Mick Moloney, Musician and Champion of Irish Culture, Dies at 77 | Big Indy News
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Mick Moloney, Musician and Champion of Irish Culture, Dies at 77

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Mick Moloney, a recording artist, folklorist, concert presenter and professor who championed traditional Irish culture and encouraged female instrumentalists in a male-dominated field, died on Tuesday at his home in Manhattan, in Greenwich Village. He was 77.

Glucksman Ireland House N.Y.U., New York University’s center for Irish studies, announced his death. No cause was given. Less than a week earlier, Mr. Moloney had performed at the Maine Celtic Festival in Belfast, Maine.

An immigrant from Ireland, Mr. Moloney was a pioneering scholar in the field of Irish-American studies at N.Y.U., where he was named a global distinguished professor. The university houses his extensive collection of materials in its Archives of Irish America. He reissued a wealth of music by 19th- and 20th-century Irish bands and brought the music to a wide audience whose familiarity with Irish culture often did not extend much beyond commercialized Saint Patrick’s Day events.

A superb musician, Mr. Moloney sang and played the guitar, the mandolin and the banjo, with the tenor banjo his primary instrument. He was a founder in 1978 of Green Fields of America, an interdisciplinary Irish touring ensemble whose members include Michael Flatley, the founder of Riverdance, the theatrical show featuring Irish music and dance.

Mr. Moloney was passionate about exploring the connections between Irish, African, Galician and American roots music and organized many concerts and lectures highlighting those synergies. On one program in the “Celtic Appalachia” series that he led, presented in 2012 at Symphony Space in Manhattan by the Irish Arts Center, the Malian musician Cheick Hamala Diabaté performed on Indigenous African instruments that predated the banjo. Mr. Moloney also collaborated with the Filipino vocalist Grace Nono, among other musicians.

Mr. Moloney’s research extended to the often troubled relationship between Irish Americans and African Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries; at his death he was working on a film called “Two Roads Diverged,” about how those communities found common ground through music and dance despite their antagonisms.

His scholarship also embraced Irish-Jewish relations. On an entertaining recording called “If It Wasn’t for the Irish and the Jews,” Mr. Moloney highlighted vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley collaborations between those two groups of immigrants in America. (One verse asked, “What would this great Yankee nation really really ever do/ If it wasn’t for a Levy, a Monahan or Donohue?”)

Until the 1980s, instrumentalists in traditional Irish music were mostly male, but Mr. Moloney encouraged women to perform as well, organizing a festival in Manhattan in 1985 called “Cherish the Ladies” (the name of an Irish jig) and a concert the next year called “Fathers and Daughters.” He produced an album by the all-female group Cherish the Ladies called “Irish Women Musicians in America.”

Mr. Moloney, who hosted shows about folk music on American public television, was honored by the Irish government in 2013 as a recipient of the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad. In 1999, Hillary Clinton, the first lady at the time, presented him with the National Heritage Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts, given by National Endowment for the Arts.

Mr. Moloney was a mentor to many subsequent N.E.A. fellows, including the flutist Joanie Madden, of Cherish the Ladies.

He wrote a 2002 book called “Far From the Shamrock Shore: The Story of Irish-American Immigration Through Song” accompanied by a CD of songs. And he led regular tours of Ireland, highlighting Irish culture through concerts, studio visits, castle tours and pub visits.

“At the heart of the Irish American experience is a sense of displacement, from one country to another, from a rural to a more complicated way of life,” Mr. Moloney told The New York Times in 1996. “There’s that sense of a tug from across the ocean. There’s a profound sense of loss.”

Michael Moloney was born in Limerick, in southwestern Ireland, on Nov. 15, 1944, one of seven children of Michael and Maura Moloney. His father was the chief air traffic control officer at Shannon Airport, west of Limerick, and his mother was the principal of a primary school in Limerick.

Mick, as he was called, studied the tenor banjo, the mandolin and the guitar in his youth, becoming particularly attracted to the “wild sound” of the banjo after first hearing it in the 1950s, he said. Lacking opportunities to hear traditional instrumental music in Limerick, he recalled, he would travel to nearby County Clare to listen to tunes in pubs and record them so that he could learn them.

In his youth he played with the Emmet Folk Group and with a trio called the Johnstons, with whom he recorded and toured Europe and America. “Much of their personality stems from Mr. Moloney,” the critic John S. Wilson wrote in The Times in 1971, “who has a charming, disarming gift of gab with which he deftly mingles wry humor and flashing barbs of comment, punctuated by a marvelously Mephistophelian eyebrow.”

