April 29, 2014
April 24, 2014
“…A pioneering event…” Dublin poets share the “stage” with IAW&A members at the first Transatlantic Salon on April 15.
By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer
Our enterprising IAW&A Salon producer, John Kearns, has not only taken the IAW&A salon on the road to Washington, DC, Fairfield, Connecticut and Philadelphia, he’s gone international!
On Tuesday, April 15, the first Transatlantic Salon featured IAW&A members at the Cell in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood sharing the “stage” with Dublin writers live-streaming from the Twisted Pepper Café on historic Middle Abbey Street.
John shared organizing and hosting duties with Sarah Lundberg, a publisher, writer and founding member of Seven Towers Agency. An organization that celebrates and promotes Irish and Irish-American writing, Seven Towers has goals similar to IAW&A’s Mission. They are an independent, non-profit publisher and organizer of monthly readings, open mics, podcasts, and local (Dublin) history events. Find them at seventowers.ie
Last year IAW&A held a celebration of Seven Towers’ seventh anniversary at our salon at the Cell, and this year, they joined us in person (well, on screen).
Dublin writers joined us via Google Hangouts
The Dublin group, poets all, included Eamonn Lynskey whose work has been widely published since it first appeared in the 1980s in The Irish Press. His most recent collection And Suddenly the Sun Again is published by Seven Towers and available on Amazon. Visit Eamonn’s blog at http://tvivf.wordpress.com.
Glasgow-born Liz McSkeane has written numerous poems, short stories and radio scripts, which have been published in newspapers, magazines and literary journals including The Irish Times, Poetry Ireland Review and broadcast on RTE Radio. Liz’s poems have been anthologized in The White Page and Slow Time: 100 Poems to Take You There. Snow at the Opera House is her full collection.
Well known in Dublin as a poet and accomplished visual artist, Alma Brayden is a member of the Dalkey Writers’ Workshop. Seven Towers published Alma’s first poetry collection, Prism.
Another widely published and praised Dublin poet, Kate O’Shea was shortlisted for the prestigious Patrick Kavanaugh Poetry Award.
A member of the Dalkey Writers’ Workshop, Phil Lynch started writing poetry while still at school and has been involved with poetry readings in Ireland and Belgium. His work has appeared in magazines and newspapers and has been featured on on national and local radio. Phil is a regular participant in spoken word and open mic events in Dublin. Phil will be joining us in person at the next IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on May 6th at 6 pm.
Impressive afternoon crowd at NYC’s Cell Theatre
The New York group presented poetry, fiction, and song.
Irish born, New York based Tom Phelan read a poignant excerpt from his World War I novel The Canal Bridge, in which a young Irish woman learns that her fiancé “has come back to Ballyrannel after walking home from the War.” Published in the U.S. this month by Arcade, and called by Books Ireland a “powerful and deeply affecting novel”The Canal Bridge tells the story of two Irish stretcher-bearers–and the lovers and families they leave behind.”
Nearly a quarter of a million young Irish men served in the British army and fought in the trenches. When Tom Phelan was growing up in County Laois, he knew many veterans of the Great War–five hundred men in his small town of Mountmellick had been in the war and at least fifty had died. Yet due to the political landscape of the time, their sacrifice went unrecognized. With The Canal Bridge, Tom hopes to help give them their honored place in Irish history. More at www.tomphelan.net.
Mark William Butler
Mark William Butler shared his unusual views on beer, volleyball and sex on the beach in his satirical short story, Cool and Clean and Crisp (aka Heaven Is A Beer Commercial), which originally appeared in Paramour Magazine and was later included in the Best American Erotica book series, edited by Susie Bright (Touchstone/Simon & Shuster). Mark’s piece was mentioned in a review by Publishers Weekly and later cited by Ms. Bright in her book, How to Write a Dirty Story. Mark is currently available to write more dirty stories on a work-for-hire basis – hourly rates – mention this blog and receive a 50% discount!
Drucilla Wall, poet, professor and award winning writer, shared some of her poems. Drucilla is truly transatlantic, living in the Midwest, and spending summers in Wexford and Galway. Visit drucillawall.com.
John Kearns read a short excerpt from Worlds, a multi-generational Irish-American novel. Seamus Logan tells a story as he crosses the Atlantic from Ireland to America. Seamus describes how he rowed across Killary Bay from Mayo to Galway, from home to exile, from restraint to freedom, from night to day …
Tom Mahon read from American Mastery, his novel about a family in upstate New York. In this dramatic excerpt, the sons prepare to leave for Germany on business. Their father, who was wounded fighting the Germans in North Africa during WWII and resents the Germans, bullies his sons into not going. During the fight that ensues, the father, recovering from heart surgery, falls to floor clutching his chest. His sons and wife rush him to a hospital where he dies.
