Irish American Writers & Artists

March 26, 2018

3.20.18 IAW&A SALON: In League with Mystery Writers for a Criminally Good Night

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:46 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

IAWA’s March Salon at the Cell, dubbed Crime Night by its co-conspirators Seamus Scanlon and Gary Cahill, brought together members of the prestigious Mystery Writers of America with IAWA talent. Speaking of talent, actor and playwright Joe Goodrich hosted with great style. A mystery editor and aficionado, Joe gave an overview of the genre that ranges from “talking cats to serial killers.” No cats appeared but we had plenty of killers, flash fiction, classic detectives and a bit of history, and naturally, a bit of music.

One of the organizers, Seamus Scanlon read three flash pieces:  “A hAon, A Do, A Tri” (“One, Two, Three”) about “a girl called Zelda in Mervue who didn’t like guys like she ougtha…” His  “Three-Nil” depicts an early savage incident in Northern Ireland. Seamus’ best selling work The Long Wet Grass, now a film and play, was originally developed and premiered at the Cell. www.thelongwetgrass.com

 

 

Seamus Scanlon, left.  Gary Cahill

His partner-in-crime Gary Cahill read a short story “Responsorial” which was inspired by the themes of Seamus’ The Long Wet Grass. It’s a tough tale of American retribution for a long- ago personal transgression that took place during the Irish Troubles.

 

 

Rosina Fernhoff,  Mark Butler

Four IAWA members entertained with selected bits from their favorite crime novels. Rosina Fernhoff and Mark William Butler chose classic detective fiction. Rosina read a taut, humor-filled, first person piece from the noir master James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss. Playwright Mark William Butler channeled his inner Philip Marlowe as he read from Raymond Chandler’s classic 1949 novel, The Little Sister. Guen Donohue chose a slice of In the Woods by best-selling contemporary Irish author Tana French. Nancy Oda took us to 7th century Ireland with Absolution by Murder, the first book in the Sr. Fidelma series by Peter Tremayne.

 

 

Guen Donohue, left.  Nancy Oda

Suzanne Solomon’s flash fiction entry “Last Stop, Greystone Park” featured a vengeful wife hoping to enjoy her insurance money. Enjoy it on Akashic Books “Mondays Are Murder” series: http://www.akashicbooks.com/last-stop-greystone-park-by-sa-solomon/ Suzanne’s work has appeared in the collections New Jersey NoirJewish NoirProtectors 2: Heroes-Stories to Benefit PROTECT, Grand Central Noir and online publications. http://www.facebook.com/Author.S.A.Solomon.

 

 

S.A. Solomon, left.  Joe Goodrich

Richie Narvaez, award-winning author of Roachkiller and Other Stories, was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. And Williamsburg has changed a lot since then. Richie’s feelings about those changes are reflected in his upcoming novel: Hipster Death Rattle. The brief but bloody excerpt left us howling, and eager for the book’s publication next year.

 

 

Richie Narvaez, left.  Larry Kirwan 

IAWA president Larry Kirwan read a tender piece from his new novel A Raving Autumn. Set in Rockaway and Breezy Point, it tells of a couple who lost a hero son on 9/11. And then he sang “Heroes/Belfast” his interpretation of David Bowie’s classic. When Larry met Bowie,  Bowie said that “Heroes” could be set in Belfast as well as Berlin. Find Larry’s version on iTunes and other digital platforms.

catseyepix-0127_previewbreaEnjoying the intermission

Sara Covington, of Queens College and the Graduate Center, specializes in early modern British and Irish history. She told a particularly chilling story: that of Col. Daniel Axtell, a prominent figure in Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland. Appointed as governor of Kilkenny, and later accused of treason, Axtell was eventually hanged, drawn and quartered.

 

 

Sara Covington, left.   Nina Mansfield

In “Gods and Virgins in the Big Easy,” two college women head to New Orleans with murder in mind. Nina Mansfield’s story was published in Crime Syndicate Magazine. She’s a Connecticut based fiction writer and playwright. You can find her work at  http://www.ninamansfield.com

In M.C. Neuda ‘s “Widow’s Might” published online in Yellow Mama, a not quite saintly widow-to-be tends to her husband.  And she read her poem, “Fix Me With A Pin,” in her best teenage voice. M.C. notes that it’s “currently awaiting the judge’s pleasure in Crazyhorse Magazine‘s poetry competition.”

