Irish American Writers & Artists

September 23, 2014

From toe-tapping to heart-tugging to awe-inspiring, 9/16/14 IAWA Salon had it all!    

Filed under: American Politics,Essay,Literature,Music,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:44 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Host John Kearns kicked off another sensational IAW&A Salon at The Cell by reminding everyone to get their tickets for our Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award Benefit and Cocktail Party honoring the legendary writer Pete Hamill, on Monday, October 20, 2014.  Visit http://i-am-wa.org/oneill-award-benefit/this-years-honoree/ to purchase. And spread the word!

Dublin born Peadar Hickey, who plays with The Young Wolftones and teaches traditional guitar at the Irish Arts Center started the music with two great Scottish tunes in recognition of the Independence Vote taking place this week.  They were “The Roses of Prince Charlie” and “Brave Caledonia.” You can also see Peadar in the duo Peadar and Pio. Find their events here.

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Peadar O’Hici

Journalist and playwright Pat Fenton who has been interviewing his great friend, Pete Hamill, for a forthcoming article in The Irish Echo, talked up our O’Neill Benefit as one of the great literary gatherings of the year. Pat read from Breslin, his one-man play about another New York journalism legend, Jimmy Breslin. Pat wants to show aspects of Breslin that few know about. He’s “a lot more sensitive than readers of his columns may think, and yeah, he is very spiritual and attended the Catholic Church most of his life. And he has a sense of humor. And yes, he’s been very generous to me in my own writing career.”

Pat adds his usual disclaimer on all things Breslin: “If you don’t like something he wrote, don’t revisit it with me, please. As Breslin would simply say “GOODBYE.”

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Pat Fenton

Tom Phelan read a selection from his first novel In the Season of the Daisies, which centers on the IRA’s murder of a child and the devastating effects on the survivors. Tom had just turned fifty when In the Season of the Daisies was accepted for publication in Dublin, and Books Ireland’s reviewer later wrote, “The most obvious question posed by a novelistic debut with as much resounding vigour as this is: Where has Mr. Phelan been?” The novel received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, indicating a book of unusual merit and interest, and was chosen for Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers series.  Tom, a native of Mountmellick, Co. Laois, is also the author of Iscariot, Derrycloney, The Canal Bridge, Nailer, and the upcoming Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told.  More information at www.tomphelan.net and www.facebook.com/tomphelannovels.

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Tom Phelan

Board member and editor of the hit “The IAW&A Weekly” Mark Butler has spearheaded our outreach to the library community and found a kindred group called Urban Librarians Unite (ULU). They are an independent non-profit group committed to ensuring access to libraries for all New Yorkers.

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Mark Butler

Mark introduced ULU board member Lauren Comito who described some initiatives, which include setting up mini-libraries in neighborhoods damaged by the recent hurricanes, a volunteer library brigade and 24 Read-Ins to encourage reading. Their efforts are imaginative, fun, and done-on-a shoestring. We’ll be exploring how we can work with and help them. Contact Mark at iawaweekly@gmail.com to help.

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Lauren Comito

Christy Jones has been sharing pieces of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway (tentative title) in which he details his journey from rural Ireland to pursue his love for theater in New York. Tonight he read a tender piece about a priest back home, Father Moynihan. Says Christy: “He was such a gentle man, a real man, a holy man. I never remember a word of anger from him. He was so complete as a person. He was content with his bicycle. He never complained about it…I still remember the last time … in the hospital. You could not help believe that he was saved.”

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 Christy Jones

Salon producer John Kearns read the opening from “Displacement,” a short story set in 1940s Brooklyn. An obsequious witness tells detectives how his friend started a fight with a stranger who had come into their waterfront dive wearing a porkpie hat with a red feather. Unbeknownst to the witness, the detectives were conducting a murder investigation. We know John was not around the 1940s Brooklyn waterfront, but he sure sounded like it tonight.

