Sunday, January 24, 2010


What is Interaction?

When we discuss computer-human interaction and design for interaction, do we agree on the meaning of the term “interaction”? Has the subject been fully explored? Is the definition settled?

A Design-theory View Meredith Davis has argued that interaction is not the special province of computers alone. She points out that printed books invite interaction and that designers consider how readers will interact with books. She cites Massimo Vignelli’s work on the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds as an example of particularly thoughtful
design for interaction [1].

Richard Buchanan shares Davis’s broad view of interaction. Buchanan contrasts earlier design frames (a focus on form and, more recently, a focus on meaning and context) with a relatively new design frame (a focus on interaction).

Interaction is a way of framing the relationship between people and objects designed for them—and thus a way of framing the activity of design. All man-made objects offer the possibility for interaction, and all design activities can be viewed as design for interaction. The same is true not only of objects but also of spaces, messages, and systems.

Interaction is a key aspect of function, and function is a key aspect of design.
Davis and Buchanan expand the way we look at design and suggest that artifact-human interaction be a criterion for evaluating the results of all design work. Their point of view raises the question: Is interaction with a static object different from interaction with a dynamic system?

An HCi View

Canonical models of computer-human interaction are based on an archetypal structure—the
feedback loop. Information flows from a system (perhaps a computer or a car) through a person
and back through the system again. The person has a goal; she acts to achieve it in an environment (provides input to the system); she measures the effect of her action on the environment (interprets output from the system; feedback) and then compares result with goal. The comparison (yielding difference or congruence) directs her next action, beginning the cycle again. This is a simple selfcorrecting system—more technically, a first-order cybernetic system.

Natural Interaction

Friday, January 22, 2010


Constructed Narratives

Constructed Narratives at the Kiasma
Museum for Contemporary
Art in Helsinki, Finland.

The Constructed Narratives project has been designed for use in public spaces where there is the opportunity for individuals and groups of people, who are not acquainted with each other, to encounter the game and subsequently each other. The goal is to provide a platform that supports discourse in environments where “keeping comfortable distance” between oneself and others is the norm.

Constructed Narratives is a block-based construction game that is based on the form and function of children’s construction toys but designed primarily for adults.
The act and metaphor of construction is used to demonstrate how a simple artifact, a building block, can be used to make connections and mediate discourse and discovery between collaborating participants who are participating in open self reflective play.

The goal of the Constructed Narratives project was develop a framework to design social interfaces, or “discourse wranglers,” the function it is to facilitate dialogical exchange, and support the inter-subjective contextualization of ideas, assumptions and beliefs among its users. In particular, the research focuses on developing methods to explore the inter-subjective public space and how we generate and can possibly challenge meanings and explanations we generate to understand the events around us.

Constructed Narratives is a mediator, or discourse wrangler, that encourages meaningful dialogical exchange between people in public spaces. The observation, which will vary culturally, is that except under unique circumstances, most people do not engage in meaningful discourse with others they encounter that they do not know, or know well. Meaningful discourse is defined as conversation between individuals that extends beyond basic introductions of name and/or personal logistics. An example of a unique circumstance is when an unusual event occurs that creates a shared experience (i.e. street performer, automobile accident, shared physical experience such as dancing or playing sports, or an unexpected person, animal, thing or event enters the shared space.)

All of these events have the potential to create a common-bond experience – a moment of shared experience or knowledge that places a metaphorical bridge between two people or two “worlds.”


The Dynamo project (2000-2003) was concerned with how to integrate interactive information devices in shared public spaces with the objectives of (i) developing a model of shared interaction, (ii) constructing a working system, and (iii) evaluating the system in a real working context. Our research was timely; it took place against a background of rapid advances in mobile communication technologies, an increase in the availability of online information, a growing prominence of digital display technologies in public spaces and the widespread adoption of low cost personal devices. The research outcomes from the Dynamo project made a number of significant contributions, in terms of understanding, conceptual developments and system architecture.

