Irish American Writers & Artists

December 19, 2014

12.16.14 IAW&A Salon at The Cell: Our One-of A Kind Holiday Extravaganza ‪#‎iawasalon

Filed under: dance,Essay,Events,Literature,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:47 pm

“Excellent. So moving and so much fun. A true variety show!”

by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The IAW&A December Salon at The Cell has become a don’t-miss event on the Holiday Calendar. Salongoers know they’ll find an array of talented artists bringing their gifts of music, language and dance, genuine good cheer and a unique setting in the Chelsea performance space. This year, the high-energy SRO crowd got all that, plus some Christmas treats. Santa made an appearance in black sequins; we sampled Wren Day, right here in NYC; environmentally conscious elves, award winning songs, jazz riffs, laughs and a tour de force by Honor Molloy were on the program.

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We congratulate John Kearns on his two-year anniversary as Salon producer and thank him for his excellent, generous work. (He’s probably blushing by now.)

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First time IAW&A presenter Gordon Gilbert Jr. braved the leadoff spot with poignant monologues about loss and growing old. They included “Heaven” in which a woman enjoys life after the death of the husband who had abused her verbally for over sixty years and “I Do Not Fear the Dark” in which an elderly jazz musician has just learned he has Alzheimer’s. Gordon read his lyrics to a song about facing the holidays alone, “Waking Slow.” Currently at work on two novels and poetry, Gordon performs regularly at spoken word events. In February, he will resume hosting monthly events celebrating Beat Generation writers at the Cornelia Street Cafe.

To learn more, contact him at gordonagilbertjr@usa.net Gordon’s comment about the night - “What a wonderful evening! What wonderful people!”

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A merry combo, comic performer Sarah Fearon teamed up with world-class jazz musician Jon Gordon to present “The Real Holiday Letter.” A spoof on the classic year-in-summary Holiday bragging letter, Sarah’s version shows what the letter would really say if it were truthful. Jon Gordon’s twisty saxophone accompanied Sarah with “We Wish you a Merry Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and other Christmas standards. Jon finished the set with famous tune “Christmas Time is Here.”

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Playwright John Cappelletti brought two professional actors, Barry Sacker and Maura Knowles to play elves in his vaudeville “What’s Bode?” Concerned with the polar caps melting at an unprecedented rate, (thus causing the oceans to rise dangerously and eventually end civilization as we know it) Santa’s tiny helpers think they can save the world. They plan to prevent jolly St. Nick from making his annual journey and shut down Christmas. The elves hope to teach us to respect Mother Nature, the environment and her people and animals. Christmas stockings will only have dirty lumps of coal, along with crude, shale and nuclear waste. John says the situation is nothing to laugh about, yet the audience couldn’t help laughing at his clever dialogue.

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Salon producer and tonight’s host-with-the-most John Kearns chose a Christmas themed excerpt from his novel-in- progress, Worlds. In Center City Philadelphia in the early 70s, Janey Logan takes her children to meet their father, James, and to see the Christmas light show and Santa Claus at John Wanamaker’s department store. During the show, which depicts many of the famous Christmas stories like the Nutcracker, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman, the children, Kitty and Paul, alternatively bicker and look out for each another.

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Honor Molloy’s gift to us was her reading of “Sixpence the Stars”–a story from her novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage. http://www.smartygirlthebook.com Often referred to in our wee community as The Little Oranges, this jaunty trip winds its way through Dublintown on Christmas Eve, 1966. There’s the nativity tale as told by a fruit dealer on Moore Street–Dublin’s open-air market. Molloy takes the audience back through time, when mechanicalized toys and Cheeky Charlies were hawked with wild cries and even wilder abandon. Watch Honor perform it here and share her gift with friends: www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1y1jAmgRCE 
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Singer songwriter Michael Sheahan charmed us with his award winning Christmas songs from his three-time award winning Christmas Book, CD and Dance DVD “Mr. Holidays Presents The Roof Top Hop.” If you need a gift for a youngster, purchase by calling 1-800-2476553 or www.bookmasters.com/marktplc/03080.htm Michael also performed songs from his latest Christmas CD “Some Things Never Change,” available here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/some-things-never-change/id572999634

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Before the break, IAW&A President Larry Kirwan greeted the crowd and described the origins of the IAW&A and the growth of the Salons. Larry encouraged the audience to introduce new people to the group. Where else can you find such community and experience an evening like tonight that’s free? We do take voluntary contributions to cover expenses at The Cell.

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marni

A uniquely talented artist, a vocalist, accordionist and writer, Marni Rice, gave a thrilling rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Marni sang a lively original song called “The Market” and an Edith Piaf song, “Fais-moi Valser” (Let Me Waltz) Find Marni at www.dejouxmusique.com

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Padraig Murphy read a thrilling excerpt from his novel Placebo, a story about loss and recovery that gave us a peek into the backwater places in the Caribbean rarely seen by tourists. We come face to face with the remote, startlingly simplistic birth of a force 4 hurricane. We see Padraig’s protagonist pass unaware into harm’s way, leading to major consequences. You can find the book on Amazon and find Pat on FB at Padraig Murphy Writer.

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An IAW&A Co-Director, Kathleen Donohoe read from her essay about growing up in Brooklyn and becoming a writer, long before ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘writer’ were synonyms. We’re excited to see Kathleen’s novel The Ashes of Fiery Weather, the story of six generations of women in a family of firefighters, that will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Marcia Loughran presented three poems– a new one, “Bargaining with God at the Price Chopper,” and a couple on one of her favorite themes, Marriage: What Nobody Told You. Marcia says she was honored to be at the Cell and enjoyed her fellow readers, dancers, singers and performers immensely. And we’re honored to share her work.

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wren dancers

Dressed in bright ribbons and traditional disguise, Maura Mulligan and her dance students Bill Duggan, Deirdre Batson, Ryan Cahill, Hara Reiser and Vera Wrenn recreated the traditional Irish and Welsh celebration Wren Day. On Wren Day, December 26, young people in colorful costumes went from house to house performing. In old times, a wren was sacrificed but over the last 100 years, the holiday has been celebrated with music, song and dance and no murder victim. Maura and company expertly danced “Peeler and the Goat” and “The Galway Reel” and Maura performed a sean nós (old style) dance known as “The Brush Dance.” Ryan Cahill and Vera Wrenn told the story through their lovely singing of “The Wren Song.”

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The talented fiddler, Marie Reilly who recently released a second CD, “The Road to Glannagh,” accompanied the group. Maura’s memoir, Call of the Lark is available from http://www.greenpointpress.org Her spring session of weekly dance classes begins Friday, February 6. More at: http://www.mauramulligan.com

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Another ensemble, Mark William Butler and his band of merrymakers closed out the festivities with three of his original Christmas songs and one naughty bit of comedy business. With ace accompanist Tyler Knauf on the ivories, Elizabeth Inghram started things off with a beautifully mournful rendition of “The Christmas I Remember” from Mark’s show Christmas Anonymous. Richard Butler then shimmied down the chimney, donning a dress and flashing his gams as an angry, cross-dressing, not-so-secret Santa, and then bringing the house down with the rousing neo-burlesque number, “Look At Me.” Then Mark joined Elizabeth, Richard and Tyler, wrapping up the party with the uplifting holiday anthem, “Christmas Is You,” also from Christmas Anonymous.

