Category: Archive

New & Noteworthy Reading is fun-damental

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Eileen Murphy

Went to the Irish Rep’s annual gala last Monday night, and it was the best one we’d ever seen. The show itself, "How the Irish Saved Civilization," was terrific, and the party at Sardi’s afterward was even more fun.

It’s hard to pick a "best" moment. Was it Kevin Spacey, in costume for (and almost missing) his entrance in "The Iceman Cometh," stopping by to read a little Yeats? Angela Lansbury doing a master turn as Lady Bracknell in a scene from "The Importance of Being Earnest"? Eileen Ivers and her band, accompanied by fleet-footed "Riverdance" alum Tarik Winston? The Donny Golden School of Irish Dance? The Prodigals? SNL’s Colin Quinn? Swoosie Kurtz? The company of the Irish Rep itself? That bit about the doughnut and the biscuit (don’t ask)? Oy, we’re getting dizzy just remembering.

During the party, we caught up with Thomas Cahill, author of the book upon which the show was based. We figured that this was our chance to ask the question of the night. And to get the answer, as it were, straight from the horse’s mouth.

"So, Mr. Cahill," we asked — nicely, we swear! — "How did the Irish save civilization?"

He frowned slightly, and we held our breath, eager to hear his words of wisdom.

Follow us on social media

Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo

"Read the book," he said.

We smiled politely, assuming he was just kidding. Surely he’d give us the answer. Ah, c’mon.

"Read the book," he repeated.

Gee, thanks, we thought.

Lord of the flats?

We haven’t brought you any Michael Flatley news in a while, mostly because our good friend, the late Charlie Comer, was the person who kept us up to date on the Great One’s activities. But we can tell, from all the tear-stained postcards we’ve been getting, that you’ve missed hearing about the self-styled Lord of the Dance.

We hear that Flatley may be mounting a new show early next year. No word yet on what kind of show it’ll be, though it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’ll probably have lots of pretty girls, at least one bare chest (Michael’s, silly), cheesy Celtic-ish costumes and lots of terrific dancing. We’ll bring you more details as we get ’em.

The other Flatley rumor is that he’s looking for a place to hang his hat in Ireland. Nothing fancy, you understand; something in the £2 million range might do nicely. Of course, since he’s said to be hunting in Dalkey and Killiney, where houses cost more than the gross national product of some small countries, £2 million probably doesn’t go as far as it used to . . .

U2: hazardous to his health?

U2 is still hard at work on a new album in Dublin, in between Bono’s house-hunting jaunts in New York. We hear the lads are putting in 16-hour workdays on the new project, which we hear is to be less technology-driven than 1997’s disappointing "Pop."

The band is working with longtime producer Brian Eno, whom we hold personally responsible for "Passengers," but, hey, that’s water under the bridge now, right? Anyway, Eno recently described the upcoming album, and it sounds pretty good to us.

"We wanted less computers, and much more performance," he told Hot Press (via a Dutch magazine). "But we also didn’t want to abandon all the gains of modern technology."

O.K., so there will be amplifiers. Anything else?

"The main issue between issue between U2 and me at the moment [is when] they start playing rock, it sickens me," said Eno. "Big, fat stadium rock . . . I can’t take it anymore!"

Funny, we had the same reaction to the Eno-esque "Passengers," but we’re getting off the subject.

"They’re very forgiving," acknowledges the maverick producer, who says he never has to be nice to the band. "I react to things, and sometimes my reactions are very cruel. I say, ‘[Rhymes with trucking] [rhymes with bell], let’s forget about this [rhymes with spit]!’" Such language. And from a Brian, yet.

In more news from U2 land: the band is seething because an Italian right-wing group, Alleanza Nazionale, has used the cover of "U2" Best of 1980-1990" as a election poster.

The picture in question is of a young boy in a tin helmet. The group used the photo without seeking permission, which naturally would have been denied.

Band spokesperson Regine Moylett has announced that "Advice has been taken and a strong letter sent to the Alleanza Nazionale’s headquarters in Rome." Geez, we’ll be they’re shaking in their Doc Martens . . .

Elvis, Van jam at Chicago Fleadh

The Guinness Fleadh in Chicago last weekend was, by all accounts, a great success, which means we’re just counting the hours until the Boston (June 19) and New York (June 26) events.

Windy City attendees not only got a surprise visit from the mac daddy of all performers — Van Morrison — they also witnessed one of those all-too-rare sublime music moments. During his set, Van invited Elvis Costello onstage, and the two singers jammed on a couple of numbers: "Jackie Wilson Said" and "Gloria." All we can say is, wouldn’t it be nice if Van were to pop into the New York gig as well . . .

This week’s winners of tickets to the Fleadh are: Boston: Thomas K. Barrett, Richmond, Va.; Cornelius Doherty, Worcester, Mass.; Bonnie Flanagan, Chelmsford, Mass. New York: Elaine Murphy, Silver Beach, N.Y.; P.J. McBride, Central Islip, N.Y.; Mary Creighton, Manhassett, N.Y.

WLIW (thorugh green-colored lenses)

The sun is officially splitting the stones and bathing suit weather is just around the corner, but in one little corner of television land, it’s always St. Patrick’s Day. We refer, of course, to WLIW Channel 21, the Long Island, N.Y., public television station that keeps giving us quality Irish programming.

This month, in addition to the new season of our beloved BallyK, the station will present "Frank Patterson: Songs of Inspiration." Accompanied by his son Eanan on violin, and by the Little Gaelic Singers of New York, Patterson performs songs including "Amazing Grace," "Ave Maria," "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "My Heart Will Go On," a little ditty from the movie "Titanic." Patterson will appear live in the WLIW-21 studios during breaks in the broadcast, so this will be your opportunity to hear his speaking voice as well as his singin’ one. The show airs Monday, June 21, at 8 p.m.

Those of you who just can’t get enough of this kind of classical stylin’s will want to stay tuned when Frank’s show is over. Directly following "Songs" (at 9:40 p.m.) will be the New York-area premiere of "A Night with Secret Garden, " featuring Norwegian keyboardist Rolf Lovland and Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry, plus an ensemble. The concert, recorded last January, celebrates the coming millennium, because, in case you haven’t heard, the century’s ending soon. Sherry has played with the RTE Concert Orchestra in Ireland for a decade and has performed in studio sessions for Van Morrison, Sinead O’Connor and Clannad. The concert also features the Irish choir Anuna, of "Riverdance" fame.

Also on WLIW-21 this month is a special encore presentation of "The Irish Tenors," featuring John McDermott, Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan. This surprise hit, which has spawned a live album and a hotly anticipated concert tour, features beautiful renditions of songs like "Too-Ra-Loo-Ra," "Love’s Old Sweet Song," "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," and "Danny Boy." The show airs on Sunday, June 27, at 9 p.m., and as an added bonus, our most favoritest tenor, John McDermott, will be live in the studio to introduce the broadcast. Sigh.

Other Articles You Might Like

Sign up to our Daily Newsletter

Click to access the login or register cheese