Very Nervous System

In the 1980s, the Canadian artist David Rokeby programmed an interactive system called Very Nervous System (VNS). This system creates an interactive art space in which the solitary participant's bodily movements are traced by a video camera. The video pictures are transformed into fluctuating digital data, describing the shifting color values of each pixel. These data are then used to generate audible expressions, in some instances in the form of elaborate musical scores, in others as sound modulations. Of course, the data describing the participant’s movements cannot ‘create’ this audible expression, but only execute and modulate stored sounds and scores and align them with the formal and rhythmic quality of the participant’s actions. The feeling of congruence is underpinned by the fact that the computational system works with a minimum of delay, so that the sound is generated simultaneously with the participant's movements. The result is that participants experience a direct correlation between selected parameters of bodily movements and particular sounds, and thus feel that they are actively ‘dancing’ the sound scape and musical scores. But because of the very tight feedback loop the sound also seems to ‘dance’ the participant, triggering new, seemingly unintentional movements.

This paradoxical feeling is further enhanced by the fact that the responses from the computational system are not based on a oneto- one relationship to the quality of the movements, as one might initially suppose. Rather, the algorithmic system brings about little shifts and variations, small enough to ensure the sensation of correlation between sound and movement, and big enough to cause reactions to the triggered sound and music. At this level, VNS – based as it is on the alternation between bodily and audible expression – is more a dialogue machine than a sound triggering machine.

Typical difference in posture for German (crossed
arms) and Japanese (joint hands)

Wave Like an Egyptian

The user’s behavior and his interpretation of interactions with others is influenced by his cultural background, which provides a number of heuristics or patterns of behavior and interpretation. This cultural influence on interaction has largely been neglected in HCI research due to two challenges: (i) grasping culture as a computational term and (ii) infering the user’s cultural background by observable measures. In this paper, we describe how the Wiimote can be utilized to uncover
the user’s cultural background by analyzing his patterns of gestural expressivity in a model based on cultural dimensions.

With this information at hand, the behavior of an interactive system can be adapted to culture-dependent patterns of interaction.

Our cultural backgrounds largely depend how we interpret interactions with others, which aspects we find relevant, and what kind of behavior is deemed annoying or insulting. Culture is pervasive in our interactions and influences for instance how we negotiate or how close we stand to each other during an interaction. Picture above exemplifies typical hand/arm postures of German (crossed arms) and Japanese subjects (joined hands).
If we take the evidence from the literature seriously that users from different cultures interact based on such culture
In Picture: Typical difference in posture for German (crossed arms) and Japanese (joint hands) dependent heuristics, then it is necessary to acknowledge these differences for the design of interfaces.


Zora is a narrative-based graphical multi-user environment purposefully design to help people understand and affect the ways in which identity and values are actively constructed by both an individual and a community. Zora engages young people in building artifacts as representations of their complex self and creating communities in which values and attitudes are put to the test. It supports 1) creation of a virtual city with its different spaces, objects and interactive characters, 2) communication between the users, and 3) introspection about role models, personal and community values. This paper describes the theoretical framework that conceives identity as dynamically constructed by putting together diverse and conflicting elements and values. Based on this framework, Zora’s design principles are presented, as well as preliminary results from a pilot experience in which young people used Zora to learn about identity and values in a hands-on, constructionist way.

There is a growing amount of research on virtual environments which concentrates on characteristics, both from a technical and social perspective, that foster the development of community (Donath, 1996). The work presented in this paper also looks at virtual environments but focuses on issues of personal identity and values. The goal is to develop an approach, both in terms of theory and design principles, to help people learn about their own identity in the real world and the values they live by or consider important. Since identity and values do not develop in a vacuum but in constant relationship with others, a community is needed for this type of learning to happen; therefore the choice of a multi-user virtual environment as the technological infrastructure.