 

 

John Kearns, left.  M.C. Neuda

John Kearns was thrilled to have the excellent actors Gina Costigan and John Skocik in a scene from his play, In a Bucket of Blood, set in Hell’s Kitchen. Eddie Carey waits for his old friend and crime boss, Jimmy Nolan, late at night in a bar. He is trying to learn about a shooting that morning at a local construction site. His wife, Deirdre, enters the bar and through one stratagem after another tries to get Eddie to realize that his loyalty to Nolan is misplaced.

catseyepix-0185_preview john?Gina .jpgJohn Skocik, Gina Costigan in In a Bucket of Blood

Gary Cahill closed the show with a “slightly revised rock/mambo version” of Warren Zevon’s love and heroin song “Carmelita.” Pete Smith, actor, singer, songwriter, and retired firefighter, (http://www.PeterQuentinSmith.com), accompanied him on acoustic guitar.catseyepix-0239_preview GC PSPete Smith on guitar.  Gary Cahill

Special thanks to Gary and Seamus and Joe, and our MWA guests for delivering a fun, fast-paced night!

See you next time, Tuesday, 4/3 at 7 pm at St. Pat’s Pub, 22 W. 46th St.

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March 15, 2018

3.6.2018 IAW&A Salon: An evening of personal & fictional stories, poetry, drama, and song

Filed under: Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:50 am

by Gordon Gilbert
Photos by John Kearns and Mark Butler

For the second time, the IAW&A salon convened at our new home for first Tuesdays, St. Pat’s Bar & Grill, a pub on West 46th Street, in a private room on their 3rd floor (accessible both by elevator and stairs).  From behind the bar, Claire, a convivial Irish lass, served us well.  Several of those who attended can attest that the food there is also quite good!  John Kearns was our host for an evening in which we were regaled with both personal and fictional stories, monologues, poetry, song and excerpts from a play.

IMG_3686Gary Cahill

The evening began with a reading by crime fiction writer Gary Cahill of an excerpt from his short story “On a Two-Way Street”, published in print and e- formats with Mystery Weekly Magazine’s February edition.  It was a foretaste of the next salon (March 20th): Crime Night at The Cell, co-created  by Gary and Seamus Scanlon, which will feature an array of readers and writers from IAW&A and Mystery Writers of America New York.  Dark and stormy?  Gary guarantees it!

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Maria Neuda

Gary was followed by Maria Neuda.  Although primarily a crime fiction writer, this evening Maria presented us with three short non-crime pieces.  The first two were poems:  “I Hate to See” (in two parts – “That Evening Sun” and “Go Down”) and “What is Honesty in This Case?”  The third, a flash fiction piece: “Strangers on a Train.”  Maria will be a participant in the upcoming “Crime Night”, and is also featuring on April 25th at a monthly spoken word event, “Rimes of the Ancient Mariner,” held at the Three of Cups in the East Village.  Maria has had her crime fiction published on e-zine sites, Shotgun HoneyYellow Mama, and Near2theKnuckle.

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Thom Molyneaux and Annalisa Chamberlin

Next were Thom Molyneaux and Annalisa Chamberlin, who performed two excerpts from his play White Ash Falling 9/11, a play within a play about that horrific day.  The first takes place backstage with Annalisa’s playing Gwen, a young actor who first learns of the tragedy while rehearsing The Seagull at Yale Drama.  In the second, Annalisa played a waitress, Bonnie, witnessing the devastating tragedy live in a New Jersey restaurant with a spectacular view of the Twin Towers.

Then County Mayo native, Maura Mulligan, author of the memoir, Call of the Lark read an excerpt from her fiction writing in progress that features Madge O’ Malley.  Madge has been chosen by a ghost to solve a murder, the said spirit making contact with her at an artist’s retreat in Donegal.  Maura was delighted with the audience’s response.   Maura invited everyone to join her at a ceremony on March 22nd at Brooklyn Borough Hall, where she is being honored as Irish Woman of the Year by the Irish American Heritage & Culture Committee of the Dept. of Education, NYC.

