Irish American Writers & Artists

June 10, 2018

6.5.18 IAW&A Salon: Bursting with Pride, Celebrating LGBTQ Lives

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 2:23 am

By Karen Daly

Photos by Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

The IAW&A celebrated Pride Month with a rollicking, joyous Salon that introduced new artists to our Salon family and attracted our largest crowd yet at St. Patrick’s Pub. Kudos to Miranda Stinson who championed and produced the event and served as host for the first time.

                      Miranda Stinson, William Leo Coakley

Esteemed poet William Leo Coakley opened the program with several pieces: a view of a rambunctious gay cat and a future of dimmer sight and inheritable old clothes, a tribute to refugees emerging whole in a new country. The last poem was a romp with an active bi-sexual bear in Irish Boston and a straight talking dog in New York. William is shortlisted for the 2019 Hennessy Prize for New Irish Writing. Watch for his poems in the June 30th edition the Irish Times.  

An actor, singer/songwriter, playwright, Sharon Fogarty delivered a touching monologue  “A Kiss for Miss Ellie” from Gordon Gilbert’s play, Monologues from the Old Folks Home. Gordon is grateful for her fine performance, especially as she had little time to prepare. Gordon notes that Monologues from the Old Folks Home will be performed for the 8th time, on Friday, June 29 at 7 pm, at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street in the West Village.

                     Sharon Fogarty, Gordon Gilbert

M.C. Neuda stylishly delivered two flash fiction crime stories:  “Newcomer,” in which “una bandida, this senorita” outwits a pair of thugs, and “Looking for Trouble,” where assumptions about the husband in the story (for some people, at least) are upended. M.C’s stories have appeared in e-zines “Shotgun Honey,” “Yellow Mama,” and “Near2theKnuckle,”in print at “Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine” and “Crimespree” and we’re happy to say, at IAW&A Salons.

                    M.C. Neuda, left,  Qassye M. Hall

Qassye M. Hall is a MFA Candidate at Sarah Lawrence College, working in fiction and creative non-fiction. She read from her novella about a girl who has given up everything to care for her father and his mental health. The girl is brought to vivid life  from the moment she’s in the car to the moment she leaves to head out west. Qassye’s work has been published in The Scarlett Leaf Review, Nebo: a Literary Journal, Five Cent Cigar, and a few other magazines.

Wanjiko Eke, a standup comedian based in NY, riffed on a many topics: Texas, sex, relationships, travel (“just taking your phone to different cities”). She appears all around town, and you can find out at jikogram on Instagram.

                     Wanjiko Eke, Brendan Fahy

Brendan Fahy of the Lavender and Green Alliance invited all to join the Pride Parade on June 24.  Register here https://www.lavenderandgreenalliance.org/events/2018-nyc-lgbt-pride-march/form

Playwright Honor Molloy brought down the house and brought us back to 1993 when Time magazine discovered Lesbian Chic.  “Get Real, Camille” is Honor’s hilarious send-up of the feminist theorist and social critic Camille Paglia’s response to Time. Remarkably, the dialogue was mostly Paglia’s own words, and it was a mouthful.

                     Honor Molloy, Max Onofre

Recent Pace University graduate Max Onofre read a charming story, “A Little More,” telling of a couple he viewed as “the epitome of love” making the audience care about them, too.  Max aims to become a full-time political journalist and he’s working on a short-story romance book

Novelist J. L. Weinberg read from his debut novel, True Religion (Chelsea Station Editions), described by Lambda Literaras  “A paranormal adventure packed with occultism, genealogy, past life regressions, and early American history.”  He chose a passage where Seth Davis, a New York City writer, after researching the supernatural, after two encounters with ghosts, decides to be past-life regressed. For more about the book and its author, a film journalist, see jlweinberg.com  

                      KT Mulholland, left, with Ashley Pynn.    J.T. Weinberg

The Salon ended on a high note with a musical performance by KT Mulholland, lead singer of indie alt-rock band kingkween, accompanied on guitar by Ashley Pynn. KT sang a bluesy version of  “Sweet Pea,” as a love song for Ashley.  KT has performed her original tunes in some of New York’s most renowned venues, such as Bowery Ballroom, Gramercy Theatre and Webster Hall, and is set to release her fourth studio album late summer 2018. See her next at Arlene’s Grocery, Friday, July 6. Ashley, an actor who specializes in stunt work, and is the stunt double for The Blacklist‘s Elizabeth Keen (Meghan Boone), and has worked in countless other film and TV features.  KT and Ashley’ s thrilling version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” was a perfect close to the night.

Next Salon, 6/19 at The Cell.

 

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May 20, 2018

5.15.18 IAW&A SALON: Varied, Vivid Artists Displaying Heart & Brain (literally!)

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 7:57 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Christopher Booth

 

The mid-May IAW&A Salon brought drama, poetry, memories and dance to vivid life at the Cell. Belfast artist Brian John Spencer, back in New York this month, stopped by to delight members of the crowd with his spot-on sketches.  And, we can  say for sure this was the first time the Salon has featured brain surgery!  (See below, Tom Mahon’s presentation.)42132681782_392ab323e8_z

Host John Kearns (above)  kicked it off with a blast from his past, a song he wrote and debuted in May 1985 at the Bothy Folk Club at Cavanaugh’s bar in West Philadelphia. “That Would Be Something” offers a list of serious/comic dreams and ideals that the narrator says he would kill himself to see — perhaps because they could never exist in this world. John will take part in the Year of the Irish Language Celebrationat the Irish Consulate on Wednesday, May 23. For info and to attend:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ceiliuradh-bhliain-na-gaeilge-bliain-na-gaeilge-celebration-tickets-45831798142

 

 

 

Maureen Hossbacher, left, with Sheila Walsh.  Nancy Oda.
Playwright Sheila Walsh performed with Maureen Hossbacher and Nancy Oda in  a scene from Sheila’s play Mr. Tweedy’s Neighbors. Though the play deals with the realities of aging and loneliness and the hardship of caregivers, Sheila’s sharp writing and their assured performances gave it humorous spin.

 

 

 

Brad Mahon, left. Tom Mahon

Proud father Tom Mahon showed a video of his son Brad Mahon’s work in an operating room during brain surgery. Brad, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Rochester, works on ‘mapping the brain’ and in this case, helped the surgeon determine where to cut. That the patient involved was a young musician made the successful outcome extra meaningful to our group.

