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Spring Events:
April is the Coolest Month

April 13th, 2016

nightmare cinemaApologies to T. S. Eliot, but I couldn’t resist the headline. And there will indeed be some cool things happening now that the winter that “kept us warm” has come to an end.

First up, I’ll be giving a talk at the Penguin Bookshop in Sewickley on April 27, sharing details surrounding the adaptation of my story “Traumatic Descent” for the upcoming anthology film Nightmare Cinema.

Although I cover the process of adapting “TD” in Voices and This Way to Egress, the Penguin event will give me a chance to relate some recent surprises and developments.

End of Watch51U+KNbSiaL._AC_UL320_SR210,320_I also plan to cover practical advice about storytelling and scriptwriting. The talk is titled “From Page to Screen,” and it gets underway at 6:30 p.m. If you’re in the area, I’ll hope to see you there. Professional secrets will be revealed.

It’s worth noting that the aforementioned Nightmare Cinema is being produced by Mick Garris, the same filmmaker who brought us Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers and the television versions of both The Shining and The Stand. I mention these titles because Stephen King will also be giving a talk at the Penguin later this spring, promoting the release of his forthcoming thriller End of Watch.

Tickets for the Stephen King event go on sale April 17. Here’s a link for more information.

Mark's Emmy award 10-27-2007And there’s more. On April 29, my brother and former band mate Mark Connolly will be joining me for a special musical performance at Riley’s Pour House. (That’s Mark on the left with the Emmy he won a few years back. Yeah, my bro’s got talent.)

Mark and I performed together on the college circuit back in the 70s. We called ourselves The Other Brothers, playing gigs, writing songs, and recording demos with our other brother John, who had a basement equipped with what was then state-of-the-art technology. I’m talking reel-to-reel four track tape. Real handmade music!

Mark and I will be playing some Other Brothers tunes at Riley’s, but you don’t have to wait until then to hear them. By clicking the player below (which features another photo of Mark, this time with a 20th-century version of the 21st-Century Scop), you can hear our demo cut of “Midnight Lover.” Mark wrote it, and it should have gone platinum.

Enjoy the song, and I’ll hope to see you at the Penguin Bookshop or Riley’s Pour House – or both. Until then . . . scop on!

Parade Day 2016 @ Riley’s Pour House:
“the sweetest melody”

March 13th, 2016

walsh from stage“I thought I heard a piper play the sweetest melody / People gathered round a’ dancing and singing so merrily . . .”
– “Caledonia” by Dougie MacLean

But we didn’t just think it. If you were one of the 1,000-plus revelers who packed the tent and pub at Riley’s Pour House on Parade Day, you saw and heard it for real.

Here’s how it happened.

As band mate Duane Davis and I were midway through our second of four sets on Riley’s outdoor stage, we noticed bagpiper John Walsh standing in the wings. We’d been waiting for him, since John’s piping has always been one of the high points of Riley’s Parade Day celebrations. We wrapped up our song, introduced him, and for the next 10 minutes the tent rang with the echoes of the highlands.

That’s John on the left, in a photo taken from the stage, looking out over the packed tent. An amazing performance.

SPMeanwhile, inside the pub, St. Patrick (Richard O’Malley) held court at a center table, taking a break after marching through the streets of Pittsburgh.  His appearance was another one of the many offstage attractions that always makes Riley’s the place to be on Parade Day. Other attractions included a pair of sword-wielding belly dancers who performed atop the bar later that night.

That’s Richard “St. Patrick” O’Malley pictured on the right.

Sorry . . . but I didn’t get photos of the belly dancers.

Riley's Parade DayNevertheless, the real attraction was the crowd that overflowed both tent and pub, spilling into the street out front and the alley behind.

Composed of some of the best people you’re likely to meet this side of the Blasket Islands, the members of the audience made the show, dancing to “500 Miles” and singing along with us on a show-capping performance of “Wagon Wheel.”

What a rush!

Duane and Larry at Riley compressed (340x247)At 8:00, Duane and I moved to the pub stage, where we  continued playing until midnight while The Wild Geese Band performed under the tent. (That’s Wild Geese below, Connolly & Davis to the right, in case you’re wondering.)

Along the way, we were joined by Lauren Connolly-Moore on mandolin and vocals. All told, Connolly Davis performed for eight hours. Quite a workout, but I’m ready to do it The Wilde Geese Bandagain. Scop on! 

Image Credits:

All photos copyright © 2016 Lawrence C. Connolly, The 21st Century Scop.

