Saturday, January 21, Four Punk Bands Lurch Towards Unruly Brewing to Get Awesome: The Waxies, The Tosspints, The Hex Bombs and Stone Clover

Our story begins on the Dargle River Near Dublin.
Our story begins on the Dargle River Near Dublin.

In the summers around 1855, workmen wanted to prove that they could holiday as well as the wealthy, who would vacation on the River Dargle near Bray, a seaport near Dublin. A dargle became slang for a holiday among Dubliners.

The workman could only get as far as the shores of the Rivers Dodder and Liffey south of Dublin in a district called Irishtown. As most of these men worked as cobblers, these summer parties came to be called the Waxies’ Dargle. Cobblers waxed their thread to make it waterproof, hence the name. Luckily, Irishtown had a park on the sea. Buskers entertained. On banking holidays, boxers faced off. Wagers were collected, wages lost.

If the traditional song Waxies’ Dargle is to be believed, women would go to some length to come up with tuppence for fare to these parties. Free drinks and maybe a marriage proposal awaited. The Pogues covered this traditional tune in 1984. An archetypal “up yours” Irish punk band, the Pogues is an anglicisation of the Gaelic phrase, póg mo thóin. That’s “kiss my arse” in English. This defiance can be found in all four bands performing Saturday, January 21 at Unruly Brewing.

All of the bands tell the work day reality to bugger off while the dargle is celebrated. However, if the Waxies, the Tosspints and the Hex Bombs were to throw a dargle, it probably would look something like Jobbie Nooner, the world’s biggest boat party held on Gull Island on Lake St. Clair. It’s akin to the Mardi Gras on water. Expect madness this Saturday.

Three of the four bands are riding serious miles for the dargle at Unruly. Hex Bombs from Kalamazoo, Stone Clover from Detroit’s Greektown and the Tosspints straight west from Saginaw.  You can be sure the angst of the road will be brought to the stage. Based in Grand Rapids, the Waxies are commuters.

The Waxies and the Tosspints are after hours favorites of the Michigan Irish Music Festival audience, keeping us dancing after Heritage Landing closes. Each band began with inspiration from the Pogues and then had to work to be perceived as originals in their own right. The Tosspints really can’t care less if they get called a Pogues cover band. The group from Saginaw took poetic license to write their own tunes with their last album, The Privateer. One track, The Hollow Men explores the famous poem of British-American poet, Thomas Stearns Eliot. The group is still mourning the recent passing of Leonard Cohen, lyrical master.

The Tosspints Would Like to Be Left Alone to Contemplate T.S. Eliot in Privacy.
The Tosspints Would Like to Be Left Alone to Contemplate T.S. Eliot in Privacy.

The Waxies might give The Tossers, the world’s loudest folk band, more credit than the Pogues. However, watch the mates from Grand Rapids cover If I Should Fall from Grace with God, a Pogues anthem. Judge for yourself how the Waxies make a spiritual connection to their masters. The Waxies keep digging back into the Irish tradition, guided by Branden Garner’s grandmother, who played records for him. Their latest album, Down with the Ship, explores the archetypes inherited from grandmother’s imagination, soldiers, sailors, compromised women, alienated immigrants and suppressed working men.

The Waxies have a fondness for the Pogues but are not a tribute band.
The Waxies have a fondness for the Pogues but are not a tribute band.

The Hex Bombs are fellow travelers with the Waxies and the Tosspints. They are not an Irish-American band although they’ve done plenty of drinking and playing at Mulligan’s, an Irish-ish pub in Grand Rapids where patrons like to drink and fight. The student ghettos of Kalamazoo and dead end jobs hurt them into punk rock in 2006. After almost a decade of touring, the band took a hiatus. Watch them get Back to Work at Unruly. A Hex Bomb is a deadly weapon from the Star Wars arsenal.

The Hex Bombs return to touring after a short hiatus.
The Hex Bombs return to touring after a short hiatus.