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How ‘bout a Christmas shout-out to Mark? He’s another tireless IAW&A contributor; he helps stage manage the Salons, and edits the popular IAW&A Weekly. (iawaweekly@gmail.com).

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As you can see from the pictures, the merriment continued at the Salon afterparty at the Half King restaurant. No posts about the party, though. What happens at the Half King, stays at the Half King.

Merry Christmas from IAW&A!

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Hey, how much for that star?

See you January 6 at the Bar Thalia.

December 12, 2014

12.2.14 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia: Tales of Generosity, Dignity, Bravery, and Puppy Love

Filed under: Essay,Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:08 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

One guarantee of the IAW&A Salon is that the night will never be repeated…that particular mix of artists and forms and audience won’t happen again. We often find surprising threads that connect many of the night’s presentations. At the 12/2 Salon at Bar Thalia, we had generosity and dignity, from Sean Carlson’s valiant young uncle to the patrons of Murphy’s Bar in Kevin McPartland’s piece to Jon Gordon’s “Jazz angels” and Malachy McCourt’s benefactor.

And strong women were represented, in a salute to the iconic Maureen O’Hara, and in person by three new IAW&A Salon participants:

  • Jeanne D’Brant,
  • poet Maureen Daniels, and
  • Sophia Monegro.

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 Sean Carlson

Opening the Salon with a heartbreaking reading, Sean Carlson shared excerpts from another chapter in his yet untitled family memoir. Transporting us again to the Irish countryside in the 1950s, Sean captured the suffering of his uncle Jack as he struggled with an illness during his teenage years — especially painful during the Christmas season. Learn more about the book and subscribe to his email list here: www.seancarlson.net.

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Kevin R. McPartland

Frequent salon contributor and author of the novel Brownstone Dreams, Kevin R. McPartland was next up. Kevin read a tender short story titled “The Sad Lament of Bicycle Johnny.” Set in a friendly Irish pub called Murphy’s in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn, the tale tells of a down- and- out drifter whose trademark is a worn-out bicycle.

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Sophia Monegro

Sophia Monegro is an English major and Mellon Mays Fellow at City College of New York, where she studies with Brendan Costello. In her first reading at IAW&A, she shared a short story. Sophia wants to contribute to the literary community by voicing her unique Hispanic, feminist perspective.

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Jon Gordon

For Sue, Jon Gordon took Malachy’s advice about “just telling the story” and dazzled the crowd with two anecdotes from his work-in-progress

Jazz Lives about the generosity of artists to each other. One story told how the drummer Art Blakey and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie took saxophonist Phil Woods aside and told him they cared about him and believed in him and how that changed his life. Jon’s other story was how Jackie Gleason broke the color barrier in the studio scene in NY in 1951 by insisting that his new TV show hire to the great jazz bass player Milt Hinton.

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John Kearns

Salon producer and host John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel-in-progress, Worlds that brilliantly told some grim Irish history. In steerage on his way to America, Seamus Logan tells stories he heard as a boy about the Rising of the United Irishmen in 1798. After the French landed in Killala, Mayo, together with the local rebels, they had some initial success, which ended a few weeks later with the surrender of the French and the slaughter of the Irish. www.Kearnscafe.com

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Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher paid tribute to that other Maureen –- legendary actress Maureen O’Hara, recent recipient of a long overdue Governors Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for her body of work. Noting especially O’Hara’s roles in two classic films, Miracle on 34th Street and The Quiet Man, Hossbacher sang the theme from the latter, “Isle of Innisfree” ably accompanied on guitar by John Kearns.

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon’s true story happened on Key Biscayne in the ‘60s while he was a student at the University of Miami.  “Max the Dog” will be part of Tom’s collection of vignettes, Delusions.  Max, a scruffy, yellow mongrel fell in love with an English springer spaniel named Daffney, who was deaf, though Max didn’t know. His lover’s owner threw a party one night and after everyone left a man attacked her owner.  Max bit the man viciously and saved her owner, but Daffney, being deaf, slept through it all and never knew what a heroic little dog Max truly was. They became inseparable with Max doing everything Daffney needed, even when she didn’t know she needed him. Max hoped she’d value him more someday, but she never did, and that was his delusion.

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Maureen Daniels

Professor Maureen Daniels read  few of her poems for us, including one about the birth of her son.

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Christy Jones

Christy Jones, actor, writer and former cabbie, read more of his memoir, Taxi! A child in Ireland, Christy meets his Aunt Madge for the first time. Madge, who played the piano, had returned from England as the war was ending. The young Christy elevated Madge; she was a performer, she was also his godmother. He wanted to learn the piano. His mother bought an old one at an auction. But they never had it fixed or tuned. Christy says plaintively, “There were always notes missing.”

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Jeanne D’Brant

First time presenter Jeanne D’Brant shared a gripping tale of the rigors of her travel through the Khyber Pass, from a chapter in her book, Heartlands of Islam. A holistic physician, professor and world traveler, Jeanne leads adventure tours to the rainforests of Central America and writes for scientific publications.

mal Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt told a story that could be called “How Malachy Got His Christmas Wish After 75 Years.” As an impoverished child in Limerick, Malachy would pray for a train set, but his wish was never granted. He told this to a journalist who interviewed him years later in New York. The journalist invited Malachy and his wife Diana to lunch at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central, and after lunch, they went to the NYC Transit Shop in GCT, and guess what, Malachy was presented with a train set! Many people would say the story demonstrates the power of prayer, but our Malachy says it messes up his atheism.

Next one-of-a-kind night: December 16 at The Cell, 7pm.

 

 

November 18, 2014

IAW&A November Salons: Distinct Evenings of Talent and Heart

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 10:38 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

IAW&A November Salons were held early in the month, each distinctive, and each with an array of presenters offering talent and heart. Here’s the rundown on November Salons – two for the price of one!

11.4.14 IAW&A Election Day Salon: “…Something for everyone, politics tonight!”

On Election Day, November 4, Salon boss John Kearns hosted at the Bar Thalia. John gave wry election updates during the night, of the kind that fascinate writers like himself …. on races between Metaphor and Personification … Hyperbole and Litotes…. and a noisy celebration by the campaign supporters of Onomatopoeia….

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Sean Carlson

Sean Carlson kicked off our evening with a moving selection from his yet-untitled family memoir. In this piece, the family gathers outside their farmhouse in County Kerry, Ireland to say goodbye as the oldest sisters Maureen and Bridie May leave home together to enter a convent in Wales. Sean’s mother Nuala was only five months old at the time. Ten years passed before they saw one another again.