Mr. Moloney received a bachelor’s degree in economics from University College Dublin and lived briefly in London as a social worker helping immigrant communities. He moved to the United States in 1973 and received a Ph.D. in folklore and folk life from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. In addition to N.Y.U., he taught ethnomusicology, folklore and Irish studies at the University of Pennsylvania and at Georgetown and Villanova.

In 1982, Mr. Moloney founded the Irish/Celtic Week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, W.Va., modeled after the Willie Clancy Summer School, an annual event in County Clare that teaches traditional Irish arts.

In his last two decades, he lived in both Manhattan and Thailand, where he volunteered as a music therapist and teacher for abandoned children with H.I.V. at the Mercy Center in Bangkok. He performed online from Thailand for Irish for Biden presidential campaign events in 2020.

His marriages to Philomena Murray and Judy Sherman ended in divorce. His survivors include his partner, Sangjan Chailungka with whom he lived in Bangkok; a son, Fintan, from his marriage to Ms. Murray; and four siblings, Violet Morrissey and Dermot, Kathleen and Nanette Moloney.

While he dedicated much of his career to academia, Mr. Moloney never lost his energy for making music, describing himself as an artist first and foremost.

“There are thousands of tunes in the tradition, so when we sit down for rehearsal, our job really isn’t to find material, it’s to exclude material, because we’d play them all if we could,” he said in a video interview with The Wall Street Journal in 2015. “On my tombstone,” he added, “I want the inscription banjo driver.”

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This Off-the-Shoulder Sequin Top Is Perfect for New Year’s Eve — On Sale Now!

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Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.

Our closet is like a New Year’s Eve graveyard, filled with the sequined skeletons of past holiday outfits we’ve since discarded. That’s the thing about New Year’s — it often feels like a waste of money for just a few hours of fun. Rather than splurge on a sparkly dress you’ll only wear once, we recommend buying a staple piece you can style over and over again. Our top choice? This off-the-shoulder shirt that’s currently on sale from Amazon.

Adorned with sequins and available in 12 different colors, this trendy top features a flattering silhouette that complements all figures. The drapey style shows off a little skin while still covering trouble areas on arms, and the relaxed fit skims curves nicely. You can mix and match this statement shirt with a variety of bottoms, from high-waisted pants to a mini skirt. Since the options are endless, you’re getting more bang for your buck.

Read on to find out why this sequin shirt is a New Year’s Eve necessity!

Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

The Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top is perfect for a New Year’s Eve party! The unofficial dress code of the holiday is sequins, so you’ll fit right in. Bonus: this top is surprisingly comfortable.

We also love the versatility of this sparkly shirt. As everyone else around you is freezing in frocks, you can choose to complete your ensemble with warm pants or a blazer on top. Pair this shirt with faux leather pants in the winter or shorts in the summer! Stick with a solid shade, or go all out with a multicolored or ombré option.

Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

Take this sparkly shirt from a holiday party to a concert! Stand out on any special occasion in this fun top that will earn you all the compliments. As one shopper said, “This shirt was perfect for attending a bling Christmas party. It fit well and shined brightly. It’s perfect for events.” Another customer gushed, “This shirt is everything! Comfy, flattering and makes this boxy girl have a waist!” And if you’re worried about this top feeling less than luxe, just read this rave review: “Many sequined tops and dresses look more like a costume to me, but this one doesn’t. I ordered for a concert but feel like it is something I will also wear on other occasions.”

On New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, rock this one-shoulder sequin shirt, on sale now at Amazon!

See It! Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

Not your style? Shop more from Anna-Kaci here and explore more tops here! Don’t forget to check out all of Amazon’s Daily Deals for more great finds!

Looking for other New Year’s outfit ideas? Check out more picks below:

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as wedding-guest outfits, purses, plus-size swimsuits, women’s sneakers, bridal shapewear, and perfect gift ideas for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from the advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at ShopWithUs@usmagazine.com. Happy shopping!

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‘Babylon’ stars Margot Robbie, Jean Smart fear deepfakes: ‘Year 3000 porn’

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Jean Smart and Margot Robbie aren’t so fond of advanced technology in Hollywood.

