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.
August 28, 2014
August 27, 2014
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
August 13, 2014
By Karen Daly
Photos by John Kearns
No summer doldrums for the diverse and talented artists at the lively IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on August 6. In fact, the night had a number of firsts. First hosting gig by the gracious Maria Deasy; the “world premier” of songs from two musicians, John Skocik and Andrew Koss; first comedy performance by musician/writer Jon Gordon; (perhaps) the first Israeli-born presenter; a seven-person ensemble for Maura Knowles’ piece, surely a first for the Bar Thalia space and the introduction of our Salon hashtag.
If you’re sharing updates or discussing our salons on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, please add the hashtag #iawasalon.
The evening’s host Maria Deasy is an actress, singer, and writer who has starred Off-Broadway and in film. She plays Jackie Moss in Hooroo Jackson’s new movie Aimy In A Cage starring Paz de la Huerta and Crispin Glover, due out this fall. Look for her as “Gwen Sherbondy” in Momsters – When Moms Go Bad hosted by Roseanne Barr. Yes, she is the Momster. Visit www.mariadeasy.com.
Sean Carlson, his fiancee, Cathlin Olszewski, and his manuscript
Sean Carlson kicked off our evening with another glimpse into the manuscript of his first book, yet untitled — a captivating narrative of a family’s immigration from Ireland to London and the Bronx. This latest reading brought us back in time to Co. Kerry when dances were held outdoors at a local crossroads, leading to “a love marriage in an era of matchmaking.” Sean will continue sharing his work at our salons over the coming months. Learn more and join his email list for updates here: www.seancarlson.net.
Tom Mahon read a dramatic short story from his collection of vignettes Tomorrow Never Came. It’s about how people live and die, often unexpectedly. Tom’s selection tonight was “Friendly Fire.” On a lieutenant’s last night in-country before going home after a year in the infantry, he gives a cigarette to a friendly local soldier. The soldier resents the American going home, leaving him and his friends to fight a war America started. They have both lost people and seen so many wounded and dead. The soldier lifts his weapon on the defenseless lieutenant who’s drunk far more than he should have, and shoots and kills him on his last night.
Guenevere Donohue and Jon Gordon
In a stunning collaboration, Guenevere Donohue shared an original song from her theatre piece about her father, Killer Is My Name. The song, “Revered,” was rich, sweet, and had a profound effect on the audience. Guen was thrilled to be accompanied by the fantastic jazz sax man, Jon Gordon.
Next Jon Gordon decided to change up the mood with two brilliant and funny pieces by IAW&A Hall of Famer George Carlin, “Advertising”, as well as his rewording of “America the Beautiful”. The late comedian was a native of the Upper West Side, so Jon – and the salongoers – enjoyed hearing his work at the Thalia. Jon’s a memoirist, world-class musician, and as we’ve now seen, a good comedian.
John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, featuring two of the main characters in his four-generation family portrait. When Janey Logan finds that the A&P has sent her son, Paul, home on his bicycle on a rainy day with a jar of mayonnaise in only a single brown paper bag, she takes Paul back to the store and makes a scene to humiliate the manager into giving her a new jar — in a double bag. “And she didn’t even like mayonnaise.” John has been working his way through the seven deadly sins and though tonight’s excerpt was about “Anger,” he had the audience laughing in recognition.
Maura Knowles cast: Maura as Mo, the cast featured Luis Villabon, Joe Scalzo, Kathy Callahan, Mark Butler, Marni Rice and Julie Currie reading stage directions
Actor/singer/writer Maura (Mo) Knowles presented a section of an autobiographical new play with music, Insult to Injury that she is creating with composer Nathania Wibowo. In addition to Maura as Mo, the cast featured Luis Villabon, Joe Scalzo, Kathy Callahan, Mark Butler, Marni Rice and Julie Currie reading stage directions. Maura, who lives in NY and LA, has been shooting a new web series, Common Ground and was recently cast in the feature film, I Love Hate currently in development in NY. www.mauramknowles.com She thanks IAW&A for including her in a thrilling line-up.
“T’was an honor to share the stage with everyone last night.”
