Irish American Writers & Artists

May 29, 2015

5.19.15 IAW&A Special Edition Salon “The Amazing Library Variety Show”

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 3:28 am

“A rousing, rollicking night of fund-raising, hell-raising with hilarious songs and stories about libraries and librarians and books.” –Tom Mahon 

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

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The stars came out for IAW&A’s first fundraising Salon, The Amazing Library Variety Show on Tuesday, May 19 at The Cell Theatre. Mark Butler, the show’s producer and host, corralled members to donate their time and talent to support the work of the NYC-based grassroots advocacy group, Urban Librarians Unite (ULU). The Show, which brought out an SRO crowd, was a testament to the generosity and breadth of talent in IAW&A and to Mark’s artistic, organizational and hosting skills. And dare we say it was truly an amazing night?

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Mark Butler

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Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy announces raffles prizes

In keeping with IAW&A’s mission to encourage full participation in and access to the arts, the night’s proceeds will go to Urban Librarians Unite, which has been described by The Wall Street Journal as “Guerrilla Librarians Making Noise.” ULU Founder and Executive Director Christian Zabriskie described the group’s work. They operate a Save NYC Libraries Campaign and the Volunteer Library Brigade that brings books, maps, Wi-Fi, and free eBooks to city sidewalks and parks. Their Hurricane Sandy Children’s Book Campaign distributed over 20,000 books through free mini-libraries in areas of Brooklyn and Queens where libraries were damaged by the storm.

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ULU’s Christian Zabriskie and Lauren Comito

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Richard Butler as Dewey Decimal dewey job

Richard Butler and Jon Gordon

A surprise visit from library lover, Mr. Dewey Decimal, singing the jazzy “Librarians Really Dew It for Me” set the night’s upbeat tone. Dewey’s identity was later revealed to be Richard Butler, an actor, director, and acting coach with over 30 years experience working in the New York City and San Francisco Bay areas. Richard has played everything from a presidential assassin in Sondheim’s Assassins to a frumpy Baltimore housewife in Hairspray to Santa Claus in a cocktail dress. As a director, he has worked on both established and new plays, including In the Wilderness by IAWA treasurer John Kearns, and Bad Christmas Sweater, The Laundry War, and other plays by his brother, IAWA Secretary Mark William Butler. He is currently directing Mark’s dystopian comic fantasy, Heaven Is a Beer Commercial, to be performed as part of the Manhattan Rep Summer One Act Play Competition in early June.

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T.J. English

Best-selling author, social historian and journalist T.J. English read a selection from his new book about Whitey Bulger that is scheduled for publication in September of this year. His books include The Westies, Paddy Whacked, Havana Nocturne and The Savage City. His journalism has appeared in such national publications as Vanity Fair, Esquire, Playboy and Newsweek, among others. Along with his accomplishments as a writer, T.J. is one of the founders of Irish American Writers & Artists and served as the organization’s President for two years.

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We note with pleasure that IAW&A’s first President, Peter Quinn, attended the Show, so all three IAW&A chiefs were present.

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Maxine Linehan

Irish native, adopted New Yorker Maxine Linehan, actress, singer and recording artist whom The New York Times calls “fiercely talented” sang two original songs. As a cabaret and concert performer, Maxine has performed at Town Hall, Lincoln Center, 54 Below, The Metropolitan Room and Birdland. The Huffington Post says Maxine’s new album “Beautiful Songs is “glorious.” Find her at http://www.maxinelinehan.com

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John Kearns

IAW&A Treasurer and Salon Producer John Kearns chose a short excerpt from his novel, The World, in which the protagonist, called “The Youth,” goes to the library to discover his Irish identity. In his introduction, Mark complimented John for his fantastic work in running the Salon, our organization’s signature event and expanding it to such faraway lands as Philadelphia, Washington DC, Chicago, St. Louis and Connecticut!

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Marni Rice

Uniquely talented Marni Rice, a chanteuse-accordionist, sang in French. An author and composer, Marni’s original plays with music have been performed in French and English at Theatre Festivals worldwide. In 2012 she co-founded the Xio Evans- Marni Rice Experimental Dance Theatre to create original musical and dance performance works dedicated to issues of social justice. They are currently co-teaching a dance-theatre class for children at a NYPL in the Bronx. http://www.dejouxmusique.com

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Sarah Fearon

Stand-up comedienne, actor and IAW&A Board Member Sarah Fearon brought the laughs with her routine. Sarah describes herself as a native New Yorker by way of Northern Ireland. You may have seen her get whacked in The Departed. Or you may have seen her this spring at the Irish Arts Center “Sundays at Seven” comedy night. Sarah has a play in the Players Theater Short Play Festival opening June 18. So far she is keeping her New Year’s resolution of returning her library books on time!

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Tony DeMarco

One of the top “trad” musicians in the country, Tony DeMarco played two reels that had our collective feet tapping. Tony has been performing and teaching the Irish fiddle for over 30 years, and is acknowledged as a master of the New York/Sligo fiddle style. Find his performances at http://www.tonydemarcomusic.net

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Karl Scully

Internationally known tenor Karl Scully delighted us with his rendition of Tom Lehrer’s “Poisoning Pigeons in The Park.” Karl was for six years, one of The Irish Tenors who recorded two albums and performed in hundreds of venues in Europe and the US. As a soloist Karl has performed all over the world including Carnegie Hall and the Avery Fischer Hall. One of his very first gigs he starred as Count John McCormack in the film “Nora.”

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Daisy Kearns sells raffle tickets to Seamus Scanlon

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Larry Kirwan

IAW&A President Larry Kirwan recalled the book selections at the library in his native Wexford, and read a section from his brand new book, A History of Irish Music. In this hilarious excerpt, Larry described Black 47’s being asked to back-up one of Shane McGowan’s first post-Pogue gigs. In addition to being founder of the rock band Black 47, Larry is an author, playwright, Irish Echo columnist and solo performer.

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Lauren Comito

ULU Chair and Director of Operations Lauren Comito charmed the crowd with a song she wrote about the trials of a librarian. Lauren accompanied herself on the ukulele.

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Honor Molloy

Honor Molloy can be counted on to thrill salongoers with her presentations and she did again tonight reading Backwards Library, a piece about summers, libraries and time. Honor’s autobiographical novel Smarty Girl tracks her life as a mischievous little gurrier running the streets of Dublintown.

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John Paul Skocik

A popular Salon presenter who performs his own compositions, singer/songwriter guitarist John Paul Skocik performed two original tunes. You can find John’s songs on iTunes and other online outlets, under his former band Girl To Gorilla.

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Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon played a soulful solo of “The Days of Wine and Roses.” Jon, winner of the Thelonious Monk award, is a world-renowned artist and one of the most successful, accomplished and in-demand alto and soprano saxophonists of his generation. Jazz Improv magazine calls him “an elite musician of our time.” Jon has often played and read from his memoir, For Sue at our Salons.