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 John Kearns

More, “Yes.’ Well-known trad musician Don Meade played some Scottish tunes in honor of the “Yes” campaign and gave historical background for each. They were a pipe march from World War I, “King George V’s Army”, and on the mouthorgan “Hector, the Hero”, a lament for a Scottish general named Hector MacDonald. Don runs the monthly Irish traditional music concerts at Glucksman Ireland House/NYU and sessions every Monday at the Landmark Tavern. You can find his schedule at blarneystar.com

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Don Meade

Storyteller and musician Russell Patrick Brown shared selections from his upcoming site-specific production at Jefferson Market Library on September 27 at 8pm. Russell has written and is directing a cast of dancers, singers, musicians and storytellers in the Mercy of Trees, which is presented as part of Origin’s 1st Irish Theatre Festival. Come out and support this unique talent. The event is free, reservations suggested: http://1stirish.org/?post_type=show&p=1051.

More information: http://www.russellpatrickbrown.com/mercy-of-trees

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Russell Patrick Brown

The Smarty Girl herself Honor Molloy presented “I Broke In,” a loving tribute to her favorite Dublin neighbor–the Irish American poetess, and Honor’s babysitter, Claire McAllister. Then Honor introduced McAllister’s daughter, Wonderly White, who talked vividly about her mother and read several short poems.

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Honor Molloy and Wonderly White

Sean Carlson was greeted by a great round of applause for his Irish Times essay, “The reach of a single village,” receiving a bronze prize from the Society of American Travel Writers.

Again reading from his yet-untitled family memoir of immigration, Sean introduced two new characters, Maureen and Bridie May– the oldest daughters in an Irish family of sixteen children — and the beginning of their path to the convent. Responding to the touching and humorous nature of this chapter, one Salon attendee tweeted: “I think the world needs more stories about these beautiful people you shared with us last night.” To learn more or join his email list, please visit www.seancarlson.net.

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Sean Carlson

John Anthony Brennan, in his second Salon presentation, read from his new book, Don’t Die With Regrets. A native of Crossmaglen, a small, tough town in County Armagh, John has visited most of the sacred sites in this world and is convinced that a common thread connects them. The book represents his life’s journey and was written to inspire the reader. And inspire he did tonight with a section called “Back When.” While living in London in the late sixties, John was fortunate to meet many of his favorite musicians, some of whom have sadly, departed from this mortal coil. In “Back When” he tells that story in one thousand words. More about John at http://johnabrennanauthor.com/ or at the blog, Thewildgeese.com.

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John Anthony Brennan

Guenevere Donohue sang the Irish folk song, “Molly Ban” in her unique hypnotic story-telling style. In this tragic song, a man shoots mistakenly shoots his love:

Her white apron wrapped around her
He took her for a swan
But a hush and a sigh
‘Twas his own Molly Ban

Says Guen, “a swan song to remember.”

guen

 Guenevere Donohue

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Ryan Winter Cahill

We went out on high note as Ryan Winter Cahill ended the Salon with two short, amusing songs. First was the energetic, childlike “Sweet Zoo,” by Jeffrey D. Harris, in which “someone” (not revealed until the song’s close) recounts a most interesting dream. She ended with the poignant, ironic “Virtue” by Michael John LaChiusa from his song cycle “Marlene Dietrich’s ABC”, based on a dictionary of wisdom written by the classic film star.

See you next time at Bar Thalia, on Wednesday, October 1 at 7pm. And should you be tweeting, or talking about us on other social media, please use our hashtag #iawasalon!

July 21, 2014

IAW&A Salon at the Cell, 7/15: Poetry Book Launch, Plays, Music, and Superb Writing

Filed under: American Politics,Essay,Events,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 4:19 am

crowd

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

We promised another night filled with talent, creativity and an enthusiastic audience and the mid-July IAW&A Salon, hosted by John Kearns, did not disappoint. Tuesday’s program included four theater pieces, possibly a Salon record, but not a surprise, considering the appeal of The Cell’s intimate performance space. Tuesday’s program demonstrated how new members enliven and expand the mix and how they are welcomed by the group. So, bring your friends to an IAW&A Salon. They won’t be disappointed.

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Pat Fenton

The first theater piece was from Pat Fenton. A proud son of the Irish working-class tenements of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, Pat is a terrific journalist whose writing has been influenced by Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin. Pat read from An Afternoon with Breslin, Amen, his one-man play about the many moods of one of America’s most famous journalists. Pat hopes to complete the work by the fall. Meantime, please don’t send him your complaints about something that upset you (or one of your relatives) about a Breslin column. He’s heard them all.

