Every summer I wish I was twenty years younger. While I availed of IT camps out at UU at Jordanstown – still remember my first mainframe account on UPVAX with user name CB2126MNA as well as learning about Lotus 123 and programming BBC Micros - there was nothing like the trans festival or the associated Urban Arts Academy. It’s something I’m really glad that Belfast City Council support – particularly as I’m still paying rates in East Belfast!
Urban Arts Academy offers in depth courses (usually one to three weeks long). Quite a lot of courses are already booked out, but there are still places radio production, journalism, music production, DJing, comic book illustration, street theatre, 3D animation and urban dance. As long as you’re 15+ (with no upper age limit) you can apply. There are also short two day courses looking at developing iPhone apps, Alternative Reality Gaming, music videos, and lots lots more.
If you know someone who’d be interested, or if you’re interested yourself, get your application in quickly.
With the courses and workshops dealt with, the main trans festival has plenty to offer.
The Electronic Creche is back on Saturday afternoons in the Ulster Hall cafe. 4, 11, 18 and 25 July. Newspapers, free wifi, Wii, coffee and music. A paradise of grown up calm in the middle of the city centre?
Having seen them at the recent Belfast Children’s Festival, I’d highly recommend a trip along to Cotton Court on Sunday 5 July (1pm, 2pm, 3pm or 4pm) to see the high fashion and hire wire antics of the incredible Barren Carrousel Aerial Circus Troupe along with Seamus McJuggler.
During the first two weeks of the festival, you can log onto the trans website and download a scavenger hunt that will take you all over Belfast to search for images and buildings and who knows what else. You can also pick up the instructions at the Waterfront Hall ticket desk. But if you’re less of a loner and want the full group experience, meet up in front of the Waterfront Hall on Sunday 26 July at 3pm, and you can collaborate in a much larger group. Sounds fun.
During the fringe events around the time the Ulster Hall reopened, Sunday Service redelivered important speeches from history (usually anti-establishment ones like Martin Luther King and Hitler) together with music that fitted the theme. Well Sunday Service is back, and on Sunday 26 July at 7pm, the Black Box Café will host words from Harvey Milk (read the film review to find out more). Given Northern Ireland’s attitudes to gay and immigrant issues – a third of those surveyed in 2007 wouldn’t want to live next door to someone who was homosexual, the highest figure for any country in Europe, and the figure for immigrant intolerance topped Europe too – could be a timely intervention. Koko and the Boomtown Cats provide the music.
Between the 4 and 31 July, the Ulster Hall Group Space will hosts an exhibition of photos taken at the Do You Remember the First Time concert on the opening weekend of the refurbished Ulster Hall. And it’s not too late to mail your snaps through to info AT transbelfast DOT com along with your name for a credit.
Across in the Waterfront (possibly in the toilets if I read the festival guide correctly) between 4 and 31 July, the Anti exhibition will look at Belfast’s alternative heritage adopted by those (often young) people who rejected the two traditional tribal cultures. Iconic people, places, events – narrowed down to a dozen subjects.