Irish American Writers & Artists

November 18, 2011

Exhibition: Korean War Remembrances from New IAW&A Member

Filed under: American Politics,Events,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 7:54 pm
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Life During War Time 1951-1953
Remembering the Korean People and War: Photographs and Video by Robert Leddy
by Kathy Callahan

This exhibition distills and chronicles Robert Leddy’s war time experiences from Hudson County NJ to Idaho, Seoul, Korea and back home again -into a choice group of sixty images and a narrated video by Robert Leddy, Korean War Veteran. There are vivid and evocative photographs that address the issues of hunger, displacement, memory and recovery from disaster and explores how the Korean people responded to war time tragedies. Each and every picture tells a memorable story. Focusing on the everyday life of children, adults, families, U.S. and Korean soldiers in Korea and in America. The exhibition is organized by Kathy Leddy Callahan, Curator and Steven Cavallo, Program Director, Palisades Park Library.

Robert Leddy, a semi retired business owner and inventor in Norwood, Ridgefield NJ for over fifty years. He is the winner
of many national and regional home remodeling association awards for quality craftsmanship, integrity and excellent customer service,
‘When You’re Ready Call Leddy’ Home Improvement, Remodeling and Window Co. He is a devoted family man and proud father of 6 children and 17 grandchildren. He is married to Barbara Leddy (nee Brophy) and lives in Old Tappan, NJ. Mr. Leddy is a member of IAW&A Irish American Writers & Artists.November 1 – December 1 2011
257 Second Street, Palisades Park, NJ.Previous shows include: Ridgewood NJ Public Library, Old Tappan NJ Public Library.
Future shows at Museums, Libraries, Veterans and Korean Associations TBA.

Reception Schedule
Join Robert Leddy for a guided tour, lively Q&A and refreshments.
Thursday December 1 7-9 p.m.

Call for more information: 201-213-7862

IAW&A’s Inaugural Salon at The Cell

This past Tuesday evening the  Irish American Writers & Artists brought their Salon to The Cell, a very special theatre located on West 23rd Street in Manhattan.  “A Twenty First Century Salon,” The Cell is the ideal place to “mine the mind,” pierce the heart, and awaken the soul….” The evening’s first presenter, Honor Molly, did exactly that with her very personal story “If It Wasn’t For The Letters.” Honor tells the story of  discovering and reading letters her mother had written over forty years ago, which led to her family’s successful emigration from Ireland to the United States.  If you didn’t have a catch in your throat or a tear in your eye, you weren’t paying attention. A wonderfully crafted, powerful story.

The next presenter was Brandy Mitchell, who read, or rather performed, as Beatrice Mahon in John Kearns’ “A Tragic Story by Beatrice Mahon O.P.”  Brandy beautifully captured the the subtlety of Beatrice’s disappointment upon meeting an old friend and seeing the kind of adult her friend had become.

Mark Donnelly provided the evening’s poetry with his poems of love and loss, as well as poems from his childhood. I particularly enjoyed “Outside of Heaney’s Bar.” And as it turns out that was the perfect segue to my story, “A Porn Star for Lunch,” a story of an afternoon spent with the Princess of Porn at McSorley’s Old Ale House.

Brendan Connellan, who spent years working on Wall Street is now writing tales loosely based on his experiences.  Brendan read a story from a novel in progress about tension at bonus time on Wall Street, and the slippery slope that is dealing with the boss’s wife, the mandatory ingratiation, and the horror of the year-end holiday party.  Great story that rang true. 

Mark Butler closed out the first half of the evening’s session with a sketch called, It.” Read by Mark and Honor Molloy, this snappy and witty sketch originally appeared in Mark’s comedy revue Instant Happy at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity.  Mark’s second work, Pedestrian,” a harrowing and amusing story of crossing NYC streets and dodging cabs, was given a riotous performance by his brother, Richard Butler.  “Pedestrian” was staged originally in Mark’s sketch comedy show Rubbervision.

Novelist Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence, whose work I enjoyed when I heard her read at Glucksman Ireland House last fall, read from Becoming Irish, her memoir-in-progress which addresses how her infant grandfather’s 1882 eviction from his Limerick cottage (British Land Wars) affects her and her many siblings to this day.  The more she read the funnier it got. I anxiously await the finished product. 

Kathleen Donohoe took us back to 1918 with a story called, “Influenza, Mother of God.”  The story tells of the 1918 influenza epidemic, which took the lives of millions of people around the globe.  Kathleen read a gripping tale of how thirteen nuns and girls at a Catholic boarding school in upstate New York succumbed to this dreaded disease.  Nearly one-hundred years later,  a group of townspeople still ponder the exact fate of the last girl lost.

Michelle Wood, combined her facile way with words and a delightful reading style, closing out the evening with an excerpt from a novel in progress, Ire,  a story loosely inspired by Edna O’Brien and her ex-husband, Ernest Gebler.