After the break, Lissa Kiernan made good on her promise to read her early, funny poems, though she snuck in a few sucker punches. After all, as her friend and mentor, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, in attendance, pointed out: “it wouldn’t be a true Irish event without a bit of woe and darkness in amongst the light!” Lissa was also joined by friends from her workplace, World Monuments Fund, poet Alexandra van de Kamp, a fellow teaching artist from The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative, and a lovely couple—the writer Gail Hovey and artist Pat Hickman—who hoofed it in all the way from Haverstraw! Find out more about Lissa’s new release, Two Faint Lines in the Violet, at twofaintlines.com, and come out to support her at KGB Bar on September 16, 7 PM, in a fundraiser for the wonderful New York Writer’s Coalition.
Marcia Loughran read a rant about Brooklyn and three poems with summer/road trip themes. She was excited to be back at the Salon and impressed with the terrific crowd.
John Skocik, lead singer and songwriter from Girl to Gorilla, got us singin’ and rockin’ to his songs, including the “world premier” of his brand-new “Crying in the Rain;” “I Really Want to Break Your Heart” and “Jenny Doesn’t Live with Me Anymore.” John’s performances always enliven the night.
Brian Mallon read two excerpts from his newly completed novel, Shane O’Neill.
Yona Gonik has been attending IAW&A Salons when her schedule allows and tonight we were happy to welcome her as a first-time presenter. Yona read a section of her memoir-in-progress focusing on different “domestic jobs for fancy New Yorkers” she had upon arriving from Israel. Her work is a “satire shooting in all directions [denominations, classes] not sparing even blue collar workers, and hopefully leading to grace and compassion.” Yona adds that the Salon is “one of the only things in NY that interests me wholeheartedly…”
Christy Jones, returned tonight with another piece of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway (tentative title). Christy appreciates our encouraging reception to his work-in-progress. And we’d like to hear more of his journey from rural Ireland to pursue his love for theater and American musicals in NY and included time in the US National Guard; the Stella Adler Theatre Studio; Off Broadway, Regional Theatre and finally Broadway in the Brian Friel play Philadelphia, Here I Come!
Andrew Koss and Maxine Linehan
The wonderful duo of singer Maxine Linehan and guitarist Andrew Koss ended the night on an upbeat note, with the song “The Only Home I Know” from Shenandoah A Musical by James Lee Barrett, Peter Udell, and Philip Rose. Then Maxine and Andrew debuted Andrew’s original new song “I Think of You,” which, says Sean Carlson, “… couldn’t put better words around living in New York…” Learn about her upcoming performances and new album at www.maxinelinehan.com
Tom Wesselmann, Still Life
Next #iawasalon will be on Tuesday, August 19 at The Cell. See you there!
July 22, 2014
Directed by Geoffrey Owens
At Grace and St. Paul’s Church
123 West 71st – New York
Friday 25th July and 26th of July – 8pm
Suggested Donation $10 to benefit our fall production of The Taming Of The Shrew
July 21, 2014
By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
We promised another night filled with talent, creativity and an enthusiastic audience and the mid-July IAW&A Salon, hosted by John Kearns, did not disappoint. Tuesday’s program included four theater pieces, possibly a Salon record, but not a surprise, considering the appeal of The Cell’s intimate performance space. Tuesday’s program demonstrated how new members enliven and expand the mix and how they are welcomed by the group. So, bring your friends to an IAW&A Salon. They won’t be disappointed.
The first theater piece was from Pat Fenton. A proud son of the Irish working-class tenements of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, Pat is a terrific journalist whose writing has been influenced by Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin. Pat read from An Afternoon with Breslin, Amen, his one-man play about the many moods of one of America’s most famous journalists. Pat hopes to complete the work by the fall. Meantime, please don’t send him your complaints about something that upset you (or one of your relatives) about a Breslin column. He’s heard them all.
Daniel MacGowan, John Kearns
Next up was Sheila Walsh’s ten minute play, Waiting for Brando, a poignant and darkly hilarious look at Jack Kerouac at the height of his fame. On an afternoon in 1957, Kerouac and his neighbor Billy wait for the phone call that tells them if Marlon Brando will star in the movie version of On the Road. Great performances by Daniel McGowan as Kerouac and John Kearns as Billy.
