Monday, September 27, 2010
So, yes I did go to Ireland for 3 weeks. I think the hangover is finally cured. I'm not much of a drinker but I was told by a pal I would be a social outcast if I turned down a drink. I was never good at the social outcast thing.
I was invited and housed in absolute Georgian splendor with a decidedly bohemian edge. Most of my time was spent in Dublin, which fact flies in the face of the rural photo above. My buddy Mike Anton took that shot when we were on a two day road trip to County Galway on the West Coast. Mike only came over for a week toward the end of my stay with the artist Brian Gormley.
Gormley is one of the few true geniuses I number among my close friends. I've know him for some 25 years. He likes to say he inherited me from his father, the late great Edward Francis Gormley -- soldier, saloon keeper, playwright and bon vivant -- which I consider an honor.
Brian was there for an exhibit in which his work is included Graphic Studio: 50 years in Dublin at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Enrique Juncosa, the amiable director of the museum, wrote an excellent introduction to the exhibition catalog.
We ran into Enrique at John Daly's Hillsboro Gallery for the opening of Jonathan Lasker's and John Noel Smith's joint exhibit there (Hillsboro also reps Brian Gormley in Dublin.) The next morning we received a phone call that I was now on the guest list for a sit down dinner at The Tea Room at The Clarence, owned by Bono and the Edge, after the exhibit at IMMA. I thought that was very generous. (Thanks again, Enrique! Great party!)
I wasn't there as a theater tourist (I was going with the flow, so to speak -- and man, did it flow) so I only took in one play -- The Colleen Bawn by Dion Boucicault -- at the Civic Theater in Tallaght in south Dublin. I tried to see the play in its last weekend at the Project Arts Centre in Temple Bar, which is Dublin's equivalent of Greenwich Village, more or less. It was a superb show. The set was one of the best touring boxes I've laid eyes on. The cast was brilliant. Boucicault gets some prominent mention in my novel Broadway Vampire for writing the first vampire stage production -- titled The Vampire -- which appeared on Broadway and the West End in 1852-3 -- decades before Bram Stoker wrote Dracula.
I got to meet the inimitable Noelle Campbell Sharp, patron of the arts and a great Dublin character. She has her own Georgian house in the heart of the center city, with a private drinking establishment. Brian Gormley, I should explain, has visited and lived in Dublin on and off since he was 3 years old. So he knows everyone there is to know, or so it seemed. In any case, Noelle invited Gormley, Michael Carter, a NYC poet, and myself to come to Cill Rialaig the artists colony she founded on the wild seacoast of County Kerry. (The invitation, for two weeks this November, almost beat me back to the States. Now I've got to beat the bushes for some money to go.)
While in Dublin, I got to hang out with a couple of Ireland's top Mick Cullen and Charlie Cullen. These two affable characters have studios right next to each other in a building of artists' studios, the existence of which made me think of Montparnasse during the time of Picasso and friends. Oddly enough, (or not) these two masterful artists are not from the same family.Both these superb painters, however, were represented in the IMMA show with Brian Gormley.
I also met the erotic blogger and artist Maria Dolorosa Delacruz while there. She invited us all to a great party that her boyfriend djs on the roof of a private club. (Thanks, Maria! Another great party!)
The last night there, Arthur Keating, a prominent art collector and RTE exec, threw a going away dinner for Brian and me. The other guest of honor was the playwright and film director Martin Duffy, who lives in Berlin. It was a great evening. For some reason, our host was enamored of my singing and ukulele playing and kept calling for songs throughout the evening.
Martin made me promise to stay in touch and to visit him when I go to Berlin early next year. I'll be doing the final research for Berlin Vampire, my next novel.
And that was my trip to Dublin. More or less.