Crime fiction writer Gary Cahill (Mystery Writers of America–New York, International Thriller Writers) read from two short stories based on his life experience. The as-yet unpublished Rollover IRA is about a very hard man raising money for his cause on the streets of New York. In Ninety Miles, A Million Miles, childhood friendship is challenged by hatred and revenge during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This story is published online and in an e-book anthology by Plan B Magazine. Gary and his friend, engineer Tom Richter, are also currently creating and reading audio for the Plan B podcasts. www.plan-b-magazine.com/
Ryan Winter Cahill
As a parting gift to our friends in Dublin, Ryan Winter Cahill sang two songs. She chose “The Foggy Dew” by Canon Charles O’Neill in light of the anniversary of the Easter Rising. Demonstrating her range and talent, Ryan ended with the more lighthearted and lilting “Will I Ever Tell You?” from that all-American musical comedy, The Music Man. The Dubliners were as enchanted as we were with Ryan’s performance.
Sorry to report that we don’t have the expected video from the Salon, but you can be sure that nothing could spoil our transatlantic good will and mutual appreciation. We look forward to our next time, and thank John and Sarah and all the participants for a wonderful afternoon/evening. Congratulations!
By the way, should you be in Dublin, Sarah encourages you to visit the Twisted Pepper Café, which is hospitable to artists and writers.
Should you be in New York, join us at the Salon at Bar Thalia, on Tuesday, May 6, at 6pm. See you there!
April 21, 2014
On Thursday evening, April 24, 2014, Kathy Callahan’s short film will be shown as part of The Ridgewood Guild Film Festival.
Come out and support Kathy and enjoy her film!
March 13, 2014
Leader of Black ’47 and IAW&A Vice President Larry Kirwan amd the band will be on Jimmy Fallon on Saint Patrick’s Night!
If you are near a TV (you’ll probably be resting up for the IAW&A Salon at the Cell on March 18th), tune into NBC (Channel 4 in NYC) for the show!
Black ’47 will also perform the same night at BB King’s on 42nd Street where the show will be broadcast live by SiriusXM.
Black ’47 will do its final show in New York exactly 25 years after its first gig in the Bronx in November 1989.
March 10, 2014
On Wednesday, March 19th at 7:30 pm, Oscar-nominee Stephen Rea will read from Joyce’s Ulysses at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University.
Tickets: $15 at www.quickcenter.com or 203-254-4010.
By Mark William Butler
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas
What might be affectionately known as “The Irish Season” got off to a rousing start for the IAW&A on Tuesday, March 4, as the organization held the first of its two monthly Salons at Bar Thalia. Even as the bone-chilling winter winds continued to whip up trouble outside, they were no match for the warm creative spirit that dominated the evening’s festivities, which included a world-class Irish tenor, the next generation of a renowned storytelling family, and an eastern expansion of the Irish border – to China! And away we go!
Serving as the host was the always charming and witty writer/comedian Sarah Fearon, and she set the tone early by sharing the first of a collection of literary St. Patrick’s Day cards that had been sent to her over the years by her father, IAWA counsel Stephen J. Fearon. The leadoff writer for this impressive lineup was Seamus Heaney, who would then be followed throughout the course of the night by J.M. Synge, Patrick Kavanagh, and IAWA Eugene O’Neill award recipient William Kennedy.
Next, the audience was treated to some delightful poetry by ten-year-old Gillian McCourt (you may have heard of her granddad), who seems poised to continue the outstanding literary tradition of her celebrated family. Gillian’s poems included “The Blank Page”, an insightful observation of the act of writing itself, and “The Ear Infection”, a very funny imagining of a visit to a doctor’s office. Gillian confided that she was happy to be able to share her work with new friends, and was thankful to see that they seemed to enjoy it. Enjoy it they did, and those friends join The Salon in wishing Gillian a very happy birthday later this month.
Here is a video of Gillian’s performance, shot by her father, Conor McCourt: http://youtu.be/_L1CuiswVBY
The crowd then welcomed newcomer Ed Grimm as he shared some of his poetry, which included subject matter as varied as cats, New York City, and war. It was an intriguing and entertaining mix.
The following presenter, Ira Goldstein, explained that when Sarah Fearon invited him to read for the Irish Salon his first reaction was, “But I’m not Irish!” “It’s all right”, replied the ever-resourceful Sarah, “I’ll introduce you as Ira O’Goldstein!” This led to the newly-minted honorary Irishman exploring all of his Hibernian connections, which inspired the first poem he shared. Mr. O’Goldstein also read a humorous tribute to his home borough of Staten Island.
Writer Brendan Costello then guided us through a fascinating multi-media tour of his trip to New Orleans during the first Mardi Gras after Hurricane Katrina. Brendan’s sharp, compassionate observations on the state of the city after the disaster were brought to visual life by his collection of candid, colorful photographs.
The last presentation before the break was a special one indeed, as Irish tenor Karl Scully, fresh off his bravura performance at the St. Pat’s Day Parade for All Benefit at The Irish Arts Center the previous Friday, repeated it for the lucky crowd on this night as he sang three songs, including the hilarious “McBreen’s Heifer,” “Knocknashee,” and the timeless “Danny Boy”.
Karl’s soaring performance had the room buzzing during the break, as the enthusiastic audience commandeered the bar and did a little table hopping; mixing and mingling with their comrades and colleagues.