Computer Interactive Proximity and Touch Sensor Driven Audio/Video Installation

Bodymaps: artifacts of touch is a computer interactive sound and video installation recently exhibited at the Western Front Gallery in Vancouver, April '96, Ars Electronica in Lintz Austria from September 2nd to 23rd l996, and at Interaction '97 in Ogaki-City Japan March '97. The piece uses a specially designed sensor surface, embedded with 15 Electromagnetic Field Sensors which operate very much like 15 therapist, and 8 Force Sensing Resistor Sensors which can detect touch, pressure and the amount of force applied to the surface.

Together these sensors lie beneath a white velvet surface upon which is projected images of the artist's body. The surface yearns for contact and touch. Its rule base is complex and subtle, impossible to decode. Its effect is disturbing, erotic, sensual and subjective.

The intention of the work is to subvert the visual/objective relationship between the object and the eye, between click and drag, between analysis and power, to create a relationship between participant and technology that transgresses rules of ownership and objectivity and begs questions of experience, power, and being.

Pakistani-American Artist Challenges Stereotypes

Art Installations are Multi-Media Social Commentary on Women & Power

In this art installation, Chaudhri created an environment where observers walk into a room through a small doorway opening cut into a cloth wall. Upon entering the small white room, they encounter a towering, silent woman dressed in full burqa standing in the center of the room. The woman remains motionless except for engaging the observer with her eyes as an acknowledgment of entrance into her space. Instead of being afraid of making work that appears clichéd, Chaudhri says she “tries to use clichés to [her] advantage…to expand or to destroy them, all the while playing with the biases of the audience.”

Chaudhri would like her art to have the effect of “destabilizing people…to get them out of their own perception of reality – whatever that is.” She uses tools in her art “that give and take away power from the observer…and play with who has control.”

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Racism - anti-Irish cartoons

Anti-Irish cartoons

"Bog Trotters" is a long-standing English term for Irish people,especially Irish peasants. They are shown here as near imbeciles,frolicking over the countryside.

"The Irish Ogre" about to devour the peasants is none other than Daniel O’Connell, "the Liberator". He earned that name by leading a peaceful struggle for Catholic emancipation. Why he is depicted with copious bags of rent money is unclear.

"The workingman’s burden" shows a gleeful Irish peasant carrying his Famine relief money while riding on the back of an exhausted English laborer. The cartoon could just as easily have depicted Irish peasants carrying absentee English landlords on their backs.

"The Pig and the Peer". This cartoon shows a life-size pig with an Irish accent pleading with the English Prime Minister. During the Famine thousands of Irish peasants were evicted to make way for animals that could "pay rent".

"Two Forces" shows "classical" Britain using the sword of law to protect Ireland (Hibernia) from Irish "anarchists" and their demand for land reform.

"The Irish Frankenstein" capitalized on Mary Shelley’s popular novel to depict the Irish as savage, inhuman monsters.

This untitled cartoon shows the Irish as obese, wasteful, violent, drug abusing monkeys. John Bull (Britain) shows Uncle Sam that he will take care of the troublemaker.

"Equal Burdens". Here the stereotype of the belligerent Irishman meets the stereotype of the happy slave. Irish were called "white Negroes". "No Irish Need Apply" signs were common.

"Uncle Sam’s Lodging House" shows the Irish as the only new emigrant raising hell and disrupting good order.

"Scientific Racism" from an American magazine, Harper’s Weekly , shows that the Irish are similar to Negroes, and should be extinct!

Cartoons for magazines such as Harper's Weekly featured cartoons by Thomas Nast and depicted Irish immigrants as ape-like barbarians prone to lawlessness, laziness and drunkenness. "St. Patrick's Day, 1867...Rum, Blood, The Day We Celebrate" shows a riot with policemen and ape-like Irishmen.

This cartoon was labeled "A Question of Labor" and was published in Harper's Weekly in 1888.

These cartoons from an 1881 issue of Puck depict common held negative views of most Irish-Americans.

