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.

The saga of a giant in popular music history is told in the long-awaited book, P.S. Gilmore: The Authorized Biography of America”s First Superstar written by Gilmore sleuth Rusty Hammer. Performer, promoter, innovator, Irish-American; Gilmore”s “monster concerts,” nationwide and international tours, and popular concerts established his band as the greatest in the land and himself as the “Father of the American Band” in the later 19th century. Best known for his World Peace Jubilee, which featured a 20,000-voice chorus and 2,000-piece orchestra for a series of concerts in Boston in 1872, Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore was born in Ballygar, County Galway, Ireland in 1829 and emigrated to America after learning to play the cornet in Athlone. Near the start of the American Civil War, he attached his band to the Union army. After seeing action on the battlefields of North Carolina, Gilmore wished only for Peace. Using the pseudonym Louis Lambert, he wrote the anti-war anthem When Johnny Comes Marching Home. Gilmore and his band played for presidents from Buchanan to Cleveland. He was the star at the Philadelphia Centennial celebration and music director for the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. He put the “Garden” in Madison Square Garden and was the toast of New York City for almost 20 years. He was also instrumental in establishing St. Louis as the “Carnival City” and was a regular attraction in Chicago, as he triumphantly toured across America, Europe and Great Britain. Gilmore”s Band was not only the greatest in the United States ” it was an equal to the best in the World. His popularity was so widespread that the crowds which filled New York”s Fifth Avenue for Gilmore”s funeral procession in 1892 rivaled that of presidents. Pat Gilmore returned to Ireland in 1878 when Gilmore”s Band played in Dublin”s Winter Palace. He also supported numerous Irish causes including New York”s Emerald Ball and the campaign of Charles Parnell. P.S. Gilmore: The Authorized Biography of America”s First Superstar is written as an historical work of biographical fiction. The story is told from the perspective of Gilmore relating his life to a writer. “It has always been my wish to tell the story of this astonishing man,” relates author Rusty Hammer. “I wanted it to be an enjoyable read while maintaining historical accuracy.” The 377-page book includes 139 images that help illustrate the people and places of the era. In addition to the history of bands and popular music in America and abroad, the narrative incorporates politics – both domestic and international – a wide variety of sports, fashion, architecture, transportation, war, food, journalism, religion, and general history. Hammer first became aware of Gilmore”s exploits from the liner notes of Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops” album of Strauss waltzes entitled Mr. Strauss Comes to Boston. This is in reference to Gilmore”s recruiting of Johan Strauss to lead the great orchestra at the World Peace Jubilee for a fee of $100,000 (equivalent to $1.6 million today). Being in symphony management at the time, Hammer was completely aghast at the idea of 2,000 musicians in an orchestra. And being a band person, he was intrigued by the history of the man John Philip Sousa called “the father of the American band.” His curiosity piqued, Hammer began a 30-year mission of discovery. What he found was that unlike his contemporaries, P.T. Barnum and Sousa, Gilmore didn”t write autobiographies and journals or leave voluminous letters telling his story or explaining his actions. Quite the opposite. Gilmore actually invented the circumstances surrounding how he came to the United States, amongst other details, for his program biography. Perfect-bound books, inscribed by the author, are available at

One of the truly best example of Scottish baking can be found in this ancient recipe. 1 cup soft butter (not melted) 1 cup sugar 5 large beaten eggs 2 1/2 cups of self-raising flour 2/3 cup of Raisins 2/3 cup Sultanas (golden raisins) 2/3 cup currants Finely grated zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon 1/4 cup Glace cherries or dried half cherries 1 cup ground almond 1 tsp cinnamon 2 Tbs Sherry 1/4 cup milk 1/4 tsp salt 1/3 cup of whole blanched almonds Step 1: Preheat oven to 300F and grease a 9 inch cake pan Step 2: Using either a mixing bowl or a hand electric whisk, beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, add beaten egg slowly. If the mixture begins to curdle add a little of the flour. Step 3: Add all mixed fruit, cherries, raisins, zest, and sherry. Sift in the flour, salt and cinnamon, then fold in the ground almonds, adding the milk to keep moist. Step 4: Pour mixture into the cake pan and arrange the almonds on top in a circular pattern. Bake for about 2 hours, until the top is lightly Brown. You may need to cover the top of the pan with foil to keep the cake from over browning.

