVVRS STEPS DEPECHE MODE LGBT themed drama

SACRAMENT Inside:

Sunset Boulevard

Travel | Film | Fashion |Health | News


EILE Magazine | Who’s Who

Contributors

M. Butler M. Butler is a writer and editor, with a keen interest in human rights, and has studied philosophy and psychology

Scott De Buitléir Scott is founder and Editor-at-Large of EILE Magazine. He is also a writer and broadcaster, from Dublin but now based in Cork

Lisa Reynolds Originally from Co. Meath, Lisa is a fashion industry student, now living in Bray, Co Wicklow, with a great interest in media and celebrity

Brian Rochford Brian has studied health, exercise, and nutrition, with a special interest in controlling pain in rheumatism and arthritis Brian also writes the fashion article this month

Frances Winston Frances Winston is EILE’s resident film buff, and has contributed to many other publications such as The Irish Independent and Irish Tatler

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EILE Magazine | Welcome

Highlights November 2017 Event Reviews - Pps. Various This month Frances reviews events: Depeche Mode, STEPS, the Metropolis Festival, Sunset Boulevard,and LGBT-themed drama, Sacrament

Travel - Pps. 32,34 Travel this month includes the American Route 66, and Indian Ocean honeymoon destinations

Health - Cardio - P. 36 Brian Rochford tells us how to keep our hearts healthy, with or without the use of gym equipment

Volume 5, Issue 4 Editor-at-Large: Scott De Buitléir Editor: MKB Contributors: M. Butler, Scott De Buitléir, MKB, Lisa Reynolds, Brian Rochford, Frances Winston Photographers: David Cano, Kelly Elaine Photography NB: All images in this publication are either under Creative Commons licence, or used with permission. Image credits, where necessary, are printed on the corresponding page(s) or photo(s). Any queries can be made to hello@eile.ie Special Thanks to MKB for all her hard work, dedication and support.

Music - Pps.6,10

Web: http://eile.ie

EILE keeps up to date with Parker Matthews, who is a singer-songwriterLGBT activist, and singer-songwriter RIVVRS, both from the US

Contact: hello@eile.ie Twitter: @EILEMagazine Facebook: http://fb.com/eilemagazine

Fashion P.20 and a P.30 Brian Rochford writes on Christmas fashion, and Lisa Reynolds reviews Bloc Party

Note: All opinions expressed in this issue are the writers’ own.

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…plus film reviews, news, travel, and much more! EILE Magazine 


EILE Magazine | Editor’s Letter

Contents 6-

Parker Matthews

10 -

RIVVRS

14 -

Sunset Blvd

18 -

Sacrament (LGBT)

20 -

Men’s Fashion

26 -

STEPS Review

28 -

Depeche Mode

30 -

Bloc Party

32 -

Travel Ind Ocean

34 -

Travel Route 66

36 -

Cardio Health

38 -

Frances on Film

44 -

Metro Fest Review

46 -

NI Isolated

plus World LGBT News, Views, Arts, Entertainment etc

EILE November 2017 Edition! Welcome to the November issue of EILE Magazine This month, we bring you interviews and reviews of a great selection of musical artists, like Parker Matthews, RIVVRS, STEPS, Depeche Mode and Bloc Party. Brian Rochford writes on cardio exercises for a healthy heart, and Christmas fashion to keep you up to date, and Lisa Reynolds reviews an album. Our travel section features Indian Ocean and USA destinations, and Frances Winston brings us the latest in great film, musical, drama and gig reviews, like Sunset Boulevard or LGBT-themed Sacrament. This month can’t go by without mentioning that Australia have supported the LGBT community there, returning a YES vote in the plebiscite, but meanwhile Donald Trump is still trying to rescind the hardwon protections for the LGBT community in America. To top it all, news, views and entertainment from around the globe are also on our list, so sit back, relax and enjoy this November 2017 issue of EILE Magazine!

Scott De Buitléir Founder / Editor-at-Large

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See our gig and film reviews by Frances Winston

STEPS

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Parker Matthews Singer-songwriter, Parker Matthews on suicide, bullying and his latest track, Lost With You EILE was delighted to catch up with Indie-pop/electronic singersongwriter and Pittsburgh native, Parker Matthews, who has just released his latest single, Lost With You. Matthews is an advocate for Suicide prevention and anti-bullying, having gone through bullying himself, and supports organizations such as The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and LGBTQ+, spreading positivity through his music and lyrics. Lost With You is an emotional, atmospheric first single, a synth-pop track, where Los Angeles-based Matthews shows his vulnerability when falling in love, but is prepared to take the chance. Co-written and produced with Darren Ivory, the gay-themed track tells of the importance of taking a chance on love, and the liberation of embracing who you are, despite what others may think. Matthews explains: “This song is about finding someone and immersing yourself into this crazy world with them, to get lost with them and live an incredible adventure with them by your side.” His message of hope is displayed in the lyrics: “Don’t ever let me go, your soul is hurting, I know, forget the time let’s start slow, I want to get lost with you/ let the energy take over, and the space will start to fade, take the lead, be my composer, with you I never feel afraid.” Matthews was influenced early in life by Whitney Houston singing I Will Always Love You at the Grammy awards in 1994 . He also cites among his influences Christina Aguilera, Lady Gaga, Adele, Jennifer Hudson and Jessie J. Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Matthews realised what he wanted to do with

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“I want to really help people realize that it does get better. You as a person have the power to change your life, to choose to be happy, and to make the right choice on what path to lead” Parker Matthews

Photos: Kelly Elaine Photography

his life as a child, while watching that 1994 Whitney Houston Grammy performance. He began his journey by developing a sound of his own, and quickly found solace in the world of music.

LGBTQ+, and ensures that his music and lyrics send out a positive message.

“There was a point in my life, when I was younger, that I wanted to end my life because I was so unhappy, and thought rock-bottom was my crippling reality,” Matthews explains.

“I want to really help people realize that it does get better. You as a person have the power to change your life, to choose to be happy, and to make the right choice on what path to lead.”

“Singing is me telling my story, releasing my pain and the fuel that keeps me alive.” Now he is an advocate for suicide prevention and anti-bullying, and supports organizations such as The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and  EILE Magazine

Matthews also wants to send out the message that it does get better.

Matthews fostered his creative talent by attending North Allegheny Intermediate High School in Wexford, Pennsylvania, which was very involved in the arts. Unfortunately, he learned from an early


age the realities of growing up misunderstood. He was bullied and suffered with depression, resulting in an overwhelming abundance of suicidal thoughts. He explains: “I realized if I ended things, I was just going to let ‘them’ win, and that wasn’t allowed to happen. I picked myself back up, and truly moved forward with my life.  It’s not about being sorry for me, or trying to find pity, but realizing your past is what constructs you into the person you are today”. Matthews has spent his days, and many nights, writing music and recording in the studio. As a person and an artist, he is determined to lead, and tell his story through the creative process. In between late nights in the studio, and 3am writing sessions, he travels the world, connecting with people and cultures from all across the globe. As for his future, Matthews realizes this is only the beginning, as he continues to grow through hard work and dedication. Above all, he wants fans to believe the same, and looks forward to connecting with them through his music. You can keep up with Parker Matthews as he continues to release more content by downloading or streaming Lost With You on digital music outlets worldwide. The stunning video for Lost With You, can be viewed on Youtube, and you can visit Parker Matthews at: www.facebook.com/OfficialParkerMatthews/ twitter.com/_parkermatthews or download his music at: itunes.apple.com/ie/album/lost-with-you-single/id1298791812?app=itunes&ignmpt=uo%3D4

-M. Butler

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RIVVRS This month, Los Angeles-based pop/Americana singersongwriter, RIVVRS, tells EILE about his latest powerful single, Don’t Give Up On Me, and about his feeling that music is a connection. The dynamic track is a heart-wrenching ballad, where he pleads for his love not to give up on him towards the end of a relationship. It is the lead single from his latest full-length album, Cosmic Dream, which is due for release in 2018. The track starts off with the verse section pared right back, with slow keyboard movements and single beats, and then a sudden, loud, and exciting intensity for the chorus. RIVVRS has been collaborating with other musicians on his latest project and says: “Music is a connection, and if you’re the only force it doesn’t always work. Co-writing is where I can get out of my head and open the creativity up into a place I won’t arrive on my own.” He writes so that people can identify with what’s going on in their own lives, and says: “I hope people listen to the songs that I have, and can somehow hear what is happening in their own lives. Everyone wants to feel a connection.” He has over 30 song placements on network television shows, and over eight million Spotify streams. His debut single, I Will Follow You, was written into the script of an episode of About A Boy in 2014, and these ongoing sync usages allow for a full-time living as a musical professional. “It’s been a real privilege to continue without having to grind,” he says. RIVVRS exudes optimism and enthusiasm. His music interweaves Americana with pop, with a soulful voice for good measure. He performs and tours extensively, and has previously tracked the EP Hold On, a full-length release Unfamiliar Skin, and many other singles and projects. He is also co-producing his next release in Utah with Joshua James, and says that collaborating with other songwriters is fulfilling. Originally from Northern California, but now based in Los Angeles, RIVVRS -- née Brandon Zahursky – can command audiences with just his voice and an acoustic guitar, but believes that

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his songs really become powerful with a full band. “I love playing music with people. To me, that’s where the connection and chemistry come in, and where the songs open up.” RIVVRS spent his youth moving with his blended family across California, Washington and Oregon, then back to the Bay. He says it was a nontraditional upbringing. He remembers at one point staying in a halfway house with his parents, a shelter where addicts could get clean. His father was into classic rock, and so this rubbed off on RIVVRS, who also says that visual mediums were invaluable in his discovery of music; especially singersongwriters with songs on television shows. “I didn’t set out to make placeable music, but because it’s what I like and listen to, as I began writing I had a simple way of structuring songs that applies,” he recalls. RIVVRS has also worked in the wine industry, but this wasn’t enough to hold him, so he left to travel with a friend, couch-surfing, playing house concerts, and performing at a coffeehouse in San Luis Obispo, when another artist recommended the Durango Songwriters Expo near Santa Barbara. That was when he was noticed by the Hollywood music supervision community. RIVVRS says that he has spent valuable time trying to balance the expectations and the realities in Los Angeles. While he appreciates the creative energy of Hollywood, he is relocating over the hill to the San Fernando Valley, where green space is more prevalent. “I am at this point where there is such a silver lining -- so much change, and the opportunities to meet so many good

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people,” he says. RIVVRS is now moving into a new phase, having garnered large audiences with his concerts. “I spent the accumulation of my young adult years catching up, and realizing that I could be the person I want to be,” he says. And he believes that interpretation is the power behind his music. “I hope people listen to the songs that I have, and can somehow hear what is happening in their own lives. Everyone wants to feel a connection.” The video for Don’t Give Up On Me was filmed and directed by Noah Applebaum, and produced by Alan Stephens. His latest full-length album Cosmic Dream is due for a 2018 release, and the lead single from the project, Don’t Give Up On Me, is now available on Spotify and other listening platforms.