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Cathy Maguire

Cathy Maguire sang two beautiful songs, one country-inflected, one Irish. Cathy began her career as a successful child star in Ireland. She’s back in New York, by way of Nashville, where she studied and worked with country music stars. Her CD Ireland In Song explores the ten most famous Irish songs.

Near the end of a very full program, host Mark Butler described Malachy McCourt as a man “who needs no introduction” but Mark introduced him anyway, for the thrill of saying: “Writer, actor, storyteller, singer – that’s right singer – radio personality, legendary innkeeper, Salon founder and godfather, teacher, inspiration, mentor, and most recently – Facebook assassin -the only one and one and only ­ Malachy McCourt.”

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Malachy McCourt

Malachy began by quoting Henry VIII, who said to his wives, “I won’t keep you long.” But he did. He told how two poor urchins in County Limerick, he and his brother Frank, read library books under street lamps because there were no lights at home. Encouraged by the lively reception, he went off on a riff about labels, about snakes and God, Adam and Eve, pausing to thank God he’s an atheist, which slid smoothly into St. Patrick chasing the snakes from Ireland. Salon newcomers were treated to the “full Malachy.”

Frequent Salon contributor Tom Mahon sums it up perfectly: ”Then Malachy sang and asked us to sing along and we sang, feeling that this is fine, don’t let this end, but it did. Yet we felt better after a rousing, rollicking night of fund-raising, hell-raising with hilarious songs and stories about libraries and librarians and books.”

On behalf of IAW&A, our sincere thanks to all the performers for contributing to a wonderful night and a great cause; to superb pianist Ryan Shirar; to the artists who donated their work for the raffle; to our generous members, guests and volunteers; to the helpful staff of The Cell Theatre; and kudos to impresario Mark Butler!

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May 11, 2015

IAW&A Salon 5-5-15: Members Debut New Songs, Stories, Plays and Talents

Filed under: dance,Events,Film,Literature,Music,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 4:22 am

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The early May Salon at Bar Thalia was a merry and mellow affair, with members introducing brand new compositions, fictional works, and theater pieces. We were also introduced to a centuries’ old fiddle tune and Irish dance form.

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DJ Sharp

Actor and writer, DJ Sharp started off the proceedings with a reading from his screenplay.

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Thom Molyneaux

Playwright Thom Molyneaux read from his new play Miller Kazan HUAC… and Marilyn Monroe that tells the story of the creative partnership of Elia Kazan and Arthur Miller. That partnership was destroyed when Kazan “named names ” for the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950’s and they confronted each other, not directly, but via their art — Miller striking first with The Crucible; Kazan hitting back with On The Waterfront. Thom will be off soon for the world premiere of his play White Ash Falling 9/11 at the Detroit Repertory Theatre, the oldest professional theatre in Michigan.

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Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher gave a delightful reading from her untitled novel-in-progress. Set in a small parish in the midlands of Ireland, this section introduces two of the main characters, Fr. Thomas Doyle, a local priest, and his childhood friend, Desmond Long, a psychiatrist returned to his home town after years abroad. The priest’s housekeeper, Maude, steals the scene, as she contrives a subtle revenge against her employer, the supercilious, alcoholic pastor of St. Fintan’s.

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon’s short, dramatic story was about a black family who move into a white neighborhood, and whose young son is beaten for no reason. His parents refuse to allow anything to stop them from loving and supporting their children. After years of working steadily, the black kids go to college on scholarships and make something of themselves, while the white family next door slide deeper into the cesspools of pride and prejudice.

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Memoirist and dancer, Maura Mulligan, accompanied by fiddler, Marie Reilly introduced us to Sean Nós dancing – the oldest style of dancing in Ireland. Long before Set, Céilí or the formal Step dancing, Sean Nós was popular all over Ireland. Like the Irish language, the form was stamped out and only survived in the very far corners of the country, the Gaeltacht, the Irish speaking areas. Often danced on half doors and on tabletops, this loose and free style form of dance is now enjoying a huge revival. There are no specific steps and so individual dancer must improvise. An accomplished step dancer and céilí teacher, this was Maura’s debut as a Sean Nós dancer. Check her website: www.mauramulligan.com Follow her memoir, Call of the Lark on Facebook: Follow Call of the Lark on Facebook

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Marie Reilly and Maurs Mulligan

Marie Reilly followed with a lively march tune known as “Conmachne” which she told us is untitled in the manuscript dated 1846 of Thomas Kieran, a nineteenth century fiddle master from Drumlish, Co. Longford. Marie told the fascinating story of the tune’s discovery. In 1962 Pierce Butler, a fiddle player and carpenter happened to be working on the removal of a thatched roof and found the manuscript hidden in the thatch. It seemed to be a manuscript Thomas Kiernan used in teaching in the period 1844-1846. Kiernan taught widely, travelling on foot from house to house, lodging at night in the houses where he taught. The accommodation was part of his payment along with a noggin of whiskey for breakfast and a plentiful supply of his favorite tobacco. Marie’s music can be found on her website: http://www.mariereillymusic.com

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Maura Megan Knowles and John Kearns

Back from L.A where she is shooting a film, Maura Megan Knowles debuted a brand new, very powerful song, “Shamed & Silent No More,written with composer Kevin McNally and accompanied on guitar by the talented John Kearns. Maura has been busy in L.A., where she did a pilot with Danny Trejo and the new ABC Family Series, Stitchers. She’s also recording songs and writing. Please visit www.mauramknowles.com for more.

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Mark Butler

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Christian Zabriskie

Mark Butler, producer of IAW&A’s fundraiser to benefit Urban Librarian Unite introduced ULU’s Executive Director
, Christian Zabriskie. ULU is grassroots advocacy group of librarians from all over the city. They bring Mini Libraries and public storytelling to the streets and parks, sponsor a 24 Read In to promote reading, and they ran a hugely successful campaign to distribute children’s books after Hurricane Sandy. ULU embodies IAW&A’s mission of fostering access to the arts and education. We think this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

Some of the artists scheduled to appear in The Amazing Library Variety Show: Maxine Linehan, Jon Gordon, Richard Butler, Marni Rice, Hammerstep, Honor Molloy, TJ English, Larry Kirwan, Karl Scully and several beloved Salon presenters.

The Amazing Library Variety Show. May 19 at 7pm at The Cell. Donation $25; all proceeds will go to ULU. Reserve now at amazinglibraryshow@hotmail.com

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John Kearns

Salon host John Kearns shared a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. Writing in his journal, Paul Logan tells the story of meeting a childhood friend, Joe Boyle, at his mother’s wake in Ardmore, PA and then running into Joe again at Bowling Green in New York.  We’ll get to hear about the encounter between these two old friends at the next IAW&A Salon.

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Kevin R. McPartland

Novelist and short-story writer, Kevin R. McPartland held the Salon crowd in rapt attention as he told a tale of old Brooklyn meets new Brooklyn with a looming eviction from a basement apartment at stake, a story that indeed had an interesting, comical, and poignant plot twist at the end.