This event is free and open to the public.  Anyone interested in attending, please contact Maura (mauramulligan@aol.com) and she will send you the invitation.  Also you may contact her if you have an interest in joining a weekly céilí dance class (Irish folk dance for adults) and or an Irish language class.

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Maura Mulligan and Philomena Connors

Next came a regular attendee of the IAW&A Salons, Philomena Connors, who is currently working on a short story set in India in a dystopian future.  Philomena read to us from the beginning of her new story.   The protagonist, a UN field worker, takes the reader on a journey to a new reality where the world order has radically changed: dictatorships, caliphates, and democracies vie for global power; mainstream education no longer functions, international travel is restricted and the internet is inaccessible.  Two Irish aid workers try to keep it all together while exploring their pasts and maybe falling in love. To be continued … !

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Maewyn Succat 

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John McDonagh

The second half began with  John McDonagh, who thanked the IAW&A for making possible his one-man play Off the Meter Off the Record at the Irish Repertory Theatre.  He then went on to tell us his personal story about how, following the death in London of his cousin, Vinny, who had been born in that city, it came about that he was asked to bring his ashes back to County Donegal to be buried with his mother, John’s aunt.

John also asked if anyone knew of an agent who could promote his one-man show to HBO, Showtime or Netflix.  He told us that in the neighborhood where he grew up in Queens, the only agents he ever knew were FBI agents. You may contact John at offthemeter.net.

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Rosina Fernhoff

Next we were entertained by IAW&A Salon regular and wonderful actor Rosina Fernhoff, who gave us a delightful reading of a monologue by Gordon Gilbert, in which she portrayed a rather merry widow who still talks quite regularly to her dead husband, and this time is telling him about the unique solution she has found to her need to feel the closeness of others.

gordon

Gordon Gilbert

Then to the amusement of the gathering, Gordon gave us a brief but rowdy reading of six limericks not his own.

kearns

That was followed by our host John Kearns, reading an excerpt from the title story of his collection, Dreams and Dull Realities, in which the sixth-grader Terrance is returning to school after having cut his Achilles tendon on March 17th.  As he gets ready for school, he imagines how he will be a different, more extroverted kid with his classmates.  He also recalls the teasing of his relatives and wonders if they somehow knew that he had brought bad luck upon himself by not wearing green on Saint Patrick’s Day.

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Guenevere Donohue

Next Guenevere Donohue sang two songs of the Irish immigrant experience: “Ain’t I Mc Enough For Ya”, an original piece about Guen’s grandparents’ Amerikay arrivals, and “No Irish Need Apply”, a classic folk song which helps people understand one of the reasons why we Irish Americans hold fiercely to our Irish identity.  Guenevere also wants us to know: “I’m in a cool play next week, and it’s super fun: Pieces of a Playwright II in Off-Off-Broadway at 124 Bank Street Theater 2018.”

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Rosina Fernhoff

Not done yet, the indefatigable, incomparable Rosina Fernhoff performed for us once again, this time a hilarious rendition of “And the Winner Is Me,” a monologue by playwright and movie buff Mark William Butler, in which he pays a satirical tribute to the Oscars.  (Following the salon that night, they both then attended the “after-Oscars-party” ten feet away at St. Patrick’s 3rd floor bar.)

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Malachy McCourt

As he traditionally does, Eugene O’Neill Award recipient Malachy McCourt, one of the founders of IAW&A, concluded the salon by regaling us with choice witticisms and a reminder that we should be storytellers, not simply (and boringly) readers, when we perform what we have written, not seeking so much to edify as to entertain!  Lastly, in case we had forgotten what he self-professes, that he cannot sing, Malachy led us all in song again, this time the anti-war classi:  “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye.”

Join us next time, Tuesday, March 20th, 7 pm, at The Cell Theatre for the IAW&A Crime Salon!

 

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