You can catch up with Rivvrs at: https://www.facebook.com/ rivvrs twitter.com/rivvrsmusic and you can download his music at: itunes.apple.com/us/artist/ rivvrs/id843847174 -MKB Photography: David Cano


“I spent the accumulation of my young adult years catching up, and realizing that I could be the person I want to be�

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Review: Sunset Boulevard - Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin, until 25th NOVember Frances Winston reviews this musical based on the iconic film of the same name Sunset Boulevard, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin 2, until 25th November Billy Wilder’s seminal 1950 movie, sunset Boulevard, remains a masterpiece to this day, and marked a huge comeback for silent film siren, Gloria Swanson, playing, well, an ageing silent-film siren. It gave the public the phrase “I’m ready for my close up”, and saw Swanson nominated for an Oscar for the part (she lost to Judy Holliday for Born Yesterday). Since the film is almost 80 years old, I’m not giving away any spoilers when I say that it opens with the body of screenwriter Joe Gillis floating in a swimming pool, and the rest of the movie is spent with him telling us how he got there. It’s a tale of intrigue, romance, obsession, and revenge, which musical theatre doyen, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, clearly thought would translate well into a musical. Fast forward a few decades, and that musical is a multi-award winning phenomenon, that has seen some very big stars, such as Glenn Close, Stephanie Powers, and Patti Lupone, take on the iconic role of Norma. Opening first in London in 1993, it has had several long runs internationally, and also enjoyed extensive tours, and it landed on Irish shores for a short run this week. Starring Welsh actress, Ria Jones in the role of the deluded diva, it sees former Hollyoaks star, Danny Mac, take on the role of the doomed Joe. So much of this show rests on the chemistry between this pair, and aside from fantastic individual performances, they really do have an amazing electricity in scenes together.

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While reviews of this show have often stated that the show sags when Norma is not on stage, in this case, Danny manages to keep the energy going for scenes that don’t feature the character. He is somewhat of a revelation, and has far more substance and depth in his performance than I expected. Perhaps just as importantly, since this is a musical, they both have fantastic voices and impressive range, whether individually on songs such as Sunset Boulevard (Danny) or As If We Never Said Goodbye (Ria) or together on Perfect Year. The supporting cast and chorus also do a fantastic job, and you really get a sense of the excitement of the Hollywood of the 1950s. The staging takes advantage of the Hollywood setting, using ‘stagehands’ to move things around, while someone ‘films’, which gives it a meta feel. Throughout, they take advantage of projections, both at the back to the stage, and either side, which show Norma in her heyday, and various other scenes. While this looks great, it does mean that at times there is a lot going on, and it is impossible to pay attention to it all. Touring sets are tricky, as you want to maintain the feel of the show, but be portable. However, in this case, stripping it back a bit might have worked, and made some scenes feel less ‘cluttered’. I was very familiar with the film, and I did wonder if people who didn’t know the movie would engage with it quite so well. Also, if you are familiar with the movie, it doesn’t have quite the sting of the original. Some of the movie’s more sinister moments are injected with humour here. This works, but does dilute the original message somewhat. This aside, this is a fantastic production that is completely mesmerising if you take it on its own merits. It is snappy and well-paced, and will leave you with a smile on your face. Sunset Boulevard Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Docklands, Dublin 2 Tickets €20-€60. Show 7.30pm nightly until November 25th Matinee 2.30pm Saturday 25th November www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie www.ticketmaster.ie

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Drama Review: ‘Sacrament’ – Theatre Upstairs, Dublin Until 25th November Frances Winston reviews this ‘compelling piece’ about a girl struggling with both her sexual identity, and the Catholic Church’s teaching on LGBT matters

Ireland’s relationship with the Catholic Church is extremely complex, and for the LGBTQ community it is even more so. I know many members of the community who have a very strong faith, but struggle with the church’s teachings about their sexuality. The girl in this play is no exception. We never find out her name, but she takes us through her complicated relationship with her religion, from the little girl making her communion, to her apathy towards mass in her teens, to dreaming of getting married by the same priest who has officiated all the other religious milestones in her life. However, when she leaves home to study in the UK, she undergoes an awakening, and despite numerous flings with men, finds that she is attracted to her female friend. But this goes against all the bible’s teachings, leading to an epic inner struggle. Writer/performer, Leigh Douglas, has created a compelling piece that builds nicely, and ties up all its loose ends satisfactorily. It loses its way slightly in the middle, where she seems to forget about her underlying theme, but it manages to get back on track. There are also one or two scenes that could be removed without disrupting the flow of the play, but they still work. There is plenty of humour to lighten the mood, and she perfectly captures those awkward early adult years, where not even the most seemingly confident person is sure about their own identity, and everyone is just finding their feet in the world. Her performance is hugely energetic and compelling. The kind of performance that you get exhausted watching. The staging is simple. There is a kneeler like those you see in a church, and a large marble18 EILE Magazine


effect block that could be an altar, but serves many purposes during the show. The lighting is also simple, meaning that all the focus is on the words and performance. This is a multi-layered piece, and tackles many issues that affect people in today’s world. The performance is listed as approximately 1 hour, and the show I attended went slightly over this, but it didn’t feel that long, which is a good sign. Although she struggles with her sexuality, LGBTQ themes aren’t shoved down your throat. This shows that it is possible to write a play about issues in the community without it being the be-all and end-all. This play will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled with their own sense of identity, irrespective of sexuality. Anyone who went through the machinations of the Catholic school system will appreciate many of the recollections, and everyone will recognise at least one of the ‘supporting characters’ that Douglas dips in and out of. This is a lovely piece of work that will leave you feeling nostalgic, while also causing you to perhaps examine your own relationships.

Details of venue and tickets below: Sacrament Theatre Upstairs, Lanigan’s Bar 10, Eden Quay, Dublin 1 Runs until November 25th, 7pm nightly Matinees Wednesday and Saturday 1pm Tickets €12/10. Dinner and a show €18/€16 BOOK NOW: http://www.theatreupstairs. ie/book-tickets Phone: +353 (0)85 772 7375 CREATIVE TEAM Leigh Douglas / WRITER + CAST Fiona Kingwill / DIRECTOR Naomi Faughan / SET DESIGN Martha Godfrey / LIGHTING DESIGN Gavin Hennessy / SOUND DESIGN Amy Warren / MOVE MENT Emma Hanley / PRODUCER EILE Magazine 19


Baby it’s

Brian Rochford w season’s warm a

This time of year y have some warm, the start of that ro events. You shoul winter coat or jac that is stylish, wa you to the end of t

There’s such a wide selec check out the ranges ava or Next, if you don’t hav something that suits you it’s not just about how m right look for you.

Perhaps you like the look more sophisticated Woo Hooded Jacket. There is available, which always l and warm. Don’t forget t wardrobe with trending scarce.

With Christmas just rou (excuse the pun). Many o celebrating, so it is impo the time to browse the li choices of styles, fabrics, looking like you just jum Marks & Spencer

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Jeans and jumpers, even on-trend this festive seas washed jeans (still going well.


cold outside!

writes on the upcoming party and stylish clothes choices

you need to make sure that you , but stylish, clothing, as it’s also ound of parties and pre-Christmas ld for a start have at least one good cket. That means a coat or jacket arm, comfortable, and that will see the cold weather.

ction of styles to choose from, and you could ailable from shops like M&S, River Island, ve a designer budget. You are certain to find ur style, shape, and price bracket. Remember, much you spend, it’s as much about choosing the

k of the Faux-Fur Parka Coat, or maybe the ol-Blend Coat, or you might go for the shorter s also a great variety of Bomber Jackets look stylish, on-trend, and are very practical that you can always upgrade your old winterhats, and fashionable scarves, if funds are

und the corner, it’s time to get cracking of us will be attending the office party, or out ortant to look your best at this time of year. Take ine of skinny-fit blazers in shops. There are good , and colours. Now you have no reason for not mped off the catwalk.

n cardigans, are still very much in style and son. From black skinny stretch jeans, to blackg strong) even faded blue jeans are still alive and

patrick grant for debenhams

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And where would we be without the quintessential Christmas jumper? Like them or loathe them, they are not going away any time soon. If you are cool enough to take on the cardigan, it can look warm and stylish during the cold weather. With so many different jumper styles, colours, and wool textures on offer, there’s a good chance your fashion needs will be met, indeed, if you feel confident enough to buy the gift of a sweater for someone, you have at least one of you gift decisions sorted. Don’t forget that

mantaray

zadig & voltaire

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essential fashion-item for a smart look, and for your nights out on the town, which is (yes, you’ve guessed it) the shirt. With so much variety, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Choose from slim-fit to muscle-fit, long sleeves or short sleeves, and even a wide selection of collar styles. You can wear them casually styled, with a v-necked jumper and open-necked, or they can be worn to create a stylish sophisticated look, with a tie and smart jacket. With all that choice, you’ll be running out of reasons not to look like you belong in the pages of a high-fashion magazine, but most of all, you can be stylish, warm, and comfortable.