Lissa Kiernan delivered on her promise to present a kick-ass kick-off reading for her hot-off-the-press first poetry collection Two Faint Lines in the Violet (Negative Capability Press), praised by Annie Finch as “ . . . ahead of its time, a tragic and lucid banner leading us into the 21st century when poets will increasingly be called on to remind us that we are human animals whose fate is held in the earth.” Learn more and order your copy at: twofaintlines.com or come and get a signed copy at the Salon at Bar Thalia on August 6. The IAW&A Salon is proud and honored that Lissa chose to launch her collection of poetry with us.
Having shared his beautiful NY Daily News and Irish Times essays earlier in the year, Sean Carlson returned to the Salon to read from the final manuscript of his first book — a nonfictional narrative of emigration through a family story from Ireland to London and the Bronx. Tonight he transported us to a farmhouse at the bottom of a lane outside a small village in Co. Kerry. We could almost feel the warmth of the turf fire burning in the hearth as the story begins. Sean will continue reading from his to-be-titled book at our IAW&A Salons over the coming months. Learn more and join his email list here: www.seancarlson.net
At a May Salon, Mary Pat Kelly debuted songs from her musical Special Intentions, based on her novel of the same name, the story of her six years in the convent in the 1960s. Mary Pat has written the book, lyrics and music. Tonight she was able to present another song thanks to the wonderful musical theater actress Maura Knowles and the great pianist, Sean Irawan. We look forward to more from these talented collaborators.
Barry Sacker, John Cappelletti
Actor, director, playwright and teacher John Cappelletti presented his short play, We the People, which was first performed at the Hudson Guild Theatre last year. The drama featured acting pro Barry Sacker in the leading role of Brock who convinces Francis, a team member played by John, not to leave an organization that is planning a most unusual event to eliminate gun violence in America. John is glad to have opportunity to showcase his work.
Chris Bradley, Mary Pat Kelly
Chris Bradley shared a portion of a contemporaneous historical fiction that he is researching and writing about the plight of homeless Veterans. Each night in this country, 60,000 Veterans sleep in shelters or on the streets. Chris is conducting in-depth interviews with a cross-section of these men and women who live in NYC. Chris will fictionalize and weave the stories together into an entertaining, educational novel. He plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the book’s sales to fight homelessness. He expects to complete the work in the next few months and welcomes inquiries about how you can help the men and women who volunteered to defend every one of us. Reach Chris at email@example.com.
An award-winning writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, Megan O’Donnell is also an actor, activist, and visual artist and new member of IAW&A. At Tuesday’s Salon, she read a selection of poems on numerous subjects, including motherhood, sexuality, writing, and self-harm as well as an emulation of one of her favorite poets, Emily Dickinson. Although Megan’s poetry is not available online, you can read some of her non-fiction at http://elitedaily.com/author/modonnell/.
Christy Jones, who read at the July Salon at the Bar Thalia, returned tonight with another piece of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway (tentative title). Tonight’s chapter was a vivid recollection of his childhood on a farm near the Dublin airport runway. Christy appreciates our encouraging reception to his work-in-progress. And we’d like to hear more of his journey from rural Ireland to pursue his love for theater and American musicals in NY and included time in the US National Guard; the Stella Adler Theatre Studio; Off Broadway, Regional Theatre and finally Broadway in the Brian Friel play Philadelphia, Here I Come!
John Kearns was happy to present a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress about four generations of an Irish American family, Worlds. The excerpt showed John’s knowledge of both Roman mythology (Ovid’s story of Mercury and Aglauros, set in 1950s West Philadelphia) and his skill in depicting teenage crushes. In his story, 7th-grader Janey Dougherty becomes infatuated with a high school boy she meets after the May Procession at St. Francis de Sales School. Janey is excited when the boy knocks on her front door only to find out that he is interested in seeing her more extroverted sister, Lisa.
Mark William Butler
Ever the good sport, Mark William Butler channeled his inner Sinatra to close the night with the Johnny Mercer classic, “Summer Wind.”
Please note next Salon will be on Wednesday, August 6 at 7pm at Bar Thalia.
