By Karen Daly
Photos by Gordon Gilbert, Jr.
Hosting IAW&A’s early June Salon at the Studio at Symphony Space, IAW&A Board member, writer and professor Brendan Costello, Jr. assembled fellow professors, teachers and other folks with lessons to impart. Brendan imparted the words of Yeats’ (“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire”) and kicked off the Salon with the invitation from Jim Morrison to “Light My Fire.”

 

In his second Salon appearance, James Rogers read a short story “The Pass” featuring the eccentric Mulligan in the Santy hat. Tinged with humor and mysticism (“I didn’t know the Pass was sacred, until we built a road on it.”), the story shows how a case of anger turned into compassion. Originally from Leitrim, James lives in New York and teaches math at the United Nations International School. An award-winning writer, he creates computer art which can be viewed on James’s website.

Always mesmerizing actor Rosina Fernhoff performed a monologue from Return to Mecca by the South African playwright Athol Fugard. In a very profound way, the play deals with the “ conflict between a fiercely independent artist and a society justly yearning for order.” (Time Magazine).

Alan Gary entertained with stories of his school-time adventures –from grade school (where he hid his milk from the teacher) through a college computer course where he triumphed. Alan’s stories always include a lesson that he learned. One memorable example was a lesson in dignity from the R&B pioneer Hank Ballard, writer and original singer of “The Twist.” Find Alan on his Facebook page.

 

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Prize-winning poet and professor Estha Weiner opened with “The Talk of the Country,” a poem created on a visit to the West Coast of Ireland, where her publisher, Salmon Poetry is located. She read from her latest collection, at the last minute. Buy on Amazon

Here’s how poet Cornelius Eady describes the work:
“Sometimes, the deepest things are enclosed in smallest packages; Lobster Rolls, a leg cast, a quotation from a beloved, but departed poet; the trick of poetry and the challenge to the poet is to turn the ordinary and make it blaze new in our mind, and this is a task Estha Weiner is more than up to in her fine book at the last minute.

More information on Estha’s  blog.

The ebullient Erin Hall was back with her cello to perform her original songs, including “Google Stock,” “Breakdancin’ Man” “Sober” and one in progress, called “Greta.”
Sample Erin’s single from her new album.

And please come out and support our IAW&A member at her Great Blue Album Release Show, June 13, 7pm, Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 2 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Robert Gibbons, poet, an instructor and MFA from City College, prefaced his reading with the gospel song, “Don’t Let the Devil Ride.”  Robert sent a beautiful message about his appreciation for Salon, calling the night “an incredible moment for me. A moment to look outside myself and consider the other. I received the laughs and giggles from the audience because my day was tough. After I read from my chapbook my day was fulfilled.”  We appreciated his magnetic presence.

Novelist and professor Mary Lannon calls her imaginative novel in progress, Tide Girl a “dystopian satire that envisions a world in which the children of the middle classes are sponsored by companies in exchange for free college tuition.” Marlee is a college girl sponsored by the soap company Tide. Her cousin Annie, no longer company-sponsored, is involved with a college protest group: Stop Sponsorship Now. Annie also has a crush on a leader of the protest movement. The third main character is a company executive posing as a college professor to infiltrate the protest group. We’re eager to see what happens to the trio.

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We were delighted to have Seamus O’Farrell make his Salon debut. A native of County Tyrone, he came to the US to study acting at the Maggie Flanigan Studio.  Seamus tried out some standup comedy, including his take on Liam Neeson and told his own school story. He grew up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and post conflict. When a bomb exploded near his school, teachers assured the class that the sound was just “Giants’ Footsteps.” A not very reassuring notion to a 5-year-old boy, Seamus notes.

Brendan Costello, Jr. talked with Jonathan Goldman, professor, musician, Joyce scholar and editor of Joyce and The Law (University of Florida Press) about his approach to editing Ulysses. Jonathan didn’t actually edit Ulysses, of course, but he did prepare the script for the first half of the Bloomsday on Broadway celebration at Symphony Space. (See Malachy McCourt, below).

Brendan Costello, Jr. (right) talking with Jonathan Goldman

Feeling a touch of the poet, our endlessly inspiring Malachy McCourt declared the Salon offerings. “Threads woven into a mystical garment of art.” Malachy sampled from his forthcoming reading at Bloomsday on Broadway, where’s he has participated since its inception, 38 years and counting.  Malachy ended the night with a passionate  rendition of the anti-war song, “Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye.”
Don’t miss our Second Annual Pride Salon on June 18 at The Cell Theatre. Miranda Stinson will host a night dedicated to the memory of Lyra McKee.