The Conscription Act of 1863 made all white men between the ages of twenty and forty-five years eligible for the draft by the Union Army. Blacks were not drafted or forced to fight and white men with money could legally hire a substitute. Lower-class whites (many of whom were Irish) resented the draft. This print shows the 1863 riot in New York City by a mob of lower-class whites (including many Irish).

This cartoon printed in 1889, stereotypes the Irish as unmixable in America's melting pot.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Stereotypes are as old as human culture itself. They reflect ideas that groups of people hold about others who are different from them.

A stereotype can be embedded in single word or phrase (such as, "jock" or "nerd"), an image, or a combination of words and images. The image evoked is easily recognized and understood by others who share the same views.

Stereotypes can be either positive ("black men are good at basketball") or negative ("women are bad drivers"). But most stereotypes tend to make us feel superior in some way to the person or group being stereotyped. Stereotypes ignore the uniqueness of individuals by painting all members of a group with the same brush.

Stereotypes can appear in the media because of the biases of writers, directors, producers, reporters and editors. But stereotypes can also be useful to the media because they provide a quick identity for a person or group that is easily recognized by an audience. When deadlines loom, it's sometimes faster and easier to use a stereotype to characterize a person or situation, than it is to provide a more complex explanation.

Irish Stereotype

Stereotype - Irish presented in 19th century

Stereotype - Drinking

Stereotype - drink Guinness for breakfast

Stereotype - eat potatoes, bacon and cabbage

Stereotype - all called Paddy or Marry

Stereotype - very holy and devout Catholics

Stereotype - always wearing green accessories

Stereotype - wearing Aran sweaters

Stereotype - believe in Leprechauns

Stereotype - great singers and dancers

Stereotype - live in vee cottages

Stereotype - more sheep than people

Stereotype - Irish cailin with red hair

Stereotype Threat

Recent work suggests that stereotype threat (ST) harms performance by reducing available working memory capacity. Is this the only mechanism by which ST can occur?

Introducing a negative stereotype about a social group in a particular domain can reduce the quality of performance exhibited by members of that group (Steele, 1997).

For example, when negative stereotypes are activated, African Americans perform worse on tasks described as assessing intelligence (e.g., Steele & Aronson, 1995),
Whites perform worse on tasks described as assessing natural athletic ability (e.g., Stone, Lynch, Sjomeling, & Darley, 1999), and women perform worse on math-related tasks (e.g., Spencer, Steele, & Quinn, 1999). Although the prevalence of stereotype threat effects has been
widely demonstrated across many diverse social groups and task types, relatively less is known about the cognitive processes that underlie these effects (Wheeler & Petty, 2001). That is, how does activating a negative performance-related stereotype lead to less-than-optimal skill execution among members of the stereotyped group?

Book/Movie - "Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt

my opinion

As I read and watched the film of Angela's Ashes I was deeply sad as it reminded me the childhood stories of my mother . Where no clothes, no food or warm water was there. Where your sisters were the only people who could listen to your sorrows. Where your own mother would burn your favorite doll because she thought you were too young to play with dolls.
You were not allowed to talk, ask questions, you were there to work and support your growing family. You would wear your uniform till the sleeves were up to your elbows and the skirt would be short so you could see your bum.
It's -25 and you have no coat, you have to run for 30 minutes to keep yourself warm and make sure not to be late for school.

We had terrible times in our human history,in every part of the world.
"Angela's Ashes" by Frank McCourt helped me to observe and build a better understanding of Iris culture.

I liked the review by the customer of Angela's Ashes.

