by Pat McCulloughSince 2000, Rocky Mountain Revels have highlighted different cultures and time periods with their annual production of “The Christmas Revels, In Celebration of the Winter Solstice” ” This year the honor belongs to the Irish as the story takes place on the docks of Cobh (pronounced Cove) in County Cork, on the southwestern shore of Ireland where tens of thousands of Irish men, women, and children boarded ships to make the perilous 4 to 8 week journey to the New World in the 19th century. Rocky Mountain Revels are a Colorado non-profit organization who license “The Christmas Revels” name from Revels Inc. Revels Inc. was founded in 1971 in Cambridge, Mass. by award-winning author and musician John Langstaff to promote the understanding and appreciation of traditional folk music, dance and rituals from around the world. Although a separate entity that needs its own funding, Rocky Mountain Revels Artistic Director Karen Romeo explained the committed relationship with the Cambridge originators. “Artistically we are completely dedicated to doing as high a quality production as we can -and that absolutely means staying connected with Cambridge.”Earlier this year Karen went to the mother association in Cambridge to look over the estimated 25 different scripts for the 2007 production in Boulder. “We knew that we wanted to do an Irish Revels last Spring and we started looking at the various scripts and there really wasn”t one that suited our company and our area – so by early summer I realized that if we wanted a good Irish Revels that suited are company than I needed to actually write it – so then I got permission from Cambridge.”Karen spent the entire summer in the library researching Irish immigration and culture around 1890 and wrote the original script for this year’s Christmas Revels. “I had a great time researching and doing the script,” she said as she recalled time spent on-line and at the University of Colorado Library and Boulder Public Library. Pleased with the results of her efforts she added, “I think it (script) works and holds together as a show and theater event, and I think it is also very true to the time and very accurate about it.”How concerned for accuracy was Karen? She researched shipping lines for names of ships used during the time period. Deciding on the S.S. Ethiopia, she found the ships manifest with actual names and occupations and allowed the cast members to choose these identities ” even though much of the details don”t come out in the production. Karen explained, “Even though it doesn”t come out in the show, the cast members are very aware of the history of it all – It won”t be a direct read to the audience, but I think the audience will have a sense that there is a lot of history in this and a lot of authenticity.”The two-hour show has a complete set and period costumes circa 1890 Ireland with live Irish music, drama, and dance. “We are very excited about bringing in the Irish Dancer from Boston,” referring to 2006 North American Step-dancing Champion Alexandra Siega. Alexandra is well recognized in dance circles around the country and no different in Colorado. “When our really good young high school stepdancers from this area found out that Alexandra was going to be participating we got some terrific response and we have some of the best young stepdancers in Colorado who will be dancing with her (including Blaine Donovan, Natasha Trellinger, Robbie and Richie Ross, and Elizabeth Marie Barton) – So we”re really excited about featuring the whole thing because we”ve got her and these hot-shot Colorado kids ” I think it will be pretty darn spectacular!”Live Irish music will be provided by Jeff Bain (Uillean pipe/ penny whistle/recorder), assistant music director who transcribed some of the pieces; teenage siblings Jonathan (fiddle) & Hanna Seaman (harp); and also Karen Romeo herself who is also a fiddler. Some of the music will come from a Brass Quintet, a Revels tradition. “We”ve always used the Flagstaff Brass Quintet (Denver/Boulder) ” that”s our resident Revels Quintet.” Karen continued enthusiastically “We have fabulous singers which I”m so proud!” which includes 3 soloists, 24 piece adult choir, and a 16 piece children”s choir singing authentic children”s songs from the 1890s all in costume.”True to tradition and spirit of the Revels aspire to the best possible use of amateur and professional talent in their productions. “I think ours has a tremendous amount of charm ” I think it has a nice combination of amateur and professional … with locals from up and down the Front Range.”According to Karen it is not unusual for cast member to walk in and can carry a tune but have never been on stage. “We get some interesting cast member I tell you – Its amazing who comes out of the woodwork.” She told the Story of Nobel Prize Winner Eric Cornell who teaches Physics at CU. He grew up in Boston and saw revels every year as a child. About two years ago he brought his daughter Eliza to audition. “She had a pretty little soprano voice so we put her in the choir,” then Karen asked “is dad going to audition too?” I had no idea that he was a noble laureate.” He told Karen that he hadn”t thought about it, but that he might, “and stood up and sang in a very pretty tenor voice a Christmas carol – Well, we have a noble prize winner in our cast this year, not having sung on a stage before ” he”s having the time of his life!Since audience participation is a Revels trademark, you don”t have to audition to participate. Song leader teaches audience a couple of songs and folks are invited to dance. “We”ve had half the audience get up and dance through the lobby of the Boulder Theater!”Boulder Theater, Boulder on 14th off the Pearl Street Mall; December 16th at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm and December 22nd at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Doors open 30 minutes before show time. General Admission Balcony : $17 General Admission Children 12 and under: $15; Main Floor Reserved: $24 Main Floor Reserved Children 12 and under: $22; All Gold Circle: $35 Ticket prices (including all surcharges and taxes): Available at Boulder Theater box office:” 303 786-7030 or www.bouldertheater.com; Group Sales (groups of 20 or more): Contact Artistic Director Karen Romeo at 303 440-9056. All group rates $14 per person.