Stone Clover began quite literally in the Old Shillelagh, a new Irish bar by Detroit standards added onto Greektown in 1975. Paul Brady got pushed on stage by family when the entertainment flaked and then kept him playing “Whiskey in the Jar” and standards regularly. Brady and his band are rooted in Detroit, playing a role in the downtown’s resurgence. The group recently performed on WDIV news and will perform at the Meridian Winter Blast, a big Detroit street party at Campus Martius the night before Unruly. The band has all the energy of the Irish punks; however, the cheerful drinking song Awesome from Proper Villians won’t make anyone blush.

Stone Clover is promoting an awesome new album, Proper Villains.
Stone Clover is promoting an awesome new album, Proper Villains.

We sometimes worry that Unruly puts too much entertainment on its stage and worry about their budget. Unruly team member Jeff Jacobson put this concern to rest. Jason Bowler has promoted all four bands with his graphic arts talent and the bands are gathering to wish him a Happy Birthday. On the staff of Longer Days, a virtual assistant company run by LeeAnn and Chad Lawlie, Bowler even has a role in promoting the Michigan Irish Music Festival. Hats off to Bowler for sharing his birthday gift with all of us.

Stone Clover, the Tosspints, the Waxies and the Hex Bombs often share the stage together.
Stone Clover, the Tosspints, the Waxies and the Hex Bombs often share the stage together.

 

Bill Marshall Keeps the Michigan Irish Music Festival On the Air All Year Round.

Bill Marshall is often described as the voice of the Michigan Irish Music Festival, the best damn fest in the Midwest with four stages for music. Marshall serves as the master of ceremonies for this four ring musical circus. He has a voice as warm as an Irish Coffee backed up by adding a full jigger of Tullamore Dew. A show hasn’t finished until Bill Marshall sends the audience to the next performances.

Thanks to live streaming, "Sounds Like Ireland" can be heard on top of Carrantuohill, the highest point in Ireland.
Thanks to live streaming, “Sounds Like Ireland” can be heard on top of Carrantuohill, the highest point in Ireland.

Marshall could be described as the voice of Muskegon too now that Shoreline Broadcasting has put a small broadcast station in the tall building that houses Pints and Quarts. The station went on the air in October 2014 and features local news shows covering Muskegon county intimately. Tune in between Two and Seven PM to hear him talk us through Muskegon’s small but important afternoon rush hour.  Listen to him pitch for his local sponsors, RPM Auto and Boost Mobile only a few. That’s exactly what would happen in a small station in Ireland, the announcer doubling as voice talent for commercials.

Bill Marshall let us know that Sir James Galway turned 77 on the First Day of December.
Bill Marshall let us know that Sir James Galway turned 77 on the Eighth Day of December.

Marshall and MIMF teamed up to present a solid hour of Irish Music weekly, going live for the first time just before our festival in September 2016. That weekly hour allows our host to spin eleven songs, which he introduces with anecdotes. He knows and loves who he plays. Look for the playlist with links to the bands on the show’s Facebook page. Planning on sitting in on his show? Prepare to be witty when Marshall draws you into conversation as he shall.

On his December 8th show last week, Marshall closed with Danny Boy, performed on the flute by Sir James Galway. Our host had remembered Galway’s seventy-seventh birthday, same day as the show.  Seamus Kennedy is a constant support to the show. On the same show, Marshall spun Kennedy’s Am I Wrong to Long for Longford. Kennedy calls in to the show often and should. After all, Kennedy gave Sounds Like Ireland its name. 

Always Expect Seamus Kennedy to Call "Sounds Like Ireland" to Talk.
Always Expect Seamus Kennedy to Call “Sounds Like Ireland” to Talk.

Marshall’s mission is to promote Irish music in West Michigan and the world by growing his audience for Sounds Like Ireland and our festival. Thanks to him, the only place to get a better audience is to perform on the Emerald Isle itself. Recently, Enter the Haggis came in for an on-air chat before their return engagement at Seven Steps Up, a concert hall in Spring Lake. Aoife Scott wrote in personally to thank him for playing her song, Gypsy Warrior.

