March 21, 2004 |
A couple of lobstermen had the locals on their feet at the Thistledown Pub last June. It wasn't the day's catch they were brandishing but guitars. Everyone sang along as they sipped frosty mugs of Alexander Keith's ale. Suddenly a teenage girl with flaming red hair burst into their midst. As Tracy Cavanaugh strummed his guitar at a feverish pace, the girl's legs became a blur of Highland plaid socks. Bartender Jason Fownes slid another Gaelic coffee laced with Drambuie and Scotch toward me.
June 28, 1992 |
For visitors who do not depend upon them for their livelihood, Ireland's Aran Islands boast a bleak and otherworldly beauty: dizzying cliffs that drop straight to a snarling surf; a bizarre geology of riven limestone beds, with scarcely a tree to be seen; fiercely changeable weather softened by a benevolence of rainbows. And the stones of Aran, of course.
March 14, 2001 |
"Nobody writes like the Irish," my father, a native Dubliner, says whenever we discuss literature. Naming great Irish writers of the past and present--Joyce, Yeats, Beckett, Synge, Heaney--he identifies the sufferings, personal and cultural, that have fueled the work. He sighs when he comes to Oscar Wilde's "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" to add an afterthought: "Sure, nobody suffers like the Irish." Suffering and Irish writing, he intimates, are hopelessly intertwined.
March 12, 1993 |
The Irish are taking it on the chin this St. Patrick's Day. The O'Hollywood St. Patrick's Day Parade, which celebrates the biggest Irish pride day of the year, was canceled for lack of funding. As with many things Irish, there has been a history of bickering and dissension over the quality and venue of the parade, or, well, parades. One St. Patrick's Day parade was put on in downtown Los Angeles from 1984 to 1990.
May 7, 1991 |
As usual, Mairtin O Muilleoir was struggling to make a point. "Lord Mayor! Lord Mayor!" he shouted into his hand-held microphone. Over and over, delivered as though to an impertinent pup, came the cold reply: "Sit down , you." When the Roman Catholic city councilor finally gave up and flopped exasperated onto his padded bench, from across the chamber divide his Protestant peers enjoyed a good, hearty laugh. Such is the polarized state of democracy, Ulster-style.
October 14, 1988 |
One of the odder aspects of the Celtic Arts Center has been its inability to convey a rich sense of things Celtic. Perhaps the center's folklore and music offerings succeed where its theatrical efforts have failed, but this has generally been another poor small theater in a ratty section of Hollywood. John Millington Synge to the rescue. So satisfying and full-blooded is Synge's "Playboy of the Western World" that not even occasional miscasting and a truly ugly set by director Lawrence P.
August 31, 1986 |
The Cabot Trail could be the oldest autumn trail in the recorded history of North America, and it's only two days of spectacular driving northward from the fall foliage of New England. Explorer John Cabot landed here on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, in 1497, just five years after Columbus knelt on the sands of a New World far to the south. The Vikings were probably here much earlier, and by 1504 Breton fishermen were busy in these waters.
August 20, 1995 |
Ten thousand years ago a warming of the world's temperature brought about the slow disintegration of the vast ice mantle that covered a large part of the Northern Hemisphere. As the massively thick glacier slowly melted and retreated northward, an island was revealed in what is now called the Irish Sea. To the east of it was a large land mass, later to be known as Great Britain; to the west, Ireland. Among its earliest human inhabitants were the Celts and later the Vikings.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 25, 1990 |
The Hollywood bookseller sighed a little when asked about the literary scene in the South Bay. "Well," he confided, "the South Bay just is not a big bookstore area. For some reason it has never been really good book territory." But here and there, in this nook and that cranny, a handful of quirky, independent and special-interest bookstores have taken root in the local soil and are holding their own despite stiff competition from the better-known chains.