by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
Leave it to Malachy for the perfect summation of the IAW&A Salon at the Bar Thalia on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. John Kearns hosted a mix of new and seasoned presenters who shared stories, poetry and song. There were three very fine Salon first-time appearances: internationally known singer Donie Carroll, poet Bernadette Cullen, and writer/actor/comedian Fiona Walsh.
Kathy Callahan was first up with a poem. Check out Kathy’s short video on YouTube: “Mystery of Faith and Intention” will be included in the documentary Springsteen and I, scheduled for release later this year.
Novelist and short story writer Kevin R. McPartland reports that his novel Brownstone Dreams is close to publication. Kevin has read sections of this gritty tale of love and tragedy set in the Park Slope, Brooklyn of his youth at previous salons and we, too, await its publication. Tuesday’s reading was amusing and thought-provoking.
First-time reader Bernadette Cullen read three distinctive poems: “Thoughts on Looking at Christina’s World,” an imagined monologue by the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting; “On the Edge” was Bernadette’s effort at symbolism, “a celebration of quirk” and “On Writing Mass Cards,” a narrative about a woman’s dispensing Mass cards.
A creative writing instructor at City College and producer for WBAI radio, BrendanCostello, Jr., read “Not Yet,” an emotionally raw piece about visiting his father in the hospital. It dealt with guilt, death and the ways we try to cope with tragedy: “The horns of this dilemma are made of serpent’s teeth.”
John Kearns showed the breadth of his talent with four short poems. “Declaration” was about leaving his hometown, Philadelphia. At a party, a young pregnant woman who was giving up her baby for adoption asked John to write her a poem. The next day he wrote “Cheap Reproduction.” “Without Purpose” describes a night of fun and forgetfulness driving around with friends. He ended with a snapshot poem depicting “Twilight.”
Fiona Walsh shared a piece with the working title, Relics, the beginning of a solo show about her childhood eating disorder. A lifelong writer and currently a comedian and DJ in New York, Fiona astonished the audience with her honesty, images and delivery. She wrote and performed Great White American Teeth at the Irish Rep and 1st Irish Theater Festival and she has written an award-winning short story. Visit www.fionawalsh.com.
Sarah Fearon tested some ideas for her comedy routine and based on the response, found some keepers for an upcoming event. Sarah shared the thoughts that ran through her mind while waiting for the accountant to do her taxes…and they weren’t all about her deductions. You can hear more from Sarah on April 18 at 8pm in Park Slope, Brooklyn at Funny Pages, An Evening of Humor Curated by Marian Fontana, the Old Stone House, 336 Third Street, Brooklyn. http://www.brooklynreadingworks.com
An honor to have the traditional folk singer and musician Donie Carroll come to the Thalia and give us three songs. Well-known in the US and Ireland, Donie is busy with his new release, Divil of A Noise. He sang “Two Thousand Years after Jesus,” a song he wrote about the discrimination against tinkers/travelers and two songs of exile, “Murphy Can Never Go Home” and “Far Away in Australia.” More about Donie and his music at www.doniecarroll.com/.
Jim Rodgers returned to read an excerpt from his novel, Long Night’s End. On a hot July evening Johnny Gunn finds himself on the sweltering 7 train returning home to Sunnyside, with a wicked thirst and a bad attitude. He stops at McCormick’s Pub to have few with his pals only to run into Big Joe Scanlon, the neighborhood tough guy. A raucous brawl erupts, forcing Johnny and his pals to move on to the nearby Kerryman. There Johnny spots the voluptuous Molly Farrell and drowns his angst in pints of stout. Just another manic night for Johnny as he descends into his private hell. And another terrific reading for Jim.
Tom Mahon has been reading sections of his prose/poem The Wide Valley set in upstate New York. Tonight Tom was passionate about love and war. He told how two Irish immigrant families created one of the early dynasties in a farming community. It began with a boy and girl meeting on the ship from Ireland. Separated in New York, the girl goes to the South. When the Civil Was breaks out, the boy joins the Union army, is wounded at Gettysburg and tended to by Walt Whitman. Whitman writes the girl to ask if she’ll marry the boy if they live through this war. And they do, against all odds, meet, marry, and he moves her family north to The Wide Valley where their brothers and sisters marry.
Ray Lindie read from a play in progress called West of Mayo about an elderly Irish immigrant couple who raised a first generation family in America. An actor and bartender, Ray read both parts and will read more as the work progresses.
Sh*t, says Malachy…Malachy McCourt likes to inform as well as entertain and provoke. Tonight he decided to read some passages from a book called Merde. Going from merde to Yeats, as perhaps only he can, Malachy ended the night leading us in “Down by the Salley Gardens.”
Malachy Talking Shite Again
At the next Salon on Tuesday, April 16th, we will be celebrating the 7th birthday of Dublin-based publisher 7 Towers Agency at the Cell Theatre at 338 W.23rd St. at 7pm. Don’t miss this special IAW&A Salon event!