Sheila Walsh and Tom Mahon
Playwright Sheila Walsh launched the second half of the evening as she was joined onstage by writer/actor Tom Mahon to read from Ms. Walsh’s play O The Days! – a raucous and poignant coming of age story about a whip-smart teenager who longs to find her father but finds herself instead.
Tom Mahon himself then read a chapter from his novel American Mastery, where Charlie and Ray Fenton are in Tokyo with twelve hours to kill, and nearly get killed themselves. They are waiting for the early morning flight home to attend to their father, whose heart attack has ruined their celebration of a business triumph – their partnership with a company to make and sell Kelly’s products all over Asia. With the pall of death now hanging over them, they decide to go to Ginza, the nightclub section of Tokyo, and when leaving are surrounded by four thugs demanding their money. Before Charlie even realizes the reality of the situation, Raymond has already kicked the knife from one thug’s hand and his other foot has kicked him to the ground where he smashes his head. Charlie fouls himself, hardly believing his brother has killed a man in front of his eyes. “Better he than us,” Raymond says, then teaches Charlie how to defend himself if attacked.
Novelist and Salon producer John Kearns then joined the proceedings by reading an excerpt from his novel-in-progress, Worlds. In this excerpt, Janey and James Logan have taken their children to Center City Philadelphia in the early 1970s to see the Light Show at Wanamaker’s Department Store and the Enchanted Colonial Village at Lit Brothers’ Department Store. After Paul gets lost in a reverie about the colonial blacksmith from the Enchanted Village coming to life and walking through modern Philadelphia, he realizes that his little sister with whom he had been fighting most of the evening was not enjoying herself and expresses kindness toward her.
Sue Wan Sun and Daisy Kearns
The Salon then welcomed two first-time presenters, who once again demonstrated that the Irish spirit knows no boundaries. Sue Wan Sun, expressing her gratitude for an Irish-American family who helped her when she first came to the US from China, read James Joyce’s “Ecce Puer” (“Behold the Boy”) about the near-simultaneous birth of his grandson and death of his father. She followed that with the anonymous 13th century poem, “Ancient Irish Hospitality.” Daisy Kearns then took the stage, proclaiming “I’m Chinese and I’m Irish and I’m proud,” before performing a dynamic rendition of Yeats’s “Brown Penny.”
Singer/actor John Skocik then rocked the house with several of his original songs, including the riotous show-stopper, “Don’t Fall in Love With a Woman Who Don’t Give a Damn About You”.
The night was then wrapped up in style by Gillian’s grandpa, and the dadai of The Salon, Malachy McCourt, who shared his hilarious observations on two beloved and iconic Irish symbols, St. Patrick and “Danny Boy”, pointing out with no small amount of irony that St. Patrick was a Roman Saxon and the composer of “Danny Boy” never even set foot in Ireland. He also shared his belief that poems should be “dancing and singing in the mind”, and then proceeded to dance and sing his way through Yeats’s “Host in the Air” before he brought the house down with the classic tune, “Fine Girl You Are.”
And finally, one for the road, from the man himself… “Imagination in the child is powerful. Reading and laughter and love are essential in our lives.” – MALACHY McCOURT
February 24, 2014
When: Mon. March 3 show at 7pm, doors open 6:30pm
Where: Cherry Lane Theater, 38 Commerce Street New York, NY 10014
Tickets: $48 VIP (includes premier seating and a copy of “The God Box” book)
$25 General seating
To order tickets, please visit Gilda’s Club NYC website,http://www.gildasclubnyc.org/Calendar/2014/godBox.html
Proceeds from ticket and book sales benefit Gilda’s Club New York City
One of the highlights of the IAW&A Salon at the Cell last week was an excerpt from Brian Fleming’s show, “Have Yis No Homes to Go To?”
If youse have no other theatre to go to (namely IAW&A Night at Outside Mullingar), head to the Cell and check out Brian’s one-night-only performance!
Dublin Fringe sell-out show premiers in New York for one night only, in aid of St St. Pat’s for All.
Written and performed by Brian Fleming, directed by Raymond Keane.
February 20, 2014
IAW&A Sponsors Event at Museum of the City of New York with Peter Quinn, Terry Golway & more…(discount for members)
Immigrant, Archbishop, and Politician: John Hughes and the Rise of Irish New York
Thursday, March 13 at 6:30 pm
Join us for an evening exploring the life of legendary New Yorker John Hughes (1797-1864) as portrayed in both fact and fiction. A pivotal figure in the history of New York City and its Irish-American experience, Hughes presided as the Catholic archbishop of New York from the Irish Famine immigration until nearly the end of the American Civil War. First, playwright and author Honor Molloy and New York Times columnist Dan Barry will read excerpts from novelist Peter Quinn’s Banished Children (Overlook TP, 2008) and historian Terry Golway’s Machine Made (Liverwright, 2014), which capture Hughes in his varied roles as prelate, politician, and ethnic leader. After a musical interlude by Mick Moloney, featuring political and popular songs of the period, Peter Quinn and Terry Golway sit down with moderator Jim Quinn for a lively discussion about Hughes and his times.
Co-sponsored by the Irish American Writers & Artists, Inc. IAW&A members can order tickets and get a 40 percent discount by using code “3IAWA14″ HERE