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Michele Fulves

In advance of Veterans Day, Michele Fulves, a memoirist and solo performing artist read, “So Much to Be Thankful For,” from her collection of writings of conscience. The story unfolds in the minutes following the Veterans Day parade in 2011. Cameron, an Iraqi war veteran, has a simple request – he wants to get down to Foley Square to meet Michael Moore. The problem – he doesn’t know how to get there. A fellow marcher, thinking she’s doing him a favor by taking him downtown, soon realizes that he is actually the one helping her. Michele is currently in rehearsal for The Price of Courage, a solo piece she wrote and will perform about the risks, rewards, and unintended consequences of blowing the whistle.

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Tom Mahon

The versatile Tom Mahon read a short story from his collection of vignettes, Tomorrow Never Came. In “Something So Passionately Wished Must Come True,” a girl loves a boy since she first sees him in the third grade and keeps loving him even though he marries another woman and has a family, which only emboldens Marianne Noonan more in her need and desire for him. When his wife dies from an ectopic pregnancy, Marianne insinuates herself into her lover’s life so thoroughly he succumbs and marries her and she gives birth to twins.

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Vivian O’Shaughnessy

Visual artist, translator, creator of hand-made books, Vivian O’Shaughnessy, read her own poem, titled “HIM.” Please visit her website to see her work: http://vivianoshaughnessy.com.

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Maura Mulligan announcing her upcoming events

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Ryan Cahill

Singer Ryan Winter Cahill capped the first half of the evening with what she calls “morbid folk tunes.” “Lady Gay” tells about a woman whose three children die from illness soon after being sent away to study. She refuses to believe in any god or heaven “unless this night in their earthly flesh, my three babes return to me”…and they do. A most sorrowful song, “I am Stretched on Your Grave” is a translation of an anonymous 17th century poem called “Táim sínte ar do thuama.”  A few lines give the story:

“…It’s time we were together
For I smell of the earth
And am worn by the weather….”

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Sarah Fearon

Comedian Sarah Fearon shared new and seasoned material for her standup routine. She was preparing for her mid-November show at the Metropolitan Room.

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John Kearns

John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his multi-generational novel in progress, Worlds. After punching out the foreman and losing his construction job, Seamus Logan leaves New York by ferry and train for Philadelphia. As he travels farther away from the sea and from Ireland, Seamus thinks about his future: how he will work hard to improve his lot and to help “his countrymen still in chains.”

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Maura Knowles

Maura M. Knowles sang an original song, “The American River,” which she wrote with composer Will Collyer, about her life growing up on the American River in Sacramento, California.

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Malachy McCourt

What do you expect Malachy McCourt to talk about on Election Day? He gave us a hilarious discourse on politics and politicians, a subject he’s well acquainted with. Malachy ran for Governor of New York on the Green Party line in 2006, and was defeated by Eliot Spitzer. The rest, as they say, is history.

We left humming “Carrickfergus.”

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11.11 IAW&A Veterans Day Salon: A brilliant, emotional night.

Thanks to Marni Rice for smoothly hosting the November 11 Salon at The Cell. Marni began with a moment of silence to honor Veterans on their day. Several presenters gave tributes to vets in prose, poetry and song, giving the night an especially emotional feeling. More than one salongoer called the night “brilliant” and we don’t disagree.

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Tom Mahon

In the first of several salutes to veterans, Tom Mahon read another story from his collection of vignettes. In “Not All Heroes Die,” a young student sees a man on the subway many times. One morning another man gets on, pulls out a revolver, and shoots a woman dead. As he turns to shoot the man the student has noticed, that man gets up and struggles with the shooter. He is shot but keeps fighting him until he kills the shooter and dies himself. The student learns the man was a Vietnam Vet and knows he saved his life. He realizes “Not all heroes die in war. Some die here for us.”

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Maura Knowles and cast

Maura M. Knowles, bi-coastal actor/singer/writer treated us to a section from her new play with music, Insult to Injury, based on true events. Maura wrote the book and lyrics; Nathania Wibowo wrote the music. Insult to Injury examines why we should never give up on angels or anyone with broken wings. Maura thanks Sean Irawan on piano and her talented cast:  Diane J. Findlay, Luis Villabon, Alan Ariano, Tom Mahon, Sheila Walsh and Julie Currie for stage directions. www.mauramknowles.com

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Stephanie Silber

Stephanie Silber read a beautifully crafted essay that touched many in the audience, “Ode to a Familiar” about a neighborhood’s collective reaction to some new residents — a colony of feral cats. You may read her essay on her current blog post. www.stephaniesilberwordsworks.com

 

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Pat Fenton

Journalist and playwright Pat Fenton’s tender piece about his father also touched many in the audience. “The Ancient Swirl of Time That Is Always Present Over Coney Island” is a true story about Pat’s going to Nathan’s in Coney Island in the dead of winter, searching for a room that existed for many years only in his mind. And finding it. The discovery stirred Pat’s long ago memory of sitting in that room with his Galway-born father who went there every winter to be close to the sea. Pat would like to pitch the story to an independent filmmaker to turn into a short film shot in black and white. He adds, “In the dead of winter, of course.” Find it now on the literary web site, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood at: http://mrbellersneighborhood.com/2014/10/the-ancient-swirl-of-time-that-is-always-present-over-coney-island

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Marni Rice

Tonight’s emcee, singer, composer, accordionist and writer Marni Rice performed two songs. The first, a French song, was in memory of her grandfather, a WWI veteran who served in France. Marni attributes her fascination with France to his experience. She also sang her original song called “Pub Tune.”

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Peggy Miley

Two new members made their Salon debuts, but definitely not their stage debuts. Accomplished film, TV, theatre actress Peggy Miley performed a brief monologue by Ruth McKenney (author of My Sister Eileen) about an Irish immigrant woman proud that her daughter is going to college. You’ve seen Peggy in one of her many roles. Check them out on: http://www.peggymiley.com

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Mark Butler announcing IAW&A group outing to see Major Barbara

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Dan Milner

Another Salon first-timer,traditional singer Dan Milner offered two different types of songs. A NY street song, circa 1870s, “The Hodman’s Lament,” praises Boss Tweed of Tammany Hall and bemoans changes in the construction industry that threatened the livelihood of Irish laborers. His other choice was a love song from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, “When First I Came to Caledonia.” A few lines:

“If I had pens from Pennsylvania
If I had paper of snowy white
If I had ink from a rosy morning
A true love letter to you I’d write.”

Dan is a geographer, a former ranger in the National Park Service, and an instructor at St. John’s University. We look forward to hearing songs from Dan’s five CDs, including two for the Smithsonian: Irish Pirate Ballads and Civil War Naval Songs.