 

 

Sarah Street, left.  Gina Costigan 

Derek Murphy showcased a short play, “Two Women on a Fence” from a longer one he’s currently developing, The Love Parts.  Actors Gina Costigan and Sarah Street play two young mothers at school pick-up who shock and disturb each other with tales of infidelity, real and imagined. One of them reveals a long held secret that will change their relationship forever. Derek is thrilled with how perfectly Gina and Sarah captured the humor and pathos of his work.   You have the chance to see the same short play at the Lower East Side Festival, Sunday, May 27th at Theatre For The New City at 7:30pm.  It’s a free event and a great kick off to the summer.

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We were happy to welcome Salon newcomer Niall Power, (above)  a poet and writer, and former CUNY writing student of Brendan Costello’s, Niall read selections from his book Fall Risk, and new poems from his work in progress. Niall’s parents are Irish-born, and one poem recalls summer visits to his grandparents there, framed by his memory of candy commercials. Find his book here https://www.michelkin.com/fallrisk.html

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Rosina Fernhoff, left.  Maria Deasy

Rosina Fernhoff performed a fiery monologue from Donald Margulies’ play Collected Stories, portraying a painful ending of a close friendship. In the scene, a celebrated writer, perfectly captured by Rosina, excoriates her protégé,  played by Maria Deasy,  for stealing her secrets and publishing the writer’s stories under her own name.

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Philadelphian Tim Fitts  (above) teaches Creative Writing at the Curtis Institute and he persisted through traffic and torrential rain to get here tonight. We’re glad he did.  Tim read “Dinner at Garofalo’s”  from his new collection of short stories, Go Home and Cry for Yourselves, a series of stories about a fictional band set in Gainesville, Florida, in the early 1990s.  https://www.amazon.com/Home-Cry-Yourselves-Tim-Fitts/dp/188327527X

 

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Marie Reilly, left.  Maura Mulligan

Celebrating the anniversary of her arrival in America, Maura Mulligan recreated an unforgettable moment from her 1958 farewell party in rural Mayo that ended with a traditional step dance.  Maura told the story, and performed the dance, accompanied by fiddler Marie Reilly.  Maura is also celebrating the five year anniversary of the launch of her memoir, Call of the Larkhttp://greenpointpress.org/gb_books.html Look for Marie’s music, including her latest CD Road to Glannagh, “one of the delights of the world of traditional Irish music,” at http://www.mariereillymusic.com

 

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Poet Marcia Loughran (above) loves the Salon as a forum to try out her newest work on the audience as she did tonight with three poems that show her wit and sensitivity. They were “Holiday Ecstasy,”  “Fifth Grade English Teacher” and  “A Landlord’s Lament Upon Being Bitten By the Tenant’s Cat.”

 

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Violinist and alt-pop artist Adrianna Mateo (above)  has been busy since her last Salon appearance: she opened solo for Alicia Keys at the Ritz, met music industry legend Clive Davis, shot with photographer Shervin Lainez – whose larger-than-life work is currently on giant Times Square billboards.  Noting that she’s taking a new direction with her music, Adrianna closed the Salon by performing two original songs including “Skin Hunger.”

 

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Brian John Spencer with two of his subjects.

See you next time at St. Patrick’s Pub, Tuesday, June 6, 7 pm.

 

May 12, 2018

5.1.18 IAW&A Salon: Feisty Night of Storytelling and Song

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:47 pm

By Jenifer Margaret Kelly

On a hot and steamy first of May evening, the Irish American Writers and Artists met for the fourth time at our newest venue for our first Tuesday salon: St. Patrick’s Bar and Grill on West 46th.

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Our host for the night, actor, writer and man about town, Tom Mahon began with a penetrating dramatic short story called “Rain,” a first person narrative echoing a Jack London style rugged adventure. “Rain” is the story of a miner in the Yukon, who eventually sells his claim to Guggenheim and leaves his dreams of finding gold behind him. Rain is a riveting short narrative where we learn of the abuse, hatreds and envies that arose between the miners. This story brought us into a feisty evening of Irish story telling and singing.  Tom, right.  Photo by Cat Dwyer.

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Tom was followed by our beloved poet and spokesperson of the West Village, Gordon Gilbert who enchanted us once again with two monologues from his collection: Tales from the Old Folks Home, a wonderful tongue in cheek view of what really happens to those of getting up in years or having to place loved ones in what we hope is wonderful care. Look to hear the full story of Monologues from the Old Folks Home at the of June at the Cornelia Street Café in the West Village. Details coming soon. Gordon’s honey toned voice belies the dark inner belly center of a sweet “Old Folks Home” Where is this home? We don’t really know, but if you see it pop up on Google or Yelp, make sure you check out the reviews before signing over your fortune, or hear “the rest of the story” when Gordon presents the full-length piece next month.  Gordon, above.  Photo by Cat Dwyer.

thomNext up, Thom Molyneaux, a salon regular as well as director, playwright, actor, took the opportunity to honor, inspire and encourage those of us who have chose the writer’s life. He began with a reference to a source of his own writing inspiration, riding the A train to and from Harlem. This led him to share with us dramatic readings from two playwrights, about writing, a brilliant selection of dialogue from the Faith Healer by Brian Friel, and a specific speech about writing from Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing. It was an inspirational moment of theatre and passion for standing up for truth.  Tom, at left, in a photo by Cat Dwyer.JC and TM.jpg

Jim Cullinane, left,  reading with Tom Mahon.

Keeping with the dramatic theme, next up was James Cullinane, a playwright and a somewhat new presenter. James gave us a teaser of an introduction to a hilarious yet seemingly personal play in progress. A short scene between best friends, two men of a “certain age”, one of whom is a self-professed womanizer needing advice about changing his ways, while his best friend is humorously both unsympathetic and oblivious to his plight. The scene was presented masterfully by the author himself and Tom Mahon. The rapid-fire over-lapping dialogue kept the audience in fits of laughter. Good comedy is always based on some kind of recognition in the characters presented, which Jim did to great effect. It is always great to see “work in progress” at the salon, as that was one of the founding members goals, to have a place for artist to test out new work, get feedback and keep on creating. Many novels, plays and shows have come out of our IAW&A. We can’t wait to here the next episode, Jim!

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The next presenter, much to our delight, was Gillian McCourt, granddaughter of our spiritual Godfather and Salon founder, Malachy McCourt. This was Gillian’s first time presenting and she took the stage like she was born to it. She gifted all of us who were there with a delightful original song, called “Ordinary Birds”. She accompanied herself on the ukulele and sang in the most angelic voice about a deep and stirring matter. “Ordinary Birds” is a song of inspiration and hope about ordinary life and beauty. We so loved your presence, Gillian, and hope we get to see you again!   Gillian, at left.  Photo by Maureen Hossbacher.

 

 

The first half was completed with the velvet tones of singer and actor, Jack DiMonte with a soul felt rendition of the song, “Practical Arrangement” from the musical, “The Last Ship” by Sting. The song is a marriage proposal from an older man to a much younger woman who is in need of support and shelter.  Instead of offering the romance of a lifetime he suggests they enter into “a simple rearrangement” that will benefit them both.

