Irish American Writers & Artists

February 26, 2018

2.20.18 IAW&A SALON: “Love, artistry, and courage abound” in an exciting night at The Cell

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:14 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Dan Brown

The mid-February Salon at the Cell drew raves from audience members and from presenters grateful for their warm support. A night rich in monologue, personal stories, crime fiction and satire was brought to an electrifying close by visiting bluesman Paddy Smith.


Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, IAWA Board member, and co-founder of St. Pat’s for All, announces the Concert and Parade this weekend.

Salon producer and host  John Kearns opened the program with two original poems, each inspired by travel, of long and short distances. In “Leaving for China,” an homage to Du Fu, Chengdu poet of the Tang Dynasty (8th Century), the narrator describes the streets of the Bronx as he anticipates his first flight to Shanghai. “Heading Home” portrays the spontaneous creative conversation of a couple commuting home from work. John had just celebrated the Chinese New Year in China, and he came bearing gifts of chocolate.

6 John Kearns

Andre Archimbaud likes to say he that he has a very French name, but a very Irish heart. Tonight he read three short pieces which revealed that Irish heart: “Museless Monday” written the day that David Bowie died; “Thickets and Thorns” about losing his grandfather and “Hyperballad” about a man Andre met in Washington Heights, who was losing his life to the drink.


Andre Archimbaud

Jerry McTigue presented a satire piece in the form of a hypothetical ad promoting the most difficult item to sell: Nothing. And we bought it!  Jerry got the idea from his work creating ads for real products and services. He’s also authored six books, including the Life’s Little Frustration Book series, and numerous articles and essays for national magazines and major city newspapers. An IAWA newcomer, Jerry appreciated our “warm and supportive audience.”

11 Jerry McTigue

Once again the Obie-Award winner Rosina Fernhoff captivated the audience with a monologue from the one woman-play The Conversion of Alice B.Toklas by Carol Polcovar. In this play , Toklas steps out from the shadow of her late lover Gertrude Stein, and talks about her dream to become a Catholic


Rosina Fernhoff

Crime fiction writer Gary Cahill read from his newly published short story “On A Two-Way Street” currently featured on the cover of the February issue of Mystery Weekly Magazine. Gary sums it up as “Chinese food meets diamonds and guns on the beach and the driver of your dreams.” And what else do you need to know? Gary primed the audience for next month’s crime-themed Salon at the Cell (3/20) being organized by Seamus Scanlon with Gary colluding (yes … there is “collusion”).

12 Gary Cahill

Dan Brown wrote and directed actress Abbey Dubin in one of the night’s outstanding monologues. In “The Rolex Tudor Prince Oyster Date with Steel Blue Dial,” a child’s impulsive act has far-reaching consequences on her family relationships. Dan says the piece challenges the idea that the truth will always “set you free.” Instead an occasional dose of dishonesty might be the pathway to freedom. Dan also took the great photos here.

3 Abbey Dubin

Carmel McMahon made an impressive Salon debut with an excerpt from her recently completed memoir, In Ordinary Time about her childhood in a large Catholic family in Co. Meath. Carmel, who came to New York in 1993, has been published in The Irish Times, The Irish Independent, The Irish Echo and the Hennessy Book of Irish Fiction.


Carmel McMahon

Another Salon newcomer, and a stylish presenter, M.C. Neuda says she probes “the darker (but not unamusing) side of the human condition in crime fiction.” Her selections tonight  made that point.  They included “Look At Me, Damn You”  which won an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s July/August 2016 Very Short Fiction Competition. “Matchstick” was published in Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine and her latest, dealing with the latest technology,  is “Are You Tracking?”


M.C. Neuda 

The fearless Sarah Fearon blew in to try out some new material for her comic real estate routine, no doubt preparing for her show on Tuesday at the West Side Comedy Club. She brought along her ukulele, too and prompted by the day’s weather, sang “California Dreamin.” And inspired, or uninspired by the news these days, she played “Imagine.”  Sarah claims she needs more uke lessons, and she was delighted that the crowd joined in to sing along.

5 Sarah Fearon 

Leilani McInerney delivered a brief, mesmerizing performance in a monologue about a woman experiencing unusual side effects from medication.


Leilani McInerney

The blues artist Paddy Smith brought the Salon to a thrilling close with two numbers on harmonica and vocals: “The Sky is Crying” and Paul Butterfield’s “Born in Chicago.” Paddy has been playing harmonica since he was six years old and has released two EP’s “Ran Out of Road Paddy” and “Let Those Blues In.” You have a chance to hear Paddy Smith Blues Band at the CRAIC Fest on Saturday, and we say don’t miss it.


Paddy Smith

Get ready for a busy few weeks and watch Facebook for more events.

