Irish American Writers & Artists

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.

ONeillAward

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.

kearns_malachy

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.

crowd1

Large, lively crowd at Bar Thalia

skojo

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/.

sarah

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.

marcia

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.

brennan

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.

break

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

break2

Fun during the break: Jack DiMonte and Maura Mulligan

maura

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.

maureen

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.

tom

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 

jim

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.

christy

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.

mary

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.

ryan

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.

mal

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.

peadar

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.”

pat

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.

tom

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.

mark

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.

lauren

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.”

christy

 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.

jk

 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

don

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

russ

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.

honor

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.

sean

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.

johnB

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.”

guen

 Guenevere Donohue

ryan

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.

tom

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.”

karen

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.

sean

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

kearns

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.

mary

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.

jack

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.

brennan

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.”

malachy

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. 

Image

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

full_house

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!

capelleti_maria

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.

seanc2

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.

viv

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.

sheila

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

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.”

sarah

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.

maurak

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.

markd

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.

brendan2

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!)

christyj

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.

tom1

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.

kearns

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.

jack

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!

August 13, 2014

No Summer Slowdown at #iawasalon: 8/6/14 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 4:14 pm

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.

maria

Maria Deasy

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

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

Tom Mahon

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.

guen

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.

jon

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.

jk

John Kearns

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

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.”

lissa

Lissa Kiernan

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

Marcia Loughran

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_Sk

John Skocik

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

Brian Mallon

Brian Mallon read two excerpts from his newly completed novel, Shane O’Neill.

yona2

Yona Gonik

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…”

christyChristy Jones

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!

maxine

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

mayo_tomato

Tom Wesselmann, Still Life

Next #iawasalon will be on Tuesday, August 19 at The Cell.  See you there! 

July 22, 2014

IAW&A Member Guen Donohue in Shakespeare Scene Night

Filed under: Literature,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 8:55 pm

shake

 

Shake Scenes

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

Cast:

Taylor Ryski

Jeffrey Young

Yurika Foster

Fabio Motta

Guenenevere Donohue

Geoffrey Owens

Ibeth Massari

July 21, 2014

IAW&A Salon at the Cell, 7/15: Poetry Book Launch, Plays, Music, and Superb Writing

Filed under: American Politics,Essay,Events,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 4:19 am

crowd

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.

pat

Pat Fenton

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.

dan

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

Lissa Kiernan

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.

sean

Sean Carlson

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

maura

 Maura Knowles

sean_piano

Sean Irawan

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.

cappeletiit

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_mpk

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 cjbradleyesq@gmail.com.

megan

Megan O’Donnell

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

Christy Jones

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!

jk

John Kearns

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

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

IAW&A Salon Fireworks at Bar Thalia on July 2, 2014

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music,Social Activism — by scripts2013 @ 10:53 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Jon Gordon, Sarah Fearon, John Kearns

As a warmup to Independence Day, IAW&A had its own fireworks at the July 2 Salon at the Bar Thalia hosted by John Kearns. Poet Marcia Loughran credits IAW&A with providing lightning and flash floods for the occasion. The real excitement came from our unique mix of talent, creativity, and warm enthusiasm.

DSCN0453

Tom Mahon

IAW&A Salon regular Tom Mahon read a parable from his collection called Allusions. This vignette tells of allusions that especially affect men who stop using their brains. Not that IAW&A men are in that category. Women are usually spared similar problems, except for those affected by the men’s allusions. Salongoers responded to Tom’s wit and confident delivery.

DSCN0455

Michelle Fulves

Mary Pat Kelly brought two newcomers, both exceptional presenters. First Michele Fulves read a moving piece of memoir, The Girl Who Didn’t Want to Be There. As a recalcitrant adolescent, she traveled to Italy with her family to meet her grandfather, Fiorangelo, who was forced to return to his village in Benevento, Italy, without his children. Straddling past and present, Michele discovers the secret message in his final wish to reunite with his son before he dies. A frequent reader at the Upper Westside’s Red Harlem Readers, Michele has written and performed two solo shows in local venues. Roadside Angels, her first show about redefining success, was the happy result of a mid-life crisis. Her current show, The Price of Courage, explores the risks, rewards and unintended consequences of blowing the whistle. Michele plans to tour it throughout the city next spring and we hope that the IAW&A Salon will be on her agenda.

DSCN0456

Jane Altman

Actress Jane Altman shared a parable (second of the night) called “The Glowstones”, which “was in my mind in its entirety when I woke up one Wednesday morning — all I had to do was write it down.” Jane has been acting since she was 15 and went to her first summer stock company. Experienced in the classics and contemporary theatre as well as Gilbert & Sullivan, she’s also done corporate and medical/pharmaceutical narration. Jane plans to return and share some of her writing, and, of course, whatever wonderful story is in her mind in the morning. She enjoyed our welcoming group that was “so responsive to a complete stranger.”  You’re not a stranger for long at the IAW&A Salon.