Sounds Like Ireland reminds Aoife Scott that we'll never forget her concerts at MIMF2016.
Sounds Like Ireland reminds Aoife Scott that we’ll never forget her concerts at MIMF2016.

Muskegon 100.9 FM might be a low powered station but it has a mighty worldwide reach thanks to live streaming. With plans to archive shows on SoundCloud, soon we’ll prepare for our next fest by lining up Sounds Like Ireland shows on our iPhones.

The Michigan Irish Music Festival Prepares for Winter by Contemplating Samhain, Colcannon and Cast Iron Skillet Pots.

Tonight, we sit by the fire and contemplate the traditional Irish dish, Colcannon. Samhain was the Celtic holiday that transformed into Halloween. The Irish honored it with “Colcannon Night“. On that last evening of October, households would serve this dish…and leave it at the door as a treat for visitors. Colcannon preceded candy as a Halloween treat!

The cook could conceal prophetic prizes in the fluffy goodness. A gold ring found promised marriage within the year. The cook could also hide a thimble, coin and a button. The coin promised riches; the button and thimble threatened celibacy and a solitary life.

A fresh batch of Colcannon ready for butter in the center.
A fresh batch of Colcannon ready for butter in the center.

With few ingredients (potatoes, cabbage, milk and butter), Colcannon transformed simple potatoes into a feast. The “feast” was made in the miraculous cast iron skillet pot. When we see a leprechaun dancing by a pot of gold, it’s surely the same cast iron pot that contains his treasure. During the famine, a million Irish immigrated to America, taking with them those iron skillets.

An Irish Skillet Pot found in the ruins of a cottage. Image courtesy of the Museums of Mayo.
An Irish Skillet Pot found in the ruins of a cottage. Image courtesy of the Museums of Mayo.

What do you have without the skillet pot and a time honored recipe? One has the sad dinner of roasted potatoes. Vincent Van Gogh documented this cheerless fare in his images of Dutch potato eaters.

The Potato Eaters by Vincent Van Gogh, 1885
The Potato Eaters by Vincent Van Gogh, 1885

Of all the ingredients of Colcannon, the potato is the most essential. How much did Ireland depend upon the potato? Between 1845 and 1852, a million Irish perished during the potato famine. Germany also suffered a loss of potatoes with almost as many succumbing to starvation.

During the Famine, the Irish took to the sea to gather edible seaweed (Channelled Wrack ) for nutrition. During our 2016 festival, Irish supergroup Altan closed two sets with the song Dúlamán. Dúlamán is Irish for Channelled Wrack and celebrates the golden headed sea vegetable, but we have yet to find a Colcannon recipe that substitutes Dúlamán for cabbage or kale!

mary-black-irish-chanteuse
Courtesy of Mary Black’s official website.

With Daylight Savings behind us, evenings will start earlier and darkness will grow longer. The festival Samhain, and its traditions, had the power to bind the family together before a dark winter.

Colcannon was made in a round pot and served in a round dish. It was then presented to the circle of family, from babies to great grandparents. It is a perfect, easy to eat food for infants and the elderly. If the family is buoyed by good circumstances, bits of ham were a welcome addition. No melted butter in the center if butter was hard to come by. And, if the larder began to dwindle in February, more chopped cabbage was added to the dish.

As a final word, the traditional song “Colcannon” sung by Mary Black says it best. The chorus has an accusing touch of Irish love. Never forget that it was mother’s Colcannon that brought us to this day.

CHORUS: Yes you did, so you did
So did he and so did I
And the more I think about it
Sure the nearer I’m to cry
Oh wasn’t it the happy days
When troubles we had not
And our mothers made colcannon In the little skillet pot.

Until a rainbow points your way to fortune, keep growing potatoes and making Colcannon!

