Irish American Writers & Artists

March 23, 2015

IAW&A Salon 3/16/15: Soaring on Saint Patrick’s Eve!

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature — by scripts2013 @ 1:17 am

IAW&A Salon 3/16/15

“Only fitting we’d soar on St. Patrick’s Eve.”  Tom Mahon

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

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Tom Mahon, Kevin McPartland, and the full house at the Cell

That’s a perfect summary of the IAW&A Salon on Monday 3/16. The packed house at the Cell seemed to expect an extraordinary night – and they got one. We had a lively mix of fiction, poetry, personal journeys and music. And in the spirit of IAW&A’s mission statement, tonight especially, many members expressed their belief in freedom and acceptance for all people.

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Gordon Gilbert

We welcomed Gordon Gilbert, in his second Salon appearance, reading from his unfinished novel, Speedway Romance, set in contemporary western New York and in antebellum Louisiana, covering certain events in the life of an abolitionist named John Woodworth. In Gordon’s excerpt, John visits his older brother, a slaveholder with a plantation outside of New Orleans. John has seized an opportunity for a clandestine encounter with a young house servant with whom he has become enthralled. We’re privy to John’s thoughts as he waits impatiently on a path near a river, far from the mansion and others’ prying eyes. Gordon hosts a series of readings celebrating Beat Generation writers at the Cornelia Street Café. Mark your calendars:

April 30th – Lawrence Ferlinghetti; May15th – Lenore Kandel – http://corneliastreetcafe.com/Performances.asp 

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Vivian O’Shaughnessy

Vivian O’Shaughnessy, poet, artist, translator, read “Blood on the Tracks” her English version of the original French poem created for the anthology about to be published in France, We Are Charlie Hebdo. (Corps Puce Publishers).  It opens:

Baudelairien Paris
in search of Pigalle
flocked by what I see not
acceptance
nurturing…”

Visit: www.vivianoshaughnessy.com.

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Brendan Costello Jr.

We heard a moving and insightful new essay by Brendan Costello Jr., IAW&A Board member and creative writing instructor at City College. The parades around St. Patrick’s Day (the one on Fifth Avenue and the St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens) brought back a memory of accompanying his father to the 1994 Gay Pride Parade. Brendan illustrates how we all have multiple identities and affiliations, and ended with a sharp critique of those who would have excluded his father from celebrating his Irish heritage for being gay.

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Tom Mahon

In “The Bluest Eyes,” Tom Mahon told a true story of two men he’d worked for in the 70s. Coming home one bitter cold night, they got stranded in the building vestibule, looking for the keys. A man entered behind them and forced them to the floor.  After taking their valuables, he taunted them for being gay, and shot one in the back of the head. The victim, the handsomest and most Irish one, was a major male model in New York at the time.  His murderer was never caught. The police weren’t motivated to find the killer of a gay man.

A tragic story, emotionally delivered.

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Jeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant led us on a vivid journey across the Sahara and the Tenezrouft, the “Land of Thirst” in a chapter from her book Heartlands of Islam. The chapter, titled “The Hajj” offers a glimpse of the dazzling white sands of the Sahara and its fierce warrior cultures, dappled with humorous glimpses of life as a stewardess in the glory days of flight. Jeanne’s rich imagery evokes moments in history, which were forerunners to today’s jihadism. Her work is a voice for tolerance of the complex societies, which have spawned the radicalism that now terrorizes the West and threatens the peaceable Muslim majority with indiscriminate backlash Jeanne Is developing “Becoming Irish,” the story of her journey through her Celtic past and the DNA discoveries of her strong Irish roots.

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Mark Butler,Honor Molloy, Noel Lawler, Conor McGlone, and Jordan Ortega

Salon producer, host and expert on the Molly Maguires (among his other talents) John Kearns presented a rewritten scene from his play, Sons of Molly Maguire. In a 19th-century upstate Pennsylvania shebeen, miner John Kilbride urges his friend O’Donnell to embrace non-violent tactics against unjust mine bosses and swears that his son will get an education and not be part of any violence. When a group of disguised Molly Maguires bursts into the bar celebrating their burning of a boss’s barn, Kilbride is shocked to find that his son, Jack, is one of them. John is grateful to the actors who brought the scene to life: Noel Lawler, Honor Molloy, Mark Butler, Jordan Ortega, and Conor McGlone.

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Larry Kirwan

Hail to the Chief! Musician, singer, author – and IAW&A President Larry Kirwan read from his new book, A History of Irish Music, which will be published in April.  Larry combined passages from his chapter about the iconic Blues guitarist Rory Gallagher with a version of the Black 47 song, “Rory” (from the Green Suede Shoes CD.) Advance copies of A History of Irish Music are now on sale at www.black47.com

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Margaret McCarthy

Margaret McCarthy read from her manuscript “In the Becoming,” poems based on Ireland’s classic story of Deirdre. The poems give Deirdre a direct voice to tell her story. McCarthy spoke of the story as a metaphor for finding voice, both as a woman and as an artist.

