By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
Several Irish-born artists joined the first May IAW&A Salon, including one of the “Transatlantic” poets from last month’s event. An SRO crowd, a variety of talent and a fast-paced program, thanks to host John Kearns, created a stellar night.
The talented Tom Mahon kicked off the night by reading a middle chapter of his novel, American Mastery, in which the Fenton brothers are in Frankfurt, Germany after their father dies. They sign another company to manufacture Mr. Kelly’s products. Charlie rises early and walks among Frankfurt’s international banks remembering his dream of being a hotshot financier in a city like Frankfurt. However, he sees what he has with his brother and Holly Simpson and Mr. Kelly, and wouldn’t trade it for anything. In a stunning section, the brothers visit the site of the concentration camp at Buchenwald. Charlie cannot bear to see it; Ray inhales it all so he’ll see it early next time. Can this happen again? Charlie asks, but his brother Ray doesn’t answer.
The Dublin-based poet Phil Lynch participated in last month’s Transatlantic Salon and, on Tuesday night, we were pleased to welcome him to the Thalia. He presented five of his poems: “Encounters” a sonnet to and about love, followed by a futuristic piece “Progress.” Two poems related to Ireland, “If St. Patrick Could See Us Now” about the state of the nation and “1 September 1994” marked the 20th anniversary of the start of the peace process in Northern Ireland. Phil finished his set with “In the Moment,” about finding contentment in our everyday lives. Phil’s work has been widely anthologized and featured on national and local radio including RTE’s Arena Arts Show. A frequent reader/performer at spoken word events in Ireland, he is a member of the organizing committee for Lingo, a spoken word festival to be held in Dublin in October. And he’s always welcome at the Salon, whether in person or on screen.
Jon Gordon read from his poignant book, For Sue – A Memoir, the story of his childhood growing up alone with an alcoholic single mother. Tonight’s excerpt featured stories from Sue’s time in the 50s jazz scene in Los Angeles with Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, Mel Blanc, Jonathan Winters, and others. Sue’s husband, jazz saxophonist Bob Gordon, died in a car accident. Jon Gordon is also a celebrated jazz saxophonist. For Sue is published by Chimbarazu Press and available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ACOR48A
New to the IAW&A Salon, but not to the spotlight, Amanda Doherty, actor and writer from Derry City, shared her beautiful love poem “The Eskimo” which was part of 2012 UK and Ireland-wide poetry installation “Peace Camp,” curated by Fiona Shaw. Read it at http://www.peacecamp2012.com/poetry/amanda-doherty.aspx. Amanda trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Her acting credits include BBC’s The Fall, Hedda Gabbler and most recently, Medea Redux in NYC. She will return to the city in October when her original one-woman show Inheritance is showcased In the United Solo Festival on Theatre Row, W. 42nd Street. www.AmandaDoherty.com
Writes Amanda: “Thank you so much for welcoming me into your community so closely last night- it was a pleasure to get to meet you all and I cannot wait to be with you again this coming fall.”
Salon producer and host John Kearns read a new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which Logan-family patriarch, Seamus, arrives in the new world from Ireland. Seamus decides not to accompany his friends to a bar but to make his way along crowded and alien South and Pearl Streets to Saint James’s Church, dedicated to his English namesake. There he makes his first stop in his new country.
Maxine Linehan and her husband, Andrew
Another Irish-born performer made new fans and friends tonight with her beautiful voice and well-chosen songs. Cork-born, New York based singer Maxine Linehan performed two songs from her current solo concert, An American Journey. Accompanied on guitar by her husband Andrew Koss, she sang “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” originally performed by Martina McBride and U2’s “Walk On.”
Maxine offers a special discount for IAW&A members – $22 and that includes admission and complimentary drinks and snacks. Hurry, there are only two more performances: Sunday May 11 and Wednesday May 14. The show is at the world class Terminus recording studios in Times Square (723 Seventh Avenue btw 48th & 49th Streets), doors open at 6pm, show at 7pm. For the discounted tickets: https://web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/933602/prm/IAWA
Poet, translator and visual artist Vivian O’Shaughnessy read the poem “Combat/Battle of the Sexes,” which she translated, from the French. The poem is from the forthcoming collection Woman, I Am (Je La Femme, Enfin), poems about women by French/Italian academician Giovanni Dotoli. Vivian created the cover and 30 drawings for the book. She is often at the Salons at The Cell with her sketchpad. You can see her art at vivianoshaughnessy.com.
Mary Lannon read the end of her short story “The Key To Catastrophe Management” in which her main character obsesses about the weather as a way to cope with romantic rejection. Mary’s working on publishing her first novel. Help her out by visiting her terrific website www.mirandajmccleod.com where you can friend her character on Facebook (and discover the title of the novel).
First time presenter Christie Jones (also Irish-born, friend of Malachy’s) shared an essay “Reflections on A Dark Pool” about his early experiences in New York, making his way as an actor, supporting himself and his family as a cab driver. We hope to hear more of his work.
Last musical performance of the night belonged to rocker John Skocik, lead singer of the band Girl to Gorilla. (Like the band on Facebook.) John performed two of his original songs – “Movin’ to LA” and “Ordinary Life.” John is also an accomplished actor and always bring house down when he performs at the Salon.
Our customary closer, Malachy McCourt, who started the IAW&A Salon almost three years ago, and presides as godfather and guiding spirit, offered some gentle advice to presenters, namely, “Tell the fookin’ story. Don’t read it” and urged us to consider the crowd not as an audience, but as friends. In closing, Malachy led the friends in a sweet round of the classic “Down by the Salley Gardens.”
Friends, next Salon will be May 20 at 7 pm at the Cell. Join us there.