Irish American Writers & Artists

August 28, 2014

Catching Up with Mary Lou Quinlan–interviewed about “The God Box” on Scottish radio

Filed under: Uncategorized — by johnleemedia @ 12:20 pm

Mary Lou Quinlan, who gave IAW&A Salon attendees the very first glimpse of her performance piece “The God Box,” brought the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  She’s interviewed here by one of Scotland’s top radio personalities. 

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August 27, 2014

What an inspirational eve! 8.19.14 #iawasalon at the Cell

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 11:17 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas

“What an inspirational eve!” -Vivian O’Shaughnessy

“It felt good to perform the monologue for such a supportive audience.” -Mark Donnelly

“Last night was inspiring… I’m honored and grateful to be part of your fantastic community.” -Maura Knowles

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An August Full House at the Cell Theatre

That’s what IAW&A members had to say about the #iawasalon at the Cell, a heady mix of plays, poems, music, fiction, memoir, and collaborations. Host John Kearns made some important announcements: remember to use our hashtag #iawasalon when you’re sharing updates or discussing our salons on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. He thanked Alexandra Jakstas for taking the great pictures you see here.

Get your tickets now for our Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Benefit and Cocktail Party honoring the legendary writer Pete Hamill, on Monday, October 20, 2014.  Visit http://i-am-wa.org/oneill-award-benefit/this-years-honoree/ to purchase.  And spread the word!

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Maria Deasy and John Cappelletti

The night got off to a fantastic start with John Cappelletti’s short play, “Comrades,” with John and Maria Deasy. On the opening night of his play A Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen (played by John) is furious at the critics because their negative reviews (which are factual) may force him to close his theatre. He is considering challenging them to a duel when his wife enters and forces him to face the reality of his own marital doll’s house and make some changes before this door too closes, like the door Nora slammed on opening night.

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Sean Carlson

At recent IAW&A Salons, Sean Carlson has shared glimpses into the manuscript of his first book, a yet-untitled narrative of a family’s experiences with immigration from Ireland to London and the Bronx.  Tonight’s installment was particularly moving as it reflected on the death of a child at birth (“a loss kept quiet”) set against the broader struggles of the era. Sean’s mother Nuala will also be joining us for the next reading at Bar Thalia on Wednesday, September 3. Learn more and subscribe to his email list here: www.seancarlson.net.

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Vivian O’Shaughnessy

Poet, translator and visual artist, Vivian O’Shaughnessy read a poem from her new collaboration with Giovanni Dotoli, “Woman, I Am! (Je La Femme)”, poems about women. Vivian created the cover and drawings for the book. She is often at the IAW&A Salons at The Cell with her sketchpad. You can see her art at vivianoshaughnessy.com.

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Nancy Oda and Karen Daly

Playwright Sheila Walsh directed Nancy Oda and Karen Daly in a ten-minute play, “Cat and Lobster.” Nancy was spot-on as the younger sister who yearns for a long-ago lover and Karen (making her acting debut at the Cell!) played the wiser, older sister. The actresses hit all the right notes in this intimate look at how the sisters use their love of poetry to keep joy and laughter in their lives. This was Sheila’s first shot at directing — she thanks Nancy and Karen for making it great fun and doing such a sensational job. Karen thanks the two pros for teaching her so much.

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Tim Dwyer

Tim Dwyer wowed us by singing Yeats’ “Lake Isle of Innisfree” to a melody Tim composed. Then he shared some of his own poetry from his current manuscript-under-submission, titled Messages from the Irish Diaspora – among them “Walking By The Farm Field” and “After Watching Philomena.”

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Sarah Fearon

Sarah Fearon read new developments of the story “While You Were Out”. A tale about a crew of guys who grew up in Hells Kitchen together who pull off a heist of a Trump Condo via an estate attorney’s office. The basic cast of characters are Big Mike Esq., Johnny Sparks the doorman, Stevie Cane who is now in real estate and Francis Conner who impersonates the heir to the apartment. The recent Salon was an experiment in exploring what hysterical thoughts go through Francis’ mind as he walks through his world.

Maura M. Knowles, an accomplished bi-coastal actor/singer/writer/producer/entrepreneur presented a section from her new play with music, Insult to Injury, based on true events.

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Mark “More Gavel” Butler,  Joe Scalzo,  Julie Currie, Maura Knowles, Ryan Cahill, Guen Donahue, Jack DiMonte

A six-actor comedy with heart, the play examines why we should never give up on angels or anyone with broken wings. Maura’s cast was Mark Butler, Ryan Cahill, Jack DiMonte, Guen Donahue, Joe Scalzo, with stage directions by Julie Currie and talented pianist, Chandra Irawan. Please visit www.mauramknowles.com.