Sundown this Saturday, Begin Your Downtown Dead Crawl at Hennessy’s with Host, W. Scott Decker. Then be Unruly in the Wee Hours

W. Scott Decker loves Irish Culture. Year round, he teaches free classes in the classic language of Ireland, Gaelic. He also grows the Michigan Irish Music Festival by producing culture events with Tom Harryman, such as this year’s very successful Celtic Canine event. St. Patrick’s Day is a special celebration for his family, the day celebrating Spring’s arrival. However, Decker revels in the holiday most opposite St. Patrick’s, when the dark days begin, the observance of Samhain. An Irish holiday that became Halloween, Decker has planned a Samhain celebration for you Saturday, October 29th. Arrive at Hennessy’s Irish Pub between 6 and 6:40 PM because his Samhain party begins at sundown and continues until dawn.

Decker is a clever man who has made Hennessy’s a natural gateway into the Third Annual Downtown Dead Crawl, fulfilling the idea of a night long Samhain that begins at sundown. The first costume contest of the crawl will be judged at the pub at 10 PM. Pigeon Hill’s judging follows at Eleven. Unruly collects all the revelers with a final competition at One. A prize drawing for guests who had a card punched at most stops will take place at 1:30 AM at Unruly. How you take your Samhain from last call to dawn is up to you. Dawn is 8:18 AM on Sunday October 30th, by the way. Plan accordingly.

On Samhain, the veil between the world of the living and the deceased is said to be most thin. Thus, Muskegon’s citizens plan to crawl the streets under disguise to avoid unwanted attention from spirits. Drink specials plus band shows and costume contests await along the downtown route that wends among the following night spots: Hennessy’s, Boar’s Belly, Unruly Brewing, Third Street Grille, Pigeon Hill Brewing, Top Shelf Pizza and Pub, Mike’s Inn and Tipsy Toad Tavern. Cleverly disguised as an Eighties hair band, GLÄMHÄMMER will perform at Unruly. Performing songs at a supernatural speed, Chris Weiser will bring his one man show to Pigeon Hill.

The Red Hot Chili Pipers Have Made Bagpiping into a Rock Music Staple.
The Red Hot Chili Pipers Have Made Bagpiping into a Rock Music Staple.

Born with the gift of gab, Decker will make you most welcome at Hennessy’s. He’ll spin tunes as your Irish D.J. for the first part of the evening. Decker has collected a delightful collection of American hits performed with an Irish flavor, featuring the Red Hot Chili Pipers, a Scottish pipe band that covers the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He also will spin covers of popular tunes created by a Gaelic language school, TG Lurgan. TG Lurgan just released “Forever Young” by Alphaville in Gaelic. Later, a local Irish group will take the stage and the costume contest will begin.

Neo Druids in England by Andrew Dunn - http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/
Neo Druids in England by Andrew Dunn – http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/

Decker has advice for those who want to celebrate Samhain in style. First, consider lighting a small bonfire before setting out for Hennessy’s. Remember to put it cold out. Wear your clothing inside out. Third, since Turnips were carved and lighted by candles in Ireland before Pumpkins became popular, pick one up at the Muskegon Farmer’s Market. After all, Samhain is a harvest festival. This Saturday, the market holds a Family FunFest, 11-1 PM, pony rides and children face painting available. Last, consider dressing as a Druid, the first people to offer trick or treat at the doors of the Celts. After harvest in Ireland, on Samhain Druids knocked on the doors of village Celts, offering a blessing in exchange for food. Few Celts risked a Druid’s curse, so the request always was satisfied.

Decker might have Druid in his background. An entrepreneur in alternative energy, he harvests algae at Muskegon’s Wastewater Treatment Facility and makes biodiesel burned by Grand Haven’s Board of Light and Power. So, trick or treat, why miss his party?

Families can celebrate Samhain as a harvest festival by attending the Family FunFest at the Farmers Market October 29th, 11-1 PM.
Families can celebrate Samhain as a harvest festival by attending the Family FunFest at the Farmers Market October 29th, 11-1 PM.
Considering Crawling Muskegon Saturday, October 29? Bring a friend. Safety and fun in numbers.
Considering Crawling Muskegon Saturday, October 29? Bring a friend. Safety and fun in numbers.

 

Professor Tim Norris Awaits to Take Us Into the Depths of Celtic Art.

