Irish American Writers & Artists

November 27, 2016

11.15.16 IAW&A Salon: Soul-filling night hosted by Marni Rice

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 2:09 pm

By Brendan Costello, Jr.

Photos by Donna Simone

The Irish American Writers & Artists Salon at the Cell on November 15th demonstrated once again how sharing our work fills the soul. And it couldn’t have come at a better time, falling a week after the election and a week before the holidays would be at our throats. The multi-talented Marni Rice was host for the evening.

Dublin-born playwright Derek Murphy presented a scene from his play “Stand Up Man,” originally produced a few years ago at the Baby Grand Opera House in Belfast. The scene starred Nick Hardin from the original Belfast production and the wonderful Mary Tierney.

derek-murphy-hd-editDerek Murphy, left,  with Mary Tierney and Nick Hardin

Next, we heard from a new presenter, Claire Fitzpatrick, a poet, fiction writer, and     budding Sligo fiddler from New York City. She is an alum of Bowling Green State University’s MFA creative writing program, way back when she and her compadres decried Poppy Bush’s election as President of the United States. She now realizes that those were the good old days. Her poems deftly wove timely and timeless themes of social consciousness, at times poignant and at others humorous.


Claire Fitzpatrick

Newcomer Ian Javier shared a powerful dialogue between a young African-American man and his deceased father. This heartfelt and moving piece touched on current and past civil rights martyrs and their issues, and was originally created for IAW&A member Brendan Costello’s writing class at CCNY.

 ian-hd-edit Ian Javier

Rosina Fernhoff performed a monologue from The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard. The play confronts the wrenching conflict between the artist who must create and the society which demands her to conform.

“the soul selects her own society–

Then– shuts the door–

On her divine majority –

Present no more–” – Emily Dickinson

ROSINA-HD-EDIT.jpg Rosina Fernhoff

Songwriter, artist, writer, music teacher at the Irish Arts Center and actor John Munnelly performed a trio of songs including the perhaps-unfortunately relevant “Hail Caesar.” He also sang a moving piece written about his mother who passed away last year, and a musical tribute to Leonard Cohen who passed away a few days before the Salon.

MUNNELLY-HD-EDIT.jpg John Munnelly

Poet Rosalie Calabrese is a native New Yorker, a management consultant for the arts and a writer of poetry, stories, and librettos for musicals. She is also a member of the PEN America Women’s Literary Workshop, and she shared several poems, including a few from her latest book, “Remembering Chris,” which is published by Poets Wear Prada.


Rosalie Calabrese

Sarah Fearon, fresh off a fabulous NY Times profile by Corey Kilgannon, wasted no time trying out some new material. She worked out some ideas, from Artisanal Holiday pop up shops selling expensive gifts made from recycled materials to Pigeons protesting Trump, and other moments that beg us to wonder how close the apocalypse may be. Sarah will be performing at Gotham Comedy Club on TUES NOVEMBER 29 at 7 PM, please call and make a REZ! (

Sarah Fearon,  at an earlier salon,  photo by Cat Dwyer

John McDonagh tried out some new material for his hilarious one‑man show Cabtivist which draws on his 35 years driving a yellow cab in NYC. Among the tales he related were taxi safety. John’s a writer, political activist and spoken word artist. More tales at

JOHN MCD-HD-EDIT.jpgJohn McDonagh

Gordon Gilbert read a series of poems: “Love and Loss,” “Thoughts of You Are Never Far,” “Always Shades of Blue” and “You.” They were something of a follow-up to the poem about a lost love that he read in the first November salon: “Remembering Loss.”

gordon-hd-edit Gordon Gilbert

Actor, director, and playwright Thom Molyneaux is a frequent performer at our salons. The last time he performed here at the cell he did the first three monologues from a one man show he’s working on called “Me and the Monologue.” This time he read James Thurber’s “The Night the Bed Fell.”

thom-hd-editThom Molyneaux

Ray Lindie told a few stories from his days bartending at Elaine’s and on Long Island.

RAY-HD-EDIT.jpg Ray Lindie

Playwright and actor D.J. Sharp presented a monologue in the voice of Tennessee Williams, speaking in an East Side hotel room about his life, his career, and what it means to be an artist.

dj-hd-editD.J. Sharp

Our host Marni Rice closed the night with her spirited rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Alleluia.”

marni-hd-edit Marni Rice

Please join us for our next salon on Dec. 1st at Bar Thalia, and mark your calendars for our annual Holiday Salon on December 20th at the cell! To sign up to present at a future salon, go to




November 8, 2016

11.3.16 IAW&A Salon: A song-filled night, with poems, ghosts, humor and the eloquent Mr. McCourt

Filed under: Uncategorized — by kdaly321 @ 5:10 am

By Karen Daly and Maureen Hossbacher 

Photos by Christopher Booth

Music –  pop, jazz, theater, Irish, folk  – filled the air at the early November Salon at Bar Thalia on Thursday, November 3rd. Maureen Hossbacher skillfully hosted a program that, in addition to all the wonderful music, had poetry, comedy and Irish history.