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Mark Donnelly

Using vintage photos as props, Mark Donnelly gave a terrific performance of the opening monologue from his new play, No Dead End. Set in Los Angeles in the 1980s, No Dead End explores the friendship of a film librarian and an aging actor, while addressing the blurring of movie fantasies with reality.

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Brendan Costello

Frequent salon contributor Brendan Costello Jr. read an excerpt of his novel-in-progress (tentatively entitled Winning). The scene involved one of the main characters, a prodigal son and misfit CEO, reminiscing about the first Gulf War and his departed father’s morbid musings, culminating in a visit from an unexpected, but perhaps not unsurprising, guest. (Dunt-dunt-dunnnn!)

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Christy Jones

Christy Jones, returned tonight with another piece of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway (tentative title) in which he details his journey from rural Ireland to pursue his love for theater and American musicals in New York.  Tonight he riffed on that all-American musical, Singin’ in the Rain.

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon gave a dramatic reading read from his collection of vignettes called, Delusions. A woman comes to a man’s apartment needing to tell him the worst thing she had ever done. But she can’t, and asks him to tell something he did, but he can’t. Finally, desperate for release from his war memories, he reveals his worst, true nightmare. She tells him a lie, and admits she’s tricked him because she thought he was hiding something. Furious, he slaps her and leaves to start the life he’s wanted for a long time.

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John Kearns

Salon producer and host John Kearns read a poetic rant about the anger among the three parties that struggled in Belfast during the Troubles, posing the question, “How can we Irish/we Orange/we British forgive?” John plans to work this piece into his generational novel in progress, Worlds.

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Maura Knowles and Jack DiMonte

Jack DiMonte performed a comic monologue from the play, Men Suck (in which he proved that they do!), playing a man trying to pick up a woman in a bar at closing time. Maura Knowles joined him as the woman to whom his overtures were directed and though silent but for one line, she responded with perfect on-the-spot improvised reactions to his overtures. Jack, a wonderful singer, showed his versatility tonight, as he also had roles in Maura’s play, among them an Irish priest.

Capping off the evening, Ryan Winter Cahill serenaded the audience with “Someone’s Been Sending Me Flowers” by Sheldon Harnick, lamenting over a secret (and overly-enthusiastic) admirer.

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Ryan Cahill

The witty song was performed to perfection by the musical theatre actress.

Come see for yourself what our members and Salongoers are talking about on Wednesday, September 3, 7pm at Bar Thalia!

August 13, 2014

No Summer Slowdown at #iawasalon: 8/6/14 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia

Filed under: Essay,Literature,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 4:14 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by John Kearns 

No summer doldrums for the diverse and talented artists at the lively IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on August 6. In fact, the night had a number of firsts. First hosting gig by the gracious Maria Deasy; the “world premier” of songs from two musicians, John Skocik and Andrew Koss; first comedy performance by musician/writer Jon Gordon; (perhaps) the first Israeli-born presenter; a seven-person ensemble for Maura Knowles’ piece, surely a first for the Bar Thalia space and the introduction of our Salon hashtag.

If you’re sharing updates or discussing our salons on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, please add the hashtag #iawasalon.

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Maria Deasy

The evening’s host Maria Deasy is an actress, singer, and writer who has starred Off-Broadway and in film. She plays Jackie Moss in Hooroo Jackson’s new movie Aimy In A Cage starring Paz de la Huerta and Crispin Glover, due out this fall. Look for her as “Gwen Sherbondy” in Momsters – When Moms Go Bad hosted by Roseanne Barr. Yes, she is the Momster. Visit www.mariadeasy.com.

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Sean Carlson, his fiancee, Cathlin Olszewski, and his manuscript

Sean Carlson kicked off our evening with another glimpse into the manuscript of his first book, yet untitled — a captivating narrative of a family’s immigration from Ireland to London and the Bronx. This latest reading brought us back in time to Co. Kerry when dances were held outdoors at a local crossroads, leading to “a love marriage in an era of matchmaking.” Sean will continue sharing his work at our salons over the coming months. Learn more and join his email list for updates here: www.seancarlson.net.

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon read a dramatic short story from his collection of vignettes Tomorrow Never Came. It’s about how people live and die, often unexpectedly. Tom’s selection tonight was “Friendly Fire.” On a lieutenant’s last night in-country before going home after a year in the infantry, he gives a cigarette to a friendly local soldier. The soldier resents the American going home, leaving him and his friends to fight a war America started. They have both lost people and seen so many wounded and dead. The soldier lifts his weapon on the defenseless lieutenant who’s drunk far more than he should have, and shoots and kills him on his last night.