Tim Norris knows how to go deep when tracing the history of Celtic art. This September, make him your guide. As a child, he passed summers at his grandparent’s farm in Indiana where Native American artifacts were turned up by tilling the earth. His grandparents kept him enchanted by stories of artifacts found deep in the soil by his ancestors. With his wife Patti Opel, he opened Kook’s Eye Gallery in Pentwater, Michigan. The name honors Cuchulain, the berserk Irish warrior of myth, and Kukulkan, the mythical Mayan god. Plus, Opel makes art from repurposed Cuckoo clocks. The two began a series of paintings, Through a Crack in the Lake, exploring the submerged world of Lake Michigan, a world full of shipwrecks, drowned aircraft and elusive sturgeon. It is no coincidence Norris and Opel opened a gallery between two landmarks, Little Point Sable and Big Point Sable,  where lie the remains of over seventy shipwrecks. That’s counting documented shipwrecks. Every summer brings news of more. Known as the Graveyard of Ships, Norris and Opel call this shore home away from home.

The British Museum commissioned a replica of the Tara Brooch, the original discovered around 1850
The British Museum commissioned a replica of the Tara Brooch, the original discovered around 1850.

Since Celtic Art is often excavated from barrows and mounds by archaeologists, Norris has unique qualifications. The professor at Muskegon County Community College has teamed up with the Michigan Irish Music Festival and the Muskegon Museum of Art to provide a series of lectures on Celtic Art. Act now. Three lectures remain in the series, two before the festival begins Thursday, September 15th, tuition fifteen dollars for each night. Monday, September 12, Norris will prove how the Irish saved civilization with the help of Michael Johnson and Peggy Hennelly-Maniates. Wednesday, September 14, Norris will show what makes music and art Celtic music and art with special guest Larry Halverson of the Loutit Public Library. After the festival, Wednesday, September 21, Norris will explore Celti-Pop, the blending of Celtic Culture with Popular Culture.

Poster for the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts by Herbert McNair, Margaret and Frances Macdonald. Lithograph ink on paper. 1894. © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2015.
Poster for the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts by Herbert McNair, Margaret and Frances Macdonald. Lithograph ink on paper. 1894. © The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2015.

The gift shop of the Muskegon Museum of Art has on sale Art of the Celts by Lloyd and Jennifer Laing, a textbook Norris employs to enhance his lectures. Since two stages, the Blarney and the Dingle Peninsula stages, are dedicated to an extensive exploration of Celtic culture, you’ll want to hire Norris as your guide by attending his lectures. Norris will be touring the grounds with community college students who have elected the lectures as a humanities course for credit. Sign up and join them. On the Blarney Stage, Norris will present on Celtic Art at 2:15 PM Saturday, a presentation free with admission to the fest.

The Muskegon Museum of Art offers many art lectures free of charge on Thursday nights, when the museum is open free to the public. For example, September 8, the museum hosted a talk, free of charge, by David Deming, a Cleveland trained sculptor. One of his mature works in the Rocker series was installed this summer in the museum’s sculpture garden. The Art and History of the Celts is part of a series of premium lectures offered by the museum for artists, collectors and enthusiasts. The ArtSmarts! Fall Lecture series will continue starting Tuesday, October 4, the first of five lectures by scholars, exploring art of the great religions.

A membership society of the art museum, Friends of Art sponsors ArtSmarts. Scheduled for consecutive Tuesday evenings from October 4 through November 1, the lecture series serves as a prelude to the museum’s major winter exhibition, Expressions of Faith, which will open December 8.

Expressions of Faith is an exhibition engaging religious works from the museum’s permanent collection, matched with rare manuscripts from the Van Kampen Collection. The exhibition will be on view December 8, 2016 through February 12, 2017

Christ in Majesty, Book of Kells.
Christ in Majesty, Book of Kells.