"Angela's Ashes is a book so filled with remorse and sadness, it's amazing that the reader somehow finds them self completely and joyfully satisfied. The novel revolves around the penniless childhood of Frank McCourt and begins in America with four-year-old Frank and his three year-old brother Malachy, who bears the same name as his father, and the infant twins, Eugene and Oliver, and the memories of the baby Margaret, "already dead and gone." Your heart goes out to the poor family, blessed with a loving mother, Angela, and yet cursed with a father who means well, but is constantly drunk or yearning for the "pint," as they call it. Early in his life, McCourt's family moves to Ireland, with help from his aunts and grandmother. Unfortunately, money is not easily found in Ireland either, and the McCourt family migrates from home to home, barely surviving on the few shillings Malachy McCourt doesn't spend at the local pub. The McCourts experience tragedy upon tragedy. His physical romance with a young lady named Theresa Carmody sick with consumption, his unfortunate habit to "interfere with himself," and the sad moment when in a drunken stupor on his first pint he strikes his own mother causes Frank to fear he is doomed to an eternity in hell. Unbelievably, despite all of the terrible things that happen in Frank's childhood, there are moments described in the book that give the reader a complete sense of joy and hope. I immensely enjoyed this memoir and would recommend it to any reader. I was especially enamored of the style of writing in which Frank McCourt chose to write. The words seemed as if they gently tumbled directly out of the mouth of the seven-year-old Frankie, or mischievously flew from Frank as an thirteen-year-old "working man." This novel was exquisitely written and is a jewel to read, as well as a treasure to remember."




Where does the stereotype of a drunken Irishman come from? Why has it persisted?
by Kevin Irwin

First, the British never did like the Irish, especially after they tried to take over Ireland, namely by getting rid of the Irish altogether and planting good proper British Protestants over there. Most stereotypes arise as a way to dehumanize a certain sect in order to make it seem more acceptable to hate them or whatnot. Most of human slavery is the result of the slave owners viewing their slaves as less than human and therefore rationalizing their enslavement. So, perhaps the Brits started the stereotype.

Second, when the Irish came in huge waves to America in the late 19th century, most of the people already here didn't like them (because they would take their jobs or whatnot. Some shops even put up signs "Irish need not apply"). So, any number of groups in America might have been responsible for starting the stereotype.

Third, the brawling, drunken Irishman is just as oversimplified a stereotype as the loud, vulgar Texan. Nevertheless, it is true that the consumption of alcohol per capita is higher in Eire than in America or Europe. By one estimate, 10% of all personal spending in Ireland is for alcoholic beverages. Certainly the pub is an important social institution, quite different from the bars in this country.
Some of the greatest scenes in Irish lit. have centered around drinking, which is rarely a major theme but often a secondary one that produces some good writing. On the other hand, drinking has been a source of untimely dissipation for several Irish writers. Notice how often pub scenes are important in the movies and books we will study. The point is that Irish social life centers around the pub,keep-alive many people do their entertaining of friends and family.
Watch for scenes in the movies and books that reflect the Irish attitude toward drinking and socializing in the pub.

However, there is a large percentage of Irish people today (and historically) that are teetotalers (that is, they don't drink at all). I've heard upwards of 30% of the population falls into this category. Perhaps this is due to people giving up the drink after alcoholism or whatnot has ravaged their family.

The Irish are well-known comedians and love to be self-deprecating, so I think a lot of jokes told by the Irish themselves play on this stereotype. Although like any stereotype, the myth of the drunken Irishman can be damaging, I don't think you'll see the stereotype go away anytime soon. This is due to a number of reasons, but mainly due to the fact that the Irish and people of Irish extraction as a whole don't seem to be terribly bothered about it.

The Stereotyping of the Irish Immigrant in 19th Century Periodical by Christine Haug

Immigrating to the United States during the 19th century was not the magical solution for the majority of the newcomers. Many ethnic groups ran into prejudice in America; with stereotyping being a major problem. The Irish especially faced this problem in America, often being depicted as hot-headed, old-fashioned, and drunkards. During the 19th century, political cartoons were widely used to express the widespread negative opinions about Irish immigrants. Often the full stereotype meaning of the cartoon was subtle and could be missed by the casual reader, while other times it was cruelly obvious.