Margaret McCarthy reading at The Cell Theatre, Irish American Writers & Artists Salon, Nov.11.2014

 Margaret McCarthy

In her Veterans Day salute, artist and poet Margaret McCarthy read her poem “An Argument in the Kitchen,” from her collection Notebooks From Mystery School, finalist for the New Women’s Voices Award and coming from Finishing Line Press in February, 2015. Finishing Line is an award winning small press providing a place for poets and poetry. The collection is available for pre-sale. Pre-orders help determine the print run, so order yours here!

https://finishinglinepress.com/product_info.php?cPath=4&products_id=2240

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John Kearns

Salon producer John Kearns read from his lyrical short story, “Backstage,” about a college woman who is acting in an evening of one-act plays. As she puts her makeup on, the actress reflects on the transformation she is undergoing and the life of the woman she is about to play — a middle-aged woman who loses her grown son. While she removes her makeup after the short play, she thinks about how her performance came so automatically and unconsciously and she overhears other actors preparing for their turns on the stage.

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Richard Butler

Vocalist/actor/director Richard Butler graced us with two dramatic songs -

“Mama Look Sharp” from 1776 The Musical (music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards) and “Be On Your Own” from the musical Nine (music and lyrics by Maury Yeston). Bravo, Richard!

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Congrats, Mary Lannon!

Mary Lannon is thrilled to report that her story “Frank N. Stein” will be published online at Story. Mary read from the piece tonight. It’s about being young and reveling in irresponsibility and making a man into a monster and finally, whattayaknow, growing up. Congratulations, Mary!

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John Munnelly

Closing a very full night, award winning song writer/singer John Munnelly (www.johnmunnellymusic.com) made a welcome return to the Salon with two songs. He’s still tweaking them but they’re definitely “road ready.” “Flagpole,” part of John’s social justice canon, speaks from the point of view of an injured and lonely war veteran.  John is considering two titles: “Can’t Take Anymore, Sick of It Blues” or “Flagpole Blues” and he welcomes your vote at laughjohnlaugh@gmail.com. He had us singing along to “Brooklyn” about a recent import/ possible gentrifier of the borough. “Now we’re living in Brooklyn.”

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Don’t miss the Salon magic. Join us next time at Bar Thalia, 12/2 at 6 pm. For a ten-minute slot, email IASalon@hotmail.com.

November 3, 2014

IAW&A Salon at the Cell, 10/27: Writers, Poets, Singers, and Composers Galore!

Filed under: Literature,Music,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 3:49 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by Ryan Cahill

Last week’s IAW&A Salon at the Cell Theatre was moved back a week and held on a Monday because of the big O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award for Pete Hamill on October 20th. But, the change in schedule did nothing to hinder the display of a wide variety of talent from musical theatre to poetry to drama to essay to song!

The evening started with three theatrical presentations.

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Jack DiMonte, Luis Villabon, Diane J. Findlay, Maura Knowles, Joe Scalzo, Jenn Lorae, and Nancy Oda

Maura M. Knowles, book and lyrics and her composer, Nathania Wibowo, presented selections from Knowles’ original play with music, Insult to Injury, which examines why we should never give up on angels or anyone with broken wings and is based on true events.

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Danielle Hauser and Irina Kaplan in Joe Davidson’s Vegas

Street life in NYC during the turbulent eighties took center stage next in Joe Davidson’s play, Vegas. A stirring performance by talented actors Danielle Hauser, Irina Kaplan, and Mary Tierney drew rousing applause from the audience as they took a trip back in time  to a not-so-pleasant era in the Big Apple.

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Barry Sacker and Steve Nuke in John Cappelletti’s “Watch out for Me”

In John Cappelletti’s 10 minute play, “Watch Out for Me,” Barry Sacker and Steve Nuke played a priest and his former altar boy who meet in prison after not seeing each other for 40 years.

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 Bernadette Cullen

After the three theatrical presentations, it was time for some poetry.  Bernadette Cullen, a professor at the College of New Rochelle who lives in Chelsea, shared three of her poems.  The first was entitled, “Loss.”  The other two poems were untitled and Bernadette appreciated the feedback she received on the longer one.

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 Kathleen Lawrence

Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence read about a wedding reception from her ongoing family saga, which may ultimately be called “The Never Ending Story.”

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John Brennan

To start the second half, John Brennan read a short anecdotal piece about the time he met Jim Morrison at the Isle of Wight rock concert in 1970 followed by his tribute poem for Jim entitled, “The Lizard King.”

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Mike Swift

Mike Swift presented two autobiographical short stories entitled “The Ionizer” and “Releasing Rage”. The stories recount a duping he was victim to as a boy and the time he screamed the F-word in a stranger’s face on the street. They are part of a collection he is working that intends to eschew literary devices such as allegory, nostalgia, and heroism in favor of factuality, in an attempt to explore the relationships between honesty and drama.

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Marni Rice

Marni Rice read a poem from her poetry collection entitled, It’s Not The End of the World and an excerpt from her play in progress entitled, Movement Without Words, narrated from the point of view of her Grandmother, a student of Martha Graham in the 1920s.

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Margaret McCarthy

In honor of the Celtic New Year (Halloween), Margaret McCarthy read her poem “Approaching Samhain”, from her collection, Notebooks from Mystery School, finalist for the New Women’s Voices Award and forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in February, 2015.  Congratulations to Margaret!  Finishing Line Press is an award winning small press providing a place for poets and poetry.  Pre-orders for the book determine the size of the print run, so pre-order yours here!

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Brendan Costello

Frequent IAW&A Salon contributor and CCNY writing instructor Brendan Costello Jr. read a short essay about a close encounter with a Hyundai on Convent Avenue. Since the incident happened on the night a Yankees relief pitcher had crashed his private plane into an east-side high rise, Brendan prefaced the piece by saying “This is about two things I rarely write about: disability and sports.”  He also shared a unique recipe for lemonade. (Hint: it involves a pillowcase.)

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Conor McGlone

 Brendan’s student, Conor McGlone, then shared a few poems with the appreciative IAW&A Salon audience.

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John Kearns

John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress Worlds. The excerpt tells the 19th-century story of Seamus Logan’s early days in Connemara, where he worked as a stable hand and laborer after running away from his home in Bunowen, County Mayo. Although Seamus proves himself worthy of a better job and seems to have won the affection of a local girl, he decides his stay in Connemara is merely a sojourn from which he can and will move on.

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Donie Carroll

Guitarist and singer, Donie Carroll played three songs: “Aisling” is a song about Irish people around the world who, despite their interesting travels, often and sometimes unexpectedly long for Ireland: “You hear a song or an Irish air./…/You long for the rare old times over there./You long to be at home.”  He played another sad song about how an emigrant named Murphy would never make it home to Ireland. He concluded ths set with the comical, “West Clare Railway” about a train’s misadventures traveling around the Banner county. Donie Carroll also spoke about his upcoming benefit concert for the Mercy Centre in Thailand to take place on November 1st at the Irish Center in Long Island City.