The Irish American Writers and Artists’ upcoming Salons will be on December 6th at the Thalia Cafe, Symphony Space on 95th Street, just off Broadway, and at The Cell on Dec 20th. The Cell is located at 338 W. 23rd Street. For more information on the Salon or joining the IAW&A contact, Charles Hale

November 10, 2011

“Salon at The Cell” added to IAW&A Monthly Calendar

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Theater,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 6:27 pm
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Due to the popularity of the Irish American Writers and Artists’ Salons, which are held the first Tuesday of each month at the Thalia Café at Symphony Space and West 95th Street, we are adding an additional venue to showcase that talent of IAW&A members.

On Tuesday, November 15 an additional IAW&A’s Salon will be coming to The Cell Theatre, located at 338 West 23rd Street.  The Cell a “Twenty First Century Salon, is a place where artists can “mine the mind, pierce the heart, and awaken the soul…a place for artists to incubate and present new work.” It is exactly that spirit that the IAW&A’s Salon has attempted to capture and why we are happy to add the “Salon at The Cel”l to our monthly schedule along with the “First Tuesday Thalia Salon.”

The IAW&A Salon, the brainchild of Malachy McCourt, allows IAW&A members the opportunity to present in the medium of their choice. Do you have a recently published book you’d like to read from? Working on a new song you’d like to try out in front of an audience? Would you like to work out a scene from a play you’ve written, tell a story, read a passage from a novel in progress or hone your comedic skills? At an IAW&A Salon you’ll have ten minutes in front of a supportive audience to do just that.

The event is meant to be low-keyed and that’s exactly what it is, a group of artists gathered to support one another in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere.

While you must be a member to present, the proceedings are free and open to all.

For more information on the Salon or joining the IAW&A contact Charles Hale

November 9, 2011

November IAW&A Salon Presents Eclectic Mix

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 3:20 pm

James Joyce didn’t read from The Dead, Angelica Houston didn’t perform as Greta, and Susan McKeown didn’t sing the “The Lass of Aughrim,” but a talented group of writers, performers and musicians were in attendance at Tuesday night’s Irish American Writers and Artists’ Salon.

Honor Molloy began the All Soul’s Day proceedings with a wonderful childhood memory, a tale she calls “Bedtime Story.” Kevin McPartland followed with a work of  “flash fiction,” a style of writing that is extremely brief, entitled “D Train,” a harrowing depiction of aliens invading the NYC subway system.

Singer, musician songwriter, Michael Sheahan was next up. Michael, who first appeared at Salon II and sang the very beautiful “Pages of Time,” sang the title song from his awarding winning Book/DVD/CD titled “Mr. Holidays Presents the Rooftop Hop.”

The spontaneous nature of the proceedings leaves the audience wondering how one performer’s work is going to segue into the next. The juxtaposition of Michael’s song about Santa Claus, followed by Mark Butler’s riotous romp of sexual debauchery, “Cool and Clean and Crisp,” was the perfect example of the “one never knows, does one,” segue. Mark’s very funny story was published in the book “Best American Erotica 1994.”

Award winning screenwriter, Martha Pinson, concluded the first half of the evening’s performances with two moving poems, “Garden of Eden,” and “The Cool Room,” and an inspiring haiku, which she calls “The Wedding.”

Kathleen Hill, whose book, “Who Occupies This House” received an “Editor’s Choice” from the New York Times, began the second half of the evening with a tender reading from her book. Peter Quinn, the IAW&A President, was in attendance and of Kathleen’s work he said, “It’s prose that constantly trips into poetry.” Perfect description.

Mary Gannon read from her novel in progress, “Sacred Street,” an engaging, romantic coming-of-age tale of a young girl and John Kearns read a finely constructed and thought provoking poem from his play “Sons of Molly Maguires.” John’s poem was published in the November 2011 issue of  “Poetry for the Masses”  The last reader was Kevin Holohan, who exhibited his brilliant reading and writing skills with an arresting tale of abuse and retribution from his book “The Brothers’ Lot.”

Sarah Fearon leant her keen sense of humor to the proceedings with a skit called, “A Microwaved NYC Moment,”  a laugh-out-loud, fall-on-the-floor-funny scene of  hilarity. This lady has a great ear for the sights, sounds and voices that are NYC. 

As has become the Salon’s tradition, Michael Sheahan ended the evening with a song he wrote called “The White Strand.” The tune, motivated by his Irish-born wife Barbara’s hometown, and Michael’s first trip to the west of Ireland, captures the rugged beauty of Ireland’s west coast, and in the great tradition of Malachy McCourt, ended the evening with an Irish flair.

The next Thalia Salon, which is located at Symphony Space on 95th Street and Broadway, will be held on December 6th. There will be an announcement in a day or two of an additional Salon, which will be at The Cell Theatre on West 23rd Street on November 15. More on that soon. For additional information on becoming an IAW&A member and participating at a Salon, contact Charles Hale at

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