 Maureen Hossbacher

dsc_0010 Gordon Gilbert, Jr.

Poet, playwright and well-known monologist on the Greenwich Village literary scene Gordon Gilbert, Jr., read two love poems. One, short and poignant, is about a brief affair and the second poem recalled a lost love on the first anniversary of the loss.

dsc_0016 Dolores Nolan

Ghosts of the 1916 Easter Rising extended their Halloween visit with a Salon appearance. Dolores Nolan,  Dublin native, New York media executive, actress and singer, tenderly portrayed the nurse Margaret Keogh, who was the first victim of the Easter Rising. Rebel leader James Connolly dashed on stage to rouse the troops, in the person of Mark Donnelly. Fresh from a meeting of the Industrial Workers of the World, the firebrand Connolly let his audience know that Labor was fully behind Ireland’s movement to be free from British rule. He left the stage just as quickly as he appeared, needing to keep his movements secret in the buildup to the Easter Rising. Karen Daly told the story of Winifred Carney, known as the “Typist with a Webley (revolver).” A close ally of Connolly’s, she was with him in the GPO, and dedicated her life to improving the conditions of workers in the linen mills of Belfast.

Mark Donnelly, Karen Daly

Marcia Loughran, a prize-winning poet, and nurse practitioner, received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her chapbook, Still Life With Weather, won the 2016 WaterSedge Poetry Chapbook Prize. She read a summer poem, “Wading with Isabella,” and “Airplane Poem,” which she claims  is looking for a middle and a new Messay, Marcia’s term for mini-essay. Marcia was thrilled to get feedback on her new work and the feeling is mutual.


Marcia Loughran

Mary Deady has travelled the world as the lead soprano with the National Folk Theater of Ireland, and in New York, her performances have ranged from a solo concert at the Irish Repertory to cabaret at the West Bank Cafe. Tonight she sang in Irish An Raibh Tú ag an gCarraig? ( “Were You at the Rock?”) and a beautiful rendition of “How are Things in Glocca Morra?” that brought a tear to many an eye.

dsc_0063Mary Deady

Our host Maureen Hossbacher marked the recent death of Tom Hayden, calling him as “a great Irish American, a great patriot, (and)…courageous warrior for peace and equality.” Echoing the theme of the 1916 Rising, Maureen sang “Four Green Fields.”


Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy and friends enjoying the break

John McDonagh tried out some new material for his hilarious  (no exaggeration) one-man show  Cabtivist  which draws on his 35 years driving a yellow cab in NYC.  Among his tales, we learned that Brooklyn hipsters want their babies born in Manhattan. John’s a  writer, political activist and spoken word artist. More tales at


John McDonagh

Two Salon regulars gamely stepped in to accommodate schedule changes. Mark William Butler sang one of his original Christmas songs, “I’m Sick of All the Toys.” That’s Santa’s song from Mark’s play Ugly Christmas Sweater, the Musical. Mark says he hadn’t rehearsed, but had a lot of fun with it, as did the audience. Jack DiMonte, whose voice Maureen described as “a sexy baritone”  performed two songs that are very popular among jazz singers and jazz fans – “Small Day Tomorrow” and “All The Sad Young Men,” both with lyrics by Fran Landesman.

Jack DiMonte, left, Mark Butler

The John Munnally School of Songwriting was ably represented by John Munnally himself and two of his students. John, a musician, songwriter, visual artist, and actor is always happy to try out new work at the Salon. He describes tonight’s song, so new it’s not titled, as “…a pop song with a BoDiddley/Buddy Holly rhythm, a ‘whoopy chorus’ and a boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl theme and a modulation thrown in for good measure.”

John Munnelly, left,  John Kearns and Dee Gavin

John’s student, Dee Gavin, sang “The Cruel Mother,” also known as “The Greenwood Side,” a ballad about murder, which she cites for its hypnotic quality. Dee is an artist, musician, designer and photographer originally from the West of Ireland, whose landscape informs much of her visual art. John’s other student is Board Member and Salon producer host, novelist, playwright, poet, and  historian  John Kearns. He tried out a new (and rough) song with old words — based on his poem, “The Song of the Anthracite Coal Miner” from his play, Sons of Molly Maguire. Dee Gavin created the chorus and helped sing it.  John notes that the poem was published five years ago this week in the broadsheet, Poetry for the Masses:  To learn more about the John Munnelly School of Songwriting, go to

malachyMalachy McCourt

The legendary Malachy McCourt, author, raconteur, actor, singer and Salon founder, was particularly eloquent tonight, still basking in the love and joy that attended our party honoring him with the Eugene OʼNeill Lifetime Achievement Award last month. He spoke of his love for words (“There’s no bad language, only bad usage.”) and of his lucky, charmed life. And we’re lucky and charmed by his presence.

See you next time, Tuesday, November 15 at The Cell.


An audience member enjoying the night.

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