Published in numerous literary journals, she would like to publish this collection as a book. The poems also became poetic monologues in her stage play, Deirdre Retrograde. Her poetry collection Notebooks from Mystery School is coming from Finishing Line Press next month. www.notebooksfrommysteryschool.com

Margaret sends her heartfelt thanks to IAW&A for invaluable camaraderie and support during the book’s productio

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Peggy Miley

Peggy Miley presented a short piece from her one-woman show, Irish Bread and Tea, telling a funny, poignant story of the late-blooming love of an Irish-American couple. Peggy performed her show in LA and last week at the Barrow Group Theatre in NYC. She says that this show gav e her more satisfaction than all her TV and film roles over the years. You can find out about them all, including her recent appearance on an episode of CBS hit comedy Mike & Molly at Peggymiley.com

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Jordan Ortega

Jordan Ortega presented an eerie short story titled “Ever Watchful Eyes” about an older man following a young woman late at night.  A recent graduate from The City College of New York, Jordan is writing a novel and short stories set it the same fictional universe, and we expect to hear more from him.

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Honor Molloy  standing O

Standing ovation for Honor

The Dublin-born, American raised Honor Molloy read “Writhing in America”, an essay about conflicting notions of identity, living and working in an ever-changing Manhattan, and how the IAW&A helped her to thrive once again among the Clan na Gael. In one of the emotional highs of an exciting night, Honor received a standing ovation.

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Conor McGlone (center)

Talented City College undergrad Conor McGlone read a short poem, “Venus de Milo,” about a statue that wonders about the sculptor’s muse. And he sang and played what he calls “the skeleton of a pop song about love or, more to the point, unspoken obsession” called “no, I can’t talk.”

As we traditionally close with a song, John Kearns stepped in for Guen Donohoe with his own song, “Save Your Breath.”

“If your advice isn’t free/When you try to change me/Save your breath you might need it someday/’cause going halfway there/Is like going nowhere/And I can’t see it another way …

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John Kearns

Some of us had no breath left to save after this night’s extraordinary Salon.

Join us next time at Bar Thalia, Tuesday, April 7 at 6pm — with guest host, Marni Rice!

March 6, 2015

IAW&A Salon 3/3/15 – Eclectic Presentations to a Full House on a Snowy Night

Filed under: Essay,Irish Politics,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 6:27 pm

“Lots of laughs, great music, and some seriously good poetry.” Author Tim O’Mara

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer and Mark Butler

The IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on March 3 featured two brand new book releases, two new member/presenters, two singer-songwriters named John (plus the singular Jack) and a ton of laughs packed in between poetry, drama, fiction and memoir. Our new members commented on the friendly atmosphere and the ease of connecting with other artists. First-timer Thom Molyneaux enjoyed the Salon’s “exuberantly appreciative” audience.

jkJohn Kearns

Salon producer and host John Kearns revised and extended the excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, which he read at the last IAW&A Salon. The Logans are moving from their West Philadelphia home to the more prosperous suburbs. As the movers begin loading furniture onto the truck, Janey Dougherty Logan watches them nervously. Distracted by thoughts of how her children will be affected by the move, Janey converses with her old neighbor, Tom Dugan. After Tom leaves, she reflects on her in-laws’ family history in her new parish and the advantages the move will have for her children. She decides that the suburbs will come to seem like home to her in time. Dare we call this a “moving” passage from John’s multigenerational story?

erik_MErik Mackenzie

NYPD officer Erik Mackenzie pens political thrillers that mirror today’s Middle Eastern conflicts and Russian organized crime. Making his IAW&A Salon debut, Erik read from his new novel The Kingdom of Assassins: Political Perception is Not Political Reality, just released on Kindle and available soon in paperback. Mike Maclaymore, a counter-terrorism detective and former US Special Forces “Green Beret” veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq gets an anonymous tip about a terror plot in New York City. Behind the plot is an Iranian-backed warlord ¾the same man Maclaymore once tried to capture in Afghanistan. A Saudi Princess is in danger after she attempts to be given evidence of financial fraud against the state-owned oil company. Tension rises between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the princess’s brother starts to prepare for war. Find Erik at: http://www.thekingdomofassassins.com/

https://twitter.com/erikmackenzie

https://www.facebook.com/erik.mackenzie.3

 

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Thom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux read the opening pages of his new play Cassidy’s Story. A former IRA leader in the 1920’s who fought in the War of Irish Independence, Cassidy finds himself in 1968 New York City facing the same violence, bloodshed and betrayal he thought he left behind in Ireland. This time it’s not about country and freedom. It’s more personal; it’s about family and honor. A playwright and actor, Thom will play Isaac Strauss, a holocaust survivor, respected psychiatrist and gay icon in Adam Siegel’s Lost in History for The Garage Theatre Group in April in Teaneck, New Jersey. In May, the Detroit Repertory Theatre will present the world premiere of Thom’s play, White Ash Falling 9/11.