CFPNI was the brainchild of Peggy Barrett, a Pennsylvania woman (born in Co. Cork) who was stirred into action after watching scenes of violence from Northern Ireland on her television. In 1987 she and her husband, Jack, decided to set up the now famous charity with a band of volunteers from her local area to bring pairs of young people”one Protestant, the other Catholic”to live together in their homes across the US. That initial program has grown in scope over the years with the help of hundreds of volunteers and families from across Northern Ireland and all over the US. To date, CFPNI has helped more than 2,000 NI teens caught up in the “troubles” through cross-cultural programs aimed at promoting understanding through interaction.The New Mexico Chapter of the CFPNI was formed as a committee of the IAS in 1989. In 2005, I became the Southwest Coordinator, and began the onerous (but so fulfilling!) task of recruiting host families who would be willing to take two teenagers into their homes for the entire month of July. Last year my committee and I recruited five families; this year we recruited three. On June 21st of this year I traveled to Northern Ireland (by way of Continental to Houston, then diverted to Gatwick, then delayed in Dublin, then reunited with my luggage, then on to Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, by bus, whew!) to attend the “pre-departure meeting” with the 72 teens who would be participating in the project this year (including the six slated to come to New Mexico). “Try to be good visitors,” I told them in my speech. “Yes, the food is going to be weird (we don’t put gravy on Chinese food here in America for one thing, can you believe it?), but if you can be open-minded and tolerant, you will have a wonderful experience.” They whooped and hollered. I was exhausted already, just thinking about chaperoning all 72 of them to the US in a few days.On June 27th, the 72 teens and I (and another NI Coordinator) made the loooonnnggg journey to the US. Six teens and I raced through the Newark airport and by some miracle made our connection to Houston and then on to Albuquerque, where we were greeted by the host families, CFPNI committee members, and a piper! The teens were totally embarrassed by it all (but in a good way).And then the real fun began: Off went Rhian and Emma to the Bryers (Vikki and Bob); Aine and Emma to Martina Mesmer; Rachel and Siobhan to myself and Don Baker. And what a summer they all had: trips to Santa Fe, Taos, Acoma, Chaco Canyon, the Grand Canyon, the Tram, Cliff’s, the Zoo, the Botanical Gardens, museums, etc. etc. etc. If there was something cool to see in New Mexico, they saw it. (Of course, being teenagers, the place they loved the best was THE MALL. And because the pound sterling was”still is”doing so well against the American dollar, they had plenty of money to spend.) When they left on July 25th, there was much smiling through tears”we all knew we had had a summer we would never forget.On October 18th, Don and I arrived in Belfast Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, to attend the “Re-Union”"an annual event where the teens and their families in NI (and some of their American families as well) reconvene to assess the lessons learned from their summer in America. At the Reunion, to highlight the lessons they learned from their summer in America, some of the teens put on skits: some hilariously spoofing the stereotypes found on both sides of the Atlantic (“I hope to have great craic in America!” “WHAT!?!?! You think you”re going to get CRACK here? Are you a drug addict!?”); and others zeroing in on our all-too-human tendencies to judge others by how they look, not how they act. (“You may be stupid as a rock, but I”m going to hire you because I think you”re cute!”)The celebration was marred only by the realization that this would be the last Re-Union, as the US and NI Board of Directors had voted the day before to disband CFPNI after its twenty-year run. The reasons for this decision are many, but the primary reason is that the “troubles” in NI do not seem so troubling now. Many of the CFPNI teens, for example, already knew each other before the program; the segregation of Protestants from Catholics is not so rigid as in the past. This is not true in all parts of the North, of course: In Derry (if you’re Catholic; “Londonderry” if you’re Protestant), the neighborhoods are clearly delineated by either the Tricolor and pubs with pictures of the Pope, or the Union Jack and pubs with pictures of the Queen. And the father of one of my teens told me that he would never consider going into either of the two pubs in his little village as they were both “Protestant pubs” and he would not