Amazing Grace Video
I don’t know how I missed this, but the official video for the Judy Collins Amazing Grace project to support the World Health Organization was there all the time!
And this article by Eric Alper puts the entire project into perspective so give it a read!
Summertime is here–in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway!
And, while the living might be easier than it was, it is still pretty unsettled around the world, for lots of reasons. So I hope you continue to #MaskUp wherever you are, stay alert to news and recommendations from those you trust, and ride this wave of pandemic/protests/social turmoil in whatever way makes you safe and happy.
Also, there’s plenty of Byrne-ing News on offer at the moment, but not much news about “the movie” or “the book.” Still, there’s lots to see, so—
How to Support Women Artists and Their Work and Causes
Here are two great examples.
Global Virtual Choir singing “Amazing Grace” with Judy Collins was a virtual effort involving many individuals and groups. The idea was to record this hymn with the participation of artists from around the world for an important and timely cause. All proceeds from the sale of the resulting video (which has apparently not been released quite yet) will aid the World Health Organisation Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Gabriel helped get the word out:
And here is the complete song:
Check back at Global Virtual Choir to see when the video is ready and please support the World Health Organization if you can.
We all need their help and they really need ours, too!
On his birthday, Irish writer/actor/mom Carol Caffrey shared her “Gabriel” story in a blog posting, further proof that we live in a small world after all. I’ve excerpted it here:
The closest I’ve got to fame is vicariously, through my late brother Peter Caffrey, who was a well-known actor in Ireland and beyond. I’d follow him onto film and tv sets, to theatres big and small…I got to peep behind his coat tails at people like Jim and Peter Sheridan, Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne. When I organised a memorial evening for Peter in aid of the Irish Hospice Foundation, Gabriel was one of the first to respond to my request for a paragraph to put in the souvenir programme.
That was more than ten years ago and when, recently, I was in search of endorsements for the back of my forthcoming poetry chapbook (The Untethered Space, published by 4Word Press) it was a distant memory…
I wondered if I knew anyone famous, not necessarily a poet, whose name would have recognition beyond the world of poetry. Gabriel came to mind… Back came the reply the same day that he would, of course, read the manuscript.
I was over the moon, couldn’t quite believe it, but sent it off and waited in some trepidation. He loved it, and was generous enough to write something for the blurb…
It is always lovely to see Gabriel supporting his friends and colleagues. It is especially nice when he can throw his advocacy power in the direction of women artists. I appreciate it very much, and I’m sure they do, too.
This dropped in out of nowhere and oh are we glad it did!
Apparently while filming An L. A. Minute–directed by Daniel Adams and co-starring Kiersey Clemons–back in 2017, Gabriel provided this on-set interview. He talks, in traditional Gabriel-fashion, about everything, with wit and sincerity. And just a touch of a cold…
A New Documentary
This documentary about Gabriel’s long-time friend, singer/actor/star Michael Des Barres, directed by J. Elvis Weinstein, has been in the works for some time. Gabriel participated, along with a ton of other famous and recognizable folks, as you will see in the just-dropped trailer below.
According to Michael’s website, “the film will be streaming everywhere July 10,” so check it out!
Over the past three months, while hanging out at home–otherwise known as “quarantining” or “socially distancing”–people continued to discover content they had overlooked or simply not found time to enjoy in the past. This has led many to finally sit down and watch a wide array of series, in their efforts to avoid becoming another statistic during this time of the pandemic. The lists of recommendations for stuff to check out are many and varied, but often our favorite Gabriel Byrne television series of all time, In Treatment, makes the list.
Example: The Boston Globe: When an actor’s eyes speak worlds
Eye-based performing is on the mind of this columnist, who is spending a lot of time behind a mask and now depending on his eyes to communicate in ways they never had to in the past. So, who are some great EYE performers? You guessed it.
Often, eye-based performances emerge from situations where the character, like June [referring to Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale], is somehow unable to be openly expressive. Gabriel Byrne was riveting in “In Treatment” as therapist Paul Weston, largely because of the restraint he had to wield with his clients. Sitting across from them as they shared — each episode of the HBO series was a session — he did not want to reveal his reactions; he did not want to inhibit them with his judgments. And yet Byrne let us into Paul’s inner world during those half-hours, with miraculous subtlety, through the slightest shifts in his gaze.
In Treatment streams via HBO, so if you subscribe, well then, you are gold. You can subscribe to it via Hulu, Amazon Prime, and YouTube as well, and you can purchase individual episodes at YouTube and iTunes. These links change constantly, so just do a search on In Treatment in your favorite web browser and you should be able to find a way to see it.
As someone who has watched the entire series several times over the past decade, I believe you will be glad you did.
In Treatment is unique. And so is Gabriel Byrne.
The passing of Liam Neeson’s mother, Kitty, was noted on Twitter with the usual sympathy and concern, but this time was different. A pandemic raged across the world, making travel even more of a tricky endeavor than it usually is. So the grieving son did not make it home in time.
And that’s just so sad. Liam’s mom was an engaging, fun, and active woman of 94 years who was thoroughly loved by her town, Ballymena, in Northern Ireland. Her friends and neighbors stood outside their homes to pay their respects as her funeral procession passed by.
Liam’s family was there, though Liam himself could not be.
I share this pic of him here with Gabriel during a happier time and I know we all send him our regards.
My Astonishing Self
No, not me! George Bernard Shaw, in this recent documentary presented by Gabriel and directed by Gerry Hoban!
This insightful tribute to the great Irish multi-hyphenate–playwright, critic, polemicist and political activist–has been showing on BBC in the UK recently, and Twitter has responded, on a small scale, of course, with approval.
I mention this to everyone here because YOU can watch this special documentary any old darned time you please, thanks to YouTube. It has a touching and whimsical beginning that always catches me by surprise. I hope you enjoy it. Gabriel obviously had a splendid time working on this film!
The header image for this edition of The Byrne-ing News is actually a Gabriel Wallpaper I made years ago. The image of Gabriel, transformed into a black and white drawing, is from the press tour he did for In Treatment in 2009. I was aware of his growing involvement with the Irish government in matters of the Irish diaspora and support for the arts, so I made what I considered a “political” wallpaper. Why I chose those very cool and evocative German graphics to include, I know not, but I still like them.
And then I put the wallpaper away and never thought of it again.
And that’s all I really have to say about the state of the world at this time. The road to the future seems bright and scary and dangerous and vibrant and, at its center, are people like you and me and Gabriel– trying to survive, to change, to evolve.
I’m glad Gabriel is on this road with us, aren’t you? heart