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Marni Rice

Singer, composer, accordionist and writer Marni Rice can now add poet to her artistic accomplishments. She read selections from her poetry collection titled It’s Not the End of the World, including “This Blue Dress” and “A Blended Whiskey.”

jackJack DiMonte

Jack DiMonte sang “Mr. Sellack” an early ‘80s song by The Roches that is a comic send-up of struggling artists who work soul-sucking survival jobs while pursuing their dreams. (“Mr. Sellack, can I have my job back?…)

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Brian Fleming

Dublin performer Brian Fleming gave another glimpse into his show celebrating the St. Pat’s For All Parade, A Sacrilegious Lesbian & Homosexual Parade, currently at the New York Frigid Festival. There are two more chances to see the whole hilarious work, so hurry, last performances on March 7 and 8. www.frigidnewyork.info

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A great IAW&A Audience!

johnSJohn Skocik

Singer-songwriter John Skocik always enlivens the crowd with his original songs. Tonight he sang “This Ain’t Love” and “This Condition of Yours.” He’ll be playing at Three Jolly Pigeons in 6802 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, this Saturday.

brendan Brendan Costello

Brendan Costello asked for event and writing/performance tip submissions for the IAW&A Weekly Action Update.

timTim O’Mara

The ebullient Tim O’Mara returned to the Salon to celebrate the release of his third Raymond Donne mystery, Dead Red, following the popular and well received Crooked Numbers and Sacrifice Fly.  The hero is a NYC public school teacher and former cop. Find it at your local bookstore and at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Red-Raymond-Donne-Mysteries/dp/1250058635

Tim comments: “What a great crowd and atmosphere Tuesday night at the salon. Lots of laughs, great music, and some seriously good poetry. It’s always a blast to be with a bunch of talented artists who look like they’d all fit in at an O’Mara Family reunion.”

jeanneJeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant created no controversy this month (LOL). At the mid-February Salon, she read a sensuous story whose title couldn’t be printed in our newspaper column. Tonight Jeanne recounted more of her fearless travels in “Call of the Faithful” a chapter from her second book Heartlands of Islam. Jeanne’s next project is a two-hour presentation for the LI chapter of the National Council on Geocosmic Research. Her website, drjeanne.org, is in the final stages of updating.

munJohn Munnelly

John Munnelly performed three original songs: one loosely based on the story of Oisin and Tir na nOg of Irish myth, “I Think I’m Going Back” and another that John calls “a little ditty about our ‘hood,” “We’re Livin’ in Brooklyn.” He closed the Salon with the world premier of “The Wayfarer” and notes that Salon members joined in the chorus splendidly!

Don’t forget John will be opening for Grammy-winner Susan McKeown this Saturday at the NY Irish Center in Long Island City.

IAW&A members, use this link for a $5 discount:

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_flow&SESSION=PYAJq4lBBQ36w7qMUHIwB4i8S36Au4zB-RRyzpzEwmeWPk-7zRowVTpaGDy&dispatch=50a222a57771920b6a3d7b606239e4d529b525e0b7e69bf0224adecfb0124e9b61f737ba21b081984ae437d023107361d4fe9244fda54de7

Please note that the second #iawasalon at The Cell this month will be on Monday, March 16 at 7pm. Don’t miss St. Patrick’s Eve at the IAW&A Salon.

 bodhran

 

 

February 23, 2015

IAW&A Salon 2/17/15: The Good Times Rolled on Mardi Gras

Filed under: Events,Film,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 4:27 am

by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Nobody mentioned Mardi Gras but the mood at the IAW&A Salon on Tuesday, February 17 was sure celebratory. Highlights included three wonderful new presenters, unique music, great fiction and a one-of-a-kind performance from our friend from Dublin, Brian Fleming.

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Ryan Cahill, Jack DiMonte, and Nancy Oda

Ryan Cahill and Jack DiMonte hit all the right notes reading the roles of the seductive Pamela Churchill and the stately Averill Harriman in Sheila Walsh’s musical Pamela. The playwright was delighted when audience members asked her the magic question, “What comes next?” Sheila thanks Ryan, Jack, and Nancy Oda who read stage directions.

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Tom Phelan

Tom Phelan kept the audience laughing as he read from his latest novel, Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told. Shelf Awareness calls the book a “masterful portrait of Irish village life disguised as a murder mystery” and notes “Phelan finds humor and warmth in every poignant moment.” Tom will read from Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told and talk about life in the Irish countryside in the 1940s/1950s at the Rockville Centre Public Library, 221 N. Village Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY on Saturday, 28 February, at 1pm. More at www.tomphelan.net and www.facebook.com/tomphelannovels.
You will be able to hear Tom on the radio at Glucksman Ireland House NYU Radio Hour. Tune in on 2/28, 9am to 10am on WNYE 91.5FM and on irishradio.com and on nyuirish.net/radiohour.