It was another full and memorable night at the Cell Theatre!  Our next two IAW&A Salons are on:

  • Tuesday, November 4th, at the Thalia at 6 pm
  • Tuesday, November 11th, back at the Cell at 7 pm

And in December?  An IAW&A Road Salon and a holiday celebration! Stay tuned.  See you soon.

October 14, 2014

Legendary New York City Journalist, Novelist Pete Hamill, to be Honored by IAW&A

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 12:18 pm

Legendary New York City Journalist, Novelist, and Irish-American, Pete Hamill, to be Honored in NYC on October 20th

Irish American Writers and Artists Inc. (IAW&A) will bestow its annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on legendary New York City journalist and author, Pete Hamill, during a convivial evening of food, drink, conversation, and song on Monday, October 20, 2014 at the Manhattan Club, upstairs at Rosie O’ Grady’s, 800 7th Avenue (at 52nd Street), New York City, starting at 6 p.m. Joining Pete Hamill in the celebration will be past O’Neill Award honorees William Kennedy, Ciarán O’Reilly and Charlotte Moore, John Patrick Stanley, and more.  The most prominent event on the IAW&A calendar, the gala promises to be a gathering of renowned journalists, writers, artists, musicians, and Irish and American luminaries.

Pete Hamill to be honored by IAW&A with Eugene O'Neill Lifetime Achievement Award

Pete Hamill to be honored by IAW&A with Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award

In a storied career spanning fifty years, Pete Hamill has excelled as a newspaper reporter and columnist — the only man to serve as editor of both the New York Daily News and the New York Post.  He is an award-winning novelist and a best-selling author of many non-fiction books on subjects ranging from Mexican muralist Diego Rivera to Frank Sinatra to his beloved home borough of Brooklyn.  As a journalist, Hamill covered wars in Vietnam, Lebanon, Nicaragua, and Northern Ireland, as well as race riots in the U.S and numerous political campaigns.  He is credited as the man who convinced Robert F. Kennedy to run for president in 1968 and was present on the night RFK was assassinated.

Hamill’s best-selling books include A Drinking LifeDowntown, Forever, and North River.  His essays and articles have appeared in such publications as Esquire, The New Yorker, Playboy, and Rolling Stone.

“This is our sixth annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award and it may prove to be the most popular,” says IAW&A President and leader of the band, Black 47, Larry Kirwan, “from barroom to boardroom Pete Hamill is recognized as one of the great New Yorkers.  His writing skill is matched only by his humanitarianism and devotion to friends, family, and his beloved city.  In Gaelic we call him a seanchaí — a man of wisdom and deep experience.”

IAW&A Treasurer and Salon Producer, the novelist and playwright, John Kearns, will act as Master of Ceremonies.

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The Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2009 to honor the accomplishments of a writer, actor, musician, or cultural institution that has sustained a body of work that best exemplifies the level of integrity maintained by O’Neill.  O’Neill Awards have been presented to Pulitzer-prize winning author William Kennedy, actor Brian Dennehy, Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly of New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre, folksinger Judy Collins, and playwright John Patrick Shanley.

The award, created by Tiffany & Co., will be presented Monday, Oct. 20, 2013 at a generous hors d’œuvre and open-bar reception and ceremony at the Manhattan Club above Rosie O’Grady’s in Times Square, just a few blocks from where Eugene O’Neill was born.  Ticketing information is available at the IAW&A website.

 

For more information on the IAW&A, visit the organization’s website at http://i-am-wa.org/ or its Facebook page for updates and information.

MEDIA CONTACT: John Lee, John Lee MEDIA, (0) 917-475-6981,
(c) 917-653-3444. johnlee@johnleemedia.com , www.johnleemedia.com

October 9, 2014

Laughter and Serious Story Telling Mark IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia 10/1

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 6:56 pm

By Mary Lannon 
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas

Lots of laughter, some song, and even some serious moments marked another successful salon on Wednesday October 1st at Bar Thalia.

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A night of many laughs: Malachy McCourt and John Kearns 

Our easy-going host, John Kearns, led off the night with an excerpt from his novel-in-progress Worlds. James Logan’s fiancee, Janey Dougherty, joins her fiancee, James, and her father-in-law in the family’s late-summer suburban backyard to hear a tale of how family patriarch, Seamus Logan, punched out a cruel construction foreman and left New York for Philadelphia, where he built his own construction empire.

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Large, lively crowd at Bar Thalia

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John Skocik

Next up the crowd laughed along with two vengeance love songs from Girl to Gorilla singer-songwriter,  John Skocik. John’s band, Girl to Gorilla, has its album release party at Otto’s Shrunken Head on Saturday, October 11th at 9 pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/279615405565501/.

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Sarah Fearon

Board member Sarah Fearon read her “notes” and made the crowd laugh uproariously.  Some of the subjects were the questionable sincerity of some environmentalists, taking on a personal trainers suggestions, and the classic NYC Nail salon scenario. Oh, yeah, and the real meaning of attention deficit disorder….guess you had to be there. Or for a more polished set sometime later this fall she’ll be performing at Gotham Comedy Club.

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Marcia Loughran

Marcia Loughran took a more serious turn reading three poems in order of sadness — one about making people do what you want by doing weird stretches, one about bugs on the subway, and one about horror and despair and professional photography.  She was appreciative of the IAW&A Salon crowd and glad to be back.

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John Brennan

The multi-dimensional John Brennan talked about gene studies conducted by geneticists at Trinity College Dublin and then dedicated a poem called “The Fox, The Bird and the Poet” to Malachy McCourt. That poem was about the Fil Na Maigue poets of Croom, County Limerick.   He talked about the compulsion to write, read a tribute poem for Bobby Sands and the poem, “In My Blood.” He finished by singing “The Auld Triangle” written by Brendan Behan in Mountjoy Jail.

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Fun during the break: Maria Deasy, Karen Daly, Marcia Loughran, and Sarah Fearon

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Fun during the break: Jack DiMonte and Maura Mulligan

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Maura Mulligan

Maura Mulligan shared an excerpt from an article about reading from her memoir, Call of the Lark, at the 6th Annual Hudson Valley Irish Fest in Peekskill. Visible from the festival grounds was the convent Mulligan joined in the 60s and Mulligan found herself distracted by flashbacks of her novitiate experiences of wearing a wedding dress and having her hair cut off. A train horn that made her stop during the reading seemed like the same one she’d heard years ago that made her decide to become a nun, leave the world behind and take the road less traveled. Call of the Lark is available directly from Greenpointress.org, from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

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Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher read from her novel-in-progress, The Grand March, a family saga set in New York City and spanning roughly six decades from the late 1920’s to the 1980’s.   In this segment, set in 1961, young Nance Moran finds herself consigned to Rosalie Hall, a Catholic facility for unwed mothers in the Bronx, where she awaits the arrival of her child with girls in similar predicaments — most, like Nance, resigned to the inevitable surrender of their babies to the New York Foundling Home for adoption.  After delivering her daughter, Nance’s resistance to bonding with her begins to crumble.  The segment ends with a visit to her hospital room from the child’s father — who is wearing a Roman collar.