July 9, 2014
July 8, 2014
IAW&A Poised to Expand as Larry Kirwan Takes over as President, IAW&A’s General Membership Meeting, 6/30/14
by Karen Daly
The Irish American Writers & Artists annual membership meeting on June 30 at the Irish Consulate in NYC marked several transitions in our five-year history.
We welcomed our new president Larry Kirwan and sent our thanks and appreciation to his predecessor and IAW&A co-founder, T.J. English for his service and leadership as both president and treasurer.
Deputy Consul General Peter Ryan has been a generous supporter of IAW&A from the beginning and has been especially helpful in organizing the “road” salons to Fairfield, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Now Peter will take up the newly created post of Consul General in Hong Kong. Mary Pat Kelly presented Peter Ryan with a first-edition of a Seamus Heaney poetry collection, purchased by Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy on behalf of the IAW&A. Members of the Board thanked Peter on behalf of the membership, and he in turn gave a gracious goodbye speech.
We sent our thanks and appreciation to Consul General Noel Kilkenny and Hanora Kilkenny who have hosted the IAW&A at their residence and who will now be assigned to Greece.
President Larry Kirwan talked about his aims for the IAW&A, the importance of our mission as a progressive-minded group and his awe of the magic that happens at the IAW&A Salons. Among his goals: chapters in other cities, (board-member Eamonn Wall of St. Louis is reaching out to the Midwest and to Irish Studies communities), an occasional salon just for musicians and more road salons. Members suggested having additional “transatlantic” salons with Irish groups, based on our successful cyber- salon with Dublin poets. Larry challenged each person to bring in a new member – an easy prospect now that the membership fee is $50/$25 for students.
Vice-President Mary Pat Kelly reported on the great success of the first Frank McCourt Literary Prizes (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) presented in June to members of the first graduating class of NYC’s Frank McCourt High School — Kate Nelson, Anastasia Warren, and Sebastian Montjuich. Plans are being made to fundraise for subsequent McCourt Prizes.
Speaking of awards, Malachy McCourt treated us to the story of his long acquaintance with Pete Hamill, designated to receive our 2014 Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award in October.
Treasurer and Salon Producer John Kearns reported on our finances, which are strong. John pointed out that funds need to be replenished because of money spent on the Frank McCourt Literary Prizes and the smaller-than-usual profit made by last year’s O’Neill Awards. The O’Neill Award is the IAW&A’s major fundraiser of the year and John urged everyone to help make this year’s award to Pete Hamill a success. Plans are in the works for road Salons in Breezy Point, Danbury, CT, IBAM Chicago, and Saint Louis. Secretary and force behind the popular “Weekly” newsletter, Mark Butler suggested that IAW&A support a NYC library advocacy group.
Sarah Fearon introduced the committees and asked for volunteers in Events, O’Neill Award, and Communications.
Other recent changes — Mark Butler, Eamonn Wall and Karen Daly have joined the Board and Dan Cassidy, T.J. English and Tim O’Brien have stepped down.
Finally, Larry and the Board look forward to an exciting year of expansion, enhanced communications and a promised new website.
Once again, we thank the Consulate and Peter Ryan and his associate Mary Deady for their hospitality.
July 1, 2014
By Mary Lannon with thanks to Honor Molloy
Tuesday night’s well attended IAW&A Salon hosted by the gracious and winning Honor Molloy featured a slate of new performers that along with a few stalwarts made for a lovely evening at the cell.
First, first-time presenter, Ed McCann read from his luminous memoir, Finding George. His work has appeared in national magazines and literary journals. An award-winning television writer / producer, he’s also a longtime contributing editor at Country Living magazine. This Saturday at 2pm, along with his partner Richard Kolath, he will launch Writers Read, a new literary endeavor that promotes established and emerging writers and celebrates the spoken word.
Mark William Butler
Next, Mark William Butler presented a song from his horror movie Christmas musical, Bad Christmas Sweater. The song, “He Will Know” was performed beautifully by a IAW&A Salon first-timer, the talented actress Kelsey Walston. With a little luck, the play will be providing audiences with a warm, fuzzy, and freaky feeling sometime this holiday season. Butler is a playwright and composer who has had over 30 plays and revues produced in what he is now forced to admit has become a long career.