During promotion for the film “Babylon” — which documents the rise and fall of characters in 1920s Hollywood — the cast of the movie was asked what they believe will be the next big shift in Tinseltown.

In Entertainment Weekly’s “Around the Table” video series, almost all the actors who joined — including Robbie, Smart, Brad Pitt, Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo and Li Jun Li — agreed they were concerned about deepfakes.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to manipulate videos and replace the likeness of one person with another.

Margot Robbie and Diego Calva in “Babylon.”
Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures via AP

“Are they just going to take our faces, and we won’t even be going to work anymore?” Robbie, 32, said.

“So creepy,” Pitt, 59, chimed in.

Smart echoed the concern but pointed out that their likeness can be used even after they’re gone.

“Or after you’re dead, they’ll go, ‘Oh, let’s put Margot Robbie in that movie’ — a hundred years from now, having her doing God knows what. And your estate will have to sue them. It’ll be horrible, Margot,” the 71-year-old actress said.

Margot Robbie, left, and Li Jun Li in "Babylon."
Margot Robbie and Li Jun Li in “Babylon.”
Paramount Pictures via AP

The “Hacks” star continued saying that she’s troubled by seeing Marilyn Monroe in TV commercials and Fred Astaire in Coke commercials due to the technology in Hollywood — and said she will not be OK with her likeness being used after she’s dead.

“Unless my kids are getting rich off it. Of course. In that case, then it’s all right,” Smart quipped.

But there’s one thing that is absolutely off the table for Smart’s likeness.

“I don’t want to be in a year-3000 porn,” she added.

Jean Smart in "Babylon."
Jean Smart said she will not be OK with her likeness being used after she’s dead.
Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures via AP

Meanwhile, some celebrities are already using deepfakes for projects.

Back in September, it was reported that an AI platform created a “digital twin” of Bruce Willis, who was diagnosed with aphasia — a brain disorder that affects his ability to communicate, which will allow him to appear on screen after his retirement from acting.

The “Die Hard” actor’s deepfake already made its debut in August 2021 when his face was “grafted” onto Konstantin Solovyov for a commercial for MegaFon, a Russian telecommunications company.

His estate has the final say on what’s created with his face.

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Erika Jayne is spotted in LA as she sports a pale blue sweatsuit and sunglasses during shopping trip

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Make-up free Erika Jayne shops for expensive Christmas gifts at luxury store Hermès in LA – amid the RHOBH star’s money woes

Erika Jayne went without makeup as she shopped in Los Angeles days before Christmas.

The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses. 

The 51-year-old Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star – who has been battling money woes ever since her ex husband was declared bankrupt – was dressed expensively in a pale blue Alexander Wang sweatsuit and sneakers.

Bare face: Erika Jayne went without makeup as she shopped in Los Angeles days before Christmas

The platinum blonde beauty wore her locks bone straight, styled in an undefined part as they cascaded over her shoulders.

She looked cozy in her crew neck top and matching loose-fitting sweats, which she coordinated with pale pink and blue sneakers. 

Erika carried an Hermès bag on her arm as she carried a small, bottled water with pristinely manicured hands.

She was out and about by herself as she fit in some retail therapy two days before Christmas.

Under the radar: The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses

Under the radar: The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses

Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna.

Both women flaunted their long, toned legs as they wore dresses to the event hosted by friend Sanela Diana Jenkins.

Jayne took to Instagram to share a snapshot from the gathering in which she and Lisa kicked their legs up.

‘This was the BEST Christmas party EVER!!!’ she wrote in the caption as the photo showed her in a luxe white fur coat.

Season's greetings: Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna

Season’s greetings: Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna

The fashion-forward socialite donned a pair of pointy-toe metallic purple heels as she sat in a chair designed to look like a sleigh.

Rinna was equally stylish in a cream blazer dress with a black satin collar and gold accoutrements set in a pattern.

She added a pair of knee-high black leather boots and carried a metallic gold clutch.

Erika finished her caption with a shoutout to Lisa as she wrote: ‘thanks for babysitting me and telling me what happened at the party.’

Looking great: The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People's Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates

Looking great: The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People’s Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates

The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People’s Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates. 

For her part, Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design.

Rinna, who’s feuding with Kathy Hilton amid the RHOBH hiatus, donned a long black dress with a plunging neckline. 

Engaging with her 2.5 million followers on Instagram, Jayne shared photos and wrote in a caption: ‘I had fun last night.’

Hot! Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design

Hot! Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design

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