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Tom Mahon

After the break, Tom Mahon read a short/short story from his collection of vignettes: Tomorrow Never Came, called “Manny the Gambler.”  In the story, Manny comes to America from Mexico and on his first day buys a lottery ticket and wins $10. He has six children, and Manny drills them in soccer and they all go to college on sports scholarships. Unknown to everyone, Manny can’t stop buying lottery tickets, storing them all in an old car.  After he dies, his daughter finds the car and a winning ticket worth 57 million dollars.  The family is rich, but that’s another story. Web site:  Tom-Mahon.com 

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Jim Rodgers

Jim Rodgers got the crowd laughing reading from his novel Long Night’s End. In the excerpt, Johnny Gunn tries to protect his friend Jimmy from haunting demons and to avoid his nemesis Big Joe Scanlon, and at the same time avoid the occasion of sin with his former mistress, Molly. All efforts are for naught as Johnny stumbles through this rollicking and passionate chapter played out in the bars and streets of Sunnyside, Queens.

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Christy Jones

The laughter continued as Christy Jones read from a chapter of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway. Just out of the theater studio after a two-year acting course, Jones is cast as a bit player in a small town production of Romeo and Juliet. He is soon caught up in the glorious excitement of rehearsals, swordfighting, love scenes and the extracurricular activities of the large cast that end up even more exciting than the production.

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Mary Lannon

Mary Lannon read from her short story “All the Stray Cats of the World.” In the excerpt, her main character is obsessed with death and at Thanksgiving Dinner, a combination that, perhaps not surprisingly, had the crowd laughing.

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Ryan Winter Cahill

Ryan Winter Cahill serenaded the audience with the traditional English ballad “Fair Margaret and Sweet William,” a variation from the Appalachian Mountains.  The song originated in England and has many variations including discovered in the Appalachian Mountains and preserved by Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles around 1916-1918 during a trip they took to the area. Without their efforts, this song and many others might have been lost to history.

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Malachy McCourt 

Malachy McCourt again got the crowd laughing explaining that he hadn’t worked a day in his life and celebrating that with a song about not working, that the crowd heartily joined in on.

See you at the O’Neill Event on 10/20 and the next IAW&A Salon at the Cell on 10/27!

September 23, 2014

From toe-tapping to heart-tugging to awe-inspiring, 9/16/14 IAWA Salon had it all!    

Filed under: American Politics,Essay,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:44 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Host John Kearns kicked off another sensational IAW&A Salon at The Cell by reminding everyone to get their tickets for our Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Benefit and Cocktail Party honoring the legendary writer Pete Hamill, on Monday, October 20, 2014.  Visit http://i-am-wa.org/oneill-award-benefit/this-years-honoree/ to purchase. And spread the word!

Dublin born Peadar Hickey, who plays with The Young Wolftones and teaches traditional guitar at the Irish Arts Center started the music with two great Scottish tunes in recognition of the Independence Vote taking place this week.  They were “The Roses of Prince Charlie” and “Brave Caledonia.” You can also see Peadar in the duo Peadar and Pio. Find their events here.

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Peadar O’Hici

Journalist and playwright Pat Fenton who has been interviewing his great friend, Pete Hamill, for a forthcoming article in The Irish Echo, talked up our O’Neill Benefit as one of the great literary gatherings of the year. Pat read from Breslin, his one-man play about another New York journalism legend, Jimmy Breslin. Pat wants to show aspects of Breslin that few know about. He’s “a lot more sensitive than readers of his columns may think, and yeah, he is very spiritual and attended the Catholic Church most of his life. And he has a sense of humor. And yes, he’s been very generous to me in my own writing career.”

Pat adds his usual disclaimer on all things Breslin: “If you don’t like something he wrote, don’t revisit it with me, please. As Breslin would simply say “GOODBYE.”

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Pat Fenton

Tom Phelan read a selection from his first novel In the Season of the Daisies, which centers on the IRA’s murder of a child and the devastating effects on the survivors. Tom had just turned fifty when In the Season of the Daisies was accepted for publication in Dublin, and Books Ireland’s reviewer later wrote, “The most obvious question posed by a novelistic debut with as much resounding vigour as this is: Where has Mr. Phelan been?” The novel received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, indicating a book of unusual merit and interest, and was chosen for Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers series.  Tom, a native of Mountmellick, Co. Laois, is also the author of Iscariot, Derrycloney, The Canal Bridge, Nailer, and the upcoming Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told.  More information at www.tomphelan.net and www.facebook.com/tomphelannovels.

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Tom Phelan

Board member and editor of the hit “The IAW&A Weekly” Mark Butler has spearheaded our outreach to the library community and found a kindred group called Urban Librarians Unite (ULU). They are an independent non-profit group committed to ensuring access to libraries for all New Yorkers.

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Mark Butler

Mark introduced ULU board member Lauren Comito who described some initiatives, which include setting up mini-libraries in neighborhoods damaged by the recent hurricanes, a volunteer library brigade and 24 Read-Ins to encourage reading. Their efforts are imaginative, fun, and done-on-a shoestring. We’ll be exploring how we can work with and help them. Contact Mark at iawaweekly@gmail.com to help.

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Lauren Comito

Christy Jones has been sharing pieces of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway (tentative title) in which he details his journey from rural Ireland to pursue his love for theater in New York. Tonight he read a tender piece about a priest back home, Father Moynihan. Says Christy: “He was such a gentle man, a real man, a holy man. I never remember a word of anger from him. He was so complete as a person. He was content with his bicycle. He never complained about it…I still remember the last time … in the hospital. You could not help believe that he was saved.”

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 Christy Jones

Salon producer John Kearns read the opening from “Displacement,” a short story set in 1940s Brooklyn. An obsequious witness tells detectives how his friend started a fight with a stranger who had come into their waterfront dive wearing a porkpie hat with a red feather. Unbeknownst to the witness, the detectives were conducting a murder investigation. We know John was not around the 1940s Brooklyn waterfront, but he sure sounded like it tonight.

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 John Kearns

More, “Yes.’ Well-known trad musician Don Meade played some Scottish tunes in honor of the “Yes” campaign and gave historical background for each. They were a pipe march from World War I, “King George V’s Army”, and on the mouthorgan “Hector, the Hero”, a lament for a Scottish general named Hector MacDonald. Don runs the monthly Irish traditional music concerts at Glucksman Ireland House/NYU and sessions every Monday at the Landmark Tavern. You can find his schedule at blarneystar.com

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Don Meade

Storyteller and musician Russell Patrick Brown shared selections from his upcoming site-specific production at Jefferson Market Library on September 27 at 8pm. Russell has written and is directing a cast of dancers, singers, musicians and storytellers in the Mercy of Trees, which is presented as part of Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival. Come out and support this unique talent. The event is free, reservations suggested: http://1stirish.org/?post_type=show&p=1051.