Another first-time salon presenter, Irish author Yvonne Cassidy, read from her third novel, How Many Letters Are In Goodbye? This was the first reading from the novel, which was published by Hachette Ireland on June 5th. How Many Letters Are In Goodbye? is the story of Rhea Farrell, a young Irish girl, homeless on the streets of New York, trying to find out more about her mother who died when Rhea was only three. Cassidy, who has been living in New York since 2011, read the first letter from the book and was happy to leave the evening selling all the advance copies she’d brought with her! For more info or to see a video of the reading: www.yvonnecassidy.com.
Dublin-born musician Bernard Smith first sang “Travel On,” an original song, that he wrote after a series of events that at the time he considered catastrophic. But when he stopped to listen to the rhythm of his own heart, he realized all of the seemingly life changing problems were just small transient ones that he could let go of. His second song, “Down in the City,” was written by Irish folk artist Sony Condell as an homage to him and because it’s a beautiful song.
Kevin Holohan, Joe Goodrich, and Honor Molloy
Completing the first half, the multi-talented Honor Molloy presented a brief segment from The Three Christs – a new music theatre work she’s working on with composer/performer Corey Dargel. Kevin Holohan read stage directions and Joe Goodrich played Dr. Zeel—psychiatrist to the Jaysoo Trio. Molloy is a playwright and author of the stunning novel, Smarty Girl.
Opening the second half, Kevin Holohan read two short pieces. The first was a short story about a rite of passage of a young boy in Dublin trying to gain peer acceptance of his first foray into serious swearing. The second was a short excerpt from his first novel The Brothers’ Lot, a phantasmagoric wishful vision of justice as it should have been, cataloging the physical implosion of every Church-run institution in Ireland where abuse of children took place, a piece lent added resonance and poignancy by the recent renewed media attention around mother and child homes in Ireland. http://www.akashicbooks.com/catalog/the-brothers-lot/
John Kearns read an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, an “overture” to the book’s first section dealing with the Deadly Sin/Lively Virtue of Lust/Chastity. The overture juxtaposes fragments and sentences related to Lust or Chastity from the episodes that follow in the novel about four generations of the Irish-American Logan family. It also interspersed bits and pieces from mythology, biblical stories, and literary classics. Later this month, Kearns will be reading with one of our favorite salon participants—Maura Mulligan—in County Mayo—his grandparents’ old stomping grounds.
Tony DeMarco hails from an Irish-Italian family in East Flatbush. He’s been performing and teaching the Irish fiddle for over 30 years, and is acknowledged as a master of the New York/Sligo fiddle style. DeMarco also invited the audience to the second annual New York Trad Fest to be held on October 18th at Connolly’s Pub and October 19th at the Irish Arts Center this year. In addition, the Trad Fest will include a panel discussion hosted by Dr. Mick Moloney at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House at 12:30 pm on October 18th.
Gerry Walsh, acting on advice from Malachy McCourt, did not read but talked about his short-story collection, In The Company of Old Men, a reminiscence of laughter, fun, love, horror and aversion, tales from growing up and working around an assortment of colorful characters, sane, half-insane or one step from the Gates of Hell. Walsh spoke about growing up with death and honoring those who come before you by telling their stories.
Closing out the evening Marni Rice sang two original songs from her EP Songs for A Small Chamber, accompanying herself on accordion. Rice’s original performance works in French & English (text, music & storytelling) have been produced at Theatre festivals in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and Central Africa. Currently, she’s working on Magdala: Stories from the Net and the Sea; a co-creation by the Xio Evans Marni Rice Experimental Dance Theatre.
See you at Bar Thalia on Wednesday, July 2nd at 7 pm!
June 26, 2014
It’s almost here!
And we hope you can make it! Mingle with your fellow members and let your voice be heard – maybe even volunteer for a committee!
And help us to honor and bid farewell to Irish Deputy Consul General Peter Ryan, who is leaving to take up the newly created post of Consul General in Hong Kong.
The meeting is Monday, June 30th at 6:00pm at The Irish Consulate, 345 Park Avenue (at 51st Street), 17th floor.
And yes, there will be refreshments!
