By Mary Lannon
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas
Lots of laughter, some song, and even some serious moments marked another successful salon on Wednesday October 1st at Bar Thalia.
A night of many laughs: Malachy McCourt and John Kearns
Our easy-going host, John Kearns, led off the night with an excerpt from his novel-in-progress Worlds. James Logan’s fiancee, Janey Dougherty, joins her fiancee, James, and her father-in-law in the family’s late-summer suburban backyard to hear a tale of how family patriarch, Seamus Logan, punched out a cruel construction foreman and left New York for Philadelphia, where he built his own construction empire.
Large, lively crowd at Bar Thalia
Next up the crowd laughed along with two vengeance love songs from Girl to Gorilla singer-songwriter, John Skocik. John’s band, Girl to Gorilla, has its album release party at Otto’s Shrunken Head on Saturday, October 11th at 9 pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/279615405565501/.
Board member Sarah Fearon read her “notes” and made the crowd laugh uproariously. Some of the subjects were the questionable sincerity of some environmentalists, taking on a personal trainers suggestions, and the classic NYC Nail salon scenario. Oh, yeah, and the real meaning of attention deficit disorder….guess you had to be there. Or for a more polished set sometime later this fall she’ll be performing at Gotham Comedy Club.
Marcia Loughran took a more serious turn reading three poems in order of sadness — one about making people do what you want by doing weird stretches, one about bugs on the subway, and one about horror and despair and professional photography. She was appreciative of the IAW&A Salon crowd and glad to be back.
The multi-dimensional John Brennan talked about gene studies conducted by geneticists at Trinity College Dublin and then dedicated a poem called “The Fox, The Bird and the Poet” to Malachy McCourt. That poem was about the Fil Na Maigue poets of Croom, County Limerick. He talked about the compulsion to write, read a tribute poem for Bobby Sands and the poem, “In My Blood.” He finished by singing “The Auld Triangle” written by Brendan Behan in Mountjoy Jail.
Fun during the break: Maria Deasy, Karen Daly, Marcia Loughran, and Sarah Fearon
Fun during the break: Jack DiMonte and Maura Mulligan
Maura Mulligan shared an excerpt from an article about reading from her memoir, Call of the Lark, at the 6th Annual Hudson Valley Irish Fest in Peekskill. Visible from the festival grounds was the convent Mulligan joined in the 60s and Mulligan found herself distracted by flashbacks of her novitiate experiences of wearing a wedding dress and having her hair cut off. A train horn that made her stop during the reading seemed like the same one she’d heard years ago that made her decide to become a nun, leave the world behind and take the road less traveled. Call of the Lark is available directly from Greenpointress.org, from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
Maureen Hossbacher read from her novel-in-progress, The Grand March, a family saga set in New York City and spanning roughly six decades from the late 1920’s to the 1980’s. In this segment, set in 1961, young Nance Moran finds herself consigned to Rosalie Hall, a Catholic facility for unwed mothers in the Bronx, where she awaits the arrival of her child with girls in similar predicaments — most, like Nance, resigned to the inevitable surrender of their babies to the New York Foundling Home for adoption. After delivering her daughter, Nance’s resistance to bonding with her begins to crumble. The segment ends with a visit to her hospital room from the child’s father — who is wearing a Roman collar.
After the break, Tom Mahon read a short/short story from his collection of vignettes: Tomorrow Never Came, called “Manny the Gambler.” In the story, Manny comes to America from Mexico and on his first day buys a lottery ticket and wins $10. He has six children, and Manny drills them in soccer and they all go to college on sports scholarships. Unknown to everyone, Manny can’t stop buying lottery tickets, storing them all in an old car. After he dies, his daughter finds the car and a winning ticket worth 57 million dollars. The family is rich, but that’s another story. Web site: Tom-Mahon.com
Jim Rodgers got the crowd laughing reading from his novel Long Night’s End. In the excerpt, Johnny Gunn tries to protect his friend Jimmy from haunting demons and to avoid his nemesis Big Joe Scanlon, and at the same time avoid the occasion of sin with his former mistress, Molly. All efforts are for naught as Johnny stumbles through this rollicking and passionate chapter played out in the bars and streets of Sunnyside, Queens.
The laughter continued as Christy Jones read from a chapter of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway. Just out of the theater studio after a two-year acting course, Jones is cast as a bit player in a small town production of Romeo and Juliet. He is soon caught up in the glorious excitement of rehearsals, swordfighting, love scenes and the extracurricular activities of the large cast that end up even more exciting than the production.
Mary Lannon read from her short story “All the Stray Cats of the World.” In the excerpt, her main character is obsessed with death and at Thanksgiving Dinner, a combination that, perhaps not surprisingly, had the crowd laughing.
Ryan Winter Cahill
Ryan Winter Cahill serenaded the audience with the traditional English ballad “Fair Margaret and Sweet William,” a variation from the Appalachian Mountains. The song originated in England and has many variations including discovered in the Appalachian Mountains and preserved by Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles around 1916-1918 during a trip they took to the area. Without their efforts, this song and many others might have been lost to history.
Malachy McCourt again got the crowd laughing explaining that he hadn’t worked a day in his life and celebrating that with a song about not working, that the crowd heartily joined in on.
See you at the O’Neill Event on 10/20 and the next IAW&A Salon at the Cell on 10/27!