be welcomed there.But our CFPNI teens (some now in their mid-30s) will not necessarily have the same segregated adulthood as their parents. For one thing, they have more money now than their grandparents and are thus less inclined to want to spend time brooding over historical differences. For another, they have been to the other side of the Atlantic and have seen for themselves what life is like in a country where (for the most part) no one cares what your religious preferences are. Twenty years ago, Peggy Barrett envisioned a Northern Ireland that had achieved peace through understanding and interaction. Thanks to CFPNI (and other similar programs, such as the Ulster Project and Friends Forever), the people of NI are well on their way. The Irish-American Society of New Mexico is proud to have been a significant part of that achievement.For more information about CFPNI (www.cfpni.org) or the IAS of NM (http://www.irishamericansociety-nm.com/), contact Ellen Dowling at 505-307-1700 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Reviewed by Mary McWay Seaman,Celtic Connection, July, 2007 Short story collections make irresistible traveling companions, and Thomas McGuane”s distinguished new volume, GALLATIN CANYON, delivers ten edgy displacement dramas perfectly fitted for interludes on the plane, by the pool or on the back porch. It”s a book to open at random; journey first with the traveler trekking across the page presented by chance – a lonely pilgrim out on the road, searching for sanctuary somewhere up ahead. McGuane probes relationships run aground by plopping characters down on distant soil and thrusting them into clumsy accommodations to troublesome surroundings. Leery of the locals and suspicious of their routines, folks struggle to settle in and shed some personal baggage. These outsiders maintain perches on new landscapes, reconnoiter, connect a bit, and then retreat. Their pasts, destinations unto themselves, keep some secrets in these tales, secrets that urge the players (not all of whom have been dealt poor hands) to alternate strategy and always, always to hold back some cards. A good number of the alienated are mired in uncommitted relationships while casting about for comfort in their new habitats. Humor, satire and exquisite allusions illuminate lives largely free from the ties that bind. Expert at bundling the oddball with the ordinary, McGuane begets sojourners stalked by their own backgrounds as they stagger about in tales entitled “Aliens,” “Old Friends,” “The Zombie,” and “The Refugee.” One gem in the collection is “Miracle Boy,” wherein a teenager surveys the lives of his Irish immigrant grandparents and his American-born parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. With a canny eye, Johnny examines the array of vocations chosen by these people amid the social forces churning through their Massachusetts mill town during the 1950s. The withering compromises necessary for urban assimilation bear frightening similarities to those that confound relatives at a distance. Parents on the move steadily strew old traditions behind them (lightening the load?) and appear bewildered by their shriveling identities. An uncle, returning from a trip to Mother Ireland, “announced that the place was highly disorganized and insufficiently hygienic . . .” Immigrant forebears, those wary keepers of old ways that served up stability and custom, may not have been clean freaks, but they kept order and were steadied by procedure ” foundations of civility and safety. Speaking of his Irish-born grandmother, the boy states, “I even thought of our life in the Midwest, when I”d longed for her intervention in a family slow to invent rules for their new lives.” Struggling with conflicting advice from his elders, Johnny charges into “study of the Old West, a place where do-gooders and mad dogs alike lived free of ambiguity and insidious family tensions.” McGuane”s western stories will disabuse readers of such wishful thinking; however, this story”s wry humor may resonate particularly with those not completely at home in their present circumstances.Western stories set up new arrivals looking for opportunities after business failures, divorce and prison; others dream of peaceful retirement homes near children and grandchildren. Remarks from the chronically adrift chortle with irony as failures to launch new lives are stealthily linked to losses of ordinary conventions and old-fashioned ethics. Common social graces that usually serve people well during difficulties in faraway places are suspended, if not blotted out entirely in some instances. One Big Sky Country character reprogrammed himself to be just “a big believer in what he saw with his own