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Irish 'Movie Hooley' Returns (With Irish Whiskey) To Siskel Film Center

By Mark Konkol | September 21, 2016 5:25am
 South Side raconteur Mike Houlihan's second annual Irish-American Movie Hooley is set for Sept. 30 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.
South Side raconteur Mike Houlihan's second annual Irish-American Movie Hooley is set for Sept. 30 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.
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Mike Houlihan

THE LOOP — South Side raconteur Mike Houlihan says he has discovered the secret to getting great movies for his Irish-centric film festival the second time around.

"The more I go to Ireland and drink with the locals, the better films I find for the Hooley," Houlihan said.

The Second Annual Irish-American Movie Hooley, that is. "Hooley," in case you don't know, is Irish slang for party, and that's the vibe that Houlihan — half of the "The Skinny and Houli Show" on WCEV-AM (1450) and a columnist for the Irish American News — is trying to set.

"This isn't an industry festival. You won’t find no big shot agents or distributors here,” Houlihan said. “It's an audience festival, where people come to drink in the great films and hang out with the filmmakers. No pressure and tons of fun."

This year’s lineup of movies — each written, directed, produced by or starring an Irish-American — are tales of war, family tradition and Irish legends.

"Beneath Disheveled Stars," an edgy comedy about a New Yorker who travels to Ireland with his mother’s ashes to fulfill her dying wish, kicks off the three-day event Sept. 30 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State.

Two documentaries, “A Doctor’s Sword,” about a WW II humanitarian effort, and “Lark’s View,” a “lyrical meditation on the Irish landscape,” round out the festival.

Houlihan says he’s most looking forward to a weekend spending time with “great artists and great whiskey.”

After two years of relentless organizing — between shots and beers, of course — Houlihan says the experience reminds him of a few things about the people of his tribe.

“I’ve learned the Irish are crazy,funny, treacherous, scoundrels, patriots, tough, stoic, poets and myth makers," he said.

And that's reason enough for "Houli" to throw another "hooley."

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