Updated Feb 15

The very nice Jessica at Dominican University has responded with the following disappointing news:

Unfortunately we have just learned that Gabriel will not be able to attend our benefit to accept his Bravo Award due to delays in his film shooting schedule. We are hoping he will be able to send a videotaped message for our audience. Gabriel’s friend, actor John Mahoney will accept the award on his behalf.

She also replied that she will let us know if the video will be available for us to view at some later time.

John Mahoney, who was so wonderful as Walter in Season Two of In Treatment, lives in Chicago, as you know. I imagine he will have a Gabriel Byrne story or two to tell as he accepts this award for his friend and dialect coach!

In other news, Mr. Byrne is out and about in London as he works on his latest film,  I, Anna. There have been several reports of location shooting (thanks, Wendy and Angie!), night shooting (tweeted by actor Ralph Brown), restaurant visits, and now we see him catching up on his reading:


Photos provided by Getty Images. Darn those watermarks!

The photographer was Neil Mockford and the caption reads:

London, UK, Feb 13: Gabriel Byrne sighted leaving the Covent Garden Hotel on February 13, 2011 in London England.

Yes, yes, we have fallen prey to the paparazzi again. Can you blame us? Just look at that hat! Cap. Whatever it is…

Thanks to Kris (USA) for the caps up on this! smile


Updated Feb 10!!

According to the Entertainment Calendar at Oak Park-Leaves.com (in the Classical section near the top–twice!):

Dominican University, Lund Auditorium, 7900 W. Division St., River Forest. (708) 488-5000. March 12, 5 p.m.: Ireland Camerata chamber orchestra performs in the Annual Trustee Benefit Concert.

During intermission, the university’s annual Bravo Award will be presented to actor, director, writer, producer and cultural ambassador for Ireland Gabriel Byrne.

Tickets: $25, $55 and $75; $350 for the concert and a gala that follows. Proceeds support scholarships at Dominican University.

Interview

Gabriel Byrne was interviewed recently by Vinny Murphy at Mr. Murphy’s blog , wherein he talked intently about the political situation in Ireland–and then they talked art! [This article also appears in the Irish Examiner].

First, some politics:

Byrne says he’s noticed that Irish people now seem to carry a strange guilt about the Celtic Tiger.

“I hear sometimes when I’m talking to people ‘Oh we shouldn’t have done that’ and a certain amount of shame in it,” he says.

But he says the truth is, not everybody got carried away. Not everyone partied.

“I don’t think everybody had a great time during the Celtic Tiger. I think it’s perceived that the entire country went crazy and everybody overspent.”

Then, some art:

The Irish government has justified the $5m cost of the tour – saying it will open new cultural links, promote Ireland as a tourist destination and cast Ireland in a positive light at a time when we are in international headlines for all the wrong reasons.  But Byrne is unhappy at the spin being put on it.

“Economically we will recover,” he says, “But artistically we have never been set back. Economically, Ireland has gotten a lot of bad press here obviously.  But this isn’t about ‘oh now let’s tell the good news’. Irish culture consistently has always been evolving, and it will continue to do that through good times and bad.”

“It’s been the story of our history, how our artists have turned great sorrows and great tribulations into amazing art.” [emphasis mine]

Now that’s the inspiring Ambassador we love–that positive view is so energizing and his optimistic outlook on  the Imagine Ireland initiative reminds us of “the redemptive and healing power of art.” Gabriel calls it “unfettered access to the world of the imagination.” Ireland needs it, but FFS (as the twitterers say), so do we here in the US.

Thanks to acool for the heads up on this article!

Updated November 11, 2018: This article at the Irish Examiner has disappeared, so here it is in its entirety, courtesy of Mr. Murphy’s blog:

Gabriel Byrne on the Irish elections and the power of art

The Irish are justifiably angry, Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne tells Vincent Murphy, but they’ll still probably elect the Usual Suspects.

“I’m not an economist but I think it’s pretty clear what happened,” Gabriel Byrne says, “The country was Madoff-ed. And I think we have a natural desire for retribution.”

The Irish actor plays television’s most famous psychiatrist on HBO’s In Treatment and right now what he’s prescribing for his home country is justice.

“I think when Madoff was put in jail here, a lot of people felt there was some kind of retribution, some kind of closure,” he says.  “That doesn’t seem to be happening over there.”

It’s now over two years since the Irish government gave a blanket guarantee to the debts and liabilities of Irish banks, and details started to emerge of suspicious financial transactions at Anglo Irish Bank. In the intervening years, bankers like Sean Fitzpatrick and David Drumm have become social pariahs in their home country, but no-one has been prosecuted.

The Garda Fraud Bureau and the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement have been investigating alleged wrongdoings at Anglo and other banks. But no-one has yet ended up behind bars. And unlike most other countries who have been suffering the effects of the global recession, there has not been an election until now. Since the crisis began, Barack Obama has been elected US president and his party has suffered a ‘shellacking’ in the Mid-Terms. In the UK, the government of Gordon Brown has been turfed-out of office to be replaced by a coalition of David Cameron’s Conservative Party and Nick Clegg’s Liberals. But in Ireland, Brian Cowen and his government have continued in office.

There’s a real hope that if the upcoming election offers nothing else, it will offer an opportunity to draw a line in the sand – to look forward, instead of constantly looking back and pointing the finger of blame. Byrne says he’s noticed that Irish people now seem to carry a strange guilt about the Celtic Tiger.

“I hear sometimes when I’m talking to people ‘Oh we shouldn’t have done that’ and a certain amount of shame in it,” he says. But he says the truth is, not everybody got carried away. Not everyone partied.

“I don’t think everybody had a great time during the Celtic Tiger. I think it’s perceived that the entire country went crazy and everybody overspent.”