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Sheila Walsh and Sarah Fearon

We watched a charming short film by Tom Mahon of last year’s St. Pat’s for All Parade. Parade organizer and co-founder Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy invited everyone to join the fun this year on Sunday, March 1. Come march under the IAW&A banner. Watch this space and our Facebook page for details.
https://www.facebook.com/IrishAmericanWritersAndArtistsInc. Visit
www.stpatsforall.com.

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John Kearns

Tonight’s host, the Salon producer John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. The book follows the Logan family over several generations, and reflects the experiences of many Irish-American families. In this excerpt, Janey Logan is preparing to move her family from her native West Philadelphia to her husband’s family home in the suburb of Ardmore. She reflects on what she and her children will gain and lose by moving to the suburbs and on her lifetime of memories in St. Francis de Sales parish. Her old neighbor, Tom Dugan, stops to chat and, as Janey watches the familiar sight of Mr. Dugan’s walking up the street smoking his pipe, she wonders if she’ll ever see it again.

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Don Meade

Traditional musician Don Meade, a great supporter of the Salon, showed his versatile talent by playing harmonica and banjo, singing and sharing his knowledge. Don played a jig called “The Haunted House,” the reels “The Abbey” and “The Custom Gap” and sang “Omagh Town” by Michael Hurl.

You can see Don and friends every Monday night at The Landmark Tavern for a traditional music session. More at Blarneystar.com.

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Laissez le bon temps roulez

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Guenevere Donohue

Guenevere Donohue sang her jazz/blues version of Tom Waits’s story song, Small Change. Her sultry voice riffing on the Sax intro of the original created a totally new enthralling version of a classic.

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Mary E. Gonzalez

Poet Mary E. Gonzalez is the daughter of Mary Kate Lohan of Dublin and of George Ugactz, a first generation Russian American. A graduate of Columbia University and host of a YouTube channel, Loving Life and Words, Mary read from two of her three poetry books currently available via Amazon:

  • Four Folded Corners (M.E. Gonzalez): Poems read include  “Love,” “Hate: In response to Extremism,” “The Strength of Trees”, “Summery Day”, “A Winter’s Farewell”, On an Amtrak Train to Utica
  • Two of Cups: A New York Poet in Galway (under pen name Mary E. Lohan) Poems read include “Clonmacnoise,” “Love is Not,” “Nothing is Constant”
  • Speaking to the Darkness (under pen name Mary E. Lohan)

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Peter Digan

Peter Digan, newly imported from County Offaly and recently married to Mary Gonzalez, sang two songs — a rendition of Christy Moore’s “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”and had us singing along with “The Wild Rover.”  Welcome Mary and Peter!

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon took us to upstate New York with “The Burial” from his collection Tomorrow Never Came. In the story, a farmer brings his dead wife to a minister to have him say some words over her before he buries her. New to the community, the minister pries into the life of the farmer and his wife and family. The man answers but is as guarded and private as the preacher is public. Tom-Mahon.com.

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Brian Fleming

Dublin performer Brian Fleming gave a hilarious preview of his performance, A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade, playing now as part of the Frigid New York Festival. Described as “a romp through 14 years of celebration and resistance with the inclusive St. Pat’s For All Parade in Queens…through music, projections, bad dance and bad striptease…” Support this artist who visits the Salon when he’s in New York. Get your tickets here: www.frigidnewyork.info.

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Celeste Ray

In her Salon debut, musician Celeste Ray, a founding member of Four Celtic Voices, played several songs on a double Bowed Psaltery.

Those of us who were unfamiliar with this string instrument were stunned by its gorgeous sound and by her superb talent. Celeste closed the night by singing an IAW&A favorite, “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Learn more at http://FourCelticVoices.com and find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Four-Celtic-Voices-with-Celeste-Ray/323027821102985

The good times will still be rolling at the Salon at the Thalia on March 3. See you then!

February 12, 2015

2/5 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia: Newly Published Works, Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Song!

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 9:12 pm

by Mary Lannon 
Photos by Wei Lu 

Announcements of newly published work by Mary Pat Kelly, Mary Lannon, and John Kearns wove through presentations by a talented slate of artists at the Irish American Writers and Artists salon at the Thalia held on (a rare) Thursday night.

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Mary Pat Kelly

First, Mary Pat Kelly read from her recently published novel Of Irish Blood. Kelly also explained how it started from a long search to find where her family in Ireland was from and led her to placing her character Nora Kelly in the artist enclaves of early 20th century Paris.

mary

Mary Lannon

After the break Mary Lannon read from her soon-to-be published story “Frank N. Stein.” See www.storymagazine.org The story tells of a young woman’s quest to leave an imagined monster behind her, for those imaginary monsters can be the hardest to shake!

kearns_reads

John Kearns

Salon host John Kearns announced that an excerpt from his novel-in-progress, Worlds, called, “Approaching Madison Avenue,” has been published at http://www.dansemacabreonline.com/#!john-kearns/czih.