eyes.” Hounded by persistent disruption, a few strivers in the West embrace a self-preservation sustained by earthy arrogance. Other odysseys find sullen, eco-touring, drug-using hippies, the bankrupt, a down-and-out cowboy, and an alcoholic sailboat enthusiast seeking fresh starts on terrain where, according to those in the Massachusetts Irish ghetto, “people made themselves up and were vaguely weightless.” Fraught with ambivalence about total immersion into their new settlements, the wayfarers often sulk within a self-imposed apartheid. In a couple of the stories, McGuane takes some swings at so-called “win-win” solutions for his seekers, suggesting that the very nature of negotiation creates losses all around. The author”s use of the past as a destination is steadily revisited and sometimes employs a symbol harking back to roots ” a tumble-down homestead, a pioneer cemetery, old buffalo wallows, a totem pole, John McCormack records (78s), even food. Displaced persons, dripping with disappointment and dismissive of their former abodes, fall back from time to time on steering mechanisms sparked by old times. Survivors they may be, yet most remain uneasy refugees in outlying limbos. Exhibiting the inhibitions and suspicions common to immigrants throughout the ages, the discontented sufferers in these road-trip sagas are unable to put things completely right. Endurance, rather than success, is their true essence. Thomas McGuane”s superb stories in GALLATIN CANYON pursue diasporas of the restless who, while shucking the husks of ancestral habits, forge onward, skittish about bearing personal history into new territory, and unaware that much of it is already mislaid, if not gone for good.Alfred A Knopf, A division of Random House, 2006, 220 pages, hardcover $24.00Mary McWay Seaman is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and is a contributing writer to “Gateway” magazine of St. Louis, Missouri, and to the “New Oxford Review” of Berkeley, California.
E. Perkins Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and says to the first man he meets, “Do you want to go to heaven?”The man said, “I do, Father.”The priest said, “Then stand over there against the wall.”Then the priest asked the second man, “Do you want to go to heaven?”“Certainly, Father,” was the man’s reply.“Then stand over there against the wall,” said the priest.Then Father Murphy walked up to O’Toole and said, “Do you want to go to heaven?”O’Toole said, “No, I don’t Father.”The priest said, “I don’t believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don’t want to go to heaven?”O’Toole said, “Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go right now.”
E. Perkins An American golfer playing in Ireland hooked his drive into the woods. Looking for his ball, he found a little Leprechaun flat on his back, a big bump on his head and the golfer’s ball beside him.Horrified, the golfer got his water bottle from the cart and poured it over the little guy, reviving him.“Arrgh! What happened?” the Leprechaun asked.“I’m afraid I hit you with my golf ball,” the golfer says.“Oh, I see. Well, ye got me fair and square. Ye get three wishes, so whaddya want?”“Thank God, you’re all right!” the golfer answers in relief. “I don’t want anything, I’m just glad you’re OK, and I apologize.” And the golfer walks off.“What a nice guy,” the Leprechaun says to himself. “I have to do something for him. I’ll give him the three things I would want… a great golf game, all the money he ever needs, and a fantastic sex life.”A year goes by (as it does in stories like this) and the American golfer is back. On the same hole, he again hits a bad drive into the woods; and the Leprechaun is there waiting for him.“Twas me that made ye hit the ball here,” the little guy says. “I just want to ask ye, how’s yer golf game?”“My game is fantastic!” the golfer answers. I’m an internationally famous golfer now.” He adds, “By the way, it’s good to see you’re all right.” “Oh, I’m fine now, thank ye. I did that fer yer golf game, you know. And tell me, how’s yer money situation?”“Why, it’s just wonderful!” the golfer states. “When I need cash, I just reach in my pocket and pull out $100.00 bills I didn’t even know were there!”“I did that fer ye also. And tell me, how’s yer sex life?” The golfer blushes, turns his head away in embarrassment, and says shyly, “It’s OK.”“C’mon, c’mon now,” urged the Leprechaun, “I’m wanting to know if I did a good job. How many times a week?”Blushing even more, the golfer looks around then whispers, “Once, sometimes twice a week.”“What??” responds the Leprechaun in shock. “That’s all? Only once or twice a week?”“Well,” says the golfer, “I figure that’s not bad for a priest in a small parish.”