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Guenevere Donohue and Jon Gordon

In a stunning collaboration, Guenevere Donohue shared an original song from her theatre piece about her father, Killer Is My Name. The song, “Revered,” was rich, sweet, and had a profound effect on the audience. Guen was thrilled to be accompanied by the fantastic jazz sax man, Jon Gordon.

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Jon Gordon

Next Jon Gordon decided to change up the mood with two brilliant and funny pieces by IAW&A Hall of Famer George Carlin, “Advertising”, as well as his rewording of “America the Beautiful”. The late comedian was a native of the Upper West Side, so Jon – and the salongoers – enjoyed hearing his work at the Thalia. Jon’s a memoirist, world-class musician, and as we’ve now seen, a good comedian.

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John Kearns

John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds, featuring two of the main characters in his four-generation family portrait. When Janey Logan finds that the A&P has sent her son, Paul, home on his bicycle on a rainy day with a jar of mayonnaise in only a single brown paper bag, she takes Paul back to the store and makes a scene to humiliate the manager into giving her a new jar — in a double bag. “And she didn’t even like mayonnaise.” John has been working his way through the seven deadly sins and though tonight’s excerpt was about “Anger,” he had the audience laughing in recognition.

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Maura Knowles cast:  Maura as Mo, the cast featured Luis Villabon, Joe Scalzo, Kathy Callahan, Mark Butler, Marni Rice and Julie Currie reading stage directions

Actor/singer/writer Maura (Mo) Knowles presented a section of an autobiographical new play with music, Insult to Injury that she is creating with composer Nathania Wibowo. In addition to Maura as Mo, the cast featured Luis Villabon, Joe Scalzo, Kathy Callahan, Mark Butler, Marni Rice and Julie Currie reading stage directions. Maura, who lives in NY and LA, has been shooting a new web series, Common Ground and was recently cast in the feature film, I Love Hate currently in development in NY. www.mauramknowles.com She thanks IAW&A for including her in a thrilling line-up.

“T’was an honor to share the stage with everyone last night.”

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Lissa Kiernan

After the break, Lissa Kiernan made good on her promise to read her early, funny poems, though she snuck in a few sucker punches. After all, as her friend and mentor, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, in attendance, pointed out: “it wouldn’t be a true Irish event without a bit of woe and darkness in amongst the light!” Lissa was also joined by friends from her workplace, World Monuments Fund, poet Alexandra van de Kamp, a fellow teaching artist from The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative, and a lovely couple—the writer Gail Hovey and artist Pat Hickman—who hoofed it in all the way from Haverstraw! Find out more about Lissa’s new release, Two Faint Lines in the Violet, at twofaintlines.com, and come out to support her at KGB Bar on September 16, 7 PM, in a fundraiser for the wonderful New York Writer’s Coalition.

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Marcia Loughran

Marcia Loughran read a rant about Brooklyn and three poems with summer/road trip themes.  She was excited to be back at the Salon and impressed with the terrific crowd.

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John Skocik

John Skocik, lead singer and songwriter from Girl to Gorilla, got us singin’ and rockin’ to his songs, including the “world premier” of his brand-new “Crying in the Rain;” “I Really Want to Break Your Heart” and “Jenny Doesn’t Live with Me Anymore.” John’s performances always enliven the night.

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Brian Mallon

Brian Mallon read two excerpts from his newly completed novel, Shane O’Neill.

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Yona Gonik

Yona Gonik has been attending IAW&A Salons when her schedule allows and tonight we were happy to welcome her as a first-time presenter. Yona read a section of her memoir-in-progress focusing on different “domestic jobs for fancy New Yorkers” she had upon arriving from Israel. Her work is a “satire shooting in all directions [denominations, classes] not sparing even blue collar workers, and hopefully leading to grace and compassion.” Yona adds that the Salon is “one of the only things in NY that interests me wholeheartedly…”

christyChristy Jones

Christy Jones, returned tonight with another piece of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway (tentative title). Christy appreciates our encouraging reception to his work-in-progress. And we’d like to hear more of his journey from rural Ireland to pursue his love for theater and American musicals in NY and included time in the US National Guard; the Stella Adler Theatre Studio; Off Broadway, Regional Theatre and finally Broadway in the Brian Friel play Philadelphia, Here I Come!

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Andrew Koss and Maxine Linehan

The wonderful duo of singer Maxine Linehan and guitarist Andrew Koss ended the night on an upbeat note, with the song “The Only Home I Know” from Shenandoah A Musical by James Lee Barrett, Peter Udell, and Philip Rose. Then Maxine and Andrew debuted Andrew’s original new song “I Think of You,” which, says Sean Carlson, “‪… couldn’t put better words around living in New York…” Learn about her upcoming performances and new album at www.maxinelinehan.com

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Tom Wesselmann, Still Life

Next #iawasalon will be on Tuesday, August 19 at The Cell.  See you there! 

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