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John Paul Skocik

We got to enjoy John Paul Skocik performing three original tunes, two of them performed for the very first time anywhere. “Masquerade,” a happy sounding pop piece attempts to musically conceal the sardonic and self-loathing lyrics of an unrequited love. Next was a snippet of the unfinished “Cocktail Hour,” sung a capella, and inspired by Frank Sinatra’s contribution to the great American songbook. John premiered the rough, comical and lyrically sentimental punk styled tune “My Place.” It tells the brief tale of a man frustrated that he can’t be more to the woman he loves, yet he is also frustratingly content that he at least has what he has. Find John’s songs on iTunes and other online outlets, under his former band Girl To Gorilla.


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Guenevere Donohue

Guenevere Donohue sang a gorgeous new composition that she wrote for the children of Palestine. Guen was inspired and moved by hearing that one of those children said “I have never seen the sea,” and she composed a song with that title. You can see the kids’ painting for Rogue Foundation’s I Am Palestine: “I Have Never Seen the Sea” Exhibit at the Chelsea Fine Arts building.

Prompted by Guen’s lovely song, Malachy McCourt recounted a not-so-lovely childhood memory of a promised trip to the sea that didn’t happen. He closed the night leading us with, “The Sea Around Us.”

 

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Malachy McCourt

“The sea, oh the sea is the gradh geal mo croide.
Long may it stay between England and me.
It’s a sure guarantee that some hour we’ll be free.
Oh thank God we’re surrounded by water!”

Don’t forget: The “Special Edition Salon” The Amazing Library Variety Show. May 17 at 7pm at The Cell. Donation $25; all proceeds will go to ULU. Reserve at amazinglibraryshow@hotmail.com.

April 26, 2015

4.21.15 IAW&A Salon and Book Party: Festive doubleheader of readings, performances, and song!

Filed under: dance,Essay,Events,Literature,Music,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 9:18 pm

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

“…the amazing worlds that you all create…”  Karl Scully

A lively celebration for the launch of IAW&A President and Wexford man Larry Kirwan’s new book, A History of Irish Music brought out an SRO crowd to the Cell. Malachy McCourt gave a moving introduction to Larry and his book.  Larry enchanted the crowd by reading a chapter about the iconic blues guitarist, Rory Gallagher. Our Salon followed, with producer John Kearns hosting topnotch presentations that included music, memoir, poetry, fiction, and humor. mary

Mary Tierney

The actress Mary Tierney started the Salon with a scene from an untitled novel-in-progress by writer Joseph Davidson. In 1966, a young woman named Bobby Joe Lang is hitchhiking from Kansas to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury in search of love and peace. She is picked up by a stranger in a truck and her life is soon threatened. Mary’s dramatic reading brought both characters to life. jk

John Kearns

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Christy Kelly

Poet, screenwriter, and novelist Christy Kelly read from his novel-in-progress called, Nobody Said. He dedicated this section to Larry Kirwan. In Nobody Said, two cops cruise the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx (Bruckner Boulevard) in the Olympic Year of 1976, when, Christy says, “The sky was pink with arson.” bernadette

Bernadette Cullen

Poet and professor Bernadette Cullen read “Ruminations While Standing on the Edge of the Precipice” which she describes as a longish poem on uncomfortable ‘truths’…. sean

Sean Carlson

Sean Carlson has serialized chapters from his yet-untitled family memoir of emigration at previous Salons. Tonight, he showed another side of his writing with excerpts from a travel series recently shortlisted as a finalist in a contest judged by the editor of the Paris Review. “Notes from Cambodia” is scheduled to publish this summer in Nowhere Magazine.

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Larry Kirwan enjoying the Salon

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 Stephanie Silber

Stephanie Silber gave a powerful reading from her first novel, Other People’s Houses, a coming of age story set in the early seventies. Pregnant teenager Queenie has been shipped off from her humble roots for the duration to live with a wealthy family on Long Island. Complications ensue when their foundering son returns unexpectedly from Harvard. This scene plays out on a beach and on a boat, in a haze of heat one Fourth of July; a high school friend of Queenie’s has come to visit — and has set her sights on the troubled, glamorous, son. Feelings run high. larry_book

Larry Kirwan

We had more enchantment from Larry Kirwan when he read another passage from A History of Irish Music. You can purchase Larry’s book at www.black47.comor Amazon.com. Find the schedule for his upcoming solo solo gigs iwww.black47.com karl

Karl Scully

Karl Scully, one of the world famous Irish Tenors, graced us with a song, “My Lagan Love.” Karl has appeared in movies, performed in Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and around the world. So we appreciate his appreciation of the Salons. Karl was delighted to enter “…the amazing worlds that you all create…” crowd

A full house for the IAW&A Salon and book launch party

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Marie Reilly on fiddle and Maura Mulligan

Accompanied by the fiddler Marie Reilly, Maura Mulligan presented an excerpt from her memoir, Call of the Lark. The piece, depicting school days in Ireland of the 40s/50s will be part of a performance at the Fleadh Cheoil in Sligo this summer. Maura is honored to work with Marie in preparing to introduce passages from the book with musical interludes.You can find a video of their performance, courtesy of Dee Nolan, on https://www.facebook.com/CallOfTheLark brendan

Brendan Costello Jr.

IAW&A board member and frequent Salon contributor, Brendan Costello Jr. read the opening of T.S. Eliot’s famous poem “The Waste Land.” Brendan reworked that section as a Buzzfeed lifestyle article, proving that April may still be the “cruellest month,” but at least it’s user friendly.  “What I’ve found in this handful of dust might just haunt you for years to come!” Brendan also edits the IAW&A “Weekly” newsletter. He encouraged members to share news of upcoming events, gigs, performances and publication, or other events that may be of interest to the group. Send your news or send an email to subscribe to iawaweekly@gmail.com mun

John Munnelly

Singer/songwriter John Munnelly says: “Thank you for the love, artistic freedom and support I receive regularly from the IAW&A and friends…” John played two original compositions. His new song about love, from a distance, was inspired by the title of Theresa Lennon Blunt’s memoir, “I Sailed the Sky in A Silver Ship.” The melody for his second song came from a dream he had one morning while in Dublin attending a launch event for his soccer supporters song “King of Cambridge.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9brCB-5A6Y John asks for your vote on the song’s title. He’s wavering between “No More Than A Boy” and “Through the Passing of the Years.” Find him at http://johnmunnellymusic.com/fans-contact-social-upload/ malachy

Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt brought the night to a rollicking close, with a story about his days as a gold smuggler. Saying he wasn’t sure about remembering the lyrics, he delivered verse after verse of the Noel Coward (a Salon first?) song about British officers in India. “I Wonder What Happened to Him?”

Whatever became of old Tucker?
Have you heard any word of young Mills
Who ruptured himself at the end of a chukka
And had to be sent to the hills?
They say that young Lees Had a go of D.T.’s’
And his hopes of promotion are slim. 

Next IAW&A Salon will be May 5, at Bar Thalia. Join us and see what surprises are in store.

March 23, 2015

IAW&A Salon 3/16/15: Soaring on Saint Patrick’s Eve!