Jack DiMonte, left.  John Kearns.  Photos by Cat Dwyer.

After a lively act break of discussion, both political and non-political, we were led into the second act by our usual host, John Kearns. John presented two pieces inspired by his trip to India in 2016.  The first was a brand-new poem about connecting and taking photos with groups of Muslims at the Jama Masjid mosque in Old Delhi.  It’s entitled, “Masjid Jahan Numa (World Reflecting Mosque) November 2016.”  The second was a year-old comical song about riding around Delhi in a three-wheeled auto-rickshaw or tuk tuk, called “Take a Trip in a Tuk Tuk.” which soon led the audience to sing a long and provided a much needed humorous relief.

EOIN FROM HIS WEBSITE Eoin Glackin.  Eoinglackin.com

Eoin Glackin was our next presenter, an amazing singer/song-writer from Dublin. Eoin led of with a poem he was inspired to read because of Gillian’s debut. Then he sang a song entitled “Barabbas Walk Free.” He has a bluesy Dylanesque style of pure magic, a mixture of wit and deep emotion. His website is Eoinglackin.com, where you can connect to him on his other platforms and see where to catch him next as well as hear his wonderful voice and music.

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Eoin was followed by Kathleen Vaughan,  an IAWA regular. She read a piece from her upcoming book Raised By Nuns & Drunks the selection was about “flying dreams” that lifted her from the dark days of childhood, comforting her during her stay at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Home.  She always went to bed feeling abandoned and as if she was nobody’s child, but after her wonderful “flying dreams” she was able to feel powerful and like she was a child of the sky, and of course a child of God.  All she had to do was lift up her arms and point to the sky and she was lifted up and I was off towards the gates and she often wondered whether they were the orphanage gates or heaven’s gates, that she was flying through.  Kate, at right.  Photo by Cat Dwyer.

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Brian Fleming entertained us with an original song of his called “Temple Bar Me Arse.” Brian is also a very fine drummer and has played on some 50 albums. He is also named in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2001 as one of the creators of the biggest drum in the world. He is the author and performer of three one man theatre shows which have enjoyed success in New York and back at home in Ireland, where Brian shares his time between Co Clare and Dublin, where he creates magic with Dublin’s Culture Connects. Find him at http://www.brianfleming.ie

Brian, left.  Photo by Cat Dwyer.

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M.C. Neuda.  Photo by Cat Dwyer.

M.C.Neuda left us on the edge or seats with an “almost crime” piece of flash fiction entitled “In Liffey’s Bar,” where getting-to-know-you in a bar has unexpected consequences, and a piece of micro-fiction called “Fatal Day,” based on a true event and written in memory of Fire Battalion Chief Michael J. Fahy. As always M.C.’s writing and fiction are delivered with style and an edginess that leaves us craving more! Can’t wait to hear what her next story is!!

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Malachy McCourt closes the show.  Photo by Gordon Gilbert.

We were led back out into the suddenly summer New York City with a wonderful chat by our dear Malachy McCourt, followed by a song whose title escapes me now, but sure it was grand to end the night with us all singing together again

See you next time at  The Cell, Tuesday, May 15, 7 pm.

 

April 22, 2018

4.17.18 IAW&A Salon: RAVES FOR A POWERFUL NIGHT: “Full of energy and revelation”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 7:49 pm

 

By Karen Daly

Photos by Tom Mahon

The writer Maureen Hossbacher hosted an extraordinary group of artists for the mid-April IAW&A Salon in a packed house at the Cell. Salongoers and presenters sent rave reviews about the night. “Full of energy and revelation…remarkable offerings.”  “In awe of the talent assembled last night. Humbling to say the least! Loved it.”

Poet Madeline Artenberg set the tone for the evening with her accomplished reading of several poems. Madeline’s history as a photojournalist and street-theater performer informs her work. She dealt with injustice on the world stage in “Demokratia,” a first-hand account of living in Athens under the Colonels and in “Tibet, Land of the Snows.”  Her more personal pieces included “Ruse of the Flute,” about a young girl’s abusive family and “After Death,”  about a daughter’s relationship with her dead mother.

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Madeline Artenberg

Jill Caryl Weiner has a brand-new book, and was proud to have family members at the Salon to celebrate its release. When We Became Four: A Memory Book for the Modern Family helps growing families get ready for that next great adventure: the second baby. This memory book and family journal is warm and funny with easy checklists and creative prompts, in the style of her best-selling When We Became Three, called “the most clever and creative baby journal.” Jill’s enthusiasm for her work is obvious.  She reminds us it a great gift for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, or any day when the family is expanding. She asks us to support local bookstores, such as Bank Street Bookstore on 107th and Broadway. Find them also at Barnes & Noble and on Amazon.

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Jill Caryl Weiner

Salon members had the fun of watching Dublin playwright Derek Murphy develop his hilarious dark comedy Dyin’ for It here at the Salon. He’s currently working on The Love Parts; six short plays about bad relationships. One, “The Woman Driver,” read by the wonderful talents Maria Deasy and Ciaran Byrne portrays the final unraveling of a relationship that should not have lasted as long as it did. Notes Derek, “this is one driver you don’t want to get in the car with.” And he promises more parts of The Love Parts, and more funto come.

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Ciaran Byrne, Maria Deasy

Marni Rice thrilled with an excerpt, in song and narrative, from her solo work-in-progress In Search of the Past: Memories of a New York Farm Girl from the 1920’s. It’s based on the life of her grandmother— a farm girl, Vaudeville performer and early student of Martha Graham —and set soon after women had won the right to vote, but still lacked rights within their own households. Playwright/composer/performer Marni performs in French and English and her work has been have been produced at festivals around the world.

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Marni Rice

With a recent MFA from City College, Natasha Herring inspires change through her writing, compassion advocacy, teaching and filmmaking. She inspired tonight with her brilliant chapter “Strange Fruit” from her memoir Raining Sunshine. Natasha’s description: “Sunshine’s (the protagonist’s) allegorical exploration into the oasis of Okavango Delta after a sexual assault. She searches for a semblance of healing amongst the lions, baboons and grasshoppers only to question race, sexuality and her upbringing on the Lower East Side.” “Strange Fruit” will be published.in the Kweli Journal. Visit http://www.natasha-herring.com.

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Natasha Herring

Poet Marcia B. Loughran always notes how grateful she is for the opportunity of sharing her work with sounding board of the Salon. Let’s say our appreciation for Marcia’s work and warm voice is mutual.  She optimistically shared a poem about spring, “Astoria Park, April” where she “checks on the trees” to salongoers dressed for the frigid April evening. She then tapped into our shared nostalgia for the cousins we all grew up with two poems dedicated to her cousins, “Rowboats, Lake Mansfield” and “The World is Smaller When We Name It.” Her chapbook Still Life With Weather is available online.

