Movie Night Report from the New York Irish Center!

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Brenda Fricker, Daniel Day-Lewis, My Left Foot

How It’s New York:  …couldn’t resist having a local politician come and say how great it was. 
How It’s Irish:  It had the feel of a true community event, with the raffle prizes, home-made concessions and banter.
Went to the second ever MOVIE NIGHT at the New York Irish Center on Friday, and thoroughly enjoyed the screening of My Left Foot (directed by Jim Sheridan, who is on this week’s podcast!).
About 45 people were there, which is pretty close to capacity, so if you’re planning to go to the next one, Mickeybo and Me, September 16, mark your calendars now and reserve early! (Chris Deignan told me they can and will get more people in for concerts, including the Guggenheim Grotto concert August 27, but with a movie, they’re limited by the screen size and having the chairs face one way).  That 2004 film is about two boys who become friends during the Troubles in 1970– and end up running away to Australia!  If the title and the story sound vaguely familiar, it’s probably because it’s based on the stage play Mojo Mickeybo by Owen McCafferty (screenplay also written by Terry Loane, who directed, and starring Julie Walters, among others), presented by 1st Irish last year.  The movie screening is part of a new project, 1st Irish on Film, and is a coproduction bewteen 1st Irish and the New York Irish Center.
As promised, refreshments were included– and they included not only iced tea and water but beer and full-sized movie concessions like boxes of twizzlers and raisinettes, as well as home-baked brownies by Caroline Bossert.  The popcorn was store-bought, but they had sprays of flavored butter (very creative!).  All in all, a bargain, and far more relaxed and haimishe (homey) than a commercial venue.
There was a raffle included with the tickets, and three people won lucky stone charms.  Before the film began, Joe Kenton, Director of Constituent Services was there on behalf of Jimmy Van Bramer, NY City Council Member 26th District, Queens, made a few remarks.
Volunteers for the event included Kathleen Mattessich, Howard and Felicitas Maxwell, Erika Furuzono, Christine Walsh, Anne McGovern (not there last night but a key member of the group, Chris says).

The comic short film Pentecost, by Peter McDonald, which was also at Tribeca Film Festival this year as well as winning the Best Irish Short Film Award at the Corona Cork Festival, opened the evening.  Set in 1977, it cleverly parallels a priest coaching a crew of altar boys with sport, through the eyes of 11-year old Damian Lynch who’s seen with a wary eye after knocking Father O’Toole off the altar with the incense burner, and has been called in to serve at an important mass. 
I don’t think I’d seen My Left Foot since it came out in 1989, and it was like seeing it fresh.  I found it much more moving than I did when I saw it the first time, and much more drawn to the story of Christy Brown’s long-suffering Ma and Pa.  I even felt motivated to google him on the way home on my phone and discovered, unsurprisingly, that the true story is somewhat more complex– there was more than one teacher and social worker, and as far as marrying Mary Carr as a happy ending, it’s debatable (he had an ongoing affair with an American woman that he then ended abruptly to marry Mary, who was a lesbian and prostitute– not a sweet-faced-nurse– that some people blame for his 1981 death by chocking on a lambchop).  But never mind.  I’d still like to read the book, and the poetry as well. 
Bravo to the Center’s Chris Deignan  and Paul Finnegan for starting this series.

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Copyright 2011 New York Irish Arts