The Irish were stereotyped as uncivilized, unskilled and impoverished and were forced to work at the least desired occupations and live in crowded ethnic ghettos. Irish immigrants often found that they were not welcome in America; many ads for employment were accompanied by the order "NO IRISH NEED APPLY." Throughout the 1800s, as hordes of technologically and agriculturally unskilled Irish immigrants settled in the major cities of the east, several anti-immigrant groups began to develop. Nativists reacted to increased Irish immigration with violent riots and increased demands for limits on immigrants' rights. These nativist groups considered the immigrants as a threat and regarded the Catholicism of the Irish as an alien and rebellious religion and culture. During the mid-nineteenth century anti-Catholic riots struck the major eastern cities and vandalism against Catholic institutions became such a common practice that many insurance companies refused to cover Catholic schools and churches.

Many nativists urged policies that would limit Irish political power and immigrants' rights to vote and to hold public office, to be passed. In 1849 The Order of the Star-Spangled Banner, a clandestine society of nativists, emerged; its members pledged to only support native-born Protestants for public office, to fight the Roman Catholic Church and to support an obligatory 21-year waiting period for naturalization. This society, later reformed into the American party, when asked about their anti-immigrant activities would simply reply "I know nothing," earning them the name the Know-Nothings. This party with its motto "Americans Shall Rule America" won many city and state elections throughout the 1850s and produced a multitude of political cartoons depicting the Irish as a barbaric civilization.

The Beginning: 19th Century Irish Stereotypes

Many of the stereotypes we know about today began in the 19th century. During this time, many Irish immigrants came to the United States. Darwin's Theory of Evolution was a prevalent topic of the day. The struggle for labor between immigrants resulted in violence and discrimination. All of these things helped shape the Irish stereotypes you and I know today.

Back in the 19th century, many people viewed the Irish as an "other" or different race from other white people. 19th century cartoons portrayed the Irish as ape-like and racially primitive. Darwin's Theory of Evolution seemed to explain that the Irish were of a lower life form, not up to the par with the more intellectual white Americans. The Irish were seen as brash, hostile, angry -- all characteristics of a more primitive human form.

Around the same time, a labor struggle existed between Irish Americans and the freed African American slaves. The Irish clung to their occupations fiercely, blocking the attempts of newer immigrants or African Americans to enter them, and earning them a reputation for violence. After 1860, there were several Irish songs about employment advertisements reading, "Irish need not apply", which are now referred to as "the NINA signs." The songs had a deep impact on the Irish sense of discrimination. There is still much debate about whether these ads existed.

Another event that caused prejudice and stereotyping of the Irish was the Know Nothing Movement. The Know Nothing Movement started in the 1850's and its purpose was to oust Catholics from public office. During this time, Catholics, especially Irish Catholics, were seen as hostile to American values, their loyalties lying with the Pope in Rome instead of the American government.

Also during this time, many Irishmen began serving in law enforcement, and thus began the stereotype of the Irish cop. Serving as a cop became (and remains) a family tradition among the Irish. Many Irishmen took to the streets carrying a billy club and rounding up criminals in "paddy" wagons. An interesting statistic about this era was that during the 1850's in New York City 55 percent of those arrested were Irish-born, but 25 perct of the police doing the arresting were also Irish.

Today: Irish Stereotypes Prevail in the Media and Popular Culture

Popular culture is filled with Irish stereotypes reminiscent of the 19th century. Irish cops on TV, Notre Dame: the Fighting Irish, pubs advertising "green beer" and St. Patrick's Day specials (encouraging you to also remember to find a designated driver).

