Irish American Writers & Artists

November 3, 2014

IAW&A Salon at the Cell, 10/27: Writers, Poets, Singers, and Composers Galore!

Filed under: Literature,Music,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 3:49 pm

by John Kearns
Photos by Ryan Cahill

Last week’s IAW&A Salon at the Cell Theatre was moved back a week and held on a Monday because of the big O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award for Pete Hamill on October 20th. But, the change in schedule did nothing to hinder the display of a wide variety of talent from musical theatre to poetry to drama to essay to song!

The evening started with three theatrical presentations.

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Jack DiMonte, Luis Villabon, Diane J. Findlay, Maura Knowles, Joe Scalzo, Jenn Lorae, and Nancy Oda

Maura M. Knowles, book and lyrics and her composer, Nathania Wibowo, presented selections from Knowles’ original play with music, Insult to Injury, which examines why we should never give up on angels or anyone with broken wings and is based on true events.

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Danielle Hauser and Irina Kaplan in Joe Davidson’s Vegas

Street life in NYC during the turbulent eighties took center stage next in Joe Davidson’s play, Vegas. A stirring performance by talented actors Danielle Hauser, Irina Kaplan, and Mary Tierney drew rousing applause from the audience as they took a trip back in time  to a not-so-pleasant era in the Big Apple.

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Barry Sacker and Steve Nuke in John Cappelletti’s “Watch out for Me”

In John Cappelletti’s 10 minute play, “Watch Out for Me,” Barry Sacker and Steve Nuke played a priest and his former altar boy who meet in prison after not seeing each other for 40 years.

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 Bernadette Cullen

After the three theatrical presentations, it was time for some poetry.  Bernadette Cullen, a professor at the College of New Rochelle who lives in Chelsea, shared three of her poems.  The first was entitled, “Loss.”  The other two poems were untitled and Bernadette appreciated the feedback she received on the longer one.

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 Kathleen Lawrence

Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence read about a wedding reception from her ongoing family saga, which may ultimately be called “The Never Ending Story.”

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John Brennan

To start the second half, John Brennan read a short anecdotal piece about the time he met Jim Morrison at the Isle of Wight rock concert in 1970 followed by his tribute poem for Jim entitled, “The Lizard King.”

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Mike Swift

Mike Swift presented two autobiographical short stories entitled “The Ionizer” and “Releasing Rage”. The stories recount a duping he was victim to as a boy and the time he screamed the F-word in a stranger’s face on the street. They are part of a collection he is working that intends to eschew literary devices such as allegory, nostalgia, and heroism in favor of factuality, in an attempt to explore the relationships between honesty and drama.

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Marni Rice

Marni Rice read a poem from her poetry collection entitled, It’s Not The End of the World and an excerpt from her play in progress entitled, Movement Without Words, narrated from the point of view of her Grandmother, a student of Martha Graham in the 1920s.

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Margaret McCarthy

In honor of the Celtic New Year (Halloween), Margaret McCarthy read her poem “Approaching Samhain”, from her collection, Notebooks from Mystery School, finalist for the New Women’s Voices Award and forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in February, 2015.  Congratulations to Margaret!  Finishing Line Press is an award winning small press providing a place for poets and poetry.  Pre-orders for the book determine the size of the print run, so pre-order yours here!

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Brendan Costello

Frequent IAW&A Salon contributor and CCNY writing instructor Brendan Costello Jr. read a short essay about a close encounter with a Hyundai on Convent Avenue. Since the incident happened on the night a Yankees relief pitcher had crashed his private plane into an east-side high rise, Brendan prefaced the piece by saying “This is about two things I rarely write about: disability and sports.”  He also shared a unique recipe for lemonade. (Hint: it involves a pillowcase.)

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Conor McGlone

 Brendan’s student, Conor McGlone, then shared a few poems with the appreciative IAW&A Salon audience.

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John Kearns

John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress Worlds. The excerpt tells the 19th-century story of Seamus Logan’s early days in Connemara, where he worked as a stable hand and laborer after running away from his home in Bunowen, County Mayo. Although Seamus proves himself worthy of a better job and seems to have won the affection of a local girl, he decides his stay in Connemara is merely a sojourn from which he can and will move on.

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Donie Carroll

Guitarist and singer, Donie Carroll played three songs: “Aisling” is a song about Irish people around the world who, despite their interesting travels, often and sometimes unexpectedly long for Ireland: “You hear a song or an Irish air./…/You long for the rare old times over there./You long to be at home.”  He played another sad song about how an emigrant named Murphy would never make it home to Ireland. He concluded ths set with the comical, “West Clare Railway” about a train’s misadventures traveling around the Banner county. Donie Carroll also spoke about his upcoming benefit concert for the Mercy Centre in Thailand to take place on November 1st at the Irish Center in Long Island City.

It was another full and memorable night at the Cell Theatre!  Our next two IAW&A Salons are on:

  • Tuesday, November 4th, at the Thalia at 6 pm
  • Tuesday, November 11th, back at the Cell at 7 pm

And in December?  An IAW&A Road Salon and a holiday celebration! Stay tuned.  See you soon.

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