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature — by scripts2013 @ 1:17 am

IAW&A Salon 3/16/15

“Only fitting we’d soar on St. Patrick’s Eve.”  Tom Mahon

By Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

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Tom Mahon, Kevin McPartland, and the full house at the Cell

That’s a perfect summary of the IAW&A Salon on Monday 3/16. The packed house at the Cell seemed to expect an extraordinary night – and they got one. We had a lively mix of fiction, poetry, personal journeys and music. And in the spirit of IAW&A’s mission statement, tonight especially, many members expressed their belief in freedom and acceptance for all people.

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Gordon Gilbert

We welcomed Gordon Gilbert, in his second Salon appearance, reading from his unfinished novel, Speedway Romance, set in contemporary western New York and in antebellum Louisiana, covering certain events in the life of an abolitionist named John Woodworth. In Gordon’s excerpt, John visits his older brother, a slaveholder with a plantation outside of New Orleans. John has seized an opportunity for a clandestine encounter with a young house servant with whom he has become enthralled. We’re privy to John’s thoughts as he waits impatiently on a path near a river, far from the mansion and others’ prying eyes. Gordon hosts a series of readings celebrating Beat Generation writers at the Cornelia Street Café. Mark your calendars:

April 30th – Lawrence Ferlinghetti; May15th – Lenore Kandel – http://corneliastreetcafe.com/Performances.asp 

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Vivian O’Shaughnessy

Vivian O’Shaughnessy, poet, artist, translator, read “Blood on the Tracks” her English version of the original French poem created for the anthology about to be published in France, We Are Charlie Hebdo. (Corps Puce Publishers).  It opens:

Baudelairien Paris
in search of Pigalle
flocked by what I see not
acceptance
nurturing…”

Visit: www.vivianoshaughnessy.com.

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Brendan Costello Jr.

We heard a moving and insightful new essay by Brendan Costello Jr., IAW&A Board member and creative writing instructor at City College. The parades around St. Patrick’s Day (the one on Fifth Avenue and the St. Pat’s for All parade in Queens) brought back a memory of accompanying his father to the 1994 Gay Pride Parade. Brendan illustrates how we all have multiple identities and affiliations, and ended with a sharp critique of those who would have excluded his father from celebrating his Irish heritage for being gay.

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Tom Mahon

In “The Bluest Eyes,” Tom Mahon told a true story of two men he’d worked for in the 70s. Coming home one bitter cold night, they got stranded in the building vestibule, looking for the keys. A man entered behind them and forced them to the floor.  After taking their valuables, he taunted them for being gay, and shot one in the back of the head. The victim, the handsomest and most Irish one, was a major male model in New York at the time.  His murderer was never caught. The police weren’t motivated to find the killer of a gay man.

A tragic story, emotionally delivered.

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Jeanne D’Brant

Jeanne D’Brant led us on a vivid journey across the Sahara and the Tenezrouft, the “Land of Thirst” in a chapter from her book Heartlands of Islam. The chapter, titled “The Hajj” offers a glimpse of the dazzling white sands of the Sahara and its fierce warrior cultures, dappled with humorous glimpses of life as a stewardess in the glory days of flight. Jeanne’s rich imagery evokes moments in history, which were forerunners to today’s jihadism. Her work is a voice for tolerance of the complex societies, which have spawned the radicalism that now terrorizes the West and threatens the peaceable Muslim majority with indiscriminate backlash Jeanne Is developing “Becoming Irish,” the story of her journey through her Celtic past and the DNA discoveries of her strong Irish roots.

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Mark Butler,Honor Molloy, Noel Lawler, Conor McGlone, and Jordan Ortega

Salon producer, host and expert on the Molly Maguires (among his other talents) John Kearns presented a rewritten scene from his play, Sons of Molly Maguire. In a 19th-century upstate Pennsylvania shebeen, miner John Kilbride urges his friend O’Donnell to embrace non-violent tactics against unjust mine bosses and swears that his son will get an education and not be part of any violence. When a group of disguised Molly Maguires bursts into the bar celebrating their burning of a boss’s barn, Kilbride is shocked to find that his son, Jack, is one of them. John is grateful to the actors who brought the scene to life: Noel Lawler, Honor Molloy, Mark Butler, Jordan Ortega, and Conor McGlone.

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Larry Kirwan

Hail to the Chief! Musician, singer, author – and IAW&A President Larry Kirwan read from his new book, A History of Irish Music, which will be published in April.  Larry combined passages from his chapter about the iconic Blues guitarist Rory Gallagher with a version of the Black 47 song, “Rory” (from the Green Suede Shoes CD.) Advance copies of A History of Irish Music are now on sale at www.black47.com

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Margaret McCarthy

Margaret McCarthy read from her manuscript “In the Becoming,” poems based on Ireland’s classic story of Deirdre. The poems give Deirdre a direct voice to tell her story. McCarthy spoke of the story as a metaphor for finding voice, both as a woman and as an artist.

Published in numerous literary journals, she would like to publish this collection as a book. The poems also became poetic monologues in her stage play, Deirdre Retrograde. Her poetry collection Notebooks from Mystery School is coming from Finishing Line Press next month. www.notebooksfrommysteryschool.com

Margaret sends her heartfelt thanks to IAW&A for invaluable camaraderie and support during the book’s productio

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Peggy Miley

Peggy Miley presented a short piece from her one-woman show, Irish Bread and Tea, telling a funny, poignant story of the late-blooming love of an Irish-American couple. Peggy performed her show in LA and last week at the Barrow Group Theatre in NYC. She says that this show gav e her more satisfaction than all her TV and film roles over the years. You can find out about them all, including her recent appearance on an episode of CBS hit comedy Mike & Molly at Peggymiley.com

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Jordan Ortega

Jordan Ortega presented an eerie short story titled “Ever Watchful Eyes” about an older man following a young woman late at night.  A recent graduate from The City College of New York, Jordan is writing a novel and short stories set it the same fictional universe, and we expect to hear more from him.

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Honor Molloy  standing O

Standing ovation for Honor

The Dublin-born, American raised Honor Molloy read “Writhing in America”, an essay about conflicting notions of identity, living and working in an ever-changing Manhattan, and how the IAW&A helped her to thrive once again among the Clan na Gael. In one of the emotional highs of an exciting night, Honor received a standing ovation.

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Conor McGlone (center)

Talented City College undergrad Conor McGlone read a short poem, “Venus de Milo,” about a statue that wonders about the sculptor’s muse. And he sang and played what he calls “the skeleton of a pop song about love or, more to the point, unspoken obsession” called “no, I can’t talk.”

As we traditionally close with a song, John Kearns stepped in for Guen Donohoe with his own song, “Save Your Breath.”

“If your advice isn’t free/When you try to change me/Save your breath you might need it someday/’cause going halfway there/Is like going nowhere/And I can’t see it another way …

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John Kearns

Some of us had no breath left to save after this night’s extraordinary Salon.

Join us next time at Bar Thalia, Tuesday, April 7 at 6pm — with guest host, Marni Rice!

