scop (noun):

Old English – bard, minstrel, storyteller

Parade Day @ Riley’s: Just the Beginning

March 12th, 2017

The Parade Day Celebration at Riley’s Pour House topped all expectation — a veritable three-ring wonder featuring entertainment under the big top, in the pub, and even (when the famed Irish Belly Dancers arrived) on the bar.

If you were part of the multitude in attendance, you know what I’m talking about. If you weren’t, you’ll get a chance to make up for that next weekend, when we do it all again for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

So here’s a recap.

Even before the parade concluded downtown, people began gathering at Riley’s, quickly filling both the pub and the giant tent erected in the adjacent courtyard. By the time John Gallagher took the tent stage at noon, both spaces seemed filled to capacity. But people kept coming, spilling onto the patio behind the pub and even (despite the cold) onto the sidewalk along Main Street.

The trad-duo Dan & Dave warmed the indoor stage for us. Accompanied by a guest fiddler (above), Dan & Dave played from 1:00 – 6:00 while John and Mike Gallagher traded the spotlight on the outdoor stage.

Connolly-Davis took over the indoor stage at 6:00 and performed a two-hour set until Lauren Moore arrived to join in on mandolin and vocals. After that, the three of us played the rest of the night, performing for an enthusiastic crowd while The Wild Geese Band played next door.

Next weekend, Dan & Dave, Mike Gallegher, and Connolly-Davis return for another two-day party. Mark Guiser (right) will also be on hand in the big tent, playing opposite Connolly-Davis, who will be finishing out the weekend on the pub stage.

You’ll want to be there for all of it. Otherwise, you’ll have to be content with listening to the stories, which given the Caltic penchant for craic, might be almost as entertaining. Almost.

Parade Day Preview

March 11th, 2017

With St. Patrick’s Day Parade scheduled for March 11, a week in advance of the actual  St. Patrick’s Day weekend, Pittsburgh has the opportunity to celebrate all week long.

Last night at Riley’s Pour House, bagpiper John Walsh kicked off the weeklong celebration by marching through the pub in advance of our 8:00 show. John will be returning to Riley’s today along with the likes of Young John Gallagher, Mike Gallagher Himself, the Irish Belly Dancers, and The Wild Geese.

Entertainment will be continuous, running on two stages from noon to midnight. You can check out the full schedule here!

Duane and I start at 6:00 on the pub stage. At 8:00, we’ll be joined by Lauren Connolly-Moore and (possibly) some surprise guests.

Hope to see you there!

Parade Day & St. Patrick’s Day Shows

March 5th, 2017

March 11 (Parade Day)

  • 6:00 – 7:30: Riley’s Pub Stage with bassist Duane Davis.
  • 8:00 – 10:00: Riley’s Pub Stage with bassist Duane Davis and vocalist-mandolinist Lauren Connolly-Moore.

March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day)

  • 5:00 – 7:30: Riley’s Garden Center Stage.
  • 8:00 – 11:00: Riley’s Pub Stage with bassist Duane Davis.

March 18

  • 8:00 – 11:00: Riley’s Pub Stage with bassist Duane Davis.

Details are still coming together, but the above are some dates, times, and details that we have so far. For more info, click here!

Writer at Work: Trusting the Process

December 29th, 2016

There’s a scene in Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Mystère Picasso, a 1956 documentary that shows the artist Pablo Picasso at work. The artist starts with random lines, splashes of color. There seems to be no method in what he’s doing, but soon a few recognizable images emerge — a boat pulling a water skier, a woman in a bathing suit, people at a café. As he paints, the details coalesce, but just as everything seems to come together, something goes wrong.

The artist seems to lose control of the work. The painting changes, grows darker, loses continuity. Finally, the master stops, assesses his progress, and says:  “This is going badly, very badly, very very badly.”

“Whoa! … That CAN’T be right!”

There’s something therapeutic in that comment. It’s reassuring to know that even the masters stumble, or — as critic James Wood tells us in his sometimes abstruse, often insightful book How Fiction Works: “It’s useful to watch good writers make mistakes.” Both Picasso and Wood remind us that the creative process isn’t linear. It’s rife with experiments, setbacks, and dead ends that often force us to reevaluate and possibly scrap work that has taken hours, days, or longer to complete.

When that happens, consider doing what Picasso does next.

After reassessing the work, he says, “Now that I know where I’m going, I’ll get a new canvas and start over.” And so he does. And this time, his artistic vision clarified from hours of experimentation, he completes the painting.

This week, as I lay down the first exploratory lines of what I hope will become a new writing project, I find myself reflecting on Picasso’s approach. It’s useful to remind ourselves that art requires exploration, and exploration takes time and an ability to step away, reassess, and learn.

Sounds like a good resolution for the new year.

Images:

Picasso. Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Le Mystère Picasso, 1956.
Spider Cartoon. Gary Larson. The Far Side.
Trailer for Le Mystère Picasso.