The much-missed Tarlach Mac Niallais pictured with Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy. PHOTOS BY DAN BROWN
By Karen Daly
As third-time host of IAW&A’s annual Pride Month Salon, Miranda J. Stinson assembled a talented group of poets and storytellers. A writer and publishing professional, Miranda began the program with her thoughts on “conversation about race and racism in the Irish American community.”
IAW&A Board member and St. Pats for All co-chair Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy gave a heartfelt tribute to human rights activist Tarlach Mac Niallais, who succumbed this year to coronavirus. Calling her friend a man of “love, hugs and an irresistible smile” who fought for rights of disabled persons, immigrants and LBGTQ in Ireland, she vowed to “continue his work, with his smile lighting the way.”
Singer/songwriter Ian McCourt read an original short story written for a school assignment. He built an imaginative narrative of a love affair, from an illustration of a couple in ancient Greece. We note that while young Ian has performed original songs at our Salons, this was his first time reading.
Poet, editor and Assistant Professor of English at City College Philip F. Clark shared work from his poetry collection “The Carnival of Affection,” which has been praised as “tender and lyrical.” Phil included the title poem and “Lacrimosa,” which captures the wake ritual in the “terror of the flowers” and “Louis Belfast,” about a character in a Dublin pub.
Arts editor of the Irish Voice and feature writer for Irish America magazine, Cahir O'Doherty has reported on Irish-American culture and politics for 15 years in the press and other media. Tonight, he reported on a personal story, telling about a dream that was “haunted by the ghost of Ian Paisley.” Cahir, who has interviewed world leaders and was present in Ireland in 2015 when marriage equality was voted in, noted that “human progress isn’t an elusive dream.”
Ecuadorian-American poet Roberto Chavez considers his poems as “artifacts that contain history,” albeit personal history. This is fitting as Roberto works as a museum educator for the Citizenship Project at the New-York Historical Society. He presented works reflecting on his relationships, including “Not in This Neighborhood,” one about a breakup,
“Mexico City” and a love poem “Mi Amante.”
Our able host Miranda Stinson read part of her short story-in-process, called "This Is Fantasy," about a young wizard who can set things on fire with his brain. She has lived in Belfast and Dublin and is now based in Brooklyn.
A gifted storyteller, KT Pynn told us about an Idaho couple who came into the downtown bar where she works and were curious about KT’s life. Their interaction taught KT a lesson about letting go of judgement.
KT Pynn and Ashley Pynn.
KT is lead singer of the indie alt-rock band Kingkween. Her wife Ashley Pynn is bassist for the group, in addition to being a professional stunt woman. Ashley and KT have performed at each Pride Salon, and this
this year, they say with Pride, was their first time as a married couple!
They closed the night with their new original composition, “Bad Georgia.”
The next salon will take place online on Monday, July 20.