February 23, 2015

IAW&A Salon 2/17/15: The Good Times Rolled on Mardi Gras

Filed under: Events,Film,Literature,Music,Social Activism,Theater — by scripts2013 @ 4:27 am

by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

Nobody mentioned Mardi Gras but the mood at the IAW&A Salon on Tuesday, February 17 was sure celebratory. Highlights included three wonderful new presenters, unique music, great fiction and a one-of-a-kind performance from our friend from Dublin, Brian Fleming.

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Ryan Cahill, Jack DiMonte, and Nancy Oda

Ryan Cahill and Jack DiMonte hit all the right notes reading the roles of the seductive Pamela Churchill and the stately Averill Harriman in Sheila Walsh’s musical Pamela. The playwright was delighted when audience members asked her the magic question, “What comes next?” Sheila thanks Ryan, Jack, and Nancy Oda who read stage directions.

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Tom Phelan

Tom Phelan kept the audience laughing as he read from his latest novel, Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told. Shelf Awareness calls the book a “masterful portrait of Irish village life disguised as a murder mystery” and notes “Phelan finds humor and warmth in every poignant moment.” Tom will read from Lies the Mushroom Pickers Told and talk about life in the Irish countryside in the 1940s/1950s at the Rockville Centre Public Library, 221 N. Village Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY on Saturday, 28 February, at 1pm. More at www.tomphelan.net and www.facebook.com/tomphelannovels.
You will be able to hear Tom on the radio at Glucksman Ireland House NYU Radio Hour. Tune in on 2/28, 9am to 10am on WNYE 91.5FM and on irishradio.com and on nyuirish.net/radiohour.

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Sheila Walsh and Sarah Fearon

We watched a charming short film by Tom Mahon of last year’s St. Pat’s for All Parade. Parade organizer and co-founder Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy invited everyone to join the fun this year on Sunday, March 1. Come march under the IAW&A banner. Watch this space and our Facebook page for details.
https://www.facebook.com/IrishAmericanWritersAndArtistsInc. Visit
www.stpatsforall.com.

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John Kearns

Tonight’s host, the Salon producer John Kearns read a brand-new excerpt from his novel in progress, Worlds. The book follows the Logan family over several generations, and reflects the experiences of many Irish-American families. In this excerpt, Janey Logan is preparing to move her family from her native West Philadelphia to her husband’s family home in the suburb of Ardmore. She reflects on what she and her children will gain and lose by moving to the suburbs and on her lifetime of memories in St. Francis de Sales parish. Her old neighbor, Tom Dugan, stops to chat and, as Janey watches the familiar sight of Mr. Dugan’s walking up the street smoking his pipe, she wonders if she’ll ever see it again.

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Don Meade

Traditional musician Don Meade, a great supporter of the Salon, showed his versatile talent by playing harmonica and banjo, singing and sharing his knowledge. Don played a jig called “The Haunted House,” the reels “The Abbey” and “The Custom Gap” and sang “Omagh Town” by Michael Hurl.

You can see Don and friends every Monday night at The Landmark Tavern for a traditional music session. More at Blarneystar.com.

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Laissez le bon temps roulez

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Guenevere Donohue

Guenevere Donohue sang her jazz/blues version of Tom Waits’s story song, Small Change. Her sultry voice riffing on the Sax intro of the original created a totally new enthralling version of a classic.

Poet Mary E. Gonzalez is the daughter of Mary Kate Lohan of Dublin and of George Ugactz, a first generation Russian American. A graduate of Columbia University and host of a YouTube channel, Loving Life and Words, Mary read from two of her three poetry books currently available via Amazon:

  • Four Folded Corners (M.E. Gonzalez): Poems read include  “Love,” “Hate: In response to Extremism,” “The Strength of Trees”, “Summery Day”, “A Winter’s Farewell”, On an Amtrak Train to Utica
  • Two of Cups: A New York Poet in Galway (under pen name Mary E. Lohan) Poems read include “Clonmacnoise,” “Love is Not,” “Nothing is Constant”
  • Speaking to the Darkness (under pen name Mary E. Lohan)

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Peter Digan

Peter Digan, newly imported from County Offaly and recently married to Mary Gonzalez, sang two songs — a rendition of Christy Moore’s “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”and had us singing along with “The Wild Rover.”  Welcome Mary and Peter!

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Tom Mahon

Tom Mahon took us to upstate New York with “The Burial” from his collection Tomorrow Never Came. In the story, a farmer brings his dead wife to a minister to have him say some words over her before he buries her. New to the community, the minister pries into the life of the farmer and his wife and family. The man answers but is as guarded and private as the preacher is public. Tom-Mahon.com.

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Brian Fleming

Dublin performer Brian Fleming gave a hilarious preview of his performance, A Sacrilegious Lesbian and Homosexual Parade, playing now as part of the Frigid New York Festival. Described as “a romp through 14 years of celebration and resistance with the inclusive St. Pat’s For All Parade in Queens…through music, projections, bad dance and bad striptease…” Support this artist who visits the Salon when he’s in New York. Get your tickets here: www.frigidnewyork.info.

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Celeste Ray

In her Salon debut, musician Celeste Ray, a founding member of Four Celtic Voices, played several songs on a double Bowed Psaltery.

Those of us who were unfamiliar with this string instrument were stunned by its gorgeous sound and by her superb talent. Celeste closed the night by singing an IAW&A favorite, “Wild Mountain Thyme.” Learn more at http://FourCelticVoices.com and find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Four-Celtic-Voices-with-Celeste-Ray/323027821102985

The good times will still be rolling at the Salon at the Thalia on March 3. See you then!

December 19, 2014

12.16.14 IAW&A Salon at The Cell: Our One-of A Kind Holiday Extravaganza ‪#‎iawasalon

Filed under: dance,Essay,Events,Literature,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 9:47 pm

“Excellent. So moving and so much fun. A true variety show!”

by Karen Daly
Photos by Cat Dwyer

The IAW&A December Salon at The Cell has become a don’t-miss event on the Holiday Calendar. Salongoers know they’ll find an array of talented artists bringing their gifts of music, language and dance, genuine good cheer and a unique setting in the Chelsea performance space. This year, the high-energy SRO crowd got all that, plus some Christmas treats. Santa made an appearance in black sequins; we sampled Wren Day, right here in NYC; environmentally conscious elves, award winning songs, jazz riffs, laughs and a tour de force by Honor Molloy were on the program.

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We congratulate John Kearns on his two-year anniversary as Salon producer and thank him for his excellent, generous work. (He’s probably blushing by now.)

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First time IAW&A presenter Gordon Gilbert Jr. braved the leadoff spot with poignant monologues about loss and growing old. They included “Heaven” in which a woman enjoys life after the death of the husband who had abused her verbally for over sixty years and “I Do Not Fear the Dark” in which an elderly jazz musician has just learned he has Alzheimer’s. Gordon read his lyrics to a song about facing the holidays alone, “Waking Slow.” Currently at work on two novels and poetry, Gordon performs regularly at spoken word events. In February, he will resume hosting monthly events celebrating Beat Generation writers at the Cornelia Street Cafe.