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Marcia B. Loughran

Leilani McInerney has performed in The Fantastiks, at the Amato Opera House and in regional theatre. Now she is creating her own material in poetry and monologues. Tonight she offered an original, stunning monologue hearkening back to an experience she had as a child growing up in Texas, titled “Love Field.” Though very young at the time, the event still resonates in her life. Funny, she notes, how things resurface.

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Leilani McInerney

Another gifted multi-talent, Guenevere Donohue closed the evening with a tribute to   author Samuel Beckett and the Easter Rising, both born in April. Performing Clov  from Beckett’s Endgame, a slave attempting to leave his master, Guen showed her dramatic skill. As a fine way to close a powerful program, Guen sang a soaring rendition of Padraig Pearse’s infamous and inspiring Irish language poem, Mise Éire, set to Patrick Cassidy’s music.

IMG_4690 GDGuenevere Donohue

Thanks to Maureen Hossbacher for hosting.  Don’t forget Jill Weiner’s books, seen here, along with Maureen’s new chapbook, which will be featured soon at a Salon!

Join us next time, Tuesday, May 1 at St. Patrick’s Pub at 7 pm.

 

 

April 9, 2018

4.3.18 IAW&A SALON: April Brings New Work, Tender Family Ties and One “Nude Frolic”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 8:44 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer 

We had an especially high-spirited Salon at St. Patrick’s Pub on the first Tuesday of April, with two artists debuting new work, and excellent music, memoir, fiction, drama and poetry, and a tour de force by Malachy McCourt.  The theme of family bonds and memories was present in many offerings, whether they were forged in Brooklyn, Ireland or China, or in the imagination.

Host and Salon producer John Kearns opened with a poem he’d just completed. He describes the experience of joining a friend by a river in Chengdu, China as she burned fake currency and other paper items for her deceased father, as is the custom. Because of the language barrier, the narrator struck mute and illiterate captures the moment as “A poet with no words/Even to say there are no words.”

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John Kearns

Jenifer Margaret Kelly and Mary Ann Meyer might have been our first mother-daughter presenters. Jenifer’s mother Mary Ann, on a visit from Florida, had taken a sentimental journey to the places in Brooklyn where she grew up.  Mary Ann shared “The Tree,” a poem written by a prison inmate who watches a tree being torn down during his incarceration and reflects on the everyday beauty that we overlook. Inspired by our recent crime salon, Jenifer read a new short story titled “Miami” in which a sultry young woman heads out to kill an afternoon in the Miami heat. JMKelly-writes.com

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Mary Ann Meyer and her daughter Jenifer Margaret Kelly

Rosina Fernhoff’s reading of a monologue from Sheila Walsh’s play Mr. Tweedy’s Neighbors dazzled playwright. It tells the story of two eccentric sisters and their antagonistic, dying mother and what happens when a lonely neighbor visits.

Rosina Fernhoff, left,  reading from Sheila Walsh’s play. Sheila, center.

Mike Farragher had lots to celebrate: the launch of his new book, 9 Rooms in Ballyglunin, a collection of stories set in a rural B&B in Galway; the release of the audiobook This is Your Brain on Shamrocks and the recent filming in Kansas City of a comedy pilot for the Shamrocks book. He read a sweet excerpt about visiting his grandmother in Ireland, “Playing Ketchup with Granny.” Find out more at ThisIsYourBrainOnShamrocks.com

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Mike Farragher

Singer and musician Mary Courtney was celebrating, too, namely the release of her latest CD Freedom’s Pioneers. Mary sang three songs from that CD, accompanying herself once on the guitar, once on the bodhrán. She called it “an absolute joy to able to perform” for us.  Salongoers will agree that the joy was ours. Find her schedule at http://www.marycourtneymusic.com

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Mary Courtney

Poet Bernadette Cullen read several exquisite short poems that are thematically related. They included “Oblivion,” “Last Night at the Planetarium,” “All Exits Closed”  and” Le Temps Perdu” and “My Father.”

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Bernadette Cullen

Singer/songwriter of “Celtic Soul” Bernard Smith entertained with original tunes. He composed the bittersweet “The Day Before Yesterday Morning” as a tribute to his late father. His lively “Travel On” is about letting go of what you can’t control.

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Bernard Smith

Kathleen Vaughan read a chapter titled “Mothering Myself” from her brave memoir-in-progress Raised by Nuns and Drunks. As a young child who lost her mother, Kate learned to watch and emulate other women who cherished their children and themselves. Acknowledging the many women who supported and guided her, Kate revealed her practices for self-care.

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Kathleen Vaughn

Gordon Gilbert, Jr. told a short, funny story of looking for his car in Greenwich Village, and then reprised a character from one of his monologues. This character holds forth on aging, memory loss, lust, frustration and the bitterness of old men. Gordon claims that  resemblance to any person living or dead was strictly intentional.

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Gordon Gilbert

Malachy McCourt read a hilarious story from his bestselling memoir A Monk Swimming. As a headstrong young man, Malachy got into a dispute at an east side establishment that wanted him to check his coat. Malachy settled the dispute with what he calls “a nude frolic.”  He also offered words of inspiration and exhortation about the craft of writing and telling stories.

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Malachy McCourt

Malachy gets the last word at our Salon, but we’ll give Mary Courtney the last word in our column. Commenting on Malachy, “our chieftain and founder,” she notes, “His presence always brings the energy in the room to the top…having him read and speak to us all is beyond words.” 

See you next time at The Cell, 4/17 at 7 pm.

 

 

March 26, 2018

3.20.18 IAW&A SALON: In League with Mystery Writers for a Criminally Good Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:46 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

IAWA’s March Salon at the Cell, dubbed Crime Night by its co-conspirators Seamus Scanlon and Gary Cahill, brought together members of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America with IAWA talent. Speaking of talent, actor and playwright Joe Goodrich hosted with great style. A mystery editor and aficionado, Joe gave an overview of the genre that ranges from “talking cats to serial killers.” No cats appeared but we had plenty of killers, flash fiction, classic detectives and a bit of history, and naturally, a bit of music.

One of the organizers, Seamus Scanlon read three flash pieces:  “A hAon, A Do, A Tri” (“One, Two, Three”) about “a girl called Zelda in Mervue who didn’t like guys like she ougtha…” His  “Three-Nil” depicts an early savage incident in Northern Ireland. Seamus’ best selling work The Long Wet Grass, now a film and play, was originally developed and premiered at the Cell. www.thelongwetgrass.com

 

 

Seamus Scanlon, left.  Gary Cahill

His partner-in-crime Gary Cahill read a short story “Responsorial” which was inspired by the themes of Seamus’ The Long Wet Grass. It’s a tough tale of American retribution for a long- ago personal transgression that took place during the Irish Troubles.

