Irish American Writers & Artists

March 22, 2016

3.15.16 IAW&A Salon: A grand event full of hilarity, poignancy and authentic Irish voices

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 7:22 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer 

No foreboding at the IAW&A Salon at the Cell on the Ides of March!

In the spirit of the month-long St. Patrick’s Day celebration, we had tremendous good cheer and our hallmark mix of talent and genres. We had music from history and new music and humor that was broad as well as humor that was black. And scenes from two plays, stories, fiction, memoir and, of course, poetry and song.


IAW&A’s award for Organization of the Year from the Irish American Heritage Committee of the NYC Board of Education

The month of April will see many celebrations in remembrance of the Easter Rising of 1916. Salon producer and host John Kearns announced that the April Salon at the Cell will be built around 1916, and on Sunday, April 24, IAW&A will be part of the Irish American arts community event at Pier A Harbor House on the Battery. Details will be posted on  and in our IAW&A Weekly,


Gary Cahill

Gary Cahill returned to Salon action with the short story “For Richer, For Poorer,” a departure from the mysteries he often does. Gary first presented it at the Bergen County New Jersey Irish Festival last June. A Robin Hood priest is in over his head with gambling debts, but friends do the right thing and bail him out. The action takes place during the May 2015 weekend when Ireland stuns the world and votes to legalize same-sex marriage. As Gary likes to say, “antics ensue.” Welcome back, Gary.


Derek Murphy

Dublin-born playwright Derek Murphy presented another darkly funny scene from “Dyin’ For It.” Derek’s play is about the “extremely inappropriate grieving by the dying Wally Kelly’s wife and daughter.”


Penny O’Brien and Karin de la Penha

Played perfectly by Karin de la Penha and Penny O’Brien, the women pose the big questions such as “Do we put the Christmas tree up or not?” and “Who’s dying next?” We’re eager to find out.


Sean Carlson

With a nod to the migrant journeys of so many people today, IAW&A board member Sean Carlson shared an excerpt from his first book, a yet-untitled nonfiction narrative about emigration. Sean took us to the day his mother left home shortly before her seventeenth birthday, traveling across Ireland for the first time, boarding the ferry to Wales and arriving in London, only to realize all she had left behind. Sean’s reading tonight was made more poignant by the presence of his mother Nuala Sheehan Carlson in the audience.


John Anthony Brennan

Armagh native John Anthony Brennan read two original poems to a rapt house. “The Poet’s Glen” pays tribute to the South Armagh Gaelic poets Art McCooey, Bard to the O’Neills, Padraig McAliondain and the outlaw poet, Seamus Mor MacMurphy. All are buried in the graveyard of Creggan Church near the family vault of seventy members of the O’Neil clan. John’s “The Poet” is a tribute to Padraig H. Pearse, one of the leaders of the 1916 Rebellion.


David Nihill

Next, Dublin born, San Francisco resident David Nihill had us laughing in the aisles. To overcome his fear of public speaking, he decided to learn from the experts. So he left a business career to spend a year pretending to be a stand-up comedian, Irish Dave. The hilarious results of this experiment were on display tonight, and in Dave’s book, Do You Talk Funny? which is #1 in its category on Amazon. To order (and the Salon audience is likely to want to), here’s the link.


Krista Charles and Marie Reilly

Trad music stars Marie Reilly on fiddle and Krista Charles on piano presented rare music from the South Leitrim/Longford area. They began with “Scots Measures,” followed by “McCoy’s” from Marie Reilly’s grandfather’s manuscript and “The Stafford Dance” from a Stephen Grier Manuscript dated 1883. After a set of Sligo jigs, Krista Charles played the beautifully haunting piece,“Ashokan Farewell.”  The duo finished with an uplifting reel, “The Bunch of Keys.”


Enjoying the craic at the break


Brian Fleming

Irish entertainer Brian Fleming comes to town for the St. Pat’s for All celebration each year and we’re glad that he includes the Salon on his busy schedule. Dedicating his performance to the #wakingthefeminsts movement in Ireland, he opened with a song, accompanying himself on the traditional Irish drum, the bodhran. Brian performed a humorous extract from Gis a Shot of Your Bongos Mister, one of his trilogy of shows performed in March at Under St. Mark’s. He performed that show and Have Yis No Homes To Go To at Under St. Mark’s 94 St Mark’s Place on Monday, March 21 at 7pm and 8:3o pm.


