Irish American Writers & Artists

November 30, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 8:20 pm
By Charles Hale

The first “Artists Without Walls” event was hosted last night by Lehman College, located in the Bronx, NY. Held in Lehman’s Art Gallery, the event was a great success featuring bravura performances in front of a crowd that overflowed into the hallway. More on the performances tomorrow, but first, a few of Cat Dwyer’s wonderful photos. (The names appear below the photos.)

Ed McCann, Tara O'Grady and Richard

Ed McCann, Tara O’Grady and Richard Kollath

Peter Quinn and Billy Barrett

Peter Quinn and Billy Barrett

David Schaefer and Ralph William Boone

David Schaefer and Ralph William Boone

John Redmond and Darrah Carr

John Redmond and Darrah Carr

John Kearns

John Kearns

Malachy McCourt and Niamh Hyland

Malachy McCourt and Niamh Hyland

Liam O'Connell

Liam O’Connell

Lehman Students and Joe McElligott

Tom Myles, Malachy McCourt, Mikelle Terson and Jack O'Connell

Tom Myles, Malachy McCourt, Mikelle Terson and Jack O’Connell

November 21, 2012

Irish Day of Action Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 8:09 pm

November 18, 2012

Cat’s Eye on the Salon

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 9:45 pm

Cat Dwyer’s photos of the presenters at the Irish American Writers & Artists’ salon at the Thalia Cafe, 11/13/2012. The name of each person appears below the photo.

Karen Daly

Jack DiMonte

Maura Mulligan

Vera Wrenn

Jim Rodgers

Guenevere Donohue

John Kearns

Sarah Fearon

Maureen Hossbacher

Tom Mahon

Malachy McCourt 


November 15, 2012

After Sandy-related Postponement, “Irish Lark” Returns to Laurie Beechman Theatre

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 10:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Singer Mary Deady returns to the West Bank Cafe on Wed., Nov. 28 at 7 pm to take her audience on another musical journey from Ireland to New York through the American Songbook  – songs by Burton Lane, Cole Porter, Alan Jay Lerner, Sondheim, and more.   Her last appearance there drew rave reviews; we recap one of them below.

Mary Deady’s American Songbook at the West Bank Cafe

By Cahir O’Doherty, Posted in on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 07:39 AM

Mary Deady

Some singers are so good you can literally hear how much a song means to them as they perform it. It doesn’t happen very often, but it did last week at the West Bank Cafe on 42nd Street as Irish singer Mary Deady unveiled her latest musical journey at the Broadway hotspot.

A familiar face on the Irish scene in the city, it felt as though we were being collectively re-introduced to her since she is perhaps best known for singing Irish music. For many, including myself, this was our first introduction to her as a singer of the American songbook.

Aided by the utterly flawless musicianship of pianist and musical director Jeff Cubeta, Deady’s show From Ireland to America: A Musical Journey In Song was a marvel from the opening number.

It was Deady’s good fortune to be born in Co. Kerry, holy ground for generations of world-class singers and musicians. There she learned to play the harp, and later she left for Dublin for classically trained singing lessons that would eventually take her far from home on the musical journey that was her own life.

Deady chose songs that conveyed the immigrant love (and sometimes secret pining for) the homeland, and this she did as well as I have ever had the good fortune to hear. But the show has wider ambitions than merely relying on all too easy sentiment. Deady has a compelling tale to tell, and that is part of what takes this performance to the next level.

What I did not anticipate was being so moved by the deep connections between her life and the music that she took ownership of, each time from the first note…

To read the rest of this post, please go HERE

Mary Deady
The Irish Lark

From Ireland to America: A Musical Journey in Song
traces Mary’s origins from a small village in County Kerry,
to traveling the world,
finding in time a home in New York City.
Although Mary is known for singing Irish music,
she has yearned to sing from the American Songbook
– from Porter to Sondheim –
where the heart and soul of this journey unfolds.
Mary is accompanied by Jeff Cubeta, Musical Director.
West Bank Cafe, The Laurie Beechman Theatre,
407 West 42nd
Street & 9th
Nov. 28th at 7:00 pm
$15 cover
$15 food/beverage minimum
Call 212-695-6909 to reserve


SRO for IAW&A Salon at the Thalia!