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Daniel MacGowan, John Kearns

Next up was Sheila Walsh’s ten minute play, Waiting for Brando, a poignant and darkly hilarious look at Jack Kerouac at the height of his fame. On an afternoon in 1957, Kerouac and his neighbor Billy wait for the phone call that tells them if Marlon Brando will star in the movie version of On the Road. Great performances by Daniel McGowan as Kerouac and John Kearns as Billy. 

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Lissa Kiernan

Lissa Kiernan delivered on her promise to present a kick-ass kick-off reading for her hot-off-the-press first poetry collection Two Faint Lines in the Violet (Negative Capability Press), praised by Annie Finch as “ . . . ahead of its time, a tragic and lucid banner leading us into the 21st century when poets will increasingly be called on to remind us that we are human animals whose fate is held in the earth.” Learn more and order your copy at: twofaintlines.com or come and get a signed copy at the Salon at Bar Thalia on August 6. The IAW&A Salon is proud and honored that Lissa chose to launch her collection of poetry with us.

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Sean Carlson

Having shared his beautiful NY Daily News and Irish Times essays earlier in the year, Sean Carlson returned to the Salon to read from the final manuscript of his first book — a nonfictional narrative of emigration through a family story from Ireland to London and the Bronx. Tonight he transported us to a farmhouse at the bottom of a lane outside a small village in Co. Kerry. We could almost feel the warmth of the turf fire burning in the hearth as the story begins. Sean will continue reading from his to-be-titled book at our IAW&A Salons over the coming months. Learn more and join his email list here: www.seancarlson.net

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 Maura Knowles

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Sean Irawan

At a May Salon, Mary Pat Kelly debuted songs from her musical Special Intentions, based on her novel of the same name, the story of her six years in the convent in the 1960s. Mary Pat has written the book, lyrics and music. Tonight she was able to present another song thanks to the wonderful musical theater actress Maura Knowles and the great pianist, Sean Irawan. We look forward to more from these talented collaborators.

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Barry Sacker, John Cappelletti

Actor, director, playwright and teacher John Cappelletti presented his short play, We the People, which was first performed at the Hudson Guild Theatre last year. The drama featured acting pro Barry Sacker in the leading role of Brock who convinces Francis, a team member played by John, not to leave an organization that is planning a most unusual event to eliminate gun violence in America. John is glad to have opportunity to showcase his work.

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Chris Bradley, Mary Pat Kelly

Chris Bradley shared a portion of a contemporaneous historical fiction that he is researching and writing about the plight of homeless Veterans. Each night in this country, 60,000 Veterans sleep in shelters or on the streets. Chris is conducting in-depth interviews with a cross-section of these men and women who live in NYC. Chris will fictionalize and weave the stories together into an entertaining, educational novel. He plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from the book’s sales to fight homelessness. He expects to complete the work in the next few months and welcomes inquiries about how you can help the men and women who volunteered to defend every one of us. Reach Chris at cjbradleyesq@gmail.com.

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Megan O’Donnell

An award-winning writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction, Megan O’Donnell is also an actor, activist, and visual artist and new member of IAW&A. At Tuesday’s Salon, she read a selection of poems on numerous subjects, including motherhood, sexuality, writing, and self-harm as well as an emulation of one of her favorite poets, Emily Dickinson. Although Megan’s poetry is not available online, you can read some of her non-fiction at http://elitedaily.com/author/modonnell/.

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Christy Jones

Christy Jones, who read at the July Salon at the Bar Thalia, returned tonight with another piece of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway (tentative title). Tonight’s chapter was a vivid recollection of his childhood on a farm near the Dublin airport runway. Christy appreciates our encouraging reception to his work-in-progress. And we’d like to hear more of his journey from rural Ireland to pursue his love for theater and American musicals in NY and included time in the US National Guard; the Stella Adler Theatre Studio; Off Broadway, Regional Theatre and finally Broadway in the Brian Friel play Philadelphia, Here I Come!