He then read a brand-new excerpt from the same work. In 1910, the Logan Construction Company is celebrating its 25th anniversary and family patriarch, Seamus Logan (now known as James), is being honored.  The Logans’ eldest son, Sarsfield Logan, S.J., does not attend the ceremony and remains in New York grading final exams.  His brother, Young James, sits in the front row with his mother and seethes about what he considers his Jesuit brother’s phony excuses.

Other artists also presented fiction, non-fiction, and song:

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Kevin R. McPartland

 To start off the evening, salon regular and novelist Kevin R. McPartland read a gripping passage from a short story called “Eamon’s Promise.” In the story, McPartland describes the desperate attempt of a fourteen-year old Irish immigrant at attaining work on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

 sean

Sean Carlson

Sean Carlson shared another excerpt from his yet-untitled family memoir, introducing us to the devastating experience of Down syndrome in Ireland during the 1950s. Learn more about his book and subscribe to his email list here: www.seancarlson.net.

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Brendan Costello Jr.

Frequent salon contributor Brendan Costello Jr. changed the pace a bit with a short story he wrote for his nieces and nephew, “After the Horses.”  A continuation of the Humpty Dumpty story, it picks up where the nursery rhyme leaves off, and examines how friendship can help heal even the most broken eggs.  It also addresses the tricky question of whether anyone should trust a doctor who is a duck.

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Jack Di Monte

Jack Di Monte sang “Famous Blue Raincoat” by Leonard Cohen, a song written in the form of a haunting letter to an old friend who once stole the heart of the writer’s wife. Despite the heartbreak of his ruined marriage, the writer confesses that the lover actually did his wife some good.  A listener may ponder if it’s a true story for it ends with the line “Sincerely, L. Cohen.”

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Tom Mahon

In the second half, Tom Mahon told the story of a middle-aged man who’s dying a slow death from his senseless killing of two young girls when he was young.  Mason Webb then let his step-father convict an innocent 14-year-old African-American boy who died in the electric chair for him (true story) But “The Slow Death of Mason Webb” was Tom’s from his collection Tomorrow Never Came.  Tom-Mahon.com

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Jeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant read a sensual polyphony of steaming jungle adventures and earthy concupiscence from her latest work of nonfiction, FUCKED.

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John Munnelly

John Munnelly ended the evening on a rousing note with three new songs including one that had the crowd singing along. First, he sang “Cruel Cruel World” inspired by a late 2014 New York Times article about the birth of a child. Next he sang “Only Something Small” originally inspired by Pastor Martin Neimoller’s famous quote that begins. “First, they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist” and ends, “Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.” To end, Munnelly led the crowd in a partial sing-a-long of “Devil Gets His Due,” a song he recently discovered in his files about his experience at a start-up.

More fun at Bar Thalia:

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Kevin McPartland, Sean Carlson, Mary Pat Kelly, Brendan Costello, John Kearns

brendan listens

Brendan Costello listens

minne

Singer Minnie Dee will perform at an upcoming salon

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 Crowd enjoying Mary Pat Kelly’s stories

See you on February 17th at the Cell at 7 pm!

February 5, 2015

1/30/15 IAW&A Salon in St. Louis: Poetry, Prose, Music, and a Full House!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 6:15 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by Daisy Kearns

On January 30, 2015, thanks to the generosity of IAW&A Boardmember’s University of Missouri at Saint Louis (UMSL), I hosted the first IAW&A Salon west of the Mississippi. Thanks to the hospitality of the Webster Groves Public Library, it was a warm evening of poetry, music, prose, and an enthusiastic, standing-room-only crowd!

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 Tom Cooper of Webster Groves Public Library welcomes us

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 IAW&A Boardmember Eamonn Wall welcomes us on behalf of Irish Studies at UMSL

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John Kearns introduces IAW&A and Salons

andrew_terry

Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran played three times during the salon

jennifer

Jennifer Fandel

Jennifer Fandel started off the readings with selections of her poetry.  Jennifer had this to say about her experience, “What a wonderful night! I’m honored to have asked to read. Beautiful, transporting music by Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran, and arresting poetry and fiction. And, to top everything off, a huge and amazing audience. Many thanks to Eamonn Wall for his organization of the event, and to John Kearns for producing the Irish American salons.”

ebest

 Ron Ebest

Ron Ebest author of Private Histories: the Writing of Irish-Americans, 1900-1935 and The Dave Store Massacre, about Walmart culture, read from his novel-in-progress.