To learn more, contact him at gordonagilbertjr@usa.net Gordon’s comment about the night – “What a wonderful evening! What wonderful people!”

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A merry combo, comic performer Sarah Fearon teamed up with world-class jazz musician Jon Gordon to present “The Real Holiday Letter.” A spoof on the classic year-in-summary Holiday bragging letter, Sarah’s version shows what the letter would really say if it were truthful. Jon Gordon’s twisty saxophone accompanied Sarah with “We Wish you a Merry Christmas,” “Jingle Bells” and other Christmas standards. Jon finished the set with famous tune “Christmas Time is Here.”

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Playwright John Cappelletti brought two professional actors, Barry Sacker and Maura Knowles to play elves in his vaudeville “What’s Bode?” Concerned with the polar caps melting at an unprecedented rate, (thus causing the oceans to rise dangerously and eventually end civilization as we know it) Santa’s tiny helpers think they can save the world. They plan to prevent jolly St. Nick from making his annual journey and shut down Christmas. The elves hope to teach us to respect Mother Nature, the environment and her people and animals. Christmas stockings will only have dirty lumps of coal, along with crude, shale and nuclear waste. John says the situation is nothing to laugh about, yet the audience couldn’t help laughing at his clever dialogue.

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Salon producer and tonight’s host-with-the-most John Kearns chose a Christmas themed excerpt from his novel-in- progress, Worlds. In Center City Philadelphia in the early 70s, Janey Logan takes her children to meet their father, James, and to see the Christmas light show and Santa Claus at John Wanamaker’s department store. During the show, which depicts many of the famous Christmas stories like the Nutcracker, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman, the children, Kitty and Paul, alternatively bicker and look out for each another.

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Honor Molloy’s gift to us was her reading of “Sixpence the Stars”–a story from her novel Smarty Girl – Dublin Savage. http://www.smartygirlthebook.com Often referred to in our wee community as The Little Oranges, this jaunty trip winds its way through Dublintown on Christmas Eve, 1966. There’s the nativity tale as told by a fruit dealer on Moore Street–Dublin’s open-air market. Molloy takes the audience back through time, when mechanicalized toys and Cheeky Charlies were hawked with wild cries and even wilder abandon. Watch Honor perform it here and share her gift with friends: www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1y1jAmgRCE 
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Singer songwriter Michael Sheahan charmed us with his award winning Christmas songs from his three-time award winning Christmas Book, CD and Dance DVD “Mr. Holidays Presents The Roof Top Hop.” If you need a gift for a youngster, purchase by calling 1-800-2476553 or www.bookmasters.com/marktplc/03080.htm Michael also performed songs from his latest Christmas CD “Some Things Never Change,” available here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/some-things-never-change/id572999634

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Before the break, IAW&A President Larry Kirwan greeted the crowd and described the origins of the IAW&A and the growth of the Salons. Larry encouraged the audience to introduce new people to the group. Where else can you find such community and experience an evening like tonight that’s free? We do take voluntary contributions to cover expenses at The Cell.

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A uniquely talented artist, a vocalist, accordionist and writer, Marni Rice, gave a thrilling rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Marni sang a lively original song called “The Market” and an Edith Piaf song, “Fais-moi Valser” (Let Me Waltz) Find Marni at www.dejouxmusique.com

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Padraig Murphy read a thrilling excerpt from his novel Placebo, a story about loss and recovery that gave us a peek into the backwater places in the Caribbean rarely seen by tourists. We come face to face with the remote, startlingly simplistic birth of a force 4 hurricane. We see Padraig’s protagonist pass unaware into harm’s way, leading to major consequences. You can find the book on Amazon and find Pat on FB at Padraig Murphy Writer.

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An IAW&A Co-Director, Kathleen Donohoe read from her essay about growing up in Brooklyn and becoming a writer, long before ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘writer’ were synonyms. We’re excited to see Kathleen’s novel The Ashes of Fiery Weather, the story of six generations of women in a family of firefighters, that will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Marcia Loughran presented three poems– a new one, “Bargaining with God at the Price Chopper,” and a couple on one of her favorite themes, Marriage: What Nobody Told You. Marcia says she was honored to be at the Cell and enjoyed her fellow readers, dancers, singers and performers immensely. And we’re honored to share her work.

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wren dancers

Dressed in bright ribbons and traditional disguise, Maura Mulligan and her dance students Bill Duggan, Deirdre Batson, Ryan Cahill, Hara Reiser and Vera Wrenn recreated the traditional Irish and Welsh celebration Wren Day. On Wren Day, December 26, young people in colorful costumes went from house to house performing. In old times, a wren was sacrificed but over the last 100 years, the holiday has been celebrated with music, song and dance and no murder victim. Maura and company expertly danced “Peeler and the Goat” and “The Galway Reel” and Maura performed a sean nós (old style) dance known as “The Brush Dance.” Ryan Cahill and Vera Wrenn told the story through their lovely singing of “The Wren Song.”

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The talented fiddler, Marie Reilly who recently released a second CD, “The Road to Glannagh,” accompanied the group. Maura’s memoir, Call of the Lark is available from http://www.greenpointpress.org Her spring session of weekly dance classes begins Friday, February 6. More at: http://www.mauramulligan.com

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Another ensemble, Mark William Butler and his band of merrymakers closed out the festivities with three of his original Christmas songs and one naughty bit of comedy business. With ace accompanist Tyler Knauf on the ivories, Elizabeth Inghram started things off with a beautifully mournful rendition of “The Christmas I Remember” from Mark’s show Christmas Anonymous. Richard Butler then shimmied down the chimney, donning a dress and flashing his gams as an angry, cross-dressing, not-so-secret Santa, and then bringing the house down with the rousing neo-burlesque number, “Look At Me.” Then Mark joined Elizabeth, Richard and Tyler, wrapping up the party with the uplifting holiday anthem, “Christmas Is You,” also from Christmas Anonymous.

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How ‘bout a Christmas shout-out to Mark? He’s another tireless IAW&A contributor; he helps stage manage the Salons, and edits the popular IAW&A Weekly. (iawaweekly@gmail.com).

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As you can see from the pictures, the merriment continued at the Salon afterparty at the Half King restaurant. No posts about the party, though. What happens at the Half King, stays at the Half King.

Merry Christmas from IAW&A!

star
Hey, how much for that star?

See you January 6 at the Bar Thalia.

October 9, 2014

Laughter and Serious Story Telling Mark IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia 10/1

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 6:56 pm

By Mary Lannon 
Photos by Alexandra Jakstas

Lots of laughter, some song, and even some serious moments marked another successful salon on Wednesday October 1st at Bar Thalia.

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A night of many laughs: Malachy McCourt and John Kearns 

Our easy-going host, John Kearns, led off the night with an excerpt from his novel-in-progress Worlds. James Logan’s fiancee, Janey Dougherty, joins her fiancee, James, and her father-in-law in the family’s late-summer suburban backyard to hear a tale of how family patriarch, Seamus Logan, punched out a cruel construction foreman and left New York for Philadelphia, where he built his own construction empire.