FEB 27  Sarah Fearon in a Comedy Review. Reserve at

MAR 2  St. Pat’s-for-All Concert at Irish Arts Center, 6 pm.  Tickets:

MAR 3  CRAIC Fest, including Paddy Smith Blues Band, Mercury Lounge, 7 pm. Tickets at Ticketfly

MAR 4  St. Pat’s-for-All Parade, Sunnyside, NY 1 pm

MAR 6  IAW&A Salon at St. Patrick’s Bar, 22 West 46th St.,  7pm

MAR 20  IAW&A Crime-themed Salon at The Cell, 7pm




February 12, 2018

2.6.18 IAW&A Salon: Eclectic Talents and Lively Audience Mark Our Midtown Debut

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:41 pm

By Karen Daly

Photos by Cat Dwyer

St. Patrick’s, that is, the pub on West 46th Street, drew a convivial crowd to the first February IAWA Salon. Hosted by John Kearns and Mark Butler in the bar’s private room,   we had poetry, monologue, memoir, flash fiction and befitting our location, a saint or two.

Poet and frequent Salon contributor, Gordon Gilbert, Jr. kicked off the night with three poems, covering a range of styles and emotions. His first, “War of the Roses,” a heroic-style parody about his battle with invasive roses. In the second poem, he drew deeper meaning from two small tragic events and the final one concerned the impact of new technologies on our children.

In honor of the Philadelphia Eagles’ first ever Super Bowl victory, Salon producer and the night’s co-host and Philadelphia native John Kearns read from the opening of his short story, “Athletics.” In the story, Gene Prendergast commutes home from Center City Philadelphia imagining that sportscasters are giving a play-by-play of his exploits.

Gordon Gilbert, Jr. left. John Kearns, center. Mark Butler

First time presenter Tim Fitts, who lives in Philadelphia, also revelled in the Super Bowl victory. Author of two short story collections, Hypothermia and Go Home and Cry for Yourselves, he read terrific new flash fiction: “Belly,” “Disco,” “Spring Break” and “Shark Patrol.” Tim teaches Creative Nonfiction at the Curtis Institute of Music and is a frequent guest on the literary magazine Painted Bride Quarterly’s podcast, Slushpile. Find Tim’s work on Amazon.

In light of last week’s celebration of St. Brigid, Sheila Houlihan read “The Giveaway,” a poem written by the Pulitzer Prize winning American poet and satirist, Phyllis McGinley. The humorous work acknowledges – and pokes fun at — the Saint’s legendary generosity:

For here’s the fault in Brigid lay:
She would give everything away

Tim Fitts,  left. Sheila Houlihan with her St. Brigid’s Cross.

Delivering five powerful monologues from the Shakespeare section of his one-man show, Me and the Monologue, actor Thom Molyneauxdescribed his personal connections with Marc Anthony, Hotspur and Henry V. Thom, a veteran Salon performer, was delighted with the audience’s reception and sharing of their personal connections with the Bard. Thom notes that he and Malachy McCourt agree, “The best things that ever happened to the English language were Shakespeare and the Irish, though not necessarily in that order.” 

Thom Molyneaux, left.  John Munnelly

John Munnelly has a new talent. He’s a musician, singer, songwriter, artist and now saucier. He debuted a new song “They Were No Good,” and captured the mood of many salongoers about the politics of the day in “I Wish I Still Believed.” In addition to XU, his current music release, John’s other hot new project is hot sauce. Disproving the notion that Irish people can’t do spice,he’s created a food enhancer that getting great word-of-mouth, Hattwood Hot Red Sauce at

Marcia Loughran, a prize-winning poet and nurse practitioner, received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Tonight she shared three poems, “Superstition,” “Tap Dance at the Nursing Home” and “7D.”  She is working on a full-length manuscript to follow up on her prize-winning chapbook, Still Life With Weather.

Marcia Loughran, left. Kathleen Vaughan

Kathleen Vaughan read a section of her memoir-in-progress Raised By Nuns & Drunks. When she entered Good Shepherd School, after living in an orphanage, she felt like an outcast, compared with girls who were more confident, better dressed and who enjoyed the kind of bonding Kate never experienced. Luckily, the nuns at Good Shepherd School were especially kind to their new student, and Kate expresses her appreciation for them in this candid section.

Speaking of kindness, Guenevere Donohue described how a suggestion from another IAW&A member, to give money to a homeless person, instead of sending him a birthday present, inspired her poem. So she gave to a man who lives on the grate next to her subway entrance and created a perceptive new poem, “Sometimes He’s There and Sometimes He’s Gone.”

Guenevere Donohue, left.  Ellis O’Toole

A new member of IAWA and first time presenter, short-story writer Ellis O’Toole read two charming selections from her remembrance collection in progress. “The Wild Man” tells the story of a child’s confusion upon meeting an apparent fugitive, while “Election Year” describes what happens when five-year olds engage in political debate, in this case over Kennedy vs. Nixon. O’Toole, a daughter of Irish immigrants, is a New York native.

crowdMalachy McCourt, far right,  enjoying the night.

Fondly known as our Salon godfather, Malachy McCourt came to bless the new space, and share a few words about St. Patrick himself. He chased the snakes out of Ireland…and we know where they came. Malachy guided us in singing “Down by the Salley Gardens” and we left the warmth of St. Patrick’s pub for the bright lights of midtown.

Join us next time, Tuesday, February 20, 7 pm at The Cell.


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