More information: http://www.russellpatrickbrown.com/mercy-of-trees

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Russell Patrick Brown

The Smarty Girl herself Honor Molloy presented “I Broke In,” a loving tribute to her favorite Dublin neighbor–the Irish American poetess, and Honor’s babysitter, Claire McAllister. Then Honor introduced McAllister’s daughter, Wonderly White, who talked vividly about her mother and read several short poems.

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Honor Molloy and Wonderly White

Sean Carlson was greeted by a great round of applause for his Irish Times essay, “The reach of a single village,” receiving a bronze prize from the Society of American Travel Writers.

Again reading from his yet-untitled family memoir of immigration, Sean introduced two new characters, Maureen and Bridie May– the oldest daughters in an Irish family of sixteen children — and the beginning of their path to the convent. Responding to the touching and humorous nature of this chapter, one Salon attendee tweeted: “I think the world needs more stories about these beautiful people you shared with us last night.” To learn more or join his email list, please visit www.seancarlson.net.

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Sean Carlson

John Anthony Brennan, in his second Salon presentation, read from his new book, Don’t Die With Regrets. A native of Crossmaglen, a small, tough town in County Armagh, John has visited most of the sacred sites in this world and is convinced that a common thread connects them. The book represents his life’s journey and was written to inspire the reader. And inspire he did tonight with a section called “Back When.” While living in London in the late sixties, John was fortunate to meet many of his favorite musicians, some of whom have sadly, departed from this mortal coil. In “Back When” he tells that story in one thousand words. More about John at http://johnabrennanauthor.com/ or at the blog, Thewildgeese.com.

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John Anthony Brennan

Guenevere Donohue sang the Irish folk song, “Molly Ban” in her unique hypnotic story-telling style. In this tragic song, a man shoots mistakenly shoots his love:

Her white apron wrapped around her
He took her for a swan
But a hush and a sigh
‘Twas his own Molly Ban

Says Guen, “a swan song to remember.”

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 Guenevere Donohue

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Ryan Winter Cahill

We went out on high note as Ryan Winter Cahill ended the Salon with two short, amusing songs. First was the energetic, childlike “Sweet Zoo,” by Jeffrey D. Harris, in which “someone” (not revealed until the song’s close) recounts a most interesting dream. She ended with the poignant, ironic “Virtue” by Michael John LaChiusa from his song cycle “Marlene Dietrich’s ABC”, based on a dictionary of wisdom written by the classic film star.

See you next time at Bar Thalia, on Wednesday, October 1 at 7pm. And should you be tweeting, or talking about us on other social media, please use our hashtag #iawasalon!

September 10, 2014

Prose, Poetry, and Song Old and New at the 9/3 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 8:36 pm

by Mary Lannon
Photos by Mark William Butler

Instead of or in addition to reading their own work, several presenters read prose from and about others giving a distinct feel to the IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on Wednesday, September 3rd.

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Tom Mahon

Kicking off what became a theme of the night, Tom Mahon inspired the crowd by reading from Nelson Mandela’s acceptance speech for the presidency of South Africa. He followed that up with his own “Fierce Pride & a Generous Heart” from Delusions, his collection of vignettes. His story told of a young person who vows to care for an elder under very trying conditions, but keeps his or her word because the priest told the young person that he or she will go to heaven for caring for the least of us.  Mahon jokes “never read anything you read after reading from Nelson Mandela.”

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Karen Daly

Next up, board member Karen Daly showed why she is a longtime fan of Pete Hamill, who will receive our Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on October 20. Reading from Hamill’s, “A Melancholy Fall in the Gardens of Brooklyn”(a 1968 Village Voice column), Daly gave a lovely rendition of a beautiful, evocative, perfect piece of writing.

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Sean Carlson

Sean Carlson offered his own twist on the night’s theme by reading a section of his yet untitled family memoir about his mother, Nuala, a County Kerry native, who accompanied him to the IAW&A Salon. Carlson brought to life the beginnings of change in Ireland during the middle of the 20th century. Captivating the crowd, Carlson shared the tension and wonder surrounding his mother’s birth as the fifteenth of sixteen children and the first born outside the home. To learn more or join his email list, please visit www.seancarlson.net

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John Kearns

Our hard-working host, John Kearns, took a cue from the beginning of the school year, presenting a brand-new excerpt from his multi-generational novel, Worlds.  In the excerpt, Paul Logan, in his first weeks as a teacher in the South Bronx, is attacked by his student Shinone Williams. After Shinone gets a detention, she throws her books at her teacher and grabs him by his throat. Logan manages to get Williams out of the classroom and finds out she will be expelled. Returning to his room, he finds two students fighting over whether it was funny when Logan ducked out of the way of Shinone’s flying books.

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Mary Lannon

Mary Lannon read from the middle of a longish short story, “A Key to Castastrophe Management,” in which a college senior obsesses about the weather, tries to figure out her future, and shows her unfamiliarity with love. Check out Lannon’s web site for her novel: http//www.MirandaJMcCleod.com.

maura Maura Mulligan

The first half ended with the multi-talented Maura Mulligan’s singing a sean nós (old style) song she learned from Donegal singer/composer Dominic Mac Goille Bhríde in July at the South Sligo Summer School. The song, “Tráthnóna Beag Aréir” is a love song in the Irish language (Gaeilge). Mulligan explained that the poet is wishing to experience again the beauty of the previous evening when there was silence in the sky and the lovers drifted together through the bog cotton. This traditional style of singing is generally melodically and rhythmically complex.  Subtleties vary by region, and it is highly individualistic.

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Jack DiMonte

Jack DiMonte led off the second half singing a beautiful rendition of “Summer Wind,” a song about how romance is as fickle as the fleeing summer.  “Summer Wind” began life as a German pop song by Heinz Meier to which American Johnny Mercer later set the now-famous English lyrics that Frank Sinatra immortalized in a 1966 recording.

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John Brennan

A new presenter John Brennan picked up on the theme of the night, beginning by reading Seamus Heaney’s “Digging.” Next, Brennan read “The Green Valley,” a poem he wrote about the ancient Boyne valley (Bru na Boine) and “The Singing Bones” from his book Don’t Die with Regrets, which he wrote for his father Mal. Brennan ended with “The Night Moths,” his tribute poem to W.B .Yeats and a short story, “The Dealing Man.”

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Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt finished off the night reading from the Foreword he wrote for Come Here Often? 53 Writers Raise a Glass to Their Favorite Bar, edited by Sean Manning.  He also led the group in singing a Brendan Behan song.

See you at the Cell on September 16th!!

