By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
“…the amazing worlds that you all create…” Karl Scully
A lively celebration for the launch of IAW&A President and Wexford man Larry Kirwan’s new book, A History of Irish Music brought out an SRO crowd to the Cell. Malachy McCourt gave a moving introduction to Larry and his book. Larry enchanted the crowd by reading a chapter about the iconic blues guitarist, Rory Gallagher. Our Salon followed, with producer John Kearns hosting topnotch presentations that included music, memoir, poetry, fiction, and humor.
The actress Mary Tierney started the Salon with a scene from an untitled novel-in-progress by writer Joseph Davidson. In 1966, a young woman named Bobby Joe Lang is hitchhiking from Kansas to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury in search of love and peace. She is picked up by a stranger in a truck and her life is soon threatened. Mary’s dramatic reading brought both characters to life.
Poet, screenwriter, and novelist Christy Kelly read from his novel-in-progress called, Nobody Said. He dedicated this section to Larry Kirwan. In Nobody Said, two cops cruise the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx (Bruckner Boulevard) in the Olympic Year of 1976, when, Christy says, “The sky was pink with arson.”
Poet and professor Bernadette Cullen read “Ruminations While Standing on the Edge of the Precipice” which she describes as a longish poem on uncomfortable ‘truths’….
Sean Carlson has serialized chapters from his yet-untitled family memoir of emigration at previous Salons. Tonight, he showed another side of his writing with excerpts from a travel series recently shortlisted as a finalist in a contest judged by the editor of the Paris Review. “Notes from Cambodia” is scheduled to publish this summer in Nowhere Magazine.
Larry Kirwan enjoying the Salon
Stephanie Silber gave a powerful reading from her first novel, Other People’s Houses, a coming of age story set in the early seventies. Pregnant teenager Queenie has been shipped off from her humble roots for the duration to live with a wealthy family on Long Island. Complications ensue when their foundering son returns unexpectedly from Harvard. This scene plays out on a beach and on a boat, in a haze of heat one Fourth of July; a high school friend of Queenie’s has come to visit — and has set her sights on the troubled, glamorous, son. Feelings run high.
We had more enchantment from Larry Kirwan when he read another passage from A History of Irish Music. You can purchase Larry’s book at www.black47.comor Amazon.com. Find the schedule for his upcoming solo solo gigs iwww.black47.com
Karl Scully, one of the world famous Irish Tenors, graced us with a song, “My Lagan Love.” Karl has appeared in movies, performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and around the world. So we appreciate his appreciation of the Salons. Karl was delighted to enter “…the amazing worlds that you all create…”
A full house for the IAW&A Salon and book launch party
Marie Reilly on fiddle and Maura Mulligan
Accompanied by the fiddler Marie Reilly, Maura Mulligan presented an excerpt from her memoir, Call of the Lark. The piece, depicting school days in Ireland of the 40s/50s will be part of a performance at the Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo this summer. Maura is honored to work with Marie in preparing to introduce passages from the book with musical interludes.You can find a video of their performance, courtesy of Dee Nolan, on https://www.facebook.com/CallOfTheLark
Brendan Costello Jr.
IAW&A board member and frequent Salon contributor, Brendan Costello Jr. read the opening of T.S. Eliot’s famous poem “The Waste Land.” Brendan reworked that section as a Buzzfeed lifestyle article, proving that April may still be the “cruellest month,” but at least it’s user friendly. “What I’ve found in this handful of dust might just haunt you for years to come!” Brendan also edits the IAW&A “Weekly” newsletter. He encouraged members to share news of upcoming events, gigs, performances and publication, or other events that may be of interest to the group. Send your news or send an email to subscribe to firstname.lastname@example.org
Singer/songwriter John Munnelly says: “Thank you for the love, artistic freedom and support I receive regularly from the IAW&A and friends…” John played two original compositions. His new song about love, from a distance, was inspired by the title of Theresa Lennon Blunt’s memoir, “I Sailed the Sky in A Silver Ship.” The melody for his second song came from a dream he had one morning while in Dublin attending a launch event for his soccer supporters song “King of Cambridge.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9brCB-5A6Y John asks for your vote on the song’s title. He’s wavering between “No More Than A Boy” and “Through the Passing of the Years.” Find him at http://johnmunnellymusic.com/fans-contact-social-upload/
Malachy McCourt brought the night to a rollicking close, with a story about his days as a gold smuggler. Saying he wasn’t sure about remembering the lyrics, he delivered verse after verse of the Noel Coward (a Salon first?) song about British officers in India. “I Wonder What Happened to Him?”
Whatever became of old Tucker?
Have you heard any word of young Mills
Who ruptured himself at the end of a chukka
And had to be sent to the hills?
They say that young Lees Had a go of D.T.’s’
And his hopes of promotion are slim.
Next IAW&A Salon will be May 5, at Bar Thalia. Join us and see what surprises are in store.