Andy Irvine Brings His Celtic World Music to the Michigan Irish Music Festival This September

Andy Irvine didn’t begin life as a musician playing Celtic music. Following his mother’s footsteps, the actress Felice Lascelles, he began acting as a child. After much success, the British Broadcasting Service offered him a two year contract in their Repertory program at age 18. He left the stage for the most part after moving to Dublin, although he had a knack for getting cast even on the stages of Ireland. Andy Irvine lost his mother at an early age in 1961, an event which might have prevented Irvine from moving to the United States to meet Woodie Guthrie.

One of the great musicians of the Irish folk scene " - Robin Denselow, The Guardian Photo credit to Brian Hartigan
One of the great musicians of the Irish folk scene – Robin Denselow, The Guardian
Photo credit to Brian Hartigan

Irvine’s love for music might be traced to a set of 78 records owned by his mother, musical comedies he had to play on a wind-up gramophone. He studied classical guitar under the famous Julian Bream, and soon transitioned into folk music when he discovered Woody Guthrie through the recording, More Songs By Woody Guthrie And Cisco Houston. Around age fifteen, Irvine paid forty dollars each for the six 78 disks of Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl Ballads, and listened to the twelve sides endlessly to learn Guthrie’s styles, especially the scratch style. When buying the mint condition discs recorded in 1940, Irvine paid in 1957 dollars.

The ultimate troubadour, still infused with the spirit of Woody Guthrie, telling real stories of real people - Colin Irwin. Photography Credit: Béla Kása
The ultimate troubadour, still infused with the spirit of Woody Guthrie, telling real stories of real people – Colin Irwin. Photography Credit: Béla Kása

At a time when Guthrie was suffering the effects of Huntington’s disease, Irvine began to learn all he could about this American master, learning to play all Guthrie’s instruments, even learning to play the harp upside down, just like Guthrie and the Southern blues masters. Irvine corresponded with Guthrie, then a patient at a psychiatric hospital in New Jersey through a couple who looked after Guthrie in the hospital. The couple even arranged a job pumping gas near the hospital for Irvine, who never moved to take the job. Unfortunately, Woodie Guthrie and Andy Irvine only met in correspondence and music.

Andy Irvine could be characterized through his ability to listen, his capacity for friendship and his inventiveness. While an actor at the BBC, Irvine would visit with the show writers at The George, a pub where he listened for hours as Poet Louis MacNeice held court with the literary lions of London. The two men began a lifetime friendship, the spirit of which endures in Irvine’s habit of finding old lyrics to set to new tunes.

On a quest to fill his song bag, Irvine departed to work as a busker in the Balkans, learning Bulgarian folk techniques and the Bouzouki, beginning the “Greeking of Irish Music”. With Johnny Moynihan, Irvine brought a modified Bouzouki to the sessions of Sweeney’s Men. As an act of protest against the Greek government then in power, Irvine bought his Bouzouki in Thessaloniki with dracmas he raised by selling his blood at a hospital. With his luthier, he has reinvented the Bouzouki to the point that it is often mistaken for a guitar.

After absorbing the traditions of master musicians entirely and learning to “Never Tire of the Road”, Andy Irvine set out on a career that created the idea of the Irish supergroup, forming bands and touring the world as Sweeney’s Men, Mozaik, Planxty, Patrick Street and Usher’s Island. A leading force in world music, Andy Irvine will come to the Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon after touring Scandinavia and eventually will tour as far north as Oulu Finland with Usher’s Island by early October. His only other Michigan appearance is scheduled in East Lansing with the Ten Pound Fiddle concert series.

Andy Irvine will grace the G&L County Cork Stage twice, Saturday at 5:00 PM and Sunday at 2:30 PM. His performance has been sponsored by the Patrick J. O’Leary Foundation.

Mary Ullmer has Let the Celtic Canines Out at the Michigan Irish Music Festival

Mary Ullmer loves dogs. She also loves the Michigan Irish Music Festival. Organizing the first Celtic Canine event for Sunday afternoon at MIMF combines the two worlds for her. A seasoned journalist, Ullmer knows how organize a kennel show properly. All the canines present Sunday will be duly registered. All dogs will be current on their vaccinations, well groomed and bathed, friendly toward visitors and fellow canines and on leads and close to their owners. Only canines with confirmed registrations will be allowed on the music festival grounds. The Celtic Canines will also have a swimming pool should Sunday’s heat require a cooling plunge.

