Rich brew of music, drama, humor

Marni Rice.



Salon Diary / By Karen Daly

Musician/writer/ singer Marni Rice graciously hosted the early November IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia that was a rich brew of story, song, humor and poetry. As that sage Tom Mahon says, “Even when it gets serious, it’s still fun”.

Fresh from her success hosting our Eugene O’Neill Award for Irish America magazine co-founder and editor-in-chief Patricia Harty, Mary Pat Kelly was first up. She described the research for her next novel (following “Galway Bay” and “Of Irish Blood”) and took a show of hands as to where the plot should go. Mary Pat found sharing her ideas and the feedback from fellow writers and artists “very helpful."

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Comic performer and IAW&A Board member Sarah Fearon also shared work in development — new ideas and comedy notes. After her terrific performance at 100th Salon and her efforts in helping organize the O’Neill event, Sarah’s gone back to the drawing board to find the “new funny.” And she did.

Singer and frequent Salon contributor Jack DiMonte showed his comic side by imagining how celebrated actor Richard Burton would have played Vegas. Jack’s impression of Burton doing a segment from this nightclub act started with a brief soliloquy from “Hamlet” that segued into the Billy Strayhorn jazz classic “Lush Life.”

Tom Mahon read a dramatic story about one man’s hypocrisy. In “Elite Only,” a group of well-off men in a small town drink and swap stories. When they leave, one of them comes upon an accident involving two women. Gerry Simmons, a country judge, elects not to help and the women die. In the aftermath, his wife divorces him; he marries his young assistant; moves to Florida and doesn’t stand for re-election. Why didn’t he help them? He was drunk and a judge known for being tough on crime.

Salon regular, novelist and short story writer Kevin R. McPartland read from a recently completed short story titled “The Cruise,” a tale of magic and moonlight on the high seas. Kevin left the audience eager to hear the rest of this delightful tale.

Singer Mary Deady, who wowed us at the O’Neill Award, wowed again tonight with two very different songs. The first was a traditionalnIrish air, “On the Brink of the White Rock Air” (“Ar bhruach na carraig ban”).She followed with a funny, sophisticated Cole Porter song, “The Physician.”

Once I loved such a shattering physician,

Quite the best-looking doctor in the state

He looked after my physical condition

And his bedside manner was great!

Still in the Halloween spirit, Gordon Gilbert, Jr. read “I Know Why You Are Here Tonight” from his as-yet-unpublished book of vampire poetry: “The Vampiricals, Book of Waters.” He read two short pieces: a stand-alone monologue "Summers Are the Hardest Time” and "A Kiss for Miss Ellie," which will be included in the seventh production of his play “Monologues from the Old Folks Home” when he produces it again in the spring.

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Gordon Gilbert Jr.[/caption]

Gordon hosts monthly celebrations of the Beat Generation writers at Cornelia Street Cafe, and he performs regularly there in Monologues & Madness on the first 1st Monday of each month.

Jordan Ortega, a recent graduate of CUNY, shared an excerpt from his short story “Ever Watchful Eyes,” a tale about a mysterious man following and watching a young girl from a distance throughout an eventful night. Jordan has presented several times at the Salon, and is “always invigorated by the experience and feedback.”

A crowd favorite, John Paul Skocik played a few songs including a new one called “Making You Mine.” His “We Should Go Home” is performed with John's former band on the self-titled album “Girl To Gorilla,” available on ITunes and at ♫ Girl to Gorilla - Girl to Gorilla. Listen @cdbaby John’s last tune was a poppy punk original, “The Phone Song” about the self-doubt and inner turmoil of a young man trying to get a young lady to answer her phone. John is busy writing new songs and working on a short play, as well as beginning a novel, which he hopes to share at the Salon sometime in the near future.

Actor Rosina Fernhoff mesmerized the audience with a monologue from “The Piano Teacher,” a three-character play by Julia Cho. Mrs. K., a retired piano teacher who lives alone, reminisces about her husband and the children she taught long ago. One day she feels compelled to call her old students. Is it out of loneliness or some darker need? It may not be what we cannot know what troubles us most, but what we cannot bear to know.

“The Piano Teacher” will be presented in February at St. Malachy’s. We’ll keep you posted on the details.

The night’s host, Marni Rice, presented a poem from her new theatre piece “Magdala: Stories from the Net & The Sea,” co-created by The Xio Evans Marni Rice Experimental Dance Theatre. It’s an original interpretation about the life of a woman named Mary from a fishing village called Magdala, Mary Magdalene The original text by Xio Evans and Marni Rice is in Spanish and English; choreography by Xio Evans (from Costa Rica) and original music by Marni Rice (from NYC). “Magdala” was produced at the WOW Café Theatre in October 2015 with additional dates TBD in 2016. For additional details, please visit:

We said it was a night of story, song, humor and poetry and Malachy McCourt combined them all in his wrap-up, talking about “the freedom and eloquence” of the Salon, offering a clear-eyed assessment of “The Quiet Man,” and just a few riffs on politics. He questions the politicians who talk about taking back America —Malachy didn’t know America had been taken away and to make his point, started us singing “This Land is Your Land.”

“Wonderful night that evolves each time out of goodwill and fun,” said Tom Mahon afterwards.

Join us next time at Bar Thalia, 2537 Broadway (at 95th Street), New York, N.Y., on Tuesday, Dec. 1, from 6 – 8 p.m.