Marks & Spencer

debenhams EILE Magazine 23


Northern Ireland Rainbow Project – Festive Craft Fair 25 November Free Entry! Nor thern Ireland’s ‘Rainbow Project’ have a Festive Craft Fair coming up, which is a fund-raiser for the LGBT activist group. Lots of goodies are on offer, and you’re sure to find something for that special person in your life, your friends, family, and you’ll be suppor ting a great cause as well! Stalls include: – T-Shir ts, Laces, Badges, Bathbomb Bags – Jewellery and Buttons – Festive Wreaths – Pins and Charms – Alpaca Soap – Glassware – Crochet and knitted items – Paintings – JoJo Bows and Lanyards

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– DoTerra – Bathbombs & Soaps – Sweetie Table – Bags, Brollies and Ponchos – Sewing – Roomsprays, candles and oils

The Festive Craft Fair happens on 25th November, 12 noon – 4 pm, at: LGBT Centre, 23-31 Waring Street, Belfast, BT1 2DX For more, you can visit: https://www.rainbow-project.org/ EILE Magazine 25


Review: STEPS at the 3Arena Dublin – Party On The Dancefloor Tour Frances Winston reviews the latest STEPS Tour, Party On The Dancefloor, at the 3Arena Dublin Steps are the marmite of the pop world, with people either loving and adoring them, or utterly despising them. Originally conceived as a techno-dance group, that fell by the wayside after their first single, 5-6-7-8, Steps‘ sound was then replaced with a fresher more Abbaesque-type sound, and indeed, they often drew comparisons to the 70s super-group for their vocals and arrangements (obviously they didn’t write their own songs however). As is usually the case, in-band tensions and jealousies led to a split, but now older and wiser, and perhaps more reflective and appreciative of their back catalogue, Steps are back together for the second time (the first was documented on a reality TV show back in 2011) and celebrating their 20th anniversary. Hot on the heels of the release of a new album, Tears on the Dancefloor, earlier this year, they announced their Party on the Dancefloor tour, and judging by the amount of glitter and glowsticks that attendees were donning for this concert, it seemed that the audience were taking the tour title quite literally. They were not to be disappointed. After a surprisingly rousing set from The Vengaboys (who had far more hits that I actually recalled) 26 EILE Magazine

the quintet made their entrance in spectacular fashion, with dazzling lighting and video effects, and an actual flaming-torch procession (not something you see every day at a gig). From the first notes of their comeback hit Scared of the Dark, the audience were on their feet, despite the fact that this was a fullyseated event. There was a phenomenal energy in the arena, and the crowd greeted the group like old friends. From the opening salvo, the pace rarely dropped. Always known for their visually impressive shows, the band have gone all-out on this tour. Their production team must have worked overtime on the staging, which was completely stunning. They bombarded the crowd with their hits, including Last Thing On My Mind, Chain Reaction, One for Sorrow and Deeper Shade of Blue. Throughout the songs, all the cheesy choreography was in place, and the crowd duly danced along, with many of them knowing every move. Steps were also ably backed by a fantastic group of dancers, who only added to the energy. The music only stopped to allow them to engage with the audience on occasion, where they gushed about how much they appreciated their fans (naturally) and shamelessly plugged their latest album. But the crowd didn’t seem to mind this, with the cheers indicating many already own it. At one point, Ian ‘H’ Watkins even stopped the show to take a selfie with the crowd in the


STEPS

background, much to everyone’s delight. By the time they reached their encore number, Tragedy, the arena was literally hopping, and not just with the 30 and 40-somethings you would expect. It seems Steps also have a whole new generation of younger fans, who were delighting in the gig also. By the end of the evening, everyone felt like they had been at a nonstop party. Steps may not be to your taste, but in terms of a production, this is difficult to fault. Technically it was perfect, visually it was stunning, and their vocals were

spot on. The crowd left feeling extremely entertained, which is the purpose of a show like this, and even the merchandise was reasonably priced. How you feel about the music is a different matter, but in terms of seeing a great show, and getting bang for your entertainment buck, Steps definitely delivered. Steps were performing at the 3Arena, North Wall Quay, Dublin Docklands, on Monday November 13th 2017.

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Review: Depeche Mode at the 3Arena, Dublin Frances Winston reviews this energetic eighties band who are still relevant after nearly 4 decades There seems to be an eighties revival at the moment, with many bands of that era taking to the road to transport their fans back in time, playing all the hits from their heyday. Not so Depeche Mode. Despite being together 36 years, and enjoying a string of hits in the 80s, they managed to endure

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well beyond that, and their latest album, Spirit, released in March this year, has been heralded as some of their finest work. They are one of those rare bands who have managed to remain relevant, without trying too hard. They have never really felt the need to reinvent themselves, and have always seemed to evolve organically rather than in a contrived way. It helps that, despite their synth-heavy sound, they have


always been able to cut the mustard live. A quick look at their 1988 tour documentary 101 shows that this has always been the case, and nearly 30 years after the film’s release, they are still touring and still filling arenas. Of course, when frontman Dave Gahan looks out over the crowd these days, the fans are probably a bit older and jowlier, but they are still as loyal (although I did see several children at the gig who were brought along by their Depeche-loving parents). However, the band are also older, despite the fact that they remain impossibly cool. If you looked up cool in the dictionary it would probably have a picture of Gahan beside it. He is from the school of posturing pop and rock stars, but his posing always seems authentic, like he’s enjoying it rather than putting on a show for the fans. And what a show they put on in the 3Arena. With stunning video backdrops, they belted out hit after hit. They have an enormous back catalogue, so included a good mix of everything to keep the fans happy, from the very early stuff such as Everything Counts, to their 90s hits like Enjoy the Silence, noughties material such as Precious, and right up to present day with Where’s The Revolution. They had changed the arrangement of some songs, which can be a gamble, but they pulled it off. Especially haunting was the acoustic version of Strangelove, sung not by Dave, but by the band’s main songwriter, Martin Gore. While all the songs were greeted warmly by the crowd, there were definitely some fanfavourites that drew slightly more rousing cheers. Their final song, Personal Jesus, was a definite fan-favourite. Obviously, you can’t please everyone, and I did hear some

grumblings about songs they didn’t play, but to be fair to the band, they only have a finite amount of time to perform, and as an overview of their body of work, I felt this set worked well and flowed nicely. Throughout the show, Gahan pranced and posed like a prize pony, while Gore dutifuly performed backing vocals, and hopped between keyboard and guitar duties, meanwhile the ‘quiet one’, keyboardist Andy Fletcher, kept his head down, only popping out from behind the keyboard for the band’s bow at the end of the show. After nearly four decades, and playing these songs hundreds and hundreds of times, the band’s energy and enthusiasm doesn’t seem to have waned in the least, and this was definitely reflected in the fans’ reactions. A quick look at social media confirmed that everyone had thoroughly enjoyed the show. They are currently shortlisted for induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and they would definitely be a worthy addition. Depeche Mode performed at the 3 Arena, North Wall Quay, North Dock, Dublin 1, on Wednesday November 15th, 2017. The Set List is below: Revolution (The Beatles song), Cover Me (Alt Out)(instrumental video intro), Going Backwards, It’s No Good, Barrel of a Gun (with ‘The Message’ (Grandmaster Flash) snippet), A Pain That I’m Used To (‘Jacques Lu Cont’s remix’ version), Useless (new video projection), In Your Room, World in My Eyes, Cover Me, A Question of Lust (acoustic), Home Precious, Where’s the Revolution, Wrong, Everything Counts, Halo, Enjoy the Silence, Never Let Me Down Again Encore: Strangelove (acoustic; sung by Martin), Walking in My Shoes, Policy of Truth, A Question of Time, Personal Jesus

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Album Review

Four by Bloc Party Lisa Reynolds reviews the 2012 album, FOUR, by Bloc Party “I’ve been a creative person since I was a child. It’s always been a form of therapy for me. I guess in times of crisis or turmoil I feel the need to write” - Kele Okereke Four, by English indie/rock band, Bloc Party (2012) is a charismatic and atmospheric album, which stunningly flows together. Bloc Party’s style has been compared to Radiohead, U2, Depeche Mode, and Björk. The album was recorded in late 2011 and early 2012 at Stratosphere Sound in New York city, and was the band’s first album, following a two-year hiatus. The guitar-driven album was produced by Alex Newport (Wreckonomics, Death Cab for Cutie, The Mars Volta, At The Drive-In,

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Polysics) and released on the independent New York label Frenchkiss Records. It is a rounded project, stamped in personality with a gorgeously stripped-back sound. The opening Track on Four is So He Begins To Lie, which is based on Reality TV. A very story-telling track, I can see this mini Reality TV show in front of me as Kele Okereke is singing. Actually this album feels like a collection of short narratives, so it isn’t really surprising that Kele writes fictional stories as well. His vocal has a wonderful quality - a very strident and rhythmic opener, with a gorgeous piercing and constantly changing guitar sound. Next up is 3x3, which is a wonderfully-constructed gothic sounding track about black magic, and making a

pact with someone. It sounds like a short paranormal/ supernatural story. Wonderful. The third track, Octopus, is one of my favourites. It is very catchy, and the instrumentals flow really beautifully. I also love Kele’s vocal on it. The first three tracks are fastpaced. The first slow song comes next in the form of Real Talk. It’s tender, romantic and raw. Kele’s vocal has a beautiful softness, and the melodious instrumentals which accompany it make this another gorgeous track. We move next to another one of my favourite tracks, Kettling. It has a very catchy chorus with a gorgeous raucous sound. It’s just effortless. Next is Day Four. This song has a very gentle rhythm in the instrumental,