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 Sharon Bangert Corcoran

Native St. Louisan and translator of the works of Isabelle Eberhardt, Sharon Bangert Corcoran, shared some of her poetry with us.

eamonn_reads

Eamonn Wall

Eamonn Wall read poems about his aunts who taught him how to drink and about Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.  He has a poem appearing in the Irish Times on Saturday, February 7th, and his new book Junction City: Selected Poems 1990-2015 will be published in April.

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The Webster Groves Public Library ran out of chairs

katy gordon

 Katy Gordon

Poet Katy Gordon, who holds a Ph.D in Scottish Literature, read “Ghost Estate,” “For My Daughter on Her Birthday,” “Road Trip,” and “The Difference Between Love and Poetry.” “Ghost Estate” was inspired in part by time spent studying in Galway at the National University of Ireland.

mark

Mark Shaw

Mark Shaw read an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, Eagles Circle the Drum, set on his reservation (the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Nation) in Northwoods, Wisconsin. Being of Irish and American Indian descent, Mark began my presentation discussing how Irish Literature and Native American Literature have a lot of common themes: the importance of their language, the importance of their art, the importance of the representation of their people, and the struggles of coexisting with a dominant culture.

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 Drucilla Wall

UMSL professor, Drucilla Wall, author of The Geese at the Gates and winner of the Prairie Schooner Short Story Award, shared a few poems, including one about a possible bat home invasion.

keaarns

John Kearns

I read an excerpt from my novel in progress, Worlds, in which 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.  Janey takes Paul back to the store and makes a scene to humiliate the manager into giving her a new jar — in a double bag.

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Presenters take a bow

music

Andrew O’Brien and Terry Corcoran conclude the evening

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More IAW&A Salons in Saint Louis to come!

January 28, 2015

1/20/15 IAW&A Salon at the Cell: Theatre Artists, A Film from Dublin, Prose, Poetry, & Song!

Filed under: Essay,Film,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 2:48 am

by Mary Lannon
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Tuesday night’s salon at the Cell drew an unusually large number of theater artists along with a film maker, a comedian, a singer and several writers to the latest edition of the always lively bimonthly Irish Writers and Artists event.

pat

Pat Fenton

Playwright Pat Fenton led off the evening with part of his play called Jack’s Last Call Say Goodbye to Kerouac.  It’s Jack Kerouac’s last night in Northport, Long Island, the eve of a dreaded move to St Petersburg, Florida with his mother. He spends this last night drinking and thinking back to all his young years out on the road and the America he saw then. And he realizes that it’s slowly vanishing. The play has been at the Boston Playwright’s Theater and in Jack Kerouac’s hometown of Lowell and Pat hopes to bring it to New York.

jsck-nancy
Jack Dimonte and Nancy Oda in Sheila Walsh’s, “Books”

Playwright Sheila Walsh’s ten-minute play “Books” featured IAW&A members and actors Nancy Oda, Jack DiMonte and Sarah Fearon. The drama takes place in December 1941 in Paris; a German Officer approaches Sylvia Beach and demands her only copy of James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.  

patrick Patrick Ssenjovu

Actor Patrick Ssenjovu amazed the crowd, performing a work-in-progress about a South African painter of flowers on rocks, called The Young Wanderer.

jones cast Christy Jones and Cast

Christy Jones presented the first reading of a new work with four actresses (two recruited on the spot) a piece to illustrate the tremendous will and faith it takes for someone who has been sheltered from the world, to go forth and create a whole new world for themselves.  Christy wishes to thank Ryan, Samantha, Cailin and  a young actress he never got a chance to thank.

dj D J Sharp

Actor D J Sharp gave a chilling depiction of Tennessee Williams during the last three days of his life.

nancy Nancy Oda

Nancy Oda gave her second performance of the night in a monologue called “Have I Got a Story” written by Tom Mahon from his collection:  Tomorrow Never Came. The main character, a young woman, has moved with her husband and baby to NYC from West Texas. An elderly ballerina’s obsession with the couple’s baby is the central focus of the strange story the main character tells, ending the monologue with the line, “Is that some story?”

tom Tom Mahon

sarah Sarah Fearon

Actor and comedian Sarah Fearon also returned a second time to the stage to do a set of her comedy. She asks members to pencil in the date of April 12 at the Irish Arts Center where she will be performing on the bill of IAC’s Sunday’s at Seven monthly comedy event.

iris Iris Park

Filmmaker Iris Park showed her short film called “Darren and Lisa” based on a short story she co-wrote of the same name.  Written, directed and produced by Iris Park. Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.  The film follows a young couples search for love and the geographical and personal obstacles they face.

film Darren and Lisa

Singer Ryan Cahill, being passionate about the history of the traditional folk songs she performs, gave a brief history lesson to end the night.  She examined the relation between the obscure Scottish Ballad, “The Elfin Knight”, and the well-known English Ballad, “Scarborough Faire”.  She, of course, sang both for emphasis.