Filed under: Events,Film,Music,Television,Theater,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 1:37 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,
by Charles R. Hale
One of the outgrowths and benefits of  the Irish American Writers & Artists’ salons has been an increasing number of collaborative efforts among its members.  Before a jam-packed, standing-room-only crowd at the Thalia Cafe, four members–two writers and two singers–provided perfect examples of this trend. 
Sarah Fearon
Inspired by a New York Times story about the Brooklyn apartment where she grew up, Karen Daly presented an evocative tribute to her grandmother, which brought tears to the eyes of at least one man in the room.  In “Mama’s Window,” she pictured her grandmother keeping watch on her from a building on Lincoln Place, and showed how the little girl would come to resemble her grandmother in so many ways.
Knowing the barest facts about the O’Connor family of Rector Street, New York, Karen wonders how their daughter became a woman of such dignity and fierce resolve. Like many Irish family stories, theirs had sadness and secrets and great love.
Karen movingly described her grandparents’ marriage and her grandmother’s desolation at her husband’s death. The emotion was perfectly expressed when singer Jack Di Monte surprised the room with a beautiful rendition of Irving Berlin’s “When I Lost You.” This seamless collaboration resulted from a chat at the prior salon. This was Jack’s first performance at a salon, but we learned that he sings at the Thalia on Monday nights.  We look forward to hearing more of Jack’s great voice, and more about Karen’s family.
We’ve heard Maura Mulligan read passages from her engaging memoir, Call of the Lark. Maura showed her true roots as a storyteller when she stood and recounted the night she left her home in County Mayo for America She movingly evoked the Ireland of her childhood in images of the turf fire, the boxty and butter-making. 
Maura Mulligan
When the neighbors come to bid farewell, they take turns churning the butter, a custom said to bring good luck to all in her thatched cottage.  Maura wonders  “Would that include me as well since I was to leave the following morning”?  Through the kitchen window young Maura sees “the rising of the full May moon as it climbs over the hill near the Well Field, where the fairy bush stands alone.”
Member Kathy Callahan said, “While listening to Maura tell her story I became so totally immersed in the rhythm of her voice and visual imagery that I lost track of time and place.”
John Kearns read two poems based on poetic passages in his novel-in-progress, Worlds. The first, “From the Brooklyn Bridge,” is a meditation upon immigration and on similarities between the Brooklyn Bridge and other sites in the New World to sacred sites in the ancient Celtic world.  In the second, “Seamus Logan’s Passage to the New World,” Seamus is in steerage between the Old World and the New World, telling a story of his wanderings through Mayo and Connemara and his other worldly vision of an abandoned village’s coming to life and being destroyed by the Great Hunger. 
Sarah Fearon work-shopped some new comedy material. Some of her ideas included, dealing with the beginning of the end of the world, and getting old.  Sarah also riffed on thinking outside the box before we wind up inside the box, the theory on identifying if you’re economically one of the 99% or 1%, and a new discovery revealed from Jesus’ shroud which seems to be examined far too often, which suggests that God was originally from New York. And my favorite, Sarah wondered why doctors ask us “What are we doing here today?” From the crowd’s response a good percentage of Sarah’s material is worth developing.
Guenevere Donohue
“This is for you all, an artist’s voice, but really a writer’s voice.” Playwright, actress and singer, Guenevere Donohue gave the Writers & Artists a vocal gift, a soulful sweet song, an original composition of melody to Charles Bukowski’s poem, “Bluebird.”  Guen’s open-hearted, tender take on the infamous Charles B was a great way to end the first half of the evening.
Jim Rodgers read an excerpt from his novel, Long Night’s End. His protagonist, Johnny Gunn, stands at his friend Jimmy’s wake at Lynch’s funeral parlor and the reader is brought into Johnny’s private thoughts– thoughts filled with sadness, bitterness, and rage at his friend’s tragic death. At the same time, we witness the characters of the story being weaved into the scene, highlighting the incomprehensible loss to Jimmy’s wife, Sunnyside, and his fellow New York City firemen. A strong and visceral end to Jimmy’s battle with the demons who had haunted him since that sunny day. 
Our thoughts went to the victims of hurricane Sandy when Maureen Hossbacher read a poignant excerpt from her novel-in-progress, The Grand March.  The excerpt, set in Rockaway Beach of the 1950’s, at the end of summer, after a hurricane,   introduced us to Nance Moran,  a young girl wrangling with the dissonance between sexuality and Catholicism. No doubt many in the captivated audience could relate to similar childhood awakenings and dilemmas. 
Malachy McCourt
Popular salon presenter, Tom Mahon, read a section of a children’s short story about a horse and a boy in upstate NY. The boy is out riding and discovers two hunters in his family’s woods, and boldly but cleverly gets them to leave. While raising his son, Tom discovered the shortage of good stories for boys that does not exist for girls. Tom mentioned that he’d like to work on remedying that shortage. 
Malachy McCourt closed the evening with a personal essay that dealt with the damage death does to familial relations and how death arouses sub-conscious anger toward the deceased. “We have no recourse or ability to settle matters when some one buggers off and dies leaving stuff undone,” Malachy said.  Fittingly, Malachy ended the evening with a song ” Isn’t it Grand Boys to be Bloody Well Dead”  After the applause and cheers subsided, Malachy called out “Great night !” And it was. 
For more about the Irish American Artists and Writers contact Charles R. Hale at

