What a night! Loud, soft, moving, funny and memorable! –Tom Mahon
By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
IAW&A’s July Salon at Bar Thalia featured a tribute to writer, memoirist and much loved member Alphie McCourt, who died this week. Salon producer John Kearns organized readings of Alphie’s poems and stories, mainly from his book The Soulswimmer, A Collection of Stories, Verses and Songs.
Guenevere Donohue and Michele Fulves gave sensitive readings of Alphie’s poems, and Mark Butler and Mark Donnelly, his wry and funny true stories. Mark Butler captured the feeling of many IAW&A folks, when he described first meeting Alphie and feeling the man’s “instant humanity.”
Treat yourself to more Soulswimmer.
In addition to Alphie’s work, Salon goers enjoyed the work of two poets, two singers in the Irish tradition, and two novelists. The many-talented Vivian O’Shaughnessy, visual artist, translator, poet, read “Stone Garden” which she translated, hand brailled and created an audio/music book edition for Perkin’s International School for the Blind. Andre Archimbaud, continued the elegiac mood in his Salon debut, with “Last Breath” written in the wake of Maya Angelou’s passing and “God’s Last Gasp” about the last known recording of John Coltrane.
The night’s host John Kearns has been covering the major sins in his generational novel in progress, Worlds. Tonight he gave us sloth, in the character of Janey Logan. After getting her kids off to school one dull morning, she listlessly lies around the house, thinking about how apathetic her married life has become. Finding proof that her husband has cheated, she can’t work up the energy to confront him.
Tom Mahon kicked up the mood with funny excerpt from a from his young adult novel, The Incredible Heroics of Timothy Egan. We watch Tom’s character, a kid in Bayonne, NJ, grow up from kindergarten, where he meets more kids than he knew existed. Learning about “pagan babies,” he becomes the best Pagan Baby Saver of St. Andrews School. When he tires of them, he takes up stickball, baseball and girls. He likes one girl so much he can’t describe what’s happening, except being with her makes him feel like he’s riding a magic carpet.
One of our two wonderful singers, Alisa Rose, is among Irish music’s most celebrated, up-and- coming performers. She showed why in her second Salon appearance, singing two traditional songs “Yankee Land,” and the Scottish “Ae Fond Kiss” by Robbie Burns, accompanying herself on guitar.
In her first Salon performance, actress and singer Annalisa Chamberlin sang two lovely Irish folks songs, which are in Eileen Connolly’s new Irish tale “Daughter of the Waves” which premiered at the NY Musical Theater Festival.
In all, the night was full of emotion and special IAW&A connection.
See you next time at The Cell on July 19. Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy will host our first Italian American and Irish American Salon.