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John Kearns

John Kearns was happy to present a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress about four generations of an Irish American family, Worlds. The excerpt showed John’s knowledge of both Roman mythology (Ovid’s story of Mercury and Aglauros, set in 1950s West Philadelphia) and his skill in depicting teenage crushes. In his story, 7th-grader Janey Dougherty becomes infatuated with a high school boy she meets after the May Procession at St. Francis de Sales School. Janey is excited when the boy knocks on her front door only to find out that he is interested in seeing her more extroverted sister, Lisa.

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Mark William Butler

Ever the good sport, Mark William Butler channeled his inner Sinatra to close the night with the Johnny Mercer classic, “Summer Wind.”

Please note next Salon will be on Wednesday, August 6 at 7pm at Bar Thalia.

January 24, 2014

Member Tim Dwyer Calls for Action on Imprisonment of Activitist/Writer/Actress Margaretta D’Arcy

Filed under: American Politics,Irish Politics,Social Activism,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 2:50 pm
by Tim Dwyer
IAW&A Members: Please, as concerned individuals, support the release of Margaretta D’Arcy from Limerick Prison. She is one of the original members of Aosdana. Whether you agree with her political beliefs and her non-violent actions that preceded her incarceration- walking onto a runway at Shannon Airport with one other person to protest U.S. military use of the airport-it is unethical to place a 79 year old woman with cancer and Parkinson’s Disease in Limerick prison for 3 months.
A 2012 official Irish report concluded that Limerick prison has a number of serious deficiencies, including its medical care. With Margaretta’s medical issues, incarceration could be a death sentence.  There were more humane, healthy and safe ways to incarcerate Margaretta, such as house arrest.
darcy
I am calling on concerned members, particularly those strongly networked, involved with the media, with leadership and organizing abilities, to help us identify and execute means of expression, that may include letters, meetings or vigils  promoting these concerns to such entities as the Irish Consulate and the Irish Minister of Justice.  As I have none of these strengths and live 100 miles north of NYC, I am calling on our esteemed and accomplished members to lead the way in this important issue.  Believe me, I am not experienced in activism, so I am asking others for help.
Please respond so we can begin identifying and executing our expressions of concern.  This will be the expression of concerned individuals, and not an official statement of IAW&A.   I thank you for Margaretta!

December 30, 2013

IAW&A Night at Larry Kirwan’s “Hard Times” at the Cell, January 23rd, 8 pm

Filed under: American Politics,Events,Irish Politics,Music,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:11 pm

Larry Kirwan’s Hard Times, last year’s smash-hit musical about Stephen Foster and NYC’s Five Points neighborhood during the Civil War, returns to the Cell Theatre on January 9th and runs Thursdays through Sundays until February  2nd.

Join us for Irish American Writers and Artists night on January 23rd at 8 pm, with a talkback with the cast and playwright after the show!

kirwan_hard_times

The Cell Theatre is at:

338 West 23rd Street, between 8th & 9th

Tickets: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/535745

See you there!

April 19, 2012

Writers Night Indeed!

April 17, 2012

The Irish Mexican Alliance Rides Again!

On April 28 in El Paso, Texas, The Irish Mexican Alliance rides again with a raucous night of entertainment and cross cultural solidarity, all to bring awareness to and raise money for organizations dealing with the trauma of the U.S.-Mexico narco war.

Some of the most popular bands in the Borderland, along with an impressive collection of poets and other artists, are coming together under that banner of THE IRISH MEXICAN ALLIANCE to stage a major fundraising event in downtown El Paso, TX on Sat., April 28. The event will raise money for the El Paso-based charity, Amor por Juárez, an organization that helps fund non-governmental organizations dealing with the trauma caused by the narco war in the U.S.-Mexico borderland.

Along with its serious intent, THE IRISH MEXICAN ALLIANCE event promises to be a raucous night of entertainment, as well as a formidable display of cross-cultural solidarity. There will be Celtic and Mexican music, Chicano and Irish poets, Mexican and Irish beer. Books, CDs, posters, and t-shirts created especially for the event will be raffled off for charity. The event will be held at the historic San Carlos Building at 501 Texas Avenue, in downtown El Paso, from 6-12 pm. The suggested donation for the event is $12.