This is one of the truly best recipes of Celtic Cuisine which can be considered not only healthy but very low fat. 4 chicken breasts 1 lb fresh leeks chopped 1 lb bite-size broccoli florets 1 cup of chicken stock 1/2 cup of bread crumbs 1 tsp thyme 2 oz whiskey (optional) olive oil Salt Step 1: Preheat oven to 325F Step 2: Cut chicken up into 1″ cubes. Lightly cook the cube chicken using a frying pan with a little olive oil, sprinkle on salt to taste and thyme. (Chicken will continue to cook in oven later Step 3: In a sauce pan bring Chicken stock to a boil then add in chopped Leeks and Broccoli Florets for 5 minutes. Step 4: Pour contents into a casserole dish adding in the chicken and whiskey, then covering with bread crumbs (use French or Panko breadcrumbs. Step 5: Cover dish and bake for 1 hour. Remove lid. Turn heat to Broil and brown the meat and vegetables

Here is a very simple summer salad. It beats the traditional potato salad hands down. 2 bunches of asparagus 2 oz Irish blue cheese 1/3 cup of mayonnaise 1 Tbs Finely chopped parsley 1 pinch of white pepper Step 1: Wash and cook asparagus whole in Boiling salted water. Step 2: Using and electric whisk blend the cheese in with the mayonnaise adding in the parsley and white pepper. Step 3: Arrange the asparagus on a serving dish and pour the dressing over the middle of the Asparagus.

There was this fella with a parrot. His parrot would swear for five minutes straight without repeating himself. Trouble is, the guy who owns him is a quiet, conservative type, and this bird’s foul mouth was driving him crazy. One day, it gets to be too much, so the guy grabs the bird by the throat, shakes him really hard, and yells, “QUIT IT!” But this just makes the bird mad and he swears more than ever. Then the guy gets mad and says, “OK for you.” and locks the bird in a kitchen cabinet. This really aggravates the bird and he claws and scratches, and when the guy finally lets him out, The bird cuts loose with a stream of vulgarities”that would make a veteran sailor blush. At that point, the guy is so mad that he throws the bird into the freezer. For the first few seconds there is a terrible din. The bird kicks and claws and thrashes. Then it suddenly gets VERY quiet. At first the guy just waits, but then he starts to think that the bird may be hurt. After a couple of minutes of silence, he’s so worried that he opens up the freezer door. The bird calmly climbs onto the man’s outstretched arm and says, “Awfully sorry about the trouble I gave you. I’ll do my best to improve my vocabulary from now on.” The man is astounded. He can’t understand the transformation that has come over the parrot. Then the parrot says, “By the way, what did the chicken do?”

An old man and woman were married for many years, even though they hated each other. When they had a confrontation, screaming and yelling could be heard deep into the night. The old man would shout, “When I die, I will dig my way up and out of the grave and come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!” Neighbors feared him. They believed he practiced black magic because of the many strange occurrences that took place in their neighborhood. The old man liked the fact that he was feared. To everyone’s”relief, he died of a heart attack when he was 98. His wife had a closed casket at the wake. After the burial, she went straight to the local bar and began to party as if there was no tomorrow. Her neighbors, concerned for her safety, asked, “Aren’t you afraid that he may indeed be able to dig his way up and out of the grave and come back to haunt you for the rest of your life?” The wife put down her drink and said, “Let him dig.” I had him buried upside down……”