The election has led to loud calls for political reform in Ireland, with talk of “Reclaiming the Republic” and so forth.

“Funnily enough, they are saying the same things here,” says Byrne, “there are politicians who are saying ‘Let’s take America back’. But back from what, to what…I don’t know.”

Byrne sees echoes of the mood which spawned the Tea Party in the US in the Irish situation.

“There is a certain amount of anger, real anger, on the ground with the system here in the US that may or may not translate into action. But I think the Mid-Terms proved that Americans had a voice. And they sent the Democrats a harsh lesson.”

In Ireland, he sees a similar desire among ordinary people to let their political masters know that they are angry, and that they are too disconnected from the people. But Byrne remains unconvinced that real change will happen.

“The truth is, from my point of view, what can actually happen? A coalition of the parties that are there already without real political reform, really fundamental political reform, I don’t know that that’s going to change anything. How does one harness the legitimate anger that’s on the ground and use it to reclaim politics, to reclaim the system of government? Classically that’s a time when an alternative radical party could come into power, either from the right or from the left. And a radical shift to the right or the left in Ireland is something that I still wouldn’t rule out, but I think that unless there is a real profound change in the political system, like in Washington, then it’s just going to be more of the same.”

He smiles at me, “Is that too pessimistic a view?”

We’re not even here to talk about politics. We’re here to talk about art.

Byrne is Ireland’s Cultural Ambassador and in that role he’s been spearheading the promotion of a year-long festival of Irish arts in the United States called “Imagine Ireland”.

It’s the biggest ever tour of Irish music, theatre, visual arts and dance in the US, taking in 40 states. The Irish government has justified the $5m cost of the tour – saying it will open new cultural links, promote Ireland as a tourist destination and cast Ireland in a positive light at a time when we are in international headlines for all the wrong reasons.

But Byrne is unhappy at the spin being put on it.

“Economically we will recover,” he says, “But artistically we have never been set back. Economically, Ireland has gotten a lot of bad press here obviously. But this isn’t about ‘oh now let’s tell the good news’. Irish culture consistently has always been evolving, and it will continue to do that through good times and bad. It’s been the story of our history, how our artists have turned great sorrows and great tribulations into amazing art.”

He knows too well that the general public may balk at seeing millions being spent on art at a time when money is scarce.

“In and of itself, it is not going to put bread on the table, nor will it stop immigration. But perhaps artists can lead the way, and lead the way for politicians to reexamine the nature of the society we inhabit. Because art will transform a society as fast as a politician, in a more profound way I deeply believe.”

Byrne speaks of the potential of art, particularly in a recession, to offer hope and inspiration with a deep passion.

“I’m very interested in getting the message of art, and community art, across to young people, and how powerful the presence of art can be in your life, how it can break down barriers, social barriers, and can free the imagination. Introducing that concept into the lives of young people is one of the goals that I have.”

He says at a local level, a drama society can offer somewhere to escape the prevailing mood of depression and negativity, and offer something, for want of a better word, happy.

“I’m a huge supporter of the Irish Amateur Drama group, you know, because that combines social and artistic functions that only another organization say like the GAA can fulfill. In these times especially it’s really important the people have unfettered access at least to the world of the imagination. Because the world of the imagination can show us ways to deal perhaps with the economic crisis we are currently going through.

“I’m not saying it’s the answer, but I’m saying it at least provides perspective”

Events

Culture Ireland’s Facebook page tells us that the launching of Imagine Ireland in both Los Angeles and Chicago has been confirmed.

The  Los Angeles Launch is set for Feb 23 and the Chicago Launch is on Feb 25.

No word yet on any appearances by the Cultural Ambassador for Ireland. We will keep you posted.

Watch the Culture Ireland Facebook page for more updates. In fact, you should check out their page on a regular basis–they are providing updates on Imagine Ireland events and schedules, including reviews of plays and author readings. Plus, Imagine Ireland is updating its official website regularly, too. Totally cool!

Sighting

Now, you know we do not approve of stalking here at Byrneholics, but every once in a while we succumb to the fruits of the paparazzi. Mr. Byrne and the always amazing Elle MacPherson were dining at The Ivy in London on Feb 4 when this picture was snapped:

Baby, it’s cold outside!

7 Comments

  1. If Gabriel was with me , I would have keeped him warm in my arms

  2. Imagine Ireland

    Thanks for the mention, Stella, and for all the interest and support from ByrneHolics since Imagine Ireland launched. Delighted that you’re enjoying our Facebook, Twitter and site updates!

    • You folks are doing a stupendous job! We are here to pass the word along. Thanks!

    • Cythandra

      I can’t tell you how awesome what you’re doing is. I wish I could attend every event, however, since that is not possible, I will hit the ones I can. I am so very looking forward to this. “The Quiet Man” is one of the greatest films ever and in my Top 10. I wish you folks the very best of luck and success in this endeavor. Ciao!

  3. Cythandra

    Oh the ways to warm that man. Let me count them………..

  4. Imagine Ireland, you are doing a great job to promote Irish art and culture. I am a Norwegian, but after discovering Gabriel Byrne I have also discovered which rich treasure of art that Irish artists have created through more than 100 years. When I visited Ireland because of my interest in Gabriel Byrne, I really discovered a great green and beautiful country.

    And I have told all my friends about what a great country Ireland is because of its rich culture and wonderful artists like Gabriel Byrne. Many of the have visited Ireland the last year too.

    Now I have a DVD, The Quiet Man in my living room, can’t wait to see it. Hope Irish film industry can flourish in the future.

  5. Thanks for sharing all these new Stella.
    Wish I could go to some of the events, but it is too far away for me.
    I am very happy to see that Gabriel will have the Bravo Award from Dominican University.

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