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Large, lively crowd at Bar Thalia

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John Skocik

Next up the crowd laughed along with two vengeance love songs from Girl to Gorilla singer-songwriter,  John Skocik. John’s band, Girl to Gorilla, has its album release party at Otto’s Shrunken Head on Saturday, October 11th at 9 pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/279615405565501/.

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Sarah Fearon

Board member Sarah Fearon read her “notes” and made the crowd laugh uproariously.  Some of the subjects were the questionable sincerity of some environmentalists, taking on a personal trainers suggestions, and the classic NYC Nail salon scenario. Oh, yeah, and the real meaning of attention deficit disorder….guess you had to be there. Or for a more polished set sometime later this fall she’ll be performing at Gotham Comedy Club.

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Marcia Loughran

Marcia Loughran took a more serious turn reading three poems in order of sadness — one about making people do what you want by doing weird stretches, one about bugs on the subway, and one about horror and despair and professional photography.  She was appreciative of the IAW&A Salon crowd and glad to be back.

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John Brennan

The multi-dimensional John Brennan talked about gene studies conducted by geneticists at Trinity College Dublin and then dedicated a poem called “The Fox, The Bird and the Poet” to Malachy McCourt. That poem was about the Fil Na Maigue poets of Croom, County Limerick.   He talked about the compulsion to write, read a tribute poem for Bobby Sands and the poem, “In My Blood.” He finished by singing “The Auld Triangle” written by Brendan Behan in Mountjoy Jail.

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Fun during the break: Maria Deasy, Karen Daly, Marcia Loughran, and Sarah Fearon

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Fun during the break: Jack DiMonte and Maura Mulligan

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Maura Mulligan

Maura Mulligan shared an excerpt from an article about reading from her memoir, Call of the Lark, at the 6th Annual Hudson Valley Irish Fest in Peekskill. Visible from the festival grounds was the convent Mulligan joined in the 60s and Mulligan found herself distracted by flashbacks of her novitiate experiences of wearing a wedding dress and having her hair cut off. A train horn that made her stop during the reading seemed like the same one she’d heard years ago that made her decide to become a nun, leave the world behind and take the road less traveled. Call of the Lark is available directly from Greenpointress.org, from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.

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Maureen Hossbacher

Maureen Hossbacher read from her novel-in-progress, The Grand March, a family saga set in New York City and spanning roughly six decades from the late 1920’s to the 1980’s.   In this segment, set in 1961, young Nance Moran finds herself consigned to Rosalie Hall, a Catholic facility for unwed mothers in the Bronx, where she awaits the arrival of her child with girls in similar predicaments — most, like Nance, resigned to the inevitable surrender of their babies to the New York Foundling Home for adoption.  After delivering her daughter, Nance’s resistance to bonding with her begins to crumble.  The segment ends with a visit to her hospital room from the child’s father — who is wearing a Roman collar.

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Tom Mahon

After the break, Tom Mahon read a short/short story from his collection of vignettes: Tomorrow Never Came, called “Manny the Gambler.”  In the story, Manny comes to America from Mexico and on his first day buys a lottery ticket and wins $10. He has six children, and Manny drills them in soccer and they all go to college on sports scholarships. Unknown to everyone, Manny can’t stop buying lottery tickets, storing them all in an old car.  After he dies, his daughter finds the car and a winning ticket worth 57 million dollars.  The family is rich, but that’s another story. Web site:  Tom-Mahon.com 

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Jim Rodgers

Jim Rodgers got the crowd laughing reading from his novel Long Night’s End. In the excerpt, Johnny Gunn tries to protect his friend Jimmy from haunting demons and to avoid his nemesis Big Joe Scanlon, and at the same time avoid the occasion of sin with his former mistress, Molly. All efforts are for naught as Johnny stumbles through this rollicking and passionate chapter played out in the bars and streets of Sunnyside, Queens.

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Christy Jones

The laughter continued as Christy Jones read from a chapter of his memoir, Taxi to Broadway. Just out of the theater studio after a two-year acting course, Jones is cast as a bit player in a small town production of Romeo and Juliet. He is soon caught up in the glorious excitement of rehearsals, swordfighting, love scenes and the extracurricular activities of the large cast that end up even more exciting than the production.

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Mary Lannon

Mary Lannon read from her short story “All the Stray Cats of the World.” In the excerpt, her main character is obsessed with death and at Thanksgiving Dinner, a combination that, perhaps not surprisingly, had the crowd laughing.

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Ryan Winter Cahill

Ryan Winter Cahill serenaded the audience with the traditional English ballad “Fair Margaret and Sweet William,” a variation from the Appalachian Mountains.  The song originated in England and has many variations including discovered in the Appalachian Mountains and preserved by Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles around 1916-1918 during a trip they took to the area. Without their efforts, this song and many others might have been lost to history.

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Malachy McCourt 

Malachy McCourt again got the crowd laughing explaining that he hadn’t worked a day in his life and celebrating that with a song about not working, that the crowd heartily joined in on.

See you at the O’Neill Event on 10/20 and the next IAW&A Salon at the Cell on 10/27!

September 10, 2014

Prose, Poetry, and Song Old and New at the 9/3 IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia

Filed under: Events,Literature,Music — by scripts2013 @ 8:36 pm

by Mary Lannon
Photos by Mark William Butler

Instead of or in addition to reading their own work, several presenters read prose from and about others giving a distinct feel to the IAW&A Salon at Bar Thalia on Wednesday, September 3rd.

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Tom Mahon

Kicking off what became a theme of the night, Tom Mahon inspired the crowd by reading from Nelson Mandela’s acceptance speech for the presidency of South Africa. He followed that up with his own “Fierce Pride & a Generous Heart” from Delusions, his collection of vignettes. His story told of a young person who vows to care for an elder under very trying conditions, but keeps his or her word because the priest told the young person that he or she will go to heaven for caring for the least of us.  Mahon jokes “never read anything you read after reading from Nelson Mandela.”

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Karen Daly

Next up, board member Karen Daly showed why she is a longtime fan of Pete Hamill, who will receive our Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on October 20. Reading from Hamill’s, “A Melancholy Fall in the Gardens of Brooklyn”(a 1968 Village Voice column), Daly gave a lovely rendition of a beautiful, evocative, perfect piece of writing.

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Sean Carlson

Sean Carlson offered his own twist on the night’s theme by reading a section of his yet untitled family memoir about his mother, Nuala, a County Kerry native, who accompanied him to the IAW&A Salon. Carlson brought to life the beginnings of change in Ireland during the middle of the 20th century. Captivating the crowd, Carlson shared the tension and wonder surrounding his mother’s birth as the fifteenth of sixteen children and the first born outside the home. To learn more or join his email list, please visit www.seancarlson.net

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John Kearns

Our hard-working host, John Kearns, took a cue from the beginning of the school year, presenting a brand-new excerpt from his multi-generational novel, Worlds.  In the excerpt, Paul Logan, in his first weeks as a teacher in the South Bronx, is attacked by his student Shinone Williams. After Shinone gets a detention, she throws her books at her teacher and grabs him by his throat. Logan manages to get Williams out of the classroom and finds out she will be expelled. Returning to his room, he finds two students fighting over whether it was funny when Logan ducked out of the way of Shinone’s flying books.