Kele Okereke

which complements Kele’s laid-back vocal beautifully. A very heartfelt song. Gorgeously narrative and cinematic. Closing the first half is Coliseum. It starts with a country rock sound, before it bursts into a thundering, piercing rock sound. Gloriously headbanging. Loved it. It transports you into thinking you’re in a mosh pit at a festival or something. Another one of my favourites follows called V.A.L.I.S. to start part two of the album. Kele’s vocal is very storytelling and introspective on this track. I love his vocal on this. The inspiration for the song was Philip K. Dick’s science-fiction novel of the same name. The song that follows, Team A, is a very cleverly put together song

Kele Okereke – lead vocals, rhythm guitar Russell Lissack – lead guitar Gordon Moakes – bass guitar, backing vocals Matt Tong – drums, backing vocals

about the New York drugscene. Truth comes after Team A. This song is so beautiful and romantic. Kele’s vocal is absolutely stunning and raw. Very understated and just gorgeous. The Healing is next. Another beautifully understated track. Flows along effortlessly. Another favourite follows called We Are Not Good People. It is an excellent track brimming with attitude. Kele’s vocal is incredible on this very dynamic and expansive track. Wonderfully constructed and perfect to headbang to. Mean is next. Another gem, where Kele’s great vocal and the instrumentals are very laidback and understated. Closing the album is Leaf Skeleton. A wonderful, polished, closing

Bloc Party performing songs from Four at HARD Summer 2012 Image: Drewfarr

track, and a perfect ending. The little snippets of talking from the recording studio are also a great addition to the album. They were captured by the producer Alex, who left the mics on, and they add personality and the atmosphere of recording between some of the songs. A wonderful listen from start to finish. Gorgeously crafted. To purchase Four by Bloc Party go to: https://www.amazon. co.uk/Four-Bloc-Party/dp/ B0087YSP76 Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=7j3Qc7Wdazg

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Travel

Indian Ocean honeymoons Is there any better way to start married life than spending a week in paradise? The stunning islands of the Indian Ocean are just as close to it as you can get - with sands as white as the water is clear, allinclusive resorts that will cater to your every need and year round sunshine. You can lay back and relax on some of the world’s most perfect beaches, swim in lagoons or explore the spectacular reefs and see the captivating underwater world. But, if that’s not quite enough for you, you can very easily add on an element of adventure with an extra stay in South Africa or Sri Lanka, both of which offer adrenaline filled activities such as safari, trekking and exploring UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Whichever way you choose to enjoy it, Travelmood have put together the perfectly tailor-made honeymoons to the piece of perfection that is the Indian Ocean. Maldives

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Spend 7 nights at the 4* Kuramathi Island Resort on an all-inclusive basis from only €2,999pp. Price includes: Return flights ex. Dublin, 7 nights’ accommodation as stated including free upgrade and 2 free nights, airport transfers on arrival, taxes and charges. Based on two people sharing. Travel: May/June 2018 - other dates available Ref No: 1530283 Mauritius Spend 7 nights at the 4* Ravenala Attitude All Suite Hotel on an all-inclusive basis from only €1,789pp. Price includes: Return flights ex. Dublin, 7 nights’ accommodation as stated including 2 free nights, airport transfers on arrival, taxes and charges. Based on two people sharing. Travel: May 2018 - other dates available Ref No: 1530325 Sri Lanka & Maldives Spend 4 nights at the 4* Avani Kalutara


Resort on a half-board basis and 7 nights in the 4* Meeru Island Resort & Spa on an allinclusive basis from only €2,249pp. Price includes: Return flights ex. Dublin, 11 nights’ accommodation as stated, flight to the Maldives, taxes and charges. Based on two people sharing. Travel: May 2018 - other dates available Ref No: 1529823 South Africa and Mauritius 3 nights at the 4* Southern Sun Waterfront, Cape Town on a B&B Basis 3 nights at the 4* Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa (Garden Route) on a B&B basis. 2 nights at the 4* Shamwari Sarili Lodge, Eastern Cape on a full board basis. 7 nights at the 4* Zilwa Attitude, Mauritius on an all-inclusive basis. Price includes: Return flights ex. Dublin, 15 nights’ accommodation as stated, 5 days care hire and Cape Town transfers, taxes and charges. Based on two people sharing. Travel: May 2018 - other dates available Ref No: 1521605 For more information on these offers or to book, visit www.travelmood. ie or call their dedicated and experienced team on 01 4331063 or visit the Travelmood store on Duke Street, Dublin 2, just off Grafton Street.

EILE Magazine 33


Route 66 t with th

Did you know that Route 66 is the most desired USA road trip route among the Irish? A recent survey by American Holidays showed that 40% of people asked voted the famous route across the United States as number one on their road trip bucket list. And is it any wonder? A road trip across the States offers an experience like no other, letting you explore so many exciting places at your own pace. Follow the historic route from the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago to the golden beaches of Santa Monica, taking in the wonderful sights that America has to offer along the way. From the Great Lakes of the north, the Ozark Mountains, the Great Plains, the Mojave Desert and the Pacific Ocean - travel across these diverse landscapes and explore fascinating places and meet some wonderful people. By the time you see the ‘End of the Trail’ sign that marks the end of Historic Route 66 you will be left with incredible memories that will last a lifetime.

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top choice he Irish

Why not start planning your own Route 66 adventure today? The newly launched Road Trip Recommender tool - unique to American Holidays - lets you plan the perfect road trip itinerary to suit you. Get tips from the already existing itineraries worked up by the experts or put together your own tailor made trip, and take to the road! Take a Route 66 Fly/Drive from only ₏1999pp Price includes: Return flights ex. Dublin, 15 nights’ accommodation in selected hotels, compact car rental with fully inclusive insurance, taxes and charges. Travel: April-October 2018 Ref: 1531803

Call American Holidays to book on 01 673 3804 or call into their office just off Grafton Street - 18- 19 Duke Street, Dublin 2 where the expert staff will help you plan your holiday of a lifetime. For more information visit www. americanholidays.com.

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Health

Cardio for health Brian Rochford writes on how to keep your heart healthy - whether or not you use a gym Research seems to suggest that regular exercising can be at the very least as good as taking antidepressants, to help people who are suffering from depression. Doing physical exercise can change the level of serotonin in the brain. It has also been linked to improving your levels of endorphins, commonly referred to as the “feel good hormone”. Some studies indicate that doing physical exercise can increase brain cell numbers, within the region of the hippocampus (the area of the brain associated with memory, emotions, even motivation). Cardio workouts target the heart, and as the heart is a muscle, it can be made stronger, healthier, and more efficient, by participating in a good exercise session. Making your cardiovascular system stronger provides more oxygen to your body’s muscles and cells, and this is good for burning fat, and reducing the risk of heart problems. The best cardio workout routines include the following: Stair-climbing is a powerful workout, as it uses even more of your body’s muscles than walking. 36 EILE Magazine

Swimming is one of the best total-body workouts ever, as it uses every muscle, and you have the advantage of using the water as resistance, so you are also building up the body’s complete strength and resilience. Please note that the beauty of cardio-exercises is that you do a lot of them naturally, and no special equipment is required. You use your body’s own muscles to achieve the beneficial results. Walking is something we do naturally, so it’s just a matter of stepping up the pace to get the heart pumping, and the blood circulating. Skipping-rope workout is something we did when we were younger, well some of us did it for fun anyway. So why not rekindle the magic and get some health benefits as well? A rowing-machine gives a really good cardio workout for the upper and lower body. Cycling is becoming more and more popular with people of all ages. Cycling regularly elevates the heart rate, and strengthens the leg muscles. It is something you can do alone, or in groups just for fun. It is also a handy form of transport around the city, and needless to say it’s good for the environment. Running and jogging may not be for everyone,


but doing these activities regularly helps to give your heart the stimulation required for lasting health and long life. As always, it is very important that you consult your doctor before starting any exercise routine, and to monitor how you are feeling during and after your sessions. If your find that you are over-tired or in pain, then reduce the intensity, and take some time to recover. As you become stronger, you may wish to add some weights into your routine, to build up your muscles and increase your strength. There are many benefits to be gained from a cardio workout. Here are just a few: Better energy/ reduction in the risk of heart disease/ improved sleep/ better bone density/ reduced stress/ improved lung function. If you are a fan of going to the gym, you could make good use of a range of gym equipment tailor-made for a really good cardio workout. First on the list is the range of bikes that you

could use, you have the recumbent bike, which is good for people with back issues, you have the spin bike if you are looking for a more serious workout, and there is also the airdyne or wind bike, which can be more challenging as you use your arms and upper body during your training. They are all designed to give you a different kind of workout, so you have a range of choices. The elliptical trainer is popular with people who want a low joint-impact workout, and you still can get the upper and lower body cardio workout. Next up is stairmaster, which gives your lower body a good workout. Finally, the rowing machine provides a really powerful workout for the upper body, and gives you a really good cardio workout. Remember to start off slow, and be careful always not to overdo your training, it’s best do less more consistently than to over-train, and do damage to your body. So get started at your own pace, and in your own time. Make little changes and you will see big results. EILE Magazine 37


