Why attend an Irish American Writers and Artists Salon? Here’s a quote from one of Tuesday night’s readers, Jim Rodgers: “I’ve come to realize that the Salon would have gone the way of similar efforts in many fields–great ideas that founder at the toddler stage—if not for dedication of a great bunch of folks. Yesterday was a tough day at work and I almost backed out of attending. I’m glad I didn’t. The presenters help put me back on track and enriched my day.” And you did as well, Jim. Thank you from all of us.
Michele Cetera presented the first installment of the short story, “Pieces Of Me.” Michele cleverly sets up the scene giving us details that draw us into the story as we meet the character Macy Grant, and all the negative happenings that are wreaking havoc in her life. This was a fast paced, funny reading as Michele transformed herself into Macy Grant ranting about everything that has gone wrong in her life, but ready to accept change, move forward and never give up hope. Do I see the makings of a one woman show in the “Maria Tomesi, My Cousin Vinny” mold? I hope so.
Singer/songwriter Tara O’Grady returned from an extended tour of England and Ireland with a new song called, “In Belfast Tonight.” Tara composed the lyrics and melody on the plane ride home to New York last week after a memorable night in Belfast with a group of artists and musicians she met during a traditional Irish music session. One artist happened to be named after the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, and a few of the famous poet’s most recognized lines sneak their way into Tara’s lovely song. “Do not go gentle into that good night…rage, rage, against the dying of the light.” Tara announced that the new song will most likely make its way onto her third album, A Celt in the Cotton Club, to be released in 2013.
The IAW&A’s resident sleepwalker, Kathleen Frazier, read from her book proposal for Somniloquies: A Memoir of Sleepwalking. Her story is both harrowing and powerfully told but, she reports, she is now a completely recovered somnambulist. Kathleen is an outstanding reader and you can hear her read from the memoir on Tuesday, October 2nd at 6:00 pm at The Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village. For more information, see the notice in the “What’s Happening” section on the IAW&A website
Pat Fenton is a playwright with a vivid memory and great ear for a Brooklyn era long since past, and as such, Pat attempted to bring to life Nick Scarpa, a loan shark who hung out in an old neighborhood bar, the Hill Top Lounge, on a typical 1950’s Windsor Terrace Saturday night. Judging from some of the comments I heard during the intermission, no doubt, Pat succeeded.
Moley and Owen O’Suilleabhain are beginning to incorporate a deeper narrative into their performance as they attempt to bridge their musical act into other disciplines and performance opportunities. The brothers sang one of their own compositions called ‘Irish Hearts Are Hard To Break’ and the traditional song ‘Suil a ruin’. The brothers spoke of the tradition of maccaronic song and of grieving and letting go. Owen & Moley later commented that they appreciate the salon as a workshop to try out new songs and link them with common themes and stories on a formal speaking plane. We’re honored to have them.
Mary Lannon followed with a wonderful reading from her novel-in-progress 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. The novel tells the story of a girl science geek who believes that at the age of fourteen, after fighting with her father , she got sucked through a faulty air-conditioner in a dilapidated brown station wagon and landed in a parallel universe. The conceit is that she deals with the normal ups and downs of adolescent through her unique scientific perspective. An imaginative and creative presentation.
Guenevere Donohue treated us all to a full-on performance of her chamber play, Moses’ Goggles. Her deceptively simple and powerful writing style, combined with clever stage image, packed unexpected modern connections into a gem-cut piece honoring her Grandpa Moses’ emigration story and work on the Hoover Dam.
Jim Rodgers closed the evening reading from his novel Long Night’s End. In a gripping and haunting excerpt, the protagonist Johnny Gunn discovers that his friend Jimmy has been re-visiting ground zero late at night and reliving the horror of the “sunny day,” the day he lost his father and brother and most of his battalion. Johnny guides his now catatonic friend back to the subway and back to Sunnyside, delivering him to his wife in the early hours of the morning. It is then that Johnny realizes Jimmy’s days as a fireman are over–a final loss he knows Jimmy will not likely survive.
The next salon will be held on October 9th at the Thalia Cafe at Symphony Space at Broadway and 95th St. For more information on joining the Irish American Writers & Artists or attending the salons, contact Charles R. Hale atchashale1@ya