 

 

Rosina Fernhoff,  Mark Butler

Four IAWA members entertained with selected bits from their favorite crime novels. Rosina Fernhoff and Mark William Butler chose classic detective fiction. Rosina read a taut, humor-filled, first person piece from the noir master James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss. Playwright Mark William Butler channeled his inner Philip Marlowe as he read from Raymond Chandler’s classic 1949 novel, The Little Sister. Guen Donohue chose a slice of In the Woods by best-selling contemporary Irish author Tana French. Nancy Oda took us to 7th century Ireland with Absolution by Murder, the first book in the Sr. Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne.

 

 

Guen Donohue, left.  Nancy Oda

Suzanne Solomon’s flash fiction entry “Last Stop, Greystone Park” featured a vengeful wife hoping to enjoy her insurance money. Enjoy it on Akashic Books “Mondays Are Murder” series: http://www.akashicbooks.com/last-stop-greystone-park-by-sa-solomon/ Suzanne’s work has appeared in the collections New Jersey NoirJewish NoirProtectors 2: Heroes-Stories to Benefit PROTECT, Grand Central Noir and online publications. http://www.facebook.com/Author.S.A.Solomon.

 

 

S.A. Solomon, left.  Joe Goodrich

Richie Narvaez, award-winning author of Roachkiller and Other Stories, was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And Williamsburg has changed a lot since then. Richie’s feelings about those changes are reflected in his upcoming novel: Hipster Death Rattle. The brief but bloody excerpt left us howling, and eager for the book’s publication next year.

 

 

Richie Narvaez, left.  Larry Kirwan 

IAWA president Larry Kirwan read a tender piece from his new novel A Raving Autumn. Set in Rockaway and Breezy Point, it tells of a couple who lost a hero son on 9/11. And then he sang “Heroes/Belfast” his interpretation of David Bowie’s classic. When Larry met Bowie,  Bowie said that “Heroes” could be set in Belfast as well as Berlin. Find Larry’s version on iTunes and other digital platforms.

catseyepix-0127_previewbreaEnjoying the intermission

Sara Covington, of Queens College and the Graduate Center, specializes in early modern British and Irish history. She told a particularly chilling story: that of Col. Daniel Axtell, a prominent figure in Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland. Appointed as governor of Kilkenny, and later accused of treason, Axtell was eventually hanged, drawn and quartered.

 

 

Sara Covington, left.   Nina Mansfield

In “Gods and Virgins in the Big Easy,” two college women head to New Orleans with murder in mind. Nina Mansfield’s story was published in Crime Syndicate Magazine. She’s a Connecticut based fiction writer and playwright. You can find her work at  http://www.ninamansfield.com

In M.C. Neuda ‘s “Widow’s Might” published online in Yellow Mama, a not quite saintly widow-to-be tends to her husband.  And she read her poem, “Fix Me With A Pin,” in her best teenage voice. M.C. notes that it’s “currently awaiting the judge’s pleasure in Crazyhorse Magazine‘s poetry competition.”

 

 

John Kearns, left.  M.C. Neuda

John Kearns was thrilled to have the excellent actors Gina Costigan and John Skocik in a scene from his play, In a Bucket of Blood, set in Hell’s Kitchen. Eddie Carey waits for his old friend and crime boss, Jimmy Nolan, late at night in a bar. He is trying to learn about a shooting that morning at a local construction site. His wife, Deirdre, enters the bar and through one stratagem after another tries to get Eddie to realize that his loyalty to Nolan is misplaced.

catseyepix-0185_preview john?Gina .jpgJohn Skocik, Gina Costigan in In a Bucket of Blood

Gary Cahill closed the show with a “slightly revised rock/mambo version” of Warren Zevon’s love and heroin song “Carmelita.” Pete Smith, actor, singer, songwriter, and retired firefighter, (http://www.PeterQuentinSmith.com), accompanied him on acoustic guitar.catseyepix-0239_preview GC PSPete Smith on guitar.  Gary Cahill

Special thanks to Gary and Seamus and Joe, and our MWA guests for delivering a fun, fast-paced night!

See you next time, Tuesday, 4/3 at 7 pm at St. Pat’s Pub, 22 W. 46th St.

March 15, 2018

3.6.2018 IAW&A Salon: An evening of personal & fictional stories, poetry, drama, and song

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:50 am

by Gordon Gilbert
Photos by John Kearns and Mark Butler

For the second time, the IAW&A salon convened at our new home for first Tuesdays, St. Pat’s Bar & Grill, a pub on West 46th Street, in a private room on their 3rd floor (accessible both by elevator and stairs).  From behind the bar, Claire, a convivial Irish lass, served us well.  Several of those who attended can attest that the food there is also quite good!  John Kearns was our host for an evening in which we were regaled with both personal and fictional stories, monologues, poetry, song and excerpts from a play.

IMG_3686Gary Cahill

The evening began with a reading by crime fiction writer Gary Cahill of an excerpt from his short story “On a Two-Way Street”, published in print and e- formats with Mystery Weekly Magazine’s February edition.  It was a foretaste of the next salon (March 20th): Crime Night at The Cell, co-created  by Gary and Seamus Scanlon, which will feature an array of readers and writers from IAW&A and Mystery Writers of America New York.  Dark and stormy?  Gary guarantees it!

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Maria Neuda

Gary was followed by Maria Neuda.  Although primarily a crime fiction writer, this evening Maria presented us with three short non-crime pieces.  The first two were poems:  “I Hate to See” (in two parts – “That Evening Sun” and “Go Down”) and “What is Honesty in This Case?”  The third, a flash fiction piece: “Strangers on a Train.”  Maria will be a participant in the upcoming “Crime Night”, and is also featuring on April 25th at a monthly spoken word event, “Rimes of the Ancient Mariner,” held at the Three of Cups in the East Village.  Maria has had her crime fiction published on e-zine sites, Shotgun HoneyYellow Mama, and Near2theKnuckle.

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Thom Molyneaux and Annalisa Chamberlin

Next were Thom Molyneaux and Annalisa Chamberlin, who performed two excerpts from his play White Ash Falling 9/11, a play within a play about that horrific day.  The first takes place backstage with Annalisa’s playing Gwen, a young actor who first learns of the tragedy while rehearsing The Seagull at Yale Drama.  In the second, Annalisa played a waitress, Bonnie, witnessing the devastating tragedy live in a New Jersey restaurant with a spectacular view of the Twin Towers.