The Irish Wolfhound, Cú Faoil in Gaelic, is the tallest of dogs.
The Irish Wolfhound, Cú Faoil in Gaelic, is the tallest of dogs.

Many of the larger Irish festivals field a Celtic Canine event, including Dublin Ohio, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Focused on the eight great Irish breeds, Ullmer has only two breeds left to find, a Kerry Blue Terrier and a Glen of Imaal Terrier. An Irish Beagle would be most welcome although that is to hold out much hope. Ullmer is a determined woman, a journalist who once practiced her craft at the Grand Rapids Press. Packaged off, she parlayed her skills and experience into an associate editor position with ESPN.  As the editor of Dogs Unleashed, she knows the canine networks of the Midwest well, from the rescue centers to the animal hospitals to the breeder’s societies. Not one stone will be left upon another. At the end of July, she found us a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and an Irish Water Spaniel.

Irish Nationalist Michael Collins owned a Kerry Blue named Convict 224.
Irish Nationalist Michael Collins owned a Kerry Blue named Convict 224.
Glen of Imaal Terrier can pursue fox, badger and rats without "sounding", or barking. The breed was taught how to turn spits, allowing owners to do other tasks while a game bird roasted evenly over a fire.
Glen of Imaal Terrier can pursue fox, badger and rats without “sounding”, or barking. The breed was taught how to turn spits, allowing owners to do other tasks while a game bird roasted evenly over a fire.

The owners of the Celtic Canines will be present to talk about their breeds and allow visitors to interact with their pets. Shorter dogs will be raised up upon tables in true bench style. To learn about Celtic Canines is to enter the Irish past where a good dog bestowed great advantage upon a family. The setters gained their name because they could sneak up to game birds cowering in the grass. Once the dog was set, the hunter could throw a net over birds and dog.

A Gaelic name for the Irish Setter is Sotar Rua. The solid red color of the Irish Setter is the product of selective breeding practices.
A Gaelic name for the Irish Setter is Sotar Rua. The solid red color of the Irish Setter is the product of selective breeding practices.

The Irish Wolfhound traveled the world with Celts on the march. Julius Caesar described the wolfhound in his account of the Gallic Wars, one of the first but not the last mention of the dog of kings in military history. The Irish Terrier protected home and hearth of poor Irish farmers and instinctively attacked vermin in the barn and field. Sadly, after modern technology began to lift burdens from Irish families, many of these breeds fell into near extinction until renewed interest from kennel clubs reversed the decline. Sometimes a Celtic Canine with a good pedigree needs a home as much as a rescue.

Irish Terriers are active dogs that must be walked and groomed by experts. The breed has been trained to rescue people at sea.
Irish Terriers are active dogs that must be walked and groomed by experts. The breed has been trained to rescue people at sea.

Our friendly Irish Wolfhound, Gimli, will be present to greet guests at the main gate Friday, September 15th, from Five to Six during the Friday “Free Early In” sponsored by Family Financial Credit Union. Gimli will be joined by Eva, an Irish Wolfhound pup, Sunday. Near the site of the Highland Games, the Celtic Canines will arrive at the Dingle Peninsula stage at Noon Sunday, breeder’s presentation to begin at Two PM.

The Irish Red and White Setter breed was continued only by heroic efforts of several breeders. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2009.
The Irish Red and White Setter breed was continued only by heroic efforts of several breeders. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 2009.
In Gaelic, An Brocaire Buí. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier does not shed, a boon for dog owners with allergies.
In Gaelic, An Brocaire Buí. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier does not shed, a boon for dog owners with allergies.
The Irish Water Spaniel is a cobby dog, short and square. A pleaser, it will do ordinary tasks in quite comical ways. In Gaelic, An Spáinnéar Uisce.
The Irish Water Spaniel is a cobby dog, short and square. A pleaser, it will do ordinary tasks in quite comical ways. In Gaelic, An Spáinnéar Uisce.

