Irene & Paul on Broadway

Paul Dill was rolling a cigarette behind Under St. Mark’s, Cort guitar in his lap on a dark Tuesday night. He was here from Germany with a dance company to do a set of performances at the Kraine Theatre called “Polvo y Tierra o Formas de Lidiar con la Muerte Ajena.” The two-person show is described as an “emotional dialogue of a couple dealing with the lost of loved ones and their own personal questions,” performed by a musician and a dancer.

The dancer was inside, stretching in the green room. Irene Cortina, a young girl from Spain who met Paul in the Netherlands where they were both studying their respective crafts. Together, with a little help, they started the Cia. Irene Cortina dance company.

They had performed earlier in the night and had come to Under St. Marks to get on stage for the Tuesday open mic. And as Paul and I shared a smoke outside, he was told that they were up next.

Inside, i first see the two them together, setting up on stage. At first glance, you’ll notice how the two compliment each other aesthetically – they just look good together.

They start – Paul pulls strings with his right hand and Irene is already in motion, twirling onto her knees and up again.

We met up the following Sunday, their last day in NYC.

They took me to a spot they found the day before in Williamsburg by the river. We walked down past an old warehouse/power station and ended up at the end of a busted road littered in broken glass and condoms. A couple clunkers were parked nearby, loaded with the hoardings of an old basement. The Europeans were not deterred and Irene was soon rolling around in all of it with Paul leaning up against a nondescript pipe sticking out of the sidewalk.

We went through a chain link fence towards a decrepit pier sticking out of a brushy area where homeless nappers lay prone beneath shrubs and about 15 yards out into the East River. On crumbling concrete, they did another few songs and I tried to watch my step and the monitor at the same time, just like I did on the cliffs of Howth with “i am niamh” (a feature which will be coming out soon if the wind didn’t destroy all the audio).

They were heading to midtown for dinner, so I came with them and after wandering for a while, I stopped them at 50th and Broadway.

I set Paul up with a mic and told Irene to dance in the street. The New Yorkers, as usual, were oblivious.


Gráinne Hunt and the Carpark

Me and Gráinne on the roof of a car park, getting colder. We’d just wandered all over Portobello, and played pretty songs in pretty spaces, but nothing really felt alive yet. It was her idea to drive to the top of the parking garage and try to get a view of the city. That’s where we found the most beautiful red door I’d ever seen. I tried to get the door, the view and the music all working together. She tried to keep her hair out of her face. The wind tried to ruin the audio. A few old men drank cans in the opposite corner. I took my shoes off and tried not to step in the enormous puddle right in front of where she was playing.

Here’s what happened.