Ray Lindie

Ray Lindie’s terrifc short story, “The Beefeater” recounts how he unknowingly met Tennessee Williams when he mixed him a Beefeater Martini at Elaine’s. When Ray started working there, he relieved the actress Elaine Stritch, who introduced her Broadway friends. Ray has more stories about the fabled joint where he worked for a time in the 60s and then in the 70s.


Rosina Fernhoff

The inimitable Rosina Fernhoff performed a segment from Shadows, a play by her late husband Av Inlender. Shadows gives voice to Russian choreographer Nadia Arkadina’s saga of war and repression. Years of hiding, political purges and her grandmother’s cryptic messages suppress her faith as an individual and a creative spirit.


Tom Mahon

“Death on a Beach,” a vignette from Tom Mahon’s collection, Tomorrow Never Came is based on a true story of a temporarily deranged young student who was shot and killed by police on a beach near Sydney, Australia. Tom added the dramatic twist of vacationing NYC police officers, just married, and trying to intervene by throwing sand in the assailant’s eyes. The result was tragedy for the newlyweds.


Gordon Gilbert

Playwright, singer/songwriter, and poet Gordon Gilbert entertained tonight by reading the lyrics to two songs he composed. “Come Home” is a woman’s prayerful plea for her love to return home safe from war. Gilbert adapted music from the wonderful intricate melody of a song by Senegalese mezzo-soprano Julia Sarr. In “To Your Heart Again,” a country/western song, a rowdy, large-living man asks for another chance, having wronged the woman he loves.


John Kearns

Once again John Kearns was thrilled to have Rosina Fernhoff bring to life a new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. Picking up from the passage Rosina read last month at the Cell, the excerpt has James Logan reflecting on the life he is leaving behind in 1882 New York City and the new life he is going to begin in Philadelphia.  As the ferry takes James from Manhattan to the Hoboken train station, James remembers the horrors he has seen in New York’s Five Points and knows he will not miss them. Admiring the energy and agility of the American sailors on the boats around him, he sees them as “personifications of his new country and harbingers of his new life.”


Adrianna Mateo

Adrianna Mateo, rock singer-songwriter and new-music solo violinist, concluded the night’s lineup with an acoustic performance of original songs from her upcoming debut album. Her next single, “August Sun,” will be available on iTunes, BandCamp, SoundCloud, and on social media in the end of March 2016. More about this unique talent at

Next salon is Thursday, April 7 at Bar Thalia at 7pm hosted by Sarah Fearon!

The April 19th Salon at the Cell will be a special event marking the 1916 centenary.  If you have 1916 material, email John Kearns at  (A few slots available.)

Also, in April 24th (sometime between 1 & 6 pm), there will be a mini-salon as part of NYC’s commemoration of the 1916 centenary on the third floor of Pier A Harbor House.  Stay tuned for details.

See you soon!

March 10, 2016

3/3/16 IAW&A Salon: Poetry, politics, and the real “New York Values”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 5:04 am

By Karen Daly
Photos by Tom Mahon

The first March IAW&A Salon saw the return of some old friends, featured stories with breathless endings and a few comments on the sorry state of presidential politics. Our new night at Bar Thalia, the first Thursday of the month, allowed for a relaxed atmosphere and general good cheer in the run-up to St. Patrick’s Day.

Host John Kearns announced that IAW&A has been recognized as “Organization of the Year” by the Irish American Heritage & Culture Committee of the NYC Department of Education. The award will be presented on Friday, March 11, at 5pm at Brooklyn Borough Hall Courtroom at 209 Joralemon Street. We’re delighted that our group, barely eight years old, has been so honored.kevin

Kevin McPartland

IAW&A Salon regular, novelist and short story writer Kevin R. McPartland kicked off the program with a continuation of his zany short story “The Cruise.” In the piece, an old school New Yorker finds himself on a cruise with a group of drunk magicians. A surprise ending, coupled with Kevin’s delivery, delighted the crowd.     eammon

Eamon Loingsigh

We welcomed the return of Eamon Loingsigh, who read from Exile on Bridge Street, the second novel of his Auld Irishtown trilogy, following the acclaimed The Light of the Diddicoy. In Exile, teenage Irish immigrant Liam Garrity struggles to adulthood in early 1900s Brooklyn, while back home, Ireland’s fight for independence erupts with the 1916 Easter Rising. We’ll hear more about Exile on Bridge Street near its pub date, scheduled for October. maura

Maura Mulligan

Frequent Salon contributor, author, teacher and dancer, Maura Mulligan gave an account of a recent visit to her sister’s grave at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorn, NY in “The Search for Mag.” She died of a stroke at a young age many years ago, leaving Maura heartbroken. At her gravesite, Maura tenderly reminisces about their childhood and updates Mag on events in her life. Maura dedicated her memoir, Call of the Lark to her.

