by Mary Lannon
Photos by John Kearns
Lots of laughter could be heard at the salon at Bar Thalia last Wednesday night, August 5th, with three hilarious comedians in the house. They were joined by talented singers and strong writers to make for another enjoyable evening.
All the way from Ireland, comedian and Father Ted star, Joe Rooney, entertained the crowd. In his stand-up routine, he talked about how pointless it is for Irish people to taste the wine at a restaurant, how the Irish never complain at a restaurant but whisper their true feelings to one another, and how the nation has turned its back on the potato. If there were a potato blight in Ireland today, no one would care. A basil blight, however, might cause mass emigration.
Rooney was not the only presenter to have the crowd laughing: John McDonagh and Sarah Fearon each took a comedic turn.
McDonagh told the story of how when Bernie Madoff was down and out and being sentenced to 150 years as a first time non-violent offender Randy Credico and himself stood by him in his time of need
Fearon did a set of stand up in order to brush up for a new event at the Rockaway Artists Alliance. WORD WAVES is a evening of poetry writers, music and comedy. Check out the link and hopefully it will become a regular series for Irish American Writers and Artists to participate in! http://www.rockawayartistsalliance.org
The Rockaways also came up in Maureen Hossbacher’s reading from a novel-in-progress. She evoked the ambiance of Rockaway Beach in the 1930’s, from the perspective of an Irish immigrant of that era — a place where “the sand is pure white . . . and if you close your eyes and listen to the talk going on around you, the Irish accents, you’d think you were on a strand at home.”
Three singers entertained the crowd.
Guen Donohue noted that as we age sometimes the songs we rebelled against as teenagers become dear to us. She sang a lovely version of “Oh, Danny Boy.”
Jack DiMonte sang “When The World Was Young” a French pop song from the early ’50s that was originally called “Le Chevalier de Paris” by M. Philippe-Gérard. Johnny Mercer took one phrase from the original – “Ah the apple trees” and wrote a completely different English lyric to it, but it remains a wistful ode to youth and summers past.
John Skocik debuted three darkly humorous songs for the enthusiastic IAW&A Salon crowd: two about bar customers he serves, “The Wolverine” and “Long Live Bob,” and one about being in a band, “The Snake Ate the Bass Player.”
Several writers who we haven’t heard from in a while also gave readings.
Marcia Loughran was excited to read and shared three new poems, including an ode to her Irish mother-in-law.
Mary Lannon read an excerpt from her novella, “The Key to Catastrophe Management” about a weather-obsessed main character who discovers her artistic self.
Christy Jones presented another installment of his book about his adventures as a New York City taxi driver.
Two stalwarts of the salon also dazzled the crowd.
Tom Mahon read a vignette “Silent Beauty” from his collection: Tomorrow Never Came. In it, a young woman goes to Bogota, Columbia to study Pre Columbian Art and is abducted by a drug king. She gives birth to a boy and the drug king is captured. She leaves to live in New York, but when her son dies at seven from a brain tumor, the story recounts the continuing effects on her. Tom-Mahon.com
Our amiable and talented host, John Kearns, read a short excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which the relationship among the three characters driving through Manhattan’s courthouse district is transformed into a courtroom drama. Laura becomes the judge, the Englishman, Gavin, the prosecutor, and Paul Logan, the defendant acting as his on attorney. Paul is accused of pretending to come to the bar where Laura works in pursuit of love when he is actually more interested in pints of stout and free shots whose ingredients he does not know.
Mike Malone, first-time presenter and host of WVOX’s radio show, Books and Beer, presented some selections from his novel in progress. We hope Mike comes back to read for us again!
At the end of the evening, even the bartender gave us a rave review.
“You guys are awesome,” said he.
See you at the Cell on 8/18 at 7 pm!