DSCN0457

Megan O’Donnell

In her second IAW&A Salon appearance, Megan O’Donnell read six short poems that showed her range and talent, prompting several audience members to call her “the real deal.” Among them were “Window Shopping,”  “Amsterdam Avenue” and “Bone to-Bone.” Megan graduated this year from City College, where Brendan Costello was her professor.  She’s an actor, activist, and award-winning writer.

DSCN0458

Gary Cahill

Gary Cahill read from his brick-tough crime fiction short story “Corner of River and Rain”, wherein a couple of Hell’s Kitchen “debt collectors” take out frustration andpersonal loss on two loud-mouth real estate speculators lame enough to celebrate big- money success at the expense of other peoples’ lives, and run into — you guessed it — the wrong guys. Antics ensue, if being prodded along a dark street toward a rendezvous with the Hudson could be considered “antics.” Find the story in its first-published form free online at Short Story Me Genre Fiction, in the “crime” file — http://www.short-story.me/crime-stories/194-corner-of-river-and-rain.html.

DSCN0459

Sarah Fearon made some announcements

DSCN0460

Marcia Loughran

Marcia Loughran is a part-time nurse practitioner, part-time poet, working on a manuscript after completing her MFA at the Bennington Writing Seminars. Marcia read three poems covering topics from fishing to Queens, among them “Ode to Queens” and “What We Look for Out the Window in winter.” She is pleased to be back at the IAW&A Salon, even in “biblical weather” and we are pleased to have her unique voice. She plans to return soon, as her Irish relatives are arriving imminently and she needs a place to take them

DSCN0461

Maureen Hossbacher taking to the mic on the eve of her birthday

To mark her birthday, Maureen Hossbacher entertained us with a hilarious parody, written by Pam Peterson, of the song “Memory” from the musical Cats. Maureen has a great voice and presence, and the song especially resonated for some of us.

DSCN0467

John Munnelly

Award winning song writer/singer John Munnelly (www.johnmunnellymusic.com) sang three songs and shared a bit of his creative process with the song “Julius Caesar”. At a creative retreat, John intended to read Shakespeare’s plays, including Julius Caesar. Before he had a chance to read the play, “along came this song.” John knew about Caesar’s life “from, yes, my good Irish education.” He is still tweaking parts of the song to deal with what happens after Caesar crossed the Rubicon but John thinks that what we heard is likely close to the final version. Then he had us singing about love, love, love, with his song “Peace.”  Though written and recorded some time ago, “Peace” was selected as one of ten  finalists in the annual International Peace Award & Song Contest in Tipperary. John has just gone there to take part (and win) the contest. We’re rootin’ for you, John.  You can hear a recording with choir, strings and band at sonicbids.com/band/johnmunnelly/audio/

In case you haven’t had enough soccer, you can watch Jon’s Dublin- based project, “King of Cambridge” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9brCB-5A6Y

 DSCN0470

Brendan Costello

Frequent presenter Brendan Costello Jr. read an essay-in-progress about Kara Walker’s just-closed art exhibit in the former Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn. The installation features a huge sugar-coated sphinx with exaggerated African features, and several small “sugar boys” made of resin and burnt sugar. Ostensibly about the people affected by the exploitative and harsh process of sugar production and refinement, the work’s context and symbolism produce a wide range of responses and interpretations. An expanded, processed and refined (though non-caloric) version of Brendan’s piece will appear in next month’s Openlettersmonthly.com.

chris_bradley_mpk

Chris Bradley and Mary Pat Kelly

Chris Bradley shared an intimate story about a man who spent a night in Rye, New York, with the most beautiful, strong woman he had ever seen. It included the man’s observations about the woman, the pain she had obviously endured and his hope she would just let him love her, forever.

DSCN0475

Christy Jones

Irish-born New Yorker, Christy Jones, whom Malachy McCourt introduced to the IAW&A Salon, read a piece many audience members related to – about the need to make a living while pursuing creative dreams. Christy worked as a cabdriver to support his family while pursuing his dream of being an actor and studying at the famed Stella Adler studio.

DSCN0476

John Kearns

John Kearns read an excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, in which Seamus Logan travels to 19th century America in steerage and entertains a young boy with stories. When a fellow passenger objects to all of the fairies and ghosts in the yarns, Seamus tells the tale of the Donegal Doubter. Ignoring the warning from neighbors that his new home was haunted, the Donegal Doubter moved into the house only to have his own boots get up and tramp around the house on their own and finally kick him in the rear end until he was forced to leave.

DSCN0479

Malachy McCourt

Though Malachy McCourt jokes about being “a man of good taste”, tonight he displayed great taste and sensitivity in choosing to read a story about his “big brave father” taking him to drink water from the loveliest well in Ireland. The story is from his bestselling memoir, A Monk Swimming.  Malachy closed the evening with a Limerick song, “Bonnie Isle.”

We can’t promise lightning or floods but we can guarantee more talent, creativity and enthusiasm at the salon at the Cell on July 15 at 7pm.  Join us and see for yourself.

Next Page »

The Toni Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,391 other followers