ArtBeat: Getting jazzy with Kitty La Roar as the Irish sweep the Oscar nominations

Jane Hardy gets jazzy, looks forward to the Oscars and hopes Transport House will be part of Belfast's future

The jazzy Kitty La Roar was a highlight of the Out to Lunch Festival
The jazzy Kitty La Roar was a highlight of the Out to Lunch Festival

ON Tuesday, a fabulous jazzy set by Kitty La Roar in the Black Box illustrated the range of the Out to Lunch Festival which finishes tomorrow (cfaq.com). With musical partner Nick Shankland, she introduced us to some groovy sounds, including be-bop.

La Roar's voice is smoky and late night and she brought some of that atmosphere to lunchtime in the darkened space. There was a fantastic version of Duke Ellington's Perdido (Lost) and pianist and singer never mislaid a beat. There was more, including Dizzy Gillespie's swooning A Night in Tunisia. Finally, after a magical hour of music, the encore - and Kitty and Nick had fun persuading us to ask for the prearranged final final number - was an exquisite Dream a Little Dream of Me.


IT'S Oscar season and the Irish will be dreaming big. With a swathe of nominations, film creatives deserve their shout out. The list includes Colin Farrell for best actor in the impressive The Banshees of Inisherin which got nine nominations, with director Martin McDonagh also in the frame.

In the short film category, An Irish Goodbye is in the running. In London recently I spotted filming in the nephew's street for Steve McQueen's new movie set during the Blitz. Irish-American star Saoirse Ronan (four Academy Award nominations) was happy to be photographed in her 1940s garb for the residents' newsletter. It's great when actors live up to their PR.


BURNS Night has just been and pleasurably gone, the day we celebrate the most universal dialect poet. Here, James Conor Patterson was shortlisted for the last TS Eliot prize with his first collection, Bandit Country, that uses a kind of Newry dialect plus Scots and Irish-influenced English. There's a force in lines like these from spiritualists in which Patterson explores their theatricality and fake promises built on need:

Greedy for my own derangement, I pulled/a six-foot swatcha cheesecloth from my gullet/like a never-endin hanky – passed it/around the livin room proclaiming, magic!

Then spokea how it was this resurrected thing.

Patterson draws in conventional faith, other belief systems, can be funny too. One to watch.


GREAT news that Unite the Union intends to reclaim the beautiful 1950s Transport House, which celebrates the nobility of work in a Soviet Constructivist style. The building on Belfast's High Street is tiled, decorated with a fabulous design showing symbols of shipbuilding cranes and male workers. It was designed by architects JJ Brennan and inspired by Michael Scott's Dublin Busáras.

It is, unsurprisingly, listed and is important partly because Belfast isn't well represented in terms of 20th century architecture. It deserves to remain part of the city's future.