JUSTICE LEAGUE Directed by: Zack Snyder – Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds After a slow start, the DCEU (that’s the DC Extended Universe to the uninitiated) finally found its feet during the summer, with the juggernaut that was Wonder Woman, which exceeded all expectations. Following Batman vs Superman (which makes far more sense if you watch the extended edition by the way) reactions were mixed about this flick. That movie was so dark (literally – at times you couldn’t see what was going on) and disjointed, that general feeling was that this would be more of the same with added heroes. However, Patty Jenkins’ female-focused blockbuster was a game changer, and restored a lot of people’s faith in the concept. Justice League is basically a ‘putting the band together’ movie, so a lot of time is spent focusing on Bruce Wayne/Batman (Aflleck) and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gadot) as they attempt to round up a posse of fellow superheroes to tackle the evil entity known as Steppenwolf (Hinds). As such, there is a lot of exposition, as Snyder tries to cram in characters’ back-stories before we see them in action. Much of the movie is composed of scenes of the group getting to know each other, 38 EILE Magazine


Frances Winston on Movies and bonding and bickering, which allows Snyder to inject humour into the proceedings. The fact that Henry Cavill’s name appears in the titles implies that Superman does indeed make an appearance, despite dying in his last outing so that is hardly a spoiler. Justice League is almost the polar-opposite of Batman vs Superman. Far lighter than its predecessor, they have stripped away the dark cinematography and heavyhanded dialogue. Snyder has rounded up a great cast, who appear to have a great chemistry. I wasn’t sure about the casting of Miller as The Flash, but he does an excellent job here and seems to have great fun in the role. Momoa isn’t stretched as Aquaman, but makes for a plausible hero, and Fisher manages to give a great performance despite the fact that the only ‘real’ part of him we ever see is half his face. Affleck is an adequate Batman, but the shadow of Christian Bale still looms heavy. However, it is Gadot’s Wonder Woman who deserves the most debate. Although one of the best things about this film, she feels far less fierce in

Snyder’s hands, and the script frequently has her making reference to her lost love, Steve Trevor. In terms of battle, she still gives as good as she gets, but she feels slightly diluted here from the heroine we met in her standalone movie. That is a problem for females throughout this film. The Amazonians’ trademark armour has been reduced to metal bikinis in most cases, which looks ridiculous. Snyder has opted for sexkitten over strong, and it doesn’t really work. And the tenacious independent newshound, Lois Lane, has been reduced to a simpering mess, who no longer has the stomach for hard news. It is safe to say that the female characters are not well-rounded at all. You have to wonder how Patty Jenkins would have handled them. There are also problems with the pacing of the plot, with some scenes appearing to jump forward quite quickly, with little or no explanation. The running time is an even two hours, which is usually considered rather short for a movie of this scale, so you have to wonder if Snyder could have given the plot more room to breathe if he had been allowed even an

extra 15 minutes (see my Batman vs Superman note from earlier in this review). That gripe aside, Justice League is still a superhero movie, and as such has its big action scenes. Although these are indeed spectacular, they bring nothing new to the table. Each hero gets their moment to shine as they take on the bad guy, and as you would expect, there are all sorts of explosions and gadgets and superhero trickery involved. Justice League is far better than Batman vs Superman, but not a patch on Wonder Woman. It suffers from a relatively short running time, as there are a lot of characters to focus on. It is still very entertaining, and has moments of great wit, but it is not a game-changer by any means. As an introduction to many of these characters, Justice League works well, and it will be interesting to see where they go with them from here. They have all the components of a fun franchise here, but it is now a case of getting the balance right. In Cinemas Now!

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS 40 EILE Magazine


Frances Winston on Movies continued...

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh – Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr. This is one of those movies that has been made and remade, and then remade again for good measure – usually with a starstudded cast. The fact that it has merited so many interpretations is testament to the fact that this is possibly one of Agatha Christie’s finest, and most complex, murder-mysteries. The star of the show is her famous detective, Hercule Poirot, played here by Branagh. It is extremely unlikely that anybody reading this has never encountered him in some form, whether it be through the books, TV adaptations, or the numerous movies made featuring him, so I won’t bother explaining who he is. Equally, it is extremely unlikely that most people aren’t familiar with at least the basic plot of this story, so I won’t go into a synopsis for fear of spoiling it for the few who aren’t. Suffice to say the clue is in the title. There is a murder, and it takes place

on the Orient Express. As is usually the case in Agatha’s Christie’s whodunnits, there are multiple suspects, each one has a very solid motive, and Poirot must use all his powers of deduction to narrow the line-up down to the actual criminal. Set in the 30s, Murder On The Orient Express exudes glamour, and the opulence you would expect, given the setting. It has expanded the world of the original story, changing the race of some characters to give it a more contemporary feel. It also takes some of the action off the famous train, and out into the snowy landscape. It is these and a few other subtle changes to Christie’s original tale that ensure this stands out as a work separate to all the other interpretations. Branagh plays Poirot, somewhat more bad-ass than you may be used to seeing him, clearly trying to put his own stamp on the role. Meanwhile the rest of the cast avoid the temptation to ham it up or pull focus, and despite all the big names, this truly feels like an ensemble effort. The cinematography is stunning. Despite the fact that it is technically set on a train, Branagh takes full advantage of the landscape. Also the costumes are magnificent, and will surely be in the running for a few

awards when the season comes around. The script is extremely witty, and manages to avoid slipping into stilted territory too often – something which is often an issue with Christie interpretations. It is hard to make a story that has been done so often feel original, but Branagh does it. It dips slightly in places, but on the whole, this is a solid interpretation of the tale. There are one or two continuity issues that bugged me slightly (if someone has a prominent mole on their face, please don’t EVER flip the shot editors!) but not enough to detract from my enjoyment. Despite knowing the outcome of the movie, I was still interested in seeing how Poirot got there. It also sets itself up nicely for a sequel – Death on the Nile. This will appeal to Christie fans, and anyone who likes epic oldschool storytelling. It veers somewhere between high drama and high camp, but it does work, and at less than two hours, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Extremely entertaining, and beautiful to look at, this is a worthy addition to the Christie catalogue. In Cinemas Now!

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42 EILE Magazine


Frances Winston on Movies continued...

Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic, Alicia Silverstone, Bill Camp Lanthimos’ last film, The Lobster, was a critical and commercial success, so this has a lot to live up to. So no doubt sticking to the ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ theory, he has once again called on Colin Farrell to take the lead. The Lobster was completely surreal and absurdist, and this is a similar style, although it is not set in a dystopian world, but rather one that resembles contemporary life. Farrell plays a cardiac surgeon called Steven, who is forced to confront events from his past when tragedies start befalling his family. Much like The Lobster, the dialogue here is stilted, delivered in a non-emotive and straightforward way, and much like the Lobster, we are never given any explanation for the almost supernatural happenings – they just are. Many of the scenes are almost set as tableaux, and visually this is

incredibly striking. However, it sometimes feels like scenes don’t get a chance to breathe, and quite often the dialogue becomes grating, thanks to the stilted delivery. Essentially the underlying story here – where someone seeks revenge for the death of their father by targeting his surgeon’s family – is a good starting-off point. However, I couldn’t help feeling that this was trying very hard to replicate The Lobster, and at times for me it dragged. There is a ‘having a filmmaking style’ and then there is basically making the same movie over and over, and it would be a shame if Lanthimos were to fall into the latter category. There are some nice moments, particularly between Kidman and her on-screen children, but I found it hard to warm to Farrell, and there were several scenes that seemed completely superfluous to needs.

on the frame of mind you are in when you watch it. Personally, I will admit I was a bit tired when I saw this, and it may have coloured my perception, but regardless, it isn’t the kind of movie which would have mass-market appeal. I’m sure that cinema purists will love this, and wax lyrical about artistry, and the idiosyncrasy and bravery of Lanthimos, and it will probably be inundated with awards. However, I didn’t feel it was art-house enough to fall into that luvvie category, but neither is it completely commercial, and it doesn’t seem to fit comfortably in the middle either. It’s an interesting piece, but stylistically too close to The Lobster to stand alone.

In Cinemas Now!

The writing has some clever moments, but it is relying on the audience picking up on them. However, if you miss them, you may find yourself confused at other points in the film, so you really do need to totally focus for the entire movie. Much like the Lobster, this will be an acquired taste, and how you feel about it will probably depend EILE Magazine 43


Review - Metropolis Festival 2017 at the RDS Dublin Frances Winston reviews the Metropolis Festival 2017, which took place at the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, on 28th and 29th October this year Now in its third year, Metropolis has become one of the highlights of the festival calendar, rounding off the year nicely, and filling the gap until the following year’s festivalseason kicks in. Previous years have seen the likes of Chic, Mark Ronson, and Grace Jones take to the stage. When the bar is set that high, there is great expectation, so when it was announced that 90s R’n’B icons, TLC, would be performing (as a duo, following the untimely death of Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes back in 2002) there was great excitement. The festival was also falling on the October Bank Holiday weekend, which meant no work the following day, which also added to its appeal. However, two things then happened. Firstly, it was revealed the Saturday was to be a much smaller affair, as only two stages would be open, and secondly, TLC cancelled. Add this to the fact that the Dublin City Marathon meant traffic diversions on the Sunday might make the festival tricky to get to, and it appeared that it 44 EILE Magazine

might suffer an uncustomary wobble. When I arrived on the Saturday, I have to admit it did appear a far more sedate affair than previous years. With legendary 90s dancepioneers, Leftfield, set to play their ground-breaking album ‘Leftism‘ live and in its entirety, it seemed that everyone was there to see them. While the other acts on the bill were greeted enthusiastically by the crowd, most of them appeared to be looking at the clock, and it was a very civilised affair. Even the fairground area was eerily quiet, with a few people politely riding the dodgems and carousels, compared to the usual bedlam at festivals. Despite this, I have to give kudos to the performers, particularly Tara Stewart and Mango & Mathman, who really got the Industries Hall hopping. Meanwhile, Laurent Garner proved a popular precursor to headliners, Leftfield, who really did prove worth waiting for. Dance music can be tricky to perform live, and loses something in translation, as often studio tricks are employed on albums, but Leftfield really pulled out all the stops, and the combination of performance, light show, and graphics combined to satiate even the most hardcore fan.