The Colorado Celtic Fingerstyle Guitar player”s tune was one of 25 songs picked from thousands submitted from around the world by a panel of well-known music industry professionals such as Peter Gabriel, Wynonna, Cindi Lauper, David Grisman, and Patti Loveless. Among the list of the 25 winners sharing Jerry”s prestigious award include such world class songwriters as Kris Kristoferson, John Gorka, Sam Bush, and Gregg Brown. Jerry said that he was “pleased and proud” of his award and “honored to be in such company.” Songs from his Jerry”s first CD, KEEPSAKE have been played on National Public Radio and were included in a PBS documentary Song of Our Children. He recently completed an engagement as the featured musician for Imagination Makers Theater Company, performing at two elementary schools a day, Monday through Friday, for a period of three months, presenting a children”s play about an Irish family coming to America. Jerry also performs solo for children in the Denver Schools and described these appearances in his monthly newsletter, “I present a great deal of historical as well as musical information and often spend as much time answering questions as playing music. I”m glad to see schools presenting a variety of music and culture to children who otherwise would have very limited exposure.” Jerry”s internationally recognized arrangements of Irish, Scottish and Appalachian music on fingerstyle guitar have been described as “heart warming” and “uplifting”. In concert, the warm and accessible performer brings traditional Celtic tunes alive by sharing the history, humor and legends behind the music. Keepsake and Bring Down the Storm are now available at the Denver Folklore Center, Twist & Shout, or at any of Jerry”s performances. For more information about his schedule, bookings, lessons, or ordering CDs check out website or call 303/756-4418.

The greens of Clement Park in Littleton will once again be the site of the annual Colorado Irish Festival on Saturday July 14 and Sunday July 15. Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, David Munnelly Band, The Prodigals, Enter the Haggis, Beth Patterson Band, Makem & Spain Brothers,”The Town Pants, April Verch Band, Colcannon, Gobs O” Phun, Potcheen Folk Band, Angus Mohr, The Commoners, Crabshack Houseband, Canned Haggis, Claddagh, The Muses, Skean Dubh, Juice O” the Barley, Jerry Barlow, Big Paddy, Flanaganism, The Hydes, Mag Pies, River Run, Mulligan Stew, Pipe Bands, hundreds of Irish Dancers and a whole lot more music, dance, re-enactments, cultural village and activities for the whole family. This year”s theme “Irish Rock and Reels” will be reflected in the variety of musical offerings from rock to trad. Headliners include Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul. Last December the musical star of Riverdance brought her Bronx based band to Denver where they played to a sold-out audience at Beottcher Concert Hall with the Colorado Symphony. This will be Eileen”s first visit to CIF. David Munnelly and his band will make their Colorado debut at CIF, providing innovative traditional reels, jigs, and barn dances inspired by gypsy, klezmer and the Roaring ’20s Flanagan Brothers-1920s swing music. Munnelly is sometimes called the “Bullet from Belmullet.” for his birthplace in County Mayo and for his energetic style of playing. On July 14 the group welcomes new vocalist Shauna Mullin from Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.”Also making their first Denver appearances are “triple threat” April Verch who can play a mean fiddle, dance and sing and play; balladeers from legendary lineage, Makem & Spain Brothers, and a spirited band of many influences The Town Pants. Canadian band Enter the Haggis, made their Colorado debut at the fest last year. They can deliver a sweet harmony and turn around and blast the leaves off the trees with their dueling guitars drums and bagpipes. Other fan favorites returning to CIF include, from New Orleans the irrepressible Beth Patterson and her band, and New York based Irish “Jig Punk” band The Prodigals. In addition to out-of- town quests, there will also be some top talent representing Colorado said CIF entertainment director Tom Quinn, “We”ll have some very good traditional bands – Colcannon, River Run, and the Hydes – rock bands like Potcheen (Folk Band) and Angus Mohr. Gobs O’ Phun and Juice O” the Barley will have folks singing along to their ballads and pub songs”. Quinn added, “We have a nice problem in Colorado ” every year we have more and more talented bands in the area to choose from.” New to this year’s Cultural Village is Milwaukee Irish Festival Ward Archive’s exhibit entitled The History of Irish Rock. The exhibit will examine, through displays and artifacts, the history of Irish Rock beginning with the 1950′s “Irish Show Band” phenomena through The Irish “beat bands”, Irish progressive rock bands such as Thin Lizzy and Skid Row, and continue with Artists stories including Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher, Barry McGuire, Horslips, The Bachelors, Elvis Costello, Chris de Burgh, The Boomtown Rats, Bob Geldof, U2, Sinead O’Connor, Clannad, The Cranberries, The Corrs, and much more. The Cultural village will also include, workshops, presentations, genealogy, Irish Brigade Civil War re-enactment, Irish Wolfhound Rescue, Parnell”s Irish Cob Horse Ranch authentic Travelers (Tinker, Gypsy) wagon Imported from Ireland. The Denver Gaels hurling batting cage will give folks a swing at the sliothar (ball) with a hurly stick. The Gaels will also host Irish Football and Hurling games throughout the weekend. And of course there will be hundreds of Irish dancers in competition and performance, bagpipes from Michael Collins Pipe band and Colorado Youth Pipe band, vendors, food and drink. Saturday July 14 and Sunday July 15, 2007, 10am ” 10pm, Clement Park, (S. Pierce St. at Bowles Ave.), Littleton. Tickets: Advance $10; $12 at the gate. Kids 12 and under Free! Info and Advance tickets at Free Parking!