Then County Mayo native, Maura Mulligan, author of the memoir, Call of the Lark read an excerpt from her fiction writing in progress that features Madge O’ Malley.  Madge has been chosen by a ghost to solve a murder, the said spirit making contact with her at an artist’s retreat in Donegal.  Maura was delighted with the audience’s response.   Maura invited everyone to join her at a ceremony on March 22nd at Brooklyn Borough Hall, where she is being honored as Irish Woman of the Year by the Irish American Heritage & Culture Committee of the Dept. of Education, NYC.

This event is free and open to the public.  Anyone interested in attending, please contact Maura (mauramulligan@aol.com) and she will send you the invitation.  Also you may contact her if you have an interest in joining a weekly céilí dance class (Irish folk dance for adults) and or an Irish language class.

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Maura Mulligan and Philomena Connors

Next came a regular attendee of the IAW&A Salons, Philomena Connors, who is currently working on a short story set in India in a dystopian future.  Philomena read to us from the beginning of her new story.   The protagonist, a UN field worker, takes the reader on a journey to a new reality where the world order has radically changed: dictatorships, caliphates, and democracies vie for global power; mainstream education no longer functions, international travel is restricted and the internet is inaccessible.  Two Irish aid workers try to keep it all together while exploring their pasts and maybe falling in love. To be continued … !

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Maewyn Succat 

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John McDonagh

The second half began with  John McDonagh, who thanked the IAW&A for making possible his one-man play Off the Meter Off the Record at the Irish Repertory Theatre.  He then went on to tell us his personal story about how, following the death in London of his cousin, Vinny, who had been born in that city, it came about that he was asked to bring his ashes back to County Donegal to be buried with his mother, John’s aunt.

John also asked if anyone knew of an agent who could promote his one-man show to HBO, Showtime or Netflix.  He told us that in the neighborhood where he grew up in Queens, the only agents he ever knew were FBI agents. You may contact John at offthemeter.net.

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Rosina Fernhoff

Next we were entertained by IAW&A Salon regular and wonderful actor Rosina Fernhoff, who gave us a delightful reading of a monologue by Gordon Gilbert, in which she portrayed a rather merry widow who still talks quite regularly to her dead husband, and this time is telling him about the unique solution she has found to her need to feel the closeness of others.

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Gordon Gilbert

Then to the amusement of the gathering, Gordon gave us a brief but rowdy reading of six limericks not his own.

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That was followed by our host John Kearns, reading an excerpt from the title story of his collection, Dreams and Dull Realities, in which the sixth-grader Terrance is returning to school after having cut his Achilles tendon on March 17th.  As he gets ready for school, he imagines how he will be a different, more extroverted kid with his classmates.  He also recalls the teasing of his relatives and wonders if they somehow knew that he had brought bad luck upon himself by not wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day.

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Guenevere Donohue

Next Guenevere Donohue sang two songs of the Irish immigrant experience: “Ain’t I Mc Enough For Ya”, an original piece about Guen’s grandparents’ Amerikay arrivals, and “No Irish Need Apply”, a classic folk song which helps people understand one of the reasons why we Irish Americans hold fiercely to our Irish identity.  Guenevere also wants us to know: “I’m in a cool play next week, and it’s super fun: Pieces of a Playwright II in Off-Off-Broadway at 124 Bank Street Theater 2018.”

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Rosina Fernhoff

Not done yet, the indefatigable, incomparable Rosina Fernhoff performed for us once again, this time a hilarious rendition of “And the Winner Is Me,” a monologue by playwright and movie buff Mark William Butler, in which he pays a satirical tribute to the Oscars.  (Following the salon that night, they both then attended the “after-Oscars-party” ten feet away at St. Patrick’s 3rd floor bar.)

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Malachy McCourt

As he traditionally does, Eugene O’Neill Award recipient Malachy McCourt, one of the founders of IAW&A, concluded the salon by regaling us with choice witticisms and a reminder that we should be storytellers, not simply (and boringly) readers, when we perform what we have written, not seeking so much to edify as to entertain!  Lastly, in case we had forgotten what he self-professes, that he cannot sing, Malachy led us all in song again, this time the anti-war classi:  “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye.”

Join us next time, Tuesday, March 20th, 7 pm, at The Cell Theatre for the IAW&A Crime Salon!

 

February 26, 2018

2.20.18 IAW&A SALON: “Love, artistry, and courage abound” in an exciting night at The Cell

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:14 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Dan Brown

The mid-February Salon at the Cell drew raves from audience members and from presenters grateful for their warm support. A night rich in monologue, personal stories, crime fiction and satire was brought to an electrifying close by visiting bluesman Paddy Smith.

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Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, IAWA Board member, and co-founder of St. Pat’s for All, announces the Concert and Parade this weekend.   St.Patsforall.org

Salon producer and host  John Kearns opened the program with two original poems, each inspired by travel, of long and short distances. In “Leaving for China,” an homage to Du Fu, Chengdu poet of the Tang Dynasty (8th Century), the narrator describes the streets of the Bronx as he anticipates his first flight to Shanghai. “Heading Home” portrays the spontaneous creative conversation of a couple commuting home from work. John had just celebrated the Chinese New Year in China, and he came bearing gifts of chocolate.

6 John Kearns

Andre Archimbaud likes to say he that he has a very French name, but a very Irish heart. Tonight he read three short pieces which revealed that Irish heart: “Museless Monday” written the day that David Bowie died; “Thickets and Thorns” about losing his grandfather and “Hyperballad” about a man Andre met in Washington Heights, who was losing his life to the drink.

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Andre Archimbaud

Jerry McTigue presented a satire piece in the form of a hypothetical ad promoting the most difficult item to sell: Nothing. And we bought it!  Jerry got the idea from his work creating ads for real products and services. He’s also authored six books, including the Life’s Little Frustration Book series, and numerous articles and essays for national magazines and major city newspapers. An IAWA newcomer, Jerry appreciated our “warm and supportive audience.”  http://ggaynormctigue.com

11 Jerry McTigue

Once again the Obie-Award winner Rosina Fernhoff captivated the audience with a monologue from the one woman-play The Conversion of Alice B.Toklas by Carol Polcovar. In this play , Toklas steps out from the shadow of her late lover Gertrude Stein, and talks about her dream to become a Catholic

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Rosina Fernhoff

Crime fiction writer Gary Cahill read from his newly published short story “On A Two-Way Street” currently featured on the cover of the February issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine. Gary sums it up as “Chinese food meets diamonds and guns on the beach and the driver of your dreams.” And what else do you need to know? Gary primed the audience for next month’s crime-themed Salon at the Cell (3/20) being organized by Seamus Scanlon with Gary colluding (yes … there is “collusion”).