November 13, 2012

The (New) Wild Geese Takes Wing on Crowdfunding Campaign

Finding a financial support for projects, albums, films, festivals, plays and more is increasingly challenging.  IAW&A member Gerry Regan took on that challenge when he decided to revamp his popular website on “Irish Heritage Worldwide,” deciding to seek support from friends and fans through a 30-day campaign in Crowdfunding.  Here’s the sory in Q&A form:

Soaring With The Wild Geese: Q&A With Gerry Regan

Gerry Regan

On our 15th anniversary as a leading destination for those passionate about the history and heritage of the Irish everywhere,The Wild Geese is at a crossroads. Our team has recommitted itself to our mission, “to explore, promote, preserve and celebrate the heritage of the Irish … worldwide.” But to accomplish this, we realize we need more resources, and we need to increasingly incorporate the voices of the Diaspora with ours. So, on the verge of a brave new world for The Wild Geese, our Associate Producer, Tiffany Silverberg, posed to co-founder Gerry Regan questions about the venture’s past, present and future, and how we are dramatically turning to those Irish worldwide who, with us, want to insure Irish heritage remains ‘green,’ in the words of William Butler Yeats, “wherever green is worn.”

How did The Wild Geese come about?

Gerry Regan (right) and Joe
Gannon (left) at the 1992 St.
Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin.

The Wild Geese started 15 years ago this month, in fact, when Joe Gannon, Micah Chandler and I, three huge history buffs and fellow Civil War ‘living historians,’ searched for “Irish History” online and found very little. A few months earlier, we had formed GAR Media with the goal of “Forging New Frontiers for the Past.” This largely unexplored Irish focus seemed a good fit, so we launched The Wild Geese, then known as The Wild Geese Today. This big anniversary seems like auspicious time to revamp the site.

Micah, our graphic designer, left in 1998, but Joe and I pressed on. We remain passionate about the drama of history, the stories of history, and military history, where the stakes were immense. We found that Ireland’s centuries-long struggle to gain sovereignty from one of the world’s foremost powers was among the most dramatic we’d encountered. And with millions of emigrants worldwide, we came to see the outsized impact the Irish had on the world. With these insights, we set about “Chronicling the Epic History of the Irish Worldwide.”
Keeping it simple, we were about sharing this history, not revenue. Fifteen years, 700-plus articles, drawing 1,100 visits and more than 2,000 page views daily – not bad considering we spent a pittance on marketing.
So why change tracks now, 15 years in, with a new business strategy?
We came to realize our limitations in fully exploring Irish history. Think about it – hundreds, perhaps thousands, of traditional and folk tunes recorded and packaged each year by consummate, passionate artists, on several continents. The same with books about the Irish experience around the world. Irish studies programs springing up in universities. A huge literary and artistic milieu, spoken word, theatre, filmmaking, dance, visual arts, sculpture, all interpreting and exploring the Irish experience through centuries, millennia in many cases.
     Gerry Regan, far right, with Trinity College
classmates in TCD’s Buttery Bar in
November 1973.

This is a big Irish world. Much of it is not readily accessible to most of us, who find some info on one site, some on Facebook, and some offline.

