Holy Show: New printed arts magazine is launched

A cheeky swimmer adorns the cover of the first issue of Holy Show.
Picture courtesy of Holy Show.

Peter McNamara

Holy Show is a new print arts magazine, that was launched at the end of July at the Project in Temple Bar. For sale in Eason’s, and most bookshops around Dublin, Holy Show is being pitched as an arts magazine for everyone, something the regular passer-by might pick up off the shelf. In the run-up to the launch, I sat down with its editor and creator, the Dublin writer Brendan Mac Evilly. 

Why do you decide to call the magazine Holy Show?

A holy show is someone who makes a spectacle of themselves. Is that such a bad thing? That wild rant you went on last night; the pang of dread that courses through your mind when you recall everything you let slip. But didn’t it hold a grain of truth? Has something not consciously or sub-consciously been revealed? Is it so awful that you danced or sang as badly as you did? Isn’t it more important that you danced and sang? You took a risk. You ignored propriety and broke with convention. Weren’t you glad to get it off your chest? Well… maybe not! 

How does being a ‘holy show’ relate to being an artist?

For artists, making a spectacle and breaking with convention are arguably the modi operandi, to draw attention to their work, to create a show, an exhibition, but with purpose, deploying skill and craft, aiming to reveal something true about the world, from a surprising viewpoint, about people and places, where we live or pass through; a commentary or observation on our collective lives unfolding, our beliefs, struggles, pains and joys. Artists in Ireland have a history of doing this in the face of censorship and censure. 

Why do you think there was so much censorship? 

To reveal what is both new and true can be a dangerous business. Our old friends shame and judgement are never too far away, the checks and balances of public opinion. Edna O’Brien, a holy show. John McGahern, a holy show. Panti Bliss, a holy show. 

So will Holy Show go in search of that kind of controversy? 

No, not at all. But it will look for life, energy. It’ll give printed space to artists to say or show us something true, trusting them to tell the stories of who we are with honesty and insight. Nor is the title Holy Show intended as a nod to the idea of art as a replacement for religion. The gallery is a secular temple. The growing reverence for self-expression, an occasion for meaning. That said, reading Issue one from cover to cover will take about as long as Fr Clippit takes to say mass – “a good, long mass” since his stroke. 

Put simply, what can we expect from this new magazine?

These stories come in a variety of forms, from a range of incredibly talented artists working in diverse media. Issue one includes critical musings on TV archival footage, hybrid essays, theatre show extracts and poetry adaptations, film footage, conversation, audio extracts and a gonzo jaunt to Mass of an Easter Sunday morning. With added fire. 

Holy Show is a cross-arts publication and production company. Over the next year it will produce and tour a live audio-visual version of Ian Maleney’s Minor Monuments in collaboration with film-maker Jamie Goldrick, to venues and festivals north and south of the border. See the inside back cover for more on this. 

In print or in person, you will not be bored. What follows should feel like something between an entrancingly esoteric lecture and the best pub conversation you’ve ever had. Enjoy irresponsibly. 

Holy Show is available to buy at holyshow.ie, in Eason’s, and in most book shops around Dublin. Tickets for Ian Maleney’s Minor Monuments tour, and the full list of tour dates, are available at holyshow.ie.