Mary Goggin. PHOTOS BY CHRIS BOOTH
Salon Diary / By Karen Daly
Walking into the Cell on sultry late summer day, we might not have predicted that the late August IAW&A Salon would be such a magical time of storytelling and song. Maureen Hossbacher organized and hosted an exceptional lineup of musicians, actors, writers and poets. Thrilled by the quality of storytelling by all the presenters, Malachy McCourt called it one of our “best ever.” And Malachy should know as he’s our Salon founder and inspiration. Malachy himself was on fire with his closing words, virtually a masterclass in storytelling.
Bert Lee, musician, songwriter and novelist of “Dead Man’s Coat,” inspired by the story of his immigrant grandfather, started the night with two original songs. “Water Everywhere” tells how waves of immigrants transform a city, as illustrated by his Brooklyn neighborhood, and a lovely love ballad called “New Again.”
Jill Caryl Weiner presented a draft of the first chapter of her novel in- progress. We can tell you that it’s fun fantasy fiction and Jill is keeping the premise under wraps. A journalist who has covered topics from parenting to sports, Jill has created the most clever and creative baby journals ever!
“When We Became Three” and “When We Became Four.”
A loyal Salon supporter, Yona Gonik visits from Israel every summer. Tonight, for the first time, she read from the satirical memoir Yona claims she is “forever working on.” Based on her career as a nanny in a fancy New York address, she’s calling it “The Building's Private Parts or New York: Service Entrance.” We wish Yona a good trip home and expect to hear another chapter next summer.
Jill Caryl Weiner.
Mary Goggin’s solo show “Runaway Princess, A Hopeful Tale of Heroin, Hooking and Happiness” won raves at the Galway Fringe Festival. The Galway Advertiser called her performance, “Always riveting, often funny, and ultimately deeply moving.”
Drawing raves from Salongoers as well, Mary performed a few minutes from the first act.
Jack Di Monte.
Matthew Paris bills himself as “novelist, musician and genuine relic.” Host Maureen Hossbacher noted that relics are precious and valued, as Matty demonstrated with a brilliant piano improvisation of Irish music. https://matthewparis.com
Brian Kelly, a first-time presenter, is a poet and writing instructor whose work emerges from travels in Europe, Central Asia and New York City. His stories and poems, in the spirit of a tradition from Beowulf to Sinead O’Connor, are lived and written as though rooms for others to enter. And we fully entered those rooms with his stunning work, including “The Will of Inanimate Things” and “Above the Tree Line.” Find his current book, “L’America,” a hybrid collection of drawings and poems invested in dramatic monologue on Amazon.
IAW&A Board member and Creative Writing teacher at City College, Brendan Costello is a producer and personality on WBAI Radio. Brendan showed his “radio personality” side tonight signing tunes made famous by that other Costello, Elvis. After singing “What’s So Funny about Peace, Love and Understanding” and “New Lace Sleeves,” Brendan was joined by our favorite baritone Jack Di Monte, on the Buffalo Springfield song, “For What It’s Worth.”
Science journalist, novelist and a humorist with several books to her credit, Rebecca Coffey read “recipes” from her book “Nietzsche’s Angel’s Food Cake: And Other Recipes for the Intellectually Famished.” Because we’re at the height of fresh tomato season, she chose “F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Pickled Tomatoes,” what she calls “an analogy for what happened to poor Zelda” and a recipe that is probably edible, though untested. She also chose “Ayn Rand’s Head Cheese” from the same collection.
Malachy McCourt’s story brought the night to a stunning close. Describing the experience of seeing “Angela’s Ashes” performed on stage in Ireland, he relived a shattering childhood experience, the death of his baby sister, Margaret Mary when Malachy was just 3 ½. He told how 70 years later, his son Conor located her in a pauper’s grave in Queens and the McCourts went there to bless Margaret Mary. To a hushed audience, he recited all the verses of Yeats’s “The Stolen Child.”
“For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.”