By Maureen Hossbacher
Photos by Gordon Gilbert, Jr
New York journalist, Suzanne Gannon, a newcomer to the salon — “assigned the terrifying first slot of the evening — eeek!” — read her amusing parody, “Wanted: Personal Executive Assistant to New York’s Most Brilliant Writer Who’s Not Yet Famous,” in which an insufferable narcissist outlines the attributes, experience and responsibilities she requires in a handler. Suzanne survived her trial by fire so well that she is contemplating an appearance in the Spoken Word Tent, with IAW&A, at the Hudson Valley Irish Fest on Sept. 28, in Peekskill, NY.
 Another first-timer, Remy Roussetzki, read an excerpt from the beginning of his novel, The Confiscation: A Realistic Fantasy. Remy’s native French accent added just the right flavor to a scene set on a Parisian train.



(L to R) Denis C. Maguire, Brian Kerrigan and Sarah Fearon

Playwright Denis C. Maguire presented an excerpt from his 3-act comedy, On the Green Light.  In the scene, set in Castlereagh Interrogation Centre, Northern Ireland, in the 1970s, Maguire portrayed an RUC interrogator leaning on a suspected Provo, played by Brian Kerrigan.  The grilling goes off the rails and veers into grammar issues, as the interrogator’s anger and the audience’s tension mounts, until it comically deflates with the sudden realization that the rookie interrogator and his “suspect” are only practicing.

Frequent presenter, Gordon Gilbert, recited the lyrics of his protest song “You Serve the Devil Now,” written in the style of Bob Dylan. It was followed by a poem called “Losing You.”

Karen Bermann read another installment from her work-in-progress, Either I’ll Kill Myself or I’ll Eat the Cookies, an illustrated memoir of her father, whom she describes as “child refugee, stateless person, kibbutznik, reluctant American, and fundamentally, always, stranger, through three continents and three wars, always trying to keep his papers in order.” Karen’s accompanying drawings were projected on a screen above her.
A performer who can always be counted on to energize the crowd with his deadpan humor and driving guitar chords, singer-songwriter John Skocik opened the 2nd half of the salon with two original songs:  “One in a Million” and “Don’t Fall in Love With a Woman Who Doesn’t Give a Damn About You.”  He didn’t disappoint!

(L to R) Jo Kinsella and Maria Deasy

Dublin born playwright Derek Murphy favored the IAW&A audience with another taste of his work-in-progress, The Love Parts, with Jo Kinsella and Maria Deasy as two Irish PTA mothers in a hilarious competition of boasting about which one got the most attention from the irresistible local handyman, Mickey O’Toole. 
Barbara Fischkin read from her historical novel-in-progress, The Digger Resistance, a tale depicting collisions among characters who have autism — and their families — over the course of a century. The excerpt takes place in 1929 in the Ukrainian shtetl of Felshtin.  It introduces the protagonist,”Digger,” as a five-year-old child hungry for sweet potatoes on market day, walking with his protective mother, who lost her faith when, as a toddler, her son stopped speaking.  Barbara says, ” Reading aloud helps me figure out how to make the book better. These salons feature so many talented writers and artists that I typically go home happy but also humbled.”
John Skocik then returned to the stage, this time in actor mode, playing opposite Guenevere Donahue. They gave their zany all to a scene from John Kearns’ play, Designers with Dirty Faces, described by the playwright as a parody of 1930s gangster movies in which James Cagney runs a clothing syndicate and rubs out competitors with a grapefruit. In the scene, Klein Deutschland is in a graveyard mourning the death of his father, murdered by Cagney. There he meets Cagney’s moll, Chrystie Deutschland, discovers that they are brother and sister, and that their mother has also been whacked by Cagney. Chrystie reluctantly joins in Klein’s quest to avenge their parents. 
The salon closed with a birthday salute to our beloved founder, Malachy McCourt who, on turning 88, reflected on the pursuit of happiness as a somewhat “slippery” aspiration, and his preference for the attainment of serenity.  As Malachy blew out the candles on a killer cheesecake presented by his daughter Siobhan McCourt, the festiveness of the moment inspired a front-row audience member, nonagenarian Mary Vanderpyl, to rise and deliver an impromptu rendition of John McCormack’s “A Little Bit of Heaven.”
Malachy McCourt and Mary Vanderpyl