We thought: Why not create a community of people and organizations devoted to exploring and celebrating the heritage of the Irish worldwide — a place where each of us can bring our own Irish stories and connect with those from around the world with particular expertise to share, as we share what we know best, our own stories. It will be a dynamic place where we are all, together, pushing the boundaries of what we’ve come to know about the Irish experience worldwide.
We also want The Wild Geese, going forward, to play a vital role in preserving Irish heritage “wherever green is worn,” wherever it faces becoming irrelevant.
We can’t accomplish that without a profit — to allow us to keep our focus, day in and day out; to pay writers, artists, photographers and producers; to underwrite research; to create new online platforms to take advantage of technological advances; to gain new audiences for this culture and ultimately to create a worldwide community of those committed to our mission, whether they be individuals or our Heritage Partners, marketers who like us remain passionate about the Irish brand worldwide.
So what is The Wild Geese crowdfunding campaign?
The crowdfunding campaign is how we will raise the funds we need to better serve our constituency and our focus — the heritage of the Irish worldwide.
We still use the same hand-coded HTML on our site as we did 15 years ago. Our navigation is not intuitive, nor user-friendly. Our site taxonomy, intended to help one find one’s way through 700 features, is confusing, even to us. To carry out our mission, we need a newly designed site, one that allows speedy updating, that allows visitors ready access to precisely the information they want or need, and that helps us connect our Heritage Partners with our readers and members.
We need page design and functionality that allow readers to share articles and information quickly, via social media, pages that carry our partners’ marketing messages and professionally written and edited content that speaks powerfully of the Irish and their exploits around the world. We need a smarter taxonomy, using channels and search engines, to explore in a more thorough, user-friendly manner the arts, folklore, genealogy, living history, military history, freedom struggle, foreign climes, travel, Gaeilge, accomplishments in labor, law, government, technology, science, poetry, on and on.
Most of all though, we need a full-featured online community alongside the newly designed web site – a place where our members, the Irish diaspora around the globe, can share their stories, connect with their heritage, and explore their history. And a place, as well, where marketers who share our passion and our mission can connect with us naturally.
These require money, and further, support, both from our many fans and from Heritage Partners who believe in what we are trying to accomplish. Our upcoming crowdfunding campaign allows members to show their support for what we’ve done, what we’re doing and what we will all accomplish together with the new features. Heritage Partners have stepped up to offer the best of their products and services as perks to those who support us in this campaign with donations at any and all levels.
Why should devotees of Irish culture worldwide get involved now?
For many years we’ve presented stories of the Irish, worldwide, with looks at the culture fostered by the Diaspora, as our time and resources allowed. We’ve had a largely one-way conversation, though. We spoke to you. To explore and celebrate our heritage worldwide, we need more. Simply put, we need you. In this campaign, we need your support, and with our new platforms your dollars will help fund your voice and your unique, poignant, humorous Irish stories and perspectives.
How will the energy of the campaign continue into The New Wild Geese?
We are humbled and gratified, but frankly not surprised, to find such enthusiasm for our mission from Heritage Partners. With the help of your donation, in early January, we will launch our newly designed public site, along with The New Wild Geese community. We are already planning new content, such as editorial cartoons, op-ed pages, expanded travel coverage, and launch of nine channels and dozens of sub-channels, along with The Wild Geese Directory of Irish Heritage and Hospitality Network. I direct you to the full list of benefits we envision from their support, listed after this interview.
So many individuals, even many Irish Americans, don’t look back. What draws you and your colleagues to focus on Irish heritage?
For us, The Wild Geese continues to be about two things: exploring and presenting the dramatic and often transformative stories of our ancestors, and finally, the drive to find, and reconnect, to our roots. These will continue to inspire and inform us as we move forward.
One of the most satisfying aspects of my work producing The Wild Geese all these years has been the thanks we’ve received from individuals who credit us with helping them reconnect to their roots, to their kith and kin, to Mother Ireland herself.
My Irish-American mother relinquished me for adoption within a week of my birth, and I find myself particularly moved by such comments as this from Michael Patrick Fleming, writing us a decade ago: “Hello, was surfing the web and found your site. I am an Irish American / Catholic / and living in exile. My mother was born in Dublin, and died while giving birth to me. I would be honored to be associated with an Irish group online like yours.” Or this comment from Runnel Riley: “I am an Irish-American, who thoroughly enjoyed your web page. Thank you for helping us remember who we are.”
Michael, Runnell, and everyone else out there finding themselves overcome with sadness when contemplating the emigrant’s trail of tears, or thrilled by narratives of the Irish struggle for nationhood, this campaign is, above all, for you. We need your support and ask for it now. Go raibh maith agat. (Thank you.)
To see The Wild Geese crowdfunding campaign page, go to

November 10, 2012

Irish Lives Remembered!

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 2:47 pm

‎…a note from member Maureen Wlodarczyk:
I have been fortunate to have found another venue for my writing: Irish Lives Remembered, an e-magazine published in Ireland and available for free on the internet at



The magazine is new, having begun publication several months ago. The content is wonderful and interesting and the graphic aesthetics are beautiful. Whether you are Irish or not, if you have an appetite for family stories and immigrant history (we’re all immigrants), please take a look. I have an article titled “I Promise” in the October issue (copy attached) and will have future articles in the November issue (genealogical DNA testing for women), December (immigration from County Sligo) and in 2013 issues as well.

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