The Parade Day banner is from the Riley’s Pour House website: rileyspourhouse.com/

St. Patrick’s Day Shows: Music Marathons

March 8th, 2016

with Duane and LaurenIf you want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style, Pittsburgh is the place to be. That’s according the Niche®, who also says:

Pittsburgh has one of the highest percentage of its population identifying as Irish, great access to bars, a thriving St. Patrick’s Day Parade that boasts over 20,000 participants, and a staggering amount of St. Patrick’s Day hype on Facebook.

10649746_714754118572430_5509741742800892289_nAnd Pittsburgh also has Riley’s Pour House, where bandmate Duane Davis and I will be performing under the big top on Riley’s Outdoor Stage from 4:00 to 7:30PM on Pittsburgh’s Parade Day. After that, we move inside to the pub’s stage where we’ll play till midnight.

Also performing under the tent on Riley’s Parade Day Weekend are The Corned Beef and Curry Band (Friday, 8-11PM) and The Wild Geese (Saturday, 8-Midnight).  You can also expect John Walsh on bagpipes, a visit from St. Patrick himself, and plenty of other surprises. Hope to see you there!

Images: 
Duane Davis, Lauren Connolly-Moore, and Lawrence Connolly. (Top)
The Corned Beef & Curry Band. (Right)

Rockin Riley’s:
St. Patrick’s Weekend and Beyond

March 15th, 2015

Rocking the Pour House St. Pat's Weekend - Friday night - compressedPittsburgh is the number-one city for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. That’s according to Niche.com, who shows the Burg beating out Chicago, Philadelphia, and even Boston for top honors.

According to Pittsburgh Magazine, past attendance at the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade has ranged from 150,000 to 350,00.

Fittingly, the best advice anyone can give about attending St. Patrick’s Day events in Pittsburgh is simply this: Arrive early!

Tommy and Jimmy - compressedThat advice definitely applied to this weekend’s events at Riley’s Pour House, where the place was already packed when Connolly & Davis (above) took the stage at 8:00 on Friday night.

Backing us up were good friends Tommy B and Jimmy Z (right), and Lauren Connolly-Moore — who brought down the house as she lent her soaring voice to our renditions of “Leaving Liverpool,” “Bye, Bye Love,” and others.  In all, the night was an effective prelude to the following day, when Jim Riley opened the tent in the lot beside the main building. All day Saturday, the party became a two-stage event with both sites hosting capacity crowds that overflowed into the front and rear courtyards.

tent openConnolly & Davis took the main stage from 6:00-8:30 that evening, opening for The Wild Geese Band, who brought the first phase of Riley’s St. Patrick’s bash to a close.

Among the event’s other highlights were performances by Erich Dagnal and John Puckett, and a special appearance from the boxers of Team Ireland, in town to take part in Pittsburgh Donnybrook, to be held at The Priory on March 17.

irish boxing team from ireland - compressedCarnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek introduced the team at 8:30, bringing them onto the big-top stage along with Team Pittsburgh’s boxing coach Jack Mook (right).

“It’s going to be an honor to fight you,” Jack told the team, although naturally he predicted a win for Team Pittsburgh.

This year’s Donnybrook event is sold out. If you don’t have a ticket, I’ll hope to see you back at Riley’s.

The final phase of Riley’s St. Patrick’s Party party will be held on March 17, featuring pub favorites Mike Gallagher, Young John Gallagher, and Mark Guiser. Music starts at 2:30 and continues until the last Guinness is poured.

patrickstoriesaAnd if that still isn’t enough, you’ll want to be sure to return on March 31, when Riley’s monthly Story Night will feature St. Patrick’s Day Stories — a chance to revisit the party in story form. If you have a story to share, whether it involves this year’s three-day party or any any other St. Patrick’s Day related event, we hope you’ll consider joining us as we respond to the ancient Irish question: Cad é an scéal? (What’s the story?)

Until then . . . scop on!

Images:

Connolly & Davis — photo by Lauren Connolly-Moore.

Tommy B and Jimmy Z, performing at our January show; Riley’s Garden Tent Sign; and Jack Mook with Team Irish — photos by the 21st Century Scop.

St. Patrick’s Day Stories – image from celebratingholidays.com. It’s a neat little image, even if it does have a four-leaf clover masquerading as a shamrock. Perhaps it’s intended to suggest the luck of the Irish. In any event, it’s a step removed from St. Patrick’s trinity symbol. Alas!