Irish American Writers & Artists

April 26, 2015

4.21.15 IAW&A Salon and Book Party: Festive doubleheader of readings, performances, and song!

Filed under: dance,Essay,Events,Literature,Music,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 9:18 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

“…the amazing worlds that you all create…”  Karl Scully

A lively celebration for the launch of IAW&A President and Wexford man Larry Kirwan’s new book, A History of Irish Music brought out an SRO crowd to the Cell. Malachy McCourt gave a moving introduction to Larry and his book.  Larry enchanted the crowd by reading a chapter about the iconic blues guitarist, Rory Gallagher. Our Salon followed, with producer John Kearns hosting topnotch presentations that included music, memoir, poetry, fiction, and humor. mary

Mary Tierney

The actress Mary Tierney started the Salon with a scene from an untitled novel-in-progress by writer Joseph Davidson. In 1966, a young woman named Bobby Joe Lang is hitchhiking from Kansas to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury in search of love and peace. She is picked up by a stranger in a truck and her life is soon threatened. Mary’s dramatic reading brought both characters to life. jk

John Kearns

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Christy Kelly

Poet, screenwriter, and novelist Christy Kelly read from his novel-in-progress called, Nobody Said. He dedicated this section to Larry Kirwan. In Nobody Said, two cops cruise the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx (Bruckner Boulevard) in the Olympic Year of 1976, when, Christy says, “The sky was pink with arson.” bernadette

Bernadette Cullen

Poet and professor Bernadette Cullen read “Ruminations While Standing on the Edge of the Precipice” which she describes as a longish poem on uncomfortable ‘truths’…. sean

Sean Carlson

Sean Carlson has serialized chapters from his yet-untitled family memoir of emigration at previous Salons. Tonight, he showed another side of his writing with excerpts from a travel series recently shortlisted as a finalist in a contest judged by the editor of the Paris Review. “Notes from Cambodia” is scheduled to publish this summer in Nowhere Magazine.

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Larry Kirwan enjoying the Salon

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 Stephanie Silber

Stephanie Silber gave a powerful reading from her first novel, Other People’s Houses, a coming of age story set in the early seventies. Pregnant teenager Queenie has been shipped off from her humble roots for the duration to live with a wealthy family on Long Island. Complications ensue when their foundering son returns unexpectedly from Harvard. This scene plays out on a beach and on a boat, in a haze of heat one Fourth of July; a high school friend of Queenie’s has come to visit — and has set her sights on the troubled, glamorous, son. Feelings run high. larry_book

Larry Kirwan

We had more enchantment from Larry Kirwan when he read another passage from A History of Irish Music. You can purchase Larry’s book at www.black47.comor Amazon.com. Find the schedule for his upcoming solo solo gigs iwww.black47.com karl

Karl Scully

Karl Scully, one of the world famous Irish Tenors, graced us with a song, “My Lagan Love.” Karl has appeared in movies, performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and around the world. So we appreciate his appreciation of the Salons. Karl was delighted to enter “…the amazing worlds that you all create…” crowd

A full house for the IAW&A Salon and book launch party

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Marie Reilly on fiddle and Maura Mulligan

Accompanied by the fiddler Marie Reilly, Maura Mulligan presented an excerpt from her memoir, Call of the Lark. The piece, depicting school days in Ireland of the 40s/50s will be part of a performance at the Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo this summer. Maura is honored to work with Marie in preparing to introduce passages from the book with musical interludes.You can find a video of their performance, courtesy of Dee Nolan, on https://www.facebook.com/CallOfTheLark brendan

Brendan Costello Jr.

IAW&A board member and frequent Salon contributor, Brendan Costello Jr. read the opening of T.S. Eliot’s famous poem “The Waste Land.” Brendan reworked that section as a Buzzfeed lifestyle article, proving that April may still be the “cruellest month,” but at least it’s user friendly.  “What I’ve found in this handful of dust might just haunt you for years to come!” Brendan also edits the IAW&A “Weekly” newsletter. He encouraged members to share news of upcoming events, gigs, performances and publication, or other events that may be of interest to the group. Send your news or send an email to subscribe to iawaweekly@gmail.com mun

John Munnelly

Singer/songwriter John Munnelly says: “Thank you for the love, artistic freedom and support I receive regularly from the IAW&A and friends…” John played two original compositions. His new song about love, from a distance, was inspired by the title of Theresa Lennon Blunt’s memoir, “I Sailed the Sky in A Silver Ship.” The melody for his second song came from a dream he had one morning while in Dublin attending a launch event for his soccer supporters song “King of Cambridge.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9brCB-5A6Y John asks for your vote on the song’s title. He’s wavering between “No More Than A Boy” and “Through the Passing of the Years.” Find him at http://johnmunnellymusic.com/fans-contact-social-upload/ malachy

Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt brought the night to a rollicking close, with a story about his days as a gold smuggler. Saying he wasn’t sure about remembering the lyrics, he delivered verse after verse of the Noel Coward (a Salon first?) song about British officers in India. “I Wonder What Happened to Him?”

Whatever became of old Tucker?
Have you heard any word of young Mills
Who ruptured himself at the end of a chukka
And had to be sent to the hills?
They say that young Lees Had a go of D.T.’s’
And his hopes of promotion are slim. 

Next IAW&A Salon will be May 5, at Bar Thalia. Join us and see what surprises are in store.

April 14, 2015

4.7.15 IAW&A Salon “…warm and loving atmosphere in that intimate Bar Thalia space…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 4:31 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

We don’t often start the recap with a description of our closing act, but this note from playwright Thom Molyneaux is too good to wait until the end. 