June 13, 2014
by Mary Lannon
Photos by John Kearns
Great performances from IAW&A Salon regulars Tom Mahon, John Kearns, Tara O’Grady, and Marni Rice among others and a showcase of readings from three City College students taught by IAWA’s own Brendan Costello Jr., marked the entertaining IAW&A Salon at the Thalia on Wednesday night, June 4th.
John Skocik, lead singer and songwriter from Girl to Gorilla, led off the night with a couple of original songs. John and the band will be playing gigs in New York City this summer. Watch this space for more information.
Our first writer of the night, Tom Mahon, read a “Doctor’s Story” from a collection of stories called Delusions. In the piece two people’s dreams come true, yet the doctor is outraged to learn that society pays so much more to its entertainers than to its health care providers, especially its surgeons. Other stories in the collection explore the questions of whether delusions are real if a person sees them turn out to be real and whether delusions that become real result from skill, luck or the will to bend reality to a vision.
Next up our gracious and talented host, John Kearns, read two excerpts from his short story, “Making a Visit,” about a man named Terrance who, because of a song that reminded him of his mother, stops into a church on the evening that he plans to commit suicide. During his visit, Terrance reflects on several memories of his mother and of Saint Patrick’s Days past. After depositing all of the money he had in the poor box, Terrance leaves the church and runs into some street musicians performing one of his mother’s favorite songs. When the musicians ask him for a contribution, Terrance agrees to bring the money the next day, and he walks away laughing.
Mary Lannon read from the middle of a short story called “A Key to Catastrophe Management” about a college senior who becomes obsessed with the weather while trying to figure out art and love. Lannon is also working on publishing a novel. Learn more about it and like her Facebook page at MirandajMcleod.com
The multi-talented singer-songwriter Tara O’Grady, who recently signed with a literary agent in Hollywood, next read an excerpt from her memoir Migrating Towards Happiness. The humorous piece reveals a frustrating conversation Tara had with a priest on the day of her Donegal granny’s death, and a dream she later had when she found herself in the biblical Garden of Gethsemane. Tara’s full swing band will be performing at a FREE outdoor swing dance Wednesday, June 11 for the Brooklyn Public Library Summer Series, dance lesson 6:30pm and music 7:00-8:30pm. 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. www.taraogradymusic.com.
Marni Rice ended the first half of the evening by singing two songs acapella. She led off with “On Raglan Road” (Luke Kelly/Patrick Kavanagh) and “The Month of January” (traditional song from Sarah Makem songbook). Salon regulars may not have been surprised to learn that these songs marked a return to the talented Rice’s roots as she spent her early years hanging out at the library memorizing folk tunes.
Jim Rodgers returned to the IAW&A Salon and read a short story set in Sunnyside.
Most of the second half of the salon showcased former students of Brendan Costello at City College.
Poet and musician Conor McGlone read a selection of poems that were linguistically dense and brimming with a brooding intensity.
Bronx native Jordan Ortega read an engaging selection from a novel in progress, about a detective who awakens from a coma and discovers he no longer needs to sleep. In addition to being an excellent writer, Jordan is also captain of the CCNY Basketball team (this may be a Salon first!).
Megan O’Donnell is an actor, activist, and award-winning writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. She read a selection of poems on numerous subjects, including violence against women (the focus of her activism) and an emulation of Emily Dickinson.
We look forward to hearing more from these talented young writers, particularly now that there’s a new student rate for the membership!]
Brendan Costello Jr. followed with a selection from a novel in progress, about an executive who whiles away time in his office dreaming about the apocalypse. He closed with an interpretation of the Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon,” which he described as the musical equivalent of his character’s sentiment that “This is the day the Lord has made, let us prepare for a cleansing fire.”
The evening ended with Jack DiMonte singing two songs of summer. He began with a sad song of regret over a missed romantic opportunity at a seaside that began life as a French song called “C’est Te Moi” by Alfred Vidalin and Gilbert Becaud. American lyricist Norman Gimbel, who also wrote English lyrics to many Bossa Nova classics, wrote the English lyrics, and it became “It Was Me.” The second song was a much happier take on summer love, “That Sunday That Summer” by Joe Sherman and George David Weiss, a hit for Nat King Cole in the early 1960s that was later revived by his daughter Natalie.