ryan Ryan Cahill

Two prose writers and a poet gave readings from their work.

kelly Christy Kelly

Returning to the salon for the first time in a long while, Christy Kelly, read from his novel in progress.

megan  Megan O’Donnell

Also returning after a absence of a few months, Megan O’Donnell, poet and lyricist for the psychedelic rock band, Sofus, shared a selection of politically charged poems and imaginative soon-to-be songs. The works she read ranged from a call to action against the persistent societal ills of racism and sexism to a morbid but insightful look at the side effects of being a living being. She ended the performance with a Haiku she wrote earlier that week, which sums up her current complex relationship with hope, ambition, and reality. It reads:

Reasons for dreaming:
morning will come either way,
you might as well
jk

John Kearns

Our talented host John Kearns read the conclusion of the story he presented at the last salon. The excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, tells of college student Paul Logan’s procrastination as he types a research paper while watching the live broadcast of, “The Mystery of Henry Ford’s Secret Underground Chamber.” At the end of the broadcast, the TV host has found nothing in the chamber except another wall, and Paul has typed only two pages.

crowd

See you at Bar Thalia on Thursday, February 5th, at 6 pm for our next IAW&A Salon!

January 12, 2015

1/6/15 IAW&A Salon at the Thalia: A rousing start for the New Year!

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 5:43 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The New Year got off to a lively start, at an IAW&A Salon full of song, laughter, drama, affecting personal essays and acknowledgements of Women’s Christmas, Nollaig na mBan.

The new year will be busy, too, with several members announcing events in the next few weeks. Our talented friend, Richard Butler, will be appearing in a production of Sweeney Todd in New Jersey. Mark Butler will be organizing an IAW&A trip there on February 8. Watch our Facebook page for details.

jk

John Kearns

The night’s host— and the man to thank for organizing and scheduling another Salon year— John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. He’s been covering the deadly sins in this book and in this section college-student Paul Logan gives into sloth by procrastinating on his research paper due the following morning. Instead of writing and typing the paper, Paul makes himself some food and allows himself to be distracted by two M*A*S*H* episodes and a sensationalistic live broadcast, The Mystery of Henry Ford’s Secret Underground Chamber. For the conclusion of this episode, tune into the next IAW&A Salon on 1/20.

sarah

Sarah Fearon

Comic performer Sarah Fearon shared a rant titled “The City Is Going to Be a Sinkhole Soon.” She posed some questions of concern to New Yorkers, such as whatever happened to saying “excuse me,” what happened to tokens, and how many glass towers and people can fit onto the island before it sinks? For the full-on Fearon, come to Sarah’s stand-up show at Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd St. on Wednesday January 21 at 7:00pm. Please make a reservation at 212-367-9000. http://gothamcomedyclub.com/index.cfm

maureen

 Maureen Hossbacher

In keeping with the spirit of Nollaig na mBan, Maureen Hossbacher presented four gorgeous poems which evoked the themes of women’s lives:  love, work, motherhood, sisterhood, sexuality and survival — ending with a hopeful salute to the new year:

The river reprises mantras
of sailed ships
Still
The sky is new and blue
and I suddenly ravenous!

brendan

 Brendan Costello

Frequent salon contributor (and new IAW&A board member!) Brendan Costello Jr. read an autobiographical essay about breaking his leg and winding up in the same hospital room he had been in when he was first paralyzed 18 years ago. The experience prompted numerous personal and philosophical insights, challenging ideas of hope, hopelessness, and the value and meaning we place on our personal experience.

mpk

 Mary Pat Kelly

Mary Pat Kelly announced that her new novel Of Irish Blood will be published in February. She gave a spirited description of growing up Irish in Chicago, and why she wrote this historical fiction inspired by the life of her great-aunt. In Of Irish Blood, a young Irish woman goes to Paris in 1903 where she meets artists, designers and Left Bank intellectuals and eventually joins Ireland’s fight for freedom, associating with Maud Gonne, W.B. Yeats, Countess Markievicz, and de Valera, among other historical figures. Mary Pat invites everyone to her reading on Wednesday, February 4 at 7pm at Barnes & Noble on Broadway at 82nd Street.

munnelly

 John Munnelly

Singer/composer John Munnelly notes that he seems to run into snow or storms when he comes to the Thalia but the warm reception to his songs at the IAW&A Salon make up for the weather. Tonight he sang two original songs: “Kings & Jesters” and introduced a thought-provoking brand-new one, “Much Wants More.” Some lyrics:

Pay no mind to the man behind the curtain
pay no heed to the fate we have in store
it’s not a movie,
and there’s no happy ending to much wants more 

Pay no tithes to the idols of distraction
don’t submit your eyeballs to explore
the sweets and fancies that keep us motivated
and working for
much wants more