 I have to add that the highlight of the evening for me (aside from the reception to my reading) was Malachy’s impromptu rendition of “‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda.”  When the audience spontaneously and harmoniously joined him in the chorus, the warm and loving atmosphere in that intimate Bar Thalia space made me feel as if I was in the middle of a scene from just the best John Ford movie ever. 

Thanks, Thom. We couldn’t have said it better.

Singer, composer, accordionist, writer and creator of performance works, Marni Rice was the night’s superb guest host.

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Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence

Kathleen Rockwell Lawrence (neé Flynn Kirby Higgins) continues her family obsession with a ripped-from-her-life piece called “On the Lam with Mom,” which poses the riddle: How many Irish-American siblings does it take to care for one 90-year-old mother? Kathleen sees it as a cautionary tale against the good old Irish way of prolific procreation as old-age insurance.

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John Ganly

New member John Ganly appreciated the Salon hospitality for his first presentation. John talked about his novel Celtic Crossings and read from the introduction. Three sisters leave 19th century Belfast to pursue their dreams in a changing world. John chose “crossings” because their journeys cross oceans and continents; social barriers from immigrants to establishment and from organized religion to self-realization. As their family story develops, it reflects rapid social changes: the Irish struggle independence, women emerge as a political force and technology permits rapid communication and transportation.

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Find the book on Amazon,com.

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John Kearns

Salon producer John Kearns’s recent trip to Ireland inspired him to create new poems and revisit an old one. “Aboard the Aran Seabird: Leaving Inishmore,” written in 1988 and published in Feile-Festa in 2010, sympathizes with Aran Islanders trying to sell rides in their ponies and traps to tourists. His brand-new poem “Ceol Na Farraige: Return to Inishmore” portrays the changes on the island since the previous visit: new ferries with international daytrippers, not a single pony and trap, an old church locked. The third poem, “On Galway Golf Course by the Bay,” depicts a moment when a father and two sons got caught in a rainstorm in a golf cart and careened sightlessly around the hills and fairways, laughing.

 sarahSarah Fearon

In honor of National Poetry Month and the anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s birth on April 13, the Ireland-like weather and the change of season Sarah Fearon read Seamus Heaney’s poems: “The Call,” “Rite of Spring”, “Song”, and “Anything Can Happen.”

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Mark Butler

Mark Butler announced the IAW&A benefit for Urban Librarians Unite, a grassroots advocacy organization, will be held on May 19th at the Cell Theatre.  He also introduced Lauren Comito, who told us about her group’s work.  The fundraiser, called The Amazing Library Variety Hour, will feature readings, music, comedy and dance.  More details will be coming soon, and more information about Urban Librarians Unite can be found at http://urbanlibrariansunite.org/.

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Lauren Comito

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Thom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux read more from “Cassidy’s Story” his play about a former IRA leader who finds himself in New York in 1968 fighting the same battles he fought in the 1920’s Ireland. He was “testing” the structure of his play, which progresses through characters’ telling stories of their own. Thom was “truly gratified” by our intense attention and enthusiastic response. An actor, Thom is rehearsing his role as the mysterious Isaac Strauss in “Lost In History” a play having its world premiere at the Garage Theatre Group in Teaneck New Jersey.  The Detroit Repertory Theatre (the oldest professional theatre in Michigan) will present the world premiere of Thom’s play “White Ash Falling 9/11” in May.

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Marni Rice

In the spirit of the IAW&A upcoming benefit in support of Urban Librarians, Marni Rice described how important the public library was to her as a kid. To supplement the record collection of folk music field recordings she found at home, the public library had the full Alan Lomax archives. She sang an unaccompanied ballad recorded by the great song collector, Paddy Tunney, “The Lowlands of Holland” from the Sarah Makem collection. For additional information about her upcoming performances, please visit: http://www.dejouxmusique.com.

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Jeanne D’Brant

More true, spellbinding adventures from Jeanne D’Brant. She led off the second half of the evening with “Dasht-I-Kavir”, the story of her journey across the edge of the Great Salt Desert of Iran from her book Heartlands of Islam. This harsh and alien landscape is the only place in her travels to 45 countries whose stunningly bizarre visuals provoked her to question if she was still on planet earth. Jeanne is journeying this month to the wilds of Fort Lauderdale, where she will present original research on the function of cellular biochemical pathways at the national symposium of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition. Visit her website http://drjeanne.org.

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Tom Mahon

Salon regular Tom Mahon read “The Man in the Pendleton Hat” from his collection of vignettes, Tomorrow Never Came. In the story, a woman comes to town to surprise her husband and she’s dressed to the nines. She catches the eye of a man desperate for money for gambling debts. He kills her and takes her fur coat, pearls, and diamonds. The woman had left her husband a phone message that said a man in a Pendleton hat was following her. The husband finds his wife’s murderer through that hat.

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Jack DiMonte

Jack Di Monte adds some background detail to his wonderful songs. Tonight he gave us the highlights of David Raksin’s career, the composer of the song “Laura.” As a young Hollywood orchestrator, Raksin turned Charlie Chaplin’s hummed melodies into written songs (without credit!). Jack then sang Raksin’s haunting ballad “The Bad and The Beautiful,” written for the movie of the same name, with lyrics by Dory Previn.

 

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Guen Donohue and John Kearns

Guenevere Donohue performed a haunting rendition of Belfast-born Van Morrison’s, “Into the Mystic,” despite some technical problems with John Kearns’s guitar.

The one-and-only Malachy McCourt close the night with some words of wisdom, and yes, that song.

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Malachy McCourt

See you next time, April 21 at the Cell — with a later start, at 7:30 pm!

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