News Flash! Larry the Leprechaun Is Actually A Famous Comedian Who Called Muskegon His Summer Home.

Our Larry the Leprechaun looks twice as dapper after a visit with Beverly McCarthy, festival seamstress. Patrick Owen Chadd of New Jersey contributed the fine kilt.
Our Larry the Leprechaun looks twice as dapper after a visit with Beverly McCarthy, festival seamstress. Patrick Owen Chadd of New Jersey contributed the fine kilt.

Larry the Leprechaun has served as the mascot of the Michigan Irish Music Festival ever since local historian, Ron Pesch, gave the figurine to festival president, Chris Zahrt. Pesch writes on Muskegon history, starting with the history of Big Red athletics at Muskegon High School. He also has kept an archive on Sherman Poppen and the Snurf Board, which became the snowboard. This is a case where the chronicler created history, thanks to his friends, Nancy and Jack Price.

Pesch worked at Reid Tool Supply, where he met Nancy and Jack. Jack had a hobby he pursued at his cabin in Baldwin, Michigan. He created an entire village, complete with a general store and a town clock. A tree fell, and he carved the tree into a citizen. Soon he added a loitering cowboy, a bar maid and a horse tied up outside the saloon. Pesch kept tabs as the village grew.

Everybody calls Pesch when it comes to Muskegon history. One day, Pesch fielded a call from New Jersey from Patricia Eliot Tobias, who wanted to celebrate the 100th birthday of comedian Buster Keaton, who was born in October 1895. The project snowballed, and soon John McGarry at Lakeshore Museum Center had scheduled a major exhibition. The whole city, from the Muskegon Museum of Art to the Frauenthal Theater, lined up behind the Buster Keaton Centennial. Pesch remembered that Price had carved Charlie Chaplin for his village. So he asked his friend to create a statue of Buster Keaton for the exhibition.

At first, Jack Price said no. Pesch was surprised because Jack had carved Chaplin from a tree trunk for the village in Baldwin. Pesch gave him Keaton films and books from his collection. Price reconsidered and began working on a lifelike, life sized Keaton, fourteen hours a day for six weeks. Added quietly to the exhibition, Eleanor Keaton, Buster’s third and final wife, loved this Buster, but asked for the eye color to be corrected. Price happily complied. Price kept working on Buster Keaton, creating a Hollywood Buster, a Silent Movie Buster and a Vaudeville Buster.

Promoters often paid Joe Keaton more money when Buster joined the family on stage, often in the character of Paddy.
Promoters often paid Joe Keaton more money when Buster joined the family on stage, often in the character of Paddy.

Buster Keaton joined his parents as a Irish character named Paddy in their Vaudeville act. According to a Wilmington Delaware paper, Buster was dressed in “a bald fright wig, chin whiskers, cutaway coat, baggy pants and slapshoes”. Joe Keaton whacked his disguised son with a broom to the tune of the “Anvil Chorus”.  Buster soon learned that he milked more laughs from the audience if he dead-panned while being whacked, tossed and rolled around on stage, surely reflected in Larry the Leprechaun’s stoic chin. That’s right. Thanks to Ron Pesch, Jack Price’s Vaudeville Buster became the model for Larry the Leprechuan. It is only fitting that we toss Larry around a tad as we carry him proudly in local parades.

The Buster Keaton Centennial became an annual event, the Damfinos convention held in Muskegon every October since. The next conference will be held in Muskegon October 7 and 8th and will feature lectures on Buster Keaton, tours led by Ron Pesch and silent Keaton movies accompanied by the Frauenthal pipe organ.

The 22nd Annual Internation Buster Keaton Convention October 7 & 8, 2016

Michigan Irish music festival

2743 Henry Street, #231
Muskegon, Michigan 49441
(mailing address)

Festival location is Heritage Landing
701 Shoreline Drive
Muskegon, MI 49440
PH: 231-683-2065

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