The five young ladies (Kristian Cowden, Clare Barrett, Emily Barrett, Gwenllian Kern-Allely and Maggie Thulson) are under the direction of Mrs. Barbara Allen of the Denver School of the Arts. The presentation was entitled “The Misnomer of An Gorta Mor (Great Famine)” and told the story of how the Famine was a man-made disaster that cost the lives of over 1 Million Irish and forced an unknown number of Irish to emigrate from their country with the beginnings of the great Irish Diaspora. Land owners in Ireland were growing food but it was being shipped overseas to other parts of the empire as a “money crop”. The potato (native to South America) had been introduced into Ireland by the English to feed the masses. With the blight on the potato, the Irish (dispossessed of their land) were left to fend for themselves. The visitors gave the young ladies a rousing ovation after the presentation, and watched as AOH Michael Collins Div. 1 President Patrick F. Sullivan and Treasurer Michael Regan gave the ladies an additional Special Cash Award from AOH National. Ken Hannon Larson Cultural Coordinator Colorado Irish Festival

National History Day is a nation wide history competition for students from 6th through 12th grade. The purpose of the competition is to create projects such as documentaries, display boards, plays, or papers relating to a different theme chosen each year. This year”s theme was “Triumph and Tragedy” and topics are chosen to illustrate this theme. Students must compete in three different competitions regional, state competition, and finally the national competition. Every year students from all over the country gather at the University of Maryland in College Park for the National History Day competition. After five days of extreme pressure, students gather in the indoor stadium for the awards ceremony. The top three projects in every category are awarded medals, but in addition to those are several special prizes awarded to excellence in projects relating to a certain category. The Irish award is one of these special awards given to two projects in the Junior and Senior divisions, awarded by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians. This year the award in the senior division was won by: Clare Barrett, Emily Barrett, Kristian Cowden, Gwenllian Kern-Allely, and Maggie Thulson for their senior group performance on the Irish Potato Famine entitled “The Misnomer of An Gorta Mor” (The Great Hunger in Gaelic). The work on this project spanned ten months. All students attend Denver School of the Arts and are under the direction of Mrs. Barbara Allen. After critiquing many projects pertaining to Irish history or Irish American history, three members of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Tom Conway, Mike McCormack, and David A. Ring awarded the group a $1500 prize. In addition to being awarded the Irish award, this project received 7th place (out of 90 performance groups) in the nation in the senior group performance category. There were about 2,000 participants in this years NHD competition. The keynote speaker was Award winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. (Students to be honored at Colorado Irish Festival)

“UNDER A BLOOD RED SKY” is a classic U2 tribute band out of Denver Colorado. All members have been longtime original artists in and around Denver who have been brought together by a strong love of U2 music. They recreated the legendary 1983 “Live at Red Rocks” concert which they debuted on New Years Eve 2006 at a sold out show at the Paramount Theatre in Denver. They have since expanded their show to include a full catalog of songs from there early albums Boy, October, War, Unforgettable Fire and Joshua Tree. According to the band, “Our goal is to form a community of U2 fans that we can entertain by bringing back all the old classic U2 songs and put them back on stage where U2 fans can relive the early songs that made them U2 fans to begin with.” Opening the concert will be comedian, veterinarian, star of Animal Planet”s “Emergency Vets,” and former bouncer to the Rolling Stones, Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald. The festival grounds will not be open entirely until Saturday and Sunday July 14 & 15 ” However, refreshments will be available for the Friday U2 tribute Concert. U2 Tribute Concert w/Under A Blood Red Sky and special guest comedian Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald Friday July 13, 2007, 6:30 pm Doors .Clement Park, S. Pierce St. at Bowles Ave., Littleton, $5 at Free Parking!

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