John Anthony Brennan

John Anthony Brennan’s first book, Don’t Die with Regrets, won the prestigious 2015 “Next Generation Indie Book Award.” His second, The Journey: A Nomad Reflects was published in October 2015. Tonight, with his Armagh tones, he gave life to three poems: “The Rhythm of Time” by Bobby Sands, “Requiem for the Croppies” by Seamus Heaney, and John’s own composition “The Singing Bones.” callaghan

Jim Callaghan

Jim Callaghan’s “New York Values” offered a powerful rebuke to Ted Cruz’s famous insult. He argued that we New Yorkers know exactly what Cruz meant— the various ethnic and religious groups and so many others that make New York work. Jim described how New York led the way, long before the Bill of Rights, in establishing freedom of speech (1734), freedom of religion (1707) and later in women’s rights at the Seneca Falls convention (1848). Jim concluded, “Despite our reputation as a contentious lot, we get along by being respectful and in keeping the immigrant dream alive for those who came before us and who still see New York as the place to fulfill their dreams.”


Jack Di Monte

In another nod to the political season at hand and the imminent Ides of March, Jack Di Monte delivered an excerpt from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Jack showed another of his many talents with his portrayal of Cassius’ first overture to Brutus as he tested his tolerance of the emperor’s arrogant power-grab.gilbert.JPG

Gordon A. Gilbert

Gordon A. Gilbert is re-working the script for his play, Monologues from the Old Folks Home, and plans to produce it for the 7th time this spring. He performed monologues from the play, including a sharp piece about outsourcing the duties of attending to a loved one’s death. jk

John Kearns

John Kearns dedicated his reading to Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and Brendan Fay whose long struggle has finally helped make the St. Patrick’s Day Parade more inclusive. To that end, he chose monologues from his play, In the Wilderness, about a South Bronx Catholic girls’ school in the 1980s. In the monologues, teachers and students give their perspectives on the myth of Sisyphus who was condemned for all eternity to push a boulder to the top of a mountain, only to have it roll down again brent

Brent Shearer

Brent Shearer presented a short story in the voice of an addled woman from Queens, a communicant at St. Joan of Arc parish. Brent claims that he “publishes short things in obscure places.” inthefrontrowonthedole.blogspot.comthom

Thom Molyneaux

Thom Molyneaux is an actor, director, playwright and a semi-regular at our IAW&A Salons. Tonight he read his timely new short play, White Cop/Black Kid in public for the first time. Thom was thrilled by the audience reaction, “…better than he even dreamed and wished for…”

His experience reminds him how valuable the attentive IAW&A Salon is for himself and other artists.


Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon has been reading from his collection of vignettes called Delusions. Tonight he read “A Cosby” with his usual dramatic flair.guen

Guenevere Donohue

Multi-talented Guenevere Donohue performed an excerpt of her solo show, Killer Is My Name. This section featured a snowy Sunday, uncovered secret poetry and Guen’s original composition, “The Evolution Song.”  malachy

Malachy McCourt

No one tells it like Malachy McCourt, and he closed our night with his unadulterated opinions on the recent death of Antonin Scalia, on other political figures, on St. Patrick, and closed with the soulful “The Foggy Dew.”

Val Cooke, Brendan Costello, Mark Butler and John Brennan, and Karen Daly enjoying the salon!

See you next time, 3/15 at the Cell, 7pm!




March 1, 2016

2/26 IAW&A Road Salon at Molloy College

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:25 pm

Photos by Tom Mahon

cathy speaks

Catherine Tully Muscente, Director, Irish Studies Institute at Molloy College welcomed artists and audience

John Brennan.JPG

John Brennan read about the writer’s need to write


Karen Daly read about growing up in Brooklyn (Photo John Brennan)


Tom Mahon read a story about a run-in with Homeland Security (Photo John Brennan)


Jack O’Connell performed a monologue and recited two poems


Marie Reilly on fiddle 

krista plays

Krista Charles on piano


Full house at Molloy

Guen Karen laugh

xkearns break

karen daly and familyKaren Daly and family

tom p

Tom Phelan read from The Canal Bridge


John Kearns read from Dreams and Dull Realities


Guenevere Donohue performed an excerpt from Killer Is My Name

marie krista

Marie Reilly and Krista Charles concluded the salon

More fun at Molloy:


Val enjoys the salon

fun2 Nancy Oda traveled to Rockville Centre for the salon



Blog at