12 Gary Cahill

Dan Brown wrote and directed actress Abbey Dubin in one of the night’s outstanding monologues. In “The Rolex Tudor Prince Oyster Date with Steel Blue Dial,” a child’s impulsive act has far-reaching consequences on her family relationships. Dan says the piece challenges the idea that the truth will always “set you free.” Instead an occasional dose of dishonesty might be the pathway to freedom. Dan also took the great photos here.

3 Abbey Dubin

Carmel McMahon made an impressive Salon debut with an excerpt from her recently completed memoir, In Ordinary Time about her childhood in a large Catholic family in Co. Meath. Carmel, who came to New York in 1993, has been published in The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish Echo and the Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction.

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Carmel McMahon

Another Salon newcomer, and a stylish presenter, M.C. Neuda says she probes “the darker (but not unamusing) side of the human condition in crime fiction.” Her selections tonight  made that point.  They included “Look At Me, Damn You”  which won an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s July/August 2016 Very Short Fiction Competition. “Matchstick” was published in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and her latest, dealing with the latest technology,  is “Are You Tracking?”

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M.C. Neuda 

The fearless Sarah Fearon blew in to try out some new material for her comic real estate routine, no doubt preparing for her show on Tuesday at the West Side Comedy Club. She brought along her ukulele, too and prompted by the day’s weather, sang “California Dreamin.” And inspired, or uninspired by the news these days, she played “Imagine.”  Sarah claims she needs more uke lessons, and she was delighted that the crowd joined in to sing along.

5 Sarah Fearon 

Leilani McInerney delivered a brief, mesmerizing performance in a monologue about a woman experiencing unusual side effects from medication.

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Leilani McInerney

The blues artist Paddy Smith brought the Salon to a thrilling close with two numbers on harmonica and vocals: “The Sky is Crying” and Paul Butterfield’s “Born in Chicago.” Paddy has been playing harmonica since he was six years old and has released two EP’s “Ran Out of Road Paddy” and “Let Those Blues In.” You have a chance to hear Paddy Smith Blues Band at the CRAIC Fest on Saturday, and we say don’t miss it.

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Paddy Smith

Get ready for a busy few weeks and watch Facebook for more events.

FEB 27  Sarah Fearon in a Comedy Review. Reserve at https://westsidecomedyclub.com/calendar/ftuesday-february-27-7pm

MAR 2  St. Pat’s-for-All Concert at Irish Arts Center, 6 pm.  Tickets:   stpatsforall.org

MAR 3  CRAIC Fest, including Paddy Smith Blues Band, Mercury Lounge, 7 pm. Tickets at Ticketfly

MAR 4  St. Pat’s-for-All Parade, Sunnyside, NY 1 pm

MAR 6  IAW&A Salon at St. Patrick’s Bar, 22 West 46th St.,  7pm

MAR 20  IAW&A Crime-themed Salon at The Cell, 7pm

 

 

 

February 12, 2018

2.6.18 IAW&A Salon: Eclectic Talents and Lively Audience Mark Our Midtown Debut

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:41 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

St. Patrick’s, that is, the pub on West 46th Street, drew a convivial crowd to the first February IAWA Salon. Hosted by John Kearns and Mark Butler in the bar’s private room,   we had poetry, monologue, memoir, flash fiction and befitting our location, a saint or two.

Poet and frequent Salon contributor, Gordon Gilbert, Jr. kicked off the night with three poems, covering a range of styles and emotions. His first, “War of the Roses,” a heroic-style parody about his battle with invasive roses. In the second poem, he drew deeper meaning from two small tragic events and the final one concerned the impact of new technologies on our children.

In honor of the Philadelphia Eagles’ first ever Super Bowl victory, Salon producer and the night’s co-host and Philadelphia native John Kearns read from the opening of his short story, “Athletics.” In the story, Gene Prendergast commutes home from Center City Philadelphia imagining that sportscasters are giving a play-by-play of his exploits.

Gordon Gilbert, Jr. left. John Kearns, center. Mark Butler

First time presenter Tim Fitts, who lives in Philadelphia, also revelled in the Super Bowl victory. Author of two short story collections, Hypothermia and Go Home and Cry for Yourselves, he read terrific new flash fiction: “Belly,” “Disco,” “Spring Break” and “Shark Patrol.” Tim teaches Creative Nonfiction at the Curtis Institute of Music and is a frequent guest on the literary magazine Painted Bride Quarterly’s podcast, Slushpile. Pbqmag.org Find Tim’s work on Amazon.

In light of last week’s celebration of St. Brigid, Sheila Houlihan read “The Giveaway,” a poem written by the Pulitzer Prize winning American poet and satirist, Phyllis McGinley. The humorous work acknowledges – and pokes fun at — the Saint’s legendary generosity:

For here’s the fault in Brigid lay:
She would give everything away

Tim Fitts,  left. Sheila Houlihan with her St. Brigid’s Cross.

Delivering five powerful monologues from the Shakespeare section of his one-man show, Me and the Monologue, actor Thom Molyneauxdescribed his personal connections with Marc Anthony, Hotspur and Henry V. Thom, a veteran Salon performer, was delighted with the audience’s reception and sharing of their personal connections with the Bard. Thom notes that he and Malachy McCourt agree, “The best things that ever happened to the English language were Shakespeare and the Irish, though not necessarily in that order.” 

Thom Molyneaux, left.  John Munnelly

John Munnelly has a new talent. He’s a musician, singer, songwriter, artist and now saucier. He debuted a new song “They Were No Good,” and captured the mood of many salongoers about the politics of the day in “I Wish I Still Believed.” In addition to XU, his current music release, John’s other hot new project is hot sauce. Disproving the notion that Irish people can’t do spice,he’s created a food enhancer that getting great word-of-mouth, Hattwood Hot Red Sauce at hattwood.com.

Marcia Loughran, a prize-winning poet and nurse practitioner, received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Tonight she shared three poems, “Superstition,” “Tap Dance at the Nursing Home” and “7D.”  She is working on a full-length manuscript to follow up on her prize-winning chapbook, Still Life With Weather.

Marcia Loughran, left. Kathleen Vaughan

Kathleen Vaughan read a section of her memoir-in-progress Raised By Nuns & Drunks. When she entered Good Shepherd School, after living in an orphanage, she felt like an outcast, compared with girls who were more confident, better dressed and who enjoyed the kind of bonding Kate never experienced. Luckily, the nuns at Good Shepherd School were especially kind to their new student, and Kate expresses her appreciation for them in this candid section.