Despite this, Saturday seemed like a rather civilised dance party, rather than a festival. Fast forward to Sunday, and all I can say is OMG! I arrived not long after 5pm (the gates had opened at 3pm) and it was more like 11pm at night at an all-day festival. The ante had literally been upped overnight, as thousands of additional revellers (all accommodated by the fact Sunday had a higher capacity due to having access to five performance spaces instead of just two) wandered around creating dance spaces wherever they felt like it. People were already somewhat wild. The fairground was awash with all manner of creations, since many people had come in fancy-dress. Queues for bars, performance spaces and toilets were already epic, and the atmosphere was full-on party. To be honest, I don’t think most people cared who was playing on the Sunday Night. They were just there for the atmosphere and a good time. The Warehouse Stage had turned into a scene reminiscent of the Hacienda circa 1995. The queues for this space were massive, with everyone keen to get a piece of the action, and there were some top acts taking to the stage, including Jeremy Underground, Adam Beyer and Richie Hawtin. I managed to catch part of all these, and they really were fantastic. However, over on the main stage, at the surprisingly early time of 6pm,


the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff was doing his thing. I was surprised that there weren’t more people in the hall as he kicked off, but within a few minutes of his extremely old-skool set kicking in, it quickly filled up. He and his crew mixed everything from Michael Jackson to Nirvana, and even threw in the theme track to Fresh Prince of Bel Air, much to the crowds delight. From that point on, Old-Skool seemed pretty much order of the day – particularly in the Industries Hall. The Fedz were banging out some pretty classic fare, and they were followed by the always-popular, Sing Along Social, who led the crowd in a singsong of well-known classics, and even Bingo Loco (which is basically rave bingo – it has to be seen to be believed) had stripped back their act for Sunday, so it basically became

them leading the crowd, dancing to some classic tracks while throwing out prizes. Meanwhile, Bonzai played a storming set over on the Main Stage, and Jungle found an appreciative audience. I have to admit being a bit surprised by the headliner on the main stage, Todd Terje. After all, his stage name is based on legendary DJ, Todd Terry, and many seem to think of him as a tribute act to the star. While he wouldn’t have been my first choice to top the bill, and I have to say I thought some of the other artists at the festival were more worthy, he did have the crowd on their feet hopping, and completely filled the main hall. Obviously, I am only one person, and with so much activity I couldn’t get to see everything, so I never made the Red Bull Music Academy Talks, or their stage, but I heard

great things about it. And on the whole it was a stormer of a festival. The downsides – the difference in the format for Saturday and Sunday was rather disjointed. As always (because this has been an issue every year) there simply were not enough toilets – particularly on the Sunday, and there were only a few food outlets with not much variety, and Saturday had even less. Despite this, it was a lot of fun, and had an amazing atmosphere, even if it was extremely different on both days. If they could sort out the toilet facilities for next year, this could continue to be a fantastic festival, but honestly, the lack of toilets was the biggest complaint I heard from everyone all weekend, which, in the grand scheme of things, is a great testament to the rest of the organisation. EILE Magazine 45


As Australian LGBT Community Celebrate, NI LGBT Feel More Isolated Yesterday, Wednesday 15th November, Australia voted overwhelmingly that they wish to allow same-sex marriage, in their marriage equality plebiscite. Meanwhile, Theresa May’s UK government is propped up by the DUP in Northern Ireland, a party that has consistently blocked the north’s LGBT community equal marriage rights. In Australia, 12.7 million votes were cast and 61.6% voted YES. As the Equality Campaign says, the result is historic, and they are now on their way to joining one billion people around the world who have as their right the permission to marry a same-sex partner. Alex Greenwich of the Equality Campaign proudly was justifiably proud of the

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result: “..ours will be the last generation in which LGBTI relationships [in Australia] are not equal under the law. For the young person growing up in a small town, for the couple who have been together 40 years, and the person who’s been longing to propose: you belong here, your love is celebrated and honoured here, and never again will you be made to feel otherwise by our country’s laws. […] today in Australia, fairness and equality triumphed, and we can all be proud”. “Parliament still has to pass Australia’s unequivocal mandate for equality into law. And you can be sure we’ll hold them to that – we expect a timely vote on a fair and simple bill, this year. But for now we celebrate YES. So much happiness can be felt from the Australian LGBT community and their supporters, that it’s natural to want to celebrate with them and congratulate them for a hard-fought and hardwon campaign, which was conducted in a very civilised

manner, as they refused to stoop to underhand or dirty tactics, even under severe provocation from the NO side. However, it’s also time to remember the LGBT community in Northern Ireland, for whom Australia’s victory must be bitter-sweet. Northern Ireland, the only part of the UK or Ireland where there is still a ban on same-sex marriage, has seen majority support in the Northern Ireland Assembly and from the general public. A majority of MLAs in the Assembly voted to support marriage equality in November 2015. However, the DUP blocked the measure, using a Petition of Concern, a mechanism originally intended to protect rights of NI minorities. Gavin Boyd, of Northern Ireland’s Rainbow Project, has said that the LGBT community there are feeling left out. He commented: “England, Scotland, Wales, the Republic, we are entirely


surrounded by countries and regions that allow same-sex marriage. Of course people who are LGBT in Northern Ireland feel left out, it is frustrating”. Patrick Corrigan, of the Love Equality campaign for civil marriage equality in Northern Ireland, congratulated Australia, but said he wants Northern Ireland to be next: “Australia is just the latest country to say Yes to marriage equality. We are delighted for all those couples who will be able to marry as soon as politicians follow through with legislation. We send our congratulations to campaigners in Australia, who have pursued an energetic and relentlessly positive campaign. “Now, we want Northern Ireland to be next. As we move from devolved government to direct rule, we call on the Westminster government to introduce legislation as soon as possible to reflect the will of the people and of the Assembly, where there are clear majorities in favour of marriage equality.” Amidst the joy in Australia, Tiernan Brady, Director of Australians for Equality, which runs the Equality Campaign Australia, also felt for the Northern Ireland LGBT community. He is a Fermanagh native, and commented:

“Today is a joyful day. It is a day when the Australian people have said to their LGBTI family members, friends and neighbours that we are all one, and our laws must reflect that. But amidst the joy, I still feel a pang of sadness when I think of where I was born and raised in Fermanagh – and how LGBTI people there are still denied their equality. Just like Australia, the people of Northern Ireland share the same commitment to fairness and equality and that is reflected in every poll taken on the issue. Just like Australia, it has been the world of politics that is blocking the clear will of the people to treat LGBTI people equally. It is time our laws at home caught up with the values of our people. Everyone on our islands should have the right to the same aspirations and dignity as the rest of their family members and communities. I hope the joy of Australia will inspire and give hope to those who continue to work to make equality a reality.” Perhaps with direct rule from Westminster, the Northern Ireland LGBT community would have its wish, and no longer be isolated and left out. Under direct rule, it would be hard to justify withholding equal marriage rights from Northern Ireland, in the absence of an Executive, where the 10month stand-off between Sinn Féin and the DUP has been partly blamed on an

impasse on rights issues, including marriage equality and the Irish language. However, in speaking about rights and equality, it should also be mentioned that £50m, part of the £1.2bn package which Theresa May agreed with the DUP in exchange for their support for the Tory government, is due to be released to Northern Ireland. Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill has accused May of acting in her own self-interest, and against an equality agenda, as the DUP holds the balance of power at Westminster. “Theresa May and her party have acquiesced in their own self-interest to the DUP, blocking the equality agenda and denying rights which are the norm in all other parts of our islands”, she stated. This is a contradictory situation where the head of a government, which may end up ruling Northern Ireland directly again, is supported by, and in an agreement with, a party which is blocking equality for the LGBT community there. The inequality for Northern Ireland’s LGBT community has been brought into sharp focus by Australia’s result. -MKB (eile.ie 16 November 2017) EILE Magazine 47


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Second US Judge Halts Trump Ban On Transgender Troops (Reuters) – A second federal judge on Tuesday blocked President Donald Trump from banning transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, ruling that the prohibition likely amounted to unconstitutional discrimination. U.S. District Judge, Marvin Garbis, in Baltimore, ruled that the ban lacked justification and “cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest.” His ruling followed a similar one by a federal judge in Washington on October 30. Garbis, appointed to the federal bench by former Republican president, 50 EILE Magazine

George Bush, in 1989, went further than the Washington judge, by also blocking the government’s directive to stop funding sexreassignment surgery while the case moves forward, as some of the plaintiffs would be impacted by the prohibition.

Democratic President Barack Obama’s policy of accepting them.

“We’re pleased that the courts have stepped in to ensure that trans service members are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve,”

Lead plaintiff, Brock Stone, 34, has served in the U.S. Navy for 11 years, and wants to remain for at least 20 years, according to court papers.

said Joshua Block, an attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing plaintiffs who filed a lawsuit against the ban.

After his policy announcement on Twitter, Trump signed a memorandum in August, directing the armed forces not to accept transgender people as recruits, and stopped the use of government funds for sexreassignment surgeries for active-duty personnel, unless the process was already underway.

Trump announced in July he would ban transgender people from the military, citing concern over military focus and medical costs. The move would reverse former

Several transgender service members filed the lawsuit in August, alleging the ban violated their right under the U.S. Constitution to equal protection under the law.


Demonstrators protest U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving in any capacity in the U.S. military, at the White House, July 26, 2017- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The memo called on Defense Secretary, James Mattis, to submit a plan by February 21, on how to implement the changes, and the Pentagon has created a panel of senior officials for that purpose. In the meantime, the current policy of allowing transgender people to serve remains in place. Garbis said the transgender ban was not driven by genuine concerns for military efficacy.