Join John’s mailing list at http://johnmunnellymusic.com/fans-contact-social-upload/ and mark your calendar for his show at Irish Haven Bar in Sunset Park at 5721 4th Avenue, Brooklyn on Sunday, Feb 15, 8 -11pm.

tom

Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon showed his acting chops by reading a short story from his collection Delusions, called “When Con Men Meet.” A young man discovers he lacks the talent or time necessary to be a great artist and instead works for one and steals the man’s work. He makes a fortune, goes to Mexico, and changes his identity. He sells his beach house to a drug king for twenty million and goes to Rio. Caught in customs, he’s sentenced to ten years; the customs people are promoted, but the money is never mentioned.

jeanne

 Jeanne D’Brant

In keeping with Women’s Christmas, Jeanne D’Brant read a thrilling chapter called “Rage of Purdah” from her second book Heartlands of Islam, about her exploration. She is hard at work on her upcoming two-hour presentation for the American Clinical Board of Nutrition’s national symposium in Fort Lauderdale.

dj

 DJ Sharp

Actor, writer and new IAWA member DJ Sharp delivered a brilliant monologue about Tennessee Williams.

skocik

John Skocik

Singer-songwriter of the group Girl to Gorilla, John Skocik sang two of his original songs: “An Ordinary Life” which he wrote for his wife, and a new song, “Rockaway Baby” that had the crowd laughing.

mark

Mark Butler seeks volunteers for The Weekly

guen

Guenevere Donohue

We welcomed singer/actor/writer Guenevere Donohue back to the Salon and she thrilled us with her version of the Jackson Browne song, “The Rebel Jesus.”

mal

Malachy McCourt

When we’re at the Thalia, the Salon creator, Malachy McCourt, closes the night with song and story. Tonight he had words of inspiration, “Fight to be heard” and news about a new way to hear him: a weekly radio show on Wednesdays at 10 am – noon on WBAI, 99.5FM. Malachy and friends will talk about New York from an Irish/Irish American view on Talk Back: New York, Thee and We.

And he ended by singing a round of “The Bells of Hell.”

Mark your calendar for the Salon at the Cell on January 20th!

December 19, 2014

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

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

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

by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

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

crowd

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

gilbert

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

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

sarah_jon

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

jon

john_cap

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

maura_k

kearns

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

honor

Honor Molloy’s gift to us was her reading of “Sixpence the Stars”–a story from her novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage. http://www.smartygirlthebook.com Often referred to in our wee community as The Little Oranges, this jaunty trip winds its way through Dublintown on Christmas Eve, 1966. There’s the nativity tale as told by a fruit dealer on Moore Street–Dublin’s open-air market. Molloy takes the audience back through time, when mechanicalized toys and Cheeky Charlies were hawked with wild cries and even wilder abandon. Watch Honor perform it here and share her gift with friends: www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1y1jAmgRCE 
t

sheeahan

Singer songwriter Michael Sheahan charmed us with his award winning Christmas songs from his three-time award winning Christmas Book, CD and Dance DVD “Mr. Holidays Presents The Roof Top Hop.” If you need a gift for a youngster, purchase by calling 1-800-2476553 or www.bookmasters.com/marktplc/03080.htm Michael also performed songs from his latest Christmas CD “Some Things Never Change,” available here:

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

larry

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

break

marni

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

murphy

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

kath_smile

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

marcia

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

dancers

wren dancers

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

marie

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

mark_elizabeth

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

santa

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

finale

half_king

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

Merry Christmas from IAW&A!

star
Hey, how much for that star?

See you January 6 at the Bar Thalia.

December 12, 2014

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

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

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

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

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

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

sean

 Sean Carlson

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

kevin

Kevin R. McPartland

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

celia

Sophia Monegro

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

jon

Jon Gordon

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

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

kearns

John Kearns

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

maureen

Maureen Hossbacher

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

tom

Tom Mahon

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

maureen D

Maureen Daniels

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

christy

Christy Jones

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

jeanne_d'brant

Jeanne D’Brant

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

mal Malachy McCourt

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

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

 

 

November 18, 2014

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

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

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

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

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

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

 sean

Sean Carlson

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

 michele

Michele Fulves

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

 tom

Tom Mahon

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

 vivian

Vivian O’Shaughnessy

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

 maura

Maura Mulligan announcing her upcoming events

 ryan

Ryan Cahill

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

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

 sarah

Sarah Fearon

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

kearns

John Kearns

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

maura K

Maura Knowles

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

malachy

Malachy McCourt

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

We left humming “Carrickfergus.”

__________________

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

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

 tom2

Tom Mahon

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

 knowles

Maura Knowles and cast

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

 steph

Stephanie Silber

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

 

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Pat Fenton

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

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Marni Rice

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

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Peggy Miley

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

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

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Dan Milner

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

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

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

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

 Margaret McCarthy

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

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

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John Kearns

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

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Richard Butler

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

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

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Congrats, Mary Lannon!

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

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John Munnelly

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

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

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