Speaking of kindness, Guenevere Donohue described how a suggestion from another IAW&A member, to give money to a homeless person, instead of sending him a birthday present, inspired her poem. So she gave to a man who lives on the grate next to her subway entrance and created a perceptive new poem, “Sometimes He’s There and Sometimes He’s Gone.”

Guenevere Donohue, left.  Ellis O’Toole

A new member of IAWA and first time presenter, short-story writer Ellis O’Toole read two charming selections from her remembrance collection in progress. “The Wild Man” tells the story of a child’s confusion upon meeting an apparent fugitive, while “Election Year” describes what happens when five-year olds engage in political debate, in this case over Kennedy vs. Nixon. O’Toole, a daughter of Irish immigrants, is a New York native.

crowdMalachy McCourt, far right,  enjoying the night.

Fondly known as our Salon godfather, Malachy McCourt came to bless the new space, and share a few words about St. Patrick himself. He chased the snakes out of Ireland…and we know where they came. Malachy guided us in singing “Down by the Salley Gardens” and we left the warmth of St. Patrick’s pub for the bright lights of midtown.

Join us next time, Tuesday, February 20, 7 pm at The Cell.

 

January 22, 2018

1.15.18 IAW&A Salon: INSPIRING CELEBRATION OF MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY AT THE CELL THEATRE

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 1:01 am

By Maureen Hossbacher
Photos by Cat Dwyer

On Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the Irish American Writers and Artists, Inc. tribute to the great man got off to a rousing start with a powerful presentation by poet Robert Gibbons entitled  “to deify a martyr.”  The torrent of applause that followed set the tone for the rest of this wonderful evening hosted by John Kearns and included in the roster of events for the 2018 Origin’s First Irish Theater Festival.

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Robert Gibbons

Keyera Bowens returned to the Cell to share another thought-provoking work: Part 1 of a story titled “No Church in the Wild,” a prose poem that explores America’s history through the lens of two brothers. We eagerly await Part 2 from this young writer with a promising literary future.

bowers Keyera Bowens

Incorporating some strategically placed call-and-response phrases, first time presenter Natasha Herring read her lyrical essay ”Black and Blue.”   An educator and filmmaker, Herring is a graduate of CCNY’s MFA program and recently completed a memoir entitled, Raining Sunshine (and is looking for an agent). She has also created an on-line community of e-courses called lolforlotsoflove. For more info go to https://natasha-herring.com/natasha

 

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Natasha Herring

IAW&A was delighted to receive a visit from Irish Vice Consul Shane Cahill who expressed his admiration for our organization and pledged the Consulate’s continued support. In the spirit of the evening, he generously reached out to our diverse presenters and audience and invited other artists with worthy projects to seek assistance from the Consulate.

Vice Consul of Ireland in New York, Shane Cahill, left.  George Heslin,  founder Origin Theatre Company’s First Irish Festival

Standing in for filmmaker and IAW&A Vice President Mary Pat Kelly who was unable to attend, Board member Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy introduced a tantalizing abridgment of Kelly’s film Proud. The inspiration for the film was an article by Thomas Young, an African-American war correspondent, headlined “Irish First To Treat USS MASON Crew As Americans” and based on the true story of the only African American sailors to take a Navy warship into battle during World War II.  Narrated by Ossie Davis and featuring actors Stephen Rea, Eric LaRay Harvey and Aidan Quinn, the section screened at the salon showed the men arriving in Derry and their adventures there.  For more information check out Proudthemovie.com. 

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Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy introducing clip from Mary Pat Kelly’s film Proud

Next we were treated to a musical interlude by Annalisa Chamberlin, accompanied on acoustic guitar by John Kearns.  Chamberlin, a NYC-based actor and singer, performed the song ”Only Her Rivers Run Free”, which was written for the civil rights movement in 1968 Northern Ireland inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.  Her second selection was a rendition of the stirring ballad ‘The Death of Emmet Till’ written by Bob Dylan.

ac & JK.jpgAnnalisa Chamberlin,  John Kearns

Funny thing about the truth is, it’s just true, you don’t have to prove it. That lyric from Aiesha Duke’s original song “Sweet Lie” applies to her impressive talent as well.  Nevertheless she went right ahead and proved it anyway, with another exciting salon performance.  In addition to her work in Off-Broadway musical theater, Aiesha is also the lead singer, lyricist, manager, and choreographer of her own band , Miss Dukes Music.

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Aiesha Dukes

John Kearns read a draft of a new poem about how movements of non-violent resistance have had far reaching influence. The poem highlights connections between Irish civil rights leaders and Gandhi and Martin Luther King who inspired the civil rights movement in the North of Ireland.

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John Kearns

The amazing Rebekah Madebach made her second appearance at the salon. The New York actress performed “New Year’s Eve 2014”, a dramatic monologue written and directed by IAW&A member Dan Brown. The piece explored the idea that a seed of hate may exist even in the most open heart. The goal of this raw and edgy performance was to inspire each of us to look inside of ourselves, and continue to become more open and loving.

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Rebekah Madebach

First time presenter Janelle Poe, read three poems, the first a found poem comprised entirely of Dr. MLK Jr.’s words in his seminal historic text, “Letter from Birmingham City Jail”.  In “Math,” Poe continued addressing the theme of segregation and exploitation by presenting a complicated equation to identify, “How Many Black People Do You Know?”  Her final untitled poem draws connections between global “cells” and prisoners of oppression.  An organizer for the CCNY MFA Reading Series and selected reader for the Turnstile Series of graduating CUNY MFA students, she will be reading at CUNY Grad Center sometime in the next few months.  Visit elle-dj.com or CCNY MFA Reading Series for more information.

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Janelle Poe

Our grand finale was delivered by Maxine Linehan, international concert and recording artist.  Maxine travels the world as a solo concert artist and has enraptured crowds in venues from New York’s Lincoln Center and Paris’ famed Théâtre du Châtelet, to Feinstein’s/54 Below and Birdland. Her stunning tribute to fellow countrymen U2, garnered rave reviews at its premiere last year including the Irish Voice who described the show as “the perfect introduction to the megawatt talent of the incomparable Linehan”. Accompanied by pianist Steven Ray Watkins at the salon, Maxine performed U2’s smash hit “One” (her cover single is available on iTunes and all proceeds benefit Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/one-bc-efa-edition-single/1089686719 ).  She also performed another U2 classic, “Pride” (In The Name Of Love), which was written in honor of Dr. King. Maxine will give a special St. Patrick’s Eve performance of her show  ONE: THE SONGS OF U2 backed by a chamber orchestra at Feinstein’s/54 Below on March 16th at 9.30pm.

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Maxine Linehan

This special event was summed up perfectly by Janelle Poe:  “ A beautiful evening — and this is what [Dr. King] wanted!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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