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Mary Lannon

Mary Lannon read from the middle of a longish short story, “A Key to Castastrophe Management,” in which a college senior obsesses about the weather, tries to figure out her future, and shows her unfamiliarity with love. Check out Lannon’s web site for her novel: http//www.MirandaJMcCleod.com.

maura Maura Mulligan

The first half ended with the multi-talented Maura Mulligan’s singing a sean nós (old style) song she learned from Donegal singer/composer Dominic Mac Goille Bhríde in July at the South Sligo Summer School. The song, “Tráthnóna Beag Aréir” is a love song in the Irish language (Gaeilge). Mulligan explained that the poet is wishing to experience again the beauty of the previous evening when there was silence in the sky and the lovers drifted together through the bog cotton. This traditional style of singing is generally melodically and rhythmically complex.  Subtleties vary by region, and it is highly individualistic.

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Jack DiMonte

Jack DiMonte led off the second half singing a beautiful rendition of “Summer Wind,” a song about how romance is as fickle as the fleeing summer.  “Summer Wind” began life as a German pop song by Heinz Meier to which American Johnny Mercer later set the now-famous English lyrics that Frank Sinatra immortalized in a 1966 recording.

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John Brennan

A new presenter John Brennan picked up on the theme of the night, beginning by reading Seamus Heaney’s “Digging.” Next, Brennan read “The Green Valley,” a poem he wrote about the ancient Boyne valley (Bru na Boine) and “The Singing Bones” from his book Don’t Die with Regrets, which he wrote for his father Mal. Brennan ended with “The Night Moths,” his tribute poem to W.B .Yeats and a short story, “The Dealing Man.”

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Malachy McCourt

Malachy McCourt finished off the night reading from the Foreword he wrote for Come Here Often? 53 Writers Raise a Glass to Their Favorite Bar, edited by Sean Manning.  He also led the group in singing a Brendan Behan song.

See you at the Cell on September 16th!!

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

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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.

June 13, 2014

IAW&A Salon Celebrates Its Third Anniversary at the Thalia with Newcomers and Regulars

Filed under: Essay,Events,Literature,Uncategorized — by scripts2013 @ 12:03 am

by Mary Lannon
Photos by John Kearns

Great performances from IAW&A Salon regulars Tom Mahon, John Kearns, Tara O’Grady, and Marni Rice among others and a showcase of readings from three City College students taught by IAWA’s own Brendan Costello Jr., marked the entertaining IAW&A Salon at the Thalia on Wednesday night, June 4th.

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John Skocik

John Skocik, lead singer and songwriter from Girl to Gorilla, led off the night with a couple of original songs. John and the band will be playing gigs in New York City this summer.  Watch this space for more information.

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Tom Mahon

Our first writer of the night, Tom Mahon, read a “Doctor’s Story” from a collection of stories called Delusions.  In the piece two people’s dreams come true, yet the doctor is outraged to learn that society pays so much more to its entertainers than to its health care providers, especially its surgeons.  Other stories in the collection explore the questions of whether delusions are real if a person sees them turn out to be real and whether delusions that become real result from skill, luck or the will to bend reality to a vision.

Next up our gracious  and talented host, John Kearns, read two excerpts from his short story, “Making a Visit,” about a man named Terrance who, because of a song that reminded him of his mother, stops into a church on the evening that he plans to commit suicide.  During his visit, Terrance reflects on several memories of his mother and of Saint Patrick’s Days past.  After depositing all of the money he had in the poor box, Terrance leaves the church and runs into some street musicians performing one of his mother’s favorite songs.  When the musicians ask him for a contribution, Terrance agrees to bring the money the next day, and he walks away laughing.

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Mary Lannon

Mary Lannon read from the middle of a short story called “A Key to Catastrophe Management” about a college senior who becomes obsessed with the weather while trying to figure out art and love.  Lannon is also working on publishing a novel.  Learn more about it and like her Facebook page at MirandajMcleod.com

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Tara O’Grady

The multi-talented singer-songwriter Tara O’Grady, who recently signed with a literary agent in Hollywood, next read an excerpt from her memoir Migrating Towards Happiness. The humorous piece reveals a frustrating conversation Tara had with a priest on the day of her Donegal granny’s death, and a dream she later had when she found herself in the biblical Garden of Gethsemane. Tara’s full swing band will be performing at a FREE outdoor swing dance Wednesday, June 11 for the Brooklyn Public Library Summer Series, dance lesson 6:30pm and music 7:00-8:30pm. 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn. www.taraogradymusic.com.

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Marni Rice

Marni Rice ended the first half of the evening by singing two songs acapella.  She led off with “On Raglan Road” (Luke Kelly/Patrick Kavanagh) and “The Month of January” (traditional song from Sarah Makem songbook).  Salon regulars may not have been surprised to learn that these songs marked a return to the talented Rice’s roots as she spent her early years hanging out at the library memorizing folk tunes.

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Jim Rodgers

Jim Rodgers returned to the IAW&A Salon and read a short story set in Sunnyside.

Most of the second half of the salon showcased  former students of Brendan Costello at City College.

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Conor McGlone

Poet and musician Conor McGlone read a selection of poems that were linguistically dense and brimming with a brooding intensity.

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Jordan Ortega

Bronx native Jordan Ortega read an engaging selection from a novel in progress, about a detective who awakens from a coma and discovers he no longer needs to sleep.  In addition to being an excellent writer, Jordan is also captain of the CCNY Basketball team (this may be a Salon first!).

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Megan O’Donnell

Megan O’Donnell is an actor, activist, and award-winning writer of poetry, fiction and non-fiction.  She read a selection of poems on numerous subjects, including violence against women (the focus of her activism) and an emulation of Emily Dickinson.

We look forward to hearing more from these talented young writers, particularly now that there’s a new student rate for the membership!]

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Brendan Costello

Brendan Costello Jr. followed with a selection from a novel in progress, about an executive who whiles away time in his office dreaming about the apocalypse.  He closed with an interpretation of the Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon,” which he described as the musical equivalent of his character’s sentiment that “This is the day the Lord has made, let us prepare for a cleansing fire.”

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Jack DiMonte

The evening ended with Jack DiMonte singing two songs of summer.  He began with a sad song of regret over a missed romantic opportunity at a seaside that began life as a French song called “C’est Te Moi” by Alfred Vidalin and Gilbert Becaud.  American lyricist Norman Gimbel, who also wrote English lyrics to many Bossa Nova classics, wrote the English lyrics, and it became “It Was Me.”   The second song was a much happier take on summer love, “That Sunday That Summer” by Joe Sherman and George David Weiss, a hit for Nat King Cole in the early 1960s that was later revived by his daughter Natalie.

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