“There is nothing quite like The Irish Mexican Alliance,” said best-selling author T.J. English, who founded the initiative and will be hosting the event. “We believe there is a spiritual connection between Mexican and Irish people that can be harnessed as a powerful force. In this case, along with staging one of the best concert events to hit El Paso in some time, we will raise money for organizations dealing with the ongoing emotional and human carnage of the narco war.”

Among the entertainers performing at the event are Frontera Bugalú and Radio La Chusma, two of the most popular bands in El Paso; singer Velia Christina, a rising star who will perform songs from her upcoming debut CD; the San Patricios, an El Paso-based traditional Irish music group; and Ashley Davis, a Celtic singer who is being flown in from New York City. On the literary side, renowned Chicano poet and author Jimmy Santiago Baca will read, along with local poets Valentin Sandoval and Terrence Welsh, and Myrlin Hepworth, a dynamic young Chicano poet based in Phoenix.

THE IRISH MEXICAN ALLIANCE began in 2010 in NYC with the staging of a similar event in Manhattan. At that event, money was raised for the Committee to Protect Journalists, who established a fund to provide legal assistant to journalists forced to flee Mexico and seek asylum in the U.S. due to threats and the murder of fellow journalists in Mexico.

“Anything that brings attention to what is happening across the border in Juárez is important,” says Valentin Sandoval, a local poet, filmmaker and activist who is a co-producer of the event. “There is a danger people will get tired of hearing about what’s happening there, or simply forget. We want to help make sure that doesn’t happen, and also, at the same, create a special night showcasing some of the most talented artists in El Paso.”

In addition to calling attention to the devastating consequences of the narco war, THE IRISH MEXICAN ALLIANCE draws its impetus from the historical spirit of the San Patricio Battalion, a group of mostly Irish American soldiers who, during the U.S.-Mexico War of 1845-48, deserted the U.S. army to fight on behalf of the Mexican people. Although the San Patricios are thought of as traitors by some (many were executed as traitors by the U.S. military), THE IRISH MEXICAN ALLIANCE celebrates the sacrifice of the San Patricios as an example of men and women following their conscience and standing up to what they saw as injustice and imperialist aggression.

For more information about THE IRISH MEXICAN ALLIANCE and the upcoming event in El Paso, visit the Facebook page and/or website at www.irishmexicanalliance.org.

Media

November 18, 2011

Exhibition: Korean War Remembrances from New IAW&A Member

Filed under: American Politics,Events,Visual Arts — by johnleemedia @ 7:54 pm
Tags: , , ,
Life During War Time 1951-1953
Remembering the Korean People and War: Photographs and Video by Robert Leddy
by Kathy Callahan

This exhibition distills and chronicles Robert Leddy’s war time experiences from Hudson County NJ to Idaho, Seoul, Korea and back home again -into a choice group of sixty images and a narrated video by Robert Leddy, Korean War Veteran. There are vivid and evocative photographs that address the issues of hunger, displacement, memory and recovery from disaster and explores how the Korean people responded to war time tragedies. Each and every picture tells a memorable story. Focusing on the everyday life of children, adults, families, U.S. and Korean soldiers in Korea and in America. The exhibition is organized by Kathy Leddy Callahan, Curator and Steven Cavallo, Program Director, Palisades Park Library.

Robert Leddy, a semi retired business owner and inventor in Norwood, Ridgefield NJ for over fifty years. He is the winner
of many national and regional home remodeling association awards for quality craftsmanship, integrity and excellent customer service,
‘When You’re Ready Call Leddy’ Home Improvement, Remodeling and Window Co. He is a devoted family man and proud father of 6 children and 17 grandchildren. He is married to Barbara Leddy (nee Brophy) and lives in Old Tappan, NJ. Mr. Leddy is a member of IAW&A Irish American Writers & Artists.November 1 – December 1 2011
257 Second Street, Palisades Park, NJ.Previous shows include: Ridgewood NJ Public Library, Old Tappan NJ Public Library.
Future shows at Museums, Libraries, Veterans and Korean Associations TBA.

Reception Schedule
Join Robert Leddy for a guided tour, lively Q&A and refreshments.
Thursday December 1 7-9 p.m.

Call for more information: 201-213-7862

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