By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
We don’t often start the recap with a description of our closing act, but this note from playwright Thom Molyneaux is too good to wait until the end.
I have to add that the highlight of the evening for me (aside from the reception to my reading) was Malachy’s impromptu rendition of “‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda.” When the audience spontaneously and harmoniously joined him in the chorus, the warm and loving atmosphere in that intimate Bar Thalia space made me feel as if I was in the middle of a scene from just the best John Ford movie ever.
Thanks, Thom. We couldn’t have said it better.
Singer, composer, accordionist, writer and creator of performance works, Marni Rice was the night’s superb guest host.
Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence
Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence (neé Flynn Kirby Higgins) continues her family obsession with a ripped-from-her-life piece called “On the Lam with Mom,” which poses the riddle: How many Irish-American siblings does it take to care for one 90-year-old mother? Kathleen sees it as a cautionary tale against the good old Irish way of prolific procreation as old-age insurance.
New member John Ganly appreciated the Salon hospitality for his first presentation. John talked about his novel Celtic Crossings and read from the introduction. Three sisters leave 19th century Belfast to pursue their dreams in a changing world. John chose “crossings” because their journeys cross oceans and continents; social barriers from immigrants to establishment and from organized religion to self-realization. As their family story develops, it reflects rapid social changes: the Irish struggle independence, women emerge as a political force and technology permits rapid communication and transportation.
Find the book on Amazon,com.
Salon producer John Kearns’s recent trip to Ireland inspired him to create new poems and revisit an old one. “Aboard the Aran Seabird: Leaving Inishmore,” written in 1988 and published in Feile-Festa in 2010, sympathizes with Aran Islanders trying to sell rides in their ponies and traps to tourists. His brand-new poem “Ceol Na Farraige: Return to Inishmore” portrays the changes on the island since the previous visit: new ferries with international daytrippers, not a single pony and trap, an old church locked. The third poem, “On Galway Golf Course by the Bay,” depicts a moment when a father and two sons got caught in a rainstorm in a golf cart and careened sightlessly around the hills and fairways, laughing.
In honor of National Poetry Month and the anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s birth on April 13, the Ireland-like weather and the change of season Sarah Fearon read Seamus Heaney’s poems: “The Call,” “Rite of Spring”, “Song”, and “Anything Can Happen.”
Mark Butler announced the IAW&A benefit for Urban Librarians Unite, a grassroots advocacy organization, will be held on May 19th at the Cell Theatre. He also introduced Lauren Comito, who told us about her group’s work. The fundraiser, called The Amazing Library Variety Hour, will feature readings, music, comedy and dance. More details will be coming soon, and more information about Urban Librarians Unite can be found at http://urbanlibrariansunite.org/.
Thom Molyneaux read more from “Cassidy’s Story” his play about a former IRA leader who finds himself in New York in 1968 fighting the same battles he fought in the 1920’s Ireland. He was “testing” the structure of his play, which progresses through characters’ telling stories of their own. Thom was “truly gratified” by our intense attention and enthusiastic response. An actor, Thom is rehearsing his role as the mysterious Isaac Strauss in “Lost In History” a play having its world premiere at the Garage Theatre Group in Teaneck New Jersey. The Detroit Repertory Theatre (the oldest professional theatre in Michigan) will present the world premiere of Thom’s play “White Ash Falling 9/11” in May.
In the spirit of the IAW&A upcoming benefit in support of Urban Librarians, Marni Ricedescribed how important the public library was to her as a kid. To supplement the record collection of folk music field recordings she found at home, the public library had the full Alan Lomax archives. She sang an unaccompanied ballad recorded by the great song collector, Paddy Tunney, “The Lowlands of Holland” from the Sarah Makem collection. For additional information about her upcoming performances, please visit: http://www.dejouxmusique.com.
More true, spellbinding adventures from Jeanne D’Brant. She led off the second half of the evening with “Dasht-I-Kavir”, the story of her journey across the edge of the Great Salt Desert of Iran from her book Heartlands of Islam. This harsh and alien landscape is the only place in her travels to 45 countries whose stunningly bizarre visuals provoked her to question if she was still on planet earth. Jeanne is journeying this month to the wilds of Fort Lauderdale, where she will present original research on the function of cellular biochemical pathways at the national symposium of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition. Visit her website http://drjeanne.org.
Salon regular Tom Mahon read “The Man in the Pendleton Hat” from his collection of vignettes, Tomorrow Never Came. In the story, a woman comes to town to surprise her husband and she’s dressed to the nines. She catches the eye of a man desperate for money for gambling debts. He kills her and takes her fur coat, pearls, and diamonds. The woman had left her husband a phone message that said a man in a Pendleton hat was following her. The husband finds his wife’s murderer through that hat.
Jack Di Monte adds some background detail to his wonderful songs. Tonight he gave us the highlights of David Raksin’s career, the composer of the song “Laura.” As a young Hollywood orchestrator, Raksin turned Charlie Chaplin’s hummed melodies into written songs (without credit!). Jack then sang Raksin’s haunting ballad “The Bad and The Beautiful,” written for the movie of the same name, with lyrics by Dory Previn.
Guen Donohue and John Kearns
Guenevere Donohue performed a haunting rendition of Belfast-born Van Morrison’s, “Into the Mystic,” despite some technical problems with John Kearns’s guitar.
The one-and-only Malachy McCourt close the night with some words of wisdom, and yes, that song.
See you next time, April 21 at the Cell — with a later start, at 7:30 pm!