by Maureen Hossbacher
Photos by Mark Butler
The first salon of the year was a well attended gathering of both familiar and new faces. Let’s start with the new — first time presenter Rich Stone, who read his clever and entertaining short story “Beyond Superman” about Max the philosophy professor who, after his car breaks down, finds himself wandering in the desert near Las Vegas, where he encounters several not quite human entities with some interesting answers to the eternal question “Is there a God?”
Also wandering — this time down Mott Street — was poet Marcia Loughran, in her “messay” entitled “Parable of the Tawdry Fish.” Having arrived too early for a brunch date in Chinatown, she wanders into a New Year’s Day mass in a church with a less than stellar choir. The choir may have sung off key, but Marcia’s new year’s message was right on pitch, including her lovely poem “Momentary Sighting.” Loughran’s award-winning poetry chapbook Still Life With Weather is now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
Monologist, political activist and radio personality John McDonagh, in the flesh, accompanied by a virtual Malachy McCourt (cardboard cutout) was on hand to preview an upcoming 2-man play that John is developing which will feature stories from some of Malachy’s memorable broadcasts over his 40-year radio career.
The scene: a police station; the date: February. 25, the day of Tennessee Williams’ death some years prior at a hotel in the precinct. In this segment from his one-man show focusing on the life and work of the great playwright, actor and dramatist D.J. Sharp, in character as world weary Detective Tommy Gillespie, recalls the details of that fateful but otherwise routine night and his impression of Williams, whom he once met in a bar.
Visual artist and poet Vivian O’Shaughnessy brought a little warmth to the chilly evening with her recitation of “Pocket” : . . . mmm / sanctum of love / warmth . . . from which we cherish / bygone times / the present.
Novelist Tim O’Mara shared with us the pleasure of writing book dedications, introduced us to two dedicatees in the audience (his wife and daughter) and then read an excerpt from his 4th and latest Raymond Donne crime novel, Nasty Cutter (dedicated to his brother and available now from Severn House, in hard cover and on Kindle).
On a flight from NYC to San Francisco, novelist and travel writer Judith Glynn experiences an attitude adjustment when she strikes up a conversation with a generously tattooed heavy metal guitarist half her age. The essay, entitled “ Seatmates by Design” charmed the audience. For more of Judith’s adventures, real and imagined, check out her book-length nonfiction taleThe Street or Me and her novel A Collection of Affections.
Salon host, John Kearns, debuted a new song inspired by his recent trip to India. “Tuk Tuk Trip” has fun with the comical aspects of riding in an auto-rickshaw through the congested streets of Delhi and describes the beautiful Muslim and Hindu sights seen along the way.
Gordon Gilbert presented two of his most recent poetic monologues, both of which deal with getting older: “All My Aches & Pains”, in which he personified the subjects as unwelcome guests, and “OK, So I’m an Addict!”, inspired by spending time with family. A familiar presenter at IAW&A salons, Gordon also hosts spoken word events at the Cornelia Street Cafe in Greenwich Village.
Sarah Fearon, having frequently killed us with her comedy routines, tonight intrigued us with excerpts from a story titled “You Must Pay the Rent.” The protagonist, Sally, is a real estate agent traveling through the magical labyrinth of the real estate world in New York. This work in progress guarantees its readers a lot of inside dope, as, in addition to her regular appearances at comedy clubs, Sarah was recently named one of our City’s top 25 RE agents.
The salon was brought to an uplifting close by the multi-talented Guen Donohue who delivered a heartfelt rendering of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, a fitting selection as the new Administration in Washington DC approaches. She followed the recitation with the moving and seasonally relevant Jackson Browne song, “The Rebel Jesus.”
Performing “The Rebel Jesus”
The snow held off until midnight, when most of the salon audience members were, presumably, safely home, via their various modes of transport, if not already tucked in their beds.
Maria Deasy made an announcement about the Women’s March on NYC on January 21st
Please note the early start time of our next salon at 3:00PM , on January 17, at the Cell theatre, 328 West 23rd Street. This will be a special collaborative afternoon shared with presenters in Belfast, Northern Ireland, who will appear live via video hookup.
A very happy, healthy, productive, satisfying New Year to all!