August 28, 2014

Catching Up with Mary Lou Quinlan–interviewed about “The God Box” on Scottish radio

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 12:20 pm

Mary Lou Quinlan, who gave IAW&A Salon attendees the very first glimpse of her performance piece “The God Box,” brought the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  She’s interviewed here by one of Scotland’s top radio personalities. 

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August 27, 2014

What an inspirational eve! 8.19.14 #iawasalon at the Cell

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 11:17 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas

“What an inspirational eve!” -Vivian O’Shaughnessy

“It felt good to perform the monologue for such a supportive audience.” -Mark Donnelly

“Last night was inspiring… I’m honored and grateful to be part of your fantastic community.” -Maura Knowles

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An August Full House at the Cell Theatre

That’s what IAW&A members had to say about the #iawasalon at the Cell, a heady mix of plays, poems, music, fiction, memoir, and collaborations. Host John Kearns made some important announcements: remember to use our hashtag #iawasalon when you’re sharing updates or discussing our salons on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. He thanked Alexandra Jakstas for taking the great pictures you see here.

Get your tickets now for our Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Benefit and Cocktail Party honoring the legendary writer Pete Hamill, on Monday, October 20, 2014.  Visit http://i-am-wa.org/oneill-award-benefit/this-years-honoree/ to purchase.  And spread the word!

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Maria Deasy and John Cappelletti

The night got off to a fantastic start with John Cappelletti’s short play, “Comrades,” with John and Maria Deasy. On the opening night of his play A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen (played by John) is furious at the critics because their negative reviews (which are factual) may force him to close his theatre. He is considering challenging them to a duel when his wife enters and forces him to face the reality of his own marital doll’s house and make some changes before this door too closes, like the door Nora slammed on opening night.

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Sean Carlson

At recent IAW&A Salons, Sean Carlson has shared glimpses into the manuscript of his first book, a yet-untitled narrative of a family’s experiences with immigration from Ireland to London and the Bronx.  Tonight’s installment was particularly moving as it reflected on the death of a child at birth (“a loss kept quiet”) set against the broader struggles of the era. Sean’s mother Nuala will also be joining us for the next reading at Bar Thalia on Wednesday, September 3. Learn more and subscribe to his email list here: www.seancarlson.net.

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Vivian O’Shaughnessy

Poet, translator and visual artist, Vivian O’Shaughnessy read a poem from her new collaboration with Giovanni Dotoli, “Woman, I Am! (Je La Femme)”, poems about women. Vivian created the cover and drawings for the book. She is often at the IAW&A Salons at The Cell with her sketchpad. You can see her art at vivianoshaughnessy.com.

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Nancy Oda and Karen Daly

Playwright Sheila Walsh directed Nancy Oda and Karen Daly in a ten-minute play, “Cat and Lobster.” Nancy was spot-on as the younger sister who yearns for a long-ago lover and Karen (making her acting debut at the Cell!) played the wiser, older sister. The actresses hit all the right notes in this intimate look at how the sisters use their love of poetry to keep joy and laughter in their lives. This was Sheila’s first shot at directing — she thanks Nancy and Karen for making it great fun and doing such a sensational job. Karen thanks the two pros for teaching her so much.

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Tim Dwyer

Tim Dwyer wowed us by singing Yeats’ “Lake Isle of Innisfree” to a melody Tim composed. Then he shared some of his own poetry from his current manuscript-under-submission, titled Messages from the Irish Diaspora – among them “Walking By The Farm Field” and “After Watching Philomena.”

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Sarah Fearon

Sarah Fearon read new developments of the story “While You Were Out”. A tale about a crew of guys who grew up in Hells Kitchen together who pull off a heist of a Trump Condo via an estate attorney’s office. The basic cast of characters are Big Mike Esq., Johnny Sparks the doorman, Stevie Cane who is now in real estate and Francis Conner who impersonates the heir to the apartment. The recent Salon was an experiment in exploring what hysterical thoughts go through Francis’ mind as he walks through his world.

Maura M. Knowles, an accomplished bi-coastal actor/singer/writer/producer/entrepreneur presented a section from her new play with music, Insult to Injury, based on true events.

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Mark “More Gavel” Butler,  Joe Scalzo,  Julie Currie, Maura Knowles, Ryan Cahill, Guen Donahue, Jack DiMonte

A six-actor comedy with heart, the play examines why we should never give up on angels or anyone with broken wings. Maura’s cast was Mark Butler, Ryan Cahill, Jack DiMonte, Guen Donahue, Joe Scalzo, with stage directions by Julie Currie and talented pianist, Chandra Irawan. Please visit www.mauramknowles.com.

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Mark Donnelly

Using vintage photos as props, Mark Donnelly gave a terrific performance of the opening monologue from his new play, No Dead End. Set in Los Angeles in the 1980s, No Dead End explores the friendship of a film librarian and an aging actor, while addressing the blurring of movie fantasies with reality.

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Brendan Costello

Frequent salon contributor Brendan Costello Jr. read an excerpt of his novel-in-progress (tentatively entitled Winning). The scene involved one of the main characters, a prodigal son and misfit CEO, reminiscing about the first Gulf War and his departed father’s morbid musings, culminating in a visit from an unexpected, but perhaps not unsurprising, guest. (Dunt-dunt-dunnnn!)

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Christy Jones

Christy Jones, returned tonight with another piece of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway (tentative title) in which he details his journey from rural Ireland to pursue his love for theater and American musicals in New York.  Tonight he riffed on that all-American musical, Singin’ in the Rain.

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon gave a dramatic reading read from his collection of vignettes called, Delusions. A woman comes to a man’s apartment needing to tell him the worst thing she had ever done. But she can’t, and asks him to tell something he did, but he can’t. Finally, desperate for release from his war memories, he reveals his worst, true nightmare. She tells him a lie, and admits she’s tricked him because she thought he was hiding something. Furious, he slaps her and leaves to start the life he’s wanted for a long time.

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John Kearns

Salon producer and host John Kearns read a poetic rant about the anger among the three parties that struggled in Belfast during the Troubles, posing the question, “How can we Irish/we Orange/we British forgive?” John plans to work this piece into his generational novel in progress, Worlds.

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Maura Knowles and Jack DiMonte

Jack DiMonte performed a comic monologue from the play, Men Suck (in which he proved that they do!), playing a man trying to pick up a woman in a bar at closing time. Maura Knowles joined him as the woman to whom his overtures were directed and though silent but for one line, she responded with perfect on-the-spot improvised reactions to his overtures. Jack, a wonderful singer, showed his versatility tonight, as he also had roles in Maura’s play, among them an Irish priest.

Capping off the evening, Ryan Winter Cahill serenaded the audience with “Someone’s Been Sending Me Flowers” by Sheldon Harnick, lamenting over a secret (and overly-enthusiastic) admirer.

ryan

Ryan Cahill

The witty song was performed to perfection by the musical theatre actress.

Come see for yourself what our members and Salongoers are talking about on Wednesday, September 3, 7pm at Bar Thalia!

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