by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
Nobody mentioned Mardi Gras but the mood at the IAW&A Salon on Tuesday, February 17 was sure celebratory. Highlights included three wonderful new presenters, unique music, great fiction and a one-of-a-kind performance from our friend from Dublin, Brian Fleming.
Ryan Cahill, Jack DiMonte, and Nancy Oda
Ryan Cahill and Jack DiMonte hit all the right notes reading the roles of the seductive Pamela Churchill and the stately Averill Harriman in Sheila Walsh’s musical Pamela. The playwright was delighted when audience members asked her the magic question, “What comes next?” Sheila thanks Ryan, Jack, and Nancy Oda who read stage directions.
Tom Phelan kept the audience laughing as he read from his latest novel, Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told. Shelf Awareness calls the book a “masterful portrait of Irish village life disguised as a murder mystery” and notes “Phelan finds humor and warmth in every poignant moment.” Tom will read from Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told and talk about life in the Irish countryside in the 1940s/1950s at the Rockville Centre Public Library, 221 N. Village Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY on Saturday, 28 February, at 1pm. More at www.tomphelan.net and www.facebook.com/tomphelannovels.
You will be able to hear Tom on the radio at Glucksman Ireland House NYU Radio Hour. Tune in on 2/28, 9am to 10am on WNYE 91.5FM and on irishradio.com and on nyuirish.net/radiohour.
Sheila Walsh and Sarah Fearon
We watched a charming short film by Tom Mahon of last year’s St. Pat’s for All Parade. Parade organizer and co-founder Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy invited everyone to join the fun this year on Sunday, March 1. Come march under the IAW&A banner. Watch this space and our Facebook page for details.
Tonight’s host, the Salon producer John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. The book follows the Logan family over several generations, and reflects the experiences of many Irish-American families. In this excerpt, Janey Logan is preparing to move her family from her native West Philadelphia to her husband’s family home in the suburb of Ardmore. She reflects on what she and her children will gain and lose by moving to the suburbs and on her lifetime of memories in St. Francis de Sales parish. Her old neighbor, Tom Dugan, stops to chat and, as Janey watches the familiar sight of Mr. Dugan’s walking up the street smoking his pipe, she wonders if she’ll ever see it again.
Traditional musician Don Meade, a great supporter of the Salon, showed his versatile talent by playing harmonica and banjo, singing and sharing his knowledge. Don played a jig called “The Haunted House,” the reels “The Abbey” and “The Custom Gap” and sang “Omagh Town” by Michael Hurl.
You can see Don and friends every Monday night at The Landmark Tavern for a traditional music session. More at Blarneystar.com.
Laissez le bon temps roulez
Guenevere Donohue sang her jazz/blues version of Tom Waits’s story song, Small Change. Her sultry voice riffing on the Sax intro of the original created a totally new enthralling version of a classic.
Mary E. Gonzalez
Poet Mary E. Gonzalez is the daughter of Mary Kate Lohan of Dublin and of George Ugactz, a first generation Russian American. A graduate of Columbia University and host of a YouTube channel, Loving Life and Words, Mary read from two of her three poetry books currently available via Amazon:
- Four Folded Corners (M.E. Gonzalez): Poems read include “Love,” “Hate: In response to Extremism,” “The Strength of Trees”, “Summery Day”, “A Winter’s Farewell”, On an Amtrak Train to Utica
- Two of Cups: A New York Poet in Galway (under pen name Mary E. Lohan) Poems read include “Clonmacnoise,” “Love is Not,” “Nothing is Constant”
- Speaking to the Darkness (under pen name Mary E. Lohan)
Peter Digan, newly imported from County Offaly and recently married to Mary Gonzalez, sang two songs — a rendition of Christy Moore’s “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”and had us singing along with “The Wild Rover.” Welcome Mary and Peter!
Tom Mahon took us to upstate New York with “The Burial” from his collection Tomorrow Never Came. In the story, a farmer brings his dead wife to a minister to have him say some words over her before he buries her. New to the community, the minister pries into the life of the farmer and his wife and family. The man answers but is as guarded and private as the preacher is public. Tom-Mahon.com.
Dublin performer Brian Fleming gave a hilarious preview of his performance, A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade, playing now as part of the Frigid New York Festival. Described as “a romp through 14 years of celebration and resistance with the inclusive St. Pat’s For All Parade in Queens…through music, projections, bad dance and bad striptease…” Support this artist who visits the Salon when he’s in New York. Get your tickets here: www.frigidnewyork.info.
In her Salon debut, musician Celeste Ray, a founding member of Four Celtic Voices, played several songs on a double Bowed Psaltery.
Those of us who were unfamiliar with this string instrument were stunned by its gorgeous sound and by her superb talent. Celeste closed the night by singing an IAW&A favorite, “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Learn more at http://FourCelticVoices.com and find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Four-Celtic-Voices-with-Celeste-Ray/323027821102985
The good times will still be rolling at the Salon at the Thalia on March 3. See you then!