by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
Those are comments from presenters who shared the stage at the IAW&A Salon at the Cell, March 19, 2013. Guenevere Donohue, our generous and creative host, opened the night. Guen is directing and appearing in a new American play – Passing Through by Tristan Grigsby. Members of the cast, dispersed throughout the audience, sang parts of a song while Tristan took the stage. A charismatic actor, he befriended, questioned, wound-up and rattled us. A fantastic start to the evening and intriguing sample from this unique play. You will be able to see it in its entirety at the Theatre for the New City in April: http://www.nytheatre.com/Preview/tristan-grigsby-passing-through.
Salon regular Kevin R. McPartland, a short story writer and novelist read the riveting prologue from his soon-to-be-published novel Brownstone Dreams. As the book opens, two women are at the NYC morgue identifying the body of a young man they both love. Kevin’s reading drew much praise from the audience.
Stephanie Silber read an evocative passage from her first novel, Other People’s Houses. In the early 1970s, a pregnant teenager named, “Queenie” has been shipped off to the home of a wealthy couple. Their home is a stark contrast to what Queenie is accustomed to. When the family’s son, a student at Harvard, arrives home early and unexpectedly, a multitude of complications ensue. Silber is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who, along with her husband, the filmmaker Vic Zimet, founded HOME TEAM PRODUCTIONS in 1999. She is thrilled to be working again on fiction, and is seeking representation/publication for Other People’s Houses as well as her recently completed psychological thriller, The Dark Side of Time.
Always ready with a lovely song and its history, Jack DiMonte sang “Where Have I Seen Your Face Before?” written by Burton Lane and Yip Harburg, the team that also wrote the music for Finian’s Rainbow.
In honor of Irish Heritage Month and Women’s History Month, Dolores Nolan tapped into her passion for all things Irish, New York, spiritual and historical. She gave a lighthearted Lenten reflection on her renewal of faith, soul and self. Thanks to the beautiful duality of Brigid — Saint Brigid, Patroness of Ireland and the Celtic goddess Brigid — Dolores vows to live as the Wild Irish Rose whom God has always called her to be.
A Salon first time presenter, Dolores is an accomplished performer and voice-over artist. She was featured in the HBO film The Notorious Bettie Page. She created and hosts www.SaintsOfNewYork.com, a website/podcast self-guided religious-historical walking tour of New York City. Dolores was associate producer of State of Denial, the audio documentary on the plight of undocumented Irish in NYC that was broadcast on RTE in Ireland.
Tom Mahon has been reading pieces from his prose/poetry work set in rural New York state, The Wide Valley. Tonight he chose two pieces about parent/child relationships. In the first, a cow commits suicide after all her calves are taken from her and slaughtered because they are male. In contrast, the farmer’s wife gave birth to several daughters until she has a son who can work the farm. In the second, an absentee father and his son go hiking in winter in the Adirondacks. The boy is angry; he father goes to him and slips and slides, accidentally pushing the boy off the mountain. The father looks for signs of his son, either falls or jumps. He too dies on the mountain with his son.
Margaret McCarthy read several poems from her manuscript In the Becoming, based on the story of Deirdre, the heroine of Irish myth. The poems give Deirdre a direct voice to tell her story and serve as a metaphor for finding voice, both as a woman and an artist. The poems/poetic monologues became the basis for McCarthy’s stage play, Deirdre Retrograde, which had a reading at La Mama. She is seeking a full production of the play and would like to publish the collection as a book. See more of the project at www.margaretmccarthy.com. A photographer and poet, Margaret’s e-publication A Vision and A Verse matches a photograph (often of a Celtic location) with a short poem on a timely or seasonal basis. Subscribe for free at: www.avisionandaverse.com.
Mary Lannon treated us to an excerpt from her novel (which has the longest and funniest title we’ve heard) An Explanation of the Fundamentals of the Derivation of Dilapidated Brown Station Wagon Theory (aka. How I Became a Scientist and Discovered the Truth About Parallel Universes) by Miranda J. McCleod. Mary is looking to sell this darkly comic coming-of-age novel story of a good girl science geek who grows up to be a bisexual test tube washer.
Ray Lindie read the second half of his story “Monsters of the Park West,” which he introduced at the last salon at the Thalia. On the Saturday before Halloween in late 1940s New York, a local movie house has a double feature of Dracula and Frankenstein. A fatherless and precocious ten year old is looking for a girl he had met the previous week. Unable to find her, he finds and is haunted by, the resident pervert known as the Punk. The boy, who is fascinated by Frankenstein, and the Punk eventually meet in a duel to the death.
John Kearns read from his first novel, The World, in which a 15-year-old boy sneaks off to his school library to read about his Irish heritage. He realizes that he has been surrounded by people of Irish descent his whole life and this becomes an important element in his understanding of his self. John has read this passage several times before — in venues such as the American Irish Historical Society and at Rocky Sullivan’s — and is grateful to the Salon for giving it the best response so far: laughter and tears.
Guen had the perfect follow-up: confessing her desire tobe Malachy McCourt, she sang us out with a sweet rendition of The PartingGlass. Laughter and tears, a perfect Irish American farewell!