Reviewed by Cindy Reich, Celtic Connection, July, 2007The worst thing you could ever say about a dance band is that they stuck the feet of the dancers to the floor. There is no chance of that happening listening to Dave Munnelly”s new album, “By Heck”. In fact it makes one look around for a hard floor and a dancing partner from the first notes of the 20″s ceilidh style beginnings of the first cut, “Cuckoo”s Nest/Silver Spire” And, in fact, he took this arrangement from John J Kimmell”s 1915 recording of the “Cuckoo”s Nest”. It has great bounce, lift and energy. There are jigs, reels and barndances galore on this recording. It has such a lovely early 20th century feel to the instrumentals ” intentionally so, as Munnelly draws not only on Kimmell, but also the Flanagan Brothers. In fact, Joe Flanagan had a very similar fast, staccato style of melodeon playing. “Kimmell’s Jigs” (The Lark in the Mountain/Devlin”s Favorite/The Cordial Jig) retain that 30″s style. However, things get a bit jazzy and swingy with the title track, “By Heck”. I especially like the soprano sax by one of the masters of the instrument in Ireland, the incredible Richie Buckley.A Quebecois set, “Cormiers” (Galope a Eddie/Reel du Chat Graffigne/Joe Cormiers” is a really tasty set and highlights the great flute playing of Kieran Munnelly in the first tune. It marches right along with great percussive guitar from Gavin Ralston, and bass lines provided by Joe Csibi. It gets an added boost again from Buckley on soprano and tenor sax. It is full bodied and firmly packed, as we say. A meaty set.A simple, lovely set, “Mc Reels” (Anthony McDonnells/Josie McDermott”s/Johnny Henry”s) is needed to catch one”s breath after the previous set! it is lovely in its simplicity with Munnelly accompanied by Ralson on guitar, brother Kieran on flute and Daire Bracken on fiddle.The standout track of the CD for me was the slow air, “Ar Bhoithrin na Smaointe”. Munnelly, accompanied only Ryan Molly on piano and accents by Buckley is superb.Let one think that this is an instrumental only CD, oh, no, not at all. Andrew Murray, one of the loveliest singers I”ve heard in a long while (see review, June 2007 Celtic Connection) does proud on “P Stands for Paddy”, as well as a grand rendition of Richard Thompson”s “Dimming of the Day”. Helen Flaherty gives us Dougie MacLean”s “The Garden Valley Song”.As a famous late night television host in Ireland used to say each Friday night, there is a “little something for everyone in the house” here, and it is a stunner of a CD. Great tunes done by stellar musicians ” did I mention Paul Kelly (banjo, mandolin, fiddle) along with Csibi, Buckley, Ralston, Molloy, Bracken, Munnelly, Munnelly and LLoyd Byrne on drums?.There are more jigs, reels, polkas and barndances I didn”t get to in the space of this review, but do yourself a favor and get it to listen for yourself.A fabulous CD of 14 cuts ” great tunes, great songs performed by great musicians and singers. Its just great, by heck! Check out Dave”s website at www.davidmunnelly.com.Cindy Reich is a contributing writer to “The Living Tradition”, Ayrshire, Scotland, “Irish Music Magazine”, Dublin, Ireland, and presents the radio music show, “The Long Acre” on Mondays, 1pm-3pm on 88.9 FM, KRFC ” Ft. Collins.
Reviewed by Cindy Reich,Celtic Connection, August, 2007Kevin Burke needs no introduction to Irish music lovers. His fiddle playing is unparalleled. Although born in London, Kevin was influenced by the fiddle playing of Michael Coleman and James Morrison among others, through his parents who came from Sligo. As a member of the Bothy Band, Kevin was part of one of the great seminal bands of the folk/trad revival, and as such, influenced scores of future musicians. He has also been a part of the group Patrick Street and the Celtic Fiddle Festival, but he has always shone the brightest, to me, when he played with Micheal O Domhnaill or Jackie Daly. The late Micheal O Domhnaill was a master of the guitar and Daly is the same on the button accordion. I truly think that only musicians of that caliber were able to understand and allow Burke”s nuances to do justice to the tunes they played. This is not to take away Kevin”s band work, however, many times less is more. In Kevin”s latest release, he has returned to the spare feel of those early recordings. “Across the Black River” with Cal Scott is a must have for anyone interested in hearing a master at work. A great example is a cut that just jumped out at me, “Minnie Foster/The Forgotten Chateau”. The first title piece was learned from Andy McGann on Kevin”s first trip to the U.S. and