Current Example of Irish Stereotypes: Sports Entertainment

One place in the media where stereotypes abound is wrestling. Wrestling always exaggerates and plays on stereotypes to incite and excite the crowd. You can find the Irish stereotype here as well. Tune in to and episode of WWE's Friday Night Smackdown and you'll find their Irish character, Finlay. Before Finlay comes to the ring his music begins to play, his voice exclaiming "I love to fight!" as a traditional Irish song plays and he storms to the ring, shillelagh in hand. Finlay uses his shillelagh in order to cheat and beat his opponent. He also uses a leprechaun-like partner who hides under the ring, nicknamed "Little Bastard." Little Bastard is an angry leprechaun who Finlay sics on his enemies.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010




It’s been running for 20 years and has already visited Cuba, Australia, England and Japan among others. And tonight, The Simpsons finally came to Ireland.

They brought with them worn-out stereotypes about the country - they just weren’t always the ones we might have expected.

“Something terrible has happened,” squealed Homer Simpson, during In the Name of the Grandfather , which was broadcast this evening. "The Irish have become hard-working and sober.”

Lisa Simpson explained that this was because Ireland was at the forefront of Europe’s tech boom. It shows how long it takes to make an episode of The Simpsons because, like the land of cabbage and brawls they expected to find, this latest Irish stereotype happens to be a little out of date.

The episode was the first Simpsons to premiere outside of the US - even if a British station, Sky1, had the honour. Still, the show’s executive producer James L Brooks described it as “a love letter to Ireland”, although in typical fashion there was a drop of poison in the ink.

When the family visited Dublin and discovered that it was Bloomsday, they groaned and decided that this meant they had run out of fun things to do. It was perhaps the episode’s smartest gag.

It may not have been a vintage episode - there haven’t been that many in recent years – but it had plenty of good moments, and from an Irish perspective it was a fascinating opportunity to see ourselves through the eyes of the greatest comedy series ever written.

In its attempt to create some kind of record for the most Irish references in 22 minutes, there were jokes about leprechauns, potatoes, alcohol, the Giant’s Causeway, U2 and the plot of Once (thanks to guest appearances by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova).

But even as it revelled in stereotypes, it used them to continue the running joke about how Ireland doesn’t conform to American’s views of it. So, there were “yuprechauns” on the streets and gay leprechauns were allowed display their affections in a tolerant society.

Thankfully, one tradition of US television’s relationship with Ireland remained strong - some of the accents were enjoyably terrible.

Family Guy

Film - Waking Ned Devine

Just as the charming British film The Full Monty told the story of simple men willing to shed their clothes for money, Waking Ned Devine is the story of older Irish men who pursue money and take off their clothes. Commercial director Kirk Jones makes his feature directing debut with a story about a small town in Ireland called Tulaigh More, where one of their 52 inhabitants wins the lotto jackpot of nearly seven million pounds. When nobody claims it, the town goes on a search to find out why. They find the winner, old Ned Devine, dead -- a smile on his face, clutching the winning ticket. Well, in Ireland, the lottery winnings must be claimed by the purchaser, which puts the town in a spot -- if the lottery officials discover Devine dead, he forfeits his money. What ensues is a community coming together in hopes of getting his money to split 51 ways. What they learn is the importance of friendship and the true value of money. To reveal any more would spoil some major surprises, but suffice it to say, it involves aging actors David Kelly, 69, and Ian Bannen, 70, naked.


Film - The Luck of the Irish

The Luck of the Irish

A semi-fantasy with sociological overtones, The Luck of the Irish stars Tyrone Power as an American journalist named Stephen Fitzgerald visiting the home of his ancestors in Ireland. Power encounters a jolly old man (Cecil Kellaway) who claims to be a leprechaun -- and proves it to the journalist's satisfaction. The leprechaun trails Stephen to New York, smooths the path of romance between Stephen and lovely Nora (Anne Baxter), and watches in dismay as Stephen becomes the tool of a quasi-fascistic publisher. The journalist comes to his senses thanks to the leprechaun's intervention and goes to work for a more liberal publication. He heads back to Ireland with new wife, Nora, and the beneficent leprechaun. The Luck of the Irish was based on a novel by Guy and Constance Jones, who probably would have been blacklisted when the political winds of Hollywood shifted a few years later.

"I was never a man to argue with miracles"