“The lack of any justification for the abrupt policy change, combined with the discriminatory impact to a group of our military service members who have served our country capably and honorably, cannot possibly constitute a legitimate governmental interest,� he wrote in his ruling. The U.S. Department of Justice said it disagreed with the ruling and was evaluating its next steps. -Andrew Chung (eile.ie 22 November 2017) EILE Magazine 51


LGBT Serious Hatecrimes Double in Russia after Ban on ‘Gay Propaganda’ Hate crimes against LGBT people in Russia have doubled in five years, researchers said on Tuesday, in the wake of a law banning ‘gay propaganda’. Murders accounted for almost 200 out of 250 crimes analysed, the Center for Independent Social Research said, attributing the surge to Russia’s 2013 ban on the spreading of “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations” to minors.

“[Offenders] have become more aggressive and less fearful,” said Svetlana Zakharova, a board member with Russian LGBT Network, the country’s most prominent gay rights campaign group, which has noted the same trend.

“It seems to them that, to some extent, the government supports their actions. Many perpetrators openly talk about their crimes as noble deeds.” The police did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The number of sentences for crimes against LGBT people increased to 65 in 2015, from 18 in 2010, the St. Petersburg-based researchers said, drawing on court records and data from judicial watchdog, RosPravosudie. Most victims were gay men. Homosexuality in Russia, where the influence of the socially conservative Orthodox Church has grown in recent years, was a criminal offence until 1993, and classed as a mental illness until 1999. Researchers said the figures are an underestimate, as many hate-crimes are not reported,

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Interior Ministry officers guard the LGBT community rally VIII St.Petersburg Pride in St. Petersburg, August 12, 2017 – REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

“It seems to them that, to some extent, the government supports their actions. Many perpetrators openly talk about their crimes as noble deeds”

investigated or prosecuted. The ‘gay propaganda’ law, which has been used to stop gay pride marches, and to detain gay rights activists, is seen by many as a move by President Vladimir Putin to crack down on dissent, and draw closer to the Russian Orthodox Church. Russia was ranked Europe’s second least LGBT-friendly nation in 2016 by ILGA-Europe, a network of European LGBT groups. -Daria Litvinova, Thomson Reuters Foundation (eile.ie 22 November 2017)

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State Art and Sculpture Museum, Ankara Image: Aleksasfi 54 EILE Magazine


Turkey - Ankara Extends Ban On LGBT Events, Interviews, Cinema (Reuters) – The Turkish capital Ankara has banned LGBT theatre, films and exhibitions and any public events of LGBT-related issues, until further notice, the governor’s office said on Sunday, citing risks to public safety. The move is likely to deepen concern among rights activists and Turkey’s Western allies about its record on civil liberties, under President Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party. “Starting from November 18, 2017, concerning our community’s public sensitivity, any events such as LGBT… cinema, theatre, panels, interviews, exhibitions are banned until further notice in our province to provide peace and security,” the governor’s office said in a statement. It said that such exhibitions could cause different groups in society to “publicly harbour hatred and hostility” toward each other, and therefore pose a risk to public safety. Authorities in Ankara had already banned a German gay film festival on Wednesday, the day before it was due to start, citing public safety and terrorism risks. In addition, gay Pride parades have been banned in Istanbul for the last two years running. Unlike in many Muslim countries, homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but there is widespread hostility to it. Civil liberties in Turkey have become a particular concern for the West, following the attempted military coup in July 2016. Since then, more than 50,000 people have been jailed, pending trial, on suspicion of links to the coup. Some 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from their jobs. Human rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies fear Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to quash his opponents. Ankara says the measures are necessary, given the extent of the security threat it faces. (eile.ie 21 November 2017)

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HRC & Trans People of Color Report on Violence Against Trans Community The HRC Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) released A Time to Act: Fatal Violence Against Transgender People in America in 2017, a heartbreaking report documenting the often deadly violence faced by transgender people, and exploring factors that have made this year the deadliest on record for the transgender community. The report comes in advance of Monday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors transgender people who lost their lives during the previous year, and amidst reports of a surge in hate-based violence 56 EILE Magazine

and harassment, that began during Donald Trump’s campaign, and continues under the Trump-Pence administration. “The epidemic of violence against transgender people is an urgent crisis that demands the nation’s immediate attention,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The unique and tragic stories featured in this report reflect the obstacles that many transgender Americans — especially trans women of color — face in their daily lives. It is crucial that we know these stories in order to combat the transphobia, misogyny and racism fueling this violence so that we can end this epidemic before it takes any more lives.” Since the start of the year, at least 25 transgender people have been killed in the U.S., the most on record. Eightyfour percent were people

of color, and 80 percent were women. Since January 2013, HRC has documented at least 102 transgender people who were victims of fatal violence; at least 87 were transgender people of color. And these disturbing numbers likely underreport deadly violence targeting transgender people, who may not be properly identified as transgender. “Each of the stories featured in this report is unique, tragic and devastating,” said TPOCC Executive Director, Kylar Broadus. “Unpacking these stories is a difficult but necessary process if we as a society want to protect the most vulnerable and address the root causes for their unjust and premature deaths.” The report explores many of the factors that can contribute to or facilitate fatal violence. In many instances, the violence


is fueled by anti-LGBTQ prejudice, racism, too-easy access to guns and increasing political attacks on the transgender community at both the state and federal level. There are a number of actions lawmakers can take to address the violence, including enhancing law enforcement response and training; improving data collection and reporting; passing non-discrimination protections; and adopting common-sense gun violence protections. Since the election of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, there has been a notable increase in the vitriol and anti-transgender rhetoric — from the top levels of government down through the rest of American society. Seventy percent of respondents to HRC’s post-2016 election youth survey reported witnessing bullying and harassment during or since the 2016 election, and almost half of LGBTQ youth said they have taken steps to hide who they are since the election. FBI data released earlier this week recorded an overall increase in hate crimes in 2016, including a rise in bias-motivated violence based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The release of A Time to Act: Fatal Violence Against Transgender People in America 2017 marks the conclusion of HRC’s commemoration of Transgender Awareness Week, which is dedicated to the progress and unfinished work in the fight for transgender equality. Earlier this week, HRC announced that more than 1,400 parents of transgender young people have signed a National Declaration of Rights in response to continued attacks on transgender equality. Throughout the week, HRC has been highlighting areas of focus and continued challenges for the transgender community, from workplace equality to access to inclusive and respectful health care. On Monday, transgender people and their allies will gather in communities across the country to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. For more information on Transgender Awareness Week and HRC’s work on transgender equality, visit: http://www.hrc.org/explore/topic/transgender. (eile.ie 19 November 2017)

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LGBT Activists Urge Global End To Electric Shocks, Pills To ‘Cure’ Gay People When Bisi Alimi came out as gay in Nigeria, his parents took him to a church where he underwent seven days of isolation, prayers and fasting to be ‘cured’ of homosexuality, he said. The experience, which prompted him to attempt suicide at the age of 17, is common for gay people from Nigeria to China to the United States, LGBT activists said on Thursday, calling for global action to end this kind of treatment. For despite gains in LGBT rights, many gay people are still forced to undergo so-called conversion therapy, involving psychoanalysis, injections and electric shocks, based on the idea homosexuality is a mental disorder or medical condition. Only three countries – Brazil, Ecuador, and Malta – have nationwide bans against conversion therapy, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). “It’s a very common thing,” said Alimi, 42, a UK-based campaigner that set up the LGBT rights group, Bisi Alimi Foundation, speaking on the sidelines of the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s annual two-day Trust Conference.

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“Change will not happen unless people realise that at the centre of this abuse are human beings.” He said lesbian women in Nigeria undergo another ordeal, with family members sometimes arranging for them to be raped in the belief that it will make them attracted to men. In China, conversion therapy is performed at government-run hospitals, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report this week. One victim interviewed by HRW was forced to undergo nausea-inducing injections while watching same-sex porn. Several others were bound and given electric shocks, the rights group said. In the United States, gay conversion therapy more often consists of psychoanalysis, said Kimahli Powell, executive director of Canadian group Rainbow Railroad, which helps LGBT people facing violence or death flee their countries. This kind of therapy is only illegal in seven of the 50 U.S. states, according to ILGA, despite rights groups arguing this kind of treatment is outdated and false. “We’re seeing more and more legal challenges against this type of therapy in the United States,” Powell told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.


Bisi Alimi @TEDxBerlin (photo: Sebastian Gabsch)

He said legalisation of same-sex marriage, which has become a major rallying point for LGBT activists, is important, but can distract from problems such as conversion therapy. Australia saw mass celebrations after voting in favour of same-sex marriage this week, and is set to become the 26th nation to legalise gay unions if the bill passes. “Marriage equality is being used as this ultimate marker of LGBTI rights, but for many individuals it’s still about being able to live, and having the will to live,” Powell said. -Nellie Peyton, Thomson Reuters Foundation (eile.ie 18 November 2017)

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GFEST 2017 and Magnu Ice Cream to reward LGB artistic excellence 60 EILE Magazine


um BTQI

GFEST – Gaywise FESTival and MAGNUM Ice Cream, the brand synonymous with pleasure and renowned globally for its luxurious ice creams, have partnered to reward the excellence that exists in the LGBTQI artistic and creative community. The launch of the 10th anniversary celebrations of GFEST – Gaywise FESTival has kick-started a fortnight long (Monday 13th to Saturday 25th November) showcase of eclectic art, films and performances by LGBTQI artists. Awards in 2 categories were announced yesterday: GFEST 2017 Magnum Art Award went to artist, Jason Carr. Filmmaker, Jake Graf, won GFEST 2017 Magnum Film Award. GFEST 2017 LGBTQI feature and short film events will take place at Rich Mix, on Monday 20th and Tuesday 21st November. These will be followed by feature and short film screenings at ArtHouse Crouch End, from 22nd to 24th November. GFEST 2017 Magnum Performance Award will be announced on 25th November at the festival’s finale performance event in St Pancras New (Parish) Church. GFEST artistic director Niranjan Kamatkar said: “We are delighted to offer these awards for the first time in the history of GFEST, and also a coincidence that this honour further celebrates the 10th anniversary of the festival this year.” Neil Gledhill, Magnum Global Brand Director, added: “Magnum believe that a day without pleasure is a day lost and we should let go and seize personal pleasure whether it be art or any other form. As a brand, we are committed to supporting smaller charities, such as GFEST, in their celebration of those who are true to their authentic and best-self.” Updated details of GFEST 2017 films, performances, visual arts and debate events from 13 to 25 November are live on: https://gaywisefestival.org.uk