is playful, clean, crisp and superb. “The Forgotten Chateau” has a wonderful eastern European feel to it, despite being written by Londoner Chris Twigg.Another standout track is “Evening Prayer Blues” which is haunting and full of the high lonesome sound. It has a real turn of the century feel”I swear you could be sitting on the front porch of a cabin in the middle of any holler in the Blue Ridge Mountains! “For Johnny” is a tune written for the late Johnny Cunningham by his brother Phil. I”ve heard Phil play it on his accordion and its lovely, but Burke”s playing takes the heart right out of you. Johnny was a touring and playing companion of Burke”s on the Celtic Fiddle Festival circuit and this is a heartfelt tribute.Vincent Broderick was a great flute player from Loughrea, County Galway, and Kevin has paired up Broderick”s “Last Train from Loughrea” with his own composition, the title track “Across the Black Water”. Mike McGoldrick accompanies Burke and Scott on flute for this beautiful set.The first time I listened to this CD, when the third tune rolled off the speaker, I felt like I was sitting at a sidewalk caf” along the Seine in Paris. I never read liner notes until after I”ve listened to a CD, so I was delighted to read that when Kevin first heard the tune (a waltz) he immediately thought of a summer”s evening in a French sidewalk caf”. I could say that great minds think alike, however it is simply that this tune is so evocative of France, you couldn”t come up with any other conclusion! Kudos to Cal Scott for composing a great little waltz! Cal must be partial to waltzes, for he has another beauty on this release ” “The Lighthouse Keeper”s Waltz”. In addition to being a great composer, Cal is a lovely musician who is a perfect complement to Kevin”s playing and also produced this album.Mention must be made of the “Long Set” which lives up to its name at a meaty nine and a half minutes. The six reels that make up this set are: The Boys of the Lough/Master Crowley”s Reel/Sean sa Cheo/Reel of Rio/Ryan”s Dream/The Wind that Shakes the Barley. This is just hard-core straight ahead playing that is like a shot of heroin to a drug addict for serious listeners to Irish music. No glitter, no rocketing at the speed of light. Serious playing by serious musicians. Kevin and Cal are joined on this set by Johnny (box) Connolly on accordion and Phil Baker on double bass. Mighty stuff!For all true lovers of the music who want to hear a master at work, get your feet wet, cross the black river, the blue river, any and all rivers and get yourself a copy of Kevin Burke”s “Across the Black River”. This is destined to be one of the best of the crop of releases for 2007. You can check out more of Kevin”s music at: KevinBurke.com.Cindy Reich is a contributing writer to “The Living Tradition”, Ayrshire, Scotland, “Irish Music Magazine”, Dublin, Ireland, and presents the radio music show, “The Long Acre” on Mondays, 1pm-3pm on 88.9 FM, KRFC ” Ft. Collins.
Reviewed by Mary McWay Seaman,Celtic Connection, October, 2007
Folks who grew up during the Great Depression will not easily forget this book, and some New Yorkers may even feel themselves walking through its mirrors. Others will revere it as an aching refresher on the era. NORTH RIVER, Pete Hamill”s new novel, conducts readers through 1934 Greenwich Village near the North River (as the locals called the Hudson), where for many folks, hoping for heat and hot water was wishing for the moon. Sick at heart in the winter of his life, Dr. James Finbar Delaney, family physician, shoulders a grueling workload to block his despair. An injury in France during World War I, where he saw fellow soldiers cut to ribbons, had long banished Delaney”s dream of becoming a surgeon. Investigations into the strange disappearance of his dissatisfied wife drag on, and the couple”s impetuous daughter, a teen-aged bride, has left the country with a revolutionary young husband embroiled in overseas political rebellions. Hamill”s rich historical acumen summons a dark decade between world wars; a decade marked by global pauperism and growing overseas tyrannies that pushed multitudes into revolution and many towards nihilism.Few writers can transport readers to New York”s blighted, Depression-era streets with as much subtle, sensual veracity as Hamill. Delaney”s home medical practice near the river, “where he had listened to so many confessions without any hope of granting absolution,” occupies his mornings, while afternoons are devoted to house calls on foot or bicycle within warrens of decrepit tenements (anyone remember house calls?). The