By Karen Daly
Photos by Dan Brown
If anyone expected a quiet IAW&A Salon at the Thalia Studio before the July 4th holiday, they were mistaken. We were privileged to have astonishing performers and tremendous variety in the lineup, including renowned actress Terry Donnelly, fresh from her triumph at Irish Rep, and jazz saxophonist Jon Gordon, called “one of the greatest alto players ever.”
Sarah Fearon’s essay about heading out on the ferry to Rockaway evoked a warm summer mood before the holiday. Sarah noted the pleasant journey on Memorial Day weekend, away from the noise of the BQE, in sight of NY landmarks Coney Island and Riis Park. Arriving at the beach bungalow on the “Irish Rivera,” she felt at home.
A homemade firework display at a July 4th party set a more ominous summer scene in J. L.Weinberg
’s debut novel, True Religion
(Chelsea Station). Says Joel, NYC writer Seth Davis, “has an unsettling vision of a ghostly man angrily approaching him. Seth falls ill at the party and spends the night at the hosts’ home. A ghost glides through the living room where Seth is sleeping. The spirit’s acrid, burning scent jolts him awake.” Says Lambda Literary:
“Part thriller, part contemporary fantasy, Weinberg’s charming debut hits all the right marks.” You can find True Religion at Amazon
Gordon Gilbert, Jr. performed two brief monologues: one in the voice of a truly despicable, true life West Village landlord. The second, in a lighter vein, Gordon candidly mused about the trials of getting more forgetful with age, forgetting where he put his car keys, and his car.
(L to R) Maria Deasy, Terry Donnelly, Jack Di Monte and Dolores Nolan
Maura Mulligan says “All Heaven breaks loose” in her new play, Brigid, when the saint and the goddess visit the Vatican and confront Pope John Paul II. Maura was thrilled to have Terry Donnelly, fresh from her multiple roles in the Seán O’Casey trilogy at the Irish Rep, portray St. Brigid. Maria Deasy, winner of the Origin Theater’s “Spirit of the Festival” award made a spirited goddess and our own Jack Di Monte made a very convincing Pope. Dolores Nolan provided stage directions, rounding out this powerful ensemble.
Actor/singer/storyteller Guenevere Donohue suspects that her own wanderlust in inherited from her Grandpa Moses Bolger, whom she believes had Tinker’s blood. Describing the adventuring spirit that leads folks to leave all they know and wander, she likened that spirit to Tom Waits’ song “Shiver Me Timbers,” and she gave us a chilling rendition.
After playing a sax solo, the noted musician Jon Gordon
improvised while poet/artist John K. Lawson
read his new piece “Helicopters.” The work bemoans the murder rate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the constant whirling of police helicopters above the city of “chemical plants and okra.”
Jon Gordon (L) and John K. Lawson
Salon host John Kearns’ scene from his novel, multi-generational novel Worlds took us to another summer setting, Atlantic City’s Dock’s Oyster House. Janey Logan describes the time she met her husband, James, at a seafood restaurant in Philadelphia after an appointment with her obstetrician. She’d eaten so much horseradish that tears streamed down her cheeks and, when James arrived at their table, he thought she was crying over a bad report from the doctor.
Departing from his usual memoir presentations, actor/writer Alan Gary
contrasted the worldwide attacks on journalists with personal failures to connect in daily life, noting that there are “many ways to kill a dream.” As an “Alan” presentation includes humor, he added a story about the time he failed miserably as a painter. Alan invites you to step up to the plate and like his Fan Page
. It’s free!
Adding to the musical variety of the night, soulful singer Minnie Dee
debuted her new single “Leave Me the Hell Alone” and raved about how the Salon energy “was so generous and supportive.” For more on Minnie please visit her website
Chanteuse Myriam Phiro sang two songs from her Edith Piaf tribute program: La Foule” (The Crowd”) and Piaf’s signature “La Vie En Rose” whose which lyrics Piaf wrote. Myriam thanks our “beautiful community” for our support.
For more on Myriam please visit her website.
Malachy McCourt summed up the Salon as “bristling with talent” and on this July 4th, offered his wise take on the notion of patriotism. Patriotism, he says, means acting in the best interests of the people of our country: “caring for the homeless, the disabled, the elderly and educating the young.” And with that, he closed with some George M. Cohan patriotic songs.