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Government Ministers Join Forces to Stand Up Against Homophobic & Transphobic Bullying Stand Up Awareness Week November was from 13th-17th in Ireland. Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD joined forces to Stand Up for LGBTI+ students across Ireland. According to 2017 research (1), 70% of young LGBTI+ people do not feel safe at school. For eight years now, Stand Up Awareness Week, organised by BeLonG To Youth Services, has a been a time for second level schools to take a stand against the anti-LGBTI+ bullying, harassment, and name-calling that silences many students and can result in serious mental health challenges. Minister for Education, Richard Bruton, TD stated: “Despite major social changes for the LGBTI+ community in Ireland in recent years, our young LGBTI+ people still face challenges including bullying at school. As Minister, I am keen to do everything I can to ensure our education system is as inclusive as possible and my Department is deeply committed to tackling homophobic and transphobic bullying. I am proud to launch Stand Up Week 2017 in support of all LGBTI+ students in second level education. I urge all second level schools to join this important initiative, and encourage students to stand up for their LGBTI+ friends. By starting a conversation about LGBTI+ inclusivity at school, we are creating safe spaces for our students to learn”. Stand Up Awareness Week runs from November 13th-17th, and is the largest anti LGTBI+ bullying campaign in Ireland, with 35% of secondary schools participating in last year’s initiative. Minister Katherine Zappone, TD commented: “I have been privileged to listen to thousands of young voices this year as part of the LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy – which is being finalised and will be a world first. Sadly many continue to face bullying, discrimination and isolation. One in five LGBTI+ young people say they are confronted with harassment in the classroom, schoolyard and the wider community. This can have harrowing effects on mental health. I urge all second-level schools in Ireland to join this initiative and Stand Up against homophobic and transphobic 64 EILE Magazine


Minister Richard Bruton

Minister Katherine Zappone

bullying.” Moninne Griffith, Executive Director of BeLonG To Youth Services added: “During Stand Up Week, students, teachers and school communities across Ireland will stand up for their LGBTI+ friends and take a stand against LGBTI+ bullying and harassment. Stand Up week is also an opportunity for schools to look at how they can make them safe and supportive places for LGBTI+ students. It is unacceptable that 70% of young LGBTI+ students feel unsafe at school. Students, parents and teachers want this to change. Growing up LGBTI+ doesn’t need to be painful and challenging. But not being accepted for who you are can have serious impacts on the mental health of our young people. LGTBI+ young people are three times more likely to attempt suicide, and two times more likely to selfharm than their non LGBTI+ friends. We are delighted that over 35% of schools across Ireland engage with BeLonG To’s Stand Up week against homophobic and transphobic bullying, but more work needs to be done so LGBTI+ students are safe, protected and feel that they belong. The upcoming LGBTI+ National Youth Strategy gives us an opportunity to make this happen.” For further information on how to get involved with #Standup2017, visit: www.belongto.org/standup (1) Budding Burning Issues Survey, August 2017. The Budding Burning Issues survey is a spin-off from Burning Issues 2, the largest ever survey of LGBT+ people in Ireland, carried out by the National LGBT+ Federation in 2016. (eile.ie 13 November 2017) EILE Magazine 65


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US: Senate Judiciary Republicans Continue Approving Trump’s Anti-LGBT Agenda

On 9th November, the US Senate Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to move forward with the nomination of Gregory Katsas to the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which is often described as the second most powerful court in the country behind the U.S. Supreme Court. 68 EILE Magazine

Gregory Katsas is currently the Deputy White House Counsel for the Trump Administration – which has routinely attacked the LGBT community, all people living with HIV, and overall civil rights in America. Non-Profit legal LGBT advocate organisation, Lambda Legal, has brought together 20 additional national, state, and local LGBT groups urging members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to stop this nomination. These groups include

GLAAD, The Trevor Project, and the Transgender Law Center. Part of their letter reads: “While his recent antiLGBT legal work has been prolific, Mr. Katsas is not new to opposing LGBT rights. While he worked at the Justice Department, Mr. Katsas defended the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) that defined marriage for federal purposes as excluding samesex couples, and between 2004 and 2006, he served as counsel in two different cases attempting to uphold


the statute. While speaking before the Federalist Society in 2011, he was critical of the Obama administration’s decision not to defend the legality of DOMA”. The nomination will now go to the full United States Senate for confirmation. Sharon McGowan, Lambda Legal’s Director of Strategy, issued the following statement: “Donald Trump’s agenda is failing in Congress, losing in the courts, and as we saw earlier this week, turning off voters. Desperate to accomplish something that feels like ‘winning’ to him and his base, Donald Trump is trying to stack the federal courts with judges who align with his dark and divisive views. Perhaps the best example yet is his nomination of his own Deputy White House Counsel, Gregory Katsas, who has been working behind the scenes since day one to implement the President’s nefarious agenda, including his attacks on transgender people, whether they be students or soldiers. Our courts are one of the only remaining checks against the irrational and unconstitutional impulses of this administration, which is why Donald Trump has boasted that he intends to remake the courts in his image.

Yet these nominees, if approved for lifetime appointments to the bench, will be in a position to inflict damage on our Constitution long after Donald Trump has left the White House. Meanwhile, the Senate is allowing Trump to do this. Even as some Senate Republicans try to distance themselves from the President, those serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee continue to show that they intend to rubberstamp Trump’s nominees no matter how clear the threat that the nominee poses to civil rights, the rule of law or the independent judiciary. Unless Senators on both sides of the aisle stand up and speak out, Trump will soon have a federal bench filled with his people for life. We need all Senators, regardless of political party, to take seriously their responsibility to protect our courts and our Constitution. The eyes of the nation are on the Senate, and history will not be kind to those who do nothing to prevent Donald Trump from undermining the credibility of our judicial system as a place where all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law.” In their letter with 20 other LGBT groups to the Senate Judiciary Committee, ahead of today’s committee vote, Lambda Legal noted that

Gregory Katsas “has been a legal architect behind several of the Trump administration’s most odious actions and policies targeting the LGBT community” and through his role as Deputy White House Counsel, “appeared to play a central role in morphing the trans military ban from tweet to policy.” The letter also notes his long history of opposing the LGBT community, including defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and arguing in court that samesex parents are not optimal parents. It also points out that throughout his career, Katsas has had “complete and categorical disregard for any families other than those formed by heterosexual, gender conforming individuals.” Finally, the letter puts his nomination into the broader picture of Trump’s agenda against the civil rights of all Americans, noting that his “record demonstrates that his appointment to the bench would cause grave harm to the LGBT community, as well as many other communities who rely on the federal judiciary to administer fair and impartial justice.” (eile.ie 12 November 2017)

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Robbie Rogers (right) Image: Twitter

Openly Gay Footballer Robbie Rogers Retires Encouraging Others To Come Out The following is a social media post put out on 7th November, by professional footballer, Robbie Rogers, aged 30, as he retires from professional football. Rogers had retired once before, on February 15 2013, aged 25, and then came out as gay when he left Leeds United. In May 2013, Rogers signed with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and thus became the first openly gay male athlete to join MLS (Major League Soccer) or any of the five major North American sports leagues. He writes: “As a young boy I dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player and representing my country in front of the world. But as a teenager I grew more and more consumed by fear and shame. And sadly, at some point the scared kid inside me decided that pursuing my dream meant sacrificing a part of myself and hiding my sexuality from the world instead of embracing it.

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“My happiest years as a player are the ones where I could walk through the stadium at the end of games down the tunnel to my partner and son waiting for me at the other end”

My happiest years as a player are the ones where I could walk through the stadium at the end of games down the tunnel to my partner and son waiting for me at the other end. And my only regret in my eleven year career are the years I spent in the closet. I wish I could have found the courage that so many young individuals have shared with me in the past five years to live honestly and openly as a gay person. These are the young people that inspired me to overcome my fears and return to playing. They’re still the kids that send me letters every week.

world, I’d encourage you to come out. By sharing who you are you will not only be improving your own life but inspiring and literally saving the lives of young people across the world. You deserve to take that same walk, down the players tunnel and have your own partner or loved ones waiting for you.

To those kids, I say thank you. My proudest accomplishment in my career is helping to create a more open sport for you. None of this would have been possible without my teammates and brothers on and off the field, without the LA Galaxy and Bruce Arena who saw me as another player and not a distraction, or without the fans who judged me for my work ethic and my play and not my sexuality.

In 2013, Rogers began a relationship with Greg Berlanti, a TV producer and writer, and on February 18, 2016, a son was born to the couple.

And finally, it couldn’t have been possible without my family, who loved me through all of my ups and downs and always supported my dreams and still do. Lastly to all of the women and men who are still frightened to share their truth with the

Again thank you to everyone who watched or help me follow these dreams. I could never have imagined the happiness I’ll take with me into retirement and into my next chapter”.

In 2014, the American Broadcasting Company agreed to broadcast Men in Shorts, a comedy based on Rogers’ life. Storyline Entertainment and Universal Television optioned the rights to his story in July 2014, with Rogers credited as a producer.

-MKB (eile.ie 11 November 2017)

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Parker Matthews Image: Kelly Elaine Photography

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