dangers faced when treating gangland foes ” hazards of his profession ” are constructed with the authority of a precise, journalistic hand. The narrative is crisp, and everyday conversations hum with authenticity. Nostalgia drips from the pages like a misty dew, but manages to skirt sentimentality.Delaney”s patients are afflicted with ailments and hardships that gnaw at each other with a sorrowful edginess. Injuries and diseases, from random sicknesses and savage accidents to grievous wounds from brawling and gunshot wounds, arrive at his door. Gangsters and gun-runners, military veterans and ordinary folks are treated for illnesses that would only be seen in specialty settings today ” tuberculosis, malaria, ills from tobacco and alcoholism, and cancer. The doctor attends to common complaints ranging from boils to shingles, but most people just waited out the usual childhood diseases and common respiratory ailments. The shame of penury is as visceral as the fear of hospitals before the development of antibiotics. Delaney”s patients, like much of the population in the 1930s, view the institutions as dumping grounds for hopeless cases. Hamill”s tough, newspaperman”s no-nonsense eye is at work in beholding the solitary, multi-tasking Samaritan whose accounts payable are never healed by his accounts receivable.When the doctor”s three-year-old grandson is abruptly deposited on his doorstep, life changes utterly. His daughter abandons the toddler to begin a search of Europe for her runaway spouse. The young husband”s dreams of glory require dramas with showy responsibilities and a new woman; he refuses to be foiled by the drag of family life. Folks in this novel are one of two kinds. Members of the first group, no matter where they are, want to be somewhere else and are suspended in wishful transit mode. The second group consists of those up to their elbows with life”s daily digging and hauling. Delaney”s wife, daughter, son-in-law and a mob patient are in the first category.Blindsided by love for his grandson, the doctor hires Rose, a scrappy Sicilian immigrant with a shaky past who organizes the household and soothes both suffering souls. All of the historic, literary, artistic and religious symbolism inherent in her name is excruciatingly correct. Her persona, a steadying tonic for Delaney”s sorrows, also provides an intriguing peek into the structural class system of the period. Reverence for President Roosevelt is palpable among the masses. The discipline of poverty has had its enthusiasts through the centuries, but there are no romantic notions about the nobility of privation in this book. Poor folks with poor ways – bugs, dirt, debilities and rotten teeth ” are on their own in the years before Social Security, welfare, food stamps, free school lunches, subsidized childcare and after-school camps. Private charities and churches offer some relief. Hamill gets in a few swings at the Catholic Church, but his measured hits are piercing and effective, usually in anecdotal asides, as he lets facts speak for themselves. His impression of religion as an anachronistic, monolithic bureaucracy rife with tribal, ritualistic bonds bearing strange fruit is furthered through the drama of a sports celebrity”s funeral (attended by John McCormack, George M. Cohan and Will Rogers), and the manipulation of another death certificate to circumvent the Church”s denial of burials for suicides (an injunction since rescinded).This enchanting saga is buoyed by a vortex of multilayered subplots awash with unexpected twists. A probing look at organized crime in the city, propelled by years of Prohibition, teases out some ethical dilemmas. Deft explorations of the enemies doctors sometimes make when their patients die comprise sobering tales, and one interlude exposes the dangers of submitting wound reports to law enforcement. Threading his way in and out of snares in the face of fearsome threats, Dr. Delaney sports a touch of swagger ” a perennial Pete Hamill feature in some portraits of his afflicted, almost too-good-to-be-true protagonists. Hamill”s exuberant love for the city he knows so well spills over in remembrance of hard times and unsung heroism. His genius in evoking the gritty, cold fog of Depression-era desperation lies in depictions of bewildered, workaday folks battling for their daily bread without fuss, fanfare or any grasp whatsoever of grand gestures. Most arrestingly, NORTH RIVER delivers an old soldier from hopelessness by addressing an elemental, ancient force – the heart”s desire to nurture and protect progeny, mankind”s lone, earthly fragment of immortality.
A nonprofit organization, MCPN has provided medical and health education services to the underserved since 1989. Their current service areas encompass Jefferson, Arapahoe, Adams and Park Counties and the City of Lakewood and Aurora. MCPN has one of the largest population base of any Community Health Center in Colorado and, the largest number of underserved individuals in the State. Within its current established healthcare system MCPN provides primary care to approximately 16,000 individuals in the City of Aurora. According to David Myers, MCPN President and CEO, those numbers will increase, “We estimate that 60,000 individuals in Aurora qualify for MCPN services. Our expansion of a new medical facility will increase our current capacity to serve more patients, bringing the estimate total to 32,000 individuals served in this community.”MCPN has developed services to provide primary health care for people who have no other access to health care. A Family Practice model of health care is supported by case management services, pharmacy services, and other coordination efforts to remove barriers to health care. Well Child Care, immunizations, obstetrics, gynecology, and chronic disease management are among the most often-requested services.MCPN provides case management and health education programs in the following areas:” AmeriCorps service learning Programs for Adults, where health education and outreach services for MCPN patients and clients are provided. ” Health Education Classes comprised of Diabetes, Asthma, Childbirth, Smoking Cessation, Family Planning and Healthy Living. ” Healthy Start Project, providing care coordination for pregnant women and families with infants up to two years of age in Aurora, Englewood, and Sheridan. ” Perinatal Services, creating effective linkages for pregnant women with the MCPN service system and providing Doula Birth Coaches.” Services for Aurora”s Homeless/Indigent Populations, serving the community at MCPN”s Elmira clinic. ” Services for Pregnant and Parenting Teens, working with pregnant and parenting youth in Aurora ages 11 ” 19 years. These services include: resource information, help returning to school or getting a GED, support, advocacy, home visits, case management and the teen clinic.MCPN has accreditation from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). This means we have been recognized for complying with rigorous national performance standards that promote quality health care delivery, our top priority.MCPN is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization; this designation allows all revenue to be put towards meeting their mission. All donations are tax exempt.For more information about MCPN or The Green Tie Event please contact Vice President of Development, John Reid @ (303) 761-1977 x124 or email@example.com.
Interview with Beth Patterson by Pat McCulloughBeth Patterson has a stage presence that has been described by viewers as “a cross between a cobra and a puppy.” No doubt the puppy is for her lovely smile and voice ” and the Cobra? Maybe for her fleet finger action on the fret board ” but more likely to describe her deadly quick sense of humor. Not deadly in the sense that she is trying to hurt anyone ” just deadly sweet irreverence. The Louisiana native is loaded with one liners and quick wit ” on and off the stage. Whether it comes from fact or fiction is irrelevant as long it is absolved by a laugh. Take for example her current ad/flyer for a November 25th concert at Lannie”s Clocktower Cabaret in Denver which reads, “Her music is great, but her cooking sucks!”-Martha Stewart.During a recent phone interview she laughed off what she described as “The bogus quote”" but then the cobra struck. “She totally snubbed my cake, even though it felt like Janet Reno”s boobs she still could have been nice about it ” she snubbed my cake, and said me my cooking sucks, and at Lannie”s Martha and I are going to mud wrestle ” and I”m going to completely kick Martha Stewart”s ass ” Let”s get her out of the kitchen and see how she can do with a microphone and bouzouki!”Since Martha Stewart won”t be there (please read Martha Stewart fans and attorneys) Beth came up with plan B. “Lannie (Lannie Garrett ” performer/owner) walks on stage dressed like Martha Stewart and I say “Martha you dissed my cake and said my cooking sucked” ” and then we both get into a rousing rendition of “Anything You Can Do I Can Do better”.Return of the puppy. Having fun with the cabaret connotation Beth joked, “At Lannie”s Cabaret, I”ll be stripping myself of preconceived notions and genres.” So will there be more puppy or Cobra at Lannie”s? “There has to be a balance of Cobra and puppy ” at times both can be a little more intense”. So is it a part of a performance plan? “It”s not a conscious thing ” people know what they are going to get into when they come to see me. You see the bogus quote ” and people expect something far from domestic.”Beth is back in the studio in the process of recording her 4th CD called “On Better Paths”, which is an anagram of her name. “I”ve got some things like “Hell or High Water”, my post-Katrina song that people have heard that will be on the CD ” but it will be up a couple of notches with intensity. The CD will be cryptic, multi-layered and multi-faceted ” more musically striking. There is going to be more cross pollination ” fusions of Celtic and African more strongly or a lot less subtly than “Take Some Fire” (her 2nd CD).She added with a chuckle, “Less shy musically and lyrically.” Ruff-ruff, Hiss-Hiss Beth Patterson Colorado Gigs:Sunday, Nov 25, 7pm show 6pm doors, Lannie”s Clocktower Cabaret, 16th St. Mall @ Arapahoe in Downtown Denver. 21+ show $12 online at www.lannies.com and $15 at door. 303-293-0075.Thursday, Nov 29, 7-9pm, All Ages show Avogadros, 605 S. Mason, Ft. Collins, CO, 970- 493-5555. Note: Beth Patterson”s 4th CD “On Better Paths” is schedule for release in the Spring of 2008 info at www.littlebluemen.com